Mother Earth Vol. VII. No. 12 (February, 1913). 395–396.
TO Our Friends
Whatever one’s individual estimate of Mother Earth, our readers will agree that it is a cry in the wilderness—a cry defiant or sad, triumphant or agonized, weak or lusty, but ever a cry, persistent, enduring.
There is something awesome about a cry in the wilderness, something compelling respect and admiration even from those who stand by, indifferent, and rousing love and helpfulness on the part of those whose souls echo the solitary cry.
The Mother Earth cry, at first quite solitary and uttered out of the fulness of one’s need, has touched a responsive chort in hundreds of hearts, and thus become stronger and more resonant, and hopefully of continuous growth.
With this confidence in our hearts we know that you will not only help us continue the work as in the past, but you will also aid us in broadening and widening its scope. We plan for the coming issues a number of articles of more than usual interest, among them the publication of Emma Goldman’s very instructive lectures on “The Victims of Morality,” “The Failure of Christianity,”, etc., as well as a series of reviews of the works of Dostoyevski, Hauptmann, Synge and other modern writers and dramatists. Furthermore, we have in view various essays dealing with the important 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.
Let all our friends and readers who appreciate our efforts and value the work of the magazine be up and doing to aid our labors.
Observations and Comments
In March a new administration will take possession of the White House. The wearisome and annoying old tragi-comedy of disappointed expectations and hopes of the sovereign people—so familiar to the initiated in the political game—is to be repeated again. One may smile or cry over it, according to the mood, but we Anarchists have at least the consolation that we are not to be caught by any political snares.
Whatever the particular composition of a government, it may correctly be characterized as a gang of banditti that always scheme for their own aggrandizement. Whatever the régime, it represents the power and rule of the moneybags, and as such it is a full partner in the business, enjoying its share of the spoils. The service of Mammon is the chief business of politicians. To be a politician by profession means to be a professional deceiver of the people. As a rule such men are well-paid, conscious traitors to every cause of humanity, men who have thrown overboard every consideration of justice and fair play. Such things would prove a handicap in the career of a politician.
To afford the poor subjects some sort of cheap consolation, we are still investigating the trusts. Generally the proceeding only tends to increase their dividends.
The latest in this line is the Vice Trust. But why not tackle the Religion Trust? Surely it is the greatest corruptionist and grafter even among trusts. Its securities are held in heaven; its shares are founded on popular stupidity. Its products are superstition and hypocrisy. The payment of dividends in this Trust is arranged to fall due in the hereafter, so that it craftily relieves itself from all responsibility on earth.
Belief in legality is a part of the conventional lie. In New York there are at present quite a number of representatives of the law charged with corruption, graft and bribery. The lid of legality has been lifted just a wee bit, and already it is evident, even to the least intelligent, that everything underneath is rotten.
New York, as well as every other large city, is ruled by an army of grafters and corruptionists, whose power resides in the very fact that they are shielded by the protecting wing of legality, and who therefore may mask every outrage and depravity with the sign of the law.
This situation is not at all exceptional. It is the normal thing that is not to be altered by a few scapegoats being thrown behind the bars.
Notwithstanding all this the conventional lie of legality is by no means to be given up. They will continue to pretend to belief in it, because a society based on mutual deceit cannot afford to look the truth in the face; the grafters will continue to investigate the grafters with due solemnity.
We read in a certain Social Democratic paper that direct economic action may serve its purpose in the immediate, every-day struggle of the worker against his master, but that the final emancipation must inevitably be brought about through political action.
Peculiar logic! Direct economic action is the very reverse of political indirection. The latter begins big, with highflown phrases and promises, and ends with empty soap bubbles and compromises. Direct action, on the contrary, began with small, insignificant local strikes and is developing into a tremendous world movement of the cooperation of all workers for the final General Social Strike.
The field of the General Strike is so far-reaching that it embraces every function of social life. Its effects are of such vital importance that even the biggest and most important political activities cannot for a moment be compared with it. In its results the General Strike signifies the eradication of exploitation and injustice, and the triumph of a new society based on economic independence and social equality—voluntary communism.
The two birthdays of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodrow_WilsonLincoln and Washington in the month of February recall to memory that Washington fought against the King of England, and that Lincoln was instrumental, even if half-heartedly, in the legal emancipation of the negro.
That should be sufficient to remove the names of both from the list of desirable citizens. Indeed, he who is against negro slavery may easily cause “disordered minds” to be inflamed against all other forms of bondage. And so far as a rebel against the English King is concerned, the case of Mylius clearly proves his undesirability, for have not the immigration authorities decided upon his deportation from this free Republic? There is no place in this land for those who do not believe in the sanctity of royal mummery.
During the Congressional debate regarding Filipino independence one of the representatives of the people in that august body thus voiced his principles of liberty:
“I am willing to grant the Filipino independence when they show themselves capable of sustaining a stable government.”
What “stable government” means the Filipinos have since learned through bitter experience. Governor-General Forbes has at his disposal from 12 to 14 million dollars annually for the expenditures of the Federal administration in the Philippines. Part of this sum is supposed to be devoted to alleviate the starvation of the natives. But from the Congressional debate it is manifest that nothing whatever is done in that direction. The money is being spent by the government of the islands in fabulous salaries for the officials, whose number constantly increases. The bureau chiefs are supplied with free automobiles, and the hundred and one official retainers reap a rich harvest from moneys appropriated for the supposed benefit of our dependency.
The treatment of the natives is in keeping with the character of the American bureaucracy. The Moros and other non-Christians are forbidden to be in possession of weapons. This ruling has naturally aroused much discontent, but the American constabulary and army are very drastic and “effective” in their measures, and according to the official report, there were 131 outlaws captured last year, of which number 76 were killed while “resisting arrest.”
Evidently the Federal government is doing its very best to establish “peace” in the islands and teach the natives the merits of “stable government.”
The strike arbitration laws of New Zealand—so enthusiastically hailed by American reformers as an effective solution of labor troubles—is beginning to show results that fill its champions with anxiety and fear.
