The Cry of Toil
Observations and Comments
Blood Money Gifts
The Lie of Universal Peace
The Slave's Government
The Spirit of the Martyr
Law Versus Labor
A Noble Criminal
Wm. C. Owen
The Appeal of Mexico to American Labor
Ricardo Flores Magon
On the Trail
To the Subscribers to "The American Journal
Are Kotoku Protests Justified?
Economy as Viewed by an Anarchist
C. L. James
Office: 55 West 28th Street, New York City
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THE CRY OF TOIL
By RUDYARD KIPLING.
We have fed you all for a thousand years,
And you hail us still unfed.
Though there's never a dollar of your wealth
But marks the workers dead.
We have yielded our best to give you rest,
And you lie on a crimson wool;
For, if blood be the price of all your wealth,
Good God! we ha' paid it in full.
There's never a mine blown skyward now
But we're buried alive for you;
There's never a wreck drifts shoreward now
But we are its ghastly crew.
Go reckon our dead by the forges red,
And the factories where we spin;
If blood be the price of your cursed wealth,
Good God! we ha' paid it in full.
We have fed you all for a thousand years,
For that was our doom, you know;
From the day when you chained us in your fields
To the strike of a week ago.
You ha' eaten our lives and our babies and wives,
And we're told its your legal share;
But if blood be the price of your lawful wealth,
Good God! we ha' bought it fair.
By M. B.
WAR or peace—the slaughter continues, for the character of capitalist society is so inexorably murderous that no amount of moralizing can mitigate it.
Horrified we witness the carnival of death, fain to believe that these catastrophes are "accidental," exceptional, while in reality the destruction of human life, industrial murder because of greed and inhumanity, is an established institution. In a society where profit is paramount and the fate of the toilers a negligible quantity, what other result can be expected than the most cynical indifference to the lives of the workingmen.
The hundred and forty-five victims of the fire at the shirt-waist factory of Blanck & Harris, in Washington Square, New York, have been murdered by capitalism. The helpers and executioners in the massacre were the owners of the scab shop, the officials of the public safety department, the administration of the City of New York, and the government and legislature at Albany. These are the guilty. But as they control the machinery of "justice," they will acquit themselves. Within a few weeks the terrible crime will be all but forgotten and—the business of murder will continue.
May the terrible tragedy help to clarify our vision. Our grief is profound; may it bear emotions and resolves strong and effectual, worthy of our great sorrow.
With terrible clearness this crime has demonstrated how useless are the laws for the protection of the lives of the toilers. The laws are there; the rules and regulations are there; the highly paid officials are there; only the actual protection is not there. Government and officialdom are necessary, it is said, for the protection of life and property. In truth, they are capable of dooming the starving wretch to a few years' prison for stealing fifteen cents. They are indeed most faithful guardians of property. But when it concerns the effective protection of the workman's life against wholesale capitalist murder, the governmental Providence yawns and sleeps in the bureaus; or pretends to sleep, well knowing that it must not seem too watchful if it wishes to enjoy the sympathy and good will of the wealthy pillars of society. This officialdom is the "stall"* that decoys the capitalist victim. It is not its business to make such crimes as the Triangle fire impossible. Its duty is superficially to mask—by its laws, dignity, and authority—the plutocratic greed which is responsible for such holocausts.
In their simple trustfulness the "common people" believe that the governmental Providence is ever on the alert to prevent such accidents; meanwhile this good Providence is concerned mainly in removing the obstacles in the way of plutocratic exploitation and ensuring its own position and aggrandizement.
Heavy is the penalty for this error. Because the toilers believe that the government machinery is designed for their protection, they neglect themselves to take steps to insure their safety. Hence official protection is not only useless; it is positively dangerous, often fatal.
May this be the first lesson to be learned from the murder of our comrades. And may we also realize that labor possesses the power, by means of united and direct action, forever to put a stop to the wholesale slaughter of capitalist greed. Henceforth let our motto be: Away with the deceptive hope for salvation from "representatives," politicians, and office-holders. Let us act for ourselves, on the spot: the control of the factories should be in the hands of those who work in them; the means: direct action and the general strike, and sabotage which has accomplished such splendid results in the syndicalist movement of France and Italy.
It is the workers—not the landlords, manufacturers, or bosses; not the city or State authorities—that risk in the factories their health and life. It is therefore they who should also have the right to determine the conditions under which they will work and of taking such precautions as may be necessary to safeguard them, not only on paper, but in reality. Labor would indeed deserve to be charged with immaturity and lack of independent judgment, if it will still longer continue to trust its fate to the plutocratic regime and its servants, and be persuaded to abstain from independent direct action. All too long the toilers have felt themselves mere "hands" and subjects. It is time to remember their rights as human beings and to realize their strength to assert these.
The power of labor seems weak only because it is never fully manifested. The workingmen still fail to realize their tremendous possibilities and the great tasks they could accomplish, because they do not dare to act for themselves, without go-betweens, politicians, and arbitration boards. It is these that paralyze independent action on the part of labor and strive to divert its every effort into channels profitable to capitalism.
Not merely fire-escapes and safe exits can the workers secure by the exercise of their economic power, through direct action and general stoppage of work. They are also able—though naturally after a hard struggle—entirely to abolish the industrial system of wholesale slaughter and exploitation.
Upon this aim to concentrate our efforts, to work for it in the factories and shops, and finally to achieve this noble purpose be our vow at the grave of our hundred and forty-five murdered fellow-workers.
Stall: the assistant of a pickpocket who jostles the passengers in the streetcar, or starts a fight, to give his partner an opportunity to rob the people.
THE POWER OF THE PLUTOCRAT
I THINK that nowadays if—I do not say some prominent villain such as Nero, but—some most ordinary man of business wished to make a pond of human blood for diseased rich people to bathe in when ordered to do so by their learned medical advisers, he would not be prevented from arranging it, if only he observed the accepted and respectable forms: that is, did not use violence to make people shed their blood, but got them into such a position that they could not live without shedding it; and if, also, he engaged priests and scientists: the former to consecrate the new pond as they consecrate cannons, ironclads, prisons, and gallows; and the latter to find proofs of the necessity and justifiability of such an institution, as they have found proofs of the necessity for wars and brothels.
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS
IT was truly a procession of gigantic proportions that took place in New York on the fifth of April. For hours the mourning thousands marched, in pouring rain and chilling wind, along the streets of the city. This tremendous army of toil—men, women, and children; young and old—paid tribute to their hundred and forty five fellow-workers that fell victims to the fire in the Triangle shirt-waist factory.
