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"The 'Mutiny' at Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks," July 28, 1919
of a man in this wing, which is typical;- several weeks ago, two recommendations for home parole were forwarded from the parole board here to Washington. One of these was termed “a doubtful risk” and came back approved on Monday, the 21st, and the man was released the first day of the strike. The “sure risk” was delayed in the mail or the pigeon holes at Washington. As a result the letter man did not go out before the strike. Naturally he did not quit work voluntarily – but he was not allowed to work. Now through no fault of his he loses his parole, and is forced to serve another year.
Take the case of the barrack parolee:- All of whose while [sic] stars were painted out. A large number of them were short timers (a man is not given a white star, unless he has less than a year to do.) Many of them had eaten at early mess and had gone to work. Later they were sent back to the wing among the strikers, and yet all of them have lost their paroles.
Now consider the loss of all good time by all men, the longer a man has been here, the more good time he loses (some have lost a year or more of good time). And yet the longer he has been here, the less likely it is that he voluntarily struck. Even if the old timer did strike is [sic] punishment is far greater than that of the new man, who to say the very least, has been equally turbalent [sic] with the new man has earned only five or ten days – possibly ten days of good time, and the old timer loses many months. For instance one man on my tier in this wing, was due to go out yesterdya [sic] (Sunday July 27,) He did not strike, he worked in the mess hall and was turned back from work. Now he has two months more to go. In the case of the men who work in the mess hall, and [sic] additional punishment has been inflicted. Now these men will have to work every day instead of every other day; there will be only one shift instead of two. This means they will work every day from five in the morning to seven at night – fourteen hours, of hard dirty work, indoors, seven days a week, without a chance for recreation. And yet not one of these men actually struck, whatever their sympathies might have been. They were sent away from their work by the authorities themselves. The same is true of the power plant. There will now be two twelve hour shifts, instead of three eight hour ones. These men also work seven days a week – the work is hard, dirty and unhealthy, and they will have no leisure and no recreation. To sum up, the strike was caused by ill treatment towards and unjust sentences; its occasion was poor food; the thing which precipitated it at the moment it occurred was a psychological suggestion on the part of a speaker by the indifference of the authorities. The Administration seeing in the insipient strike an opportunity to abolish the Committee and to re-introduce the “Iron Rule” made it impossible for them not to strike. This they did not by once adjusting the men themselves, and urging them or even ordering them to work; by making no effort to put to work those men who, twice went into the yard ready to work; but not going into the wings and giving those men who wished to work an opportunity to do so, and finally by sending back to the wings those paroles, office men, etc. who had already gone to work, and later by sending back the men working in the kitchen, bakery, butcher, shop, mess hall, power plant, and ice plant.