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Full text of "Insurgency : or, the economic power of the middle class"

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Title Insurgency ; or, the economic power of the middle class / 

Author Foster, William Zebulon, 1881-1961. 




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INSURGENCY 



or 



The Economic Power 
of the Middle Class 



A Discussion between WM. Z. 
FOSTER, Member of the I. W. W, 
now in Europe, formerly Spokane 
Correspondent of "The Working- 
man's Paper", of Seattle, and the 
Editor, HERMON F. TITUS. Re- 
printed from that Journal, issue 
of September 10, 1910. 



_ 



THE TRUSTEE PRINTING COMPANY 

Price 10 Cents 



Box 1908 



Seattle, Wash. 






/ HARVARD^ 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 

MAY 131942 



EDITORIAL BY H. F. TITUS 



(Reprinted from "The Workingman's Paper, issue of September 10, 
1910.) 

We welcome a letter like this from our old friend and correspondent, 
William E. Foster, better known by our readers as William Z. Foster. When 
he started for Spokane to represent this paper in the Fight for Free Speech 
in that city, it was thought his mail might go to some other man by the 
rather common name of William E., so it was agreed that his pen name for 
this paper should be William Z., and so by that initial he is known from the 
Pacific to the Atlantic. 

Foster is now in Europe, this letter bearing a Paris postmark. He wants 
to study "Direct Action" in its home, France. He promises to write us 
occasionally and give the results of his investigations. 

This letter shows once again what an able man Foster is. He is one of 
those wage-workers who put to shame the cavils of the so-called Intellectuals 
who imagine the working class is incapable of doing its own thinking. 

• * • • 

The issues which Foster takes with the position of "The Workingman's 
Paper" are (1) whether the Middle Class has sufficient "Economic Power" 
to resist the Trust Class, and (2), whether the Ballot can be used by the 
Working Class for its own emancipation. 

First, as to Economic Power. That is an expression frequently employed 
without analysis to discover its actual meaning. It is often associated in 
thought with that similar expression, Economic Determinism. Both sound 
large and Impressive and may be used to overwhelm an unsophisticated 
antagonist. It does one good to see a Capitalist adversary appear stupidly 
wise at the mention of one of these phrases by a really wise Proletarian. 

But the wisest sometimes employ terms which have a profound sig- 
nificance, especially If they have won a vogue for themselves, in a loose 
and indefinite manner. Therefore it is always healthy for any thinker to 
analyze his most commonly used generalizations. 



For instance, it is a commonplace for Socialist writers to say the Feudal 
Class passed off the stage because Economic Power was captured in the 
course of development by the Capitalist Class; or that the Slave-owning Class 
of the South was forced to yield to the Capitalist Class of the North because 
It possessed inferior Economic Power. 

Taking this out of the region of the clouds, what can it mean but the 
Power of Bread and Butter? That class has the greatest Economic Power 
which holds the purse strings; or, if all have purses, the one which has the 

a , " 



deepest and fullest purse, has the Power. This assumes that the Purse can 
purchase. If money cannot buy the necessities of life, the Purse is powerless. 
Economic Power, in that case, rests with that class which commands the 
Means of Production, the land and machinery by which necessaries are 
produced through labor. 

Take a strike, for example. The strikers can last as long as they can 
feed. When they can no longer get a meal or provide a roof, they die; their 
Economic Power was lost and life with it. The old South yielded and Lee 
surrendered, because there was nothing left in the treasury at Richmond, 
the soldiers were ragged and starving, no guns and no powder could be 
obtained, no cotton could be raised or sold, nobody could pay taxes; in a 
word, their Economic Power was exhausted; while yet the North had 

abundance. 

• • • • 

Now, have the -Middle Class sufficient Economic Power left? Can the 
Trust Class starve them out? For the Middle Class are certainly on strike 
against the Trusts. Listen to their world-famous champion. Roosevelt's 
closing words at Minneapolis form a call to battle: "The supreme political 
task of our day, the indispensable condition of national efficiency and national 
yvelfare, is to drive the Special Corporate Interests out of our public life." 

Compare the relative wealth of the three classes. According to the 
census of 1900, the last reliable figures, the Trust Class, with some quarter 
million members, owned 67 Billion Dollars worth of the wealth of the United 
States. The Middle Class, some 8% millions of them, owned 24 Billion 
Dollars; while the Wage Class, over 20 Millions of them, had 4 Billions. 

