Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Thirty years cost of armed peace, 1881-1911 in millions of dollars was:

[ocr errors]

Armies and

Increase of
COUNTRIES

interest charges

Total navies

due to debt Austria-Hungary

2,094.5 1,548.6 3,643.1 France

6,035.6

2,272.5 8,308.1 Germany

5,606.9

474.7

6,081.6 Italy

2,445.5

571.4

3,016.9 Russia

5,658.4

1,732.7 7,391.1 Totals

21,840.9 6,599.9 | 28,440.8 In 1910 nine military nations, including the United States, devoted on the average 28.9 per cent of their entire receipts to: military, purposes, the average per capita expenditure being 3.47 dollars or about 18 dollars per family of five. The average cost per man in the United States Army is the largest. The support of one fighting man costs this country 1,314 dollars per annum, while to Great Britain it costs only 378 dollars, to Germany 306, to France 291, to Spain 282, to Austria-Hungary 278, to Italy 273, to Russia 232 and to Japan 209 dollars.

A United States soldier, then, who produces absolutely nothing, consumes more produce than the combined average annual wages of two American laborers; the soldier costs 1,314 dollars while the average worker gets no more than 600 dollars per year.

Militarism and National Wealth. The National debts are being increased, due to militarism. The actual and per capita national debt in 1914 prior to the present war in the six militarist countries of Europe was as follows:

Açtual debts in

Per capita 1914.

debt. France

$4,932,900,000

$124
Austria
3,790,800,000

75
Germany

4,860,000,000

72 Gt. Britain

3,192,448,463

68 Italy

2,536,920,000

61 Russia

4,592,700,000

36 $23,905,768,463

$65 Huge as these debts are they have been put to shame by the war debts contracted during the first fifteen months of this war.

The indebtedness jumped from 23 billion to 51 billion dollars within that short period.

The following table compiled by conservative economists indicates fairly well how the so-called "national wealth” is passing rapidly into the possession of bankers and munition makers through war loans:

COUNTRY

Gt. Britain
Germany
Russia
France
Austria-Hungary
Italy
Totals

Aggregate

Per

Estimated indebtedness capita

national wealth
December, 1915 debt

in 1914
$11,269,768,463 $242 $88,060,000,000
12,135,000,000 177 83,250,000,000
8,162,700,000

57 60,160,000,000
8,776,815,000 220 59,000,000,000
8,113,792,000 159 55,580,000,000

3,115,920,000 87 20,000,000,000 $51,563,995,463 | $134 | $378,050,000,000

Per capita wealth in 1914 $1,901 1,217

422 1,491 1,089

561 $1,118

Roughly speaking, after the first fifteen months of warfare one-seventh of the combined national wealth of the six belligerent countries had passed into the possession of international bankers and patriotic munition makers. If we recall that in almost every capitalist country one-tenth of the people control over fifty per cent of the national wealth, we shall be forced to admit that the fighting millions already have nothing to fight for. They possessed but little before the war and they are losing everything during the war, including their labor power, their health, their very lives.

A very conservative estimate of the New York Times Annalist holds that in 1917 the interest alone on the national debts of France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Great Britain will be $2,865,000,000 as against $746,180,000 in the last year of peace, that is to say it will be four times as large.

Increasing Cost of Living. Cost of food and clothing is rising even during normal times of capitalist exploitation. During war time prices

In England whose powerful merchant marine has not been crippled by the war at all, the price levels for cereals and meats was 165 in December, 1915, as compared with 119 at the end of January, 1914, if the 1901-1905 average be taken as 100.

In Russia, despite the complete stoppage of her food exports during the war, prices for food have risen from 100 to 200 per cent, prices for fuel have trebled and quadrupled.

In Germany there is such a scarcity of food, that meatless, fatless, milkless days and other enforced fasts have become so “popular," that the government has recently ordained a two month abstinence from all meat.

soar.

Interruption of the Class Struggle. War has crippled both the economic and political action of the working class in its struggle against the employers. Freedom of press, freedom of assemblage, freedom of organization have been replaced by military dictatorship which is the dictatorship of the capitalist class over the working class. Every strike is declared a conspiracy, every act of protest against national exploiters is acclaimed high treason. Every step of the workers against their own oppressors at home is interpreted as the abetting of the enemy. And yet the working class of the enemy nation is in the same plight. In a word, the working class is forced by its rulers in every country to carry on self-extermination, while their oppressors are watching with delight the bleeding of their natural enemies—the workers.

War makes industrial life an endless chain of martyrdom and servitude. Compulsory military service is followed by compulsory industrial slavery. Military conscription by the government is aggravated by industrial conscription.

Bibliography. Frederic C. Howe, “Why War?”; Louis B. Boudin, "Socialism and the War”; George R. Kirkpatrick, “War, What For?"; H. N. Brailsford, “The War of Steel and Gold”; W. E. Walling, “Socialists and the War”; J. A. Hobson, "Imperialism.”

