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INDUSTRIAL PIONEER

But as conditions are today, the container is going to make a lot more tramps, for the workers are not ready to handle the new invention. Were their organizations effected, they could derive some profit, some gain, from a labor-saving device like the container. Under present conditions, however, the container is going to bring greater dividends to railroad stockholders and keener competition for their jobs to many railroaders who will be lucky enough not to be laid off when forces are cut.

You see, the rail bosses and their stockholders have an efficient organization. It is based upon the nature of the industry and binds them together for profitable action. But the workers in that industry -what contrast! The man with the brass buttons and the stripes on the sleeves of his Prince Albert

coat, who looks like a Swiss admiral, has nothing but contempt for the “dead heads" of the lower ratings. Most of the railroaders' make it a point to cringe before the man higher up, and to lord it over the “poor stiff” below them. That is the spirit of craft unionism, fighting each other, hating each other, misunderstanding each others' motives, and failing to realize that all are parts of one single process that ceases to function as soon as one of its cogs ceases to work.

And when a new invention like the container comes along they are unable, in their divided condition, to exert that'economic resistance for control and protection which unity and the power of a social purpose alone can give them.

Will they ever learn?

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ONLOOKER TO STRIKER-BY ALL MEANS DO NOT USE FORCE.

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T

HE word "graft" is one of the most used in the dictionary of the American language. Like that

of all words in frequent use, its meaning seems to be somewhat hazy. Workers may be heard talking about their work as "hard graft," while a fellow worker is said to be making an easy living through a “soft graft.” It is evident that, in such cases, the word is merely synonymous of work or labor and no derogatory meaning is conveyed by its use. Such a use is, of course, unwarranted for there is a general consensus of opinion that by the word graft is meant some form of corrupt gain.

A new and greater difficulty arises when an attempt is made to give a correct definition of the word graft. Like most colloquial forms of speech, the word seems to baffle any attempt to establish its correct meaning.

Even law courts called upon to fix the exact meaning of the word, as the basis for the criminal intention involved in libel suits, do not seem to have been able to fix a definite meaning to the term.

A radical daily, in a city of the Middle West, was sentenced for libel because it had talked about a certain act of a city clerk as graft. That particular clerk had incurred certain additional expenses for extra clerk hire without legal authority. The court held that, since he had not personally profited by the unlawful act, there was no graft.

In a monograph on corruption in American politics and life, Professor Robert C. Brooks of the University of Cincinnati, gives the following definition: "The intentional misperformance or neglect of a recognized duty or unwarranted exercise of power, with the motive of gaining some advantage more directly personal."

The Century Dictionary says that graft is a gift or gratuity bestowed for the purpose of influencing the action or conduct of the receiver; especially money or any valuable consideration given or promised for the betrayal of a trust or the corrupt performance of an allotted duty, as to a fiduciary agent, a judge, a legislator or other public officer, a witness, a voter, etc.

The main shortcomirg of all those definitions is their failure to assign a plausible motive to corruption and to show the connection between such a motive and the guilty or anti-social act itself.

A few years ago, one of the Hearst publications asked several hundred high school students for the same definition and, although more than five hundred answers were received, not a single one could be said to equal in precision the two definitions quoted above.

Graft is the result of a mental attitude in the individual towards the social world. Given society and the individual, it does not take the latter much cogitation to ascertain to what extent the influences of society promote or decrease his chances of survival. His attitude towards those social influences which he deems contrary to his will and wishes can be twofold, he can fight or stand in with them.

For various reasons he may shun the first course. The power of the hostile social institutions may seem to him too vast for the forces which he could bring to bear against them either alone or in conjunction with others in voluntary groups. Also he may doubt the possibility of creating such a group.

In both cases there is only one alternative left, he must stand in with the disapproved condition. To "stand in" means not only to become part and parcel MAY, 1923

of the thing he disapproves of: To stand in means to act on similar lines, to mold his mentality according to the compulsory inhibitions emanating from that source, in a word, to imitate them whenever an occasion to do so presents itself.

