Newspaper Page Text
i \ ' •
THELIBBRTY OF FREE PRESS HND FREE SP66CH ADVOCATE g o? DISECT LEGISLATION AND GOVESNMENT OWNEBSHIP OF MONOPOLIES. VOLUME IX, NO. 17. WHOLE NO. 433. E.NVIRONMEMN —’""V, ROBERT BLATCHFORD Let us now consider how far drunkenness is responsible for the poverty of the masses. First of all, let me say a few words on drink and drinking. It would be a mistake to suppose that the man who is oftenest drunk is the heaviest drinker. Many a highly respectable middle-class gentleman spends more money on drink in one day than a laborer earns in a week, vet withal is accounted a steady man. I have seen a journal ist, and one very severe upon the vices of the poor, drink $2 worth of whiskey and soda in an evening, and do his work cor rectly. I have known a sailor to sit up all night playing at cards and consume about of a pint of rum and a gallon of stout in the process, and then go out at eight in the morning and score nine consecutive bull’s-eyes at 200 yards. But the average poor laborer of the slums would be mad on a quarter of the liquor. Why? There are three principle reasons:—l. The laborer is often in a low state of health. 2. The laborer does not drink with any caution or method. 3. The laborer does not get pure liquor. Now I must in justice say for the poor that they have great excuse for drinking, and that they are often blamed for being drunk when they are simply poisoned. Drunkenness is a disease. It is just as much a disease as typhus fever or cholera, and often arises from very similar causes. Any medical man will tell you that the craving for alcoholic stimulants is frequently found amongst men whose nervous system is low. But there are, I think, three chief causes of drunkenness. A man may crave for drink when his system is out of order. And this may result, and generally does result from over work, from worry, from dullness of life, inducing depression, from lack of rest, or from living or working amid unhealthy « surroundings Hence you will find many professional men give way to drink from sheer mental-strain, and you will find many dwellers in the slums give way to drink from loss of sleep, from over-work,' from ill-health or from the effects of foul air. Or a man may become a drunkard from the habit of taking drink. Doubtless there are many thousands of men working in the coal mines, or ironworks, or as coal dischargers, or as wool staplers, or masons, or chemical laborers, who from the intense heat, or severe exertion, or choking dust, amongst which they labor, are compelled to drink freely, and acquire the morbid taste for liquor. Or a man may lead a dull and cheerless life, and live amid squalid and gloomy surroundings, and so may contract the habit of going to the public-house for company and change and for excitement, and so may acquire the habit of drinking by those means. Or a man may have inherited the disease from drunken pa rents; parents who acquired it from one of the causes above named. Now, Mr. Smith, you know that many of the poor work at unhealthy trades and live in unhealthy places; and you know that they work too hard and too long, and that their lives are dull and anxious, and I ask you, is it surprising that such people take to drink? Moreover, those purists who bear so hardly upon the workers for this fault, have seldom a word to say against the men who drive them to drink. But the real culprits; the people actually responsible for nearly all the drunkenness of the poor, are the grasping empolyers, the po inters of the river and the air, the jerry-builders, the slum lords, and the detestable knaves who grow rich by the sale of poisoned and adulterated liquor. DlDji'T HURT W Semi-Annual Report of the Federal Bteel Com pany a Significant Document for Organized Labor It might be as well to call the attention of Mr. Shaffer to the financial report of the United States Steel Corporation recently is sued, and it will doubtless also satisfy those peculiar individuals who have been howling for “publicity” as a remedy for the “Trust evil.” The net earnings of the Trust for six months have been nearly $55,000,000, which the workers have produced and the non workers appropriated. Here is the state ment which follows, and it is to be hoped that the defeated strikers and their leader will be able to draw a moral therefrom. “We are well satisfied with the showing and we believe our stockholders will be also. The fact that in the strike months our earnings were so large may mystify many people, but as a matter of fact THE STRIKE WAS IN NO SENSE OF THE WORD A HURT TO US for the reason that it enabled us to make at minimum Give the people healthy homes, human lives, due leisure and amusement, and pure meat and drink, and drunkenness will soon disappear. While there are slums, while men have no pure pleasure, while they are overworked, and untaught, and and while the wealthy brewer can open his poison dens at ev ery street corner, it will be useless to teach temperance. The late Dean of Manchester spoke like a man of sense when he said that if he lived in the slums he too would take to drink. Do you doubt me when I say that it is the surroundings that make the vices of the people? Put