Vol. VI MARCH, 1911 No. 1
Volume 6 Issue 1
TO THE GENERATION KNOCKING
AT THE DOOR
By JOHN DAVIDSON.
Break-break it open; let the knocker rust;
Consider no "Shalt not," nor no man's "must";
And, being entered, promptly take the lead,
Setting aside tradition, custom, creed;
Nor watch the balance of the huckster's beam;
Declare your hardiest thought, your proudest dream;
Await no summons; laugh at all rebuff;
High hearts and you are destiny enough.
The mystery and the power enshrined in you
Are old as time and as the moment new;
And none but you can tell what part you play,
Nor can you tell until you make essay,
For this alone, this always, will succeed,
The miracle and magic of the deed.
Our Sixth Birthday
WITH this issue Mother Earth begins her sixth journey through life.
Five years! What an infinitesimal drop in the ocean of eternity; yet how terribly long a time when travelled on a hard, thorny road. With a world of ignorance and prejudice to battle against, a thousand obstacles to overcome, hosts of enemies to face, and with but few friends, MOTHER EARTH has withstood, for five years, the storm and stress of the firing line, and has wavered not.
More than once was she stabbed by the enemy, and hurt by the thrusts of the well-meaning; more than once was her body bruised, her flesh torn by conflicting forces; yet never has she fallen by the wayside, nor her ardor been subdued.
Now that Mother Earth begins her sixth journey, it behooves us to halt a moment and to ponder the question: Was the struggle and pain worth while? has the magazine justified the expectations that gave it life?
Not long ago a f friend wrote to us: Why don't you give up? Why waste your time and energy in a lost cause? Mother Earth has not reached the people you had hoped to reach, nor does the magazine satisfy even some of our own comrades, because-as they say-more reading matter than is contained in MOTHER EARTH can be had in the ordinary magazines, for ten cents.
Viewed from the dominant standpoint of success, our friend is right. In that sese Mother Earth has failed. Our circulation is still far from the fifty-thousand mark; our subscribers, too, do not represent the multitudes. Nor is our financial rating such that we need feel any anxiety lest a Wall Street panic break our bank. Again, Mother Earth has lost in averdupois; it began as a heavyweight of sixty-four pages, but is now reduced to the lightweight class.
But since when do Anarchists measure success by quantity? Are numbers, weight, or following the true criterion of success? Should not the latter consist, first of all, in adherence to the chosen purpose, no matter at what cost? Indeed, the only success of any value has been the failure of men and women who struggled, suffered, and bled for an ideal, rather than give up, or be silenced.
Mother EARTH is such a success. Without a party to back her, with little or no support from her own ranks, and consistently refusing to be gagged by a profitable advertising department, she has bravely weathered the strain of five years, stormy enough to have broken many a strong spirit. She has created an atmosphere for herself which few Anarchist publications in America have been able to equal. She has gathered around her a coterie of men and women who are among the best in the country, and, finally, she has acted as a leaven of thought in quarters least expected by those who are ready with advice, yet unable to help.
Many an editor of our better-class dailies has found in MOTHER EARTH a source of information and inspira- and though they would be loth to admit it, it is nevertheless true that they have used our magazine for copy on numerous occasions. That, among other things, may help to account for the decided change in the tone of the press towards Anarchism and Anarchists.
But for want of space many instances could be cited, showing how well and widely MOTHER EARTH is read by journalists and writers, and what is thought of her merits by those who value quality above quantity.
As to the original raison d'etre of MOTHER EARTH, it was, first of all, to create a medium for the free expres on of our ideas, a medium bold, defiant, and unafraid. That she has proved to the fullest, for neither friend nor foe has been able to gag her.
Secondly, MOTHER EARTH was to serve as a gathering point, as it were, for those, who, struggling to free themselves from the absurdities of the Old, had not yet reached firm footing Suspended between heaven and hell, they have found in MOTHER EARTH the anchor of life.
Thirdly, to infuse new blood into Anarchism, which-in America-had then been running at low ebb for quite some time.
All these purposes, it may be said impartially, the magazine has served faithfully and well.
We cannot claim for MOTHER EARTH hosts of followers, but she has made some friends whose steadfast devotion and generosity has accomplished greater results than would have been possible with a large income. Besides, our magazine would have long ere this been selfsupporting, were it not for the many other issues drawing upon its resources.
We have created an American Anarchist propaganda literature, which has consumed the largest part of the magazine's income; indeed, it is this, more than anything else, which has been such a drain on our funds.
On the whole, we feel that our fighter has more than justified its existence. True, MOTHER EARTH is far from perfect; but, after all, it is the striving for, rather than the attainment of, perfection which is the essence of all effort, of life itself.
The struggle is ever before us. With increased determination and greater enthusiasm MOTHER EARTH enters upon the sixth year, confident that her friends need no other assurance than that the magazine will continue on the great Open Road, with face ever turned toward the Dawn.
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
TWO intellectuals-American exchange Professors Munsterberg and Smith-recently fell upon each other regarding the question which of them had the better right to be invited to the annual exhibition of naked busts and shoulders at the Berlin court.
Professor Smith claimed priority because the Kaiser had conversed with him thirteen minutes longer than with his learned colleague. Smith asserted that His Majesty even deigned to grin at him once. But Professor Munsterberg angrily retorted that though it was true that the Kaiser had talked with him only a couple of minutes, the royal manner was so gracious as to entirely discount the thirteen minutes of Smith. The matter threatened to cause international complications, when it was finally settled by inviting both sycophants to the court ball.
A couple of country schoolmasters from Darkest Pomerania could not have demeaned themselves worse than these representatives of American science. Of such professional intellectuals Schopenhauer was wont to say, "They don't live for, but off, science." There is another well-known adage which fitly characterizes such worthies: Professors and prostitutes are for sale.
THE people of the United States are to be blessed by President Taft with an extra session of Con gress. Is it for the purpose of "filling the empty mar ket basket," as the phrase runs? Far from it. The special Danai gift has the sole purpose of obscuring, by superficial legal phraseology, the real causes of the empty market basket. Expropriation of the monopo- lords of land and industry by the dear, victimized patriots is the best and only way to terminate the usury in the necessaries of life. This, it's dead sure, will never be decided by Congress.
THERE are strong indications that Washington is mobilizing troops against the revolution in Mexico, to protect the property interests of the Morgans, Gugenheims, Hearsts, et al. A beautiful prospect for the American soldier, to be maimed or killed for the sake of protecting the dividends of the multi-millionaires, and then be persuaded that he had helped to enhance the honor and glory of his country.
It is high time that anti-militarist arguments begin to be studied in America.
THE greatest triumph of the reigning morality manifestly consists in trials for breach of promise. It seems hardly possible for our merchant order of buy and selling to go much further than counting romance, affection, kisses, and embraces in dollars and cents.
All poets of love songs, dead or living, should be indicted and brought before the American courts. It would be easy to prove against them that they have aroused, a thousandfold, sweet yearnings, emotions, and tender hopes in female hearts, without giving further satisfaction. Surely these sinners should be punished.
To simplify matters, love and proofs of love, genuine or counterfeit, could be sold at auction. For instance: Here, gentlemen, your kind attention, please! Here's a well-preserved daughter of an American millionaire- a European Count-now divorced. What 'm I offered? Five dollars, first bid! Five, ten, twenty. . .
0NE of the fashionable preachers of New York, Dr. Aked, of the Rockefeller Church, threatens to leave his flock to go to the Pacific Coast, where a more remunerative position has been offered to him.
Yes, the priests have inherited from the apostles only the purse and the Judas kiss.
OUR readers no doubt remember the case of Savakar, the Hindu revolutionist, referred to in a previous issue Of MOTHER EARTH.
The English courts sentenced Savakar to be transported to India and to be imprisoned there. On the way the Hindu succeeded in jumping overboard, at Marseille, and swimming safely to land. According to international agreement, Savakar should have been safe, on French soil, from the bloodhounds of England. But French gendarmes arrested and returned him to the English ship, feeling sure that all means are justified toward revolutionists.
They were right. The International Peace Conference, at The Hague, to which the case was submitted, decided that it was lawful to hunt down Savakar on French soil and deliver him into the hands of the British hangman.
Surely the decision would have been quite different had Savakar been an absconded banker instead of a revolutionist.
CONDITIONS in Japan are steadily growing more unbearable. From reliable information we learn about the increased persecution of radicals, numerous arrests of persons suspected of "political untrustworthi- secret trials, and long imprisonments.
"The government of the little brown men,"-we quote one of our correspondents, a personal friend of the martyred Kotoku-"is mad with thirst for human blood. Katsura asserts that he will spare no one. Hundreds are daily dragged off to the prisons, and none is secure. . . . What can be done? What is the International Socialist Bureau doing? Where is its influence? Can't the various Socialist representatives and newspapers in the different countries be moved to interpellate? . . . Leave nothing undone and arouse the comrades everywhere to the true condition of affairs." Will the cry of awakening Japan be heard?
WHEN Socialism had not yet become so fatally in fected with the germ of political tuberculosis, it used to preach: The efforts of bourgeois reformists are misleading and useless, since they can work no es sential change in the economic conditions of society upon which are founded our political, moral, and social in stitutions. That is to say, that so long as private prop erty, wage slavery, and capitalism rule economically, no political reforms are worth while, because they cannot in the least alter the character of existing society.
But since their infection with the bacillus of this tuberculosis, the Socialists have been claiming: Give us majorities, political power, and we will accomplish wonderful economic reforms.
In Milwaukee the yearned-for ballot majority has really been achieved, with the result that the Social Democratic politicians now find themselves in the same position as the bourgeois reformists. They can make no vital changes, because their cherished "economic foundation" faces them at every turn.
Poor Mayor Seidel! His moral heart longs to abolish prostitution in Milwaukee, but-economic interests and the police will not permit it. He would transform the city into a second Eden, but-Milwaukee is so much In debt (like every large city under capitalist regime) that nothing can be done, He would this and he would that, but he succeeds only in giving a poor imitation of the bourgeois reformists, whom the Socialists have always so justly ridiculed. Thus the much-praised "polit- power of the ploretariat" proves itself, in capitalist practice, a hollow mockery.
One thing, however, has been achieved: a salary of seven thousand five hundred per annum for Victor Berger, the newly elected member of Congress. But it is doubtful whether the proletarian voters of Wisconsin will find sufficient consolation in this only "practical result."
THE discussion in the New York Call between Upton Sinclair and Dr. Robinson as to whether fasting is preferable to eating fills us with dread lest a considerable number of donkeys and freak Socialists commit suicide by voluntary starvation. It would be sad, indeed, but we shall try to bear up manfully at the burial ceremonies.
WITH rather poor grace John Mitchell has given up his sinecure in the Civic Federation, after the Convention of the Mine Workers had decided that no official of that veiled plutocratic conspiracy may be a member of the miners' organization.
Reason prompted to obey the resolution of the Convention; but the heart of Mitchell remains with the Civic Federation, as is shown by the letter he addressed to Seth Low. Thus only half the work has been done. Neither one holding an office with the Civic Federation, nor one who strives to impregnate the workers with the spirit of that capitalist organization properly belongs in the labor movement.
The Miners' Union would do well to present John Mitchell, for good and all, as an unconditional free gift to the Civic Federation, In truth, they could well afford, if necessary, to throw some money in with the bargain.
THE friends of MOTHER EARTH will celebrate the Sixth Birthday of our little fighter, Friday, March 17th, at Terrace Lyceum, 206 East Broadway, where speeches, song, music, and "the light, fantastic toe" will give the proper spirit to the occasion.
We regret that distance will probably make it impossible for our friends "in the country" to participate in the jollification. But we know that they will be with us in spirit, and we hope they will remember the five-year-old by return mail. A word to the wise is sufficient.
IN THE DAYS OF MARCH
HISTORY relates that on March thirteenth, in the year 44 B. C., Julius Caesar fell a victim to the daggers of the conspirators who defended the old Roman liberties against the rising tide of imperialism. But, evidently, imperialism had not received on that occasion its death blow. After two thousand years it is still alive, and is-if certain prophets are rightabout to plant its banner upon the towers of this Republic. The struggle between Caesar and Brutus has not yet ceased.
It was in the Days of March, 1770, that the first blood of the martyrs of the Colonies was shed in Boston. Six years later the redcoats were ignominiously driven from that city.
In March, 1819, the German student, Karl Sand, killed the Russian spy Kotzebue. The month of March, in the year 1821, witnessed the beginning of the Greek struggle for independence, and in March, 1848, the fires of social upheaval swept the greater part of Europe.
Again it was in the Days of March, 1871, that the people of France rose against their oppressors and proclaimed the Paris Commune. That gigantic attempt toward a social revolution failed after two months and was drowned in blood. A certain statesman of France said, as the Versailles hirelings were murdering the hekatombs: "We can never kill enough of them." He may have fancied that the revolution could forever be extinguished in an ocean of blood. What folly! The reaction had thrown down all barriers, trampled all considerations under foot, and let loose every imaginable terror, yet utterly failed to quench the revolutionary fire of even a woman's heart-LOUISE MICHEL, who had fought on the barricades, was dragged through the streets with the captured Communards, beaten with gun and bayonet, and finally thrown into prison. Proudly and defiantly she faced the horrors of the penal colony at Caledonia, endured persecution and agony, and finally returned to France as unbroken in spirit as before. What she had suffered in prison had only served to make her stronger and surer of her convictions. "Thereis a curse upon power," she said upon her return; "therefore I am an Anarchist."
It was again in the month of March, in the year 1881, that Tsar Alexander II. was called to account. Severest oppression, saints, strict censorship, base espionage, and brutal Cossacks-all these could not save the Tsar from the avenging bomb. There is necessity and justice in the revolutionary acts.
Though sometimes, in our hours of darkness, it may seem as if the oppression of man is an eternal institution, we soon find consolation in the thought that resistance to tyranny is no less eternal.
The Days of March bear witness that ignorance and patience have their limits. They show us that right and liberty are no mere fancies in the misty distance, but that they can be translated into life, realized in the present through acts and deeds.
These Days teach us that there exists no institution whose continued existence is guaranteed by charter or patent. They have torn the veil of political compromise and diplomatic finesse, and demonstrated the power of the multitude, which-in spite of all apathy and systematic obscurantism-still sets in motion the Weltenrad. These Days prove that deeds are more comprehensive than theory.
In December, 1856, John Brown appeared before a committee of the legislature of Massachusetts, to champion the cause of the slaves. But already in April of the next year he provided himself with ammunition, fully convinced that the legal procedure would merely sidetrack the issue, without touching the vital problem.
Thus the suffering masses clutch at one failing hope after another. They place their fate in the hands of governments, political parties, quacks, and reformers, till there grows up within their midst an energetic minority, which sees through the deceptive game and resorts to direct action. Strictly speaking, it can be said only of the Days of Revolution that the people act by themselves and for themselves.
The most vital initiative, the best impulses proceeded in the March Days from this minority, which, in times of struggle, becomes the interpreter of the sufferings and wishes of the multitude.
One feels almost an utopian when speaking hopefully of the Revolution in these epigone days of political horse swapping, petitioning, and pale theorizing. Is not everything quiet and orderly? Do not the rich wax steadily richer, their luxury more snobbish? Are not governments growing more invasive, the laws more numerous, and do not the masses continue to gnaw contentedly at the bones of reform thrown at them instead of good meat?
And yet, the Days of March are not in vain on the calendar of history. They point the way to the springtime of humanity. The memory of those Days sheds warmth and inspiration into the heart surcharged with disgust at all "golden rules," "good arguments," and "the only correct scientific methods."
THE PIONEER OF COMMUNIST ANARCHISM IN AMERICA
By MAX BAGINSKI.
THESE lines are in tender memoriam of John Most, who died in Cincinnati, five years ago, on the seventeenth of March, 1906.
In the year 1882 Most came to America, as an exile, and continued the publication of the Freiheit, whose existence had been made impossible in England. After the execution of Alexander II, on the thirteenth of March, 1881, Most voiced his hope in a leading article in the Freiheit\ that all tyrants may thus be served. That article proved too much for the much-boasted-of British freedom. Prussian and Russian spies and diplomats intrigued an interpellation in the British Parliament, as a result of which Most was indicted for "inciting to kill the reigning sovereigns." The court sentenced our comrade to sixteen months at hard labor, and life in the prison of free England proved a veritable hell.
Most had previously been incarcerated in German and Austrian prisons, and his treatment there was always that of a political prisoner. In free England, however, he found himself treated even more brutally than the ordinary thief or murderer. His complaints against the barbaric methods elicited the sole reply thatthere were no political prisoners in a f ree country like England.
When he had paid the penalty for the free expression of his opinions, John Most was invited, immediately upon his discharge from prison, to come to America, there to begin an energetic propaganda along revolutionary Anarchist lines. This comradely invitation was signed, among others, by Justus Schwab, whom most of our old-time comrades no doubt still remember.
Most followed the call. An enthusiastic reception meeting in Cooper Union, in which thousands participated, was his greeting in the new land. A tour of agitation followed, during which Most succeeded in organizing a large number of propaganda groups among the German-speaking workingmen.
Most was the first to initiate, on a comparatively extensive scale, the propaganda of Communist Anarchism in America.
The German element in this country was at that time far more mentally alert and energetic than it is to-day: the Bismarckian muzzle-law, the expulsion of hundreds of socialistically inclined proletarians, the suppression of Socialist literature, and the brutal police persecution made the thinking workers rebellious. The lines between governmental and revolutionary Socialism, and between the latter and Anarchism were not so sharply drawn at the time when Most, the fiery agitator of the social revolution, arrived in America. He was an orator of convincing power, his methods direct, his language concise and popular, and he possessed the genius for glowing word-portrayal which had f ar more effect upon his auditors than long theoretic argumentation. He lived and felt entirely with the people, the men of toil. The great tragedy of his latter years was that the very people he loved so well turned from him, many of them even joining the general howl of the capitalistic press, which never abated its denunciations of Most as a veritable monster of degradation and blood-thirstiness.
In the meantime there widened the breach between the ballot-box Socialists on the one hand, and the revolutionary Socialists and Anarchists on the other. Many of those who bad so enthusiastically welcomed Most on his arrival in America, joined the ballot-box party andnow even denounced our comrade because he persisted in warning the people against the game of deception called politics. In this respect hespoke from personal experience: as former member of the Reichstag he felt convinced that parliamentarism could never serve as an aid in the emancipation of the working class.
The American labor movement followed its course. It was- able to stand a Powderly, and it has not even now grown strong enough to rid itself of men like Gompers and Mitchell. Naturally there was no room in it for a Most, a Parsons, a Spies, or a Dyer D. Lum. Gompers, a rising star on the labor firmament, may indeed not have been averse to making use of Lum's superior intellect and experience, even to the extent of signing his articles, it is said. But after he had attained bureaucratic power, he found it more politic to withdraw from such compromising associates.
The German movement, in particular, gradually grew weaker. The atmosphere of this country is not very conducive to the mental development of the Germans; as a rule, they lose here all incentive to intellectual pursuit. They either conserve the ideas they have brought over with them, till these become petrified, or they entirely throw idealism overboard and become "successful business men," philistines who are far more concerned with their little house and property than with the great events of the world.
Under these circumstances his exile was growing more and more unbearable for Most, his hounding ever more severe and base, the indifference and apathy of the Germans more impenetrable.
His friends had told Most, upon his arrival: "Here, at least, you are secure against imprisonment." Most had waived the remark aside, as altogether too optimistic, saying that it was only a question of time when he would come in conflict with the sham liberties of the Republic. He was only too justified in this view. When, in the eighties, the waves of the labor movement rose to exceptional height, and the proletariat began preparations for a general strike to secure the eight-hour day, the plutocrats and financiers grew alarmed. "Order"that is, profits-seemed in danger. The lackeys of the press were mobilized to denounce to the police and the courts every expression of rebellious independence on the part of the working people.
In April, 1886, there took place in New York a large meeting, addressed, among others, by Most, who called upon the audience to prepare and arm themselves for the coming great struggle. The speech was taken down stenographically and submitted to the grand jury, which found indictments against John Most, Braunschweig, and Schenk. On the second of July, judge Smyth condemned Most to one year's imprisonment in the penitentiary and five hundred dollars fine, while the other two comrades were doomed to nine months' prison and two hundred and fifty dollars fine.
It was the old wretched method. The police of various cities had systematically interfered with the numerous strikes and committed repeated assaults upon the workingmen, establishing "order" in the most brutal manner. The violence of the police naturally resulted in bitterness, riots, and killings. But instead of calling the uniformed ruffians to account, the authorities fell upon the spokesmen of the movement, marking them as their victims. The crimes of the guardians of the law were "legally" laid at the door of the Anarchists: in New York, upon Most; in Chicago, upon Spies and comrades, who-eighteen months later-paid for their love of humanity with their lives.
It became evident that freedom of speech and press was not tolerated in the Republic and that it was as severely persecuted in "free" America as in Germany, Austria, and England.
That was not Most's only conviction. He was repeatedly condemned to serve at Blackwell's Island. The press had so systematically lied about and misrepresented his ideals and personality that the "desirable citizen" came to regard our comrade as a veritable Satan. Especially were the German papers venomous in their denunciations and ceaselessly active in the manhunt against one who had sacrificed everything for his ideals.
When McKinley was shot at Buffalo, the Freiheit happened to reprint an article from the then longdeceased radical writer, Karl Heinzen. The article had no bearing whatever upon American conditions, and it was the greatest outrage and travesty upon the most elementary principles of justice that Most was condemned to serve nine months inprison-for reprinting an article written decades before. The New York Staatszeitung, "leading organ of the German intelligence," bravely assisted in this shameful proceeding by the most infamous denunciation.
Yet all this persecution and suffering Most could have borne much better than the growing apathy of the very elements to whom he was appealing. He found himself more and more isolated. The struggle for existence of the Freiheit, and his family-grew more difficult. He had dreamed beautiful dreams of the masses who would march side by side with him against the bulwarks of tyranny. And now he discovered himself a revolutionary free lance, standing almost alone. With grim humor he wrote in the Freiheit: "Henceforth I shall no more say 'we,' but 'I.'" In spite of it all, however, he fought bravely to the very end. His courage and Rabellaisian humor never forsook him. In the latter years there was even a noticeable improvement in his literary originality. After all, in the words of the Chantecler, "it is beautiful to behold the light when everything around is enveloped in darkness."
ANARCHISM-The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.
ANARCHIST-A believer in Anarchism; one opposed to all forms of coercive government and invasive authority; an advocate of Anarchy, or absence of government, as the ideal of political liberty and social harmony.
ANARCHY-Absence of government; disbelief in, and disregard of, invasion and authority based on coercion and force; a condition of society regulated by voluntary agreement instead of government.
To love to live-I choose this as my life,
The world is full of chatter, cheap and vain,
And painted sights and foolish paven lanes where people
moil at pleasure,
Getting none, returning yet again for naught and less
And o'er-plussed emptiness of heart and soul
Which makes a mock of life and turns it sour.
All this I pass; not prudishly, as one who fears to mix
Nor scorning human things,
Nor in a cloister mood, seeking aloofness and some mys-
But rather in a thirst for redder wine,
A crave for passions that are ne'er outworn,
A lust for one good hack at old Convention statued in
To those who love the groove, the patterned task, the
I say, adieu.
Give me the thing to do that's not been done,
That helps my kind, and yields my spirit wide egress,
The ax upon the beech to mark my way,
A golden sunset from behind the rugged hills,
And, then, should the gods allow,
A white arm round my neck entwined
And on my lips the kiss of Her who understood and
ON THE TRAIL
THE Trail of Life is like a beautiful woman, full of caprice and contradictions. Now it carries you to the sublime heights of expectation, now it hurls you to the very depths of despair, according to momentary whim. Yet like the heartless beauty, the Trail stands in all its radiance, ever luring one to new exploits.
Since we started on this journey the oscillations between hope and despair have repeatedly made us want to give up; but who can resist the Trail? Good or bad, success or failure-the tempteress calls, and poor mortals must follow.
DETROIT proved too weak for the large dose we had prepared for it. Six English meetings were more than the city could stand, its energies being sapped up by the Lady of Rome. Detroit is strongly Catholic; how can one expect to penetrate her tightly sealed mental channels . Yet there were a few faithful, eager for life, who attended every meeting and procured a liberal supply of intellectual ammunition. We realized only too late that four of the six evenings might have been employed to better advantage in nearby towns. We mean to make good on some other occasion.
ANN ARBOR again brought out a large array of students, less vicious than last year, but still very boisterous, especially on the evening of the lecture on Tolstoy. The sage of Yasnaya Poliana knew the emptiness of what passes for education to-day. His serenity would therefore not have been disturbed by the Ann Arbor demonstration of "learning." Not being quite so passive as our great Russian, it required much effort to keep sane in Bedlam; nor am I quite sure that I did. But, with lunatic luck, I succeeded in making the students think me the only sane person in the crowd. They toned down considerably at the end, asked a number of good questions, and-what is more-they did not break the chairs, nor raid the literature table, which was a decided improvement on our last year's experience.
The Keystone fraternity, keenly conscious of the shameful outrage on free speech in the City of Brotherly Love, invited us to break bread with them, as a sign of sisterly good-will. The wideawke spirit among these Pennsylvania boys has almost made me feel kindlier toward that Clay and Reyburn hunchbacked city, Philadelphia. Our last year's visit has helped to fertilize the soil. Prof. R. M. Wenley announced a course on Anarchism, of which the first lecture has already been delivered before a large audience. I am not conceited enough to assume that I induced the course, but that we have helped to arouse interest and to prepare the students for the "shock," is no doubt true.
GRAND RAPIDS furnished a new experience, doubly pleasant because of the opportunity it offered to meet once more our ex-soldier, William Buwalda. Our readers have probably been wondering what has become of our friend after his release from the tender arms of the government.
William Buwalda has exchanged the iron bands of mental deception for a free and broader outlook upon life, while his soul, dwarfed for fifteen years by the soldier's coat, has since expanded and blossomed out like a flower in the fresh and unrestricted air of mother earth. Our comrade has been left with an old mother to look after his father having died last year. He often longs to go back to the world and to more vital activity, but with his usual simplicity he said, "What right have I, as a free man, to inflict burdens upon others that I am unwilling to carry?" Therefore he remains to take care of the old lady; yet he has not become rusticated. On the contrary, William Buwalda has used his time well, not merely for extensive reading, but for the absorption and assimilation of our ideals. The old Dutch mother, the kindly hostess moving about in her quaint Dutch surroundings, was like a study of Rembrandt. It made one feel far removed from the mad rush of American life.
Buwalda's efforts for the Grand Rapids meeting proved a great success. It was one of the few splendid affairs of this tour.
CHICAGO, with her thousand sinister memories clutching at one's soul, is anything but an Eldorado. The gloom was increased by miserable weather, truly Chicagoan-wind, rain, and mud. The press, including that yellow sheet, the Daily Socialist, maintained a conspiracyof silence, and most of the preparatory work being done by one comrade, Sam Sivin, a stranger in the city, the prospects, too, looked muddy. Worst of all was the thought of having to go back to Hod Carriers' Hall, a place that would have affected the vocal chords of the trumpets of Jerico. It seemed to make the Chicago visit almost unbearable. But perseverance and lungs carried the day.
Our six English meetings brought out an average of two hundred people, which was very remarkable, considering the obstacles. Brother Reitman, with his usual mesmeric methods, disposed of a phenomenal quantity of literature. The Jewish meetings were, as usual, very large. Last, but not least, was a small but interesting meeting arranged by a group of Lithuanians, whom I addressed on the "Social Importance of the Modern School."
Credit for the hardest work is due chiefly to the indefatigable efforts of Sam Sivin and his friend Bessie; but there were also others who helped most faithfully: Edith Adams, our motherly Dr. "Becky" Yampolsky, our future Medicus Stein, and Comrade Lankis. Dr. J. H. Greer was the guardian angel. He turned his office into an E. G. headquarters, constituted himself ticket and book seller, and acted as knightly host to drive away the spooks, thus helping one to forget the sins of the Jungletown.
My greatest regret regarding Chicago is that I failed to interest our friends in the Kotoku Memorial. There was a lack of speakers; besides, Japan is far away; even Anarchists do not easily overcome distance.
URBANA, the seat of Illinois learning, is like unto the city of the German proverb, where people neither sing nor drink. It is a prohibition town; no wonder the mental lid is down tightly. Only a few students and professors turned out, but they, too, were as dry as Urbana.
The PEORIA meeting had been arranged in one day, in a hall on the outskirts of the city. We were therefore not disappointed in the size of the meeting. Yet while Urbana and Peoria gave small returns in proportion to our efforts, we are glad that we went there. We have driven in the wedge and are sure to meet with greater success next time.
ST. Louis. It seems almost like an idyl to come to the city after the desert of Sahara through which the Trail has led us for nearly two months. But, then, why should not St. Louis prove a rare spot, with Anheuser-Busch and William Marion Reedy as the great attractions. I do not know whether the city could do without Anheuser-Busch, but I am sure it would never be the same without Reedy, who is indeed a fountainhead of wisdom, rare humor, and good fellowship. To realize his importance for the intellectual life of St. Louis, one must have been here and followed his work. Thus with our "Hobo" I must say, "Reedy has put St. Louis on the map." With such a staunch sponsor and with the assistance of other friends, gained through Reedy's efforts, the work in St. Louis proved smooth sailing.
Three meetings at the Odeon Recital Hall were the very best so far, especially the meeting of March 1st, on "Victims of Morality," which brought out the largest American audience we have ever had outside of California. The literature sale represented a regular bargain counter, with Ben Reitman and several assistants strenuously busy supplying the demand.
The venture to arouse the ladies who think they are thinking was less successful. It was an unusual venture, to begin with, and as some of our comrades will no doubt say, apostatic on my part to consent. Two lectures in the most exclusive club hall of St. Louis, the Women's Wednesday Club, which resembles the Sorosis of New York:-a parasitic class of women who do not know what to do with their time. I was not at all in doubt as to the numbers that might come to such an affair. I consented to the proposition by our good friends, quaint little Alice Martin and William Marion Reedy, because of the chance it offered to tell those ladies what I thought of them.
