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Title: International May Day and American Labor Day - A Holiday Expressing Working Class Emancipation Versus a - Holiday Exalting Labor's Chains
Author: Reinstein, Boris
Language: English
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[Illustration: WEEKLY PEOPLE]


A revolutionary Socialist journal. Dedicated to the idea that the
emancipation of the working class must be the class-conscious work of
that class. The WEEKLY PEOPLE teaches that a political victory of the
working class is “moonshine” unless the might of the workers in the
shape of a revolutionary industrial union is behind that victory. It
teaches further that the organization of the working class can not be
accomplished by dragging the revolutionary movement into the ratholes of
anarchists and “pure and simple” physical forcists generally. The WEEKLY
PEOPLE ruthlessly exposes the scheming “pure and simple” politician as
well as the “pure and simple” physical forcist. In doing this it at the
same time imparts sound information regarding Marxian or scientific
Socialism. It is a journal which, read a few times, becomes

      Subscription rates: One year, $2; six months, $1; three
      months, .50 cents; trial subscription, 25 cents. Bundle
      rates supplied on request.

               Weekly People, 45 Rose St., New York City.

                         International May Day
                           American Labor Day

                            BORIS REINSTEIN

                               A HOLIDAY
                 Expressing Working Class Emancipation
                               A HOLIDAY
                        Exalting Labor’s Chains

                              Published by
           National Executive Committee Socialist Labor Party
                     45 Rose Street, New York City



During the period in history that the present generation is going
through the struggle for supremacy between Capital and Labor is
occupying a more and more prominent position at the front of the stage.
Here in America the material conditions necessary for the triumph of
Labor in this struggle,—for the realization of Socialism—are by far more
ripe than in any other country.

The old system of wealth production in small shops, with crude tools, by
the application of the labor of one, two or a handful of workers, is
practically extinct. Through the use of up-to-date improved machinery,
through co-operation of thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of
workers employed by one concern, and the consequent subdivision and
specialization of labor enhancing its productivity; through capitalist
concentration and amalgamation of individual concerns into corporations
and trusts, eliminating waste of labor incidental to competition and
anarchy in production, through all that the productivity of labor became
plentiful to the point of being marvelous. After centuries of struggle
society at last has within its grasp the means of assured, carefree
existence and untrammeled progress.

With regard to the power of the political State and the political rights
of the people the historical development of the civilized nations was
along the lines of concentration of political powers in the hands of an
oligarchy, small in numbers, and finally in the person of a single
individual, the political autocrat, while on the other hand the masses
of the people were concentrating in the camp of the politically
disfranchised and disinherited. In France, for instance, after a
struggle running through a long series of generations, concentrating the
political powers in fewer and fewer hands, the point of autocracy was
finally reached. The former “peers” were reduced to the position of mere
dependents and hangers-on at the court of the autocrat; the mass of the
people, politically absolutely disinherited, could only bend its neck,
and the autocrat, Louis XIV, with boots and spurs on and whip in hand,
could proclaim haughtily and defiantly, “l’état c’est moi!” (The
government, it is I!) and could sway the destinies of the nation with
the stroke of his pen.

From this point it was only a comparatively short step to the point when
the millions of “subjects of the autocrat,” concentrated in the camp of
the disinherited, realized that they had only one head to chop off, and
did literally chop it off in the person of Louis XVI, in order to assert
their rights by establishing the political democratic republic.

Similarly in the realm of economic development. The difference only is
that in this enlightened age, with the modern press and other means of
disseminating knowledge and information all over the globe in a few
minutes, bigger strides along the path of progress are made within
decades and years than were made formerly within centuries and

In this country, under the eyes of a single generation,—the present
generation—a veritable Social Revolution has taken place. When the
gray-haired men of to-day were young the overwhelming majority of
inhabitants in this country belonged to the property-holding class and
were consequently self-sustaining. They had some farming, commercial, or
industrial property. They did not have much but enough of it to be able
to eke out a living without being compelled to hunt for and beg some
employer for a job to save themselves from starvation. To-day what
remains of the independent farmers and middle class are hanging by the
skin of their teeth to their little property, the source of their
“economic independence,” as they feel that property slipping through
their hands. It begins to dawn on them that even those of them who still
retain some business property are rapidly becoming mere dependents and
hangers-on at the court of enthroned capital.

But already a big percentage of formerly independent American citizens
and the sons and daughters of a still bigger percentage of them, are
found to be stripped of all income-bearing property, driven into and
concentrated in the camp of the proletariat,—the propertyless
wage-earning class—towards which, like iron filings towards a powerful
magnet, are gravitating the rapidly increasing millions of ruined,
formerly independent citizens, the modern proletariat. According to
recently published figures to the camp of the wage-earning class belong
now no less than thirty-three and a half millions of men, women, and
children, not younger than fifteen years of age. This gigantic army,
with the little children, the wives of some of the workmen and other
dependents, whom the capitalists so far have not succeeded in hitching
up to the machinery in their factories, constitutes already the
overwhelming majority of the entire population of the country.

