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The Workers Council Vol. New York, April 15, 1921. No.
of government which had the appearance of a dem. ocracy, but which would prevent an possible inTABLE OF CONTENTS roads on property. He succeeded far etter than he Page could ever have realized.
The Task Before Us. 18 Today the United States faces the world as its Long Live The Honest Judge. 21 most powerful nation and at thesame time the Prom Holders, Unite. 21 most reactionary. Although possessing the weakest Th k Ma 22 Socmlist and most backward labor movement, it e professes the greatest fear of revolution. In no Rush Trade and an Economic Grid! country in the world, with the exception of the in America. 23 realm over which Hangman Horthy rules with the Getting Organized. 25 hel of the Entente Allies, have the holders of SoThe Plight of we American Fm, 26 cia ist and Communist opinions been so bitterly The Resurrectcd Second International. 27 persecuted as the United State?
Th a Cell S 18 29 The backwardness of the American labor move 7 55 ment is universally acknowledged. The reasons for 50mm Imemlfimfl. 32 its weakness are quite well known. For one thing, Manager Column. 32 the mass of immigrant labor has prevented the norPublished by the International Educational Association.
BENJAMIN Gnesssnno, Sec y Editorial Board WALTER Coon, Sec y Intern. Educ. Assn.
The Task Before Us France, with a heritage of four revolutions, in each of which the working class played a glorious and heroic part, stands out toda as the most reactiona force of all Europer tli e backbone of the organized White Terror, America likewise has a revolutionary past. The American Revolution, engineered Committees of Correspondence working in secret, ad for its chief motive, the removal of British restrictions on colonial trade. The revolution was carried throu successfull by an armed dictatorship, which rut lessly crus ed out all position. Those who opposed the revolution were eprived of the vote and of their property, and in man cases were killed the American rebels. Under e banner of the De aration of Independence, with its 18th century revolutionary ideals of Eqpality and Liberty the farmers were urged to overt row the yoke of England. Just as soon as the revolution succeeded, this same conscious minority, no lon er in need of a revolutionary Shibboleth with which to arouse the masses to fight their masters battles, threw overboard the notions of liberty and equality and under the leadership of Hamilton and Madison, fastened on the American people a constiution and a form of government calculated to forever prevent the American people from doing to the property of the ruling classes what they had just done to the property of the English.
In the words of James Madison, the father of the Constitution, it was necessary to create a form mal growth of the labor movement and the development of that class solidarity which is met with in England, Italy, or France. The capitalist class has again and again been able to use the alien work»
er as a means of dividing the ranks of labor. As native labor was displaced by the immigrant opposition to foreigners was quick to develop. ince radical ideas were in many cases brought to America by German and other immigrants antipathy towards the foreigner was extended a so to his ideas, so that it was often a sufiicient answer to the theories advanced by Socialism to prove that it was a foreign importation and therefore condemned.
Then again, one tenth of the opulation of the United States is colored. In the outh they are re garded as the legitimate prey for the whites to do with as they please. Used at first for the purpose of maintaining the supremacy of the Republican Party, the Negroes have in addition been used to revent the whites from acquiring an intelligent interest in social and industrial matters, by the continual keeping alive of the race question.
What has contributed very materially to the backwardness of the movement and its lack of understanding of the workings of the capitalist system.
is the extent of the continental areas of the United States. The wide ex anse of Russia has helped to save the revolution rom succumbing to the attacks of the capitalist world. In a count like Italy or England it would have been force to capitulate long ago. The wide expanse of the American continent however, has contributed powerfully in keep ing the labor movement sta nant.
The West has constant served to drain the boldest irits in the ranks of, the industrial workers of the gash To those who were dissatisfied with the drab monotonous life of a slave in a New England mill, the West served as a haven of refuge.
Those who lacked initiative and imagination stayed behind. From these the masters have little to fear.
In this manner the West with the opportunities e spirit of which it opened up, served to generate APRIL 15, 1921.
THE WORKERS COUNCIL 19 self reliance and independence, so characteristic of the mental attitude many Americans. With the completion of the trans continental railroads and the conse uent widening of the market, and the growth capitalism, there were countless opportunities for individual successes. There developed a widespread notion that success comes to those who deserve it, to those who possess ability and who strive conscientiously, and only the slothful and lazy complain of their misfortune. This was daily an hourly impressed upon the American worker.
