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tinue to hoist scab miners in and out; the engineers' union has a separate contract. If there is a strike in a factory, the machinists cannot come out; they have a separate contract. When it expires the employers exact some concession, and then if the machinists strike the operatives in that factory cannot join them, because in the meantime they, too, have made a separate contract. The two together could win justice and better conditions; fighting separately they are defeated separately, and with
The employers clearly perceive this situation if the workers do not, and the employers bend every energy to keep the workers from uniting
An infinite variety of devices are used to this end, some of them exceedingly ingenious. If there is a labor leader anywhere that cannot see the advantages of industrial over craft organization (that is, all railroad men in one union, all men in the printing trade in one union, and so forth) such a leader is singled out for subtle honors and attentions. He may be as honest as the day is long and may never suspect the reason for the distinctions that are heaped upon him, but the flattery will affect him, nevertheless. In spite of all reason and evidence,
he will think that he has the kind regard of the employers because of his superior merit and character, and there is no wisdom after that able to keep him from being influenced by the suggestions he hears.
Similarly, any man that stands for a genuine union of the forces of labor must expect nothing but ridicule and every form of misrepresentation from the journals controlled in the interest of the employers. He must also expect that the true origin of this abuse will never be recognized and he will suffer accordingly in the estimation of his own class and his own people.
But to keep the workers divided on the political field is equally important to the employers and brings forth their most adroit schemes. They know perfectly well that the workers constitute the vast majority of the voters and that accordingly if the workers were ever to unite at the ballot box the present supremacy of the employing class would vanish instantly. The constant object of the employers, therefore, is to keep the workers divided, and to that end they bring out at every election some false issue by which the attention of the workers may be diverted from their own wrongs and be fixed upon something else.
This is the only thing that has kept the old Republican and Democratic parties alive so many years after there has ceased to be any difference between them.
Millions of workingmen vote the Republican ticket every year and other millions vote the Democratic, and they might far better not vote at all. No human being is ingenious enough to mention a single advantage that any workingman has had from either the Republican or the Democratic administrations. When workingmen vote the Republican or the Democratic ticket they are voting for the employing class. They might as easily vote for themselves, if they would, but the great majority continue to vote for their employers. The spectacle is one of the strangest and most unreasonable that can be imagined, but every year it is repeated, to the great satisfaction of the employing class and the increase of its profits.
One year it is the tariff question that is relied upon to do this. We have had more than thirty years of tariff discussion and sometimes we have had a high tariff and sometimes a low tariff, but all the time the workers continued to create all the wealth of the country and to get very little of the wealth they created. All the time, too, this great change has gone forward unchecked under which there is a constant increase in the cost of living but no corresponding increase in wages and salaries; under which, therefore, the workers have continued to grow poorer and poorer and the chances of their children to grow less.
When it seems unlikely that the tariff can arouse the interest necessary to keep the workers from thinking about their plight, there is always something else that will do it. Sometimes it is reform; sometimes it is free silver coinage; sometimes it is a personal contest between two well-known men, when the campaign takes on the aspect of a prize fight and the sporting instincts of the people are appealed to. One of the most effective men for this
purpose is Theodore Roosevelt. He has a good line of spectacular stunts and can be depended upon to get into the lime light every day with some new device. This keeps the people guessing and centers their minds on Roosevelt instead of on themselves, the result being that either the Republicans or the Democrats get control of the government, and so far as the employing class and the exploiters are concerned, one is as good as the other.
No matter which is in power, the old condition continues under which the workers create all the wealth of the country and get very little of what they create and the cost of living continues to increase, but there is no corresponding increase of wages and salaries.
Every interest of the working class and of the nation, every interest material, intellectual or any other, demands that this shall be changed and at once. If nothing else were involved but the one great matter of education, even that ought to be sufficient to move the worker as much as it moves every intelligent observer aware of the present appalling facts in regard to our public schools.
In other words, even if the worker would not desire for his own sake to effect a radical change, he ought to think how directly all this comes home to his children.
At the last meeting of the National Educational Association the startling fact brought out that the children of the masses of this country are practically uneducated and without a chance of securing an education. It is actually true that 75 per cent. of the children in our public schools drop out at the close of the elementary courses or before. Fewer than 7 per cent. complete the high school grade.
That is to say, in the United States only the children of the rich and the well-to-do are re