Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- December 15, 1871[Congress Takes Action on Relation between Capital Labor]
A motion introduced into Congress by Representative Hoar (Mass.) recognizes the national scope of the relations between Capital and Labor. The motion aims at the nomination of a permanent commission of three members whose function it shall be:
"To investigate the questions of wages and working hours; the relations between capitalists and laborers, and the social, physical and educational conditions, of the laboring classes in the United States; and to determine how these conditions are being influenced through the existing commercial and financial laws and through the currency."
In explaining his motion Mr. Hoar expressly pointed to the Labor Internationale and the Paris Commune. Of the latter he said that one should not condemn it, as long as one has heard only one side, as is the case at present. A cause for which thousands, not only of workers, but likewise of highly educated 2and well-to-do men heroically gave their lives - such a cause surely has a claim to be examined conscientiously and without prejudice. The leading idea of the Internationale, namely, an association of all humanity and the exclusion of all national antagonisms he called one most worthy to be pondered....
As far as can be judged from the still continuing debate, Representative Hoar's motion will be adopted almost unanimously. That, the members of the Internationale, if they wish, may interpret as their victory. But the quixotic, garrulous visionaries among them, who dream of communistic Utopias, will get the surprise of their lives. The adoption of the Hoar motion will bring results with which they, crazy bunglers of the stripe of citizen of Sorge of Hoboken, will be as little satisfied as Karl Heinzen is with the Hohenzollern empire.
On former occasions, when the labor question appeared exclusively in the form of the so-called "eight-hour movement", we have given it as our opinion that America, with its vigorous realism, is just the right place where the justified components of the labor movement can be separated from the anti-rational and 3confused fantasies, with which it has surrounded itself in Europe. The idea is justifiable that workers should appropriately share in the fruits of enormous progress in the technical field, and that this share should consist in a gain of time for higher intellectual education with a consequent enjoyment of life on a level more worthy of human beings...
Unjustified, however, is the demand which one can more or less clearly distinguish in the savage howling of the Paris and Berlin demagogues, that, as formerly the capitalist was above and the worker below, so in future the worker should be on the top and the capitalist on the bottom. The place of one aristocracy, that of the purse, shall be taken by another, that of the fist. Not only the hard-working and able laborer, but the shiftless, uncouth n'er-do-well who calls himself worker, shall share in the gain of the capitalist. As in former centuries, "noble birth", so in future the mere name of "laborer" shall be a patent of nobility that assures the possessor the largest possible enjoyment of life with the least possible pains. This 4is the unreasonable view of the labor question that inevitably had to develop in Europe. But here on the soil of a free republic the situation is different. Here, where not a class of capitalist stands in opposition to a class of workers; here where nine-tenths of the capitalist have started their careers as laborers; here it is not a question of depriving somebody of special rights and giving them to the other side, but of assuring both of equal justice. Our workers are no cold and starving proletarians, and don't want to be regarded as poor pitiful wretches. None of them counts on remaining necessarily, to the end of his days, a wage earner, and to desire a state of society where a few years hence his own neck may be cut (if by then he should have become a capitalist) is far from his mind.
But not in the measure as factory industry develops and population becomes more dense, the misproportion between fixed wage and capital gains will increase, that, indeed, is to be feared. And to cope with that future problem preparations must be made in advance. The solution lies in all probability in the direction of free cooperation. This, however presupposes, not an obtuse, savage, ignorant 5and violent mass of proletarians (as the communism of Berlin and Paris fashion does) but educated, industrious, ambitious workers. Not in the ways of Bebel and Liefknecht, who after all are but repulsive caricatures of Paris communists, but in the sober and practical ways of Schulze from Delitzsch, the labor question in the United States will be solved. As a first step to make such a solution one of the great national tasks, one may welcome Mr. Hoar's motion.
I D 2 a 4, I D 2 b, I H
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