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The New York Communist Why Political Democracy Must Go By John Rood.
jority.
VII.
had got control of the state governments, by the that some check therefore was to be sought for TAVING in former articles traced the failure middle class debtors. The culminating insurrec against this tendency of our goveroment.
Alexander Hamilton, in urging a life term for Sen.
Socialists to gain control of the Government The situation is well described by Mr. Curtis, in atars, said that all communities divide themselves in America, it is now necessary to indicate how the his Constitutional History of the United States: into the few and the many. The first are the rich few great capitalists are able in the most ad. levelling, licentious spirit, says this old ro and well born, and the other the mass of the people venced political democracy of the world, to with actionary, a restless desire for change, and a dis who seldom judge or act rigtit. Gouverneur stand the pressure of all other classes, either alone position to throw down barriers of private rights, Morris, of New York, wanted to check the precipior combined in other words, just how political at length broke forth in conventions, which fire tancy, changeableness and excess of the represen.
democracy fails to assure a government by the ma voted themselves to be the people and then de tatives of the people, by the ability and virtue of clared their proceedings to be constitutional. At great and established property aristocracy, men When Karl Marx said that the modern capital that property ought to be common, because all had manency. Such an aristotratic body will keep ist state was nothing less than a machine for the aided in saving it from confiscation by the power down the turbulance of democracy. Gouverneur oppression of one class by another, and that not of England. Taxes were voted to be unnecessary Morris showed the capitalist viewpoint of the Copless so in a democratic republic than under a mon.
burdens the courts of justice to be intolerable vention, when he boldly stated, Life and liberty archy, he made a profound observation, the more remarkable since at that time the origin of politi revision of the state constitution was demanded, in property. An accurate view of the matter would, were generally stated to be of more value than grievances, and the legal profession a nuisance. cal democratic states was still surrounded with a romantic halo of libertarian phrases which still order to abolish the Senate, reform the representa nevertheless, prove that property was the main ob inspired the Forty Eighters.
tion of the people, and make all civil officers eligi: ject of society. ít property, then, was the ble by the people.
main object of government, certainly it ought to be Fortunately, thanks to the work of Beard, Mc. It was these revolts which furnished the imme one measure of the influence due to those who were Master, and others, the origins of the American Re diate incentive to the adoption of the Constitution. to be effected by the government. And finally, public are today available to all; and they demon. The work of preparing the country for the capital. Mr. Madison again: strate with utter clearness that the Government of ist coup etat had been carried on carefully and An increase of population will of necessity inthe United States was designed by its founders to tactfully for several years by Alexander Hamilton protect the rich against the poor, properly against and James Madison afterward President of the crease the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life and secretly sigh for a the necessities of life and liberty, and ihe monopol. United States. In calling the Constitutional Con.
istic minority against the majoriv.
more equal distribution of its blessings. These may vention of 1787, for instance, the leaders did not in time outnumber those who are placed above the Pre Revolutionary society in America was didare to suggest their real objects; the aim of the feelings of indigence. The poor may outnumber vided into three very sharply defined classes: the Convention, it was stated, was merely to revise the rich. According to the equal laws of suffrage, mene. merchants, landed proprietors and the great color arranged that the delegates should not be no agrarian attempts have yet been made in this slave holding planters in the South; the middle elected by the people, or even by directly represen.
class. of shop keepers and farmers and the color Congress which issued the Declaration of Inde lative bodies, as had been done in the case of the country, but symptoms of a levelling spirit, as we certain quarter Shays Rebellion. to give notice whites in the South, mechanics, indentured servants pendence; instead, they were either chosen by the of a future danger.
and apprentices all of which had no votes. Ex. legislatures, or, more often, appointed by the Gov. Madison further advised the Convention that in cept among the middle and lower classes, there was no discontent with the political institutions of the that property qualification for the franchise existed framing a system which they wished to last for they must not lose sight of the changes which British Empire; on the other hand, there was a in all the states, so that in no case was the lower, the ages would produce in the forms and distribuhealthy contempt for Democracy, often expressed, or working class, represented in the Convention among the well to do and educated.
tion of property: And when the Convention finally met, it did ite work in secret, behind closed doors, like the Peace The Convention did not. It finally framed a Lintil the acts of the British Government began Conference in Paris; and like the latter, in order to Constitution, which, while appearing tº preserve seriously to hamper trade in other words, prop prevent the public from knowing what was going popular government, in reality secured the rights erly the upper class in the American colonies was on, it even forced its members to promise not to not in any sense revolutionary; in fact, many of the talk to anyone outside. So that when the Constituforce of an interested and over bearing majority.
framers of the Constitution had been ag sinst the tion was finally completed, it was issued to the Revolution. In any sense, the Revolution, for the world in such a form that its real meaning, and the Liberals and parliamentary Socialists in this country are always pleading for the minority Colonial upper clase, was favored only insofar as forces which produced it, were absolutely unknown rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But the it promised to protect their material interests. Like to the colonists. minority which the Constitution guarantees is all Revolutions, however, it was precipitated and The majority of the signers of the Declaration of not the one they are talking about; it is the perma.
expressed by idealists, and carried through by the Independence were Revolutionary leaders, men nent capitalist minority, and it is guaranteed masses in this case, the middle class who saw representing the small property holders; while the against the will of the majority.
in it the opportunity to establish a government in majority of the framers of the Constitution were This is accomplished through the so called check their own interests.
