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Socialism, The Slave State

Max Hirsch



[Part 3]


The State and Trades Unions Contrasted.

What has that got to do with Socialism? Who cannot see that if the trades unions cannot control their officials, that then Socialism would find it utterly impossible to control them?

Now this quotation shows first of all that trades unionism finds it impossible to control the growing power of its officials. Consequently, they try an elective assembly as a means for that end. In some favored unions this has had some success, but even in these unions it carries within its own bosom the seed of decay, for the number of officials who are elected to the controlling assembly becomes larger and larger.

Mr. and Mrs. Webb themselves doubt whether an elective assembly can control the bureaucracy of a Socialized State; but when you come to inquire into it, when you come to compare the officials of unionism with the bureaucracy of the Socialized State, you must see that there is not a shadow of a hope that it can be controlled by an elective assembly.

A union is a voluntary body, which men can join or not join, as they please, and they can leave the union without making a very great sacrifice. At any rate that is true in all those countries where they have not yet adopted compulsory arbitration. If then a minority of the members of the union become dissatisfied with the conduct of the affairs of the union, there is nothing to prevent their leaving the union and setting up another union; and if a majority of the union become dissatisfied, they can discharge the whole of their officials and appoint new ones.

This fate will all the more certainly overtake the officials of the union if they are arrogant or tyrannical, because, compared with the members of the union, there are very few of them, and they can have but few relatives and interested friends among the members of the union; because there is no general organization embracing the whole of the officials of unions, and because the nion having little patronage, they have very litle power of bribery and intimidation over the members of the union.

Now in all these respects the Socialized State and bureaucracy of the Socialized State contrast absolutely with the unions and the officials of the unions. The State is not a voluntary body. Men cannot leave the State and set up another State when they become dissatisfied.

Therefore, the dissatisfied minority can do nothing, and even a dissatisfied majority could not escape tyranny and oppression by the officials, because those officials are numerous; they have numerous friends among the regulated masses; they have unequalled power of interference, of bribery and intimidation, and there are several other reasons.

Factors in Bureaucratic Power.

A regulative agency grows at the expense of the regulated masses. Every unit transferred from the people to any class of officials increases the power of aggression of the officials and reduces the resisting power of the people.

But this transfer of power is very much greater than the number of the transferred units would indicate, for it is a transfer from an unorganized mass to a carefully organized class, and it includes the relatives and friends of the new officials, most of whom now transfer their sympathy and support from the masses of the people to the official class.

This official class, exceedingly numerous, closely organized, carefully graduated, centrally commanded, supported by a still larger number of relatives and friends among the regulated masses, holds within its hand the whole of the land, the whole of the capital and all the wealth that has been produced in the country. With the one hand, therefore, they excercise unrivalled power of intimidation. For these officials, as I have already pointed out, also must have power to determine the occupation which any man or woman shall follow, to transfer them from one place to another, and to decide whether they work with sufficient energy and efficiency.

What, then, is to prevent the officials separating from his wife any man who has become dissatisfied and has given expression to his dissatisfaction; to separate brother and sister?

What is to prevent the officials from separating father from daughter, sweetheart from sweetheart, under the pretence that the condition of production requires it?

How is any man who has been so treated to show that he has been treated unjustly?

How can a man who has been sent from an easy occupation to a harder occupation, who has been sent from a pleasant place to an unpleasant place -- because perhaps he has excited the anger of the officials -- how is he to prove that it was done unjustly, when the officials alone can judge what the changes of industry require?

Clearly, then, if gratitude for favors received and to come does not silence every expression of dissatisfaction, fear of vengeance may well do as.

An Official Press and Post Office.

But the power of the officials does not stop even there.

As I have already pointed out, Socialism can no more permit a capitalist to carry on and profit by the publication of newspapers, than it can allow a capitalist to carry on and profit by the manufacture of boots. Therefore, the officials have a monopoly of the production of books, of newspapers, of magazines and all other publications.

How then can their acts be criticized by anybody?

How can their misdeeds be made known outside of the immediate circle of those that have witnessed them? The officials are the only ones who can publish news and express opinions, and therefore no news can be published and no opinion expressed from one end of the country to the other. except that which is approved of by the officials. Therefore, it is utterly impossible to organize resistance to any act of the officials; to any excess of power of which they are guilty; or to any acts of despotism which they may commit.