The question is, Can 67 Billion Dollars starve out 24 Billions? And 
another question, What chance has the Four Billion Dollar Wage Class 
against the combined Ninety-one Billion Dollar Capitalist Class? 

But that bald statement of the case does not cover all the ground. For 
then the Wage Class would be utterly helpless, forever enslaved. And that 
is precisely the conclusion which some theorists, who follow their theories 
if they lead even into the ditch, have arrived at. The Proletarians have no 
Economic Power because they have no wealth. No historic class ever 
achieved its freedom without first achieving Economic Power, that is, Wealth. 
The modern Wage Class can get no wealth, therefore there is no hope 

for it. 

• * • • 

The reply made by some Proletarians is that the present Proletariat 
has real Economic Power, though it has not wealth. Its Power lies in its 
control of its own Labor Force, without which no wealth can be produced. 
They urge the argument that a United Proletariat, withholding its Labor 
Power from the Capitalist Class, would be able to paralyze that class. They 
could starve out the world by such "Direct Action." 

But they would also starve out themselves meanwhile. The Capitalists, 
few in number, would be in possession of all the storehouses filled with 
provisions and could stand a long selge, while the workers would be without 
anything and millions of them. To this, the Direct Actlonists reply: We 
will take and hold the Instruments of Production, the land, the factories, the 
railroads, where we are daily employed; we will continue to produce wealth, 

.. 4 



only now for ourselves, no longer for the Capitalists. We will then hare 
instituted the Cooperative Commonwealth. The Capitalists, who thought 
to starve us out, will be obliged to come to us at last and solicit us for a 

chance to live. 

* « » * 

That sounds good. But what would the Capitalists be doing while you 
are taking and holding? There are millions of them and they will fight for 
their property. Don't imagine that Teddy Roosevelt and General Wood and 
Admiral Dewey and Post and Heney and Hill and Gaynor and La Folletta 
and the rest of their kind, are going to lie down and die like trapped rabbits. 
They are not made that way. 

And they have the guns, never forget that. They have the guns. And 
modern guns are terribly deadly things. One man can hold up a thousand 
with one of these modern instruments of warfare. A hundred thousand men 
with Machine Guns can dislodge a million workmen, helpless, defenceless, 
at their industrial machines, in their factories which they are taking and 
holding. 

The Economic Power of simple, unassisted, unarmed Labor Force, even 
if it could be united in a far greater degree than would ever be practicable, 
would be as unavailing against that vast development of power, called the 
Government, as hand labor has proved unavailing in its conflict with machine 
labor. The mere possession of Labor Power is obviously not the possession 
of Economic Power. It cannot produce the necessaries of life while excluded 

from the Means of Production. 

* * * • 

But is it true, on the other hand, that the possession of mere wealth, 
including the Means of Production, is the sure possession of Economic Power? 
Suppose Morgan held the entire wealth of America. Could he starve out all 
the rest of us? Ownership must be accompanied with power to maintain 
ownership. Could one man maintain possession against all the rest of man- 
kind and compel them to starve because he would not admit them to the 
sources of life? If, then, one man would fail through weakness, how many 
men would be essential, with all the power of Government and Guns, to 
dispossess the rest of men and hold them dispossessed? 

Could, for instance, the Trust Class, with its present numerical strength, 
of, say, 250,000, forbid all the rest of the nation to touch the Means of 
Production which belong to that Class? They have the Economic Power, as 
defined above, but have they the physical power? Can 250,000 subdue 30,- 
000,000? Can such a handful, even with the Gun Government, coerce a hun- 
dred times their number and starve them into submission? 



Granting that a whole, nation could hardly be held up by a mere frac- 
tion of its number, like the Trust Class in America, how about such a large 
proportion as the Middle Class of some Ten Millions? Could they hold up 
the rest and compel them to deliver the goods? 