"Tolstoy" and "Justice" were chosen-as "fit" subjectsfor the occasion: themes that contain enough revolutionary material to make the dear auditors anything but comfortable, and with E. G. as the speaker, they certainly "got their money's worth," the price of admission being one dollar. I should not care to make a practice of speaking before the Wednesday Club audiences. Not that I fear to be contaminated. I feel, with Gorki, that ours is a puny age, full of puny people who have not even the vitality to commit great sins. It is the mental apathy of the audience at that place which is so disagreeable, like the sight of dry old bones. I could forgive the rich Americans their money; but their dullness, never. The latter will save me at all times from "breaking" into society. Much rather should I prefer to break into jail. It is a much more interesting pastime. Yet the experience at the Wednesday Club had also its humorous side, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
Our dear old Comrade Harry Kelly, who left for the Coast after my Sunday lectures, gave the preparatory work the old revolutionary flavor. Ada Capes, Kapicinell, and other friends made me feel, by their devotion, as in olden days when there were fewer personal quibbles and greater zeal for our cause, so sublime and all-absorbing.
What a tremendous power one great individuality may exert is best proved by the new tone of the St. Louis press, created entirely by Mr. Reedy. Not a single paper has indulged in the old-time sensational methods. The reports have been accurate and the editorials unusually analytical. A complete revolution, one might say, judging from the following editorial in the Times:
Miss Emma Goldman, who made addresses in St. Louis yesterday, succeeded in voicing her sentiments without shocking any one very much, apparently, and without necessitating any calls for the trouble wagon.
It becomes apparent that Miss Goldman has a good many ideas which are sound, even though she may have others which are shocking enough; and it may be that those who disapprove most of her and her teachings are those who know least about her and what she has to teach.
There are a good many articles in the Goldman creed which might be given serious thought, and nobody would be any the worse for it. When she maintains that education of the stereotyped kind is not the right kind of education, she only affirms what many highly reputable thinkers have pointed out in a gentler fashion.
When she states her belief in the theory that there are no bad boys and girls, she is in line with the convictions of many a highly praised philanthropist. What is judge Ben Lindsay's creed, except that there are no bad boys and girls?
The trouble with this extraordinary woman is that she is a revolutionist, instead of an evolutionist. She is in a hurry; whereas the wisest men and women know that haste makes waste. Not one of the points made by Miss Goldman in her speeches Yesterday but is being put forth in gentler terms by good people everywhere. But others are encouraged when they realize what growth has been recorded in twenty years-in ten years.Miss Goldman is impatient because she cannot see great advancement since yesterday. Perhaps it is a matter of temperament, rather than of philosophy. Perhaps Miss Goldman is unfortunate only in respect to her temperament.
If our work had accomplished nothing else, this change of sentiment would justify all the hardships and bitter- ness most of us have and are still passing through. The Trail may i have a thousand whims and caprices, but it also has great charms. It is so alluring, one must follow it up to the very end.
I still have two Jewish meetings to address in this city; two lectures in Staunton, I11., before the miners, to which I look forward with great interest; also a meeting at Belleville, Ill., where our martyred Chicago comrades had fought more than one battle.
While MOTHER EARTH will be in the making, we shall have visited the Socialist citadel, Milwaukee. Will it survive us? Also Madison, Wis., where our last visit aroused so much discussion, especially among the students. March 15, 16 and 17 we will be in St. Paul; March 19-22 in Minneapolis. All information can be obtained through F. Kraemer, 1023 Marshall St., N. E., Minneapolis, Minn. March 24th, Sioux City; March 26th and 27th, Omaha, Neb. After that, Des Moines and Kansas City, for ten days.
DISCUSSION AT MEETINGS
By VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE.
I HAVE read, in the last issue of MOTHER EARTH, Bolton Hall's opinion on the mixed blessing of discussion after meetings with interest, and-disagreement; mixed also.
I agree that a meeting of fifty with a good discussion is better than one of two hundred and fifty with none; but with a bad discussion-nine times in ten it is a bad discussion-meeting of two hundred and fifty and silence is preferable.
For I do not agree that "almost anything is better than silence"; sometimes silence is better than almost anything; particularly the silence of a "buffoon." Nor do I consider newspaper notice such a desirable thing as to be thankful for it at the cost of misrepresentation. If a meeting of fifty people enlightened by a discussion is better than one of two hundred and fifty without it, it is also better than two hundred thousand giving a cursory glance at a misrepresentation.
Also I would like to know what evidence Bolton Hall has that the best part of the audience sizes up the discussion well. It may be true, quite likely it is, but how does he know?
So far as I see, the real substitute for the after-benediction gathering is not the public discussion, but what we in Philadelphia used to dub "the adjourned meeting." That is the time when the timid and the reticent forget their timidity, and say their say. And it is really always far more interesting than the chairmanized discussion. For all that, I still think the evil of shutting off discussion is probably greater than the evil of "hot air."
One comrade has suggested that the lecture committee, expressing itself through the Chairman, reserve the right to have discussion or not; that a good lecture be left for "the gathering around the stove"; but an inadequate-lecture, or a poor one, be completed or rectified through a select discussion, such speakers being called upon by the Chairman as he knows are able to make good the deficiency.
The trouble is, this gives too much discretion to the Chairman (though as every one knows who has had experience in meetings such discretion is always exercised,more or less, if the Chairman is acquainted with his business. And as a member of the audience I have sometimes been grateful to him for his temporary blindness, or other symptoms of "benevolent despotism"). However, as Gail Hamilton once wrote: "I want my husband to be submissive without looking so"; I want the Chairman to be a despot without openly proclaiming himself such,-which is a very frank avowal for an Anarchist! I should be afraid to make it did I not know that "around the stove" pretty much everybody makes it. But as we all cling to our favorite phantoms, none of us wants the Chairman invested with Dictatorial Powers, notwithstanding our appreciation of the eccentricities of his eyesight; so I fear my comrade's proposition is not acceptable.
I should be glad to hear from others, not only as to the original question, but as to the incidental point of Mr. Hall, that newspaper report is always desirable, even though it be misrepresentation.
THE RIGHT WAY
Because they could not achieve the Right Way, people
Because they could not achieve the right benevolence,
people acquired charitableness.
Because they could not achieve the right charitableness,
people acquired courtesy.
Because they could not achieve the right courtesy, peo-
ple acquired good manners,
Because they could not achieve the right good manners
people acquired good works.
Because they could not achieve the right good works,
people acquired law-abidingness.
Because they could not achieveright law-abiding-
ness, people made laws.
This shows how far even perfect laws would be from
the Right Way.
But there cannot be perfect laws;
There cannot even be good laws.
From the Chinese of Lont Lee.
By Wm. C. OWEN.
A TIME-HONORED Latin proverb has it that when war breaks out the voice of law grows silent. I am certain that in politics the voice of truth is drowned by clamarous bids for votes, and it does not seem to matter what politics they are. Here is the Socialist party, for example. If Socialism means anything it is that collectivist ownership for use shall take the place of private ownership for profit. There can be no doubt of this, and modern Socialist literature is to a great extent one song of triumph over the extent to which private enterprise is being driven to the wall. Yet here, in California, the party's candidate for governor, touring the State in a much advertised red car, kept assuring the farmer that Socialism, while freeing them from the transportation and moneysharks, will leave them in possesion of their private farms, to be worked, as now, for private benefit. A desperate effort of my own to set this matter straight almost produced a riot, and never can I find anything but violent contradiction when I tell Socialists they belong to a governmental party. Nevertheless, in a recent number of the Appeal to Reason I find this editorial answer to a question as to what is to be done if the capitalists should decide on a general lock-out: "If they were to close the shops it would be as good a thing as we could ask. Then, under the plea of emergency, we could take possession of the shops and set all the wheels to moving at once under GOVERNMENTAL MANAGEMENT." To fish for votes by repudiating your party's cardinal principle seems to me at once the most despicable and suicidal of policies.
My own experience with the rank and file of the Socialist party is that intellectually it has not the remotest conception of where it is actually at, but that all its aspirations are toward Anarchism' . Invariably private conversation with members brings out the declaration that all they want is equality of opportunity, and that the less government they have the better. But let us not deceive ourselves. That may be the aspiration of the proletarian, sick to death of the authoritarianism he learns from the policeman's club, but it is not the aspiration of the preachers and lawyers who have crowded into the party and are doing nearly all its talking, because talking is their trade. Almost invariably the preacher's ruling passion is to lay down the law for others to obey; almost invariably the lawyer longs to regulate the lives of others; and such leaders naturally seek to form a centralized society, of which they shall be directors.
In Los Angeles the Single Taxers are trying to resurrect themselves, and surely there was never time or place wherein they should be more alive. To boom the natural resources of the country, thereby attracting immigration; to shear such immigration to the skin by continuously raising the admission price to those monopolized resources-this has been the game played unceasingly by the moneyed class since the city passed out of the village stage. Never was it played so relentlessly, however, as at present, for we have entered on an era of frenzied municipal enterprise, anticipating the rush of labor that will come with the completion of the Panama canal. Millions are being spent, south of the city, on harbor improvements, and land speculators gloat daily over the real estate ticker as it records the advanced value of their holdings. North of the city gigantic sums are being invested by the municipality in the development of water, and a group of land cormorants is becoming multi-millionaires.
Los Angeles is of interest to the great world of social agitation only as she points a moral and exemplifies a principle. It is because she illustrates with unusual clearness how rotten is the sham of public ownership and operation, while land monopoly remains intact, that I give her, and her Single Tax club, publicity. This craze for municipal-improvements is the undercurrent of the Socialistic tide, and it is crushing us with bureaucracy and land speculation; digging the gulf between Dives and Lazarus wider and deeper than it was ever dug before. If they could wrench themselves free from what seem to me side issues, the Henry George men might do noble work. As it is, their "cat" has been smothered out of sight and hearing.
ECONOMY AS VIEWED BY AN ANARCHIST
By C. L. JAMES.
There was also a dispute between two great Fathers of the orthodox economic church, Ricardo and Malthus as to whether Rent cuts into Profit and Wages. Malthus denied that it affected either. Ricardo, by asserting that it reduced both, supplied the premises of an important Socialistic school whose bestknown representative is Henry George. The fallacies which make these controversies possible appear to me very largely founded in confusion of thought and language between such terms as (aggregate) rent and rent (per acre), interest (aggregate) and (per cent.), even real wages and nominal, though that is acknowledged to be a vulgar error. But they have a deeper root. The orthodox economists, having contracted the habit of generalizing from the capitalist's standpoint, are rarely able to see any other part of an universal truth than what concerns the capitalist, as such. And the Socialistic writers have not been able to correct them, because they, too, general 'zed from a special standpoint. Endeavoring myself to set both right by taking the Standpoint of Universal Man, or the Consumer, I shall most cheerfully acknowledge every anticipation I can find: for it will give me an opportunity to show that a view too limited and partial was what kept from the truth men who often got so very near it.
14. Rent, Profit, and Wages, are commonly assumed to be the shares in Distribution, falling respectively to landlords, capitalists, and laborers.13 But surely there are others. The share which falls to thieves is much too important to be justifiably ignored, if among thieves we include bad governments, corrupt monopolies, pestilent sinecurists, warriors employed in anything else than defense of their own countries, and these are, most deservedly, so classed by the orthodox Economy, which was the precursor and almost became the phoenix progenitor of Anarchism. This share is not like that of children, nursing mothers, beggars, unproductive laborers, who can get only what the producers or the producer's exploiters have had first. If conquerors and their creatures be thieves, as orthodox Economy teaches, the thief gets his share before the producer. There is also an impersonal sharer, Waste, which devours not what the producers choose to give it, for that would be nothing, but all it -can take against their will. Floods, flames, moths, rust, mice, kings, nobles, and pirates, must have their undivided share first. The producer gets only what they leave. The Socialistic writers are not insensible to part of this truth. Before Saint Simon gave them anything like a scientific method , they perceived that existing institutions were founded by barbarians whose, only trade was war, and that the taint of origin pervades them all. Adam Smith partly saw this, too."14 The reason neither he nor they have adequately reasoned from this historical premise, is that both the main economic schools were in a hurry to begin generalizing either from the capitalist's standpoint or the laborer's. Waste and Plunder, so important to the Consumer, i. e., to man, as man, were dismissed with the remark that they took only from the gross product, and that the laws of the net could be ascertained without considering them. But if, as Adam Smith, all Socialists, and all Historic Economists, perceive, the landlords and capitalists derive peculiar powers from government, an institution whose original purposes were war and Plunder, it evidently is not correct to say that we can get at the law of their share in Distribution without. first considerfrig the laws of Plunder.
15. This error, springing direct from the Original Sin of Political Economy, has been the fruitful parent of others. The definition of Capital as wealth employed to produce more wealth, is incorrect. The wealth consumed in war is not employed to produce wealth but to destroy it; and a bond given by the government to those who lend it money during war is not wealth at all. But to say, as Henry George does actually say, that the bonds of a government are not Capital, is to deny that Rothschild is a capitalist-a palpable reductio ad absurdum; for he is a typical capitalist-a capitalist who is nothing else than a capitalist, whereas most capitalists are also landowners and laborers; which embarasses us when we wish to class them, while he is classable at once and forever as a capitalist. And, as all Capital is not wealth employed to produce wealth, so much wealth employed to produce more wealth-for example, the tools belonging to a man who lets out the work he does with them-are capital in no ordinary tenable sense. For a correct definition of Capital we are indebted to Karl Marx. Capital is that which acquires Surplus Value, or a share in Distribution not due to labor. It may be wealth employed to produce wealth, but is not necessarily. It includes, therefore, slaves, accounts bearing interest, and Land, though this is a peculiar kind, needing, frequently, to be distinguished with much care from (other) Capital15." This definition certainly has the disadvantage of leaving us without a short term for wealth employed to produce wealth, After considerable embarassment from this lack, I determined to employ the symbol W. P. W.; and I find it very convenient. I shall maintain that W. P. W., as such, works, though it may be Capital, in quite the opposite way to Capital, as such. Capital is, in Wall street phrase, a "bear": W. P. W. is a "bull." W. P. W. raises the value of labor: Capital, as such, always tends to beat it down. "Orthodox" economy, having thus committed a non distributis medii, in identifying with Capital what is only sometimes a part of Capital, and fallen into the ambiguity of using the word Capital in two inconsistent senses,16 proceeds to give an incorrect account of the process by which both W. P. W. and Capital are brought into being. Because under the existing "bourgeois" methods of production and trade, most Capital is W. P. W., and because the individual capitalist often17 becomes one by saving money, this theory, still failing to distribute the middle term, asserts that Capital is created by saving money. But in whichever sense the word Capital is to be understood, Capital existed long before there was any money to save. Does Capital mean W. P. W.? Then the forked stick of the Digger; the bow of a more advanced barbarian; a tame horse, dog, cow; a boat, a net, is Capital. What had saving money to do with making these? They were made not by "adding parsimony to production," but wholly by production, of that peculiar kind which is called Invention. Now, it is a truth of the first importance that the economic functions are always essentially the same-that they advance, not by creation but only evolution,-a "simple indefinite homogeneity" becoming a "complex definite heterogeneity." All W. P. W., from a raft to a Great Eastern, an Esquimaux sled to a Union Pacific R. R.; a bow to a quick-firing rifled cannon, is produced by Invention, and by nothing but Invention. All the processes of trade-the opening of new markets, the use of bills, notes, banks, stocks, clearing houses, were brought into existence by invention, and by nothing else. Money owes its existence to Invention and its use has very largely given way to that of credit, a somewhat later invention which is admitted to serve all the same purposes. An imperfect system of credit-exchanges still makes cash payments periodically necessary, and the great cash accumulations of bankers very useful; but of these accumulations only a very small part is due to saving; which, moreover, to give it all the praise it has, can accumulate nothing but money, could not do that if all the people tried to save, and would be useless but for that series of exchanges whose end is always unproductive consumption. To suppose an extreme casea favorite device in economic reasoning,-we have seen what not only would happen if all tried to save money-they could not do it, and they would all be poor-but what actually does happen where this process is approached, as in "Jewtown"-they all are desperately poor. Now suppose, then, that nobody saved money-that every one bought whatever he fancied-what would happen? Since it is evident that if a man who starts with nothing proposes to build or buy a house he must meanwhile abstain from gratifying many desires of a more evanescent character, there might be less substantial comfort than there is. But this does not seem to me quite certain, for the number of such men who build or buy houses has never been great; and, if we inquired into their antecedents we should be apt to find they differed from less provident neighbors rather in their natural tastes than their acquired habits. At any rate, there would then, as now, be productive labor, without which no man starting poor in a pacific society could gratify his desires at all; trade, without which only the simplest desires can be gratified; and invention, which is what improves all the means of gratifying desire. In short, the effect of parsimony even in assisting production of W. P. W. is much exaggerated.
(To be continued)
NEO-MALTHUSISMO Y SOCIALISMO. Alfredo Naguet y G. Hardy. Barcelona, Spain.
THE AMERICAN HOUSE OF LORDS. Morrison 1. Swift. The Supreme Court Reform League, Boston, Mass.
DIE LUGE DES PARLAMENTARISMUS. Pierre Ramus. W. Schouteten, Bruscelles, Belgium.
THE MAN-MADE WORLD OR OUR ANDROCENTRIC CULTURE. Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Charlton Co., N. Y. City.
MIMO SPOLECNOST. Jos. Kucera. Literarni Krouzek, Chicago, 111.
FABIAN ANARCHISM . Alexander Horr. Freeland Pub. Co., San Francisco, Cal.
THE CHASM. George Cram Cook. Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York
SINGLE TAX CONFERENCE, 1910. Joseph Fels Fund Commission, Cincinnati, 0.
THE MODERN SCHOOL. Wm. Thurston Brown, Salt Lake City, Utah. ADVENTURE. Jack London. The Macmillan Co., New York. ($1.50)
Footnote 13: I am loth, yet it may be needful, to spend space on such remarks as that the same man may be all three of these characters; or that the "best" land does not mean the richest, but that whose culture pays best, for whatever reason.
Footnote 14: "He says the origin of Rent is the desire of landlords, a privileged class, to reap what they did not sow. Ricardo assumed to correct him by giving that theory of its origin stated above.
Footnote 15: Even Henry George, than whom no writer has insisted more on the difference between Land and Capital, says that Land Value is only "Rent commuted, or capitalized."
Footnote 16: "That the orthodox economists are aware of something loose about their definition of capital, is evident from their plentiful disagreement.
Footnote 17: "I can hardly say as a rule. Of the money in even savings banks only a part is "savings," the rest representing trades' balances for which the depositors had no immediate use.
Volume 6 Issue 2
Vol. VI APRIL, 1911 No. 2
The Cry of Toil Rudyard Kipling 33
Everlasting Murder M. B 34
Observations and Comments 37
Blood Money Gifts
The Lie of Universal Peace The Slave's Government
The Spirit of the Martyr
Law Versus Labor
A Noble Criminal
Viva Mexico Wm. C. Owen 42
The Appeal of Mexico to American Labor
Ricardo Flores Magon 46
On the Trail Emma Goldman 50
To the Subscribers to "The American Journal
of Eugenics" Lillian Herman 56
Are Kotoku Protests Justified?
Emma Goldman Bolton Hall 57
Economy as Viewed by an Anarchist
(Continuation) C. L. James 62
EMMA GOLDMAN .... PUBLISHER
ALEXANDER BERKMAN .... EDITOR
Office: 55 West 28th Street, New York City Price, 10 Cent* per Copy One Dollar per Year
THE CRY OF TOIL
By RUDYARD KIPLING.
We have fed you all for a thousand years,
And you hail us still unfed.
Though there's never a dollar of your wealth
But marks the workers dead.
We have yielded our best to give you rest,
And you lie on a crimson wool;
For, if blood be the price of all your wealth,
Good God! we ha' paid it in full.
There's never a mine blown skyward now
But we're buried alive for you;
There's never a wreck drifts shoreward now
But we are its ghastly crew.
Go reckon our dead by the forges red,
And the factories where we spin;
If blood be the price of your cursed wealth,
Good God! we ha' paid it in full.
We have fed you all for a thousand years,
For that was our doom, you know;
From the day when you chained us in your fields
To the strike of a week ago.
You ha' eaten our lives and our babies and wives,
And we're told its your legal share;
But if blood be the price of your lawful wealth,
Good God! we ha' bought it fair.
By M. B.
WAR or peace—the slaughter continues, for the character of capitalist society is so inexorably murderous that no amount of moralizing can mitigate it.
Horrified we witness the carnival of death, fain to believe that these catastrophes are "accidental," exceptional, while in reality the destruction of human life, industrial murder because of greed and inhumanity, is an established institution. In a society where profit is paramount and the fate of the toilers a negligible quantity, what other result can be expected than the most cynical indifference to the lives of the workingmen.
The hundred and forty-five victims of the fire at the shirt-waist factory of Blanck & Harris, in Washington Square, New York, have been murdered by capitalism. The helpers and executioners in the massacre were the owners of the scab shop, the officials of the public safety department, the administration of the City of New York, and the government and legislature at Albany. These are the guilty. But as they control the machinery of "justice," they will acquit themselves. Within a few weeks the terrible crime will be all but forgotten and—the business of murder will continue.
May the terrible tragedy help to clarify our vision. Our grief is profound; may it bear emotions and resolves strong and effectual, worthy of our great sorrow.
With terrible clearness this crime has demonstrated how useless are the laws for the protection of the lives of the toilers. The laws are there; the rules and regulations are there; the highly paid officials are there; only the actual protection is not there. Government and officialdom are necessary, it is said, for the protection of life and property. In truth, they are capable of dooming the starving wretch to a few years' prison for stealing fifteen cents. They are indeed most faithful guardians of property. But when it concerns the effective protection of the workman's life against wholesale capitalist murder, the governmental Providence yawns and sleeps in the bureaus; or pretends to sleep, well knowing that it must not seem too watchful if it wishes to enjoy the sympathy and good will of the wealthy pillars of society. This officialdom is the "stall"* that decoys the capitalist victim. It is not its business to make such crimes as the Triangle fire impossible. Its duty is superficially to mask—by its laws, dignity, and authority—the plutocratic greed which is responsible for such holocausts.
In their simple trustfulness the "common people" believe that the governmental Providence is ever on the alert to prevent such accidents; meanwhile this good Providence is concerned mainly in removing the obstacles in the way of plutocratic exploitation and ensuring its own position and aggrandizement.
Heavy is the penalty for this error. Because the toilers believe that the government machinery is designed for their protection, they neglect themselves to take steps to insure their safety. Hence official protection is not only useless; it is positively dangerous, often fatal.
May this be the first lesson to be learned from the murder of our comrades. And may we also realize that labor possesses the power, by means of united and direct action, forever to put a stop to the wholesale slaughter of capitalist greed. Henceforth let our motto be: Away with the deceptive hope for salvation from "representatives," politicians, and office-holders. Let us act for ourselves, on the spot: the control of the factories should be in the hands of those who work in them; the means: direct action and the general strike, and sabotage which has accomplished such splendid results in the syndicalist movement of France and Italy.
It is the workers—not the landlords, manufacturers, or bosses; not the city or State authorities—that risk in the factories their health and life. It is therefore they who should also have the right to determine the conditions under which they will work and of taking such precautions as may be necessary to safeguard them, not only on paper, but in reality. Labor would indeed deserve to be charged with immaturity and lack of independent judgment, if it will still longer continue to trust its fate to the plutocratic regime and its servants, and be persuaded to abstain from independent direct action. All too long the toilers have felt themselves mere "hands" and subjects. It is time to remember their rights as human beings and to realize their strength to assert these.
The power of labor seems weak only because it is never fully manifested. The workingmen still fail to realize their tremendous possibilities and the great tasks they could accomplish, because they do not dare to act for themselves, without go-betweens, politicians, and arbitration boards. It is these that paralyze independent action on the part of labor and strive to divert its every effort into channels profitable to capitalism.
Not merely fire-escapes and safe exits can the workers secure by the exercise of their economic power, through direct action and general stoppage of work. They are also able—though naturally after a hard struggle—entirely to abolish the industrial system of wholesale slaughter and exploitation.
Upon this aim to concentrate our efforts, to work for it in the factories and shops, and finally to achieve this noble purpose be our vow at the grave of our hundred and forty-five murdered fellow-workers.
Stall: the assistant of a pickpocket who jostles the passengers in the streetcar, or starts a fight, to give his partner an opportunity to rob the people.
THE POWER OF THE PLUTOCRAT
I THINK that nowadays if—I do not say some prominent villain such as Nero, but—some most ordinary man of business wished to make a pond of human blood for diseased rich people to bathe in when ordered to do so by their learned medical advisers, he would not be prevented from arranging it, if only he observed the accepted and respectable forms: that is, did not use violence to make people shed their blood, but got them into such a position that they could not live without shedding it; and if, also, he engaged priests and scientists: the former to consecrate the new pond as they consecrate cannons, ironclads, prisons, and gallows; and the latter to find proofs of the necessity and justifiability of such an institution, as they have found proofs of the necessity for wars and brothels.
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
IT was truly a procession of gigantic proportions that took place in New York on the fifth of April. For hours the mourning thousands marched, in pouring rain and chilling wind, along the streets of the city. This tremendous army of toil—men, women, and children; young and old—paid tribute to their hundred and forty five fellow-workers that fell victims to the fire in the Triangle shirt-waist factory.
Together with the mourning hosts marched Patience. Enormous, incredible patience that broods and broods and vainly waits for a Messiah to bid halt to the unceasing murder.
The lioness sacrifices her life for her threatened cubs; the timid bird even flies unhesitatingly to the rescue of her young; only man—and especially the workingman— is so tamed by habitual submission that the thought of militant self-protection is foreign to him. He leaves his defense to "higher powers," and is forever duped.
Yet, in spite of this inexhaustible patience, these higher powers must have regarded the marching hosts with strong suspicion. They were fearful lest deep in the hearts of the mourners there may seethe the spirit of rebellion and rage, ready to manifest itself. Therefore, police to the front! large numbers of police, to regulate the emotions of the mourners and keep a restraining hand upon their movements and behavior.
Thus we vegetate to day. But the hour may strike when labor will free itself from paralyzing Patience and break the fetters of its deadening thralldom.
NOTICING in the New York Call the statement that Andrew Carnegie had contributed five thousand dollars to the Relief Fund, to aid the families of the Triangle fire victims, I wrote to the chairman of the Relief Fund of the Garment Workers' Union, protesting against the "philanthropy" of the Homestead murderer. My letter was published in the Call of March 31st, as follows:
CARNEGIE'S DONATION FOR THE VICTIMS.
ALEXANDER BERKMAN DENOUNCES ITS ACCEPTANCE BY UNION
Alexander Berkman, the Anarchist, has sent the following letter to the chairman of the Relief Fund of the Garment Workers' Union:
My Dear Sir—I understand that you have received and accepted a donation from Mr. Andrew Carnegie. I protest against this action, as one utterly debasing and humiliating to the sufferers of the recent calamity and the whole working class of which they are an integral part.
Andrew Carnegie is a worse murderer than those who are responsible for the Triangle disaster. Your memory serves you but poorly if you have forgotten the bloody days of Homestead, the chief inspiration of which was this same Carnegie, from whose hands, stained with blood, you now accept "gifts." Andrew Carnegie, Bloody Andy, as they call him in Western Pennsylvania, the original American labor baiter, the destroyer of the Steel Workers' Union, the importer of a Pinkerton army to force labor's submission by wholesale slaughter—from this "friend of bereaved toilers" you accept "donations," him you give an opportunity to play the generous "Lord of Skibo."
It's disgusting. What becomes of your beloved class consciousness? Or was it the generous size of the gift which caused you to close an eye? Oh, Andy is no fool, and he knows human nature.
I do not know whether your Relief Committee or the National Red Cross accepted that donation. I am addressing this letter to you, who are actively interested in the relief work, to voice my protest against the victims of capitalist greed being "relieved" by capitalist "generosity."
Do not outrage the survivors of the disaster. Do not desecrate the memory of the murdered workers.
In reply to the above, the following letter appeared in the next issue of the Call:
New York, March 31, 1911.
Editor of The Coll:—The publication in to-day's Call of the Berkman letter under the headline, "Carnegie's Donation for the Victims—Alexander Berkman Denounces Its Acceptance by Union Relief Committee," is an error, to say the least, and is therefore calculated to convey an erroneous impression.
The Relief Committee of the Ladies' Waist and Dress Makers' Union has not accepted any donation from Mr. Carnegie. That gentleman made his donation to the American Red Cross Relief Fund.
Since The Call has published daily the actual receipts of the Relief Committee of this union, and as that fund, as reported to-day, only amounted to $2,326.85, the error is apparent, and the publication of the Berkman letter in The Call under the headline above quoted is as inexplicable as the letter itself is characteristic of Mr. Berkman.
Kindly publish this communication at the earliest possible moment in justice to our committee.
Chairman, Relief Fund Committee, Ladies' Waist and
Dress Makers' Union, Local 25.
It seems to me that Mr. Mailly's point is not well taken. My letter states very clearly that "I do not know whether your (the Union's) Relief Committee or the National Red Cross accepted that donation. I am addressing this letter to you, who are actively interested in the relief work, to voice my protest against the victims of capitalist greed being "relieved" by capitalist "generosity."
That was the purpose of my letter. I wanted to express my protest against the hypocritical philanthropy of a Carnegie who donated his "gift" to the bereaved families almost on the very day when the Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania discharged the innocently imprisoned Andrew Toth, poor "Praying Andy," as we familiarly called him, after he had served twenty years in the Allegheny hell because of the perjured testimony of Carnegie's detectives.
What I said in my letter regarding the philanthropy of the notorious butcher of Homestead stands intact.
THE universal peace situation offers a splendid opportunity for a clever caricaturist to distinguish himself by illustrating the "peaceful" attitude of the Great Powers.
The United States government is anxious for universal peace and—musters her army to the Mexican border, ready to drown the revolution in blood the moment the American speculators give the signal. "Mexicans, you must obediently permit yourselves to be skinned, or we will shoot you"—that's the peace message of the American neighbor.
The picture is made complete by the American patriot continually whining that the army is too small and that the navy is not sufficiently big and efficient.
