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The Great Middle Class Worm Is Beginning to Turn
Oppression From Above and
Below Is To Be Met by Or?
Bv Ralph Courtney
THE middle classes in Eng?
land have decided to resist
capitalists above and or?
ganized labor below will now have
to reckon with the sovietized middle
The middle classes have taken a
leaf from the extremists' book. They
have decided to organize themselves
on soviet lines as the best method
of defeating their enemies.
Captain Stanley Abbot, who was
induced to forsake party politics in
order to undertake the defense of
the British bourgeois, told The
Tribune that the Middle Class
Union had sprung almost spontane?
ously from the needs of the day.
Since its inauguration in March,
1918, thousands of members have
enrolled themselves in its Tanks. It
now has a parliamentary group of
more than fifty members of the
upper and lower houses pledged to
press the objects of the union.
The grand council of the union,
which sits in London, is now fed by
more than 140 branch soviets in the
leading towns of England. Local
branches may spring up anywhere.
The rul? is that as soon as a local
branch has more than 250 members
it receives a "warrant" from the
central body which entitles it to
send a member to the grand council
in London. The grand council is
divided into management, Parlia?
mentary, organization, propaganda
and other committees.
May Even Strike
The Middle Glass Union, in pur?
suance of its ends, will use the strike
weapon if necessary. Mr. Kennedy
Jones, M. P., one of the leading en?
thusiasts of the union, says:
"On the day the middle classes
strike the despised bourgeois will
prove himself a more redoubtable
and efficient antagonist than the
Bolshevist. Not a shop, nor a bank,
nor a church, nor a hospital, nor a
dispensary, nor a theater, nor a
cinema would open. The whole
business and pleasure of the coun?
try would stop. No Papal bull of
excommunication in the Dark Ages
would have caused more complete
paralysis of national life. This is
carrying self-protection to its logi?
The Middle Class Union is enroll?
ing every one from viscount to the
meanest member of the shop-keep?
ing or professional classes. Mr.
Kennedy Jones states:
"A peer with a moderate income
may be so hard hit by unfair taxa?
tion that he is practically unable to
live. A retired greengrocer may
be so overburdened by the state de?
mands on his hard earned savings,
combined with the shrinkage of the
purchasing power of money, that
he is on the verge of beggary.
"Both peer and retired green?
grocer are of the middle classes in
the union's political use of the
phrase; without the union neither
has any to defend his cause.
"This state of affairs is so mani?
festly unfair that one wonders how
it has continued so long. The reason
probably is that only just before the
war the political power labor has
gained through its unions was fully
realized. Unless this power be con?
fronted by ether powers of nearly
equal-er of greater strength, human
? nature being what it is, it is bound
to be abused. The victims will be
the weak, those unable to defend
Solution I? Organization
"It ia the denial of civil justice,
rights and liberties by the dominant
clase for the time being, it matters
not whether it be upper, middle or
lower, that has led, and always will
lead, to revolutions and rebellions.
Let all clawes be streng, and there
will be peace in the land; good
will flourishes where self-respeet
Abound?. But at the present stage
-A civilization, as society is consti?
tuted, there cannot be strength with?
"The clase or section of the com?
munity that has no union is a mere
mob of individuals; a union wields it
into an army powerful for good or
"Organized labor and organized
capital, when in dispute, totally ig?
nore the general community; they
regard its interests simply as weap?
ons for their own purposes, and they
treat the middle classes, as Germans
did the women and children in Bel?
gium, as shields to protect their
"The middle classes are the most
powerful community in the political
world, but they are impotent, be?
cause their power is not organized.
They are the backbone of the body
politic, but a backbone without force
or life, in that each vertebra is
separate and fit only for a game of
knucklebones by street urchins."
So, at the instigation of Mr. Ken?
nedy Jones and other enthusiasts,
the middle classes formed themselves
into a trade union* under a pro?
visional management committee of
some thirty distinguished English?
men, including Sir H. 0. Bax-Iron
side, K. C. M. G.; S. F. Edge, Sir J.
Aims of the English Middle Class Union
1. To secure fair play for all classes.
2. To resist the growing menace of Bolshevism.
8. To secure ?quitable distribution of taxation among all classes.
4. TO oppose legislation which unfairly affects the middle classes.
5. To Insure that th? interests of the consumer arc considered in
all trad? disputes.
