Vol. VIII. March, 1913 No. 1
To Our Eighth Birthday 1
Observations and Comments 3
In Memoriam of John Most, Stephen Daniels 10
As It Was In the Beginning, Hallett Abend 14
The Troubles of Socialist Politicians, M. B. 15
Victims of Morality, Emma Goldman 19
Dialogue in Heaven, Harry Kemp 25
Anarchist Activity 26
Emma Goldman's Tour 29
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Vol. VIII. March, 1913 No. 1
TO OUR EIGHTH BIRTHDAY
IT is often more difficult to destroy than to build. Socially, especially, does this hold true. Building the New upon the Old is ephemeral, confusing and often corrupting. The only true process of new building is through the destruction of the old. A most difficult task. It is comparatively easy to graft new ideas and opinions upon the surface of the existing—easy and as futile. But the true revaluation of dominant values necessitates the complete destruction of the latter: the total eradication of hoary tradition, prejudice and indolent acceptance that hold the average mind in the bondage of philistine satisfaction and apathy.
To destroy, to root up must be the main work of every pathfinder. To blaze the way into untrodden paths is his mission. Such destruction is in the truest sense the most constructive effort—and this is the work that has ever inspired MOTHER EARTH and those connected with it
And now that the magazine enters upon its eighth year, we are determined to continue unabated this constructive destruction. What the coming year may bring none can tell At best, the labor of the pathfinder is a thankless mission, full of struggle and hardship. We are not deceived in our possibilities. We know that a publication that has neither a political party to boost it, nor is in any other way subsidized, must needs find the road difficult to travel.
Nor are we conceited enough to believe that our magazine has always been at its best, always as insistent and determined in its march forward, as it could have been but for the lack of interest and cooperation of those who might have helped.
However, we begin the eighth year with renewed vigor and courage, with faith in the understanding and active interest of our growing numbers of comrades and friends, who seek new paths and burn behind them the bridges of an outlived past.
With their aid we shall strive to broaden the reach of the magazine for the coming year, and to increase its revolutionary and educational value. We are planning a series of articles of more than usual worth and interest, among them
the publication of the lectures delivered by Comrade Emma Goldman during the last tour: "The Victims of Morality," "The Failure of Christianity," "The Danger of the Growing Power of the Church," "Art and Revolution," "Sex—the Great Element of Creative Work," etc.
We also have in preparation a number of comprehensive reviews of the work of great writers and dramatists like Dostoyevsky, Hauptmann, Strindberg, Synge, and other moderns, as well as a series of essays dealing with the vital questions of the labor movement—Syndicalism, Direct Action, Sabotage.
Our friends and readers who want to help us materialize
these plans will considerably aid us by increasing the number of MOTHER EARTH readers. Can we count on you, friends, to interest wider circles in our work and procure for the magazine new subscribers? Our offer of a premium of Emma Goldman's work, ANARCHISM AND OTHER ESSAYS, paper cover, with every new subscription or renewal, holds good till April 1. Besides, our friends can help us directly by renewing their subscriptions in advance. With every 2-year renewal we offer, free, a copy of CONQUEST OF BREAD, by Peter Kropotkin; with a subscription for 3 years, a copy of Brieux's THREE PLAYS; while for every
5-year subscription the premium will be a copy of PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST, by Alexander Berkman, together with a copy of Brieux's THREE PLAYS.
We are confident that you who appreciate our efforts and value the work of MOTHER EARTH will not delay in aiding our labors.
Observations and Comments:
WHEN our heart is heavy and the mind skeptically whispers to us that tyranny is constantly finding new ways and more effective methods to further its purpose; that men are growing more slavish and weaker in their resistance to oppression, then a
glance at the history of revolutions—those oases in the desert of man's humiliation—never fails to cheer and gladden our spirit.
We find there the assurance and certainty that the
advance toward social justice and liberty can never be
checked for long, and that the means and aims of realizing it are gaining in clarity and strength with every new uprising and revolt.
In old Rome the slaves, led by Spartacus, rose in rebellion seventy years before the Christian era. Badly armed and provisioned, a chaotic conglomerate from the whole realm, they yet triumphed over the trained legions of the Roman State, and the safety of Rome itself was threatened by their determined onslaughts. Unfortunately friction arose among the various tribes and nationalities, the difficult situation still further aggravated by the spies of Rome, who industriously sowed discord in the army of rebellion, finally to hand it over to the power of Rome, that employed the most barbaric methods to wipe out the uprising.
The Middle Ages witnessed the revolution flame
through the various countries of Europe, under the guise of religious movements. But whatever their particular form, the common purpose of them all was the conquest of bread and liberty.
Similarly was this the aim of the French peasants in the jacquerie movement of the 14th century. They rebelled against the theft of their lands by the robber
knights of the court and of the nobility, and took up arms against the chains of serfdom. They made common cause with the poorer classes of the city population, whom greedy taxation and usury stole the last crust from their very mouths. Thousands were sacrificed in this struggle, and it was only by means of the great
French Revolution that the peasant of France finally freed himself from the yoke of feudalism.