The miners’ union of Waihi, New Zealand, having declared a strike, gave notice to the Arbitration Board that it withdrew from its jurisdiction because the decisions of that body were always partial to the interests of the masters. But the New Zealand Arbitration Law provides that if a union whose membership is not below fifteen applies for arbitration of a labor dispute, the whole industry must be subject to the decision of the Board. Taking advantage of this legal trick, the mine owners organized a fake labor union, consisting of scabs and ruffians, and attempted to force the workers of the mine industry to accept the conditions dictated by the masters through the official Board of Arbitration.
The strikers organized large mass meetings to protest against this outrage. The authorities ordered the police to invade the audiences, for the purpose of terrorizing the miners. Numerous arrests were the result, and finally the hirelings of the masters resorted to even more brutal methods. They broke into the union headquarters and tried to drive the strikers from the city by force. A worker, named Frederick Evans, resisted the invasion of the ruffians and was at once set upon and killed. The Mayor and other high officials of the town took occasion to congratulate the murderers upon their bravery and efficiency in suppressing the strikers.
For a whole week the myrmidons of capital and government carried on the orgy of violence, and during that time 1,800 men and women were driven forcibly from the place, till Waihi now resembles a deserted village. The masters, aided by the authorities, have finally succeeded in establishing the peace of Warsaw in Waihi. The policeman who was directly responsible for the death of Evans—it having been proved that he struck the worker with an iron baton—was exonerated at the coroner’s inquest and lauded for having done his duty.
In discussion of these outrages the Sydney Worker says, very appropriately, that the struggle has been carried on by the masters in true American fashion:
This kind of thing is happening continually in America. Armies of strikebreakers are organized there. Weapons are put into their hands. They are primed for murder and outrage, and when they run amuck the Law obligingly turns its head another way, or with a brazen disregard of every principle of order aids and abets them in their criminal excesses.
America may surely be proud of the fact that other nations look upon it as the land where the “solution of the labor question” has progressed further than in any other country, by the use of violence and murder.
The trial of Alexander Aldamas has taken place. The calm, manly behavior of the defendant impressed even the Judge that here was a man who scorned to justify by legal trickery the act he was forced to commit in self-defence. He shot the men that attacked him with murderous purpose. The intention of the prosecution was to doom Aldamas—the “ignorant foreigner” on the strike picket line—to a long term of imprisonment, and with that sinister purpose seven separate indictments were brought against him. Some of our faint-hearted revolutionists even were willing to compromise with the enemy and offer a plea of guilty for Aldamas on condition that he be given a sentence of no more than five and no less than two and one-half years. But Aldamas himself is evidently made of sterner material. Perhaps he lacks the profundity of “philosophic Anarchists” and is innocent of the practical wisdom of “scientific Socialists.” He is only a common worker, who knows no better than to defend his life against the attack of an armed scab. But as we have said, the straightforward, manly attitude of this natural rebel—who scorned to deny his act of self-defence and would not be untrue to himself by pleading guilty to something he had a right to do—so impressed the Judge that all the charges against him were dismissed except one, upon which he received a sentence of one and one-half years to prison.
Pity the “practical” revolutionists who seem never to learn that the “impractical” attitude of the idealist is the only manly and courageous stand to take, and is in the long run also the most practical.
Our respects to Aldamas, the rebel. May he be as strong in body as he is in mind to withstand the nightmare of his imprisonment, and may he return to us the brave comrade we shall ever cherish in our hearts.
One would have to go far to find something more despicable than the police courts of New York. In these brothels of prostituted justice is now daily to be witnessed the sight of young men and women—garment workers—being railroaded to the workhouse for the terrible crime of picketing struck shops.
In a mail-order business to secure convictions in the interest of the masters the work could not be carried on with greater system and ease. If it be true that all guilt is avenged, then these legal representatives of injustice will surely receive their due in brimstone and fire.
The announcement of the official incorporation of the Rockefeller fund of a hundred million dollars for various charities gives food for thought concerning the origin of charity.
We may share the secret with our readers. The pest of charity is caused by a bacillus that is produced by compounding a hundred pounds of commercial greed with one ounce of religion or morality. Mix well and set aside to ferment till the stench is overpowering. Wait till the ounce of religion or morality has rotted through the hundred pounds of greed, and serve at a palatable moment.
This conception of charity was already well known as far back as the time of the apostle Peter, for did he not say, “Charity covers a multitude of sins”?
For almost a year the beautiful city of Denver, in the fragrant State of Colorado, boasted of having for its police commissioner a man whose heart flamed with reform. His name was Creel. But now we hear that he has suddenly been dismissed, and reform in the city of Denver has been adjourned sine die.
The reason for the dismissal seems to be that Creel attempted to revolutionize the city by his ultra-radical methods. He even went so far as to relieve the police of their nightsticks. What terrible things might not result from such drastic measures! Why, in the name of Heaven, in case of a strike what would the strikers be clubbed with? A policeman without a club is like unto a dog minus his tail—alas, how bereft of all dignity!
But the radicalism of Creel laid even more sacrilegious hands upon the very foundations of civilization. He introduced the resolution that the chiefs of the police bureaus should stop their practice of rolling around drunk in the gutters of the beautiful city of Denver.
That was really too much. The Mayor immediately ordered the dismissal of the Police Commissioner, and charges were filed against him as one unworthy to occupy the honorable office of chief policeman in a respectable burg.
With good reason. There is no room for an honest man in a police department. A reformer with brains should have higher ambitions than to try to purify the cesspool of graft and corruption.
It is reported that Shippy, former Chief of Police of Chicago, recently went insane, dying a pauper in a hospital, forsaken by everyone.
For the sake of our belief that there may be some good even in a chief of police, we would like to think that Shippy went insane because his conscience troubled him on account of his brutal murder of the boy Averbuch, whom he had killed in cold blood in 1907.
The Black Hundreds of Plutocracy and Government
By James Montgomery
What is the matter with the professors of law, the theoreticians of justice, the Blackstones of this country? It is high time they should invent a new theory to vindicate the existence of government, for the accumulating every-day events give the lie to their old theories of the necessity of government.
According to the official theory, government is considered almost infallible; governmental violence is justified, because necessary to preserve social peace, through the government impartially regulating the relations of the various social groups of antagonistic tendency and interest. The function of the government, it is argued, is to make life and property secure. Nations and individuals, we are told, place themselves under the protection of government that they may not be swirled into the chaos of disorder.
