The Blast Vol. I, No. 2
San Francisco, Saturday, January 22, 1916
“The Court Orders—”
The Court in its Majesty lifted its voice—
Safely surrounded, of course, by its boys.
The Law was expounded,
And Labor, dumbfounded,
Was wond’ring, Who’s making that noise?
A thought, like a bolt from a summer-lit sky
Struck Labor’s mind, brought a gleam to his eye.
Uncover’d at last
By Truth’s fearful blast,
Stood naked the hideous Lie.
He saw the proud master with half-hidden sneer,
Ruling meek slaves by brute force or by fear.
By dropping his hand
The whole robber band
Was made in a moment to hear.
In anger he let out a stentorian cry,
Fright’ning the Court, so it never knew why.
With yawps like a whelp,
His “Honor” cried Help!
The coppers ne’er batted an eye.
In danger the watchdogs are always asleep.
Lift thy hands, Labor, and make a clean sweep.
Be not a dull Giant,
But Worker Defiant
Who wills that to toil is to reap.
Aspirations of The Blast
THE BLAST is not a decent, respectable paper. Decency and Respectability—Mother Grundy’s bastard twins—change, like the fashions, with age, country and climate, mostly without rhyme or reason.
If you are a sissified mollycoddle of the good old kind that would put draping around a piano leg and go to bed in a night cap, drop this paper right now. It will surely shock you: for the truth is stark naked.
It is said: “The truth shall make you free.” So it shall. But the truth is not a nugget found by luck. He who diligently searches will find grains of it now and then.
THE BLAST preaches no dogma. Its mission is more revolutionary: to arouse independence of feeling, thought and action, without which there is no road to human freedom.
Freedom is primarily a state of mind. It can neither be chained in a dungeon nor heralded from the throne. There is no royal road to it, though the pathways are many. THE BLAST proposes to discuss them.
Any man or movement enlisted in the battle for the right of the worker to the Earth and the fullness thereof, will find in THE BLAST a fighting friend, regardless of regimental insignia.
THE BLAST has no time to split hairs over policies.
If an institution has the elements of slavery within it, we shall grill it, no matter how respectably moss-grown it has become with age.
If THE BLAST can aid in sweeping away the cobwebs of tradition, and call to life the vision of a better, freer world, without oppression and legalized theft, without soldiers and bloodshed, without priests and superstitions, without politicians and graft, plutocrats and paupers, we shall not have worked in vain.
We know our limitations.
We are not profound philosophers. Hence we refuse to be slaves to consistency.
We are not learned scholars. Therefore faulty rhetoric will not freeze the blood in our veins.
We are free from the blight of professional journalism. We shall not worry ourselves to death about style.
We are but workers with a passion for Freedom and with the determination to express it in the face of all difficulty and danger.
If you are with us, now is the time to prove your interest and solidarity.
What is the Matter With Labor?
Labor lacks solidarity. Labor lacks any approach to solidarity. Labor lacks any vital idea which will lead to solidarity. Here, in my opinion, is the missionary work for true labor leaders,—to bring the masses of Labor to a conception of their strength in unity; the absolute necessity for a completely united labor.
Labor now thinks in terms of unions, and in spite of certain affiliations and amalgamations each union is a unit for itself. The more skilled trades and the more powerful unions form an aristocracy of labor, a perfectly foolish thought for any one in the ranks of Labor to entertain, no matter how high his salary and how great his skill. You might as well talk his turn at the pumps or all must perish. The vital idea never to be dimmed is that there is but one cause, Labor’s cause. But one oppression, the capitalistic system. Not capitalists. They are men. Often excellent men, and it is a great mistake to direct attention to individuals. Individuals die, but systems remain, and Labor’s task is to abolish the system which automatically makes capitalists. To that task every soul in the ranks of Labor should be summoned, without distinction as to race, color, sex or skill. The troubles and oppressions of the dullest laborer handling pick and shovel are identically the troubles and oppressions of the Brotherhood of Engineers, or the Electrical Workers. There is only one cause—Labor’s cause. All labor, without any distinction. Only one foe—the System which denies to Labor the fruit of its own toil. But now Labor thinks in terms of locality, as well as in terms of unions. The labor troubles of Los Angeles belong to Los Angeles. The labor troubles of Paterson belong to Paterson. Of course, sometimes the question is made a little more general and always there are a few individuals who see the necessity of the solidarity of labor on every question concerning labor, but as a rule Labor likes to limit the trouble—to isolate it—as if it were measles or smallpox. It is as if the artillery of an army looked some miles away and said, “Ah! Our infantry over there is being annihilated. Too bad!” And went on with its dinner.