Bread and Freedom! Again it was the cry of the 100,000 British peasants who rose on Black heath Common, near London, under the leadership of Wat Tyler,
setting the whole country round aflame with the fire of the insurrection, the rebels successfully attacking the capital of England and holding it in their possession for
three weeks. But the treachery of the king and his parliament in holding out empty promises to the rebels, and the murder of Wat Tyler by a courtier, broke down the rebellion.
Tremendous were the peasant uprisings a century later
in Germany, Austria, Holland, and Switzerland. The castles and estates of the nobles, without number, were sacked and burned, the red flag waving at the head of many a rebel army.
This time treachery came from the religious reformer, Martin Luther, who at first sided with the peasants, but later craftily made peace with the rulers and vehemently advocated the most cruel treatment of the rebels.
The power of the nobility was finally broken by the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, to which the Revolution of the American Colonies against England was the prelude. But the poor people of the large cities were already beginning to realize that it was not enough to abolish feudalism; that though the bourgeoisie fought to secure for itself political liberty, it was at the same time determined to continue the social and economic oppression of the masses by wage slavery and usury, even with greater intensity and more effectually than was the case under feudalism. Men like Marat, Hebert, and particularly Babeuf understood to some extent the situation. Babeuf headed a conspiracy, whose aim was to proclaim Communism. But the movement was not successful, and Babeuf, with a number of his comrades, was guillotined.
The tendencies of social revolution from then on manifested themselves with greater clarity and consciousness, in contrast with the mere political changes which in spite of all representation and franchise brought no radical improvement in the lot of the masses of labor. Social revolutionary tendencies came into strong relief in the June revolution of i848, but still more definitely in the Paris Commune, proclaimed by the people of the French capital on March 18th, 1871,—in memory of which event these lines are written.
The Commune was defeated two and a half months later by the united international reaction, that slaughtered 30,000 men and women, and imprisoned and banished 10,000 more.
The Commune was an heroic attempt toward a successful Social Revolution. But the social ideas of that time were not sufficiently strong to wipe away the old
political traditions. Thus, for example, instead of taking effective revolutionary measures—providing for the needs of the people by throwing open the warehouses
where food and other necessaries were stored; by expropriating and getting possession of the national treasury; by organizing production and distribution in co-
operative leagues of the people—instead of all these absolutely vital measures, an election was ordered, which carried into power a number of politicians and weak compromisers, who would have remained quite insignificant if the revolution had been energetically carried to its logical conclusion. Such social measures would have inspired the people with confidence and courage; the rebellious proletariat would have realized that this time they were not to sacrifice their lives and shed their
blood in vain; that it was not to be a mere change of political constellations, but that it was in all truth a real Social Revolution.
These mistakes of the Paris Commune were fatal. But from them the revolution of the future, which is so fast gathering strength in Europe and America, will learn a valuable lesson. This brief review of the revolutions of the past justifies the hope that the coming Social Revolution will not content itself with superficialities: its first aim will be to secure bread for the people, and to deprive the State, Capital, and Private Property of the material means of existence.
THE leaders of the Garment Workers' Strike in New York seem to have taken the great military generals for their model. After the workers had heroically fought their long fight with the bosses, scabs, police, and the courts—a fight involving much privation for the strikers, numerous arrests, brutalities, and prison sentences—their leaders arose in their might and formed a "peace" treaty with the manufacturers—over the heads of the strikers. They covered themselves with the laurels of victory, loudly mouthed about "great triumph," while their treacherous settlement secured nothing for the workers but sham concessions. The "victory" consisted chiefly in the proviso that the main demands of the strikers should be turned over to an arbitration committee, composed of outsiders, priests, rabbis, and similar ilk. Full well the workers know the role of the arbitration fakes, the industrial cemetery where the demands and grievances of labor are quickly buried.
This disgraceful retreat was especially manipulated by Abe Cahan, editor of the Jewish Socialist daily, the Forward, aided by the official leaders of the strike, al-
most all prominent Socialists. "Garment Workers," they vociferated, "you are brave and heroic. Your brother workers throughout the land look with admiration upon your determination and courage. But heroism alone is not enough. Under the circumstances it is best for you to accept the terms as the most favorable that you can secure now. Therefore, return to work."
Thus ran the hypocritical cant. Impotence was represented and glorified as strength. But the diplomats strove in vain. The workers rebelled and demonstrated
against their treacherous leaders; they justly felt themselves betrayed, and were even on the point of lynching some of them. It would, perhaps, have gone hard with the Forward and its representatives, had they not sent in a hurried call for police protection.
A new strike movement has begun, which—it is earnestly to be hoped—will not end as disgracefully as the former. The workers will have to learn that they themselves must lead their struggles, and that the diplomats, politicals, and rabbis are not only superfluous in the labor movement, but that they are a most detrimental factor.
OF the twelve Italian coal handlers tried at Hackensack, N. J., for the alleged killing of a railroad detective, five were condemned to brutal prison terms, two being doomed to 15-30 years, two others to i0-30, and the fifth to 8-30 years in the penitentiary. The trial was brief, for the defendants had neither money nor influence. For this reason it was obvious from the very beginning that the accused workers had no chance whatever to present their case in a more or less favorable to them light. Only money and influence makes a good impression upon the justice of to-day.
