Зображення сторінки



vails there has been demonstrated time every strike engaged in by the various craft and again through the failures of the unions has been lost. That such has been various railroad workers' strikes. The most the case is not an accident. To expect any flagrant example of this is to be found in other result in the unequal struggle bethe recent collapse and routing of the shop tween labor divided, and capital united, men.

would be expecting the impossible. When we come to transportation by

The Strength of Capital water the present prospects are more en

Why has it been impossible for craft couraging. After the final defeat of the

unions to flourish in the automobile or the longshoremen's and the seamen's craft

textile, the steel or the packing industries? unions, through numerous unsuccessful

For the simple reason that these industries strikes, the marine transport workers seem

are operated and controlled by big busito have seen a light, and are at present

ness; they are in the hands of gigantic joining the Marine Transport Workers' In

combines of capital wielding tremendous dustrial Union of the Industrial Work

power. ers of the World in great numbers.

In order to organize the steel mills the But it it will take time, grit, and

workers have to buck the colossal power great deal of hard work to build up an organization here that will be powerful

and highly efficient mechanism of the steel

trust. enough to make the masters come to terms. The fiasco of the packing house strikes

In order to organize the oil industry the is well known to everybody who has kept equal, but superior to the machine built

workers have to prove themselves not only in touch with labor history in recent years. Needless to say, the packing house workers up and kept in smooth working order by

the most powerful organization in the are at present without any form of organi

world to-day,—the Standard Oil. zation. This applies also to almost as great

In order to obtain a foothold and to an extent to the foodstuff workers in the restaurants, bakeries, hotels, and other spread organization in the woolen, cotton

and silk mills, the textile workers have to places where food is handled. We thus see that the major industries

be able to outmaneuver and out-fight the

textile trust. in the United States, with the possible ex

The same applies, only in a

lesser degree, to the other industries. ception of one or two, can be looked upon as being altogether unorganized. Can any

The Weakness of Labor body be foolish enough to believe that labor This, then, is the problem that confronts will be able to secure any measure of power us. If any body of men think that they while this condition prevails?

can revolutionize and amalgamate the now The Craft Unions

existing conservative craft unions, why, let The strength of the craft unions is to be

them go to it! We have good reasons for found in the building, construction, print- thinking that this cannot be accomplished, ing, coal mining, and railroad industries. but, for the sake of the argument, let us Neither the building nor the printing in- admit that it could. After they have amaldustries are organized over fifty per cent, gamated to show existing craft unions, nor can they be counted among the pivotal

what will they have? or major industries.

Why, they will have nothing to speak of; The coal miners are organized in most nothing that will be able to effect any apstates, but their brand of organization and preciable change in the destinies of the leadership has been amply illustrated by working class. The workers in the major the failure of the recent coal miners' strike. industries will still be unorganized. The

It is a notorious fact, well known to all power of resistance to the colossal comstudents of recent labor history, that dur- bines of capital will still be almost as small ing the last six or seven years practically as it is to-day.

MAY, 19 2 3

We thus'see that altho the amalgamation semblance of economic power through orof the craft unions might be a laudable ob- ganization at the point of production. This ject, surely it is nothing to get excited over; is the big task that confronts us. and this altogether aside from the question When we set to work organizing the now as to whether or not the amalgamation can unorganized industries we will find that be consummated.

we may have to change our tactics in ac"Organize the Unorganized!”

cordance with the different conditions that The United States is the ideal example prevail in the various industries. We will of an industrial country. The whole coun

have to use the tools best suited to turn out try, its industries, and everything else in it, the work. But surely labor ought to be is run, managed, and owned by a handful

able to rise to the necessities of the occaof big financiers and captains of industry.

sion. They are the possessors of all power be- No task should prove to be impossible of cause they are possessors of economic accomplishment by those who keep the power.

whole world agoing. Let all of us thereThe only way the working class can even fore put our shoulders to the wheel! From make an attempt to oppose the will of the now on, let our slogan be "Organize the capitalist class is by acquiring at least a Unorganized!"

[blocks in formation]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

ERE is a steel mill.

Who are they that shiver in front of the

entrance gates so early in the morning? Why, they are workingmen, going to work or else looking for jobs,—the sons of toil who make everything that is made on the earth, and who represent the Dignity of Labor.

