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The toiler. (Cleveland, Ohio) 1919-1922, August 20, 1920, Image 11

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88078683/1920-08-20/ed-1/seq-11/

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 1920.
TEH TOILER
rAGE IV
arouse him to a greater desire to see.
They tell him rather, that what he
sees is truth, but that due to his men
tal astigmatism he sees it imperfectly,
and that they can interprete it for
him to their mutual advantage. Not
realizing that the master lives intirely
at his expense, and that therefore a
mutual benefit is unthinkable, be falls
for the lie, and is bound in his chains
once more. So it was at the time of
this story. The Master? and the
Marionetts of labor, saw that this
industrial agitation aimed directly at
the source of power, and so they
stampeded the herd into the cane
breaks of political socialism, and from
there into tho dispersion.
The Master Class is annoyed, but
not tcrified, by the purely political
activities of the workers. As long as
the workers think they can satisfy
their present hunger at next years'
election, they may be troublesome, but
can safely be called harmless. But if
on the other hand, they organize to
control the industry from which they
make their living, they will take more
value for their product with the re
sult, that there will be less profit for
the Master. Masters love all reforms
that will increase, and despise all
action that tends to decrease, what
they call their share of the product of
labor. This is a perfectly natural at
titude with which it is useless to
quarel. For this reason they say, "If
wo must choose one of these two evils
afflicting the slaves, we prefer the
political instead of the industrial, for,
over tho political activities we have
control thru the courts, but a solidly
organized industry, in which the men
are systematically instructed as to
their needs and powers, is not so easily
handled.
Political action by the workers, un
less it has for its base a class con
scious prolitaire, bent on using the
offices of state for the furtherance of
working class interests, serves for little
more then a safety valve for the
emotional pressure of the masses. For
as it some times happens the slaves
do elect a "black sheep," the masters
will refuse to seat him, or if they do
seat him, he no sooner shows his color
then he will be removed by the courts.
The exceptions are those who do not
show their color. But if the working
class elects a member, not of a craft,
but of a well organized industry, and
backs that officer with their economic
power then ho too becomes a factor
in the state and slavery will be on the
way to oblivion.
This view however was not taken by
the industrialists of that day; they
held that industrial action was in itself
all sufficient. On the other hand, there
were many workers, who in spite of the
preditory characteritics of the own
ing class maintained that political
action was all that was needed.
Jack had told Collins before be
started on his way to thi convention,
that a programme of political action
the bolts; a fourth would seize the cars, for fire-wood; and ft'
fifth would smash the mirrors in order to shave himself by
the reflection of their f ragrnents ; and so on : it must be clear
to everyone that such a division would not only not be equal,
but would lead merely to an insane destruction of useful ob
jects, which might have served many purposes. Similarly, it
would be silly to divide up a single machine in this way. Sup
pose one man should take the driving-wheel, another the piston-rod,
and other persons should take the remaining parts,
the machine would cease to be a machine: it would become
mere scrap-iron. And it would be similar with all complicated
devices, which are more important than anything else in the
prosecution of our work. Merely consider for a moment the
telegraph instruments, the instruments for chemical works,
etc. It is clear that only a complete fool or a downright enemy
of the working-class could recommend such a division.
But such a division would not be harmful only for the
above reason. Let. us assume that by some miracle, someone
rmd succeeded in dividing up, more or less equally, everything
that had been taken away from the wealthy. Even then
nothing particularly useful would result. For what does such
a division mean? It would mean that we' should have sub
stituted a number of small owners for a few big ones. Tt
would not signify tho abolution of private property, but the
extension of it; we should have petty ownership instead of
large ownership. And yet the time of petty ownership is
already past. We know very well that capitalism and the
big capitalists arose out of the dissensions of the petty own
ers with one another. If by our division wc had succeeded
in increasing the class of small owners, the following result
would be observed: A part of them (a very large part) would
on the very next day dispose of their gains in some junkshop
and their property would in this way soon fall into the handB
of the more well-to-do owners; among the others there would
arise conflict for the sale of their materials, and in these
conflicts, the well-to-do would get the best of the poorer. The
poor would become still poorer and would by this process be
converted into true proletarians, while the richer would be
come still richer and would gradually be transformed into true
capitalist. Thus we should finally return, after osme time,
that very structure of society which we have just destroyed.
We should very soon find ourselves once more confronting the
self-same trough of capitalistic exploitation.
The division into private (petty) property is not the ideal
of the worker or of the. country-serf. It is an ideal of tBe
petty shopkeeper, who is oppressed by the big shopkeeper,
but who wishes to become a big shopkeeper himself. How
to become "one of the bunch", by getting all he can into hii
possession, that is the philistine's dream. To think of others,
to think of the final results of this scramble, that would be
asking too much of the shopkeeper; all he wants is to fed

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