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self, by the centralization of capital. One capitalist always kills many. *** Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point were they vecome incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated."
Here we have the prophecy not only of the trust, but of its disappearance. On the truth of this prophecy, and of the laws which lie back of that prophecy is based much of socialist reasoning. Some of this reasoning has been evolved from other and less careful examinations of industrial evolution that those upon which Marx based his statements. Indeed the more carefully Marx is studied the more the student is struck with the cautious accuracy of his statements even at times when he uses then most vehement expressions.
From this chapter of Marx' and similar expressions has been drawn the material from which to construct a theory that the coming of the trust meant the immediate downfall of capitalism, that it was the appearance of the trust that was in itself to "burst the integument of capitalism". To be sure there is nothing in Marx that justifies this position. Yet this has been interwoven with the Marxian theory of crises to form the foundation of a theory that the coming of the trust heralded the coming of a world-wide industrial crisis in the modst of which the transition would be made to socialism.
Let us examine some of the phenomena introduced by the trust and see in how far these things that have been so widely accepted as fundamental principles of. Marxian Socialism are justifiable.
There is much reason to believe that Marx looked upon the trust stage as an exceedingly temporary one. Although, with that charactristic scientific caution to which reference was just made. he never made any definite statement to that effect, it would seem that he considered the trust stage the climax, the closing scene of capitalism, and that, in his mind, the stage would be occupied but a short time with the gigantic actors of the era of monopoly. Otherwise, socialism, to him would have been little else than a theoretical system, with little need of practical political parties.
Today we are in the midst of that trust era. We should be surrounded by the fragments of the "bursting integument of capitalism." To a certain extent this condition does prevail, but on the whole the integument is fairly firm.
It would seem that what Marx did not see, or at least did not attempt to analyze, is the economic workings of a society in which competition should not be the dominant factor. Today it is nonsense to talk about the price of coal, kerozene, railroad rates, telegraph tolls, and a host of other things being fixed by competition, or even being determined by the amount of labor power which they contain. If this be treason, make the most of it. It is a fact that should be faced at least. To be sure Marx saw much more of this fact than
most of his followers, as may be shown to those who should chance to fall afoul of the above statement.
It would have required more than human foresight for anyone to have analyzed the economic interactions of a society which did not yet exist. For Marx to have, attempted it would have been as foolish as for us at the present time to attempt to foretell the details of a co-operative commonwealth, and would have placed him among the utopians whom he so frequently denounced.
It is now evident that the trust ruled society will be with us for some few years at least. We are now within that society. Our practical tactics and our theoretical writings must be adapted to that society, and not to he competitive one that has been left behind. Yet there is almost nothing in Socialist writings to show even a recognition of this fact.
It would be manifestly impossible in the scope of an editorial to do more than suggest a few of the problems and leave them without discussion to be considered by the readers.
The coming of the trust has once more transformed production for the market back to production for use. But the circle, like all those representing social progress, is a spiral, and the present position bears little resemblance to the one which was left behind at the beginning of the last century. It is well-known among business men that the great trusts of today, especially those in steel, the manufacture of electricical supplies, copper, railroad supplies, locomotives, etc. do not produce for an unknown market, but only "on order". To a large extent this removes one of the greatest elements of th industrial chaos so charactristic of the competitive age. There will not be any great "overproduction" in any of these lines. New mills are not built when the demand shows a sudden increase. On the contrary the customer is permitted to wait the gracious pleasure of the producer, until the accumulated orders become so great as to certainly justify the addition of new productive facilities.
Another fact, closely related to the above, but more frequently noted, is that the trust, occupying the field, can control production, curtail or increase it to meet fluctuations, without overstocking the market.
The relation of the trust to labor raises another interesting question. The ordinary trade union depends for success in strike largely upon the fear of the employer that some competitor will get his trade while his industry is tied up with a strike. Under a trust organization of industry there are no competitors, and the only thing which is endangered is immediate profits, and these can be postponed with joy for the certainty of the greater profits that will follow the crushing of rebellious laborers. On the other hand, if the revolt of labor seems to really threaten all profits, the trust can increase the share of labor, without fear of being underbidden in the market by more successful exploiters.
There is no doubt but what there is enough competition to render all the calculations of the trusts most uncertain. It is also possible that this residum of competition is sufficient to cause individual crises in the future but it is quite certain that these crises will be somewhat different from those which have gone before and it is worth while for us to begin to consider what new features are being brought into the problem.
Another feature closely allied with these we have been describing is that for the first time the capitalist class is beginning to be class-conscious, in the wider, far seeing meaning in which socialists use the word. There can be no doubt but what some of the rulers of the present society realize the existence of the problem of disposing of the vast amounts of surplus values taken from the workers. If they do realize this and can secure unity of action through governmental and private agencies, the questions of overproduction, crises, and relation to labor must be greatly affected. There are plenty of opportunities for the capitalist class to use any surplus at its disposal. The Panama and Erie canals, the irrigation project of the government, are but a few of the ways in which large sums of money can be expended in works that are not immediately productive of any surplus value in a form that will be troublesome to its possessors.
