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Newspaper Page Text
pensation acts and I have been up against the desperate tactics -of jor
So I know what terrific odds must be overcome before any relief can
come through laws. i
And I know that the quickest and surest relief will come through or
ganization of the employes though self-help.
Of course, there will be determined opposition to organization of em
ployes, although the State street merchants themselves are tightly organ
ized just think of it, those millionaire merchants organized to protect
themselves against their slaves, and fighting hard to prevent those slaves
from organizing to protect themselves.
Already women clerks have been discharged for no other offense than
joining a clerks' union with some other brave souls who have risked their
living to emancipate the department store slaves.
And that's what I would like fo have--that committee investigate. I
would like to have the State of Illinois, through that senate committee, force
these millionaire slave drivers to testify, under oath, all about their own
organization and their hostility toward any organization of the clerks.
I would like to have the people of Chicago know whether any part of
the department store trust organization is a blacklist by which any clerk
discharged by one store is barred from work in any other store in the trust.
I have no objection to the store owners themselves organizing, but I
don't see how any fair-minded human being can deny the same right to
If a boycott is wrong, then the blacklist is infinitely worse; for the boy
cott is a weapon of the weak, while the blacklist is a brutal bludgeon of the
I can't see how any employer with a heart or a conscience can enjoy
being in his own company, when he knows he is part of a. conspiracy of
millionaires to keep in subjection helpless clerks who are wearing out their
bodies and starving their souls for less than a living wage.
A feeling of horror, and almost of hatred, creeps over me when I pass,
the Field Museum. I don't like to walk along State street and look into the
windows of the big stores, for I can't look at the gaudy dummies in the
windows without thinking of the human beings inside and wondering
what chance they have in the cruel industrial war with capital, business,
banks, newspapers, government and everything powerful and big against
And I laugh an unhappy, beastly laugh when I think of what little pro
tection there is for them in man-made law.
As J walk by the big newspaper offices, I think of the poor white slaves
inside, the hired editors and reporters, who would dearly love to fight for
social and industrial justice, but who dare sing no song untuned to the click
of the cash register in the business office counting up the hard, cold cash
that comes m from the department stores.
For I know the kind of men they are, these editorial slaves of" the busi
ness office and I know why it is that often the best- of them go to a friendly
salopn to get full and forget their slavery and their trade.
Then I wonder what happiness any man can find In being a million
aire publisher, if he has sold for those millions his freedom to fight human
ity's battle. He doesn't own his money; his money owns him. He's an
abject, servile, pitiable slave. Even if he has a heart and it has even a little
tremble of sympathy for the men, women and children who wok for la beg
garly existence why, the poor devil of a millionaire slave, the money-