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That the members knew when to act to their best for another and stronger assault on the master class advantage, has been demonstrated by crews striking for the liberation of our class-war prisoners. either when signing on or at the last minute be- The strike went over with a bang. Many ports fore departure of shps.
were tied up from 80 to 100 per cent—includThe Marine Strike a Success
ing the longshoremen. It the most exSeveral months ago these M. T. W. seamen began tensive spontaneous strike in the history of the in various ports to draw up demands for more of marine transport industry, for it came at the most the good things of life, realizing that the organiza- opportune time. The lakes were opening up, giving tion would soon be strong enough to make the employment to thousands of seamen up there; owing strike general on all American ships and on all for
to the improved industrial conditions thruout the eign ships hiring crews out of American ports.
United States plenty of work could be found ashore Boston branch a few weeks ago started the ball at fairly good wages, which left fewer seamen on the rolling by tying up ships for more "dough” and beach hungry and willing to become scabs. The improved conditions of labor. This met with great
demand for carriers at the time was great, freight response and enthusiasm in other ports. New York, rates were high; the owners could not afford a prothe greatest port in the world, went out on the longed stoppage of their ships. As it was, the strike 25th of April, and communicated by wire their
cost them millions of dollars. These are the princiaction to the other branches. The response was
pal reasons why the shipowners came to terms so wonderful; by the 26th every port on the Atlantic,
soon, granting wage increases of from fifteen to the Gulf and the Pacific coasts had struck. The twenty per cent, and most of the other demands. general strike in the marine transport industry
Except the liberation of our class-war prisoners, but was on.
—we never forget! The first demand of the marine workers was the The prospects are highly encouraging that out of release of all political and class-war prisoners. With
this strike will come closer co-operation between the the marine and lumber workers striking, with
M. T. W. in the United States and the marine many thousands of workers out in other industries workers of foreign countries. In England and Gerthroughout the United States, this strike certainly many, and especially in Mexican and South Amerhas served as a forceful reminder to the owners
ican ports, a number of crews walked out. Howof industry what can be expected from the wob- ever, we cannot expect much for some time to come blies in no distant future. The bosses will eventu- because of the disorganized and demoralized state ally be forced to admit that it is too expensive
of the foreign marine workers. to continue keeping our fellow workers in prison.
Sentiment for O. B. U. Strong More of this spirit might hit them in their pocket- The sentiment for our organization—for the One books so hard that they will order their politicians Big Union—is growing with leaps and bounds, here to let our fellow workers out. That for the time and abroad, aboard ships and ashore. The hardest being the marine workers have gone back to work job confronting us is the lining up of the longshoremerely means that they are gathering their forces men, teamsters and truck drivers, whose outlook is
distorted by their craft unions, but we are confident of being able to accomplish even this.
The Marine Transport Workers' Industrial Union 510, of the I. W. W., is already the most popular and best liked union among the seamen all over the world, and is becoming more and more so from day to day. The reason is its superiority in every way; it is the most militant, the most inclusive and democratic of all marine organizations; It has a far-reaching and comprehensive program. It has given new hope
and inpiration to the marine work(NEWS plioto)
ers everywhere. The One Big Union I. W. W. STRIKE-A seamen's strike here was called yes- of all the workers is the only weap terday by I. W. W. leaders Abe Franquiz, W. Drennen,
on by the use of which the producLeonard Greene, W. Danton and James Walsh (1. to r.).
ers of wealth will be able to come This Picture Appeared in One of the Big New York Daily Papers into their own.
Mr. Kyne Joins the Head-Hitters
By JOHN NICHOLAS BEFFEL
'N California the popular sport among the leisure
class is to hit the head of the nearest I. W. W.
with any object that happens to be handy. Now and then the best citizens get together with tar and feathers or a rope, or with baseball bats, and hold a merry party. Again, they vary this diversion by invoking the magicians of the local county prosecutor's office, who with the presto-wand known as the criminal syndicalism law can transform any man who helped to build the roads into a poisonous rep tile with promptness and dispatch.
Baseball bats have been found exceedingly effective, especially among the smart set of Los Angeles, in battering the fingers of Wobblies who, having fled a sportsmen's party of superior numbers, are hanging by the hands from lofty window ledges of the I. W. W. Hall with a nice, soft pavement below on which to fall when their fingers give out under the hammering.
