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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.
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 ...
I D 2 a 4, I D 2 b, I H
Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- August 06, 1879Co-Operation (Editorial)
Since the eight-hour movement struck a snag-although the N. Y. Volkszeitung said it would be a world event of as much historical significance as Columbus' egg--we have heard no more about the proposed co-operative furniture factory. We hope the idea was not given up. It would be regrettable. If the workers become their own employers, that would provide the best opportunity for a proper understanding of the relationship between employer and employee. The workers would not then be the slaves of capitalists, nor would it be necessary to sweat blood to fatten further the well-nourished snobs; besides, the workers would not be robbed of the profits created by toil. The workers could keep the entire profits, and might even work six hours instead of eight, if that is deemed preferable.
If the workers are convinced that, in our economic system, the capitalists obtain the lion's share of the profits whenever merchandise is sold--that 2the workers are abused to attain this end, and are finally cheated out of a just reward--then we cannot see why the men hesitate a moment in trying out their plan [a co-operative furniture factory]. Surely, they are not going to admit that they themselves are incapable of managing a business, and that a boss is needed.
All our large manufacturers, with very few exceptions, began as workers, and the times then were not as good as now. In former years, interest rates on borrowed capital were twice as high as today. What the capitalists did, of their own accord, should easily be accomplishable today by the combined efforts of fifty or one hundred capable workers.
The workingmen can reach their goal, as long as they stick to it; that means, as long as they agree, and do not distrust each other, and as long as the better worker does not consider himself superior to his fellow workers and is satisfied to receive the same wage. The men can act unselfishly and work for the common good.3
These conditions depend upon the attitude of the men, provided they have enough character to suppress certain human traits, which might be summarised as follows: Ambition, the desire to earn, the sense of acquisition, the pride of accomplishment, and, unfortunately jealousy.
Some of the idealists, who want to make the world a better place to live in, claim that these human traits were developed only in a capitalistic society, and therefore will dissappear when the environment changes; but there will only be a few who will be convinced by such assurances. At all events, since we still have that terrible capitalism with us, we also are confronted with human behavior in its present form, and must take cognizance of it.
The best example came to our attention recently, at the council of the reformers, where some of the most respected agitators were shown to be nothing but crooks, where the workers proved that their leaders obtained spot cash to influence the workers. Since then, the socialists who made the exposures 4have been banished from the ranks, on the grounds that they were agitators! Vice, therefore, triumphed over virtue, and cheating became the order of the day.
If such things can happen, even among the supreme leaders of the socialists, then one must admit that the co-operative venture may face similar conditions. Even when only two or three men form a partnership, there is not always smooth sailing--and dissention, even dissolution, is not uncommon. A co-operative enterprise representing fifty or one hundred partners naturally faces still greater difficulties.
Let us not see only the black side, but consider the brighter aspect. Supposing the co-operative plant functions, the men work harmoniously and are interested only in working for the good of all. Then, their example might be exceedingly important in pointing to the solution of the social question. If it is shown that the members of the co-operative concern earn just as much or more during eight hours of work than they earned in ten hours while working for others, 5then the example will be emulated everywhere, and employers will be forced to pay higher wages and agree to shorter working hours. And no strikes, threats or violence will be required to make employers amenable to the new order. All such measures will become superfluous, because employers will then compete for labor.
But, if the co-operative venture is not successful, and the sale of goods requires a lowering of the present wage scale, then the workingmen will realize that the usurious gains of our capitalists (derived from the sweat of labor) were highly overestimated. The workers will then find that the profits of capitalists were fully justified, and were not obtained by mulcting the workers; that the fat citizen's income was derived from good management, capable judgment in considering marketing possibilities, prudent buying of raw material, proper observation of demand, and knowing the public's taste. The workers will then see that the savings effected by eliminating the manager of a concern will not suffice to raise wages.6
But regardless of the outcome, anyone wishing to make a true comparison between capital and labor would like to see the experiment tried. It would be a much better solution of the social question if the worker considers himself to be his own boss instead of a wage slave; and that also would abolish the two-class system in our social setup--two classes sworn to enmity until death.
Since the eight-hour movement struck a snag-although the N. Y. Volkszeitung said it would be a world event of as much historical significance as Columbus' egg--we have heard no more ...
I D 2 b, I H
Secondary listingsGerman // Attitudes > Social Problems and Social Legislation (I H) ?
