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THELIBERTY OF FREE PRESS HND FREE SPEECH
IS THREHT6NED I jagg? wMmMmm V m # m M ADVOCATE B of wdect legislation and GOVEDNMENT OWNEDSHID OP MONOPOLIES. VOLUME IX, NO. 18. WHOLE NO. 434. The REFERENDUM IN j SWITZERLAND. < £ Cxtracts faom M. Deptoige'sboofc.i s “The Referendum in Switzer- ► land/* by Eltweed Pomtfroy, ◄ with comments. , ◄ Note.—About eight years ago, when the royal referendum was being agitated in Belgium, M. Simon Deploige, a Bel gian lawyer with strong conservative tendencies, visited Switzerland and made a thorough study of the referendum and initiative and wrote a book on it, which was published in 1892. This was trans lated by C. P. Trevelyan and edited with notes by Miss Lillian Tamm, both of wham, I am told, are members of the English Fabian Society, and published last year in England. It is a somewhat care hook in this country, which is the excuse ior making this series of articles from it. Lawyers are trained to look back, to be governed by precedent, tradition, etc., and M. Deploige is no exception to that rule. His attitude is very curious and uncer * tain. They have never had the referen dum in Belgium; hence it is an innova tion and must be wrong. Bnt in Switz erland they have had it for years, and it is firmly rooted and spreading; hence it is an established institution and must be right. So he wavers between -two opinions. In the last chapter, in sum ming up results, he says: “We described the fears of its oppos- ers and the hopes of its supporters. » Now that the referendum has been in force a certain number of years, we should like to know how far the appre hensions of the one or the confidence of * the other were exaggerated, and whether the future has justified those who fought against legislation by the people or those who guided it to victory. These ques tions arc, however, so dtifficult and com plicated that I cannot pretend to give BEWARE OF SOCIHUSjII IT IS DANGEROUS It is extremely dangerous to under stand Socialism, so beware of it! Do not, under any circumstances, read about it! It might open your eyes so that you could see that Socialism was nothing more or less than the ethics of Christianity,—the Golden Rule applied to every day life, and that wouldn’t do at all, because you might become discontented with your condition “in which it has pleased Provi dence to place you,” and you might con clude to compel the rich idlers to go to work and support themselves instead of you supporting them as you now do. It will be much better to let the capitalists, your masters, do your reading and think ing. Slaves have no right to read, think or reason—it makes them demand un reasonable things, such as real homes, shorter work days, the full value of the product of their labor, etc. It will be bet ter to continue voting the old party ticket even though it makes a pauper of you and your family go hungry and wear rags. Above all things don’t read any Socialist books, such as Bellamy’s “Equality,” Blatchford’s “Merrie England,” Sprague’s “Socialism from Genesis to Revelation,” or such papers as the “Appeal to Reason,” the “Workers’ Call,” the “Missouri Social ist,” or the “Represenaative.” Such liter ature will poison your mind. I note with much satisfaction that there is one man in the United States who has assumed the role of press censor, and proposes, so far as lies within his power, to prevent the Great American Voting Kings from read ing Socialistic papers, and with this end in view he has denied mailing privileges except at prohibitive rates of postage, to “Challenge,” of New York, and “Under current” of Redlands, Cal. I understand that he has denied mailing privilege? to three or four other Socialist papers within the past four months. Such dis- any decided answ r er, one way or the other. To give a scientific judgment on the results of the referendum, it would be necessary to have an intimate knowl edge of the history of twenty different states, their traditions, their needs, the character of the inhabitants, the impres sionable nature of the electors general ly, the organization of the parties, the action of the press, the influence of the authorities, the contents and defects of the laws which have been submitted to the people, and the circumstances which called them forth. * * * It is, however, AAAAAAAAAAAH doubtful whether'the ti has arrived for us definitely to pron. judgment. Switzerland has only just begun her ex perience of direct legislation. W\ must leave her at present to experiment, to develop and perfect her institutions, which are rudimentary and incomplete as yet. We must give the masses time to become familiar with the new ma chinery of government. Sadie time must still elapse before we can a dually ap prove or condemn the system/’ But though M. Deploige’s training, re search and learning have not produced any wisdom for our guidance, he has made a thorough study of the facts and stated them fully and impartially. And these we will use here. Everything but the paragraphs marked “Comment" are taken from this book. I. SWITZERLAND’S POLITICAL SIT . UATION. “Three of the twenty-two cantons are subdivided into demi-cantons. and each of the twenty-five has its own constitu tion and special laws, its own legislative, executive and judicial authority. They differ form each other in