The dignity is not apparent in their faces, to be sure, because those of them who have jobs are afraid the others will get them, and 'the others are afraid they will not get them.

The walls of the building are black and dusty, for it does not pay to clean them; the boss does not live here. The air is cold and damp. The looks that the workingmen bestow upon each other are chilly and furtive; they are eloquent of suspicion, wretchedness, a gnawing at the heart, a sinking at the stomach, a feeling of vague and dumb terror.

A whistle's peremptory scream, and the doors are flung wide open-some go in to serve the rumbling machines, and some go up to face a grumbling master.

The machine must be tended, the master must be , placated.

Why this fear, dread, apprehension of impending danger?

Why the subdued lights in this picture of lusty workingmen—so superbly endowed with the fu dignity of labor!

Because all their lives long these men have bee thinking, as did their fathers before them, that they are but puny struggling creatures in a world gigantic forces; that they can get no food, no cloth ing, no shelter, except through the gracious bener olence of the exalted power which owns the mil and gives them monay in return for services rer dered.

The preservation of their families, their hope happiness, their very lives, depend on placating this

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

power,--so they think. They crawl to it as basely from the outside. When every craftsman had his
as ever savage crawled to his blood-smeared idol to

own tools, every iron worker his own forge and
pay homage. They think they must do this, for does bellows and hammers, it was observed,—and ob-
not the corporation, the capitalist, possess a power served correctly,—that men did not like to work
greater than that wielded by the deity? The deity all day long and have some other man take away
gave life unasked. The capitalist not only gives it the products of their toil. It was decided, and cor-
but can also take it away, or at least the fulness of rectly, that if the smith made shovels and rakes,
it, if it pleases him to do so. The workingmen they should be his, unless he were paid for them
fear him, for he holds the threads of their fate in what he thought they were worth. There you have
his hands, and, like Caliban dreaming himself Sete- the origin of the idea that private property is sacred,
bos, this one he kills, and to that one he grants a and of the right to "do what he wishes with his
morsel of bread, if the man begs for it.


In their time and place these ideas were good.

The blacksmith should own the product of his own
The army of humanity marches on, out from the

forge, when he operates it himself, for it is to the
grim caverns of the unknown past into the misty

social advantage that he be secure in the possession land of an obscure future. And on its way from

of the fruits of his labor applied to the forge. a darkness to a darkness, it passes through smoke

But what about the steel mills? Do the cringing, and dust and noise, through factories, mines and

worried, whitefaced men and boys work in them? farm lands; it travels over endless stretches of land,

They certainly do. Do they get the value of their and over the face of great lakes and the limitless

product? They certainly do not. expanse of the oceans.

The owner still applies his traditional right, “to Every child born into the world finds awaiting

the full product of the forges," although the ownerhim certain institutions which form the structure

the corporation,-is a thing without hands or feet, of the society in which he has to live-his place of

incapable of working a single machine, of stoking earthly abode, so to speak. As far as he knows by direct evidence, and not by hearsay, these institu

a single furnace. (Needless to say, the stockholders tions are as much a part of nature as the sun and

are too busy attending church in Los Angeles, or

booze parties in Bermuda, to lend a hand.) the moon.

The tradition, the fruit of practical experience, That is not all. The child passes through other sorts of factories,—thought or "mind-fixing" fac

the thought-out result of observation (of long ago)

is still with us, though the facts which were observed tories. There are newspapers, moving pictures and

have ceased to be.
games which artfully engage his time and attention;
there are churches which he should go to on Sunday,

Now, why does not a new concept take the place

of the old, lying, outworn tradition? and there are schools which he must attend. All

Since the day when the capitalist masters found these are as little his as the factories he is thrown

the factory rule sliding into their hands, they have among, yes, into, at a too early age. They are outside of his personality and beyond his control, but

labored incessantly to keep the fact of their rule

concealed from ali and sundry. They are worshipped they supply the moulds into which his whole being

and dreaded not as human beings but as representaaj: is cast. As far as the child knows, these institutions

tives of a tradition, as priests of the mysterious likewise are as much a part of nature as the Steel

force, known "OWNERSHIP," "PRIVATE Mills.

