The Chicago Foreign Language Press Survey was published in 1942 by the Chicago Public Library Omnibus Project of the Works Progress Administration of Illinois. The purpose of the project was to translate and classify selected news articles that appeared in the foreign language press from 1855 to 1938. The project consists of 120,000 typewritten pages translated from newspapers of 22 different foreign language communities of Chicago.

Read more about this historic project.

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  • Hejmdal -- February 27, 1875
    [The Local Socialists and Communists]

    We are rather surprised to see how the Socialists and Communists talk and criticize the government of Chicago in general. They are always attacking the Relief and Aid Society with the same complaint, that the donations to the needy people are insufficient and are not of much benefit. They made up their minds, at a big mass meeting, that the officers of the Society should be discharged and that the Socialists and Communists should run the relief office. The present leaders of those on relief are dishonest; as we all can see, the whole affair is "red". Nothing came of it. Last Thursday a mass of people were outside the relief station, mostly Communists, but there was no battle.

    We are rather surprised to see how the Socialists and Communists talk and criticize the government of Chicago in general. They are always attacking the Relief and Aid Society with ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c, I F 2, I H
  • Revyen -- February 23, 1907
    [Socialist Convention's Platform] (Editorial)

    The Socialist party held its convention last week and nominated George Koop, a well-known member of the printers' union, as a candidate for mayor in the election next spring.

    The platform agreed upon adheres to the principles of International Socialism, pointing out that the workers can never expect nor depend on the capitalistic parties to improve their conditions.

    The platform demands an 8 hour working day on all public works; thorough inspection of factories and workshops; public work for the unemployed; establishment of municipal coalyards, refrigerating plants, bakeries and packing plants; expansion of the public parks in Chicago; democratically elected Board of Directors for our public schools as well as demand for initiative and referendum and the right to impeach and expel duly elected officers if they prove unworthy of public trust.

    The Socialist party held its convention last week and nominated George Koop, a well-known member of the printers' union, as a candidate for mayor in the election next spring. The ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c, I H
  • Revyen -- August 31, 1907
    About Work

    In the August issue of Smuler (Tidbits), edited by Herman Wang, we read the following:

    "A Socialist writes that, once socialism is established, class struggle will have come to an end. But don't you think there will be at least two classes under socialist rule as well? There will be the ambitious, who want to work, and the lazy, who do not want to work. How are the former going to make the latter do their duty? I mean, not merely apparently, but in reality. Because you can be reasonably sure there will be smart people under socialist rule also. It has been said that socialism will eliminate the incentive for stealing; but what about the time thieves?"

    A writer who, in efforts to defend the old time let-it-go-as-it-is philosophy, voices that kind of objection, is not far from being unduly comical or, may be rather tragicomical, like children and old women seeing ghost in broad daylight.

    The fear of laziness under a socialist system, we suspect, is a result 2of the acknowledgement that a lot of people are trying to avoid their duties as workers under the old system. The question is therefore: will that tendency be aggravated under socialism or will it be effectively curbed?

    The writer himself, we hope, is willing to admit that conditions are far from ideal right now. We have not alone a lot of people who do not want to do any work; we have a number of people who are not allowed to work, people suffering from the effects of seasonal unemployment and having no greater desire than that of being allowed to work. The latter kind would be more than happy for the better paid and less tedious work available under a system of socialism; while a large army of strike-breakers, employed in order to maintain a low wage standard, is a virtual necessity for the preservation of capitalism.

    Maybe also the majority of those who are apparently too lazy to work, and therefore try to keep the wolf from the door by turning to crime, would return to honest employment if such was offered them under more 3humane conditions than those prevailing under the system of exploitation which threw them on the human junk heap. There would be less excuse for their actions and ways, and therefore they would arouse less sympathy. Moreover, a Socialist government is likely to do more in the way of reforming them, if necessary, by means of a reasonable degree of compulsion, in order to make them useful citizens. Most likely there would be but a few recruits to join their ranks, and their "race" would therefore vanish from the surface of the earth sooner or later.

    Another group, the parasites who live in luxury, avoiding work of any kind from cradle to grave, will be eliminated completely under a socialist system and will have to look for other means of support. Why does not the writer mention these loafers of both sexes, whose luxury and debauchery cost the country more than do all the poor devils and criminals combined?