This genial sport in a multitude of forms has been in vogue in California these 14 years. The I. W. W. have been regarded as the poor relations of those who ride the roads in high-priced cars. They are convenient figures on which to blame any untoward happening, such as a forest fire set going by locomotive sparks; the collapse of a reviewing stand built by a contractor who is a good politician; or the poisoning of guests with soup from copper kettles at a banquet tendered to notables from England and Iowa.
Almost every newspaper editor in California is both a golf enthusiast and an ardent hunter of I. W. W. heads. And the Head-Hitters' Club membership is open to any writer who can wield a typewriter with a preponderance af accuracy in the direction of an Industrial Worker's ear.
Peter B. Kyne is a recent notable addition to the ranks of the Head-Hitters. He qualifies for membership in Hearst's Cosmopolitan Magazine in a marine short story entitled, “The Thunder God.” Thus a million onlookers watch while Mr. Kyne swings his bludgeon; and Mr. Hearst's native heath is saved once more from the "menace” which interferes so often with the comfortable enjoyment of wealth brought home by shackled oarsmen in one's galleys.
In Mr. Kyne's story there is to be a ship launching in San Francisco harbor. Something happens. The low pressure turbine gets jammed so the boat can't start. Valdemar Sigurdson, whom Old Man Hickman has raised from a pup, is now port captain, and he gets wrought up. He sets out to find the cur who did this thing.
He finds a sailor named "Frenchy" packing his things. From this point the story proceeds thus:
“ 'I'm going to search you,' said the Viking.
«« «You can't search me without a search warrant. I'll have the police on you,' the man screamed angrily.
“'You damned sea lawyer. Shut up.' The Viking cuffed the man with his open hand gently, as a mother bear cuffs her cubs. Then, holding Frenchy fast with his left arm and leg, he went through the man's pockets until he found a battered pocketbook.
' 'It ought to be in here,' he mused; and with a shove sent his prisoner reeling back into the sterncastle. 'Ah! It is. Here is his membership card in the I. W. W. showing his dues paid to date. Damned rotten French anarchist. Well, he'll never cripple another ship the rat!'
"Frenchy pulled an automatic pistol from his pocket.—But Valdemar did not stand aside.
“ 'No,' he said patiently, ‘you can't get away with this. Shoot and be damned to you. Even if you get me through the heart, I'll live long enough to get my hands on you; then I'll break your neck and you'll die lingeringly. You're an enemy of this world, you crazy swine, and I'm going to destroy you.'
"Frenchy fired one bullet, missing. The next was defective. Valdemar knocked the gun out of Frenchy's hand, and the man fell to the deck screaming.
“ 'Get up,' said Valdemar Sigurdson, 'and die like
There is much more of this chivalric action. And at the end:
“Old Man Hickman walked up to the moaning Frenchy and spurned him contemptuously in the ribs. 'Score one for capitalism,' he piped.”
The Cosmopolitan's editors liked that story so well that they asked Mr. Kyne to write a series along the same lines. But on completing that one Mr. Kyne was taken ill. So it seems that the HeadHitters' Club will have to struggle along without him for a while.
Nina Wilcox Putnam has been invited to become a member of the California club, in view of her chainshot hurling in a fiction story in the Saturday Evening Post—the chain-shot being aimed at Sacco and Vanzetti while they were on trial for murder committed by payroll bandits in Massachusetts. And Emerson Hough, who lately died, was a worthy eligible by reason of his book, "The Web," which celebrates the achievements of the illustrious American Protective League during the European unpleasant
"A Working Machine Must Not Play the Piano, Must Not Feel Happy, Must Not Do A Whole Lot of
“R. U. R.”
HE time will never come when scientific research will have evolved a method of manufac
turing human beings quicker and cheaper than is done by nature. Yet from the time when the primitive cave-dweller turned a stone into a tool, the human mind has been at work putting inert matter and the living forces of nature in the service of society. In the play "R. U. R."-Rossum's Universal Robots—which has created such a stir both in Europe and America, a scientist by the
of Rossum daringly conceives the idea of manufacturing artificial workers, human automatons, known as robots. This is but a figment of the human brain, a far-fetched fantasy, but the moral that it points out is of tremendous importance.
What could be more alluring to our present captains of industry than to obtain a formula whereby an army of standardized, model workers could be manufactured on a large scale, equipping them with only such physical organs and mental attributes as would make them useful working machines, devoid of everything that tends to hinder the making of profits? They would be creatures without ideals or souls, lacking even the slightest interest in themselves.