If it is suggested that, in the absence of a free press, public opinion can be stimulated and resistance can be organized through the post office, and through personal agitation, the power of the officials again stands in the way. For of necessity there must be officials in every workshop, and every factory, every mine, every farm, and every warehouse. Therefore nobody can express dissatisfaction with officials; still less can anyone begin to agitate, without the officials at once becoming aware of it.

What, then, is to prevent them harassing him by all the power of officialdom?

What is to prevent them from opening the letters addressed to him, as they pass through the post office?

Agitation Impossible.

As to personal agitation, when the officials have the power to fix every man and woman in a place, or to shift them as they please, as soon as any man begins to agitate, the officials will send him into some desert where he is unknown.

Clearly, then, under Socialism agitation is impossible by personal effort. Agitation is impossible through the post office; and still more is agitation impossible through the press. Therefore there absolutely exists no means under Socialism by which public resistance to official aggression can be organized.

If, then, a comparatively small body of officials, having little power of interference, of bribery and of intimidation, nevertheless exercise enormous influence over the people whose servants they profess to be; is it not obvious that the enormous body of officials in the Socialized State, having unrivalled power of interference, of bribery and of intimidation, holding also in their hands the whole of the newspaper press and whatever armed force there may be, would constitute a power absolutely irresistible to a widely scattered people, having no settled policy, no accustomed habit of working together, and absolutely no means of communicating with each other?

Parliamentary Control a Dream.

To control such a power as this by an elective assembly clearly is an idle dream.

Even Mr. and Mrs. Webb see that, as the number of officials in the legislative assembly of the trades union is constantly becoming greater, the control over the officials by these legislative assemblies must become farcical.

But what is to prevent the officials of the Socialized State entering the legislative assemblies of the Socialized State, or to send there men who are devoted to their interests? Clearly nobody can be elected but those whom the official classes favor, because nobody could become known to the people except those whom the official classes favored. In Socialism there would be no competition, and the whole press would be in the hands of the officials. Therefore only such men could become known to the people and get into the legislative assembly who are favored by the officials.

The legislative assembly, therefore, instead of being a controlling power over the officials, would simply be the keystone in the arch of official absolutism. It would complete the work of giving absolute power to the officials themselves.

Irresponsible Power Always Abused.

Socialism, therefore, possesses no means whatever by which it can control the Fran-kenstein which it calls into being. Again, therefore, I ask, what will the officials of Socialism do with this enormous power?

Can any man who has got his five senses together doubt that they would use this power to the advantage and interest of their class? They are men like other men; actuated by the same motives as other men; have the same vices and virtues as other men; and, therefore, like other men they will be largely selfish and unjust.

Never yet in the history of this world has great power been entrusted to a number of men, but that that power was exercised, not benevolently, but for the benefit of those who exercised it. No man or body of men was or ever will be fit to exercise absolute power. Therefore the members of the socialistic bureaucracy must use their power as men with even less power have used it in the past, for their own advantage.

They hold in their hands the whole of the wealth of the country. They will sooner or later appropriate more and more of that wealth for their own use. The "equality of distribution," the "equal reward of labor," will remain as regards the regulated masses, the subject people; but in ways open or concealed the officials will inevitably secure for themselves an ever greater share in that wealth. The officials will live in Roman luxury, marked off in startling ways from the correspondingly increased poverty of the rest of the people.

Nor will any social reconstruction extinguish the love of their children in man. You can make a picture for yourself of an ideal man whom you will see standing at the top of Socialism, but when he gets there he will not be an ideal -- he will be an ordinary man, probably on horseback, with a sword in his hand!

I say, men are human, and, whatever change you make in society, will desire to leave their children in as good or a better position than they have occupied themselves. Therefore, the officials of Socialism will inevitably try to prevent their children falling into the ranks of the regulated masses, and will endeavor to get their children to be officials as well.

As first, no doubt, it will be done in devious, concealed ways, but ultimately it must become an hereditary succession. Inevitably the officialdom of the Socialized State will become an hereditary caste with a despot at the top, who will also be either hereditary or elected exclusively by the members of the official class. Then they will lord it over the subject people, reduced to a degrading equality in poverty and deprived of every vestige of economic and political independence.

