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Of course, it is stoutly maintained that all these preparations are necessary, the same as the burglar or the murderer maintains that his knife and gun are necessary. And, of course, we must be able at all times to protect and defend our honor. But let me tell you that I simply cannot understand this thing called "honor." I have yet to learn what it means. Every time a cheat wants to deceive or a bully wants to strut and show off, he talks about "honor." Every time any "statesman" or politician wants to push us into war or load us down with a huge army or navy, he insists that "honor" demands it. And in every war that was ever waged—no mattter how inexcusable every national combatant swore that it was forced to fight to defend its "honor."
It was "honor" that sent the American Fleet to Vera Cruz to force the Mexican government to salute our flag; it was "honor" that ordered General Crowder to bring the Cuban government to its knees. The same thing recently brought Italy to the verge of war with Greece and Jugo-Slavia. It caused France to bleed Germany and destroy its industry in the Ruhr. And not so long ago it was "honor" that sent Spanish troops to enslave the natives of Africa. So to me this thing called "honor" is disgusting. Its chief value is simply to camouflage the wrongdoings of scoundrels. Behind it lies arrogance, vanity, and egotism and a desire to beat a weak or helpless foe into submission. It's all a deceiving, childish chip-on-the-shoulder business and a disgrace to mankind.
Now the very men who insisted that the recent war would end all war and bring a new day, are the very ones who now talk most about honor and insist just as strongly that we must get ready for the next war. They say that war cannot be prevented, that it must come. But it's idle and childish to say this, the same as it is idle and childish to say that disease cannot be prevented, that it, too, must come. We CAN prevent it whenever we make up our minds to, because the people are almost wholly opposed to war—they are naturally peaceful. You must remember that despite all and everything they were told, only one out of every fifty of our American people volunteered for service in the last war. Forty-nine of every fifty had to be conscripted —had to be made to like war.
But the fact that the people are opposed to war is of little practical value so long as they allow a small group to control the machinery that brings about and profits by war. But they can and some day will change this by taking all the profit out of war, by making it impossible for a small group of silk hats in Congress to declare war. They will change it by giving themselves the power to decide when they shall and shall not fight, and by seeing that every one of those who speak, write and vote in favor of war are the first ones sent to the front to dance to the tune of the hideous war music. This will be enough. You won't have to do any more. When you force these long range patriots to practice what they preach and be the first ones to offer themselves up for slaughter, when you make it a case of "come on" instead of “go on,” there will be no more war. Then, and not before, will we rid ourselves of this curse of mankind, this trade of savages.
So the time to act is now. You can do nothing when the war craze strikes us. Then the people become confused and bewildered and the shrewd ones make tools and fools out of them. You can't fight militarism after war has been declared, but only during peace before the brainstorm gets under way. You are responsible-you, the workers, are the ones who do the marching, the trench digging, the actual fighting, bleeding and dying. You must get behind the campaign for permanent peace; you must support everyone who is pledged to fight war; you must retain your senses and not join the crowd and cheer the silly, brass-buttoned bunk being fed the people today. You must do your best to tell them the gruesome truth about this butchery. Don't let them forget that they pay the bills in full, with their toil, their tears, their blood and very lives; for too long, too madly and sadly have our common people broken their own hearts, wrecked their own homes, and covered the earth with their own blood and tears, only later to be cheated and betrayed and led into fresh slaughter.
Farce and Treason
H. H. Broach
Taken from a Labor Day Address,
I say deliberately that the courts are the very worst violators of the law; that they are simply strike-breaking agencies, barren of justice, the club of the powerful, and the last and most effective refuge of those who have been looting the government and bleeding its people white. They have been committing violence upon violence, and crime upon crime against the wage workers of our land; and the latest decisions of the Supreme Court against our working girls, women and children, constitute the greatest farce and treason that has ever been foisted upon our people, and only adds more proof, if more were needed, of the vicious corruption of the American courts, and shows that no decent person can have anything but contempt for them, so long as they stand on the side of the forces of greed.
Now I know that some will say my criticism is too severe, or my language too strong. But I want you to listen to what a few others—even judges—have to say. Here is what Judge Seymour D. Thompson had to say to the State Bar Association of Texas:
There is danger, real danger, that the people will see at one sweeping glance that all the power of their government, Federal and State, lies at the feet of us lawyers, at the feet of the Judicial oligarchy; that those powers are being steadily exercised in behalf of the wealthy and powerful classes. Great trusts may place their yokes upon the necks of the people of the United States; trial by jury and ordinary criminal justice of the states are set aside and Federal court injunctions substituted therefor.
