Samuel Gompers.

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popular institutions; but there is one point, with its connections, not so hackneyed as
most others, to which I ask a brief attention. It is the effort to place capital on an equal
footing with, if not above, labor, in the structure of government. It is assumed that
labor is available only in connection with capital ; that nobody labors unless somebody
else, ofwning capital, somehow by the use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it
is next considered whether it is best that capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce
them to work by their own consent, or buy them, and drive them to it without their
consent. Having proceeded thus far, it is naturally concluded that all laborers are
either hired laborers or what we call slaves. And, further, it is assumed that whoever
is once a hired laborer is fixed in that condition for life.

Now, there is no*^such relation between capital and labor as assumed, nor is there
any such thing as free man being fixed for life in the condition of a hired laborer. Both
these assumptions are false, and all inferences from them are groundless.

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor,
and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of
capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as
worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably
always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual t>enefits. The
error is in assuming that the whole labor of the community exists within that relation.
A few men own capital, and that few avoid labor themselves, and with their capital
hire or buy another few to labor for them.

(From speech of lincobi at Hartford, Conn., Mardi 5, 1860, yolome
1, page 615.)

Mr. Lincoln then took up the Massachusetts shoemakers' strike, treating it in a
htunorcus and philosophjcal manner, and exposing to ridicule the foolish pretense of
Senator DousJas — ^that the strike arose from *'this unfortunate sectional warfare." Mr.
Lincoln thanked God that we have a system of labor where there can be a strike.
Whatever the pressure, there is a point where the wOTkman may stop.

(From speech of Lincoln, Mardi 6, 1860, at New Haren, C<Hin., yolome
1, page 625.)

Another specimen of this bushwhacking — ^that "shoe strike." Now be it under-
stood that I do not pretend to know aU about the matter. I am merely going to specu-
late a little about some of its phases, and at the outset I am glad to see that a system of
labor prevails in New England under which laborers can strike when they want to,

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650 AMERICAN FEDBRATIONIST

where they are not obliged to work under all circumstances, and are not tied down and
obliged to labor whether you pay them or not I I like the system which lets a man quit
when he wants to, and wish it might prevail ever3rwhere.

The Railroad SituatioB

It seems to me that the f midamental and underlying cause of the clash
between labor and capital and of the labor troubles in the coal mines is the
greed of the operators plus the excessive freight rates now being charged
by the railroads, necessitating the pa3anent of the lowest possible living
wages to these moles or miners who spend their working hoiu-s imder ground.
I am familiar with the conditions of life of the* coal miners and their families
through three years of business in other lines of endeavor throughout the
famous Connellsville coke belt. I am also famih'ar with railroads and their
methods for the reason that I have spent the greater part of my business
career in that line of business

The excessive freight and passenger rates charged by the railroads now
are due to the wish of those controlling them to continue to pay interest
on excessive issues of bonds and dividends on excessive issues of stock. Until
recent years such excessive issues of bonds and stock were made at the pleas-
lU'e of the board of directors of each company. This practice beginning, as I
recall, with the State of Massachusetts, has been outlawed by every principal
state in the Union and no further p3rramiding by direct or indirect methods is
permitted. To illustrate my point, the following comparison of the capitali-
zation per mile of track of a few of the principal eastern roads from author-
ized statements by them in Moody's Manual of Railroad for the year 1918,
may be of interest.
PenDfifjrlyaBia Railroad.

Bonds per mile of track. $55,193

Capital stock per mile of track. - ^ 110,064

Total capitalization per mile of track. ^ 165,247

New York Central.

Bonds per mfle of track. $118,120

Capital stock per mile of track. 43311

Total capitalization per mile of track 161,431

New York, New Hayen & Hartford.

Bonds per mile of track. $119,965

Capital stock per mile of track 78,756

Total capitalization per mile of track 198,721

The history of the looting of the New York, New Haven & Hartford, which mined
thousands of New England families, is too recent and too well-known to call for repetitioa
here.

