« AnteriorContinuar »
That could be very easily regulated. The case is so very simple it is hardly worth while answering the question.
Q. Suppose you wanted the house I live in, and I want it too; which is going to have it 1-A. Could you live in two houses ?
Q. I want the house I am living in, and you want the same house; how would you decide that?-A. I will explain that. If I want your house-under a proper system there is no taxation on your house until another would want it-you would be notified by the register that your house has now become taxable, and as you have the prior right to your improvements on the soil that you have made, you have the right to remain there and pay the taxes that this party offers for the public good. There is no injustice practiced upon you by it. If you say you don't want to pay any taxes, this party is to pay in the value of your property.
Q. I have got to pay whatever any one else offers for it?-A. If your property becomes valuable as a business site, of course all sites must belong to the people, the value of the property must belong to those who create the value. There is no value to a lot of ground in the prairies. If there is any value to the ground in the city it is because there are millions of people living within thirty miles of it. This is a system of slavery that the people are subject to by the ownership of the soil.
Q. Take the question that I asked. My house is in a country town. I have a farm, I will suppose. 'Some one else wants that. Your idea is that if that person should offer to pay a certain sum of taxes into the common treasury I have got to pay more than that or give up the farm ?-A. No; you would have to pay the same. I don't think any injustice would be practiced upon you or any one else. You know in Phila. delphia the other day there were six hundred houses foreclosed. Q. If some one comes and offers
to pay certain taxes for the Astor House, the man that owns it has got to leave it or pay it?-A. We suppose the ground is free, and the man only owns the house and the improvements, and the party that is giving the taxes gives it for the site and not for the bricks and mortar. That point could be regulated, but you have not got that in yet. It will be time enongh to talk about how you are going to do it when you get at it. It is the doctrine of that Bible that our ministers have dishonored. They have taken God out of the Bible and are now preaching an emasculated religion. Such wolves in sheep's clothing raised a howl because three letters, G-o-d, are not placed in the Coastitution, when the Spirit of God is manifest throughout the whole document. Title deeds in land are as great a crime as is a title deed in human beings. If you can save society and save title deeds too, there will be no objection to your plan. But with all your wisdom, gentlemen, you will fail; you cannot cultivate an evil tree and expect good fruit. If you sow the wind you will reap the whirlwind.
Again, gentlemen, whom do we cheat if we place every man upon an equality before the law? Is it our fault that wrong is the rule and not the exception! Is it our fault that men have cultivated selfishness and rolled it like a sweet morsel under the tongue ? Are we to blame, who have no hand in making your laws, for the state of affairs that has made it necessary for this committee to sit and take testimony on the condition of the laboring class! We have no band in it. It is your system that has filled the city with prostitution. It is the system that has carried the people along in a wrong career, and we must arrest this system ere we are expected to do anything with it. Within a stone's throw of where this honorable committee sits a lot of ground cannot be purchased for less than $1,000,000. Now, the question naturally arises, why is this the case when a lot in the prairie is worth only ten cents? Simply because there are one million of people living within a radius of twelve miles of the one, and there may not be a single inhabitant within a hundred miles of the other. To save time I will dogmatically state that in all cases where land is worth more than its pristine value the people are virtnally owned, the land only nominally. This is another question for you, gentlemen, to settle. Before it is too late save the people's patrimony and sell no more land. Take back your unrighteous grants to greedy railroad monopolists. Let the government own the railroads, and give the people free traveling.
Q. Do you mean that people are to be allowed to travel free on the railroads ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who is to pay for that ?-A. It is to be paid by taxes. We are taxed to support a standing army, and we could as well be taxed to bring our wheat to market.
Q. Traveling would largely increase under that system, would it not ?–A. It would not unreasonably increase.
Q. Free traveling is a novel idea.-A. You smile; you smile; but there is wisdom in the assertion; there is morality in it; there is justice in it, and that is more than you can find in any part of your present unrighteous system.