Meat-cutters shiver on strike while every other trade in the butcher business goes contentedly on with its master’s work. Carpenters walk out and painters, plasterers and plumbers remain on the job. Teamsters in Chicago may be starving on a strike, while teamsters in San Francisco and everywhere else go about their business.
I know the reason given for this lack of cohesion, that the others who remain on the job may by their contributions aid the strikers, etc., etc., and I know the risks of striking with the risk of an empty bread-pan. Nevertheless, the plan has all the weakness of the bundle of sticks which could easily broken separately but resisted all power when bound together. If Labor had absolute solidarity, no resistance to it could last three days, and it would only be a question of how intelligently Labor used its power. But I think we could safely trust the evolution of ideas to govern that.
What I think Labor has never perceived, because we have never seen it put into action, is that the cause of striking teamsters in Chicago is not only a cause for teamsters everywhere, but for all Labor everywhere. There is only one cause: Labor’s cause.
Labor also now thinks in terms of wages and hours. It has no further vision; no deeper understanding; no higher hope. Its leaders are not teaching it to think in terms of revolution, but are quite content with spasmodic skirmishes over wages and hours and are hilariously jubilant if successful, without apparently the slightest idea that they have not touched the real issue at all. Labor leaders seem to me essentially as conservative as preachers or capitalists. It never occurs to them to ask why Labor and why Capital! Why this dividing line, on one side of which are all the toilers, the creators of wealth, living from hand to mouth, and on the other side the few absorbers of wealth, dangerously rich? Labor rushes forward for remedial legislation and again is jubilant if it has scratched the surface, but I hear very few powerful voices teaching Labor that there is a force like gravity beyond the power of legislation, working night and day to automatically separate the people into the poor serf-toilers and the rich capitalistic overlords. It is the same power which made the aristocracy of Greece; the plutocracy of Rome; the feudal lords of the Middle Ages. The same power that is making our plutocracy today. It is the ability of a shrewd and privileged Few to control the planet on which we live and out of which by labor all things come. In other words, it is the ability to monopolize the earth and the choicest treasures thereof. This monopoly is not only made possible, but it is inevitable, so long as we have a system of land-holding which is in essence identically the feudal system, namely: a paper grant or deed from some grantor, giving to the grantee, by reason of the mere scrap of paper, absolute ownership of the land described, utterly regardless of any necessity, possession or use. This system has always, automatically, separated society economically into over-lords and serfs. It is this system which has permitted and stimulated a few persons or individuals to own all the iron-ore, anthracite coal, bituminous coal, timber and other valuable natural resources of this country. They own them absolutely and they warn all the world off as trespassers, regardless of whether they are putting them to use or not. It is the system which permits the shrewd speculator, who is first on the ground, to seize and hold the valuable portions of the earth, even the agricultural lands, and the after-born are left as serfs in the land of their birth, or may go out and starve upon the waste places.
Under such conditions, automatically created by such a system, what can Labor do but work for its master? From this land monopoly and the privileged class created by it come further powers and privileges created by such privileged class through the machine it has always controlled called Government. It is an absurdity to speak of any government as representative of the people. It always represents the great interests, the property class. This Government creates zones of privilege into which only the few may creep. Taxation power used as a privilege to create bonuses, directly or indirectly; banking powers and privileges. Inevitably, therefore, when the machine drove out the artisan (and art) these privileged capitalists naturally became the owners of the machines. The laborer himself became an appendage to the machine, or a serf to the soil, and in either case he must beg his job, hat in hand, from his master. What else can he do? Where can he go, and what other remedy is there than destroying this monopolistic system of privilege? And yet Labor continues to make a begging warfare for jobs, for hours, for wages.
It is true in this warfare Labor is often big-voiced, even truculent, but when its voice is biggest it secretly carries its hat in its hand, knowing instinctively that the overlords have the greater power, as things now are, for they own the earth, the machines, the jobs.
So, also, while its voice is loudest, Labor in its inner heart carries the fear that it and its women and children will starve unless the great masters allow it very soon to go to work again creating more wealth for confiscation by the master-class.
As I look over the world, nowhere has Labor had a clear idea that it need not starve. Always it is fettered by the idea of Law and vested rights; property rights. It does not seem to have got it into its brain and blood that it, itself, has created all the food and clothing in the warehouses and the stores; all the guns and ammunitions in the armories, and all it needs is to help itself according to its needs, for necessity knows no law.
