Industrial Workers of the World


Thursday, June 29


Chairman Haywood called the convention to order about one o’clock.

THE CHAIRMAN: When the convention adjourned we were under the head of discussion of the reason for the Manifesto.


DEL. KLEMENSIC: Brother Chairman, Brother Delegates and Sister Delegates: As I understand the conditions in this country since I landed on these shores fifteen years ago, in 1890, I have seen that there is a bottom, a main philosophy to be found among the working class which form the pedestal to the capitalist class. The prevailing philosophy is this: “Get rich quick; honestly if you can, but get rich anyhow.” And this “get rich quick anyhow” brings us to the standard, to the conditions that Comrade Trautmann was indicting, the main feature of the trade organizations as they exist under the wing of the American Federation of Labor. Now, I would like to call attention to this fact: that the organizations were organized under this main bottom philosophy, “Get rich quick ; get rich anyhow ; honestly if you can, but make money if you can.” Now, then, under that philosophy, can you blame the labor fakir if he preys on you or otherwise gets rich, if he carries out your own philosophy?

DEL. SUNAGEL: Mr. Chairman—

DEL. KLEMENSIC: Sit down. You will get your turn.

DEL. SUNAGEL: I insist that the delegate shall speak upon something that the chair has announced as proper for discussion.

THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Sunagel. permit the chair to say that if you continue to interrupt this convention it will be necessary to remove you from the hall. Brother Klemensic will continue. (Applause.)

DEL. KLEMENSIC: Now, taking this as the main philosophy on which the trade unions were organized, you must understand that if the organizers and members of the trade organizations had understood from the start the class struggle, all those struggles never would have come up, and the condition whereby the captain of industry controls the management of labor organizations and secures harmony between capital and labor and all work for the aggrandizement of the capitalistic plutocracy would never have come to pass. It is necessary for us to understand clearly and plainly the conditions. In 1890 the class struggle was at a very low ebb, and those of us who have been watching conditions in this country for the last twenty years know the reason why. You know that in this country there were industrial strikes begun in 1884 and 1885 and 1886, and you know what the result was. The plutocracy wanted victims, and they got their victims. I have seen men hanged for the truth in this city, in this very place. (Applause). Industrial unionism at that time had begun to shake capitalism to its very foundation, and the judges and plutocrats in this country decided to hang the men with the hope of hanging industrial unionism at the same time. But let me tell you that industrial unionism is here in this very city again to declare its right and demand its right. (Applause). The voices that plutocracy thought to silence when it tried to hang unionism are heard again, and we are here to-day to reorganize that very work that was started twenty years ago. (Applause). The conditions that were brought forward with the reorganized American Federation of Labor were these: that the workman is willing to be a slave; he wants to be a slave, and he praises the lord and master for his kindness in giving him a job. He will kick against getting $2.50 for a day’s work of eight or nine hours, but he will lick the boots of the master if he can get $3 a day. Now, through this system they have been able to organize an industrial aristocracy as Brother Trautmann very well explained this morning. By means of this system there are some few privileged men who, through their power with labor organizations and through fraternizing with the capitalists, are making good wages; they have got some standing in society and they are very respectable citizens, and therefore any one that will rebel against general conditions is to be an outcast from society. That was the condition that was brought about after the re-organization, after the troubles here in Chicago and in other places.

Now, then, the education went on after the hanging of the men here in Chicago. The class struggle is more and more prominent. Brother Trautmann explained very plainly how the corruption is going do in trade unions. All those that have been watching the movement in the different Socialist parties, Democratic party and Republican party, know of the corruption that has been going on in those places. Now, we know that it matters not what political party the workingman trusts in, he has been betrayed in every political party, and he is going to be betrayed by every political party in which he is going to trust. Therefore it was seen that there was a necessity for a new declaration of principles and a new re-organization of the labor forces. It was necessary for the workingman to see that his salvation lies in direct action, that is, in action directly to wrest from the capitalist his means of oppression and controlling his bread; and when he sees this he will take this if he can, either directly by violence, or through co-operation, or otherwise, according as the working people are able to organize themselves and find a means to solve this problem.

Now, we do not overlook the fact that the salvation of the worker, the possibility of the man to control his own destiny, lies among the workers themselves ; and in the membership in this convention we have men and women that will take their own destiny into their own hands. We do not expect any Messiah ; we do not expect it to come through any man of great authority or great knowledge, but that everybody shall feel in himself, in his own self, that he is able to direct his own forces, and shall have no particular desire to direct the force of other people and other individuals. Now, I think that we, the people here, have outgrown the idea that we are not able to direct ourselves, and what we want to do is to let other people and other individuals do the same thing, and so we may go hand in hand and work directly for the conquest of our necessities which we are now producing for the other fellow.

Now, the question is often asked: How can it be done, who is going to run the railroads and so on—who is doing the work today? Aren’t we doing the work to-day? We are doing the work today for the master, because we are organized on the basis of being slaves, and with no hopes—and this is the cherished idea of the leaders of the American Federation of Labor, that we shall remain slaves —with no hopes and no arrangement whatsoever for better conditions. Nowadays we know that the development of industry has gone on to such an extent that there are a lot of people, a lot of individuals, that are conscious of their rights as well as the rights of their brothers and sisters, and they do not spend their time speculating how to crush down other individuals in order to get rich quick and in any way or form. They are working and producing, and they demand their share in the benefits of progress and development and the possibilities in this country, and they are satisfied with that. But what we do is to insist that we shall get our share that we are producing, and we stand on the motto of the comrades of the Western Federation of Miners that they retain in their magazine and on their emblem, that “All wealth is produced by labor, and it belongs to the producer thereof.” That is the program that we want, and that is the program that we will stick to and that we will carry out to the letter. And that is the reason for the call of the Manifesto, as I understand it. I thank you for your kind attention. (Applause.)

DEL. MURTAUGH: Is the ten-minute rule in effect? The Chairman: Yes.


DEL. MURTAUGH: I desire to say, Mr. President, that if the ten minute rule is in effect I do not wish to say anything. I may be able to complete my remarks in ten minutes, and may not. As the courtesy was extended to the brother who opened up the discussion of the reasons for issuing the Manifesto to grant him all the time he desired, I hope that in this instance it will be granted to me. Now, I may be able to finish in ten minutes. I am not a long talker, but I should not like to be interrupted.

Mr. President and Brother Delegates: The delegate who has just spoken in paraphrasing Shakespeare reminded me of another quotation from Shakespeare, and that is this:

“Speak of me as I am, nothing extenuate,

Nor aught set down in malice.”

I have listened as carefully and as patiently as I know how to the very—I do not know what language to use to express it, but the indictment and the different counts of the indictment against the American Federation of Labor. I want to say that the delegates must remember this one point, that before the American Federation of Labor was, trades unionism was; that the American Federation of Labor—and I wish to offer absolutely no excuse for the American Federation of Labor as it is, but simply to say this—that the American Federation of Labor is the result of the gropings in the dark of the trades unionists of this country to bring about something better than they had.

Now, Mr. President, we have got convened in this assembly a great many discordant elements with the “lid” on. In the course of my remarks this morning I thought it necessary to confess the fact that I was business agent for one of the conservative labor organizations. I did that for the reason that, understanding the tactics of some of the elements in this convention, the discovery would have been made and capital made of it. I have all my life in the labor movement occupied a somewhat anomalous position. I have been a radical among conservatives and a conservative among radicals. (Laughter). And so here to-day when this terrible indictment was read against the American Federation of Labor—not wishing to say anything whatever against any count in that indictment, but I would like to relate a little story. In the old days Daniel O’Connell was challenged to fight a duel, and he accepted the challenge. His opponent was going around the country shooting the heads off’ from the roosters. O’Connell’s friends came to him and reported this fact to him, saying that his life was in jeopardy on account of the marksmanship of his opponent. O’Connell said, “Have the roosters got pistols to shoot back with?” Now, Mr. Chairman, the moral of that story is in the application of it. I do not wish to stir up any strife—strife that I see is inevitable with the discordant elements gathered together here in this convention. I do not wish to be the one to stir that strife up. I do not want to point out any particular element that is going to be the strifemakers in this assembly. But those of us who have been in the movement as long as I have, those of us who have stuck through thick and thin, who are not afraid—not a bit afraid—of personal animadversions which may be cast upon us by any particular element in this convention, we know that there is an element in this convention that is more merciless even than the Lord. It was displayed here yesterday in refusing to seat a man whom you, perhaps, all believed was a friend to the labor movement, simply because he was an attorney. (Laughter.)

The Chairman: Brother Murtaugh, do you believe that you are discussing the reason for the Manifesto?

A DELEGATE: No, sir.

DEL. MURTAUGH: I think I was getting around to it, if you permit me. Mr. Chairman, I want to say that if anybody objects to anything I am stating, that I am ready to sit down in a moment.

THE CHAIRMAN: Just discuss the reason of the Manifesto.

DEL. MURTAUGH: Simply the reason of the Manifesto; I was getting around to that.

DEL. WILKE: Did he say that if any one objects to this line of talk he would sit down? I as a delegate from the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance believe that he is one of the most discordant factors, and he is trying to initiate discordance, and for that reason I ask him to retire. (Applause.)

DEL. MURTAUGH: Mr. Chairman—

THE CHAIRMAN: Brother Murtaugh will proceed on the reason for issuing the Manifesto.

DEL. MURTAUGH: Mr. Chairman, I intended to come around to that in my own way. I want to say that the reason, in my mind, for the Manifesto is plain, and that is this: the imperfection of our present labor organizations. That is understood I believe by every one who has been in the movement, who has fought and suffered as a great many of us have in the labor movement in this country. But there seems to be an idea prevalent here that something new has been found; that this class conscious struggle upon which so much stress is laid is something new, something untried; that there is a possibility of the millennium being ushered in by this convention. I want to tell you, Mr. President. that the workers of this country have been through that movement. I was a member of the Knights of Labor—

A DELEGATE: What are you doing here then?

DEL. MURTAUGH: I am talking.

THE DELEGATE: Yes, and that is all you are doing.

DEL. MURTAUGH: I have heard a great deal from you, and nothing said, either. Mr. President, I wish to say this: that class consciousness in the K. of L. was just as strong as it ever was in any element of the socialistic movement. It may not have been expressed in words, but the thing itself was there. That was the thing that brought the workers of this country into that great labor organization, the Knights of Labor. While I was a member of the Knights of Labor I was still a member of my union, and I have been all the time. Further on the American Railway Union came up. At the time I happened to be working for the L & N. Railroad Company.

A DELEGATE: Were you a laborer?

DEL. MURTAGH: I was a molder. A few of us, class-conscious, believing in the necessity of industrial organization, happened to be working at New Decatur, Alabama, in the shops of the L. & N. Railroad, and we decided to attempt to install the American Railway Union under very great odds, and if you doubt my word, Brother C. O. Sherman, sitting back there, was the organizer that organized us, and I was made the president of the organization under circumstances in which we had to employ the greatest secrecy, because the L. & N. Railroad Company was not afraid of any trades unions, but they were afraid of the American Railway Union, and they were going to prevent all of its employes from going into the American Railway Union if possible. Even then I remained true and loyal to my trade union because I had to be. And why? While we were in that particular instance working for a railroad company, absolutely impotent to bring about better conditions for our craft, yet the majority of us working in foundries throughout the country were able to better our conditions as craftsmen in those foundries.

THE CHAIRMAN: Your time has expired.

DEL. MURTAUGH: Very well, Mr. President, I will stop. (Applause.)

Del. Schatzke suggested that speakers whose time was about expired should be given sufficient warning of the fact.


DEL. PAT O’NEIL: Mr. President and Fellow Delegates: Out of the past comes experience, and from experience sometimes thought sprouts; not always, for a great many men find it hard to think. Experience has taught me, and I have done a little thinking. On the fifth day of September, 1848, I helped to found a labor organization in the city of Hongkong, in China. I was a charter member of the first Sailors’ Union in China, and I have been a member of the labor movement from that time until this, and in that time, I thank you, I have had some experience, and some of a kind that I hope not to go through again, and that I would not wish my worst enemy to have.

I agree with Comrade Murtaugh that in the past we have had organizations that were based upon class consciousness. But the great mass of the membership were not able to appreciate it to be the truth. And to-day you are likely to encounter ignorance even as we did then, although we have got a few holes punched now and the light begins to shine through, and it makes the old man feel that while I may not be at many more of these conventions, I want you fellows to take up the work where I lay it down. Can you do that?

DELEGATES: Sure; we are willing to.

DEL. O’NEIL: And I want to pay my respects to a man. I do not know who the man was, and I would not know him if I saw him now, but I heard a man say yesterday at noon that he did not know whether he could support this organization when it was formed or not. I want to say to that man and all the rest that feel like him, after nine years of the hardest kind of military service and with over fifty years of service in the labor unions, “You go back and sit down out of sight like the sutlers, and we will fight your fight for you.” (Applause.)

I came here just as an individual, that was all. I have been pleased to see that there were men here with hundreds and even thousands of votes behind them. Why? Because I saw that the great mass of the people were ready to recognize what this Manifesto meant, and whenever that is the case that is reason sufficient for the Manifesto. (Applause.)

Now, then, we see the United Mine Workers’ Union go on strike, and union railroad men haul scab miners in and haul scab coal out. By the gods, wouldn’t that make a calf leave its mother? (Laughter and applause.)

