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CHAP.
XII

& Temporary Mis

into a

cents, for which he receives twenty cents. Then, too, he must help the white man during sheep shearing and sheep killing with

out other wages than food, coca and rum. Converting The institution of debt slavery permits the rich to take advan

tage of the misfortunes of the poor by loan contracts which sink fortune

the borrower and his descendants into perpetual bondage in case Perpetual Hereditary

the loan is not repaid at the appointed time. Centuries before Obligation the tsars bound the peasants to the soil, many Russian cultivators

had lost their liberty of removal from one manor to another in consequence of owing money to the landlord. They were chained to the estate, unless they found some other landlord willing to pay the money they owed and thereby acquire the right to remove them to his own manor. In tropical America the institution of peonage permits the planter to bind the agricultural laborer to his hacienda by means of a small advance of cash or goods.

A few years ago investigation by the U. S. Immigration Commission disclosed the fact that immigrant peonage existed in every State in the Union save Oklahoma and Connecticut. Altho in the South and West many aliens were being held to labor against their will under intolerable conditions, it was in the lumber camps of Maine that the commission found "the

most complete system of peonage in the country." Tho Leverage

An exorbitant charge for the use of capital is another means of Usury by which the monied man exploits the poor. We read of Java:

“ It is not the large European capitalist, but the small native or Oriental capitalist, who is the most conscienceless exploiter of peasant labor. Many of the Javanese peasants have their crops mortgaged for three years in advance, and are forced to pay interest at the rate of from 10 to 50 per cent. a month.” “Were it not for the protection afforded to the natives by their land laws a considerable part of their land would soon pass into the

hands of Chinese usurers through mortgage foreclosures." Power of

There is no greater error than to suppose with the anarchists Wealth that the state is the one great engine of exploitation. Often More Primitive government offers the sole check upon the power of the rich to than Gov.

hire armed men to work their will upon small proprietors whose ernments

lands they covet. The anarchy in France under the weak Mer

3 Ross, “South of Panama," 152.

* Bulletin U. S. Department of Labor, “ Labor Conditions in Java," p. 933.

Tho

and May Be Greatest When the State Is Weakest

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CHAP.
XII

wings of the seventh century did not make for liberty. Not only
did the slaves fail to rise, but the proportion of slaves in the
population actually increased. Many sold themselves in times of
distress, others were kidnapped. The weak had to implore the
favor of the strong, so that dependence and subordination spread.
Vot always does the strong state crush down the masses. It
may preserve a wholesome equilibrium between petty and great,
poor and rich. For once public authority abdicates, the poor or
friendless man has to submit himself to him who has armed
kinsmen or retainers at his beck.
4. The few by the many. Conservatives pretend that this is The

Problem Is the most imminent and menacing form of exploitation and extol Not to

Keep c'ass privilege, restricted suffrage and constitutional limitations Many from upon the scope of action of the legislature as means by which Exploiting

the Fow the propertyless Many may be restrained from despoiling the propertied Few. The fact is there is no social system under which the Many regularly exploit the Few. Obliged to live by L5or the masses are not apt to become infected with the idea of áving off the fruits of other men's toil. It is an infection transmitted from parent to child in the propertied families. Save when they are set upon some religious or racial minority in the population - such as Moors, Jews, or Armenians — it never ocCurs to the Many to despoil those whose lot is like their own. Hi ever they ravish away the goods of the possessing Few, it is because the idleness, luxury, pride and aloofness of this class have destroyed all sympathy with them. So long as they exhibit the ordinary economic and social virtues, the capable are in no danger írom popular envy and cupidity. 5. The industrious by the leisured. The industrious are not

Tho Kept to virtuous to exploit others, but they are too scattered and busy Hatch

Exploitivo to hatch schemes of exploitation. It is the leisure class which Schemes has the time, the organization, the continuity, and the resources for putting through an exploitive enterprise. One of their great strokes was getting the European State to release the holders of the fieis from their feudal obligations, so that great parcels of la-d granted originally as a means of endowing the defense of the Train became on easy terms private property pure and simple. Arther was the wresting of land from the old European village comunities. Kropotkin denies that the agricultural communities died a natural death, but insists “ The village communities

Classes

CHAP.

Tho Ignorant are Exploited by Means of Trade

had lived for over a thousand years; and where and when the peasants were not ruined by wars and exactions they steadily improved their methods of culture. But as the value of land was increasing in consequence of the growth of industries, and the nobility had acquired under the state organization a power which it never had under the feudal system, it took possession of the best parts of the communal lands." 5

Perhaps the nearest modern counterpart is the appropriation of the natural wealth of Mexico by the “Cientificos" under President Diaz in the thirty years preceding 1910 and the stealing of farm land from the peasants until agricultural Mexico came to consist of nothing but great estates.

6. The ignorant by the intelligent. Relations freely entered into between intelligent persons will benefit both, whereas if one person is ignorant the same relation may lead to his exploitation by the other. The European trader goes to the uncivilized native of the tropics and induces him to part with everything he has for spirits or opium, or tempts him with goods on credit. The trader offers gay cloth, knives, gongs, guns and gunpowder to be paid for by some natural product of the jungle or some crop not yet planted. The ignorant native has not sufficient forethought to take only such goods as he can pay for and not enough energy to work early and late to get out of debt. The result is he sinks deeper and deeper into the morass of debt and remains for years or for life a debtor and almost a slave.