It would seem as if Labor by some sort of instinct ought to grasp the idea that no capitalist or group of capitalists could make a machine, a bolt of cloth, or a barrel of flour, a gun, or a cartridge; yet the giant Labor sits naked, without bread, gun or ammunition, and is afraid to take what in reality is its own creation and only a false and vicious system declares to be the property of another.
Labor is, as a slave-class always is, pathetically law-abiding, and its leaders take great pride in the fact that they are law-abiding citizens and make it very plain that they will repudiate all who are not. They forget that the world moves only by some citizens becoming not law-abiding. The common people of England under Cromwell were distinctly not law-abiding when they cut off the head of Charles; nor were the people of the French Revolution law-abiding. They were law-breaking but also law-making citizens, for after all true law is the will of the people, not enactments by so-called representatives of the people who have never represented any but the property class, but enactments by the very body of the people themselves in action. John Brown was not a law-abiding citizen when he helped run-away slaves to freedom, and he was not ashamed of his unlawful acts.
What Labor needs, in my opinion, is a little more self-respect, not conceit; a little more boldness in action, not in talk, and, above all, an understanding grasp of the idea that the cause of Labor is really the cause of the race. That the salvation of the race and Labor is revolution, not petty tinkering, and that the revolution can only be brought about, whether by volcanic action or by slow evolution, by Labor’s firm belief that the cause of the lowest is the cause of the highest; that there is but one cause,—Labor’s cause, and it is the same, not only country-wide but world-wide.
This present war is a war between governments, not between peoples, and when I say it is a war between governments, that is the same thing as saying it is a war between the exploiting classes of each country, quarreling one with the other. The root of the quarrel is trade, territory, colonies, manufacture, bonds, investments; new regions and channels for exploitation. The people of each country have far more quarrel with their own masters and governors than they have with each other. Or, to put it better, each has more quarrel with the system in its own country which begets masters and governors. Indeed, the plain peoples have no quarrel with each other. They have nothing to gain but death and no hope but to return to their old jobs, burdened with added taxation. But they have a great quarrel with the system which creates exploiters and wars.
The industrial war, which is always smouldering in this country and in Europe, is part and parcel of the great international world war now going on. They rise from a common cause. In both lies this question: How long will Labor endure exploitation by a capitalistic class? Or, again, to put it more accurately, for we must not be misled into looking at individuals, how long will Labor endure this feudal system which automatically breeds an exploiting class of overlords at one end and a mass of serfs at the other?
Labor, the great Giant which rends mountains and turns aside rivers, must beg for the right to work because of its belly, and the highest vision it has is to mutter now and then about its wages and hours. No, it is not even a giant. It is a dismembered giant, with a leg lying here and an arm there; here a toe, there a finger; and a head nowhere. And the arms, legs, fingers and toes are each twitching a little bit trying to do something separately; the great toe secretly despising its little brother. Or, let us better say, it is not a dismembered giant, but one which has never yet been put together: no head has ever been placed upon the great powerful body. But when this happens, and the Giant acts with one body and speaks with one voice, it can, without force or violence, reform the world and bless mankind. But not till then.
Charles Erskine Scott Wood
The Cat in the Bag
“We are not going to war just because we make an increase in our military equipment of from twenty-five to fifty per cent. We need an army for its moral influence, if for nothing else. In a nation of 100,000,000 there are liable to be riots, mobs and insurrections, which cannot be regulated except by the presence of an army.”
—Ex-President Taft in World’s Chronicle.
Right you are, Bill. But awful careless to let the cat out of the bag so soon.
It would not be safe if the workers of the country should see through the scheme.
From ancient autocracy to modern plutocracy the ruling families were strong for the trained cut-throat, the soldier.
The soldier protects the ruler from the righteous indignation of the mob.
The multimillionaire families (you will find their names in the World Almanac), ruling America by the grace of the Almighty Dollar, as much as any royal scamp that ever disgraced a throne by divine right, are a unit for a large army.
And who, may we ask, is the mob?
Who are the insurrectionists?
Why, it is the natural crowd, grown restless. Tired of being fleeced, tired of politician’s empty promises, tired of taking in the slack in the belt when hunger gnaws.
It is Labor straightening its back, stretching its mighty grip for the wealth it created.
It is “the starving and dangerous myriads, coming from mines and mills, pale-faced girls and women with hard-eyed children pouring from dens of filth and toil, out to the air of heaven, crying to Labor to rise, to be high as the highest that rules them, to own the Earth in their life-time and hand it down to their children.”
