APRIL 15, 1921.
THE WORKERS COUNCIL 19 The Workers Council No.
New York, April 15, 1921.
Page 18 21 21 23 25 26 29 of government which had the appearance of a democracy, but which would prevent any possible inTABLE OF CONTENTS roads on property. He succeeded far better than he could ever have realized.
The Task Before Us Today the United States faces the world as it Long Live The Honest Judge most powerful nation and at the same time the Property Holders, Unite!
most reactionary. Although possessing the weakest Socialist and most backward labor movement, it 0, The Wicked Marx!
22 professes the greatest fear of revolution. In no Russian Trade and the Economic Crisis country in the world, with the exception of the in America realm over which Hangman Horthy rules with the Getting Organized help of the Entente Allies, have the holders of SoThe Plight of the American Farmer cialist and Communist opinions been so bitterly The Resurrected Second International 27 persecuted as in the United States.
The backwardness of the American labor moveThe Commune: Half a century of Struggle ment is universally acknowledged. The reasons for Communist International 32 its weakness are quite well known. For one thing, Manager Column 32 the mass of immigrant labor has prevented the normal growth of the labor movement and the development of that class solidarity which is met with in Published by the International Educational Association.
England, Italy, or France. The capitalist class BENJAMIN GLASSBERG, Sec y Editorial Board has again and again been able to use the alien workWALTER Cook, Sec y Intern. Educ. Assn. 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. Since radical ideas were in many cases brought to America The Task Before Us by German and other immigrants, antipathy, towards the foreigner was extended also to his ideas, so that it was often a sufficient answer to the theories France, with a heritage of four revolutions, in advanced by Socialism to prove that it was a foreach of which the working class played a glorious eign importation and therefore condemned.
and heroic part, stands out today as the most reacThen again, one tenth of the population of the tionary force of all Europe. the backbone of the United States is colored. In the South they are reorganized White Terror.
garded as the legitimate prey for the whites to do America likewise has a revolutionary past. The with as they please. Used at first for the purpose American Revolution, engineered by Committees of of maintaining the supremacy of the Republican Correspondence working in secret, had for its chief Party, the Negroes have in addition been used to motive, the removal of British restrictions on col prevent the whites from acquiring an intelligent onial trade. The revolution was carried through interest in social and industrial matters, by the consuccessfully by an armed dictatorship, which ruth tinual keeping alive of the race question.
lessly crushed out all opposition. Those who opposed What has contributed very materially to the backthe revolution were deprived of the vote and of wardness of the movement and its lack of undertheir property, and in many cases were killed by the standing of the workings of the capitalist system, American rebels. Under the banner of the Declara is the extent of the continental areas of the United tion of Independence, with its 18th century revolu States. The wide expanse of Russia has helped to tionary ideals of Equality and Liberty, the farmers save the revolution from succumbing to the attacks were urged to overthrow the yoke of England. Just of the capitalist world. In a country like Italy, or as soon as the revolution succeeded, this same con England it would have been forced to capitulate scious minority, no longer in need of a revolution long ago. The wide expanse of the American conary shibboleth with which to arouse the masses to tinent however, has contributed powerfully in keepfight their masters battles, threw overboard the ing the labor movement stagnant.
notions of liberty and equality and under the leader The West has constantly served to drain the ship of Hamilton and Madison, fastened on the boldest spirits in the ranks of the industrial workers American people a constiution and a form of gov of the East. To those who were dissatisfied with ernment calculated to forever prevent the American the drab monotonous life of a slave in a New people from doing to the property of the ruling England mill, the West served as a haven of refuge.
classes what they had just done to the property of Those who lacked initiative and imagination stayed the English.
behind. From these the masters have little to fear.
In the words of James Madison, the father of In this manner the West with the opportunities the Constitution, it was necessary to create a form which it opened up, served to generate the spirit of self reliance and independence, so characteristic of a loose form of national organization to give freer the mental attitude of many Americans. With the play to the prejudices of the existing national craft completion of the trans continental railroads and unions against a centralized form of organization.
the consequent widening of the market, and the In 1921, in spite of the many industrial changes growth of capitalism, there were countless oppor which have taken place since the of was tunities for individual successes. There developed a organized, in spite of the fact that the craft no widespread notion that success comes to those who longer is as important as it formerly was; in spite deserve it, to those who possess ability and who of the growing tendency of modern industry to strive conscientiously, and only the slothful and reduce the skilled to the level of the unskilled and lazy complain of their misfortune. This was daily to wipe out craft lines, the of in the main and hourly impressed upon the American worker. maintains the old, outworn form of organization.