[ocr errors]

LABOR AND THE DEMOCRATS.

By WM. LEAVITT STODDARD. Probably the most favorable statement of the Democratic Party's record so far as labor is concerned is the platform adopted by the convention at St. Louis which re-nominated Woodrow Wilson. This platform has a good deal to say about labor, and I happen to know that the labor planks were written by a radical United States Senator who, 'I feel sure, believes that the Democratic Party has taken and will take important socialistic steps. The labor planks in the St. Louis platform were carefully calculated to attract Progressives and unattached revolutionaries to the support of the gentleman who now occupies the White House and who is, therefore, in an admirable position to advance the cause of the working people.

In the section of the platform entitled “Record of Achievement,” the boast is made that the Democratic Party has “lifted human labor from the category of commodities,” that it has secured to the workingman "the right to voluntary association for his protection and welfare," that the rights of the laborer have been protected against the unwarranted issuance of writs of injunction, and that the toiler has been guaranteed the right of trial by jury in cases of alleged contempt committed outside the court.

So much for performance. As to promise, the platform declares that the Federal Government should set the example to employers by providing a living wage, an eight-hour working day, with one day of rest in seven, safe and sanitary conditions of labor, compensation for accidents, retirement schemes, uniform standards wherever minors are employed, and provisions relative to the employment of women such "as should be accorded the mothers of the race. The platform declares faith in the Seamens' Act, commonly known as the La Follette Bill, and promises continuance of its enforcement. The platform favors the "speedy enactment” of an effective Federal child labor law, as well as the regulation of the shipment of convict-made goods. It recommends the creation of a Bureau of Labor Safety, as well as legislation “to prevent the maiming and killing of human beings.” It favors the extension of the field of usefulness of the Bureau of Mines, endorses the system of employment exchanges inaugurated during the Administration, and commends the Department of Labor for its record in settling strikes by personal advice and conciliating agents. Under the head of Public Health the platform favors the establishment by the government of tuberculosis sanitariums for needy patients. Another paragraph proposes a scheme of prison reform for the Federal prisoners.

These promises and alleged performances are worth examining in the light of the facts of the attitude of the Democratic Party toward labor, judging that attitude by the history of the last three years of Democratic control of the Federal government.

A Self-Convicted Party. There is no disputing the “Record of Achievement” as stated in the Democratic Platform. It is true that Congress passed and Wilson signed a law in which it was declared that labor was not a commodity, and it is also true that the same Congress, in a legislative provision still to be tested in the courts, allowed labor unions to exist. No one, furthermore, will dispute that other provisions enacted during the present Administration improved the situation with regard to injunctions and contempt of court. It is also true that labor, through the 'American Federation of Labor, had long demanded these reforms. But if this “Record of Achievement" which is set forth so painstakingly, is the best that can be said for the Democratic Party's friendship for labor, then that party stands self-convicted out of its own mouth.

The mere declaration by a law that labor is not a commodity has in no way made labor less of a commodity, nor made it easier for the toilers of this country to bargain better for the sale of their labor power with employers. At best this declaration is a sentimental victory for labor. It raises interesting questions which might furnish a subject for pleasant conversations in the library of the White House on cozy winter evenings, the warmth furnished by the White House furnaces which are stoked by a fireman receiving starvation wages, contrasting strikingly with the cold soup kitchens for the unemployed three or four blocks away on Pennsylvania Avenue. I seriously doubt if the average workingman would care to risk a vote on Wilson because of this achievement.

Concerning the success of the labor unions in having secured legislation from the Democrats which give them the right to live, much might be said. Without going into the details of the provision in question, it may be enough to say that the President himself has declared that the clause which on its face exempts labor from prosecution under the Sherman Anti-Trust Law, does not really exempt. I do not know if Mr. Wilson has stated this opinion publicly, but I heard him state it to a group of newspapermen, and I believe that there is a stenographic report of what was uttered on that occasion. It is my belief that the next time the Government desires to prosecute a labor union under the Sherman law it will do so and that it will have faith enough in the conservatism of the courts so that it will forget this proud achievement and brush it aside or leave it to be declared unconstitutional by some judge.

Nothing to Boast About. As to the anti-injunction and contempt of court legislation, there is nothing here worth boasting about. For years and years labor has been endeavoring to secure a repeal by law of a set of judicial decisions which have grown up in absolute defiance of what were always understood to be common rights of free men guaranteed in Anglo-Saxon countries since Magna Charta.

A word or two about some of the other items of performance mentioned in the course of the platform. The La Follette law has been in many important respects nullified by the administration which it has received at the hands of Mr. Wilson's Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Redfield. In precisely what way, and to what extent this nullification has taken place, Mr. Andrew Furuseth has more than once in recent weeks explained. At any rate, it was poor tactics for the St. Louis convention to promise to continue to enforce

« НазадПродовжити »