Together with the mourning hosts marched Patience. Enormous, incredible patience that broods and broods and vainly waits for a Messiah to bid halt to the unceasing murder.
The lioness sacrifices her life for her threatened cubs; the timid bird even flies unhesitatingly to the rescue of her young; only man—and especially the workingman— is so tamed by habitual submission that the thought of militant self-protection is foreign to him. He leaves his defense to "higher powers," and is forever duped.
Yet, in spite of this inexhaustible patience, these higher powers must have regarded the marching hosts with strong suspicion. They were fearful lest deep in the hearts of the mourners there may seethe the spirit of rebellion and rage, ready to manifest itself. Therefore, police to the front! large numbers of police, to regulate the emotions of the mourners and keep a restraining hand upon their movements and behavior.
Thus we vegetate to day. But the hour may strike when labor will free itself from paralyzing Patience and break the fetters of its deadening thralldom.
NOTICING in the New York Call the statement that Andrew Carnegie had contributed five thousand dollars to the Relief Fund, to aid the families of the Triangle fire victims, I wrote to the chairman of the Relief Fund of the Garment Workers' Union, protesting against the "philanthropy" of the Homestead murderer. My letter was published in the Call of March 31st, as follows:
CARNEGIE'S DONATION FOR THE VICTIMS.
ALEXANDER BERKMAN DENOUNCES ITS ACCEPTANCE BY UNION
Alexander Berkman, the Anarchist, has sent the following letter to the chairman of the Relief Fund of the Garment Workers' Union:
My Dear Sir—I understand that you have received and accepted a donation from Mr. Andrew Carnegie. I protest against this action, as one utterly debasing and humiliating to the sufferers of the recent calamity and the whole working class of which they are an integral part.
Andrew Carnegie is a worse murderer than those who are responsible for the Triangle disaster. Your memory serves you but poorly if you have forgotten the bloody days of Homestead, the chief inspiration of which was this same Carnegie, from whose hands, stained with blood, you now accept "gifts." Andrew Carnegie, Bloody Andy, as they call him in Western Pennsylvania, the original American labor baiter, the destroyer of the Steel Workers' Union, the importer of a Pinkerton army to force labor's submission by wholesale slaughter—from this "friend of bereaved toilers" you accept "donations," him you give an opportunity to play the generous "Lord of Skibo."
It's disgusting. What becomes of your beloved class consciousness? Or was it the generous size of the gift which caused you to close an eye? Oh, Andy is no fool, and he knows human nature.
I do not know whether your Relief Committee or the National Red Cross accepted that donation. I am addressing this letter to you, who are actively interested in the relief work, to voice my protest against the victims of capitalist greed being "relieved" by capitalist "generosity."
Do not outrage the survivors of the disaster. Do not desecrate the memory of the murdered workers.
In reply to the above, the following letter appeared in the next issue of the Call:
New York, March 31, 1911.
Editor of The Coll:—The publication in to-day's Call of the Berkman letter under the headline, "Carnegie's Donation for the Victims—Alexander Berkman Denounces Its Acceptance by Union Relief Committee," is an error, to say the least, and is therefore calculated to convey an erroneous impression.
The Relief Committee of the Ladies' Waist and Dress Makers' Union has not accepted any donation from Mr. Carnegie. That gentleman made his donation to the American Red Cross Relief Fund.
Since The Call has published daily the actual receipts of the Relief Committee of this union, and as that fund, as reported to-day, only amounted to $2,326.85, the error is apparent, and the publication of the Berkman letter in The Call under the headline above quoted is as inexplicable as the letter itself is characteristic of Mr. Berkman.
Kindly publish this communication at the earliest possible moment in justice to our committee.
Chairman, Relief Fund Committee, Ladies' Waist and
Dress Makers' Union, Local 25.
It seems to me that Mr. Mailly's point is not well taken. My letter states very clearly that "I do not know whether your (the Union's) Relief Committee or the National Red Cross accepted that donation. I am addressing this letter to you, who are actively interested in the relief work, to voice my protest against the victims of capitalist greed being "relieved" by capitalist "generosity."
That was the purpose of my letter. I wanted to express my protest against the hypocritical philanthropy of a Carnegie who donated his "gift" to the bereaved families almost on the very day when the Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania discharged the innocently imprisoned Andrew Toth, poor "Praying Andy," as we familiarly called him, after he had served twenty years in the Allegheny hell because of the perjured testimony of Carnegie's detectives.
What I said in my letter regarding the philanthropy of the notorious butcher of Homestead stands intact.
THE universal peace situation offers a splendid opportunity for a clever caricaturist to distinguish himself by illustrating the "peaceful" attitude of the Great Powers.
The United States government is anxious for universal peace and—musters her army to the Mexican border, ready to drown the revolution in blood the moment the American speculators give the signal. "Mexicans, you must obediently permit yourselves to be skinned, or we will shoot you"—that's the peace message of the American neighbor.
The picture is made complete by the American patriot continually whining that the army is too small and that the navy is not sufficiently big and efficient.
The British government, too, is in favor of universal peace. Only the other day one of its leading statesmen declared that the most pressing need of England is a million soldiers, to enable her to compete successfully in the business of man-slaughter.
France is also in favor of universal peace. Too bad that her nearest neighbor is Germany. This situation involves a caricature representing two vicious dogs greedily watching a tempting bone. When France strength her army with twenty thousand men, Germany feels it her duty to add thirty thousand to her forces; and when the German murder-specialists invent an improved cannon, the French jingoes bemoan their unpreparedness for war.
Even Germany would favor universal peace if France was not so near her border line, and if she herself was not so eager to grab a bigger slice of the world-market.
Russia is anxious for universal peace: it needs more leisure for hanging her noblest sons and (laughters, or burying the flower of her youth in the snows of Siberia.
Japan, too, is ready for universal peace. Therefore, its chief concern is to prepare herself for successful competition in war.
That is the picture of universal peace in the international State-menagerie. Will it be with the aid of governments, or against their opposition, that universal peace will be achieved?
THE Diaz regime is making the utmost use of the machinery of corruption and violence at its command to continue the people of Mexico in the slavery from which the Rothschild's, Morgan's, et al. draw such immense dividends. Should the government of Washington actively interfere with the revolution, the words of H. D. Thoreau would be very timely:
"How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also."
THE crime of October thirteenth, 1909—the assassination of Francisco Ferrer—is becoming an ever increasing danger, fraught with terror for the government of Spain. The discussion in the Cortes, in reference to Ferrer's trial and execution, resulted in the breaking up of the Cabinet. This, together with the continually growing anti-militarist propaganda, which is filling the masters with so much anxiety, is part of the just vengeance which the spirit of the murdered tribune of the people is visiting upon his assassins.