Der Westen -- August 17, 1879The Co-Operative Furniture Factory
The furniture workers met yesterday at a hall at 53 West Lake Street to consider business matters involving the proposed co-operative factory. Mr. Stallknecht was chairman. It was announced that one half of the shares had been sold. The assembly nominated fourteen members, seven of whom shall be elected at the next meeting, to serve on the executive board. In the interim, the constitution and bylaws will be drafted by the committee of fourteen, whose names are given below: H. N. Allen, Henry Kaiser....[fourteen names].
The stockholders reserved the right to nominate additional candidates. The next meeting will be announced by the committee.
The furniture workers met yesterday at a hall at 53 West Lake Street to consider business matters involving the proposed co-operative factory. Mr. Stallknecht was chairman. It was announced that ...
I D 2 b, II A 2
Secondary listingsGerman // Contributions and Activities > Vocational > Industrial and Commercial (II A 2) ?
Card ImagesCard Image #1
Der Westen -- September 28, 1879(No headline)
shares, and the bricklayers' union, which is in a sound financial condition, will also subscribe.
The motion to issue an appeal was tabled.
The secretary said that 1425 shares at $25 had been subscribed for, and that, when 1700 shares are sold, enough money will be available for the start. Ippsen, one of the members, said that the factory can be put into operation if another block of 200 shares is sold; 100 shares were taken during the evening, and another sale of 100 shares will make possible a start next Spring. Milentz asserted that the Association does not advertise enough; the members don't come to the meetings, although it was announced that the present meeting would be the last. Thon made a motion that every shareholder take an additional four shares; that would solve the problem. The furniture carpenters [cabinetmakers] earn enough money to enable them to make such an investment.3
Christian, another member, declared that there are enough furniture carpenters at the meeting who could subscribe for three, four, ten, or even twenty shares, but that the men hesitate because they are afraid.
The secretary said that within six weeks, fifteen per cent should be collected and another ten per cent sometime during the winter. Perhaps another small bond issue may have to be sold in the spring.
A number of pledges were received, and the meeting was then adjourned. Hereafter, only the executive board will convene, until sufficient funds are available to warrant another general meeting.
The committee hopes to be able to elect officers and start a full-fledged organization within two weeks. The next meeting of the committee will be held Monday evening, at 130 West Lake Street.
shares, and the bricklayers' union, which is in a sound financial condition, will also subscribe. The motion to issue an appeal was tabled. The secretary said that 1425 shares at ...
I D 2 b, I D 2 a 2
Secondary listingsGerman // Attitudes > Economic Organization > Unions > Craft (I D 2 a 2) ?
Abendpost -- January 21, 1916"K-Bread;" Not for Sale at the German Labor Aid
The war or "K-Bread" has recently come into general use in Germany. ["K," first letter of the German word Krieg meaning war. Transl.] The composition is one of the highlights in the research laboratories of the baking industry. The belief prevails that "K-Bread" consists of 50 per cent potato flour, and that anyone can bake it. This is not the case, although the ingredients and proportions are simple enough: 60% best rye flour, 30% wheat flour, and 10% potato flakes, but the baking process is a matter of applied science. The nutritive value of "K-Bread" exceeds all heretofore known bread products and besides, it has a fine flavor.
The sales price in New York is 25 cents loaf. This geniune "K-Bread" is now obtainable in Chicago. It is made by German bakers, and it sells for 10 cents. The product was introduced in our city by 2the German Worker's Aid, an organization which endeavors to combine true American citizenship with German skill and thoroughness in the peaceful pursuits of labor. Unemployed, experienced men, Americans or those who intend to be citizens, have found jobs in large numbers where they produce implements of peace.
In order to help such workers, who are temporarily out of work, home industries have been created and their activities manifest themselves in ever widening fields. Posters of Washington, Lincoln, as well as of the new Archbishop Mundelein, are being prepared, and the manufacture of "K-Bread" also represents an industry designed to benefit the working class.
The bread can be bought at the Bureau of the German Workers Aid, 154 W. Randolph Street, Chicago.3
[Note: The article gives no information whether the German Workers Aid is a society, club, or co-operative institution. It only mentions organization. A reprint appears in the issue of January 24, 1916, and six additional places where "K-Bread" can be obtained, are listed. Transl.]
The war or "K-Bread" has recently come into general use in Germany. ["K," first letter of the German word Krieg meaning war. Transl.] The composition is one of the highlights ...
II A 2, I D 2 c, I D 2 b, I H
Secondary listingsGerman // Attitudes > Economic Organization > Unemployment (I D 2 c) ?
German // Attitudes > Economic Organization > Cooperative (I D 2 b) ?
German // Attitudes > Social Problems and Social Legislation (I H) ?
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