That is the intensely practical question which faces the American nation 
today. Theodore Roosevelt is engaged in no child's play. He is in dead 
earnest to dethrone the "Predatory Interests," the Trusts, from their domi- 

5 



nation of the State. The Middle Class Rebellion has found a leader, as 
predicted in our editorial of April 10th, reprinted on our inside pages. He 
openly proposes Government Control of the Trusts, which can have no 
practical realization short of Government Ownership, as he plainly hints. 
This means the Railroads first, and then the Electric Trust and the Oil 
Trust and the Meat Trust and the Steel Trust, would be bought with Gov- 
ernment bonds and hereafter conducted by the Government in such manner 
as to allow the small Business Man and the Farmer to live untroubled by 
high prices, high rates and high taxes; while the Wage Man would continue 
to work for wages as at present, provide a Surplus as at present and pay 
the interest on the bonds held by the Rockefellers, the Morgans and the 
Carnegies. 

Can the Middle Class accomplish this program? Have they sufficient 
power, sufficient Economic Power, if you like? 

The real question is, Can this Middle Class of Ten Millions, with its 
wealth of Twenty-four Billions, defeat the Trust Class of Two Hundred and 
Fifty Thousand with its wealth of Sixty-seven Billions, including most of 
the Means of Production? 

(The "Wage Class is not yet politically organized, and therefore is a 
negligible quantity in formulating a reply to this question. For a while, at 
any rate, it will divide its votes between the Trust Class Party, promising 
Prosperity and good wages, and the Middle Class, promising steady work 
on Government Jobs. Gradually, we hope and believe, the Proletariat will 
perceive that neither Big Business nor Small Business, Trust Class nor 
Middle Class, has any intention to abolish wages and unpaid labor and the 
consequent poverty of the Proletarian, and will proceed to fight its own 
battle for Its own emancipation.) 

But let us essay a reply to the main question as to the ability of the 
Middle Class, under Roosevelt's leadership, to force the Corporations out of 
the control of the Government. 



And here we come to Foster's second difficulty, the Ballot. For it is by 
means of the Ballot, that the Middle Class Rebellion expects to succeed in 
displacing the Trust. A number of Wage Workers, including quite a section 
of the I. W. W., agree with Foster, when he says, "The Ballot is on the 
Bum," meaning that nothing can be accomplished by means of the Ballot, 
which is regarded by them as a Capitalist institution and a snare and a 
delusion. 

Their contention is, that Economic Power Is the only thing that counts. 
So, if the Middle Class wins at the Ballot Box, it will be defeated in the 
legislature Itself and on the Judge's Bench and in the Executive's Chair, 
by the corrupting power of money in the hands of the Trusts; and they point 
to the universal prevalence of Graft as proof. They would not trust their 
own representatives, if elected, to prove Inaccessible to the temptations of 
intrigue and bribery. In a word, they abjure Politics as a Device of the 
Enemy. 

It is a fad among these workers to greet the mention of political action 
with Homeric Laughter and to consign the victim of political notions for 
the Working Class to the limbo of the totally ignorant and depraved. Even 

6 



to discuss the matter, as we are doing now, will seem to these men as little 
less than Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Their horror of political action 
it rery like the anarchist's horror of "The State;" they would not touch 

it to save their lives. 

• • * * 

But nothing, not even the Law of Gravitation, is beyond discussion. Nor 
should the intolerance of its adherents lead us to refuse to consider any 
proposal which concerns the Workingclass. 

Let us see. The Middle Class proposes to down the Trust Class by 
means of the Ballot, notwithstanding the alleged superior Economic Power 
of the Trusts. Are they foredoomed to failure? 

Let us say at the outset that all this cheap ridicule of the Ballot as "a 
piece of white paper" cannot pass with the thoughtful. You might as well 
ridicule all voting, as the anarchists do — in theory; that is, Never try in any 
manner to ascertain the will of the majority. 

It is just as stupid to take a vote in an assembly by show of hands, or 
by ayes and noes, as it is to do it by means of the ballot. 

The "Piece of Paper" is nothing in itself, but as indicating the will and 
opinion of a man or woman, a unit in a given society, whose decision is to 
be ascertained, it is a very potent fact. 

It is no modern invention. It is as old as the ancient Commune. It 
existed long before Capitalism, Feudalism or Slavery was known on the 
earth. You might as well decry the wearing of Cotton Clothes as a device 
of Capital, or the use of Petroleum or the Steamboat or the study of Chemis- 
try. Because Capitalists employ Robert's Rules of Order does not prove 
that they are not good rules for any assembly. 