ONCE more it has been proved that the Constitution, the supposed cornerstone of popular well-being, is rather an ax for beheading the rights of the people.
Last year the legislature of New York passed the Workingmen's Compulsory Compensation Law. The worshippers of the State-idea were jubilant over the triumph of labor in the important issue of protection for the toilers. But, as usual, their trust in the governmental Providence has again proved a delusion.
Though the new law contained more bone than meat for the workingman, the Court of Appeals, Judge Werner presiding, found the law inimical to the interests of the plutocracy, and as such to be strangled. The Compensation Law was declared unconstitutional because it was designed to hold the employer materially responsible for accidents to his workmen. The constitution does not sanction such interference with the inviolable rights of property. The court quite openly declared that its highest duty is to protect the sacredness of possession, and when a legislature occasionally threatens property privilege, the courts are there to do their duty.
In his decision Judge Werner said:
The right of property rests not upon philosophical or scientific speculations, nor upon the commendable impulses of benevolence or charity, nor yet upon the dictates of natural justice. The right has its foundation in the fundamental law. That can be changed by the people but not by legislatures. In a government like ours, theories of public good or necessity are often so plausible or sound as to command popular approval, but courts are not permitted to forget that the law is the only chart by which this ship of state is to be guided. Law as used in this sense means the basic law and not the very act of legislation which deprives the citizen of his rights, privileges or property. Any other view would lead to the absurdity that the constitutions protect only those rights which the legislatures do not take away.
We should like to call the special attention of our readers, and of the American people as a whole, to the passage regarding the inability of the legislature to change the fundamental right of property; that can be changed by the people only. That is to say, all lawmaking is powerless to alter social conditions; the people alone possess the power to do so.
Perhaps the accumulating experience along these lines will soon suffice to teach the dupes of the ballot box that the Anarchists may be right, after all: that voting merely erves to delude the slaves into the belief of self-government, and that only direct action by the people themselves will accomplish their emancipation.
May the people take the Judge's hint to heart, and together with the fundamental right of property drive legislatures and courts out of the temple.
A "CRIMINAL" who should not be forgotten by the proletariat and who deserves brotherly sympathy, is the Brooklyn shoemaker Buccafori. One of the most active members of the Industrial Workers, he has always fought in the front ranks of labor; it is due to the energetic efforts of himself and his co-workers that the shoemakers of Brooklyn awoke into rebellion against the unbearable arrogance of the shoe manufacturers.
But the path of such a pioneer is full of thorns. Buccafori has been condemned to ten years prison, because, driven to desperation by the persecution of his foreman, he killed the latter.
The case of Buccafori is one of the many which the crude psychology of dominant justice fails to understand. The judges refused him the right of self-defense, although all the evidence in the case tended to prove the prisoner's justification. But his fellow workers and comrades know that an act like Buccafori's, far from being due to baseness, is rather the deed of a noble character. They will therefore not forsake him. All honor and active aid is due to Buccafori.
BY WM. C. Owen.
OF all the heart-breaking experiences that propaganda work has brought me, none begins to equal that through which I find myself passing in connection with the Mexican revolution. That the American public, as a whole, remains indifferent to the struggle now in progress at its very door, is to me the most astounding of revelations. One feels almost tempted to pass over to the capitalist side, allying oneself with those whose eyes are open to their interests.
The Mexican revolution, represented by the Mexican Liberal Party, is literally a Titanic struggle, for it is against the money power of the world. It is inexpressibly vital to every member of the great army of discontent, for it is spending blood and treasure to embody in the lives of fifteen million people those vital economic truths for which the entire labor movement of the world is supposed to be striving. It raises in the most uncompromising form the issue of the man versus the dollar; for it proposes, first and above all, to restore to the people an enormous and immensely rich domain, of which they have been robbed by governmental treason. By so doing it proposes to abolish chattel and wage slavery of a type probably more atrocious than any now existent. Moreover, it proposes to abolish them by methods acknowledged generally as those which alone can give permanent relief; that is to say, by restoring the land to the people and establishing individual liberty.
To accomplish this, an entire nation is in revolt, even those who have not been able to procure arms often joining in the battles. All this is happening at our very gates, on the other side of an imaginary line. Yet the American public, as a whole, still snores on undisturbed.
Here is a quotation from the close of John Kenneth Turner's standard work, Barbarous Mexico: "In Mexico to-day exists a nation-wide movement to abolish the Diaz system of slavery and autocracy. This movement is quite capable of solving the problems of Mexico without foreign interference. So far it has not succeeded, partly because of the assistance our government has given in the persecution of some of its leaders, and partly because of Diaz' threat—constantly held before the Mexican people—of calling an American army to his aid in case of a serious revolution against him."
That passage is literally true. The movement is "nation-wide." If not interfered with it would succeed, and, by succeeding, aid incalculably the entire movement of revolt with which the world is in labor. It has been interfered with, is being interfered with, and doubtless will be interfered with still more effectively—at the behest of the money power. For all money power is bending every effort to crush, at all points, the gathering attacks upon its throne.
This was the true meaning of the hurried dispatch, last month, of more than thirty thousand troops to the Mexican border, each man carrying two hundred rounds of ball cartridge. For this six warships were dispatched to watch the Gulf of Mexico ports. For this every warship on the Pacific Coast was put in fighting trim.
The outspoken manifesto of the Mexican Liberal Party, in which it declared that it was not fighting for any change of president or cabinet, but for fundamental economic rights, forced the money power's hand; for the sudden call to arms which riveted the world's attention was but the open continuation of a policy that had been prosecuted quietly for years. Three times before, within the last three years, had troops been rushed to the border, and all the civil forces of the government consistently employed to aid Diaz and his financial allies. It is not in Mexican jails alone that those who dared to raise their voices on behalf of Mexican freedom have been interred.
Do the thoughtful and humane of this and other countries understand what actually has taken place? Far and away above all other countries Mexico—rich, phenomenally rich Mexico—has been made within the last generation the gambling board of capital; has been the pawn in a gigantic money-grabbing contest.
Take the case of the Yaquis—brave, industrious, simple people; the best of workers. By the hundreds of thousands these people have been driven from the lands they had cultivated peacefully for centuries; driven at the bayonet's point. Those lands are owned to day by alien millionaires who got them for the merest song; while the Yaqui, delivered at the Yucatan hemp plantation, fetches sixty-five dollars. Two-thirds of them, it is said, die within a year after deportation.