The forces of social evolution have thus already created, as far at
least as this country is concerned, that other indispensable factor for
the success of the impending Social Revolution. They have created that
class, the proletariat, whose mission it is and which is strong enough
to free itself and the whole of mankind from exploitation and oppression
by the capitalists, the master class of our time.

While these forces of social evolution were thus decomposing the present
social order, divorcing the wealth-producers from the sources of
wealth-production, driving the millions of these wealth producers into
the camp of the proletariat, there was at the same time another process
of concentration going on, the concentration of the wealth of the
formerly independent American citizens in the hands of a small number of
gigantic capitalist concerns. Out of their ranks the industrial autocrat
is to rise,—the “one head” that the disinherited millions are to “chop
off” in order to come to their own by the institution of the Industrial
Democratic Republic.

The rapid progress towards this stage of industrial autocracy was
already marked, and not a few years ago at that, by the historical
Vanderbilt exclamation, “The public be damned!”—the modern version of
Louis XIV’s “The government, it is I!”

Still more light on the progress made in that direction under the very
eyes of the present generation is thrown by the figures which recently
made the rounds of the daily press. They deal with the growth of the
volume of business and power wielded by one single capitalist concern,
the J. Pierpont Morgan banking firm in Wall Street, New York. The
figures show that the business capital of that concern alone, the stocks
and bonds of all the innumerable enterprises, commercial, industrial,
etc., controlled by it represented the amount of $527,282,564. But that
was 21 years ago, in 1892. Gigantic as this mass of capital was it was
insignificant compared with the proportions it reached in subsequent
years. In 1897 it was $1,396,506,231; in 1902, $3,852,940,908, and in
1912 it was estimated to be $26,854,254,628. In other words, nearly
TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND MILLION dollars of business capital are controlled
by the one man at the head of this single concern, whose mere stroke of
pen would suffice, if he saw fit, to turn the key in the lock of the
door of thousands of factories and other business concerns where
millions of workers must earn their daily bread. The lives of millions
of workers and of many more millions of members of their families
actually depending upon the will and the whim of a single individual!
How much more is needed to complete the evolution towards industrial
autocracy, the gate to Industrial Democracy? The power of political
autocrats, of Czar Nicholas of Russia, of Louis XIV of France, etc., is
like that of children, compared with the economic power wielded by this
colossus of Twentieth Century capitalism. It will not require, it cannot
require, centuries or generations for the thirty-three and a half
millions of wage-slaves to realize that they can have the power and
must,—to save their own lives—throw off from their necks the Iron Heel
of modern Industrial Autocracy!

In point of development of all these material conditions, as
prerequisites for a successful Social Revolution, America leads the
procession of all modern nations. In one important respect, however,
America lags far behind the procession. It is with regard to the
economic organization of labor, with regard to the labor union movement.
As yet this strategically vital and determining field is in the
possession of the reactionary forces of the American Federation of
Labor, the organization that is doing all in its power to check the
growth of Socialism in this country, to perpetuate the capitalist system
of wage labor.

The supremacy of this organization in the economic field of the labor
movement exercises upon the American working class, eagerly though that
class is seeking its own emancipation, an influence which, in the
political field likewise, prevents it from organizing and fighting on
proper lines. The baneful influence of the American Federation of Labor
thus threatens to render nought the otherwise ripe material conditions,
and to render abortive the impending Social Revolution.

Whether the coming crisis in the life of this nation will result in the
rearing of the Dome of Socialism and Industrial Democracy, or whether it
will lead only to a most stupendous slaughter of the working class, to
the erection of a “Caesar’s Column,” and to complete and hopeless
subjugation of the masses depends largely on reorganization of the union
movement from the craft union basis of the American Federation of Labor
to a correct and sound industrial union basis.

Unfortunately among the Socialists of America the vital importance of
the educational work needed as a prerequisite for the reorganization of
the labor union movement of the land is very little recognized. Only too
frequently one meets Socialists who innocently assure themselves and
others that they “believe in industrial unionism” and are “opposed to
the A. F. of L.” merely because they try to hit back when Gompers
attacks their party. The knowledge possessed by such Socialists as to
the essential features of the A. F. of L. unionism, which makes of that
organization a veritable trap that holds the working masses fast and
helpless against the capitalist exploiters, is very indistinct. The
literature, the press, the lectures, etc., that mold the views of such
Socialists avoid, for sundry reasons, the dissecting and exposing of the
dangerous features of craft unionism. As a rule, in the minds of such
Socialists there is only a vague idea that “there is something wrong
with the American Federation of Labor,” and they are mostly inclined to
find that “wrong” in the opposition of the A. F. of L. leaders to the
political work of the Socialists. Most of them are only too ready to
forget and forgive the “mistakes” of that organization if it would only
“leave the Socialists alone.”

It is to stimulate the study of the essential and distinct features of
A. F. of L. craft unionism, and as a contribution towards that study
that this pamphlet is offered to the working class.

                                                        BORIS REINSTEIN.

                   MAY DAY AND LABOR DAY—A CONTRAST.

The workers who are more or less familiar with the Labor and Socialist
Movement in this country and especially in European countries, often
wonder why most American workingmen celebrate “Labor Day” on the first
Monday of September instead of May Day, on the first of May.

