The Rebel (1895-1896)/01/01
|Vol. 01||September 20, 1895 — pdf.||No. 01|
AN ANARCHIST-COMMUNIST JOURNAL
DEVOTED TO THE SOLUTION OF THE LABOR QUESTION.
To Our Readers.
The necessity of an outspoken Journal to voice the claims of labor has manifestly shown itself for some time past. The disappearance of the Alarm after the death of our comrade Albert R. Parsons in Chicago, the dropping of Solidarity by our friends in New York, through lack of support, left in the field only our brave little contemporary, The Firebrand, of Portland, Oregon. We feel, therefore, that there is room for an outspoken Anarchist Communist Journal on the seaboard of the Atlantic, thus bringing the Pacific seaboard into close connection with us; and, as the Firebrand exists to “burn away and destroy the cobwebs of ignorance and superstition” in the West the publishers of the Rebel hope that their Journal may accomplish the same ends in the East.
Our mission is one of Education and the present condition of the masses shows us that we have a wide field of useful work before us. Our motto is: Educate, in order to understand our true value as workers in society; Agitate, in order to arouse our apathetic fellow workers; Organize, to overthrow the power of government, capitalism and superstition, and thus pave the way for that bright future when the worker shall have free access to the means of life, and the world shall cease to know misery, poverty and crime. To this end the publishers devote the Rebel, and all readers who believe with us and are desirous of aiding the good cause, will bestow their best favors on us by pushing our Journal wherever they can.
The "Rebel" Group.
Labor Day, by J. H. Edelmann
This is one of the days, fellow laborers, on which politicians and priests—pillars of plutocratic society— think it worth while to flatter, cajole and humbug us; in short, to buncoe us. The politician, especially the labor politician, will assure us that we are the very salt of the earth, and that here, in "Our" free country, our august and irresistible will, expressed at the ballot box (that palladium of our liberties!) and translated into law by our humble and obedient servants, the legislators, and enforced by our other servants, the judges, policemen, hangmen, etc., alone rules this "free land." [ Full article. ]
The New Era, by Peter Kropotkin
The following address is one with which Kropotkine opened a series of meetings in London, which our friends of the Freedom group propose to give for the Anarchistic propaganda. To our regular readers this address will contain much with, which they are already familiar; but new readers may be interested in the following summary of the subject:
"This address is the first of a series organized to discuss the subjects of Anarchism and Communism, and before entering upon the matter proper, our comrades have asked me to give an outline of Anarchism. [ Full article. ]
"The Rev. H. W. Pinkham, etc.
The Rev. H. W. Pinkham of Bridgeport, Conn. has resigned. He considers the story of Jonah and the Whale too ridiculous to believe. His parishioners, therefore, want his services no longer unless he be willing to swallow the 'Whale' (story); hence his resignation. For our part the whole story of Jehovah, Christ & Co. is so absurd, that we wonder there are not more men of Pinkham's stamp; who would rather resign than obtain their living by continued lying.
A Monthly Journal of Anarchist-Communism.
Issued by the "REBEL" Group.
Yearly Subscription 50 cents. Six Months, 25 cents.
Single Copy, cents.
Terms for Advertisements by special arrangement with H. M. KELLY, Manager.
All Money Orders to be made payable to H. M. KELLY,
G. P. O., Boston, Mass.
All Literary Communications to be addressed to the Editor,
C. W. MOWBRAY.
Printed and published by H.M. Kelly and H. A. Koch.
BOSTON, MASS., SEPTEMBER 20, 1895.