On the tobacco plantations of the Valle National it is even worse. There ninety-five per cent. are reported as dying within the first seven or eight months. Did you ever hear of Aldrich and the highly protected tobacco trust?
Get a mental birds-eye view of this invasion by the money power—the most sweeping and the swiftest on record. Here is the barest outline.
The Morgan-Guggenheim copper merger—did you ever hear of these gentlemen?—is in absolute control of the entire copper output of Mexico.
The Standard Oil Company—the name sounds familiar—has control of most of the crude oil fields of Mexico. According to Regeneration its concessions cover one-eighth of the entire country.
The American Sugar Trust has obtained grants that insure it complete monopoly in the near future.
The Southern Pacific, and allied interests of the E. H. Harriman family, own or control three-fourths of the main line railway mileage of Mexico. The Harriman family also owns two and a half million acres of oil land in the State of Tampico alone.
So it has been going. The dice are shaken, and on the table what was Mexico rolls out as Wall Street.
Now these Mexicans are in revolt; nominally against their own government, but actually against even more powerful slaveholders; foremost among whom is the money power of the United States.
Do not imagine that this revolution has been manufactured by a few ambitious individuals or by a special class. On the contrary, it is a spontaneous uprising of almost the entire people, for well-informed correspondents report nine-tenths of the population as in hearty sympathy. Read the news in Regeneration, special organ of the Mexican Liberal Party, and you will find weekly reports of uprisings in every State and Territory, though admittedly only a small fraction of the actual news gets through. That paper, more than once suppressed and its editors imprisoned, has a circulation of twelve thousand, and it is astonishing how it manages to collect the news of the movement when one considers the difficulty attending the task.
It is recognized that such upheavals as the French and Russian revolutions are to be judged not by the talk-festivals in Paris, St. Petersburg, or other centers of population, but by the spontaneous outbreaks at a thousand and one scattered country points. Tested thus the Mexican movement bears all the marks of a genuine revolution. Peasants rise and oust their masters; there are sharp reprisals and little quarter is given on either side; reports of "executions" of officials and managers of estates are not infrequent; it seems generally understood that the revolution will succeed or be - drowned in blood.
Along the Southern border of the United States sympathy with the revolution is strong, and the small country papers give many details that the big dailies suppress. The latter publish ridiculously false reports, and endeavor assiduously to convey the impression that the movement is practically confined to the comings and goings of the small armed bands headed by Madero and other leaders. In reality they are but the fringe.
One recognizes that the large dailies of this country are invariably owned by the money power, and the Diaz government has won their enthusiastic allegiance by most generous concessions. For example, one hears much talk nowadays of Limantour, the Mexican Minister of Finance, with whom Madero is said to be in parley, debating terms of peace. During E. H. Harriman's life Limantour was his right hand man in Mexico. Recently Limantour visited New York City, but he denied himself to general callers. Those with whom he held special consultations were Pierpont Morgan, Jr., and Melville E. Stone, president of the Associated Press.
Such is the situation, necessarily condensed owing to lack of space. What then is to be done? Why, everything; for public apathy must be overcome, and public apathy is the child of public ignorance. The public must be made to understand that slavery is once more under fire, and it will rally as it did in the sixties. It must be made to understand clearly where its clear duty lies, and told plainly that maudlin sympathy wins no battles. Substantial support, in the shape of money, must be given as proof of genuine interest in what is the common cause.
Above all, those who have been declaring for years that capitalism and monopoly must be overthrown— whether they be Socialists, Anarchists, Single Taxers, or unattached—should hear ringing in their ears that call to special effort which at special moments special circumstances imperiously dictate. The question is not Mexican but international; slavery and freedom are again at death-grips.
THE APPEAL OF MEXICO TO AMERICAN LABOR
Headquarters of the Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party,
519 1/2 E. 4th St., Los Angeles, Cal., U. S. A.
March, 11, 1911.
To SAMUEL E. GOMPERS, President of the American Federation of Labor, 425 G St., N. W., Washington, D. C.
Sir:—The Mexican Liberal Party appeals to you— to you directly and officially, as head of the largest body of organized labor in the United States. It appeals to you in a cause as just and holy as ever history recorded; it makes an appeal, therefore, that you cannot and, we are sure, will not resist.
It is time that the workingmen of the United States speak out, and it is for you to give the word, promptly and decisively.
The slavery against which we are fighting is the slavery your American Federation of Labor was organized to fight. The chains that the money power has fastened on us are the chains against which you fret. Our cause is your cause, but your cause in its extremist, most pitiable and, therefore, most irresistible form.
We are in revolt against unspeakably atrocious slavery, forced on us and supported by the American money power. The Standard Oil Co., the Guggenheims, the Southern Pacific Railway, the Sugar Trust—all that Wall Street autocracy against which you and the great masses of your nation are making such vigorous protest—are the powers against which we of Mexico are in revolt. They have dispossessed us of our lands and rendered us homeless by the hundreds of thousands; they have left us the choice of exile or imprisonment in such hells as the Valle National.
To support this Wall Street inferno, American soldiers are being called to arms. Already by the tens of thousands they are being sent to our borders, that they may aid in stamping out the last spark of that freedom which is supposed to be the basis of your Republic.
It is time for effective protest, and it is you who can make it most effectively.
The issue is clear, unmistakable, beyond evasion. We repeat that our cause is your cause, and we call on you to give it voice—promptly, clearly, and decisively.
Yours, for human liberty,
(Signed) R1CARDO FLORES MAGON,
For Junta, Mexican Liberal Party.
Offices of the Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party,
519 1/2 East Fourth Street,
Los Angeles, Cal., U. S. A., March 13, 1911.
EMMA GOLDMAN, 210 E. 13th St., New York City, N. Y.
Dear Friend and Fellow-Fighter in the Cause of Human Liberty:—I write urging you to exercise on behalf of my countrymen in Mexico the influence you wield over a large section of the American public. Need I spend my breath in telling you that we are fighting the world-wide battle of human emancipation; that our cause is your cause; that we are struggling for what every intelligent man and woman knows as being absolutely indispensable for human happiness and development? I think I need not.
It is well known—has been proved beyond all peradventure of doubt—that, at the behest of the money power, hundreds of thousands of my countrymen have been driven from the lands on and by which they and their forefathers had lived since our history began. Thus they have been forced into such hells as the tobacco plantations of the Valle National and the hemp plantations of Yucatan, or driven into exile across the American border, where they struggle desperately for a starvation wage. Somehow or other men and women must live; or, at least, try to live.