Now, my experience in the past has taught me several peculiar things, and one of them is this: Suppose a man had his hand just in that position with each finger sticking out by itself (illustrating), would it be of much benefit to him? Possibly he could keep the flies off if he tried, but that is all. Well, now, here, take the hand of labor to-day. To-day here we have got the blacksmith finger, here we have got the carpenter finger, here we have got the miner’s finger, and over here we have got the railroad finger; and all that that hand of labor has ever done has been to keep the flies off of the face of the capitalist, while he enjoyed your product. (Applause). Now, then, instead of having this hand distorted and paralyzed in its trade autonomy, I want it so that I can bring those fingers up and close them into a grip and make the hand a weapon of offense and of defense; and that, Mr. Chairman, is my reason for issuing the Manifesto. (Applause). I want it so that every one of those fingers can rely upon the finger next to it and the finger furthest from it. As it stands to-day, the capitalist shears come along and clip that out and then this and the others, through the opportunity that you give capital. I want that opportunity of capital removed. In other words, I want the teeth of the animal removed, and the only way I can see how to pull them is to close that hand. (Applause.)

Now, can you not understand that when you attack one branch of the laboring class, that you have attacked all? Can you not understand that an injury to one is an injury to every one? A man said to me a few days ago, “Why, O’Neil, you are the craziest man I ever saw. You are hoping they will have a revolution in Russia.” I said, “Yes, I am, and I will tell you why. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link. A country, as Abraham Lincoln said, cannot exist half slave and half free.” And, my friends, neither can the world. As soon as you have absolute oppression and tyranny in Russia you can look for a great portion of it here. (Applause). If you don’t believe that, move out to Colorado for a while. (Laughter.)

I thanked my Maker when I read in the paper this morning that the revolution had started in Russia. Why? Not that I want to see bloodshed, not that I want to see crime, but I do want to see better conditions for this child of mine that is coming after me. (Applause). The history of mankind has taught us that only blood is the thing that will make the rung of the ladder of progress fit for mankind to tramp upon. We know that is true, for we have spent our blood here. When the outlaws of the supreme court of the State of Illinois declared that men who were not guilty should be punished for their queer opinions, we spilt the blood that was necessary that this country might be free. (Applause). But I want you to understand that while I am a Socialist clear to the bone and an inch into the marrow, I want my Socialism to have working day clothes as well as to go into the ballot box. (Applause). I do not believe in being an organized body of laboring men 364 days in the year, Mr. President, and then being at the command of my master on the other day. (Applause). And it is for these reasons that I see in the Manifesto a shining light for the advancement of all of us; and for these reasons, to my intellect and to my understanding, was the Manifesto absolutely necessary. I thank you. (Applause.)


DEL. MCEACHREN: As a member of the working class, as a journeyman paper hanger, as a student, if you please’ I come to address this body. I see no reason why we should not become united, despite the fact that on the opening of this convention we were discordant elements. I have taken the time and the patience to formulate in manuscript form a statement of the policy and a criticism of present industrial organizations and trade unions, and if you have the patience and kindness I would like to read that paper on that subject. It will take me more than ten minutes, and I plead for an extension of time upon the same ground as Brother Trautmann.

DEL. T. J. HAGERTY: I move that we set aside the rules for that purpose, and that the delegate be given time properly, to read his paper. (Motion seconded and carried.)

Delegate McEachren then read the following address in manuscript:

The presence of such a large delegation, coming as you do from all over this country, implies at least that the condition we have to deal with is one of a general rather than local character. But be this as it may, the questions we have to deal with are associated, as we know, and ramify throughout our daily lives, and embrace not only this land but all other lands wherever capitalism embryonic or fullfledged maintains. If it is not presumptuous to suggest, I would say that we must, in order to effect a change, be cognizant of all, or at least the principal facts which are facing us, leaving aside for the time being, all the fine spun theorizing and idealizing, which has heretofore characterized those organizations which have addressed themselves either flippantly or seriously towards this great problem of labor. It is needless to state perhaps to most of you, that the labor problem of to-day is not the labor problem of ancient Greece, of feudal England, or even that of colonial America; yet I believe that the confusion which is everywhere prevalent in labor circles is directly or indirectly connected with this method of analysis, and as a natural result the synthesis which is so deplorably inadequate is unhistoric and unsound.

It would be well perhaps to forget our isms as a preliminary to this discussion, and base our conclusions, if possible, upon the facts revealed. First, as workingmen and women we are confronted with a social development based in its entirety upon the most efficient method of production this world has yet known, all of which is well, and in the words of Shakespeare “is a consummation devoutly to be wished.” Running concurrently with this development are the factors in the form of men and women which have made it possible, and their social divisions, two grand divisions of which interest us in this discussion, namely, laborers and capitalists. And upon the grounds which have made us laborers and the others capitalists, or upon the continuation of those grounds (as we cannot undo the past), I come, and we all come, as conscious or unconscious protestants. You are aware that the beneficiaries of the present system, namely, the capitalists, are numerically fewer, are physically weaker, and are mentally unequal either collectively or individually, to the laborers; if you have any doubts on this score then you fail to comprehend the fundamental requisites upon which a social revolution is grounded, and which have made them necessary anywhere or at any time.

The automatic working of industry upon its productive side, the constant iteration, and reiteration, from all the founts of knowledge which associate this activity with one man or a group of men called capitalists, and the acquiescence by many of the working-class misleaders in this false and pernicious position has, no doubt, influenced you into believing that such things are proof of your incompetency or the other side’s competency. But the continuation of industry when the individual has died or disappeared from the scene breaks down all such conclusions no matter from what source the error has been sanctified. There are certain defects, nevertheless, in the ranks of labor which annul all of their numerical, physical and mental superiority and the recognition of this, more or less clearly, was the greatest factor inducing this convention; I refer mainly to those of organization and tactics; and the superiority in this is and must be manifested before those other qualities can he exercised. To change these weaknesses into weapons of strength it will be necessary to examine the organization and tactics of the opposing force; improve upon where possible or at least approximate those principles which have proven valuable when used against us.

We should, I believe, view this question as one of war in which mere bulk is at a discount, unless guided by superior knowledge of the situation. What are some of these lessons? And are they applicable, is the next question. On the one side we see, as you know, industry organized into a vast, composite organization embracing not only one field, but many, and grouped not nationally but internationally, for instance: let us examine that most familiar object, namely, the Standard Oil Company, the name would and generally does convey the impression that this is an industry connected with petroleum only, as a matter of fact, this was its original field of activity; it has long ago outgrown its swaddling clothes and embraces the field of refining and the manufacture of all those numerous coal-tar derivatives which are used in therapeutics and which are almost unlimited in number. Beyond all this it is connected with and controls such institutions as life insurance companies, numerous national banks, municipal gas and street car companies, mining interests, such as coal and copper, railroads, steamships and any industry which presents itself if yielding sufficient returns will as a natural law come within its jurisdiction. What conclusion can we draw from this? Except that the same law which has fused these various industries applies to the workers within those industries. An interpretation of this fact is certainly not evidenced in present working class organizations. The workers are, to a great extent, organized on a basis that represents the industrial development of half or even a century ago. Beyond this weakness of organization and overshadowing, if possible, the baneful results of same is the tacit and implied admission that labor is a commodity that the labor union is organized to control that commodity and that the labor merchant, otherwise the labor fakir can make terms with the purchaser, for the collective labor power of his union, as is witnessed by the signing of agreements, etc. And not content with this assent to the exploitation of labor they go farther and advertise in street cars, on buildings, and other public places to stimulate a demand for their commodity and incidentally advertise their employers, accepting in all of this the conclusion that they believe in the wage labor scheme of society; that they have competitors, namely, non-union men whom they must displace and at the same time confessing their inability to monopolize their perishable commodity of labor power, concentrated, as it is, in the form of an individual who has a gastro-intestinal tract to annoy him.

The whole scheme of present trade union organization, even if it was carried to its ultimate, would simply mean an endless roundelay of wage slavery, a vicious circle without a break in its continuity except such as occur from time to time due to panics and which would sink its members into extreme poverty and degradation. It might well be written over and above all as a motto: “Perish all hope ye who enter here.”

The longer I look at this present trade union position the more firmly convinced am I that it is an abortion and an anachronism sent into the world of labor without reference to time, place, and industrial processes generally; to be held as a fetish before the eyes of labor which stifles any revolutionary or constructive action on their part.

On the other hand it serves the ruling classes as all the other institutions, good or evil, which are in existence to-day; and can well be lined up with the church and the brothel, the police powers and the peace powers; in fact, all of those things which we look upon as necessary for present capitalist stability.

You may think my criticism harsh and unfair, but, rather than indulge in any bombast about the union card or the “glory and majesty” of labor, I would go to the other extreme to, if possible, inculcate such ideas, which, if acted upon would make for the glory and majesty of that portion of society which is destined to sooner or later make civilization a reality, rather than what it is to-day: the systematic perversion of all that makes life worth living.

It is possible, although I believe unnecessary, to hold up individual leaders of the present labor organization to all the contumely which is theirs, but this unfortunately obscures the issue, which is not one of individuals at all, but one of fundamental weakness in organization, the individual simply typifying that in the same manner that any other pathologic condition manifests itself, as an exudates of pus follows the inoculation of pus bacteria. We may criticize the pus for its foul odor and general disagreeable sequellae, but this is an impotent procedure in affecting a cure. We need a caustic rather to stimulate new tissue growth and repair. You will excuse the analogy for its objectionable features, but we have to deal with a condition which is a shame on all our heads.

I am not one who believes in criticism for mental diversion and do not believe that Socialist or any other definite thought on the labor problem exhausts itself by pointing at results. We are here to formulate and use some of our constructive ability, show to the workers of the world the possibilities of an organization founded on definite plans and for definite purposes, anticipating for the future only that which the machinery of production warrants and makes possible. For this purpose we should have an organization which has the collective intelligence to appoint a commission and make itself a commission to investigate all the active potential or latent forces in present day machinery, first in order to know the required amount of labor necessary to feed, clothe, and house the world; the amount of time required and all the necessary data to insure the success of any plan which is undertaken, whether it is a strike for shorter hours or for the taking over of industry. You can readily see that an organization of this nature would have the most profound respect of its members and would enlist their active support and sympathy. It might be misunderstood; this is true of any movement that demands reason for its guide rather than stupid appeals to sentiment.

In passing, let me say that a strike conducted blindly, or instituted for the purpose of placating the wounded vanity of a labor leader or to aid his financial extortion is not my concept of a labor organization’s activity; and this has been about the extent of past contests with capital. Another fatal weakness which I would have labor guard against is the notion that immigration should swamp them. Most of the conclusions drawn about immigration are erroneous, even when considered from a capitalist standpoint and how much more erroneous are they when viewed from the standpoint which includes the free use and ownership of social productive forces. Not the feeblest, distorted and blasphemed specimen of mankind which has reached a working age is unable to produce the requisites for his own shelter, food and welfare.

How, then, even considered from the utilitarian standpoint, can he be a menace to any working class? The presence of a family of pampered drones in your midst under capitalism, the amount of human ingenuity, labor and usefulness necessary to maintain them in their immoral and useless pursuit of pleasure is a greater drain on working class resources than one hundred thousand Chinamen unable to work at all, with their meagre standard and requirement for life. This only from one viewpoint of human economy and ingenuity wasted. This is not half, not even one-tenth the drain which a parasite in the form of a capitalist exercises, i. e., his power to close down a single plant such as the Pullman Car Works for a single day or close down a knitting mill in New England, when people are anxious and willing to create and use the product created, is, as you can readily see, much more disastrous to the whole of working class society than his mere capacity to gormandize or destroy. Nature soon cuts short this part of his career.

No, workingmen and women, there are no race or national boundaries to this question, even under capitalism. You could not and should not by any process of exclusion exalt yourselves above the working class of the most medieval province in China. Your world must reach a level when measured even by a capitalist gauge, or the capitalist would operate his factory in China or elsewhere, if it were cheaper. Therefore, your organization must be international in character, universal in its sympathies and one in its objects.

The trade autonomy feature which is so prominent in present day organizations is so obviously out of harmony with present day industrial developments that one is at a loss to comprehend its reason for existence except the desire of creating a berth for a larger number of officials whose abilities are of a kind that under ordinary circumstances would secure them a place as bruisers in saloons or convicts in a penitentiary. This is a factor which we cannot, as workingmen, no matter how much we desire, overlook. And coupled with this class, yet of a more despicable and dangerous type are those whose manifest destiny and purpose is to confuse the workers by saying peace, peace, where none exists. More despicable and dangerous are these, I say, for the reason that their treachery involves their whole organization and their conspicuous self-conceit does not lead them into a violation of the ordinary physiological laws of life and they thus earn the title of respectable, which is a powerful hypnotic to the uninitiated worker who has no time to burrow into the history and sanction of morals. The other man errs on this score and dies, as Sam Parks, a tubercular and in jail his frailty only affects his immediate relatives, the other does not err in this respect and his success blights the pathway over which this weary proletarian army must march to that goal of economic freedom which the poor Roman slave saw when he first viewed the wind mill in operation and conceived the idea that he had now time to rest. The wind would do his drawing of water if not his hewing of wood.

The trade autonomy idea, which was born in a handicraft stage of development, to the extent that it is powerless to aid the workers is a valuable adjunct to capitalist exploitation, keeping, as it does, a hopeless division of forces and preventing concert action. The attempts of present day trade unions to enforce laws preventing the employment of convicts proves again their powerlessness and makes them accessory to the crime of capitalism, heaping insult upon injury.

Child labor legislation is generally conceded to be a failure. No effective means are at hand to enforce it under a pure and simple scheme of organization. The insuring of members and the fraternal features of most organizations which are used against sickness, death and other complications, which go with their employment, place the dependence upon their already burdened shoulders and relieves their exploiter from any and all responsibility after he has squeezed their vitality into products and dismissed them as unfit to become inmates of casual wards, almshouses and, iconoclastic as it may seem, those misnomers called “homes” for trade unionists, dominated by that same species the labor leader who has been pushed slightly in the background.

