Not many of those schooled in old-party politics have any adequate conception of the true import of the labor movement. They read of it in the papers, discuss it in their clubs, criticize labor unions, condemn walking delegates, and finally conclude that organized labor is a thing to be tolerated so long, only, as it keeps within "proper bounds," but to be put down summarily the moment its members, like the remnants of Indian tribes on the western plains, venture beyond the limits of their reservations. They utterly fail or refuse to see the connection between labor and politics, and are, therefore, woefully ignorant of the political significance of the labor movement of the present day.
It is true that in all the centuries of the past labor has been "put down" when it has sought some modicum of its own, or when it has even yearned for some slight amelioration of its wretched condition, as witness the merciless massacre of the half-famished and despairing subjects of the Russian Czar, a few months ago, for daring to hope that their humble petition for a few paltry concessions might be received and considered by his mailed and heartless majesty.
It is likewise true, that, in the present day, and in the United States, all the powers of government stand ready to "put down" the working class whenever it may be deemed necessary in the interest of its industrial masters.
All great strikes prove that the government is under the control of corporate capital and that the army of office-holders is as subservient to the capitalist masters as is the army of wage-workers that depends upon them for employment.
But, true as these things are, it is not true that labor is ignorant of them, nor is it true that such conditions will continue forever.
The labor movement has advanced with rapid strides, during the last few years, and is, today, the most formidable factor in quickening the social conscience and in regenerating the human race. It is not the millions that are enrolled as members of labor unions that give power and promise to this world movement, but the thousands, rather, that are not trade-unionists merely, but working class unionists as well; that is to say, working men and women who recognize the identity of the industrial and political interests of the whole working class; or, in other words, are conscious of their____________________