We shall endeavor, in this pamphlet, to give a sketch of the difference
in the character and effect of these two holidays of Labor.

Except that both these holidays are dedicated to Labor and are primarily
participated in by working people, there is nothing in common between
them. In fact, they contradict and stand in opposition to each other,
the same as the organized International Socialist and Labor Movement,
which established the May Day, contradicts in all essentials and stands
in opposition to the American Federation of Labor,—the organization
under whose auspices the American Labor Day is celebrated.

May Day was created by a resolution adopted, upon the initiative of
American Socialists, at the International Socialist Congress held in
Paris, France, in July, 1889. The resolution had for its prime object to
get the workingmen of all countries, races, climes and nationalities,
speaking all the innumerable languages of the earth, to celebrate on the
same fixed day their own holiday, and thus graphically to demonstrate to
the world that, in spite of all the differences in language,
nationality, etc., they are all members of the same class, the
proletariat,—the propertyless wage-earning class—that their interests
are the same and, like members of the same family, they stand for the
Workers’ Brotherhood, International Solidarity and Universal Peace.

May Day was thus created by the workingmen themselves, in defiance of
the capitalist class and its governments, and up to the present time the
working people in many countries are compelled on the First of May to
fight for their holiday at the sacrifice of their jobs, liberty, blood,
and even life. When the police and cossacks of different countries
appear on the scene on May Day it is always for the purpose of clubbing,
maiming, arresting, and killing working people; for the police and
cossacks recognize that May Day is the drilling day for the Social

The American Labor Day, on the contrary, was a “gift” which the workers
received from their masters, the capitalists, through the capitalist
politicians. That first Monday in the month of September was made a
legal holiday under the name of Labor Day, at first by the legislature
of one state some thirty years ago; the politicians of other states
followed the clever example, so that at present Labor Day is a legal
holiday all over the country.

A vampire, when he settles down upon the body of a sleeping person and
sucks its blood, is known to fan his victim with his wings, to soothe
the victim’s pain, and to prevent him from waking up and driving the
vampire away. So was the Labor Day created by the political agents of
the American capitalists to fan the sleeping giant, the American working
class, while the capitalists are sucking its blood.

American Labor Day can also be considered as a modern, capitalist
version of the ancient custom of the days of serfdom and slavery. In
those days the masters, for recreation and amusement, often-times set
aside one day to celebrate the “enthronement of slaves.” They would take
a slave, take the chains off his limbs, put him on a mock throne, put a
mock crown on his head and, bowing to him in mock humility and
obedience, would humbly serve him and overwhelm him with flattery. And
the Silly Pool on the mock throne would throw out his chest and swell
with pride. But the day of mockery over, the chains were again clapped
on his limbs, and the miserable slave, groaning, would resume his life
of a beast of burden.

Likewise with the unawakened American workman on Labor Day. On that day
the chains of wage-slavery are, figuratively speaking, taken off his
limbs; he is made the hero of the day; his masters, the capitalists,
stand before him in mock humility; their spokesmen in the press, pulpit
and on their political platforms, overwhelm him with flattery; and the
modern Silly Fool, likewise, throws out his chest and swells with pride.
But, the day of mockery and of the Fool’s Paradise over, the
masters,—who during this day are only slyly smiling—break out into
sardonic laughter—though unheard by the slave—clap the chains back on
his limbs and he again hears only the crack of the whip of Hunger and

It is only natural, therefore, that when the capitalist masters send out
on Labor Day their hired bodyguard—the police and militia—they send them
not to molest or injure the workingmen, but to march, as honorary
escort, at the head of their Labor Day parades.

And why shouldn’t they? Don’t they know that the American Labor Day is
only a day for the annual injection of a new dose of narcotic “dope,” of
the antidote against the Social Revolution?!

What, indeed, is the key-note to the speeches delivered at Labor Day
gatherings in America by the capitalist politicians, clergymen and
professional “labor-lieutenants” of the capitalist class—the Gomperses,
the Mitchells, the Duncans, the O’Connells, the Lennons, etc.? It is the
biggest Lie of the Age, the lie that wealth is the joint product of
Brother Capital and Brother Labor, that is, of the capitalist class and
of the working class; that the interests of both are identical or
reciprocal, that the two can and should live in harmony, peace and
brotherhood with each other, and that the aim of the Labor Movement is
to maintain indefinitely that harmonious equilibrium, and thus
perpetuate the capitalist wage system by securing for the workers “a
fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” by means of an “equitable
division” of that “joint product of Brother Capital and Brother Labor.”

Craft Union “Organization” and Spirit.

For this purpose the American Federation of Labor—the celebrant of Labor
Day—gathers the masses of the workers, who in their blindness, ignorance
and anxiety to secure immediate relief, respond to its luring call and
flock to its banner. The gathered masses are then cut up into
innumerable “independent and autonomous” craft divisions. They are
taught to respect the claim of “Brother Capital” and to be guided in
their actions not by the consideration of solidarity and identity of
interests of all workers of the world, not even of those of the working
class of America, not even of those of the American workers belonging to
the same craft, but merely by the consideration of the interests of
their personal jobs.

