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War of the Classes   By: (1876-1916)

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First Page:

WAR OF THE CLASSES

BY JACK LONDON AUTHOR OF "THE SEA WOLF," "CALL OF THE WILD," ETC.

THE REGENT PRESS NEW YORK

Copyright, 1905, BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped. Published April, 1905. Reprinted June, October, November, 1905; January, 1906; May, 1907; April, 1908; March, 19010; April, 1912.

Printed and Bound by J. J. Little & Ives Company New York

Contents:

Preface The Class Struggle The Tramp The Scab The Question of the Maximum A Review Wanted: A New Land of Development How I Became a Socialist

PREFACE

When I was a youngster I was looked upon as a weird sort of creature, because, forsooth, I was a socialist. Reporters from local papers interviewed me, and the interviews, when published, were pathological studies of a strange and abnormal specimen of man. At that time (nine or ten years ago), because I made a stand in my native town for municipal ownership of public utilities, I was branded a "red shirt," a "dynamiter," and an "anarchist"; and really decent fellows, who liked me very well, drew the line at my appearing in public with their sisters.

But the times changed. There came a day when I heard, in my native town, a Republican mayor publicly proclaim that "municipal ownership was a fixed American policy." And in that day I found myself picking up in the world. No longer did the pathologist study me, while the really decent fellows did not mind in the least the propinquity of myself and their sisters in the public eye. My political and sociological ideas were ascribed to the vagaries of youth, and good natured elderly men patronized me and told me that I would grow up some day and become an unusually intelligent member of the community. Also they told me that my views were biassed by my empty pockets, and that some day, when I had gathered to me a few dollars, my views would be wholly different, in short, that my views would be their views.

And then came the day when my socialism grew respectable, still a vagary of youth, it was held, but romantically respectable. Romance, to the bourgeois mind, was respectable because it was not dangerous. As a "red shirt," with bombs in all his pockets, I was dangerous. As a youth with nothing more menacing than a few philosophical ideas, Germanic in their origin, I was an interesting and pleasing personality.

Through all this experience I noted one thing. It was not I that changed, but the community. In fact, my socialistic views grew solider and more pronounced. I repeat, it was the community that changed, and to my chagrin I discovered that the community changed to such purpose that it was not above stealing my thunder. The community branded me a "red shirt" because I stood for municipal ownership; a little later it applauded its mayor when he proclaimed municipal ownership to be a fixed American policy. He stole my thunder, and the community applauded the theft. And today the community is able to come around and give me points on municipal ownership.

What happened to me has been in no wise different from what has happened to the socialist movement as a whole in the United States. In the bourgeois mind socialism has changed from a terrible disease to a youthful vagary, and later on had its thunder stolen by the two old parties, socialism, like a meek and thrifty workingman, being exploited became respectable.

Only dangerous things are abhorrent. The thing that is not dangerous is always respectable. And so with socialism in the United States. For several years it has been very respectable, a sweet and beautiful Utopian dream, in the bourgeois mind, yet a dream, only a dream. During this period, which has just ended, socialism was tolerated because it was impossible and non menacing... Continue reading book >>




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