Therefore must our business men, preferably, be trained in the gentle art of killing and absolute obedience; for without obedience there would be neither hangman, nor soldier, neither master nor slave.
“Our Kings are the same as the Kings of old,
But a Man stands up where there crouched a clown;
The Evil shall die when his hand grows bold
And the fist of the People shall strike at the crown.”
Bill Taft, a bum president, but a first-class announcer through the plutocratic megaphone, has shown the real reason for preparedness.
It is a challenge and a warning to Labor.
The power inherent in Labor has never been demonstrated more forcibly than by the stand of the Railway and Mine men of Great Britain against Conscription.
The mere threat of a general strike in the two industries was sufficient to force the powerful Government of His Majesty, King of Great Britain and Emperor of India, to back down in quick time. The Government lost no time in assuring these organizations that they would be exempt from the provisions of the Conscription Act.
The great governmental secret is that the authorities knew that the threat of the workers was backed by courage and determination to make good.
Question: If Labor in only two industries can thus force a strong government to its knees, is there anything that the solidaric attitude of the unified Labor of a given country could not accomplish?
Or the solidarity of the whole of International Labor?
What a lesson, especially to the timid Labor of our own land!
* * *
The A. F. of L. Convention
The delegates to the recent A. F. of L. Convention, held at San Francisco, seem to have entirely failed to get the spirit of the speeches made by the fraternal delegates from Great Britain—C. G. Ammon and E. Bevan.
“The British workman,” said Ammon in addressing the Convention, “is ready to give his life to the nation as soon as the capitalist and landlord are ready to give up their property to the nation.”
The significance of these words fell, apparently, upon deaf ears. The Convention of the greatest organization of Labor in America failed to take a definite stand toward the most burning questions agitating the country today—questions upon the solution of which will vitally depend the fortunes of Labor in the coming years.
* * *
The Liberty and Peace of the Republic
On the question of Preparedness, President Gompers had this to say to the Convention:
“I am against militarism. * * * We are living in a republic, but a republic does not assure protection and peace. The people who would not defend our institutions of liberty and peace, are not worth having a republic.”
Labor enslaved, brutalized and humiliated. Unemployed tramping the streets, hungry and cold, in the vain search of a job. Workers by the thousand killed, maimed and crippled in mine, mill and factory. Strikers shot down in cold blood, the wives and children of dispossessed miners burned alive in their tents. Labor men filling the prisons and penitentiaries of the country.
Is this the “liberty and peace of the republic” you want to defend, good Mr. Gompers?
* * *
No one has more direct and vital interest in the question of Preparedness than the workers.
They will have to do the preparing.
They will build the factories and munition plants.
They will manufacture the guns, shells, powder and other death-dealing instruments of warfare.
They will do the transporting.
They will produce and supply the food for themselves while they are doing all this preparing.
They will be commanded to go to the front.
They will be the fodder for the cannon.
In this country.
And in all the other countries.
They—some of them—will remain corpses on the field of battle.
They will leave widows and orphans, in sorrow, misery and poverty.
They—some of them—will return home armless and legless, crippled and maimed for life, pitiful objects of charity.
They—most of them—will have to look for a job. Some will find it, many won’t.
They will work in the shops and factories. The unemployed will wait outside to take their places at lower wages.
They will struggle and suffer and fight for a bare living and go out on strike.
They will be shot down by the guns and munitions they themselves had made.
And the Generals will be decorated, and the Masters will celebrate jubilantly, “Our country is saved!”
* * *
There are many factors:
Commercial rivalry among the Big Business interests of the different countries;
The spirit of racial and national antagonisms cultivated by Christian “brotherhood” and capitalistic cannibalism;
The murderous superstition that civilization can be advanced by wholesale slaughter;
The village notion that you are better than the other fellow because you happen to be born here;
The fool idea that because people live across an imaginary border line they are essentially different from you, or worse;
The persecution mania of small minds that your village is always in danger from your neighbors;
The savage relic in our hearts that some one must be punished if something goes wrong;
The murderous insanity that national honor can be anything different than your own honor as a man;
The fiction that you have any cause to kill men whom you have never seen or heard of and against whom you have no grievance whatever;
The patriotic aberration that; though it is murder to kill when you are dressed in citizen’s clothes, it is heroic and glorious to slaughter wholesale when you put on a soldier’s uniform.