a number of well-disposed people into bad surround ings and compel them to stop there. In a century you will have the kind of people now to be found in the slums. Take, now, a lot of people from the slums and put them in a new country where they must work to live, where they can live by work, where fresh air and freedom and hope can come to them, and in a generation you will have a prosperous and creditable colony. Do you not know this to be true? Has it not happened both ways ? Do not Dr. Barnado’s outcast child ren turn out well ? Then what is the reason ? Men are made It has been said that dirt is matter in the wrong place. I often think that ne’er-do-walls are examples of energy in the wrong place. Emerson says, “ There is no moral deformity but is a good passion out of place.” Some natures cannot thrive without a great deal of excitement. They have in them such a desire of activity, such hunger for adventure, that they are incapable of settling down to the dull hum drum life of respectability and profit making. Sir Walter Raleigh was a bold explorer and a grand admiral, but I cannot imagine him a success as a Lancashire weaver, with $5 a week and two holidays a year. Turn these restless spirits loose in a congen ial sphere, and they will do much good work, as, indeed, much good work has been done by such. But dullness any monot ony, task work and tracts, are not food hot enough for their palates. And so they seek change and such excitement as lie in their way. And the dealer in doctored gin and the retailer of raciog “morals” find their profit in them; but they might have been fine factors in the sum of human progress. To tell these people that they shall have help and love when they quit their vices is like telling a sick man that he shall be sent to the seaside as soon as he recovers his health. Sow some wheat on sterile land, and it will give a poor har vest. Would you say, “while there are poor harvests there must be steril lands?” Put a fish in a small and dirty globe, and he will sicken. Would you say that while there are sick fishes there must be small globes and impure water? Yet you say while there are vice and improvidence there must be pov erty. Why do the middle and upper classes take so much trouble with the nursing and education of their children? Why do they instil into their young minds principles of honesty, of industry, of virtue, of culture? Why do they send their sons and daughters to school and to college? Why do they teach them cleanliness and sobriety ? Why do they so jealously watch over their morals? Why do they take such trouble and incur such expense in the effort to shield them from all that is vicious, and indecent, and unhealthy ? Is it not to ensure their moral and mental and physical welfare? You will say, “Of Course.” It seems, then, that even the chdilren of educated, honest, and virtuous parents need to be carefully trained and guard ed to prevent them from falling into idleness and vice. For if children would grow up good without watchfulness and cul tivation, it would be mere folly and waste of time and means to trouble about teaching them. Now if all this care is neces sary to ensure moral excellence, it follows that without such care moral excellence could not be ensured. That is to say, that in our colleges, in our Sunday schools, in our home les sons, in the tender and earnest solicitude of good parents, we cost many necessary repairs, always in cident to the midsummer season, while a number of the plants, forced to close by the strikers, would have been shut down in any event to effect the repairs. “Beyond all that, the figures are a prac tical demonstration of the value of concen tration of control, for while the strike was on we were able—so long as some of our mills were open—to transfer work to them which otherwise would have gone to the closed mills. “I venture the prediction, having in mind the large orders already placed and the outlook in the iron industry generally, that in the next six months our earnings will increase 20 or 30 per cent beyond those of the first six months. “Incidently I may say that we have i.BOO tons of finished product on hand which we are unable to move because of a shortage of cars. That does not look as if PROSPERITY has come to an end, does it?” This declaration is full of significance to every workingman who will take the trou ble to think for himself. It shows that in the face of the Trust the Labor Union is not only hopeless but that its very efforts to better the condition of its members really MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., THUBSDAT. NOVMEBEK 7, 1901. adds to the strength of its enemies, and it shows further that the controllers of the Trust are fully aware of the fact. The men who produced this enormous dividend will search in vain through this statement for any recognition of themselves in any other light than that of commodities. The prod pet of their labor goes to satisfy the light than that of commodities. The pro duct of their labor goes to satisfy the “stockholders” alone, the people .who owrt the means of production, while as for the producers they can get their satisfaction out of the knowledge