Accordingly, to monopolize their jobs they proclaim the principle of
“America for Americans,” and try to build a Great Chinese Wall around
America by means of reactionary anti-immigration laws and, in the
meanwhile, build innumerable small Chinese walls around their unions by
means of high, often prohibitive, initiation fees, dues and assessments;
apprenticeship rules, catchy, tripping examinations of applicants for
membership; system of “closing books” to all new applicants; forcing
“troublesome” members out of the union and jobs by unjust and excessive
fines, etc.

It is again only natural that labor “unions” of this type, built upon
the principle of CLASS PEACE instead of CLASS STRUGGLE, discard the
up-to-date ammunition from the arsenal of modern social warfare and
persistently train their armies of “organized labor” to use the worse
than worthless wooden swords and wooden bullets of conciliation,
mediation and arbitration. Every careful observer of the American Labor
Movement knows that the only effect of these weapons always was to break
the aroused fighting spirit of the workers; to lead the electricity of
the social storm into the ground; to make workers lose the advantageous
position and opportune moments for securing substantial gains; to put
them, broken in power and demoralized in spirit, at the mercy of their
masters, and to give their false leaders the opportunity they so much
crave for “settling the strike” and,—feathering their own nests
financially, politically, or both.

Likewise is it only in keeping with this spirit and character of the
heroine of Labor Day, the American Federation of Labor, that much of its
time and energy is spent in fratricidal jurisdiction fights, fights over
the question whether it should be the exclusive privilege of this, that
or the other union to control certain kinds of jobs.

These jurisdiction fights, together with the system of agreements and
contracts concluded by separate craft unions with the employers, without
consideration of the interests of the other unions, and of the welfare
of the labor movement generally,—contracts by means of which the members
of the contracting unions are delivered over to the employers tied hand
and foot and deprived even of the right to strike,—lead in innumerable
cases to acts of betrayal and even of direct scabbing of members of one
union against those of another.

                        Labor Day and Politics.

If the American Labor Day does not represent real unity and solidarity
of the workers in their immediate field—the economic field—what wonder
that it represents the same disruption and betrayal in the political
field? That Labor Day plays a considerable part in the politics of the
country no person familiar with the question can deny.

It must be remembered that America is a county where most of the
workingmen, and now a rapidly growing number of working women, have a
right to vote, and, as the working class—in America, of all countries—is
the class to which the overwhelming majority of the people belong, no
politician can get his fingers into the public pie, and the capitalist
class cannot secure the control over the powers of government they need
so badly, without employing some means of fooling the working people out
of their votes.

American Labor Day is one of the institutions that is made to serve that
purpose, too. The capitalist politicians have conveniently fixed it for
the early part of September, about two months before Election Day, the
season when the politicians make or prepare to make their nominations of
candidates. The big gatherings of union men, voters, at Labor Day
parades, mass meetings and picnics, supply splendid opportunities for
advertising the candidacy of some capitalist politician claiming to be a
“friend of Labor.” They give the false and treacherous leaders of the
unions a chance, in expectation of good reward, to render these
politicians a good service by securing them as speakers at these
gatherings, and otherwise advertising them. They also give these false
and ambitious union leaders a chance to boost their own stock on the
political market by demonstrating to the politicians what a big crowd of
voters the leader can influence for the one or the other political party
of capitalism. It is in this respect both surprising and amusing how
easily the labor fakers bluff and swindle at this game the politicians,
who are otherwise supposed to be such shrewd men.

It is therefore not an accident only that at most, if not at all of
the Labor Day gatherings, prominent politicians are invited to speak,
and that those parades generally lead the mass of the workers past the
City Hall and other such buildings, from the windows of which the
politicians review the parade and flatteringly cheer the tramping
hosts of poor, deluded workers. What is needed to reveal the true
political significance of the performance is that the union
leaders,—hungry for political jobs or nominations—should order a big
banner carried in the parade bearing an inscription about as follows:
“Look, gentlemen-politicians! See what a big herd of voting cattle we
have this time to sell! How, what are you going to bid for them? What
nominations will you give to us, the leaders; what appointments to
political jobs will you promise to us if we deliver the votes of this
herd to you?”

                    Judas Reward of “Labor Leaders”.

And the result generally is that the politicians generally conclude, in
order to insure the success of their capitalist parties, to bait their
political hooks with some prominent “union leaders” whom they nominate
for some insignificant office on their tickets, and the mass of deluded
workers, out of misplaced loyalty to their brother-union man, swallow
bait, hook and all, dividing their forces between the leading capitalist

Another form of rewarding the union leaders, who succeed in advertising
their value on the political market or who render valuable services to
capitalists, is to have them supplied with good political jobs. Not to
mention smaller instances of local character, few of the many instances
of prominent appointments could be cited as illustrations.