The British government, too, is in favor of universal peace. Only the other day one of its leading statesmen declared that the most pressing need of England is a million soldiers, to enable her to compete successfully in the business of man-slaughter.
France is also in favor of universal peace. Too bad that her nearest neighbor is Germany. This situation involves a caricature representing two vicious dogs greedily watching a tempting bone. When France strength her army with twenty thousand men, Germany feels it her duty to add thirty thousand to her forces; and when the German murder-specialists invent an improved cannon, the French jingoes bemoan their unpreparedness for war.
Even Germany would favor universal peace if France was not so near her border line, and if she herself was not so eager to grab a bigger slice of the world-market.
Russia is anxious for universal peace: it needs more leisure for hanging her noblest sons and (laughters, or burying the flower of her youth in the snows of Siberia.
Japan, too, is ready for universal peace. Therefore, its chief concern is to prepare herself for successful competition in war.
That is the picture of universal peace in the international State-menagerie. Will it be with the aid of governments, or against their opposition, that universal peace will be achieved?
THE Diaz regime is making the utmost use of the machinery of corruption and violence at its command to continue the people of Mexico in the slavery from which the Rothschild's, Morgan's, et al. draw such immense dividends. Should the government of Washington actively interfere with the revolution, the words of H. D. Thoreau would be very timely:
"How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also."
THE crime of October thirteenth, 1909—the assassination of Francisco Ferrer—is becoming an ever increasing danger, fraught with terror for the government of Spain. The discussion in the Cortes, in reference to Ferrer's trial and execution, resulted in the breaking up of the Cabinet. This, together with the continually growing anti-militarist propaganda, which is filling the masters with so much anxiety, is part of the just vengeance which the spirit of the murdered tribune of the people is visiting upon his assassins.
ONCE more it has been proved that the Constitution, the supposed cornerstone of popular well-being, is rather an ax for beheading the rights of the people.
Last year the legislature of New York passed the Workingmen's Compulsory Compensation Law. The worshippers of the State-idea were jubilant over the triumph of labor in the important issue of protection for the toilers. But, as usual, their trust in the governmental Providence has again proved a delusion.
Though the new law contained more bone than meat for the workingman, the Court of Appeals, Judge Werner presiding, found the law inimical to the interests of the plutocracy, and as such to be strangled. The Compensation Law was declared unconstitutional because it was designed to hold the employer materially responsible for accidents to his workmen. The constitution does not sanction such interference with the inviolable rights of property. The court quite openly declared that its highest duty is to protect the sacredness of possession, and when a legislature occasionally threatens property privilege, the courts are there to do their duty.
In his decision Judge Werner said:
The right of property rests not upon philosophical or scientific speculations, nor upon the commendable impulses of benevolence or charity, nor yet upon the dictates of natural justice. The right has its foundation in the fundamental law. That can be changed by the people but not by legislatures. In a government like ours, theories of public good or necessity are often so plausible or sound as to command popular approval, but courts are not permitted to forget that the law is the only chart by which this ship of state is to be guided. Law as used in this sense means the basic law and not the very act of legislation which deprives the citizen of his rights, privileges or property. Any other view would lead to the absurdity that the constitutions protect only those rights which the legislatures do not take away.
We should like to call the special attention of our readers, and of the American people as a whole, to the passage regarding the inability of the legislature to change the fundamental right of property; that can be changed by the people only. That is to say, all lawmaking is powerless to alter social conditions; the people alone possess the power to do so.
Perhaps the accumulating experience along these lines will soon suffice to teach the dupes of the ballot box that the Anarchists may be right, after all: that voting merely erves to delude the slaves into the belief of self-government, and that only direct action by the people themselves will accomplish their emancipation.
May the people take the Judge's hint to heart, and together with the fundamental right of property drive legislatures and courts out of the temple.
A "CRIMINAL" who should not be forgotten by the proletariat and who deserves brotherly sympathy, is the Brooklyn shoemaker Buccafori. One of the most active members of the Industrial Workers, he has always fought in the front ranks of labor; it is due to the energetic efforts of himself and his co-workers that the shoemakers of Brooklyn awoke into rebellion against the unbearable arrogance of the shoe manufacturers.
But the path of such a pioneer is full of thorns. Buccafori has been condemned to ten years prison, because, driven to desperation by the persecution of his foreman, he killed the latter.
The case of Buccafori is one of the many which the crude psychology of dominant justice fails to understand. The judges refused him the right of self-defense, although all the evidence in the case tended to prove the prisoner's justification. But his fellow workers and comrades know that an act like Buccafori's, far from being due to baseness, is rather the deed of a noble character. They will therefore not forsake him. All honor and active aid is due to Buccafori.
BY WM. C. Owen.
OF all the heart-breaking experiences that propaganda work has brought me, none begins to equal that through which I find myself passing in connection with the Mexican revolution. That the American public, as a whole, remains indifferent to the struggle now in progress at its very door, is to me the most astounding of revelations. One feels almost tempted to pass over to the capitalist side, allying oneself with those whose eyes are open to their interests.
The Mexican revolution, represented by the Mexican Liberal Party, is literally a Titanic struggle, for it is against the money power of the world. It is inexpressibly vital to every member of the great army of discontent, for it is spending blood and treasure to embody in the lives of fifteen million people those vital economic truths for which the entire labor movement of the world is supposed to be striving. It raises in the most uncompromising form the issue of the man versus the dollar; for it proposes, first and above all, to restore to the people an enormous and immensely rich domain, of which they have been robbed by governmental treason. By so doing it proposes to abolish chattel and wage slavery of a type probably more atrocious than any now existent. Moreover, it proposes to abolish them by methods acknowledged generally as those which alone can give permanent relief; that is to say, by restoring the land to the people and establishing individual liberty.
To accomplish this, an entire nation is in revolt, even those who have not been able to procure arms often joining in the battles. All this is happening at our very gates, on the other side of an imaginary line. Yet the American public, as a whole, still snores on undisturbed.
Here is a quotation from the close of John Kenneth Turner's standard work, Barbarous Mexico: "In Mexico to-day exists a nation-wide movement to abolish the Diaz system of slavery and autocracy. This movement is quite capable of solving the problems of Mexico without foreign interference. So far it has not succeeded, partly because of the assistance our government has given in the persecution of some of its leaders, and partly because of Diaz' threat—constantly held before the Mexican people—of calling an American army to his aid in case of a serious revolution against him."
That passage is literally true. The movement is "nation-wide." If not interfered with it would succeed, and, by succeeding, aid incalculably the entire movement of revolt with which the world is in labor. It has been interfered with, is being interfered with, and doubtless will be interfered with still more effectively—at the behest of the money power. For all money power is bending every effort to crush, at all points, the gathering attacks upon its throne.
This was the true meaning of the hurried dispatch, last month, of more than thirty thousand troops to the Mexican border, each man carrying two hundred rounds of ball cartridge. For this six warships were dispatched to watch the Gulf of Mexico ports. For this every warship on the Pacific Coast was put in fighting trim.
The outspoken manifesto of the Mexican Liberal Party, in which it declared that it was not fighting for any change of president or cabinet, but for fundamental economic rights, forced the money power's hand; for the sudden call to arms which riveted the world's attention was but the open continuation of a policy that had been prosecuted quietly for years. Three times before, within the last three years, had troops been rushed to the border, and all the civil forces of the government consistently employed to aid Diaz and his financial allies. It is not in Mexican jails alone that those who dared to raise their voices on behalf of Mexican freedom have been interred.
Do the thoughtful and humane of this and other countries understand what actually has taken place? Far and away above all other countries Mexico—rich, phenomenally rich Mexico—has been made within the last generation the gambling board of capital; has been the pawn in a gigantic money-grabbing contest.
Take the case of the Yaquis—brave, industrious, simple people; the best of workers. By the hundreds of thousands these people have been driven from the lands they had cultivated peacefully for centuries; driven at the bayonet's point. Those lands are owned to day by alien millionaires who got them for the merest song; while the Yaqui, delivered at the Yucatan hemp plantation, fetches sixty-five dollars. Two-thirds of them, it is said, die within a year after deportation.
On the tobacco plantations of the Valle National it is even worse. There ninety-five per cent. are reported as dying within the first seven or eight months. Did you ever hear of Aldrich and the highly protected tobacco trust?
Get a mental birds-eye view of this invasion by the money power—the most sweeping and the swiftest on record. Here is the barest outline.
The Morgan-Guggenheim copper merger—did you ever hear of these gentlemen?—is in absolute control of the entire copper output of Mexico.
The Standard Oil Company—the name sounds familiar—has control of most of the crude oil fields of Mexico. According to Regeneration its concessions cover one-eighth of the entire country.
The American Sugar Trust has obtained grants that insure it complete monopoly in the near future.
The Southern Pacific, and allied interests of the E. H. Harriman family, own or control three-fourths of the main line railway mileage of Mexico. The Harriman family also owns two and a half million acres of oil land in the State of Tampico alone.
So it has been going. The dice are shaken, and on the table what was Mexico rolls out as Wall Street.
Now these Mexicans are in revolt; nominally against their own government, but actually against even more powerful slaveholders; foremost among whom is the money power of the United States.
Do not imagine that this revolution has been manufactured by a few ambitious individuals or by a special class. On the contrary, it is a spontaneous uprising of almost the entire people, for well-informed correspondents report nine-tenths of the population as in hearty sympathy. Read the news in Regeneration, special organ of the Mexican Liberal Party, and you will find weekly reports of uprisings in every State and Territory, though admittedly only a small fraction of the actual news gets through. That paper, more than once suppressed and its editors imprisoned, has a circulation of twelve thousand, and it is astonishing how it manages to collect the news of the movement when one considers the difficulty attending the task.
It is recognized that such upheavals as the French and Russian revolutions are to be judged not by the talk-festivals in Paris, St. Petersburg, or other centers of population, but by the spontaneous outbreaks at a thousand and one scattered country points. Tested thus the Mexican movement bears all the marks of a genuine revolution. Peasants rise and oust their masters; there are sharp reprisals and little quarter is given on either side; reports of "executions" of officials and managers of estates are not infrequent; it seems generally understood that the revolution will succeed or be - drowned in blood.
Along the Southern border of the United States sympathy with the revolution is strong, and the small country papers give many details that the big dailies suppress. The latter publish ridiculously false reports, and endeavor assiduously to convey the impression that the movement is practically confined to the comings and goings of the small armed bands headed by Madero and other leaders. In reality they are but the fringe.
One recognizes that the large dailies of this country are invariably owned by the money power, and the Diaz government has won their enthusiastic allegiance by most generous concessions. For example, one hears much talk nowadays of Limantour, the Mexican Minister of Finance, with whom Madero is said to be in parley, debating terms of peace. During E. H. Harriman's life Limantour was his right hand man in Mexico. Recently Limantour visited New York City, but he denied himself to general callers. Those with whom he held special consultations were Pierpont Morgan, Jr., and Melville E. Stone, president of the Associated Press.
Such is the situation, necessarily condensed owing to lack of space. What then is to be done? Why, everything; for public apathy must be overcome, and public apathy is the child of public ignorance. The public must be made to understand that slavery is once more under fire, and it will rally as it did in the sixties. It must be made to understand clearly where its clear duty lies, and told plainly that maudlin sympathy wins no battles. Substantial support, in the shape of money, must be given as proof of genuine interest in what is the common cause.
Above all, those who have been declaring for years that capitalism and monopoly must be overthrown— whether they be Socialists, Anarchists, Single Taxers, or unattached—should hear ringing in their ears that call to special effort which at special moments special circumstances imperiously dictate. The question is not Mexican but international; slavery and freedom are again at death-grips.
THE APPEAL OF MEXICO TO AMERICAN LABOR
Headquarters of the Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party,
519 1/2 E. 4th St., Los Angeles, Cal., U. S. A.
March, 11, 1911.
To SAMUEL E. GOMPERS, President of the American Federation of Labor, 425 G St., N. W., Washington, D. C.
Sir:—The Mexican Liberal Party appeals to you— to you directly and officially, as head of the largest body of organized labor in the United States. It appeals to you in a cause as just and holy as ever history recorded; it makes an appeal, therefore, that you cannot and, we are sure, will not resist.
It is time that the workingmen of the United States speak out, and it is for you to give the word, promptly and decisively.
The slavery against which we are fighting is the slavery your American Federation of Labor was organized to fight. The chains that the money power has fastened on us are the chains against which you fret. Our cause is your cause, but your cause in its extremist, most pitiable and, therefore, most irresistible form.
We are in revolt against unspeakably atrocious slavery, forced on us and supported by the American money power. The Standard Oil Co., the Guggenheims, the Southern Pacific Railway, the Sugar Trust—all that Wall Street autocracy against which you and the great masses of your nation are making such vigorous protest—are the powers against which we of Mexico are in revolt. They have dispossessed us of our lands and rendered us homeless by the hundreds of thousands; they have left us the choice of exile or imprisonment in such hells as the Valle National.
To support this Wall Street inferno, American soldiers are being called to arms. Already by the tens of thousands they are being sent to our borders, that they may aid in stamping out the last spark of that freedom which is supposed to be the basis of your Republic.
It is time for effective protest, and it is you who can make it most effectively.
The issue is clear, unmistakable, beyond evasion. We repeat that our cause is your cause, and we call on you to give it voice—promptly, clearly, and decisively.
Yours, for human liberty,
(Signed) R1CARDO FLORES MAGON,
For Junta, Mexican Liberal Party.
Offices of the Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party,
519 1/2 East Fourth Street,
Los Angeles, Cal., U. S. A., March 13, 1911.
EMMA GOLDMAN, 210 E. 13th St., New York City, N. Y.
Dear Friend and Fellow-Fighter in the Cause of Human Liberty:—I write urging you to exercise on behalf of my countrymen in Mexico the influence you wield over a large section of the American public. Need I spend my breath in telling you that we are fighting the world-wide battle of human emancipation; that our cause is your cause; that we are struggling for what every intelligent man and woman knows as being absolutely indispensable for human happiness and development? I think I need not.
It is well known—has been proved beyond all peradventure of doubt—that, at the behest of the money power, hundreds of thousands of my countrymen have been driven from the lands on and by which they and their forefathers had lived since our history began. Thus they have been forced into such hells as the tobacco plantations of the Valle National and the hemp plantations of Yucatan, or driven into exile across the American border, where they struggle desperately for a starvation wage. Somehow or other men and women must live; or, at least, try to live.
What will become of these millions of men, women and children if the money power has its way? What will be the result if it succeeds in trampling them beneath the heel of militarism? And what will be the effect on the character and standing of the American nation if it suffers itself to be the obedient tool of the money power, and stands before the world the avowed defender of chattel slavery of the most atrocious type? Surely, to ask these questions is to answer them.
The American public does not understand; it cannot see the picture in its awful reality, for it is misled by the willful misrepresentations of those who, having gigantic money interests at stake, are sparing no effort to delude it.
So long as the money power thought the struggle in Mexico was merely to displace one dictator with another it looked on indifferently; for such struggles have been frequent in the history of Latin peoples, and they alter nothing. But to-day it understands quite clearly that its own selfish interests are in the balance; that we are fighting for the restoration of millions and millions of acres of land, given away to foreign syndicates by the fraudulent connivance of Diaz' unspeakable government, and entirely without the consent of the rightful owners, the people; that we are determined that the poor shall come once more into what is justly their own. Therefore to day the money powers in America, backed by the money powers of the world, are calling the American nation to arms.
In such a crisis will you be silent? I think not; indeed I know you cannot be.
Yours for human emancipation,
RICARDO FLORES MAGON.
THE COMING TRANSFORMATION
NO Revolution ever rises above the intellectual level of those who make it, and little is gained where one false notion supplants another. But we must some day, at last and forever, cross the line between Nonsense and Common Sense. And on that day we shall pass from Class Paternalism, originally derived from fetish fiction in times of universal ignorance, to Human Brotherhood in accordance with the nature of things and our growing knowledge of it; from Political Government to Industrial Administration; from Competition in Individualism to Individuality in Co-operation; from War and Despotism, in any form, to Peace and Liberty.
ON THE TRAIL
LEST our friends fear that I am in danger of becoming respectable, I wish to inform them that I am still under the protective wing of the police. STAUNTON, Ill., has proved that police interference may occasionally be deferred, but that it has ceased — never.
At the station in Staunton I was met in a manner befitting a queen, a detachment of police on hand to pay me homage. A few comrades were also there to bring the tidings that the meetings had been suppressed, but that another hail was hastely secured where I might try to speak.
Onward we marched like Tennyson's six hundred, police in front of us, back of us, and on the side of us. The hail was quickly filled, but as the guardians of disorder were bent on stopping the meeting, they arrested Comrade Kobeinell who had corne with me from St. Louis, our champion literature man having preceded me to Milwaukee. The crime of Kobcinell consisted in selling books without a license, — a wretched police pretext to create a disturbance; but these stupids made their calculation without taking into account Anarchist determination. Of course, our comrade had to be escorted to the police station, but on learning his fate ($200 bond), L raced back to the hall where the audience had been waiting patiently. The police made all kinds of threats, but I spoke on that most reviled of all ideas, Anarchism. I then called for volunteers to go on the bond, and the response came without much ado. After the usual red tape Kobcinell was released to appear for trial later on. We then held a German gathering in a private house, attended by quite a crowd, regardless of a two-mile tramp through Staunton mud. A collection was taken to cover the loss of the meeting, to which everyone present contributed. Comrade Kobcinell was dragged back and forth from St. Louis to Staunton, and finally condemned to pay $17.50 fine, although $5 is the legal fine for the offense. Considering that the purchaser of the prohibited article was a detective, our friends will realize that the punishment was not in excess of the crime. Besides, what is the law if not a most contemptible trap for innocent victims, to feed hungry parasites? If not for the disappointment of Comrade Kurnik, who worked faithfully for the success of the meetings, and the great number of miners who had come from afar, I should have enjoyed the experience. Not that I need proof for the devotion of the police. I know only too well that there will always be a chance to exchange the hotel for the station house; therefore there is no danger of being spoiled.
Too bad Diogenes lived in the long ago; else he might have discovered a man in BELLVILLE, Ill. Unfortunately, the man happens to be the mayor of the town — a most unique specimen in American political life. Though, perhaps, not so brilliant as Brand Whitlock, Mayor Kern is none the less unusually well-informed and progressive. His library would make the mouth water of every literary gourmant. But above all, this strange man is remarkably courageous and liberal. I wonder why such people will continue in the political swamp? It must be that the American, like the Schwab, cuts his wisdom teeth at a late age. The truth is, most Americans are sadly deficient in the political wisdom teeth.
MILWAUKEE! Hurrah! The millennium has come. Red flags waving; bands playing the inspiring strains of the Marseillaise; men, women, and children in festive attire; no policeman, no patrol-wagon, no prison, nothing but clas-conscious Comrade Seidel-Berger to look after their flock.
Es wär'so schön gewesen;
Es hatt'nicht sollen sein.
Seriously, has anything been changed with the ascendency of the Socialist régime? Yes, Mayor Seidel has declarced that the only way the 25,000 unemployed in Milwaukee can be helped now, is to cut the salaries of all the city employees. Really, now? All city employees, including also Mayor Seidel, Congressman Berger and the rest of the official staff? Nixie. No such class-consciousness for theirs. By city employees only the two-dollar-a-day wretches are meant. Surely the Seidels and Genossen are not expected to share their hard-earned thousands with slum proletarians. The latter must starve until economic determinism will determine the entire machinery of government into the hands of Socialist politicians.
Poor stupid voter! If you vill believe in heaven before election, don't complain if you get hell after wards.
However, so long as Milwaukee is being purified, nothing cisc matters. Listen, ye abused wives! Flock to Milwaukee, the beautiful paradise. Here your wayward husbands will be brought back to you from any part of the State or country; here they will be forced to love and feed you, and — if they balk, to jail with them, and don't you forget it.
And you, mothers, desirous to protect your daughters from temptation, tue Municipal Dance Hall is waiting for them, with Grannie Berger to watch over them. As to the Hoboes of the land, Milwaukee is their salvation. Ninety days for vagrancy. Come all ye that are heavily laden and poor in spirit. The Kingdom of Heaven is here, in Milwaukee. Amen.
Our meetings were not very large, but who would expect much in the land of the proletarian's heart's desire. Our Comrades Kopczynski and German must have mustered U the inhabitants of hell, the only place where people still interest themselves in revolutionary ideas; for the rest, all is castor oil with honey.
MADISON, Wis. Last year our visit caused quite a rumpus, a would-be newspaper, the Democrat, suddenly having discovered no end of gAnarchist explosivesh among the professors. And all because the most progressive of them all, Prof. Ross, dared to announce my lecture from his rostrum. The idea of an American professor owning his soul is too awful.
Whether it was in consequence of the attack of last year, or the fact that the legislature was to be coaxed into an appropriation for tue university, the professorial gentlemen gbehavedh this time. Our ad was refused by the college paper. After all, professors too must cat, and the State being the employer of these good men, they must submit.
The students were not deterred; they came in mach larger numbers than last year. Altogether at least a thousand students attended our three lectures. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that if ever solidarity between the workers and the American intellegencia is established. Madison will furnish the largest share.
DULUTH, Minn., was new territory, but it proved worth the effort. Two good meetings and a large quantity of literature vill, no doubt, help to prepare the path for future activities.
ST. PAUL, Minn., was an unlucky number on our itinerary, everything going wrong in that city. Meeting dates mixed, the hail refused at the last moment, and a sudden spell of cold to accentuate the frost of the situation. But the North Pole itself could not paralyze Benjamins ardor. One meeting was arranged, and survived.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., proved the usual stand patter, only more so, owing to the zeal of our Comrades Kraemer, Axelson, and Ruth Olsen. They canvassed the city so carefully that naught hut success was possible. We had six meetings, the last for the students of tite University of Minnesota, and every lecture was well attended. Out of our weeks work resulted the Social Alliance Club, which is to carry on regular propaganda work in Minneapolis. Nearly a hundred friends joined, some money was collected, and a series of lectures arranged which will be held at McEleroy's Hall, Nicollet and 7th Streets. MOTHER EARTH and other Anarchist literature will be on sale at these meet ings.
That there is need for such a club in Minneapolis can be seen from the fact that a number of Socialists, tired of the party discipline and despotism, lost no time in joining our group. The Socialist party is fast drawing its hues closer against individual effort, so that anyone daring to breathe freely is made to go.
One of their ablest men, the editor of The New Time, a little Socialist sheet, was severely censured for bringing the announcement of our meetings, and when the same man, Caspar Richinan, dared to suggest that the monsters who had flogged and tortured the victims of the Red Wing Reform School should be chased into eternity, the brave party held up the entire number and declared war on the editor.
One need not have a prophetic eye to see that the discontent brewing in the party ranks will one of these days cause quite an explosion.
Groups of young artists, living a careless Bohemian life, with ideals for breakfast, paints and brushes for luncheon, and sunsets for supper, are the usual thing in Europe. But to find such a circle in America, living their ideals and caring naught for dollars and cents, is indeed a great event.
The spirit of this extraordinary little band in the Studio of Minneapolis is an American girl, though of foreign parentage, Ruth Olsen. At her age the average American girl dreams only of a good match and nice clothes. Not so our young artist. Breezy and free as the western plains, she is yet deeply absorbed in the most serious problems of life. She is on familiar terms with the best literature of the world and passionately devoted to art.
With her are two other girls and several young men, the insurgents of the Minneapolis Art School, which they have left in protest against its lack of freedom. As Ruth justly says, all great art is Anarchism, the freedom of expression. These young rebels have their own studio where they paint, dream, plan, and live on sandwiches and spaghetti in the most exquisite spirit of mutual helpfulness and solidarity. With more of this idealism, the youth of America, too, may some day, even like the heroes of Russia, give life a different meaning than what it has with us to-day.
OMAHA, Neb., has never been a stormcr. But our small group of friends have remained staunch. Among them, Fred Tomson was more than usually helpful in arranging three meetings in the theatre of which he is the lessee.
The treat of Omaha is dear Mother Fageberg with her five daughters — so full of harmony and good comradship as only true freedom can inspire. The Fagebergs are old radicals who were counted among the many that mourned the death of our martyrs of '87. But unlike so many others, Mother Fageberg has remained true and free. How wonderful old age can be if surounded by harmony, Mother Fageberg is demonstrating. At seventy her spirit is as strong and undaunted as if she were a young rebel. With it goes so much sweetness and humanity that captivates every one's heart.
LINCOLN, Neb., Bryan's town. Judging by the mess this erstwhile American savior has made of himself, Lincoln has nothing to boast of. To us the city was virgin soil, but with usual insistence her maidenly shyness was soon overcome. Our two meetings attracted all sorts and conditions of men and women, mainly students, however.
The miracle of miracles happened there. The law students, usually among the most conservative, invited me to speak before them, and showed genuine interest in the question of law, crime, punishment, etc. I am not optinitstic enough to believe that any of the men will give up the career of lawyer. It's too good a business, this juggling with legal phrases. But that law students will stand for Anarchistic ideas, is a significant sign of the times.
Altogether, the Trail is discovering to us a great many vistas, all ready to be explored.
After Kansas we go to Denver, 14th — 19th of April; Salt Lake City, 22nd — 26th.
Beginning May 1st for 10 days at Los Angeles, then San Diego; Fresno, between 11th — 15th of May. After that San Francisco.
On then, ever onward.
ANARCHiSM —The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by m.n.made law; the theory that all form, of government rest on violence, and ere therelore wrong end harmful as well as unnece.aery.
ANARCHIST —A believer in Anarchism; one opposed to all form. of coercive government and invasive authority; an advocate of Anarchy, or absence of government, as the ideal of political liberty end social harmony.
TO THE SUBSCRIBERS TO "THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EUGENICS"
MORE than a year has gone by since Moses Harman saw the last number of his much-loved magazine come from the press, and sank to his well-earned rest. That number was dated Jan.-Feb., 1910. In it he said:
"If the readers of Eugenics would know more of the exceptionally courageous and wonderfully persistent battle for free speech in New York and other eastern cities, that has been fought by Emma Goldman and her few steadfast friends, they should send stamps, dimes, or dollars for copies of MOTHER EARTH. The friends of truth and justice everywhere should do what they can to make Miss Goldman's next annual tour a triumphant success."
Now MOTHER EARTH is to fill out the unexpired subscriptions to Eugenics. Those whose subscriptions have expired will receive sample copies of MOTHER EARTH. I am sure that this arrangement would be satisfactory to my father, and I hope it will please his -friends. He always said that he expected to continue to publish his message to the world as long as he lived, and though he hoped his magazine might continue after his death, he wanted me to feel perfectly free to make any disposition of it which might seem to me best.
It has been very hard for me to definitely give up the publication of Eugenics. My father's life and work-his publications, Lucifer and Eugenics-have been so closely interwoven with my life ever since my childhood, that it is with a mental and physical wrench that the parting is made. Yet Moses Harman was unique. His work was unique. Neither I nor anyone else could fill his place. But his work lives; he lives in the hearts, the lives of unknown numbers. Not only his children (as is promised to the "righteous") but many, many more "rise up and call him blessed."
But I did not start to write a panegyric of my father. I wanted to make a business statement. It will readily be understood that the addition of the subscription list of Eugenics entails a very heavy extra expense on MOTHER EARTH. I trust that prompt subscriptions will balance this increased expenditure. If any subscribers are dissatisfied with this arrangement, I will endeavor to "square accounts" in some other way, if informed of the fact. I hope to publish one or more volumes of my father's writings, but cannot say when the work will be done. In the mean time, I hope to keep in touch with his friends and mine. The "latch-string" still hangs out at his old home (1532 Fulton St., Chicago). Volumes of Lucifer, Eugenics, The Right to Be Born Well, Institutional Marriage and other works of Moses Harman may be ordered through MOTHER EARTH.
* * *
ARE KOTOKU PROTESTS JUSTIFIED?
New York, Feb. 3, 1911.
My DEAR MISS GOLDMAN.
I have just received notice of the "Kotoku Protest Conference Defense Committee." It begins: "The judicial murder by the Japanese government of twelve Anarchists and Socialists"-I have seen no evidence that they are anything but what some people here would call Philospohical Anarchists and very little that they are Socialists; it is certainly unfair to them and confusing to others to lump them all as "Anarchists and Socialists." Anarchy and Socialism seem to me (as to Tucker) to be opposite poles of thought, and I think it should be remembered that twelve of them are still in jail awaiting the arbitrary disposal of the Japanese authorities. It appears to me that for Anarchists to meet as such, and protest as such,* and to dub them
Anarchists with the meaning Terrorist that is ordinarily, though erroneously" understood by the word "Anarchist," is practically to stab them in the back. The threat in this resolution is particularly ill advised.
I have no doubt whatever that the Anarchistic expressions of sympathy, with the threat of violence that is sent out under that name, would only prejudice the Japanese officials against the prisoners, and there is no question that those are reported.
I joined in these protests because I saw clearly that they would be made anyhow by the Anarchists and, if they were to refrain, probably by hardly anybody else; and as my name is known in connection with some conservative matters, I hoped that it might have a palliative effect. If it had been a question, however, of whether the withholding of my name would have tended to stifle the protest under the much misunderstood name of "Anarchist," I should certainly have withheld it-not from any lack of sympathy, but because it seems to me a means ill-adapted to the end that we wish to attain, or at least proposed, namely-to save those persons who are under pretext of conspiracy are being punished for the expression of their opinions.
For the same reason I think that the appeal of the Protest Conference will injure those who remain alive, more than any money we can raise will help them.
Yours very truly,
* Mr. Hall is in error. The protest meeting was not held by"Anarchists, as such." The call to organize the Kotoku Protest Conference was issued by Local New York, S. L. P. The participants and speakers at the protest meeting represented all shades of radicalism.-Ed.
February 11, 1911.
My DEAR MR. HALL.
As your letter could not go in the March issue of MOTHER EARTH, and also because I was very busy, I delayed answering yours of the 3rd instant.
To say that I was surprised at the contents of your letter is to express it mildly. I had hoped from you, of all people, that, after knowing me for something like ten years and a great many others who hold the same ideas as I, you would have developed out of the notion that the Anarchists are divided into philosophies and terrorists. But I see that you are still in the thralldom of the superstition so common among a great "many people.