The critic of governmental invasion, brutality and oppression is always met with the same argument: human society is impossible without government; man’s evil passions would turn life into a pandemonium, barbarism would triumph and our glorious civilization would be doomed.
According to this theory government is the sole safe haven, the social Providence that we must rejoice in if we are not to perish in the wild struggle of all against all.
Only these reasons can justify the existence of government, say the most liberal theoreticians of the law. From this view-point the government is a sort of animal tamer whose mission it is to subdue the natural ferocity of human nature.
Through the centuries man has been persuaded into this belief, and where persuasion failed, intimidation came to the rescue, with the astonishing result that to-day even the democratic mind quite voluntarily—aye, proudly—gives his assent to the rule of government.
But here and there the veil is being torn. The truth—the Anarchist truth—is penetrating, to the effect that government, whatever its peculiar form, is not and cannot be impartial, but that it is always a straitjacket, the guillotine of the poor, in the hands of the rich.
Far from being the preserver of social peace, government is the very agency that creates disorder and strife in society. In every civilized society to-day it is the expression of the worst possible disorder. The State legalizes and organizes injustice, oppression and bribery, and labels it order. It passes laws for the benefit and aggrandizement of the rich, to facilitate the exploitation and subjection of the poor, and calls it legality.
It is the irony of political evolution that this true nature of government finds in the democratic State its frankest and most disgusting expression.
To illustrate the truth of the above it will suffice to pillory the hypocrisy and criminal attitude of the American Federal and State governments toward the private armies of thugs, provocateurs and plug-uglies of the plutocracy employed to stifle popular discontent and to massacre men, women and children crying for more bread.
These capitalist hirelings, the Swiss Guards and Black Hundreds of the masters, have within recent years become an established institution throughout the country. Striking workingmen are absolutely at their mercy, and their reign of terror appears to be perfectly legal. It is the most cynical form of lawlessness under the protection of the law and its guardians.
There is a Federal government in Washington; in Harrisburg, Springfield, Albany, etc., there are the State governments. But with them rule the Black Hundreds; indeed, they evidently stand above the Federal and State authorities, for there is not a single instance on record in the country where these murderous hordes—the Burns and Pinkerton agencies—are called to account for murder and treason, which would be the case if the workers were to resort to similar methods.
The State authorities, county and city officials entrusted with the preservation of peace and the administration of the law, close their eyes to the situation. They either pretend not to see the reign of terror on the part of the Black Hundreds, or they think the murders and brutal assaults of the capitalist janizaries perfectly justified.
The ordering of the militia to strike districts—customary under Presidents Cleveland and McKinley—has apparently become unpopular. Such a proceeding tends to create the odious impression that the government is the willing tool of capital, following the master’s call like a hound follows the hunter. It is apt to excite ill feeling against the authorities, which is not desirable during presidential elections.
This may be one of the reasons why the Black Hundreds are now given free reign, as a convenient substitute for the militia and the regulars, and therefore the question arises whether the pillars of the law have not come to regard these private thug armies as a most welcome addition to the strong arm of the State.
It would be of interest to have the opinion of our Blackstones in this matter. Should they deny the imputation it would be incomprehensible why the recruiting bureaus of the Black Hundreds are not surpressed as dens of organized murder and their wealthy patrons brought to account for treason and murder.
The McNamara’s are locked up in the San Quentin penitentiary; thirty-eight labor leaders have been doomed to heavy sentences for conspiring against capitalistic interests. The representatives of the law indulged on these occasions in solemn sermons on the majesty and supremacy of the law. But these sound like brutal mockery when they apply only to the under dog, while the masters may with impunity triumph in their lawlessness and brutality.
On the other hand, if the legal theoreticians argue that the Black Hundreds and their methods of drowning strikes in the blood of the workers are in perfect accord with law and its purposes, then what of the justification of the State as a necessary institution to preserve peace and keep society from sinking into murderous chaos? Is this role of government admitted in theory, as it already is in practice, then what good are laws, courts of justice and all the other paraphernalia of government?
If the greed of the money-changers and captains of industry may turn the land into a despotism of murder and bloodshed, and lord it over the people without let or hindrance—who may expect the workers to continue to respect the law and believe in its majesty and justice?
Whatever the theory of the doctors of law, actions speak louder than words. They stand on the side of capital, their sole interest to preserve the sanctity of property. Property is more valuable than life—and as the workers have no property they can expect no protection from the government.
That this logic prevails in the camp of the government, every-day events prove without the shadow of a doubt: Lawrence, Little Falls, and hundreds of similar instances, where the expense of supporting the Black Hundreds has been shifted by the masters to the shoulders of the community. It proves that the legal authorities not only approve of the crimes of the plutocratic Hessians, but that they are even determined to make the taxpayers foot the bill for the protection of the property of the masters. And the hundreds of strikers—men and women—who to-day are prisoners before the “bar of justice,” as victims of this warfare, are no less significant witnesses of the role of government as the tool of capital and of its attitude toward the masses as to “the canaille.”
Let us mention a few of these victims.
On December eleventh the Erie Railroad sent two barges of scabs to take the places of its striking coal workers at Edgewater, N. J. The scab boats were accompanied by armed deputies, hired by the company to terrorize the strikers to return to work under the old conditions.
Standing on the palisades, a number of strike pickets caught sight of the approaching barges. Quite naturally, they descended to the river bank to attempt, if possible, to persuade the scabs from taking the places of the strikers. The meeting of the pickets and scabs might have passed off peaceably, had not the hired myrmidons stood between them. These precipitated a clash, during which two deputies were killed and a number of others wounded.
Up to that moment the legally constituted authorities remained indifferent. They cared naught that the company deliberately dispatched armed assassins to shoot down the workers. And when such a horde of thugs descends upon a strike region, is it not to be expected, quite inevitably, that those assaulted will be roused to defend their lives and their families?
