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EDITORIAL PAGE OF THE TOILER
How The San Francisco Labor Coun
cil Beat Out The General Strike.
THE RIGHTS OF ALIENS.
ON WHILn. lnti' suon wa. an attack on all or
to state that it was an open question ifjare some here who think that they i COUNCIL COULD VOTE, WAS A' izations of abor.
It is interesting to note the discussion which bobs up now and
then regarding the 'rights of aliens'. Up until recently we were
led to believe that the rights of aliens were equal with those of
we natives of the land of the free and brave in so far as their
being fellow human beings and live and aspiring atoms of this
universe. We thot, because we were taught it in school, that our
laws guaranteed safety and the pursuit of happiness to every
human wight who sought out our hospitable shores.
But times have changed. A great part of Europe, the home
lands of America's immigrants have been or are being swept into
the maelstrom of political revolution. And in America the alien
has become of a race apart. He is looked upon with suspicion by the
laws and the law's authorities. His rights here are being looked
into, investigated and curtailed. He is no longer the welcome
pioneer of other days. Liberty flies from him and when he reaches
with outstretched hands to her she turns only to knock another
illusion from his head. To keep the European conflagration from
America has become the motive of government, and the first step
is to persecute the aliens.
The supreme court of appeals of Massachussetts recently de
fined the bill of rights af aliens of that state which from the
moment the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth has felt the feet of
millions of other hopeful pilgrims upon her bosom. It may be
looked upon as a sign of the changing attitude of America toward
the alien that Massachussetts has taken up and calculated so
nicely the rights of aliens.
Aliens, 'says the court of appeals, have no right to take part
in any effort to change the form of government of the state or
nation. The aliens are not to be considered as stockholders of the
nation and so have not the privilege of assuming to offer any
i , i 1 1 . . i mi jj.i r i. l : 1 . .
lions as 10 uie government nere. uie ugiuny ih hub malev
olent pi&e of Massachussetts Blue Law court action was evident
when the court went on
aliens were not violating, the law by taking any part in printing
or circulating any literature defaming the government. This
would seem to be an invitation from the court to bring in your
aliens who want a change of government and it will take care
The capitalist government of America is attempting to
straight-jacket the political activity of the American working
class. The only political action it sponsors is casting a paper bal
lot every so often. That done, it asks nothing more but quiesence
and acquiescence of the workers. No general strikes, no mass
action, no talk of Soviets, Proletarian Dictatorship, or of any
other slogans or methods of the new political action of the work
ers. Cast your ballot and leave the rest to me, says capitalism.
As long as capitalist governments exist they will of course
seek to keep political action of the workers straight-jacketed in
this manner. It is eminently satisfactory to capitalist rule that
the workers take no wider concept of political action than is em
braced in dropping a ballot in a box with the name of a capital
ist's political tool printed thereon.
Only a Soviet form of government can offer the great masses
of workers and exploited a real opportunity to function politically.
When political action begins in the workshop extending on up
thru the industry thruought the country, embracing only work
ers, then will the workers have a real part in deciding the con
ditions, political and otherwise under which they shall live. When
citizenship i8 based upon the fulfillment of the obligation to work
and produce, instead of upon residential qualifications as now,
you will observe the capitalists dodging the "duties" of citizen
ship here just as they did in Russia at the beginning of the
Unquestionably recognition of the Soviet government a3 the
de facto government of the Russian people by the United States
and other governments which have until now refrained from auch
recognition, wi'l be one ultimate result of the famine. It is dif
ficult to see how it can be otherwise. In fact, it may be asserted
that the United States ie not adverse to letting the "unofficial"
relief agencies pave the way which leads to recognition and a
saving of the face of this government in respect to its past treat
ment of the Soviet government.
Call the American relief agency "unofficial," "private" etc.
as you will, the undeniable fact remains that it cannot function,
especially under the tutelage and supervision of Mr. Hoovor, a
cabinet member, without the government's sanction. This does
not constitute recognition, yet it serves a somewhat similar end
and it is puraling to imagine how the government can ever
back-track on the steps it is taking. And when we consider that
no relief measures can be taken without the co-operation and
sanction of the Soviet government, we begin to realize what this
relief action indicates.