6. To stem the rise of prices which is constantly increasing?
(a) Owing to the demands of irresponsible extremists.
(b) Owing to the action of unscrupulous profiteers.
Forb?s-Roberts?n, E. P. H?witt, K.
C; C. F. Higham, M. P.; Colonel
J. R. Pretym?n-Newman, M. P., and
The ideal which the union set be?
fore itself was:.
"To organize the middle classes
for collective action to protect their
During the last six months close
upon two hundred meetings were
held by the union and its branches
in various parti of the country. On
behalf of the union the taxation
committee gave evidence before the
royal commission on income tax to
the effect that, among other things:
(a) No further increase of in?
come tax should be levied on in?
comes under $10,000 per annum.
(b) The income tax of wage
earners, whether manual or cleri?
cal, should be collected weekly.
Other activities of the union con?
sisted in obtaining the right of rep?
resentation on local committees un?
der the profiteering act and the
promise of the next vacant aeat or
the consumers' council of thirty
which sits under the Ministry oJ
Broke Railroad Strike
The first crisis which the Middh
Class Union successfully weathere?
w?as the recent railway strike. I
was owing to the spirit among th
middle classes which the union aim
at harnessing that the British pub
lie carried on until a settlement wa
In preparation for the next roun
of its fight against organized labe
a new department of the central st
viet has been formed. Two genei
als, two rear admirals and thre
lieutenant colonels have formed
committee for the maintenance <
the essential public services in tim<
of strikes and have under their cai
a carefully compiled list of the ser
ices for which members of the unie
are suited and which they voluntei
; to perform in case of necessity.
There is no move which can 1
taken by labor extremists that tl
"committee for the maintenance
essential public services" is not pr
pared to counter.
When the ?scavengers of Kensin
ton and Paddington came out t!
; other day en a lightning strike th
1 found themselves up against the c
ganization of the Middle Cl?
Union. Volunteers were imm?diat
Jy callsd out by the committee, ai
the strike thus rendered irteffecth
Nevertheless, the Middle Cl?
Union declares that it is not a stri
breaking organization, to interf?re
in ordinary industrial disputes, but'
merely intends to be ^prepared in the
event of an emergency to carry on
essential public service,?.
Although the middle class so?
viets are set up for the resistance
of oppression from above as well as
below, the union makes a sharp dis?
tinction between monopolistic capi?
talism and the ordinary variety, tow?
ard which the union has the most
?benevolent feelings. What it fears
i most is oppression from below. Or
ganized labor stands as the greatest?
enemy of the Middle Class Union.
Among middle class enthusiasts will
be found volunteers, such as those
who came forth in hundreds when
Lloyd George called for a citizen
army for the protection of the coun?
try during the last railway strike,
and who may form the nucleus of j
the "White" Guards as opposed to
the labor "Red" Guards should
these latest products of civilization
ever invade the ancient soil of
People's League to Aid
U. S. Unorganized Masses
THE precept of England's ex?
ample has borne fruit in
America, where an organ?
ized resistance to oppres?
sion from above and below has been
set on foot.
? A feW weeks ago a man from
, Winnipeg visited New York, and
while here talked of the great strike
that sought to tie up his city and
take possession of its government.
"We plain citizens got tired of
being held up as we were," he saia,
"and we got together and counted
noses. The result was that we found
the plain citizens, the middle classes,
were fifteen to one as compared to j
the strikers, and we didn't see why
fifteen men should be clubbed and
browbeaten and driven into doing
the will of one man. We turned to
and did the work that had to
be done and that the strikers re?
fused to do, and the strike was ?
broken. The middle classes can al?
ways get their rights if they will
only act together and insist on hav?
ing their rights. The trouble is that |
they lack organization." !
The leaven worked in the minds of
those the man from Winnipeg
The Sheep and the Goats
"There are in America," they said,
"something like five millions of or?
ganized labor. By a liberal com?
putation one may say there are
something like a million in the capi?
talist class, and to these must be
I added that greedy band of profiteers,
j the middlemen and the conscience
less retailers. Then there must be
added those who are willing and anx?
ious to join the capitalists on one
hand or the labor unions on the
other. And between these two
classes there are the intermediate
millions?there must be sixty mil?
lions or seventy millions of them, at
least?who are being ground to ex?
tinction with measurable rapidity by
the exactions of the labor unions on
one side and the demands of the
profiteer on the other."