For that reason graft is localized among those elements of the social complex who accept unreservedly the principles and the precepts of the existing economic order. The industrial proletariat, neither as a whole, nor any member thereof, has ever been accused of graft, not because they have no access to any material basis or starting point for such an attitude but because they are in opposition to the system. The reflex action of the influence of society upon them is a determination to fight that particular type of society and a consciousness that the means and the methods to make such a fight a success are at hand.

Graft is an imitation on a smaller scale of the fundamental dynamics of our social system by those who believe in that system and it owes its existence to the unavoidable relation between belief and imitation. Social causes are of two kinds, the logical and the non-logical. Logical causes operate whenever an individual, starting from his disapproval of an existing institution, prefers an innovation to existing conditions because he thinks it will be more useful to him than the status quo. The nonlogical cause results from a tactical attitude which spurs him on to seek his own safety in an attitude of temporization with adverse conditions.

The nonlogical admission of an adverse condition is a belief in contra-distinction to knowledge. The thing which is imitated is always the embodiment of a certain amount of belief and desire.

The central fact of American society is the institution of private property, in its application to the motor-driven and machinized tools of production as rigorously and strictly as it was once applied to the individual tools from whose nature and form the institution of private property itself draws its origin.

In fact, there is nothing to justify such a survival. Every material condition of industrial production is an argument against it.

The dividends of the capitalist are neither the reward of his thrift, nor the wages of his abstinence, nor the salary of his superintendence. They are a ransom imposed upon society with the consent of society itself or at least the ruling majority thereof. Those who are supposed to pay the ransom may refuse or they may stand in.

To stand in is a tenet of the poker morality. It means to imitate what you cannot prevent. It leads to this result which is the quintessence of graft, that every share of material power, whatever its origin, in the possession of a private individual, becomes the foundation by imitation of a system of extortion which is only limited by the material scope of the starting point.

To that mental process all forms of graft can be traced and reciprocally around every form of authority there arises an illicit collection of a tribute, an imitation of the art of getting something for nothing.

The vested interests begin generally by imitating themselves. If, from the vantage point of their status as employers, they are allowed to appropriate the surplus-value created by labor in production, why stop there, why not collect labor's wages themselves or force labor to return its wages to the employer by compelling labor to purchase from its employer all the commodities necessary to life. There are thousands of instances of the realization of that program on a partial scale but there are also instances of the complete materialization of such a scheme in the commurities built up by the employers themselves around their works. The most propitious conditions for such a procedure arise in the extractive industries where towns are improvised upon a site owned by the company. Such towns are generally called "one-man” towns. The employing concern owns the townsite, the store, the school, the saloon, the church and sometimes the house of prostitution. It is customary for the workers in such towns to complain that every time they earn a dollar in wages, the company manages to get ninety-nine cents back out of it. Local self-government, that greatest achievement of the Anglo-Saxon race, is a dead letter in such communities and the right to strike completely vanishes when an employer, acting in his capacity of landlord, can forthwith expel the striker from his residence and prosecute him as a trespasser for loitering in the street with his furniture and his family, after he has been dispossessed, the case to be tried before a company owned judge.

The rights which the law grants to the head of a family become the starting point of parental graft. Numerous families are generally an indication of parental parasitism. In the textile industry, wherever child labor prevails, the father does not work himself but prefers to live off his offspring. The fact that his children are human beings is overlooked just as much as the obligations which his fatherhood imposes upon him. During the discussion of the child labor law, Congressman Keating received a letter from the father of a large family warning him not to vote for the law because that particular parent had a “force of six just coming of age.” Had the man asked for tariff protection for a litter of pigs, he could not have worded his letter differently.

Every public servant to whom devolves a certain amount of initiative, in the course of the performance of the duties of his office, uses the latitude given him as the starting point of an abuse of his functions for private gain and at the expense of the community at large.

Graft always starts in connection with the particular domain in which the grafter exercises his legitimate authority. The man who is appointed

INDUSTRIAL PIONEER

by law to pass upon the validity of a bond gives undue preference to a bonding company in which he is interested. The man to whom has been delegated the purchase of a certain commodity, either accepts an illicit commission which the giver recoups a dozen times by substituting a lower value which the bribetaker deliberately overlooks, or becomes himself a manufacturer of that commodity.