that they have been whipped into submission through ignorance of their class interests. The concluding sentence also bears out to the full what we socialists have over and over again said about “prosperity”—that it exists for the capitalist class exclusively. If the workers wish to enjoy the prosper ity they create instead of allowing the non producing classes to have a monopoly of it, they must own collectively the means of production themselves, just as the “pros perous” group of shareholders now own it. And they cannot accomplish this through the medium of an economic organization, but only by using their political power in their own interests. —Workers’ Call. I find ftp acknowledgment iff the faot that a child is what it ie taught to be. Now suppose a child is deprived of this education. Suppose it is bora in a poor hovel, in a poor slum. Suppose its home surroundings are such that cleanliness and modesty are well nigh impossible. Suppose the gutter is its play-ground; the gin-shop its nursery; the factory its college; the drunkard its exemplar; the ruffian and the thief its instructors! Suppose bad Pursing, bad air, bad water, bad food, dirt, hunger, ill usage, foul language and hard work are its daily portion. Suppose it had inherited poor blood, dull spirits, enfeebled wit, and stunted stature, from its ill-fed, untaught, overwork ed, miserable, ignorant and unhealthy parents, can you ex pect that ohild to be clever, and moral, and thrifty and clean, and aober? Again. What next to their education and surroundings makeft well-bred and well-taught children happy and good and industrious? Simply their good and pleasant environ ment. Life is to them worth living. They have comfort and love and knowledge and—hope. But the child of “the great unwashed”.has none of these things. His lot is labor and poverty, his pleasure is in drunkenness and gambling, his future is gloomier than his horrible present. You talk about the social virtues! These poor creatures have not even food, or rest, or air, or light! Now, I say, give them food and air, and light and leisure; give them education, and give them hope, and they Will cease to be vicious and improvident. The poor! The poor! The poor! The thriftlessness of the poor! The intemperance of the poor! The idleness of the poor! Howjfong have we yet to listen to this cackle? How long have to to hear men prate about the poor and about the working olasses who never knew what poverty is, who never knew what hunger means, who never did a stroke of manual labor, and whose knowledge of “the poor” is got from the po ems and the novels and the essays of university “swells,” or from furtive and uncharitable glances at the public-house steps or the pawnshop door as their excellencies’ carriages are hurrying them through the outskirts of the slums. There is a common belief to the effect that if the poor were all industrious, sober, and thrifty, they would cease to be poor. This error arises from confusion of thought. It„is quite true that a sober man will succeed better than a drunken man; but it It not true that if all the people were sober their wages would increase. Suppose there are ten clerks in an office, nine of whom are unsteady and one steady. The steady man will very likely be come head clerk. But this is not because he is steady, but be cause the others are not steady. For you will observe that no one thinks of promoting a clerk because he is honest, for very few clerks being dishonest the honest clerk is not singular. You must not suppose that because a sober and industri ous man will succeed—in some trades—better than a drunk en and lazy man, that therefore the whole trade would suc ceed better by becoming abstainers and hard workers. You are fond of “facts.” What are the facts with regard to thrift and industry amongst the workers ? The Hindoos are amongst the most abstemious and indus trious people; and they are about the worst-paid people in the world. The immigrant Jews in the tailoring and slipper trades are wonderfully thrifty, sober, and industrious, and work terribly long hours for shamefully low wages. Under competition the workers do not gain any advantage by being sober and industrious. They gain a lower depth of serfdom and a harder task of slavery. If the Englishmen will work for fifteen hours and live on bread and cheese, the for eigner will have to work for eighteen hours and eat grass, and that is what your capitalists mean when they tell yon that Englishmen are being pushed out of the market by for eigners, because foreigners will work harder and take less pay. Tie PREACHERS FLUIKED Comrade Eugene Y. Debs spoke Sunday, Oct. 13, to a tremendous audience in the public park at Portsmouth, 0., in spite of the threats and cowardly attacks of the preachers of that city, who denounced him and declared he would not be allowed to speak. The local papers had also done the same thing. In his address Comrade Debs challenged the preachers to face him and make good their lying charges and the crowd cheered tumultously. Instead of mobbing him, as the preachers had tried their best to incite the people to do, they were with him from start to finish. At the close the crowd surged to the stand to sign a petition to put the Socialist party county ticket on the ballot and fifty-four more sig natures were obtained than needed. The city is all stirred up and everybody now says it is up to the preachers to accept his challenge or stand branded as liars and cow ards. He put the preachers in the hole they dug for him. If they do not meet him they are convicted of cowardice and if they do— well they will be paralyzed.