In marked contrast to the above-mentioned roads is the low capitaliza-
tion of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railrcfkd and the dividends
earned and paid by it on its capital stock. Its capitalization is as follows:

Bonds per mile of traclL $326

Capital stock (par yalue, $50) per mile of track up to

August, 1921 43,140

Total capitalization per mile of track up to August, 1921 43,466

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Years


Rate


1904


a 17


1906


a20


190e


a20


1907


a20


1908


a20


1909


b85


1910


a20


1911


c56


1912


a20


1913


a20


1914


a20


1915


a20


1916


a20


1917


d22i


1918


20


1919


20


1920


20


1921 (to July)


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AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST esi

From an authorized statement in Poor's Manual of Railroads 1921,
page 426, the following is a statement of the dividends which have been
paid by it from 1904 to 1921 inclusive:

Amount
94,454,000
6,240,000
5,240,000
6,240,000
5,240,000
22,861,586
6,028,800
16,59930
6,028,800
6,028300
8,444,080
8,444,080
8,444,080
9,499,590
8,444,080
8,444,080
8,444,110
6,341,550

(a) Inchiding 10 per cent extra diiridend. (b) Indading 76 per
cent extra diTidend. Stockholders were permitted to use half of
their enedal cadi dividend of 50 per cent, paid Jnlj 20, 1909, in
snbBcroing for tlie $6,800,000 stodc of the Delaware, Lackawanna
and Western Goal Co. (c) Including 45 per cent extra dividend;
10 per cent in cadi and 35 per cent in stock of Lackawanna R. R.
Co., of New Jersey.

(d) On Dec 27, 1917, directors declared a qnarterlj dividend
of 6 per cent payable Jan. 22, 1918, to stock of record Jan. 5. Hereto- •
fore it had been its policy to declare 20 per cent dividend per annum
in the form of four quarterly payments of 2} per cent each and a
special dividend of 10 per cent. Henceforth the board wHl declare
quarterly dividends only and omit the special dividei^ which has
been declared once a year of 10 per cent. Thus the quarterly rate
is now established at 5 per cent, maintaining the same per annum
rate as heretofore on 20 per cent. On Dec. 22, 1917, an extra divi-
dend of 10 per cent was paid to stock of record Dec. 4.

Besides these cadi dividends a stock dividend, following many
previous ones, of 100 per cent was paid Aug. 20, 1921.

Tljis stock dividend of 100 per cent doubled (by authority of the Interstate
Commerce Commission imder the present Administration) the capitalization
per mile of track of this railroad. This company asked the Interstate Com-
merce Commission to authorize it to issue about $80,^00,000 additional
capital stock to be fully paid out of its acciunulated and surplus earnings
said stock to be given to its stockholders of record as a stock dividend. If
permission to do this had been granted, the capital stock of the company
would have been about $120,000 per mile of track. This was desired by its
directors, they being interested in the other railroads, in order to place the
capitalization of the D. L. & W. more on a parity with the excessive capital-
ization per mile of track of the other railroads. As stated above, the par value
of its capital stock is $50, per share. Yesterday, July 27, 1922, it sold on
the stock exchange at $129 a share, or for a little more than 2^ times its
par value. This was indeed a fat melon in addition to the above recited large
annual dividends. '

Despite the enormous earnings of this Company, its shopmen are now
out on a strike on account of a reduction in their wages.

The law of practically every State now requires that all capital stock



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652 AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST

issued be paid in full in cash. This was done by this company out of its sur-
plus cash earnings and therefore there was no cost to its stockholders connected
with the stock dividend of 100 per cent cited above.

From this you will see the difference between the "honestly capitalized
railroads and the excessively capitalized one. You will also see the necessity
in order, I repeat, that the railroads may continue the payment of interest
on excessive issues of bonds and dividends on excessive issues of capital
stock, for high passenger and freight rates on the one hand, and the pay-
ment of low wages to the employees of each on other hand. As stated above
this practice of over-capitalization has been barred by act in every prin-
cipal State in the Union, but imfortunately such acts are not retroactive,
and it is only by and through receivership that such can be properly scaled
down.

