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old as the hills. But the phrases in which the bunk was put over, they were new. And fresh. And rich in sounding platitude.
At the very moment that President Wilson I was penning his declaration that Big Business
had become good and all was well with us, the Big Business that he praised was overrunning Michigan with its hired murderers and carrying on a cruel and bloody war in Colorado. At the time he said that Big Business had reformed it was killing people just as it killed them before. When he said that it was solely desirous to obey the law it had abolished all law and was trampling upon the Constitution. The slightest investigation would have shown to Mr. Wilson these facts. Without difficulty he could have seen that when Big Business came to the sanctuary it came with its hands dripping with blood and its pockets filled with loot. He would not make the investigation, he would not learn these simple facts. With his eyes resolutely closed he gave his benediction to massacre and shook the hands of the murderers.
But laying aside for a moment the condition of labor under the iron heel of Big Business, wherein had Big Business really shown the slightest intention to mend its ways, even in
regard to the Anti-Trust laws? Or in
Or in any of its dealings with the public?
At the time the President wrote, the Interstate Commerce Commission was showing that the railroads, which are an integral part of the huge possessions of the Two Groups, were violating the Interstate Commerce laws, exactly as before. Every Trust was operating in defiance of the Sherman law, as it had always operated. Not one monopoly had been abandoned nor relaxed. The practice of cutting melons and issuing watered stocks had not stopped for an instant, and all these stock issues remained as before with interest charges that the public must pay. Where was any indication of an intention to reform?
More important even than all this, these corporations continued to gouge their employees in exactly the same old way. Every dollar they made was created by labor. Every dividend they declared was gouged out of labor. Yet labor continued to receive but a very small part of the wealth it created and the greater part went to persons that had nothing to do with production.
The shareholders of the United States Steel Corporation, the gigantic Steel Trust, continued to receive fat dividends, but none of these shareholders had any part in the production of steel. The men that actually produced the steel and created the profits received as before barely enough to keep themselves alive; yet it was their labor that enabled the dividends to be paid.
So long as this condition of monstrous injustice persisted for the President to say that all is well with us showed one of two things to be true. Either he had no idea of the actual state of labor, in which case he ought not to be President, since the working class constitutes the overwhelming majority of the population of this country. Or he did know the actual condition and did not care.
THE GRAND OLD SPORT OF TRUST
But President Wilson's novel idea that the Trusts had become righteous and therefore nothing need be done about them was after all as sensible as the idea that they can be checked, regulated, restrained or by any such means as the Sherman law compelled to return to Competition or to do anything else that they do not wish to do.
This, indeed, is the joke of the ages. .
The great Trusts in this country have become the property of the two great Controlling Groups, and so mighty is the power of these Groups that even the august Supreme Court cannot prevail against them. That is the fact, however much it
be cealed from us and however diligently the kept press may pretend something else.
It may be taken for granted that whatever these Groups desire they will get. In one way or another they will get it, not because they are
directed by bad men but because the control of such almost inconceivable wealth carries with it inevitably a corresponding amount of power. The power of wealth is always in due proportion to its amount. A man with a million dollars will exercise a certain amount of power in his community and a man with ten millions will exercise ten times as much. That is inevitable from the nature of business under modern conditions and its ramifications and intricate interlockings. Here are men composing the Two Groups that together control about fifty billion dollars of wealth. If they work together with that wealth as they usually do, the power they can command is almost unlimited, so long as we have government chosen exclusively in the interests of the capitalist class.
It is for this reason that all the experiments in the comical sport entitled “ Busting the Trusts " have been such ludicrous failures.
For more than six years the government of the United States was engaged in an attempt to bust the Standard Oil Company, the oldest and most ferocious of the fierce, man-eating Trust monsters. All the way to the Supreme Court it carried the war against this mighty octopus, and won at last what was hailed as a marvelous victory, for the Supreme Court not