Ex-President Taft, following the example of his predecessors, as soon as
he assumed power, appointed a “labor-leader,” Daniel O’Keefe, of the
Longshoremen’s Union, to the office of Federal Commissioner of
Immigration, with a fat salary and fatter emoluments. President Wilson
appointed two prominent “labor leaders” to positions on the Federal
Commission on Industrial Relations—they were: John B. Lennon, of the
Journeymen Tailors’, an anti-Socialist and member of the National
Executive Committee of the capitalist organization, known as the
“National Civic Federation,” and James O’Connell, of the International
Association of Machinists, and also a member of the National Executive
Committee of the reactionary “Militia of Christ,” organized by the
Roman-Catholic political machine to fight Socialism. The Commissioners
are paid more than liberally by the Government.

               Case of Secretary of Labor, Wm. B. Wilson.

The United Mine Workers have among their leaders in Pennsylvania a
certain William B. Wilson. He soon became a proprietor in the mining
business, but retained membership and leadership in the miners’ union.
That helped him to get nominations on capitalist tickets, and he was
thus elected Congressman on such a ticket. In the Congress in Washington
he became the leader of the so-called Labor Group, that is, of other
such Congressmen with union cards in their pockets, upon several of whom
Col. Mulhall has since cast considerable light. When agitation was begun
to create the Department of Labor as a new department of the Federal
Government, with a seat for the Secretary of Labor in the Cabinet of the
President of United States, President Gompers and other leaders of the
American Federation of Labor began to agitate that “our Bill,” Mr.
William B. Wilson, should be given the job and the power of Secretary of
Labor. Accordingly, when the Department of Labor was created and
President Woodrow Wilson assumed power, he immediately gave to “our
Bill” the job of Secretary of Labor, with a salary of $12,000 a year,
and power to distribute a large number of good political jobs to his
friends. One of the first things William B. Wilson did when he became
Secretary of Labor was to give to the son of Samuel Gompers one of the
best jobs at his disposal. It was thus a complete case of one hand
washing the other.

                          John Mitchell Case.

Take again the case of John Mitchell, the former President of the United
Mine Workers and still a national leader of that organization. He is
likewise a member of the National Executive Committee of the
anti-Socialist “Militia of Christ.” He belonged to the National Civic
Federation too, and held there a job of “settling” big strikes for which
he received $6,000 a year salary. But the union miners woke up and
compelled him, if he did not want to be expelled from the union, and
lose his value to the capitalists, to give up that job and get out of
the debauched and debauching Civic Federation. Poor John, shedding the
tears of sacrifice and martyrdom, left the Civic Federation. But he did
not like to remain long in the ranks of the “unemployed.” Though even
during the period when he had no “steady job” he was “turning an honest
penny” lecturing all over the country as the apostle of Peace between
Capital and Labor, charging good admission fees to his lectures, having
the railroads run special excursion trains to the towns where he
lectured, etc., he was still yearning for a steady position.

Finally the Democratic capitalist Governor Sulzer of New York, believing
that such virtuous men must be rewarded properly, and anxious to boost
his own political stock by demonstrating his appreciation of the
services of the Labor Leaders, took upon himself to champion the cause
of John Mitchell’s career. There is in New York State a good paying
political office known as Commissioner of Labor. Its chief and real
function is to act as peacemaker whenever Brother Capital and Brother
Labor are engaged in any of their interminable scraps. When the Tammany
Hall politician Dix was Governor he gave that job to a “labor”
politician Williams, who boasts of carrying in his pocket the membership
card of the Carpenters’ Union. Williams’ term recently expired, and
Governor Sulzer, Dix’s successor, seized the opportunity for playing
“labor politics.” He appointed John Mitchell to the position of
Commissioner of Labor at an increased salary, bringing it up to $8,000 a
year. But here he struck a snag. Such a fat job was bound to make the
mouth water not of Mitchell alone. Mitchell is not the only Labor Leader
on the political market. There are other politicians, among Labor
Leaders and otherwise, who would be glad to get hold of such a job, and
besides, these others are more partisan Democrats than Mitchell is, and,
consequently, enjoy the support of the more strictly Democratic partisan
members of the Senate of the State of New York, who must ratify Governor
Sulzer’s appointments. Accordingly the Senate refused to ratify the
appointment of Mitchell to the position. Sulzer sent to the Senate for
the second time the appointment of Mitchell to the same position. The
Senate again refused to ratify and thereupon the legislature adjourned
for the summer. Here, thought Sulzer and Mitchell, was their chance to
put through their deal. Since the term of Commissioner Williams had
expired, and he was only holding over awaiting the appointment of his
successor, Sulzer, Mitchell, and Williams put their heads together and
hatched out a nice little scheme. Williams put in his resignation from
the office to take place immediately. Governor Sulzer accepted it and,
since a vacancy was thus created and the Legislature was not in session,
he, as a “matter of emergency,” immediately appointed Mitchell to fill
the vacancy at a salary of $8,000 a year. Mitchell, on the spot, took
the oath of office. He then turned around and appointed Williams to act
as his first Deputy Commissioner of Labor, at a salary of $5,000 a year.
Everything appeared to be smooth sailing. Mitchell was already planning
how he would distribute among his labor leader friends the many other
jobs at his disposal, but—“there is many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the
lip,” as poor Sulzer and Mitchell learned to their sorrow.