All of the weaknesses which I have enumerated you can readily see are not basic and organic in kind; they are excrescences which must be removed as the barnacles which impede the ship’s progress; a short sojourn in fresh water will do or else the process of scraping. I believe in the fresh water method, which is analogous to your action in calling this convention and is akin to the position of that organization which I am pleased to represent. The scraping method is slow and tedious; it affects somewhat the structure of the ship and the surface is left in such a condition that new barnacles may easily find lodgment, grow and perpetuate their species. This is the boring from within method. You have chosen correctly, I believe.

To recapitulate all that has been said in a few words. The organization of labor does not typify the present mode of industry. It has become a useful tool in the hands of the exploiters because of this. The presence of the labor leader is generally construed to mean the surrender and capitulation of workingmen on strike proving his usefulness to the capitalist an instance of which may be cited. The presence of Mr. Gompers in Chicago during this present labor difficulty was heralded as such far and wide. The laborers do not need leaders but they do need representatives of their interests. Some ideas which I have believed to be erroneous were mentioned because they led to wrong conclusions. The ineffective enforcement of labor’s demands and a few words about organization. From this let me continue and summarize as we proceed.

The method of organization; while I am not prepared to wholly condemn any form I am not prepared to elaborate any plan which would meet all of your approvals. We know that men engaged in some technical calling are better able to pass judgment upon their respective needs and grievances. This I believe to be the germ of truth in trade autonomy. But we must remember that nearly four-fifths of the workers are not so situated. Any separate organization upon superficial lines as railroad firemen and railroad engineers is absurd and childish or as switchmen and brakemen. Men who can interchange positions or men engaged in an industry which is consolidated should organize likewise. The small degree of technique which separates most men thus employed is and must appeal to you as a poor justification for two organizations rendering, as it does, the members unable to line up in any effective or concentrated action when the time comes to act. The organizing of labor and putting such obstructions as high initiation, large dues, or any other prohibitive measure is an idea fit only for those who believe it is possible to become labor merchants and monopolists and exclude at the same time those whom it is our desire to organize. The preventing of men who do not belong to any particular craft from working at that occupation while fully competent to do the work and belonging to any trade union, in any country, is an abomination and an insult. Finally, whether you should pronounce yourselves in favor of this or that political party. On this last proposition I would say no and yes. I would say no to any political party which your organization dues not actively control and would say yes to that organization which is part and parcel of your economic organization. This would presume that such is possible and necessary to which I say yes. As long as we concede the necessity of government and this will be as long as we need our economic organization active participation in legislation is incumbent upon us. You cannot separate the doing of an action and its results. Legislation and government are results. The precept of no politics in the unions, to my mind, originated in a country and at a time when the suffrage was limited by property or other qualifications which prevented many who were trade unionists from exercising it. A discussion of politics under those circumstances by the trade unionist was almost as irrelevant to him and his organization as religion, literature, science or anything else which had only an ideological value. This is true to a great extent to-day and applies to any politics or political party which is not grounded on the same economic needs which bring into being your industrial organization. Politics in any sense, other than the politics which reflect the economic strength of the working class and to the extent that this working class control this reflection, is vain and futile and is the error that all existing political parties have made with one exception. We should remember that the political strength of any class is in direct proportion to its economic strength; no more and no less. Now the economic strength of the working class manifests itself in its ability to conduct a strike, its method of organization and all of those intimately associated rules and regulations which are called by-laws and constitutions. I can see why politics in the ordinary acceptance of the word should be eschewed, but politics and political activity which you inaugurate as workingmen is as necessary as the power of thought needs the spoken or written word to express it.

The belief that retiring from the world and by some deep, dark and mysterious process to organize a revolution which shall spring like Minerva from the brow of Jove is born of a concept which savors a great deal of Utopia with a large degree of the suspiciousness and false premises of the anarchist. I am in hopes that you will form an organization which will embody both political and economic activity as its field of operation. You will meet opposition in this, probably from two sources, first, those pseudo-Socialists who confuse Socialism with political revolution and not industrial revolution—who put the shadow before the substance. Secondly from those who either from a lack of observation or a superficial observation, cannot draw the line of demarcation between office getting on the part of individuals and office taking on the part of working class organizations, thereby using such offices for their collective welfare. In conclusion, let me say that if the organization founded here at this convention will remain satisfied with changing external appearances such as officials, without changing the conditions which breed such officials, it will again and again repeat this process and finally, I believe, adopt the plan which underlies the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance. If we are ever to realize those conditions which will make want and the fear of want disappear along with its evil concomitants, workingmen alone can and must take upon themselves such a task. The road is no doubt long and weary, many centuries have passed before us; Centuries of slavery, degradation, misery and disease. Never before have all the forces been present and all the materials at hand to release the world from economic slavery. This is quite possible today and should be the aim and objective point of every organization of workers throughout the world. When such a transformation has occurred results which would be considered by the early Utopians as wild and chimerical will be realized. Results not only of increased visible wealth, but increased mental wealth which will transform the man with the hoe and the brother to the ox in the sense understood by Markham into the man who will use steam for cultivation and, instead of being a brother in external appearances, he will understand the connection which science, aided by evolution, has demonstrated, and will understand him in the poetic sense and fellowship, which led Whitman to exclaim: “I believe I could go and live with the animals; they are so placid and self-contained; they do not make me sick discussing their duty towards God; there is not one exalted above the other, the whole earth over, all, all are equals.” (Applause.)


Eugene V. Debs being called by the convention said:

Fellow Delegates and Comrades: As the preliminaries in organizing the convention have been disposed of, we will get down to the real work before this body. We are here to perform a task so great that it appeals to our best thought, our united energies, and will enlist our most loyal support; a task in the presence of which weak men might falter and despair, but from which it is impossible to shrink without betraying the working class. (Applause.)

I am much impressed by this proletarian gathering. I realize that I stand in the presence of those who in the past have fought, are fighting, and will continue to fight the battles of the working class economically and politically (applause), until the capitalist system is overthrown and the working class are emancipated from all of the degrading thraldom of the ages. (Applause). In this great struggle the working class are often defeated, but never vanquished. Even the defeats, if we are wise enough to profit by them, but hasten the day of the final victory.

In taking a survey of the industrial field of to-day, we are at once impressed with the total inadequacy of working class organization, with the lack of solidarity, with the widespread demoralization we see, and we are bound to conclude that the old form of pure and simple unionism has long since outgrown its usefulness (applause); that it is now not only in the way of progress, but that it has become positively reactionary, a thing that is but an auxiliary of the capitalist class. (Applause). They charge us with being assembled here for the purpose of disrupting the union movement. It is already disrupted, and if it were not disrupted we would not behold the spectacle here in this very city of a white policeman guarding a black scab, and a black policeman guarding a white scab (applause), while the trade unions stand by with their hands in their pockets wondering what is the matter with union labor in America. We are here to-day for the purpose of uniting the working class, for the purpose of eliminating that form of unionism which is responsible for the conditions as they exist to-day.

The trades union movement is to-day under the control of the capitalist class. It is preaching capitalist economics. It is serving capitalist purposes. Proof of it, positive and overwhelming, appears on every hand. All of the important strikes during the past two or three years have been lost. The great strike of the textile workers at Fall River, that proved so disastrous to those who engaged in it; the strike of the subway employes in the City of New York, where under the present form of organization the local leaders repudiated the national leaders, the national leaders repudiated the local leaders and were in alliance with the capitalist class to crush their own followers; the strike of the stockyard’s employes here in Chicago; the strike of the teamsters now in progress—all, all of them bear testimony to the fact that the pure and simple form of unionism has fulfilled its mission, whatever that may have been, and that the time has come for it to go. (Great applause.)

The American Federation of Labor has numbers, but the capitalist class do not fear the American Federation of Labor; quite the contrary. The capitalist papers here in this very city at this very time are championing the cause of pure and simple unionism. Since this convention met there has been nothing in these papers but a series of misrepresentations. (Applause). If we had met instead in the interest of the American Federation of Labor these papers, these capitalist papers, would have had their columns filled with articles commending the work that is being done here. There is certainly something wrong with that form of unionism which has its chief support in the press that represents capitalism; something wrong in that form of unionism whose leaders are the lieutenants of capitalism; something wrong with that form of unionism that forms an alliance with such a capitalist combination as the Civic Federation, whose sole purpose it is to chloroform the working class while the capitalist class go through their pockets. (Applause). There are those who believe that this form of unionism can be changed from within. They are very greatly mistaken. We might as well have remained in the Republican and Democratic parties and have expected to effect certain changes from within, instead of withdrawing from those parties and organizing a party that represented the exploited working class. (Applause). There is but one way to effect this great change, and that is for the workingman to sever his relations with the American Federation and join the union that proposes upon the economic field to represent his class (applause), and we are here to-day for the purpose of organizing that union. I believe that we are capable of profiting by the experiences of the past. I believe it is possible for the delegates here assembled to form a great, sound, economic organization of the working class based upon the class struggle, that shall be broad enough to embrace every honest worker, yet narrow enough to exclude every fakir. (Applause.)

Now, let me say to those delegates who are here representing the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance, that I have not in the past agreed with their tactics. I concede that their theory is right, that their principles are sound; I admit and cheerfully admit the honesty of their membership. (Applause). But there must certainly be something wrong with their tactics or their methods of propaganda if in these years they have not developed a larger membership than they have to their credit. Let me say in this connection, I am not of those who scorn you because of your small numbers. I have been taught by experience that numbers do not represent strength. (Applause). I will concede that the capitalist class do not fear the American Federation of Labor because of their numbers. Let me add that the capitalist class do not fear your Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance. The one are too numerous and the other are not sufficiently numerous. The American Federation of Labor is not sound in its economics. The Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance is sound in its economics, but in my judgment it does not appeal to the American working class in the right spirit. (Applause). Upon my lips there has never been a sneer for the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance on account of the smallness of its numbers. I have been quite capable of applauding the pluck, of admiring the courage of the members of the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance, for though few in numbers, they stay by their colors. (Applause). I wish, if I can, to point out what I conceive to be the error in their method of propaganda. Speaking of the members as I have met them, it seems to me that they are too prone to look upon a man as a fakir who happens to disagree with them. (Applause). Now, I think there is no delegate in this convention who is more set against the real fakir than I am. But I believe it is possible for a workingman who has been the victim of fakirism to become so alert, to so strain his vision looking for the fakir that he sees the fakir where the fakir is not. (Applause). I would have you understand that I am opposed to the fakir, and I am also opposed to the fanatic. (Applause). And fanaticism is as fatal to the development of the working class movement as is fakirism. (Applause). Admitting that the principle is sound, that the theory of your organization is right—and I concede both—what good avails it, what real purpose is accomplished if you cannot develop strength sufficient to carry out the declared purpose of your organization?

Now, I believe that there is a middle ground that can be occupied without the slightest concession of principle. I believe it is possible for such an organization as the Western Federation of Miners to be brought into harmonious relation with the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance. I believe it is possible that that element of the organizations represented here have the conviction, born of experience, observation and study, that the time has come to organize a new union, and I believe it is possible for these elements to mingle, to combine here, and to at least begin the work of forming a great economic or revolutionary organization of the working class so sorely needed in the struggle for their emancipation. (Applause). The supreme need of the hour, as the speaker who preceded me so clearly expressed it in his carefully and clearly thought address—the supreme need of the hour is a sound, revolutionary working class organization. (Applause). And while I am not foolish enough to imagine that we can complete this great work in a single convention of a few days duration, I do believe it is possible for us to initiate this work, to begin it in a way for the greatest promise, with the assurance that its work will be completed in a way that will appeal with increasing force to the working class of the country. I am satisfied that the great body of the working class in this country are prepared for just such an organization. (Applause). I know, their leaders know, that if this convention is successful their doom is sealed. (Applause). They can already see the handwriting upon the wall, and so they are seeking by all of the power at their command to discredit this convention, and in alliance with the cohorts of capitalism they are doing what they can to defeat this convention. It may fail in its mission, for they may continue to misrepresent, deceive and betray the working class and keep them in the clutches of their capitalist masters and exploiters. (Applause). They are hoping that we will fail to get together. They are hoping, as they have already expressed it, that this convention will consist of a prolonged wrangle; that such is our feeling and relations toward each other that it will be impossible for us to agree upon any vital proposition; that we will fight each other upon every point, and that when we have concluded our labors we will leave things in a worse condition than they were before. If we are true to ourselves we will undeceive those gentlemen. We will give them to understand that we are animated by motives too lofty for them in their baseness and sordidness to comprehend. (Applause). We will give them to understand that the motive here is not to use unionism as a means of serving the capitalist class, but that the motives of the men and women assembled here is to serve the working class by so organizing that class as to make their organization the promise of the coming triumph upon the economic field an the political field and the ultimate emancipation of the working class. (Applause.)

Let me say that I agree with Comrade De Leon upon one very vital point at least. (Applause). We have not been the best of friends in the past (laughter), but the whirligig of time brings about some wonderful changes. I find myself breaking away from some men I have been in very close touch with, and getting in close touch with some men from whom I have been very widely separated. (Applause). But no matter. I have long since made up my mind to pursue the straight line as I see it. A man is not worthy, in my juddgment, to enlist in the services of the working class unless he has the moral stamina, if need be, to break asunder all personal relations to serve that class as he understands his duty to that class. (Applause). I have not the slightest feeling against those who in the past have seen fit to call me a fakir. (Laughter). I can afford to wait. I have waited, and I now stand ready to take by the hand every man, every woman that comes here, totally regardless of past affiliations, whose purpose it is to organize the working class upon the economic field, to launch that economic organization that shall be the expression of the economic conditions as they exist to-day; that organization for which the working class are prepared; that organization which we shall at least begin before we have ended our labors, unless we shall prove false to the object for which we have assembled here.