To carry out free traveling our standing army must give place to a rotating, selfsustaining army; but to be properly understood it will be necessary to go back to the school days. Children will attend school and graduate at the age of fifteen. They will then spend five years learning some useful trade or profession, and will attend night-school for six months of each year and graduate at a grade fit for the highest collegiate education. They will then give two or three years, as the needs of the country demand, to the service of their country, during which time they will receive a military education, filling every grade of the military profession without changing their social standing when off duty. A certain portion of each day will be devoted to the highest branches known to science; another portion of the day they will work at the trades they have been taught, and by a well-regulated system of detail or relays every young man, without exception, will work on the public conveyances and the mineral lands of the government. But in no case while under military training shall any man perform more than four hours' labor per day.
T'he mineral wealth of the land must belong to the whole people. Can you show me, gentlemen of the committee, where injustice would be inflicted on any person if such was the case? The labor of production and nothing more to be the value of the minerals. Do you think, gentlemen, you would have any Mollie Maguires if that law of God was obeyed ?
Money must be furnished by the government to any and all persons on good security without interest—when every young man or woman as they enter into the real business of life, at the proper mature age, will be furnished sufficient money by the gov. ernment to pay for their homestead, and to be returned to the government only in installments, to be mutually agreed upon.
What mankind really needs is a retiring money, and not an increasing money. We want a money that will forever prevent a panic. Interest-bearing money always produces panics, because money is not like corn or potatoes; it will not grow; it only steals labor. But if you must have an interest-bearing money, let the government retain the power and not delegate such power to bankers, thus enslaving the government as well as the people. When our knavish Secretary of the Treasury bowed the knee to Baal and asked the Jew Belmont and his European coadjutors if it would be safe to resume specie payments, he insulted every true American citizen. The bankers said: “We won't ask for gold, but on the contrary will be ready to supply you one hundred millions in case of an emergency. We only want the evidence of debt so that we can live off the labor of your people. All we want is to bind you with a gold chain, and make you our servile slaves."
Politics, or rather the abuse of politics, is another cause of the degradation of the working people. The young of our land are demoralized by looking to politics for a living instead of honest labor, and one reason is, your political positions are too well paid; another is, labor is very uncertain. There ought not to be one political position better paid than the pay given to any honest laborer or mechanic.
To make the laborer equal with the capitalist the laborer or mechanic ought to receive (if you will retain interest) the value of seven days' labor for every hundred'he works, said money to be assessed upon those who have lived on the increase of money. You have inflated your gold to such an extent that you have ten or twenty promises to pay when you have only one to pay with. And this is a gold-bearing instrument, and the only way the owners can get their money is by foreclosing on your property and selling, not only the one-third they have held in the property, but also the two-thirds the parties had in the property themselves. Now, there are several ways of remedy. ing these difficulties. You can do it by the government employing every man that is unemployed—that is one way of doing it. There is too much money taken from the people by interest.
I will just state one case which is sufficient to show how it does through the whole. For instance: The heinous crime of interest will be more apparent to yon if you just take the single case of Vanderbilt and see the number of slaves he owns through the said power of interest or increase. One hundred thousand dollars is the labor of 200 men; $1,000,000 is the labor of 2,000 men; $7,000,000 is the labor of 14,000 men-at $500 per year, which is nearly double what men have made of late. And that is just Mr. Vanderbilt's quota of the wage slaves of this country. Call it justice if you dare. That is a power we demand of you to curtail, not by taking his money away-let the thief keep what he has got-but by issuing face money to those 14,000 slaves, and in that proportion throughout the whole country, so that there would not be one wage slave in the whole land. He is allowed to accumulate this wealth. I know it is not possible to make a law against men accumulating wealth. Under your system it would be unwise to do it. But we should have a law made that it would be impossible for a person to have such an enormous amount of money and to control such an amount of labor.