Any one who has seen European water-ways with their continuous banks of masonry can see that if a similar plan of improvement should be undertaken for the Mississippi and its tributaries, it would afford an outlet for billions of dollars and might easily defer any over-production crises for a generation.
These are but the most general suggestions of some directions in which the Socialist explanation of economic phenomena and evolution is being modified by recent developments, which are in themselves in direct accord with socialist philosophy.
There is need that these should be analyzed and explained that it may be seen whether these industrial changes produce any essential change in the superstructure of political tactics that has been built upon them.
THE WORLD OF LABOR
BY MAX S. HAYES
That slavery in some form is the ultimate lot of the working people of this country has long been predicted by those who have watched the evolution of capitalism. Every day almost some new evidence is given that this probable fate of labor is not mere speculation or the thoughtless assertion of some crank, but the facts speak loud enough. We all know how in industrial struggles strikebreakers are loaned about among employers like so many cattle?
For example, recently a convention was held in Cleveland by the so-called Master Sheet Metal Workers' Association (affiliated with the American Federation of Capitalism). A Cincinnati "master" reported that there was a strike on in his place and requested assist ance. The other "masters" in the convention promised to send him all the "men" he needed to pick his cotton-or rather do his sheet metal work. Such is the situation in all lines of industry.
Now, as economic power has its political reflex, as the Socialists say, we find that this principle of ownership of men by men is given expression by the courts. Not long ago a manufacturing concern in Michigan secured an injunction against a competitor restraining the latter from enticing its employes away by offering better working conditions!
But right here before me is the Wall Street Journal of Sept. 19. On the front page is a long article captioned "Property Rights in Labor." The Journal quotes liberally from a decision just handed down by Judge Jones, of the Circuit Court of the United States, in the case of the Louisville & Nashville railroad against the Alabama Railroad Commission to restrain the latter body from interfering with its employes. Judge Jones declares, among other things:
"An employer has a property right in the services of his workmen in his business. The employer can maintain an action against any one who entices his servant to leave him, or prevents the servant from working for his employer. This property is protected by the sanction of our criminal laws also."
Halt, you runaway nigger! Is this plain enough for you? The Wall Street Journal in its comments, adds that this principle may be applied in the relations of employers and trade unions, and wonders at the "master" "that larger use has not been made of this property right in disputes with organized labor when there is clear evidence of employes being enticed away from his employment."
The foregoing is something for you to think about. Mr. Workingman. If it's not clear enough probably the "masters" will furnish you with a diagram of what they intend doing.
It is not unlikely that the American Federation of Labor executive council will retaliate against the Van Cleave-Parry-Post outfit, who have brougt suit in the Washington courts to have union labor's "unfair list" declared illegal. Not only is the attack of the enemies of organized labor to be met and fought through to the United states Supreme Court, but counter action may be instituted charging the employers with conspiracy. It is claimed that plenty of evidence can be produced to prove that the Van Cleave bosses have blacklisted organized workingmen and thus boycotted trade unions, and that even the formation of the capitalistic federation of some twenty odd national employers' associations was a secret conspiracy. President Van Cleave, of the National Association of Manufacturers, the head and front of the movement to disrupt organized labor, is making a ridiculous attempt to thinly veneer the real purpose of the labor-crushers. Their sole object, they say, is to enforce "industrial peace" and to protect the dear public, whose guardians they have appointed themselves. For that purpose they are raising a war fund of $1,500,000, establishing labor bureaus to furnish strikebreakers in times of trouble, and preparing lists of all union men and especially known agitators. It is further asserted that at their New York convention these capitalistic guardian angels agreed to quietly lay off their union employes wherever possible, be ginning with the most "rabid agitators," and that the output of their plants is to be reduced rather than employ known members of organized labor. It is claimed that this campaign is now on in Eastern and Middle Western States.
The organizations that are affiliated with this American Federation of Capitalism (which should be its proper name) are: The Citizens' Industrial Association of America, National Association of Agricultural Implement and Vehicle Manufacturers, National Foundry Association. National Association of Employing Lithographers. Merchant Tailors' National Protective Association, National Wagon Manufacturers' Association, National Plow Association, National Erectors' Association, National Association of Master Plumbers. National Metal Trades Association, American Anti-Boycott Association, American Cotton Manufacturers' Association, United Typothetae of America, National Association of Master Metal Workers, Hardware Manufacturers' Association of the United States, Master Copper Workers of the United States. National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, and Carriage Builders' National Association.
While the telegraphers' strike has held the attention of the organized workers of the continent during the past months, the struggles of the bookbinders for an eight-hour day, of the ore miners of Minnesota for recognition and an advance in wages, of the machinists on the Erie railway and in half a dozen cities for better conditions. of the building trades in Washington and a number of smaller places against the open shop and numerous other local contests, such as the street railway men and others in San Francisco, brewers in New Orleans, etc., have all added to the intensity of the class war that is raging between the organized workers on the hand and organized capital on the other.
The telegraphers made a magnificent contest from the start for a comparatively new organization without funds and lacking the experience and discipline that come only with years of hard knocks. This is especially true when it is considered that the telegraphers were confronted by three as rapacious corporations that ever existed