The process of compression, how?
ever, has results which may be defi?
nitely counted upon. The synthetic
diamond is one of the results of
compression. What? is called spon?
taneous combustion is another, and
explosions frequently result from too
great compression of a normally
yielding mass. The compression of
America's intermediate millions has
now resulted in a thin column of
smoke which indicates the smolder?
ing fire within the mass.
December 13, at the Greenwich
Village Theater, the People's League
of America was formed. It is
the middle class union, the organi?
zation of the intermediate millions
to assert their power and demand
The People's League has three im?
mediate purposes. It wants to count
noses, to see how many the middle
dass of America actually numbers,
ft wants to raise a flag around which
these intermediate millions may
rally. And its flag will be neither
the red flag of anarchy nor the black
flag of piracy, but the red, white and
blue of liberty and, fair play. For
this reason it has taken as its motto,
"Fair play for all." In the third
place, it wants to see if the Ameri?
can middle class has the bowels to
fight for its rights, or if it is content
to writhe in torment and weakly cry
out against the tyranny of a grin?
If the American middle class will
fight, the People's League pur?
poses to give it the organization
The Revolt Between the Upper and Nether Millstones
with which to fight. At the meet?
ing in the Greenwich Village The?
ater an organizing committee was
chosen comprising Dr. Emil Mayer,
of 40 West Forty-first Street;
Charles Henry Meltzer, of 241 West
Twelfth Street; Clayton Hamilton
and Nina Wilcox Putnam. They
are to form a committee of twenty,
which will lay out a program of ac?
tion to be submitted to another
meeting to be held about January
15. Dr. Mayer is the chairman of
the present committee and Mr.
Meltzer is the secretary. They have
the duty of enrolling members, and
until the larger committee is formed
and a permanent treasurer is elect?
ed Dr. Mayer is the custodian oi
the funds of the league.
For the Unorganized
The purpose of the People'!
League is to help the unorganizec
masses of America. It does no
want any one in it who is a mem
ber of a labor union. It does no
want any one who comes under th
heading of capitalist or profiteei
It does not want large contribu
tions from wealthy people to pa;
its expenses. It wants as its mem
bers bank clerks, lawyers, doctor!
stenographers, typists, salesgirls an
salesmen, writers, farmers and fan
laborers, business and profession?
men and women of all kinds an
descriptions and wage earners wh
are not organized?every one whoj
salary or earnings have remain?
stationary or practically stationai
since 1914 and the price of who!
living has not remained station?r;
These are the ones the People
League wants as members, and thi
they may keep their independen?
of thought and action and their sc
idarity of organization it wan
them to pay their own expenses 1
a contribution of $1 a year eai
for dues and not ask for the cha
ity or philanthropy of any wealtl
man or women to warp their jud
ment and influence their action.
is the purpose of the Peopl
League to exert the power of t
American middle clas3.
One of the speakers at the me
ing on December 13 said:
"As I understand the purpose
the People's league of America,
is not that we should strike in <
particular professions, at least, i
immediately?that is not the i
mary intent?but that we sho
form a series of autonomous groi
that would be loosely federated i
a national Federal group, organized
primarily for self-protection, in or?
der that we may get a clear-cut ex?
pression of our immediate needs or
The chairman said:
"An organization of this kind that
asks for justice must not be un?
just. One of the things that we
purpose to do is to have our con?
stitution so arranged that the
organization will not be part and
parcel of any individual's property,
nor will any action be taken on be?
half of the association that has not
been passed upon by a majority of
the officers and the counsel of the
"We hope to have the league so
constituted that it will be like the
government of the United States,
having a national body and state
bodies, the national body having
the control of affairs of national
import, the state bodies to take care
of their own affairs. The chair?
man and officers of the state bodies
are to be members of the national
committee, together with the chair?
man and officers of the national
The League's Purpose
In explaining what the league in?