The idea that you are a free-born man, subject to no one’s orders, and a Christian whom the Lord commanded, “Thou shalt not kill,” but—that it is your sacred, patriotic and Christian duty to kill every one in sight when a man with more gold braid on his uniform than on yours orders you to shoot.
But the most gigantic idiocy of them all: that we, the workers, have anything to gain by slaughtering other workers.
* * *
Quite A Difference
There is much talk about the benefit and profit this country is deriving from the war in Europe.
It’s a confusion in terms.
No benefit can accrue to anyone from the murder of millions of men, the devastation of whole countries, and the multiplication of cripples, widows and orphans.
War benefits no one, but there are profits in it, great profits—for the American munition manufacturers.
* * *
The Labor Clarion, the official journal of the California State Federation of Labor, as well as of the San Francisco Labor Council, in an editorial entitled “The Conviction of Schmidt,” has the following to say:
“No attempt is made to maintain that union men are never guilty of crime and if after a fair trial, free from bias and prejudice, guilt is established, organized labor will join the balance of society in condemnation, whether the crime is due to selfishness or is the action of an over-zealous fanatic.”
Is the editor of the Labor Clarion really so naive as to believe that a labor man can secure “a fair trial free from bias and prejudice” in the courts of the enemy?
It is this kind of editorial piffle that keeps the workers from realizing the actual facts of the labor situation and dooms their struggles to defeat.
As to “organized labor joining the balance of society in condemnation,”—that’s just the great tragedy of Labor. But too often it “joins in condemnation,”—even of its own brothers in the hands of the enemy.
We hope that the intelligent militant elements of California Labor will protest against the sentiments of the Labor Clarion, pretending to represent organized Labor. The eagerness to be “respectable” is what is keeping the workers in bondage. It is time they would emancipate themselves from their slave morality.
“Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many,—they are few.”
The poet’s cry, after the broken slumber of a hundred years, rings out a message of hope to the workers and is threatened menace to the upper crust of society.
Out of the seemingly hopeless conflict of tactics and politics, out of the storm and stress of industrial warfare, like a mail-clad Pallas from the Jovian brow, springs Labor defiant, bidding the masters halt.
The “Empire Builders” of Great Britain bend their knees to the very class they have always so haughtily despised.
Suddenly they realize that neither King nor Parliament, neither Dukes, Lords nor anointed Bishops, neither Brewer-Baronets nor imported American dollar aristocrats, nay, not one in the whole crest-embroidered troop is worth a tinker’s damn in the crisis that faces the “Empire.”
The workers of England have at last realized that their boasted political liberty is but a sham as long as industrial slavery continues.
The masters have played their last trump.
Slimy parliamentarians, desperate at the workers’ “unpatriotic” attitude in refusing to defend their imaginary homes, succeeded in passing the Munition Act, a law which rehabilitates slavery in England.
Recently twenty-eight strikers were fined for “unlawfully ceasing to work.” The overlords were not satisfied. Relying upon the workers’ superstitious reverence for legal enactments, they now propose to make the “unlawful” cessation of work a prison offense.
But the last poisoned straw, Conscription, did not break the patient camel’s back. It stiffened its spine and aroused its temper.
Labor flung the gauntlet back in the masters’ teeth. With conscious power and defiance rings the challenge of Labor. According to latest United Press dispatches—
“The National Railway Men’s Union, one of the strongest of Great Britain’s labor organizations, today defied the government to enact its conscript bill. After introducing one of the most severe resolutions yet fostered by any union, the Executive Committee hinted at an immediate general strike on transportation lines if the measure passes.
“‘Unless the government is prepared to confiscate the wealth of the privileged classes.’ said the resolution, ‘for a more successful prosecution of the war, railroad workers will resist to the uttermost the confiscation of men whose only wealth is their labor power!’”
Oi, oi, what a language from a workman to his “betters”! But it had the dangerous ring of sincerity in it, and a word to the wise one seemed sufficient, for the dispatch adds:
“This move, coupled with the anti-conscription resolutions adopted yesterday by representatives of 800,000 miners, gave the government considerable concern. Premier Asquith conferred informally with cabinet members, and it is rumored that, in view of the possibility of serious action from the railway and mine men, he was trying to amend the bill so as to eliminate these groups from its operation.”
Of course, the bill will be amended so as to exempt the unions which show strength and spirit, in the hope that at least the weak and unorganized may submit.
Now is the crucial time for the organized workers of England to speak, not alone for themselves, but for all Labor.
Let no lure of group exemption undermine their solidarity.