Those who were the loudest in preaching it, were the very ones who were using the government to protect their interests by the passage of tarifl bills, or were intent upon getting congressional aid in acquiring huge grants of public lands, or were busily engaged in securing lucrative franchise rights at the expense of the people. It was useful to impress upon the people the notion that if they were exploited, if. they worked hard for less than a bare existence wage, they had themselves to blame, for were they (possessed of ability, ingenuity, and thrift, they woul also be members of the possessing class.
There were always just enough examples to make this treacherous doctrine seem a reality. The workers consequently, instead of turning to their fellow workers to seek a we out, instead of reaching out to their class, instea of realizing the strength of their organized power, and learning to use it as a means of destroying a system which kept them in wage slavery, turned to themselves, relying upon their individual ability to raise themselves above the level of the wage worker. They refused to accept their economic status as more than a temporary condition.
The schools and colleges, the churches, the press and the magazines have constantly emphasized the same notion. In addition they have impressed upon the American people the democratic nature of our form of government, with its political liberty and equality; the possibility of changing our form of government through the ballot any time the people wanted to; that in America there are no classes, etc. No mention was made of the fact that the framers of the Constitution never intended to create a democracy; that the mere formal political equality which had developed was almost worthless as a protection to the workers; that political rights without economic power behind them conferred no power at all.
The average American carries around with him the illusions which the ruling class has impressed upon him through the various agencies which shape men ideas. And so we have developed what is usually referred to as the American psychology, wléicl iflmeans fundamentally, opposition to things to lo. 3 The of organized in the 80 s, decided to hold aloof from any efforts to supplant capitalism either through cooperation greenbackism, Socialism pnAnai chism. It accepted capitalism and the existing prejudices and notions of the people. Its ob ect was the enlargin of the bargaining power of the workers. It base its form of organization on the existing skilled crafts with craft autonomy and a loose form of national organization to give freer play to the prejudices of the existing national craft unions against a centralized form of organization.
In 1921, in spite of the many industrial changes which have taken place since the of was organized, in spite of the fact that the craft no longer is as important as it formerly was; in spite of the growing tendency of modern industry to reduce the ski ed to the level of the unskilled and.
to wipe out craft lines, the F, of in the main maintains the old, outworn form of organization.
In spite of the ever growing concentration in industry and finance, in spite of the increasing concentration of ownership and control, the of resists every attempt of reorganization along industrial lines, It prefers to keep the workers divided into 110 independent little armies. It separates the workers in one industry into as many as 20 or more different craft organizations. Intent on preserving advantages already gained, the of far from attempting to organize the workers, has erected numerous bars against the admission of the unskilled, the women and the colored workers.
In spite of the adual and steady passmg of the possibility of rising out of the ranks of the working class and the hardening of class lines, the old psychology developed in the days of free Western land still dominates the F, of and large masses of the American people. of officials join with the leaders of Capitalism in annual love feasts at meetings of the Civic Federation.
The ofl icials of the Miners recall a strike order because in the words of Lewis We cannot fight our government. Johnston the erstwhile Socialist expells members of the Machinists who belong to the O, Farrington of the Miners does the same to members of the and Max Hayes keeps a watchful eye over erring brothers caught reading literature. The of will allow no assault to be made on the sacred illusions of the American people. It will fight to the last ditch to uphold the notion that this is a representative government; that Capital and labor are brothers, even though brother capital does occasionally misbehave as at Ludlow or Calumet. Alone among the Labor organizations of the World it is opposed to Socialism, finding even the yellow Amsterdam International too Red. 3 On the political field after many abortive beginnings, there finally developed the with its policy of opposition to the of L, Many short lived Labor parties and radical farmers parties With more or less fantastic programs of reform had appeared on the scene in the meantime, At the beginning of the 20th century,. the elements in revolt against the organized the American Socialist Party on a program of Marxian Socialism. Instead of open opposition to the of it lanned to bore from within and capture it for ocialism. Its literature and its propaganda was dominated rather by the spirit of social justice and the program of government ownership than a distinct and frank recognition of the theory of the class struggle and relentless war against the capitalist system. It failed to train its membership in a proper and intelligent understand