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SATURDAY, OCT. 30 th 1920
THE TOILER PAGE 11 John Spargo On Trade Unions in Russia By H. Garner. We have no doubt all heard quite a lot of talk about cooperation, at least I think all members of craft unions have heard of cooperation between the workers and the bosses. But it seems to me the newest thing in the way of cooperation has developed between John Spargo and the Pennsyl vania Railroad Company. For the benefit of those who do not know who John Spargo is, I might say he was at one time a "shining light" in the Socialist Party. He under took to commit that party to the war program of big business when America first entered the universal slaughter, but the rank and file of the organization, which was then composed of revolu tionary workers, would not stand for it and they kicked him out. But now it seems he has found other work to do. At any rate, we workers in the Pennsylvania shops here in Logansport, Indiana were somewhat surprised to be handed a pamphlet with John Spargo's name to it. Yes, it was handed out by the clerks right from the office. The pamphlet is entitled "The Status of Trade Unions in Soviet Russia, By John Spargo." In this pamphlet John tells of the iron dictatorship of the Communist Party, which is composed of the most aggressive and intelligent workers, and how the unions are made to do this and that and are completely controlled by the "Militant Minor ity" which makes up the party. He also tells how membership in the unions is compulsory and that the unions are required to furnish regular quotas of soldiers to fight the counter-revolutionary at tacks made on the Soviet Government and to repel the foreign bandits who undertake to invade Rus sia at the instigation of the Allies. Two Kinds Of Compulsion. This, according to Spargo, is a terrible infringe ment on the liberties of the workers. He is opposed to the theory of conscription unless it is applied in the interests of the capitalist class which he now upholds. For a worker to be shot to pieces for the benefit of blood-sucking parasites, such as those who engineered and profited by the great war, ii "patriotism"; but when they are called out to defend their own government it is "despotism", according to Spargo, and makes of the unions "police agencies and economic bureaus of the Soviet State." Let us consider the change that has come over Russia where the workers have take over the in dustries and the state. There are men who have never done any work, but who have lived by ex ploiting the workers. These men must now become workers. Naturally they oppose compulsory labor. There are others who have always been workers, but through ignorance oppose the new system. Naturally, under such conditions, there must be some kind of compulsion to take care of these until such time as they become educated and con vinced to the point where they are willing to do their part of their own will. Now, if this compul sion was ordered by one man, like a kaiser or a czar, or by a small group of men like the American capitalist class, I would call it all wrong". But in a cuountry where the workers own the industries and make their own laws, I, as a worker, think it is 0. K. Unions Now Use Compulsion. 1 think I can give a pretty good example of this compulsion in the union shops in this country. For instance, if the workers in a shop organize and force a closed shop it means that any one working in that shop must carry a union card. Along comes a fellow who isn't class conscious and who doesn't understand the necessity of the union. He is compelled to join the union just the same or he is not allowed to work. He joins the union and, after being convinced that is the right thing, he becomes just as determined to enforce that com pulsion on the next fellow who comes along as any of the other workers in the shop. I don't think the pamphlet of Spargo's which they handed to us had the desired effect, for most of the workers who read it are too wise to fall for any propaganda put out by the company, and they merely laughed about it. But the joke of it was that the real yellows got the idea that the Pennsyl vaonio Railroad Company had turned Bolshevik and was trying to convert them, too. So they re fused to read it at all.