These interests were exthe bankers, speculators in the land and money, pressed in the formula, Life, Liberty and the Purand balance system. by which the President is insuit of Happiness. which did not refer to slaves and the merchants. Many delegates to the Consti directly elected, the members of the House of Rep tuent Convention who had signed the Declaration resentatives are elected in one way, the Senate in and indentured servants at all, but to the vast ma of Independence refused to sign the Constitution, another, and finally, the most powerful body of jority of traders and farmers.
denouncing it as a conspiracy. among these was all, the Supreme Court, is no sected at all, but apThis was the element which wrote the Declara Benjamin Franklin.
pointed. These various bod. check each other tion of Independence, in the heat of the Revolution James Madison, afterward, President of the action, so that no popular majority can control the ary struggle, when, as in all Revolutions, the mass United States, who was chiefly responsible for the processes of legislation, except after a long and was dictating the slogans of the movement. Constitution which he described as having the tedious process. Today even this possibility is ro The eleven years of the confederation which fol. form and spirit of popular government while pre moved, by the fact that the collossal financial inlowed, however, proved that human society was venting majority rule. expressed in 1785 the terests absolutely own and control the government.
definitely embarked on the capitalist era, which theory of economic interpretation in politics. He It is fascinating to study the history of these was incompatible with those natural rights that wrote: times to discover, for instame, that most of the individualistic liberty so fondly embraced by the The most common and durable source of factions signers of the Constitution derived immediate per. small property owners, as best suiting their froe desonal wealth from its proclamation; that there was tribution of property. Those who hold and those who are velopment in a land of unequalled opportunity. without property have ever formed distinct interests in moa conspiracy among the upper class of the colonies, in case the Convention failed, to organize an insurThe middle class whose services in the Revolu.
fall under like discrimination. landed interest, ciety. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, rection to overthrow democracy by force of arms; tionary struggle had made them the dominant manufacturing interes, a mercantile interese, moneyed clase in society, were jealous of their freedom and interest, grow up of necessity in civilized nations and di thirty nine signed the document, many withdrew that out of the sixty odd delegates elected, only ir:dependence. Already the development of capital. vide them into different classes actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and infrom the Convention altogether, and an immense ism had begun to concentrale wealth in the hands of a few. Great corporations had already tied up islation, and involves the spint of party and faction in the anger shook the middle class when it discovered, terfering interents forms the principal task of modern leg too late, what the Constitution meant; that the immense tracts of land, and the banking interests in necessary and ordinary operations of the government. middle class had to threaten to refuse ratification the towns had a monopoly of capital; these condi. It will be seen by this that before the end of the before the first ten amendments, which constitute tions had made the petty bourgeoisie a debtor class. eighteenth century the American capitalist class had the Bill of Rights, were added the document; and The middle class therefore was in favor, as later discovered, and applied for its own advantage, what that the different state legislatures were persuaded periods, of cheap currency, and of the violability Karl Marx discovered more than sixty years later. to ratify the Constitution through the most shamo of contracts. small group of capitalists had se Listen once more to Madison, speaking before the cured control of the depreciated Congressional and Constitutional Convention, advocating that the vote going to the extent of bribery.
less corruption by the capitalist interests oven State obligations issued to pay for the Revolu be given to the propertied classes alone: The first act of the new Government established tion, and the middle class wished to wipe out this in future times great majority of the people by the Constitution, as was to be expected, was the debt. And just as the great capitalists were in will not only be without landed, bus any other sort funding the public debt that is to say, an favor of a strongly centralized government, which of property. These will either combine under the arrangement to pay the badly depreciated state and would guarantee their speculative investments and influence of their common situation; in which case, Congressional obligations at their face value. This mortgages, and protect this property with federal the rights of property and the public liberty will debt amounlod to more than 76, 000, 000. The troops and police, so the middle class feared a not be secured in their hands, or, which is more holders of the depreciated bonds and potesmost centralized government, whose actions it might not probable, they will become the tools of opulence of which they had purchased for a song were given be able to control as it controlled the separate state and ambition.
in exchange bonds of the new Government of the legislatures.
Elbridge Gerry declared that all the evils experi United States, which then proceeded to levy taxta Attempts at oligarchy or dictatorship in cach erce by the Confederation flowed from the excess upon the middle and working classes to pay the inseparate stale might be op! nocd, if all other moans of deniocracy. Edmund Randolph said, that the terest and principal. Thus at the very beginning failed, by a popular uprising. In fact, the eleven general object was to provide a cure for the evils of our Government, the litle clique of bankers and years of the Confederation saw many such insurroc. under which the United States labored; that, in speculators who framed the Constitution were tions. It is interesting to note here that these in tracing these evils to their origin, overy man had given a vas fortune, the payment of which reduced surrections were directed against the capitalists, who found it in the turbulence and follica of democracy. Continued on page 6)