Now, I am not going to take the time to undertake to outline the form of this organization. Nor should I undertake to tax your patience by attempting to elaborate the plan of organization. But let me suggest, in a few words, that to accomplish its purpose this organization must not only be based upon the class struggle, but must express the economic condition of this time. We must have one organization that embraces the workers in every department of industrial activity. It must express the class struggle. It must recognize the class lines. It must of course be class-conscious. It must be totally uncompromising. (Applause). It must be an organization of the rank and file. (Applause). It must be so organized and so guided as to appeal to the intelligence of the workers of the country everywhere. And if we succeed, as I believe we will, in forming such an organization, its success is a foregone conclusion. I have already said the working class are ready for it. There are multiplied thousands in readiness to join it, waiting only to see if the organization is rightly grounded and properly formed; and this done there will be no trouble about its development, and its development will take proper form and expand to its true proportions. If this work is properly begun, it will mean in time, and not a long time at that, a single union upon the economic field. It will mean more than that; it will mean a single party upon the political field (great applause); the one the economic expression, the other the political expression of the working class; the two halves that represent the organic whole of the labor movement.

Now, let me say in closing, comrades—and I have tried to condense, not wishing to tax your patience or to take the time of others, for I believe that in such conventions as this it is more important that we shall perform than that we shall make speeches—let me say in closing that you and I and all of us who are here to enlist in the service of the working class need to have faith in each other (applause), not the faith born of ignorance and stupidity, but the enlightened faith of self-interest. We are in precisely the same position; we depend absolutely upon each other. We must get close together and stand shoulder to shoulder. (Applause). We know that without solidarity nothing is possible, that with it nothing is impossible. And so we must dispel the petty prejudices that are born of the differences of the past, and I am of those who believe that, if we get together in the true working class spirit, most of these differences will disappear, and if those of us who have differed in the past are willing to accord to each other that degree of conciliation that we ourselves feel that we are entitled to, that we will forget these differences, we will approach all of the problems that confront us, with our intelligence combined, acting together in concert, all animated by the same high resolve to form that great union, so necessary to the working class, without which their condition remains as it is, and with which, when made practical and vitalized and renewed, the working class is permeated with the conquering spirit of the class struggle, and as if by magic the entire movement is vitalized, and side by side and shoulder to shoulder in a class-conscious phalanx we move forward to certain and complete victory. (Applause.)


Daniel De Leon being called by the convention said:

Fellow Delegates: From the time the Manifesto was issued, it was clear to me that the mission of the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance was about to be done. The eloquent speech we just heard proves it. When I came to Chicago to this convention I came absolutely without any private ax to grind or any private grudge to gratify. In fact, during my whole activity in the labor movement I have had but one foe—and I think that my worst enemy will not deny my statement—and that foe is the capitalist class. (Applause). Not a line that I have ever written, either on the political or the economic line, but was guided by that star, proceeding from the principle of the class struggle; proceeding from the conviction that the emancipation of the working class not only must be their own work, but—what is of infinitely more importance—is possible. In having this convention come together here, we, of the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance, indulge in the vainglorious belief that we have contributed our share; and Brother Debs will, I think—I am sure of it—admit that our literature has contributed towards that end. (Applause). I am not going to enter into a discussion or speak of that one feature which he said was the bad feature of the Alliance. I shall simply make the prophecy to him and to you, that, standing now where the Alliance stood, he will also become what the foe says I was—a fanatic; that as he sees the thing clearer to-day than he saw it when the American Railway Union was organized, he will find it clearer also who the foes of the labor movement are. I shall not go into that. All I wish to say, all I wish to go on record as saying, is this: I can imagine nothing more weak, more pitiable from a man’s standpoint than to aspire at an ideal that is unrealizable, and I have overhauled my position again and again answering this question: “Is this problem that you have undertaken as one of so many—is it a problem that is solvable?” And I have concluded that IT IS. (Applause). I drew a line, and on the other side of that line I placed the fakir and those men who assume and who deny that the working class can emancipate themselves, and who consequently propose to follow their own interests to the best of their ability and opportunity.

When three years ago the miners’ strike took place, it was, as far as I was concerned individually, an epoch in my existence. Before that I was certain that the emancipation of the working class could not come but through them; I was also certain that it was a possibility; but I did not know how far removed the land beyond them might lie. I knew that Columbus upon strictly scientific ground said: “The world being round, if I travel westward I must strike land.” But he knew not how long he would have to travel before he struck land. His scientific premises could not involve information also upon that subject; and as he traveled—you know the story, how the weak and the uninformed fell over him and called him names, and how he had to deceive them by telling them to keep on and keep on; and had land lain a few days further west, America would not have been discovered on the 12th of October, 1492. The question for me, the really important question, the question of immediate importance, was, “How far west does the land lie? How far away is the day when the working class will not only have sufficient information not to be humbugged, but when their hearts will beat with that sound impulse under which they will dare stand upon their feet and claim that they as citizens of the twentieth century are entitled to all that they produce and not a single cent less? How far does that lie?” And that coal miners’ strike gave me information upon that question. When that strike was in progress for eight months, had this organization that we hope will be launched here in Chicago been in existence, the revolution would have been accomplished in 1903. The workingman’s pulse beat high. The class instinct was there; the revolutionary spirit was there; but the army of labor, like the Czar’s army, which also consists of workingmen, was captained by the lieutenants of the capitalist class. (Applause). We then called Mitchell a fakir, and I am glad that there are those to-day in this convention who found fault with me then, but who will agree with me to-day that he was one. (Applause.)

Out of this body, out of this convention, a new economic organization or union will rise, and whether the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance was premature, whether indeed it had this or that or the other defect, it is unnecessary for me here to go into; I could also go into some other organizations that started, and have to-day even fewer members. But the times are ripe. General information is extended, and during this process of pounding one another we have both learned; both sides have learned, and I hope and believe that this convention will bring together those who will plant themselves squarely upon the class struggle and will recognize the fact that the political expression of labor is but the shadow of the economic organization. (Applause). I believe—I know—that he who will not vote right will do everything else wrong. But I also believe and I know That there is nothing more silly than Right without Might to back it up. (Applause). And the ballot box, though it is a civilized method of discussion, though it is powerful in its way as a historic development, that ballot is the weakest of things, is the hugest fraud on earth if it is not backed by the Might to enforce it. (Applause). Do our bourgeois capitalist rulers proceed upon a different principle? Look at their law libraries. I do not believe the law books in those libraries are bound in calf or sheepskin by accident. How innocent those books look. The sheepskin in which they are bound is an emblem of innocence, of the weakness of the law without Might to enforce it. And they gather their Might in their way; we gather it in our way; and the Might of the revolutionary Socialist ballot consists in the thorough industrial organization of the productive workers, organized in such a way that when that ballot is cast the capitalist class may know that behind it is the Might to enforce it. (Applause). I have myself stated again and again, in writing and by word of mouth, that the capitalist class is the one that counts the ballots, and consequently it is absurd to expect that their election inspectors will count us in (applause)—as absurd as it would be for the Japanese in Manchuria to expect that the Russian soldiers would pull the triggers for the Japanese masters. I recognize that, but no conclusion of importance can flow from one fact. All safe conclusions flow from a number of facts that have to be considered together. The capitalist class may monkey with the ballot all they like, but for the same reason that a man can monkey with a thermometer without ever changing the temperature, a handful of capitalists may do their ballot-monkeying, but they cannot change the political temperature. You can put a piece of ice to the quicksilver in a thermometer in the heat of summer, and that quicksilver will sink below zero, will sink to a Dakotan coldness; that does not change the temperature. You may in winter put a burning coal to the quicksilver and raise it to summer heat, but that does not make it summer. The capitalist may count us out. He may lower this thermometer of the ballot, but he cannot change the temperature. His election inspectors will tell him how the situation stands; he will know how that vote is; he will know the makeup and all of it; he will understand the nature of our organization—and that brings me right smack against a question, the question that I would like to have infinitely more time to handle than I shall consume in this hall. But I shall condense.

When speaking to Brother Debs a few days ago, when we shook hands over the bloody chasm (laughter), I said to him that I greatly admired the spirit of a certain sentence uttered by him, though not the application of it. I shall leave aside the application of it so as to remove friction. The substance of his sentence was: “We are here in America under special American conditions, and we must have our own expression of the American labor movement.” Admirable. There is an instinct both among the foes and the unwise friends of the movement to hold America down to the European level. I was there last year, at the Amsterdam Congress, and I can assure you that I pitied from the bottom of my heart the men whom I considered Socialists, because, Socialists though they are, they are under feudal conditions and they are worn out with feudal issues. Their efforts are neutralized; they cannot have a movement such as we can have in America, where capitalism is full-grown, where head and shoulders it is above all other nations of the world, where, not only economically but politically and socially, we have the most advanced capitalism in existence; no longer England, but America, has that distinction. (Applause). Now, then, the American capitalist class is a different thing from the European capitalist class. The European capitalist class is feudal. I was reading quite recently a Social Democratic article from Germany in which the writer correctly stated that the capitalist class is feudalized, “Verjunkert,” and the feature of feudalism is to develop one virtue, and that virtue is valor. Take for instance this half crazy, half crippled emperor of Germany, he has all the vices of the catalog except one, and that vice which he has not is cowardice. He is a brave man. That is the one virtue that feudalism develops. So that the Social Democracy of Germany—and when I say Germany I mean the whole of Europe, because they are so intimately dovetailed that none of the European states can go it alone—when the Social Democracy of Germany shall have reached five millions, that emperor will with a handful of men attempt to overthrow it. He will fail. Blood will flow, workingmen’s blood and ruler’s blood. In other words, a physical conflict is inevitable; inevitable on account of that psychology that has developed, from the material conditions of that rule, the spirit of the European capitalist class, namely, bravery. On the other hand, do we find that spirit in the rulers of America? Have our rulers been brought up in the cradle of feudalism? Have they reached their position through any act of bravery? Have songs of bravery been the songs that rocked their cradles? No; they came to their position of rulers by putting sand into your sugar, by putting water into your molasses, by putting shoddy into your clothes, by fraudulent failures, by fraudulent fires. In other words, they have reached their position through fraud, through swindle. Now, the swindler is a coward. (Applause). Being a coward, the swindler will swagger like a bully when the adversary is weak. What do we see the capitalist class do in America to-day? It has one set of workingmen in one body, and with the other it is clubbing them, shooting them down with gatling guns. It is simply a result, not of any bravery in the capitalist class, but of the weak condition of the Giant Labor, which lies fettered by the lieutenants of capitalism. (Applause). When the capitalist class finds out what is going on in our Organization, when it finds that we are well organized, when its lieutenants and its inspectors report to it the actual vote that you will cast, however little they may register in the official returns, when they report the facts, the capitalist ruler I believe will not dare to fight; the capitalist ruler will tremble in his stolen boots and be grateful to be given a chance to earn an honest living. (Applause). But they will never yield unless they realize that behind that ballot lies an organized movement, well organized, well disciplined and entirely awakened to the present condition; namely, with the industrial trades all in one organization, so that one workingman will not scab it upon another. Then in case of a strike in one place the locomotive engineers will not transport the militia, and union men, so-called, will not, as recently happened in Colorado, carry union cards in their pockets while they were aiming their guns at the miners on strike. When the capitalists know that their labor lieutenants can no longer protect them, the latter will find that their occupation, like Othello’s, will be gone; the capitalists will realize that there is MIGHT behind the RIGHT of the ballot, and they will bow to the truth. But should they be stupid enough not to bow, we will then be ready and able to take up the conflict. And on this point—and that is the significant position of the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance—if I were to be asked: What difference would you point out, more basic than any other, between the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance and any other of the numerous economic organizations that are started with good purposes? I should say this:

That the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance stated what it was there for, and stated it frankly. It has proceeded upon the principle that you cannot conceal your purpose from the enemy. The enemy’s instincts will tell them what you are after, whether you hide it or not. But if you hide your policy, if you hide your aims, if you conceal what you mean to do, then, while you cannot deceive the enemy—he will be as strongly against you as if you stated clearly what you wanted—you will deprive yourself of the support of the organizations that would stand behind you if they knew what you wanted. (Applause). The Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance was the first labor organization in this country, since the early labor organizations who also began soundly, that frankly and fully stated to the working class of America that they had to capture the public powers. Their belief is this: That you could not first take the men into the union under the false pretense that you were going to raise their wages, and afterwards indoctrinate them. No, you had to indoctrinate them first, and then bring them in. If the S. T. & L. A. has made any mistakes at all, it would be to imagine ten years ago that there were then enough such men in existence to join our ranks.

But I must close. The heat is oppressive; I have never been on good terms with the heat. Moreover, I agree with Brother Debs that this is not the occasion for speech-making, and that we have an arduous work to perform. Nevertheless, I recognize the courtesy of those who have called upon me after Brother Debs’s speech, and I wish here solemnly to state that whoever stands frankly and openly with his face turned against the capitalist class, whoever stands in such a way that his associates are not different from his purpose, whoever breaks with the foe and puts himself, to use a populistic expression, “in the middle of the road”—that man will find nothing but fraternal greeting from me as an individual, and from the organization which I represent here, and which I hope will vanish the same as the A. L. U. and other mixed organizations will vanish when this convention adjourns. (Applause.)