What will become of these millions of men, women and children if the money power has its way? What will be the result if it succeeds in trampling them beneath the heel of militarism? And what will be the effect on the character and standing of the American nation if it suffers itself to be the obedient tool of the money power, and stands before the world the avowed defender of chattel slavery of the most atrocious type? Surely, to ask these questions is to answer them.
The American public does not understand; it cannot see the picture in its awful reality, for it is misled by the willful misrepresentations of those who, having gigantic money interests at stake, are sparing no effort to delude it.
So long as the money power thought the struggle in Mexico was merely to displace one dictator with another it looked on indifferently; for such struggles have been frequent in the history of Latin peoples, and they alter nothing. But to-day it understands quite clearly that its own selfish interests are in the balance; that we are fighting for the restoration of millions and millions of acres of land, given away to foreign syndicates by the fraudulent connivance of Diaz' unspeakable government, and entirely without the consent of the rightful owners, the people; that we are determined that the poor shall come once more into what is justly their own. Therefore to day the money powers in America, backed by the money powers of the world, are calling the American nation to arms.
In such a crisis will you be silent? I think not; indeed I know you cannot be.
Yours for human emancipation,
RICARDO FLORES MAGON.
THE COMING TRANSFORMATION
NO Revolution ever rises above the intellectual level of those who make it, and little is gained where one false notion supplants another. But we must some day, at last and forever, cross the line between Nonsense and Common Sense. And on that day we shall pass from Class Paternalism, originally derived from fetish fiction in times of universal ignorance, to Human Brotherhood in accordance with the nature of things and our growing knowledge of it; from Political Government to Industrial Administration; from Competition in Individualism to Individuality in Co-operation; from War and Despotism, in any form, to Peace and Liberty.
ON THE TRAIL
LEST our friends fear that I am in danger of becoming respectable, I wish to inform them that I am still under the protective wing of the police. STAUNTON, Ill., has proved that police interference may occasionally be deferred, but that it has ceased — never.
At the station in Staunton I was met in a manner befitting a queen, a detachment of police on hand to pay me homage. A few comrades were also there to bring the tidings that the meetings had been suppressed, but that another hail was hastely secured where I might try to speak.
Onward we marched like Tennyson's six hundred, police in front of us, back of us, and on the side of us. The hail was quickly filled, but as the guardians of disorder were bent on stopping the meeting, they arrested Comrade Kobeinell who had corne with me from St. Louis, our champion literature man having preceded me to Milwaukee. The crime of Kobcinell consisted in selling books without a license, — a wretched police pretext to create a disturbance; but these stupids made their calculation without taking into account Anarchist determination. Of course, our comrade had to be escorted to the police station, but on learning his fate ($200 bond), L raced back to the hall where the audience had been waiting patiently. The police made all kinds of threats, but I spoke on that most reviled of all ideas, Anarchism. I then called for volunteers to go on the bond, and the response came without much ado. After the usual red tape Kobcinell was released to appear for trial later on. We then held a German gathering in a private house, attended by quite a crowd, regardless of a two-mile tramp through Staunton mud. A collection was taken to cover the loss of the meeting, to which everyone present contributed. Comrade Kobcinell was dragged back and forth from St. Louis to Staunton, and finally condemned to pay $17.50 fine, although $5 is the legal fine for the offense. Considering that the purchaser of the prohibited article was a detective, our friends will realize that the punishment was not in excess of the crime. Besides, what is the law if not a most contemptible trap for innocent victims, to feed hungry parasites? If not for the disappointment of Comrade Kurnik, who worked faithfully for the success of the meetings, and the great number of miners who had come from afar, I should have enjoyed the experience. Not that I need proof for the devotion of the police. I know only too well that there will always be a chance to exchange the hotel for the station house; therefore there is no danger of being spoiled.
Too bad Diogenes lived in the long ago; else he might have discovered a man in BELLVILLE, Ill. Unfortunately, the man happens to be the mayor of the town — a most unique specimen in American political life. Though, perhaps, not so brilliant as Brand Whitlock, Mayor Kern is none the less unusually well-informed and progressive. His library would make the mouth water of every literary gourmant. But above all, this strange man is remarkably courageous and liberal. I wonder why such people will continue in the political swamp? It must be that the American, like the Schwab, cuts his wisdom teeth at a late age. The truth is, most Americans are sadly deficient in the political wisdom teeth.
MILWAUKEE! Hurrah! The millennium has come. Red flags waving; bands playing the inspiring strains of the Marseillaise; men, women, and children in festive attire; no policeman, no patrol-wagon, no prison, nothing but clas-conscious Comrade Seidel-Berger to look after their flock.
Es wär'so schön gewesen;
Es hatt'nicht sollen sein.
Seriously, bas anything been changed with the ascendency of the Socialist régime? Yes, Mayor Seidel has declarced that the only way the 25,000 unemployed in Milwaukee can be helped now, is to cut the salaries of all the city employees. Really, now? All city employees, including also Mayor Seidel, Congressman Berger and the rest of the official staff? Nixie. No such class-consciousness for theirs. By city employees only the two-dollar-a-day wretches are meant. Surely the Seidels and Genossen are not expected to share their hard-earned thousands with slum proletarians. The latter must starve until economic determinism will determine the entire machinery of government into the hands of Socialist politicians.
Poor stupid voter! If you vill believe in heaven before election, don't complain if you get hell after wards.
However, so long as Milwaukee is being purified, nothing cisc matters. Listen, ye abused wives! Flock to Milwaukee, the beautiful paradise. Here your wayward husbands will be brought back to you from any part of the State or country; here they will be forced to love and feed you, and — if they balk, to jail with them, and don't you forget it.
And you, mothers, desirous to protect your daughters from temptation, tue Municipal Dance Hall is waiting for them, with Grannie Berger to watch over them. As to the Hoboes of the land, Milwaukee is their salvation. Ninety days for vagrancy. Come all ye that are heavily laden and poor in spirit. The Kingdom of Heaven is here, in Milwaukee. Amen.
Our meetings were not very large, but who would expect much in the land of the proletarian's heart's desire. Our Comrades Kopczynski and German must have mustered U the inhabitants of hell, the only place where people still interest themselves in revolutionary ideas; for the rest, all is castor oil with honey.
MADISON, Wis. Last year our visit caused quite a rumpus, a would-be newspaper, the Democrat, suddenly having discovered no end of gAnarchist explosivesh among the professors. And all because the most progressive of them all, Prof. Ross, dared to announce my lecture from his rostrum. The idea of an American professor owning his soul is too awful.