Those who were the loudest in preaching it, were In spite of the ever growing concentration in industhe very ones who were using the government to try and finance, in spite of the increasing concentraprotect their interests by the passage of tariff bills, tion of ownership and control, the of resists or were intent upon getting congressional aid in every attempt of reorganization along industrial acquiring huge grants of public lands, or were busi lines. It prefers to keep the workers divided into 110 ly engaged in securing lucrative franchise rights independent little armies. It separates the workers at the expense of the people. It was useful to im in one industry into as many as 20 or more different press upon the people the notion that if they were craft organizations. Intent on preserving advantages exploited, if they worked hard for less than a bare already gained, the of far from attempting existence wage, they had themselves to blame, for to organize the workers, has erected numerous bars were they possessed of ability, ingenuity, and thrift, against the admission of the unskilled, the women they would also be members of the possessing class. and the colored workers.
There were always just enough examples to make In spite of the gradual and steady passing of this treacherous doctrine seem a reality. The work the possibility of rising out of the ranks of the ers consequently, instead of turning to their fel working class and the hardening of class lines, low workers to seek a way out, instead of reaching the old psychology developed in the days of free out to their class, instead of realizing the strength Western land still dominates the of and of their organized power, and learning to use it large masses of the American people. of as a means of destroying a system which kept them officials join with the leaders of Capitalism in annuin wage slavery, turned to themselves, relying upon al love feasts at meetings of the Civic Federation.
their individual ability to raise themselves above The officials of the Miners recall a strike order the level of the wage worker. They refused to accept because in the words of Lewis We cannot fight our their economic status as more than a temporary government. Johnston the erstwhile Socialist excondition.
pells members of the Machinists who belong to the The schools and colleges, the churches, the press Farrington of the Miners does the same to and the magazines have constantly emphasized the members of the and Max Hayes keeps a same notion. In addition they have impressed upon watchful eye over erring brothers caught reading the American people the democratic nature of our literature. The of will allow no form of government, with its political liberty and assault to be made on the sacred illusions of the equality; the possibility of changing our form of American people. It will fight to the last ditch to government through the ballot any time the people uphold the notion that this is a representative govwanted to; that in America there are no classes, ernment; that Capital and labor are brothers, even etc. No mention was made of the fact that the though brother capital does occasionally misbehave framers of the Constitution never intended to create as at Ludlow or Calumet. Alone among the Labor a democracy; that the mere formal political equal organizations of the World it is opposed to Sociality which had developed was almost worthless as ism, finding even the yellow Amsterdam Internaa protection to the workers; that political rights tional too Red.
without economic power behind them conferred no On the political field after many abortive beThe average American carries around with him ginnings, there finally developed the. with the illusions which the ruling class has impressed its policy of opposition to the of Many short upon him through the various agencies which shape lived Labor parties and radical farmers parties with men ideas. And so we have developed what is more or less fantastic programs of reform had apusually referred to as the American psychology, peared on the scene in the meantime.
which means fundamentally, opposition to things At the beginning of the 20th century, the eleradical.
ments in revolt against the organized the American Socialist Party on a program of Marxian Socialism. Instead of open opposition to the The of organized in the 80 s, decided to of it planned to bore from within and hold aloof from any efforts to supplant capitalism capture it for Socialism. Its literature and its proeither through cooperation, greenbackism, Socialism paganda was dominated rather by the spirit of or Anarchism. It accepted capitalism and the ex social justice and the program government ownisting prejudices and notions of the people. Its ob ership than a distinct and frank recognition of the ject was the enlarging of the bargaining power of theory of the class struggle and relentless war the workers. It based its form of organization on against the capitalist system. It failed to train its the existing skilled crafts with craft autonomy and membership in a proper and intelligent understandpower at all.