    Together with the capitalist aristocracy goes an army of servants and people who thrive on the falsehood of capitalism and who are, in effect, also loafers and thieves of time. All these would have an opportunity for useful employment under a well organized socialist system.

    4

    The final adjustment of these conditions will be made when the time is ripe for socialism's principles of equality and justice to be carried out in practice. It is absurd to believe that a system based on these principles should be more attractive for permanent loafers than the one we have, or that the incentive to work should disappear in the face of a prospect for the full benefit of labor. It is no more likely to happen than it is for one wheel on a two-wheeled wagon in forward motion to turn the other way.

    In the August issue of Smuler (Tidbits), edited by Herman Wang, we read the following: "A Socialist writes that, once socialism is established, class struggle will have come to an ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 a 4, I D 2 c, II E 3
  • Revyen -- November 30, 1907
    Industrial Crisis

    An industrial crisis is a noted phenomenon of modern civilization. Time and time again, every civilized country is hit by a profound disturbance in its industrial, financial, and commercial life, and as a rule the setback occurs at a time when the majority of people, even those directly engaged in business, believe that all is well and there is no threatening danger. Then suddenly, in the midst of bustling activity, with contractors working at full capacity, manufacturing plants loaded with orders, mines and railroads paying handsome dividends and somewhat higher wages than usual, a change for the worse sets in. The commodity price level hitherto high now declines abruptly. The business world is gripped with fear and distrust. 2There is a race for opportunities to gain possession of liquid capital through the sale of securities, goods, or through bank loans, all of which contribute to a general crisis throughout the nation or, as it now appears, throughout several nations, without anybody knowing definitely how and why it all happened.

    If it were at all possible to determine the cause of such repeated financial and industrial disturbances, people would be forced to take precautions and take steps to lessen the damage done when the inevitable happens.

    At various times earthquakes, droughts, floods, cyclones, insects, 3and epidemics have all caused serious disturbances in the business world. Several such disorders have had more than local and immediate effect. As science has progressed and knowledge has become more universal we have succeeded in counteracting some of these evils and preventing some of the damages which might otherwise be the result of these spasmodic acts of nature. However, no one believes that we will ever be able to eliminate the dangers, or that future generations will ever succeed in having the weather at their command, even though it has actually been proved that drought can be treated effectively by using explosives in the upper regions.

    Many a business crisis of the middle ages can be directly attributed to drought and floods as certainly as similar phenomena have a depressing effect on business in China, India, Russia and even now to 4some extent in the United States. It is a recognized fact however that such calamities could be counteracted by transferring the surplus from one district or country to another. In earlier days it was customary to accumulate a surplus in years of prosperity, to be distributed in times of distress. It is more than likely that in our quest for progress and development we have entirely forgotten the importance of saving for a rainy day or perhaps, we are pushing developments in the wrong direction.

    At least it is a fact, that previous to the establishment of the capitalistic system of production, under which commodities are produced for speculative purposes by means of "free" wage-earning workers, never before did a business crisis occur as a consequence of overproduction of commodities necessary for the salvation of the population.

    5

    Of course, periods of distress in earlier days were felt first and foremost by the poor, exactly as is the case now. During the times of ancient civilizations based on the exploitation of slaves, and also during the period of feudalism for that matter, the contrast between the luxury of the rich and the misery of the poor was even more appaling than it is today during periods of depression; but modern crisis differ distinctly in the which they always occur and cause the most suffering among the poor at a time when there is a surplus of the things they need, the themselves produced.

    As long as the worker, farmer or mechanic, produces only what he and 6his family consumes or sells in the local market for immediate consumption; as long as he is the owner of his tools, farm and raw material, and sells his own products directly, he has some degree of control over his own destiny. But technical developments have forced him into a position of wage earner, together with fellow wage earners that produce at the command of an employer who in turn floods the market with the products. When this system became universal, two opposing factions of the wealth-producing machinery of the nation were created. The workers labored no longer as individuals; they worked in cooperation and accelerated specialization placed the individual as a smaller and smaller part of the force called labor which produces goods not 7for individual consumption, but for purposes and uses foreign to the very producers. Under this system the actual producers have no control over either the tools or the raw materials, no claim to ownership of the products, and no voice in the matter of distribution. They are wage earners, nothing else; working for a salary which is regulated on the basis of an average standard of living maintained by the groups to which they belong, and which is but a fraction of the value of their own production.