Corruption As Well As Caste.

But apart from these organized aggressions, there inevitably will come unorganized aggressions dictated by the selfishness, dishonesty and the evil passions of individual offlicials, and which will be sheltered by all the power of the official organization. In addition to the spirit of caste, there must come even more powerful motives as the inevitable corruption makes way.

At the present time when a man in a factory has incurred the ill-will of manager or foreman, or if a woman is persecuted by the unwelcome attentions of one of them, they can leave the factory and go into another, and thus get rid of the consequences.

No such evasion is possible under Socialism. They have to work in the place which is assigned to them, and they cannot leave it without official permission. Therefore the life and liberty of every man and the honor of every woman is at the mercy of the officials; you have a tyranny such as never yet existed in the world.

Now let me show you that even to-day in the United States, where the number of officials is comparatively small, and where they exercise a very small power, compared with the power which would be exercized by the officials of the Socialized State, the officials, nevertheless, ride rough-shod over the people. From the mass of evidence at my disposal, I will only bring before you two facts (and I have a whole lot of them), one a misdeed by the police of Chicago, and which is equalled in every city of the United States; and the other referring to the miners' strike now proceeding in Colorado. The police of Chicago is a democratic body. The mayor is elected by adult suffrage; he appoints the chief of police as well as every other officer in the force, and has the right to dismiss any one of them. Therefore, the mayor living under the control of the electors and controlling the police, the police are practically controlled by the electors.

Official Brutality in America.

Now let me show you what this democratically controlled body of officials is capable of. I am quoting from a pamphlet issued by the late Governor Altgeld, of Illinois, in which the City of Chicago is situated. (Governor Altgeld was one of the finest democrats who ever lived; he was not a "single taxer" -- that was the one blot on his character.)

"There was a strike on the West Division Street Railway, and some of the police, under the leadership of Capt. John Bonfield, indulged in a brutality never equalled before. Even small merchants standing on their own doorsteps, and having no interest in the strike, were clubbed, then hustled into patrol wagons and thrown into prison on no charge, and not even booked.

"A petition signed by about one thousand leading citizens in and near West Madison Street, was sent to the mayor and the City Council, praying for the dismissal of Bonfield from the force; but on account of his political influence, he was retained."

That is what happens in the United States today. The police, the servants of the people, lord it over the people; they kill the people when they please, club them, and send them into prison whenever they please, provided they are poor and powerless.

Let me give you another example, the mining strike of unexampled brutality in Colorado (in 1904). The people of Colorado, by a referendum, determined on an amendment of their constitution in favor of an eight hours' day. The amendment ordered the Legislature to pass an eight hours' bill in the first session of the new Legislature. The Legislature, bribed through the "bosses" by the combined mine owners of Colorado, failed to pass that bill, and when the miners applied to the Governor of the State to call a new session for the special purpose of passing it, the Governor refused.

Then the miners went on strike for an eight hours' day. The Governor telegraphed to the Sheriff of the County whether he should send troops, and the Sheriff wired back: "No, no necessity; no violence. I hold the people fully."

Nevertheless, the Governor sent the militia of the State, and quartered them in the places where the strike prevailed, and I am now going to show you that it was this lawless act and the subsequent lawless acts of the militia which have brought about the brutality of that strike of which I have already spoken. I will read an extract from the "Milwaukee Daily News," dated June 7th, 1904:

"A state of anarchy exists. Outrage invites outrage. For the condition that exists in Colorado, the responsibility cannot be charged entirely to the mine owners or to the union miners. Both have tried to gain their ends by coercion, intimidation and outrage; but the existing condition of affairs may be traced as much as to any one source to the course that has been pursued by Governor Peabody and the State authorities. Instead of using the power of the State to preserve order and maintain justice, the Governor and the other authorities have been partisans of the mine owners."

