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I have personally met scores of people, before and since the nomination-and not all in the working class ranks, either-who declared themselves for Debs as their choice for President no matter who were nominated by the old parties. Not all understand the principles of socialism-it is doubtful whether all will comprehend the principles of socialism even when the co-operative commonwealth is inaugurated-but they are in sympathy with the working class' struggle and desire to give practical assistance, and naturally want as much company as possible. Hence these newcomers are wishing for a million Soialist Party votes this year.
This reminds me that a man in Chicago informed me that some time ago he attended a banquet in Washington, at which were present Mr. Mallock, the British Socialist-smasher, and a number of bankers, manufacturers, editors and other "best" citizens, including several high government officials. The discussion turned to the growth of socialism and, my informant tells me, the 400,000 votes polled by the Socialist Party four years ago created more genuine anxiety and alarm than the 2,000,000 votes cast by the Populists at the height of their power. "Fancy the state of mind the gentlemen at Washington will be in if you fellows make good and poll a million votes this year!"
And why shouldn't the Socialist Party roll up a million votes in 1908? At no time in the country's history has labor found itself in a more critical period. What with the heaping burdens upon the workers' back, with Congress turning a deaf ear to all appeals for relief, with the industrial system demoralized by the frenzied financiers, with the open shop fanatics declaring war all along the line upon those workers who dare to organize for mutual protection, and with many other minor problems confronting the laboring class, it is beyond comprehension how any thoughtful workingman can cast a vote for either old party, and thus write himself down as being satisfied with the conditions that injure and oppress him.
Debs and Hanford ought to poll at least a million votes!
A million Socialist votes would throw the fear of God into the hearts of every plutocratic tyrant and trust oppressor in the United States!
A million Socialist votes would mean the striking of a blow that I would be heard around the world!
A million Socialist votes would cause the old dry bones at Washington to rattle as they have not rattled since the election of Lincoln!
A million Socialist votes would start the wheels of Congress and State Legislatures revolving to grind out concessions in fear and dread that two million might follow at the next election!
A million Socialist votes would mean the modification of the injunction evil "voluntarily" by the judicial usurpers who are in contempt of the people!
A million Socialist votes would sound as the thunderous roar of an awakening working class to the ears of the Parrys and Posts and Van Cleaves and compel them to scurry for cover to avoid retributive lightning!
A million Socialist votes would blanch the cheeks of every Pinkerton thug and Hessian hireling and pronounce the doom of the strike-breaking industry!
A million Socialist votes would make the working class con
scious of its own strength and virility, and would send the sunshine of hope into every hovel and sweating hell in the land.
A million Socialist votes would sound the tocsin that the working class had repudiated the Pharaoh of capitalism and was preparing to march into the promised land of the co-operative commonwealth, where there will be no economic injustice, suffering and sorrow, but where equal rights and opportunities will be the order and the brotherhood of man practically applied.
Every working man who has heretofore voted with the old parties should study the present economic conditions, his party principles and leaders, and the probable developments of the future before he decides definitely how to vote this year. Unfortunately labor has "thrown away" its vote too long and is now reaping the consequences. But lost ground can yet be recovered, although in no other manner than by rolling up at least a million votes for Debs and Hanford.
And every Socialist party member and voter and sympathizer should redouble his efforts to secure at least one recruit and the million mark, will be reached quite handily. Hold meetings, circulate literature, talk to your neighbors, your friends and relatives and shopmates, and never overlook a chance to gain a convert for the cause in which we are enlisted. The names of Debs and Hanford stand for socialism in our time, and these leaders should receive and have a right to expect our most loyal and hearty support.
Several months ago it was stated in this department that if the vessel owners and dock owners of the Great Lakes insisted upon forcing the open shop system upon the seamen and longshoremen the latter might accept the situation generally, but that they had a card up their sleeves that could and doubtless would be played quite effectually. The employers passed resolutions in favor of the open ship and open dock and were successful in driving their employes to tentatively agree to abide by the edict, but there was no time limit or other usual conditions stipulated, the masters fearing that to treat with the men collectively might be interpreted as a recognition of the unions. Therefore, the individual contract idea was exploited among some of the employes, those classed as the "most desirable," while the others were given less consideration than so much junk.
Now the employes are beginning to show their teeth. At a number of points along the lakes they have returned their individual contracts and walked out on strike, and union officers announce that the men, having no agreement to bind them, reserve unto themselves the right to cease work or not, as they may choose, and wherever they like. This decision has plunged the capitalistic side of the marine interests into a condition somewhat chaotic. The vessel and dock owners are in the dark as to when or where their employes are likely to strike. They may or may not secure cargoes at one end of the lake and find trouble in transporting to or unloading them at the other end. To enlist a small army of strike-breakers, pay and feed and house them and transport them from one port to another is an expensive undertaking and may wipe out the margin of profits that they hoped for this year. Several local strikes have occurred at Lake Erie ports and they are interpreted as warnings of a coming storm. Hence some of the vessel owners, in order to get their bearings, make the announcement that shipping will be delayed until
the first of July, doubtless hoping that their employes will have become hungry enough by that time to remain at work and forego the inauguration of a general guerilla warfare.
If the vessel owners and dock managers imagined that their pronouncement for the open shop would result in stampeding the workers out of their organizations they were very much mistaken. If anything, the workers are more determined than ever to maintain their unions, and in fact the hostility of the bosses has aroused a great deal of bitterness among some of the men. They look upon the attack against their organizations at this time as being cowardly and unfair, and they are obstinately refusing to please their kind masters by dropping out of their unions. The upshot of the whole controversy may, before long, bring about what the industrialists have been looking for, namely, a close federation of all the marine and transport crafts. A compact and well-disciplined alliance on the lakes would wield immense power, and in the very nature of things would have many advantages that strictly land trades do not possess. Whether it will require a long, bitter struggle between masters and men to bring this condition about only the future can reveal.
