Hammersmith Socialist Record, Number 12, September 1892

[Untitled] Notes on the Strikes in America


In a sense no doubt the labour-war, of which we have had so many reports in the newspapers, is a part of the general struggle of labour and capital; the men have been revolting because the working of the market has pinched them; they have been irritated by various incidents past endurance, and so have broken out. Yet on the other hand there is no sign they were acting under the influence of any definite principle, or that there has been any strong feeling of the unity of labour amongst them. If that had been so, much greater results would have been reached with much less violence and dramatic effect. As things go, the only apparent results are— simply the unsuccessful strike and the dead and wounded of violence. Had there been a strong socialist feeling amongst the workmen of America, or even of the State, the violence would probably not have been used, for the Apostle of the Gospel of wealth would not have dared to hire the Pinkerton swash-bucklers to force the black-legs on the factory. Nay, it would never have got so far as that: for no black-legs would have been available at all; the strike would have been successful, when backed by the conviction of the great body of workers that it was but a small though necessary step towards the destruction of the wage and capital system altogether. The presence of an organised Socialist body would in short have saved the workers from loss and misery in the passing day, and would have given them a higher platform wherefrom they might attack that system of coercion to work for idlers, which Mr. Carnegie used to think could be made almost an ideal state of society if the capitalist were but liberal and good natured. An opinion which one may charitably hope he has now given up as a piece of groundless nonsense.