Conscription is now advocated boldly and persistently by the plutocracy of America. Experience has taught them that it is difficult to get recruits for the army even at present. The much advertised “opportunity for travel at good pay” which flares from the recruiting office posters in peace, means rubbing, scrubbing and polishing hooks and brass buttons; in war, rotten meat, typhus, cannon food and—glory and promotion for the officers.
It is now up to American Labor to speak—the speak in unison with their British brothers. The hands of Time are moving.
The Ballad of Youngstown
Lydia Gibson Mestre
For weeks and weeks the strike had run, for hungry days and days;
And frozen was the winter sun, and hunger often slays;
For weeks and weeks we had held fast, just where we had begun;
We thought we had them there at last, such weeks the strike had run!
We thought, poor fools, we had them there; (three cents was the dispute—
Three measly cents to each man’s share—and children starved to boot!)
So when the scabs began to work (God knows what sort of pay!)
We pulled together with a jerk to chase them out that day.
Scab-chasing is all very well, but it’s evil-smelling quarry;
The boys all yell: “The scabs to hell—we’re here now—we should worry!”
You’ve seen a bunch get going? Then you know how once they’re started
They’re off, ten or a thousand men, even the chicken-hearted.
They owned the town, the boys, that night, who knew not wealth nor glory;
The master crouched at home in fright—say, isn’t that some story?
The masters trembled in their shoes, their women shook with fear;
Those forty-hundred men let loose made noises weird to hear.
Those forty-hundred half-starved men looted and burned and slaked;
Years upon years of anger then out of their hearts were waked;
Years on years of humility, years upon years of toil,
Grim grey days of servility;—now they could have the spoil.
Years upon years they paid for it, they and their fathers, too;—
Work—(even work, they prayed for it!) toiled till all was blue!
Tonight gems hung in their grizzled ears; silk and lace for carousers—
Wine and food and hearty cheers, while the masters hide in the houses!
Fire and orgy and all excess—yes, we are “violent,” very—
That night was a long way from success, but for once the boys were merry!
A Blast From Youngstown
Up from the black hell-hole of Ohio, from Youngstown, comes the volcanic blast of revolt, revealing the smouldering fire that needs but a fanning to burst into the roaring flame of a full-fledged revolution.
Men, known by number like convicts, barefooted women and scantily-clad children go into action.
And lo! In one short night the smiles of smug satisfaction faded from the philistines’ faces.
For the starveling crowd no more cringed meekly before the lash of Hunger. Diamonds and jewelry, clothing and food, drinks that brought joy for the moment—all were theirs for the taking.
“Thieves!”—you cry. Not so; not they. The thieves were the masters who stole the fruit of the workers’ labor, allowing but 15 cents an hour for their toil at the fiery furnace.
And ow after stealing the brawn of the men, the joy of the mothers and the hopes of the young, year after year, they squeal like cornered rats over the loss of a measly million, no dollar of which they themselves had created.
Save us, police! Send the militia! The State, its ear attuned to the call of capital, comes to the rescue.
“Grimy hands stained with toil wearing diamond rings.”
“Burly giants wrap themselves in silk.”
“Gold watches flung like cigars into overall pockets.”
Why not have the hard-working producer in possession of these things rather than the coupon-clipping parasites?
“The citizens arm against the horrible strikers.”
“The citizens place dynamite under the bridge, ready to blow it up if the strikers attempt to cross.”
But suppose the strikers planted dynamite under a bridge in order to blow up armed “citizens?”
The whole press would rend the air with shrieks of vengeance for such “dastardly deeds.”
Who are the “citizens?” And who are the strikers?
Let us take their own word for it: The citizens are two hundred specimens of the “better class.” The “strikers are desperately poor.”
An Old Ghost In a New Sheet
San Francisco real estate sharks, finding the market for suckers dull, have revived an old industry.
They have been selling “influence” with the City Fathers in the matter of garage permits. Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars seems to have been the scale.
If a garage owner wanted to prevent a competitor from getting a permit, he bought Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars worth of influence. If a man wanted to start a garage, he invested Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars in influence.
Coming and going, the game worked like a charm.
We have the word of the City Fathers themselves that they knew nothing about it, and never got a whiff of the cash.
Stern logic forces us to the conclusion that there is no good reason why a Grand Jury should investigate this matter.
Priests have been selling influence with our Heavenly Father since time immemorial. They have sold indulgences for sins intended to be committed and absolution for sins already sinned, and no Grand Jury ever interfered.
To the credit of the City Fathers be it said that they protested against the practice as soon as they knew. Our Heavenly Father, who should have known all along, still remains silent.