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The Famed Public
H. H. Broach
A reply made during an open shop
Now you have had much to say about the public; but what public do you mean? Of whom do you speak? Of whom does that famed body consist? Every normal minded person who does any thinking at all knows that it is divided into two classes : the robbers and the robbed; the cheaters and the cheated; those who have and those who haven't. The one class represents less than 4% of the people and consists of corporation lawyers and judges, those who employ labor, who own the banks, the insurance companies, the bond houses and trusts, the mines and railroads, the newspapers and magazines; in short, all commercial enterprises. The other 96% of the people consists of all the wage earners, and all those who are paying most dearly for allowing themselves to be tricked and gulled, who have been robbed of nearly everything of value they possess.
These are your two separate and distinct classes making up the general public, and you cannot deny it. And this general public can have no rights in industrial or other questions without responsibilities. Tell me, then, tell this audience, what it has ever done to execute its responsibilities. Tell us just one instance where it ever went out of its way to help the toilers improve their lot. You said the public is a friend of the worker and that he should take his grievance to it and get a hearing, and redress and relief. Pray tell us then, just how, when and what! Why just imagine, if you can, a railroad worker or miner, a packing house worker or any other taking his grievance to the public for a hearing and redress. How would he go about it? To whom would he go? Who would hand down the decision? Who would enforce it? Ask the hungry and suppressed packing house workers! They tried it! They didn't want to go back to jungle days and they begged and pleaded with the public for help. Ask them what they got! Ask the starving miners and their families who are sick and in rags, living in rotten huts with five and six sleeping in one bed. They tried it. They begged the public to hear them; they pleaded for redress; they begged the public to give them medicine, food and clothing. Ask them what they got!
Ask all of them! Ask the railroad workers, the steel workers-all of them! And they will tell you insults, bullets, bayo
nets, and injunctions-mounted police, thugs, plug uglies and jails—spies, Hell and misery. That's their answer.
And all the time they were crying for a hearing and redress, their “best friend,” the public, stood on the side lines and took no interest whatever in their welfare; it saw them go hungry; it saw them stripped of their most sacred rights and treated in the most brutal fashion; yet it didn't say a word; it didn't even protest against its own laws being notoriously violated by the commercial pirates, but laid down like a big coward. Its so-called pressure, its so-called "commanding opinion" amounted to nothing, absolutely nothing. The only time it ever became interested in these or any other labor struggles was when it got hungry or cold or had to walk. Then it gobbled down all the canned lies and half truths fed it by the press, and started to whine in spite against those who serve it and lick the feet of those who rob it. That's your public you talk so much about; that's your misinformed, chloroformed public—the "friend” of labor.
And why this attitude on the part of the public? Simply because it cannot get the facts; the truth is deliberately withheld from it by those who control the printing presses of the land. Whenever the public becomes properly informed, if it ever does, then, and not until then, will it be found on the side of the workers who compose 96 per cent of its members.
So with things as they are, this public which sits in irresponsive silence while its own laws are trampled on; the public which assumes no responsibility for, and takes no interest in the welfare of those who dig its coal and run its railroads, who serve its meat and build its buildings, the public which denounces those who serve it and pats the back of those who rob it—such a public cannot be expected to do for the workers what the workers fail to do for themselves. It has always been, and always will be on the side of the strongest group, in the same way that “God” has always been on the side of the strongest army.
Money and Credit
H. H. Broach
From an address given before a con-
It is now agreed by practically all labor students and officials that a question of commanding importance is, “How and when will the organized workers get control of their own finances, and control their own credit?” For it is now readily seen, as Frederick C. Howe has said, that whoever controls the finances, or credit, of the land controls the affairs of the land. This view was publicly supported some years ago by the elder J. P. Morgan when he said to a committee of the United States Senate: "If you will give me control of the finances of the country, I care not who or what party makes the laws." Finance, or credit, is the most important agency in our lives; our every economic and industrial activity depends upon it. It shapes our social and industrial development; wherever we turn, we feel the need of it.
This was well demonstrated during the recent depression or panic when thousands of small business men were forced into bankruptcy, thousands of farmers into starvation, and millions of wage workers into misery—all because finance was suddenly bottled up and credit denied.