Whether it was in consequence of the attack of last year, or the fact that the legislature was to be coaxed into an appropriation for tue university, the professorial gentlemen gbehavedh this time. Our ad was refused by the college paper. After all, professors too must cat, and the State being the employer of these good men, they must submit.
The students were not deterred; they came in mach larger numbers than last year. Altogether at least a thousand students attended our three lectures. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that if ever solidarity between the workers and the American intellegencia is established. Madison will furnish the largest share.
DULUTH, Minn., was new territory, but it proved worth the effort. Two good meetings and a large quantity of literature vill, no doubt, help to prepare the path for future activities.
ST. PAUL, Minn., was an unlucky number on our itinerary, everything going wrong in that city. Meeting dates mixed, the hail refused at the last moment, and a sudden spell of cold to accentuate the frost of the situation. But the North Pole itself could not paralyze Benjamins ardor. One meeting was arranged, and survived.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., proved the usual stand patter, only more so, owing to the zeal of our Comrades Kraemer, Axelson, and Ruth Olsen. They canvassed the city so carefully that naught hut success was possible. We had six meetings, the last for the students of tite University of Minnesota, and every lecture was well attended. Out of our weeks work resulted the Social Alliance Club, which is to carry on regular propaganda work in Minneapolis. Nearly a hundred friends joined, some money was collected, and a series of lectures arranged which will be held at McEleroy's Hall, Nicollet and 7th Streets. MOTHER EARTH and other Anarchist literature will be on sale at these meet ings.
That there is need for such a club in Minneapolis can be seen from the fact that a number of Socialists, tired of the party discipline and despotism, lost no time in joining our group. The Socialist party is fast drawing its hues closer against individual effort, so that anyone daring to breathe freely is made to go.
One of their ablest men, the editor of The New Time, a little Socialist sheet, was severely censured for bringing the announcement of our meetings, and when the same man, Caspar Richinan, dared to suggest that the monsters who had flogged and tortured the victims of the Red Wing Reform School should be chased into eternity, the brave party held up the entire number and declared war on the editor.
One need not have a prophetic eye to see that the discontent brewing in the party ranks will one of these days cause quite an explosion.
Groups of young artists, living a careless Bohemian life, with ideals for breakfast, paints and brushes for luncheon, and sunsets for supper, are the usual thing in Europe. But to find such a circle in America, living their ideals and caring naught for dollars and cents, is indeed a great event.
The spirit of this extraordinary little band in the Studio of Minneapolis is an American girl, though of foreign parentage, Ruth Olsen. At her age the average American girl dreams only of a good match and nice clothes. Not so our young artist. Breezy and free as the western plains, she is yet deeply absorbed in the most serious problems of life. She is on familiar terms with the best literature of the world and passionately devoted to art.
With her are two other girls and several young men, the insurgents of the Minneapolis Art School, which they have left in protest against its lack of freedom. As Ruth justly says, all great art is Anarchism, the freedom of expression. These young rebels have their own studio where they paint, dream, plan, and live on sandwiches and spaghetti in the most exquisite spirit of mutual helpfulness and solidarity. With more of this idealism, the youth of America, too, may some day, even like the heroes of Russia, give life a different meaning than what it has with us to-day.
OMAHA, Neb., has never been a stormcr. But our small group of friends have remained staunch. Among them, Fred Tomson was more than usually helpful in arranging three meetings in the theatre of which he is the lessee.
The treat of Omaha is dear Mother Fageberg with her five daughters — so full of harmony and good comradship as only true freedom can inspire. The Fagebergs are old radicals who were counted among the many that mourned the death of our martyrs of '87. But unlike so many others, Mother Fageberg has remained true and free. How wonderful old age can be if surounded by harmony, Mother Fageberg is demonstrating. At seventy her spirit is as strong and undaunted as if she were a young rebel. With it goes so much sweetness and humanity that captivates every one's heart.
LINCOLN, Neb., Bryan's town. Judging by the mess this erstwhile American savior has made of himself, Lincoln has nothing to boast of. To us the city was virgin soil, but with usual insistence her maidenly shyness was soon overcome. Our two meetings attracted all sorts and conditions of men and women, mainly students, however.
The miracle of miracles happened there. The law students, usually among the most conservative, invited me to speak before them, and showed genuine interest in the question of law, crime, punishment, etc. I am not optinitstic enough to believe that any of the men will give up the career of lawyer. It's too good a business, this juggling with legal phrases. But that law students will stand for Anarchistic ideas, is a significant sign of the times.
Altogether, the Trail is discovering to us a great many vistas, all ready to be explored.
After Kansas we go to Denver, 14th — 19th of April; Salt Lake City, 22nd — 26th.
Beginning May 1st for 10 days at Los Angeles, then San Diego; Fresno, between 11th — 15th of May. After that San Francisco.
On then, ever onward.
ANARCHiSM —The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by m.n.made law; the theory that all form, of government rest on violence, and ere therelore wrong end harmful as well as unnece.aery.
ANARCHIST —A believer in Anarchism; one opposed to all form. of coercive government and invasive authority; an advocate of Anarchy, or absence of government, as the ideal of political liberty end social harmony.
TO THE SUBSCRIBERS TO "THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EUGENICS"
MORE than a year has gone by since Moses Harman saw the last number of his much-loved magazine come from the press, and sank to his well-earned rest. That number was dated Jan.-Feb., 1910. In it he said:
"If the readers of Eugenics would know more of the exceptionally courageous and wonderfully persistent battle for free speech in New York and other eastern cities, that has been fought by Emma Goldman and her few steadfast friends, they should send stamps, dimes, or dollars for copies of MOTHER EARTH. The friends of truth and justice everywhere should do what they can to make Miss Goldman's next annual tour a triumphant success."
Now MOTHER EARTH is to fill out the unexpired subscriptions to Eugenics. Those whose subscriptions have expired will receive sample copies of MOTHER EARTH. I am sure that this arrangement would be satisfactory to my father, and I hope it will please his -friends. He always said that he expected to continue to publish his message to the world as long as he lived, and though he hoped his magazine might continue after his death, he wanted me to feel perfectly free to make any disposition of it which might seem to me best.
It has been very hard for me to definitely give up the publication of Eugenics. My father's life and work-his publications, Lucifer and Eugenics-have been so closely interwoven with my life ever since my childhood, that it is with a mental and physical wrench that the parting is made. Yet Moses Harman was unique. His work was unique. Neither I nor anyone else could fill his place. But his work lives; he lives in the hearts, the lives of unknown numbers. Not only his children (as is promised to the "righteous") but many, many more "rise up and call him blessed."