The police sells the right to violate the law. Under the pressure of the middle class and the female half of the electorate, the U. S. has gone much too far in attempting to suppress by police power things that are simply vicious, as distinguished from felonies or crimes. The policeman who has once crossed the line of bribery because he personally disapproves of the unjustified or unenforceable by-law that prohibits petty gambling, soon learns to extend to the whole fabric of the laws the particular attitude that he has assumed in the matter of gambling. To this mentality of the police is due the “stool pigeon system” in vogue in all large cities and under which a compromise is reached between the police and the criminal classes. When such a condition remains in existence, the police ceases to fulfill its repressive or preventive mission.

Officers of the prohibition enforcement squad are found to be in collusion with bootleggers large and small.

Robberies from railroad cars are mainly committed by railroad employees. The vast majority of all mail robberies are "inside jobs."

The men to whom society, under a system of representative government, has delegated the framing of the laws, for the city and the state, fail to legislate for the social weal and sell their power to the vested interests. The corruption of legislation is due just as much to the desire of the lawmaker to be bought as it is to the advantage of the capitalist in buying him.

While the juries are crowds in their decisions, their members remain individuals in their personal behavior. The mercenary juror is a product of imitation. He is one of the series of variegated moral by-products produced by the incidence of the law of imitation upon existing social conditions. Some individuals have no sooner been passed for jury duty that they offer their vote for sale. An option on a juror is a current expression in general use in and around all halls of justice and it is practically impossible to state from which side of the case the initiative for the subornation of the juror originated. Options on jurors are offered by jurors or their agents quite as frequently as they are solicited by the principals in a case.

What is true of the juror is, to a large extent, true of the voter. For every man who sells his vote outright, how many dyed in the wool partisans of the two leading parties are there who, while they would not vote for the other ticket under any con

sideration, nevertheless fail to vote if they are not given a compensation for doing so?

Graft is not restricted to those who belong to the caste of government officials. The voluntary social worker invested with a modicum of restrictive authority is just as bad as the policeman. Church members placed on boards of censorship for moving pictures have had their decisions influenced by bribes paid by producers and exhibitors.

Labor leaders have sold their authority to call a strike to employers who needed just such an occurrence to get the best of a competitor.

Private business is as replete with graft as government business. · Foremen to whom was delegated the right to hire men have been known to exact commissions equal to as much as one-third of the wages paid. Others who have the giving away of piece work have entered into regular partnerships with the favored workers. Some foremen have become, either directly or indirectly, hotel or boarding house keepers and, while every man placed under their orders was theoretically free to live and eat where he pleased, he did not remain very long on the payroll if he failed to live or board at the foreman's place, notwithstanding the fact that the same accommodations could 've had cheaper elsewhere.

Apartment house janitors refuse admission to the tradesmen who fail to pay them.

Owners of automobiles simulate robberies or scrap their cars themselves in order to defraud the insurance companies.

Fire insurance companies admit that fully onethird of all the fires in the U. S. are of a criminal nature and the setting of fires, in order that insurance may be collected, has developed into a fine art.

Even vantage points which are merely emotional in their origin are made the starting point of a complete system of graft.

The respect shown to women, as a social custom, is taken advantage of in the commercialization of womanliness. In this connection it becomes necessary to mention the female bootlegger. She sells regularly in excess of the market price. She is usually a pretty girl with good clothes who knows how to flirt. She sticks around dance halls and first proceeds to get men a little goofed on her. When the sucker is hooked, the girl breaks the news. He gives his order and specifies the time for delivery. When it comes to the matter of the price, even if he knows the regular price, he hates to appear a piker and he falls.

Even the marriage relation is not exempt from graft. Some women enter the marriage relation with the purposes of applying for a divorce with alimony at the first available opportunity. Others receive cash rebates from milliners and dressmakers when their husbands ray their bills. Doctors and dentists will perform fake operations or do useless work with the understanding that a part of the price paid by the husband will be returned to the wife.

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