Let me show you what the militia did. The "Public," of Chicago, June 18th, 1904, contains the following statement:

"They have suspended the civil law, have driven officials out of office and put mine owners' tools in their place; they have censored the newspaper, and even destroyed its plant; they have gutted co-operative stores and destroyed the goods they contained. They have arrested men in shoals, and then deported them from the State by scores, for nothing but refusing to join the mine owners' union. They have even closed a competing mine where there had been neither strike nor disorder, and have forbidden the owner to re-open it with any other men than such as hold orders from the combined mine owners permitting them to work."

Because a small body of officials with limited power exercises it illegally, unjustly and brutally, Socialists want a large body of officials, with increased power, in order that they may be guilty of still more brutal and illegal conduct.

The Danger Glimpsed by Sydney Webb.

It is not the fault of a particular official. It is the fault of the constitution of officialdom. It is the acquisition of such power that corrupts men; and you will never find any man who will remain uncorrupted when he does possess such power.

Some prominent Socialists show, at least occasionally, that they have a glimpse of this danger themselves. Let me again quote from Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Webb's "Industrial Democracy":

"Though it may be presumed that the community, as a whole, would not deliberately oppress any section of its members, experience of all administrations on a large scale indicates how difficult it always must be, in any complicated organism, for an isolated individual sufferer to obtain redress against the malice, caprice, or simple heedlessness of his official superior.

"Even a whole class or grade of workers would find it practically impossible, without forming some sort of association of its own, to bring its special needs to the notice of public opinion, and to press them effectively on the Parliament of the nation. ...In short, it is essential that each section of producers should be, at least, so well organized that it can compel public opinion to listen to its claims, and so strongly combined that it can, if need be, as a last resort against bureaucratic stupidity or official oppression, enforce its demands by a concerted abstention from work."

Here, then, you have the admission by leading Socialists of the danger of oppression and injustice from the socialistic bureaucracy. You have this confession of it, and yet they blind their eyes to it and enter into it without even considering it.

And the suggestion that men under Socialism can strike against official oppression shows in a startling way the blindness of Socialists to the concomitant changes that must be brought about by the establishment of Socialism. For how are men to strike against the overwhelming power of the officials?

The officials hold in their own hands the bread, the meat and the vegetables, the coffee and the tea, and every other kind of food. All these things are in government warehouses. They hold all the fuel and all the light, and everything else that a man, woman or child may want, again in State warehouses. Therefore, if men were to go on strike against socialistic officials, even if these officials did not use any direct punishments, all they need do is to issue an order that goods are not to be issued to the strikers or to their wives or children, and either the strike would be at an end within a week, or the death of all the strikers and of all their families would have ended the troubles of the officials.

State Nurseries and Socialist Characters.

Now I have brought before you arguments to show that the powers which Socialism must confer upon its officials if honestly used, nevertheless in themselves constitute despotism on the one hand and slavery on the other; and I have also brought before you arguments to show that these powers must inevitably be used dishonestly, must be used for the benefit of the officials themselves; that these officials will inevitably grow into an hereditary caste, lording it over the whole of the people.

But these tendencies, arising from the industrial organization, will be largely supported by .the formation of character Socialism must bring about amongst the people.

I have pointed out before that when every man and every woman is obliged to work a certain number of hours every day in industrial employment, they cannot rear their children themselves. The children must be separated from their parents at a comparatively early age, and they must be reared in State nurseries and boarding schools. From earliest infancy, therefore, children will be exposed to influences far different from those that would have surrounded them and shaped their character in their parental home.

For the training through love and sympathy, there would be substituted the training through fear. The elastic bounds to the natural wilfulness of children which parents accommodate to the character of each child would give way to fixed rules to which all children must accommodate themselves. Breach of these rules would bring about punishment, but no expression of love or sympathy would provoke and meet repentance. The dawning intelligence of childhood prompting to constant questionings in the endeavor to understand would be repressed and confined to fixed and uniform lessons.

At the very time, therefore, when the emotional nature is being formed, when the intelligence of the future men and women is most easily impressed, when, as a consequence, the foundation of character is being laid, influences are at work that must seriously deteriorate character. Absolute non-questioning obedience; abject fear of authority; selfishness, dishonesty and cowardice must be the attributes of men and women whose child-hood has been passed in such conditions.

This form of character will be further developed by what happens in the future life of these people; for in a community where every action of life is controlled and regulated by officials, where every man and woman from earliest childhood has been compelled to act in obedience to the orders of officials, the consciousness must be lost that men can shape their own lives from their own actions. Any idea of independence must be lost.