The representatives of the law evidently gave no thought to this very vital matter. But after two deputies lay shot on the ground—as a result of the circumstances which the authorities could have guarded against and prevented, they suddenly recollected that it is their duty to maintain law and order. And they did—in the usual approved manner. They instituted a reign of police terror in the strike district, swooped down upon the quarters of the strikers and raided two hundred of the workers’ homes, under the pretext of seeking the “leaders,” although every circumstance of the situation indicated that there had been no leaders, and that the clash had been spontaneous and unpremeditated on the part of the workers. Right and left the strikers were put under arrest, the police using the most arbitrary and despotic means to break the backbone of the strike. Twelve men were thrown into prison, and are now held without bail on the charge of murder in the first degree, while a number of others are indicted on minor charges. A monster trial is in preparation, that is once more to prove to the country that “the ignorant foreigners” are the worst menace to America, and that the most difficult problem of the government is to keep those criminal foreigners in subjection.
Criminals? Indeed, there are criminals in this case. The company that hires assassins for the express purpose of “beating the strikers into submission,” and the authorities that stand by, ignoring or even directly furthering this capitalist massacre—these are the criminals.
Government and capital constitute a conspiracy of such magnitude and menace against the general welfare, that compared with it all other conspiracies sink into insignificance.
There is no end to the victims of capitalist greed and oppression. The bandits of plutocracy do their work East as well as West. From Pittsburgh sounds again the cry of the martyred workers:
One man was shot dead, one was mortally wounded and twelve persons were injured in rioting which broke out late this afternoon at Rankin, Pa., six miles from Pittsburg, where 1,500 employees of the wire mill of the American Steel and Wire Company, a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation, are on strike. George Kenasco, the man killed, was not a striker, but a bystander who was watching the fighting. Two women and one child were severely clubbed. Among the more seriously injured were: Fritz Beck, shot in head, dying; Mrs. John Seblan, shot in left arm; Richard Parish, shot in left leg; Annie Leba, shot in abdomen; Michael Miles, aged six months, shot in left ear, and Charles Benson, shot in abdomen.
From further accounts it is to be seen that it was the private police of the company that precipitated the massacre. It is even claimed that the local sheriff, as the “legal representative of order,” sought to prevent the bloodshed, but without success. The privilege of the plutocracy to murder workers on its own hook proved more potent than the “lawful authority.”
The situation is clear, ominously clear. The workers become outlawed the moment they dare to defend their natural human rights. They are the prey of the capitalist hunter, at his absolute mercy—worse even than the beasts of the forest, who are at least permitted a short season of protection.
As Anarchists we welcome this tearing off of the governmental mask, and the manifest bankruptcy of the smug official theory of legal justice and right. At the same time, being of the people, we feel and suffer with them and long for the hour when the workers shall cease to be the hunted prey—when they shall turn upon their pursuers and rend them to pieces, and do away with pursuers and pursued.
The New Idol
By Friedrich Nietzsche
omewhere there are still peoples and herds, but not with us, my Brethren; here there are States.
A State? What is that? Well, open now your ears unto me, for now I will say unto you my word concerning the death of peoples.
A State, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: “I, the State, am the people.”
It is a lie! Creators were they who created peoples, and hung a faith and a love over them; thus they served life.
Destroyers are they who lay snares for many and call it a State; they hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them.
Where there is still a people, there the State is not understood, but hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.
This sign I give unto you: every people speaketh its language of good and evil; this its neighbor understandeth not. Its language hath it devised for itself in laws and customs.
But the State lieth in all languages of good and evil; and whatever it saith it lieth; and whatever it hath it hath stolen.
False is everything in it; with stolen teeth it biteth, the biting one. False are even its bowels.
Confusion of language of good and evil; this sign I give unto you as the sign of the State. Verily, the will to death indicateth this sign. Verily, it beckoneth unto the preachers of death!
Many too many are born; for the superfluous ones was the State devised.
See just how it enticeth them to it, the many-too-many! How it swalloweth and cheweth and recheweth them!
“On earth there is nothing greater than I; it is I who am the regulating finger of God,” thus roareth the monster. And not only the long-eared and the short-sighted fall upon their knees!
Ah! even in your ears, ye great souls, it whispereth its gloomy lies! Ah! it findeth out the rich hearts which willingly lavish themselves.
Yea, it findeth you out, too, ye conquerors of the old God! Weary ye became of the conflict, and now your weariness serveth the new idol!
Heroes and honorable ones, it would fain set up around it, the new idol! Gladly it basketh in the sunshine of good consciences—the cold monster.
Everything will it give you if ye worship it, the new idol; thus it purchaseth the lustre of your virtue, and the glance of your proud eye.
It seeketh to allure by means of you the many-too-many. Yea, a hellish artifice hath here been devised, a death horse jingling with the trappings of divine honors!
Yea, a dying for many hath here been devised, which glorified itself as life; verily, a hearty service unto all preachers of death!
The State, I call it, where all are poison-drinkers, the good and the bad; the State, where all lose themselves, the good and the bad; the State, where the slow suicide of all is called “life.”
Just see these superfluous ones! They steal the works of the inventors and the treasures of the wise. Culture, they call their theft—and everything becomes sickness and trouble unto them!
Just see these superfluous ones! Sick are they always; they vomit their bile and call it a newspaper.
They devour one another and cannot even digest themselves.
Just see these superfluous ones! Wealth they acquire and become poorer thereby. Power they seek for, and above all, the lever of power, much money—these impotent ones!
See them clamber, these nimble apes! They clamber over one another, and thus scuffle into the mud and the abyss.
Towards the throne they all strive; it is their madness—as if happiness sat on the throne! Ofttimes sitteth filth on the throne—and ofttimes also the throne on filth.
Madmen they all seem to me, and clambering apes, and too eager. Badly smelleth their idol to me, the cold monster; badly they all smell to me, these idolaters.
My brethren, will ye suffocate in the fumes of their maws and appetites? Better break the windows and jump into the open air.
Do go out of the way of the bad odor! Withdraw from the idolatry of the superfluous!
Do go out of the way of the bad odor. Withdraw from the steam of these human sacrifices!
Open still remaineth the earth for great souls. Empty are still many sites for lone ones and twain ones, around which floateth the odor of tranquil seas.
Open still remaineth a free life for great souls. Verily, he who possesseth little is so much the less possessed; blessed be moderate poverty.
There, where the State ceaseth—there only commenceth the man who is not superfluous; there commenceth the song of the necessary ones, the single and irreplaceable melody.