Now, as a matter of fact, there is not an Anarchist in the whole world who propagates violence, except that all agree-even such ultra respectables as Mr. Tucker-that we have the right to resist oppression.
The term "Philosophic Anarchist," as Fred Schulder justly said, is merely a cloak for a great many who hate to be considered fools, and yet haven't the courage to admit that they are opposed to present society. It is not used in any other country except America, and was adopted largely for the very reason that Schulder refers to. It is quite true that there are Anarchists, Individualists and Communists, but these terms only differentiate the particular economic arrangements of society under Anarchism. But to class them into philosophic and terrorist Anarchists is, to my mind, very absurd. Surely you cannot accept that classification merely because of the popular notion of it. Would you, because the popular notion were that Single Tax meant taking away the land from the people, accept this meaning? As a free man, you must be interested in what you stand for. Of course you would try to dissuade the public from its misconception. But you would not give yourself another name merely to satisfy public opinion Would you? I think that the term "Anarchist" is quite broad enough to cover whatever concept we may have of a society based on individual freedom and collective opportunity. If the public does not understand it, it is my business to educate it, but it cannot be my business to give myself another name merely because the public is ignorant.
Now, as to why the Anarchists have combined in an active protest against the terrible murder in Japan. The Japanese who were recently killed proclaimed themselves as Anarchists without any extra qualification to it. As a matter of fact they were known as "Kropotkinists," because they have translated Kropotkin's works. They-were and still are bitterly attacked by the Marxian Socialists, just as we are attacked by them in this country. It certainly would have been downright betrayal to the Japanese victims if their only comrades, the Anarchists, had not taken an active part in their behalf. The very fact that they stood quite isolated in Japan is more reason why we here and in Europe should have expressed as loudly as possible our sympathy with them; at least it must have been something inspiring to know that their comrades all over the world were with them.
I should, of course, be very sorry to hurt those who are still alive and in the hands of the Japanese authorities; but I am quite confident that they would not want me to keep silent simply because I could buy their release by denying them. I am quite sure that were I in their place I should utterly repudiate the sympathy and assistance of any set of so-called "liberals," if they gave it to me on the condition that they would deny my Anarchism.
You may lend your name to the protest if you wish, or not-that, of course, is for you to decide. But I cannot believe that you will be like many others who claim to be liberals or radicals; namely, that you would withdraw your name because the people there are Anarchists, or because the Anarchists here have joined their brothers in a protest. If liberalism means anything at all, it means faith in the ideal of liberty, especially in the right of the individual to entertain an ideal of liberty, no matter how little understood by the public at large. At any rate it seems to me that whatever we have accomplished in the past in the way of liberty has been thanks to the staunch and faithful adherence of the pioneers of an idea to their principles.
You know that as well as I, Mr. Hall, and I hope that you will not expect us to betray our principles, or our comrades, because of some petty gain we might accom-plish from the conservative element.
This may seem a little harsh to you. I am sure I do not mean to be, especially with you; but, to tell the truth, I am tired of the compromise that seems to be the fundamental effort of every man and woman in this country. I repudiate any such means of gaining recognition for myself, or of buying redress for those whom I call my comrades. I assure you if the people in Japan would have denied their ideas I should have been very grieved, but I would not have claimed them, because then it would have meant going directly against their desires; but so long as they are brave enough to stand up for the truth, why should I, or my comrades here, be expected to join in the popular howl against them?
Yours very truly, EMMA GOLDMAN.
February 13, 19II.
My DEAR MISS GOLDMAN.
I thought that I had made my letter clear, but yours makes it clearer-that I had not. I have added a few words in the further, though probably futile, effort to make it plain to the careless reader.
You can do whatever you liKe as to publishing my letter, as revised, and your answer, modified as it wiII be to accord with the changes in mine.
I have also made some notes on yours. My objection was and is to methods,' your letter seems to assume that it is to principles (on which there is no disagreement between us).
Language seems to me to be merely one method of communication and the best language that which best conveys our thought and feeling.
If I could find another name that would avoid the misunderstanding of the words "Single Tax" I would certainly substitute that. In England our movement is called "Taxation of Land Values," or "Ground Rent Taxation."
But as we already have taxation of land values here, though only a little of it, the change would create a new difficulty while removing a part of the old one.
Still we often debate changing.
* * *
I ASK you to think with me that the worst that can happen to us is to endure tamely the evils that we see; that no trouble or turmoil is so bad as that; that the necessary destruction which reconstruction bears with it must be taken calmly; that everywhere -- in State, in church, in the household -- we must be resolute to endure no tyranny, accept no lie, quail before no fear, although they may come before us disguised as piety, duty or affection, as useful opportunity and good nature, as prudence or kindness.
ECONOMY AS VIEWED BY AN ANARCHIST
By C. L. JAMES.
The chief purpose and result of parsimony actually is to buy into privileges of monopoly—stocks of a chartered corporation, land, slaves, if there are any, etc.; then, since both the existence of these privileges, and the parsimony itself checks trade and therefore production, we may well doubt whether relaxation of the parsimony would not on the whole make the world richer -- this, at least, is a most powerful argument secundum magis et minus, that those countries where the standard of proletarian comfort is highest, as the United States and England, grow rich faster than those where it is lower, as France, Spain, Italy, Holland; but those of the far east, like China, where the standard touches bottom, are the poorest among civilized nations — the solitary exception, Japan, dating her increase in wealth chiefly from recent Europeanizing of her practises. I suspect those who especially praise parsimony of a further confusion in thought. The luxury of non-producers impoverishes a country, because their existence does; but that of producers makes the difference between barbarism and civilization. If, again, we take Capital to mean not W. P. W., but the magnet of Surplus Value, it is clearly much older than money, and can by no possibility owe its being to the practise of saving money. Homer knows nothing about money;18 but in his time there were slaves and masters, landlords and hired agricultural laborers (thetes) , merchants of Egypt and Tyre and savages whom they skinned in Greece and Italy, even as there have been since. It is idle to look for another origin of Surplus Value when such obvious sources as war, plunder, conquest, government, and law, confront us since the beginning of history.
16. The Distribution of Wealth is therefore into the following shares-to put first those which are supplied first — Waste, Plunder, and Wages. Between these last afterwards intervene Rent and Profits, which began indeed as Plunder — the first Rent being simply all a barbarous king could take from cultivators without making his dominion a desert; the first Profit being realized in the slave-trade,-but which have become "differentiated" from other Plunder, in a manner now to be described. We have seen that Demand exceeds Supply wherever there is an exchange, that trade is kept alive by fluctuations of this excess from certain products whose value falls, to others, whose value rises; that in steady conservative trades these fluctuations are small, short, frequent; but in those of a less settled character they are comparatively rare, great, and sudden. To anticipate such fluctuations, buying into the rising market, selling off betimes upon the falling, is therefore the essence of the merchant's art. It is a branch of Intention, making wealth not only for him, but the community, as orthodox economists have saved me the trouble to prove when they were fighting the old laws against "forestalling and regrating." So far as it does that, it is not a source of Surplus Value or of Profit. But it is a chief source of Profit, and therefore of Surplus Value I The entire process of its evolution may be illustrated thus. The gains of the man who keeps a little store in the backwoods receiving, as all such men do, produce of various kinds for his goods and also to sell on commission, are well known to be almost wholly wages-i. e., he could not hire a man to do his work for much less than he himself gets out of the business. Neglecting, as capable of exclusion from the case without affecting the principle, whatever small percentage over his waves he makes on his original investment, such a man is just as simply a productive laborer as the hunters and "crackers" who bring him pelts and corn for the hats and boots they buy. If he makes something by reducing the rate of purchase on corn because he sees the crop will be redundant, and raises his bids for furs because the paper shows him that they will go up during the winter, still this is but his wages "of superintendence," as manager of an exchange. But if the prospect of a great advance in furs induces him to pay more for them than he could recover in case of disappointment, this is Speculation. He no longer expects to gain with, but from, his customers. Taking his case at random, he will probably lose-more than ninety per cent. of these even in business not highly speculative fail-but he may, with reason, too, feel so confident of success that he can judiciously borrow money to increase his purchases of furs. The practise of borrowing and lending at interest no doubt began in other ways than this. It began in the needs of distressed proletaires, who being wholly at the mercy of a privileged class, like the banyans of India, the eupatridre of Athens, the plebs in early Rome, were fleeced by them, till they either rebelled, as at Athens and Rome, or began themselves to decay, as in India. But though this is the historic origin of interest, interest might arise in the demands of speculators as just supposed i and this, which may be called its theoretical origin, modifies the effect of the historic, thus. The robber-interest imposed by monopolists who, like the banyans, eupatridre, and patricians. have the game for a time in their own hands, is, we have seen, suicidal; -- it either provokes resistance, which, being for life, is successful, as it did in Athens and Rome, or it kills the goose which lays the golden eggs, as it is doing in India. It strikes an increasing number of the lenders, accordingly, as less inviting than that lower rate at which speculators are willing to borrow on more or less good security. And thus there comes to be established a customary rate, determined by, and of course less than, the average profit in all successful trades. This average share in profit is already known as Economic Interest-much lower than exceptional profits, but always somewhat higher than what is called Commercial Interest, and which is recognized, in any country, as obtainable entirely without work, by invention or otherwise, on absolutely reliable19 security.
(To be continued.)
18 The talents paid in the Iliad to settle a feud were not coined nor currency.
19 This theory of the origin of interest is my own. All other theories I have ever met with, as Bastiat's, Senior's, and George's, appear to me wildly fanciful or even rhetorical and destitute of any definite meaning.
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Vol. VI August, 1911 No. 6
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
We are glad to bring the appeal of the Mexican Liberal Junta, urging our friends to a generous response. The Mexican revolution is of international importance, and no one with a true spirit of liberty would refuse to aid a brave and heroic people fighting for economic emancipation.
Offices of Regeneracion, 519 ½ . E. 4th St.,
Los Angeles, Cal., July 21, 1911.
To you, as a radical, we make appeal on behalf of this paper and of the Mexican Liberal Party, which is in a life-and-death fight not only with Madero and the world-wide forces of capital, but also with certain Socialist Party leaders.
The Mexican Revolution is in itself an event of incalculable importance, and the action taken by these Socialist Party leaders has made it infinitely more so. They have started an international quarrel that MUST be fought out. The labor movement of the world, and the Socialists themselves, MUST learn exactly where they stand; MUST ascertain, once and for all, whether they are to be the plaything of personal ambitions or are to be given the opportunity of working unitedly for economic freedom.
In that fight you are interested most profoundly, and will wish to do your loyal share. The fight is vital and international, and we of Los Angeles should not be required to carry the whole burden.
Six of our most capable writers and speakers are now if! Jail in Los Angeles, and five are imprisoned in San Diego. They are charged with violating the neutrality laws; for apparently it is a crime not to remain neutral when 14,000,000 of the down-trodden are striking for liberty. Their imprisonment cripples us badly, for the moment.
Twenty-one thousand copies of Regeneration are issued weekly from this office, and go to all parts of the world, including —
despite Madero's rigorous boycott-Mexico. We issue much other educational matter, and our work, especially at this crisis, is vital to the international movement of revolt. But this entails enormous expense, and financial assistance we MUST have.
We ask you to fill out the enclosed slip, writing in the largest sum you possibly can spare, mailing it in the accompanying envelope and doing so AT ONCE.
RICARDO FLORES MAGON,
ENRIQUE FLORES MAGON,
WM. C. OWEN,
MANUEL G. GARZA,
Treasurer, Mexican Liberal Party Junta,
519 ½ E. 4th St., Los Angeles, Cal., U. S. A.
* * *
FOR the moment, and the United obtaining concerned, and financial aid in the United States is the Mexican revolution has been playing in exception-
ally hard luck. Two factors of great weight have been thrown into the opposite scale; the first being the Los Angeles Times' case, which is absorbing the attention of the labor movement, and the second, the industriously circulated delusion that the Mexican Revolution ended with the fall of Diaz.
For this delusion, so welcome to the moneyed interests, we have to thank the Socialist press. The Appeal to Reason led off with an infamous article beginning: "the Mexican Revolution is at an end"; Berger backed it up with the widely-heralded declaration that, even if it were not at an end, Socialists should not support it; Debs supplied the finishing touch by writing in the International Socialist Review that, for the sake of humanity and the prevention of bloodshed, it ought to be brought to an end.
These are the three main factors whom our Mexican comrades have to thank for what is by far their greatest difficulty-the delusion that the revolution is a thing of the past.
* * *
THE intellectual eunuchs of the capitalist press represent the most wretched human species in society. They are the bravos of our time who, in return for a few
paltry dollars, sell their very souls. Servile to the insati-
able Moloch of capitalism, these mental hirelings stoop to the lowest depths to seize upon innocent and unsuspecting victims.
The McNamara case furnishes a striking example to what length our journalistic banditti can go. It was a certain Palmer, of Hampton's Magazine, who first helped to prepare the conspiracy against labor and the McNamara brothers. Now it is a worthy colleague of his, a certain Harvey O'Higgins, who gives the finishing touch. In the August issue of McClure's this man constitutes himself the mouthpiece and eulogist of William J. Burns. The very title of his article shows the
"impartiality" of this Burns' champion: "The Dynamiters. a great case of Detective Burns." Even the law considers the McNamaras innocent, till proven other-
wise. Yet Harvey O'Higgins makes himself a party to the cruel, vicious, and deliberate method of manufacturing prejudice against the imprisoned labor leaders in Los Angeles. We are given to understand that Judas Burns is one of the greatest American geniuses.
And, indeed, as an unscrupulous hireling of the murderous capitalist system, Burns is a genius. There are few crimes on the calendar he would hesitate to commit, nor anything he would leave undone, to prove his importance to a society that thrives on crime.
The article in question is one of the worst outrages perpetrated by the press in a long while. It's evident purpose is to prejudice the public mind-and thus the
jury-against the McNamaras.
* * *
THE capitalist press perpetuates ignorance not merely through the misrepresentation and mutilation of facts, but even more by the complete ignoring of important events. Thus neither the Associated Press nor Laffan's Bureau has had a word to say about the great peace demonstration of the French Syndicalists and the German trade unionists in Berlin, July 30. Yet it was this concerted solidaric action of the revolutionary proletariat, and not the politicians Kiderlen-Wachter, As-
quith, and Caillaux, that prevented the planned massacre on account of Morocco.
This gigantic demonstration of solidarity on the part of labor (which began in Paris, spread to Berlin
Volume 6 Issue 6
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
WE are glad to bring the appeal of the Mexican Liberal Junta, urging our friends to a generous response.
The Mexican revolution is of international importance, and no one with a true spirit of liberty would refuse to aid a brave and heroic people fighting for economic emancipation.
Offices of Regeneracion, 5191/2 E. 4th St.,
Los Angeles, Cal., July 21, 1911
To you, as a radical, we make appeal on behalf of this paper and of the Mexican Liberal Party, which is in a life-and-death fight not only with Madero and the world-wide forces of capital, but also with certain Socialist Party leaders.
The Mexican Revolution is in itself an event of incalculable importance and the action taken by these Socialist Party leaders has made it infinitely more so. They have started an international quarrel that MUST be fought out. The labor movement of the world, and the Socialists themselves, MUST learn exactly where they stand; MUST ascertain, once and for all, whether they are to be the plaything of personal ambitions or are to be given the opportunity of working unitedly for economic freedom.
In that fight are you interested most profoundly, and will wish to do your loyal share. The fight is vital and international, and we of Los Angeles should not be required to carry the whole burden.
Six of our most capable writers and speakers are now in jail in Los Angeles, and five are imprisoned n San Diego. They are charged with violating the neutrality laws; for apparently it is a crime not to remain neutral when 14,000,000 of the downtrodden are striking for liberty. Their imprisonment cripples us badly, for the moment.
Twenty-one thousand copies of Regeneracion are issued weekly from this office, and go to all parts of the world, including—despite Madero's rigorous boycott—Mexico. We issue much other educational matter, and our work, especially at this crisis, is vital to the international movement of revolt. But this entails enormous expense, and financial assistance we MUST have.
We ask you to fill out the enclosed slip, writing in the largest sum you possibly can spare, mailing it in the accompanying envelope and doing so AT ONCE.
Ricardo Flores Magon, Anselmo Figueroa,
Enrique Flores Magon, Wm. C. Owen,
Librado Rivera, L. Caminita,
MANUEL G. CARZA,
Treasurer, Mexican Liberal Party Junta,
5191/2 E. 4th St., Los Angeles, Cal., U.S.A.
* * *
FOR the moment, and so far as obtaining sympathy and financial aid in the United States is concerned, the Mexican revolution has been playing in exceptionally hard luck. Two factors of great weight have been thrown into the opposite scale; first being the Los Angeles Times' case, which is absorbing the attention of the labor movement, and the second, the industrially circulated delusion that eh Mexican Revolution ended with the fall of Diaz.
For this delusion, so welcome to the moneyed interests, we have to thank the Socialist press. The Appeal to Reason led off with an infamous article beginning: "the Mexican Revolution is at an end"; Berger backed it up with the widely-heralded declaration that, even if it were not at an end, Socialists should not support it; Debs supplied the finishing touch by writing in the International Socialist Review that, for the sake of humanity and the prevention of bloodshed, it ought to be brought to an end.
These are the three main factors who our Mexican comrades have to thank for what is by far their greatest difficulty—the delusion that the revolution is a thing of the past.
* * *
THE intellectual eunuchs of the capitalist press represent the most wretched human species in society. They are the bravos of our time who, in return for a few paltry dollars, sell their very souls. Servile to the insatiable Moloch of capitalism, these mental hirelings stoop to the lowest depths to seize upon innocent and unsuspecting victims.
The McNamara case furnishes a striking example to what length our journalistic banditti can go. It was a certain Palmer, of Hampton's Magazine, who first helped to prepare the conspiracy against labor and the McNamara brothers. How it is a worthy colleague of his, a certain Harvey O'Higgins, who gives the finishing touch. In the August issue of McClure's this man constitutes himself the mouthpiece and eulogist of William J. Burns. The very title of his article shows the "impartiality" of this Burns' champion: "The Dynamiters, a great case of Detective Burns." Even the law considers the McNamaras innocent, till proven otherwise. Yet Harvey O'Higgins makes himself a party to the cruel, vicious, and deliberate method of manufacturing prejudice against the imprisoned labor leaders in Los Angeles. We are given to understand that Judas Burns is one of the greatest American geniuses.
And, indeed, as an unscrupulous hireling of the murderous capitalist system, Burns is a genius. There are few crimes on the calendar he would hesitate to commit, not anything he would leave undone, to prove his importance to a society that thrives on crime.
The article in question is one of the worst outrages perpetrated by the press in a long while. It's evident purpose is to prejudice the public mind—and thus the jury—against the McNamaras.
* * *
THE capitalist press perpetuates ignorance not merely through the misrepresentation and mutilation of facts, but even more by the complete ignoring of important events. Thus neither the Associated Press nor Laffan's Bureau has had a word to sat about the great peace demonstration of the French Syndicalists and the German trade unionists in Berlin, July 30. Yet it was this concerted solidaric action of the revolutionary proletariat, and not the politicians Kinderlen-Wächter, Asquith, and Caillaux, that prevented the planned massacre on account of Morocco.
This gigantic demonstration of solidarity on the part of labor (which began in Paris, spread to Berlin and London, and terminated in Barcelona) has quite paralyzed the Prussian government. In its helpless imbecility it knew nothing better to do than to expel one of the delegates of the Confederation du Travail, Comrade Georges Yvetät. That, however, did not dampen the spirit of our comrade. In a fiery farewell address he urged the solidarity of the soldiers of Germany and France, calling upon them to direct their efforts against their respective governments instead of against each other.
* * *
IN the face of this revolutionary and uncompromising spirit, how weak and puny us the attitude of the Socialist politicians.
Years ago the veteran leader Bebel went into fatherland spasms, declaring he would don the Kaiser's coal to defend "his" country against invasion of Russian barbarians. And now comes the leader of the English Labor Party, Mr. Ramsey McDonald, proclaiming the solidarity of his part with those of Asquith and Balfour against the invasion of the German barbarians. Nor must we forget Messrs. Blatchford and Hyndman who for years have been rabid German-baiters.
Mr. Hyndman, "Father of the Social Democracy of Great Britain," and one of the editors of the calumnious Justice, may be prompted by economic determinism in his continuous attacks upon Germany. Together with the Earl of Westmoreland, Lt. Gen. Sir Seymour John Blace, Bt. C. B., Admiral Leicester Keppel (friend of the late Kind Edward) and other "proletarians," he was a director of the Colt Gun and Carriage Company, Lt. The company was formed in November, 1899, on the top of the Boer War, by the Lancashire Financial Association, with a capital of 500,000 £I shares—350,000 of which were subscribed and called up—to acquire the patent for Great Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Austria, of the Colt Machine Gun, and the right, for fourteen years, of manufacturing this patent firearm, as also to acquire the Earl of Dundonald's fifty-two patents for guns and carriage for £500,000, of which £30,000, at least, was to be cash. The Socialist Hyndman joined the Bard of Directors on June 6thm 1904, the minimum qualification being 500 £I shares. At one time he held, and was interested in, a total of not less than 14,850 ordinary and 400 preferential shares. He resigned his position on the Board, but returned and remained (1906-7). Evidently, Hyndman's German menace was regarded as a wild cat, for the company went into voluntary liquidation on Nov. 11th, 1907.
The names of the directors give one to reflect. They are persons interested in war-promotion. Their confederate, H. M. Hyndman, shared their interests. And so he shouts out loudly for an increase in armaments, knowing that he will gain substantially from their increase; his attitude is one of latent and actual crime, unless legal human murder be regarded as deserving of admiration rather than of censure. The phrases that he employs to conceal this hideous truth are pregnant with the social crime he would seem to trade in. Thus, in the Morning Post for Sept. 8, 1910, he wrote:
"The criticism at Copenhagen (International Socialist Congress) and elsewhere will not prevent me continuing to advocate the maintenance of a powerful ocean-going navy, and air-going fleet, as well as the establishment of a genuine citizen army for the protection of the safety and independence of this country."
Quite correctly our London exchange, the Herald of Revolt, comments that "'the safety and independence of this country' is the political clap-trap of the governing class politician in every land where workers starve and idlers thrive. It knows no country, and is restricted to no one language. It is international—as international as the crime that promotes it. Hyndman is but one among its many exponents."
* * *
OUR contention regarding the brutalizing effects of militarism—its inherent tendencies toward degeneracy and disease—is now borne out by the report of the Surgeon-General of the Federal Army. Good patriots and bigoted Puritans will be delighted to learn that the hospital admissions for alcoholism and sexual diseases reach the astonishing proportions of nearly one quarter of the entire Army. The hospital admissions for alcoholism have averaged about 25 in 1,000 for a considerable time, but the admissions for the diseases of vice have lately risen to something like 200 in 1,000, far ahead of the figures for any army in Europe.
"The latter peril, especially, has come to outweigh in importance any other sanitary question which now confronts the Army," declares the Surgeon-General, "and neither our national optimism nor our Anglo-Saxon disposition to ignore everything distasteful can longer excuse a frank and honest confrontation of the problem."
Unfortunately, the Surgeon-General himself is still a victim of "our national optimism and our Anglo-Saxon disposition." He dare not call a spade a spade. He sermonizes about the diseases of dissipation and of "vice". Sex is non-existent to him.
* * *
HOW very different is the attitude of cultured Europeans toward sex. In connection with the International Hygiene Exhibition at Dresden, the Neo-Malthusianism Society will gather for an international conference in September. Men and women foremost in the scientific world and social workers in every movement will participate in the congress, as well as representatives of the government of Saxony. Among the subjects to be discussed are sex hygiene and preventative methods.
With St. Anthony as the guardian of American morals, the delegates to an American Neo-Malthusian congress would run the risk of spending the rest of their lives in the penitentiary. What a provincial and hypocritical nation we are, after all.
* * *
THE deteriorating influence of bad examples on good habits has been most forcibly demonstrated in Arden, Del., the dreamland of American single taxers.
Always, the followers of Henry George have been champions of free speech, even going to prison for it. Yet when a member of the single-tax colony attempts to exercise the right of free speech, and if the offender happens to be an anarchist at that, the law is invoked and the man sent to the workhouse. How inconsistent and foolish of liberty-loving people, but still more foolish that the anarchist, our otherwise staunch comrade, George Brown, should have followed such an inconsistent course.
But most ridiculous of all are the faddistic and sensational Socialist highbrows of the colony, who had nothing to say, when the anarchist was sent to prison and who now make a howl when they had to swallow their own medicine.
The Mexican Revolt
By Voltarine De Cleyre
At last we see a genuine awakening of people, not to political demands alone, but to economic ones, -- fundamentally economic ones. And in the brief period of a few months, some millions of human beings have sprung to a full consciousness of a system of wrong, beginning where all slaveries begin, in the sources of life. They have struck for LAND and LIBERTY. And even if their revolt shall be crushed by the mailed hand of the United States Government (for I do not believe the present nondescript thing calling itself a government, in Mexico, has craft or power to pacify or crush all the seething elements of rebellion), yet it has set a foremost mark upon the record of human demand, from which hereafter there will be no retreat. From now on, when an oppressed people revolt, they will not demand less.
"Events are the true Schoolmasters," I hear the justified voice of my dead comrade Lum calling triumphantly from his grave. For years and years the brothers Magon and their coworkers in and out of Mexico have been voices crying in the wilderness which some few thousands at best have heard. But in the storm-wind of popular revolt, rising, no prophet could have foretold when, nor gazer at the aftermath just why it was the chosen hour, in that strong clean-sweeping of the psychic atmosphere, millions of unlettered and otherwise ignorant people saw, as with lightning sharpness cutting a black night, the foundation of all their wrong, and heard the slogan "Land of Liberty" to which their ears were so long deaf, -- heard it, raised it, acted on it, are acting on it. With that clear and direct perception of the needful thing to do which lettered men, men of complex lives, nearly always lack, being befogged by too many lights, they move straight upon their purpose, hew down the landmarks, burn the records of the title-deeds.
So do the plain people. Temporizing men, sophisticated men, men of books and theories, men made timid with much mind, Hamlets all, -- they devise solemn in-directions; they figure on compensation schemes, on taxation fooleries, on how-to-to and how-not-to-do at the same time. The simple man says, "No: you have told us, an truly, that this land was filched away from us by a paper-title scheme. Its power lay in our admitting its right. Well, we no longer admit it; we destroy it. The land is ours; we take it." And they have driven off the paper-title men, and are working the ground on hundreds of ranches.
It is true there are other millions asleep in the storm; true that many of the awakened have been quieted with political hocus-pocus; true that a hundred and one reactionary forces are battling on the same ground. It is true that the world at large, outside of Mexico, is but little informed as to the real struggle. But that does not alter or diminish the truth that the Slaves of Our Times, in a nation-wide revolt, have smitten the Beast of Property in Land. And once a great human demand is so made, it is never let go again. Future revolts will go on from there; they will never fall behind it.
At present the great press is saying little of the chaos in the Mexican situation, though for the last few days, since as news purveyors they cannot keep entirely silent, small hinting editorials are creeping in, pointing interventionwards, "in case disturbances are not pacified." No doubt the United States Government would prefer to preserve its hypocritical pretense of abstinent impartiality. It hopes its catspaw will safely pull the chestnuts out of the fire. It is comfortable to pose as the disinterested friend of peace in our sister republic, so long as American landlord powers in Mexico are undisturbed, or so long as the Mexican branch of the Capitalistic Defense Association is able to tend to its division. But one this has been pretty plain since the provisional government assumed its functions: "Barkis is willin'," — but not effulgently able. People who have once taken up arms and felt the satisfaction of ridding themselves of one tyrant, of doing rude justice in opening prison doors, or seeing a whole confraternity of office-holders and office-seekers in anxiety to placate them, are not so unready to take up arms again; especially when the whole mass of discontent is leavened with conscious revolutionists who are crying the means of social regeneration in their ears.
It is very plain now that the provisional governors are treading on thin crust, and the elections instead of steadying the human subsoil down to mortuary rigidity, may prove the prelude to more violent eruptions. In that case, the reluctant (?) hand at Washington may be forced to play — clubs! on its own responsibility.
Meanwhile, what have the revolutionary elements of the United States to say about it? I almost sneered as I wrote "revolutionary elements," for candor compels us to inquire where they are. Time was when some people thought the Single Tax was based on a fundamentally revolutionary idea, the final expropriation of the landlord by the people. The Single Tax papers, however, have said as little as possible about the great Land cry of the Mexican revolutionists, have laid all stress upon the political mirage-chasing by which Madero and his coadjutors side-tracked the uprising of May, and have refused to print the Manifestoes and Appeals of the Mexican Liberal Party, to afford the Publicity of their columns to the read demands of the revolutionists, that their readers might give their sympathy and support and the influence of their understanding. They were waiting, they said, for Madero to pronounce himself upon the land in question! I opine they have still quite some wait coming.
From all which, it seriously appears that the expropriation of the landlords by the people, the restoration of the land to the people, is not the object of the single tax movement; on the contrary, the object is the establishment of the single tax itself, -- not as a working means to a great end, the establishment of the equal right of all to the use of natural resources, but at neat sleight-of-hand method for collecting revenue; at best, a way of getting rid of landlords by fooling them into getting rid of themselves, not because they are robbers to be got rid of, but because it's such a clever trick to play! Men are to demand the land, not that they may get the land, but that the demand may serve as an excuse for instituting Single Tax!
If this is not the interpretation we are to put upon it, then how else are we to read the conspicuous silence of the Single Tax press concerning this great agrarian revolt? Millions of people have been demonstrating their appreciation that The Land for All the People is the primary foundation for a better economic structure. They have taken a more direct route than the singe tax. And the land agitators are silent!
Time was when Socialism was a revolutionary word. And there are still some Socialists who are international revolutionists. But the official political Socialist Party, -- bah! If ever the vitiating influence of the marriage of Socialism with Politics (that old Bluebeard husband of so many fine young wives) was demonstrated beyond disputation, it has been in the official attitude of Socialists towards this spontaneous manifestation of the Mexican people.