Under Socialism the regulated masses of the people never have been allowed and never can be allowed to do anything except what some official has ordered, and these officials themselves are subject to strict regulations which cannot be altered or suspended except by an appeal to higher officials; and if the matter is at all important, then an appeal must be brought to still higher and still higher officials.

Men who all their lives have thus been accustomed to act in accordance with official dictation must lose all idea that independent action is possible, and must come to rely absolutely and with the fullest unquestioning confidence upon the orders of all officials. Independence, enterprise, self-reliance are thus lost to the whole people. The only sentiment that will be followed will be the most slavish obedience to and reliance upon orders of the officials.

Apotheosis of the State.

This tendency will be still further strengthened by the total loss of the perception of impersonal causation in social affairs.

The rise of mankind from barbarism to civilization has not been brought about by the conscious compulsory action of the State. On the contrary, it has been a process of unconscious evolution akin to the evolution which has produced all forms of life. The mastery over nature acquired by man, the differentiation of labor resulting in an ever increasing number of social structures, each constantly becoming more definite; the growth in knowledge and morality, which is the main distinction between lower and higher forms of human society; all these have arisen independent of the State, though it has constantly hampered their growth.

Even in the peculiar sphere of the State, the sphere of law-making, conscious evolution vastly predominates for most laws, and all the good laws have been enacted for the purpose of giving sanction to customs which previously had arisen independently among the people themselves. The recognition of self-regulation in social processes which as yet is very incomplete, as the very demand for Socialism shows, is, therefore, of the utmost importance for the well-being of mankind.

When, however, all social affairs and all social processes are regulated and controlled by officials, then the very idea that they can be otherwise regulated must disappear. Hence will arise a still further belief in and dependence upon the omnipotence of the State, and therefore the total loss of the perception that social ameliorations can be brought about otherwise than by the compulsory orders of the State and its officials.

The Death of Freedom and Triumph of Grovel.

With this lose of independence, and loss of self-reliance, there must come further losses. The perception of personal rights in man, of equality of rights in man, the sense of justice, the love of freedom and independence -- all these have arisen from the relation of contract between men.

In this relation of contract, every man knows that if he renders a service to any one he is entitled in return to a service of equal value, and if he receives a service then he knows that he ought to render in return a service of equal value. The hourly and daily recurrences of these exchanges under agreement, and the consequent settlements give rise to a constant maintenance of self-rights and a sympathetic recognition of other people's rights, and from these ultimately arises the notion of equality of rights amongst the contracting parties. Thus the state of contract gives rise to the recognition of equality of rights, of justice, of freedom, and of independence.

But under Socialism all this must be lost; for Socialism does away with all contracts, substitutes status for contract, and, therefore, must do away with the sentiments which have arisen from the relation of contract. With the cessation of contract must come the loss of the perception of the equal rights of the contracting parties; with the loss of the perception of equal rights there must come the loss of the perception of all rights.

Above all there will be lost the feeling that all undue exercise of power and injustice must be resisted even by others than those against whom these acts are directed; that they must be resisted by every man who loves freedom and independence. With this loss of the feeling that aggression must be resisted, aggressions will become multiplied, and the more they multiply, the more will the sense of justice become overclouded; the more will resistance to oppression decline; the more will the community lose the perception that official acts may be wrong, and absolute obedience to official commands will become the only rule of life.

This tendency will be still further supported by the substitution of compulsory co-operation for voluntary co-operation, by the substitution of the universal "you shall" for the now existing "I will."

For under Socialism it is no longer impersonal necessity that compels men to labor, but personal authority. The will of officials determines for all persons the hours of labor, the nature of their labor, the place where their labor is to be carried on, and no man amongst the regulated workers can possibly tell the reason why those orders are given. Whether they arise from necessity or caprice; whether they are dictated by benevolence – or malevolence -- they must be obeyed all the same.

Therefore, again you have the loss of all independence, the loss of all that makes men men, and ultimately every order of the officials will be regarded as law, every one of their acts will be regarded as sacred. Resistance to official acts, however unjust, will then be branded as disloyalty, and the only cardinal virtue will be absolute slavish obedience to official commands.

