A Socialist Survey
Under the heading “Protection against Socialism” the “Globe” prints the following :
“The management of the Essen Railway, in order to counteract the attempts of Socialists to convert to their cause the employees on the system, have submitted to every man in their service a written communication, warning them that the introduction of Socialistic literature into the places where they work will be punished be dismissal.”
The capitalist class realise the danger of the spread of Socialism, but such methods of repression will not avail. The “Labour” leader can be dealt with. The trade unions can be silenced through their officials. But the Socialist propaganda and the Socialist Press, insignificant though they may appear, are a growing force that non-plus the “captains of Industry.” They will find that all their lying and suppression will but recoil upon themselves, for what is it we are told about that infinitesmal portion of the “Old Adam” present in each human breast that sets up an insatiable longing for the fruit which is forbidden ?
At “Labour” leaders the representatives of Capital can readily scoff, because their critisism contains a grain of truth. The following from the “Standard” (24.8.11) can be readily endorsed by the Socialist.
“The Labour Party are great talkers and a due regard to the supply of workmen’s pennies calls for an occasional advertisement of their independence. But a little reflection will probably help the hurt that Labour honour feels, and two months hence Mr. Hardie and his friends will be tamely trooping into the lobby with the men they have described as murderous hirelings of capitalism. Gratitude has little part in the politics of labour, but fear and cupidity have full sway, and even Mr. Churchill’s crimes may be condoned if the Government continues to allow some of the golden shower of patronage to fall upon the flower of the Party.”
Andrew Carnegie, library purveyor, has offered £15,000 for the building of branch libraries at Cottonopolis, and certain labourists have protested against taking assistance from a man who, as head of the American Steel Trust in in 1892, was responsible for the murder of the strikers at Homestead. Whereat Andrew, writing from Skibo Castle to the Mayor of Manchester, says :
“May I ask you to inform your citizens that I was coaching in the far north of Scotland when the deplorable outbreak at Homestead occured and did not hear of it for two days after. I received the following cable :
” ‘Kind master, tell us what to do and we will do it for you. Workmen’s Committee.’
“It was too late. Two City Guards had been shot, and the Governor of the State had cald out troops and was in possession of the works. Into the merits of the question we need not enter, tho I must say I found, on my return, that my partners had offered most generous terms.
“The workers of Pittsburg never refused the Libraries and Halls I personally bilt for them at the Carnegie Works, nor others I bilt for the city, nor would the workers of Manchester if they enquired into my relations with labor for 20 odd years during which I was in control.”
Now we all know Andrew. He has forced himself upon our notice as a philanthropist of the most rabid type, as an economist of a very doubtful order, and as an authority upon morality and “simplified” spelling. But I, for one, did not think he would rush into print with such an absurdity.
A correspondent of the “Manchester Guardian” (12.9.11) writes:
“With respect to the personal responsibility of Mr. Carnegie for the strike at Homestead, of which the Pinkerton riots were the outcome, Mr. J. H. Bridge, at one time Mr. Carnegie’s secretary, reproduces in his book “The Inside History of the Carnegie Steel Company,” a draft of a notice to the Homestead employees written by Andrew Carnegie on April 4, 1892, and sent by him to Frick (a co-director) at Pittsburg. This notice stipulated that the Homestead Works should become non-union after the expiration of the contract then in force, which ran until June 30, 1892. In the same book there is a reproduction of a letter represented as from Mr. Carnegie and dated June 10, 1892, in which the advice is given that conferences should be refused, and that if the union should refuse the scale proposed by the Company the non-union notices should go up on June 25.”
As to the “kind master” cablegram and the “20 years relations with labor,” the same correspondent quotes Mr. J. A. Fitch, New York State Dept. of Labor, thus :
“In March (1888) the Knights of Labor sent a committee to New York to interview Mr. Carnegie, he received them, and proposed a reduction of 10 per cent. in the steel department and 8 per cent. in the other departments, together with a return to the twelve hour day. These terms were necessary, he told them, to enable the Edgar Thomson plant to compete with the Chicago rail mills, which were nearer the market and where a twelve hour day then prevailed.
“In April Carnegie went to Pittsburg and made a proposition of a sliding scale of wages based on the selling price of steel rails. A committee of working men were appointed who should inspect the books each month to determine the base of wages for the next month. At the same time he announced that the plant would start non-union and the men must sign an agreement not to join nor remain members of any labour union. In May Carnegie refused to meet a commtttee or hold any further conference, and about the middle of the month, after being out all winter long, the men accepted the terms and went back to work. Thus ended unionism in the Edgar Thomson plant.”
With all his “gentle Jesus” cant, Saint Andrew is about as clumsy a liar as can be found even among his less pious brethren, and it is rather amusing to note that the champion of “directive ability,” in order to escape from an awkward position, will confess that the workers of America can turn out wealth for him while he is “coaching in the far north of Scotland.”