A fact is a fact, and the Ballot is a very prominent fact in the modern 
economy. By means of the Ballot this week, the Trust Senator Burrows of 
Michigan has been retired from the U. S. Senate, and La Follette has been 
re-nominated in Wisconsin. "Insurgent" victories are recorded all over the 
country— by means of the Ballot. 

Why this tremendous struggle between the Standpatters and Insurgents 
now going on in every state, if the Ballot is not a powerful factor in de- 
ciding events? It seems absurd to have to prove so obvious an assertion 

as that the Ballot is a tremendous fact. 

* * * * 

The Ballot certainly changes the Government. By means of it the Middle 
Class can achieve power. It is altogether likely they will win the elections 
this fall. 

But will Government make up for lack of Economic Power? Will not 
the superior wealth of- the Trust Class enable them to defeat the Govern- 
ment in the hands of the Middle Class? Just as the Capitalist Class might 
defeat the Wage Class, even after its victory at the polls? 

We admit we cannot understand how it will be possible for a quarter 
of a million people, though they may be in possession of 67 Billion Dollars 
of Property, to prevent ten million people who have won the powers of 
Government, from passing and enforcing any legislation they please. The 
only way we can see for the Trust Class to maintain itself under those condi- 
tions, would be to fight, to engage in actual war in defence of their prop- 

7 



erty. In which event, they would stand no show against the Ten Million 
who were in possession of the mighty machine of repression known as the 

Government. 

• • • • 

For the Government, the State, the thing which is changed by means 
of the Ballot at Elections, is an almost superhuman engine of power. For 
generations it has been trained in the exercise of power. It is a vast social 
machine for applying coercion. It is itself an Economic Power, a physical 
power which, in the hands of a large minority, like the ten million of the 
Middle Class, might be able to coerce and conquer the twenty million Pro- 
letarians. By means of the Ballot, the Middle Class can capture this Economic 
Power, the Instrument of Physical Control, the Means of Producing Death, 
the historically developed Machine of Government, and thereby prolong Its 
own existence as a Capitalist Class. Then it will be far more likely to 
defer the Emancipation of the Wage Class indefinitely than the numerically 

and physically weak Trust Class. 

* « » » 

Therefore we regard the Middle Class Rebellion as a thing to be corn- 
batted unremittingly by the Wage Class. We can see no possible way in 
which the Proletarian can be benefitted by the victory of Roosevelt and 
Pinchot. It is better that Taft and Hill and Morgan and Guggenheim should 
carry on their Trust Organization to the limit, wiping out the Middle Class 
completely. Meanwhile, the Wage Class is just as well off, certainly, during 
the progress of the Battle between Big Capital and Little Capital, under the 
management of Big Capital as it would be under Little Capital. 

Any kind of Capital is the Foe of Labor. Any kind of Capital, big or 
little, is the robber of Wage Labor. It is the very nature of Capital to live 
oft the Surplus of Labor's product over its subsistence wage. Abolish that 
Surplus, abolish the Law of Wages, and you abolish Capital. Nothing short 
et that will emancipate Wage Labor. And we have no consideration what- 
soever for any other class in society but the Wage Class. Their battle Is the 
Battle for Freedom, for Democracy, for Progress, for a New Race. Prole- 
tarianism is the only Nationalism worth fighting for. 



W. Z. FOSTER'S LETTER 



On Board North German-Lloyd Steam- 
er Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm, bound 
for Cherbourg, France. 

Aug. 6, 1910. 
Mr. E. B. Ault. 

Dear Friend and Fellow Worker: — 
For the past few months I have been 
knocking around so much that I have 
had very little time for reading, and 
many of the articles in my old friend, 
"The Socialist," have escaped my 
notice. In New York, however, I was 
handed a late issue and during a few 
spare moments I read the article en- 
titled "The Middle Class Rebellion." 
I judge from the style of it that Dr. 
Titus is the author. 