A luminous light is threw upon this situation by the decision
of the Supreme Council etttinf in session at Paris last week, to
Not since the Central Labor Coun
cil of San Francisco knifed Tom
Mooney and killed the Mooney general
strike movement, has there been such
a crowded council as there was on
Friday night, the twenty second of
July, when the "Rank and File Con
ference Committee" of the Building
trades came to appeal to the council
to initiate a referendum on the ques
tion of a general strike of the bay
district crafts as a weapon to combat
the "American Plan" movement.
The press of the city had been car
rying excited headlines for two days
"If we do not make a united fight,
irrespective of creed, color, or craft,
they; will divide us as they have
divided us in the past, as they are
dividing us now, and they will rule us.
under the American Pkn, a return to
the days of pre-union slavery."
The other members of the commit-
knew about the meaning and function
of Chambers of Ootomerce. And when
. . a. l a 1 . i .1
tney naa leamea ina. ne Knew uiey,400 annr tv, k.tw.w. v, -v.
would follow hint In hi next move. and fije conference, delegate Curry,
l teit we woura rmr irom tms car- told them of his experiences with the
The adjustment committee came
back. They came bark empty-handed.
The builders had issued an arrogant
ultimatum to them. They would not
treat with unions fr union represen
tatives, corrupt or)) otherwise. They
would cuu wages now, and "adjust
them again in three, months. And they
would appoint an "impartial" tribunal
to decide hours, iWees and conditions
of labor in the furore.
Then it was thai Tallentire moved
That brought out the crowd, both of! a resolution endorsing the policy of
spectators and delegates, and caused the general striken the bay district! nounced thg chai;m and then
the machine to go into hasty caucus
to see that the general strike was not
Indeed, they can near being taken
by surprise. The movement had gain
ed headway so quickly and so unex
pectedly. It was scarce a week since
the rank and file of the building
trades, locked out for months and ap
parently benumbed into a dull lethar
gy, suddenly decided to form a rank
and file conference to negotiate with
the builders' exchange. Spontaneously,
from every building local in the
district, came delegates to the con
ference. The papers hailed it as a de
cision on the part of the workers to
make peace and accept defeat. The
conference appointed committees. It
directed them to "adjust", to inter
view the builders' exchange, to treat
with the Chamber of Commerce. How
innocent and spineless it all seemed.
as a more eiiecuve weapon tor car
rying thts fight aganst tha open
American plan fight in Salt . Lake
City. Wattles reminded the delegates
that if they did not understand it
was their fight now, they would learn
it later on, when they were attacked
"We'll be licked by them, but if you
need our aid, such as it will be, we'll
give it to you." And the rest spoke
consuming in all nearly two hours.
"I move we adjourn for a half hour
until the executive committee can re
port back,'' cried Sorenson, of the
uut or order, nonchalantly an
Soviets Give Ultimatum To
Capitalistic Relief Agencies
DEMAND CLEAN HANDS AND NO POLITICAL ACTIVITY
OF CAPITALISTIC RELIEF COMMISSK)NS.
afterthought, "the executive commit-
shop and the American plan." And he . , . . .. , ... ' ,,
. , , . . ,i , ,. ected to investigate this matter, can
carried the entire body with him. . . . , . , , . ..
. ' .,, . not be ordered to know all about it
The next night, a committee from,. , ,
xv. i j . , in a half hour."
the rank and file conference appeared
before the council of their leaders,
and demanded that the building trades
cnnnril rnrrv fitit their will. The
thoroughly scared'; machine did not from the chair- but the dele'ate frm
Faulty Tactics of Delegates.
The proper tactic was to appeal
dare disobey. They endorsed the Gen
eral Strike unanimously.
Machine Steams Up.
That was on Thursday. On Friday,
the Central Labor Council met. The
same committee of the rank-and-filers
appeared. They sent in their creden-
the Cooks didn't see it, and after
hesitation, commence! to speak oti
the motion on the floor. He made a
fiery appeal. The spectators were
with him. A few of the inert delegates
were awakened from the lethargy Into
; which too many speeches had put
l them, and applauded. "This is your
tia s, and a letter astung tor tne noor.t . oo ..