I am not a bolshevik, nor was Abraham Lincoln. I am an American
by eight generations, and I object to the high cost of living, due principally
to excessive freight rates, in order to keep the pockets of the idle descendants
of the men who over-capitalized our railroads filled with gold. These de-
scendants are not factors in life, and are usually in the papers for doing
something which they should not have done.

All of the railroads were created by and under the right of eminent
domain which law is that the right of the public at large as represented by
a public carrier is superior to the right of any individual. Under this law
a projected railroad could condemn and did condemn any and all property
needed for its purposes, yet today every man, woman and child in this country,
the public at large, is indirectly taxed by these railroads, in the interest of
a small minority, with high passenger and freight rates upon every item
entering into the cost of living.



That so long as man shall live and have his being, so long as there shall
dwell in the human heart a desire for something better and nobler, so long
as there is in the human mind the germ of the behef in human justice and
human liberty, so long as there is in the whole make-up of man a desire
to be a brother to his fellow man, so long will there be the Labor movement.

It expresses all of the scruggles of the past, all the sacrifices and bitterness
that the human family has tasted in its experience. The movement embraces
all the tenderness of the human family, all of its hopes and all of its aspira-
tions for the real hberty of mankind.

The Labor movement is founded on the bed rock of opposition to wrong.
It is based on the aspiration for right. I want you and all of us to cooperate
with the best that is within us to make the Labor movement strong and
powerful and influential, and that it may grow day by day. And-the day that
comes shall see for it a becter and brighter path than the day that has gone,
and open up a new vista of light and life and happiness for the home and
fireside and the wife and the children. And that the burdens of Labor shall
be lighter and man shall be a brother to his fellow man. — Samuel Gompers,



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European Labor at War Against the Russian

Soviets



By William English Walling



EUROPEAN Labor long ago repudiated
the communists and the Third In-
ternational. But now it is passing from
rq)udiation of bolshevism abroad to active
attack on the soviet government in Russia.
And the new anti-soviet alignment includes
not only British labor and the entire Second
International but also the International Fed-
eration of Trade Unions.

The spark that started the new war was the
Moscow trisd, the farcical proceedings by
which the bolshevists are trying to justify
their death sentence ag^^inst the Social Revo-
lutionary leaders of the peasants and work-
ingmen. The wrath of Eiwopean labor
against the so-called soviet ** government**
has been steadily rising for two years past.
Just before the infamous Moscow trial came
the bloody soviet conquest of the labor
Government of Georgia, before that the
formation of the Red Labor Union Inter-
national, the avowed purpose of which was
to destroy organized labor in aU civilized
countries, and earlier still the famous twentv-
one points by which the dull and ignorant
"intdlectuals" who rule at Moscow under-
took to take charge of the political labor
movements of all countries.

The crime against Georgia, is recent. It
is thus described in the recently issued annual
report of the British Labor Party executive:

As to Georgia, the Socialists had again risen in
TcbeUion and defeated the Moscow troops, but
had been brought under the yoke by strong re-
inforcements sent from Moscow, and by the im-
prisonment of their leaders. On the other hand,
at Genoa, the representatives of the Russian
Soviet Government had assumed the position of
the ordinary capitalist imperialist plenipotentiaries,
and treated Georgia as though it were nothing but
as oil well or an oil pipe.

At the International Conference at Genoa
in June the bolsheviki proposed "a partner-
ship" with the oil magnates, that is they
offered to sell the heritage of the Russian
people for money to pay the Red Army (the
greatest menace to peace on earth to-day),
to keep up the bloody Che-Ka which (imder
a new name) had charge of the Moscow
trial, and to sustain its world wide intrigue
and propaganda against organized labor.
And yet they had the mendacity to present



themselves as "the defenders of Russia
against the greedy capitalists" both at Genoa
and the Hague, a lie repeated daily by their
"liberal" and "radical" tools and dupes in
this country!

Georgia and Genoa furnished the inflam-
mable material; the Moscow trial supplied
the spark. Not only the well-known bol-
shevist writer Gorky, but Vandervelde —
who was at the Moscow trial — and the entire
Second International have app>ealed to the
labor of the world to rise in protest against
the monstrous crime that is about to be
committed. And American labor will cer-
tainly respond to the call.