The Hon. Chauncey Depew, in a recent interview, telegraphed from London, says that Grover Cleveland is sure to receive the Democratic nomination for a third term of the presidency. He also tells us that he is not sure whether Grover is a fool or a great statesman. " Certainly," says Chauncey, "he saved the country twice—once, by sending the United States troops to Chicago to quell the 'riots' caused by the great railroad strike, not only without waiting to be called on by the state government, but in spite of the protests of the governor. The capitalists of Europe, it seems, were alarmed because they supposed that, in a Republic, military force could not be promptly employed to put down such uprisings of the laboring class. And, "indeed," says the candid Chauncey, "it has always been supposed that the Constitution forbade such action as Cleveland's, but now that he has set the example, that delusion will not be heard of again. The second time that Cleveland saved the country was when he sold bonds to get gold, and so maintain "our" credit abroad, again brushing aside the Constitution, Congress, etc., and again establishing an invaluable precedent. It is now about twenty years since Chauncey Depew was pointed out to me in Albany as "Dirty Work Depew;" a lobbyist employed to do the routine work of legislative dickering necessary in the transaction of old Commodore Vanderbilt's business. Now he is "the Hon. Chauncey Depew," Prime Minister of the Vanderbilt dynasty, and a man whose boots the newspapers of the United States delight in licking. If the workingmen of the country had even a glimmer of their own position, Chauncey's words would be a great light to them. The Chicago labor riots would have caused a panic if Cleveland had not sent the troops there; and now they are to be employed whenever necessary; in other words, from this time on any body of railroad employees who contemplate a strike can make up their minds that they have got to fight the regular army of the United States. And the labor leaders can take notice from the Debs case that trial by jury, the "Inalienable right" (on paper) of every American, has been abolished as far as they are concerned. The whole thing reminds me of an old nigger who owned a mule that used to baulk occasionally when the loads were too heavy and the time between meals too long. The old man tried everything from moral suasion to a hickory sapling, but he never spit tobacco juice into the mules eyes or kicked him in the stomach, not because the "Constitution" forbade it, but because he feared the mule wouldn't stand it. One day when the situation was very serious he proceeded to try these methods of persuasion on the mule. The result was most gratifying. Not only did the mule not kick, but he promptly resumed his labor and didn't "strike" again while I knew him. Perhaps there was some untried outrage that would have goaded that mule to kick the cart to splinters and his master to kingdom come — and perhaps there is some outrage that will arouse the American workingmen.
* * *
A most instructive little story appeared in the Evening Post of New York a few days ago. It will be remembered that they have a " Reform" board of police commissioners in New York, and these commissioners are much hampered in their work of reform by the civil service law which makes it necessary to prefer charges against any policeman and to prove them 1egaly in an open trial, before discharging him from the force. Now the " Reform " board are naturally impatient at such a restriction. They would like to make a clean sweep of all the men they consider corrupt or inefficient or don't like, and give the places to genuine reformers. Very likely they are right; no doubt promiscuous bouncing would be about the best reform for any body of officials, but considering that the whole object and aim of the civil service reformers has been for years to protect all public servants from such promiscuous discharge, and to establish a fixity of terms during good behavior, and considering that Roosevelt, the president of the board, has for years been a civil service reformer in and out of office, it is certainly a little funny to find him trying to kick down the whole fabric of civil service reform as soon as he tries it himself in a position of authority. But this is a small matter. The policemen, knowing that it is proposed to ask the next legislature to repeal the "Reform" law which protects them, have set about raising a fund of $50,000 to prevent the repeal. They argue that $50,000 will buy any legislature, and certainly they ought to know, for they have had experience. It might be well for those labor reformers who insist on having only peaceful and lawful reformation to take a lesson from these practical policemen, only they would also have to buy the judges clear up to the United States Supreme court, and the United States army as well, and they would have to buy them very often, for the wicked capitalists might buy them back after every deal, and then, too, who would watch the agents, and again as the capitalists have the most money and about all the means of making any, perhaps this plan wouldn't work very well either.