The State Comptroller, who is responsible for the payment of salaries to
state officials, took the stand that he had no right to authorize the
payment of salaries to Mitchell and his appointees on the ground that
Governor Sulzer had no legal right to appoint Mitchell without the
consent of the State Senate, even if it was as a “matter of emergency”
during the recess of the Legislature. Attorney-General Carmody of the
State of New York took the same stand. The fight over poor Mitchell’s
job was taken from stage to stage till it reached the highest court in
the State, the Court of Appeals, which finally settled the fight by
deciding against Mitchell and Sulzer. If Mitchell lost this fat job, it
was only because of too strictly partisan politics played in this case,
because Mitchell was not strict enough a Democrat to suit the Democratic
majority in the State Senate. It was not opposed to him as
“representative of Labor.” And there can be no doubt that Mitchell will
not remain long on the list of politically “unemployed,” that at the
very first opportunity he will be given a good fat political job.

Oh, you can leave it to the capitalists, they know how to appreciate
such friends of theirs, how to take care of such “labor lieutenants” of
theirs, as the late capitalist and leading politician Senator Mark Hanna
called the leaders of the American Federation of Labor.

                        Case of James T. Lynch.

The latest instance of this policy of the capitalist politicians
occurred only a short time ago. When Governor Sulzer, of New York, was
finally prevented by the Court of Appeals from rewarding his pet John
Mitchell with that fat job of State Commissioner of Labor, what did he
do? He looked around in the market for other available “labor
lieutenants,” and found a whole raft of them standing in line waiting
for their political rewards and ready to be “seduced” without much
coaxing. His attention was attracted to the big, towering, Taft-like
figure of James T. Lynch, of Syracuse, N. Y. Governor Sulzer began to do
some figuring:

“First—Has Lynch enough of a following and influence in the Labor
Movement to be able to ‘deliver the goods,’ to influence his followers
in favor of myself and my Democratic party?”

Why yes, Jim Lynch is the International President of the International
Typographical Union, one of the pillars and most influential leaders of
the American Federation of Labor.

“Good! Next. How about his politics? Is he a good enough Democrat? Won’t
I have the trouble with him I had about Mitchell’s appointment?”

Don’t worry! Lynch is a solid “a number one” Democrat.

“Fine! Now, what is his position in the Labor Movement? Is he safe and
sane? May be he is one of those radical, Socialistic Labor Leaders?”

Who? Jim Lynch?! Isn’t he one of the most bitter, rabid enemies of
Socialism? Isn’t he a member of the National Executive Committees of
both the National Civic Federation and of the Ultramontane
Roman-Catholic “Militia of Christ”?

“Beautiful! Now to his record in the struggles between Capital and
Labor, what is it?”

Why, it can’t be beat! Lynch is the most prominent apostle of sanctity
of contracts between employers and employees, the most faithful
watch-dog of the employers’ interests and upholder of the employers’
claim to the lion’s share of the wealth produced. He not only preaches
it, but practices it with an iron hand. When the Newspaper Solicitors’
Union in San Francisco, in 1910, was compelled to declare a boycott
against the publishers of a local capitalist daily, and the boycott was
endorsed and taken up by the entire force of organized labor in that
city, it was Lynch who telegraphed to them to stop that boycott, got the
International Presidents of Union Pressmen, Stereotypers, etc., to send
similar telegrams, and finally succeeded in breaking that boycott with
the aid of President Gompers himself.

Again, when the union pressmen were locked out by the newspaper
publishers in Chicago in 1912 and the union stereotypers joined their
fight to help them in the trouble and union compositors of the I. T. U.
intended to do likewise, it was Jim Lynch who rushed to Chicago and by
threats of withdrawing their charter compelled the union compositors to
stay in and scab it on union pressmen. The International President of
the union stereotypers followed a similar policy, actually taking away
the charter of the union stereotypers who were struggling together with
the pressmen, and thus both he and Lynch broke the fight of the union
men against the daily papers in Chicago. Don’t worry. Jim Lynch never
hesitates to break a strike of union men when his and his friends’, the
employers’, interests are crossed.

“That’s bully! Why, Lynch is even better than Mitchell. Now, one more
thing. Would he be willing ‘to be insulted’ by the offer to him of a
nice, juicy political job?”

Would he? Just try him! Wasn’t he only a few weeks ago fishing in
Washington, D. C., for the appointment to the federal job of Public
Printer? He came very near landing that job, only it slipped off the
hook as Mitchell’s job in New York State slipped off.

“It’s O. K.” concluded the Governor, approached Jim Lynch,—and
discovered, or at least surmised, that he was the very man who was
pulling the wires through his friends, the politicians, to prevent the
State Senate from ratifying Mitchell’s appointment so that the job
should go to him, Jim Lynch. The friendship between dogs ceases when a
bone is thrown to them. The friendship and “solidarity” between “labor
lieutenants” of the capitalist class ceases, and they are ready to stab
each other in the back, when a good job is at stake. As to the Governor,
it made no difference to him who got the job, Mitchell, Lynch or anybody
else, so long as his political fences were thereby mended. So the upshot
of it was that Jim Lynch who was drawing $3,500 yearly salary as
President of the International Typographical Union was named for New
York State Commissioner of Labor with an $8,000 yearly salary. May God
have mercy on the souls of the working people of New York State when
James T. Lynch is in charge of the Labor Bureau!