    Individual ownership of the products has been abolished for the benefit of the capitalist or the employer who is in charge of the distribution. The worker's contribution to human welfare in 8general is that of producing goods. The employers, as an individual, considers the goods his property to be used or to be disposed of at his will, which means that the products are not going to be used or disposed of unless he can realize a profit. This, in its essence, is the fundamental difference between the individual owner, who is producer and distributor in one, and the individual controller of the specialized mass production.

    Orthodox economists, even some of those who pretend to be socialists, overlook the difference between individual and collective production, the latter being subject to capitalistic control. Many insist that there is, in fact, no difference between the worker and the 9capitalist, which theory contradicts the philosophy of their great teacher, Adam Smith, who discovered that employers were constantly active to prevent a rise in wages.

    However, it is this essential difference in methods of production that cause the industrial, commercial, and financial disturbances so frequent in modern civilization.

    Instead of acknowledging this cause, economists come forth with the most absurd explanations each time the nation is hit by a crisis of which overproductions, glutted markets, unemployment, and destitution are familiar aspects.

    10

    For instance, we have often been told that a crisis comes as a result of overpopulation. Many economists are of that opinion, despite repeated proof to the effect that the ratio between the increase of productive capacity and the increase of population is steadily widening, and is now more distinctly in favor of the former than ever. The fact that the United States was not and could not have been overpopulated prior to the crisis in 1856 and again in 1872, and yet had hundreds of thousands unemployed and perhaps millions working part time during these periods, should be sufficient to prove the fallacy of that theory.

    Others hold that overproduction is the real cause of a crisis.

    11

    That philosophy is without foundation in so far as there are thousands of people ready to absorb the supposed surplus the moment their labor is accepted in exchange.

    Then we have the monetary quacks who attribute all economic disturbances to either a scarcity or an abundance of money in circulation, notwithstanding the fact that crises, identical in aspects and effects, have occured during periods of both.

    We have economic experts who seek a solution by explaining that a crisis is a consequence of crop failures. Furthermore, if crop failures are said to be caused by sunspots, economic evils would 12supposedly be derived more or less directly from solar phenomenon. Unfortunately, a bumper harvest preceded one of the worst crises of this century, thereby questioning the accuracy of the theory of sunspots having any more to do with it than the spots on a leopard.

    Except for that of the school of thought represented by Karl Marx, the best explanation of the causes of economic crises ever presented, is a simple analysis of the preceding symptoms, such as wild speculation, a race to establish new business enterprises, the gullibility with which the public invest money in dubious undertakings, a get-rich-quick-and-easy fever, a rising price level, increased luxury, increasing demand for manual labor, and higher wages, etc. These all are symptoms of an impending crisis, 13but instead of being the actual causes they should be regarded as consequences of maneuvers taking place behind the scene.

    Returning to our point of view as expressed previously, on the basis of historical facts we are able to prove the origin of the difference between collective production for individual seizure, and the method of limited individual production prevailing throughout the Middle Ages.

    As a consequence of the change in method, technical improvements and scientific developments turned out to be of benefit only to the capitalist and employer who surged ahead, ridding himself of all restrictions, opening and controlling new markets for his products. On account of the rapid technical developments, which began at the close 14of the nineteenth century and resulted in a universal system of mass production, the monopoly held by the capitalists threatened the welfare of society more and more.

    The differences between capital and labor broadened in scope at an accelerated speed. Of course, every manufacturer is eager to make hay while the sun shines. When the market is good he keeps his factory operating at capacity. He either employs more workers, or lets his regular staff work overtime so that they can earn more and keep up with rising prices. Employer as well as employee commit the same blunder by thinking only of personal profit. That is part and parcel of free competition. Every employer is not only 15forced to preserve his establishment, but to improve and expand it. There are good and bad employers, but they all have to follow the trend in developments or they will lose their standing.