There, where the State ceaseth—pray look thither, my brethren! Do you not see it, the rainbow and the bridges of the Superman?
Thus spake Zarathustra!
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.
Help Save These Comrades!
By Theodor Johnson
o Friends of Freedom Everywhere:
This is the old, old story repeated once more. The workers, without any other means at their disposal than their own organization and solidarity, on one side, and the employers, armed with all the powers of government and money, on the other.
In 1908 the dock workers of Sweden either struck against intolerable working conditions or were locked out by the ship owners, I do not now remember which. As both the workers and the bosses were well organized and prepared for war, a terrible struggle soon followed. The solidarity of the Swedish workers being developed as perhaps nowhere else, it became practically impossible to obtain strike breakers to take the jobs of the men on strike. The result was that shipping and foreign commerce were almost paralyzed. The workers were jubilant.
But this could not continue. When the ship owners could not get strike breakers from within the country or from any of hte Scandinavian countries, they began to look for them elsewhere. They advertised and searched everywhere. Finally they succeeded in recruiting several hundred jobless and miserable creatures at some of the English seaports. These were shipped in a vessel called the Amalthea to the city of Malmo, one of the southernmost ports of Sweden.
This action aroused the community to such a degree that these strike breakers could not be put ashore for fear that violence would be used against them. Besides, no one in the city would have served them a meal or rented them a bunk over night. Consequently this gentry had to be kept on board a vessel in the harbor. During the day they worked at the docks under protection, and at night they were brought back to their floating quarters.
In the meantime the organized Swedish dock workers walked the streets, they and their families starving. It was under these circumstances that three young men, Nelson, Roseberg and Stern, not even members of the dock workers’ union, decided that something must be done to get these strike breakers away from the shores of Sweden.
And this is what they decided to do:
In the loneliness of the night, under cover darkness, these men, the oldest of whom was not yet twenty-four, equipped themselves with a dynamite bomb and in a small boat approached the Amalthea, which lay anchored in the harbor with its cargo of strike breakers, and placed the bomb on its deck, lit the fuse and departed. An explosion followed, killing one strike breaker, slightly injuring a few and badly frightening all.
The entire machinery of the law was now put into motion. Nelson and Roseberg were sentenced to die, and Stern to life imprisonment. Later Nelson and Roseberg were “pardoned,” and given life terms also.
According to their own statements the men did not intend to blow up the ship or to kill any of the strike breakers, but simply to frighten them so that they no longer would remain at work. Be that as it may, these men cannot by any fair-minded person as dangerous criminals who should be kept in the dungeons for life. The enlightened workers of Sweden at this time feel that these men have suffered enough and are demanding that they be released. Not only the workers, however, but also other humanitarian people have made this cause their own. Professor Knut Wicksell, a prominent scientist, has written a very interesting pamphlet on the subject in which he shows the injustice and brutality of any longer torturing them in the prison.
It will, however, require great pressure to get them released. The labor movement in Sweden is at this time in a state of stagnation, and a few enthusiastic and hopeful ones have to carry the whole burden. Help from all over the world is therefore needed to fight this case to a successful conclusion. Friends of liberty everywhere should, therefore, do their part to get these victims pardoned. For they cannot possibly be considered as anything else than victims of capitalistic law and oppression—and their own courage and manhood. Yet it will be necessary to ask that they be pardoned. But such petitioning does not, of course, imply an admission that they are criminals. It is, moreover, necessary for judicial reasons.
The prison conditions in Sweden are worse than perhaps anywhere else, with the exception of Russia. The Swedish Socialist August Palm, who has studied prison conditions in America, says that American prisons are veritable paradises compared with those of Sweden. Those who have been incarcerated in American prisons or studied the conditions there will then understand what it means to a young person to be doomed to spend the rest of his life in a Swedish penitentiary.
All help coming from America or elsewhere will be appreciated by the comrades in Sweden. Petitions are now being sent by a committee composed of members of the I. W. W. in Chicago to progressive unions and radical organizations all over America. These petitions should be signed and returned to the committee. Also those who wish to cooperate may send petitions and resolutions protesting against the continued incarceration of these men directly to Sweden, addressed to “Statsminister Karl Staff, Stockholm, Sweden.”
Making a Strike a Crime
The trial of the twenty defendants in the now famous Little Falls strike cases has been continued till March 1. Fourteen of the defendants have already been in jail since Oct. 31, and now must remain there several weeks more, the amount of bail required being prohibitive. Notwithstanding the fact that they are charged with comparatively minor offences, bonds for all would amount to a total of $10,000. Such a sum is altogether beyond the means of their fellow mill workers.
It will be remembered that forty-six persons were imprisoned following the attempt of Socialist speakers to address a throng of strikers in a public park here, and immediately after an effort on the part of the police to break up a parade of pickets which resulted in the wounding of two policemen and injuries to many strikers. Speakers were pulled down from their platforms while quoting from the Bible, from a speech by Abraham Lincoln, from the Declaration of Independence and from the Constitution of the United States.
Among those arrested and locked up in the Little Falls jail, since described as a “hell hole,” was Dr. George R. Lunn, the Socialist Mayor of Schenectady, N. Y., who, according to the information written on the police blotter at the time, was taken into custody “for speaking.” He will be tried of Feb. 17 for “inciting to riot.”
A few days afterward came the clash with the police, and in a raid on their headquarters strikers were arrested by wholesale and several of them were terribly beaten after being locked into their cells. They have since been confined in Herkimer jail.
Former strikers have since organized a defence committee and are making an appeal for funds with which to fight the cases. The issues, they point out, are the rights of free speech and peaceful assemblage and the right to strike. Contributions may be sent to Miss Matilda Rabinowitz, Secretary, Little Falls Defence Committee, Box 458, Little Falls, N. Y.
Intolerance in the Union
There are things which one cannot afford to have done for him by proxy. One of these is thinking.
To do away with the mental indolence, to develop the individual’s ability to think and act independently, should be the chief purpose of labor unions. An organization is composed of individuals, and where these are mere noughts, lacking independence of judgment and action, the organization will remain without the least significance to the welfare of the masses.