The play is the product of the intrepid mind of a young Czecho-Slovakian playwright, Karel Capek. He has succeeded in weaving a most lurid and, at the same time, ironical melodrama around the theme of the class struggle—the degradation of the presentJUNE, 19 2 3
day industrial worker into a veritable mechanical working machine which lives and moves and has its being with but one end in view—to make profits for the master class. With an uncanny insight into this profit-mad world, he produces a sociological fantasy full of old ideas in new attire: The supremacy of one class over another; the resentment felt by class-conscious slaves toward their masters; the subsequent revolt and destruction of “those who do not work but live off the labor of others.”
The action in the play takes place on an island where Rossum's Universal Robots are being manufactured on a large scale, at cost of one hundred and fifty dollars apiece. The impregnation of these robots takes place in the test-tubes in the factory laboratories. They are then put through various processes of manufacture; bones are supplied by the bone factory and nerves, brains, and all the necessary accessories, including a "high class human finish,” in their respective departments. A perfect “human" machine is produced to supply the world's industries with docile mechanical workers.
The factory heads are typical. They range from a general manager, who holds idealistic theories about liberating “mankind”—from the “drudgery" of labor by letting the robots do all the work, to a psychological experimenter who provides these working machines with pain nerves—without them they would wastefully break off their fingers and other members. Little thought is given to anything else but industrial efficiency and the satisfaction of an insatiable greed for profits. Their motto is: “The cheaper the labor power, the greater the output, and therefore the greater the profit."
The making of the robots goes on unhindered, until a young woman, a member of a "humanity league,” comes into their midst to remonstrate with the factory managers on the inhuman treatment of the robots. Her appeal, to provide these workers with more human feeling, with ideals, is met with amusing ridicule. They explain, that were the robots to have ideals, to have a will of their own, to distinguish happiness from misery, they would be too expensive; that is, a robot is a working machine, and happiness in a machine is not necessary. They are made for the specific purpose of producing dividends and profit. She is further informed by the manufacturers that these workers are sexless, but that the reason female robots are manufactured is because society is accustomed to the services of chambermaids, domestic servants, and other female "help.” And again, unlike other mortals, the robots do not die; they "just get used up."
To afford the play a convenient turning point, the playwright throws in a little romance. After a rapid-fire courtship, the young woman who came to liberate the robots becomes the wife of the general manager. However, she does not abandon her hope to humanize the robots. She conspires with the psychological experimenter to improve these
machine-like workers. As a result he produces a few hundred that are nearly human. In fact, the specimens of this new brand are in mind and body superior to “people”, and they are also provided with a certain amount of emotions and sentiments, which were absent in the other robots. As a consequence, they become conscious of their position in this manmade society and rebel. They form a nucleus for an international workers' organization. This they find a comparatively easy task, since they are all made alike- universal—which fact their makers the capitalists recognized as a mistake only too late. As one of the capitalists fittingly bewails: “Ours was a colossal achievement, but we are about to burst with our greatness.” The more optimistic of them plan to make “national robots" in the future: Negroes, Chinese, and of all other races and languages, in order to prevent international revolts in the future,
This, however, cannot be realized, because the formulae for making these workers have been destroyed. The fate of the manufacturers is now fully in the hands of the robots. These latter now seize all the industries, telegraph and radio stations; they man the army and navy; in short, they exchange places with the capitalist class of the world. They kill all the “people" on the face of the earth-by. "people” being undersiood the members of the ruling class.
It is interesting to follow the discourse and reasoning of the doomed manufacturers on Rossum's island. They are all barricaded within the home of the general manager. Doors and windows are bolted to keep out the enraged mob of workers, who have surrounded the building. One of the capitalists peers through the window at the relentless mob below. “One hundred thousand faces alike," he groans, “one hundred thousand expressions alike.”
The denunciation by the robots of the parasite class is profound, Radius, a robot with a superior intellect, and later one of the active revolutionists, is an outstanding character. He has had a “breakdown in his mechanism," as his makers put it. In other words, he has become class-conscious and proceeds thus to give his oppressors
a piece of his mind”: “I won't work for you. You are
not strong as the robots. You are not as skillful as the robots. The robots can do everything. You only give orders. You do nothing but talk. I don't want any master. I know everything for myself. We ourselves, the robots, want to be the masters."
The revolting slaves kill off all but one man, an architect whom they have seen working th his hands—the only man in the Rossum establishment they respect.
The play winds up with an epilogue much as any other play ends. After the revolution the "soulless" army of workers are in a predicament. They cannot reproduce themselves; neither can they manufacture any more robots because the formula is lost.