I wish to close with what I began with. The Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance, the same as the Socialist Labor Party, has but one ideal. The ideal is the overthrow of the capitalist class. We recognize that men may have made mistakes. We know we make them ourselves, and we are going, just as soon as the mistakes are rectified, to turn a new leaf and look at the future rather than at the past. The men of the Socialist Trade & Labor Alliance stand upon the elevation of nineteen centuries of civilization. We stand upon the enlightened interest of the individual. We know that our sons and daughters must marry other men’s sons and daughters. We want the future improvement for our descendants, and he who wants to improve the conditions of his own sons and daughters must perforce want improved conditions for the sons and daughters of all other people. Consequently, we realize the necessity of united work. We realize the necessity of a united organized movement of the working class, and with our eyes steady upon that goal we have fought in the past and will be found fighting in the future. Ten years ago Mr. Gompers said—and you remember that passage that Brother Trautmann read to-day, where Gompers brings into such magnificent juxtaposition the S. T. & L. A. and the great Deb’s strike—it makes us fraternal already—Gompers said: “I know the S. L. P. men. I know what they are aiming at, but when that day comes they will find me with a gun to fight them.” And my answer was then in The People, as it is now on the floor of this convention: “Yes, Gompers; we know we shall find you there, unmasked; but you will not on that day find the S. L. P. men a small body; you will find the American working class arrayed against you—against you along with the rest of the capitalist class, whom you in fact represent.” (Applause.)


Thomas J. Hagerty, being called by the convention, said:

Mr. Chairman and Fellow Delegates: There are some things upon which all workingmen are agreed. Life, food, shelter—there cannot be any dispute about these things. There can be and always will be disagreement about anything that is within the region of metaphysics, for lack of a better term, and in the region of political parties. As I understand this convention, it is called and is to go on record as not having anything to do with political parties, or as endorsing political parties in any way (applause); as a clean-cut, purely economic organization of the working class, broad enough to take in men who do not belong to any political party at all. (Applause). And I personally am opposed to any set of men constituting themselves as the interpreters of the entire working class of the World, and as saying in the name of the whole working class of the world that this convention goes on record as representing that working class and as insisting that that working class needs a particular party to achieve its freedom. (Applause). The ballot box is simply a capitalist concession. Dropping pieces of paper into a hole in a box never did achieve emancipation for the working class, and to my thinking it never will achieve it. (Applause). And the Industrial Workers’ Club, of which I am a delegate, instructs me to oppose anything on this floor which puts this convention on record as in favor of a political party. (Applause). Politics is quite a different thing, of course, from a political party. Our Russian comrades are engaged in politics of a very vigorous kind, according to the morning papers. They have been engaged in politics for some time, almost ever since the outbreak of the Japanese-Russian war. But the Industrial Workers’ Club looks upon the ballot box as a capitalist concession with a string at the other end of it, by which the capitalist is constantly pulling it back from the workers. They are disfranchising the workers fast in this so-called glorious country. You have a property qualification in Rhode Island; you have it in Alabama; you have it in many of the southern states. They are constantly increasing the property qualification. The emancipation of the working class must come from the workers’ class conscious vote and not from some political popgun that the capitalist class lets you play with one day in the year at the ballot box. Now, I am saying this, simply under my instructions from the Industrial Workers’ Club, and I am saying it because revolutionary workingman to come into the proposed economic organization. It cannot do so if it binds that man by virtue of [words missing from transcript - editors] this convention ought to be broad enough to allow every kind of a [words missing from transcript - editors] its constitution to the principle of the necessity of some particular political party, and I think that if one is rightly to take the sense of Comrade De Leon’s explanation, a political party can never be anything else but a shadow; and while shadows will do occasionally in vaudeville shows and projected against white canvases, they will never secure the ends that we are after. We are after the substance and will let the shadows take care of themselves. The substance, the whole thing, the thing that we are after, is the tools. We want to get the whole thing, not any shadows; not any reflection in political mirrors, but we want to capture the tools of industry and the machinery of production and distribution. (Applause). We want things, not shadows. We want substance. We have a right to life and the things that make that right worth while, and we are here, as I understand the Manifesto, to go on record simply and solely as an economic organization of the working class, without any affiliation with any political party. The professional politician in Chicago or elsewhere, no matter with what name, whether it be Democratic or Republican, or whether it be any of the different accentuations of Sicialist or Socialist or Slowcialist (applause) is opposed to this convention. The plain, common, ordinary workingman is invited to this. He wants to see his class united all the days in the year, and when they are united all the days in year, and every hour of every day, they will cast the proper shadows at the proper time. (Applause).


William D. Haywood being called by the convention said:

It has been said that this convention was to form an organization rival to the American Federation of Labor. That is a mistake. We are here for the purpose of organizing a LABOR ORGANIZATION (laughter and applause); an organization broad enough to take in all of the working class. (Applause). The American Federation of Labor is not that kind of an organization, inasmuch as there is a number of the international bodies affiliated with it that absolutely refuse to take in any more men. When this organization is properly launched there will be a place for every man that has been refused. They may place us on record as being dual, but remember that the United Workers of the Industrial Union will recognize those men as union men. There will be a label adopted by this convention, and it will be the duty of every member of this organization to patronize that label in preference to any other label. (Applause.)

We recognize that this is a revolutionary movement, and that the capitalists are not the only foes that you are to fight, but the most ardent enemy will be the pure and simple trades unionist. But there is only a few of him. He is not very well organized. You have got a tremendous field to work in. There are at least twenty million unorganized wage workers in the United States of America, to say nothing of Canada. This industrial union movement is broad enough to take in all of them, and we are here for the purpose of launching that union that will open wide its doors to the working class. I care not for the skilled mechanic particularly, the pure and simple trades unionist who enforces an apprenticeship for the benefit of the man that will close down the factory or the mine at a moment’s notice and throw out the men who have devoted their time to become skilled for his especial benefit. What I want to see come from this organization is an uplifting of the fellow that is down in the gutter. (Applause). And there must be arrangements made for others than wage earners. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I mean, for the unemployed, the man that would like to be a wage earner (applause), and the purpose of this organization will be to reduce hours sufficiently to give that fellow an opportunity to work. (Applause). There will be no maximum scale of wages, I take it, established by this organization. There will be no agreement that will tie you up over night. (Applause). I voice these sentiments because I am imbued with them, being a member of the Western Federation of Miners, a revolutionary industrial labor organization. We have not got an agreement existing with any mine manager, superintendent or operator at the present time. We have got a minimum scale of wages. The Western Federation of Miners has established in nearly all the cities throughout the West and the entire Province of British Columbia the eight-hour day, and we did not have a legislative lobby to accomplish it. (Laughter and applause.)

Now, I would suggest this conundrum: If the American Federation of Labor spends $5,000 a year maintaining a legislative lobby and gets through absolutely none of the measures that they advocate, how long will it take the American Federation of Labor to bring the working class to the full product of their toil? (Laughter). Now, it is not the purpose of the American Federation of Labor to bring about such a condition. As Mr. Gompers has said on a number of occasions, “We want a little more, until we get what belongs to us.” But he has never gone on record as saying what belongs to the working class. (Applause). He should know—he is a Republican—that one of the greatest Republicans in this country said that inasmuch as labor produces nearly all of the good things of life, the duty of the government and its greatest aim should be to see that the producers of that wealth or of those things shall enjoy the full product of their labor. That was Abraham Lincoln; not quite correctly quoted, but nearly so. (Applause). Gompers does not seem to recognize that labor produces all wealth, and it has always been somewhat of a marvel to me that they should be continually chasing after the Western Federation of Miners to reaffiliate with them, because inscribed on the charter of the Western Federation of Miners is the motto, “Labor produces all wealth; wealth belongs to the producer thereof.” (Applause). And we are striving to carry that motto into its fulfillment. That is the reason that we have come out of the West and come to Chicago to meet in convention with our brothers and sisters, realizing that we must all be uplifted at the same time (applause), that society can be no better than its most miserable. If you will assist us in establishing a plane of living for the working class whereby every man and woman will enjoy a decent livelihood, we will at least have the, satisfaction of knowing that our children will never get below that condition. It is worth making an effort for, delegates, and I believe that your most earnest consideration will be directed toward that end; and if it is so directed you will have the earnest and hearty support of the Western Federation of Miners. (Applause.)

As the delegates that have previously spoken remarked, strength does not always come from numbers. The American Federation of Labor is two millions strong.

A DELEGATE: No! no!!

DEL. HAYWOOD: Nearly so.

THE DELEGATE: Six hundred thousand.

DEL. HAYWOOD: Well, two million may be too many for any one to grasp the meaning of. It may be only one million. Say it is one million. The Western Federation of Miners comes in here with twenty-seven thousand. The capitalist class of this country fear the Western Federation of Miners more than they do all the rest of the labor organizations in this country. (Applause). And we have given them a better run for their money (applause), and every time that it becomes necessary for us to make a stand against that class they begin to clean out their cannons and burnish up their bayonets. There has not been a strike in the mines by the Western Federation of Miners but what we have been confronted with the militia, the judiciary, the county and the state and municipal officers. In 1892 in the Coeur d’Alene they had out the entire militia of the State. In 1894 in the Cripple Creek district they had out the entire militia, but for once in the history of the labor movement it was on the workingman’s side. (Applause). In 1896, in Leadville, as Delegate O’Neil will bear me out, the members of that organization had to live on bacon and beans or beans straight for a number of days. In 1899 again, in the Coeur d’ Alene, they had out the militia. And you know something about the recent strike in Colorado. So that the history of the Western Federation of Miners has been a militant one. We are known as a progressive and an aggressive organization, sufficiently aggressive to keep the other fellows busy all the time. (Applause). And during the brief period of our existence we have improved the conditions of our membership. We have lessened their hours to a greater extent than any other labor organization, and during the last two years, although it was the set purpose and intention of the capitalist class of the entire West—they were all in hearty accord—to defeat and annihilate the Western Federation of Miners, we went into our last convention three thousand stronger than we were at the previous convention. (Applause). And we are continuing to grow. We want you to join hands with us, stand shoulder to shoulder with us and see if we will not be able to infuse in the working class of this country the same militant spirit with which the Western Federation of Miners is imbued. (Applause). I want to say that if that is accomplished, not only Gompers but the capitalists will begin to tremble. Mr. Gompers in a recent editorial of the American Federationist, referred to this, the then coming convention as the coming “gabfest.” There has been some talking done here in this convention, but there has not been a delegate that took the floor but said something, and that something meant something; it meant something for the working class, and it meant the doom and the burial of such fakirs as Samuel Gompers. (Applause). There is not a man in the ranks of labor in this country who is not dominated by a paid agent, but is in hearty accord with this movement; not one member of the rank and file. On the other hand, there is not a salaried officer, president or secretary-treasurer of any of the International organizations who has a soft snap like I have got, but is opposed to this movement, because he knows that it is going to take away his job, or a number of them will lose their jobs. There are in the metal industry a number of different organizations that have two or three members in an International, just sufficient membership to make a good living for the officers at headquarters. (Applause). There is going to be a coming together of those Internationals. There are in the mining industry in this country at least four or five International organizations. I want to predict that the coal, the metal interests, the salt and the smelting and milling Internationals are coming together, and there are some of us fellows that are going to lose our jobs, but if in the uplifting of the whole that can be accomplished I won’t have to work any harder than I do now, and I hope to get better paid. (Laughter and applause.)

The indictments that have been presented against the International Unions and the American Federation of Labor are not nearly as strong as they could have been made, but I think that they are sufficient for the occasion. Every individual delegate on this floor knows the terrible corruption that exists in many of these International organizations; and right here in the city of Chicago, if the truth be told, the teamsters who are endeavoring to wage a fight against the mercantile institutions have been sold out by their leaders a number of times. I am not making this assertion and saying that it is true, but it has been asserted and never contradicted. It is the duty of those teamsters to dig down deep and see if there is any fire from whence comes this smoke.

I do not desire to take up the time of the convention. I just want to reiterate that in coming here we come in good faith. We are prepared to install the Western Federation of Miners in this new industrial movement. I am delighted to see the extreme political forces joining hands on this economic middle-ground. This is what I regard as the basis of all political parties, a solid foundation from whence an organization can be built where the workers can come into a solid and grand formation, and just as surely as the sun rises, when you get the working class organized economically it will find its proper reflection at the polls. Let this movement be not for political purposes, but bear this well in mind that it is for the purpose of supervising; that it is for the purpose of saying to the operators of Illinois that “you cannot close down the mines, for the work that we do in these coal mines means bread and butter to our wives and our families, and when you take away from us the means of life you are murdering us, and we are not going to tolerate it any longer.” (Applause). You have seen stalwart men right here in the city of Chicago, and you will find many of them, with their emaciated wives and their babies dying on dried-up breasts, and these men haven’t got nerve enough to go out and steal. (Applause). The purpose of this organization is to give every man an opportunity to work. That is not asking very much, just the opportunity to work. The other fellow don’t want to work. We want to work, and we want to make it impossible for the operators to close down a coal mine when that mine is ready for operation, and we want it to be operated for the benefit of the people. We want to make it impossible for them to close down the factories when there are people needing clothes. We want to insist that production shall be carried on for the benefit of all of the people all of the time, and to give all of the people work whenever they want it and need it. (Applause.)