Unfortunately, of the great majority of the unions, it cannot be said that they appreciate the true purpose of their existence. In most of them concentration of official power, personal ambition and private interest, work toward the very opposite end, paralyzing individual initiative and independence, and turning the membership into a herd of submissive subjects.
Under such conditions it is inevitable that a spirit of petty tyranny and despotism should develop in the official world of the union, exposing the individuals of the rank and file—especially the more rebellious element—to the mercy of the all-powerful walking delegate or similar official.
Of late we have had occasion to hear a good deal of these goings on in the unions: of the growing tyranny of officialdom and the corresponding suppression of the members.
The communication below is one instance out of many similar letters we receive, and whatever the merits of this particular case, it is worth considering as characterizing the anti-social menace of such a spirit in the labor unions.
To the Editor of Mother Earth:
Dear Comrade: I beg you to permit me space in your worthy monthly to voice my protest against the intolerance and shameful tactics of my union. The reason why I am applying to you is because I was refused space in all the so-called radical New York daily and weekly papers. Hence I am compelled to apply to you, and I sincerely hope that I shall meet better fate here.
I am a member of the Capmakers’ Union, Local No. 1, and have been such for the past five years. Am now deprived of my membership for no other reason but that I dared to exercise my right of free speech.
On October 1st went into operation an agreement between the Capmakers’ Union and the bosses, providing that the machines be furnished by the manufacturers. Hitherto the workers had furnished their own machines.
As soon as the new agreement became operative the union officials ordered that all workers owning machines should give them in at the union headquarters, while all those working on borrowed machines should pay an assessment of five dollars. There was considerable anger among the workers when the rule was made known and much murmuring against it. Most of them, however, complied with it, knowing full well that they would lose their jobs and membership if they refused to comply.
My friend Diamond and I refused to give in to what we considered an unjust demand. But the union ordered every manufacturer to withhold five dollars from the wages of each slave he employs.
Such an insult we could no longer bear. We protested and tried to bring our case to the notice of the press, but without success. For this “crime” charges were brought against me in the union and I was kept out of work for six weeks. No chance was given me to defend myself at the Executive Board. I was absolutely denied the right to express my opinion about the case for fear I would influence the minds of the members.
The charges against me were so confused that during the six weeks that they kept me out of work they had to change them several times. After dragging out the case for six weeks and finding nothing against me, I was allowed to return to work.
Then I demanded a reason for my persecution, and pay for the time that elapsed whereupon I was excluded from the union on January 24 and again deprived of work, so that I am now absolutely unable to earn a living, not only in New York State, but all over the country. The only alternative given me is to scab against my brothers, which is a very unpleasant thing for a man with the least intelligence.
N.B. I wish to remark that I have nothing personally against any of the union officials. The same thing was done to a member whose wife was sick in the hospital, and he unable to pay his dues. He was turned out from the shop.
Syndicalism Its Theory and Practice
By Emma Goldman
Now, as to the methods employed by Syndicalism—Direct Action, Sabotage, and the General Strike.
Direct Action.— Conscious individual or collective effort to protest against, or remedy, social conditions through the systematic assertion of the economic power of the workers.
Sabotage has been decried as criminal, even by so-called revolutionary Socialists. Of course, if you believe that property, which excludes the producer from its use, is justifiable, then sabotage is indeed a crime. But unless a Socialist continues to be under the influence of our bourgeois morality—a morality which enables the few to monopolize the earth at the expense of the many—he cannot consistently maintain that capitalist property is inviolate. Sabotage undermines this form of private possession. Can it therefore be considered criminal? On the contrary, it is ethical in the best sense, since it helps society to get rid of its worst foe, the most detrimental factor of social life.
Sabotage is mainly concerned with obstructing, by every possible method, the regular process of production, thereby demonstrating the determination of the workers to give according to what they receive, and no more. For instance, at the time of the French railroad strike of 1910, perishable goods were sent in slow trains, or in an opposite direction from the one intended. Who but the most ordinary philistine will call that a crime? If the railway men themselves go hungry, and the “innocent” public has not enough feeling of solidarity to insist that these men should get enough to live on, the public has forfeited the sympathy of the strikers and must take the consequences.
Another form of sabotage consisted, during this strike, in placing heavy boxes on goods marked “Handle with care,” cut glass and china and precious wines. From the standpoint of the law this may have been a crime, but from the standpoint of common humanity it was a very sensible thing. The same is true of disarranging a loom in a weaving mill, or living up to the letter of the law with all its red tape, as the Italian railway men did, thereby causing confusion in the railway service. In other words, sabotage is merely a weapon of defense in the industrial warfare, which is the more effective, because it touches capitalism in its most vital spot, the pocket.
By the General Strike, Syndicalism means a stoppage of work, the cessation of labor. Nor need such a strike be postponed until all the workers of a particular place or country are ready for it. As has been pointed out by Pelloutier, Pouget, as well as others, and particularly by recent events in England, the General Strike may be started by one industry and exert a tremendous force. It is as if one man suddenly raised the cry “Stop the thief!” Immediately others will take up the cry, till the air rings with it. The General Strike, initiated by one determined organization, by one industry or by a small, conscious minority among the workers, is the industrial cry of “Stop the thief,” which is soon taken up by many other industries, spreading like wildfire in a very short time.
One of the objections of politicians to the General Strike is that the workers also would suffer for the necessaries of life. In the first place, the workers are past masters in going hungry; secondly, it is certain that a General Strike is surer of prompt settlement than an ordinary strike. Witness the transport and miner strikes in England: how quickly the lords of State and capital were forced to make peace. Besides, Syndicalism recognizes the right of the producers to the things which they have created; namely, the right of the workers to help themselves if the strike does not meet with speedy settlement.
Sorel maintains that the General Strike is an inspiration necessary for the people to give their life meaning, he is expressing a thought which the Anarchists have never tired of emphasizing. Yet I do not hold with Sorel that the General Strike is a “social myth,” that may never be realized. I think that the General Strike will become a fact the moment labor understands its full value—its destructive as well as constructive value, as indeed many workers all over the world are beginning to realize.