race, language, religion, and habits of thought. The French occupy the cantons of Vaud, Ge werm Neuchatel, and parts of Freiboorg. the Valais, and Berne; the Italians spread over Ticino and part of the Gri sons, which is inhabited for the greater part by Romance-speaking people, and German is spoken by the majority of the play of intelligence by istant Postmaster General reflects great credit upon him. There can be no ques tion but what the prompt action of this Public censor will kill Socialism dead. The ethics of Christianity were killed dead when Christ was crucified, and the the alleged right of the black man to have personal liberty was killed dead, when the slave power hung Johh Brown, and of course Socialism is killed dead by the action of the P. M. Genearl. So it will be a waste of time to study Socialism, therefore, don’t read, don’t think, don’t reason, don’t do anything that will dis turb the rights of the capitalist class to appropriate the greater part of the pro duct of your labor. It would be treason to reason or think, so dont do it. It is a wise man who sends 35 cents for 100 assorted leaflets and distributes them among his neighbors. We will get social ism if you will work for it, and we will re tain capitalism if you don’t. So get to work among the people if you are wise, if not, —well you can be skinned just the same as you have been. Mrs. Roosevelt, it is said, can dress on $300.00 per year, so could thousands of other women, if they could only get the $300.00. There is only one way to make Socialists and that is to get them to read Socialist literature. Comrade Father Thomas McGrady, the Socialist priest, is having a hard time to get his brother priests to debate the question of Socialism with him. He has challenged Father Wimsev, Father Mackey, Arch bishop Corrigan. Father Mulhane, literary editor “The Catholic, Columbian,” and the democratic aspirants for United States senatorship from Kentucky, but they all have so far failed to respond to his chal lenge. In his challenge to Archibishop Corrigan, Father McGrady says: “The Pope’s encyclical on Socialism has no dogmatic value in view of the fact that it is not the work of Leo XIII as the head MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., THURSDAV, NOVMEBEK 14, 1901. people in fifteen cantons. All official documents, laws, and administrative or ders issued by the Federal government are published in theer languages—Ger man. French and Italian—while in a canton like Berne, where the people are partly French and partly German, the cantonal laws and decrees are published in both languages. The cantons can be classified according to religion just as easily as according to race, but the lines of race and religion do not coincide. “To avoid absorption in their power ful neighbors and to preserve their in dependence, they have entered into an alliance, of which the Federal govern ment is the political expression. Hence, we find in Switzerland an intense local patriotism, great jealousy of any en croachment by the central government, and also the firm intention of supporting it at all hazards. “The Swiss citizen is first of all a member of a commune, then a member of a canton, and last of all a member of the Federal Government The three thousand communes into which the country is divided are. in fact the basis of the Swiss constitution, for it is only by being a member of a commune that a Swiss becomes a citizen of the repub lic. The communes vary in size and ex tent, those that include the large towns being in a different position as regards wealth and population from those in the purely agricultural districts. Each com mune, whether large or small, is practic ally a state in miniature, with an organ ized government, consisting of a delib erative and an executive body. In the German parts of Switzerland the delib erative body, known as the Communal Assembly, is composed of all the resi dent male citizens. They meet together at regular intervals, and decide all ques tions relating* to locat polieg, sanitation, 'the maintenance of highways, the erecz tion of buildings, and the sale of landed property. At these meetings they fix the annual budget, pass the accounts, levy new taxes, and elect the executive coun- of the church proclaiming a doctrine of faith and morals, but merely the opinion of Joachim Pecci as a writer on social econ omy.” he Third Ass- This passage from the challenge to Father Mulhane is entertaining as well as correct: “With a show of fairness, which masks an ignorance hyperrophied beyond the skill of the most clever mental surgery to cure, you write that ‘Socialism in its milder form desires that government touch the people nearer than it does now in many of its pub lic activities; it advocates a governmental control of railroads, telegraphs, etc., just, as the postal service is now managed.’ “Under the present economic system of competitive industry, the government does, indeed, ‘touch’ the people with a glad abandon child-like and bland; and will, no doubt, continue to ‘touch’ them on behalf of its many public activities as long as the national debt remains unpaid to the Old Lady of Thread-needle Street. To speak of Socialism in its milder form is like speak ing of trigonometry in its milder form, or of a subdued and meek table of logarithms. Socialism does not advocate a governmental control of railroads, telegraphs, etc., but a public, co-operative ownership of all the means of production and distribution. Gov ernmental control and co-operative public ownership are as different from eacn other as darkness is from light. In Germany, for instance, there is governmental control of railroads and telegraphs, but the com mon people still pay the same taxes and con tinue to be ‘touched’ on behalf of the many public activities.” And the following paragraph from the same defi is excellent. “Again, you say that Socialism would ‘put a premium on laziness and inactivity and the result would be that men would not labor, if they found that all the fruits were to be distributed to others.’ Socialism would do quite the contrary; for every man would receive the full product of his labor. Socialism does not believe in dividing up; and the man who will not work must starve. You should bear in mind, moreover, that laziness is a disease of the tissues, not of laparfa«t Pm* cil and other local officials. “Any member of the assembly may of fer motions or amendments at the meet ing, but usually these are brought for ward by the Executive, or referred to that body before being finally voted on. “In the towns of Berne and Zurich it has become impossible for the people to assemble together in mass meeting, owing to the growth of population, and we therefore get the councils elected by the people. In Berne, since 1887, there js a communal council of nine members, and a municipal council, which super vises the communal council. The inhab itants of the commune elect these coun cils annually, but they do not surrender their powers to them. A communal vot ing by ballot takes place once a year at least, in which the people decide on all important questions, the town being di vided several districts for the pur pose of 1 voting. In addition to this, any 500 citizens may bring forward any pro posal Which is submitted by the councils to the people. “The! commune of Zurich was reor ganized; in 1891, and possesses now a council jof nine members, which act as the executive, and a ‘Great Municipal Councils’ which is the deliberative body. In this also the electors vote final ly on af I important matters, and on all appropriations over a certain amount. “The right of the people to initiate proposals themselves is also recognized in Zurich, and is vested in any 800 cit- izens. “In the canton of Geneva a communal referendum was established in 1894, much like that of Berne and Zurich. The difference is that in Berne and Zurich certain questions must go to the people and be voted on, whereas in Ge neva £t. voting only takes place w hen a demavs&To that effect has been presented by a certain number of citizens. In the municipality of Geneva any 1.200 elec tors may demand a referendum on any resolution of the council within thirty days after it has been passed. The budget is, however, accepted. This is never laid before the people. In the other communities of Geneva the num ber is fixed at one-third of the voters, and the demand must be sent in within fourteen days. The people of Geneva also have the right of initiative. Any 1,200 citizens can either draw up a scheme, which must be sent to the elec torate without alteration, or they may suggest a project to the councils in gen eral terms, leaving them to work it out. In the first case, the council has the right of proposing an alternative scheme to the people, or can merely advise that the popular proposal be accepted or re jected. “Besides these communal assemblies there are parish meetings, which are as semblies of all the members of the same confession living within the boundaries of the commune. The people in every canton decide what form of religion shall be the state religion. In nine can tons they have adopted Roman Catholi cism, in six others both Roman Catholi cism and Protestantism, while in five others there are three state churches, and Neuchatel supports an Israelitish society besides three Christian sects. The state denominations are supported by the pub lic treasury, but local matters concerning the church are considered in the parish meetings. The questions dealt with in the meetings include the election of pas tors, the building and maintenance of houses of worship, and the management of church funds. The members of this assembly also elect the church officers, who administer the affairs of the soci ety. supervise the work of the pastor, and in some states act as a board of overseers of the poor. “The School District Assembly is an other of these local mass meetings. The members of the commune—or. in the case of the small communes, the mem bers of several communes—meet togeth er to elect a school board, and to exer cise a general supervision over all edu cational matters. The necessary funds the will. As I have remarked elsewhere, ‘some were born tired, because their mothers labored like galley slaves during gestation, and the unborn foetus has been impregnated with ennui and lassitude, and comes into the world cursed with physical debility.’ (Socialism and the Labor Problem, p. 27.) The inexorable law of heredity stamps them with the worn-out nerves and lifeless cells of generations of over-work. Under So cialism all the marvellous labor-saving ma chinery of our times would enable men to do a day’s work in two or three hours and the danger of physical degeneration would be removed and, therefore, the causes of laziness.” Under Socialism every worker would have $3,000 a year and would not have to work more than three or four hours a day, either. If monopoly is a good thing for the capi talists, why not for the people? In Massachusetts Comrade Carey is re turned to the legislature for the fourth time and Comrade McCartney for the third time, and this result occurred right in the face of the fact that the capitalist parties gave it out that “they would wipe Socialism out of the state.” As a result of “wiping So cialism out of the state,” a very large in crease in the Socialist vote is shown, which goes to prove that Socialism is growing. Some underground advices give us the information that several Socialists 4iave been elected to office in Massachusetts, but you would never hear of it through the capitalistic press. In fact you wouldn’t know that there was a Socialist vote polled in this country if you had to depend entirely upon our daily press for the information. The third assistant postmaster general has denied mailing privileges to The United Mine-Workers’ Journal because it is an organ of the mine-workers. There will come a day in this country when the workers will learn their strength, and then, God pity their oppressors! Tennant farmers in the northwest are in creasing, says the Industrial Commission. $ 1 A YEAR IN ADVANCE. are provided partly by the state and partly by a local rate levied by the school assembly when it meets, The amount to which the state subsidizes the commune varies according to the wealth of the commune. “It is difficult to exaggerate the im portance of these local assemblies upon the development of Swiss democracy. The introduction of the referendum or initiative into the cantonal and federal constitutions is of recent date; but the people have been trained to direct legis lation in their local assemblies for half a thousand years. ‘Democracy in Switz erland,’ says Mr. Lowell, ‘is not merely a national or cantonal matter, but has its roots far down in the local bodies, and this gives it a stability and conserv atism which it lacks in most other con tinental nations/” Comment.—Notice here the difference in race, language, religion, customs of living and previous forms of govern ment. Notice also that there was little national feeling and that there is much local feeling, due to a decentralization of power. As we go on with the history we shall find that the Swiss believe in keeping things in the hands of the local authorities as far as possible and that this tendency is favored by the referen dum and initiative. In fact, it may be said to be a growth of the local use of direct legislation. It is one of the in direct effects of direct legislation which some think more valuable than its direct effects. Ihe next article will deal with the framework of the Swiss governments— and the plural is used advisedly here, as there is much diversity still in their governments, and as long as they re tain direct legislation each canton will have its points of difference from its neighbors. In other words, it will have an individuality, strong and free. This is the most precious possession of an individual or a state, and is entirely different from individualism. This is just what the “fool populists” way back in ’93 claimed would be the result. Lnder competition and private ownership the great middle-class are slowly, but sure ly, being crushed out and in a short time, if present tendencies continue, there will be just two distinct classes in this country, viz: The owner and the owned. THE INCREASE OF WEALTH It is sometimes said that during this grotesquely hideous march of civilization from bad to worse, wealth is increasing side by side with misery. Such a thing is eter nally impossible; wealth is steadily decreas ing with the spread of poverty. But the riches are increasing, which is quite another thing. The total of the exchange values produced in the country annually is mount- ing perhaps by leaps and bounds. But the accumulation of riches, and consequently of an excessive purchasing power, in the hands of a class, soon staiates that class witn so cially useful wealth, and sets them offer ing a price for luxuries. The moment a price is.to be had for luxury, it acquires ex change value and labor is employed to pro duce it. A New York lady, for instance, having a nature of exquisite sensibility, orders an elegant rosewood and silver coffin, upholstered in pink satin, for her dead (fog. It is made; and meanwhile a live child is prowling barefooted and hunger-stunted in the frozen gutter outside. The exchange value of the coffin is counted as part of the national wealth; but a nation which cannot afford food and clothing for its children cannot be allowed to pass as wealthy be cause it has provided a pretty coffin for a dead dog. Exchange value itself, in fact, has become bedeviled, like everything else, and represents, no longer utility, but the cravings of lust, folly, vanity, gluttony and madness, technically described by genteel economists as “effective demand.” Luxuries are not social wealth; the machinery for producing them is not socially useful labor; the men. women and children are no more self-supporting than the idle rich, for whose amusement they are kept at work.—G. Bernard Shaw. Eltweed Pomeroy. Casca St. John.