* • • 

The American political situation 
has been summed up from every po- 
litical angle and prejudice, but of all 
of these efforts that I have seen I 
believe "The Middle Class Rebellion" 
Is by far the best, and, barring a few 
conclusions as to the part to be played 
by tho workers and the possible out- 
come of the fight I agree with it. 
In it the leading political figures of the 
day, such as Roosevelt, Taft, Ballin- 
ger, Plnchot, etc., are properly pigeon- 
holed in the economic classes they 
represent, and the class nature of the 
•truggle now going on is clearly ex- 
posed. 

• • * 

The current explanations that the 
tnuck raking graift exposures, eta, 
now filling our popular magazines, 
are due to a moral wave that is 



sweeping over the country, or to the 
re-awakening of the "inherent" sense 
of justice of the American people 
which has hibernated for the past two 
decades, are absurd, and unworthy of 
the serious consideration of any 
student of sociology. As. Dr. Ttius 
says these phenomena are the result 
of "the revolt of Little Business 
against Big Business." 



In the I. W. W. it is customary for 
writers and speakers to almost com- 
pletely Ignore the Middle Class. Any 
reference made to it is usually as a 
slur at its weakness and backward- 
ness. No attempt is made to point 
out that present society is a three 
class society, with two economically 
Inferior classes — Working Class and 
Middle Class — desperately resisting 
the inroads of the Master or Capi- 
talist Class. With a sublime con- 
tempt for the great, reactionary, Mid- 
dle Class we consider that It is al- 
ready eliminated as an important fac- 
tor in the struggle for economic pow- 
er. All political activity we attribute 
to the Capitalist Class; the violent 
political quarrels, of late agitating the 
country, are but so many subterfuges 
and schemes to divide and bewilder 
the only other class worth mention- 
ing — the Working Class. Roosevelt, 
Taft, Aldrich, Cannon, Pinchot, etc., 
are just so many capitalist politicians. 
A favorite expression is, "There are 
but two 'nations' — the robber and the 
robbed." 
9 



This position is manifestly wrong, 
and misleading, as the Middle Class 
is yet to be reckoned with, and all 
indications point to a great struggle 
between it and the Capitalist Class 
proper for mastery. This warfare, 
now just getting well under way, con- 
tains a large element of danger to the 
American labor movement, in that the 
Middle Class, although possessing no 
interests in common with the "Work- 
ing Class, represents all the historic 
ideals the raw and undeveloped Work- 
ing Class have been bred to consider 
as their own. 

The American ideal has been to 
evolve to affluence through the medi- 
um of the Middle Class by first be- 
coming a small farmer, storekeeper 
or manufacturer, etc. Now, when the 
Middle Class, figuratively the second 
rung on the ladder to success, finds 
itself being strangled by the Capitalist 
Class it makes a desperate appeal for 
aid to the Working Class, which readi- 
ly responds, naturally supposing it is 
interested in the "square deal," "anti- 
rebate," "conservation," etc., policies 
of the Middle Class, as they repre- 
sent the last remnant of the historic 
American slogan of "Equal opportuni- 
ty for all." As proof that this aid is 
being extended to the Middle Class 
the late victories of the insurgents 
may be cited, to say nothing of the 
hopelessly Middle Class character of 
the so-called "Socialist" party. 
• * * 

The sooner this struggle is over 
the better it will be for the Working 
Class, as the economic subjugation 
of the Middle Class means the de- 
struction of their individualist ideals 
— with which the Working Class is 
now obsessed, and the development of 
the new Working Class Collectivist 
ideals, without which the labor move- 
ment is almost useless. So long as a 



worker believes that by "saving up" 
for a few years he can become the 
owner of a lucrative business he is 
absolutely unfit to be organized; but 
when that hope is removed and he 
understands that he can better his 
condition only by acting in concert 
with his fellow workers, then the days 
of Capitalism are numbered. 
» * * 

Dr. Titus points out the hastiness 
of considering as a cancelled econo- 
mic factor such a good fighting class 
as the American Middle Class has 
proved itself to be, and suggests the 
possibility that under the leadership 
of the fire eating Roosevelt and 
Pinchot, it may severely check the 
growth of the monopolies, and "in- 
definitely postpone" the overthrow of 
capitalism. So • strong does he word 
this possibility that one would be led 
to believe that he expects events to 
take such a course. This would mean 
government ownership of irallroads, 
telegraphs, coal mines, express com- 
panies and other monopolies that par- 
ticularly harass the Middle Class. 

