During the convention of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engine0men recently held at Houston, Texas, a motion was made that the writer be invited to address the convention. The motion was defeated and the Associated Press spread the report broadcast over the country. A delegate to that convention now writes me to apologize for the action of the delegates, saying the day will come when they will be ashamed of it. Perhaps! But that will be after I am dead, and that will be time enough. The action of the convention was quite consistent and there is nothing in it to apologize for. Had I betrayed the organization instead of serving it, it would be different. The action of the delegates is plain enough and easily understood. Their masters, the railroad owners and managers who control their jobs, do not like me, and how can they afford to have anything to do with me? Were I prime favorite with the railroad magnates instead of their uncompromising enemy, the invitation to address the convention would have been extended by acclamation.
The action of the convention is a simple reaffirmation of the fact that under the capitalist system of private ownership the capitalist class are the masters of the people and the rulers of society, and all social institutions such as the government, Congress, the courts, state legislatures, schools, colleges, universities, the press, moving pictures, etc., including many labor unions, are under their control or domination.
The wage-slave psychology of the delegates at Houston explains the action of the convention and there is nothing unusual about it.
For twenty years I was a member of the organization represented by that convention. When I joined it I paid the admission fee of half the charter members, who had not the money of their own to pay. Five years later, when I was city clerk of Terre Haute and the brotherhood was bankrupt, deeply in debt and its magazine threatened with suspension, I was called upon to take charge and I did so. I secured the entire debt with indorsed notes and spent most of my salary as city clerk in redeeming the organization from bankruptcy. The first two years all my spare hours, late in the night, every night in the week, I gave freely to my task and I paid out more for clerical assistance than the paltry salary amounted to.____________________