Mr. Chairman and Delegates: I presume that the majority of the delegates, particularly those who have signed the Manifesto, will be expected to say something concerning the mission that has brought us to Chicago. So far as I am personally concerned I feel a reluctance to making a speech, owing to the fact that I have never been able to store up anything of value in my mental warehouse by listening to myself talk. I have learned from experience that the man who is a good and attentive listener can gather knowledge far more rapidly than the individual whose ambition soars to occupy those lofty and enviable heights occupied by a Cicero or a Demosthenes in the realms of oratory. I believe, however, that the time has come in the history of the labor movement of this country and of the world when the toiling millions should break for once and forever the shackles of trade and craft autonomy—and come together in a solid compact body enlisted under the flag of industrial unionism. (Applause). The history of the labor movement for the past few years has demonstrated as never before that craft and trade organizations are as helpless upon the economic battle field in measuring steel with Employers’ Associations as the individual midget in a contest with a brawny Hercules. Defeat after defeat has been written by the vanquished on the pages of labor history, and yet the champions and advocates of craft autonomy are still appealing to the maimed and crippled and blacklisted victims of many battles to use the same old weapons that belong to the days of the stage coach and the ox cart. (Applause). The great Napoleon of trade autonomy of this country has proclaimed that the trade union is after “more and more and more.” More what? I presume more prosperity like the textile workers got in Massachusetts (applause); more treason like the subway strikers got in New York; more banquets like the Civic Federation tenders to the harmony-and-identity-of-interest promoters who are struggling to bring about the brotherhood of labor and capital; and more injunctions from the judicial factories of the Federal Courts. (Applause). This is the kind of “more and more and more” that Christ got when craft treachery culminated in his crucifixion on Calvary. (Applause.)

Since coming to Chicago I have seen the injunctions of the courts peddled upon the wagons. Men of Chicago have seen in the past few months the fruit that grows on the judicial tree. They have heard the mandates that come from the lips of the judicial Caesar. They have realized as never before that the grand sentiments that once fell from the lips of an Abraham Lincoln, that this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, has been substituted with a government by injunction. When conflicts nowadays arise between capital and labor the magnates of wealth, through Employers’ Associations, invade the sanctuary of the courts, and from these tribunals of justice—of so-called justice—comes forth a weapon that annuls the declaration of independence and makes the Constitution of the United States look like thirty cents. (Applause). Government by injunction today robs from labor every jewel that crowns the brow of liberty; yea, more, disgraces the memory of every patriot whose valor was consecrated in defense of human rights. There is no injunction against the widows’ tears. There is no injunction against the orphan’s grief, whose parent fell by the bullet of the hired assassin. There is no injunction against the destiny that steals from the cheek of virtue the rosy flush of shame, the priceless charm of womanhood. There is no injunction against the wage slave lifting his eyes towards the dome of Heaven and praying to the ruler of human destinies to take away the tired and weary soul from its casement of clay. No. Let plutocracy beware. Other Jeffersons to-day are writing Declarations of Independence that are kindling in the hearts of millions the smoldering embers of human liberty. (Applause). Yea, more; in the years that are to come in the near future a new Lincoln will come from the loins of this republic to strike from the limbs of American manhood the chains and shackles of corporate bondage. A few more injunctions; a few more bull pens in the Coeur d’Alene and Colorado; a few more barricades at Virden, Illinois; a few more wails of misery from hungry and famishing lips; a few more murders and a few more tears as the annual tribute which labor pays to corporate greed, and there will arise from the brain and the muscle of this nation an army of heroes breathing the spirit of ’76, who will wend their way to the ballot box on the day of election and there deposit a vote whose voice will shake from center to circumference every prop and pillar upon which is reared the hated structure of private greed. (Applause). If that ballot fails, if the people are disfranchised, then the scattered millions of working people will come together and wend their way toward the banks of the Potomac, not bearing a white banner with the image of Christ engraved thereon as did Coxey’s army in 1894; no, but holding aloft the emblem of this nation’s liberty, that product of the soil of the thirteen colonies; and when they stand beneath the dome of the nation’s capitol proclaiming in the language of him who lifted the lamp up to the trembling millions in 1861, that this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, then the brass-buttoned, blue-coated warriors in the shape of policemen will not be able to keep them off the grass. (Applause.)


Delegate Moyer was called for.

THE CHAIRMAN: Brother Moyer, let me read this

“Mr. Chairman, as we have heard the hero of Woodstock jail, Brother Debs, we would also like to hear the hero of the bull pen of Colorado, Brother Moyer.”


DEL. MOYER: While I assure you that I appreciate the action of the delegate or whoever might have offered the invitation read by the Chairman, I am going to disappoint the delegates at this time, if it might be a disappointment, as far as I am concerned, in regard to making a speech. I am not going to make a speech at this time. I have been appointed by the delegates representing my organization as one of the Committee on Constitution, to draw up a Constitution that may govern the organization expected to be launched by the delegates in this convention. When that Committee of which I have been honored by appointment as a member submits its report to this convention, I expect to take up considerable of the time of this convention in discussing that Constitution, or rather the work of that committee which has been appointed to draft a Constitution to govern the proposed organization. For that reason I feel that it is unnecessary at this time for me to take up the time of the convention. I might say, though, in the ten minutes that has been allotted to delegates to address the convention, that I come here to-day for the purpose of assisting in inaugurating an industrial union movement; a movement that is intended for the working class, a movement that will embody in its membership not only a certain class of wage workers, but every man, woman and child who under the present system are compelled to work for a day’s wages. And in the report that I may make as a member of your Constitution Committee I hope to make it broad enough to cover that of which I have just spoken. Your Chairman, representing the Western Federation of Miners, has expressed to you in words as plain as I could the sentiments of the organization which we represent. I could add nothing to what he has already said to the delegates in this convention. I feel that it is necessary for the delegates in this convention on the different committees that have been appointed, to get down to work and draw up something tangible for this body of working people to work upon, and for that reason I desire to defer whatever remarks I may make to this convention until after the committee on which I have been appointed submit their work to this convention, when I assure you that you will hear something from me as one of the signers of the Manifesto which is responsible for this gathering here at the present time. I thank you for your attention. (Applause.)


DEL. COATES: Fellow Delegates: I really did not intend upon this occasion to say a single, solitary word to this convention. I had hoped that in the great mass of the orators before this convention who have preceded they would touch more fully upon a practical industrial organization. I want to say that I do not believe that there has been a single, solitary word uttered here to-day but what I can fully endorse. I, too, want a final condition that will bring the full fruition of toil to the toilers. I, too, want this organization based solely and wholly upon the class struggle. (Applause). As I said before, I can endorse practically everything that has been said upon those lines as to the conditions that have made this gathering necessary, and it is not necessary for me to go again over that ground. But, my friends, during this talk I want to try to impress this audience, if I can, with the idea that to bring into fruition the desires of this convention, the desires of the wage working men and women of this country, a practical, everyday industrial organization, we must not be carried away in the deliberations of this convention with a purely idealistic condition. I do not mean idealistic in the sense that some mean it. I mean that we do not want to go away with the idea that we have fixed our eyes upon a condition that will come perhaps twenty-five or fifty or a hundred years from now. I want this convention, when it has ceased its labors as a convention, to give us an organization that will start its wheels of machinery the moment we quit here; that will bring into line and into a line of solidarity every man and woman who toil for a living in this nation. (Applause). I don’t want to go out of this convention simply telling our fellow workers that “you are entitled to the full product of your labor.” I want to tell him something with that sentiment. I want to tell him something that is going to give him some courage and some hope to battle for the full fruit of his toil. (Applause). I want to give him a practical basis for the fullest organization under the wage system that will give him the opportunity to live and labor until he gets the full product of his toil. (Applause). I want to go forth from this convention with a message to every wage worker of the nation, that if they will get into an organization such as we hope to perfect there will be no longer such scenes as we see here upon the streets of Chicago to-day. I do not want to tell him that in 2005 or some other distant date poverty will be abolished by the total enjoyment of our labor, but I want to tell him that here and now, to-day, the entire paralyzation of industry in this city would remove the damnable conditions that we have here and now, to-day. I want to bring him this now, within a very few short months; to bring him into a perfect working organization of labor that will wheel into line as fast as the necessity of the occasion admits until we have lined up shoulder to shoulder every wage worker in the struggle for the least of these. My friends, the conditions that have shown us the failure of the ordinary trades union to-day are the things that we must take advantage of to-day. It must lead us to build an organization to-day that will avoid these mistakes and give us some encouragement to go before the great army of labor of this country and seek its alliance with this organization. I want a practical organization that will align all the forces of labor in this country in every line of industry. I want the teamster’s cause to be the cause of the printer. I want the printer’s cause to be the cause of the laborer upon the street. I want the cause of every wage worker to be the cause of every other wage worker, right now, to-morrow, battling for the bread and butter of their families. (Applause). And while I agree with what the other preceding speakers have believed will be the final result of this gathering, of this convention, I want you not to be carried away solely with the final fruition of this work. I want you to come down here so that we can begin and perfect this organization through its constitution, and start a movement that will begin to-morrow morning and align these forces absolutely in one solitary, single, all-powerful organization. (Applause.)

And now I want to say that during the speeches upon this floor I have been impressed with the idea that there are two dangers to the growth of this organization. I believe the first danger is a too idealistic condition, or organization rather. I have touched on that somewhat, and it is not necessary for me to repeat it. The other danger is the too enthusiastic ambitions of not only the delegates here upon this floor, but of the men and women who agree with them in their sentiments. I want to warn this organization now that they must decide not only on a plan of every-day, practical working organization, but they must too decide on the level-headed management of men who will not be swayed altogether with the idea that we are simply striving for that one far-off star. I do not want the enthusiasm that will go behind this movement when we get through, to lead it into a situation that will mean our early destruction. I believe to-day, fellow delegates, that if it had not been for the too enthusiastic work of the American Railway Union it would have stood to-day the greatest organization of labor that this country has ever known. (Great applause.) But it was that very thing that I want to call the attention of the delegates to which I believe Comrade Debs can tell you put the A. R. U. out of business. We want to be careful along those lines. We want to get a good, practical organization—that is all I am asking you for—and a good, practical, level-headed management and membership of that organization that would continue on for a few years to bear the burden of battle as you have borne it for a number of years, until we can mass behind this movement a great army that can no longer be defeated upon the economic field. I thank you very much. (Applause.)


DEL. SIMONS: I was one of those who were present at the Manifesto meeting. I shall take but a few moments of your time, but there are a few things that came to me while charmed in listening here. It seems to me that somehow it is typical, if not fitting, that this movement should spring from this city, the city in which was fought the battle that I believe, howe’er it may be writ down in our history, was the greatest victory that the American labor movement has ever fought—a victory that was gained because it placed this entire country on an alignment between plutocracy and democracy; a battle that in spite of the fact that it apparently ended in Woodstock jail, is not ended yet, but is going on to-day. (Applause). And all around me here I feel, and know that the forces that called for the power of the President and that called for all the strength that plutocracy could muster at the hands of the general government, that paralyzed the affairs of this nation the most thoroughly they were ever paralyzed—I feel that those same forces which that fight brought out in Pullman town are to-day again rallying for a victory more powerful than ever dreamed of before. (Applause.)

Men, we have seen here in America the rise and fall of labor organization after labor organization. We saw the rise before the Civil War of that first organization, the National Labor Union. It grew, developed and went down, to rise again in the K. of L., taking to itself some other and better force. That again went down when that found itself unable to cope with the industrial relations existing. We have seen the rise more recently of the A. F. of L.; and mark you this, that when it held its tenth convention it had one-third the delegates that are seated in this ball to-day. But it came as the representative of a certain set of industrial conditions. It arose out of a proletariat that did not understand that class consciousness is an absolute necessity upon which to build for victory and for certainty. It arose out of the competitive period, the period of little industries. That period is gone, and the working class of to-day can no more fight their battle with weapons drawn from that age than you can fight on the military field with the flint-lock and the musket of the Revolution or of ’65. To-day new conditions have brought forth a new organization. That organization, because it does correspond to the industrial facts from which it is sprung, is bound to go on to victory.

But while we are caught with this enthusiasm let me say to you, comrades, brothers and sisters, do not, as the last speaker said, let your enthusiasm carry you away with the idea that we are not going to fight. If this organization is founded, as it will be here, founded firmly, it means the first or gathering nucleus of the army that shall overthrow plutocracy; and don’t forget that plutocracy will recognize the fact. And against those who are here and who take upon themselves this battle will be turned all the cohorts of hell and capitalism that can be turned against us. Against us will be turned the powers of a prostituted press. Against us will be turned all the forces that can be marshalled on the field of intellect, whether political, social, or industrial. Against us will be turned those that turn from our own ranks as traitors, making themselves misleaders of the working class. Against those forces we have got to fight, and I appeal to any one here that is not ready to go into that fight, that is not ready to take up that burdendon’t attempt to come into this organization; don’t lay your hands to the plow if you intend to turn back when the battle grows fierce, when the fight grows hard. (Applause). Moreover, let us lay no weapon aside. Some have said to me, “What place have you in a labor organization?” And I must say that I recognize that my place is small. This convention, this fight, is one that I cannot do much in, but what little I can I will do. I know it is little, from the very fact that you justly regard me as one who is some how shut out from your class—yet Heaven knows I work hard enough for little enough wages. Nevertheless, though I realize that I cannot lead you the strength that I should give to you were I in another position, yet I say to you that the reason I come into this fight is because I am enlisted for life in the battle for the betterment of myself, my family, my children, and because I know that I cannot get free until you all are free, and so I want to fight with you for better things for humanity. (Applause). So I say that I come into this because I want no weapon left untouched in this battle, the greatest battle the age has ever known. When I say that on the political field we will fight, I do not say that when we drop those ballots into the box that I know they will be counted, but I know we will go on to victory. I want to see that the proletariat of America has left no weapon out of its reach in the armory; that it stands ready to grasp the ballot, the strike, the bullet if it should be that we are driven to it. (Applause.)