Does modern American history jus- 
tify any such faith in the power of 
the Middle Class, to, in any way, even 
check the concentration of capital? 
Does it not, on the other hand, clearly 
prove that the Middle Class is doom- 
ed, that its old means for the control 
of industry are obsolete, and that it 
is incapable of developing any new 
ones, that in spite of its vast numeri- 
cal strength and seeming virility, its 
intellectual following and its posses- 
sion of the historic American ideals — 
an invaluable asset to a ruling class — 
it is about to be obliterated? 
* * * 

This "Middle Class Rebellion,"— tho 
rendered acute by the Pinchot-Bal- 
linger controversy and the rebuke 
administered to Cannon recently — has 
10 



been going on with increasing vigor 
for the past ten years. We have seen 
the trusts increase their power con- 
tinually in spite of all opposition until 
today they are almost all powerful. It 
is folly to say the Middle Class hasn't 
disputed this advance; but it has al- 
ways been defeated. Several times 
running victories have been won but 
only for a time, the Capitalist Class 
has always emerged the victor. 

The Northern Securities case is a 
good example. Here was a trust that 
was legally busted and yet today the 
merger is in practical effect by the 
simple expedient of keeping three sets 
of hooks instead of one. The Standard 
Oil Co. $29,000,000 fine was another 
great victory for the Common People. 
At the time of the imposition of the 
fine any newsboy could have told us 
that it would never be paid. Is there 
any sane person who believes the 
rebate and graft prosecutions have 
decreased the practices? The rail- 
road officials and legislators have 
simply become more expert in cover- 
ing up their trails. 

* • * 

Once in a while a trust gets so 
"bad" that the "people" decide to buy 
it— for instance the Chicago City Rail- 
ways — but somehow the capitalists 
refuse to sell. Instead of selling 
public utilities to the state or munici- 
palities the tendency is to buy up 
what few gas works, water-works, etc., 
the municipalities now own. The 
Phila. Gas Works was sold to the U. 
6. I. Co. in spite of the express deci- 
sion at the previous election that it 
should not be sold. Even the public 
ownership of the post office is now 
threatened. 

* » » 

The cause for the uniform lack of 
success on the part of the Middle Class 
through its government is clearly be- 1 

11 



cause it is lacking in economic power, 
tho it has time and again demonstrated 
the fact that it has an abundance of 
the obsolete "political power." There 
is one kind of power recognized in the 
world today, and that is the ability 
to control industry. This is an econo- 
mic power. This power is shared by 
the capitalists and the workers al- 
most entirely, the former thru their 
capital, the latter thru the monopoly of 
their labor power. In these later days 
armaments are more and more depend- 
ent upon capital owing to the increased 
expenditure necessary for their main- 
tenance and the success of a war de- 
pending upon the goodwill of the cap- 
italists who loan the necessary funds. 
• • * 

The Middle Class although posses- 
sing a vast amount of wealth is un- 
able to use it effectively owing: to its 
being divided among so many individ- 
uals. As for controlling industry by 
its labor power, such a thing is ab- 
surd, as they are not in a position to 
do so. 

It can't command the armed forces 
of the nation, as that too has paid 
homage to the all conquering capital. 
The Middle Class thus stands stripped 
of all economic power. 

Until quite recently the small capi- 
talists, or Middle Class, controlled in- 
dustry through their "democratic" gov- 
ernment, which came into existence 
with them. Being economic equals 
and very numerous their method of 
procedure was to ascertain the senti- 
ment of the majority by an election, 
and then to coerce the minority into 
obedience. No small set of the capi- 
talists at that time could pit their 
capital, or economic strength against 
the rest, and as a consequence, the 
wish of the majority was law, and no 
mercy was shown the violator. 

Not being exposed to so many cor- 



rupting influences the courts and legis- 
latures could be depended upon to 
serve the class that elected or ap- 
pointed them and the will of the ma- 
jority was respected. Then was the 
heyday of "government" and most of 
the brilliant men of the period could 
be found in the halls of Congress. 

• • • 

But times have changed; capital 
has combined, the trusts have arisen, 
and the owners, though few in num- 
bers are able to easily thwart the 
wishes of the small capitalists by a 
liberal use of their money. Their cap- 
ital is in such shape that they can 
make it count in a fight — witness how 
easily they suppress Trade Unions 
that were the terror of the small cap- 
italists. 