PROPERTY,” which is a mere notion, a vacuous

idea. Accepting then, these things,—the factory and the

The wage slave is a spiritualist, kneeling in abasethought factory—will not this child and these child

ment before a ghost, a disembodied spook of a men accept also the product that pours from them? former social morality. The product of the factory is the commodity,

The Dead Hand of the past has him by the throat; the fruit of a commodity-built society; the product the flail that beats out his manhood is made of bones of the school and of the newspaper is a mental

that once were a saint's, perhaps, but are now but thing-certain traditions, chief of which is the

a dug-up pestilence which ought to be buried so that sacredness of private property, and the right of it would torment man every owner to "do what he wants with his own.” The commodity is older than the factory, in form

So here is the situation, and the cause of the fear. and in use. The factory today produces shovels

The factory with its capitalist, who must be feared, and rakes cheaper and better, and of a more uni

because the thought factory, with its tradition of form standard grade, than was done in the past. The tradition is older than the newspaper, but it

private property, permits no idea of his removal.

Your factory sometimes produces a bit of work is brought up to date, standardized, and cheapened, that is not at all what was intended. As it grows well as made more abundant, by the thought

older, it must continually produce more and more factory.

work that is defective from the point of view of the For in the final analysis, the substance of men's capitalist. thoughts is determined by what reaches their minds

The thought factory does the same.



[ocr errors]







The new circumstances will, sooner or later, force But the Industrial Workers of the World call a few men to base their ideas upon present-day working men to rise up from their faces, to cor facts, even though the men themselves may have out of the mists of a rotting past, to cast off gone through the “mind-fixing” mills owned and ghostly restraints. No more reverence for outwor operated by the capitalists. The artificial informa- beliefs, no more cringing before millionaires, : tion, the pretended facts, which the thought factory more fleeing from mirages. Capitalism and its pac supplies, will be rejected by these few, and their sack of animated corpses, its gibbets and jails a: minds will not be moulded by the fear that distorts everything into grotesque and untruthful shapes.

judges and preachers, its rubbish of ancient more If a man moves alone to menace capitalism, the

ity, and its dungeon filth, will no more restrain ti police and the juries, its attendant vultures, will tear might of labor in mass than the mists of night w out his liver.

stand against the noon-day sun.

Go East, Young Man, and

Grow Up With Big Industry!



[ocr errors]

HE advice of Horace Greeley, “Go

Big Industry in the East west, young man, and grow up with Behold the East! The home of Wa

the country," will now stand a reversal, Street and the trusts! The land of big ir if it has not already been reversed for some dustrialism par excellence! Try your i: time past.

dustrial union teeth on that; and, if you ca With the disappearance of the frontier, bite into that granite—to adapt to domesti the westward march has ended.

As a

conditions a metaphorical phrase now cup result, we see this westward migration re- rent in Germany—you can bite into any coiling on itself. We see the young men the problems of giant capitalism. And and young women of the west and midwest you cannot, the sooner you get a new set going east “to make their fortunes” and to teeth—which means, a more effectia grow up with giant industrialism there. method of putting theoretical industria The movement to drive the farmers off the unionism into operation—the better. farms into the big cities will give eastward Look at New England, with its gia: tendencies still greater impetus in the near

woolen trust and its cotton mill corpora future.

tions! Or take the textile industry as It is well to call attention to these new whole—the silk industry, for instance, tendencies in order that the friends of in- Connecticut, New Jersey, New York al dustrial unionism may appreciate their full Pennsylvania--there's a field that indu: significance and act accordingly. There trial unionism must subdue, if it would w is a superstition afloat to the effect that the Or look at the giant electrical manufactu West is the embodiment of everything ing development of the East. The Gener progressive and ideal in industrial tendency. Electric Company, let us say, with its cha The fact of the matter is that, in the de- of plants at Lynn, Mass., Schenectady, velopment of the continent from coast to Y.; Harrison, N. J.; Erie, Pa.; Fort Wayn coast the East long ago passed the stage Ind. Or consider the Westinghouse plar now characteristic of the West. Chicago,

at Pittsburgh, Pa.; Cleveland, O., and oth

points. And don't overlook the Weste for instance, now wants a subway, in emu

Electric Co., of New York City and Chicag! lation of the progressiveness of New York

Here are corporations literally employin City. In other words, the West, instead of industrial armies—tens of thousands of e. being in the forefront of industrial develop- ployees, mostly unorganized or disorga ment, lags somewhat behind it.


[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »