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´╗┐Title: War of the Classes
Author: London, Jack, 1876-1916
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1912 Macmillan edition by David Price, email


                               JACK LONDON

                             THE REGENT PRESS
                                 NEW YORK

                             Copyright, 1905,
                        BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

    Set up and electrotyped.  Published April, 1905.  Reprinted June,
  October, November, 1905; January, 1906; May, 1907; April, 1908; March,
                           19010; April, 1912.

                           Printed and Bound by
                       J. J. Little & Ives Company
                                 New York


The Class Struggle
The Tramp
The Scab
The Question of the Maximum
A Review
Wanted: A New Land of Development
How I Became a Socialist


When I was a youngster I was looked upon as a weird sort of creature,
because, forsooth, I was a socialist.  Reporters from local papers
interviewed me, and the interviews, when published, were pathological
studies of a strange and abnormal specimen of man.  At that time (nine or
ten years ago), because I made a stand in my native town for municipal
ownership of public utilities, I was branded a "red-shirt," a
"dynamiter," and an "anarchist"; and really decent fellows, who liked me
very well, drew the line at my appearing in public with their sisters.

But the times changed.  There came a day when I heard, in my native town,
a Republican mayor publicly proclaim that "municipal ownership was a
fixed American policy."  And in that day I found myself picking up in the
world.  No longer did the pathologist study me, while the really decent
fellows did not mind in the least the propinquity of myself and their
sisters in the public eye.  My political and sociological ideas were
ascribed to the vagaries of youth, and good-natured elderly men
patronized me and told me that I would grow up some day and become an
unusually intelligent member of the community.  Also they told me that my
views were biassed by my empty pockets, and that some day, when I had
gathered to me a few dollars, my views would be wholly different,--in
short, that my views would be their views.

And then came the day when my socialism grew respectable,--still a vagary
of youth, it was held, but romantically respectable.  Romance, to the
bourgeois mind, was respectable because it was not dangerous.  As a
"red-shirt," with bombs in all his pockets, I was dangerous.  As a youth
with nothing more menacing than a few philosophical ideas, Germanic in
their origin, I was an interesting and pleasing personality.

Through all this experience I noted one thing.  It was not I that
changed, but the community.  In fact, my socialistic views grew solider
and more pronounced.  I repeat, it was the community that changed, and to
my chagrin I discovered that the community changed to such purpose that
it was not above stealing my thunder.  The community branded me a
"red-shirt" because I stood for municipal ownership; a little later it
applauded its mayor when he proclaimed municipal ownership to be a fixed
American policy.  He stole my thunder, and the community applauded the
theft.  And today the community is able to come around and give me points
on municipal ownership.

What happened to me has been in no wise different from what has happened
to the socialist movement as a whole in the United States.  In the
bourgeois mind socialism has changed from a terrible disease to a
youthful vagary, and later on had its thunder stolen by the two old
parties,--socialism, like a meek and thrifty workingman, being exploited
became respectable.

Only dangerous things are abhorrent.  The thing that is not dangerous is
always respectable.  And so with socialism in the United States.  For
several years it has been very respectable,--a sweet and beautiful
Utopian dream, in the bourgeois mind, yet a dream, only a dream.  During
this period, which has just ended, socialism was tolerated because it was
impossible and non-menacing.  Much of its thunder had been stolen, and
the workingmen had been made happy with full dinner-pails.  There was
nothing to fear.  The kind old world spun on, coupons were clipped, and
larger profits than ever were extracted from the toilers.
Coupon-clipping and profit-extracting would continue to the end of time.
These were functions divine in origin and held by divine right.  The
newspapers, the preachers, and the college presidents said so, and what
they say, of course, is so--to the bourgeois mind.

Then came the presidential election of 1904.  Like a bolt out of a clear
sky was the socialist vote of 435,000,--an increase of nearly 400 per
cent in four years, the largest third-party vote, with one exception,
since the Civil War.  Socialism had shown that it was a very live and
growing revolutionary force, and all its old menace revived.  I am afraid
that neither it nor I are any longer respectable.  The capitalist press
of the country confirms me in my opinion, and herewith I give a few
post-election utterances of the capitalist press:--

    "The Democratic party of the constitution is dead.  The
    Social-Democratic party of continental Europe, preaching discontent
    and class hatred, assailing law, property, and personal rights, and
    insinuating confiscation and plunder, is here."--Chicago Chronicle.

    "That over forty thousand votes should have been cast in this city to
    make such a person as Eugene V. Debs the President of the United
    States is about the worst kind of advertising that Chicago could
    receive."--Chicago Inter-Ocean.

    "We cannot blink the fact that socialism is making rapid growth in
    this country, where, of all others, there would seem to be less
    inspiration for it."--Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

    "Upon the hands of the Republican party an awful responsibility was
    placed last Tuesday. . . It knows that reforms--great, far-sweeping
    reforms--are necessary, and it has the power to make them.  God help
    our civilization if it does not! . . . It must repress the trusts or
    stand before the world responsible for our system of government being
    changed into a social republic.  The arbitrary cutting down of wages
    must cease, or socialism will seize another lever to lift itself into
    power."--The Chicago New World.

    "Scarcely any phase of the election is more sinisterly interesting
    than the increase in the socialist vote.  Before election we said
    that we could not afford to give aid and comfort to the socialists in
    any manner. . . It (socialism) must be fought in all its phases, in
    its every manifestation."--San Francisco Argonaut.

And far be it from me to deny that socialism is a menace.  It is its
purpose to wipe out, root and branch, all capitalistic institutions of
present-day society.  It is distinctly revolutionary, and in scope and
depth is vastly more tremendous than any revolution that has ever
occurred in the history of the world.  It presents a new spectacle to the
astonished world,--that of an _organized_, _international_,
_revolutionary movement_.  In the bourgeois mind a class struggle is a
terrible and hateful thing, and yet that is precisely what socialism
is,--a world-wide class struggle between the propertyless workers and the
propertied masters of workers.  It is the prime preachment of socialism
that the struggle is a class struggle.  The working class, in the process
of social evolution, (in the very nature of things), is bound to revolt
from the sway of the capitalist class and to overthrow the capitalist
class.  This is the menace of socialism, and in affirming it and in
tallying myself an adherent of it, I accept my own consequent

As yet, to the average bourgeois mind, socialism is merely a menace,
vague and formless.  The average member of the capitalist class, when he
discusses socialism, is condemned an ignoramus out of his own mouth.  He
does not know the literature of socialism, its philosophy, nor its
politics.  He wags his head sagely and rattles the dry bones of dead and
buried ideas.  His lips mumble mouldy phrases, such as, "Men are not born
equal and never can be;" "It is Utopian and impossible;" "Abstinence
should be rewarded;" "Man will first have to be born again;" "Cooperative
colonies have always failed;" and "What if we do divide up? in ten years
there would be rich and poor men such as there are today."

It surely is time that the capitalists knew something about this
socialism that they feel menaces them.  And it is the hope of the writer
that the socialistic studies in this volume may in some slight degree
enlighten a few capitalistic minds.  The capitalist must learn, first and
for always, that socialism is based, not upon the equality, but upon the
inequality, of men.  Next, he must learn that no new birth into spiritual
purity is necessary before socialism becomes possible.  He must learn
that socialism deals with what is, not with what ought to be; and that
the material with which it deals is the "clay of the common road," the
warm human, fallible and frail, sordid and petty, absurd and
contradictory, even grotesque, and yet, withal, shot through with flashes
and glimmerings of something finer and God-like, with here and there
sweetnesses of service and unselfishness, desires for goodness, for
renunciation and sacrifice, and with conscience, stern and awful, at
times blazingly imperious, demanding the right,--the right, nothing more
nor less than the right.

                                                              JACK LONDON.

January 12, 1905.


Unfortunately or otherwise, people are prone to believe in the reality of
the things they think ought to be so.  This comes of the cheery optimism
which is innate with life itself; and, while it may sometimes be
deplored, it must never be censured, for, as a rule, it is productive of
more good than harm, and of about all the achievement there is in the
world.  There are cases where this optimism has been disastrous, as with
the people who lived in Pompeii during its last quivering days; or with
the aristocrats of the time of Louis XVI, who confidently expected the
Deluge to overwhelm their children, or their children's children, but
never themselves.  But there is small likelihood that the case of
perverse optimism here to be considered will end in such disaster, while
there is every reason to believe that the great change now manifesting
itself in society will be as peaceful and orderly in its culmination as
it is in its present development.

Out of their constitutional optimism, and because a class struggle is an
abhorred and dangerous thing, the great American people are unanimous in
asserting that there is no class struggle.  And by "American people" is
meant the recognized and authoritative mouth-pieces of the American
people, which are the press, the pulpit, and the university.  The
journalists, the preachers, and the professors are practically of one
voice in declaring that there is no such thing as a class struggle now
going on, much less that a class struggle will ever go on, in the United
States.  And this declaration they continually make in the face of a
multitude of facts which impeach, not so much their sincerity, as affirm,
rather, their optimism.

There are two ways of approaching the subject of the class struggle.  The
existence of this struggle can be shown theoretically, and it can be
shown actually.  For a class struggle to exist in society there must be,
first, a class inequality, a superior class and an inferior class (as
measured by power); and, second, the outlets must be closed whereby the
strength and ferment of the inferior class have been permitted to escape.

That there are even classes in the United States is vigorously denied by
many; but it is incontrovertible, when a group of individuals is formed,
wherein the members are bound together by common interests which are
peculiarly their interests and not the interests of individuals outside
the group, that such a group is a class.  The owners of capital, with
their dependents, form a class of this nature in the United States; the
working people form a similar class.  The interest of the capitalist
class, say, in the matter of income tax, is quite contrary to the
interest of the laboring class; and, _vice versa_, in the matter of

If between these two classes there be a clear and vital conflict of
interest, all the factors are present which make a class struggle; but
this struggle will lie dormant if the strong and capable members of the
inferior class be permitted to leave that class and join the ranks of the
superior class.  The capitalist class and the working class have existed
side by side and for a long time in the United States; but hitherto all
the strong, energetic members of the working class have been able to rise
out of their class and become owners of capital.  They were enabled to do
this because an undeveloped country with an expanding frontier gave
equality of opportunity to all.  In the almost lottery-like scramble for
the ownership of vast unowned natural resources, and in the exploitation
of which there was little or no competition of capital, (the capital
itself rising out of the exploitation), the capable, intelligent member
of the working class found a field in which to use his brains to his own
advancement.  Instead of being discontented in direct ratio with his
intelligence and ambitions, and of radiating amongst his fellows a spirit
of revolt as capable as he was capable, he left them to their fate and
carved his own way to a place in the superior class.

But the day of an expanding frontier, of a lottery-like scramble for the
ownership of natural resources, and of the upbuilding of new industries,
is past.  Farthest West has been reached, and an immense volume of
surplus capital roams for investment and nips in the bud the patient
efforts of the embryo capitalist to rise through slow increment from
small beginnings.  The gateway of opportunity after opportunity has been
closed, and closed for all time.  Rockefeller has shut the door on oil,
the American Tobacco Company on tobacco, and Carnegie on steel.  After
Carnegie came Morgan, who triple-locked the door.  These doors will not
open again, and before them pause thousands of ambitious young men to
read the placard: NO THOROUGH-FARE.

And day by day more doors are shut, while the ambitious young men
continue to be born.  It is they, denied the opportunity to rise from the
working class, who preach revolt to the working class.  Had he been born
fifty years later, Andrew Carnegie, the poor Scotch boy, might have risen
to be president of his union, or of a federation of unions; but that he
would never have become the builder of Homestead and the founder of
multitudinous libraries, is as certain as it is certain that some other
man would have developed the steel industry had Andrew Carnegie never
been born.

Theoretically, then, there exist in the United States all the factors
which go to make a class struggle.  There are the capitalists and working
classes, the interests of which conflict, while the working class is no
longer being emasculated to the extent it was in the past by having drawn
off from it its best blood and brains.  Its more capable members are no
longer able to rise out of it and leave the great mass leaderless and
helpless.  They remain to be its leaders.

But the optimistic mouthpieces of the great American people, who are
themselves deft theoreticians, are not to be convinced by mere
theoretics.  So it remains to demonstrate the existence of the class
struggle by a marshalling of the facts.

When nearly two millions of men, finding themselves knit together by
certain interests peculiarly their own, band together in a strong
organization for the aggressive pursuit of those interests, it is evident
that society has within it a hostile and warring class.  But when the
interests which this class aggressively pursues conflict sharply and
vitally with the interests of another class, class antagonism arises and
a class struggle is the inevitable result.  One great organization of
labor alone has a membership of 1,700,000 in the United States.  This is
the American Federation of Labor, and outside of it are many other large
organizations.  All these men are banded together for the frank purpose
of bettering their condition, regardless of the harm worked thereby upon
all other classes.  They are in open antagonism with the capitalist
class, while the manifestos of their leaders state that the struggle is
one which can never end until the capitalist class is exterminated.

Their leaders will largely deny this last statement, but an examination
of their utterances, their actions, and the situation will forestall such
denial.  In the first place, the conflict between labor and capital is
over the division of the join product.  Capital and labor apply
themselves to raw material and make it into a finished product.  The
difference between the value of the raw material and the value of the
finished product is the value they have added to it by their joint
effort.  This added value is, therefore, their joint product, and it is
over the division of this joint product that the struggle between labor
and capital takes place.  Labor takes its share in wages; capital takes
its share in profits.  It is patent, if capital took in profits the whole
joint product, that labor would perish.  And it is equally patent, if
labor took in wages the whole joint product, that capital would perish.
Yet this last is the very thing labor aspires to do, and that it will
never be content with anything less than the whole joint product is
evidenced by the words of its leaders.

Mr. Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor, has
said: "The workers want more wages; more of the comforts of life; more
leisure; more chance for self-improvement as men, as trade-unionists, as
citizens.  _These were the wants of yesterday_; _they are the wants of
today_; _they will be the wants of tomorrow_, _and of tomorrow's morrow_.
The struggle may assume new forms, but the issue is the immemorial
one,--an effort of the producers to obtain an increasing measure of the
wealth that flows from their production."

Mr. Henry White, secretary of the United Garment Workers of America and a
member of the Industrial Committee of the National Civic Federation,
speaking of the National Civic Federation soon after its inception, said:
"To fall into one another's arms, to avow friendship, to express regret
at the injury which has been done, would not alter the facts of the
situation.  Workingmen will continue to demand more pay, and the employer
will naturally oppose them.  The readiness and ability of the workmen to
fight will, as usual, largely determine the amount of their wages or
their share in the product. . . But when it comes to dividing the
proceeds, there is the rub.  We can also agree that the larger the
product through the employment of labor-saving methods the better, as
there will be more to be divided, but again the question of the
division. . . . A Conciliation Committee, having the confidence of the
community, and composed of men possessing practical knowledge of
industrial affairs, can therefore aid in mitigating this antagonism, in
preventing avoidable conflicts, in bringing about a _truce_; I use the
word 'truce' because understandings can only be temporary."

Here is a man who might have owned cattle on a thousand hills, been a
lumber baron or a railroad king, had he been born a few years sooner.  As
it is, he remains in his class, is secretary of the United Garment
Workers of America, and is so thoroughly saturated with the class
struggle that he speaks of the dispute between capital and labor in terms
of war,--workmen _fight_ with employers; it is possible to avoid some
_conflicts_; in certain cases _truces_ may be, for the time being,

Man being man and a great deal short of the angels, the quarrel over the
division of the joint product is irreconcilable.  For the last twenty
years in the United States, there has been an average of over a thousand
strikes per year; and year by year these strikes increase in magnitude,
and the front of the labor army grows more imposing.  And it is a class
struggle, pure and simple.  Labor as a class is fighting with capital as
a class.

Workingmen will continue to demand more pay, and employers will continue
to oppose them.  This is the key-note to _laissez faire_,--everybody for
himself and devil take the hindmost.  It is upon this that the rampant
individualist bases his individualism.  It is the let-alone policy, the
struggle for existence, which strengthens the strong, destroys the weak,
and makes a finer and more capable breed of men.  But the individual has
passed away and the group has come, for better or worse, and the struggle
has become, not a struggle between individuals, but a struggle between
groups.  So the query rises: Has the individualist never speculated upon
the labor group becoming strong enough to destroy the capitalist group,
and take to itself and run for itself the machinery of industry?  And,
further, has the individualist never speculated upon this being still a
triumphant expression of individualism,--of group individualism,--if the
confusion of terms may be permitted?

But the facts of the class struggle are deeper and more significant than
have so far been presented.  A million or so of workmen may organize for
the pursuit of interests which engender class antagonism and strife, and
at the same time be unconscious of what is engendered.  But when a
million or so of workmen show unmistakable signs of being conscious of
their class,--of being, in short, class conscious,--then the situation
grows serious.  The uncompromising and terrible hatred of the
trade-unionist for a scab is the hatred of a class for a traitor to that
class,--while the hatred of a trade-unionist for the militia is the
hatred of a class for a weapon wielded by the class with which it is
fighting.  No workman can be true to his class and at the same time be a
member of the militia: this is the dictum of the labor leaders.

In the town of the writer, the good citizens, when they get up a Fourth
of July parade and invite the labor unions to participate, are informed
by the unions that they will not march in the parade if the militia
marches.  Article 8 of the constitution of the Painters' and Decorators'
Union of Schenectady provides that a member must not be a "militiaman,
special police officer, or deputy marshal in the employ of corporations
or individuals during strikes, lockouts, or other labor difficulties, and
any member occupying any of the above positions will be debarred from
membership."  Mr. William Potter was a member of this union and a member
of the National Guard.  As a result, because he obeyed the order of the
Governor when his company was ordered out to suppress rioting, he was
expelled from his union.  Also his union demanded his employers, Shafer &
Barry, to discharge him from their service.  This they complied with,
rather than face the threatened strike.

Mr. Robert L. Walker, first lieutenant of the Light Guards, a New Haven
militia company, recently resigned.  His reason was, that he was a member
of the Car Builders' Union, and that the two organizations were
antagonistic to each other.  During a New Orleans street-car strike not
long ago, a whole company of militia, called out to protect non-union
men, resigned in a body.  Mr. John Mulholland, president of the
International Association of Allied Metal Mechanics, has stated that he
does not want the members to join the militia.  The Local Trades'
Assembly of Syracuse, New York, has passed a resolution, by unanimous
vote, requiring union men who are members of the National Guard to
resign, under pain of expulsion, from the unions.  The Amalgamated Sheet
Metal Workers' Association has incorporated in its constitution an
amendment excluding from membership in its organization "any person a
member of the regular army, or of the State militia or naval reserve."
The Illinois State Federation of Labor, at a recent convention, passed
without a dissenting vote a resolution declaring that membership in
military organizations is a violation of labor union obligations, and
requesting all union men to withdraw from the militia.  The president of
the Federation, Mr. Albert Young, declared that the militia was a menace
not only to unions, but to all workers throughout the country.

These instances may be multiplied a thousand fold.  The union workmen are
becoming conscious of their class, and of the struggle their class is
waging with the capitalist class.  To be a member of the militia is to be
a traitor to the union, for the militia is a weapon wielded by the
employers to crush the workers in the struggle between the warring

Another interesting, and even more pregnant, phase of the class struggle
is the political aspect of it as displayed by the socialists.  Five men,
standing together, may perform prodigies; 500 men, marching as marched
the historic Five Hundred of Marseilles, may sack a palace and destroy a
king; while 500,000 men, passionately preaching the propaganda of a class
struggle, waging a class struggle along political lines, and backed by
the moral and intellectual support of 10,000,000 more men of like
convictions throughout the world, may come pretty close to realizing a
class struggle in these United States of ours.

In 1900 these men cast 150,000 votes; two years later, in 1902, they cast
300,000 votes; and in 1904 they cast 450,000.  They have behind them a
most imposing philosophic and scientific literature; they own illustrated
magazines and reviews, high in quality, dignity, and restraint; they
possess countless daily and weekly papers which circulate throughout the
land, and single papers which have subscribers by the hundreds of
thousands; and they literally swamp the working classes in a vast sea of
tracts and pamphlets.  No political party in the United States, no church
organization nor mission effort, has as indefatigable workers as has the
socialist party.  They multiply themselves, know of no effort nor
sacrifice too great to make for the Cause; and "Cause," with them, is
spelled out in capitals.  They work for it with a religious zeal, and
would die for it with a willingness similar to that of the Christian

These men are preaching an uncompromising and deadly class struggle.  In
fact, they are organized upon the basis of a class struggle.  "The
history of society," they say, "is a history of class struggles.
Patrician struggled with plebeian in early Rome; the king and the
burghers, with the nobles in the Middle Ages; later on, the king and the
nobles with the bourgeoisie; and today the struggle is on between the
triumphant bourgeoisie and the rising proletariat.  By 'proletariat' is
meant the class of people without capital which sells its labor for a

"That the proletariat shall conquer," (mark the note of fatalism), "is as
certain as the rising sun.  Just as the bourgeoisie of the eighteenth
century wanted democracy applied to politics, so the proletariat of the
twentieth century wants democracy applied to industry.  As the
bourgeoisie complained against the government being run by and for the
nobles, so the proletariat complains against the government and industry
being run by and for the bourgeoisie; and so, following in the footsteps
of its predecessor, the proletariat will possess itself of the
government, apply democracy to industry, abolish wages, which are merely
legalized robbery, and run the business of the country in its own

"Their aim," they say, "is to organize the working class, and those in
sympathy with it, into a political party, with the object of conquering
the powers of government and of using them for the purpose of
transforming the present system of private ownership of the means of
production and distribution into collective ownership by the entire

Briefly stated, this is the battle plan of these 450,000 men who call
themselves "socialists."  And, in the face of the existence of such an
aggressive group of men, a class struggle cannot very well be denied by
the optimistic Americans who say: "A class struggle is monstrous.  Sir,
there is no class struggle."  The class struggle is here, and the
optimistic American had better gird himself for the fray and put a stop
to it, rather than sit idly declaiming that what ought not to be is not,
and never will be.

But the socialists, fanatics and dreamers though they may well be, betray
a foresight and insight, and a genius for organization, which put to
shame the class with which they are openly at war.  Failing of rapid
success in waging a sheer political propaganda, and finding that they
were alienating the most intelligent and most easily organized portion of
the voters, the socialists lessoned from the experience and turned their
energies upon the trade-union movement.  To win the trade unions was
well-nigh to win the war, and recent events show that they have done far
more winning in this direction than have the capitalists.

Instead of antagonizing the unions, which had been their previous policy,
the socialists proceeded to conciliate the unions.  "Let every good
socialist join the union of his trade," the edict went forth.  "Bore from
within and capture the trade-union movement."  And this policy, only
several years old, has reaped fruits far beyond their fondest
expectations.  Today the great labor unions are honeycombed with
socialists, "boring from within," as they picturesquely term their
undermining labor.  At work and at play, at business meeting and council,
their insidious propaganda goes on.  At the shoulder of the
trade-unionist is the socialist, sympathizing with him, aiding him with
head and hand, suggesting--perpetually suggesting--the necessity for
political action.  As the _Journal_, of Lansing, Michigan, a republican
paper, has remarked: "The socialists in the labor unions are tireless
workers.  They are sincere, energetic, and self-sacrificing. . . . They
stick to the union and work all the while, thus making a showing which,
reckoned by ordinary standards, is out of all proportion to their
numbers.  Their cause is growing among union laborers, and their long
fight, intended to turn the Federation into a political organization, is
likely to win."

They miss no opportunity of driving home the necessity for political
action, the necessity for capturing the political machinery of society
whereby they may master society.  As an instance of this is the avidity
with which the American socialists seized upon the famous Taft-Vale
Decision in England, which was to the effect that an unincorporated union
could be sued and its treasury rifled by process of law.  Throughout the
United States, the socialists pointed the moral in similar fashion to the
way it was pointed by the Social-Democratic Herald, which advised the
trade-unionists, in view of the decision, to stop trying to fight capital
with money, which they lacked, and to begin fighting with the ballot,
which was their strongest weapon.

Night and day, tireless and unrelenting, they labor at their self-imposed
task of undermining society.  Mr. M. G. Cunniff, who lately made an
intimate study of trade-unionism, says: "All through the unions socialism
filters.  Almost every other man is a socialist, preaching that unionism
is but a makeshift."  "Malthus be damned," they told him, "for the good
time was coming when every man should be able to rear his family in
comfort."  In one union, with two thousand members, Mr. Cunniff found
every man a socialist, and from his experiences Mr. Cunniff was forced to
confess, "I lived in a world that showed our industrial life a-tremble
from beneath with a never-ceasing ferment."

The socialists have already captured the Western Federation of Miners,
the Western Hotel and Restaurant Employees' Union, and the Patternmakers'
National Association.  The Western Federation of Miners, at a recent
convention, declared: "The strike has failed to secure to the working
classes their liberty; we therefore call upon the workers to strike as
one man for their liberties at the ballot box. . . . We put ourselves on
record as committed to the programme of independent political action. . . .
We indorse the platform of the socialist party, and accept it as the
declaration of principles of our organization.  We call upon our members
as individuals to commence immediately the organization of the socialist
movement in their respective towns and states, and to cooperate in every
way for the furtherance of the principles of socialism and of the
socialist party.  In states where the socialist party has not perfected
its organization, we advise that every assistance be given by our members
to that end. . . . We therefore call for organizers, capable and
well-versed in the whole programme of the labor movement, to be sent into
each state to preach the necessity of organization on the political as
well as on the economic field."

The capitalist class has a glimmering consciousness of the class struggle
which is shaping itself in the midst of society; but the capitalists, as
a class, seem to lack the ability for organizing, for coming together,
such as is possessed by the working class.  No American capitalist ever
aids an English capitalist in the common fight, while workmen have formed
international unions, the socialists a world-wide international
organization, and on all sides space and race are bridged in the effort
to achieve solidarity.  Resolutions of sympathy, and, fully as important,
donations of money, pass back and forth across the sea to wherever labor
is fighting its pitched battles.

For divers reasons, the capitalist class lacks this cohesion or
solidarity, chief among which is the optimism bred of past success.  And,
again, the capitalist class is divided; it has within itself a class
struggle of no mean proportions, which tends to irritate and harass it
and to confuse the situation.  The small capitalist and the large
capitalist are grappled with each other, struggling over what Achille
Loria calls the "bi-partition of the revenues."  Such a struggle, though
not precisely analogous, was waged between the landlords and
manufacturers of England when the one brought about the passage of the
Factory Acts and the other the abolition of the Corn Laws.

Here and there, however, certain members of the capitalist class see
clearly the cleavage in society along which the struggle is beginning to
show itself, while the press and magazines are beginning to raise an
occasional and troubled voice.  Two leagues of class-conscious
capitalists have been formed for the purpose of carrying on their side of
the struggle.  Like the socialists, they do not mince matters, but state
boldly and plainly that they are fighting to subjugate the opposing
class.  It is the barons against the commons.  One of these leagues, the
National Association of Manufacturers, is stopping short of nothing in
what it conceives to be a life-and-death struggle.  Mr. D. M. Parry, who
is the president of the league, as well as president of the National
Metal Trades' Association, is leaving no stone unturned in what he feels
to be a desperate effort to organize his class.  He has issued the call
to arms in terms everything but ambiguous: "_There is still time in the
United Stales to head off the socialistic programme_, _which_,
_unrestrained_, _is sure to wreck our country_."

As he says, the work is for "federating employers in order that we may
meet with a united front all issues that affect us.  We must come to this
sooner or later. . . . The work immediately before the National
Association of Manufacturers is, first, _keep the vicious eight-hour Bill
off the books_; second, to _destroy the Anti-injunction Bill_, which
wrests your business from you and places it in the hands of your
employees; third, to secure the _passage of the Department of Commerce
and Industry Bill_; the latter would go through with a rush were it not
for the hectoring opposition of Organized Labor."  By this department, he
further says, "business interests would have direct and sympathetic
representation at Washington."

In a later letter, issued broadcast to the capitalists outside the
League, President Parry points out the success which is already beginning
to attend the efforts of the League at Washington.  "We have contributed
more than any other influence to the quick passage of the new Department
of Commerce Bill.  It is said that the activities of this office are
numerous and satisfactory; but of that I must not say too much--or
anything. . . . At Washington the Association is not represented too
much, either directly or indirectly.  Sometimes it is known in a most
powerful way that it is represented vigorously and unitedly.  Sometimes
it is not known that it is represented at all."

The second class-conscious capitalist organization is called the National
Economic League.  It likewise manifests the frankness of men who do not
dilly-dally with terms, but who say what they mean, and who mean to
settle down to a long, hard fight.  Their letter of invitation to
prospective members opens boldly.  "We beg to inform you that the
National Economic League will render its services in an impartial
educational movement _to oppose socialism and class hatred_."  Among its
class-conscious members, men who recognize that the opening guns of the
class struggle have been fired, may be instanced the following names:
Hon. Lyman J. Gage, Ex-Secretary U. S. Treasury; Hon. Thomas Jefferson
Coolidge, Ex-Minister to France; Rev. Henry C. Potter, Bishop New York
Diocese; Hon. John D. Long, Ex-Secretary U. S. Navy; Hon. Levi P. Morton,
Ex-Vice President United States; Henry Clews; John F. Dryden, President
Prudential Life Insurance Co.; John A. McCall, President New York Life
Insurance Co.; J. L. Greatsinger, President Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co.;
the shipbuilding firm of William Cramp & Sons, the Southern Railway
system, and the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Company.

Instances of the troubled editorial voice have not been rare during the
last several years.  There were many cries from the press during the last
days of the anthracite coal strike that the mine owners, by their
stubbornness, were sowing the regrettable seeds of socialism.  The
World's Work for December, 1902, said: "The next significant fact is the
recommendation by the Illinois State Federation of Labor that all members
of labor unions who are also members of the state militia shall resign
from the militia.  This proposition has been favorably regarded by some
other labor organizations.  It has done more than any other single recent
declaration or action to cause a public distrust of such unions as favor
it.  _It hints of a class separation that in turn hints of anarchy_."

The _Outlook_, February 14, 1903, in reference to the rioting at
Waterbury, remarks, "That all this disorder should have occurred in a
city of the character and intelligence of Waterbury indicates that the
industrial war spirit is by no means confined to the immigrant or
ignorant working classes."

That President Roosevelt has smelt the smoke from the firing line of the
class struggle is evidenced by his words, "Above all we need to remember
that any kind of _class animosity in the political world_ is, if
possible, even more destructive to national welfare than sectional, race,
or religious animosity."  The chief thing to be noted here is President
Roosevelt's tacit recognition of class animosity in the industrial world,
and his fear, which language cannot portray stronger, that this class
animosity may spread to the political world.  Yet this is the very policy
which the socialists have announced in their declaration of war against
present-day society--to capture the political machinery of society and by
that machinery destroy present-day society.

The New York Independent for February 12, 1903, recognized without
qualification the class struggle.  "It is impossible fairly to pass upon
the methods of labor unions, or to devise plans for remedying their
abuses, until it is recognized, to begin with, that unions are based upon
class antagonism and that their policies are dictated by the necessities
of social warfare.  A strike is a rebellion against the owners of
property.  The rights of property are protected by government.  And a
strike, under certain provocation, may extend as far as did the general
strike in Belgium a few years since, when practically the entire
wage-earning population stopped work in order to force political
concessions from the property-owning classes.  This is an extreme case,
but it brings out vividly the real nature of labor organization as a
species of warfare whose object is the coercion of one class by another

It has been shown, theoretically and actually, that there is a class
struggle in the United States.  The quarrel over the division of the
joint product is irreconcilable.  The working class is no longer losing
its strongest and most capable members.  These men, denied room for their
ambition in the capitalist ranks, remain to be the leaders of the
workers, to spur them to discontent, to make them conscious of their
class, to lead them to revolt.

This revolt, appearing spontaneously all over the industrial field in the
form of demands for an increased share of the joint product, is being
carefully and shrewdly shaped for a political assault upon society.  The
leaders, with the carelessness of fatalists, do not hesitate for an
instant to publish their intentions to the world.  They intend to direct
the labor revolt to the capture of the political machinery of society.
With the political machinery once in their hands, which will also give
them the control of the police, the army, the navy, and the courts, they
will confiscate, with or without remuneration, all the possessions of the
capitalist class which are used in the production and distribution of the
necessaries and luxuries of life.  By this, they mean to apply the law of
eminent domain to the land, and to extend the law of eminent domain till
it embraces the mines, the factories, the railroads, and the ocean
carriers.  In short, they intend to destroy present-day society, which
they contend is run in the interest of another class, and from the
materials to construct a new society, which will be run in their

On the other hand, the capitalist class is beginning to grow conscious of
itself and of the struggle which is being waged.  It is already forming
offensive and defensive leagues, while some of the most prominent figures
in the nation are preparing to lead it in the attack upon socialism.

The question to be solved is not one of Malthusianism, "projected
efficiency," nor ethics.  It is a question of might.  Whichever class is
to win, will win by virtue of superior strength; for the workers are
beginning to say, as they said to Mr. Cunniff, "Malthus be damned."  In
their own minds they find no sanction for continuing the individual
struggle for the survival of the fittest.  As Mr. Gompers has said, they
want more, and more, and more.  The ethical import of Mr. Kidd's plan of
the present generation putting up with less in order that race efficiency
may be projected into a remote future, has no bearing upon their actions.
They refuse to be the "glad perishers" so glowingly described by

It remains to be seen how promptly the capitalist class will respond to
the call to arms.  Upon its promptness rests its existence, for if it
sits idly by, soothfully proclaiming that what ought not to be cannot be,
it will find the roof beams crashing about its head.  The capitalist
class is in the numerical minority, and bids fair to be outvoted if it
does not put a stop to the vast propaganda being waged by its enemy.  It
is no longer a question of whether or not there is a class struggle.  The
question now is, what will be the outcome of the class struggle?


Mr. Francis O'Neil, General Superintendent of Police, Chicago, speaking
of the tramp, says: "Despite the most stringent police regulations, a
great city will have a certain number of homeless vagrants to shelter
through the winter."  "Despite,"--mark the word, a confession of
organized helplessness as against unorganized necessity.  If police
regulations are stringent and yet fail, then that which makes them fail,
namely, the tramp, must have still more stringent reasons for succeeding.
This being so, it should be of interest to inquire into these reasons, to
attempt to discover why the nameless and homeless vagrant sets at naught
the right arm of the corporate power of our great cities, why all that is
weak and worthless is stronger than all that is strong and of value.

Mr. O'Neil is a man of wide experience on the subject of tramps.  He may
be called a specialist.  As he says of himself: "As an old-time desk
sergeant and police captain, I have had almost unlimited opportunity to
study and analyze this class of floating population, which seeks the city
in winter and scatters abroad through the country in the spring."  He
then continues: "This experience reiterated the lesson that the vast
majority of these wanderers are of the class with whom a life of vagrancy
is a chosen means of living without work."  Not only is it to be inferred
from this that there is a large class in society which lives without
work, for Mr. O'Neil's testimony further shows that this class is forced
to live without work.

He says: "I have been astonished at the multitude of those who have
unfortunately engaged in occupations which practically force them to
become loafers for at least a third of the year.  And it is from this
class that the tramps are largely recruited.  I recall a certain winter
when it seemed to me that a large portion of the inhabitants of Chicago
belonged to this army of unfortunates.  I was stationed at a police
station not far from where an ice harvest was ready for the cutters.  The
ice company advertised for helpers, and the very night this call appeared
in the newspapers our station was packed with homeless men, who asked
shelter in order to be at hand for the morning's work.  Every foot of
floor space was given over to these lodgers and scores were still

And again: "And it must be confessed that the man who is willing to do
honest labor for food and shelter is a rare specimen in this vast army of
shabby and tattered wanderers who seek the warmth of the city with the
coming of the first snow."  Taking into consideration the crowd of honest
laborers that swamped Mr. O'Neil's station-house on the way to the
ice-cutting, it is patent, if all tramps were looking for honest labor
instead of a small minority, that the honest laborers would have a far
harder task finding something honest to do for food and shelter.  If the
opinion of the honest laborers who swamped Mr. O'Neil's station-house
were asked, one could rest confident that each and every man would
express a preference for fewer honest laborers on the morrow when he
asked the ice foreman for a job.

And, finally, Mr. O'Neil says: "The humane and generous treatment which
this city has accorded the great army of homeless unfortunates has made
it the victim of wholesale imposition, and this well-intended policy of
kindness has resulted in making Chicago the winter Mecca of a vast and
undesirable floating population."  That is to say, because of her
kindness, Chicago had more than her fair share of tramps; because she was
humane and generous she suffered whole-sale imposition.  From this we
must conclude that it does not do to be _humane_ and _generous_ to our
fellow-men--when they are tramps.  Mr. O'Neil is right, and that this is
no sophism it is the intention of this article, among other things, to

In a general way we may draw the following inferences from the remarks of
Mr. O'Neil: (1) The tramp is stronger than organized society and cannot
be put down; (2) The tramp is "shabby," "tattered," "homeless,"
"unfortunate"; (3) There is a "vast" number of tramps; (4) Very few
tramps are willing to do honest work; (5) Those tramps who are willing to
do honest work have to hunt very hard to find it; (6) The tramp is

To this last let the contention be appended that the tramp is only
_personally_ undesirable; that he is _negatively_ desirable; that the
function he performs in society is a negative function; and that he is
the by-product of economic necessity.

It is very easy to demonstrate that there are more men than there is work
for men to do.  For instance, what would happen tomorrow if one hundred
thousand tramps should become suddenly inspired with an overmastering
desire for work?  It is a fair question.  "Go to work" is preached to the
tramp every day of his life.  The judge on the bench, the pedestrian in
the street, the housewife at the kitchen door, all unite in advising him
to go to work.  So what would happen tomorrow if one hundred thousand
tramps acted upon this advice and strenuously and indomitably sought
work?  Why, by the end of the week one hundred thousand workers, their
places taken by the tramps, would receive their time and be "hitting the
road" for a job.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox unwittingly and uncomfortably demonstrated the
disparity between men and work. {1}  She made a casual reference, in a
newspaper column she conducts, to the difficulty two business men found
in obtaining good employees.  The first morning mail brought her
seventy-five applications for the position, and at the end of two weeks
over two hundred people had applied.

Still more strikingly was the same proposition recently demonstrated in
San Francisco.  A sympathetic strike called out a whole federation of
trades' unions.  Thousands of men, in many branches of trade, quit
work,--draymen, sand teamsters, porters and packers, longshoremen,
stevedores, warehousemen, stationary engineers, sailors, marine firemen,
stewards, sea-cooks, and so forth,--an interminable list.  It was a
strike of large proportions.  Every Pacific coast shipping city was
involved, and the entire coasting service, from San Diego to Puget Sound,
was virtually tied up.  The time was considered auspicious.  The
Philippines and Alaska had drained the Pacific coast of surplus labor.
It was summer-time, when the agricultural demand for laborers was at its
height, and when the cities were bare of their floating populations.  And
yet there remained a body of surplus labor sufficient to take the places
of the strikers.  No matter what occupation, sea-cook or stationary
engineer, sand teamster or warehouseman, in every case there was an idle
worker ready to do the work.  And not only ready but anxious.  They
fought for a chance to work.  Men were killed, hundreds of heads were
broken, the hospitals were filled with injured men, and thousands of
assaults were committed.  And still surplus laborers, "scabs," came
forward to replace the strikers.

The question arises: _Whence came this second army of workers to replace
the first army_?  One thing is certain: the trades' unions did not scab
on one another.  Another thing is certain: no industry on the Pacific
slope was crippled in the slightest degree by its workers being drawn
away to fill the places of the strikers.  A third thing is certain: the
agricultural workers did not flock to the cities to replace the strikers.
In this last instance it is worth while to note that the agricultural
laborers wailed to High Heaven when a few of the strikers went into the
country to compete with them in unskilled employments.  So there is no
accounting for this second army of workers.  It simply was.  It was there
all this time, a surplus labor army in the year of our Lord 1901, a year
adjudged most prosperous in the annals of the United States. {2}

The existence of the surplus labor army being established, there remains
to be established the economic necessity for the surplus labor army.  The
simplest and most obvious need is that brought about by the fluctuation
of production.  If, when production is at low ebb, all men are at work,
it necessarily follows that when production increases there will be no
men to do the increased work.  This may seem almost childish, and, if not
childish, at least easily remedied.  At low ebb let the men work shorter
time; at high flood let them work overtime.  The main objection to this
is, that it is not done, and that we are considering what is, not what
might be or should be.

Then there are great irregular and periodical demands for labor which
must be met.  Under the first head come all the big building and
engineering enterprises.  When a canal is to be dug or a railroad put
through, requiring thousands of laborers, it would be hurtful to withdraw
these laborers from the constant industries.  And whether it is a canal
to be dug or a cellar, whether five thousand men are required or five, it
is well, in society as at present organized, that they be taken from the
surplus labor army.  The surplus labor army is the reserve fund of social
energy, and this is one of the reasons for its existence.

Under the second head, periodical demands, come the harvests.  Throughout
the year, huge labor tides sweep back and forth across the United States.
That which is sown and tended by few men, comes to sudden ripeness and
must be gathered by many men; and it is inevitable that these many men
form floating populations.  In the late spring the berries must be
picked, in the summer the grain garnered, in the fall, the hops gathered,
in the winter the ice harvested.  In California a man may pick berries in
Siskiyou, peaches in Santa Clara, grapes in the San Joaquin, and oranges
in Los Angeles, going from job to job as the season advances, and
travelling a thousand miles ere the season is done.  But the great demand
for agricultural labor is in the summer.  In the winter, work is slack,
and these floating populations eddy into the cities to eke out a
precarious existence and harrow the souls of the police officers until
the return of warm weather and work.  If there were constant work at good
wages for every man, who would harvest the crops?

But the last and most significant need for the surplus labor army remains
to be stated.  This surplus labor acts as a check upon all employed
labor.  It is the lash by which the masters hold the workers to their
tasks, or drive them back to their tasks when they have revolted.  It is
the goad which forces the workers into the compulsory "free contracts"
against which they now and again rebel.  There is only one reason under
the sun that strikes fail, and that is because there are always plenty of
men to take the strikers' places.

The strength of the union today, other things remaining equal, is
proportionate to the skill of the trade, or, in other words,
proportionate to the pressure the surplus labor army can put upon it.  If
a thousand ditch-diggers strike, it is easy to replace them, wherefore
the ditch-diggers have little or no organized strength.  But a thousand
highly skilled machinists are somewhat harder to replace, and in
consequence the machinist unions are strong.  The ditch-diggers are
wholly at the mercy of the surplus labor army, the machinists only
partly.  To be invincible, a union must be a monopoly.  It must control
every man in its particular trade, and regulate apprentices so that the
supply of skilled workmen may remain constant; this is the dream of the
"Labor Trust" on the part of the captains of labor.

Once, in England, after the Great Plague, labor awoke to find there was
more work for men than there were men to work.  Instead of workers
competing for favors from employers, employers were competing for favors
from the workers.  Wages went up and up, and continued to go up, until
the workers demanded the full product of their toil.  Now it is clear
that, when labor receives its full product capital must perish.  And so
the pygmy capitalists of that post-Plague day found their existence
threatened by this untoward condition of affairs.  To save themselves,
they set a maximum wage, restrained the workers from moving about from
place to place, smashed incipient organization, refused to tolerate
idlers, and by most barbarous legal penalties punished those who
disobeyed.  After that, things went on as before.

The point of this, of course, is to demonstrate the need of the surplus
labor army.  Without such an army, our present capitalist society would
be powerless.  Labor would organize as it never organized before, and the
last least worker would be gathered into the unions.  The full product of
toil would be demanded, and capitalist society would crumble away.  Nor
could capitalist society save itself as did the post-Plague capitalist
society.  The time is past when a handful of masters, by imprisonment and
barbarous punishment, can drive the legions of the workers to their
tasks.  Without a surplus labor army, the courts, police, and military
are impotent.  In such matters the function of the courts, police, and
military is to preserve order, and to fill the places of strikers with
surplus labor.  If there be no surplus labor to instate, there is no
function to perform; for disorder arises only during the process of
instatement, when the striking labor army and the surplus labor army
clash together.  That is to say, that which maintains the integrity of
the present industrial society more potently than the courts, police, and
military is the surplus labor army.

                                * * * * *

It has been shown that there are more men than there is work for men, and
that the surplus labor army is an economic necessity.  To show how the
tramp is a by-product of this economic necessity, it is necessary to
inquire into the composition of the surplus labor army.  What men form
it?  Why are they there?  What do they do?

In the first place, since the workers must compete for employment, it
inevitably follows that it is the fit and efficient who find employment.
The skilled worker holds his place by virtue of his skill and efficiency.
Were he less skilled, or were he unreliable or erratic, he would be
swiftly replaced by a stronger competitor.  The skilled and steady
employments are not cumbered with clowns and idiots.  A man finds his
place according to his ability and the needs of the system, and those
without ability, or incapable of satisfying the needs of the system, have
no place.  Thus, the poor telegrapher may develop into an excellent
wood-chopper.  But if the poor telegrapher cherishes the delusion that he
is a good telegrapher, and at the same time disdains all other
employments, he will have no employment at all, or he will be so poor at
all other employments that he will work only now and again in lieu of
better men.  He will be among the first let off when times are dull, and
among the last taken on when times are good.  Or, to the point, he will
be a member of the surplus labor army.

So the conclusion is reached that the less fit and less efficient, or the
unfit and inefficient, compose the surplus labor army.  Here are to be
found the men who have tried and failed, the men who cannot hold
jobs,--the plumber apprentice who could not become a journeyman, and the
plumber journeyman too clumsy and dull to retain employment; switchmen
who wreck trains; clerks who cannot balance books; blacksmiths who lame
horses; lawyers who cannot plead; in short, the failures of every trade
and profession, and failures, many of them, in divers trades and
professions.  Failure is writ large, and in their wretchedness they bear
the stamp of social disapprobation.  Common work, any kind of work,
wherever or however they can obtain it, is their portion.

But these hereditary inefficients do not alone compose the surplus labor
army.  There are the skilled but unsteady and unreliable men; and the old
men, once skilled, but, with dwindling powers, no longer skilled. {3}
And there are good men, too, splendidly skilled and efficient, but thrust
out of the employment of dying or disaster-smitten industries.  In this
connection it is not out of place to note the misfortune of the workers
in the British iron trades, who are suffering because of American
inroads.  And, last of all, are the unskilled laborers, the hewers of
wood and drawers of water, the ditch-diggers, the men of pick and shovel,
the helpers, lumpers, roustabouts.  If trade is slack on a seacoast of
two thousand miles, or the harvests are light in a great interior valley,
myriads of these laborers lie idle, or make life miserable for their
fellows in kindred unskilled employments.

A constant filtration goes on in the working world, and good material is
continually drawn from the surplus labor army.  Strikes and industrial
dislocations shake up the workers, bring good men to the surface and sink
men as good or not so good.  The hope of the skilled striker is in that
the scabs are less skilled, or less capable of becoming skilled; yet each
strike attests to the efficiency that lurks beneath.  After the Pullman
strike, a few thousand railroad men were chagrined to find the work they
had flung down taken up by men as good as themselves.

But one thing must be considered here.  Under the present system, if the
weakest and least fit were as strong and fit as the best, and the best
were correspondingly stronger and fitter, the same condition would
obtain.  There would be the same army of employed labor, the same army of
surplus labor.  The whole thing is relative.  There is no absolute
standard of efficiency.

                                * * * * *

Comes now the tramp.  And all conclusions may be anticipated by saying at
once that he is a tramp because some one has to be a tramp.  If he left
the "road" and became a _very_ efficient common laborer, some _ordinarily
efficient_ common laborer would have to take to the "road."  The nooks
and crannies are crowded by the surplus laborers; and when the first snow
flies, and the tramps are driven into the cities, things become
overcrowded and stringent police regulations are necessary.

The tramp is one of two kinds of men: he is either a discouraged worker
or a discouraged criminal.  Now a discouraged criminal, on investigation,
proves to be a discouraged worker, or the descendant of discouraged
workers; so that, in the last analysis, the tramp is a discouraged
worker.  Since there is not work for all, discouragement for some is
unavoidable.  How, then, does this process of discouragement operate?

The lower the employment in the industrial scale, the harder the
conditions.  The finer, the more delicate, the more skilled the trade,
the higher is it lifted above the struggle.  There is less pressure, less
sordidness, less savagery.  There are fewer glass-blowers proportionate
to the needs of the glass-blowing industry than there are ditch-diggers
proportionate to the needs of the ditch-digging industry.  And not only
this, for it requires a glass-blower to take the place of a striking
glass-blower, while any kind of a striker or out-of-work can take the
place of a ditch-digger.  So the skilled trades are more independent,
have more individuality and latitude.  They may confer with their
masters, make demands, assert themselves.  The unskilled laborers, on the
other hand, have no voice in their affairs.  The settlement of terms is
none of their business.  "Free contract" is all that remains to them.
They may take what is offered, or leave it.  There are plenty more of
their kind.  They do not count.  They are members of the surplus labor
army, and must be content with a hand-to-mouth existence.

The reward is likewise proportioned.  The strong, fit worker in a skilled
trade, where there is little labor pressure, is well compensated.  He is
a king compared with his less fortunate brothers in the unskilled
occupations where the labor pressure is great.  The mediocre worker not
only is forced to be idle a large portion of the time, but when employed
is forced to accept a pittance.  A dollar a day on some days and nothing
on other days will hardly support a man and wife and send children to
school.  And not only do the masters bear heavily upon him, and his own
kind struggle for the morsel at his mouth, but all skilled and organized
labor adds to his woe.  Union men do not scab on one another, but in
strikes, or when work is slack, it is considered "fair" for them to
descend and take away the work of the common laborers.  And take it away
they do; for, as a matter of fact, a well-fed, ambitious machinist or a
core-maker will transiently shovel coal better than an ill-fed,
spiritless laborer.

Thus there is no encouragement for the unfit, inefficient, and mediocre.
Their very inefficiency and mediocrity make them helpless as cattle and
add to their misery.  And the whole tendency for such is downward, until,
at the bottom of the social pit, they are wretched, inarticulate beasts,
living like beasts, breeding like beasts, dying like beasts.  And how do
they fare, these creatures born mediocre, whose heritage is neither
brains nor brawn nor endurance?  They are sweated in the slums in an
atmosphere of discouragement and despair.  There is no strength in
weakness, no encouragement in foul air, vile food, and dank dens.  They
are there because they are so made that they are not fit to be higher up;
but filth and obscenity do not strengthen the neck, nor does chronic
emptiness of belly stiffen the back.

For the mediocre there is no hope.  Mediocrity is a sin.  Poverty is the
penalty of failure,--poverty, from whose loins spring the criminal and
the tramp, both failures, both discouraged workers.  Poverty is the
inferno where ignorance festers and vice corrodes, and where the
physical, mental, and moral parts of nature are aborted and denied.

That the charge of rashness in splashing the picture be not incurred, let
the following authoritative evidence be considered: first, the work and
wages of mediocrity and inefficiency, and, second, the habitat:

The New York Sun of February 28, 1901, describes the opening of a factory
in New York City by the American Tobacco Company.  Cheroots were to be
made in this factory in competition with other factories which refused to
be absorbed by the trust.  The trust advertised for girls.  The crowd of
men and boys who wanted work was so great in front of the building that
the police were forced with their clubs to clear them away.  The wage
paid the girls was $2.50 per week, sixty cents of which went for car
fare. {4}

Miss Nellie Mason Auten, a graduate student of the department of
sociology at the University of Chicago, recently made a thorough
investigation of the garment trades of Chicago.  Her figures were
published in the American Journal of Sociology, and commented upon by the
Literary Digest.  She found women working ten hours a day, six days a
week, for forty cents per week (a rate of two-thirds of a cent an hour).
Many women earned less than a dollar a week, and none of them worked
every week.  The following table will best summarize Miss Auten's
investigations among a portion of the garment-workers:

                  INDIVIDUAL        OF WEEKS          EARNINGS
                  WEEKLY WAGES      EMPLOYED
Dressmakers       $.90              42.               $37.00
Pants-Finishers   1.31              27.58             42.41
Housewives and    1.58              30.21             47.49
Seamstresses      2.03              32.78             64.10
Pants-makers      2.13              30.77             75.61
Miscellaneous     2.77              29.               81.80
Tailors           6.22              31.96             211.92
General           2.48              31.18             76.74

Walter A. Wyckoff, who is as great an authority upon the worker as Josiah
Flynt is on the tramp, furnishes the following Chicago experience:

    "Many of the men were so weakened by the want and hardship of the
    winter that they were no longer in condition for effective labor.
    Some of the bosses who were in need of added hands were obliged to
    turn men away because of physical incapacity.  One instance of this I
    shall not soon forget.  It was when I overheard, early one morning at
    a factory gate, an interview between a would-be laborer and the boss.
    I knew the applicant for a Russian Jew, who had at home an old mother
    and a wife and two young children to support.  He had had
    intermittent employment throughout the winter in a sweater's den, {5}
    barely enough to keep them all alive, and, after the hardships of the
    cold season, he was again in desperate straits for work.

    "The boss had all but agreed to take him on for some sort of
    unskilled labor, when, struck by the cadaverous look of the man, he
    told him to bare his arm.  Up went the sleeve of his coat and his
    ragged flannel shirt, exposing a naked arm with the muscles nearly
    gone, and the blue-white transparent skin stretched over sinews and
    the outlines of the bones.  Pitiful beyond words was his effort to
    give a semblance of strength to the biceps which rose faintly to the
    upward movement of the forearm.  But the boss sent him off with an
    oath and a contemptuous laugh; and I watched the fellow as he turned
    down the street, facing the fact of his starving family with a
    despair at his heart which only mortal man can feel and no mortal
    tongue can speak."

Concerning habitat, Mr. Jacob Riis has stated that in New York City, in
the block bounded by Stanton, Houston, Attorney, and Ridge streets, the
size of which is 200 by 300, there is a warren of 2244 human beings.

In the block bounded by Sixty-first and Sixty-second streets, and
Amsterdam and West End avenues, are over four thousand human
creatures,--quite a comfortable New England village to crowd into one
city block.

The Rev. Dr. Behrends, speaking of the block bounded by Canal, Hester,
Eldridge, and Forsyth streets, says: "In a room 12 by 8 and 5.5 feet
high, it was found that nine persons slept and prepared their food. . . .
In another room, located in a dark cellar, without screens or partitions,
were together two men with their wives and a girl of fourteen, two single
men and a boy of seventeen, two women and four boys,--nine, ten, eleven,
and fifteen years old,--fourteen persons in all."

Here humanity rots.  Its victims, with grim humor, call it "tenant-house
rot."  Or, as a legislative report puts it: "Here infantile life unfolds
its bud, but perishes before its first anniversary.  Here youth is ugly
with loathsome disease, and the deformities which follow physical

These are the men and women who are what they are because they were not
better born, or because they happened to be unluckily born in time and
space.  Gauged by the needs of the system, they are weak and worthless.
The hospital and the pauper's grave await them, and they offer no
encouragement to the mediocre worker who has failed higher up in the
industrial structure.  Such a worker, conscious that he has failed,
conscious from the hard fact that he cannot obtain work in the higher
employments, finds several courses open to him.  He may come down and be
a beast in the social pit, for instance; but if he be of a certain
caliber, the effect of the social pit will be to discourage him from
work.  In his blood a rebellion will quicken, and he will elect to become
either a felon or a tramp.

If he have fought the hard fight he is not unacquainted with the lure of
the "road."  When out of work and still undiscouraged, he has been forced
to "hit the road" between large cities in his quest for a job.  He has
loafed, seen the country and green things, laughed in joy, lain on his
back and listened to the birds singing overhead, unannoyed by factory
whistles and bosses' harsh commands; and, most significant of all, _he
has lived_!  That is the point!  He has not starved to death.  Not only
has he been care-free and happy, but he has lived!  And from the
knowledge that he has idled and is still alive, he achieves a new outlook
on life; and the more he experiences the unenviable lot of the poor
worker, the more the blandishments of the "road" take hold of him.  And
finally he flings his challenge in the face of society, imposes a
valorous boycott on all work, and joins the far-wanderers of Hoboland,
the gypsy folk of this latter day.

But the tramp does not usually come from the slums.  His place of birth
is ordinarily a bit above, and sometimes a very great bit above.  A
confessed failure, he yet refuses to accept the punishment, and swerves
aside from the slum to vagabondage.  The average beast in the social pit
is either too much of a beast, or too much of a slave to the bourgeois
ethics and ideals of his masters, to manifest this flicker of rebellion.
But the social pit, out of its discouragement and viciousness, breeds
criminals, men who prefer being beasts of prey to being beasts of work.
And the mediocre criminal, in turn, the unfit and inefficient criminal,
is discouraged by the strong arm of the law and goes over to trampdom.

These men, the discouraged worker and the discouraged criminal,
voluntarily withdraw themselves from the struggle for work.  Industry
does not need them.  There are no factories shut down through lack of
labor, no projected railroads unbuilt for want of pick-and-shovel men.
Women are still glad to toil for a dollar a week, and men and boys to
clamor and fight for work at the factory gates.  No one misses these
discouraged men, and in going away they have made it somewhat easier for
those that remain.

                                * * * * *

So the case stands thus: There being more men than there is work for men
to do, a surplus labor army inevitably results.  The surplus labor army
is an economic necessity; without it, present society would fall to
pieces.  Into the surplus labor army are herded the mediocre, the
inefficient, the unfit, and those incapable of satisfying the industrial
needs of the system.  The struggle for work between the members of the
surplus labor army is sordid and savage, and at the bottom of the social
pit the struggle is vicious and beastly.  This struggle tends to
discouragement, and the victims of this discouragement are the criminal
and the tramp.  The tramp is not an economic necessity such as the
surplus labor army, but he is the by-product of an economic necessity.

The "road" is one of the safety-valves through which the waste of the
social organism is given off.  And _being given off_ constitutes the
negative function of the tramp.  Society, as at present organized, makes
much waste of human life.  This waste must be eliminated.  Chloroform or
electrocution would be a simple, merciful solution of this problem of
elimination; but the ruling ethics, while permitting the human waste,
will not permit a humane elimination of that waste.  This paradox
demonstrates the irreconcilability of theoretical ethics and industrial

And so the tramp becomes self-eliminating.  And not only self!  Since he
is manifestly unfit for things as they are, and since kind is prone to
beget kind, it is necessary that his kind cease with him, that his
progeny shall not be, that he play the eunuch's part in this twentieth
century after Christ.  And he plays it.  He does not breed.  Sterility is
his portion, as it is the portion of the woman on the street.  They might
have been mates, but society has decreed otherwise.

And, while it is not nice that these men should die, it is ordained that
they must die, and we should not quarrel with them if they cumber our
highways and kitchen stoops with their perambulating carcasses.  This is
a form of elimination we not only countenance but compel.  Therefore let
us be cheerful and honest about it.  Let us be as stringent as we please
with our police regulations, but for goodness' sake let us refrain from
telling the tramp to go to work.  Not only is it unkind, but it is untrue
and hypocritical.  We know there is no work for him.  As the scapegoat to
our economic and industrial sinning, or to the plan of things, if you
will, we should give him credit.  Let us be just.  He is so made.
Society made him.  He did not make himself.


In a competitive society, where men struggle with one another for food
and shelter, what is more natural than that generosity, when it
diminishes the food and shelter of men other than he who is generous,
should be held an accursed thing?  Wise old saws to the contrary, he who
takes from a man's purse takes from his existence.  To strike at a man's
food and shelter is to strike at his life; and in a society organized on
a tooth-and-nail basis, such an act, performed though it may be under the
guise of generosity, is none the less menacing and terrible.

It is for this reason that a laborer is so fiercely hostile to another
laborer who offers to work for less pay or longer hours.  To hold his
place, (which is to live), he must offset this offer by another equally
liberal, which is equivalent to giving away somewhat from the food and
shelter he enjoys.  To sell his day's work for $2, instead of $2.50,
means that he, his wife, and his children will not have so good a roof
over their heads, so warm clothes on their backs, so substantial food in
their stomachs.  Meat will be bought less frequently and it will be
tougher and less nutritious, stout new shoes will go less often on the
children's feet, and disease and death will be more imminent in a cheaper
house and neighborhood.

Thus the generous laborer, giving more of a day's work for less return,
(measured in terms of food and shelter), threatens the life of his less
generous brother laborer, and at the best, if he does not destroy that
life, he diminishes it.  Whereupon the less generous laborer looks upon
him as an enemy, and, as men are inclined to do in a tooth-and-nail
society, he tries to kill the man who is trying to kill him.

When a striker kills with a brick the man who has taken his place, he has
no sense of wrong-doing.  In the deepest holds of his being, though he
does not reason the impulse, he has an ethical sanction.  He feels dimly
that he has justification, just as the home-defending Boer felt, though
more sharply, with each bullet he fired at the invading English.  Behind
every brick thrown by a striker is the selfish will "to live" of himself,
and the slightly altruistic will "to live" of his family.  The family
group came into the world before the State group, and society, being
still on the primitive basis of tooth and nail, the will "to live" of the
State is not so compelling to the striker as is the will "to live" of his
family and himself.

In addition to the use of bricks, clubs, and bullets, the selfish laborer
finds it necessary to express his feelings in speech.  Just as the
peaceful country-dweller calls the sea-rover a "pirate," and the stout
burgher calls the man who breaks into his strong-box a "robber," so the
selfish laborer applies the opprobrious epithet a "scab" to the laborer
who takes from him food and shelter by being more generous in the
disposal of his labor power.  The sentimental connotation of "scab" is as
terrific as that of "traitor" or "Judas," and a sentimental definition
would be as deep and varied as the human heart.  It is far easier to
arrive at what may be called a technical definition, worded in commercial
terms, as, for instance, that _a scab is one who gives more value for the
same price than another_.

The laborer who gives more time or strength or skill for the same wage
than another, or equal time or strength or skill for a less wage, is a
scab.  This generousness on his part is hurtful to his fellow-laborers,
for it compels them to an equal generousness which is not to their
liking, and which gives them less of food and shelter.  But a word may be
said for the scab.  Just as his act makes his rivals compulsorily
generous, so do they, by fortune of birth and training, make compulsory
his act of generousness.  He does not scab because he wants to scab.  No
whim of the spirit, no burgeoning of the heart, leads him to give more of
his labor power than they for a certain sum.

It is because he cannot get work on the same terms as they that he is a
scab.  There is less work than there are men to do work.  This is patent,
else the scab would not loom so large on the labor-market horizon.
Because they are stronger than he, or more skilled, or more energetic, it
is impossible for him to take their places at the same wage.  To take
their places he must give more value, must work longer hours or receive a
smaller wage.  He does so, and he cannot help it, for his will "to live"
is driving him on as well as they are being driven on by their will "to
live"; and to live he must win food and shelter, which he can do only by
receiving permission to work from some man who owns a bit of land or a
piece of machinery.  And to receive permission from this man, he must
make the transaction profitable for him.

Viewed in this light, the scab, who gives more labor power for a certain
price than his fellows, is not so generous after all.  He is no more
generous with his energy than the chattel slave and the convict laborer,
who, by the way, are the almost perfect scabs.  They give their labor
power for about the minimum possible price.  But, within limits, they may
loaf and malinger, and, as scabs, are exceeded by the machine, which
never loafs and malingers and which is the ideally perfect scab.

It is not nice to be a scab.  Not only is it not in good social taste and
comradeship, but, from the standpoint of food and shelter, it is bad
business policy.  Nobody desires to scab, to give most for least.  The
ambition of every individual is quite the opposite, to give least for
most; and, as a result, living in a tooth-and-nail society, battle royal
is waged by the ambitious individuals.  But in its most salient aspect,
that of the struggle over the division of the joint product, it is no
longer a battle between individuals, but between groups of individuals.
Capital and labor apply themselves to raw material, make something useful
out of it, add to its value, and then proceed to quarrel over the
division of the added value.  Neither cares to give most for least.  Each
is intent on giving less than the other and on receiving more.

Labor combines into its unions, capital into partnerships, associations,
corporations, and trusts.  A group-struggle is the result, in which the
individuals, as individuals, play no part.  The Brotherhood of Carpenters
and Joiners, for instance, serves notice on the Master Builders'
Association that it demands an increase of the wage of its members from
$3.50 a day to $4, and a Saturday half-holiday without pay.  This means
that the carpenters are trying to give less for more.  Where they
received $21 for six full days, they are endeavoring to get $22 for five
days and a half,--that is, they will work half a day less each week and
receive a dollar more.

Also, they expect the Saturday half-holiday to give work to one
additional man for each eleven previously employed.  This last affords a
splendid example of the development of the group idea.  In this
particular struggle the individual has no chance at all for life.  The
individual carpenter would be crushed like a mote by the Master Builders'
Association, and like a mote the individual master builder would be
crushed by the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

In the group-struggle over the division of the joint product, labor
utilizes the union with its two great weapons, the strike and the
boycott; while capital utilizes the trust and the association, the
weapons of which are the black-list, the lockout, and the scab.  The scab
is by far the most formidable weapon of the three.  He is the man who
breaks strikes and causes all the trouble.  Without him there would be no
trouble, for the strikers are willing to remain out peacefully and
indefinitely so long as other men are not in their places, and so long as
the particular aggregation of capital with which they are fighting is
eating its head off in enforced idleness.

But both warring groups have reserve weapons.  Were it not for the scab,
these weapons would not be brought into play.  But the scab takes the
place of the striker, who begins at once to wield a most powerful weapon,
terrorism.  The will "to live" of the scab recoils from the menace of
broken bones and violent death.  With all due respect to the labor
leaders, who are not to be blamed for volubly asseverating otherwise,
terrorism is a well-defined and eminently successful policy of the labor
unions.  It has probably won them more strikes than all the rest of the
weapons in their arsenal.  This terrorism, however, must be clearly
understood.  It is directed solely against the scab, placing him in such
fear for life and limb as to drive him out of the contest.  But when
terrorism gets out of hand and inoffensive non-combatants are injured,
law and order threatened, and property destroyed, it becomes an edged
tool that cuts both ways.  This sort of terrorism is sincerely deplored
by the labor leaders, for it has probably lost them as many strikes as
have been lost by any other single cause.

The scab is powerless under terrorism.  As a rule, he is not so good nor
gritty a man as the men he is displacing, and he lacks their fighting
organization.  He stands in dire need of stiffening and backing.  His
employers, the capitalists, draw their two remaining weapons, the
ownership of which is debatable, but which they for the time being happen
to control.  These two weapons may be called the political and judicial
machinery of society.  When the scab crumples up and is ready to go down
before the fists, bricks, and bullets of the labor group, the capitalist
group puts the police and soldiers into the field, and begins a general
bombardment of injunctions.  Victory usually follows, for the labor group
cannot withstand the combined assault of gatling guns and injunctions.

But it has been noted that the ownership of the political and judicial
machinery of society is debatable.  In the Titanic struggle over the
division of the joint product, each group reaches out for every available
weapon.  Nor are they blinded by the smoke of conflict.  They fight their
battles as coolly and collectedly as ever battles were fought on paper.
The capitalist group has long since realized the immense importance of
controlling the political and judicial machinery of society.

Taught by gatlings and injunctions, which have smashed many an otherwise
successful strike, the labor group is beginning to realize that it all
depends upon who is behind and who is before the gatlings and the
injunctions.  And he who knows the labor movement knows that there is
slowly growing up and being formulated a clear and definite policy for
the capture of the political and judicial machinery.

This is the terrible spectre which Mr. John Graham Brooks sees looming
portentously over the twentieth century world.  No man may boast a more
intimate knowledge of the labor movement than he; and he reiterates again
and again the dangerous likelihood of the whole labor group capturing the
political machinery of society.  As he says in his recent book: {6} "It
is not probable that employers can destroy unionism in the United States.
Adroit and desperate attempts will, however, be made, if we mean by
unionism the undisciplined and aggressive fact of vigorous and determined
organizations.  If capital should prove too strong in this struggle, the
result is easy to predict.  The employers have only to convince organized
labor that it cannot hold its own against the capitalist manager, and the
whole energy that now goes to the union will turn to an aggressive
political socialism.  It will not be the harmless sympathy with increased
city and state functions which trade unions already feel; it will become
a turbulent political force bent upon using every weapon of taxation
against the rich."

This struggle not to be a scab, to avoid giving more for less and to
succeed in giving less for more, is more vital than it would appear on
the surface.  The capitalist and labor groups are locked together in
desperate battle, and neither side is swayed by moral considerations more
than skin-deep.  The labor group hires business agents, lawyers, and
organizers, and is beginning to intimidate legislators by the strength of
its solid vote; and more directly, in the near future, it will attempt to
control legislation by capturing it bodily through the ballot-box.  On
the other hand, the capitalist group, numerically weaker, hires
newspapers, universities, and legislatures, and strives to bend to its
need all the forces which go to mould public opinion.

The only honest morality displayed by either side is white-hot
indignation at the iniquities of the other side.  The striking teamster
complacently takes a scab driver into an alley, and with an iron bar
breaks his arms, so that he can drive no more, but cries out to high
Heaven for justice when the capitalist breaks his skull by means of a
club in the hands of a policeman.  Nay, the members of a union will
declaim in impassioned rhetoric for the God-given right of an eight-hour
day, and at the time be working their own business agent seventeen hours
out of the twenty-four.

A capitalist such as Collis P. Huntington, and his name is Legion, after
a long life spent in buying the aid of countless legislatures, will wax
virtuously wrathful, and condemn in unmeasured terms "the dangerous
tendency of crying out to the Government for aid" in the way of labor
legislation.  Without a quiver, a member of the capitalist group will run
tens of thousands of pitiful child-laborers through his life-destroying
cotton factories, and weep maudlin and constitutional tears over one scab
hit in the back with a brick.  He will drive a "compulsory" free contract
with an unorganized laborer on the basis of a starvation wage, saying,
"Take it or leave it," knowing that to leave it means to die of hunger,
and in the next breath, when the organizer entices that laborer into a
union, will storm patriotically about the inalienable right of all men to
work.  In short, the chief moral concern of either side is with the
morals of the other side.  They are not in the business for their moral
welfare, but to achieve the enviable position of the non-scab who gets
more than he gives.

But there is more to the question than has yet been discussed.  The labor
scab is no more detestable to his brother laborers than is the capitalist
scab to his brother capitalists.  A capitalist may get most for least in
dealing with his laborers, and in so far be a non-scab; but at the same
time, in his dealings with his fellow-capitalists, he may give most for
least and be the very worst kind of scab.  The most heinous crime an
employer of labor can commit is to scab on his fellow-employers of labor.
Just as the individual laborers have organized into groups to protect
themselves from the peril of the scab laborer, so have the employers
organized into groups to protect themselves from the peril of the scab
employer.  The employers' federations, associations, and trusts are
nothing more nor less than unions.  They are organized to destroy
scabbing amongst themselves and to encourage scabbing amongst others.
For this reason they pool interests, determine prices, and present an
unbroken and aggressive front to the labor group.

As has been said before, nobody likes to play the compulsorily generous
role of scab.  It is a bad business proposition on the face of it.  And
it is patent that there would be no capitalist scabs if there were not
more capital than there is work for capital to do.  When there are enough
factories in existence to supply, with occasional stoppages, a certain
commodity, the building of new factories by a rival concern, for the
production of that commodity, is plain advertisement that that capital is
out of a job.  The first act of this new aggregation of capital will be
to cut prices, to give more for less,--in short to scab, to strike at the
very existence of the less generous aggregation of capital the work of
which it is trying to do.

No scab capitalist strives to give more for less for any other reason
than that he hopes, by undercutting a competitor and driving that
competitor out of the market, to get that market and its profits for
himself.  His ambition is to achieve the day when he shall stand alone in
the field both as buyer and seller,--when he will be the royal non-scab,
buying most for least, selling least for most, and reducing all about
him, the small buyers and sellers, (the consumers and the laborers), to a
general condition of scabdom.  This, for example, has been the history of
Mr. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company.  Through all the sordid
villanies of scabdom he has passed, until today he is a most regal
non-scab.  However, to continue in this enviable position, he must be
prepared at a moment's notice to go scabbing again.  And he is prepared.
Whenever a competitor arises, Mr. Rockefeller changes about from giving
least for most and gives most for least with such a vengeance as to drive
the competitor out of existence.

The banded capitalists discriminate against a scab capitalist by refusing
him trade advantages, and by combining against him in most relentless
fashion.  The banded laborers, discriminating against a scab laborer in
more primitive fashion, with a club, are no more merciless than the
banded capitalists.

Mr. Casson tells of a New York capitalist who withdrew from the Sugar
Union several years ago and became a scab.  He was worth something like
twenty millions of dollars.  But the Sugar Union, standing shoulder to
shoulder with the Railroad Union and several other unions, beat him to
his knees till he cried, "Enough."  So frightfully did they beat him that
he was obliged to turn over to his creditors his home, his chickens, and
his gold watch.  In point of fact, he was as thoroughly bludgeoned by the
Federation of Capitalist Unions as ever scab workman was bludgeoned by a
labor union.  The intent in either case is the same,--to destroy the
scab's producing power.  The labor scab with concussion of the brain is
put out of business, and so is the capitalist scab who has lost all his
dollars down to his chickens and his watch.

But the role of scab passes beyond the individual.  Just as individuals
scab on other individuals, so do groups scab on other groups.  And the
principle involved is precisely the same as in the case of the simple
labor scab.  A group, in the nature of its organization, is often
compelled to give most for least, and, so doing, to strike at the life of
another group.  At the present moment all Europe is appalled by that
colossal scab, the United States.  And Europe is clamorous with agitation
for a Federation of National Unions to protect her from the United
States.  It may be remarked, in passing, that in its prime essentials
this agitation in no wise differs from the trade-union agitation among
workmen in any industry.  The trouble is caused by the scab who is giving
most for least.  The result of the American scab's nefarious actions will
be to strike at the food and shelter of Europe.  The way for Europe to
protect herself is to quit bickering among her parts and to form a union
against the scab.  And if the union is formed, armies and navies may be
expected to be brought into play in fashion similar to the bricks and
clubs in ordinary labor struggles.

In this connection, and as one of many walking delegates for the nations,
M. Leroy-Beaulieu, the noted French economist, may well be quoted.  In a
letter to the Vienna Tageblatt, he advocates an economic alliance among
the Continental nations for the purpose of barring out American goods, an
economic alliance, in his own language, "_which may possibly and
desirably develop into a political alliance_."

It will be noted, in the utterances of the Continental walking delegates,
that, one and all, they leave England out of the proposed union.  And in
England herself the feeling is growing that her days are numbered if she
cannot unite for offence and defence with the great American scab.  As
Andrew Carnegie said some time ago, "The only course for Great Britain
seems to be reunion with her grandchild or sure decline to a secondary
place, and then to comparative insignificance in the future annals of the
English-speaking race."

Cecil Rhodes, speaking of what would have obtained but for the
pig-headedness of George III, and of what will obtain when England and
the United States are united, said, "_No cannon would. . . be fired on
either hemisphere but by permission of The English race_."  It would seem
that England, fronted by the hostile Continental Union and flanked by the
great American scab, has nothing left but to join with the scab and play
the historic labor role of armed Pinkerton.  Granting the words of Cecil
Rhodes, the United States would be enabled to scab without let or
hindrance on Europe, while England, as professional strike-breaker and
policeman, destroyed the unions and kept order.

All this may appear fantastic and erroneous, but there is in it a soul of
truth vastly more significant than it may seem.  Civilization may be
expressed today in terms of trade-unionism.  Individual struggles have
largely passed away, but group-struggles increase prodigiously.  And the
things for which the groups struggle are the same as of old.  Shorn of
all subtleties and complexities, the chief struggle of men, and of groups
of men, is for food and shelter.  And, as of old they struggled with
tooth and nail, so today they struggle with teeth and nails elongated
into armies and navies, machines, and economic advantages.

Under the definition that a scab is _one who gives more value for the
same price than another_, it would seem that society can be generally
divided into the two classes of the scabs and the non-scabs.  But on
closer investigation, however, it will be seen that the non-scab is a
vanishing quantity.  In the social jungle, everybody is preying upon
everybody else.  As in the case of Mr. Rockefeller, he who was a scab
yesterday is a non-scab today, and tomorrow may be a scab again.

The woman stenographer or book-keeper who receives forty dollars per
month where a man was receiving seventy-five is a scab.  So is the woman
who does a man's work at a weaving-machine, and the child who goes into
the mill or factory.  And the father, who is scabbed out of work by the
wives and children of other men, sends his own wife and children to scab
in order to save himself.

When a publisher offers an author better royalties than other publishers
have been paying him, he is scabbing on those other publishers.  The
reporter on a newspaper, who feels he should be receiving a larger salary
for his work, says so, and is shown the door, is replaced by a reporter
who is a scab; whereupon, when the belly-need presses, the displaced
reporter goes to another paper and scabs himself.  The minister who
hardens his heart to a call, and waits for a certain congregation to
offer him say $500 a year more, often finds himself scabbed upon by
another and more impecunious minister; and the next time it is _his_ turn
to scab while a brother minister is hardening his heart to a call.  The
scab is everywhere.  The professional strike-breakers, who as a class
receive large wages, will scab on one another, while scab unions are even
formed to prevent scabbing upon scabs.

There are non-scabs, but they are usually born so, and are protected by
the whole might of society in the possession of their food and shelter.
King Edward is such a type, as are all individuals who receive hereditary
food-and-shelter privileges,--such as the present Duke of Bedford, for
instance, who yearly receives $75,000 from the good people of London
because some former king gave some former ancestor of his the market
privileges of Covent Garden.  The irresponsible rich are likewise
non-scabs,--and by them is meant that coupon-clipping class which hires
its managers and brains to invest the money usually left it by its

Outside these lucky creatures, all the rest, at one time or another in
their lives, are scabs, at one time or another are engaged in giving more
for a certain price than any one else.  The meek professor in some
endowed institution, by his meek suppression of his convictions, is
giving more for his salary than gave the other and more outspoken
professor whose chair he occupies.  And when a political party dangles a
full dinner-pail in the eyes of the toiling masses, it is offering more
for a vote than the dubious dollar of the opposing party.  Even a
money-lender is not above taking a slightly lower rate of interest and
saying nothing about it.

Such is the tangle of conflicting interests in a tooth-and-nail society
that people cannot avoid being scabs, are often made so against their
desires, and are often unconsciously made so.  When several trades in a
certain locality demand and receive an advance in wages, they are
unwittingly making scabs of their fellow-laborers in that district who
have received no advance in wages.  In San Francisco the barbers,
laundry-workers, and milk-wagon drivers received such an advance in
wages.  Their employers promptly added the amount of this advance to the
selling price of their wares.  The price of shaves, of washing, and of
milk went up.  This reduced the purchasing power of the unorganized
laborers, and, in point of fact, reduced their wages and made them
greater scabs.

Because the British laborer is disinclined to scab,--that is, because he
restricts his output in order to give less for the wage he receives,--it
is to a certain extent made possible for the American capitalist, who
receives a less restricted output from his laborers, to play the scab on
the English capitalist.  As a result of this, (of course combined with
other causes), the American capitalist and the American laborer are
striking at the food and shelter of the English capitalist and laborer.

The English laborer is starving today because, among other things, he is
not a scab.  He practises the policy of "ca' canny," which may be defined
as "go easy."  In order to get most for least, in many trades he performs
but from one-fourth to one-sixth of the labor he is well able to perform.
An instance of this is found in the building of the Westinghouse Electric
Works at Manchester.  The British limit per man was 400 bricks per day.
The Westinghouse Company imported a "driving" American contractor, aided
by half a dozen "driving" American foremen, and the British bricklayer
swiftly attained an average of 1800 bricks per day, with a maximum of
2500 bricks for the plainest work.

But, the British laborer's policy of "ca' canny," which is the very
honorable one of giving least for most, and which is likewise the policy
of the English capitalist, is nevertheless frowned upon by the English
capitalist, whose business existence is threatened by the great American
scab.  From the rise of the factory system, the English capitalist gladly
embraced the opportunity, wherever he found it, of giving least for most.
He did it all over the world whenever he enjoyed a market monopoly, and
he did it at home with the laborers employed in his mills, destroying
them like flies till prevented, within limits, by the passage of the
Factory Acts.  Some of the proudest fortunes of England today may trace
their origin to the giving of least for most to the miserable slaves of
the factory towns.  But at the present time the English capitalist is
outraged because his laborers are employing against him precisely the
same policy he employed against them, and which he would employ again did
the chance present itself.

Yet "ca' canny" is a disastrous thing to the British laborer.  It has
driven ship-building from England to Scotland, bottle-making from
Scotland to Belgium, flint-glass-making from England to Germany, and
today is steadily driving industry after industry to other countries.  A
correspondent from Northampton wrote not long ago: "Factories are working
half and third time. . . . There is no strike, there is no real labor
trouble, but the masters and men are alike suffering from sheer lack of
employment.  Markets which were once theirs are now American."  It would
seem that the unfortunate British laborer is 'twixt the devil and the
deep sea.  If he gives most for least, he faces a frightful slavery such
as marked the beginning of the factory system.  If he gives least for
most, he drives industry away to other countries and has no work at all.

But the union laborers of the United States have nothing of which to
boast, while, according to their trade-union ethics, they have a great
deal of which to be ashamed.  They passionately preach short hours and
big wages, the shorter the hours and the bigger the wages the better.
Their hatred for a scab is as terrible as the hatred of a patriot for a
traitor, of a Christian for a Judas.  And in the face of all this, they
are as colossal scabs as the United States is a colossal scab.  For all
of their boasted unions and high labor ideals, they are about the most
thoroughgoing scabs on the planet.

Receiving $4.50 per day, because of his proficiency and immense working
power, the American laborer has been known to scab upon scabs (so called)
who took his place and received only $0.90 per day for a longer day.  In
this particular instance, five Chinese coolies, working longer hours,
gave less value for the price received from their employer than did one
American laborer.

It is upon his brother laborers overseas that the American laborer most
outrageously scabs.  As Mr. Casson has shown, an English nail-maker gets
$3 per week, while an American nail-maker gets $30.  But the English
worker turns out 200 pounds of nails per week, while the American turns
out 5500 pounds.  If he were as "fair" as his English brother, other
things being equal, he would be receiving, at the English worker's rate
of pay, $82.50.  As it is, he is scabbing upon his English brother to the
tune of $79.50 per week.  Dr. Schultze-Gaevernitz has shown that a German
weaver produces 466 yards of cotton a week at a cost of .303 per yard,
while an American weaver produces 1200 yards at a cost of .02 per yard.

But, it may be objected, a great part of this is due to the more improved
American machinery.  Very true, but none the less a great part is still
due to the superior energy, skill, and willingness of the American
laborer.  The English laborer is faithful to the policy of "ca' canny."
He refuses point-blank to get the work out of a machine that the New
World scab gets out of a machine.  Mr. Maxim, observing a wasteful
hand-labor process in his English factory, invented a machine which he
proved capable of displacing several men.  But workman after workman was
put at the machine, and without exception they turned out neither more
nor less than a workman turned out by hand.  They obeyed the mandate of
the union and went easy, while Mr. Maxim gave up in despair.  Nor will
the British workman run machines at as high speed as the American, nor
will he run so many.  An American workman will "give equal attention
simultaneously to three, four, or six machines or tools, while the
British workman is compelled by his trade union to limit his attention to
one, so that employment may be given to half a dozen men."

But for scabbing, no blame attaches itself anywhere.  With rare
exceptions, all the people in the world are scabs.  The strong, capable
workman gets a job and holds it because of his strength and capacity.
And he holds it because out of his strength and capacity he gives a
better value for his wage than does the weaker and less capable workman.
Therefore he is scabbing upon his weaker and less capable brother
workman.  He is giving more value for the price paid by the employer.

The superior workman scabs upon the inferior workman because he is so
constituted and cannot help it.  The one, by fortune of birth and
upbringing, is strong and capable; the other, by fortune of birth and
upbringing, is not so strong nor capable.  It is for the same reason that
one country scabs upon another.  That country which has the good fortune
to possess great natural resources, a finer sun and soil, unhampering
institutions, and a deft and intelligent labor class and capitalist class
is bound to scab upon a country less fortunately situated.  It is the
good fortune of the United States that is making her the colossal scab,
just as it is the good fortune of one man to be born with a straight back
while his brother is born with a hump.

It is not good to give most for least, not good to be a scab.  The word
has gained universal opprobrium.  On the other hand, to be a non-scab, to
give least for most, is universally branded as stingy, selfish, and
unchristian-like.  So all the world, like the British workman, is 'twixt
the devil and the deep sea.  It is treason to one's fellows to scab, it
is unchristian-like not to scab.

Since to give least for most, and to give most for least, are universally
bad, what remains?  Equity remains, which is to give like for like, the
same for the same, neither more nor less.  But this equity, society, as
at present constituted, cannot give.  It is not in the nature of
present-day society for men to give like for like, the same for the same.
And so long as men continue to live in this competitive society,
struggling tooth and nail with one another for food and shelter, (which
is to struggle tooth and nail with one another for life), that long will
the scab continue to exist.  His will "to live" will force him to exist.
He may be flouted and jeered by his brothers, he may be beaten with
bricks and clubs by the men who by superior strength and capacity scab
upon him as he scabs upon them by longer hours and smaller wages, but
through it all he will persist, giving a bit more of most for least than
they are giving.


For any social movement or development there must be a maximum limit
beyond which it cannot proceed.  That civilization which does not advance
must decline, and so, when the maximum of development has been reached in
any given direction, society must either retrograde or change the
direction of its advance.  There are many families of men that have
failed, in the critical period of their economic evolution, to effect a
change in direction, and were forced to fall back.  Vanquished at the
moment of their maximum, they have dropped out of the whirl of the world.
There was no room for them.  Stronger competitors have taken their
places, and they have either rotted into oblivion or remain to be crushed
under the iron heel of the dominant races in as remorseless a struggle as
the world has yet witnessed.  But in this struggle fair women and
chivalrous men will play no part.  Types and ideals have changed.  Helens
and Launcelots are anachronisms.  Blows will be given and taken, and men
fight and die, but not for faiths and altars.  Shrines will be
desecrated, but they will be the shrines, not of temples, but
market-places.  Prophets will arise, but they will be the prophets of
prices and products.  Battles will be waged, not for honor and glory, nor
for thrones and sceptres, but for dollars and cents and for marts and
exchanges.  Brain and not brawn will endure, and the captains of war will
be commanded by the captains of industry.  In short, it will be a contest
for the mastery of the world's commerce and for industrial supremacy.

It is more significant, this struggle into which we have plunged, for the
fact that it is the first struggle to involve the globe.  No general
movement of man has been so wide-spreading, so far-reaching.  Quite local
was the supremacy of any ancient people; likewise the rise to empire of
Macedonia and Rome, the waves of Arabian valor and fanaticism, and the
mediaeval crusades to the Holy Sepulchre.  But since those times the
planet has undergone a unique shrinkage.

The world of Homer, limited by the coast-lines of the Mediterranean and
Black seas, was a far vaster world than ours of today, which we weigh,
measure, and compute as accurately and as easily as if it were a child's
play-ball.  Steam has made its parts accessible and drawn them closer
together.  The telegraph annihilates space and time.  Each morning, every
part knows what every other part is thinking, contemplating, or doing.  A
discovery in a German laboratory is being demonstrated in San Francisco
within twenty-four hours.  A book written in South Africa is published by
simultaneous copyright in every English-speaking country, and on the day
following is in the hands of the translators.  The death of an obscure
missionary in China, or of a whiskey-smuggler in the South Seas, is
served, the world over, with the morning toast.  The wheat output of
Argentine or the gold of Klondike are known wherever men meet and trade.
Shrinkage, or centralization, has become such that the humblest clerk in
any metropolis may place his hand on the pulse of the world.  The planet
has indeed grown very small; and because of this, no vital movement can
remain in the clime or country where it takes its rise.

And so today the economic and industrial impulse is world-wide.  It is a
matter of import to every people.  None may be careless of it.  To do so
is to perish.  It is become a battle, the fruits of which are to the
strong, and to none but the strongest of the strong.  As the movement
approaches its maximum, centralization accelerates and competition grows
keener and closer.  The competitor nations cannot all succeed.  So long
as the movement continues its present direction, not only will there not
be room for all, but the room that is will become less and less; and when
the moment of the maximum is at hand, there will be no room at all.
Capitalistic production will have overreached itself, and a change of
direction will then be inevitable.

Divers queries arise: What is the maximum of commercial development the
world can sustain?  How far can it be exploited?  How much capital is
necessary?  Can sufficient capital be accumulated?  A brief resume of the
industrial history of the last one hundred years or so will be relevant
at this stage of the discussion.  Capitalistic production, in its modern
significance, was born of the industrial revolution in England in the
latter half of the eighteenth century.  The great inventions of that
period were both its father and its mother, while, as Mr. Brooks Adams
has shown, the looted treasure of India was the potent midwife.  Had
there not been an unwonted increase of capital, the impetus would not
have been given to invention, while even steam might have languished for
generations instead of at once becoming, as it did, the most prominent
factor in the new method of production.  The improved application of
these inventions in the first decades of the nineteenth century mark the
transition from the domestic to the factory system of manufacture and
inaugurated the era of capitalism.  The magnitude of this revolution is
manifested by the fact that England alone had invented the means and
equipped herself with the machinery whereby she could overstock the
world's markets.  The home market could not consume a tithe of the home
product.  To manufacture this home product she had sacrificed her
agriculture.  She must buy her food from abroad, and to do so she must
sell her goods abroad.

But the struggle for commercial supremacy had not yet really begun.
England was without a rival.  Her navies controlled the sea.  Her armies
and her insular position gave her peace at home.  The world was hers to
exploit.  For nearly fifty years she dominated the European, American,
and Indian trade, while the great wars then convulsing society were
destroying possible competitive capital and straining consumption to its
utmost.  The pioneer of the industrial nations, she thus received such a
start in the new race for wealth that it is only today the other nations
have succeeded in overtaking her.  In 1820 the volume of her trade
(imports and exports) was 68,000,000 pounds.  In 1899 it had increased to
815,000,000 pounds,--an increase of 1200 per cent in the volume of trade.

For nearly one hundred years England has been producing surplus value.
She has been producing far more than she consumes, and this excess has
swelled the volume of her capital.  This capital has been invested in her
enterprises at home and abroad, and in her shipping.  In 1898 the Stock
Exchange estimated British capital invested abroad at 1,900,000,000
pounds.  But hand in hand with her foreign investments have grown her
adverse balances of trade.  For the ten years ending with 1868, her
average yearly adverse balance was 52,000,000 pounds; ending with 1878,
81,000,000 pounds; ending with 1888, 101,000,000 pounds; and ending with
1898, 133,000,000 pounds.  In the single year of 1897 it reached the
portentous sum of 157,000,000 pounds.

But England's adverse balances of trade in themselves are nothing at
which to be frightened.  Hitherto they have been paid from out the
earnings of her shipping and the interest on her foreign investments.
But what does cause anxiety, however, is that, relative to the trade
development of other countries, her export trade is falling off, without
a corresponding diminution of her imports, and that her securities and
foreign holdings do not seem able to stand the added strain.  These she
is being forced to sell in order to pull even.  As the London Times
gloomily remarks, "We are entering the twentieth century on the down
grade, after a prolonged period of business activity, high wages, high
profits, and overflowing revenue."  In other words, the mighty grasp
England held over the resources and capital of the world is being
relaxed.  The control of its commerce and banking is slipping through her
fingers.  The sale of her foreign holdings advertises the fact that other
nations are capable of buying them, and, further, that these other
nations are busily producing surplus value.

The movement has become general.  Today, passing from country to country,
an ever-increasing tide of capital is welling up.  Production is doubling
and quadrupling upon itself.  It used to be that the impoverished or
undeveloped nations turned to England when it came to borrowing, but now
Germany is competing keenly with her in this matter.  France is not
averse to lending great sums to Russia, and Austria-Hungary has capital
and to spare for foreign holdings.

Nor has the United States failed to pass from the side of the debtor to
that of the creditor nations.  She, too, has become wise in the way of
producing surplus value.  She has been successful in her efforts to
secure economic emancipation.  Possessing but 5 per cent of the world's
population and producing 32 per cent of the world's food supply, she has
been looked upon as the world's farmer; but now, amidst general
consternation, she comes forward as the world's manufacturer.  In 1888
her manufactured exports amounted to $130,300,087; in 1896, to
$253,681,541; in 1897, to $279,652,721; in 1898, to $307,924,994; in
1899, to $338,667,794; and in 1900, to $432,000,000.  Regarding her
growing favorable balances of trade, it may be noted that not only are
her imports not increasing, but they are actually falling off, while her
exports in the last decade have increased 72.4 per cent.  In ten years
her imports from Europe have been reduced from $474,000,000 to
$439,000,000; while in the same time her exports have increased from
$682,000,000 to $1,111,000,000.  Her balance of trade in her favor in
1895 was $75,000,000; in 1896, over $100,000,000; in 1897, nearly
$300,000,000; in 1898, $615,000,000; in 1899, $530,000,000; and in 1900,

In the matter of iron, the United States, which in 1840 had not dreamed
of entering the field of international competition, in 1897, as much to
her own surprise as any one else's, undersold the English in their own
London market.  In 1899 there was but one American locomotive in Great
Britain; but, of the five hundred locomotives sold abroad by the United
States in 1902, England bought more than any other country.  Russia is
operating a thousand of them on her own roads today.  In one instance the
American manufacturers contracted to deliver a locomotive in four and
one-half months for $9250, the English manufacturers requiring
twenty-four months for delivery at $14,000.  The Clyde shipbuilders
recently placed orders for 150,000 tons of plates at a saving of
$250,000, and the American steel going into the making of the new London
subway is taken as a matter of course.  American tools stand above
competition the world over.  Ready-made boots and shoes are beginning to
flood Europe,--the same with machinery, bicycles, agricultural
implements, and all kinds of manufactured goods.  A correspondent from
Hamburg, speaking of the invasion of American trade, says: "Incidentally,
it may be remarked that the typewriting machine with which this article
is written, as well as the thousands--nay, hundreds of thousands--of
others that are in use throughout the world, were made in America; that
it stands on an American table, in an office furnished with American
desks, bookcases, and chairs, which cannot be made in Europe of equal
quality, so practical and convenient, for a similar price."

In 1893 and 1894, because of the distrust of foreign capital, the United
States was forced to buy back American securities held abroad; but in
1897 and 1898 she bought back American securities held abroad, not
because she had to, but because she chose to.  And not only has she
bought back her own securities, but in the last eight years she has
become a buyer of the securities of other countries.  In the money
markets of London, Paris, and Berlin she is a lender of money.  Carrying
the largest stock of gold in the world, the world, in moments of danger,
when crises of international finance loom large, looks to her vast
lending ability for safety.

Thus, in a few swift years, has the United States drawn up to the van
where the great industrial nations are fighting for commercial and
financial empire.  The figures of the race, in which she passed England,
are interesting:

Year                    United States Exports   United Kingdom Exports
1875                    $497,263,737            $1,087,497,000
1885                    673,593,506             1,037,124,000
1895                    807,742,415             1,100,452,000
1896                    986,830,080             1,168,671,000
1897                    1,079,834,296           1,139,882,000
1898                    1,233,564,828           1,135,642,000
1899                    1,253,466,000           1,287,971,000
1900                    1,453,013,659           1,418,348,000

As Mr. Henry Demarest Lloyd has noted, "When the news reached Germany of
the new steel trust in America, the stocks of the iron and steel mills
listed on the Berlin Bourse fell."  While Europe has been talking and
dreaming of the greatness which was, the United States has been thinking
and planning and doing for the greatness to be.  Her captains of industry
and kings of finance have toiled and sweated at organizing and
consolidating production and transportation.  But this has been merely
the developmental stage, the tuning-up of the orchestra.  With the
twentieth century rises the curtain on the play,--a play which shall have
much in it of comedy and a vast deal of tragedy, and which has been well
named The Capitalistic Conquest of Europe by America.  Nations do not die
easily, and one of the first moves of Europe will be the erection of
tariff walls.  America, however, will fittingly reply, for already her
manufacturers are establishing works in France and Germany.  And when the
German trade journals refused to accept American advertisements, they
found their country flamingly bill-boarded in buccaneer American fashion.

M. Leroy-Beaulieu, the French economist, is passionately preaching a
commercial combination of the whole Continent against the United
States,--a commercial alliance which, he boldly declares, should become a
political alliance.  And in this he is not alone, finding ready sympathy
and ardent support in Austria, Italy, and Germany.  Lord Rosebery said,
in a recent speech before the Wolverhampton Chamber of Commerce: "The
Americans, with their vast and almost incalculable resources, their
acuteness and enterprise, and their huge population, which will probably
be 100,000,000 in twenty years, together with the plan they have adopted
for putting accumulated wealth into great cooperative syndicates or
trusts for the purpose of carrying on this great commercial warfare, are
the most formidable . . . rivals to be feared."

The London Times says: "It is useless to disguise the fact that Great
Britain is being outdistanced.  The competition does not come from the
glut caused by miscalculation as to the home demand.  Our own
steel-makers know better and are alarmed.  The threatened competition in
markets hitherto our own comes from efficiency in production such as
never before has been seen."  Even the British naval supremacy is in
danger, continues the same paper, "for, if we lose our engineering
supremacy, our naval supremacy will follow, unless held on sufferance by
our successful rivals."

And the Edinburgh Evening News says, with editorial gloom: "The iron and
steel trades have gone from us.  When the fictitious prosperity caused by
the expenditure of our own Government and that of European nations on
armaments ceases, half of the men employed in these industries will be
turned into the streets.  The outlook is appalling.  What suffering will
have to be endured before the workers realize that there is nothing left
for them but emigration!"

                                * * * * *

That there must be a limit to the accumulation of capital is obvious.
The downward course of the rate of interest, notwithstanding that many
new employments have been made possible for capital, indicates how large
is the increase of surplus value.  This decline of the interest rate is
in accord with Bohm-Bawerk's law of "diminishing returns."  That is, when
capital, like anything else, has become over-plentiful, less lucrative
use can only be found for the excess.  This excess, not being able to
earn so much as when capital was less plentiful, competes for safe
investments and forces down the interest rate on all capital.  Mr.
Charles A. Conant has well described the keenness of the scramble for
safe investments, even at the prevailing low rates of interest.  At the
close of the war with Turkey, the Greek loan, guaranteed by Great
Britain, France, and Russia, was floated with striking ease.  Regardless
of the small return, the amount offered at Paris, (41,000,000 francs),
was subscribed for twenty-three times over.  Great Britain, France,
Germany, Holland, and the Scandinavian States, of recent years, have all
engaged in converting their securities from 5 per cents to 4 per cents,
from 4.5 per cents to 3.5 per cents, and the 3.5 per cents into 3 per

Great Britain, France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, according to the
calculation taken in 1895 by the International Statistical Institute,
hold forty-six billions of capital invested in negotiable securities
alone.  Yet Paris subscribed for her portion of the Greek loan
twenty-three times over!  In short, money is cheap.  Andrew Carnegie and
his brother bourgeois kings give away millions annually, but still the
tide wells up.  These vast accumulations have made possible
"wild-catting," fraudulent combinations, fake enterprises, Hooleyism; but
such stealings, great though they be, have little or no effect in
reducing the volume.  The time is past when startling inventions, or
revolutions in the method of production, can break up the growing
congestion; yet this saved capital demands an outlet, somewhere, somehow.

When a great nation has equipped itself to produce far more than it can,
under the present division of the product, consume, it seeks other
markets for its surplus products.  When a second nation finds itself
similarly circumstanced, competition for these other markets naturally
follows.  With the advent of a third, a fourth, a fifth, and of divers
other nations, the question of the disposal of surplus products grows
serious.  And with each of these nations possessing, over and beyond its
active capital, great and growing masses of idle capital, and when the
very foreign markets for which they are competing are beginning to
produce similar wares for themselves, the question passes the serious
stage and becomes critical.

Never has the struggle for foreign markets been sharper than at the
present.  They are the one great outlet for congested accumulations.
Predatory capital wanders the world over, seeking where it may establish
itself.  This urgent need for foreign markets is forcing upon the
world-stage an era of great colonial empire.  But this does not stand, as
in the past, for the subjugation of peoples and countries for the sake of
gaining their products, but for the privilege of selling them products.
The theory once was, that the colony owed its existence and prosperity to
the mother country; but today it is the mother country that owes its
existence and prosperity to the colony.  And in the future, when that
supporting colony becomes wise in the way of producing surplus value and
sends its goods back to sell to the mother country, what then?  Then the
world will have been exploited, and capitalistic production will have
attained its maximum development.

Foreign markets and undeveloped countries largely retard that moment.
The favored portions of the earth's surface are already occupied, though
the resources of many are yet virgin.  That they have not long since been
wrested from the hands of the barbarous and decadent peoples who possess
them is due, not to the military prowess of such peoples, but to the
jealous vigilance of the industrial nations.  The powers hold one another
back.  The Turk lives because the way is not yet clear to an amicable
division of him among the powers.  And the United States, supreme though
she is, opposes the partition of China, and intervenes her huge bulk
between the hungry nations and the mongrel Spanish republics.  Capital
stands in its own way, welling up and welling up against the inevitable
moment when it shall burst all bonds and sweep resistlessly across such
vast stretches as China and South America.  And then there will be no
more worlds to exploit, and capitalism will either fall back, crushed
under its own weight, or a change of direction will take place which will
mark a new era in history.

The Far East affords an illuminating spectacle.  While the Western
nations are crowding hungrily in, while the Partition of China is
commingled with the clamor for the Spheres of Influence and the Open
Door, other forces are none the less potently at work.  Not only are the
young Western peoples pressing the older ones to the wall, but the East
itself is beginning to awake.  American trade is advancing, and British
trade is losing ground, while Japan, China, and India are taking a hand
in the game themselves.

In 1893, 100,000 pieces of American drills were imported into China; in
1897, 349,000.  In 1893, 252,000 pieces of American sheetings were
imported against 71,000 British; but in 1897, 566,000 pieces of American
sheetings were imported against only 10,000 British.  The cotton goods
and yarn trade (which forms 40 per cent of the whole trade with China)
shows a remarkable advance on the part of the United States.  During the
last ten years America has increased her importation of plain goods by
121 per cent in quantity and 59.5 per cent in value, while that of
England and India combined has decreased 13.75 per cent in quantity and 8
per cent in value.  Lord Charles Beresford, from whose "Break-up of
China" these figures are taken, states that English yarn has receded and
Indian yarn advanced to the front.  In 1897, 140,000 piculs of Indian
yarn were imported, 18,000 of Japanese, 4500 of Shanghai-manufactured,
and 700 of English.

Japan, who but yesterday emerged from the mediaeval rule of the Shogunate
and seized in one fell swoop the scientific knowledge and culture of the
Occident, is already today showing what wisdom she has acquired in the
production of surplus value, and is preparing herself that she may
tomorrow play the part to Asia that England did to Europe one hundred
years ago.  That the difference in the world's affairs wrought by those
one hundred years will prevent her succeeding is manifest; but it is
equally manifest that they cannot prevent her playing a leading part in
the industrial drama which has commenced on the Eastern stage.  Her
imports into the port of Newchang in 1891 amounted to but 22,000 taels;
but in 1897 they had increased to 280,000 taels.  In manufactured goods,
from matches, watches, and clocks to the rolling stock of railways, she
has already given stiff shocks to her competitors in the Asiatic markets;
and this while she is virtually yet in the equipment stage of production.
Erelong she, too, will be furnishing her share to the growing mass of the
world's capital.

As regards Great Britain, the giant trader who has so long overshadowed
Asiatic commerce, Lord Charles Beresford says: "But competition is
telling adversely; the energy of the British merchant is being equalled
by other nationals. . . The competition of the Chinese and the
introduction of steam into the country are also combining to produce
changed conditions in China."  But far more ominous is the plaintive note
he sounds when he says: "New industries must be opened up, and I would
especially direct the attention of the Chambers of Commerce (British) to
. . . the fact that the more the native competes with the British
manufacturer in certain classes of trade, the more machinery he will
need, and the orders for such machinery will come to this country if our
machinery manufacturers are enterprising enough."

The Orient is beginning to show what an important factor it will become,
under Western supervision, in the creation of surplus value.  Even before
the barriers which restrain Western capital are removed, the East will be
in a fair way toward being exploited.  An analysis of Lord Beresford's
message to the Chambers of Commerce discloses, first, that the East is
beginning to manufacture for itself; and, second, that there is a promise
of keen competition in the West for the privilege of selling the required
machinery.  The inexorable query arises: _What is the West to do when it
has furnished this machinery_?  And when not only the East, but all the
now undeveloped countries, confront, with surplus products in their
hands, the old industrial nations, capitalistic production will have
attained its maximum development.

But before that time must intervene a period which bids one pause for
breath.  A new romance, like unto none in all the past, the economic
romance, will be born.  For the dazzling prize of world-empire will the
nations of the earth go up in harness.  Powers will rise and fall, and
mighty coalitions shape and dissolve in the swift whirl of events.
Vassal nations and subject territories will be bandied back and forth
like so many articles of trade.  And with the inevitable displacement of
economic centres, it is fair to presume that populations will shift to
and fro, as they once did from the South to the North of England on the
rise of the factory towns, or from the Old World to the New.  Colossal
enterprises will be projected and carried through, and combinations of
capital and federations of labor be effected on a cyclopean scale.
Concentration and organization will be perfected in ways hitherto
undreamed.  The nation which would keep its head above the tide must
accurately adjust supply to demand, and eliminate waste to the last least
particle.  Standards of living will most likely descend for millions of
people.  With the increase of capital, the competition for safe
investments, and the consequent fall of the interest rate, the principal
which today earns a comfortable income would not then support a bare
existence.  Saving toward old age would cease among the working classes.
And as the merchant cities of Italy crashed when trade slipped from their
hands on the discovery of the new route to the Indies by way of the Cape
of Good Hope, so will there come times of trembling for such nations as
have failed to grasp the prize of world-empire.  In that given direction
they will have attained their maximum development, before the whole
world, in the same direction, has attained its.  There will no longer be
room for them.  But if they can survive the shock of being flung out of
the world's industrial orbit, a change in direction may then be easily
effected.  That the decadent and barbarous peoples will be crushed is a
fair presumption; likewise that the stronger breeds will survive,
entering upon the transition stage to which all the world must ultimately

This change of direction must be either toward industrial oligarchies or
socialism.  Either the functions of private corporations will increase
till they absorb the central government, or the functions of government
will increase till it absorbs the corporations.  Much may be said on the
chance of the oligarchy.  Should an old manufacturing nation lose its
foreign trade, it is safe to predict that a strong effort would be made
to build a socialistic government, but it does not follow that this
effort would be successful.  With the moneyed class controlling the State
and its revenues and all the means of subsistence, and guarding its own
interests with jealous care, it is not at all impossible that a strong
curb could be put upon the masses till the crisis were past.  It has been
done before.  There is no reason why it should not be done again.  At the
close of the last century, such a movement was crushed by its own folly
and immaturity.  In 1871 the soldiers of the economic rulers stamped out,
root and branch, a whole generation of militant socialists.

Once the crisis were past, the ruling class, still holding the curb in
order to make itself more secure, would proceed to readjust things and to
balance consumption with production.  Having a monopoly of the safe
investments, the great masses of unremunerative capital would be
directed, not to the production of more surplus value, but to the making
of permanent improvements, which would give employment to the people, and
make them content with the new order of things.  Highways, parks, public
buildings, monuments, could be builded; nor would it be out of place to
give better factories and homes to the workers.  Such in itself would be
socialistic, save that it would be done by the oligarchs, a class apart.
With the interest rate down to zero, and no field for the investment of
sporadic capital, savings among the people would utterly cease, and
old-age pensions be granted as a matter of course.  It is also a logical
necessity of such a system that, when the population began to press
against the means of subsistence, (expansion being impossible), the birth
rate of the lower classes would be lessened.  Whether by their own
initiative, or by the interference of the rulers, it would have to be
done, and it would be done.  In other words, the oligarchy would mean the
capitalization of labor and the enslavement of the whole population.  But
it would be a fairer, juster form of slavery than any the world has yet
seen.  The per capita wage and consumption would be increased, and, with
a stringent control of the birth rate, there is no reason why such a
country should not be so ruled through many generations.

On the other hand, as the capitalistic exploitation of the planet
approaches its maximum, and countries are crowded out of the field of
foreign exchanges, there is a large likelihood that their change in
direction will be toward socialism.  Were the theory of collective
ownership and operation then to arise for the first time, such a movement
would stand small chance of success.  But such is not the case.  The
doctrine of socialism has flourished and grown throughout the nineteenth
century; its tenets have been preached wherever the interests of labor
and capital have clashed; and it has received exemplification time and
again by the State's assumption of functions which had always belonged
solely to the individual.

When capitalistic production has attained its maximum development, it
must confront a dividing of the ways; and the strength of capital on the
one hand, and the education and wisdom of the workers on the other, will
determine which path society is to travel.  It is possible, considering
the inertia of the masses, that the whole world might in time come to be
dominated by a group of industrial oligarchies, or by one great
oligarchy, but it is not probable.  That sporadic oligarchies may
flourish for definite periods of time is highly possible; that they may
continue to do so is as highly improbable.  The procession of the ages
has marked not only the rise of man, but the rise of the common man.
From the chattel slave, or the serf chained to the soil, to the highest
seats in modern society, he has risen, rung by rung, amid the crumbling
of the divine right of kings and the crash of falling sceptres.  That he
has done this, only in the end to pass into the perpetual slavery of the
industrial oligarch, is something at which his whole past cries in
protest.  The common man is worthy of a better future, or else he is not
worthy of his past.

                                * * * * *

NOTE.--The above article was written as long ago as 1898.  The only
alteration has been the bringing up to 1900 of a few of its statistics.
As a commercial venture of an author, it has an interesting history.  It
was promptly accepted by one of the leading magazines and paid for.  The
editor confessed that it was "one of those articles one could not
possibly let go of after it was once in his possession."  Publication was
voluntarily promised to be immediate.  Then the editor became afraid of
its too radical nature, forfeited the sum paid for it, and did not
publish it.  Nor, offered far and wide, could any other editor of
bourgeois periodicals be found who was rash enough to publish it.  Thus,
for the first time, after seven years, it appears in print.


Two remarkable books are Ghent's "Our Benevolent Feudalism" {7} and
Brooks's "The Social Unrest." {8}  In these two books the opposite sides
of the labor problem are expounded, each writer devoting himself with
apprehension to the side he fears and views with disfavor.  It would
appear that they have set themselves the task of collating, as a warning,
the phenomena of two counter social forces.  Mr. Ghent, who is
sympathetic with the socialist movement, follows with cynic fear every
aggressive act of the capitalist class.  Mr. Brooks, who yearns for the
perpetuation of the capitalist system as long as possible, follows with
grave dismay each aggressive act of the labor and socialist
organizations.  Mr. Ghent traces the emasculation of labor by capital,
and Mr. Brooks traces the emasculation of independent competing capital
by labor.  In short, each marshals the facts of a side in the two sides
which go to make a struggle so great that even the French Revolution is
insignificant beside it; for this later struggle, for the first time in
the history of struggles, is not confined to any particular portion of
the globe, but involves the whole of it.

Starting on the assumption that society is at present in a state of flux,
Mr. Ghent sees it rapidly crystallizing into a status which can best be
described as something in the nature of a benevolent feudalism.  He
laughs to scorn any immediate realization of the Marxian dream, while
Tolstoyan utopias and Kropotkinian communistic unions of shop and farm
are too wild to merit consideration.  The coming status which Mr. Ghent
depicts is a class domination by the capitalists.  Labor will take its
definite place as a dependent class, living in a condition of machine
servitude fairly analogous to the land servitude of the Middle Ages.
That is to say, labor will be bound to the machine, though less harshly,
in fashion somewhat similar to that in which the earlier serf was bound
to the soil.  As he says, "Bondage to the land was the basis of
villeinage in the old regime; bondage to the job will be the basis of
villeinage in the new."

At the top of the new society will tower the magnate, the new feudal
baron; at the bottom will be found the wastrels and the inefficients.
The new society he grades as follows:

    "I.  The barons, graded on the basis of possessions.

    "II.  The court agents and retainers.  (This class will include the
    editors of 'respectable' and 'safe' newspapers, the pastors of
    'conservative' and 'wealthy' churches, the professors and teachers in
    endowed colleges and schools, lawyers generally, and most judges and

    "III.  The workers in pure and applied science, artists, and

    "IV.  The entrepreneurs, the managers of the great industries,
    transformed into a salaried class.

    "V.  The foremen and superintendents.  This class has heretofore been
    recruited largely from the skilled workers, but with the growth of
    technical education in schools and colleges, and the development of
    fixed caste, it is likely to become entirely differentiated.

    "VI.  The villeins of the cities and towns, more or less regularly
    employed, who do skilled work and are partially protected by

    "VII.  The villeins of the cities and towns who do unskilled work and
    are unprotected by organization.  They will comprise the laborers,
    domestics, and clerks.

    "VIII.  The villeins of the manorial estates, of the great farms, the
    mines, and the forests.

    "IX.  The small-unit farmers (land-owning), the petty tradesmen, and

    "X.  The subtenants of the manorial estates and great farms
    (corresponding to the class of 'free tenants' in the old Feudalism).

    "XI.  The cotters.

    "XII.  The tramps, the occasionally employed, the unemployed--the
    wastrels of the city and country."

    "The new Feudalism, like most autocracies, will foster not only the
    arts, but also certain kinds of learning--particularly the kinds
    which are unlikely to disturb the minds of the multitude.  A future
    Marsh, or Cope, or Le Comte will be liberally patronized and left
    free to discover what he will; and so, too, an Edison or a Marconi.
    Only they must not meddle with anything relating to social science."

It must be confessed that Mr. Ghent's arguments are cunningly contrived
and arrayed.  They must be read to be appreciated.  As an example of his
style, which at the same time generalizes a portion of his argument, the
following may well be given:

    "The new Feudalism will be but an orderly outgrowth of present
    tendencies and conditions.  All societies evolve naturally out of
    their predecessors.  In sociology, as in biology, there is no cell
    without a parent cell.  The society of each generation develops a
    multitude of spontaneous and acquired variations, and out of these,
    by a blending process of natural and conscious selection, the
    succeeding society is evolved.  The new order will differ in no
    important respects from the present, except in the completer
    development of its more salient features.  The visitor from another
    planet who had known the old and should see the new would note but
    few changes.  Alter et Idem--another yet the same--he would say.
    From magnate to baron, from workman to villein, from publicist to
    court agent and retainer, will be changes of state and function so
    slight as to elude all but the keenest eyes."

And in conclusion, to show how benevolent and beautiful this new
feudalism of ours will be, Mr. Ghent says: "Peace and stability it will
maintain at all hazards; and the mass, remembering the chaos, the
turmoil, the insecurity of the past, will bless its reign. . . .
Efficiency--the faculty of getting things--is at last rewarded as it
should be, for the efficient have inherited the earth and its fulness.
The lowly, whose happiness is greater and whose welfare is more
thoroughly conserved when governed than when governing, as a
twentieth-century philosopher said of them, are settled and happy in the
state which reason and experience teach is their God-appointed lot.  They
are comfortable too; and if the patriarchal ideal of a vine and fig tree
for each is not yet attained, at least each has his rented patch in the
country or his rented cell in a city building.  Bread and the circus are
freely given to the deserving, and as for the undeserving, they are
merely reaping the rewards of their contumacy and pride.  Order reigns,
each has his justly appointed share, and the state rests, in security,
'lapt in universal law.'"

Mr. Brooks, on the other hand, sees rising and dissolving and rising
again in the social flux the ominous forms of a new society which is the
direct antithesis of a benevolent feudalism.  He trembles at the rash
intrepidity of the capitalists who fight the labor unions, for by such
rashness he greatly fears that labor will be driven to express its aims
and strength in political terms, which terms will inevitably be
socialistic terms.

To keep down the rising tide of socialism, he preaches greater meekness
and benevolence to the capitalists.  No longer may they claim the right
to run their own business, to beat down the laborer's standard of living
for the sake of increased profits, to dictate terms of employment to
individual workers, to wax righteously indignant when organized labor
takes a hand in their business.  No longer may the capitalist say "my"
business, or even think "my" business; he must say "our" business, and
think "our" business as well, accepting labor as a partner whose voice
must be heard.  And if the capitalists do not become more meek and
benevolent in their dealings with labor, labor will be antagonized and
will proceed to wreak terrible political vengeance, and the present
social flux will harden into a status of socialism.

Mr. Brooks dreams of a society at which Mr. Ghent sneers as "a slightly
modified individualism, wherein each unit secures the just reward of his
capacity and service."  To attain this happy state, Mr. Brooks imposes
circumspection upon the capitalists in their relations with labor.  "If
the socialistic spirit is to be held in abeyance in this country,
businesses of this character (anthracite coal mining) must be handled
with extraordinary caution."  Which is to say, that to withstand the
advance of socialism, a great and greater measure of Mr. Ghent's
_benevolence_ will be required.

Again and again, Mr. Brooks reiterates the danger he sees in harshly
treating labor.  "It is not probable that employers can destroy unionism
in the United States.  Adroit and desperate attempts will, however, be
made, if we mean by unionism the undisciplined and aggressive fact of
vigorous and determined organizations.  If capital should prove too
strong in this struggle, the result is easy to predict.  The employers
have only to convince organized labor that it cannot hold its own against
the capitalist manager, and the whole energy that now goes to the union
will turn to an aggressive political socialism.  It will not be the
harmless sympathy with increased city and state functions which trade
unions already feel; it will become a turbulent political force bent upon
using every weapon of taxation against the rich."

"The most concrete impulse that now favors socialism in this country is
the insane purpose to deprive labor organizations of the full and
complete rights that go with federated unionism."

"That which teaches a union that it cannot succeed as a union turns it
toward socialism.  In long strikes in towns like Marlboro and Brookfield
strong unions are defeated.  Hundreds of men leave these towns for
shoe-centres like Brockton, where they are now voting the socialist
ticket.  The socialist mayor of this city tells me, 'The men who come to
us now from towns where they have been thoroughly whipped in a strike are
among our most active working socialists.'  The bitterness engendered by
this sense of defeat is turned to politics, as it will throughout the
whole country, if organization of labor is deprived of its rights."

"This enmity of capital to the trade union is watched with glee by every
intelligent socialist in our midst.  Every union that is beaten or
discouraged in its struggle is ripening fruit for socialism."

"The real peril which we now face is the threat of a class conflict.  If
capitalism insists upon the policy of outraging the saving aspiration of
the American workman to raise his standard of comfort and leisure, every
element of class conflict will strengthen among us."

"We have only to humiliate what is best in the trade union, and then
every worst feature of socialism is fastened upon us."

This strong tendency in the ranks of the workers toward socialism is what
Mr. Brooks characterizes the "social unrest"; and he hopes to see the
Republican, the Cleveland Democrat, and the conservative and large
property interests "band together against this common foe," which is
socialism.  And he is not above feeling grave and well-contained
satisfaction wherever the socialist doctrinaire has been contradicted by
men attempting to practise cooperation in the midst of the competitive
system, as in Belgium.

Nevertheless, he catches fleeting glimpses of an extreme and tyrannically
benevolent feudalism very like to Mr. Ghent's, as witness the following:

"I asked one of the largest employers of labor in the South if he feared
the coming of the trade union.  'No,' he said, 'it is one good result of
race prejudice, that the negro will enable us in the long run to weaken
the trade union so that it cannot harm us.  We can keep wages down with
the negro and we can prevent too much organization.'

"It is in this spirit that the lower standards are to be used.  If this
purpose should succeed, it has but one issue,--the immense strengthening
of a plutocratic administration at the top, served by an army of
high-salaried helpers, with an elite of skilled and well-paid workmen,
but all resting on what would essentially be a serf class of low-paid
labor and this mass kept in order by an increased use of military force."

In brief summary of these two notable books, it may be said that Mr.
Ghent is alarmed, (though he does not flatly say so), at the too great
social restfulness in the community, which is permitting the capitalists
to form the new society to their liking; and that Mr. Brooks is alarmed,
(and he flatly says so), at the social unrest which threatens the
modified individualism into which he would like to see society evolve.
Mr. Ghent beholds the capitalist class rising to dominate the state and
the working class; Mr. Brooks beholds the working class rising to
dominate the state and the capitalist class.  One fears the paternalism
of a class; the other, the tyranny of the mass.


Evolution is no longer a mere tentative hypothesis.  One by one, step by
step, each division and subdivision of science has contributed its
evidence, until now the case is complete and the verdict rendered.  While
there is still discussion as to the method of evolution, none the less,
as a process sufficient to explain all biological phenomena, all
differentiations of life into widely diverse species, families, and even
kingdoms, evolution is flatly accepted.  Likewise has been accepted its
law of development: _That_, _in the struggle for existence_, _the strong
and fit and the progeny of the strong and fit have a better opportunity
for survival than the weak and less fit and the progeny of the weak and
less fit_.

It is in the struggle of the species with other species and against all
other hostile forces in the environment, that this law operates; also in
the struggle between the individuals of the same species.  In this
struggle, which is for food and shelter, the weak individuals must
obviously win less food and shelter than the strong.  Because of this,
their hold on life relaxes and they are eliminated.  And for the same
reason that they may not win for themselves adequate food and shelter,
the weak cannot give to their progeny the chance for survival that the
strong give.  And thus, since the weak are prone to beget weakness, the
species is constantly purged of its inefficient members.

Because of this, a premium is placed upon strength, and so long as the
struggle for food and shelter obtains, just so long will the average
strength of each generation increase.  On the other hand, should
conditions so change that all, and the progeny of all, the weak as well
as the strong, have an equal chance for survival, then, at once, the
average strength of each generation will begin to diminish.  Never yet,
however, in animal life, has there been such a state of affairs.  Natural
selection has always obtained.  The strong and their progeny, at the
expense of the weak, have always survived.  This law of development has
operated down all the past upon all life; it so operates today, and it is
not rash to say that it will continue to operate in the future--at least
upon all life existing in a state of nature.

Man, preeminent though he is in the animal kingdom, capable of reacting
upon and making suitable an unsuitable environment, nevertheless remains
the creature of this same law of development.  The social selection to
which he is subject is merely another form of natural selection.  True,
within certain narrow limits he modifies the struggle for existence and
renders less precarious the tenure of life for the weak.  The extremely
weak, diseased, and inefficient are housed in hospitals and asylums.  The
strength of the viciously strong, when inimical to society, is tempered
by penal institutions and by the gallows.  The short-sighted are provided
with spectacles, and the sickly (when they can pay for it) with
sanitariums.  Pestilential marshes are drained, plagues are checked, and
disasters averted.  Yet, for all that, the strong and the progeny of the
strong survive, and the weak are crushed out.  The men strong of brain
are masters as of yore.  They dominate society and gather to themselves
the wealth of society.  With this wealth they maintain themselves and
equip their progeny for the struggle.  They build their homes in
healthful places, purchase the best fruits, meats, and vegetables the
market affords, and buy themselves the ministrations of the most
brilliant and learned of the professional classes.  The weak man, as of
yore, is the servant, the doer of things at the master's call.  The
weaker and less efficient he is, the poorer is his reward.  The weakest
work for a living wage, (when they can get work), live in unsanitary
slums, on vile and insufficient food, at the lowest depths of human
degradation.  Their grasp on life is indeed precarious, their mortality
excessive, their infant death-rate appalling.

That some should be born to preferment and others to ignominy in order
that the race may progress, is cruel and sad; but none the less they are
so born.  The weeding out of human souls, some for fatness and smiles,
some for leanness and tears, is surely a heartless selective process--as
heartless as it is natural.  And the human family, for all its wonderful
record of adventure and achievement, has not yet succeeded in avoiding
this process.  That it is incapable of doing this is not to be hazarded.
Not only is it capable, but the whole trend of society is in that
direction.  All the social forces are driving man on to a time when the
old selective law will be annulled.  There is no escaping it, save by the
intervention of catastrophes and cataclysms quite unthinkable.  It is
inexorable.  It is inexorable because the common man demands it.  The
twentieth century, the common man says, is his day; the common man's day,
or, rather, the dawning of the common man's day.

Nor can it be denied.  The evidence is with him.  The previous centuries,
and more notably the nineteenth, have marked the rise of the common man.
From chattel slavery to serfdom, and from serfdom to what he bitterly
terms "wage slavery," he has risen.  Never was he so strong as he is
today, and never so menacing.  He does the work of the world, and he is
beginning to know it.  The world cannot get along without him, and this
also he is beginning to know.  All the human knowledge of the past, all
the scientific discovery, governmental experiment, and invention of
machinery, have tended to his advancement.  His standard of living is
higher.  His common school education would shame princes ten centuries
past.  His civil and religious liberty makes him a free man, and his
ballot the peer of his betters.  And all this has tended to make him
conscious, conscious of himself, conscious of his class.  He looks about
him and questions that ancient law of development.  It is cruel and
wrong, he is beginning to declare.  It is an anachronism.  Let it be
abolished.  Why should there be one empty belly in all the world, when
the work of ten men can feed a hundred?  What if my brother be not so
strong as I?  He has not sinned.  Wherefore should he hunger--he and his
sinless little ones?  Away with the old law.  There is food and shelter
for all, therefore let all receive food and shelter.

As fast as labor has become conscious it has organized.  The ambition of
these class-conscious men is that the movement shall become general, that
all labor shall become conscious of itself and its class interests.  And
the day that witnesses the solidarity of labor, they triumphantly affirm,
will be a day when labor dominates the world.  This growing consciousness
has led to the organization of two movements, both separate and distinct,
but both converging toward a common goal--one, the labor movement, known
as Trade Unionism; the other, the political movement, known as Socialism.
Both are grim and silent forces, unheralded and virtually unknown to the
general public save in moments of stress.  The sleeping labor giant
receives little notice from the capitalistic press, and when he stirs
uneasily, a column of surprise, indignation, and horror suffices.

It is only now and then, after long periods of silence, that the labor
movement puts in its claim for notice.  All is quiet.  The kind old world
spins on, and the bourgeois masters clip their coupons in smug
complacency.  But the grim and silent forces are at work.

Suddenly, like a clap of thunder from a clear sky, comes a disruption of
industry.  From ocean to ocean the wheels of a great chain of railroads
cease to run.  A quarter of a million miners throw down pick and shovel
and outrage the sun with their pale, bleached faces.  The street railways
of a swarming metropolis stand idle, or the rumble of machinery in vast
manufactories dies away to silence.  There is alarm and panic.  Arson and
homicide stalk forth.  There is a cry in the night, and quick anger and
sudden death.  Peaceful cities are affrighted by the crack of rifles and
the snarl of machine-guns, and the hearts of the shuddering are shaken by
the roar of dynamite.  There is hurrying and skurrying.  The wires are
kept hot between the centre of government and the seat of trouble.  The
chiefs of state ponder gravely and advise, and governors of states
implore.  There is assembling of militia and massing of troops, and the
streets resound to the tramp of armed men.  There are separate and joint
conferences between the captains of industry and the captains of labor.
And then, finally, all is quiet again, and the memory of it is like the
memory of a bad dream.

But these strikes become olympiads, things to date from; and common on
the lips of men become such phrases as "The Great Dock Strike," "The
Great Coal Strike," "The Great Railroad Strike."  Never before did labor
do these things.  After the Great Plague in England, labor, finding
itself in demand and innocently obeying the economic law, asked higher
wages.  But the masters set a maximum wage, restrained workingmen from
moving about from place to place, refused to tolerate idlers, and by most
barbarous legal methods punished those who disobeyed.  But labor is
accorded greater respect today.  Such a policy, put into effect in this
the first decade of the twentieth century, would sweep the masters from
their seats in one mighty crash.  And the masters know it and are

A fair instance of the growing solidarity of labor is afforded by an
unimportant recent strike in San Francisco.  The restaurant cooks and
waiters were completely unorganized, working at any and all hours for
whatever wages they could get.  A representative of the American
Federation of Labor went among them and organized them.  Within a few
weeks nearly two thousand men were enrolled, and they had five thousand
dollars on deposit.  Then they put in their demand for increased wages
and shorter hours.  Forthwith their employers organized.  The demand was
denied, and the Cooks' and Waiters' Union walked out.

All organized employers stood back of the restaurant owners, in sympathy
with them and willing to aid them if they dared.  And at the back of the
Cooks' and Waiters' Union stood the organized labor of the city, 40,000
strong.  If a business man was caught patronizing an "unfair" restaurant,
he was boycotted; if a union man was caught, he was fined heavily by his
union or expelled.  The oyster companies and the slaughter houses made an
attempt to refuse to sell oysters and meat to union restaurants.  The
Butchers and Meat Cutters, and the Teamsters, in retaliation, refused to
work for or to deliver to non-union restaurants.  Upon this the oyster
companies and slaughter houses acknowledged themselves beaten and peace
reigned.  But the Restaurant Bakers in non-union places were ordered out,
and the Bakery Wagon Drivers declined to deliver to unfair houses.

Every American Federation of Labor union in the city was prepared to
strike, and waited only the word.  And behind all, a handful of men,
known as the Labor Council, directed the fight.  One by one, blow upon
blow, they were able if they deemed it necessary to call out the
unions--the Laundry Workers, who do the washing; the Hackmen, who haul
men to and from restaurants; the Butchers, Meat Cutters, and Teamsters;
and the Milkers, Milk Drivers, and Chicken Pickers; and after that, in
pure sympathy, the Retail Clerks, the Horse Shoers, the Gas and
Electrical Fixture Hangers, the Metal Roofers, the Blacksmiths, the
Blacksmiths' Helpers, the Stablemen, the Machinists, the Brewers, the
Coast Seamen, the Varnishers and Polishers, the Confectioners, the
Upholsterers, the Paper Hangers and Fresco Painters, the Drug Clerks, the
Fitters and Helpers, the Metal Workers, the Boiler Makers and Iron Ship
Builders, the Assistant Undertakers, the Carriage and Wagon Workers, and
so on down the lengthy list of organizations.

For, over all these trades, over all these thousands of men, is the Labor
Council.  When it speaks its voice is heard, and when it orders it is
obeyed.  But it, in turn, is dominated by the National Labor Council,
with which it is constantly in touch.  In this wholly unimportant little
local strike it is of interest to note the stands taken by the different
sides.  The legal representative and official mouthpiece of the
Employers' Association said: "This organization is formed for defensive
purposes, and it may be driven to take offensive steps, and if so, will
be strong enough to follow them up.  Labor cannot be allowed to dictate
to capital and say how business shall be conducted.  There is no
objection to the formation of unions and trades councils, but membership
must not be compulsory.  It is repugnant to the American idea of liberty
and cannot be tolerated."

On the other hand, the president of the Team Drivers' Union said: "The
employers of labor in this city are generally against the trade-union
movement and there seems to be a concerted effort on their part to check
the progress of organized labor.  Such action as has been taken by them
in sympathy with the present labor troubles may, if continued, lead to a
serious conflict, the outcome of which might be most calamitous for the
business and industrial interests of San Francisco."

And the secretary of the United Brewery Workmen: "I regard a sympathetic
strike as the last weapon which organized labor should use in its
defence.  When, however, associations of employers band together to
defeat organized labor, or one of its branches, then we should not and
will not hesitate ourselves to employ the same instrument in

Thus, in a little corner of the world, is exemplified the growing
solidarity of labor.  The organization of labor has not only kept pace
with the organization of industry, but it has gained upon it.  In one
winter, in the anthracite coal region, $160,000,000 in mines and
$600,000,000 in transportation and distribution consolidated its
ownership and control.  And at once, arrayed as solidly on the other
side, were the 150,000 anthracite miners.  The bituminous mines, however,
were not consolidated; yet the 250,000 men employed therein were already
combined.  And not only that, but they were also combined with the
anthracite miners, these 400,000 men being under the control and
direction of one supreme labor council.  And in this and the other great
councils are to be found captains of labor of splendid abilities, who, in
understanding of economic and industrial conditions, are undeniably the
equals of their opponents, the captains of industry.

The United States is honeycombed with labor organizations.  And the big
federations which these go to compose aggregate millions of members, and
in their various branches handle millions of dollars yearly.  And not
only this; for the international brotherhoods and unions are forming, and
moneys for the aid of strikers pass back and forth across the seas.  The
Machinists, in their demand for a nine-hour day, affected 500,000 men in
the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  In England the membership of
working-class organizations is approximated by Keir Hardie at 2,500,000,
with reserve funds of $18,000,000.  There the cooperative movement has a
membership of 1,500,000, and every year turns over in distribution more
than $100,000,000.  In France, one-eighth of the whole working class is
unionized.  In Belgium the unions are very rich and powerful, and so able
to defy the masters that many of the smaller manufacturers, unable to
resist, "are removing their works to other countries where the workmen's
organizations are not so potential."  And in all other countries,
according to the stage of their economic and political development, like
figures obtain.  And Europe, today, confesses that her greatest social
problem is the labor problem, and that it is the one most closely
engrossing the attention of her statesmen.

The organization of labor is one of the chief acknowledged factors in the
retrogression of British trade.  The workers have become class conscious
as never before.  The wrong of one is the wrong of all.  They have come
to realize, in a short-sighted way, that their masters' interests are not
their interests.  The harder they work, they believe, the more wealth
they create for their masters.  Further, the more work they do in one
day, the fewer men will be needed to do the work.  So the unions place a
day's stint upon their members, beyond which they are not permitted to
go.  In "A Study of Trade Unionism," by Benjamin Taylor in the
"Nineteenth Century" of April, 1898, are furnished some interesting
corroborations.  The facts here set forth were collected by the Executive
Board of the Employers' Federation, the documentary proofs of which are
in the hands of the secretaries.  In a certain firm the union workmen
made eight ammunition boxes a day.  Nor could they be persuaded into
making more.  A young Swiss, who could not speak English, was set to
work, and in the first day he made fifty boxes.  In the same firm the
skilled union hands filed up the outside handles of one machine-gun a
day.  That was their stint.  No one was known ever to do more.  A
non-union filer came into the shop and did twelve a day.  A Manchester
firm found that to plane a large bed-casting took union workmen one
hundred and ninety hours, and non-union workmen one hundred and
thirty-five hours.  In another instance a man, resigning from his union,
day by day did double the amount of work he had done formerly.  And to
cap it all, an English gentleman, going out to look at a wall being put
up for him by union bricklayers, found one of their number with his right
arm strapped to his body, doing all the work with his left arm--forsooth,
because he was such an energetic fellow that otherwise he would
involuntarily lay more bricks than his union permitted.

All England resounds to the cry, "Wake up, England!"  But the sulky giant
is not stirred.  "Let England's trade go to pot," he says; "what have I
to lose?"  And England is powerless.   The capacity of her workmen is
represented by 1, in comparison with the 2.25 capacity of the American
workman.  And because of the solidarity of labor and the destructiveness
of strikes, British capitalists dare not even strive to emulate the
enterprise of American capitalists.  So England watches trade slipping
through her fingers and wails unavailingly.  As a correspondent writes:
"The enormous power of the trade unions hangs, a sullen cloud, over the
whole industrial world here, affecting men and masters alike."

The political movement known as Socialism is, perhaps, even less realized
by the general public.  The great strides it has taken and the portentous
front it today exhibits are not comprehended; and, fastened though it is
in every land, it is given little space by the capitalistic press.  For
all its plea and passion and warmth, it wells upward like a great, cold
tidal wave, irresistible, inexorable, ingulfing present-day society level
by level.  By its own preachment it is inexorable.  Just as societies
have sprung into existence, fulfilled their function, and passed away, it
claims, just as surely is present society hastening on to its
dissolution.  This is a transition period--and destined to be a very
short one.  Barely a century old, capitalism is ripening so rapidly that
it can never live to see a second birthday.  There is no hope for it, the
Socialists say.  It is doomed.

The cardinal tenet of Socialism is that forbidding doctrine, the
materialistic conception of history.  Men are not the masters of their
souls.  They are the puppets of great, blind forces.  The lives they live
and the deaths they die are compulsory.  All social codes are but the
reflexes of existing economic conditions, plus certain survivals of past
economic conditions.  The institutions men build they are compelled to
build.  Economic laws determine at any given time what these institutions
shall be, how long they shall operate, and by what they shall be
replaced.  And so, through the economic process, the Socialist preaches
the ripening of the capitalistic society and the coming of the new
cooperative society.

The second great tenet of Socialism, itself a phase of the materialistic
conception of history, is the class struggle.  In the social struggle for
existence, men are forced into classes.  "The history of all society thus
far is the history of class strife."  In existing society the capitalist
class exploits the working class, the proletariat.  The interests of the
exploiter are not the interests of the exploited.  "Profits are
legitimate," says the one.  "Profits are unpaid wages," replies the
other, when he has become conscious of his class, "therefore profits are
robbery."  The capitalist enforces his profits because he is the legal
owner of all the means of production.  He is the legal owner because he
controls the political machinery of society.  The Socialist sets to work
to capture the political machinery, so that he may make illegal the
capitalist's ownership of the means of production, and make legal his own
ownership of the means of production.  And it is this struggle, between
these two classes, upon which the world has at last entered.

Scientific Socialism is very young.  Only yesterday it was in swaddling
clothes.  But today it is a vigorous young giant, well braced to battle
for what it wants, and knowing precisely what it wants.  It holds its
international conventions, where world-policies are formulated by the
representatives of millions of Socialists.  In little Belgium there are
three-quarters of a million of men who work for the cause; in Germany,
3,000,000; Austria, between 1895 and 1897, raised her socialist vote from
90,000 to 750,000.  France in 1871 had a whole generation of Socialists
wiped out; yet in 1885 there were 30,000, and in 1898, 1,000,000.

Ere the last Spaniard had evacuated Cuba, Socialist groups were forming.
And from far Japan, in these first days of the twentieth century, writes
one Tomoyoshi Murai: "The interest of our people on Socialism has been
greatly awakened these days, especially among our laboring people on one
hand and young students' circle on the other, as much as we can draw an
earnest and enthusiastic audience and fill our hall, which holds two
thousand. . . . It is gratifying to say that we have a number of fine and
well-trained public orators among our leaders of Socialism in Japan.  The
first speaker tonight is Mr. Kiyoshi Kawakami, editor of one of our city
(Tokyo) dailies, a strong, independent, and decidedly socialistic paper,
circulated far and wide.  Mr. Kawakami is a scholar as well as a popular
writer.  He is going to speak tonight on the subject, 'The Essence of
Socialism--the Fundamental Principles.'  The next speaker is Professor
Iso Abe, president of our association, whose subject of address is,
'Socialism and the Existing Social System.'  The third speaker is Mr.
Naoe Kinosita, the editor of another strong journal of the city.  He
speaks on the subject, 'How to Realize the Socialist Ideals and Plans.'
Next is Mr. Shigeyoshi Sugiyama, a graduate of Hartford Theological
Seminary and an advocate of Social Christianity, who is to speak on
'Socialism and Municipal Problems.'  And the last speaker is the editor
of the 'Labor World,' the foremost leader of the labor-union movement in
our country, Mr. Sen Katayama, who speaks on the subject, 'The Outlook of
Socialism in Europe and America.'  These addresses are going to be
published in book form and to be distributed among our people to
enlighten their minds on the subject."

And in the struggle for the political machinery of society, Socialism is
no longer confined to mere propaganda.  Italy, Austria, Belgium, England,
have Socialist members in their national bodies.  Out of the one hundred
and thirty-two members of the London County Council, ninety-one are
denounced by the conservative element as Socialists.  The Emperor of
Germany grows anxious and angry at the increasing numbers which are
returned to the Reichstag.  In France, many of the large cities, such as
Marseilles, are in the hands of the Socialists.  A large body of them is
in the Chamber of Deputies, and Millerand, Socialist, sits in the
cabinet.  Of him M. Leroy-Beaulieu says with horror: "M. Millerand is the
open enemy of private property, private capital, the resolute advocate of
the socialization of production . . . a constant incitement to violence . . .
a collectivist, avowed and militant, taking part in the government,
dominating the departments of commerce and industry, preparing all the
laws and presiding at the passage of all measures which should be
submitted to merchants and tradesmen."

In the United States there are already Socialist mayors of towns and
members of State legislatures, a vast literature, and single Socialist
papers with subscription lists running up into the hundreds of thousands.
In 1896, 36,000 votes were cast for the Socialist candidate for
President; in 1900, nearly 200,000; in 1904, 450,000.  And the United
States, young as it is, is ripening rapidly, and the Socialists claim,
according to the materialistic conception of history, that the United
States will be the first country in the world wherein the toilers will
capture the political machinery and expropriate the bourgeoisie.

                                * * * * *

But the Socialist and labor movements have recently entered upon a new
phase.  There has been a remarkable change in attitude on both sides.
For a long time the labor unions refrained from going in for political
action.  On the other hand, the Socialists claimed that without political
action labor was powerless.  And because of this there was much ill
feeling between them, even open hostilities, and no concerted action.
But now the Socialists grant that the labor movement has held up wages
and decreased the hours of labor, and the labor unions find that
political action is necessary.  Today both parties have drawn closely
together in the common fight.  In the United States this friendly feeling
grows.  The Socialist papers espouse the cause of labor, and the unions
have opened their ears once more to the wiles of the Socialists.  They
are all leavened with Socialist workmen, "boring from within," and many
of their leaders have already succumbed.  In England, where class
consciousness is more developed, the name "Unionism" has been replaced by
"The New Unionism," the main object of which is "to capture existing
social structures in the interests of the wage-earners."  There the
Socialist, the trade-union, and other working-class organizations are
beginning to cooperate in securing the return of representatives to the
House of Commons.  And in France, where the city councils and mayors of
Marseilles and Monteaules-Mines are Socialistic, thousands of francs of
municipal money were voted for the aid of the unions in the recent great

For centuries the world has been preparing for the coming of the common
man.  And the period of preparation virtually past, labor, conscious of
itself and its desires, has begun a definite movement toward solidarity.
It believes the time is not far distant when the historian will speak not
only of the dark ages of feudalism, but of the dark ages of capitalism.
And labor sincerely believes itself justified in this by the terrible
indictment it brings against capitalistic society.  In the face of its
enormous wealth, capitalistic society forfeits its right to existence
when it permits widespread, bestial poverty.  The philosophy of the
survival of the fittest does not soothe the class-conscious worker when
he learns through his class literature that among the Italian
pants-finishers of Chicago {9} the average weekly wage is $1.31, and the
average number of weeks employed in the year is 27.85.  Likewise when he
reads: {10} "Every room in these reeking tenements houses a family or
two.  In one room a missionary found a man ill with small-pox, his wife
just recovering from her confinement, and the children running about half
naked and covered with dirt.  Here are seven people living in one
underground kitchen, and a little dead child lying in the same room.
Here live a widow and her six children, two of whom are ill with scarlet
fever.  In another, nine brothers and sisters, from twenty-nine years of
age downward, live, eat, and sleep together."  And likewise, when he
reads: {11} "When one man, fifty years old, who has worked all his life,
is compelled to beg a little money to bury his dead baby, and another
man, fifty years old, can give ten million dollars to enable his daughter
to live in luxury and bolster up a decaying foreign aristocracy, do you
see nothing amiss?"

And on the other hand, the class-conscious worker reads the statistics of
the wealthy classes, knows what their incomes are, and how they get them.
True, down all the past he has known his own material misery and the
material comfort of the dominant classes, and often has this knowledge
led him to intemperate acts and unwise rebellion.  But today, and for the
first time, because both society and he have evolved, he is beginning to
see a possible way out.  His ears are opening to the propaganda of
Socialism, the passionate gospel of the dispossessed.  But it does not
inculcate a turning back.  The way through is the way out, he
understands, and with this in mind he draws up the programme.

It is quite simple, this programme.  Everything is moving in his
direction, toward the day when he will take charge.  The trust?  Ah, no.
Unlike the trembling middle-class man and the small capitalist, he sees
nothing at which to be frightened.  He likes the trust.  He exults in the
trust, for it is largely doing the task for him.  It socializes
production; this done, there remains nothing for him to do but socialize
distribution, and all is accomplished.  The trust?  "It organizes
industry on an enormous, labor-saving scale, and abolishes childish,
wasteful competition."  It is a gigantic object lesson, and it preaches
his political economy far more potently than he can preach it.  He points
to the trust, laughing scornfully in the face of the orthodox economists.
"You told me this thing could not be," {12} he thunders.  "Behold, the
thing is!"

He sees competition in the realm of production passing away.  When the
captains of industry have thoroughly organized production, and got
everything running smoothly, it will be very easy for him to eliminate
the profits by stepping in and having the thing run for himself.  And the
captain of industry, if he be good, may be given the privilege of
continuing the management on a fair salary.  The sixty millions of
dividends which the Standard Oil Company annually declares will be
distributed among the workers.  The same with the great United States
Steel Corporation.  The president of that corporation knows his business.
Very good.  Let him become Secretary of the Department of Iron and Steel
of the United States.  But, since the chief executive of a nation of
seventy-odd millions works for $50,000 a year, the Secretary of the
Department of Iron and Steel must expect to have his salary cut
accordingly.  And not only will the workers take to themselves the
profits of national and municipal monopolies, but also the immense
revenues which the dominant classes today draw from rents, and mines, and
factories, and all manner of enterprises.

                                * * * * *

All this would seem very like a dream, even to the worker, if it were not
for the fact that like things have been done before.  He points
triumphantly to the aristocrat of the eighteenth century, who fought,
legislated, governed, and dominated society, but who was shorn of power
and displaced by the rising bourgeoisie.  Ay, the thing was done, he
holds.  And it shall be done again, but this time it is the proletariat
who does the shearing.  Sociology has taught him that m-i-g-h-t spells
"right."  Every society has been ruled by classes, and the classes have
ruled by sheer strength, and have been overthrown by sheer strength.  The
bourgeoisie, because it was the stronger, dragged down the nobility of
the sword; and the proletariat, because it is the strongest of all, can
and will drag down the bourgeoisie.

And in that day, for better or worse, the common man becomes the
master--for better, he believes.  It is his intention to make the sum of
human happiness far greater.  No man shall work for a bare living wage,
which is degradation.  Every man shall have work to do, and shall be paid
exceedingly well for doing it.  There shall be no slum classes, no
beggars.  Nor shall there be hundreds of thousands of men and women
condemned, for economic reasons, to lives of celibacy or sexual
infertility.  Every man shall be able to marry, to live in healthy,
comfortable quarters, and to have all he wants to eat as many times a day
as he wishes.  There shall no longer be a life-and-death struggle for
food and shelter.  The old heartless law of development shall be

All of which is very good and very fine.  And when these things have come
to pass, what then?  Of old, by virtue of their weakness and inefficiency
in the struggle for food and shelter, the race was purged of its weak and
inefficient members.  But this will no longer obtain.  Under the new
order the weak and the progeny of the weak will have a chance for
survival equal to that of the strong and the progeny of the strong.  This
being so, the premium upon strength will have been withdrawn, and on the
face of it the average strength of each generation, instead of continuing
to rise, will begin to decline.

When the common man's day shall have arrived, the new social institutions
of that day will prevent the weeding out of weakness and inefficiency.
All, the weak and the strong, will have an equal chance for procreation.
And the progeny of all, of the weak as well as the strong, will have an
equal chance for survival.  This being so, and if no new effective law of
development be put into operation, then progress must cease.  And not
only progress, for deterioration would at once set in.  It is a pregnant
problem.  What will be the nature of this new and most necessary law of
development?  Can the common man pause long enough from his undermining
labors to answer?  Since he is bent upon dragging down the bourgeoisie
and reconstructing society, can he so reconstruct that a premium, in some
unguessed way or other, will still be laid upon the strong and efficient
so that the human type will continue to develop?  Can the common man, or
the uncommon men who are allied with him, devise such a law?  Or have
they already devised one?  And if so, what is it?


It is quite fair to say that I became a Socialist in a fashion somewhat
similar to the way in which the Teutonic pagans became Christians--it was
hammered into me.  Not only was I not looking for Socialism at the time
of my conversion, but I was fighting it.  I was very young and callow,
did not know much of anything, and though I had never even heard of a
school called "Individualism," I sang the paean of the strong with all my

This was because I was strong myself.  By strong I mean that I had good
health and hard muscles, both of which possessions are easily accounted
for.  I had lived my childhood on California ranches, my boyhood hustling
newspapers on the streets of a healthy Western city, and my youth on the
ozone-laden waters of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.  I loved
life in the open, and I toiled in the open, at the hardest kinds of work.
Learning no trade, but drifting along from job to job, I looked on the
world and called it good, every bit of it.  Let me repeat, this optimism
was because I was healthy and strong, bothered with neither aches nor
weaknesses, never turned down by the boss because I did not look fit,
able always to get a job at shovelling coal, sailorizing, or manual labor
of some sort.

And because of all this, exulting in my young life, able to hold my own
at work or fight, I was a rampant individualist.  It was very natural.  I
was a winner.  Wherefore I called the game, as I saw it played, or
thought I saw it played, a very proper game for MEN.  To be a MAN was to
write man in large capitals on my heart.  To adventure like a man, and
fight like a man, and do a man's work (even for a boy's pay)--these were
things that reached right in and gripped hold of me as no other thing
could.  And I looked ahead into long vistas of a hazy and interminable
future, into which, playing what I conceived to be MAN'S game, I should
continue to travel with unfailing health, without accidents, and with
muscles ever vigorous.  As I say, this future was interminable.  I could
see myself only raging through life without end like one of Nietzsche's
_blond-beasts_, lustfully roving and conquering by sheer superiority and

As for the unfortunates, the sick, and ailing, and old, and maimed, I
must confess I hardly thought of them at all, save that I vaguely felt
that they, barring accidents, could be as good as I if they wanted to
real hard, and could work just as well.  Accidents?  Well, they
represented FATE, also spelled out in capitals, and there was no getting
around FATE.  Napoleon had had an accident at Waterloo, but that did not
dampen my desire to be another and later Napoleon.  Further, the optimism
bred of a stomach which could digest scrap iron and a body which
flourished on hardships did not permit me to consider accidents as even
remotely related to my glorious personality.

I hope I have made it clear that I was proud to be one of Nature's
strong-armed noblemen.  The dignity of labor was to me the most
impressive thing in the world.  Without having read Carlyle, or Kipling,
I formulated a gospel of work which put theirs in the shade.  Work was
everything.  It was sanctification and salvation.  The pride I took in a
hard day's work well done would be inconceivable to you.  It is almost
inconceivable to me as I look back upon it.  I was as faithful a wage
slave as ever capitalist exploited.  To shirk or malinger on the man who
paid me my wages was a sin, first, against myself, and second, against
him.  I considered it a crime second only to treason and just about as

In short, my joyous individualism was dominated by the orthodox bourgeois
ethics.  I read the bourgeois papers, listened to the bourgeois
preachers, and shouted at the sonorous platitudes of the bourgeois
politicians.  And I doubt not, if other events had not changed my career,
that I should have evolved into a professional strike-breaker, (one of
President Eliot's American heroes), and had my head and my earning power
irrevocably smashed by a club in the hands of some militant

Just about this time, returning from a seven months' voyage before the
mast, and just turned eighteen, I took it into my head to go tramping.
On rods and blind baggages I fought my way from the open West where men
bucked big and the job hunted the man, to the congested labor centres of
the East, where men were small potatoes and hunted the job for all they
were worth.  And on this new _blond-beast_ adventure I found myself
looking upon life from a new and totally different angle.  I had dropped
down from the proletariat into what sociologists love to call the
"submerged tenth," and I was startled to discover the way in which that
submerged tenth was recruited.

I found there all sorts of men, many of whom had once been as good as
myself and just as _blond-beast_; sailor-men, soldier-men, labor-men, all
wrenched and distorted and twisted out of shape by toil and hardship and
accident, and cast adrift by their masters like so many old horses.  I
battered on the drag and slammed back gates with them, or shivered with
them in box cars and city parks, listening the while to life-histories
which began under auspices as fair as mine, with digestions and bodies
equal to and better than mine, and which ended there before my eyes in
the shambles at the bottom of the Social Pit.

And as I listened my brain began to work.  The woman of the streets and
the man of the gutter drew very close to me.  I saw the picture of the
Social Pit as vividly as though it were a concrete thing, and at the
bottom of the Pit I saw them, myself above them, not far, and hanging on
to the slippery wall by main strength and sweat.  And I confess a terror
seized me.  What when my strength failed? when I should be unable to work
shoulder to shoulder with the strong men who were as yet babes unborn?
And there and then I swore a great oath.  It ran something like this:
_All my days I have worked hard with my body_, _and according to the
number of days I have worked_, _by just that much am I nearer the bottom
of the Pit_.  _I shall climb out of the Pit_, _but not by the muscles of
my body shall I climb out_.  _I shall do no more hard work_, _and may God
strike me dead if I do another day's hard work with my body more than I
absolutely have to do_.  And I have been busy ever since running away
from hard work.

Incidentally, while tramping some ten thousand miles through the United
States and Canada, I strayed into Niagara Falls, was nabbed by a
fee-hunting constable, denied the right to plead guilty or not guilty,
sentenced out of hand to thirty days' imprisonment for having no fixed
abode and no visible means of support, handcuffed and chained to a bunch
of men similarly circumstanced, carted down country to Buffalo,
registered at the Erie County Penitentiary, had my head clipped and my
budding mustache shaved, was dressed in convict stripes, compulsorily
vaccinated by a medical student who practised on such as we, made to
march the lock-step, and put to work under the eyes of guards armed with
Winchester rifles--all for adventuring in _blond-beastly_ fashion.
Concerning further details deponent sayeth not, though he may hint that
some of his plethoric national patriotism simmered down and leaked out of
the bottom of his soul somewhere--at least, since that experience he
finds that he cares more for men and women and little children than for
imaginary geographical lines.

                                * * * * *

To return to my conversion.  I think it is apparent that my rampant
individualism was pretty effectively hammered out of me, and something
else as effectively hammered in.  But, just as I had been an
individualist without knowing it, I was now a Socialist without knowing
it, withal, an unscientific one.  I had been reborn, but not renamed, and
I was running around to find out what manner of thing I was.  I ran back
to California and opened the books.  I do not remember which ones I
opened first.  It is an unimportant detail anyway.  I was already It,
whatever It was, and by aid of the books I discovered that It was a
Socialist.  Since that day I have opened many books, but no economic
argument, no lucid demonstration of the logic and inevitableness of
Socialism affects me as profoundly and convincingly as I was affected on
the day when I first saw the walls of the Social Pit rise around me and
felt myself slipping down, down, into the shambles at the bottom.


{1}  "From 43 to 52 per cent of all applicants need work rather than
relief."--Report of the Charity Organization Society of New York City.

{2}  Mr. Leiter, who owns a coal mine at the town of Zeigler, Illinois,
in an interview printed in the Chicago Record-Herald of December 6, 1904,
said: "When I go into the market to purchase labor, I propose to retain
just as much freedom as does a purchaser in any other kind of a market. . . .
There is no difficulty whatever in obtaining labor, _for the country
is full of unemployed men_."

{3}  "Despondent and weary with vain attempts to struggle against an
unsympathetic world, two old men were brought before Police Judge McHugh
this afternoon to see whether some means could not be provided for their
support, at least until springtime.

"George Westlake was the first one to receive the consideration of the
court.  Westlake is seventy-two years old.  A charge of habitual
drunkenness was placed against him, and he was sentenced to a term in the
county jail, though it is more than probable that he was never under the
influence of intoxicating liquor in his life.  The act on the part of the
authorities was one of kindness for him, as in the county jail he will be
provided with a good place to sleep and plenty to eat.

"Joe Coat, aged sixty-nine years, will serve ninety days in the county
jail for much the same reason as Westlake.  He states that, if given a
chance to do so, he will go out to a wood-camp and cut timber during the
winter, but the police authorities realize that he could not long survive
such a task."--From the Butte (Montana) Miner, December 7th, 1904.

"'I end my life because I have reached the age limit, and there is no
place for me in this world.  Please notify my wife, No. 222 West 129th
Street, New York.'  Having summed up the cause of his despondency in this
final message, James Hollander, fifty-six years old, shot himself through
the left temple, in his room at the Stafford Hotel today."--New York

{4}  In the San Francisco Examiner of November 16, 1904, there is an
account of the use of fire-hose to drive away three hundred men who
wanted work at unloading a vessel in the harbor.  So anxious were the men
to get the two or three hours' job that they made a veritable mob and had
to be driven off.

{5}  "It was no uncommon thing in these sweatshops for men to sit bent
over a sewing-machine continuously from eleven to fifteen hours a day in
July weather, operating a sewing-machine by foot-power, and often so
driven that they could not stop for lunch.  The seasonal character of the
work meant demoralizing toil for a few months in the year, and a not less
demoralizing idleness for the remainder of the time.  Consumption, the
plague of the tenements and the especial plague of the garment industry,
carried off many of these workers; poor nutrition and exhaustion, many
more."--From McClure's Magazine.

{6}  The Social Unrest.  Macmillan Company.

{7}  "Our Benevolent Feudalism."  By W. J. Ghent.  The Macmillan Company.

{8}  "The Social Unrest."  By John Graham Brooks.  The Macmillan Company.

{9}  From figures presented by Miss Nellie Mason Auten in the American
Journal of Sociology, and copied extensively by the trade-union and
Socialist press.

{10}  "The Bitter Cry of Outcast London."

{11}  An item from the Social Democratic Herald.  Hundreds of these
items, culled from current happenings, are published weekly in the papers
of the workers.

{12}  Karl Marx, the great Socialist, worked out the trust development
forty years ago, for which he was laughed at by the orthodox economists.

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