No longer do they obey the wishes 
of the majority. As Lawson says, "They 
buy legislators like fish in the mar- 
ket." They have corrupted the courts, 
the very soul of Middle Class govern- 
ment, until they are a byword even to 
the Middle Class. The government 
has become a joke and is composed 
of a lot of nobodies. The only real 
use the modern capitalist class has 
for it is to use it to exploit the "com- 
mon people" of their rapidly dwind- 
ling possessions, such as franchises, 
water power, coal lands, etc. 

• • * 

Being few in numrers this new Cap- 
italist Class needs no vast executive 
committee or "government" such as 
the Middle Class does, but transacts 
its business privately, behind closed 
doors. If the Beef Trust wishes to 
arrange for railroad rates, a meeting 
In Morgan's private office settles the 
matter satisfactorily. Why allow a 
lot of Kansas farmers to interfere 
thru their busybody "government?" 
It is a very significant fact that when 
a kick is made about unfair rates it 



is always by the Middle Class and to 
its government. The Trusts settle 
their disputes privately, except in 
rare cases, when they make open eco- 
nomic war upon each other. They 
treat the laws of the Middle Class gov- 
ernment with contempt whenever it 
suits their convenience. 

• • • 

The Baseball syndicate is in exist- 
ence In flagrant violation of many of 
the most fundamental laws upon the 
statute books. 

This syndicate bas absolutely ban- 
ished business competition from base- 
ball and each club is "in its narrow 
cell forever laid." It forces contract 
labor upon Its employees and woe un- 
to the ball player who is hardy enough 
to violate his contract He is openly 
blacklisted by every club in the coun- 
try. 

This syndicate has a high court of 
three men who try owners, managers, 
and players alike, dealing out severe 
punishments when they deem it neces- 
sary. The magnates argue exped- 
iency, they rightly argue that shop- 
keepers should not be allowed to in- 
terfere with baseball. The only power 
they will ever recognize will be the 
organized labor power of the ball 
players, or a rival aggregation of cap- 
ital. Many similar instances can be 
given of this evidence of each indus- 
try transacting Its business regardless 
of the howls of the smaller fry. 
» • • 

The modern Capitalist Class abso- 
lutely refuses to obey any "law" detri- 
mental to its interest that Is not en- 
forced by economic power. The so- 
called labor laws, such as "8 hour 
laws," "child labor laws," etc., are 
treated the same as are the "pure and 
simple" Middle Class measures, as 
it realizes they have nothing behind 



12 



them but the old Middle Class count- 
ing of noses, or voting. 

* * * 

There are many ways of side-track- 
ing the wishes of the "common peo- 
ple," but they are all based on capi- 
tal. Courts and legislatures have al- 
ways proved purchasable and investi- 
gating committees are easily disposed 
of. Even in the sacred ranks of the 
ultra holy insurgents the power of 
capital is evident. Garfield, several 
years ago, reported that the Beef 
Trust, one of the "very bad" ones 
paid but 2 per cent interest on the 
money invested and the Roosevelt- 
Morton rebate scandal stunk to the 
high heavens. 

* * • 

This disregard and contempt for 
"majority" made law, tho a pro- 
nounced characteristic of the revolu- 
tionary Capitalist Class is not pecu- 
liar to it alone. The' revolutionary 
Working Class also ignores obnox- 
ious "majority" made laws wherever 
it has the power to do so. The 
workers have organized in restraint 
of trade in spite of Middle Class 
conspiracy laws until now they have 
the "legal" right to organize. Need- 
less to say this "legal" right is worth 
nothing if the Capitalist Class has the 
economic power to forbid it. Many of 
the labor unions of Europe are in 
flagrant violation of the "law." Even 
our own Spokane fight may serve to 
"adorn a moral or point a tale" as 
that was successfully carried on in 
open violation of "law." 



In the three cornered fight now go- 
ing on in society, the two revolution- 
ary classes have thrown aside the old 
Middle Class government — owing to 
a lack of organization, the Working 
Class hasn't repudiated it to the ex- 

,13 



tent that the Capitalist Class has— and 
settle their quarrels between them- 
selves; and the reactionary class, the 
Middle Class, buffeted from pillar to 
post, and gradually being squeezed to 
death between the upper and the 
nether millstone, can only defend 
itself with its old obsolete weapon- 
Government, which its real enemy, the 
Capitalist Class, ignores. 