* * *
Keir Hardie, having failed of election to Parliament, was, of course, available as an instructor for American workingmen, and was imported by the "American Labor Congress of Chicago" as a star performer in that capacity. The Chicago brethren are anti- socialist-trade-unionists, but alas the enemy—that is to say, the S. L. P. of New York— stole a march on them by capturing Hardie and utilizing him as the principal attraction at a mass meeting in Cooper Union. True, Hardie in his speech repudiated the policy of the Socialist Labor Party and advocated political action on lines not distinctly socialistic. I imagine that if he were to remain here Hardie would be a People's Party man. And, to judge from his speeches and interviews, he would not be even a very radical member of that party. He preaches obedience to law and order, praised the New York police for closing the saloons on Sunday, held up the British workingman as an example to be imitated, and generally made one wonder how the English bourgeoisie ever feared Keir Hardie, either in or out of Parliament. He is not dangerous—only to his friends.
* * *
The strikes in the Michigan Iron mines are still unsettled, with no great prospect for a victory of the workingmen.
* * *
The Coal mines of this country are in a deplorable state. There are too many mines, too many miners, too much coal. The condition of a Virginia or Kentucky slave before the war was an enviable one compared to that of a free born citizen of this great and glorious republic, who follows the trade of coal mining, and tile only remedy that the coal barons can think of is an agreement to restrict production. This they are trying to bring about at present. Then, of course, there will be still more superfluous miners than ever, but the barons can raise the price of coal, and that, after all, is the main thing. As for time miners, what hope is there for them? The answer call only be—None; that is, under the rule of capitalism.
* * *
A startling page in the history of time American labor movement will be that which records the latest development of the Chinese question on the Pacific coast. A while ago some coolie laborers, employed by a chinese contractor in San Francisco, struck for higher wages anti the "heathen Chinese" proceeded to fill their places with white sewing women, who were glad to get the jobs. The coolies threw up. Whereat there is great indignation, all around. It is asserted vociferously that for white women to work for a Chinaman is immoral and degrading. hut so far as I know none of these indignant white christians have explained how it comes that white women are so poor that they are glad to work even for a Chinaman at wages that are too low for the despised Chinese coolie.
* * *
A big eight story building just being finished in New York city suddenly collapsed. The men at work in it had so little warning that about a dozen were buried in the ruins; six or seven were killed outright and a number badly hurt. The inquest was very thorough and developed the fact that the foundation of the columns was altogether too light to support half the weight put on them; that the architect was an incompetent tyro, who was doing the work for less than half a fair price; that the building inspector looked on and saw the law grossly violated, and that, in short, the whole job was a botch, in which stupid ignorance and stupid greed had equal parts. They finally indicted the architect, the superintendant, the builder and his foreman and the inspector, but the owner, the christian capitalist, whose greed led him to hire a cheap architect and compelled him to skin the building to the last degree, who, in other words, is directly responsible for the whole disaster, escapes without even being censured. And the poor workingmen who were killed? Oh they have "gone to the devil" it is to he hoped and their wives and families can follow them, as far as time christian capitalist is concerned.
* * *
The workingmen of America will now pay higher prices for their shoes, because the "Leather Trust" has raised the price of leather. This trust controls practically the whole output of sole leather in time United States and can make the price to suit—itself. The wearers of shoes can kick if they like or they can vote and publish anti trust essays in time "Reform" papers, but they will pay the price or go barefoot. For this is a law-abiding country and private property is the corner stone of our civilization.
J. H. E.
* * *
The oracle hath spoken; all is now over. It is of no further use to propagate socialistic nor anarchistic ideas, as they will not be accepted by the people of this free and enlightened (?) republic. Too bad: too bad! Our avocation as spouters will he gone, and we will, perforce, he compelled to seek "fresh fields and pastures new" in which to propagate our vile teachings. At least so saith time oracle—and he knows.