Or consider how the Indians of the Sierras are gulled. The mining companies in Peru recruit most of their underground labor through agents who go about and “ hook" (enganchar) the guileless native. The “hooker" turns up in a village some weeks before the annual fiesta in honor of its patron saint. On such an occasion the Indian is wont to “ blow" himself because his entire emotional, recreative, and social life centers about this fiesta. What with presents of vestments or jewels to the effig of the saint, fees to the priest for masses, and a feast for his numerous relatives and friends, he is in a mood to embark on reckless spending. Comes now the wheedling "hooker" and offers him from $30 to $50 cash, provided only the Indian will sign a bond to repay the debt by labor. The Indian signs and. after sobering up from the fiesta, he reports to the "hooker *

3" Mutual Aid," p. 236.

The enganche System in Peru

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and is sent up to the mines to dig ore at perhaps 14,000 feet

CHAP. above sea-level. The Cerro de Pasco Mining Co. alone has 4000 natives in its employ under the enganche system. The miner gets, say, seventy-five cents a day, of which a third keeps him while the rest is applied on his debt. On the average four months of labor is necessary to make him a free man again. The estates of the montaña region east of the Andes, as well as those of the coast, snare the natives of the highlands by this method.

Often the Indian signs the contract when drunk and usually be fails to realize where he is to work and how. He thinks he is to work for the "hooker," whereas he may be sent a hundred miles away to toil in a freezing mine gallery or a hot cane field. Buried far from home in a coast sugar hacienda or a 3. ntaña coffee estate, the poor fellow finds himself a slave without a shred of legal protection and quite at the mercy of his etrpioyer.

It is so much easier to rob the blind than the seeing that all exploiting classes resist the extension of popular enlightenment, or if, for efficiency's sake they educate the common people, they give this education a strong dynastic or ecclesiastical flavor, as thry did in the case of the Prussian Volksschulen. 7. The unorganized by the organised. In the last two cen- The Later

Roman turies of the Roman republic the territory won by arms, altho Republic the property of the state, was in the hands of four or five hun- Organized deed magnates whose citadel of power was the Senate. Beneath tation them lay several millions of freemen, Italians or provincials. The former held great blocks of the land of the state by “precarvus" tenure; the latter were in turn precarists of the former. Thus there was a hierarchy of tenants and sub-tenants, all holdng directly or indirectly of the state. But since the magnates were usually senators, i.e., the government itself, their dependance on the state was nominal. They even rid themselves at so of every payment for the use of their immense stretches of pcbic lar.d. On the other hand, the dependence of the suboccupants upon these magnates was real and strict, so that the latter realized the full worth of the use of the land. It is thus that a well-knit phalanx handles the multitude.

The European powers have had a like " purchase” upon their • Russ, South of Panama," p. 153.

Was

CHAP.
T

ers

tropical colonies. Between 1827 and 1864 Spain drew from Cuba a revenue of eighty-seven millions of dollars. “The Dutch East India Company," says Ireland," was a company of brisk and energetic tradesmen who with profits as their lode-star and greed as their compass obtained through the chance of events absolute control of one of the most beautiful and fertile regions of the earth and unhesitatingly sacrificed it to their low ideals." ;

“ In the thirty-five years of the full operation of the culture system in Java it contributed over $200,000,000 to the treasury of Holland, representing chiefly profits on the sale of government coffee and sugar, after paying all the expenses civil and military

of Netherlands India." The

The unparalleled looting of many large American cities in the "Cohesive Power of years before the great civic awakening beginning about 1905 Public Plunder" exemplifies the leverage afforded by organization. The “graftExempli. fied in

were not numerous but they paid no attention to party American lines or to the line between public business and private business. Cities

With the saloon keepers, gamblers and keepers of houses of prostitution, the gas, electric lighting, water, tramway and railway companies, together with certain favored contractors, bankers and business men, the politicians formed a “ring” buttressed by the votes of blind partisans, selfish job-holders, naive naturalized immigrants and venal “floaters," reinforced by electoral frauds. The robbed taxpayers were far more numerous, but they were for the most part unaware of how they were exploited or else divided on lines of party, nationality, occupation and social class. An immense effort of exposure and agitation through several years was necessary before the citizens could be aroused to the point of banding together against the plunderbund; but once they rose in their might the ringsters were swept away like chaff be

fore a gale. Making Religion

8. Laity by priests. Among the rural people of India there Profitable is no domestic incident which does not entail its tax of offerings

or food for the Brahman. Nothing happens without the Brahman being " feed and fed." To sustain the spiritual life of the people is not their concern. As Brahmans their business is to eat, not to teach. Says Strachey, “ The universal acceptance of Brahmans, and the recognition of their divine right to be fed by the rest of the community, is the one link between the count

p“The Far Eastern Tropics," p. 173.

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