Observations and Comments

In March a new administration will take possession of the White House. The wearisome and annoying old tragi-comedy of disappointed expectations and hopes of the sovereign people—so familiar to the initiated in the political game—is to be repeated again. One may smile or cry over it, according to the mood, but we Anarchists have at least the consolation that we are not to be caught by any political snares.

Whatever the particular composition of a government, it may correctly be characterized as a gang of banditti that always scheme for their own aggrandizement. Whatever the régime, it represents the power and rule of the moneybags, and as such it is a full partner in the business, enjoying its share of the spoils. The service of Mammon is the chief business of politicians. To be a politician by profession means to be a professional deceiver of the people. As a rule such men are well-paid, conscious traitors to every cause of humanity, men who have thrown overboard every consideration of justice and fair play. Such things would prove a handicap in the career of a politician.

To afford the poor subjects some sort of cheap consolation, we are still investigating the trusts. Generally the proceeding only tends to increase their dividends.

The latest in this line is the Vice Trust. But why not tackle the Religion Trust? Surely it is the greatest corruptionist and grafter even among trusts. Its securities are held in heaven; its shares are founded on popular stupidity. Its products are superstition and hypocrisy. The payment of dividends in this Trust is arranged to fall due in the hereafter, so that it craftily relieves itself from all responsibility on earth.

Belief in legality is a part of the conventional lie. In New York there are at present quite a number of representatives of the law charged with corruption, graft and bribery. The lid of legality has been lifted just a wee bit, and already it is evident, even to the least intelligent, that everything underneath is rotten.

New York, as well as every other large city, is ruled by an army of grafters and corruptionists, whose power resides in the very fact that they are shielded by the protecting wing of legality, and who therefore may mask every outrage and depravity with the sign of the law.

This situation is not at all exceptional. It is the normal thing that is not to be altered by a few scapegoats being thrown behind the bars.

Notwithstanding all this the conventional lie of legality is by no means to be given up. They will continue to pretend to belief in it, because a society based on mutual deceit cannot afford to look the truth in the face; the grafters will continue to investigate the grafters with due solemnity.

We read in a certain Social Democratic paper that direct economic action may serve its purpose in the immediate, every-day struggle of the worker against his master, but that the final emancipation must inevitably be brought about through political action.

Peculiar logic! Direct economic action is the very reverse of political indirection. The latter begins big, with highflown phrases and promises, and ends with empty soap bubbles and compromises. Direct action, on the contrary, began with small, insignificant local strikes and is developing into a tremendous world movement of the cooperation of all workers for the final General Social Strike.

The field of the General Strike is so far-reaching that it embraces every function of social life. Its effects are of such vital importance that even the biggest and most important political activities cannot for a moment be compared with it. In its results the General Strike signifies the eradication of exploitation and injustice, and the triumph of a new society based on economic independence and social equality—voluntary communism.

The two birthdays of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodrow_WilsonLincoln and Washington in the month of February recall to memory that Washington fought against the King of England, and that Lincoln was instrumental, even if half-heartedly, in the legal emancipation of the negro.

That should be sufficient to remove the names of both from the list of desirable citizens. Indeed, he who is against negro slavery may easily cause disordered minds to be inflamed against all other forms of bondage. And so far as a rebel against the English King is concerned, the case of Mylius clearly proves his undesirability, for have not the immigration authorities decided upon his deportation from this free Republic? There is no place in this land for those who do not believe in the sanctity of royal mummery.

During the Congressional debate regarding Filipino independence one of the representatives of the people in that august body thus voiced his principles of liberty:

I am willing to grant the Filipino independence when they show themselves capable of sustaining a stable government.

What stable government means the Filipinos have since learned through bitter experience. Governor-General Forbes has at his disposal from 12 to 14 million dollars annually for the expenditures of the Federal administration in the Philippines. Part of this sum is supposed to be devoted to alleviate the starvation of the natives. But from the Congressional debate it is manifest that nothing whatever is done in that direction. The money is being spent by the government of the islands in fabulous salaries for the officials, whose number constantly increases. The bureau chiefs are supplied with free automobiles, and the hundred and one official retainers reap a rich harvest from moneys appropriated for the supposed benefit of our dependency.

The treatment of the natives is in keeping with the character of the American bureaucracy. The Moros and other non-Christians are forbidden to be in possession of weapons. This ruling has naturally aroused much discontent, but the American constabulary and army are very drastic and effective in their measures, and according to the official report, there were 131 outlaws captured last year, of which number 76 were killed while resisting arrest.

Evidently the Federal government is doing its very best to establish peace in the islands and teach the natives the merits of stable government.

The strike arbitration laws of New Zealand—so enthusiastically hailed by American reformers as an effective solution of labor troubles—is beginning to show results that fill its champions with anxiety and fear.

The miners’ union of Waihi, New Zealand, having declared a strike, gave notice to the Arbitration Board that it withdrew from its jurisdiction because the decisions of that body were always partial to the interests of the masters. But the New Zealand Arbitration Law provides that if a union whose membership is not below fifteen applies for arbitration of a labor dispute, the whole industry must be subject to the decision of the Board. Taking advantage of this legal trick, the mine owners organized a fake labor union, consisting of scabs and ruffians, and attempted to force the workers of the mine industry to accept the conditions dictated by the masters through the official Board of Arbitration.

