50 Years Ago: Trust Busting in America

Many worthy people have fondly cherished the notion that Roosevelt and his fellow Republicans meant “doing for” the trusts. Our Liberal advertisement sheets have praised him for his “great fight” and accepted him as the enemy of monopoly. But, true to capitalist methods, when something more than mere words and rhetoric is required, he turns round and defends the trusts and ridicules the idea of destroying them. In the current issue of the Outlook, Mr. Roosevelt says:


  “The big business has come to stay and it is futile to expect to return to the old days of laissez-faire. The government must see this and refrain from keeping American industries on tenterhooks and permitting foreign rivals to reap an advantage.”


In the course of his article he denounces the government for interfering with the Steel Trust and calls President Taft’s policy a “chaotic” one.


So much for capitalist politicians. When they seek office they tell their poor followers that trusts can be smashed by anti-trust laws. But in the calm of other days the truth so often driven home by Socialists emerges—that combination and concentration of capital is an inevitable result of economic laws. That is the tribute of Theodore Roosevelt to Karl Marx.


[From the Socialist Standard, December 1911.]