    The recent organization of trusts and rings, of course, has had some stabilizing effect on the system of production, but at the same time it has increased the disproportion between production and distribution by removing the worker still farther from ownership of his own products. An industry may organize as a ring and thereby double its production and profit, but it does not double the workers' wages. In other words, increased productive capacity and accelerated speed of production is not counterbalanced by a corresponding increase 16in purchasing power; again we have the crisis, which often lasts for years, with prices declining, bankruptcies, glutted markets, unemployment, etc.

    What happened is simply that the capitalists proved themselves unable to guide a nation's productive forces. Their system of production and method of distribution were off balance.

    While we have pointed out the causes of an industrial crisis, at the same time, we have offered a remedy for this evil.

    Involuntarily, society has begun to take advantage of this remedy.

    An industrial crisis is a noted phenomenon of modern civilization. Time and time again, every civilized country is hit by a profound disturbance in its industrial, financial, and commercial life, ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c
  • Revyen -- January 02, 1909
    [A Plutocratic New Year] (Editorial)

    p.2.col.1..........We pass out of the old year and into the new more definitely under the regime of plutocracy than ever before. The capitalistic organizations, dominated by only a few men, control the entire economic structure of the country. Their position enables them to dictate the present high prices on all necessities in spite of the wide-spread unemployment and the downward trend of wages.

    The Socialist movement is entering the new-year with greater determination to fight conditions that have no right to exist in a country like this,the U.S.A. The principles of Socialism are becoming more and more the standard of justice to the oppressed worker throughout the country.

    Locally, for instance, the "Chicago Daily Socialist" is the only publication favoring the teachers and parents cause in their struggle against a "School Board" dominated by the capitalistic element.

    2

    The Chicago Daily Socialist is also responsible for the present federal investigation of conditions at the Argo, Illinois plant of the Corn Products Refining Co. Employees at this plant were literally locked in, under conditions bordering on actual slavery. The treatment of workers in this institution has helped awaken the public to the deplorable conditions under which many labor, to eke out a meager existense , and it is hoped that investigation will be a means of greatly bettering the lot of the workingman in and around Chicago.

    There is only one way to properly judge a case and that is by hearing both sides. We suggest this sensible New-Years resolution: "If your view has been dominated by the capitalistic press, read the Chicago Daily Socialist and make an unprejudiced comparison. Such comparison will make you to better understand conditions and to judge impartialy."

    p.2.col.1..........We pass out of the old year and into the new more definitely under the regime of plutocracy than ever before. The capitalistic organizations, dominated by only a few men, ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c, I F 6
  • Revyen -- February 13, 1909
    [An Example of "Republican Prosperity"] (Editorial)

    p.2.....Last Monday Chicago Evening papers reported the following: "This morning, the Illinois Steel Works in South Chicago, was besigned by an unruly mob of 3000 who fought among themselves and with the police in an effort to enter the plant in answer to a call for about 1000 workers."

    This episode clearly illustrated the worthlessness of promises of prosperity for which the workers, time after time, cast their votes for the capitalists and their party.

    Consider then, these big politicians and industrialists who have the affrontery to announce that there is plenty of work for those who want work Have they no sense of shame or decency?

    p.2.....Last Monday Chicago Evening papers reported the following: "This morning, the Illinois Steel Works in South Chicago, was besigned by an unruly mob of 3000 who fought among themselves and ...

    Danish
    I D 2 c, I E
  • Revyen -- March 13, 1909
    [A Medal for Roosevelt] (Editorial)

    p.2........Revyen hereby presents for consideration this suggestion: Ex-President Roosevelt be awarded a medal designed as follows; One side to symbolize his energetic campaign against the"rich malefactors" (for example - how one of his victims, Harriman, railroad magnate was enable to build his $6,000,000.00 palace;) the reverse side to depict the Rooseveltian business stagnation, unemployment, hard times, child labor and the empty U. S. Treasury plus whatever else contributed to his matchless popularity.

    p.2........Revyen hereby presents for consideration this suggestion: Ex-President Roosevelt be awarded a medal designed as follows; One side to symbolize his energetic campaign against the"rich malefactors" (for example - how ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c
  • Revyen -- May 01, 1909
    Unemployment

    p.2. col. 1. We read in Social Demokraten (The Social Democrat) of a man who traveled from Milan, Italy to Christiania, Norway. The trip was made in three days. As he passed through the intervening countries he bought newspapers at every opportunity. In every issue throughout Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway the headlines blared of unemployment.