—Social Demo cratic Herald. $1 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. Bat allow me to quote the statement of the case given by me in my reply to the Bishop of Manchester: “In all foreign nations where the standard of living is low er than in England, your lordship will find that the wages are lower also. “Has not your lordship heard our manufacturers tell the English workers that if they would emulate the thrift and so briety of the foreigner they might successfully 1 oompete against foreign competition in the foreign markets? My lord, what does that mean, but that thrift would enable our people to live on lees, and so to accept less wages? “Your lordship knows that our shirtmakers here in Man chester are miserably paid. “This is beoause capitalism always keeps wages down to the lowest standard of subsistence whioh people will aooept. “So long as our English women will consent to work long hours and live on tea and bread, the ‘law of supply and de mand’ will maintain the present condition of sweating in the shirt trade. “I* all our women became firmly convinced that they could not exist without chops and bottled stout the wages must go up to a price to pay for those things. “ Because there would be no women offering to live on tea and bread; and shirts must be had. “ But what, my lord, is the result of the abstinenoe of these poor sisters of ours? Low wages for themselves, and, for others ? “ A young merchant wants a dozen shirte. He pays $2.50 each for them. He meets a friend who only gave $2.00 for his. He goes to the s*.oo shop and saves $6.00 This is dear profit and he spends it in cigars, or champaigns, or in some other luxury; and the poor seamstress lives on toast and tea.” Many shallow thinkers assert that if a man is determined to succeed he will succeed. This is not true, but if it were true, it would not prove that the qualities of energy, talent, and self-denial which enable one man to improve his condition would enable all men to improve their conditions. For the one man only succeeds because of his superior strength and skill; but if all men displayed strength and skill equal to his he could not rise. There is a panic*in a theatre and a fight for egress. A big strong man will force his way over the bodies of the weak. Now, don’t you see how foolish it is for that man to tell the weak that if they were as strong as he they could get out? If they were as strong as he, he could not get out himself. A short time ago a certain writer, much esteemed for his graceful style of saying silly things, informed us that the poor remain poor because they show no efficient desire to be anything else. Is that trde? Are only the idle poor? Come with me and I will show you where man and women work from morning till night, from week to week, from year to year, at the full strengtn of their power, in dim and fcetia dens, and yet are poor—ay, destitute—have for their wages a crust of bread and rags. I will show you where men work in dirt and heat, using the strength of brutes for a dozen hours a day and sleep at night in styes, until brain and mus cle are exhausted and fresh slaves are yoked to the golden oar of commerce, and the broken drudges filter through the union or the prison to a felon’s or a pauper’s grave! And I will show you how men and women thus work and suffer and faint and die, generation after generation; and I will show you how the longer and harder these wretches toil the worse their and I will show you the graves, and find witnesses to the histories of brave and noble and industrious poor men whose lives were lives of toil, and poverty, and whose deaths were tragedies. And all these things are due to sin—but it is to the sin of the smug hypocrites who grow rich upon the robbery and the ruin of their fellow-creatures. PEOPLE OF AMERIGA YOUR LIBERTY IS IN DANGER! The withdrawal of newspaper mail rates from two Socialist papers. The “Chal lenge” of New York and the “Undercur rent” of Redlands, Cal., is followed up by a ruling denying all such privileges to all trade union papers that publish any adver tisements other than those directly pertain ing to their own organizations. This is a body-blow at trade unionism, dealt straight from the shoulder by the republican national administration. J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller could ex plain its motive, if workingmen do not un derstand it. The order is a most infamous perversion of the law, made in direct antagonism to the interests of Labor, and exjdainable only as being directly in the interest of union smashing capitalists. The only wav, to par ry such a blow is to cast a straight Socialist ballot.—The Worker. Send 35c for 100 assoiUd leafllels. Yon cannot make a better investment.