! , . , .. .. . I of Commerce puts across the open
, , ... shop in the building trades, six months
and a motion we-made to refer the' ., ' . , . ,
i, from now there may be no central
whole matter to-the executive com- . , .. .
. , , . , . labor council in San Francisco there
B I may nQ umons ln gan Francisco."
paltry w . ..y dRmn right muttered
N, UC-IU HU(b .n audible He
that the resolute be taken up or, hej
IlOOr. UUL OI UJtUoi, ttiinuuntcu tuc , aj
. . I i j n:.j.4. IA. - 54. i;4. I'"" u.. .
hut to the observant, there was a; Dorea 1 resiuem. u .0 uu.n., president
Willi me uiigmai uiuiiuii.
For Self Education.
new note in this conference. "I rise
to support the resolution directing
our adjustment committee to confer
with the Chamber of Commerce," de
clared Norman H. Tallentire, the;
"But let us ba-'fair to them," he
adds, quietly, let us hear what the
committee has to Stiy.,"
Neatly done,. wknoU The com-
carpenter who later moved the gen-1 mittee might tal
eral strike resolution, "because there ; ONLY MOTIOI
night, BUT THE
never leaned forward
in his chair. Delegate Zant of a car
penter's union affiliated with the
council, got up and timidly urged the
proposition. Another, announcing him
self as a conservative, and not an
alarmist, rosr to declare that the
MOTION TO REFKRTO THE EXEC
UTIVE COMMITTEE. To refer a
1 .4.-51.. 4:.mL A. il... .,, ,4;,,n
general amive iiiumuii uic caauuic ., u.j 4 ;i. nil t,n.
, ... . , . VULdLCa lldll m . . . I 11. Ill III 1 1 ID ' ' ' '
committee like seeing the lamb to pul
led an invisible lever and the steam
can get something besides arrogant
dictation from the Chamber of Com
merce. I want those fellows to see
for .themselves that th.e Chamber is
inflexible in its determination to put
across this plan misnamed "Amer
ican" in the bay district. I want these
fellows to get some idea of the func
tion of a Chamber of Commerce."
"I am supporting the resolution to'Chairrrtan Bonsor's quiet ruling.
direct our adjustment committee to 'was all over but the shouting,
confer with the builders' exchange, But the committee did not seem
for the same reason. They have said f to realize this. The body of the dele
that they would not deal with 'the cor- j gates did not either. And the sym
rupt representatives f labor.' Nowi pathetic audience did not. But the
I may or may not agree with these! machine in the person of the Presi-
And President Bonsor waited with
bored courtesy till each of the ad-
lie down with the lion. Unless the
committee could stampede the dele
gates, there was no.,longer any hope.
And if the delegates were stampeded
there was the machine's motion, and
gentlemen that the representatives of
the building trades are corrupt. But
I submit that if our representatives
are to be criticized, such criticism
must come from the ranks of labor,
and not from the ranks of 'hese gent
lemen of the Chamber of Commerce
who are our enemies.
dent of the council, leaned back com
fortably and resignedly in his chair
and with a slightly, bored smile the
entire committee to express itself,
and set no time limit.
Course of Open Shop.
Tallentire of the carpenters took
"They have stated that they would the floor first He outlined the history
not deal with our leaders. Veryj of the conflict in the building trades,
well, let us send a committee of om jie toid now ;n a hundred cities the
rank and file. They will get no more unions had been attacked and the
than our leaders did. But they will open sn0p put acroie. How it had
learn their lesson." snread from citv to citv and from
I thought of the old line tactics of ( trade to trade, and everywhere been
the doctrinaire radical unionist of 1 successful. He showed that it was
other days. How he would leap to his centrally directed. That it was part
feat to pooh, pooh and sneer at the of a well-ordered plan, initiated by
idea of expecting justice from Cham
bers of Commerce. And mayhap, car
ry such a rank and file conference
with him. But leave great numbers
with the idea still in their heads, "If
we had sent delegates to the Chamber
of Commerce, we would have gotton
concessions." Tallentire was determ
ined to insure the political education
of every one in the building trades.
