Modern Society Scored
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An Able Article from that Agitator.
MODERN SOCIETY SCORED.
The Working People Shown Up to Be Absolute Slaves.
THE REVOLUTION PREDICTED AND PROVED.
Will the Working People Open Their Eyes to the Signs of the Times?
No matter what the boast of the republican form of government, socialism, whether under a monarchy, a constitutional government or otherwise, is wholly international; everywhere the present basis of government and society is capitalistic, sustaining a privileged class, which claims the right of preying upon the rest; this predatory power puts capital above man and knows no scruple touching the acquisition of property in its dealings. In this respect, then, no difference exists between the United States and the various countries of Europe. Capital, instead of imparting the varied improvements of civilization impartially to all, is retained by a privileged minority. Everywhere wealth is being concentrated, and our national aspect has its reverse in almost hopeless pauperism. Like causes produce like effects, and the tendency to economic extremes universally prevails. Where, as in Europe, the bourgeois divide their questionable game with an almost defunct nobility, in the United States there is no division at all. Although this new country may claim almost inexhaustible resources unknown to the old world, the Capitalistic class here even has obtained an almost entire monopoly, though in justice those should belong to the people. Has naked nature privileges for any? Monopoly has struck its fangs into the rich lands of the country. Can this American landlordism go on without the most serious consequences resulting? Already the future frowns upon us with dread possibilities as our industries become rapidly more concentrated under private monopoly. We may notice the equally rapid disappearance of the former small employers and businessmen. The laws of national economy compel the disinherited workman to cringe to the monopolist. Wages are the necessary outlay to keep the human machinery alive, while wealth is unpaid wages. With our unparalleled growth of natural wealth the average annual income should amount to $3000 per head; while our present system gives rise to Vanderbilts and Goulds, the average wages are on the steady decrease. Where is the difference between factory systems, here and in Europe, and the discipline obtaining in the prisons and poorhouses of both continents? Frequently the workingman is not so well cared for as is the beast; recently, in a Western mine, the mules were cared for before the miners; they cost money and were looked after, while the men were left in the ruins. We disregard periodical business depressions; already another crisis is approaching us with its possibilities of closed workshops and mines; the old cry of over-production will again be heard.
Over-production! There can be no over-production in shoes so long as a man walks in worn-out shoes or goes barefoot. The same holds good of building trades, as the people still live in hovels. Not over but under production is the fact we have to recognize; this under-production is but the sequence of a want of average purchasing power by the producing classes.
In spite of all our pretensions of republican freedom, the bourgeois govern supreme, holding the entire political machinery, the great corporations using their lawyers as representatives. What in Russia is the knout of the Czar, or in Germany the policeman’s saber, here finds its equivalent in the hypocrisy of the governing classes. The press is their instrument, exercising its influence in every election, and generally stultifying the masses. In this the press has succeeded, and, according to its teachings, the people actually believe their condition to be far superior to what it really is; more than this, the press is preparing the public for Caesarism; its columns are devoted to the scandal and gossip of European courts. One might at least expect the press of this country to keep up the spirit of free institutions. The more men believe, the less they generally know; the less the masses know, the more gullible they become. An imaginary heaven is held up that they may not enjoy a real heaven.
The same capitalistic taint his felt in our system of judiciary. Poverty being a crime, the vagrant is classed with criminals of the severer type. That’s a respect for the unfortunate portion of humanity is being gradually lost is again shown in our present poorhouse investigations. It is the same policy which manifested itself in the conspiracy laws for occasional use. When despairing men and women proceed from strike to riot, we have no remedy but at the militia; if the result is a number of victims, we say, “Just a few working men, that’s all,” while, when a Russian Czar goes, American sympathy is overflowing.
It is the principle of the American capitalist to pursue the rapid accumulation of wealth, regardless of the better sentiments; knowing no obligation, putting a false estimate upon man. Monopoly here hopes for an alliance with the monarchists of the old world in creating a system of cogent espionage.
There are three kinds of men; first the large mass of indifferentists, next the capitalists, then the socialists. Capitalists hope for the perpetuation of the present system of monopoly; yet all history will prove their hope fallacious. I know of no proposition but the one offered by socialism; reluctant to destroy the dream of those who expect to see a radical change take place by slow degrees, I would gladly assure you of the further uselessness of revolutions, yet I am compelled to announce and to prepare for the inevitable struggle.
At present the people content themselves by voting with two political parties, as one might alternately pull the weights of the Dutch clock. Wait until money, as a means of corrupting the masses, has served its use, when the capitalistic class will resort to sterner means than mere hypocrisy, when after all the sword will be the means of solving the problem. Let the socialists stand ready to battlefront idea.
The delusion about political and social freedom cannot last; politico-economic conditions are universally the same. As the late war on this continent was profoundly felt throughout Europe, so the approaching European conflict will be felt here. Will the people remain indifferent when palaces are ablaze and crowns roll in the gutter? Rather expect a red deluge, universal and thorough, fatal to all crowned and uncrowned tyrants in the final abolition of wages-slavery everywhere.
I warn ye, robbers and fools of the world, that retribution is nigh!
John Most [Johann Most], “Modern Society Scored,” The Truth (San Francisco) 7 no. 84 (September 15, 1883): 1, 4.