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Violence and the Labor Movement   By:

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VIOLENCE AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT

[Illustration: Logo]

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO · DALLAS ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED

LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.

TORONTO

VIOLENCE AND THE LABOR MOVEMENT

BY

ROBERT HUNTER

AUTHOR OF "POVERTY," "SOCIALISTS AT WORK," ETC.

New York

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

1922

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

COPYRIGHT, 1914

BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1914.

FERRIS PRINTING COMPANY NEW YORK CITY

THIS VOLUME IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR TO

EUGENE V. DEBS

"ONE WHO NEVER TURNED HIS BACK BUT MARCHED BREAST FORWARD, NEVER DOUBTED CLOUDS WOULD BREAK,"

AND

D. DOUGLAS WILSON

WHO, THOUGH PARALYZED AND BLIND, HAS SO LONG AND FAITHFULLY BLAZED THE TRAIL FOR LABOR

PREFACE

This volume is the result of some studies that I felt impelled to make when, about three years ago, certain sections of the labor movement in the United States were discussing vehemently political action versus direct action. A number of causes combined to produce a serious and critical controversy. The Industrial Workers of the World were carrying on a lively agitation that later culminated in a series of spectacular strikes. With ideas and methods that were not only in opposition to those of the trade unions, but also to those of the socialist party, the new organization sought to displace the older organizations by what it called the "one Big Union." There were many in the older organizations who firmly believed in industrial unionism, and the dissensions which arose were not so much over that question as over the antagonistic character of the new movement and its advocacy here of the violent methods employed by the revolutionary section of the French unions. The most forceful and active spokesman of these methods was Mr. William D. Haywood, and, largely as a result of his agitation, la grève générale and le sabotage became the subjects of the hour in labor and socialist circles. In 1911 Mr. Haywood and Mr. Frank Bohn published a booklet, entitled Industrial Socialism , in which they urged that the worker should "use any weapon which will win his fight."[A] They declared that, as "the present laws of property are made by and for the capitalists, the workers should not hesitate to break them."[B]

The advocacy of such doctrines alarmed the older socialists, who were familiar with the many disasters that had overtaken the labor movement in its earlier days, and nearly all of them assailed the direct actionists. Mr. Eugene V. Debs, Mr. Victor L. Berger, Mr. John Spargo, Mr. Morris Hillquit, and many others, less well known, combated "the new methods" in vigorous language. Mr. Hillquit dealt with the question in a manner that immediately awakened the attention of every active socialist. Condemning without reserve every resort to lawbreaking and violence, and insisting that both were "ethically unjustifiable and tactically suicidal," Mr. Hillquit pointed out that whenever any group or section of the labor movement "has embarked upon a policy of 'breaking the law' or using 'any weapons which will win the fight,' whether such policy was styled 'terrorism,' 'propaganda of the deed,' 'direct action,' 'sabotage,' or 'anarchism,' it has invariably served to demoralize and destroy the movement, by attracting to it professional criminals, infesting it with spies, leading the workers to needless and senseless slaughter, and ultimately engendering a spirit of disgust and reaction. It was this advocacy of 'lawbreaking' which Marx and Engels fought so severely in the International and which finally led to the disruption of the first great international parliament of labor, and the socialist party of every country in the civilized world has since uniformly and emphatically rejected that policy... Continue reading book >>




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