The utterances of Victor Berger, "the Socialist Congressman" (we receive this information as to his status with painful reiteration at least once a column in every issue of the Chicago Daily Socialist), concerning "the bandits of Mexico" were enough to make the authors of the Communist Manifesto repudiate their name. Those strong souls who asserted that "the communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things," and appealed to "Workingmen of All Countries to unite," — what would they have in common with a smug occupier of a congressional seat, who in a strongly marked German accent makes anti-immigration speeches against Slavs and Italians in the name of protection to American Labor (?) and who directs his secretary to say, "concerning the Mexican revolt, that "the Socialist Party can afford to have no connection with this movement" (?). In the light of this and similar utterances in the Socialist Press (I have even learned on good authority that one Socialist editor really desires United States annexation of Mexico, but dares not advocate it yet, "because it would be unpopular" with Socialist readers) it would appear that the distribution of the Communist Manifesto by the Socialist Party is about of a piece with the distribution of the Christian Gospels by the Christian Church; in both cases, it is traditional literature, which nobody is supposed to take seriously.
Instead of giving even the news of international revolutionary movements (often one looks in vain for any), or the economic ground-plan of Socialism, we have columns of vice-crusading, sporting pages, and veritable hot-air balloons of self-inflation for having assisted in some relatively trivial petition. Only in their correspondence columns is there some occasional evidence of the indignant spirit of a true Socialist, outraged by all this trimming to suit the wind, this flunkeying to the respectable element, this suffocation of revolutionary principle and sentiment under a time-serving mantle of political prudence and cheap catering. Yes; Politics is nicely bluebearding Socialism. How far away is all this from the serious, intent spirit which watches and welcomes the manifestations of the people themselves — no matter what their degree of development or enlightenment — as the real indications of how the race will come into its own! Not according to any men's preconcerted program, not by any carefully selected route, not by anybody's plan of campaign to make an "educated, class-conscious," etc. ad nauseam vote-casting machine; but in their own unforeseen and unforeseeable, unpredetermined, by-the-hour-and-circumstance-decided way, as the peoples always move, -- as Life, which is greater than the peoples, always moves.
And the business of the revolutionist, the seeker for the Changes of Old Forms, the dreamer of Liberty and Plenty, is to be with them in their struggle, in their victory, in their defeat, whenever, wherever, the people rise.
Hail to the Mexican strikers, who likely are too ignorant to pursue a course in the "Evolution of Class-consciousness," but who are apparently very alive to the fact that Now is the hour to strike for better conditions —the hour of governmental weakness and popular strength. Hail to the Mexican Revolution, victorious or defeated. And hail to the next that rises!
C. L. James
By James F. Morton, Jr.
The death of C. L. James, at the age of 65 years, removes from the ranks of Anarchism and from radical propaganda in general one of the most striking figures known to the American movement. His ripe scholarship and immense range of his studies rendered him a powerful protagonist in public discussion; and few who met him in the field of debate have come away unscarred. He was, with good cause, held to be the most profound scholar among American Anarchists; and his name often did yeoman service in confuting the incautious slanderer of the Anarchist movement, who upbraided it as appealing not only to the fanatical an ignorant.
Not many biographical details are at hand, as the life of Comrade James was, at least during the years in which he was best known to American radicals, somewhat that of a recluse. For many years he resided at Eau Claire, Wis., where he seems to have led the quiet life of a scholar, dividing his time between active propaganda with the pen and laborious research and literary activity of a constructive nature. Rarely did he leave his home, to mingle personally with the outside world; and therefore few radicals have known him otherwise than through correspondence. He was born, according to information which has been supplied, In Baden-Baden, Germany, October 23, 1846 and died in Eau Claire, Wis., June 3, 1911. His father, I believe, was G. P. R. James, the famous English novelist of an earlier day. When he came first to this country, or when and how he became interested in radical opinions and a convert to the Anarchist school of philosophy, I am not informed. I trust that the facts regarding his early years may be brought out by application to his surviving relatives. From a rough list of his principal writings, it appears that his earliest published works were a volume of poems and a book on Transcendental Philosophy, both which appeared in 1871. In 1886, he appears as a defender of the Anarchistic proposition, in a pamphlet entitled "Anarchy." From that time on, he is seen in the radical ranks, almost invariably occupying a post in the extreme advance. Among the books and pamphlets issued by him are noted "Law of Marriage," "Degeneracy," "Origin of Religious Systems," "An Appeal to Women," and "History of the French Revolution." Works yet to appear in book form are "Vindication of Anarchism," published serially in Free Society a few years since, and "Economy as Viewed by an Anarchist," now appearing in Mother Earth. With regard to the entire body of his work, he made the following statement, shortly before his death: "All may be considered extracts from the (MS.) 'History of the World,' which is the work of my life." It may be hoped that much valuable manuscripts in relation to his great life-purpose may be secured, and may prove available for posthumous publication.
The bare list of published books and pamphlets tells, in fact, very little of the tremendous output of his ever-active mind. By far the larger portion of his writings may be found in the form of articles and letters, in the files of the more radical periodicals of the past thirty years. Propaganda along general lines could not suffice for his versatile genius. His instinct was to probe every phase of the subject; and nothing escaped his notice. Having a born impulse toward debate, he never refused or overlooked a challenge, direct or implied. No opponent was too insignificant to receive recognition; nor did he fear to confront the most imposing antagonist, even in the field of his foe's strongest specialty. To him, all things, great and small, were closely interrelated; and loose thinking or inaccurate apprehension of fact, even in distinctly minor matters, were held by him to demand emphatic reprobation, as leading to greater and more far-reaching errors. Few will be found to accept all his conclusions; but still fewer will refuse their admiration to his powerful and many-sided mind. Even where his views may have proved in a measure unsound, he contributed immeasurably to the clarification and development of radical thought and of sound methods of thinking among radicals. His insistence on the intellectual side of Anarchism was borne good fruit. In opinions, he was, as practically every reader of Mother Earth is already aware, an uncompromising Anarchist. He never minced words or phrases; nor did he ever seek to disguise his most extreme convictions for respectability's sweet sake. The only department in which his views approximated those current in conservative circles was that of medical science. He held all forms of what he termed "quackery" in utter contempt, and had as a consequence many a sharp tilt with other radical writers, from which even those who differ from him will not claim that he always came out second best. A strict disciple of science, he was sternly impatient of the encroachment of emotionalism or sentiment of the domain of thought and experience. As against a large proportion of radicals, he strenuously defended both vaccination and vivisection, and upheld orthodox Malthusianism (scorning to take refuge behind the bulwark of "Neo-Malthusianism") against all corners. If at times his manner appeared somewhat overbearing, and if he seemed harshly intolerant in little things, these weaknesses may readily be pardoned in one whose whole life was a tireless struggle against the monster of ignorance, and in behalf of the principles of liberty and enlightenment. On the larger issues, he never waivered; and when defenders where needed, he was never found wanting. His death leaves a gap which will not soon be filled; and his memory will not fade.
THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT IN HOLLAND
By F. DOMELA NIEUWENHUIS.
I THINK it of utmost importance that the Anarchists throughout the world should be in close touch with each other and keep informed regarding our movement in every country. I am therefore much pleased at the opportunity to write to you concerning the Anarchist movement in Holland, to give our English-reading comrades a proper conception of the situation in my country.
The Anarchist movement here is making very good progress. I consider it the best in the world, compared with the movement in other countries of Europe with which I am familiar.
My assertion is borne out by the condition of our press. In this country, with a population of less than six millions, the movement supports six weekly papers, all of them doing well financially. (One of these papers is published twice a week.) They are: Vrye Socialist (Free Socialist), Toekomst (The Future), Recht voor Allen (Justice for All), Vryheidsvaan (Banner of Liberty), Arbeider (The Worker), Naar de Vryheid (To Freedom). We also have an anti-militarist monthly magazine, De wapens neder (Down with Weapons). Besides, the independent trade-unions, similar in character to the Industrial Workers of America, publish twelve papers for the different unions.
When we compare our efforts with those of our English comrades who have only Freedom (monthly) and the Yiddish paper Voice of Labour; or with our German comrades who have only Freie Arbeiter (weekly), Der Anarchist (twice a month) and Socialist (twice a month), or with our French comrades who have Les Temps Nouveaux (weekly) and Libertaire (weekly), we have all reason to be content. And every week our propagandists go into the country to preach to the disinherited our evangel of discontent, and to awaken the indifferent masses made stupid by hard and monotonous toil.
And how great is the number aRd might of our adversaries of all sorts I You find the clerical reaction very strong, holding in its hands the government and the majority of Parliament (60 against 40), the liberal reaction, the radicals, and-last not least-the Social Democrats, who hate us more than the others, because we have prevented their calling themselves the labor party of the country. Their name is Sociaal Demokratische Arbeiders Party, commonly called S. D. A. P. Because you find among them many students, clergymen, and advocates, it is said that those letters have this significance: Students-Dominees-Avocates Party. These parties form a great block when it concerns Anarchism, because they are all authoritarians: they want to maintain authority and for them it is only a struggle as to which of them shall have the political power in their hands. I have therefore often said that all these parties, from the Pope of Rome to the Social Democrat, form one great reactionary party, in principle the enemies of the Anarchists. Let us not cherish any false illusions in this matter: when Social Democrats are in power they will persecute us worse than any other party. It is not true, as some Anarchists claim, that you come to Anarchy through Social Democracy. I hold, on the contrary, that those principles are not two lines which will meet each other at some common point, but two lines which, going parallel, can never meet.
We have in this country a great advantage in the fact that there is the quality of Anarchy in the character of the people. Their traditions are with us, and if we cultivate this character we shall bring the population into the fold of Anarchism.
Protestantism is in its essence Anarchistic, and that is the great difference between Catholicism and Protestantism. It cannot be denied that Protestantism is individualistic, because the authority which it accepts is not external, but internal. The Protestant recognizes only the authority of his own conscience, and the internal voice of the conscience of one man is just as good as that of another. Each heretic "has his letter," and therefore Protestantism is the religion of individualism. When a people is Protestant, it has the germ of Anarchism in itself and we, as Anarchists, must say to the people: What you want in religion is freedom of conscience, the liberty to regulate your own affairs; we want the same, in everything; if you can regulate your own affairs with God, why should you not regulate your own affairs in the State? Direct action is a Protestant as well as an Anarchist principle.
In this regard, I think, there is much similarity between the two peoples: the American and the Dutch. Perhaps heredity plays a part, because the Pilgrim fathers were Dutch and English. It is in the blood. America, like Holland, has a certain disposition to be Anarchistic. But there is an antagonistic element; that is the German. True, Germany is also Protestant, but there is a great difference between the Lutheranism of Germany and the Calvinism of Holland and England. Lutheranism is properly a disguised, an inconsequent Protestantism, because Luther made himself the Pope instead of the Pope at Rome, and he was as intolerant as the Catholic Church. That is proven by the war he waged against Carlstadt, Thomas Miinster, and the peasants- and when he was intolerant, he was quite-in his role. On the other hand, when Calvin was intolerant towards Michael Servet and the libertarians of Geneva, he played traitor to his own principles.
That makes a great difference.
I cannot elaborate this theme, but can only briefly indicate the cause why one people has a disposition toward, and another against, Anarchism.
In Holland you will find an exaggerated sense of freedom. An example will illustrate this. When the police issue some order, even though it may be good in itself, the people are inclined to disobey, only because it is ordered by the police. When smoking is not allowed in a railroad car, you will often find persons who purposely go into the no-smoking car to smoke there. This I call an exaggeration of the sense of freedom, mere opposition to authority. I disapprove of this, but I believe that if you direct this disposition into the proper channels, it will be far easier to make Anarchists of such people than if the1 lacked the spirit of rebellion.
At a Social Democratic meeting in Germany, the putting on of his helmet by the police officer-who is ever present-is a sign that the meeting is dissolved. And the people leave without protest. When this happens in Holland (and I must say that it is an exception) it creates a great stir and it requires great efforts to clear the hall.
Such examples are very instructive, because they supply a key to the character of various peoples.
The same discipline which you find in the German army, you also find in the German Socialist party, for it is in the blood of the people. And the same lack of discipline which you find in the Dutch army you will find in all the political parties of the country. The consequence is that you will find almost a hundred different religious sects. The same with Socialism. In Holland we have several parties: I. the Social Democratic Party of Workers; 2. the Social Democratic Party, which has seceded, forming a new party; 3. the Socialist Party (Socialistenbond). We have had here a Communist Party, a Federation of Communist-Anarchists. Certainly, it is very difficult for the toilers to know all these parties and the points of difference between them. These are the phenomena which you can observe in Holland.
Surely we have much to do and the movement isnot as strong as could be wished, but when we consider the comparatively short time that Anarchism has been propagated here, as well as the constant and bitter opposition of the Social Democrats towards us, we can well be satisfied with the results we have achieved and the influence we exert over the masses.
We have a strong anti-militarist movement, and there have been numerous cases in which young men have refused military service. We also have a rationalist school movement, in the spirit of our brave comrade Francisco Ferrer. There is also an abstinence movement, for we believe that no man can be free as long as he is a slave to drink. The Anarchist movement must have an ethical character and therefore the vanguard of human emancipation must set a good example.*
We have very good Anarchist literature in Holland, which finds much circulation, as the workingmen are very eager to read and study. We dispose of great quantities of propaganda leaflets and the works of such leaders of modern thought as Kropotkin and Elisée Reclus are as well known to our people as in any other country. We stand abreast of the international movement, and the voice of the struggling proletariat in any land ever finds an echo here. Thus it was in the case of Ferrer, as well as with Haywood, Moyer, and Pettibone; with the Japanese martyrs, as well as in the case of Edward Joris of Constantinople. We cultivate the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, and if we wish for greater results that very circumstance should prove our inspiration to greater and more energetic efforts.
As to the trade-union movement, it comprises several organizations: I. the Christians, which are divided in Catholic and Protestant; 2. the so-called Werkhevenverbond (Federation of Labor) which sympathizes with the radicals; 3. the so-called Nederlandsch Yak Verbond (N. V. V. or Federation of Dutch Trades:Unions), which is Social Democratic; 4. the Independent Trades Unions under the Nationaal Arbeiders Sekretariaat, N. A. S. (National Secretary of Labor). Diversity enough. The last is more or less Anarchistic, but opportunism is beginning to show its influence. When the Federation of Dutch Trades-Unions makes propaganda for a working-day of 10 hours, the Independent Trades Unions begin a movement for a working-day of 8 hours. But the abolition of the wage system is not propagated either by the one or the other. It is a struggle for practical reforms, and one party vies with the other in making promises. Strikes are the order of the day, but neither party seeks the triumph of labor. With their mouths they shout, "Proletarians of all countries, unite I" But secretly they think: we shall not help you and we hope you will lose the fight. It is a pity it is thus; but the truth must be told.
I do not mean to deny that it is a grand motto; but it is incomplete. Marx has not said in what the workers should unite. We can unite for a good as well as for a bad purpose. Therefore I believe we must be far broader if we have the welfare of humanity at heart; and if we really mean well with the people we should say to them: learn to stand on your own feet, learn to see with your own eyes, learn to hear with your own ears, learn, to think with your own brain. Then only, when the workers do so, will they be saved. Not by a savior who will bring you to happiness and prosperity, but by being your own savior, for that is the sole way to triumph.
If you in America and we in Holland and our comrades in other countries faithfully propagate these ideas of independence, self-reliance, and solidarity, and reach each other our hands to facilitate our common task, we shall make speedy progress, there is no doubt.
Many greetings and best wishes to you from your Dutch comrades.
*The abstinence movement does not arouse our enthusiasm, for we in America know too well its narrow, arbitrary and invasive tendencies. One need not necessarily be an abstainer in order not to become a slave to drink. As anarchists we demand the right to regulate our own diet. --M.E.
KOTOKU'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH ALBERT JOHNSON
By HIPPOLYTE HAVEL.
ONE of the pleasant memories of our martyred Japanese comrades must have been their friendship with European and American radicals, among whom were Leopold Fleischmann and Albert Johnson, the veteran Anarchist of California. Thanks to Leopold Fleischmann, Denjiro Kotoku [real name of Shūsui Kōtoku ed], T. Sakai, Sen Katayama, Dr. Kato, and others came in closer touch with the social struggle in America. It was also through Mr. Fleischmann that Denjiro Kotoku met our old friend Albert Johnson, the acquaintance soon ripening into a friendship which continued even after Kotoku returned to Japan. The result of their intimacy now comes to us in the form of an extensive correspondence. I am indebted for these valuable letters to Leonard D. Abbott, of the Current literature; and am very happy indeed to be able to submit them to the readers of MOTHER EARTH.
The letters are reproduced as written, since any attempt to edit them would but detract from their charm and simple grandeur. One can readily see that Denjiro Kotoku had joined the army of the social revolution and that as thinker, fighter and organizer he gave himself unreservedly to the cause of human emancipation.
Of great value is the letter wherein Kotoku speaks of his development to Anarchism and the reasons there for. Evidently the economic and social conditions which act as a leaven in Europe and America operate with the same force in Japan. Even as we, the Japanese are confronted with identical pressing problems demanding solution.
Denjiro Kotoku was a scholar engaged with deep philosophic questions. Like Renan, Strauss, and Bruno Bauer, our Comrade was devoting himself during his last imprisonment to a work containing a severe arraignment of Christianity. What a strange coincidence that at the very moment when Professor Drews' work on Jesus Christ was causing such a furore in Germany, the Japanese Anarchist thinker, in a Japanese prison, with death staring him in the face, was elaborating the same theme.
Tokio, Japan, Nov. 25th, 1904.
I feel very happy to inform you that this picture* was reproduced from that which you sent me, and is published from Heimin Shimbun office, a Socialist weekly. I have been prosecuted on the charge of publishing a treasonable article and sentenced to five months' imprisonment. When this card is in your hand I will be in Sugano Prison of Tokio.
Tokio, Dec. 30th, 1904.
MR. A. JOHNSON.
*Picture of Kropotkin
Dear Comrade :-In replying I thank you very much, for I have received Mr. Kropotkin's address and many valuable literatures which you sent to me.
Both as a source of argument and reference, Mr. Ladd's work, "Commentaries on Hebrew," should be of great value for me, because I am an atheist or agnostic, and always fighting against the dogma of Christian and all other religions.
I regret that I did not have a chance of reading late Mr. Hearn's work, but I think it should be a good authority,as he lived himself a complete Japanese life during many years till his death.
As already informed, 1 was prosecuted by barbarous government on the charge of inciting to the alteration of the Dynastic Institution and sentenced to five months' imprisonment, but I soon appealed and second trial was postponed until January 6th.
Beside this I was sentenced on 20th inst. to a fine of 80 yen on the charge of translating and publishing Marx's "Communist Manifesto." What beautiful Japanese Government is! Is it not quite same to Russian despotism? I ever remain,
Odawara, Japan, Aug. 10th, 1905.
MR. A. JOHNSON
Dear Comrade :-1 have just received your letter of July 16th, and translated it orally with great pleasure for my wife, who listened very attentively with most gratitude for your friendship and kindness.
We could not help shedding tears of sympathy with your youngest daughter having lost her husband recently, and of thankfulness in knowing that you would have had. the dinner in your house to celebrate my release.
August 6th we came to the sea-shore of Odawara, a town about fifty miles south-westernward from Tokio, to restore my health. The building in which we are now staying is a villa owned by Dr. Kato, who is devoted Socialist and is kindly attending my sickness.
Five months' imprisonment not a little injured my health, but it gave me many lessons of the social questions. I have seen and studied great many of so-called "criminals" and became convinced that the governmental institutions----court, law, prison-are only responsible for them-poverty and crime.
Among the many books which I have read in the prison were Draper's "Conflict Between Religion and Science," Haeckel's "The Riddle of the Universe," Renan's "Life of Jesus," and so forth. Besides I repeated again two interesting books which you sent me-Mr. Ladd's "Hebrew and Christian Mythology" and Mr. Kropotkin's "Fields, Factories and Workshops."(By the way, Mr. Ladd often mentions Buddha as a Chinese philosopher. It is true that the greater part of Chinese population is now Buddhist, but Buddha or Gautama is not Chinese. He was born in India. He is Hindu. Several centuries after the death of Buddha his religion was introduced into China.)
Indeed, I had gone.** as a Marxian Socialist and returned as a radical Anarchist. To propagate Anarchism in this country, however, it means the death or lifelong, at least several years', imprisonment. Therefore its movement must be entirely secret, and its progress and success will need long, long time and endurance.
I am now intending to live in America and Europe during several years for the following purpose:
(I) To study foreign conversation and writing which are most important instruments for the. International Movement of Communists or Anarchists. I can only read English literature, but cannot speak. And writing in English, as you see, is very hard for me.
(2) To visit the leaders of many foreign revolutionists and learn something from their movements.
(3) To criticize freely the position of the "His Majesty" and the political, economic and institutions from foreign land where the pernicious hand of "His Majesty" cannot reach.
If my health allows and money, that is to be borrowed from my relations and friends, could be raised I will start in the coming winter or next spring. Although we are now at Odawara, we will return to Tokio at next month.
P. S.-My wife was pleased very much with many pictures enveloped in your letter.
**To Sugano prison in Tokio.
Tokio, Sept. 5th, 1905.
I thank you very much for the present of Kelso's "Government Analyzed," which I received last night. I soon read the preface of the author. I think it is a very valuable book and I will learn many things of the evil of government and the good of Anarchy from it.
My health is recovering day by day, and I am intending to start, for America in the next November. In haste.
Yours fraternally, D. KOTOKU
I have read Mr. Ladd's article, "Japan Leads the World," in Searchlight of July.
Tokio, Sept. 8th, 1905.
Japanese Government is now receiving natural, but dreadful result of the patriotism and jingoism which were stirred up by the hands of themselves. During the last four days the city of Tokio has been drowned by the sea of fire and blood.* The state of siege has been proclaimed, many publications suspended, and to the Postmaster given the right of confiscating any letter.
*Jingo demonstrations following the signing of the peace treaty at Portsmouth.
Tokio, Oct. 1Ith, 1905.
MR. A. JOHNSON.
Dear Comrade :-Our weekly is still suspended and our office has been compelled to dissolve ourselves owing to the barbarous persecution and financial difficulties.
I'm now intending to organize the Japanese laborers in America. There is no other means to get freedom of speech and press than to quit the soil of the state of siege and go to a more civilized country.
October 11th, 1905.
Many thanks for books and literature. We were pleased very much with the pictures of the foreign ladies and children. I have decided to start on the N. Y. K.'s ship November 14th, for Seattle and San Francisco, with my nephew.
How pleasantly and happy it would be to shake hands with you and comrades early in next December!
Volume 6 Issue 7
Though we are very reluctant to drop anyone from our lists, MOTHER EARTH cannot carry unpaid subscribers, since, even at best, it is published at a loss. Therefore we strongly urge our readers to send their subscriptions in AT ONCE.
Thanks to the generous offer of Companion M. H. Woolman, we succeeded in enlarging our subscription list. But the magazine is still far from the self-sustaining point. In the hope of reaching that goal, we have decided to make this offer:
Anyone sending us three new yearly subscriptions before the expiration of the current M. E. year (closing with the February issue, 1912) will be entitled to a free copy of one of the following books, sent postpaid: (a) "Conquest of Bread," by Peter Kropotkin; (b) an autograph copy of "Anarchism and Other Essays," by Emma Goldman; (c) any dollar book carried by us.
We hope our friends will lose no time in availing themselves of this opportunity.
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
THE period of prosperity by the grace of Morgan is on the wane. Hundreds of unemployed crowd the parks, and many jobless men are vainly seeking work. The capitalist press sounds a warning against strikes and dilates upon the insecurity of the money market. Wall Street plans to send its champion commis voyageur Taft on an exhibition tour, that he may lull the growing discontent of the people by soft political phrases.
Do the Mammonists really believe they can abolish the social misery by the display of Presidential quantity?
* * *
TO counteract the yearly protest of labor against wage slavery, as manifested on the First of May, the representatives of the American plutocracy at Washington decided upon a legal holiday. Instead of repudiating with deserved contempt the holiday in honor of slavery, the conservative and law-abiding leaders of organized labor have submitted to the will of the politicians. Yearly we now witness on Labor Day the sad spectacle of the toilers celebrating, at the behest of their exploiters, and peacefully parading the streets.
Yet even this legalized holiday could be made the occasion of a mighty protest, if the so-called leaders did not suppress with smooth words the rebellious spirit of the workers.
If ever a protest of tremendous weight was needed, now is the time. Not only are the unions forced to wage a continuous struggle for their economic self-preservation: they are being robbed by capitalist judges of the last vestiges of their rights; the officials of one of the most important labor organizations are in peril of being railroaded to the gallows; the chief representatives of trade unionism are facing the probability of going to jail for contempt of court. A demonstration of strength would have surely been in place.
What, however, transpired? The usual parade, without energy or significance, lacking power and initiative, devoid of all revolutionary spirit. A pathetic spectacle it was, applauded and ridiculed by a curious mob. Fifty thousand workers march through the streets of the metropolis under the "protection" of the police department. National banners are carried, together with some meaningless transparencies. The band is playing rag-time, and the organizers and leaders of the toilers ride in carriages at the tail end of the demonstration, instead of marching, like real leaders, in the front. Not a solitary rebellious battle cry, not a single inspiring song. The most pathetic feature of all, the proletarians of Slavic and Latin origin are infected by the spirit of weakness and dulness. The men and women who in St. Petersburg and Barcelona, in Mailand, Lodz, and Liverpool, so enthusiastically participated in demonstrations and battles, here march at the order of their leaders like so many dumb sheep.
Such an attitude will never inspire respect in aggressive capitalism. The diplomatic leaders will probably realize it when it is too late,—when the imprisoned workers in Los Angeles have fallen a prey to the hangman, it will be too late, unless the workers lose their patience betimes, and sweep their cringing leaders out of their ranks.
* * *
PHILANDER C. KNOX, who had won his spurs in the role of Carnegie's lackey, and is now the representative of the foreign business interests of the commercial barons, is by no means a friend of revolutionists. Diaz, Madero, and Nicholas of Russia, are men to his liking. No wonder, then, that he longs to abolish the right of asylum for political refugees.
In reply to an inquiry by the New York Mexican Revolutionary Conference, Mr. Knox sent the following telegram:
Charles W. Lawson, New York.
The President has referred to this department the telegram dated August 7th, signed by Harry Kelly, Leonard D. Abbott, Milo Harvey Woolman and yourself regarding the alleged surrender to Mexican Government officials by authorities at El Paso, Texas, of Jose Maria Rangel, Priscilian and Ruben Silva and others. This information had already been conveyed to the Department and immediately upon its receipt the department instructed the American Consul at Juarez to investigate and report, and laid the facts before the Department of Justice for such action, if any, as the circumstances might warrant. It does not appear that any of the above-named persons is an American citizen or that the Mexican Government committed any wrong in obtaining possession of these persons; neither does it appear that the United States Federal authorities have had anyth1ng whatever to do with the alleged transaction. If these men are under detention by Mexican authorities, this department has no reason to believe that they will receive any such fate as suggested, and in view of the circumstances it is not perceived upon what international grounds the department could base intervention requested on their behalf nor support a demand for their return to the United States. Any official at El Paso guilty of kidnapping may obviously be prosecuted therefor. There is no evidence before the department whatever beyond the bare allegation of the fact to show that even if these men have been turned over to the Mexican authorities, such delivery was for punishment for political offences, and even if such proved to be the fact, it seems to be quite obvious that those who, whatever their motive, engage in rebellion against an established Government must be prepared to abide such legitimate consequences of their acts as the law of nations and an enlightened humanity do not forbid.
Secretary of State.
We fear the protest sent to Knox and reprinted below will hardly change the attitude of the thick-skulled Secretary.
Hon. Philander C. Knox,
Secretary of State,
Washington, D. C.
We have received your message of August 10th relative to the imprisonment of Jose Maria Rangel, Priscilian, and Ruben Silva, and others in Juarez, Mexico, and note therein an admission which seems to us to contradict the very principles on which this government is based.
The Declaration of Independence especially declares that whenever any form of government tends to oppress the people under its sway, "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government." Yet you say: "Even if these men have been turned over to the Mexican authorities . . . for punishment for political offences ... it seems to be quite obvious that those who, whatever their motive, engage in rebellion against an established government must be prepared to abide such legitimate consequences of their acts as the law of nations and an enlightened humanity do not forbid."
It would seem from your statement that the United States government now stands for the principles that political offenders can be turned to the government from which they escaped. Since when has our government adopted a policy repudiated even by monarchical governments of Europe? To be sure, it is quite obvious that rebels against established governments must be prepared to abide by the consequences of their acts. It is not so obvious that our government, itself founded upon rebellion, must needs assist the Government of Mexico or any other country to crush revolutionists merely because such government is established.
Whatever be the merits of the struggle in Mexico, the United States cannot without violating every American tradition aid the Mexican government to suppress those who struggle against the present order. We protest most emphatically against this interpretation of yours of our extradition laws, for if such interpretation be correct, our government is pledged to aid and abet every move of the forces of tyranny and despotism.
The Mexican revolution conference
Per Charles W. Lawson, Chairman.
* * *
THE claim of the Mexican rebels that the revolution in their country is not merely a political movement, but a great social upheaval, finds corroboration in the reactionary camp. The situation is considerably illumined by a bourgeois writer, Don Carlos Basave, in a contribution to the Catholic publication, El Pais. Among other things, the author says:
No mere political aspiration caused the masses to interest themselves in the revolution. Looking beyond that, the rural population saw that its final result would be the realization of an ambition always dear to its heart—that of becoming owners of the soil; recovering that of which it had been despoiled by powerful neighbors, able to cover up, more or less, their spoliation with legal formalities.
One may observe most clearly the aspiration to which I have referred, and cite concrete examples; for on numerous estates the country folk have settled down, not merely as armed bands but as cultivators, appropriating to their own use the growing crops. It has been found impossible to disperse them, and bargains of expediency are now being resorted to for the sake of keeping titles intact. The peasants are being recognized as renters, and, in some cases, as part owners. Similarly other hacienda owners have resolved on a policy of selling portions of their estates in lots, being convinced that there will be no return of the days when their influence was decisive, even when contrary to equity and justice.