While handing out this political plum to Lynch, Governor Sulzer, to make
assurance doubly sure, gave to another “labor lieutenant,” Charles J.
Chase, leader of union locomotive engineers, another good political job.
He made him member of an up-state Public Service Commission.

Many more such cases of “labor politics” could be cited, but the above
will suffice to show the character of the political fruits of the
American Federation of Labor. And the Sun of Labor Day helps to ripen

                         Corrupting Influences.

The demoralizing and corrupting effect of the general character and the
whole atmosphere of the American Federation of Labor, the celebrant of
the Labor Day, is also seen in the matter of “controlling the jobs by
the workers.” One of the aims of the Labor Movement is to secure such
changes in the run of things that “the workers should own their jobs.”
Well, some of the unions of the A. F. of L., bakers, printers, etc.,
have secured such a hold upon their trade in certain localities that
they succeeded in putting into their contracts with the employers
provisions that the union is to act as the employment agency for the
employer, and the latter, whenever he needs help, must take whomever of
its membership the union will send to him. On the face of it it looks as
though “the workers control their jobs,” a step to “the workers’ owning
their jobs.” In reality this “victory” is only an additional source of
corruption in these unions. The actual power of distributing the jobs is
in the hands of the business agent of the union and his hangers-on, or
of the chairman of the union chapel of the shop. This power to
manipulate the assignment of certain members of the union to more
steady, easier and better paying jobs, and others, on the contrary, as
mere “subs” to jobs for only few hours or days or for half-time jobs, or
for harder and poorer paid jobs, inevitably leads in the selfish and
corrupt atmosphere of the A. F. of L. unions to exactions of bribes by
the leaders from the unemployed union members, to favoritism, to keeping
of the “kickers” against leaders on the unemployed lists or on bad jobs.
This ulcer upon the American Labor Movement has led even to the
formation among the union printers, under the leadership of the above
mentioned Jas. T. Lynch, of a secret malodorous organization, known as
“Wahneta,” within the International Typographical Union.

In view of the above features of the American Federation “unions,”—and
they by no means exhaust the list—it is only natural that when the
“hosts of Labor” are marching in Labor Day parades they do not march to
the strains of the battle-hymn of the modern revolutionary
proletariat,—the “International” or the “Marseillaise”—unless some
misguided Socialists disgrace Socialism by participating in such
parades. No, it is to the tune of the vulgar rag-time and of the stale,
capitalist patriotic hymns that the “organized labor” forces are
marching on Labor Day. These rag-time melodies and patriotic hymns send
the cheer of joy and hope and triumph to the hearts of capitalists and
politicians. But to the ears of awakened class-conscious wage slaves and
revolutionists these tunes are worse than a funeral dirge for the hopes
and aspirations of the proletariat!

Such is the true character, aim and spirit of the American Federation of
Labor under whose auspices Labor Day is celebrated.

                       How Different the May Day!

It is the awakened, intelligent, class-conscious Working Class of the
World that stands back of the May Day. In America May Day is celebrated
by the revolutionary Socialists in the political arena and, besides a
few progressive locals of the American Federation of Labor, by the
Industrial Workers of the World in the economic arena.[1]

Footnote 1:

  The original Industrial Workers of the World, formed in Chicago in
  1905, and having at the time of this writing its headquarters in
  Detroit, and not the Anarcho-industrialist “Chicago I. W. W.”, is
  meant in this and subsequent paragraphs.

The key-note to May Day is the greatest Truth of the Age, the solidarity
of the working class of the world and the struggle for the overthrow of
the capitalist class and its wage system.

As the Preamble of the Industrial Workers of the World, one of the most
compact utterances of a revolutionary workers’ organization, expresses

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There
can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of
working people and the few, who make up the employing class have all the
good things of life.

“Between these two classes a struggle must go on until all the toilers
come together on the political, as well as on the industrial field, and
take and hold that which they produce by their labor....

“The rapid gathering of wealth and the centering of the management of
industries into fewer and fewer hands make the trades unions unable to
cope with the ever-growing power of the employing class, because the
trades unions foster a state of things which allows one set of workers
to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry,
thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars....

“These sad conditions can be changed and the interests of the working
class upheld only by an organization formed in such a way that all its
members in any one industry, or in all industries, if necessary, cease
work whenever a strike or lockout is on in any department thereof, thus
making an injury to one an injury to all.”

Fully in keeping with these basic principles are the sentiments and
ideas given utterance to at May Day celebrations, as are also the
functions and the work of the organizations, both political and
industrial, which unequivocally rally under the Banner of the
International May Day.

                        Lessons Taught to Labor.

On May Day, of all days, the men, women and children of the working
class, whatever line of work they may be engaged in in a given industry,
are appealed to by industrial union representatives to form one compact
union of the workers of the industry, and all such industrial unions to
form one nation-wide union of the working class.