tended to fight, Mr. Meltzer said:
"We ask you to join hands with
u^s in fighting' tyranny and greed
We are tired of reading of the suf
ferings of stevedores who lunch ai
Delmonico's. Wc are sick of th<
impudent arguments of oppressive
pork packers. We can sympathize
with the coal minera and not be
grudge anything they can make ou
of their work as long as we don'
have to pay an unjust price for ou
coal. We want very much to ge
after those particular landlords wh?
have been so merciless to the pool
Those landlords should be hunte
down like the sordid beasts the
are, and there are means of punish.
ing them which are legal, and whic
we can get together on. We abho
all those unnecessary middlemei
"We believe that in this natio
there are forty or fifty millions, i
not more, of unorganized citizen
who, just because they are ne
organized, are the playthings of
minority of about five millions, par
ly federated labor men sad parti
capitalists or middlemen who ai
organized. Our hope is to indue
the intermediate millions, who ai
neither hand workers nor capita
ists, nor vile profiteers, to organize,
however loosely at first, into one
great league, which, when once
organized, will have the power to
enfoi'ce its purpose. We protest alike
against the attitude of that vanished
millionaire who said 'The public
be damned' and the attitude of the
striking dock laborer who said the
other day 'The public can go to
hell,' at a time when the public was
being held up for a great part of
the necessaries of life which were
lying and rotting away on the ships.
We are the public, and we do not
intend to be sent to hell to oblige
either millionaires or laborers."
What France Did
What are to be the means of ac
tion of the People's League? Mr
Meltzer suggested some of them
"Agitate, agitate, agitate," he said
"That is the way in which ever:
broad reform has been carrie<
through in England. Agitation ha
been the means to the end. Here i
has been a little bit neglected. Pec
pie seem to have fallen into th
habit of trusting everything to th
government, or to the local authori
ties, and trusting very little, indeec
to themselves, to their own initi?
"In France lately, when thes
labor troubles came, and when a
the profiteering began, the peop!
were very much more miserable tha
they arc here to-day. They got t?
gether, they dug up the statistic
they studied the economic questioi
and they went around from sto:
to store and they said: 'Look her
we know the cost of such an arl
cle is so much, and why do you si
it at 100 per cent more? If you dor
stop it we are going to do somethii
to you.' They never had to do an
thing, because the storekeepers ii
mediately put down the prices. \
could do the same sort of thing h?
just as well as they did it the
and we would have to sacrifice or
a little bit of our time and comf1
for the purpose.
"We could advocate strenuou
the restriction by law of net prof
so that no storekeeper should be
lowed to make 100 per cent pre
and we could boycott notorious
fenders. That is a very practi
way of gettihg at these profite?
these landlords who are abus
their power and at a great mi
other people through whom we
suffering. In small communitie
' believe social ostracism would be
ver^r efficacious, though I do not
believe it would be practical in large
cities like New York."
A Going Concern
The People's League is already a
going concern, with several hundred
members, and the list is growing
daily. The number of persons who
have written to the organizing com?
mittee from all parts of the country
and from all walks of life is really
surprising. The ?lames seem likely
to follow at any moment the thin
column of smoke that is rising from
the compressed mass of the Ameri?
can middle classes.
"It took seventy-five years for the
labor unions to get where they are
to-day," said a profiteer, who sniffed
at the idea that the middle classes
might rise in their might and smite
him hip, thigh and brogans. "How
do you expect to get anywhere in our
"Yes," replied the People's
Leaguer, "it may have taken them
that time. But they ?ave been
working seventy-five years, perhaps,
to show us how to do this thing in
?IELDS of pure bred Grimm al?
falfa grown in North Dakota
by members of the North Dakota
Grimm Alfalfa Growers' Associa?
tion will hereafter be registered in
just the same way that pure bred
livestock is registered, and the seed
will be sold in sealed containers
bearing the trademark of the asso?
Recognized by. agricultu! i*;.- as
the hardiest alfalfa, the Grimm
variety is being introduced ex?
tensively in all states eastward to
the Atlantic seaboard, but trouble
has been experienced in the produc?
tion of seed owing to the dampness
of the climate in some places.
This compels many farmers to
go to outside sources for thei* ?
seed. In order that purchase?
from other states may be assured
of the standard quality of the seed,
the association in North Dakota has
adopted the hard am! fast rule of
registering the fields end will thor?
oughly clean, test and standardize
all seed produced by its members.