"Land and Liberty" is the motto of the Mexican peons, guiltless of "scientific" Socialism. Together with the factory slaves they are working on the reconstruction of economic conditions by means of direct action. The politicians face the movement in utter helplessness.
* * *
EUGENE V. DEBS changes his colors like a veritable chameleon. The criticism of his stand against the economic revolution in Mexico has forced him to change his attitude. His assertion that the peon is not yet ripe for Socialism having been reduced ad absurdum by the brilliant arguments of our Comrade Wm. C. Owen, Debs is now moved to acknowledge his position as untenable. But he seeks to cover his retreat by laying the blame at the door of the Anarchists as if the latter were responsible for his fluctuations. It does him little credit that he attempts to justify his lack of intellectual stability by accusing the Anarchists of being boodlers and corruptionists.
* * *
AN interesting sidelight regarding the attitude of Socialists toward the negro problem is shed by the reports of Theresa Malkiel on a lecture tour in the South. She recites numerous cases, showing that the black men receive far worse treatment at the hands of Socialists than from conservatives. "To the everlasting shame of our Southern comrades," writes Theresa Malkiel, "they treat the negroes like dogs."
That is the result of a Socialist propaganda limited to vote baiting. No wonder that the party consists chiefly of national and racial philistines, moral eunuchs, and religious soul savers.
* * *
THE Revolution was conquered; the bravest of the fighters had perished on the barricades or were doomed to Siberia. The era of brutality toward political prisoners was re-established. When the protests remained unheeded, the heroic Sasonof, the executor of the popular will against Plehve, decided, with five other comrades, to commit suicide in the prison of Zarantui, in order to rouse the attention of the world to the persecution of the political prisoners.
This last act of brave self-sacrifice remained without effect. But now arrives the news that the Governor of the Zarantui prison has been shot. Lo! the avenging angel is not at rest.
MEXICO AND SOCIALISM
By Wm. C. Owen
IN Mexico, our immediate neighbor, to whom we are bound by a thousand ties, a revolutionary situation of extraordinary vehemence blazes into life. Within a few short months an absolute monarch, backed by a large army, is driven from the throne. In whole States, such as Morelos, the peasants take possession of the land and cultivate it for their own use. Churches, courthouses, and jails are burned, all prisoners being released and hailed by the masses as brothers and fellowworkers. In a word, a large proportion of the people shows a grim determination to have done with the entire existing regime—economic and political. Surely a remarkable situation!
Mexico's neighbor, the United States, has been for more than a generation past the home of bitter discontent. No country equals it in the savagery of its labor wars; nowhere has there been fiercer denunciation of predatory wealth and privilege. From no country, therefore, would one have expected so ready a response to the Mexican Revolution as from the United States. But when one looked round for the expected sympathy, where was it? When one waited anxiously for the revolutionists to gather round the standard, where were they? As a matter of fact, outside of the Spanish and the Italians, they were practically non-existent. To this day only the merest handful has been galvanized into life, thanks to the untiring efforts of a few.
For this there must be reasons, and it seems to me that the reasons can be brought to light, in part at least, by considering the case of Los Angeles, from which I write. Los Angeles, therefore, I propose to consider, but most unwillingly; for it brings me into conflict with men I have known for years and would far rather conciliate than oppose. For example, all my natural inclination is to boost Job Harriman, now running for mayor on the Socialist-Labor Union ticket, inasmuch as he is counsel for the imprisoned members of the Mexican Junta.
Whenever a radical lecturer comes to Los Angeles nowadays he or she immediately reports that there the opposed forces of labor and capital are drawn up in bitter conflict; that the McNamara-Times case, and the fact that the Mexican Revolutionists have their headquarters in Los Angeles, have made it, for the moment, the real revolutionary center of the country. The articles written to that effect would fill a library, and they are largely true, for here in Los Angeles there is a revolutionary situation, and labor throughout the country does recognize the conflict as likely to be determinative. Labor is showing that by pouring money into Los Angeles, and I read statements to the effect that the defense of the McNamara brothers will cost $800,000.
We have then, in Los Angeles, a revolutionary situation, generally recognized as such. We have labor throughout the country doing the best it knows to meet that situation. We have every Socialist in the land whooping it up for Los Angeles. "Action!" is the cry of the hour, and an examination of the action, taken and proposed, becomes a duty of the first importance.
What are Labor's ideas as to the way in which its present all-important fight should be conducted? First, it spends money like water on lawyers, an enormous array of whom is now at work endeavoring to earn fees that range from $10,000 to $50,000. Secondly, large sums unquestionably are being spent on "tuning" the much-execrated capitalist press through the medium of a press bureau which plays up from day to day the doings of the lawyers, that the public interest may not flag. Thirdly, a gigantic effort is being made to carry Los Angeles at the approaching municipal election, by combining the Socialist and Trades-Union forces. To head the ticket Job Harriman, a noted Socialist and one of the McNamara counsel, has been selected. Another Socialist, formerly a well-known editor, is in charge of the news bureau; everywhere the Socialists are phenomenally active, and the first big gun has now been fired, in the shape of a front-page, large-typed, display article in the Los Angeles Record—a capitalist paper, and unquestionably subsidized—with a heading that reaches all across the page and runs: "Who for Mayor? Job Harriman, of course.".
The Record has done its work skilfully; it has endeavored loyally to earn its money by urging everyone to vote "for Job Harriman, the Socialist candidate for Mayor, and for every other municipal candidate who stands for the same things he stands for." I am satisfied that it has inserted every argument Job Harriman and his Socialist-Labor Union combination want to have inserted. What do they amount to?
Nearly a column and a half are devoted to the demonstration that previous administrations, while promising the workingman everything before election, have forgotten him after election. The action of "big business" —much emphasized throughout the manifesto—in passing an anti-picketing ordinance and refusing to increase the pay of the aqueduct workers is given in illustration. Naturally we are assured that the Harriman administration will not play the workers false. Then follows this declaration; the one and only part of the manifesto which moves from vague generalities to positive assertion:
"We believe that the election of Harriman and such associates will bring the municipal ownership of ALL the public utilities nearer than anything else that could possibly be done, and that under their administration it would be impossible for any public service corporation to unload its plant on the city at an exorbitant price, or to make the city pay for water in its stock in order to get the plant. During the next few years many matters of great importance are going to come up in Los Angeles, and if 'big business' continues to control municipal affairs as it has in the past, the lot not only of the workingman, but of the small manufacturer and all others whose prosperity is dependent on the prosperity of the workingmen is going to become a mighty unhappy one."
That is all. I am not saying that the position taken is deliberately dishonest. I am quite willing to admit that it may be considered the best way of getting out the working vote. But I do say that it is preposterous to talk of such a movement as "revolutionary," and I point out that if this is the Socialist idea of the revolutionary action needed to meet an admittedly revolutionary situation, some of us need to revise our conceptions as to the Socialist party. For Harriman is supported enthusiastically by Socialists throughout the country, the entire party being buoyed up with hope that another Milwaukee may be created here in California. Moreover, Harriman is a most representative Socialist, has always been considered revolutionary, and ran on the same national ticket with Debs, being candidate for vice-president of the United States.
Meanwhile, looking at the Socialist party as it is showing itself under fire, and considering the influence it apparently exercises in labor counsels, I do not won-' der that a real revolution, such as that in Mexico, commands so little sympathy. To me, profoundly interested in the success of that revolution, the Socialist party is not a friend, but an enemy. I regret it deeply, but facts are facts.
* * *
THE SOLDIER'S CREED
By Ernest Crosby.
"Captain, what do you think," I asked,
"Of the part your soldiers play?"
But the captain answered, "I do not think;
I do not think, I obey!"
"Do you think you should shoot a patriot down,
Or help a tyrant slay?"
But the captain answered, "I do not think;
I do not think, I obey!"
"Do you think your conscience was made to die,
And your brain to rot away?"
But the captain answered, "I do not think;
I do not think, I obey!"
"Then if this is your soldier's creed," I cried,
"You're a mean unmanly crew;
And for all your feathers and gilt and braid
I am more of a man than you!"
"For whatever my place in life may be,
And whether I swim or sink,
I can say with pride, 'I do not obey;
I do not obey, I think!'"
By Hippolyte Havel
THE revolt of the British workingmen is one of the most encouraging and important signs in the struggle of the international proletariat for emancipation. Significant lessons may be drawn from this struggle. We beheld the triumph of the general strike idea and witnessed the downfall of political leadership. The upstarts of the labor movement, corrupted in the swamp of parliamentarism, were as much surprised by the revolt and the splendid solidarity of the wage slaves as their colleagues and masters of the capitalist camp.
Never before was there an opportunity to see so clearly and convincingly how little sympathy the socalled leaders and the political parties have with the man of toil, or how poor their understanding concerning the condition of the people and the latter's soul. They are blind to the revolutionary activity of the Anarchists, Syndicalists, and industrialists. What gross ignorance, for instance, is displayed in the editorial observations of the N. Y. Call:
"That the strike should approach the magnitude of an almost universal cessation of work, is hardly to be accounted for by any widespread and long sustained propaganda advocating the general strike. Certainly neither of the two bodies professedly representing the Socialism of England, have laid any particular stress upon it as a weapon in the labor struggle, nor has there been any special organization of importance advocating it outside these two bodies. Rather does it seem a spontaneous and largely unexpected revolt on the part of the workers, in which direct agitation and organization do not appear to have played a distinct part in bringing about."
The editor of the Call evidently knows nothing of any organizations outside the political Socialist parties of England. Is it sheer stupidity or the willful ignoring of facts? Perhaps the editor agrees with the London Times which seeks to explain the General Strike with this wisdom:
"Anarchy reigns and the so-called labor members of Parliament know nothing about the whole mad business. Indeed, the movement is said to be largely directed against them by agitators who have been less successful in public life than themselves."
Tom Mann, who together with Ben Tillett conducted the strike, turned his back upon the Socialist party about a month ago. In his resignation he gives the following reasons:
"My experiences have driven me more and more into the non-parliamentary position; and this I find is most unwelcome to most members of the party. After the most careful reflection, I am driven to the belief that the real reason why the trades-unionist movement of this country is in such a deplorable state of inefficiency is to be found in the fictitious importance which the workers have been encouraged to attach to parliamentary action.
"I find nearly all the serious-minded young men of the Labor and Socialist movement have their minds centered upon obtaining some position in public life, such as local, municipal or county councillorship, or filling some governmental office, or aspiring to become members of Parliament.
"I am driven to the belief that this is entirely wrong, and that economic liberty will never be realized by such means. So I declare in favor of Direct Industrial Organization, not as a means, but as the means whereby the workers can ultimately overthrow the capitalist system and become the actual controllers of their own industrial and social destiny.
"I am of the opinion that the workers' fight must be carried out on the industrial plane, free from entanglements with the plutocratic enemy."
No one enjoys greater respect among the workers of England than Tom Mann. Deservedly so: has he not been an active participant within the last twentyfive years in every struggle of the proletariat in England, Australia, and South Africa? Like so many other Socialists, he has become convinced through experience of the uselessness of parliamentary activity and he has learned the importance of direct action and the General Strike.
The methods which the Anarchists have been propagating for a score of years have finally triumphed in England. Thus an important bond has been formed between the toilers of Great Britain and the revolutionary movement on the Continent.
By means of direct action and the General Strike the English workers have accomplished more in a few days than their leaders have succeeded in doing in the yearlong "activity" in Parliament. They have not only carried their demands, but also caused tremendous injury to their masters, the capitalists. This strike, in which various organizations participated, involved not merely conciliation boards, but mainly practical demands: increase of pay, reduction of working hours, and the recognition of the right to organize—all of which have been won. Quite correctly the San Francisco Revolt remarks:
"Five days of the general strike in the British Isles has served to win the respectful and favorable attention of the British Parliament to the demands and needs of the workingmen involved in the mighty demonstration of class solidarity. A commission has been called which, ostensibly, is to "arbitrate," but actually is to come into existence with instructions all ready for it under which it will have but one thing to do, and that to adjust the hours and the pay of the militant workers in accordance with their demands."
Even such bitter enemies of the Syndicalists and Anarchists as the members of the Socialist Labor party must recognize the success of the direct Anarchist action of the English workers. Thus its London correspondent writes to the N. Y. People: "The moral value of the strike will prove lasting. More important than the commission inquiry is the discovery of the tremendous weapon possessed in simultaneous sympathetic strikes. It is likely to appeal to the workmen and procure thousands of recruits for the unions. A detached strike, financed by a single organization, will be abandoned as a rusty implement no longer serviceable, and the federated strike will be taken up as the method of redressing the grievances of the British workmen. They have learned from their first trial of strength that they have in their possession a better method of compelling the masters to make concessions and to reinstate strikers than they had heretofore. The general effect of the labor crisis has been the creation of a feeling of insecurity among capitalists and employers."
The confession loses none of its significance by the change of the General Strike into a "federated" strike.
A VOICE FROM ARDEN
August 17, 1911.
To Harry Kelly And Emma Goldman. -*
Dear Comrades:—I desire to make you acquainted with the following facts: George Brown persisted in discussing sex questions at a meeting of the Arden Club, a private organization. He was requested to desist and refused. The club then voted to deny him the privilege of its floor. He then persisted in speaking and broke up two meetings. He declared it his intention to break up all future meetings, whereupon the officers of the club had him arrested. I am a member of this club, but I had nothing to do with the action, and knew nothing about it until Brown was in jail. I was not present at any of the meetings in which these things took place. George Brown stated to me personally that his reason for having me arrested was simply in order to contribute notoriety to the affair. I might mention also that Frank Stephens was away from Arden when the affair took place, that he is not an officer of the club, and knew nothing about the matter.
I request the publication of this letter in Mother Earth. I should be perfectly willing for you to submit this letter to George Brown. I have no doubt that he will endorse my statements of fact.
KOTOKU'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH ALBERT JOHNSON
San Francisco, May 29th, 5 P. M.
Dear Comrade:—I came here to-day (afternoon). I regret that I could not call on you, because I did not know where you are.
I have composed a poem of farewell* in Chinese language. It is in style of ancient classic. I will write it on Chinese paper and send you. I think I can post it to-morrow. It will be addressed to the Alameda.
I will stay in Oakland till June 1st. On that day we are going to hold a meeting for the organization of Japanese Social Revolutionary Party at the Oakland Socialist headquarters.
Yours for the revolution,
* Kotoku's sojourn in America lasted only a few months. He organized the Japanese workingmen on the coast and returned to his native land to continue his propagandistic work. H. H.
Japan, Dec. 18th, 1906.
Dear Old Friend And Comrade.
The winter has come, the leaves have fallen. It is, however, very fine weather. The sky is blue, the sunlight is warm. So I am very happy at my village home.
My wife went to the law-court to attend as a hearer to the trial of Comrade Osugi this morning. Comrade Osugi is a young Anarchist student and a best friend of mine. When I was in San Francisco he wrote to you in French language and Mrs. Ladd translated it for you. Do you remember it? Well, Mr. Osugi is now under the trial on the charge of "violence of the press law." He translated an article titled "to the conscripts" from a French Anarchist paper and published it in Hikari, Japanese Socialist paper. This anti-militaristic deed was prosecuted by the public officials. I am now anxious to hear the result of that trial. I think it will be probable the sentence of several months' imprisonment and the confiscation of printing machine. How good law and government are!
The most comical fact of the results of the late war is the conciliation (or rather embrace) of Christianity with Buddhism and Shintoism. The history of Christianity in Japan was until now a history of horrible persecutions. The Japanese diplomatists, however, earnestly desiring to silence the rumors caused and spread in Europe during the war that "Japan is a yellow peril" or "Japan is a pagan country," suddenly began to put on the mask of Western civilization, and eagerly welcome and protect, and use it as a means of introducing Japan to European and American powers as a civilized Christendom. On the other hand, Christian priests, taking advantage of the weakness of the government, got a great monetary aid from the State, and under its protection they are propagating in full vigor the Gospel of Patriotism. Thus Japanese Christianity, which was before the war the religion of poor, literally now changed within only two years to a great bourgeois religion and a machine of the State and militarism!
The preparation for the Socialist daily is almost completed. I hope the daily will have a success. The Japanese Socialist Party consists, as you know, of many different elements. Social-Democrats, Social Revolutionists, and even Christian Socialists. So the daily would be a very strange paper.
Most of our comrades are inclined to take the tactics of Parliamentalism rather than Syndicalism or Anarchism. But it is not because they are assuredly convinced which is true, but because of their ignorance of Anarchist Communism. Therefore our most important work at present is the translation and publication of Anarchist and Free-thought literature. I will do my best, and use our paper as an organ for the libertarian propaganda.
In China the rebellions and insurrections are spreading. The social and political conditions of China are just same to that of Russia in last century. I think China will be within the coming ten years a land of great rebellion and terrorism. A group of Chinese students in Tokio is becoming the center of Chinese Revolutionary movement.
Yours very truly,
Yugawara, Sagami, May 3rd, 1907.
Dear Comrade And Friend.
Please forgive me for not writing to you for a long time. During last few months I was very busy, owing to the persecutions of the Government. Now that our daily has been suppressed and our many comrades have gone to the prison, I have no work, no business, so I got leisure to write. I am now alone, at an inn in Yugawara, a famous watering place, one day's ride from Tokio. I came here to improve my health and am now translating a pamphlet, Arnold Roller's "Social General Strike."
My book, in which are collected my essays on AntiMilitarism, Communism, and other Radicalism, has been prohibited and many copies seized by the Government, but the cunning publisher secretly sold 1,500 copies before the policemen came.
Mrs. Yamanouchi is living with her mother and grandmother in a country villa near Tokio. Her family is rich, but she is preparing to live an independent life. She says she does not like to live a parasite's life. I am now looking for her work. My wife and Magara Sakai were very pleased with the fine cards from you. Magara is now with her father. She is four years old and a very amiable child.
Have you seen the Japanese students in Berkeley who are publishing a magazine which caused a sensation last January? They are all clever and devoted libertarians.
hope the future revolution in Japan will be caused by their hands. Please teach them, educate them, instruct them.
Mr. Sakai is working on an "Encyclopedia of Social Problems" with a few young comrades. Its accomplishment will take five or six months after this. It will have great effect for the education of our people. I am going to translate Kropotkin's works.
I am very anxious to hear of your eyes. Eyes are very important organs for all men. Take care of yourself. Remember me to your daughter and granddaughter. I ever remain,
(To be Continued.)
ECONOMY AS VIEWED BY AN ANARCHIST
By C. L. James.
Anarchism is no patent scheme for introducing "the reign of the Prince of Peace." It does not ignore the bitter fruits of sin. It does not deny that personal ignorance and stupidity are the prime causes of all our sufferings. It does not imagine that man can be free and woman be a slave. It makes no Omnipotent Goodness out of a popularly elected legislature. But it does perceive that when men combined to enslave other men they first laid upon their own necks a yoke called Government, which it is pitiful to hear them beg their drivers will by some never clearly designated hocus-pocus convert into a defense; that it is the worse and not the better part of human nature which is organized for perpetuity by such combinations as States; that the spontaneous tendency of desire working in individuals is towards improvement; that the weight which forever drags us back into our old afflictions is Law, the petrified tradition of a barbarous past! Before proceeding to illustrate this through a brief review of economic history, observe that interest is the fruit of artificial monopoly just as much as rent. We may inquire whether anything can be done for its complete extinction when we have cleared away its factitious bulwarks—the chartered monopolies whose constantly accumulating Surplus Value makes them the fountain heads of usury; whose high profits on such illicit speculation as the Credit Mobilier renders possible the ravaging rate of loans;22 and whose traditional methods express themselves in conspiracies as much disapproved by the very government to which they owe their own existence as are those of the Standard Oil Company
22"The world's wealth hardly increases three per cent, a year. Three per cent, is reckoned a very low interest. Why does not Interest eat up the world? Because it is not paid! What becomes of it? Ask the ruined speculators after a financial "crisis."
21. It is remarkable how small a part of economic history can be rationalized from the premises of orthodox Economy; and how much light is cast upon true methods of generalization as soon as we begin seeking them among the facts! I suppose it is no longer imagined that man's primitive condition was anything else than the lowest state of savagery; but what that means is not quite easily made intelligible. Cannibalism is far from being the lowest state. It requires an amount of courage, energy, and aspiration, not possessed by the most degraded races of men, and accordingly does not seem to exist, certainly not on a large scale, among the negrittoes of Melanesia or Central Africa. They are mere grazers upon Land. But there is evidence that cannibalism did once prevail among the Negroes, Polynesians, Indians, Turanians, the Semitic and Aryan races. Occasionally, as among the Aztecs, it persists into somewhat advanced social states but, as a rule, it gives way to hunting, in countries where large animals (there were none in early Mexico) can be killed with the rude weapons of the savages. Progress from the grazing to the hunting state illustrates at every step the rujes that men seek to gratify their desires with the least exertion, and that their desires are enlarged by the increase of their powers, brought about, as yet, mainly through natural and sexual selection, but already in some degree effected by Invention, a sure mark of knowledge increased through experience. A great change takes place when men have discovered that some large animals, as the horse, the dog, the sheep, and the bovine kinds, can be domesticated. This is easier than the chase. Cannibalism, an occasional resort of hunting nomads, wholly ceases. There is now, for the first time, a considerable accumulation of wealth, in the form of W. P. W.— breeding cattle—which is also Capital, enabling the patriarch to obtain a Surplus Value from the labor of his sons, wives, slaves, naturalized aliens, and unlucky members of the horde. The subjection of women, the earliest among wrongs and the parent of all others, becomes a little mitigated. Even before that the young savage was required to prove himself fit for his father's trade of war before he could marry; but now something else becomes necessary, not through arbitrary regulation, but natural law. For the cattle-raising nomad to have a family is simply impossible until he has acquired stock enough for the support of one; while from the marriage contracts or settlements spring certain customary rights of dower and separation which are favorable to the weaker sex. Up to the cattle-raising stage, increase of population is slow. Except for requiring young men to show their proficiency in arms and endure the cruel rites of barbarian confirmation, there is, indeed, no Preventive or Prudential Check, but barbarians below the stage of cattle keeping are desperately poor, and their multiplication is continually checked by famine, pestilence, which they are too ignorant to combat; war, infanticide, cannibalism, and accidents of the chase. After they begin to keep cattle, these animals, propagating much faster than the men, enable men also to increase rapidly; nor have they learned any reason why they should not. The migratory patriarch of a horde whose members are all actual or adopted members of one family, measures his power by his posterity; he is a polygamist who buys or captures women whenever he can; his descendants quickly multiply, and, like all subjects, they imitate their king as much as they can, so that the rapidity with which a pair becomes a nation is often quite startling. But there is a limit to the possibility of such life. The cattle must be fed, as well as the people; so, when their numbers become too great for land, uncultivated and mostly poor, it becomes necessary that the tribe should divide or else decamp bodily. The emigrating portion either gets a better country or perishes in a great defeat, and the native pasture land of nomads remains as little improved as formerly. Agriculture, however, originates in regions especially favorable to the simpler kinds. Rice in India, dates through northern Africa, corn in the tropical belt of America, poi in the Sandwich Islands, etc., are so easily raised that a few nations, as the Aztecs and Polynesians, have attained some degree of agricultural proficiency without becoming masters of large laboring animals; but this is rare. In most cases, people have discontinued nomadism only after acquiring considerable knowledge of how to gather and thresh grain, weed fields, hoe, plow, harrow, etc., in aid of which operations they had cattle. Leisure and experience have diversified their desires, and it becomes easier to gratify them by the agricultural life than that of shepherds, which, accordingly, is left to the backward inhabitants of the poorest sections. The settled habits of agriculturists are very favorable to individualism, and in the same proportion opposed to the communism of savages. It is easy for grazers, cannibals and hunters to have almost all their scanty possessions in common. The maker of weapons cannot, indeed, live on his product, and therefore, since all want it, he must be paid for it. But he is a salaried functionary, paid, not by individuals, but the tribe; and the same is true of the weaver, potter, basket-maker, and what other workmen, excepting fighters and hunters, there are. In the stage of shepherd nomadism there is, indeed, as we saw, a great accumulation of what is at once W. P. W. and Capital. But almost all belongs to one person, who, moreover, holds it in a sort of trust, as the head and representative of the tribe. So conservative are barbarians that they do not give up the most inconvenient practises without shame and fear of offending the gods. Such institutions as the prytanaeum—the public hotel where officials during their term, foreign ambassadors, pensioners, and other guests of the community live free of cost to themselves—as the temple of Vesta, a reminiscence of the old village campfire, kept by revered and sacred characters, show how the forms of community life persist after the substance has passed away. A really serious matter, however, is that in many countries— India, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, etc.—land, though occupied and cultivated by individuals, continues to be the property of the people's Great Father, the king, to whom the heavy ground rent is paid. That this system would be a good one under a democratic government with socialistic maxims, as its advocates propose, may be possible, and may not be true. But there can be no question that where it actually exists it is a bad one. More defensible from the quasi-moral point is the reservation of common lands. But everywhere we can see that the tendency of agriculture towards individuality is too much for this ancient practise. Commons continue to be divided and enclosed, despite the Corn Law rhymer's well-known complaint; and this not because monopolizing landlords buy venal legislators, though this doubtless assists a deeper process; but because W. P. W. can get more out of the commons than the unsystematic work of those few poor people to whom the enclosure is a hardship.
(To be Continued.)
By M. B.
THOSE who are entertained by tales of shipwreck, cannibalism, and combat may enjoy Jack London's story "Adventure."* The work is an attempt to portray adventure on the background of reality. In the old standard stories of similar nature we see the characters move about, attack, rob, and murder each other for no discoverable reason save that of serving as lay figures for the narrator. It is somewhat different with Jack London's story. His adventurers know what they are about: they want to live, gain wealth, win success. Even the heroine, Joan Lackland, who is introduced to us as an adventuress for adventure's sake, finally grows to dislike her holster and 38 calibre revolver. She marries and will apparently become a good business woman, unless her time be entirely occupied by a good-sized flock of children.
The story of "Adventure" is located in the South Sea Islands, the beche-de-mer region, the sometime sphere of the heroes of Edgar Allan Poe. There live savages, cannibals, bushmen. Compared with the latter, the savages and cannibals may be considered as gentle folk. Moreover, the bushmen are quite useless to the white man, since they refuse to be domesticated and cannot be persuaded to slave on the plantations under fake contracts. That, truly, is provoking, for the lords of the plantations are eager to play the role of civilizers. The savages on the coast, on the contrary, have already so far become amenable to civilization as to submit to slavery. Sometimes indeed they rebel; but the civilizers are quick to apply the whip or simply shoot them.
The happenings in "Adventure" are of a commercial rather than romantic nature. The reviewer, remembering "Martin Eden," can't help cursing the time that misleads a true artist into committing the mediocre.
* Macmillan Company, New York. $1.50.
In "The New Machiavelli"* H. G. Wells treats of illegitimate love and politics. Because of a love affair a man must sacrifice his political career: the Puritan swine grunt too loudly. Thus it happened to Charles Dilke, to Parnell, and many another.
Fortunately, the perusal of "The New Machiavelli does not make us feel that England or "humanity" is the loser by the termination of the hero's career. Of a real Machiavelli there is not even a trace in him: he is a thorough Fabian; that is, a hopeless experimentalist and aesthetic amateur.
The political constructive phase of the book is its weakest part. Wells rides his hobby with great perseverance. Thus the idea of the endowment of motherhood is mercilessly done to death. Well, let him! It has honestly earned the peace of the grave.
So far as details are concerned, however, the work is rich in splendid observations. Wells is always at his best when the politician in him is silenced and the artist allowed to speak. Then his humor shines out of bright eyes, looking upon the world understandingly.
The father of the hero suffered the misfortune of inheriting three old houses. They inspire him to the following remarks concerning the effect of property on the human soul:
"These damned houses have been the curse of my life. Stucco white elephants! Conferva and soot. . . . Property, they are! . . . Beware of things, Dick; beware of things! Before you know where you are, you are waiting on them and minding them. They'll eat your life up. Eat up your hours and your blood and energy! When those houses came to me, I ought to have sold them—or fled the country. I ought to have cleared out. Sarcophagi—eaters of men! Oh! the hours and days of work, the nights of anxiety those vile houses have cost me! The painting! It worked up my arms; it got all over me. I stank of it. It made me ill. It isn't living—it's minding— . . .
"Property's the curse of life. Property! Ugh! Look at this country, all cut up into silly little parallelograms; look at all those villas we passed just now, and those potato patches and that tarred shanty and the hedge! Somebody's minding every bit of it, like a dog tied to a cart's tail. Patching it and bothering about it. Bothering! Yapping at every passer-by. Look at that notice-board! One rotten, worried, little beast wants to keep us other rotten, little beasts off HIS patch—God knows why! Look at the weeds in it. Look at the mended fence! . . . Human souls buried under a cartload of blithering rubbish."
* Duffield & Co., New York.
Such paragraphs enable the reader patiently to glance over many pages, which, though enlarging the bulk of the book, do not enrich its contents.
"The Chasm,"* by George Cram Cook, is a story with a Social Democratic label and abortive class-consciousness. But for the missing recital of the great deeds which Victor Berger will not perform in Congress, the book is a good specimen of a second-rate Socialist editorial or pamphlet.
The Civic Federation should not ignore the valuable suggestion of Love as the soothsayer of the class conflict.
Mr. Theodore Schroeder has published a unique book,—unique both in point of contents and because it is not for sale. It is dedicated to the friends of liberty; its purpose, to serve their mission. But not only friends of liberty,—the psychologist, the ethnographer, the lawyer, and the judge will study the book with profit, unless they be blinded by prejudice.
The work of Mr. Schroeder, "Obscene Literature and Constitutional Law,"** contains a mine of valuable material. The moralist, eager to punish, can find neither place nor occasion where his contentions are not open
* Frederick A. Stokes Co., New York. $1.25.
** The book is unique, because it can not be bought by the laity. It is published by the Free Speech League, New York City. We hope to print a lengthy treatise on the book shortly. to challenge. The greatest confusion prevails among judges and officials of the Postal Department as to what is right or wrong: what one considers proper is condemned by another as highly immoral. But unfortunately the nosing about for obscenity is not merely ludicrous; it has seriously injured art and literature, and is frequently the cord to strangle free speech and press.
