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Newspaper Page Text
ONE MAN'S OPINIONS
BY N. D. COCHRAN.
Labor and Liquor. Behold what a
great blaze the small spark kindleth.
The strike at the Henrici restau
rant appears to be a small thing, but
it is pregnant with tremendous conse
quences. If the result of that strike affected
nobody but the employer and em
ployes directly involved' it wouldn't
amount to much. But already it has
involved practically the entire em
ploying class on one side and all labor
on the other.
The Hotel and Restaurant Keeper's
union first got back of Henricis, then
the State Street Store Owners' union
got back of that, and gradually the
.brewery trust, the organized liquor
interests and other capitalistic unions
are, being involved.
On the other hand, back of the
cooks and waitresses, is the Woman
Trades Union League, the Chicago
Federation of Labor and whatever
friends union labor can muster.
There is some significance also in
the fact that many women of influ
ence have interested themselves in
the fight of the waitresses for living
wages, one day's rest in seven and
more humane working conditions.
I am glad of this because it indi
cates that women are disposed to
take their, position politically on the
human instead of the dollar side of
the industrial war, which must be
come eventually a political war.
It is possible that it may bring wo
men voters and the workers closer
It may eventually throw labor on
the side of the drys and against the
wets in Illinois and then the nation.
I have 'talked with workingmen
lately, men who have been active on
the side of personal liberty which
has come to mean liberty only in .the
interest of the liquor business, and
not liberty in a wider sense for the
working class. Liberty to drink all
the booze men want to drink, but not
liberty to organize for bread and but
ter. Some of these men have gone to
Springfield to help the liquor interests
to save their business from attacks
by the drys.
They say now, however, that the
liquor interests have not only been
hostile to woman's suffrage, but have
helped the employers kill legislation
in the interest of labor.
Some of these workers, have said
to me recently that if the liquor in
terests are going to fight their efforts
to get one day's rest in seven through
labor organization, then they will be
driven to get that one day's rest
through state-wide prohibition.
The saloon has always been an ac
tive influence in politics. One reason
is that it has been the poor man's
club, the only social center open to
the workingman. But most of the sa
loons are now owned or controlled by
the brewers, and saloonkeepers, like
the small retail business men, have
become little more than clerks for
The brewers line up with the capi
talistic class in the war of labor. It
must follow that labor eventually will
be at war with the liquor interests,
and that may force labor to prohibi
tion as a measure of self-defense.
I am reporting here what I know
is running through the minds of
workers who see the situation
more clearly than do their richer and
more ignorant brothers who happen
to be in the employing class.
Labor is learning that the rich man
who has no heart has a pocketbook,
and that the pocketbook nerve is the
most sensitive nerve the average cap
italist has. And they are learning to
strike at the pocketbook, when the
heart and mind are closed to their
appeals for justice.
There are more employes in this
world than employers. When em
ployes learn to vote together there
can be no argument as to what class
will control government It is inevit
, able that in due course of time the