These ideas and methods of Syndicalism some may consider entirely negative, though they are far from it in their effect upon society to-day. But Syndicalism has also a directly positive aspect. In fact, much more time and effort is being devoted to that phase than to the others. Various forms of Syndicalist activity are designed to prepare the workers, even within present social and industrial conditions, for the life of a new and better society. To that end the masses are trained in the spirit of mutual aid and brotherhood, their initiative and self-reliance developed, and an esprit de corps maintained whose very soul is solidarity of purpose and the community of interests of the international proletariat.
Chief among these activities are the mutualitées, or mutual aid societies, established by the French socialists. Their object is, foremost, to secure work for unemployed members, and to further that spirit of mutual assistance which rests upon the consciousness of labor’s identity of interests throughout the world.
In his “The Labor Movement in France,” Mr. L. Levine states that during the year 1902 over 74,000 workers, out of a total of 99,000 applicants, were provided with work by these societies, without being compelled to submit to the extortion of the employment bureau sharks.
These latter are a source of the deepest degradation, as well as of most shameless exploitation, of the worker. Especially does it hold true of America, where the employment agencies are in many cases also masked detective agencies, supplying workers in need of employment to strike regions, under false promises of steady, remunerative employment.
The French Confédération had long realized the vicious rôle of employment agencies as leeches upon the jobless worker and nurseries of scabbery. By the threat of a General Strike the French syndicalists forced the government to abolish the employment bureau sharks, and the workers’ own mutualitées have almost entirely superseded them, to the great economic and moral advantage of labor.
Besides the mutualitées, the French Syndicalists have established other activities tending to weld labor in closer bonds of solidarity and mutual aid. Among these are the efforts to assist workingmen journeying from place to place. The practical as well as ethical value of such assistance is inestimable. It serves to instill the spirit of fellowship and gives a sense of security in the feeling of oneness with the large family of labor. This is one of the vital effects of the Syndicalist spirit in France and other Latin countries. What a tremendous need there is for just such efforts in this country! Can anyone doubt the significance of the consciousness of workingmen coming from Chicago, for instance, to New York, sure to find there among their comrades welcome lodging and food until they have secured employment? This form of activity is entirely foreign to the labor bodies of this country, and as a result the traveling workman in search of a job—the “blanket stiff”—is constantly at the mercy of the constable and policeman, a victim of the vagrancy laws, and the unfortunate material whence is recruited, through stress of necessity, the army of scabdom.
I have repeatedly witnessed, while at the headquarters of the Confédération, the cases of workingmen who came with their union cards from various parts of France, and even from other countries of Europe, and were supplied with meals and lodging, and encouraged by every evidence of brotherly spirit, and made to feel at home by their fellow workers of the Confédération. It is due, to a great extent, to these activities of the Syndicalists that the French government is forced to employ the army for strikebreaking, because few workers are willing to lend themselves for such service, thanks to the efforts and tactics of Syndicalism.
No less in importance than the mutual aid activities of the Syndicalists is the cooperation established by them between the city and the country, the factory worker and the peasant or farmer, the latter providing the workers with food supplies during strikes, or taking care of the strikers’ children. This form of practical solidarity has for the first time been tried in this country during the Lawrence strike, with inspiring results.
And all these Syndicalist activities are permeated with the spirit of educational work, carried on systematically by evening classes on all vital subjects treated from an unbiased, libertarian standpoint—not the adulterated “knowledge” with which the minds are stuffed in our public schools. The scope of the education is truly phenomenal, including sex hygiene, the care of women during pregnancy and confinement, the care of home and children, sanitation and general hygiene; in fact, every branch of human knowledge—science, history, art—receives thorough attention, together with the practical application in the established workingmen’s libraries, dispensaries, concerts and festivals, in which the greatest artists and literateurs of Paris consider it an honor to participate.
One of the most vital efforts of Syndicalism is to prepare the workers, now, for their rôle in a free society. Thus the Syndicalist organizations supply its members with textbooks on every trade and industry, of a characterthat is calculated to make the worker an adept in his chosen line, a master of his craft, for the purpose of familiarizing him with all the branches of his industry, so that when labor finally takes over production and distribution, the people will be fully prepared to manage successfully their own affairs.
A demonstration of the effectiveness of this educational campaign of Syndicalism is given by the railroad men of Italy, whose mastery of all the details of transportation is so great that they could offer to the Italian government to take over the railroads of the country and guarantee their operation with greater economy and fewer accidents than is at present time done by the government.
Their ability to carry on production has been strikingly proved by the Syndicalists, in connection with the glass blowers’ strike in Italy. There the strikers, instead of remaining idle during the progress of the strike, decided themselves to carry on the production of glass. The wonderful spirit of solidarity resulting from the Syndicalist propaganda enabled them to build a glass factory within an incredibly short time. An old building, rented for the purpose and which would have ordinarily required months to be put into proper condition, was turned into a glass factory within a few weeks, by the solidaric efforts of the strikers aided by their comrades who toiled with them after working hours. Then the strikers began operating the glass-blowing factory, and their cooperative plan of work and distribution during the strike has proved so satisfactory in every way that the experimental factory has been made permanent and a part of the glass-blowing industry in Italy is now in the hands of the cooperative organization of the workers.
This method of applied education not only trains the worker in his daily struggle, but serves also to equip him for the battle royal and the future, when he is to assume his place in society as an intelligent, conscious being and useful producer, once capitalism is abolished.
Nearly all leading Syndicalists agree with the Anarchists that a free society can exist only through voluntary association, and that its ultimate success will depend upon the intellectual and moral development of the workers who will supplant the wage system with a new social arrangement, based on solidarity and economic well-being for all. That is Syndicalism, in theory and practice.
n his Introduction to the Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist, by Alexander Berkman, Mr. Hapgood says that he wishes “that everybody in the world would read this book,” and adds, with characteristic optimism, that “the general and careful reading of it would definitely add to true civilization.” Unquestionably many people will read it; but they will do so, I fear, because human beings relish the sufferings of their fellows and find fascination in watching the turns of pain. Of the broad nobility that breathes from it, of the lessons it should teach, how much will they see who spend their days in rehearsing ceremonies designed to blind themselves and in erecting institutions designed to blind their brothers?