In the Italian Chamber of Deputies a member severely attacked the railroading of the five coal workers to prison. The Secretary of Foreign Affairs declined to discuss the subject, on the ground that "Italy is on friendly terms with the United States"!
Surely, plutocracy and governmental tyranny always make common cause internationally, when it is a question of terrorizing rebellious workers and keeping labor in subjection. But the time is coming when the solidarity of reaction will have to face the determined conscious solidarity of international labor.
IT would require long pages even merely to mention the numerous places and cities in the United States where there are taking place at present various struggles between labor and the hirelings of organized capital. In the coal district of West Virginia the plutocracy has even proclaimed martial law to drown the strike in blood, for the civil authorities are evidently not sufficiently drastic and murderously effective to suit the will of the mine owners. The prisons are filled with workers, among them the brave old fighter Mother Jones, all of whom are facing numerous charges of murder.
Murderers charge the workers with murder, and use the law for the purpose. Since many months the lords of capital have been slaughtering the miners of West Virginia, attacking their women, driving families from their homes, and hunting whole settlements into the mountain wilderness. The situation is daily approaching nearer to the point where the workers will have to rebel, whether they want it or not.
THE wise solons of Pennsylvania have taken much trouble legally to suppress the red flag, as a symbol of Anarchy.
They missed the mark. If misery and desperation will continue to grow as fast as they have in recent years, the coming storm, that may wipe the Pennsylvania and other legislatures off the earth, will flutter to the breeze the black flag.
PATERSON, the silk weaving centre of New Jersey, has again become the arena of police terror and stupidity that repeats itself there every time when the
workers declare a strike. Then Police Chief Bimson feels that the good name of his city is endangered, and that the masters look at him askance because he has
failed, in spite of all his slavish obedience, to ukase strikes out of existence from this country, or at least from Paterson.
The fellow has now run amuck with his gang of uniformed thugs. He is trying his best to convince the manufacturers that he really deserves the honor of serving as their watchdog. He causes peaceful meetings to be broken up, the audiences brutally assaulted, the speakers and organizers thrown into jail, the pickets maliciously attacked and persecuted, and then proclaims, "Look at all my best efforts to restore the good name of Paterson, whom the outside agitators seek to bring into disgrace!"
Paterson is indeed in disgrace—the shame that it is possible for such a brutal and ignorant man as Bimson to be in a position of importance instead of being driven from his post and city. But the stupid persecution of the strikers has not failed to do good in so far as it has served to unite all the employees of the silk weaving industry in Paterson, and to solidify their ranks in the determined struggle against the common enemy.
WHAT has so far transpired in connection with the new upheaval in Mexico bears all the earmarks of a treacherous military uprising rather than of a popular revolution. Generals, grafters, pretenders—adventurers eager for spoils, men without the least vestige of social purpose—have made an attempt to grasp the Presidency. They are straining every fiber to evict each other with the aid of their respective armies, to the very limit of the hereafter, to whose bourne they have already dispatched Madero in advance. Between them stand the Mexican people, serving as the target for all the warring camps, the duped target drunk with patriotic phrases which are even cheaper than powder.
The United States government is apparently inclined to favor that despot as the fittest ruler of Mexico who will most drastically establish peace with an iron hand in that country. Washington holds that General Huerta must be given time and opportunity to bring order out of the Mexican chaos. Verily a most fitting man—did he not initiate his career as President with treachery and murder? The Federal government echoes the opinion of Ambassador Wilson, the sponsor of Huerta. What if the latter has conspired for the overthrow of "an established government, with which this country is in friendly relations?" Huerta is enthusiastically supported by the American "interests," eager for greater concessions than they were able to secure from the Madero regime. This financial species, whose loyal representative in Mexico is Ambassador Wilson, will favor for the Presidency of that country the most successful wholesale murderer who will offer them the greatest opportunity for unlimited exploitation.
But the real revolutionists of Mexico will not be deluded by any political chicanery and change. They will continue their brave and determined struggle for the social and economic emancipation of the oppressed people of Mexico, whatever the hue of the chameleon of State.
ONE of the first official acts of President Wilson was to congratulate the Tsar upon the tercentenary of the Romanov family as the beneficent rulers of all the Russians. Quite appropriately. The Chief of the plutocratic Cossacks extends the hand of brotherhood across the sea to the Chief of the royal Cossacks.
In connection with the tercentenary some radical and revolutionary papers expressed the hope that an amnesty for political prisoners would be issued, and that, among others, the beloved old Babushka ("little grandmother") would be returned from exile. Exhausted and ill, she drags out her last days in the misery of a Siberian exile's existence.
The reports of the amnesty so far do not justify the expectations. The Tsar seems to have ordered the liberation only of those prisoners who were convicted for
offences committed as officials in the government service. There is no indication that the amnesty is to include important revolutionists—prisoners.
It would be too optimistic to expect a real act of justice and humanity from the royal monster whose hands are red with the blood of the innocents slaughtered wholesale on Bloody Sunday.