Vandervelde, speaking for the three re-
presentatives sent to Moscow by the two
Socialist Internationals, says:

We consider it our duty to arouse the protest
of organized labor throughout the world against the
crime contemplated in Moscow and that is why the
soviet government tried to detain us in Russia.

In the opinion of all three attorneys the
bolsheviki staged the trial ta detract the
attention of the Russian proletariat from the
promises of the soviet government to com-
jyromise with international capital,

"Among the counts against the accused," said
Vandervelde, are, first that they defended with
arms the provisional government; second, that
they defended with arms the constituent assembly.

In other words the accused Social Revolu-
tionists committed the atrocious crime of
defending democratic government — not only
regularly constituted but laborite and Soci-
alist in its composition!

The great Belgian leader, former chair-
man of the Second International, was com-
pelled to go on a twenty-four hoiu* hunger-
strike before he was able to get away from
Moscow to tell the tale ! And the same treat-
ment was handed out to another delegate
the brother of Karl Liebknecht!

The bolshevist Gorky uses even stronger
language in his appeal:

The trial of the Social Revolutionists has assumed
the cynical character of an open preparation for
murdering people who have with their whole
hearts served the cause of liberty for the Russian
people.

If the trial of the Social Revolutionists restdts



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654



AMERICAN FEDERATIOSIST



in executions it will be pure murder — contemptible,
preconceived murder. I ask you to transmit this
, opinion to Trotzky and the others. I hope this
letter wiQ not surprise you, for throughout the
revolution I have repeatedly protested to the
soviet against the criminal stupidity of exterminat-
ing the intellectuals in our ilUterate, uncultured
country.

The letter addressed to the soviet govem-
ment by the bureau of the International
Federation of Trade Unions at Amsterdam
was, in part, as follows:

You will remember that otu* bureau has previously
proteirted against the violation of the right of
freedom of opinion, which is witnessed in your
country, also against the infamous persecutions
on the part of your government to which anyone
holding an opinion at variance with your own is
exposed.

We are authorized to speak in the name of the
organized proletariat of the whole of Europe and
also of organized workers in other parts of the
worid.

At this moment, when the trial is about to
commence, we wi^ to lay stress once again on the
repugnance which is aroused among the working
classes agamst the measures which, according to
your assertions, you are taking in the name and
in the interests of the revolution against persons
holding opinions different from your own. We
wish by these presents to express this repugnance
and to reiterate our protest against the persecutions
which you are directing against the workers of
your country.

The Second International, meeting at
London in June and repesenting the leaiding
political labor parties of England, Germany,
Bdguim, Holland and Scandinavia — as well
as impcntant factions from other countries
— not only called upon the labor of the world
to line up against the anti-labor crimes of
the Soviets, but adopted a platform diametri-
cally opposed to soveitism and making any
common action henceforth impossible. After
four years of manouvering and a shameful
conference held in Berlin this very April
with these outspoken enemies of labor the
Etu-opean Socialists have screwed up their
courage at last to issue a declaration of war
along the lines long ago laid down three
years previously by the Ameri(:an Federa-
tion of Labor!

We quote the following accoimt of the
Second International meeting from the Labor
News Service issued jointly by the British
labour party and trade imions.

Relations between the International and the
Moscow organization naturally figiu^d prominently
in the debates. Discussion was influenced by the
news coming from Russia regarding the tnal of
Social Revolutionaries before the Moscow Tribimal,



and the treatment accorded M. Vandcrvdde and
his o^leagues who undertook the p i isouas ' ddtsK
at the triads in the name of the Second IntematioQiL

Mr. Ramsay MacDooald moved a resolntioD
expressing amazement that the Moscow gorcm-
ment had decided before their trial had endHi that
certain of the Social Revolutiooary prisooos may
be executed; regretting the outrageous manner in
which the trials had been conducted, the viDaboiis
attadcs made by Coomranist leaders upoo the
Socialist lawyers who had been appointed by tbe
Second International to defend the p r is oo en ; aod
characterizing as worthless much of the eridesce
given at the trial.