If it serves to overcome in even a few people the prejudices they cherish it will do so not because of a careful reading or an open mind on their part, but because of the extraordinary literary power with which Mr. Berkman has presented his story. At the very beginning of the book one feels a movement, a rustle of spiritual and physical events that portends catastrophe. But in the great tragedies of literature and of life the essence of catastrophe lies in the fact that the spirit of the hero, in the final isolation of his material defeat, rises the nobler, unconquered still. So here, after the climactic deed has been accomplished, the protagonist maintains his attitude through all the years of suffering, accepts the catastrophe as a challenge and overcomes it. If the author had been free to use his imagination only he could not have ordered the events to bring out more skilfully the spiritual significance of his deed.
These larger movements to which I have just referred, the movements of mind and emotion and spirit, are patterned with details of pathos and horror. Indeed, I know of few passages in literature more pathetic than that in which Mr. Berkman relates his meeting in jail with the Homestead striker. No one around has understood his motives; they have thought that he was concealing them or was crazy. But here at last is the man who can understand, one of the very men for whom the young Anarchist offered his life. So he explains to him. The striker says: “Some business misunderstanding, eh?”
Equally pathetic, though in a different way, are the incidents connected with the story of young Russell, whose character is the basis of some of the most beautiful passages in the book. Indeed, the characterization throughout is, if we judge from a literary view-point, the most remarkable thing about these remarkable Memoirs. No one who has met Russell, Wingie, Felipe, or the rest of the people portrayed will be likely to forget them. Something has been done to them that makes them more living than living beings; an imagination has touched them and bared them to our sight. I do not mean that they have been falsified by the author, or even added to; rather, that having been understood by that sort of an imagination that can put itself to the full in the places of other people, they are presented to us with such details as will convey the significance of their traits, the reality of their characters.
But the most interesting of all the characters is that of the author himself. In portraying it the author has used a method very different from that employed for the other characters. Instead of presenting outward detail, the details of the action, he emphasizes the motives, emotional and mental states, analyzes them, and lets what I have called outward detail fall in by way of illustration. Thus the other characters serve as a background to the deepest interest of the book, the reasons and motives of a human soul.
To follow out at length these reasons and motives is not the purpose of this review. I have merely sought to point out that here, from an Anarchist, is a book of rare power and beauty, majestic in its structure, filled with the truth of imagination and the truth of actuality, emphatic in its declarations and noble in its reach.
Emma Goldman's Tour
“The best laid plans of mice and men gang oft aglee,” but so far as it is possible to figure out at present, the lecture tour of Comrade Emma Goldman will take place as follows:
Cleveland, at Memorial Hall, 521 Superior Ave., N. W.
•Saturday, February 22nd, 3 P. M. (Washington’s Birthday). Sex Sterilization of Criminals.
•Sunday, February 23rd, 3 P. M. The Psychology of Anarchism. Sunday, February 23rd, 8 P. M. Woman’s Inhumanity to Man.
Tickets and circulars to be obtained at the office of H. & N. Carr, Caxton Bldg.
Toledo, at Meredith Hall, corner Jefferson and Michigan.
•Tuesday, February 25th, 8 P.M. Syndicalism—The Modern Menace to Capitalism.
•Wednesday, February 26th, 8 P. M. Woman’s Inhumanity to Man.
Advance tickets and circulars to be had at the hall.
Detroit, at Prismatic Hall, 140 First St. (between Howard and Lafayette Boulevard).
•Thursday, February 27th, 8 P. M. Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (A powerful portrayal of prison life, by Alexander Berkman).
•Friday, February 28th, 8 P. M. Woman’s Inhmanity to Man.
At Duffy Hall, 64 Grand River Avenue.
•Sunday, March 2nd, 8 P. M. Syndicalism—The Modern Menace to Capitalism.
Tickets and circulars to be had from Mr. J. C. Beutler, Randolph Hotel.
Ann Arbor, at Woodmen’s Hall, Main and Washington Sts.
•Saturday, March 1st, 3 P. M. Damaged Goods. (A powerful social play by Brieux, dealing with the peril of venereal disease.)
•Saturday, March 1st, 8 P. M. Syndicalism—The Modern Menace to Capitalism.
Indianapolis, at Germania Hall, 37 S. Delaware St.
•Tuesday, March 4th, 8 P. M. The Failure of Democracy.
•Wednesday, March 5th, 8 P. M. Syndicalism—The Modern Menace to Capitalism.
•Thursday, March 6th, 8 P. M. Woman’s Inhumanity to Man.
Tickets and circulars, at Thos. F. Snyder’s, 77 N. New Jersey St.
St. Louis, at Majestic Hall, Beaumont and Morgan Sts., 2700 West.
•Sunday, March 9th, 3 P. M. The Failure of Democracy.
•Monday, March 10th, 8 P. M. Sex Sterilization of Criminals.
•Tuesday, March 11th, 8 P. M. Syndicalism—The Modern Menace to Capitalism.>
•Wednesday, March 12th, 8 P. M. Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (A powerful portrayal of the horrors of prison life, by Alexander Berkman.)
•Thursday, March 13th, 8 P. M. Woman’s Inhumanity to Man.
Tickets and circulars at the hall.
Chicago, at Oakland Music Hall, 40th St. and Cottage Grove Ave.
•Sunday, March 16th, 3 P. M. The Failure of Democracy.
•Sunday, March 16th, 8 P. M. Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (A powerful portrayal of the horrors of prison life, by Alexander Berkman.)
•Monday, March 17th, 8 P. M. Sex Sterilization of Criminals.
•Tuesday, March 18th, 8 P. M. Syndicalism—The Modern Menace to Capitalism.
•Thursday, March 20th, 8 P. M. The Psychology of Anarchism
•Friday, March 21st, 8 P. M. Woman’s Inhumanity to Man.
Tickets and circulars, at the office of Dr. J. H. Greer, 162 N. Dearborn St.
Admission, each lecture, 25 cents.
In St. Louis and Chicago, 15 and 25 cents.
Announcement of Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Omaha, Kansas City and Denver lectures will appear in the March issue.
will also give six afternoon talks, showing the educational and social value of
The Modern Drama
at Lexington Hotel
22nd Street and Michigan Boulevard.
This course will begin Monday, March 17th, 3 P. M., and continue daily until Saturday, March 22nd.
Price for the course, including one year’s subscription to Mother Earth (monthly Anarchist publication) $3.00.