Return to the Vices of Slavery.

With this loss of recognition of personal rights and of the sense of justice, of love of freedom and independence, there must come hand in hand the loss of honesty and truthfulness. "To speak the truth and fear not," are co-related sentiments. Truthfulness arises from self-respect, as self-respect arises from the maintenance of personal rights.

When, as is the case under Socialism, those rights are denied and lost sight of; where every man and every woman is constantly, from their earliest childhood, under the command of a power which regulates and controls every one of their actions; where compulsory labor is substituted for voluntary labor; where fear of punishment is the only incentive to exertion; there honesty and truthfulness must also disappear. For deceit and lying will be the only weapons of defense under Socialism as under every other form of slavery, and as these have become the traits of every subject population, of every enslaved people, so must they become the prominent traits of the people sunk in the slavery of Socialism.

Socialism, endowing its bureaucracy with an overwhelming power, will thus ultimately extinguish every desire among the people to resist that power. Slavery will then have become the natural condition of the people of the Socialized State, just as it has become the natural condition of several Oriental peoples, because of its congruity with the social sentiments which have been developed amongst them.

The ultimate outcome of Socialism is, therefore, deplorable in every direction.

Industrially it means retrogression, enormous loss of productive power, and poverty for the whole of the people.

Politically, it means absolute despotism on the one hand, and absolute slavery for the great majority of the people on the other.

Socially, it means the loss of the monogynic family.

Ethically, it means the loss of all the virtues that a thousand years of the struggle for freedom have developed amongst the nations of the world, and a return to the vices which distinguish slavery everywhere.

Will We Undo the Work of Runnymede?

I recognize that the freedom which we enjoy to-day is as yet incomplete. It must be incomplete because our natures, not being as yet adapted to the higher social state, we are not yet worthy of complete freedom.

But the measure of freedom which we have attained is the result of a struggle which our ancestors have fought for over a thousand years. Of all the nations in the world, the British people have been most stubborn and most successful in this long-drawn battle for freedom. Is there a man of British blood, speaking the tongue which has carried the message of freedom over four continents, who, looking back upon this glorious struggle, does not feel his heart beat with enthusiasm at the thought that he also is of the line of men who knew how to die for freedom!

On the glorious field of Runnymede the flame was lit that no tyrant could since extinguish. It steadily burnt on through all the dark times of the Tudors; flamed higher and higher under the tyrant breath of the Stuarts, till it utterly consumed them. From that day to this its brightness has grown steadily, "Freedom broadening down from precedent to precedent"; illuminating and brightening the way for the people of Great Britain, America and Australia, serving as a beacon to the other and less fortunate nations of the world.

Wherever in modern times a nation has overthrown its tyrants, wherever by more peaceful means it has gradually extended its freedom, the inspiration has always come from that little island in the Northern seas, its freedom has been the star by which they steered.

Dare you then extinguish that flame? Will you prefer slavery to the limited freedom which sons of that long line of heroes?

I have shown that Socialism cannot improve the economic condition of the masses of the people. I have shown that it cannot increase the amount of wealth which will come to the poor and lowly of this world, But even if it could improve their condition, I say that the price to be paid for it is too great if it involves, as I have shown it involves under Socialism, the loss of all freedom and the loss of the advance in morality which has come to us through growing freedom.

I have fought for years, and I shall go on fighting, for this elementary justice -- that wealth shall belong to him who makes it; that every worker by brain or hand shall obtain for his own use all the wealth that his labor contributes to the common stock. But I look to that attainment of justice not through further restriction of our incomplete freedom, but through the extension of freedom; not through the further extension of governmental interference, but through the restriction of that interference.

Not capital, but privilege is the enemy of labor. All the special privileges that have been granted by the Legislature, the special privileges that you are constantly helping to create, they are the enemies of many whom special privileges cannot reach. Abolish special privileges! Give to all equal access to the inexhaustible storehouse of Nature, and wealth will distribute itself in exact accordance with justice without any interference by government officials.

Equal rights and equal opportunities, through greater freedom, these are the ideals that I would place before our people instead of the will-o-the-wisp of socialistic despotism.



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