Q. Where would you fix the limit ?-A. I would not fix it; I would have a law passed that would make it impossible. If you withdraw interest from money, you would make it impossible for Mr. Vanderbilt to live on the labor of 14,000 people. He can go and live in Europe or anywhere, and yet we have got to hand up to him year after year $7,000,000, just the interest of his reputed wealth, which is said to be $100,000,000; I don't know whether it is more or less than that. That shows the injustice of the sys. tem. And that is one point your honorable body have to take into consideration. Some means of redress must be taken by the reduction of interest.
There is another thing we want your honorable body to recommend, that no more grants of land and no more public money be given to any of those railroad corporations. It would be better wisdom for you to appropriate one hundred millions to the working poor. It is not unjust for us to ask some of the money that we have helped to create. It is not unjust for us to ask that we be taken out of those cells of tenement houses and placed in the pure air of the prairies, and we would wish you to recommend a plan whereby we could get territory large enough to carry on a State on the benevolent principle we propose. We will return you the money. We are able to work. There is no money made without labor, and if laboring people go into that territory we will pay you every cent; and more than that, we will relieve your cities of a great many of the poorer class who are not able to find employment. It will become a kind of a house of refuge. This ought to be conducted on the co-operative plan, so that every trade or branch of industry in the State could become a government within itself, and the living of every man in the territory would be sure from the day of his birth to the day of his death. There would be no occasion for almshouses or jails. You would not need a standing army to keep the republic in subjection ; for all would live under the law of love. We have the Bible to support us in this. You take Levitical law, which says: “Thou shalt take no usury."
Q. Won't you spare us those authorities. The committee are supposed to read their Bibles. Please give us facts.-A. This we bring before you for the purpose of seeing if you could not save some of the land for an inheritance for the people. There are several ways which will be recommended to you, and it will be for you to find out and recommend to Congress which is the best way.
Q. Are you aware that any citizen may now go and enter 160 acres of land without charge, by simply settling on it?-A. Yes, sir, I am aware of that; but I am aware that the same state of affairs would result under the same plan. One hundred years ago we had none of this trouble. The same thing would result. We want to prevent a recurrence of it under the law of equity, so that equal justice can be meted out to all. I can have no equal justice from a man like Vanderbilt that controls all that labor. There is to be given to him every year the labor of 14,000 men to support him, at $500 a year each. It is a startling thing, but it is so.
Q. How many men do you employ ?-A. I am employing about three.
Q. Is it an advantage to them that you find work for them to do, and employ them 1-A. No; not a bit.
Q. Would it be any advantage to the men who are ont of employment in the city of New York if some one would furnish them employment?-A. No; it would not.
Q: There is no need of seeking any means to employ these unemployed laborers, according to your idea ?-A. Understand me. I thought you meant for common advantage. All this would be for a temporary advantage, but for a permanent advantage it would not amount to anything. We want permanent relief. Temporary relief would be of no advantage. There is a system of co-operation which I will hand to your body to read, which, I believe, after a careful study of the workingman's case for thirty or forty years, I have brooded over it for a long time, and have come from one idea to another, and with me it is simply a matter of doing justice to men.
Q. Are you sure you have reached a practical working system now 1-A. No; and I believe we will have to go on from step to step; but I believe we have reached something that is nearer to it than the system under which we are now living. I further say: While the present system lasts, temporary relief should be given by the government by employing every idle hand at a good salary, making every laborer a liberal consumer. Then you would soon get over your nightmare of overproduction.
Gentlemen of the committee, after you have tried every method and exhausted every device for the elevation of the working classes on the principle of employer and employé, on the principle of rich and poor, on the principle that one part of the human family is "saddled and bridled," and the other part “ booted and spurred” to ride the weak and oppressed laborer, you will always fail. No system which cannot lift the poor to a higher plane will ever be of any permanent advantage, and that can only be done through co-operative labor, and i berewith present to this honorable committee a printed document setting forth one method of co-operation.
