Americanism

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AMERICANISM

By Victor Robinson.

I step upon the platform of protest to record my detestation of the American custom of decorating its swelling breast with undeserved medals.

"Glorious country"—but your women walk with bleeding feet upon life's thorny highway.

"Wonderful nation"—and your workers are crushed by the iron law of wages.

"Another name for opportunity"—and I ask what opportunity have the dead-souled child slaves who toil in mill, mine, shop and factory?

"Great prosperity"—but your streets are full of beggars by day and prostitutes by night.

"Freedom of the press"—and I ask why is Moses Harman in prison?

"Rational laws"—but you refuse to allow adults to bear the number of children they desire, and persecute those who for humanity's sake endeavor to teach prevention of conception.

"Merciful"—and your unfair butcheries in the Philippines make you brother to the Cossacks.

"Liberty"—and I point to the Comstockian censorship, and as a student of history I declare it as infamous as that which existed in the days of Milton.

"All opinions invited"—and I rebuke you with a name: John Turner.

"Tolerant"—but what about that treatment of Maxim Gorky—a man whose trod your shores are unworthy to feel?

"Honest"—while fashionable hotels, patronized by chronic adulterers and uncured syphilitics, closed their doors upon this great herald of the better day.

O America, your foul face, like Mokanna's, is covered with a glittering veil. Your slick politicians have hidden your rottenness beneath a heap of high-sounding phrases. Your parasitic parsons have veneered your sins with prudery, and painted them with hypocricy. But some of us do not look at externals. We search for causes. Some of us have ears, and we hear what is really going on. Some of us have eyes, and we see what is happening. A brass band does not deceive us. A flaunting banner cannot sweep us off our feet. A canned speech by a hired speaker will not cause us to lose our balance. The applause for an elected person never dazzles us. The judge's wig cannot confound our reason, nor the bishop's belly overawe our judgment. We are what we are—Revolutionists. We do not hum sweet things in your ear, America. We jar your flattered membrane with stern demands for reform. But our harsh cry is only the faint, pale echo of the child in the factory, the man in the clutches, the girl in the brothel.

Our hands ache to turn the wheel of advancement. Our eager fingers tightly clasp the tilt of the sword which says, "Death to the Americanism of to-day."



  • Victor Robinson, “Americanism,” Mother Earth 2, no. 1 (March 1907): 24-25.