The resolution recorded tbe view that it would
be an insult to the proletarian sense of justice, would
offer an invitation to reactionary govemments to
pursue a like policy, and would be a breach of tbe
pledge given to the International Executives tt
the Berlin conference if the death penalty was
enforced.

It coiled upon all Ike workinf<lass organiuUicns
to f>rotest against the sentence of murder, and ffi»-
sociated the conference from the tragedy, md
from those responsible for "one more black act of
vengence*' to those which already besmircfa the
pages of history.

The British Labor News Service edi-
torially summarizes the new declaration of
war of Euporean Labor against the soviet
"government" as follows:

Whatever justification there may be during a
period of revolution for resort to dictatorship with
its stem and relentless methods of suppresskn,
no such excuses can properly be advanced in ex-
tenuation of the continued operation c^ dictatoi^iip
and anti-democratic practices when the period of
armed revolution is at an end. Today Russia is
neither torn by armed conflict within nor assaulted
by armed force from without. Her present state
is one of greater security from armed aggressaoa
than it has been since August, 1914. But despite
this greater security, dictatorship perhaps less
violent but no less stem continues. The Russian
people are no nearer the establishment of a system
of democracy. Freedom of discussion, freedom oT
the press, and free popular election are still sup-
pressed. The Russian Communists quite frankly
despise democracy as we imderstand it, and tbe>'
are very contemptuous of working-class leaders
who believe in it. Their treatment of M. Vander*
velde and his colleagues, who went to Russia under
the auspices of the Second International to defend
the forty-seven Social Revolutionary Socialists,
is but another evidence of their cynical indifference
to pledges given in their name and an affront to tbe
non-Communist Socialist movement of Europe

The Second International wisely decided to go
right ahead with its own work and prodaimed
the necessity for a united proletarian democraiu
front, to defend liberty against the restoration of
monarchy from the right, in the new republics of
Central Europe, and from the encroachments of
dictatorship from the left.

The^new democratic Labor war '* front"
is as last directed against the soviet dicta-



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AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST



655



torship as well as the Monarchist reaction.
It was high time.

The Soviet Famine Relief Fake

Therejis a vast amount of suffering in
Russia which the world, and especially
America, would and will continue to relieve.
The drought is over, and there is a super-
abundance of crops — according to the daily
statements of the highest soviet authorities.
But there is suffering for the lack of medical
supplies everywhere and for the lack of
food in outlying parts of the country. All
relief for these necessities should be through
the American Relief Administration or the
American Red Cross — organizations which
have received repeatedly the appreciation
of the highest soviet officials and of the entire
worid — md are supported by the leading
churches and philanduropies of this coimtry.

But there is being carried on in this coun-
try an agitation which falsely labels itself
as being for "Russian relief/' an agitation
conducted by agents of the soviet govern-
ment and devoted more largely to soviet
propaganda than to the discussion of what
can be done for the wretched victims of the
Soviets. This agitation takes on numerous
aliases. Dozens of organizations have al-
ready been formed for the same ostensible
purpose. The most notorious, the Friends
of Soviet Russia, was thoroughly exposed
by Secretary Hoover over a year ago. It
lias now been ruthlessly denounced by
Khram Cahan, editor of the New York
' Forward," and in spite of denials he has re-
>eated his accusations and is proving them.
Cahan has given evidence which shows
hat a considerable part of the money gath-
red for so-called relief purposes by soviet
gents is not accounted for. But the main
uestion is what becomes of the money even
hen it does get to Soviet Russia. Is there
ay reason whatever to doubt that it is
5ed in Russia to support the friends of the
)viets, leaving their enemies to die of star-
ition or because of lack of medical suppUes?
there any reason to doubt that in view of
e fact that this policy of starving its enemies
as opcaly practised by the Soviets and de-
ided by them and their supporters for
Uy two years?

A circular recently pubUshed by one
illy Muenzenberg, secretary of the Com-
mist Famine ReUef Organization of Berlin,
ce more discloses the purely communistic



association of this agitation and its deception
of the working people. This purpose has
been openly declared again and again, but



Online LibrarySamuel GompersThe American federationist → online text (page 76 of 112)