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The voice of labor. : (Camden, N.J.) 1910-19??
Place of publication:
Camden, N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Camden, Camden, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Camden County Socialist Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1910.
  • English
  • Description based on: Vol. 5, no. 27 (Mar. 25, 1916).
sn 90063078
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The voice of labor. August 14, 1915 , Image 1


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The voice of labor

The Voice of Labor was published in Camden, New Jersey between 1910 and 1920 by the Camden County Socialist Publishing Company. The paper was four sheets with six columns and was ad supported. Published on Fridays, the newspaper masthead proclaims "For the Cause that Lacks Assistance; Against the Wrongs That Need Resistance." In 1915, the subscription cost was fifty cents per year. Prior to the Voice of Labor, the Camden County Socialists had published a free newspaper called Camden Labor, a socialist polemic containing minimal local news, most likely published every other month and distributed on Sundays.

By 1910, Camden's transformation from agrarian land to industrial city was complete. Located at the intersection of the Cooper and Delaware rivers and across the river from Philadelphia, the area was first settled in 1681 by William Cooper, who ran a ferry between the region (then known as Cooper's Ferries) and Philadelphia. It was not until the Camden and Amboy Railroad selected Camden as its terminus in 1834 that the city began to grow. After the Civil War, the development of Camden accelerated as immigrants and industry were attracted to the region. The population exploded from 3,371 in 1840 to 41,659 in 1880 and 63,000 in 1887, and by the 1910 census it stood at 94,538. Major industries were shipbuilding, the Victor Talking Machine Company, Campbell's Soup company, and the Camden Forge Company.

The Voice of Labor existed to advance the cause of socialism and spread the stories that capitalist newspapers either ignored or suppressed. Labor newspapers were vocal in their resistance to entry into World War I, and the Voice of Labor published many articles opposing war preparations, encouraging readers to refuse to enlist, and questioning the link between Boy Scouts and militarism. The April 15, 1916 edition of the paper contains a lengthy editorial against increased militarism in the Hoboken school district, which had a proposal to implement almost five hours a week of military drills and training.

In the immediate aftermath of the United States's declaration of war on Germany on April 6, 1917, the Voice of Labor continued its campaign against conscription and war. With the passage of the Espionage Act in June 1917, which included a clause providing prison sentences for up to twenty years for "[w]hoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty ... or willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment of service of the United States," the Voice of Labor no longer published articles advocating resisting conscription and criticized the war effort more obliquely (and with less frequency) by opposing the promotion of the war effort by the capitalist press. The editorial of September 8, 1917 goes as far as defensively claiming, "Now, so far as we are concerned, we wouldn't raise a finger to prevent you from joining the fighting forces of the country. If you hate the German people, who had no more to say about entering the war than you had…"

The September 22, 1917 edition of the paper was a "Free Speech Edition" in opposition to an ordinance proposed by the Camden city council and mayor threatening constitutional rights by requiring fee-based permits for private protests, parades, concerts, and meetings on Camden city streets, which the Voice of Labor interpreted as an effort to suppress the socialist message.

Archived issues of the Voice of Labor are rare, with only eleven known issues in existence, so ascertaining the exact beginning and end of publication is difficult. Even as the paper was being published, past copies were scarce. In 1917, the paper put out a call for back issues, saying that they had no copies prior to October 1, 1916 and only incomplete runs of the paper after that date. The Manual of the New Jersey Legislature which contains a directory of New Jersey newspapers lists the Voice of Labor for the last time in its 1920 edition.

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