    Relief and remedial measures were already being tried; legislations, collecting funds for relief, creating work for unemployed, strikes and demonstrations. We are forced to admit that these conditions exist even in our own U. S. A., which has to the oppressed European worker always represented, "The Land of Promise."

    2

    During the last century there were occasional periods of unemployment with a crisis about every ten years. In our day we have two or three years of prosperity followed by a period of unemployment and "hard times." Particularly has this been true since the nineties. Certain prominent students of political economy who forecast a European depression of some duration are now saying "I told you so," and the events of recent years seem to justify their attitude.

    The world has never seen nor will it see a condition that can revolutionize individual lives as well as that of nations, as much as the problem of unemployment.

    Poverty has been with us throughout history; but poverty has never been a problem that could even begin to compare with the more serious and far-reaching problem of unemployment. What then of the chronic unemployment that is about to threaten the very existence of the white race?

    3

    We hear many statements to the effect that the working class should be more conservative and that they are asking too much. Even though the standard of living is lowered to the level of the Oriental laborer, it will not make better conditions, nor increase the profits of capital. The prosperity of any land depends upon the power of the working-man to purchase the products of his own labor. New markets can only develop with purchasing power.

    There is one, and only one, remedy for unemployment: This is Socialism. The world has its limits as far as new markets are concerned. When this limit is reached production cannot be increased and we are forced to simply supply present needs. It is not as of old, anymore, when each family produced its own supply. Now, production is by all, for all. This, in theory and practice, is pure, unadulturated Socialism, the capitalistic moguls and press notwithstanding.

    4

    But today capitalistic domination is controlling production in such a way as to turn Europe and America into one vast poor-house. But it will require only little effort now to awaken the working class to a realization of its strength; and the necessity of prompt, efficient and well-directed action.

    p.2. col. 1. We read in Social Demokraten (The Social Democrat) of a man who traveled from Milan, Italy to Christiania, Norway. The trip was made in three days. As ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c
  • Revyen -- July 03, 1909
    [War as a Remedy for Unemployment] (Editorial)

    p.2.col.3........Repeated assertions are being made that capitalistic interests in Europe (and U.S.A.) are considering war as the cure for the social interest due to unemployment throughout the world. Capitalists would probably breathe more easily, for a while at least, if a number of thousands of hungry laborers could be turned into cannon fodder and valuable property destroyed.

    There was a time, not so long ago, that such a catastrophy could be brought about at will. Now, however, the masses have learned better that to allow their hunger and suffering to be converted into a hysteria for war and destruction. They can no longer be stampeded into taking up arms against their fellow men in a strange land, who are, in all probability,suffering unemployment and hunger also.

    2

    The American worker has been gradually brought to realize that his release from the slavery of a capitalistic system can only be attained by the elimination of moneyed parasites and the rotten system that fosters them. This clean-up will have to be accomplished by ballots, not by bullets.

    p.2.col.3........Repeated assertions are being made that capitalistic interests in Europe (and U.S.A.) are considering war as the cure for the social interest due to unemployment throughout the world. Capitalists would ...

    Danish
    I E, I D 2 c, I G
  • Revyen -- December 31, 1910
    [The Scandia Life Insurance Company]

    The Scandia Life Insurance Company is organized on a co-operative basis. The profit goes to the policyholders in the form of the lowest life insurance premiums in Chicago.

    The Company was started in 1905 with a capital of $1,000,000. Since then insurance has been taken out for $13,000,000.

    The Company's representative in Chicago is Mr. Peter Horslev, of 5925 Aberdeen Street. Last month he sold twenty thousand dollars' worth of insurance for his company.

    The Scandia Life Insurance Company is organized on a co-operative basis. The profit goes to the policyholders in the form of the lowest life insurance premiums in Chicago. The Company ...

    Danish
    II D 2, I D 2 c, II A 2