He was determined to see that they
learnt from their own experience and
Judge Gary in the Steel Strike, es
poused by Wall Street, directed by the
National Chamber of Commerce,
aimed at all cities a .d at all trades.
"They've attacked us in isolation,
one craft at a time, and in one city
at a time. There was a great empire
once that ruled the whole of this
globe. And it's method of conquest
was summed up in the formula, div
ide and rule. Thus Rome conquered
the whole earth, ffth this simple
their own conviction what he already , policy of 'divide and rule.'
organize an international relief commission for Russian relief. The
American government is asked by Ambassador Karvey in Eng
land to indicate its attitude toward naming a member on thU
international commission. It is not at all likely th government
will decline to co-operate with the plans of the Sureme Council.
Lloyd George, in stating his position favorable, to naming ar.
international commission for Russian relief, made it plain that
nothing can be done without the co-operation of the Soviets. Ht
favored such an arrangement with the Soviet government for
these relief purposes. England is finding trade wth Russia per
fectly agreeable what Lloyd George says concerning Russia
bears weight with more timid and less astute government heads
The whole matter of relief for Russia shows flmt the barriers
between it and the outside world are being broMen down. Once
thrs is done, formal recognition must follow. Faitilie will hasten
that which has already been too long delayed. . j '
roller began to rumble. Secretary
O'Connell took the floor. He sym
pathized with the building trades. But
when the council wanted to "mediate"
the dispute a few months before, the
officers of the building trades told
him to mind his own business. (Never
mind that these were not the officers
who were appealing now. And never
mind the fact that in the second half
of his speech, he was to demand why
the officers, the leaders, the men who
had served the building trades so long
and so well, were not present to urge
And he thought it was impertinent
harsh word to try to stampede the
council into ncting tonight. To deny
it the right to investigate. And the
butchers had been slandered he is
himself a teamster that no youth
under voting age has ever seen drive
a truckthe butchers would never
consent to the American plan.
And so he played on craft prejudices
and machine prejudices, and sneered
and jeered, and sat down.
Scabherder Casey Appears.
Casey, another "teamster", stately
dignified, faultlessly dressed (not as
the newly rich but as one to the man
ner born) white haired, well pre.
served, without a sign of the tanned
face and the roughened neck and the
coarsened hands of the teamster, ex
pressed himself ln polished English
on the folly of general strikes.
He had been in Seattle and seen
the "wreck" there. Well might he say
that, for Mike Casey it was, who hur
ricd up there to drive the teamsters
back to work and to compel them to
scab on the general strike. "And in
Vancouver, where we had Borne of
our finest unions, we lost most of
them and have no movement since the
Winnipeg strike. (He dm not say
that they had lost their members to
the O. B. U.)
The machine rumbled forward again
and then a lady got up end moved
closure of debate, in an inaudible
whisper. But the chairman knew what
he was supposed to move, and he put
the vote. The machine delegates rose
Then one by one, tho undisciplined
untrained opposition delegates got up
too, and the motion was carried al
"All those ln favor of referring to
The Soviet Government, thru Amer
ican press representatives at Riga,
have laid down the first condition
under which famine relief from
capitalistic countries will be accepted.
Tersley stated, this condition is: No
political activity. No dabbling in the
internal affairs of the Russian Soviet
Government will be tolerated.
Maxim Litvinoff, representative of
the Central Famine Relief Commis
sion of Russia, met the press repre
sentatives and firmly stated the above
to be the Soviet government's un
alterable position regarding the prof
fered aid from America and other
countries. "We will gladly accept all
genuinely humanitarian aid that may
be offered us, but to any attempts to
take away the prerogatives of the
Soviet government or any part of its
power, our reply is, it is not to be
tolerated," r,:i!d Litvinoff.
Soviets In Complete Charge.
"If big organizations like that of
Hoover, Nansen, etc., will stick to this
and banish politics utterly, they wil.l
have no difficulty whatever with the
Russian government," he went on
"But they must be prepared to
operate with that government, which
is handling the whole business, and
which naturally must be fully in touch
with everything that is being done.