But I did not start to write a panegyric of my father. I wanted to make a business statement. It will readily be understood that the addition of the subscription list of Eugenics entails a very heavy extra expense on MOTHER EARTH. I trust that prompt subscriptions will balance this increased expenditure. If any subscribers are dissatisfied with this arrangement, I will endeavor to "square accounts" in some other way, if informed of the fact. I hope to publish one or more volumes of my father's writings, but cannot say when the work will be done. In the mean time, I hope to keep in touch with his friends and mine. The "latch-string" still hangs out at his old home (1532 Fulton St., Chicago). Volumes of Lucifer, Eugenics, The Right to Be Born Well, Institutional Marriage and other works of Moses Harman may be ordered through MOTHER EARTH.
* * *
ARE KOTOKU PROTESTS JUSTIFIED?
New York, Feb. 3, 1911.
My DEAR MISS GOLDMAN.
I have just received notice of the "Kotoku Protest Conference Defense Committee." It begins: "The judicial murder by the Japanese government of twelve Anarchists and Socialists"-I have seen no evidence that they are anything but what some people here would call Philospohical Anarchists and very little that they are Socialists; it is certainly unfair to them and confusing to others to lump them all as "Anarchists and Socialists." Anarchy and Socialism seem to me (as to Tucker) to be opposite poles of thought, and I think it should be remembered that twelve of them are still in jail awaiting the arbitrary disposal of the Japanese authorities. It appears to me that for Anarchists to meet as such, and protest as such,* and to dub them
Anarchists with the meaning Terrorist that is ordinarily, though erroneously" understood by the word "Anarchist," is practically to stab them in the back. The threat in this resolution is particularly ill advised.
I have no doubt whatever that the Anarchistic expressions of sympathy, with the threat of violence that is sent out under that name, would only prejudice the Japanese officials against the prisoners, and there is no question that those are reported.
I joined in these protests because I saw clearly that they would be made anyhow by the Anarchists and, if they were to refrain, probably by hardly anybody else; and as my name is known in connection with some conservative matters, I hoped that it might have a palliative effect. If it had been a question, however, of whether the withholding of my name would have tended to stifle the protest under the much misunderstood name of "Anarchist," I should certainly have withheld it-not from any lack of sympathy, but because it seems to me a means ill-adapted to the end that we wish to attain, or at least proposed, namely-to save those persons who are under pretext of conspiracy are being punished for the expression of their opinions.
For the same reason I think that the appeal of the Protest Conference will injure those who remain alive, more than any money we can raise will help them.
Yours very truly,
* Mr. Hall is in error. The protest meeting was not held by"Anarchists, as such." The call to organize the Kotoku Protest Conference was issued by Local New York, S. L. P. The participants and speakers at the protest meeting represented all shades of radicalism.-Ed.
February 11, 1911.
My DEAR MR. HALL.
As your letter could not go in the March issue of MOTHER EARTH, and also because I was very busy, I delayed answering yours of the 3rd instant.
To say that I was surprised at the contents of your letter is to express it mildly. I had hoped from you, of all people, that, after knowing me for something like ten years and a great many others who hold the same ideas as I, you would have developed out of the notion that the Anarchists are divided into philosophies and terrorists. But I see that you are still in the thralldom of the superstition so common among a great "many people.
Now, as a matter of fact, there is not an Anarchist in the whole world who propagates violence, except that all agree-even such ultra respectables as Mr. Tucker-that we have the right to resist oppression.
The term "Philosophic Anarchist," as Fred Schulder justly said, is merely a cloak for a great many who hate to be considered fools, and yet haven't the courage to admit that they are opposed to present society. It is not used in any other country except America, and was adopted largely for the very reason that Schulder refers to. It is quite true that there are Anarchists, Individualists and Communists, but these terms only differentiate the particular economic arrangements of society under Anarchism. But to class them into philosophic and terrorist Anarchists is, to my mind, very absurd. Surely you cannot accept that classification merely because of the popular notion of it. Would you, because the popular notion were that Single Tax meant taking away the land from the people, accept this meaning? As a free man, you must be interested in what you stand for. Of course you would try to dissuade the public from its misconception. But you would not give yourself another name merely to satisfy public opinion Would you? I think that the term "Anarchist" is quite broad enough to cover whatever concept we may have of a society based on individual freedom and collective opportunity. If the public does not understand it, it is my business to educate it, but it cannot be my business to give myself another name merely because the public is ignorant.
Now, as to why the Anarchists have combined in an active protest against the terrible murder in Japan. The Japanese who were recently killed proclaimed themselves as Anarchists without any extra qualification to it. As a matter of fact they were known as "Kropotkinists," because they have translated Kropotkin's works. They-were and still are bitterly attacked by the Marxian Socialists, just as we are attacked by them in this country. It certainly would have been downright betrayal to the Japanese victims if their only comrades, the Anarchists, had not taken an active part in their behalf. The very fact that they stood quite isolated in Japan is more reason why we here and in Europe should have expressed as loudly as possible our sympathy with them; at least it must have been something inspiring to know that their comrades all over the world were with them.
I should, of course, be very sorry to hurt those who are still alive and in the hands of the Japanese authorities; but I am quite confident that they would not want me to keep silent simply because I could buy their release by denying them. I am quite sure that were I in their place I should utterly repudiate the sympathy and assistance of any set of so-called "liberals," if they gave it to me on the condition that they would deny my Anarchism.
You may lend your name to the protest if you wish, or not-that, of course, is for you to decide. But I cannot believe that you will be like many others who claim to be liberals or radicals; namely, that you would withdraw your name because the people there are Anarchists, or because the Anarchists here have joined their brothers in a protest. If liberalism means anything at all, it means faith in the ideal of liberty, especially in the right of the individual to entertain an ideal of liberty, no matter how little understood by the public at large. At any rate it seems to me that whatever we have accomplished in the past in the way of liberty has been thanks to the staunch and faithful adherence of the pioneers of an idea to their principles.
You know that as well as I, Mr. Hall, and I hope that you will not expect us to betray our principles, or our comrades, because of some petty gain we might accom-plish from the conservative element.
This may seem a little harsh to you. I am sure I do not mean to be, especially with you; but, to tell the truth, I am tired of the compromise that seems to be the fundamental effort of every man and woman in this country. I repudiate any such means of gaining recognition for myself, or of buying redress for those whom I call my comrades. I assure you if the people in Japan would have denied their ideas I should have been very grieved, but I would not have claimed them, because then it would have meant going directly against their desires; but so long as they are brave enough to stand up for the truth, why should I, or my comrades here, be expected to join in the popular howl against them?
