Kate Richards O'Hare

Booze and Revolution

Source: The Masses, April, 1915;
Transcribed: Sally Ryan for marxists.org in 2002;

Prohibition has not reduced the sale of liquor, but if the ruling classes can succeed in cutting down drinking by liquor legislation, will it speed the coming revolution?

Most assuredly!

Sobriety means efficiency, and "efficiency" movements have in all ages been the incubators in which revolutions were hatched.

The ruling class has always desired more efficient slaves. They bred them to be more efficient, and then found that efficiency in producing wealth also produced a desire on the part of the slave to enjoy more. In order to secure more, the slaves revolted.

The onward march of efficiency has produced a race of workers that seems to approach Nietzsche's "superman." Men who conquer earth and air and sea, who subdue time and space and natural forces will hardly be satisfied by a slave's hut, a serf's cot, or a modern city slum. When that efficient worker has built a world of beauty, comfort and luxury, he will not stop at the puny gates of private property with which the ruling class would shut him out of the Paradise he has created, but he will use the same efficiency with which he built the gates to hammer them down again.

The ruling class wishes sober workers to create more wealth for them, revolutionists need sober men to organize men to organize the workers to demand and secure the wealth they have created. A man whose brain is pickled in whiskey is of little value to the ruling class, and he is of inestimable less value to the working class. Efficiency oils the wheels of revolution.

Of course John D. Rockefeller does not realize the fact, but it is true nevertheless that the Hookworm Commission he is supporting in the South is doing more for the revolutionary awakening in Dixie than anything else.

God bless you, John! We are with you. You know, John, that you and the other hookworms can't both feed on the same "cracker" at the same time, and we Socialists know that hookworms in the tummy and revolutionary thoughts in the brain cannot exist in the same man at the same time. You eliminate the hookworms, Johnny, and we will put the revolutionary thoughts where they will produce results. An efficient man is a rebellious man. And anything that raises the efficiency of the working class will speed the revolution.

Get busy, you middle class foes of booze! We guarantee that if you can keep them sober, we will organize them for revolution.