We cannot abdicate any of our pre
rogatives. "Although Mr. Hoover introduced a
political condition regarding the
American prisoners, the Soviet gov
ernment accepted gladly, without
hesitation. Regarding the point of
other Americans in Russia, it stands
to reason that we are willing to let
them go, considering we have already
released men sentenced one, Kala
mantiano, to dath for various of
fenses." Soviet Power Not Weakened.
Litvinoff then further emphasized
the importance of banishing political
considerations "from all negotiations,
all conversations and all offers of
help." He concluded:
"If our adversaries think we are
weakened by this calamity, if they
think it has injured the cause of the
workers and peasants, they are wrong.
On the contrary, it has strengthened
the bonds between the government
and the people. We have weathered
the worst storms in the past and will
weather this one also. Relief work
won't affect the government either
to strengthen or weaken it. We are
determined that it shall be directed
solely to mitigation of the famine
There is not only an actual short
age of over 1,000,000 tons of food for
the inhabitants and cattle, but nearly
the same quantity of seed is needed
for Winter and Spring sowing if a
similar disaster is to be averted next
year. Especially pressing is seed for
Winter sowing, which cannot be done
later than the middle of September.
For this upward of 250,000 tons are
Soviet Relief Measures.
Litvinoff outlined the following
measures already taken by the Soviet
First The creation of a Central
Soviet Famine Relief Commission to
co-ordinate and direct all relief activ
ities. Second The creation of a non-political
famine commission, including
members of both the Czarist and
Kerensky Cabinets, to which has been
given full freedom to act not only
centrally, but locally, on relief work
without interference of any kind and
is allowed to send its own delegation
Third The Volga area has been
freed from the food tax, which has
been estimated at 1,000,000 tons, so
that this may be devoted to feeding
the urban centres.
Fourth A special committee has
been formed to look after children.
Five trains have already been sent to
the famine area with food, medicine,
etc., and to evacuate children to North
and Central Russia. Thus Toula,
where food conditions are betterJhas
agreed to take 15,000.
15,000,000 People Involved.
He prefaced his remarks by the
statement that as representative of
the Central Famine Relief Commis
sion of the Soviet Government he had
no political object, only humanitarian,
his aim being to arrange for foreign
co-operation in fighting the Volga
famine, which embraced ten govern
ments of a total area of 600,000 square
versts, a population of 13,000,000
peasants and 2,000,000 townspeople.
Fifth Special measures have been
taken for the evacuation of 'fugitives',
by whom Litvinoff explained he meant
principally former inhabitants of
Western Russia, who had fled to the
Volga district from the Germans, and
now were trying to return to their
old homes owing to the famine.
He attributed the "panic" to these
elements, though he added that local
peasants also had joined the fight,
but in an easterly or southerly direc
tion. Government work would be
found for the fugitives in the Don
coal area, on Turkestan irrigation
projects, and in Siberia.
Finally, food, etc., was being col
lected in all available areas, and all
transport efforts would be devoted to
its distribution in the Volga regions.
Litvinoff declared the Soviet gov
ernment now had the situation well
in hand and was doing its utmost to
mitigate the famine disaster. But to
cope therewith fully outside help was
necessary, therefore the Soviet gov
ernment will accept all assistance,
provided it is given purely for
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the executive signify by saying, 'Aye'."
"Contrary?" The whipped advocates
of the general strike, unacquainted
with the simple principle that no mat
ter how few, you must man your guns
to the last, did not even vote. There
was only one "Nay."
Yet there is plenty of good material
in the San Francisco Lobor Council.
And infinitely more in the rank and
file. But it needs discipline, it needs
centralisation, it needs knowledge of
parliamentary lew, it needs cauruees
in advance, it needs determination to
win, organized work, steady, persist
ent, centrally directed and sure of its
grounds. The advocates of the general
strike went out whipped, puzzled, die
heartened. But it is oasy to see that
there are new forces at work in tha
San Francisco union movement. And
time is on the side of class conscious
labor. As one delegate who had bat
recently come from Seattle expressed
"Four years aco. the Seattle
labor council was even worse.'