Some of us might be interested in knowing just how this condition was made possible just how the financiers got control of finance, how they induced, bluffed and tricked the masses of the people to turn over their money to them. All kinds and sorts of schemes were devised, the best known being:
1. To set up saving banks and induce the people
to deposit their money in them at 3% or 4%
2. To get the people to pay big life insurance pre
miums as long as they lived so the exploiters
3. To get the people to buy all kinds and sorts of
bonds covering every conceivable proposition,
4. To induce the people to buy "preferred" shares
drawing low dividends and thus leave the bulk
To get the people to believe in these things, to get them to turn their money over to the financial hogs and stand by them to the end, they were drilled into believing that their money at work could not possibly earn more than 3 to 8 per cent, and that if any one denied or questioned this heresy to shun him as you would shun smallpox. Of course, anyone given to thinking at all knew that this argument was clownish, that the money was earning more than 3 to 8 per cent all the time-infinitely more, otherwise the rich would not have been getting richer and the poor poorer. And every thinking person knew that all the risk was attached to the people's money, no one else's. They bore all the risk, every bit of it. And when failures came, you never heard of the bankers and brokers, or the promoters and managers going down into their own pockets to pay for the wreckage. Always the depositors and investors bore the losses. All of them.
Scheme upon scheme was presented to them, and their lifetime earnings went down with crash after crash. And to get them “to fall for" all of this, to get them to turn over their money, a comprehensive system of education was established, and has been maintained on a huge scale. Go into any place and pick up a leading newspaper or magazine and you will see it spread before you in the most delightful style that the financial pirates can desire. Financial pages are maintained to tell the “common herd” what to do with their money. Financial departments are conducted by the more important publications, to which the gullible can go or write for "advice" and "guidance.” And the "advice" dished out is usually the most ridiculous and misleading rot that appears in American print. Those put in charge of these financial pages and departments are quite frequently on the pay-rolls of the very gang doing the gouging.
And the only way to get relief, the only way to get control of our own finances, and extend ourselves credit, is not to turn to legislative or judicial action. Relief won't come that way. We have tried it too long. We have got to expose the conspiracy and robbery. We have got to get our people to refuse longer to turn over their earnings to the exploiters, and we have got to establish co-operative stores, as has been suggested here today; and we have got to establish a string of cooperative banks to support them; we have got to engage in all kinds of productive enterprises of our own, for our own service and benefit, and we have got to establish a string of newspapers that will tell the people the truth. Then, and not until then, will we be really free and have control of our own finances and credit.
A Four-hour Day Ahead
H. H. Broach
Taken from an address given before a
What you men want to know, what millions of others want to know, is: “What are we to do against the ravages of unemployment? Are we to be left forever helpless against its horrors ?” The workers in Europe are also crying for an answer to this question. They, too, are now going through Hell, torture, and misery. Yonder starvation reigns, industry is decaying, money is almost worthless, and bankruptcy is king.
Probably the best answer just now is: The four-hour day. We may just as well make up our minds to this. So long as there is one man who seeks employment and cannot find it, the hours of labor are too long, as Gompers once said. Every labor student knows that through our ever-increasing number of inventions, and because of our skill and modern methods of production, more and more men are yearly being compelled to walk the streets hungry and destitute begging for a job. Of course we have our brief "busy" periods, but they are becoming fewer and fewer with each year. Our industrial panics are ever coming closer and closer together. And why? It's simply because we consume so little and produce so much that we produce ourselves out of jobs. That is all; almost everyone can now see that, even some employers.
Then, what else is there to do but reduce the hours of labor ? Economists claim that in four hours a day we could produce all we need and still provide luxuries for the rich.
Of course, to mention a four-hour day just now to most people is almost as dangerous as it was to suggest that we could manage to get along somehow without chattel slavery. And it's quite natural to expect that the agitation for a four-hour day will receive about the same kind of reception as did the agitation to prevent street waifs, as young as six years, being herded into filthy cellars and worked under the whip for 18 hours a day; it will be greeted with the same kind of opposition, and from the same elements, that greeted the movement to stop branding strikers with red hot irons and clipping off their ears.