They told us the other day in the American Federationist that this is treason meeting here., Treason? Brothers and sisters, to whom? Treason to whom? It is not we who have banqueted with the emissaries of capitalism; it is not we who have shaken hands across the chasm that no human being can bridge—the chasm that lies between robber and robbed, between the exploiter and the exploited. It is not we who have signed away our birthright over the wine table of our oppressor. No. (Applause). Our treason, if treason it be, is treason only to the rulers who have placed their power above us by virtue of fraud and force, and no other. (Applause.)

And so I say we welcome you all, not to a beautiful vision of the Co-operative Commonwealth; not to the millennium, but to a hard, bitter, desperate fight that may last out your lives. (Applause). But let me ask of you to remember that in that fight after all, the strongest fight that you can make is a constructive, sane and deliberate fight. The mere operation of picking out and painting in lurid colors the despicable traitors that have betrayed our class may gratify our vindictiveness; better than that, it may gratify an outraged and betrayed and righteous indignation. But after all, the weapon that will strike the hardest, the blow that will land the heaviest, the shot that will send the furthest and finally dash the temple to the ground, are things that belong to the capitalists and capitalism itself.

And now I want just simply to say that I hope that in this organization which is to be founded, that when we come together in our deliberations we may realize that we have to build up; that we have to lay foundation stones and that we have to build with human beings and not with mere blocks of wood that can be fitted as you like; that we may have our plan of organization founded upon absolutely eternal principles and adapted and adjusted to the forces that we must use in the battle that we must wage, to the industrial conditions out of which it springs. If we do that, if we work wisely, forgetting the past,—I care not what a man has been (applause)—I say, forgetting the past in this fight that is here—no matter what men may have done or may not have done, those battles must be fought outside of this organization; this must not be the place to fight them out. Here in this organization we have a purpose on which we are united, and no man can make himself my enemy within that organization until he betrays the purposes of that organization. (Applause). And I believe that on that basis, on that foundation, we have before us an opportunity such as is offered to no other working class in the world.

Over in Russia they are battering down the remnants of an old feudalism. They are fighting there, shedding their blood in order to advance society perhaps only to another bourgeois revolution. We hope not. Here that ground is cleared for us. We have no aristocracy but plutocracy, no division excepting the class line, a perfect concentration of industry and a complete proletarization of the working class. The lines are clear. The fight is plain. There is nothing to bedim our eyes, nothing to befog the issue save differences that our own ignorance arouses. Let us clear them up. Let us marshal together, let us stand together, knowing that we are right, fighting on, hard and strong, determined, undiscouraged no matter what may come, to the victory that we know is there, because it is a part of the very essence of things, and cannot be denied us when we are ready to take it. (Applause.)


DEL. ROWE:—Mr. Chairman and Delegates: I am placed in rather a peculiar position by this convention, because I do not know whether or not the American Flint Glass Workers’ Union will decide to affiliate with this new industrial organization or not. I know that the membership of this organization that I represent, by a referendum vote of over two to one, voted to send representatives to this convention. I know that they are sympathetic with the Manifesto issued calling for this convention. I know, too, that we have some of the brightest trades unionists in our organization that I believe are to be found among any of the labor organizations in the United States of America. But nothwithstanding my peculiar position at this time, I feel that I would be untrue to myself if I refused to express a few words to you people assembled here this afternoon. Personally I feel that there cannot be anything but good come from this convention. (Applause.) When I see such intellectual giants from the East as De Leon, from the West as Haywood, Moyer, O’Neil and other speakers, and from the Central West as Debs and Simons and others (applause), the results of this convention must have a gratifying and inspiring effect upon the workers of the world. (Applause.)

Our organization is at loggerheads with the American Federation of Labor. We cannot agree with that contented spirit of apathy that is now prevailing among the leaders of that organization. We cannot understand how the workers of the United States can be contented to live in back alleys, living in huts, while the people that produce no wealth are living in palaces and are gorged with wealth and luxury. (Applause). The leaders of labor who preach contentment to those people are misleaders; they are not trying to give them the true light. (Applause). I believe that from this convention will spring the international emancipation of the working class. (Applause). The news that we have heard in this country, about the American Railway Union strike, the strikes of the Western Federation of Miners, the coal mines where workingmen were shot to death in Pennsylvania and other States in the United States of America, is no different from the news that we get from other countries. If you have watched industrial affairs in foreign countries in the last two years I am sure you have read of the bread riots in Italy, the strikes and riots in Barcelona, Spain, in Buda Pesth, in Brussels, Belgium, and in Paris. Now, this wage movement, this industrial emancipation, is encircling the globe, and the most hopeful sign that I can discern of this movement is that it is international, that the working people of all lands and climes are going to clasp their hands and come together in one solid phalanx until they encircle the entire world. (Applause.) In the words of Karl Marx, “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.” (Applause). This is the movement that is going to forge the American link to that international chain of industrial unionism that is going to free the workingmen and workingwomen. There has been much said about what the American Federation of Labor has done to certain organizations. I want to tell you of one particular harm they have done to the American Flint Glass Workers’ Union. When we had a strike in New York, the sixth vice-president of the American Federation of Labor sent an executive head to Washington, Pa., where a non-union glass factory exists, and he admitted to membership in the Glass Bottle Blowers’ Association a crew of nonunionists and sent them to New York to take the places of the striking men in the American Flint Glass Workers’ Union. We preferred charges against that officer. We proceeded to Washington and prosecuted him, and this is the decision that was rendered by the American Federation of Labor executive council: “We find the sixth vice-president not guilty of the charge. He simply went to one locality and converted a crew of non-union men into union men and transferred them to another locality to fulfill the complement of men required in that industry.” Did you ever hear of such a decision as that?

A DELEGATE: Yes, there are lots of them.

DEL. ROWE: We withdrew from the American Federation of Labor, and we have been on the outs with them ever since. But we wanted an opportunity of showing the delegates to the American Federation of Labor convention how we were treated by that executive council, and at our last convention two delegates were elected with me to proceed to the San Francisco convention of the American Federation of Labor to tell that convention how we had been treated by their executive council and officials. We requested the executive council and national officers to give us an audience before the San Francisco convention of the American Federation of Labor, and they told us that we could not be heard. They won’t give the rank and file of their organization a chance to see what that executive council is doing. Everybody who has watched the jurisdiction decisions rendered by the executive council of the American Federation of Labor will agree with me that it is nothing but a bargain counter executive council.

We delegates now come to this convention, and I want to say to you that I am a Socialist, and I have been an active Socialist in the Socialist party and Social Democratic party for a number of years, as can be testified by people in this convention (applause), but we have a large number of members in our organization who do not believe in Socialism. There are other organizations in this convention, one in particular, that I believe has about 75,OO0 members. If this convention will act wisely, according to my view we are going to form a trade union industrial labor organization and depend upon the educational influence of the intellectual leaders of this organization to enlighten the people on that secondary consideration. (Applause). I believe that our movement here should be this: to form a bona fide labor organization; a trades union that is class conscious with reference to the wage worker’s interest. When we have done that, we will have plenty of time in the future to perform that secondary work to this movement.

I want to make another suggestion. I believe that this organization should decide to hold another national convention about the month of November or some time later this season, because if you do that, the delegates who are at this convention like myself and colleagues and a number of other delegates to this convention who are not here with full power to act, will have an opportunity to report to their respective constituencies, and it will give them an opportunity of sending representatives back to the second convention and start this movement as speedily as we can do it with wisdom, in the interest of the people we represent. (Applause.)

Now, I have enjoyed listening to the speakers here this afternoon. It has had a very edifying effect upon me, and I am sure it has had a similar effect upon many other members in attendance at this convention. And I am glad to see that there is little in the way of personal animosities, and that these little feelings that have existed before this convention assembled have evaporated, and all these true leaders in the labor movement get together in one true spirit of harmony, pledged to one solid purpose, and that is the emancipation of the working class. (Applause.)


THE CHAIRMAN: I want to take this opportunity of telling the representatives of the press that are here, and others that may be in the audience, that the least that this convention expects from the press is the truth. (Applause). And also that this convention will not tolerate the representatives of the press if they misrepresent, and that when the reporter in the Tribune said that many bottles or glasses of beer had been brought up here from the saloon below, that he knew he was writing a contemptible lie. (Applause). It only adds proof of a purpose to misrepresent.


DEL. LUCY E. PARSONS: I can assure you that after the intellectual feast that I have enjoyed immensely this afternoon, I feel fortunate to appear before you now in response to your call. I do not wish you to think that I am here to play upon words when I tell you that I stand before you and feel much like a pigmy before intellectual giants, but that is only the fact. I wish to state to you that I have taken the floor because no other woman has responded, and I feel that it would not be out of place for me to say in my poor way a few words about this movement.

We, the women of this country, have no ballot even if we wished to use it, and the only way that we can be represented is to take a man to represent us. You men have made such a mess of it in representing us that we have not much confidence in asking you; and I for one feel very backward in asking the men to represent me. We have no ballot, but we have our labor. I think it is August Bebel, in his “Woman in the Past, Present and Future”—a book that should be read by every woman that works for wages—I think it is Bebel that says that men have been slaves through-out all the ages, but that woman’s condition has been worse, for she has been the slave of a slave. I think there was never a greater truth uttered. We are the slaves of the slaves. We are exploited more ruthlessly than men. Wherever wages are to be reduced the capitalist class use women to reduce them, and if there is anything that you men should do in the future it is to organize the women.

And I tell you that if the women had inaugurated a boycott of the State street stores since the teamsters’ strike they would have surrendered long ago. (Applause). I do not strike before you to brag. I had no man connected with that strike to make it of interest to me to boycott the stores, but I have not bought one penny’s worth there since that strike was inaugurated. I intended to boycott all of them as one individual at least, so it is important to educate the women. Now I wish to show my sisters here that we fasten the chains of slavery upon our sisters, sometimes unwittingly, when we go down to the department store and look around for cheap bargains and go home and exhibit what we have got so cheap. When we come to reflect it simply means the robbery of our sisters, for we know that the things cannot be made for such prices and give the women who made them fair wages.

I wish to say that I have attended many conventions in the twenty-seven years since I came here to Chicago’ a young girl, so full of life and animation and hope. It is to youth that hope comes; it is to age that reflection comes. I have attended conventions from that day to this of one kind and another and taken part in them. I have taken part in some in which our Comrade Debs had a part. I was at the organization that he organized in this city some eight or ten years ago. Now, the point I want to make is that these conventions are full of enthusiasm. And that is right; we should sometimes mix sentiment with soberness; it is a part of life. But, as I know from experience, there are sober moments ahead of us, and when you go out of this hall, when you have laid aside your enthusiasm, then comes solid work. Are you going out with the reflection that you appreciate and grasp the situation that you are to tackle? Are you going out of here with your minds made up that the class in which we call ourselves, revolutionary Socialists so-called—that that class is organized to meet organized capital with the millions at its command? It has many weapons to fight .us. First it has money. Then it has legislative tools. Then it has its judiciary; it has its army and its navy; it has its guns; it has armories; and last, it has the gallows. We call ourselves revolutionists. Do you know what the capitalists mean to do to you revolutionists? I simply throw these hints out that you young people may become reflective and know what you have to face at the first’ and then it will give you strength. I am not here to cause any discouragement, but simply to encourage you to go on in your grand work.

Now, that is the solid foundation that I hope this organization will be built on; that it may be built not like a house upon the sand, that when the waves of adversity come it may go over into the ocean of oblivion; but that it shall be built upon a strong, granite, hard foundation; a foundation made up of the hearts, and aspirations of the men and women of this twentieth century who have set their minds, their bands, their hearts and their heads against the past with all its miserable poverty, with its wage slavery, with its children ground into dividends, with its miners away down under the earth and with never the light of sunshine, and with its women selling the holy name of womanhood for a day’s board. I hope we understand that this organization has set its face against that iniquity, and that it has set its eyes to the rising star of liberty, that means fraternity, solidarity, the universal brotherhood of man. I hope that while politics have been mentioned here I am not one of those who, because a man or woman disagrees with me, cannot act with them—I am glad and proud to say I am too broad-minded to say they are a fakir or fool or a fraud because they disagree with me. My view may be narrow and theirs may be broad; but I do say to those who have intimated politics here as being necessary or a part of this organization, that I do not impute to them dishonesty or impure motives. But as I understand the call for this convention, politics had no place here; it was simply to be an economic organization, and I hope for the good of this organization that when we go away from this hall, and our comrades go some to the west, some to the east, some to the north and some to the south, while some remain in Chicago, and all spread this light over this broad land and carry the message of what this convention has done, that there will be no room for politics at all. There may be room for politics; I have nothing to say about that; but it is a bread and butter question, an economic issue, upon which the fight must be made.