Who is this oracle who speaketh so wisely? Why, good friend, it is none other than one W. C. Pomeroy—the windy man from time windy city. But, unlike time moderate Pythagoras of old, who spoke such wisdom from behind a mask and never allowed his face to he seen by mortal man, this modern oracle unblushingly bares his face to a gaping world whenever he takes a notion to make an ass of himself, which is not infrequent. Here is part of what we find in the Labor Day Gazette over this hypocrite's signature:
"I am especially severe on socialism and anarchy, because those particular lunacies are causing disruption and disorder in the ranks of the trade unionists all over time world." Again: "I will take you into the legislative halls of our states and show you rings which absolutely control all legislation in the interests of corporations and syndicates, I will show you men who never had a dollar in their lives before entering politics suddenly become rich and arrogant and openly parade their stolen wealth under the very eyes of aim outraged people." Rats, Pomeroy, rats! If the people felt "o u t r a g e d" they would put a stop to that sort of thing. The truth is "the people" like to be humbugged and robbed by the priests and politicians; yes, they even like to be humbugged by time high-sounding phrases of labor politicians. But, Pomeroy, if you knew anything about the real doctrine of Anarchism you would know why this state of things exists; but not knowing, you are, like most other labor leaders, a blind leader of time blind.
C. W. M.
* * *
"Politics is a trade, at which only the most despicable scoundrels, and swindlers can hope to succeed."
The Struggle in England, by J. Turner
The English workpeople are said to be very sleepy. In the mass, I am afraid, this is true, but the last fifteen years has seen a really wonderful awakening. An industrial transformation, it seems, has been in rapid progress for the last century and is still going on. At first, and for some time, the workers were bewildered by the whirl and the strangeness. Now they have become accustomed to it, and there was a danger sonic year back of an apathetic, cynical indifference taking its place. But this danger is passed, and new ideas and aspirations have grown up, and are growing, as few could have imagined only a short while ago. [ Full article. ]
The Anarchists in France
In an article, in time "Free Review" for August, entitled "The March of Socialism in France", the well known French scientist, A. Hamon, says: "This party (the Allemanistes) is numbering not far from 200,000 adherents.... The ideas of the Allemanistes are very revolutionary, for though they take part in parliamentary elections it is rather for the purposes of agitation and propaganda than as a direct means to their ends. Between the extreme party of the Allemanistes and the Anarchist Communists and Collectivists there is no great difference except that the Anarchists advocate abstention from voting altogether.... [ Full Article. ]
Freedom or Protection? Which?, by W. C. Owen
What do we want? Briefly, Justice. And what does Justice mean? Surely, that everyone should have, in the game of life, what we instinctively grant in all ordinary "games"—a fair show. In other words, what we really want is equality of opportunity for all.
It seems to me that this is the ideal for which all just-minded men and women are dimly groping; that the true complaint of all who find themselves outside the circle of monopoly is that they do not have a fair chance in life; and that, if this should, or could, be granted, social discontent would immediately cease. [ Full article. ]
Note by Voltairine de Cleyre, etc.
This journal is to have twelve pages of reading matter. An accident that occurred to the printer close before going to press prevented us from bringing out The Rebel in the size designed for it. Next issue will be of the full number of pages.
* * *
Owing to a misunderstanding of the publishers my name has been prematurely announced as Editor of The Rebel. Circumstances do not at present per-mit me to assume the responsibilities of that position, and the credit of the literary part of the undertaking is due solely to comrade Mowbray. If at some future time the duties fall to me, announcement will be made to that effect.
The Minister of War does not let any occasion pass to impress on Parliament the necessity of taking energetic steps to counteract the spread of Socialistic tendencies in the Army. A few cases showing the life soldiers lead might explain how it is that the old notions of discipline and loyalty are dying out. In the military prisons of Dobrzan a soldier was kept for five days without food or drink during the hard frost of last winter which treatment caused his death. Another was beaten and tortured systematically by two sergeants for months, till he committed suicide. A sergeant of a regiment, situated at Przempsler in Galicia, maltreated the soldiers in his company for months in so cruel a manner that 26 of them combined for the purpose of killing him. The 26 were tried by court martial for the murder and found guilty. 13 of them were convicted to death and shot, the other l3 were sentenced to penal servitude for life. It was proved in the course of the trial that amongst other things, he had forced the soldiers to lie ill the snow, and then walked over them with spurred boots and beaten them with whips. Perhaps such occurrences explain the spread of Socialistic views sufficiently.
