Billeder på siden

must be destroyed." This slogan of Death to Unionism was answered in the intolerant position of the miners. Their purpose was not reform, but revolution; for their motto read-"Labor produces all wealth: wealth belongs to the producer thereof.” And one of their leaders boasted"Before this warfare ends, Labor must be given all, Capital itself must be destroyed, and Socialism must take its place." Here was a sweeping denial of the entire system of modern industrialism. The fundamental economic law of mutual forbearance was lost in mutual tyranny. Does this discord, do these intolerant rivals indicate any Liberty within the Law?

Thus lawless was the object, and lawless was the operation of these strikes: non-union men, after a brutal assault, are ejected into enforced exile; the dynamiting of a mine shaft results from a conspiracy hatched in the hall of the union; the presses of a conservative newspaper are demolished; a body of non-unioners are assailed by a volley from two hundred and fifty rifles, and a long, severe battle ensues; the mine-manager, sitting in his parlor, is murdered by an unseen assassin; fifteen non-union men, waiting at a depot, are hurled into eternity by an explosion of dynamite. Such instances, which were common, if not daily occurrences, illustrate this warfare on property, on Liberty, on human life itself. These abnormities were not the result of Liberty restrained by Law.

The employers retaliated by an indirect and subtle compulsion. Through Governor Peabody, a man of their own tribe, they hired the State troops. These troops were not sent out to preserve order, but in many cases to create disorder. The entire State militia, receiving their pay from advances made by this small group of mine owners, became the agent of a private feud and was directed to war on the refractory unions. In this way the employer perverted the arm of the Law.

Under such anomalous conditions, the actions of the soldiers were necessarily despotical. They seized on the

veriest suspicion union men, many of them peaceful citizens and property owners, and without trial or even accusation, forcibly exiled them from the State. Other suspects were dragged to filthy and crowded hovels, and there incarcerated for weeks without trial, aye without legal communication. Recourse to the State courts procured the habeas corpus summons that the commander of the troops produce the prisoners in court. His reply the seizure of the Court House and the intimidation of the Judge. The military, ejecting the civil governments from the town halls, was controlled, as the officers claimed, "only by orders from God and from Governor Peabody." This individual, the Governor of the State, by a proclamation declaring the existence of insurrection, clothed himself with autocratic power, interdicted free speech, decreed a rigid censorship of the press, permitted searches without warrants, and suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which Blackstone called "the second Magna Charta." Law was a minus quantity here. In fact it was the Judge-Advocate of the State who declared: “We are not following the Constitution; to hell with the Constitution." Was this blasphemy of the Constitution the spirit of Liberty within the Law?

Thus, an integral part of the American Union in the twentieth century renounced law for violence. The legislature trampled on the ballot, the unions then used the bullet, the corporations slyly corrupted the administrators of the Government, and these in turn ridiculed the Law. Democracy became absolute anarchy.

But this Colorado chaos was not the result of evils peculiar to Colorado: the citizens of Colorado are American citizens, and their faults are the faults of Americans. The causes. that induced anarchy in that State are generally prevalent throughout our country. They await only a decline in the economic or political health of other places to work disease and dissolution. I refer, not to the fact that the percentage of murders and homicides in the United States is now four and a half times as great as twenty years ago, not to the ram

pant municipal corruption of our cities, not to our state capitals where the lobby is more important than the legislature, but to that general industrial disease of capital against labor. Common sense says that these two partners of production, of material prosperity, must be real partners; for capital rusts without labor, and labor starves without capital. Yet they engage in a great national feud, and each bitterly reviles the other; so that the old religious and race prejudices of centuries gone by are reproduced in this modern industrial intolerance.

Capital appears largely in the great national trusts, which often exist at the public's expense and unscrupulously evade the Law. They assume towards combinations of workers. an antagonistic attitude. Their concessions to trades unionism are often the concessions of fear and of necessity. This hostile spirit animates whole associations of employers, like the Citizens Alliance of Cripple Creek, whose avowed purpose is the extermination of unionism. Such a spirit is not consonant with the principle of Liberty within the Law.