"(constitution of the Workingmen's Industrial 18sociation. “The working men and women in solemn convention assembled do hereby resolvo to use their utmost endeavors to strengthen the hands of the weak and oppressed, to mitigate and relieve the hardships of the poor but honest toiler. We recognize the cause of suffering, which is the lot of nearly all who live by labor, and often of those who venture to trade in merchandise, to be in the power which the law bestows on those who control the cash capital, which says to the inerchant, . You must cease to sell;' to the mill-owner, “Your spindles must cease to run;' to the mechanic and laborer, “ You must rot in your cells until I reap my ten years' harvest.'
“At each decade the capitalist is strengthened, his coffers are filled four-fold, while the men who have created everything in the shape of wealth are reduced to poverty, depending on soup-kitchens for the means to sustain life. To meet the greedy and unrighteous capitalist, to pluck from him the power that wealth gives, we purpose the following plan as a constitution for the conducting of all branches of industry, whether performed by men or women:
"ARTICLE I. Co-operation shall be the basis and the only legal manner for performing manual labor. Every member of the particular branch of industry to which he or she belongs shall enjoy equal privileges, filling in rotation all the different grades appertaining to their business.
"Art. II. Each branch of industry shall have for executive officers a president, vice-president, financial and corresponding secretaries, and treasurer, to be elected annually by the members of the association. The above-named officers shall superintend the banking department. They shall at the close of each day's business certify to the correct amount of cash-balance in the bank. The above-named officers shall also perform the duties of their respective offices at all meetings of the association, said meetings to be held at least monthly.
"ART. III. Each association shall have its own bank, where all money collected will be deposited, the members drawing their remuneration by check, all balances to be credited to the individual member, all profits to be divided pro rata by the number of members at the end of every quarter, and the amount thus ascertained to be credited to each individual member. At the commencement of every day's business the executive officers will furnish the banking department a sum sufficient for the day's transactions.
“Art. IV. Membership in all industrial associations to be attained as follows: The sons of members, having reached the age of fifteen years, by right, without a vote. Sons of non-members to be received by a two-third vote. The term of apprenticeship shall be five years. Members traveling shall be adınitted by a card and a majority vote.
“ART. V. When the period of apprenticeship is past the member shall be known as a master-workman, and shall perform labor in that capacity till the age, say, of thirtyfive or forty. The remuneration for master-workmen shall be one-third more than will maintain a wife and family in comfortable circumstances. When a master-workman has reached the age fixed by the association he shall cease to do actual labor, and act as overseer or superintendent. Duties of superintendent shall be to instruct all as to the best methods of doing work, provide material, and render a correct account of all labor to the clerical department. Superintendents shall be provided with a horse, wagon, and driver, the expense of which to be charged pro rata on all work under his charge. The hours of labor will not exceed eight hours. The remuneration for superintendent shall be one-third more than a master-workman.
“ART. VI. All earnings of apprentices shall be placed in a separate and distinct fund, to be called the sinking fund (or widows and orphans' fund). The money so invested shall be for the benefit of any who are unfitted for labor by means of sickness. They shall be entitled to draw from the fund an amount equal to what they would be entitled to draw from the general fund. This sinking fund shall also be held for the benefit of the widows and orphans of deceased brothers, who shall be entitled to draw an amount sufficient to support them in the same circumstances as if the husband or father was living.
“ART. VII. Each industrial association shall provide lectures for its members, on scientific and other subjects which men accustomed to labor are unable to investigate. Amusements, such as concerts, theatrical performances, and sociables, will also be provided for the members, a portion of the profits of the association paying the expenses.
"ART. VIII. Each association will have a general business center, one for each county. Said building, besides being adapted for the business required, shall have a gymnasium, with bowling-alleys and billiard-tables, free to members, young and old. There shall also be one room adapted for sociables, lectures, &c. No intoxicating liquors to be permitted under any circumstances on the premises.
"ART. IX. As it is important that all men and women should retire from active service at the age of, say, 50 to 55 (retaining his or her pro rata share of the profits until death), the compensation will be so regulated that each member with ordinary health will be able to retire at that age.