Were there in Congress a single man of courage and understanding, unafraid of the howling of the Pharisee mob, he would rise at the very first occasion to stamp the postal censorship with its right name and to unmask it as a disgusting mixture of stupidity and despotism.
This, too, is clarified by the book of Mr. Schroeder: the common law takes no cognizance of "obscene literature"; it is the judges and censorship which have dragged the thing into being, by the manufacture of precedents. Quite illuminating, therefore, is the saying of Sergeant Hill, quoted by Schroeder: "When judges are about to do an unjust act, they seek for a precedent in order to justify their conduct by the faults of others."
Now the censorship has become an institution. The question is how to abolish it. Mr. Schroeder's book is a most courageous attack upon the monster.
"The Man-Made World, or Our Androcentric Culture,"* by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, mirrors to Man the world as "he made it." Throughout history he has brutally domineered, fussed, waged war and exalted it. He has turned the home into the market-place of his violent instincts and lorded over it. He has degraded woman to a domestic animal and an object of lust. When he speaks of the human he always means the male; he impresses upon everything the alleged superiority of his near-sighted viewpoint.
Thus looks the picture reflected by the mirror of Mrs. Gilman, showing the rascality of our man-made world. I think, however, that the author does Man too much credit. The fellow has brought as little consciousness to the shaping of the world as did woman.
* Charlton Co., New York.
He is not its creator; in the majority of cases he is its mere creature. He lags behind with undecisive step, and generally the poor dunce wots not whither he goeth. His boastfulness, petty tyranny, and lack of consideration are acquired weapons in the wretched competition which is nowadays proudly termed the struggle for existence,—the struggle for bread and butter, more appropriately.
It must be noted, however, that woman, generally speaking, rather encourages than opposes these disagreeable traits of man,—which surely does not speak favorably of her taste.
In reality, were man the conscious creator of this world, he should be condemned without benefit of clergy. But until now the history of mankind appears as a brew of stupidity and narrow self-interest, for which both sexes have supplied the ingredients. Therefore they should work in common toward bringing into the world more beauty, sense, and justice. That women should equally participate in this better future is, for us, selfevident.
LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN
FOR some years part of my work was to select Sunday-school libraries, and quite often complaints would reach me from customers, to whom these selected libraries were sent, that such and such a book had been thrown out by their reading committee because dancing was mentioned and not condemned; or some story contained a child-christening scene which was not denominationally orthodox.
Some of the books condemned had everything to commend them from the standpoint of the prospective buyer, but unfortunately one of the characters used "Oh, Pshaw!" or "Darn It," or some other such profane, obscene or unchristian expression, and back came the book.
I can not help but think that some concerted action on the part of liberals in the way of selecting and suggesting readings for the very young would be a most commendable work, and to this end I should like to open correspondence with men and women who are interested in securing for radical homes a few books that are not forever harping on what God did, and how and why and when; how bad this or that awful man or woman was in the story because, forsooth, they went fishing on Sunday or said something disrespectful of some skypilot.
I do not think there are fifty books for young children (if nature stories be excepted) that are not dangerous to liberal ideas or whose insidious moralistic implications are not a refutation of the liberal teachings of well-read parents.
Let us produce a sane, unbiased, healthy literature for the little folks; stories in which unconsciously are woven Shakespeare's grand thoughts, such as "For there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so," and Swinburne's "All glory to Man in the Highest, for man is the master of things"; and that greatest of rebels, Jesus: "If a man work not neither shall he eat." Thoughts like these unobtrusively permeating children's stories—how much better than the sentimental slush found in "Little Eva" in Uncle Tom's Cabin; "The Story of Patsy"; "Bird's Xmas Carol," where so jesuitically the tender mind of the child is imbued with the glory of charity; the kindness of the good-rich; a feeling, if poor, of the need of ingratiating oneself with the rich; or, if rich, of caddishly patronizing the poor; the feeling of submission—of putting one's trust in the good lord who knows what is best for us. That is what the child of the radical reads! No wonder that real soul-liberalism is so very scarce; no wonder there are still so many moral bugaboos—so much of the spirit of dependence—so much respect for property— such grasping for riches. It is ground into us from babyhood. Our mental food is tainted. Let us read critically, from the standpoint of the radical, and compile a list of books that are at least not mentally poisonous.
Those who will help me do this most necessary work kindly address:
S. T. Hammersmark,
610 Third Avenue, Seattle, Wash.
THE present reaction in Japan plays havoc not merely with Socialists and Anarchists, but also with modern writers. Mr. Yone Noguchi, an author well known in America and England, writes in the London Academy regarding the terrible persecution of literary men in Japan:
"If there is a most unkind country for writers and literature, that is Japan—at least present Japan. Since the war, particularly in the last three years, the Japanese government has had two objects—namely, to stamp out Socialism and "naturalism," which, both of them, insist on perfect individualism. It seems to me that she used every possible power of the police and Press law toward her end; many writers were supposed, in fact, to be as dangerous morally and socially as Anarchists. The government set the police on them."
Mr. Noguchi also dispels the myth regarding Japanese patriotism:
"It is the work of superficial observers to see only the uniform of Japan's patriotism in the Russia-Japan War; it is quite right to say that it only overshadowed, with its astonishing glitter of ancient sword, the elements of Western individualism which at the time of that war had begun to make their existence clear. The new Japanese attempted to qualify the meaning of patriotism from another standpoint. Kotoku, who was hanged recently as the leader of the now famous treason case, and many others raised the anti-war cry; we have many an unpublished story of deserters who were at once courtmartialed. Some critics even deny the Japanese bravery which the Western mind associates with the war. It would surprise the Western readers if we told our own story, to be sure."
The writer concludes his interesting article with the following words of protest and admonition: "The time is changing, but I am not ready to prophesy what the result will be for the government who does not realize the Time's change, and even flatly denies its existence."
* * *
THE ignorance of the Crown Prosecutors of Prussia is a commonplace. A recent instance was given in the case of Der Freie Arbeiter, an Anarchist publication of Berlin. An issue of the paper containing an article entitled Die Neue Revolution, from the pen of Richard Wagner (originally published in 1849 m tne Sachsischen Volksblatter), was confiscated. The Crown Prosecutor, ignorant of the literature of his country and not dreaming that the author of the article was no other than the great Richard Wagner, caused the arrest and indictment of the editor of Der Freie Arbeiter, who, of course, was acquitted by the judge, to the great discomfiture of the prosecutor.
A similar incident proving the universality of authoritarian ignorance occurred in this country, but the jury of American peers proved as stupid as the German prosecutor. In 1901 John Most was indicted for an article published in the Freiheit. The author was Karl Heinzen and the article had originally appeared in The Pioneer about fifty years previously. Unlike the German judge, the American jury doomed Most to the penitentiary.
THE Prussian authorities continue to make themselves ridiculous. The editor of Der Freie Arbeiter, Comrade Becker, was found guilty of blasphemy because of the following quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche's "Antichrist": "I condemn Christianity. I bring against the Christian Church the most terrible indictment ever hurled against it by any accuser. The Church represents to me the worst of all conceivable corruptions. It ever willed to commit the very utmost of imaginable corruptions. The Christian Church has left nothing untouched by its ravages. Page upon page in its history bears witness to its bloodthirst, to the lowest passions of brutish stupidity and ferocity."
Thus the philosopher Nietzsche stands condemned, while the composer Wagner has been exonerated by the courts of Prussia.
* * *
The revolutionary movement in France has within a short period lost three of its most illustrious artists.
Shortly after the death of the writer Louis-Philippe, the illustrator Delannay passed away. And now the great singer of liberty, Gaston Coute, died. All three were ardent devotees to the cause of human emancipation with the inevitable result of constant persecution.
It was Delannay's imprisonment that was responsible for the fatal disease, while Coute was placed under indictment for one of his stories in La Guerre Sociale when on his deathbed.
Want was the life companion of these sons of the revolutionary muse; the hospital their last abode.
* * *
Two of the foremost veterans of the Anarchist movement are at present seriously ill: Peter Kropotkin in Switzerland, and Enrico Malatesta in London.
The persecution which Comrade Malatesta suffered in conection with the Houndsditch affair considerably aided in aggravating his conditon.
In connection with the illness of Comrade Kropotkin, the Swiss government came near committing a very serious crime against the sick thinker and writer. The Swiss press announces that the Federal Council has ruled that the expulsion order issued thirty years ago against Peter Kropotkin still holds good, and that it is only the fact that he is really ill that prevents his being deported and saves the Swiss government from committing an act of barbarity. As it is, the Federal Council has asked the Tessin government to report at once if Kropotkin should leave Minusio, where he is now, or Switzerland. Only the worst criminals are expelled from Switzerland for life; political expulsions are never for more than a limited time.
We hope that both of these our most beloved comrades will speedily recover, to devote many years to the service of the movement.
* * *
On the 19th of September the Italian Anarchists will open their Congress in Rome. It will be held in memory of Carlo Pisacane, one of the pioneers of the Anarchist movement. On the 20th a great memorial demonstration will take place.
The subjects to be discussed at the Congress are as follows: organization, propaganda, initiative, the press, the anti-religious and the anti-military movements, and the modern school.
* * *
Anatole France, ever the active opponent of injustice and oppression, has refused the cross of the Legion of Honor offered to him by the government of France. This refusal voices his protest against the persecution of radical artists and revolutionists.
Anatole France has by this action honored himself far more than could all the crosses of the Legion of Honor with which are decorated the bosoms of corruptionists and politicians.
* * *
Regardless of the numerous protests from various sources, three Russian revolutionists have been extradited to the autocracy by the Austrian police: Kravetz, Veronetzky, and Mikhalsky.
The authorities of Austria work hand in glove with those of Russia, and Russian revolutionists are to-day no safer in one country than in the other.
The Social Democracy of Austria has entirely sunk in the swamp of parliamentarism and totally ignores the fate of political refugees from other countries.
* * *
Comrade J. F. Fleming writes to us from Melbourne, Australia:
Dear Comrade:—I received the Manifesto to the Workers of the World, also Regeneration. I have sent a copy to the Trades Hall Council, and the Socialist Party. The Council is a semi-capitalist party, the delegates principal endeavor is to obtain a parliamentary job; as a matter of principle they always denounce revolutionary propaganda; therefore little will be gained from them. With regard to the Socialists, they are the same the world over; I need say nothing further. Should, by accident, any favorable development take place, I will inform you.
The military conscription has just commenced; in Yarrivelle, a suburb of Melbourne, the boys stoned their officers and compelled them to seek shelter in the rich men's houses. Militarism is very unpopular in Australia.
Though we are very reluctant to drop anyone from our lists, MOTHER EARTH cannot carry unpaid subscribers, since, even at best, it is published at a loss. Therefore we strongly urge our readers to send their subscriptions in AT ONCE.
Every renewal received during September and October will earn for the sender a free copy of "The Soul of Man Under Socialism," by Oscar Wilde.
If we do not hear from our unpaid subscribers during this month, we will have to take them off our list.
WHO ARE THE QUACKS?
A controversy between two doctors—Dr. W. J. Robinson, editor "Critic and Guide," and Dr. It. Liber, editor "Unscr Gesund."
The truth about the "regular" medical profession. Illustrated.
Very interesting for laymen and physicians of all medical schools.
An Important suggestion at the end of the book.
Price, 15 cents; to be sent to the publisher. B. Liber, M.D., 230 East 10th Street, New York City.
Volume 6 Issue 11
Issue of Mother Earth from January 1912. Articles by "MB" are written by Max Baginski.
Blame the Fester
“Evil’s but the crumpled good of a Divine Intent.”
Seething are the elements of outraged righteousness,
Understanding shrivels ’neath the onslaughts of duress.
When their self-created pustules focus the alarm,
Where’s the Man among the lot who dare discourse on Harm?
Hear the railing of the mob which cries it’s been deceived.
Mercy flits into byways for fear she’ll be believed.
Shrieks and yells of blasting fury,—echoes of a fear,
Scream until all throats are parched for want of one, lone tear.
Cowards! Curse the fester of your making; shift the blame;
Hurl your blasphemy with might on Labor’s blinding pain;
Cry aloud, “We’ve been deceived,” and mitigate your dread;
Beg of Law to hear your plea, and save your puny head;
Wrap your griefs in bandages of Re-Submission oil;
Cicatrize your gaping wounds by tightening the coil;
Say the boils are not your fault; decline to claim the blood;
Plaster all the crevices with indignation’s flood;
Say you’re not responsible for cankers of the time;
Steep your palzied judgment in a counterfeit Divine;
Do these things; then harken to reverberation’s moan;
Mark the fear that, cringingly, denied the human groan;
Peer beneath the pigment of a vitiated crust;
Delve into the depth of Truth, the foe of Gangrene, Rust;
There, in silent reason, let the Light guide your belief,
And Justice will make known to you your thought has been a Thief!
By Rebekah E Raney
The New Year
The business Christians have just celebrated Christmas. To increase their profits and heighten the glory of God, they have exploited the Savior to good purpose. Splendid success of redemption! Christ gave his blood to enable the churches and department stores to do better business. If, on the right hand of the Heavenly Father, he does not swear and curse over this success to shock the very angels, his heart is a lamb’s indeed.
Fortunately, we are atheists, not Christians, and in no wise responsible for the bitter disappointment of the Savior.
However, the hopes of Mother Earth for the new year depend neither on religious nor political calculations. They rest on the awakened consciousness of the people, upon whom depends the great and glorious future,—a new social structure built on freedom and well-being for all.
For five years Mother Earth has continued on its path to arouse the sleepy, strengthen the weak, and to enthuse the courageous, that they may form the advance guard for the coming great struggle. Its task was by no means easy; the hardships were much greater than the success. We had hoped for the assistance of all comrades, since it is well-nigh impossible to maintain a fearless and non-compromising publication in an atmosphere of mental cupidity and speculation. But they have not rallied to the support of Mother Earth,—at least not to the extent one might have expected. Possibly our magazine does not meet with their entire approval; or, still more likely, the comrades fail to understand the difficult position of a paper like Mother Earth, with neither a party machine nor an advertising department to back it. At any rate, the main sustenance of the magazine has come from my lectures. But for that, Mother Earth would have long ago ceased to be. Needless to say, Anarchism would not die should the magazine discontinue. Yet Anarchism never needed an exponent so much as it does now. The Anarchist propaganda has passed the stage of ridicule and willful misunderstanding. People are beginning to realize its deep significance and wide import. Mother Earth, as the only Anarchist magazine in America, should utilize to the utmost the social change of attitude, in order to disseminate wider knowledge and information of Anarchist principles. That is its purpose; therein consists its mission.
With this in view, we again appeal to all comrades and friends to rally round the little fighter that has so bravely withstood the stress and storm of five years. We ask, first of all, that our friends renew their subscriptions. Surely that is the least they can do. A copy of The Soul of Man Under Socialism will be given with every renewal. Those who are willing to do more should aid us in getting new subscribers. Any friend securing for the magazine three new subscriptions will be presented with a free copy of Anarchism and Other Essays or Conquest of Bread. Comrades desirous to spread our ideas on a larger scale should send for our 5c. propaganda pamphlets, to be had at $3.00 per 100.
Comrades and friends, let us join hands for the new year in the great work before us. The time has never been more ripe. The present is fast nearing its doom. Out of the chaos the future emerges in harmony and beauty.
P. S.—At the end of this month we begin our yearly tramp through the enemy’s camp. We expect to open up with a new series of lectures in Pittsburgh, Pa. Comrades and groups wishing dates will please communicate with me at once. Address: 55 W. 28th street, New York.
Anarchy— Absence of government; disbelief in, and disregard of, invasion and authority based on coercion and force; a condition of society regulated by voluntary agreement instead of government.
Observations and Comments
Our inveterate optimism is responsible for the delay in the publication of Comrade Alexander Berkman’s book. We could not readily part with the hope that in this wide land there will be found one publisher bold enough to give to an intelligent minority a human document,—one which is undoubtedly the most signifcant and unique of its kind.
Alas, the search of Diogenes was vain among the great publishing houses. Fortunately, and thanks to some of you, we are enabled to constitute ourselves the publishers of our comrade’s life-work. But we ask our friends to forbear with us a little longer. The MS. is about to go to the printer, and the book will be mailed to the subscribers as soon as bound copies are available.
The advance price of $1.25 holds good only till February 1. Friends wishing to take advantage of the opportunity will kindly send in their orders at once.
Mother Earth Publishing Association.
Legal justice is a Janus head with two faces, the one smiling fawningly upon the rich and influential, the other turned with a cruel sneer toward the poor and friendless. This is the true character of justice, and the verdict rendered in the case of Harris & Blank, of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The two men were charged with having caused the death of 147 persons, among them 131 young girls and women, who helpelessly perished in the fire-trap of the Triangle factory. It was demonstrated during the trial that all safety requirements were entirely ignored by the bosses. The owners of the factory were concerned solely with the question of profits. They had no time to consider the safety of their employees. And the city authorities and factory inspectors drew their comfortable salaries and let the fire-traps remain undisturbed.
Had the laws and regulations of the safety department been taken seriously, the factory inspectors and heads of the city government would have been placed in the prisoners’ dock together with Harris and Blank, all equally responsible for the terrible holocaust that cost 147 human lives. But regulations for the safety of workers are not meant seriously. Worse yet, they are a positive menace for the trustful toilers, who believe that their lives are protected, while in reality industrial murder knows no limits, the alleged protection a miserable sham on paper.
The acquittal of Harris and Blank signifies the legalization, the justification of industrial murder as an established economic fact. Notwithstanding the locked factory exits and the strong suspicion that they had bribed the witnesses, the bosses were freed from all responsibility for the wholesale slaughter, because the judge and jury evidently believed in their own hearts that such happenings, such bloody catastrophes are inevitable, and are conditioned in the very system. Thus they thought. Yet they dared not utter the thought, for it would have disclosed the criminal character of the system,—aye, more, it would have torn the mask off the miserable comedy of their “justice.”
It has further developed during the trial that in the industrial field the workers are commonly considered as thieves, and treated accordingly. Like convicts, they are searched and locked in, that they may not steal a little piece of cloth or a spool of cotton. The only difference between these workers and the convict is that the latter is imprisoned for a crime already committed, while the “free” worker is kept under lock and key on suspicion that he might commit a crime. Suspicion alone suffices.
If the toilers are not content to continue to risk life and limb every day and every hour of their existence, they must themselves seek security in thorough organization and in solidaric activity. They will have to discard their naive faith in and reliance upon city or State providence, and seek to protect their lives by direct action on the spot, in shop and factory, introducing regulations and measures necessary to protect themselves against the consequences of capitalist greed.
The municipal government of New York prefers to swamp the city with filth and disease rather than concede the timid and just demands of the striking street-cleaners.
The attitude of the Mayor, his spirit mutilated by the letter of the law, indicates that this well-paid official considers it his chief business to set the iron heel upon the neck of the street workers. These hard-toiling men, incomparably more useful and indispensable to the community than the Mayor with all the stupid and corrupt officialdom at City Hall, have been treated like veritable slaves and convicts. The authorities strove the utmost to insult and humiliate the street employees and rejoiced in making them feel that they were considered no better than the filth in the streets. They had no right to cooperate for mutual benefit, no right to demand better conditions of existence.
In view of such official impudence one wondered at the apathy of the “organized labor” of New York, that supinely witnessed the violation of all the rights of labor. In truth, the “leaders” now and then still show faint signs of life, but their intelligence and courage have long since taken wing.
New York almost witnessed a strike of the gas men. Already we saw visions of its grand effects. How timely and fitting it would have been, for instance, if the lights had suddenly gone out in the midst of the fake peace banquet held by the contractors for war supplies, bomb manufacturers, diplomats, and other pillars of universal peace. Many other interesting developments would have been the result of a gas strike,—but we leave them to the imagination of the reader.
Yet it happened otherwise. The churches had made great preparations for brisk Christmas business, and thus it came to pass that a number of reverends decided to confer with the “leaders” of the dissatisfied workers to “postpone” the strike. A gentleman’s agreement, and—the business agents of the heavenly Father and other cadets succeeded in nipping the strike in the bud. The philanthropy of the Civic Federation gave the workers the final death blow.
The most prominent among the leaders of the gas-workers was a representative of the A. F. of L., a certain Wyatt. He is probably the same law-abiding citizen who recently expressed his cheerful willingness to play the hangman of the McNamaras. In recognition of his valuable services the reverends who helped to “settle” the strike should not fail to present the gentleman with a Bible (cheap edition) or at least a nice little catechism.
Since the American historians have proclaimed to the world the glad news that during the Cuban war Roosevelt had bravely shot a blind Spanish jackass from behind, our great national hero has come to look upon himself as an expert in all matters of violence and murder. Recently he felt called upon to voice the sentiment that Emma Goldman and her friends are imbued with the sole purpose of inciting to murder.
The utterance does full justice to a man who, as a second-rate politician, attracts much attention only becuase his political antagonists are third-raters. No one will expect Roosevelt to waste his time to inform himself of such insignificant matters as the philosophy of a world-liberating idea.
Four more labor men were arrested in California, charged with alleged complicity in an alleged dynamite conspiracy. What bitter irony upon those well-meaning, but superficious meddlers who had assured the country that the confession of the McNamaras would bring industrial peace and “harmonize” capital and labor.
Since the McNamara plea of guilty, the prosecutors and spies feel themselves masters of the situation. And that especially because the gentlemen of the national labor bodies have been behaving like little schoolboys, fearful of receiving a bad mark at school. Cravenly they ignore the insolent challenges that the enemies of labor continually cast into their face, though indeed they do not lack the means to repel the attacks with vigor and strength. “Murder is murder,” they are taunted. Aye,—the acts of the McNamaras are the merest child-play in comparison with the systematic murder of capitalism and government.
According to the reports of the boy scout movement, its membership has now grown to 300,000. A rich harvest of young blood. The patriots for profit may well calculate with a smile of satisfaction: If the army is declining as a drawing-card, or even if the soldiers should refuse to shoot and kill to order, we have these 300,000 boys that can be let loose upon the discontented “mob.” If it should happen now and then that some youth kill his father or brother, it will in no way detract from the glory of the country. Does not patriotism cover, indeed glorify, a multitude of crimes which under other conditions are regarded dishonorable and are punished with prison and the gallows?
It required seven month’s steady work by fifty seamstresses to prepare the train of the dress worn by the royal goose of England at the Durbar, where she was crowned Empress of India.
A dear goose, indeed! Proudly she trailed her robes across the soil of India, dripping with the blood of unnumbered Hindoo subjects slowly starved to death.
The lawyers, sky-pilots, and politicians of the Socialist Party are still after the scalp of William D. Haywood. Serves him right. What business has he, true revolutionary Socialist that he is, among men who use Socialism as a trap to catch votes, political offices, and sinecures.
Impelled by the pious love for the tramp and beggar of Nazareth, the good Mayor of New York issued orders, a few days before Christmas, to arrest every beggar the police could lay their hands on.
It is this same Mayor who never tires of proclaiming that the Bible is the greatest book of all times. He is a good Christian who evidently wished to gladden the hearts of his less fortunate brothers in Christ with a happy Christmas gift. He glorified his divine Redeemer by sending the friendless and the homeless to the workhouse and prison.
The investigation of the Capitol at Albany has brought to light the information that there is intimate connection between politics and prostitution. Apparently prostitution, however, had the worst of the partnership. The politicians and bureaucrats exploited it to the limit, and then blackmailed it to boot.
Moral indignation came to the rescue. A campaign of extermination began against the dives and gambling houses, and presently it wasannounced that Albany had been cleaned out and restored to its pristine purity. But the Capitol was not disturbed. This the hotbed of political prostitution and graft remains intact. The roots of the evil are untouched; soon it will bud its poisonous foliage and bear destructive fruit.
The campaign of “pacification” continues in Mexico. We quote from a recent communication:
A Mexican by the name of Tirso Toba, prominent in the late Liberal party insurrection of Lower California, was kidnapped about twenty miles north of the international boundary by the subprefect of Mexicali, aided by U.S. immigration officials. The prisoner was taken to Mexicali and cast into cuartel incommunicado. Later Calexico officers and Mexican secret service men searched the home of Jesus and Norberto Amador and looted the house, stealing valuable papers and a sum of money.
But all governmental brutality and repression is powerless to stifle the yearning for liberty of the Mexican people.
The contribution of autocratic Russia to civilization has consisted mostly of pogroms, extermination of revolutionists, and, lately, the murderous invasion of Persia.
But there is another Russia, the Russia of Gogol, Nekrassov, Turgeniev, Dostoyevski. Tolstoy,—the Russia of the heroic men and women, the Russia of the steppes and of the muzhiks, dreaming of brotherhoood and freedom.
It is this Russia which sends to us her greetings through the dramatic genius, Paul Orleneff, who, with a small company of players, is giving performances at the Garibaldi Theatre, 35 Fourth Street. Though, indeed, “performances” is but an inadequate expression for the rare artistic experience which awaits the audience.
Orleneff opened his repertory with Ibsen’s Brand. Notwithstanding the disagreeable external conditions surrounding his exceptional artistic efforts, one grows oblivious of the environment the moment this great artist steps upon the scene.
Brand represents the deepest and most mysterious phases of Henrik Ibsen’s nature. It has been said that only in the reading can its subtleness and beauty be fully grasped. But no one who has seen Orleneff in the character of Brand will doubt that his interpretation most strikingly visualizes the Brand of the dramatic poem. No longer does Brand appear a dim impossible figure, a mere visionary. He is real, he lives, and every word he utters must find an echo in all who, with Ibsen, have realized the sham that lisps love and thrives on hate and destruction.
Great as Ibsen’s art is, it grows greater through the genius of Paul Orleneff. The blending of the two is an aeshtetic treat no one who cares the least about art should miss.
We take pleasure in giving the repetory for the coming week for the information of our readers:
Wednesday, January 10, and Tuesday, January 16: Ibsen’s Ghosts,, with Orleneff as Oswald. Thursday, January 11, and Saturday, January 13: Crime and Punishment, by Feodor Dostoyevski, with Orleneff in his masterful interpretation of Raskolnikov. Friday, January 12: Petty Persecution (also known as The Trials of Misfortune). Sunday, Janaury 14, the Second Part of Brand.
The Death of Paul I., the powerful drama by Mereshkovsky (prohibited in Russia); Lorenzacio, by Du Musset, and Hamlet are to be given in the near future.
Tickets and a complete synopsis (in English) of every Russian play to be had at the box office, 11 A. M. to 9 P. M.
Later on we intend to bring a more detailed appreciation of Orleneff, his artistic aims and ideals, and of the able company supporting him.
Free Communism— Voluntary economic co-operation of all towards the needs of each. A social arrangement based on the principle: To each according to his needs; from each according to his ability.
A Review of the Year
The revolution in China, so fraught with significance, overshadows all other events of the year. This is an era of revolutions, a time of ferment, but with the tottering of thrones and the crushing of idols, the revolution in China was the most unexpected of all. If any of our “far-sighted” statesmen had been asked three months ago regarding the possibility of a republic in China, a dissertation on the processes of evolution with a disquisition on the superiority of the Occidental over the Oriental, would have been handed out in a manner most patronizing. Even the “advanced” politicians, the Socialists, would have scoffed at the idea and would have advanced economic determinism to prove its utter impossibility. China is not an industrial nation; therefore, it is unreasonable to expect anything from her. To do so is to challenge the theory of Marx. Jumping from Feudalism to Republicanism seems rather startling to those of us suffering from the weight of a dead past and should bring home to us: first, that perhaps the Oriental is after all not inferior to the Occidental in intelligence and, second, that mankind does not always advance along beaten paths or by prescribed methods. We fear, however, this lesson will not be accepted by a great many. The trouble with the Occidental seems to be most of them are frightened out of their wits when they think there is an immediate possibility of their theories being realized. When an important event happens, a revolt in Italy in 1898, in Spain in 1909, a general strike in England, or even a McNamara case in America, men tumble over each other in their anxiety to declare that such methods are unsuited to their time and place, or that the time is not ripe for revolution. The real reason is, they fear the thing they advocate. In many cases it is a genuine fear of the conservative mind, in others it is the philistine spirit that has crept into the revolutionary movement and seeks to make capital out of it. The Chinese are going through the first now; the second will come later when the revolution is a success. After suffering from Manchu rule for two hundred and sixty-four years and admitting they number four hundred million to five million Manchus, there are Chinamen who are afraid the time is not ripe for a Republic!
The war between Italy and Turkey brings home once more the fact that the era of peace has not set in. It reminds us again that of all the hypocrisies of the present time none is quite so gross and vulgar as the cant about national honor. As we wrote at the time of the seizure of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria, we hold no brief for Turkey. If, however, such things as national honor or international law actually did prevail, despoilment of one nation by another would be impossible. International brigandage is a strong word and an overworked one; none other seems to fit the acts of Italy in Tripoli at the present time. Poor Garibaldi, is this what you and your gallant one thousand suffered and struggled for? To see that same people debauched and degraded as they are, is pitiable. The war is being fought on African soil; so the pinch must come to the inhabitants there instead of in Italy. We sincerely hope the Italians will soon suffer the reverses they so justly deserve, and the uprising that took place after the Abyssinia war will break out and cause a cessation of hostilities and the people wreak their vengeance upon those really responsible for their poverty.
Spain is still fermenting and the Ferrer agitation will not down. The unity of interests of exploiters has again been shown by the articles in L’Humanité on the conspiracy between the King of Spain and ex-King of Portugal to bombard Lisbon. How hollow all this talk of kings and rulers loving their native land appears to the student of politics! Bombard Lisbon, smash the capital city of my country to keep me and my Gaby on the throne! Verily the last resort of a king and a scoundrel is patriotism. Fortunately, it did not take place, and the Republic still stands and with it the hope that Alphonse will soon keep Manuel company at the court of St. James.
Syndicalism and sabotage, the two terrors of the French exploiters, have grown so fast the government has made an investigation. The Senate report has been commented on in our papers and, of course, with the hope that the Syndicates will be exterminated. Fortunately the government isn’t strong enough to crush them and it does not seem to be as successful in bribing their backers as in some other countries. When sabotage is resorted to by the Standard Oil Co., as Henry D. Lloyd pointed out some years ago, it is a different matter.