Now listen to Judge Clarence N. Goodwin, chairman of the Conference of Bar Associations, which met in Washington last February :
Equality before the law is impossible as long as the rich and powerful are represented in court by the highly educated lawyers. Until such a condition is corrected, there will be little justice in the courts.
Now hear what the American Judicature Society has to say in Bulletin VIII, on page 24:
If there is one sad anomaly that should stand out in our present days of conscientious self-searching, it is the harsh fact, with all our prating about justice, we deliberately withhold it from the thousands who are too poor to pay for it.
Now Judge John Ford, New York State Supreme Court Justice:
The judges of the United States are the greatest obstructionists, and we must get away from the idea that because men are elected to the judiciary they are transformed into superior beings-high priests of an esoteric cult.
No impartial student of the subject can doubt that the courts are partial to accumulated wealth; that they are on the side of the powerful employer and against the employees, and that they are daily, through judge-made law oppressing the poor and lowly in the interest of amassed capital.
The lawyers in turn are the employees of wealthy men and large corporations. The Bar Association of this city presumes to tell the people who should and should not be fair judges. That association, like every other similar organization, is controlled by a handful of its members, the socalled leaders of the bar. Without exceptions these leaders are men retained by the great corporations to protect them in their special privileges and power and to exact tribute from the public. Is it any wonder that judges indorsed by such men are disposed to declare laws unconstitutional and grant ex-parte injunctions against labor organization?
And now Thomas Jefferson, long ago:
It has long been my opinion and I have never shrunk from its expression, that the germ of dissolution of our Federal Government is in the judiciary, an irresponsible body working like gravity, by day and by night, gaining a little today and gaining a little tomorrow, and advancing its step like a thief over the field of jurisdiction until all shall be usurped.
So, my friends, you readily see that the judges' own associates have administered much more severe criticism of them than could possibly be uttered by any representative of labor. And these judges, you must remember, rule the country today, and rule it without mercy. They determine what shall and shall not be law; they add to a law, change it, take clauses out of it, or destroy it altogether and put a new one in its place. They have reversed themselves over and over again, and tangled themselves up so completely that they don't know where they are. To find out just where they are and just what they mean, they called a meeting in Washington in February, 1923, and formed the American Law Institute, and appointed a committee of 21 to find out just what the laws are and just what they mean.
Former Governor Hadley of Missouri, had this to say to the gathering: "We are lost in a jungle of conflicting and meaningless decisions. We don't know where we are."
The United States Department of Labor has just announced that up to February, 1923, the judges had destroyed 270 protective labor laws by declaring them “unconstitutional.” They don't even guard the dignity of their courts. Destruction is all a hit and miss proposition with them. State courts have nullified laws that have been approved by the United States Supreme Court. Other laws that have been held to be constitutional in some states have been declared unconstitutional in others. So the farce goes merrily on.
And little do we realize the damage, the hardship and sorrow that can be caused by one whimsical, incompetent or malicious judge. Let me cite only one instance: For one hundred years the judges of this country had upheld the right of Congress to levy an income tax, but when Congress in June, 1894, attempted to enact an income tax in connection with the Wilson tariff bill, an appeal was taken to the Supreme Court. The case was argued before 8 judges, and they divided four to four. The 9th judge, Mr. Justice Jackson, was ill at the time. When he recovered, the case was re-argued and he took the position that the law was constitutional. Before the decision could be written, however, one of the judges, Mr. Justice Shires, “changed his mind.” On April 8th, 1895, Mr. Justice Shires had declared himself in favor of the constitutionality of the law. On May 20th, he with four other judges, declared the law unconstitutional, and it required almost 20 years of agitation to secure a constitutional amendment which would enable Congress to enact an income-tax law, and thus reverse the decision which was made possible when one judge "changed his mind."
Let me also remind you that it was this noble Supreme Court that before 1865 sanctioned and perpetrated chattel slavery; that also set aside the law in the nineties to stop the railroads from discharging men for belonging to the unions. It cut the heart out of the Clayton Amendment to the Anti-trust laws, which was for the protection of labor, and which plainly instructed the judges in the limitations of their own powers.
It held by the bare majority of one vote that stock dividends were not taxable, thus enabling those of great wealth to pocket