"ART. X. The officers of any association may be removed for neglecting or refusing to perform their duty, by a two-third vote of the association.
"Art. XI. As the paramount object of co-operative associations is to secure a living for all men and women the officers of the different industrial associations will form å council, so that all men and women can be placed in whatever branch of industry needs most help, or where they are best fitted. Every person must be engaged at some useful employment, and the hours of labor will be so arranged that all will be employed."
In recommending the above plan as a basis for the government of all branches of the industrial classes, we would state that it does not in any manner interfere with the wholesale or retail dealer. Goods can be bought and sold in the same manner as at present, with this difference: that the wholesale dealer will have to depend upon his own energy, and not upon the cutting down of wages to starvation prices to increase his business. Neither does it interfere with any person, after he has learned his trade, to go into the business of buying and selling. The above system simply secures to every man and woman, who is willing to work, a sure living for life. The family relation will not be interfered with except in the matter of crowding families into those hot-beds of demoralization, tenement-houses, a sad product of the Christian civilization of the nineteenth century.
And to carry out this plan of co-operation, or one something similar, I would respectfully ask you to give the people one hundred millions of dollars without intent to relieve the poor of the cities, towns, and villages. As we have created all the wealth you can boast of, you would only be giving us our own. After all it would only cost you the price of the printing; it would absolutely cost you nothing. We would also ask you to recommend to the government the desirability of giving us territory large enough to put the grand scheme in operation. We ask no title-deed for the land, and we will give none. We will dispose of the land in the following order: When a man or woman selects his or her site, he or she will call upon the surveyor, who will take note of the land as nature left it. The surveyor will then register in the register's office the condition of said land and the amount of labor required to make the land fit for occupancy, which will be credited to the occupant, and when the bonse with surroundings, fence, &c., is furnished, the occupant will then furnish a correct account of the cost, which will also be credited to him in the register-books.
We have now got a starting-point without title-deeds. Taxation as a role will be direct. Houses or lands will only be taxed when more than one person wants the same site, and in the following order, viz: A person desiring an occupied site will state in writing to the register what tax he is willing to pay. The register will then notify the occupant that his site is now become taxable, and if he is willing to pay the same tax he remains and cannot be again disturbed for another year. But should he elect to leave he will have one year to build a home, which he can do with the money he received for his improvements, which will in all cases be the same as the original cost, never more and never less.
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT BY MR. MORRIS COHEN.
MORRIS Cohen made the following additional statement: I would like to make a statement here. The Socialistic party is a business party. They have got nothing to do with the God and Jesus Christ business. We are asking our servants to do right by us. Our plans are all practical plans.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you belong to the same organization as Mr. Robb?
Mr. COHEN. Yes, sir; but his theory is an individual theory. Every man may think for himself; but let it be understood that our party is a practical party. We are producers and not destroyers.
VIEWS OF MR. HERBERT GRAHAM.
E. HERBERT GRAHAM appeared and made the following statement:
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Whom do you represent ?-Answer. I am secretary of the Workingmen's Union of the city of New York.
Q. How large a body is that?-A. It is a delegated body; it numbers from sixty to seventy-five members.
Q. They are delegates from other bodies ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. How large is the organization from which they are delegated ?-A. I could not tell you that, because in the present state of labor the organization in the city of New York has dwindled down one-half. I suppose the organized labor of the city of New York to-day does not cover over twenty thousand men; it did formerly cover forty-five thousand.
Q. Has your body been represented before this committee ?-A. No, sir; I do not represent my organization here now.
Q. You are here in your own individual capacity ?-A. Yes, sir; the same as several other gentlemen I have seen here.
Q. Then we ask you to confine yourself to the subject of the causes of the depression of labor, and the remedies you have to suggest, and to not give us a disquisition on general abstract principles; but tell us the causes succinctly, and give us the remedies succinctly.-A. The gentlemen that have been here—they advanced hobbies of their own; I have my own hobby to advance.