The year was ushered in by the tragedy at Tokyo, where the gallant Kotoku and his comrades were done to death by the powers that be. It is another illustration of the growth of radical ideas in the Far East. The spirit of liberty still lives in Japan and will continue in spite of his divinity, the Emperor. Lafcadio Hearn, the brillient Oriental scholar, wrote ten years ago to Prof. Chamberlain that none of the educated classes in Japan believed in the divinity of the Emperor. The latest news from that country is that the Elder Statesmen have just informed the Mikado that the majority of the Chinese people favor a republic. It must have given his divinity quite a jolt to realize that his time may also be quite near. An exiled Mikado to some European court would be quite a novelty.
The great strike in England has been so much written about, there is little for us to say. That it has had far-reaching results can be seen by the strikes it has caused and inspired. At this very moment there is a strike of cotton operatives threatened that will engage between one hundred and sixty thousand to three hundred thousand people. The whole trouble, if the press is to be believed, has been caused by the discharge of two men. When an entire district, or even several districts, can be affected by the discharge of two men, solidarity of the workers seems to be growing.
The struggle in Mexico is being dealt with in another part of the magazine, therefore we pass it over with the briefest kind of comment. It was, and according to those best informed, is a great struggle. Overshadowed for the time being by other events, it will not down; and we sincerely hope the near future may show the world that, far from being dead, it is very much alive.
The McNamara case, from the revolutionary standpoint easily the most important event that has happened in America during 1911, has been so much written about and is so recent it need not be discussed at length. The one thing of paramount importance to us is the fact that a class war is now openly admitted on all sides. A few years ago these men would have been unanimously denounced as common murderers. Times have changed since 1886, and while there have been cowardly “labor leaders” to denounce them and pass resolutions in favor of hanging them, there have also been many in all walks of life to defend the brothers against these attacks. In 1887 men were hanged who were innocent of the charges made against them, and a howl of exultation went up all over the country. In 1911 men are sentenced to imprisonment who are, according to their own statement, guilty—and they find many defenders. This shows progress. THe one fact that stands out big and clear is that they were soldiers in a class war and fought the fight as best they knew. The pendulum will soon swing to the other extreme, and then these selfsame “labor leaders” will fall over themselves in their anxiety to laud the men they now decry. It was ever thus, and we hope the McNamaras have sufficient faith in themselves to be strong and true. They have played their part and that part has once and for all stripped the mask from the liars and hypocrites. There is a class war in America, and the whole world knows it. This the McNamaras have accomplished; the air has been cleared, and while the labor movement may have a temporary setback, it will sift the wheat from the chaff and—small though the number may be—we feel sure some conscious revolutionists will be made by this sacrifice.
Verily the world is in a ferment, and the next twelve months may bring changes as great or even greater than the ones now going on in the world. One thing is certain, the year 1911 will be remembered long by historians as one of storm and strife, a necessary preliminary to a better and more just society.
The Mexican Revolution
By Voltairine de Cleyre
“This law of unappropriated lands,” says Wm. Archer, “has covered the country with Naboth’s Vineyards.” I think it would require a Biblical prophet to describe the “abomination of desolation” it has made.
It was to become lords of this desolution that the men who play the game,—landlords who are at the same time governors and magistrates, enterprising capitalists seeking investments—connived at the iniquities of the Diaz régime; I will go further and say devised them.
The Madero family alone owns some 8,000 square miles of territory; more than the entire state of New Jersey. The Terrazas family, in the state of Chihuahua, owns 25,000 square miles; rather more than the entire state of West Virginia, nearly one-half the size of Illinois. What was the plantation owning of our southern states in chattel slavery days compared with this? And the peon’s share for his toil upon these great estates is hardly more than was the chattel slave’s—wretched housing, wretched food, and wretched clothing.
It is to slaves like these that Madero appeals to be “frugal.”
It is of men who have thus been disinherited that our complacent fellow citizens of Anglo-Saxon origin say: “Mexicans! What do you know about Mexicans? their whole idea of life is to lean up against a fence and smoke cigarettes.” And pray what idea of life should a people have whose means of life in their own way have been taken from them? Should they be so mighty anxious to convert their strength into wealth for some other man to loll in?
It reminds me very much of the answer given by a negro employee on the works at Fortress Monroe to a companion of mine who questioned him good-humoredly on his easy idleness when the foreman’s back was turned: “Ah ain’t goin’ to do no white man’s work, fo’ Ah don’ get no white man’s pay.”
But for the Yaquis, there was worse than this. Not only were their lands seized, but they were ordered, a few years since, to be deported to Yucatan. Now Sonora, as I said, is a northern state, and Yucatan one of the southernmost. Yucatan hemp is famous, and so is Yucatan fever, and Yucatan slavery on the hemp plantations. It was to that fever and that slavery that the Yaquis were deported, in droves of hundreds at a time, men, women and children—droves like cattle droves, driven and beaten like cattle. They died there, like flies, as it was meant they should. Sonora became desolated of her rebellious people, and the land became “pacific” in the hands of the new landowners. Too pacific in spots. They had not left people enough to reap the harvests.
Then the government suspended the deportation act, but with the provision that for every crime committed by a Yaqui, five hundred of his people be deported. This statement is made in Madero’s own book.
Now what in all conscience would any one with decent human feeling expect a Yaqui to do? Fight? As long as there was powder and bullet to be begged, borrowed, or stolen; as long as there is a garden to plunder, or a hole in the hills to hide in!
When the revolution burst out, the Yaquis and other Indian people said to the revolutionists: “Promise us our lands back, and we will fight with you.” And they are keeping their word magnificently. All during the summer they have kept up the warfare. Early in September, the Chihuahua papers reported a band of 1,000 Yaquis in Sonora about to attack El Anil; a week later 500 Yaquis had seized the former quarters of the federal troops at Pitahaya. This week it is reported that federal troops are dispatched to Ponoitlan, a town in Jalisco, to quell the Indians who have risen in revolt again because their delusion that the Maderist government was to restore their land has been dispelled. Like reports from Sinaloa. In the terrible state of Yucatan, the Mayas are in active rebellion; the reports say that “The authorities and leading citizens of various towns” have been seized by the malcontents and put in prison. What is more interesting is, that the peons have seized not only “the leading citizens,” but still more to the purpose have seized the plantations parceled them, and are already gathering the crops for themselves.
Of course, it is not the pure Indians alone who form the peon class of Mexico. Rather more than double the number of Indians are mixed breeds; that is, about 8,000,000, leaving less than 3,000,000 of pure white stock. The mestiza, or mixed breed population, have followed the communistic instincts and customs of their Indian forbears; while from the Latin side of their make-up, they have certain tendencies which work well together with their Indian hatred of authority.
The mestiza, as well as the Indians, are mostly ignorant in book knowledge, only about sixteen per cent. of the whole population of Mexico being able to read and write. It was not within the program of the “civilizing” regime to spend money in putting the weapon of learning in the people’s hands. But to conclude that people are necessarily unintelligent because they are illiterate, is in itself a rather unintelligent proceeding.
Moreover, a people habituated to the communal customs of an ancient agricultural life do not need books or papers to tell them that the soil is the source of wealth, and they must “get back to the land”!—even if their intelligence is limited.
Accordingly, they have got back to the land. In the state of Morelos, which is a small, south-central state, but a very important one,—being next to the Federal District, and by consequence to the City of Mexico,—there has been a remarkable land revolution. General Zapata, whose name has figured elusively in newspaper reports now as having made peace with Madero, then as breaking faith, next wounded and killed, and again resurrected and in hiding, then anew on the war path and proclaimed by the provisional government the arch-rebel who must surrender unconditionally and be tried by court martial; who has seized the strategic points on both the railroads running through Morelos, and who just a few days ago broke into the federal district, sacked a town, fought successfully at two or three points with the federals, blew out two railroad briadges and so frightened the deputies in Mexico City that they are all clamoring for all kinds of action; this Zapata, the fires of whose military camps are springing up now in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Pueblo as well, is an Indian with a long score to pay, and all an Indian’s satisfaction in paying it. He appears to be a fighter of the style of our revolutionary Marion and Sumter; the country in which he is operating is mountainous and guerrilla bands are exceedingly difficult of capture; even when they are defeated, they have usually succeeded in inflicting more damage than they have received, and they always get away.
Zapata has divided up the great estates of Morelos from end to end, telling the peasants to take possession. They have done so. They are in possession, and have already harvested their crops. (Morelos has a population of some 212,000.)
In Pueblo reports in September told us that eighty leading citizens had waited on the governor to protest against the taking possession of the land by the peasantry. The troops were deserting, taking horses and arms with them.
It is they, no doubt, who are now fighting with Zapata. In Chihuahua, one of the largest states, prisons have been thrown open and the prisoners recruited as rebels; a great hacienda was attacked and the horses run off, whereupon the peons rose and joined the attacking party.
In Sinaloa, a rich northern state,—famous in the southwestern United States some years ago as the field of a great co-operative experiment in which Mr. C.B. Hoffman, one of the former editors of the Chicago Daily Socialist, was a leading spirit,—this week’s paper reports that the former revolutionary general Juan Banderas is heading an insurrection second in importance only to that lead by Zapata.
In the southern border state of Chiapas, the taxes in many places could not be collected. Last week news items said that the present government had sent General Paz there, with federal troops, to remedy that state of affairs. In Tabasco, the peons refused to harvest the crops for their masters; let us hope they have imitated their brothers in Morelos and gathered them for themselves.
The Maderists have announced that a stiff repressive campaign will be inaugurated at once; if we are to believe the papers, we are to believe Madero guilty of the imbecility of saying, “Five days after my inauguration the rebellion will be crushed.” Just why the crushing has to wait till five days after the inauguration does not appear. I conceive there must have been some snickering among the reactionary deputies, if such an announcement was really made; and some astonished query among his followers.
What are we to conclude from all these reports? That the Mexican people are satisfied? That it’s all good and settled? What should we think if we read that the people, not of Lower but of Upper, California had turned out the ranch owners, had started to gather in the field products for themselves, and that the Secretary of War had sent U.S. troops to attack some thousands of armed men (Zapata has had 3,000 under arms the whole summer and that force is now greatly increased) who were defending that expropriation? If we read that in the state of Illinois that farmers had driven off the tax-collector? that the coast states were talking of secession and forming an independent combination? that in Pennsylvania a division of the federal army was to be dispatched to overpower a rebel force of fifteen hundred armed men doing guerrilla work from the mountains? that the prison doors of Maryland, within hailing distance of Washington City, were being thrown open by armed revolutionaries?
Should we call it a condition of peace? regard it as proof that the people were appeased? We should not: we would say the revolution was in full swing. And the reason you have thought it was all over in Mexico, from last May till now, is that the Chicago press, like the eastern, northern, and central press in general, has said nothing about this steady march of revolt. Even The Socialist has been silent. Now that the flame has shot up more spectacularly for the moment, they call it “a new revolution.”
That the papers pursue this course is partly due to the generally acting causes that produce our northern indifference, which I shall presently try to explain, and partly to the settled policy of capitalized interest in controlling its mouthpieces in such a manner as to give their present henchmen, the Maderists, a chance to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. They invested some $10,000,000 in this bunch, in the hope that they may be able to accomplish the double feat of keeping capitalist possessions intact and at the same time pacifying the people with specious promises. They want to lend them all the countenance they can, till the experiment is well tried; so they deliberately suppress revolutionary news.
Among the later items of interest reported by the Los Angeles Times are those which announce an influx of ex-officials and many-millioned landlords of Mexico, who are hereafter to be residents of Los Angeles. What is the meaning of it? Simply that life in Mexico is not such a safe and comfortable proposition as it was, and that for the present they prefer to get such income as their agents can collect without themselves running the risk of actual residence.
Of course, it is understood that some of this notable efflux (the supporters of Reyes, for example, who have their own little rebellions in Tabasco and San Luis Potosi this week), are political reactionists, scheming to get back the political loaves and fishes into their own hands. But most are simply those who know that their property right is safe enough to be respected by the Maderist government, but that the said government is not strong enough to put down the innumerable manifestations of popular hatred which are likely to terminate fatally to themselves if they remain there.
Nor is all this fighting revolutionary; not by any means. Some is reactionary, some probably the satisfaction of personal grudge, much no doubt the expression of general turbulency of a very unconscious nature. But granting all that may be thrown in the balance, the main thing, the mighty thing, the regenerative revolution is the reappropriation of the land by the peasants. Thousands upon thousands of them are doing it.
Ignorant peasants: peasants who know nothing about the jargon of land reformers or of Socialists. Yes: that’s just the glory of it! Just the fact that it is done by ignorant people; that is, people ignorant of book theories; but not ignorant, not so ignorant by half, of life on the land, as the theory-spinners of the cities. Their minds are simple and direct; they act accordingly. For them, there is one way to “get back to the land”; i.e., to ignore the machinery of paper land-holding (in many instances they have burned the records of the title-deeds) and proceed to plough the ground, to sow and plant and gather, and keep the product themselves.
Economists, of course, will say that these ignorant people, with their primitive institutions and methods, will not develop the agricultural resources of Mexico, and that they must give way before those who will so develop its resources; that such is the law of human development.
(To be Concluded)
Voltairine de Cleyre (1912)
The Right to Life
Modern man is plentifully equipped with political rights. He has the right of citizenship, provided he be virtuous and not an Anarchist; he may elect his own rulers and jailers; he even enjoys, as one of the majority, the privilege of witnessing the government act “in the name of the people.”
This privilege is a particularly bad hoax, because the activities of the government and courts have usually the sole purpose of intensifying the robbery and subjection of the people; in other words, the people—in their own sacred name—doom themselves to dependence and slavery.
The hollowness and sham of political rights becomes fully apparent when we consider that all of them combined do not include the right to live.
The right to live,—that is, the securing of the means of existence, the organization of society in a manner to insure to each the material basis of life and make it as self-evident as breathing,—this right present society cannot give to man.
The barbaric character of the dominant forms of existence is never so offensively demonstrated as when we subject the right to live to a critical test. This right is attacked and nullified daily in a thousand various ways by coercion, poverty, and dependence. It is cruel irony to justify the existence of the murderous machinery of government, with its brutal imbecile laws, on the ground that it is necessary for “the protection of life and property.”
Among the thousands of laws and statutes there is not a single paragraph that guarantees to each member of society the right to live. The tender care for property is of little avail; for it is the chief characteristic of a society based on the sanctity of property that the great majority do not possess sufficient property to justify the expensive machinery of police, courts, jailers and hangmen.
The right to live is primarily dependent upon possession and consequent power. But as only a small minority is in possession and control, the right to live remains a chimera so far as the majority is concerned.
Anarchism regards the right to live as the pivot of its philosophy. It considers it the indispensable foundation of a society that claims to be humane.
To-day the needy, the hungry and the homeless man finds no providence, no court where he may appeal the right to live. Were he to claim it, to test this right, he would soon find himself in the workhouse or prison. In the midst of fabulous wealth, he often lacks even the bare necessaries of existence. He stands isolated, forsaken. In a glance, at every turn, he beholds a plenitude of food, clothing and comforts, a thousandth part of which would save him from despair and destruction. But not even the minutest right to live gives him the power over the things, the lack of which turns him into a social pariah.
What avail the rights of citizenship, political “liberties,” or his one-day sovereignty as a voter, when he is deprived of the right to live and robbed of the use of the things he needs?
When everything, every essential of life is the monopoly of a certain class—secured by laws, armies, courts, and scaffolds—it is evidence that the possessing class will completely dominate life, with the consequent subjection of the rest of the people.
The Autobiography of Richard Wagner
The recent publication of Richard Wagner’s Autobiography once more proves the old commonplace that one can be a great artist and yet small as a man.
Through the almost 900 pages of the two volumes the “revolutionary in music” dwells upon a thousand trivialities which would fit well into the family chronicles of a German middle-class man desirous to leave the impression after his death that the constant endeavor of his life had been to follow faithfully the path of virtue. There is a goodly dose of profound self-righteousness in the book.
The opponents of Wagner’s music have eagerly seized the opportunity offered by the Autobiography to renew sharpened accusations against the character of Wagner. Especially have the references to his marriage and the alleged bad treatment of his wife Minna been multiplied by the critics of My Life.
This washing of family linen is of little importance. Much sadder it is that Wagner often looks upon the great and significant things of life from the perspective of the frog pond.
In the last analysis his first marriage was a typical average marriage. They quarrelled to the verge of vituperation, unpacked the shortcomings and faithlessness of each other, and “made up” again. Repeatedly it reaches the point of separation, but the philistine hope of “sweet home” draws them again together. To make the typical (childless) bourgeois marriage complete, the Wagners were not even without the parrot Papo and the pet dog Fips, which—according to Wagner’s own remark—considerably helped now and then to bring their relations into concord. God bless the two little beasts for serving so ethically and bravely to preserve the marriage relation.
Quite different it was with Cosima, the daughter of Liszt and former wife of the splendid musician and original character, Hans von Bülow. She, the amanuensis to whom Wagner dictated his recollections, finely understood how to dispense respect and incense,—and Wagner—Wotan, the god supreme, loved such signs of admiration only too well.
Cosima, faithfully following the once-for-all firmly established rites of the Wagner cult, has managed to exploit Beyruth in a rational, business-like manner, using the shingle on which Wagner has to figure as the saint and deceased business partner.
The wretched dependence of art upon money and power is disclosed in the Autobiography with brutal clarity. Little understanding and inner sympathy as Wagner had for the people who crossed the path of his life, he was heart and soul in his music and operas. Thus we constantly see him circling around influential high personages in whose hands it lies to dispense money and power. There is hardly a European princeling at whose doors he fails to knock, seeking entrance for his music-revolutionizing ideas. He approaches even Napoleon III., notwithstanding he hates him as the butcher of the Republic, the criminal of December 2d, the perpetrator of the coup d’êtat.
But all in vain. These kings, dukes, archdukes, and princesses are hedged about with tradition and convention, and surrounded by hosts of toadies and flatterers, who see in every innovation a danger to throne and altar. The utmost with which these “most high circles” favor Wagner are a few crumbs, often permeated with the disgusting odor of charity. To be sure, they do not wish to let the so persistently knocking artist starve, but they show not the least appreciation of the extraordinary character and the significance of his art. Moreover, Wagner had sided with the people in the revolution of 1848, though in a rather uncertain and timid manner, but sufficient to injure his reputation at the royal and princely courts. Only the proved devotion of the canaille is appreciated there.
Wagner, indeed, does not stoop so low; yet he often speaks with evident respect of the great dukes and archdukes. It seems almost as if he had greater admiration for these than for men like Heine, Herweg, Gottfried Keller, or Turgeniev, with whom he was acquainted and whom he considers worthy only of the most casual and inadequate mention.
With the exception of a few theatres of secondary importance, the stage had for decades refused to open its gates to Wagner. His genius proved of no avail there. Money and patronage on a large scale were lacking, and thus the doors remained closed to the musical creations which later were to produce such a tremendous universal impression. He had first to be “discovered” by the neurotic and hereditarily insane King of Bavaria, before he could attain the material opportunity to demonstrate what he could and what he wanted. How miserable and tragic that all this had to depend upon the whim of a demented king!
The suffocating dependence of artistic production upon wealth and patronage should cause the true artist—who is not content to produce mere market ware—to turn relentless rebel against the existing standards, to become a communist. But because the enjoyment of true art is to-day the monopoly of the rich—the common people getting but the shabbiest and shoddiest—therefore the artists bend the knee and serve the vulgar but solvent taste.
This rebellious idea for some time stirred in the mind of Wagner. The revolution of ’48 filled him with the hope of a radical change even if—as he himself admits,—he judged it from the standpoint of his art interests. But the Prometheus fire of social revolution as it blazed in the soul of Michael Bakunin dwelt not in the breast of Richard Wagner. To him Bakunin, whom he met in Dresden, is a phenomenon. He admires him; he speaks in glowing terms (a rare occasion) of this remarkable Russian who seeks to destroy everything; he feels toward him “unvoluntary horror” and irresistible attraction.
As manager at the Dresden court theatre, Wagner conducts the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven. After the performance the following incident takes place: “Michael Bakunin, unknown to the police, had been present at the rehearsal. At its close he walked unhesitatingly up to me in the orchestra, and said in a loud voice, that if all the music that had ever been written were lost in the expected world-wide conflagration, we must pledge ourselves to rescue this symphony even at the peril of our lives.”
In the ideas set forth in his “Art and Revolution,” Wagner shows the very probable influence of Bakunin and August Reckel. The latter was one of the participants in the revolution of ’48 who realized the inadequacy of a merely political revolution and saw the snare hidden in constitutional changes, and who therefore concentrated his thoughts and efforts upon the reconstruction of society. Together with Bakunin he was sentenced to death for the part he played in the revolution, then “pardoned” to life-long incarceration, and finally liberated, after many years passed in prison.
The part that Wagner played in the insurrection was limited mainly to sympathetic observation. However, he had to flee the country and to suffer for many years persistent and petty persecution by the authorities of Saxony.
One of the significant events of his life—relates Wagner—was his acquaintance with the philosophy of Schopenhauer. Georg Herweg had presented to him The World as Will and Representation. From this time on, Wagner tells us, dates a great change in his conceptions of life. In place of revolution, renunciation begins to develop. Parsival is in the making,—the work of which Friedrich Nietzsche wrote:
Is this our mode?
Think well! Ye still stay for ingression….
For what ye hear is Rome—
Rome’s faith without expression.
Nietzsche, in his psychological dissection of Wagner, says, maliciously, that after Wagner became acquainted with Schopenhauer, he translated his Niebelingen Ring from the optimism that had faith in the future into Schopenhauerism. Now “everything was wrong, everything goes to ruin, the new world is as bad as the old—Nothingness, the Indian Circe, makes a sign… Brunnhilde, who, according to the earlier design, had to take leave with a song in honor of free love, solacing the world in anticipation of a Socialistic Utopia in which ‘all will be well,’ has now something else to do. She has first to study Schopenhauer; she has to put into verse the fourth book of the World as Will and Representation. Wagner was saved…. The service for which Wagner is indebted to Schopenhauer is immense. It was only the philosopher of décadence who enabled the artist of décadence to discover himself.”
My Life contains references which justify this malice of Nietzsche. On page 731 Wagner relates that he met in Paris Malvida von Meysenburg, with whom he had previously had an unpleasant encounter in London.
“The occasion on which we had met in London had been at an evening party at the house of a family called Althaus, where I found her full of the desires and projects for the future perfection of the human race to which I had given expression in my book (Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft), but from which under the influence of Schopenhauer and a profound realization of the intense tragedy of life and the emptiness of its phenomena, I had turned away with almost a feeling of irritation. I found it very painful in discussing the question not to be understood by this enthusiastic friend and to have to appear to her in the light of a renegade from a noble cause.”
Alongside of Schopenhauer the King of Bavaria became Wagner’s patron saint. From the heights of the royal favor he never again descended to the people. But what does it matter? The people are not a mushroom growth. The dream that Wagner once dreamed in Art and Revolution will some day be realized by the people,—nor will they need the aid of philosopher or king.
Economy as Viewed by an Anarchist
The classic example of serfdom and its petrifying effect is Europe during the Middle Ages. Other countries, equally backward, either had worse and more primitive institutions—the ryot system of India, the bureaucratic tyranny of China, the military systems of the Mussulmans,—or else they were not so fortunately situated as to have outgrown the nomadic condition. Serfdom was the weight which stayed the advance of Europe during many centuries. The new masters were the most practically inventive race that ever existed. The compass, the clock, the clepsydra, gunpowder, paper, the pump, spectacles, glass windows, are but a few of the improvements between the downward turn of Rome and the general discontinuance of serfdom. Notwithstanding the success of a gloomy superstition well adapted to the melancholy time, men had good teachers. They could still read the Latin and, in Eastern countries, the Greek classics. There were still libraries which contained these standard works. The Jews and Saracens had already rejuvenated the science of the buried world with a very vigorous Asiatic graft. But not much could be expected while serfdom remained intact; and the successive waves of invasion from beyond the Volga, which continued until the fifteenth century, tended to strengthen in by strengthening the local (feudal) form of government, with which its affinities are strongest. The dreadfully disguised liberator was the Black Death (1348). In the year of this great pestilence wages were low, industry suspended, the whole framework of society broken down. In almost deserted cities the poor feasted on the spoils of the rich who had fled. In the country, landlords, who doubted if the world would see another season, allowed the serfs, for whose reduced number provisions were exuberant, to do about as they would. A very rare thing happened—the world really was living on its “accumulated wealth.” But next year, when hope and tranquility had returned, the immense demand for labor and its sudden scarcity sent wages quite out of serf possibilities. In a year or two more landlords, frightened at the independence of the tenants, attempted to reinforce their own obsolete prerogatives by the usual method of legislation. They were for a time more successful in England, the chief seat of contention, than I should have expected; seeing that the proletariate resisted attempts to put them on the old footing with a stubbornness they always show in stickling for permanency of an advantage gained. This was also the chief historic period of the Swiss revolution, the period of those the Jacquerie and of “Wat Tyler’s” rebellion, the beginning of those societies which, under the like names of Joss Fritz and Bundschuh, maintained the prospects of liberty along the Rhine. The result was that everywhere, excepting Switzerland, the nobles were victorious in battle; but everywhere they found that something more than battles would be required to reverse the effects of the Black Death. Relics of serfdom remained, perhaps even to our own time, as weapons to the extortioner, hardships to the producer, and annoyance to pestered legislators. But considered as a system of production and distribution, serfdom died by the great plague of 1348. The next hundred and seventy years witnessed progress as rapid as might have been expected. Gunpowder turned the balance of war from the mailed knights to the citizens who had knowledge to make and money to pay for this tremendous chance. The local tyrants were overthrown. The modern kingdoms were firmly established. There was a great advance in secular feeling and wisdom; a great decline in superstition. Printing gave its aid to the good work. Knowledge became popular, ignorance ridiculous. The power and influence of the Church, long since a strictly conservative institution, was greatly lessened. A Portuguese fleet doubled the Cape of Good Hope. A Spanish vessel returned in safety and triumph after crossing the Atlantic. A flood of current-metal, which since the decline of the Roman Empire had been inconveniently scarce, was poured in from America. Prices rose, exchange was facilitated, business of every sort revived. Science, already a young Titan, but hitherto entangled in the nets of the alchemist and astrologer, began to find practical uses for his powers. New inventions—the pendulum, the telescope, the tourniquet—show the new direction of intellectual power. Then the Reformation came. Throughout half Europe the yoke of a greedy, idle, and mischievously charitable theocracy was shattered. The new proprietors were connected by no ancestral sentiment with the cultivators. There was nothing to check their natural penchant for getting all they could out of their tenants except the tenants’ equally natural indisposition to let them have any more than could be helped. Thus began the bourgeois system of our time; which indicates itself in the inanity of making out that things present differ widely from what they are everywhere else, by reasoning that our’s alone is a free system, under which every one does as he pleases, save only that a few things which no one ever did without resistance and danger, but on which tyrants often ventured, are now equally punished, whoever does them, by impartial law. If, therefore, under this system people suffer, it must be by their own fault. Now, it is certain that, if the premises be correct, the conclusion is made out. He who can be a Socialist, praying the Blessed Government to make men happy and equal, just after proving out of his Ricardo that they are unequal and the majority unhappy by a natural law whose operation is contingent upon characteristic misconduct of this majority, must, at any rate, have much greater faith in the divine attributes of the B. G. than I have. But the premises evidently are not correct. The bourgeois system may be freer than the primitive communal, the despotic, the slave system, the feudal and serf systems, or, in short, any which preceded it. That would be quite harmonious with its being, as we all admit it is, the system under which the world has become the richest, the distribution of wealth the most equitable, the standard of comfort highest, the diffusion of knowledge most general, the march of improvement most rapid. And yet that is not really saying much, as will appear if we reflect how slow improvement is; what ridicule and persecution those who effect it still commonly have to go through; what depths of ignorance and superstition lie close to the very highest stratum over which knowledge has spread a filthy net; how destitute of aspiration are still the bulk of the common people; what scenes of misery may still be witnessed within pistol shot of palatial hotels and colleges; how poor we all still feel ourselves; how generally we are struggling to keep our heads above water so hard that if by chance we get fairly upon terra firma we find it impossible to discard old habits, and continue struggling with wave and tempest, wind and rock, for money which is no longer of any service to us! This unsatisfactory state of things we are in now way justified in laying upon the faults of individuals if it have, perchance, a sufficient explanation in the faults of institutions inherited from the barbarous past; and, in particular, it is odious mockery to hold up for specimens of these faults in individuals the leaving undone of what institutions have made impossible. Now, it is very certain (1) that we still have institutions (2) which are the relics of the barbarous past, (3) that some of these are inconsistent with personal liberty, (4) and with advance in knowledge, wealth, or social evolution beyond a certain point, (5) but that they are powerfully buttressed by vested interests, so that (6) they alone are sufficient to explain any existing backwardness in the world’s condition.
22. The bedrock which supports the entire fabric is the subjection of women. The orthodox economists themselves being witnesses, increase of population beyond the means of living, by the older methods, at the old standard, is the force which has constantly impelled nations to fight, conquerors to enslave, discoverers to invent. It is this which has divided, and still does divide, mankind into the classes of rich and poor. A salient point in the same doctrine, moreover, is that prudence about adding to population—care not to do so without making it sure previously that the new mouths will receive the old amount of meat—has been increased by experience, and is a chief cause of improvement. This prudence, however, is much more to be expected from the female sex than the male. The female sex is much the less amorous, as Darwin has shown by a comparison extending throughout the entire animal kingdom. It is on the female sex that fall by far the larger part of the pains, anxieties, difficulties, and responsibilities of propagation; while the pleasures belong chiefly to the male. This difference also increases with civilization. Man in quite advanced states puts little more restraint upon his passions than an animal; but woman, whose foremothers, even back to the ascidian, made the male submit in some measure to their selection, shows far more foresight here and now than exists even among barbarians representing pretty well her human ancestors. That slang about women’s desire to catch husbands, which not long since was common, in no way contradicts this. It was rich husbands only that they wanted, even according to their libelers.
(To be Concluded)
Anarchism— The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.