They are taught that to accomplish this unification of the labor forces
the labor union must be an open union; that it is criminal and suicidal
for labor to prevent a single wage-earner, whatever his creed, color,
nationality or race may be, from becoming or remaining a member of the
union of his or her industry; that, consequently, exclusion laws against
wage-earners of any race or nationality whatever, high initiation fees,
assessments and dues, catchy trade examinations of applicants for
membership, practically prohibitory apprenticeship rules, “closing of
union books,” driving of members from the union by imposition of unjust
and excessive fines, that these and similar measures are only
contrivances to prevent the forces of Labor throughout the country and
throughout the world from coming together to advance their common

The workers are taught on May Day that a true, up-to-date labor union
must recognize that it is not true that wealth is the joint product of
capital and labor, in other words, of the capitalist class and the
working class whose claims can and should be harmonized through
“collective bargaining” and methods of conciliation, mediation and

It must recognize that, on the contrary, LABOR ALONE PRODUCES ALL WEALTH

It must recognize that the employing class as a class of social
parasites, has no real claim to any part of the wealth produced that the
workers should be bound to respect.

It must recognize that instead of the absurd aim of securing “a fair
day’s pay for a fair day’s work” the labor union movement must aim to
secure for the wealth producers the opportunity to enjoy with their
families every particle of the wealth they helped to produce and all the
benefits of a civilized society.

It must recognize that such a union, planted upon the ground of the
class struggle instead of class peace, must, in order to succeed, be
militant in character, democratic in conduct, and be guided in all its
acts and utterances by the spirit of brotherhood and solidarity of the
international working class. It follows therefrom that:

To preserve and develop its militant spirit the union must leave the
work of providing for sick benefits, death benefits and other such
ambulance and insurance features to insurance companies, fraternal
orders and other such organizations outside of the union proper;

The union must never conclude contracts or agreements with employers
which in the least interfere with the right of any member of the union
to strike or deal any blow at the employers whenever considerations of
self-preservation or of solidarity of the Labor Movement require it;

To protect itself against being sold out, against favoritism, corruption
and demoralization the membership of the union must retain in its own
hands and not entrust in the hands of a leader or leaders the final
power of ordering or calling off strikes, control over distribution of
jobs, etc.

                         The Goal—Emancipation.

Organized into a compact body of workers of a whole industry and guided
by the spirit of class solidarity the union at last will be free from
suicidal jurisdiction fights and be able to present a solid, united
front against the common enemy, the capitalist class.

A prominent feature of May Day, distinguishing it from Labor Day, is
also the recognition of the fact that “knowledge is power,” that
education of the workers in true principles of the Labor Movement, is a
vital thing. That is the reason one never sees ignorant and treacherous
politicians disgrace the Labor banner by speeches at May Day meetings as
they do at Labor Day gatherings.

As the key-note of May Day is UNITY of the working class with regard to
international solidarity and industrial union action so it represents
the principles of united action of the workers in the political arena as
well. On May Day the working people are appealed to unite politically as
a class, as well as industrially. But they are appealed to to stand and
pull together politically not for the purpose of begging from the
masters for political alms or to secure a political job for some “labor
leader,” but to protect and secure what improvements may be possible
under the present social system and prepare that material force—the
industrial organization of the working class—which is necessary to
secure the final emancipation of the working class.

Accordingly, while the Labor Day does not object to the yoke of capital
being kept upon the neck of Labor indefinitely and, at best, is
emblematic of the attempt to have the yoke padded, the International May
Day as even its battle hymn, the “International” expresses it—is a
challenge to the capitalist class, is a demand upon them to surrender,
is an appeal to the wage slave class of the world to close their ranks,
to rise and fight to secure their own emancipation, better future for
their children, to redeem the human race.

May Day marshals the forces for the impending Proclamation of Labor’s
Independence! It is the harbinger of the Social Revolution!

                              GUSTAV BANG:

                           CRISES IN EUROPEAN

                     Translated by Arnold Petersen


“As an economic interpretation of three important crises in European
history it is perhaps one of the best, considering the brevity of the
work. Dr. Bang here employs to the best advantage the Marxian key, and
succeeds in unravelling what to the average reader usually appear to be
mysteries or near-mysteries. As the author explains in his introduction,
the motive power of historical changes is to be found in the economic
basis of a given society, in the methods of production and exchange
peculiar to that society. To put it in this manner is, of course, to lay
oneself open to the charge of teaching that the economic basis, and
nothing else, influences the historical processes. Dr. Bang, however, in
the concrete examples chosen furnishes ample evidence to show that while
that undoubtedly is the chief, and in the long run the really important
factor, the line cannot be drawn too sharply between cause and effect,
seeing the effect frequently reacts upon the cause, stimulating it and
aiding in accelerating (or retarding temporarily, as the case may be)
the historical process.”—From the preface.

                                56 Pages
                             PRICE 15 CENTS

                      New York Labor News Company
                      45 ROSE ST., NEW YORK, N. Y.

                       INTERNATIONAL MAY DAY AND
                           AMERICAN LABOR DAY


                             Price 10 cents



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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