The book of our comrade Jean Grave—"Moribund Society and the Anarchists"—which scared so much a short time ago the bourgeoisie of France, whose blind wrath as best voiced by the representatives of middle class 'justice' was echoed by a sentence condemning our friend to five years imprisonment, could not for a considerable time find an English publisher. The question: "What's to be done?" which our comrades had to face was rationally answered by a young enthusiast of our cause, Olive Rosetti of the London Torch, who acting in accordance with the saying: "help thyself", undertook to render the English version of that book. The work is to appear owing to a lack of funds (a thing so common among Anarchists), in fractions of 8 pages each, at the price of 10 Cts. per instalment. Liberty loving friends and all who aspire towards an entire change in our present "dying" society will not be slow in aiding the enterprise by immediately subscribing to it. All communiations should be addressed to the Torch, 127 Ossulston Street, London, N. W., England. Exchanges are kindly requested to copy.
We shall at all times endeavor to fill our columns with articles of the best known writers on the subject of Anarchist Communism. The names of P. Kropotkine, Reclus, Edelmann, Owen and Holmes should be sufficient guarantee of the literary character of The Rebel. We shall try to avoid becoming narrow minded or dogmatic, and shall welcome contributions from writers whose opinions may be adverse to ours.
The question of trades unionism and co-operation will receive that attention which they merit, and we shall at all times, without fear, draw attention to their mistakes.
The publishers of The Rebel. herewith express their hearty thanks to all those labor organizations as well as individuals who aided them in their enter-prise, announcing at the same time that Mr. James Wesson of Roxbury, B. 75, is the lucky owner of the suit of clothes donated by the Union Co-operative Tailors' Society of this city.
Letter from London
Representatives of the different Anarchist-Communist groups lately met in London for the purpose of discussing the steps to be taken with regard to next year's Labor Congress and to consider in which way the Congress could be made most useful to the interests of the working classes. The prevailing opinion was that all means should be tried to gain admittance to the Congress for delegates of Associations and Groups opposed to political action and that no steps should be neglected, in order to make it clear to the worker, that his wretched and degraded position is due to the economic conditions of the present system and that any alteration brought about by Parliamentary or Political action could only be palliative and afford, at the most, only temporary relief. It was decided to issue a leaflet explaining the absurdity of excluding from an International Socialists' Congress any section of the workers and showing in all its naked absurdity the claim of the believers in Parliamentary action to speak for the whole of the working class. This leaflet will be further discussed at a meeting called for the middle of September and will afterwards be published in all the papers which advocate views similar to those expressed in it.
In the meantime, it would be useful if all comrades, who believe that the problem, being an economical one, can only be solved by an entire change of the economic conditions of to-day, would confer with each other and communicate their views as to the best steps to be taken in this matter to the London comrades who, being on the spot, are in the best position to carry them out. Any communication addressed to the undersigned, at 127 Ossulston Street, London, W. C., will be immediately put before the next meeting held after the receipt of the communication. With fraternal greetings,
F. G. Paul.
Government and Anarchy. <ref>Adapted from the work of Anselme Bellegarrigue</ref>
|What is Anarchy?||The negation of Government|
|What is the negation of government?||The affirmation of the people|
|What is the affirmation of the people?||Individual Liberty.|
|What is individual liberty?||The sovereignty of each.|
|What is the sovereignity of each?||Equality.|
|What is Equality?||Solidarity|
|What is Solidarity?||Social order.|
|What, then, is Anarchy?||SOCIAL ORDER!|
|What is Government?||The negation of the People.|
|What is the negation of the people?||The affirmation of political authority.|
|What is the affirmation of political authority?||Individual dependence.|
|What is individual dependence?||Class supremacy.|
|What is class supremacy?||Inequality.|
|What is inequality?||Antagonism.|
|What is antagonism?||Civil war.|
|What, then, is Government?||CIVIL WAR!|
COMRADES, AGITATE for THE REBEL!