The strikers organized large mass meetings to protest against this outrage. The authorities ordered the police to invade the audiences, for the purpose of terrorizing the miners. Numerous arrests were the result, and finally the hirelings of the masters resorted to even more brutal methods. They broke into the union headquarters and tried to drive the strikers from the city by force. A worker, named Frederick Evans, resisted the invasion of the ruffians and was at once set upon and killed. The Mayor and other high officials of the town took occasion to congratulate the murderers upon their bravery and efficiency in suppressing the strikers.

For a whole week the myrmidons of capital and government carried on the orgy of violence, and during that time 1,800 men and women were driven forcibly from the place, till Waihi now resembles a deserted village. The masters, aided by the authorities, have finally succeeded in establishing the peace of Warsaw in Waihi. The policeman who was directly responsible for the death of Evans—it having been proved that he struck the worker with an iron baton—was exonerated at the coroner’s inquest and lauded for having done his duty.

In discussion of these outrages the Sydney Worker says, very appropriately, that the struggle has been carried on by the masters in true American fashion:

This kind of thing is happening continually in America. Armies of strikebreakers are organized there. Weapons are put into their hands. They are primed for murder and outrage, and when they run amuck the Law obligingly turns its head another way, or with a brazen disregard of every principle of order aids and abets them in their criminal excesses.

America may surely be proud of the fact that other nations look upon it as the land where the solution of the labor question has progressed further than in any other country, by the use of violence and murder.

The trial of Alexander Aldamas has taken place. The calm, manly behavior of the defendant impressed even the Judge that here was a man who scorned to justify by legal trickery the act he was forced to commit in self-defence. He shot the men that attacked him with murderous purpose. The intention of the prosecution was to doom Aldamas—the ignorant foreigner on the strike picket line—to a long term of imprisonment, and with that sinister purpose seven separate indictments were brought against him. Some of our faint-hearted revolutionists even were willing to compromise with the enemy and offer a plea of guilty for Aldamas on condition that he be given a sentence of no more than five and no less than two and one-half years. But Aldamas himself is evidently made of sterner material. Perhaps he lacks the profundity of philosophic Anarchists and is innocent of the practical wisdom of scientific Socialists. He is only a common worker, who knows no better than to defend his life against the attack of an armed scab. But as we have said, the straightforward, manly attitude of this natural rebel—who scorned to deny his act of self-defence and would not be untrue to himself by pleading guilty to something he had a right to do—so impressed the Judge that all the charges against him were dismissed except one, upon which he received a sentence of one and one-half years to prison.

Pity the practical revolutionists who seem never to learn that the impractical attitude of the idealist is the only manly and courageous stand to take, and is in the long run also the most practical.

Our respects to Aldamas, the rebel. May he be as strong in body as he is in mind to withstand the nightmare of his imprisonment, and may he return to us the brave comrade we shall ever cherish in our hearts.

One would have to go far to find something more despicable than the police courts of New York. In these brothels of prostituted justice is now daily to be witnessed the sight of young men and women—garment workers—being railroaded to the workhouse for the terrible crime of picketing struck shops.

In a mail-order business to secure convictions in the interest of the masters the work could not be carried on with greater system and ease. If it be true that all guilt is avenged, then these legal representatives of injustice will surely receive their due in brimstone and fire.

The announcement of the official incorporation of the Rockefeller fund of a hundred million dollars for various charities gives food for thought concerning the origin of charity.

We may share the secret with our readers. The pest of charity is caused by a bacillus that is produced by compounding a hundred pounds of commercial greed with one ounce of religion or morality. Mix well and set aside to ferment till the stench is overpowering. Wait till the ounce of religion or morality has rotted through the hundred pounds of greed, and serve at a palatable moment.

This conception of charity was already well known as far back as the time of the apostle Peter, for did he not say, Charity covers a multitude of sins?

For almost a year the beautiful city of Denver, in the fragrant State of Colorado, boasted of having for its police commissioner a man whose heart flamed with reform. His name was Creel. But now we hear that he has suddenly been dismissed, and reform in the city of Denver has been adjourned sine die.

The reason for the dismissal seems to be that Creel attempted to revolutionize the city by his ultra-radical methods. He even went so far as to relieve the police of their nightsticks. What terrible things might not result from such drastic measures! Why, in the name of Heaven, in case of a strike what would the strikers be clubbed with? A policeman without a club is like unto a dog minus his tail—alas, how bereft of all dignity!

But the radicalism of Creel laid even more sacrilegious hands upon the very foundations of civilization. He introduced the resolution that the chiefs of the police bureaus should stop their practice of rolling around drunk in the gutters of the beautiful city of Denver.

That was really too much. The Mayor immediately ordered the dismissal of the Police Commissioner, and charges were filed against him as one unworthy to occupy the honorable office of chief policeman in a respectable burg.

With good reason. There is no room for an honest man in a police department. A reformer with brains should have higher ambitions than to try to purify the cesspool of graft and corruption.

It is reported that Shippy, former Chief of Police of Chicago, recently went insane, dying a pauper in a hospital, forsaken by everyone.

For the sake of our belief that there may be some good even in a chief of police, we would like to think that Shippy went insane because his conscience troubled him on account of his brutal murder of the boy Averbuch, whom he had killed in cold blood in 1907.