Political action is now the shibboleth of organized labor from one end of the country to the other. In some places the unions are voting to act with the Socialist Party, in others they favor starting parties of their own, and in still others they seem to favor endorsing candidates placed in the field by existing parties who are considered friendly to the workers. While there may be doubts as to the wisdom of the unionists in localities where they are still inclined to flirt with capitalistic politicians, still the signs of awakening that are seen on every hand are encouraging. Once they begin to read and think a distinct advance has been made and it is only a matter of time when they will hit the right trail. Heretofore it has been a difficult matter to get union men to listen, but now many of them have plenty of time to consider arguments presented relating to economic problems and they display a sincere desire to learn the cause and cure of industrial depression, hostile court deisions, refusal of legislative bodies to extend relief, and so forth. The decision of Congress against enacting an anti-injunction law and passing the amendments to the Sherman anti-trust law to protect trade unions and their funds destroyed the last hope of the most conservative element to obtain the slightest recognition. Now it is politics from one end of the country to the other, and even if there is confusion for a time the indications are that the Socialist Party will profit immensely by the turn affairs have taken.
NEWS & VIEW
Peonage in Mexico. Not long ago a company in Sonora, Mexico, sent an American over the Fuerte River to hire men to work for them on a ditch. These Mexicans were to receive fifty cents a day. The American was offered fifty cents for every man he induced to come over. He was also given money for feeding these men and teams to be used on the road returning. I advised him that he would be regarded as an enemy of the Dons, since all the men upon the banks of the river are peons; but he felt certain that the Dons, themselves, would not take offense since he meant only to offer work to idle men. A few days later the dead body of the American was found upon the roadside. A Don is lord over his ranch or his business in deed as well as in word. Many men peon themselves because they are then sure of the given amount of corn every week. They earn from four, six and eight pesos per month. The patron, or Don, buys the labor power of the peon, who is required to agree to work at whatsoever his master chooses, to the best of his ability, any length of time required. Many work from eighteen to twenty hours a day. The patrons have so often cruelly misused the peons that the government was forced to enact a law for their protection. This law for the government of peons was to be posted in the construction room, or at a conspicuous place where all might read. But I have known cases where the Dons shot down a peon and were punished only by a small fine. I do not think the testimony of a thousand peons against a Don would affect the mind of a judge. The Dons uphold the government and the government, in turn, gives them full swing. A Don likes to have many peons, because in all governmental matters he is allowed to cast a vote in the name of each of them.-From a subcriber in Mexico.
Dedication of New Socialist's Hall at Ironwood, Mich. From May the first to the third, inclusive, the Finnish comrades held three days of festivities in dedication to their new hall, to the emancipation of the working class. The hall or Labor Temple, which has been in construction for some time, is a splendid tribute to the energy, intelligence and sacrifice of Ironwood Local, which is almost wholly composed of Finnish comrades, and they deserve great credit for their noble effort.
The hall is situated almost in the heart of the city, near the depot, and easily accessible to all portions of the town. It is a large building of modern architecture and one that strikes the attention of the pedestrians as soon as they enter the city.
On entering the building the slightest observation reveals the
fact that much pains have been taken to make everything safe and comfortable. The interior is very excellently arranged for entertainment purposes. The main hall, which has a seating capacity of between eight and nine hundred and possibly a thousand if slightly crowded, is provided with a good stage platform and modern stage equipment. The entrance is provided with large swinging doors, besides extra exits with red lights above them as indicators in case of fire.
On the upper floors are large rooms for serving suppers, having modern kitchen appliances; also spacious closets for hanging wearing apparel, racks being provided and numbered for hats, satchels, etc. The rooms are finished in different colors, with red and blue predominant. The wainscoting, doors and wood work are mostly all finished in a beautiful shade of weathered oak. The spacious cellar, with cement walls and floors, is finely laid out for steam heating plant, gymnasium, bathrooms and is already equipped with excellent toilet arrangements.
Everything from the cellar up shows harmony of arrangement and faithfulness to detail, reflecting nothing but credit upon the energy and ability of those whose hearts, beating in sympathy with their fellowmen, have successfully reared a home for the entertainment and education of the working class in Ironwood.
This grand achievement, consummated by a comparatively few of the total working class of that city, is a standing example of what could be done if the laboring millions would forget their national boundaries, petty superstitions, selfish politics, and band themselves together as one universal brotherhood against the one common enemy of mankind, CAPITALISM. W. J. ROBERTS,
It Was a Joke. Last month we published a short announcement by Ben Lichtenberg under the heading "Hebrew Socialist Fellowship." He writes us that the notice was intended as a joke, but that most of the papers which copied it took it seriously, one looking forward toward the formation of the H. S. F. with apprehension, and another extending a welcome and promising its aid. The editor must own that he was himself misled by the plausible way in which the notice read. It was absurd, of course, yet no more absurd than many things written in all seriousness by new converts to socialism of other creeds and races, and we had not enough personal knowledge of Comrade Lichtenberg to give him credit for that rather unusual possession, a sense of humor. We trust that he will accept this apology, and that the moral of the incident will not be lost on the next Socialist who thinks of starting another Fellowship or Association.
Better Organization Methods. On Monday, May 18, the day following the adjournment of the National Socialist Convention, an informal meeting of state secretaries was held at national headquarters. Many secretaries gave interesting reports of their work, their methods and their problems. It was suggested that some regular means of communication between state secretaries should be provided, and the editor of the Review made an announcement, which he desires to repeat here, namely, that letters from state secretaries and organizers suggesting improved methods of propaganda and organization will be welcomed for the News and Views department of this magazine.