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of what they produce to keep them in working order, while a few capitalists become fabulously rich. "The dissolution of
the primitive union of the worker with his means of production," says a follower of De Leon, "compels the productive
power of the workers to assume a commodity status and flow
1 to the capitalist class."
Under the capitalist system of
production the division between the ruling class and the
ruled class is thus based upon the ownership of the means
Furthermore, it is often to the interests of the
employer to substitute machinery for men,
tion of industrial production has reached a stage in Amer
ica beyond anything realized in other countries.
illustration of this, between 1899 and 1900, a period of
tremendous growth in the meat-packing industry, the number
of workers increased by 25.8 per cent, horse-power used
increased 129.3 per cent, materials 75 per cent, and capital invested 97 per cent. Every new invention, every new discovery of natural forces, helped to enrich the propertied class, while human labor was, as a consequence, being
more and more displaced.
Machines took the jobs of men.
The superfluous workers had to live, and therefore had to
sell their labor-power for whatever they could get. Wages
Not only did the invention of machinery keep dump
ing unemployed skilled workers upon the country, but "the
1. Mervya Smith in Industrial Union News, Oct. 11, 1919. 2. Carleton H. Parker, "The Labor Policy of the American
Trusts, " Atlantic, Vol. 125, p. 230. (February, 1920)
pressure of the workers for ever higher wages and more toler
able conditions was in itself an inducement (to the capitalist)
to displace the workers by machines.
Repeated strikes and
labor troubles gave the most powerful impetus to the develop
ment of machinery, at the same time that they aided the pro
cess of eliminating puny capital from production and pushed on the development of combinations and trusts...? Telegraphs
and railroads made all of the unemployed easily accessible to
the employer. Finally, it became more and more easy for the
unskilled to take the places of the skilled.
of modern machinery and acute specialization obliterated old
mo such an extent has the machine elim
inated skill that the jons of those at work in one trade are
endangered by the unemployed of virtually all trades.
The net result is to place the workman on as absolute
with a machine as possible, and to organize the human
element out of consideration.
"Trade lines have been swal
lowed up in a common servitude of <ll workers to the machines
which they tend," said the summons to the convention of In
dustrial Unionists which met in Chicago in July, 1905.
worker, wholly separated from the land and the tools, with his skill of craftsmanship rendered useless, is sunk in the uniform mass of wage slaves."
Capitalist power, on the contrary, is being organ
ized and concentrated to an ever increasing degree.
trend of modern industry is toward the concentration of the
management of all industries into fewer and fewer hands.
1. Editcrial in Industrial Union News, November 29, 1919.