Maud Malone appeared yesterday afternoon as the champion and supporter of Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont at a meeting of the Socialistic women of New York at the Labor Temple on Eighty-fourth Street, where that energetic organization had gathered in a conference to repudiate, as far as their support is concerned, the "bourgeois suffrage movement" because it is "by its very nature antagonistic."
The repudiation of the suffrage women by the Socialistic women in refusing to accept the invitation of the National Woman's Suffrage Association to cooperate with it was apparently cut and dried before the opening of the conference. It was so far decided that the suffragists, in their headquarters at 505 Fifth Avenue, had news of it the day before. But that did not prevent the women Socialists from having three different resolutions up, and they discussed the matter pro and con from 2:30 in the afternoon to 7:30 at night. The resolutions refusing to cooperate with the suffragists was passed when a large part of the members had left, and then almost unanimously.
The women Socialists declared themselves with one voice to be woman suffragists but they say the organized woman suffragists belong to the capitalistic class and can never have anything in common with them. They do not believe in the millionaire women who are assisting the suffragists.
"You make a mistake if you think you can work hand-in-hand with the suffragists," said Mrs. Theresa Malkiel. "When I was down helping the strikers a man in Mrs. Belmont's employ came to me and said: 'My dear lady, this is a great cause and if you wish to help in it Mrs. Belmont will be glad to pay you.' But I will never organize the girls into clubs to suit Mrs. Belmont. I was a suffragist before Mrs. Belmont ever dreamed of it. There is lots of work we can do, but why take the work on Mrs. Belmont's platform? Why not take it on our own?
"Mrs. Belmont, Miss Shaw, and Mrs. Blatch are only interested in us because they think through us they can get the working girls."
"I want fair play and want to give fair play," said Miss Leonora O'Reilly. "If this is an educational work and these other women say, 'Come on our platform,' why not go and use it as a school for educating older people. Sometimes you have to close your ears to the name of a school you don't like. If you can get work done with money why not let them do it? If you go on their platform you gain a stanch heart."
"I don't know why we should educate Mrs. Belmont and Miss Morgan," said Dr. Anna Ingerman, a Russian woman. "If there is any educating to do we had better do it among our own people. The Suffragists ask us to go to a mass meeting and sit in a box we pay $10 for and put our banner outside it, but they don't ask us to speak.
"I'm ashamed of those poor girl strikers, taken up among the Four Hundred with Mrs. Belmont on one side and Miss Morgan on the other. It is enough to demoralize them. Poor girls who only know enough to scream when they are hurt. When it is said that Mrs. Belmont pays for the meeting places of the strikers that is enough to blind the working classes."
"I was responsible for taking those girls to that meeting said little "Comrade" Rose Schneiderman. "Just as I think it will do good when the girls tell the reporters what has happened to them so I think it was good to have them talk to the people. You can't limit their education."
Here is where Miss Malone came to the rescue of Mrs. Belmont. "I don't believe in attacks on an individual woman," she said. "You are taking a lower stand when you do that as was done in our recent political campaign. And the regular suffragists are not capitalists. Their interests are not distinct from those of the working woman and I am not a Socialist. The suffragists have always been kept back because of the need of money, which is a great help.
"You should not condemn the whole suffrage movement because a few people do not live up to the ideals. All people do not live up to the ideals. All people do not think alike. I believe in militant methods and others do not but there is no reason for disagreeing."
"This is a special woman's problem," said Mrs. Meta Stone, a German newspaper woman. "We lay too much stress upon the millionaires among the suffragists and forget that we have them in our own party. If there is a Mrs. Belmont in the suffrage party there is also a Leonora O'Reilly. If we take sides against the suffragists our common enemies, the 'antis' , who go around to 'scab' workmen and speak of 'freedom of contract' will use it as a weapon against them."
"The suffragists don't like us; they hate us," said Mrs. Carrie W. Allen. "I happen to know that when Emma Goldman came out as an anti-suffragist the other day one suffragist wrote to an 'anti' friend, saying: 'You accused us with mixing up with the Socialists and now you are hobnobbing with an Anarchist.'"
The resolution which was adopted said that the beliefs of the women would undoubtedly bring them "into frequent conflict with the organized suffrage movement," and that the work of the Socialistic women for suffrage "must be carried on along separate and independent lines."