Yours very truly, EMMA GOLDMAN.
February 13, 19II.
My DEAR MISS GOLDMAN.
I thought that I had made my letter clear, but yours makes it clearer-that I had not. I have added a few words in the further, though probably futile, effort to make it plain to the careless reader.
You can do whatever you liKe as to publishing my letter, as revised, and your answer, modified as it wiII be to accord with the changes in mine.
I have also made some notes on yours. My objection was and is to methods,' your letter seems to assume that it is to principles (on which there is no disagreement between us).
Language seems to me to be merely one method of communication and the best language that which best conveys our thought and feeling.
If I could find another name that would avoid the misunderstanding of the words "Single Tax" I would certainly substitute that. In England our movement is called "Taxation of Land Values," or "Ground Rent Taxation."
But as we already have taxation of land values here, though only a little of it, the change would create a new difficulty while removing a part of the old one.
Still we often debate changing.
* * *
I ASK you to think with me that the worst that can happen to us is to endure tamely the evils that we see; that no trouble or turmoil is so bad as that; that the necessary destruction which reconstruction bears with it must be taken calmly; that everywhere -- in State, in church, in the household -- we must be resolute to endure no tyranny, accept no lie, quail before no fear, although they may come before us disguised as piety, duty or affection, as useful opportunity and good nature, as prudence or kindness.
ECONOMY AS VIEWED BY AN ANARCHIST
By C. L. JAMES.
The chief purpose and result of parsimony actually is to buy into privileges of monopoly—stocks of a chartered corporation, land, slaves, if there are any, etc.; then, since both the existence of these privileges, and the parsimony itself checks trade and therefore production, we may well doubt whether relaxation of the parsimony would not on the whole make the world richer -- this, at least, is a most powerful argument secundum magis et minus, that those countries where the standard of proletarian comfort is highest, as the United States and England, grow rich faster than those where it is lower, as France, Spain, Italy, Holland; but those of the far east, like China, where the standard touches bottom, are the poorest among civilized nations — the solitary exception, Japan, dating her increase in wealth chiefly from recent Europeanizing of her practises. I suspect those who especially praise parsimony of a further confusion in thought. The luxury of non-producers impoverishes a country, because their existence does; but that of producers makes the difference between barbarism and civilization. If, again, we take Capital to mean not W. P. W., but the magnet of Surplus Value, it is clearly much older than money, and can by no possibility owe its being to the practise of saving money. Homer knows nothing about money;18 but in his time there were slaves and masters, landlords and hired agricultural laborers (thetes) , merchants of Egypt and Tyre and savages whom they skinned in Greece and Italy, even as there have been since. It is idle to look for another origin of Surplus Value when such obvious sources as war, plunder, conquest, government, and law, confront us since the beginning of history.
16. The Distribution of Wealth is therefore into the following shares-to put first those which are supplied first — Waste, Plunder, and Wages. Between these last afterwards intervene Rent and Profits, which began indeed as Plunder — the first Rent being simply all a barbarous king could take from cultivators without making his dominion a desert; the first Profit being realized in the slave-trade,-but which have become "differentiated" from other Plunder, in a manner now to be described. We have seen that Demand exceeds Supply wherever there is an exchange, that trade is kept alive by fluctuations of this excess from certain products whose value falls, to others, whose value rises; that in steady conservative trades these fluctuations are small, short, frequent; but in those of a less settled character they are comparatively rare, great, and sudden. To anticipate such fluctuations, buying into the rising market, selling off betimes upon the falling, is therefore the essence of the merchant's art. It is a branch of Intention, making wealth not only for him, but the community, as orthodox economists have saved me the trouble to prove when they were fighting the old laws against "forestalling and regrating." So far as it does that, it is not a source of Surplus Value or of Profit. But it is a chief source of Profit, and therefore of Surplus Value I The entire process of its evolution may be illustrated thus. The gains of the man who keeps a little store in the backwoods receiving, as all such men do, produce of various kinds for his goods and also to sell on commission, are well known to be almost wholly wages-i. e., he could not hire a man to do his work for much less than he himself gets out of the business. Neglecting, as capable of exclusion from the case without affecting the principle, whatever small percentage over his waves he makes on his original investment, such a man is just as simply a productive laborer as the hunters and "crackers" who bring him pelts and corn for the hats and boots they buy. If he makes something by reducing the rate of purchase on corn because he sees the crop will be redundant, and raises his bids for furs because the paper shows him that they will go up during the winter, still this is but his wages "of superintendence," as manager of an exchange. But if the prospect of a great advance in furs induces him to pay more for them than he could recover in case of disappointment, this is Speculation. He no longer expects to gain with, but from, his customers. Taking his case at random, he will probably lose-more than ninety per cent. of these even in business not highly speculative fail-but he may, with reason, too, feel so confident of success that he can judiciously borrow money to increase his purchases of furs. The practise of borrowing and lending at interest no doubt began in other ways than this. It began in the needs of distressed proletaires, who being wholly at the mercy of a privileged class, like the banyans of India, the eupatridre of Athens, the plebs in early Rome, were fleeced by them, till they either rebelled, as at Athens and Rome, or began themselves to decay, as in India. But though this is the historic origin of interest, interest might arise in the demands of speculators as just supposed i and this, which may be called its theoretical origin, modifies the effect of the historic, thus. The robber-interest imposed by monopolists who, like the banyans, eupatridre, and patricians. have the game for a time in their own hands, is, we have seen, suicidal; -- it either provokes resistance, which, being for life, is successful, as it did in Athens and Rome, or it kills the goose which lays the golden eggs, as it is doing in India. It strikes an increasing number of the lenders, accordingly, as less inviting than that lower rate at which speculators are willing to borrow on more or less good security. And thus there comes to be established a customary rate, determined by, and of course less than, the average profit in all successful trades. This average share in profit is already known as Economic Interest-much lower than exceptional profits, but always somewhat higher than what is called Commercial Interest, and which is recognized, in any country, as obtainable entirely without work, by invention or otherwise, on absolutely reliable19 security.
(To be continued.)
18 The talents paid in the Iliad to settle a feud were not coined nor currency.
19 This theory of the origin of interest is my own. All other theories I have ever met with, as Bastiat's, Senior's, and George's, appear to me wildly fanciful or even rhetorical and destitute of any definite meaning.
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