The Middle Class can't understand 
this phenomenon of a few men 
handling its government and proposes 
to cleanse the temple of the money 
changers by electing "good" and "hon- 
est" men into office, who will make 
their good "ship of state" answer the 
helm as she used to. In order to se- 
cure as many of these virtuous para- 
gons who are exempt from the first 
law of nature, the Working Class is 
also to be lined up and such a count- 
ing of noses made as never occurred 
before. 

• * * 

Herein lies the chief fault of Dr. 
Titus' article. He seems to think such 
a reactionary program can be effective 
in checking economic development. 

The key to the situation does not 
lie with the workers. It is not a 
working class fight and the workers 
will never take any very serious part 
in it. They will probably use the Mid- 
dle Class weapon — the weak and in- 
effective ballot— in this Middle Class 
fight but it is extremely unlikely that 
they will ever fight another's battles 
with real Working Class weapons that 
are revolutionary such as the strike, 
sabotage, etc. Far '.from being an 
important factor they will be but an 
imposing array of dead timber and the 
Capitalist Class will ignore even the 
greatly increased number of opposing 
noses and buy up the legislators and 
judges of this unholy alliance the same 



as before, tho perhaps at a slightly 
higher price. 

The only hope the Middle Class has 
is to defeat the Capitalist Class with 
capital, and if this could be done, 
simply the personel of the Capitalist 
Class would be changed and there 
would be a still greater concentration 
of capital. 

* * * 

The danger of this fight to the 
workers is that they are certainly 
going to experiment with the ballot 
to the neglect of their revolutionary 
economic organizations. These latter, 
however, can never die, tho their im- 
mediate development may be serious- 
ly interfered with, because while the 
workers are flirting with the seduc- 
tive and barren ballot, they will be 
forced to retain some sort of bread 
and butter organization, or accept a 
greatly lowered standard of living. 

• • • 

When the ineffectiveness of the bal- 
lot has finally been demonstrated so 
clearly that even the workers can 
see it, then they will repudiate it 
entirely, and adopt Working Class 
tactics, even as the tendency seems to 
be in the vanguard of the labor move- 
ment of Europe. This will be the 
death blow to the already sadly 
weakened Middle Class and the open- 



ing of the real "direct action" fight 
between the Capitalist Class and the 
Working Class. For the first time in 
capitalist history the issue will be 
clear and then the Revolution will be 
at hand. 

Thus it will be seen that the Mid- 
dle Class can look for no real- aid from 
the Working Class. Tho the latter 
will undoubtedly vote as the former 
directs, the combined vote will be just 
as easily ignored as the majority vote 
of today. The Working Class will 
have its direct action tactics to turn 
to after learning this lesson, but the 
Middle Class must go down and out 
owing to inability to develop effective 
weapons of offense and defense. 
* • • 

Harry, I think you fellows should 
get next to the ballot — its on the bum 
entirely. I don't presume to know a 
great deal about direct action but at 
present writing, I am on my way to 
a country where I should learn a little 
namely, France. 

But I have made this letter so long 
that I have left no room for news. I'll 
write you occasionally, however, and 
give you what little news there is 
when I get settled. 

Yours for the Working Class, 
Per the I. W. W., 

WM. "Z." FOSTER. 



14 



The Workingman's 
Paper 



For ten years this paper, for nine years under the title "The So- 
cialist," has been holding aloft the banner of Proletarlanism— calling 
upon the Proletarians to realize their power and use it in their own 
interests. It has been a journal of free discussion, and every matter 
of interest to the working class has had thorough consideration from a 
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no consideration for its subscription list has ever influenced its judg- 
ments, it is an absolutely free and untrammeled paper, owing allegiance 
to no party or sect and devoted to the interests of the whole working 
class. 

The editor, Dr. Hermon F. Titus, is a recognized Marxian scholar, 
and has made what many believe to be the first permanent contribution 
to Socialist literature in this country in his editorials on the "Significance 
of Roosevelt." 

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