Mary E. Marcy

Working Men and Women

(July 1910)

The International Socialist Review, Vol. 11 No. 1, July 1910, pp. 11–12.
Transcribed by Matthew Siegfried.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

WE are only working mules, my friend. All over the whole world we are toiling and sweating to make the wheels go round.

We build mansions and palaces and we live in garrets and basements. We sow the fields and reap the harvests – for somebody else to enjoy. We feed the world; we clothe the world; we house the world – and if we are out of a job for one week – we are broke, we are hunting for another master – another boss again.

When we grow so weak and tired and desperate with struggling continually that we are impelled to throw down the whole burden of our lives and pull society about our ears, the Reformers, with loud voices appear.

These Reformers promise us many things. Sometimes they come beneath a Republican banner and again in the Democratic band-wagon. The flag of any movement or organization, dear to you and me, they will float in order to get us to join their ranks.

O yes, they promise many things. Some of these they do not intend to give us; and all they may grant will only render them more secure in their position upon our backs.

Do you remember our philanthropic friend, the New York millionaire, who bought up the land immediately adjoining a great factory and built model tenements for us? Do you remember the rents he charged us were only half as high as the rents we had been paying?

And you remember what happened then? The men who had been laid oil offered to take our jobs at lower wages BECAUSE THEY KNEW THEY could LIVE ON LESS, since the RENTS had been reduced. And the boss told us if we refused to accept a reduction in wages, he would have to give our jobs to these men.

So, the cheap rents did not help us at all. But they DID HELP the BOSS who was able to cut wages because the cost of living had been lowered.

That is the way reforms turn out. They look like something good for the workers but they always end by benefitting the capitalists.

Low rents, Cheap food, 3 cent car fares – all these the Reformers offer us. But when WE GET them, the Competition for JOBS between the wage-workers themselves brings wages down low enough to take away all we think we have gained – and the BOSS GETS CHEAP MEN in the FACTORY.

Low rents and cheap living means that wages will ’go down; the price of wage slaves is lowered and the BOSS GETS THE BENEFIT.

There is only one thing that is starving. sweating and killing you and me. That thing is wage-slavery. Do not waste any time boosting reformers. Do not waste any energy making a fat job for the other fellow. Nothing can help you and me permanently as long as a few men own the factories, the mills and the mines.

We MAKE ALL the great and beautiful things in the world and the boss says these things are His. He pays us only enough to feed ourselves, to get us a few cheap hand-me-downs and a shelter in some cheap lodging house.

But supposing we continued to MAKE all the useful and beautiful things we make now and KEPT THEM ourselves or received equal value for them! The only reason you and I work for the boss is because the BOSS owns the MILL. Suppose WE OWNED THE MILL – you and I and thousands of our fellow workers. Suppose we COLLECTIVELY owned the factories and the mines. You know we would never dig up all the things we made and the value we created to hand over to somebody who didn’t work.

Socialism means the collective ownership BY the WORKERS of the MINES, the MILLS, the FACTORIES and the LAND, to be used FOR the benefit of the WORKERS.

Think this over. Socialism means the value of the things made in the factory FOR the MEN who work in the factory. It means nothing left for the old boss unless he takes a job beside you and PRODUCES something.

Join the socialist party – the international organization of the working class for the abolition of capitalism. There are ten of us workers to one boss. If we unite, we can own the whole world. Division alone can defeat us.

Think it over. Study up on the subject. You CAN’T lose by becoming a socialist unless you are a capitalist – and the socialists propose to give the capitalists JOBS – so even HE will GAIN SOMETHING.

Unite with your fellow-workers into one great organization of the workers. Alone we can accomplish nothing; united the world is ours!

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Last updated on 31 May 2022