Now, what do we mean when we say revolutionary Socialist? We mean that the land shall belong to the landless, the tools to the toiler, and the products to the producers. (Applause.) Now, let us analyze that for just a moment, before you applaud me. First, the land belongs to the landless. Is there a single land owner in this country who owns his land by the constitutional rights given by the constitution of the United States who will allow you to vote it away from him? I am not such a fool as to believe it. We say, “The tools belong to the toiler.” They are owned by the capitalist class. Do you believe they will allow you to go into the halls of the legislature and simply say, “Be it enacted that on and after a certain day the capitalist shall no longer own the tools and the factories and the places of industry, the ships that plow the ocean and our lakes?” Do you believe that they will submit? I do not. We say, “The products belong to the producers.” It belongs to the capitalist class as their legal property. Do you think that they will allow you to vote them away from them by passing a law and saying, “Be it enacted that on and after a certain day Mr. Capitalist shall be dispossessed?” You may, but I do not believe it. Hence, when you roll under your tongue the expression that you are revolutionists, remember what that word means. It means a revolution that shall turn all these things over where they belong to the wealth producers. Now, how shall the wealth producers come into possession of them? I believe that if every man and every woman who works, or who toils in the mines, the mills, the workshops, the fields, the factories and the farms in our broad America should decide in their minds that they shall have that which of right belongs to them, and that no idler shall live upon their toil, and when your new organization, your economic organization, shall declare as man to man and women to woman, as brothers and sisters, that you are determined that you will possess these things, then there is no army that is large enough to overcome you, for you yourselves constitute the army. (Applause). Now, when you have decided that you will take possession of these things, there will not need to be one gun fired or one scaffold erected. You will simply come into your own, by your own independence and your own manhood, and by asserting your own individuality, and not sending any man to any legislature in any State of the American Union to enact a law that you shall have what is your own; yours by nature and by your manhood and by your very presence upon this earth.

Nature has been lavish to her children. She has placed in this earth all the material of wealth that is necessary to make men and women happy. She has given us brains to go into her store house and bring from its recesses all that is necessary. She has given us these two hands and these brains to manufacture them suited to the wants of men and women. Our civilization stands on a parallel with all other civilizations. There is just one thing we lack, and we have only ourselves to blame if we do not become free. We simply lack the intelligence to take possession of that which we have produced. (Applause). And I believe and I hope and I feel that the men and women who constitute a convention like this can come together and organize that intelligence. I must say that I do not know whether I am saying anything that interests you or not, but I feel so delighted that I am talking to your heads and not to your hands and feet this afternoon. I feel that you will at least listen to me, and maybe you will disagree with me, but I care not; I simply want to shed the light as I see it. I wish to say that my conception of the future method of taking possession of this is that of the general strike: that is my conception of it. The trouble with all the strikes in the past has been this: the workingmen like the teamsters in our cities, these hard-working teamsters, strike and go out and starve. Their children starve. Their wives get discouraged. Some feel that they have to go out and beg for relief, and to get a little coal to keep the children warm, or a little bread to keep the wife from starving, or a little something to keep the spark of life in them so that they can remain wage slaves. That is the way with the strikes in the past. My conception of the strike of the future is not to strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in and take possession of the necessary property of production. If any one is to starve—I do not say it is necessary—let it be the capitalist class. They have starved us long enough, while they have had wealth and luxury and all that is necessary. You men and women should be imbued with the spirit that is now displayed in far-off Russia and far-off Siberia where we thought the spark of manhood and womanhood had been crushed out of them. Let us take example from them. We see the capitalist class fortifying themselves to-day behind their Citizens’ Associations and Employers’ Associations in order that they may crush the American labor movement. Let us cast our eyes over to far-off Russia and take heart and courage from those who are fighting the battle there, and from the further fact shown in the dispatches that appear this morning in the news that carries the greatest terror to the capitalist class throughout all the world—the emblem that has been the terror of all tyrants through all the ages, and there you will see that the red flag has been raised. (Applause). According to the Tribune, the greatest terror is evinced in Odessa and all through Russia because the red flag has been raised. They know that where the red flag has been raised whoever enroll themselves beneath that flag recognize the universal brotherhood of man; they recognize that the red current that flows through the veins of all humanity is identical, that the ideas of all humanity are identical; that those who raise the red flag, it matters not where, whether on the sunny plains of China, or on the sun-beaten hills of Africa, or on the far-off snow-capped shores of the north, or in Russia or in America—that they all belong to the human family and have an identity of interest. (Applause). That is what they know.

So when we come to decide, let us sink such differences as nationality, religion, politics, and set our eyes eternally and forever towards the rising star of the industrial republic of labor; remembering that we have left the old behind and have set our faces toward the future. There is no power on earth that can stop men and women who are determined to be free at all hazards. There is no power on earth so great as the power of intellect. It moves the world and it moves the earth.

Now, in conclusion, I wish to say to you—and you will excuse me because of what I am going to say and only attribute it to my interest in humanity. I wish to say that nineteen years ago on the fourth of May of this year, I was one of those at a meeting at the Haymarket in this city to protest against eleven workingmen being shot to pieces at a factory in the southeastern part of this city because they had dared to strike for the eight-hour movement that was to be inaugurated in America in 1886. The Haymarket meeting was called primarily and entirely to protest against the murder of comrades at the McCormick factory. When that meeting was nearing its close some one threw a bomb. No one knows to this day who threw it except the man who threw it. Possibly he has rendered his account with nature and has passed away. But no human being alive knows who threw it. And yet in the soil of Illinois, the soil that gave a Lincoln to America, the soil in which the great, magnificent Lincoln was buried in the State that was supposed to be the most liberal in the union, five men sleep the last sleep in Waldheim under a monument that, has been raised there because they dared to raise their voices for humanity. I say to any of you who are here and who can do so, it is well worth your time to go out there and draw some inspiration around the graves of the first martyrs who fell in the great industrial struggle for liberty on American soil. (Applause). I say to you that even within the sound of my voice, only two short blocks from where we meet to-day, the scaffold was erected on which those five men paid the penalty for daring to raise their voices against the iniquities of the age in which we live. We arc assembled here for the same purpose. And do any of you older men remember the telegrams that were sent out from Chicago while our comrades were not yet even cut down from the cruel gallows? “Anarchy is dead, and these miscreants have been put out of the way.” Oh, friends, I am sorry that I even had to use that word, “anarchy” just now in your presence, which was not in my mind at the outset. So if any of you wish to go out there and look at this monument that has been raised by those who believed in their comrades’ innocence and sincerity, I will ask you, when you have gone out and looked at the monument, that you will go to the reverse side of the monument and there read on the reverse side the words of a man, himself the purest and the noblest man who ever sat in the gubernatorial chair of the State of Illinois, John P. Altgeld. (Applause). On that monument you will read the clause of his message in which he pardoned the men who were lingering then in Joliet. I have nothing more to say. I ask you to read the words of Altgeld, who was at that time the governor, and had been a lawyer and a judge, and knew whereof he spoke, and then take out your copy books and copy the words of Altgeld when he released those who had not been slaughtered at the capitalists’ behest, and then take them home and change your minds about what those men were put to death for.

Now, I have taken up your time in this because I simply feel that I have a right as a mother and as a wife of one of those sacrificed men to say whatever I can to bring the light to bear upon this conspiracy and to show you the way it was. Now, I thank you for the time that I have taken up of yours. I hope that we will meet again some time, you and I, in some hall where we can meet and organize the wage workers of America, the men and women, so that the children may not go into the factories, nor the women into the factories, unless they go under proper conditions. I hope even now to live to see the day when the first dawn of the new era of labor will have arisen, when capitalism will be a thing of the past, and the new industrial republic, the commonwealth of labor, shall be in operation. I thank you. (Applause.)

DEL. RICHTER: I move that from this time on the regular rules of order govern the speakers, and that the ten-minute rule be applied. (Seconded.)

DEL. ROSS: I want to amend that motion that if Mother Jones will honor us with a talk within the next twenty-five minutes we extend the time for her. We are due to adjourn at six o’clock but since all the balance of the speakers this afternoon have spoken, with the rule off, we shall do the same with her. (Seconded.)

THE CHAIRMAN: If Mother Jones will talk, the chair will take the liberty of extending the time by turning the watch back. (Applause.)

Calls were heard for Mother Jones, but she did not respond.

DEL. KNIGHT, PUEBLO: If Mother Jones does not care to speak I would like to speak.

THE CHAIRMAN: Mother Jones seems to think the delegation does not want to hear her to-night. Brother Knight has the floor,


DEL. KNIGHT: Fellow Delegates: I come here for business. I come here from an organization of workingmen. I want to see, as Brother Coates mentioned, a practical organization for the organization of the working class. Not only that, but an organization based upon the class struggle. Now, I was for a while with the Credentials Committee during the speaking, and I never heard what was said at that time, but there is one point that since I have been here I have not heard touched upon, and during the few minutes that I shall talk to you, since I consider it to be one of the most important points in this organization, I want to say a few words on that, and that is the educational feature of this movement. (Applause). There is an old saying that “Knowledge is power.” We know this: that the majority of workingmen to-day of the rank and file who permit themselves to bend their backs to the conditions of wage slavery; who permit themselves to be driven into the tenement houses and into these other conditions that the capitalist class binds upon them—we know that that condition is due to ignorance of their relation to the capitalistic system of society. And we know as a result of that that the only possible way to get a clear, honest and clean-cut solution of this problem, that shall stop the anguish caused by such conditions as have heretofore prevailed, is to have an intelligent understanding of this question by the rank and file; and it devolves upon our intellectual giants that are here, it devolves upon all of us who are here and who have studied this question, to see that every member of the rank and file becomes as much of an intellectual giant as any of those who may be here. (Applause). And under those circumstances it is our duty, in order to enable this organization to do its duty to the working class, to make this educational feature one of the features of this organization. (Applause). Knowledge is power. Knowledge gives a man self-confidence. Knowledge shows the man where he stands. Knowledge puts him on his feet. It takes him up out of the dust and makes him able to stand up against the so-called intellectuals. These lawyers and all this bunch of fellows that have been to college and got their sheepskins appear to have an advantage over the workman. Now, I am a workman. I have tried to get knowledge, and in all that I have read and in all that I have studied I make it my object to do this. Otherwise I amount to nothing. Otherwise none of us, no workman, amounts to any more than a toad in a puddle. Rudyard Kipling is considered a great English writer. When he first started to write he wrote some good things, and he says something about the butterfly flying amongst the flowers. The toad might croak and protest against conditions, but the butterfly preaches contentment to the toad. Now, we want to get to the point where we can get rid of these so-called butterflies that flutter upon the outside of knowledge and education. Sound, solid, economic knowledge and sociological knowledge is the knowledge that we want, and if this organization provides for the education of the working class, then this organization can accomplish what it set out to do and what the Manifesto placed before us. (Applause.)


DEL. SCHATZKE: Mr. Chairman and Delegates: I have paid all my attention to what has been said, and I hope you will also give me a little attention. I am proud to be in the company of these modern Demostheneses, and when such a humble man as I am tries to address you I hope you will pardon me for my earnestness and not for the way I may express myself and for my language. The question is the necessity of the Manifesto, or rather the purposes of the Manifesto. I will tell you the necessity for it. The American Federation of Labor is based only on craft division. To keep a job as a delegate, as a walking b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s agent of the workingman, seems to be its chief object. My purpose in coming here is to help form an organization on a different basis. I have worked and helped to bring these stones and I have carried the hod here to lay the foundation. We are here to lay the foundation of a great international movement which shall unite the working class of all countries, and I want to tell you that the two thousand men, women and children who have been killed in Russia helped to lay the foundation of industrial liberty. As I understand it, this convention is called to lay the foundation of a great industrial movement to be based on the class struggle. Society is composed of individuals. I am an organism, and all these little organisms compose society. To preserve society we must do away with the parasites, and protect those who produce the wealth. One of our purposes should be education. I lectured before the American Workers and told them that they should send a delegate, and send the right man. Efforts are being made and will be made to disorganize the movement, but with a proper educational department we need not fear, and we will keep on till labor gets not only higher wages, but will get the whole cheese. I thank you. (Applause.)


DEL. ROSS: Mr. Chairman and Comrade Delegates: I have risen at the close of the regular program as set apart for the day’s work to tell this convention why I am here. I want you union men and brotherhood men, of whatever kind, to hear what I have to say. I repeat, why am I here? After being for forty years a union man and a brotherhood man, why should I stand upon the floor of this convention or occupy a seat here as a delegate? I want to say in the first place, that after serving my time and having the privilege of becoming a locomotive machinist I have been in many organizations in the United States. I was promoted from journeyman workman to shop foreman and master mechanic, and consequently had to relinquish my membership as a journeyman workman. I became a locomotive engineer, and I am proud to say to this convention that there are two or three more of us in here. For seventeen years I paid dues in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, and never did I fail to fight that grandest of all labor fakirs that ever lived, at every convention that I attended. Why did I make that race? I will tell you why. Because of the conservative action, so to speak, of one of the most conservative labor leaders that this country ever had. And do you know that by being so conservative, by fearing to get into trouble, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers became the worst scab organization that exists. There never was a time in all those years, if the Western and Southern engineers could have outvoted the Eastern and Canadian engineers, but what he would have been dethroned. But with Chauncey Depew upon the Vanderbilt lines holding the Eastern engineers under his thumb, and Arthur holding the Canadian engineers, they were able always to outvote us about 204 to 535. And as has been well said, the Vanderbilt lines have paid Chauncey Depew fifty to sixty thousand dollars a year as president of the road to see that the section hand should get a dollar or less a day.

But I am in this convention. I am past sixty years of age. I have been identified with the working class movement of this country for forty years, and I want to tell you why I am here. As a father of children who have children, I desire to build up some organization that will help my children and my grandchildren and leave them a better inheritance than I have had myself. (Applause). I was glad this afternoon to relinquish the opportunity of making a speech to this convention in order that I might hear others. For eight years my life has been dedicated to the rights of humanity, and I carried a commission as an organizer in some organization up to within less than four weeks ago, when I surrendered a commission sent by Comrade Critchlow, who is a delegate to this convention for the Territory of Oklahoma as organizer,—I surrendered that commission in Dayton, Ohio, less than four weeks ago in order that I might come to this convention representing me and my class, with the world as my friend and humanity as my theme. Thanking you for the few moments you have given, at some future time during the convention I may make an address. (Applause.)

The convention then, at six o’clock, adjourned until to-morrow morning at nine o’clock.,