This lawlessness and intolerance of capital is reflected in organized labor. It also forms a monopoly, which strives by fair means or by foul to place its own selfish interests paramount. This general tendency, as in the Colorado strikes, is often accentuated by reckless leaders. Such demagogues for a transient advantage will violate the rights of the employer, of the non-union man, and of the public. The employer can't even select his own employes. For instance, in the great steel strike in 1901, one hundred and forty thousand men struck, not for higher wages, or better conditions of work, but merely to dictate to the employer whom he should hire. Sometimes they deny the property right of the employer. The dynamiting of mine shafts in Colorado are not isolated instances. Strikers have been known to hold the employer's property with cannon, to derail trains, and to commit arson. Nor do unions allow any Liberty to non-union men. They forget the fundamental right of every man to work where he pleases, how he pleases, when he pleases, and to work unmolested. In fact the vio

lence of strikes, as President Eliot says, is directed mainly against the non-union man. Not only are the rights of the individual thus invaded, but the rights of the general public are also infringed. The union will stagnate business, even injure the whole country, as in the recent anthracite coal strike, to gain a small advantage for itself. The public weal is also vitiated by the frequent recourse to violence, to the boycott, and to other illegal methods. Even the authority of the Law and the independence of the judiciary are assailed; for President Gompers warns the American Federation of Labor "against the insidious attacks upon the rights of Labor by weak, prejudiced, and bigoted judges"; and some radical unions forbid their members to join the national guard, and require an oath of allegiance, placing the union first, and the nation second. Is this attending to the business of citizenship? It is the worst kind of class spirit. It is the attempt to erect an irresponsible state within the legitimate state. It is a denial of Liberty within the Law.

This great industrial evil, the intolerance of capital and labor for each other and for everything and everybody else, creates widespread economic lawlessness. Its concomitant is violation or evasion of the statutes. And then in this general confusion are submerged the rights of the individual. This process, epitomized, is the Colorado troubles. Does this accursed warfare of classes mean future national chaos? Will the socialism of Germany or the anarchism of Russia replace American institutions? Even the optimist must here see a great national danger. The remedy-not that sentimentality which implores capital to extend the hand of fellowship to labor, not any arbitrary power to coerce any single class into peace, but the maintenance of Liberty within the Law. This means the awakening of that great middle class of law-abiding citizens, neither unionists nor corporationists, but Americans. Their lethargy, their cold indifference must change to an active crusade for the preservation of individual rights. Only this enforced supremacy of Law can prevent the recurrence of this horrible story of Colorado. To overcome the present lawlessness in American industry, we need the renaissance of the spirit of Liberty within the Law. L. O. Bergh.


[ocr errors]

LD Michael and a Tartar whom nobody knew by name. sat by a fire at the side of the river. Three other ferrymen lay asleep in the little rainproof covering. Michael, about sixty years old, gaunt and toothless, but broad-shouldered and healthy, was almost drunk-he had drunken all the vodka lest his companions of the hut might ask it of him. The Tartar was sick in body and at heart. Scanty comfort were his ragged garments on such a night. He had just finished telling for the seventeenth time of his handsome and clever wife at home. Loneliness and suffer

ing had made him look much older than he was.

"You can scarce call it God's especial land," said Michael; "this lot of water in its barren clay banks. Holy Day's past and still the water's not open."

Almost at their feet was the river in its steep channel, sullen and fierce to reach the sea. Up against the barge little ice floes broke and slid plashingly on into a frozen pulsing mass of mud. Darkness only and cold!

"At home there are no stars such as these," complained the Tartar. "The Brisksim country boasts of no such heavens. Misery, misery!"

Old Michael grinned. "You'll get used to it all too soon. You're young and foolish. God grant everyone such a life as this! Look at me. Twenty years now I've been ferrying -I above the river and the salmon beneath. I want nothing. God grant everyone such a life as this!"

"My father is ill; when he dies my mother and wife are coming. They promised me."

"What do you want with a wife and mother? The devil's been putting all that into your young head. If the devil tells you about a wife, you say, 'Don't want her.' Don't give way one inch to the devil. The devil tells you of freedom and love, and you say, 'Don't want them.' If anyone doesn't, he sinks up to his mouth in the bog; can't cry any more.

then he

« ForrigeFortsæt »