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About The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-???? | View Entire Issue (Nov. 21, 1908)
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LINCOJX, X KBLtASIvJV. '.NOVEMBEB 31, liOf
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JAY I ml H'l l
a (J lNpggorHY
THE UNION LABOR VOTE AT THE RECENT GENERAL ELECTION
WILLIAM J. BRYAN IN THE COMMONER
Now that the election is .over anil our party defeated, the ex
plainer is abroad in the land. Some of the explanations arc based
upon observations in a precinct, some upon the conditions in a state,
and othersrtake- a national view of the 'situation. The Commoner
has received several letters containing complaints that "the labor
vote was not cast for the democratic ticket" and that "the labor
planks alienated more votes than they won."
Until the returns arc nil in and tabulated it is impossible to
make any intelligent estimate as to the relative influence exerted
by the various causes which contributed to the party's defeat, and
it is not fair to announce a conclusion until a substantial foundation
can be laid for such conclusion. While an adverse vote in a city
containing a large labor element might be accepted as prima facia
evidence that the laboring man did not support the ticket, a closer
inspection of the returns might show that the labor vote was actually
cast for the ticket, but that losses in other parts of the city overcame
the gain. .
Mr. Oompers and those closely associated with him as labor
loaders must be credited with sincere, earnest and effective support
of the democratic ticket. Their arguments may not have convinced
as large a percentage of the vote of organized labor as was expected
upon this subject the statistics are not yet available but it must
be remembered that under present conditions it is necessary to do
more than convince. A great many people were convinced that the
democratic position was the correct one,, and yet were afraid to
follow their convictions. The republican leaders confessed this them
selves when they began to appeal to the fears of the employes. Many
cases have been brought to our attention where employers warned
their employes not to vote the democratic ticket under threat of
rcduetion in wages. . At. Newark, Ohio, Mr. Bryan called attention
to such speeches made by representatives of the New York Central
Railroad. There were cases where the support of the ticket in labor
precincts perceptibly diminished when these threats were applied.
It is easy-enough to say that a laboring man ought to stand by his
convictions and vote as he believes, regardless of threats, and yet
human nature must always be considered in passing judgment upon
After forty-eight years of almost continuous republican rule, the
wage-earners are living so near to the hunger line that a few weeks'
loss of employment brings the family face to face with want. The
election comes in November just at the beginning of winter, with
fuel to buy, house rent to pay and Warmer clothes to provide for
the children, i The laboring man is under a constant duress. A
laboring man who has but little, if-anything, laid up for the future,
must have a strong heart to defy the expressed wish of his employer
and cast his ballot for something which he believes to be permanently
good, at the risk of passing through a period of idleness before that
good can be secured.
Four months elapse between the election and the inauguration
four cold months. Be not too harsh in judging the man who bends
to the lash and surrenders his citizenship when his conscience tells
him that ho Bhould resist injustice and vote for better conditions.
Be not too harsh in judgment even in the holiest wars there are
deserters: even when free covernment is at stake, many have turned
back rather than" endure the Jiardships and privations called for by
the struggle. Let us rather be thankful that there were as many
heroes among, the laboring men as there were even if there were
not enough. ,
It must be remembered, too, that not all labor is organized, and
the leaders of organized labor are not in touch with unorganized
labor. On the contrary, the enemies of labor lost no opportunity
to array the unorganized laboring men against the democratic party.
There ought to be no feeling of antagonism between organized and
unorganized labor for every advantage secured by organization for
t hose who are members of the organization is soon enjoyed by those
who are not members. When wages are raised or conditions i im
proved, all labor ultimately enjoys the gain, although the burdens of
securing the improvement falls upon the members ot the organization
It is also true let it be admitted with a blush that there are
those so prejudiced against laboring men as to be alienated from
the democratic party by the very fact that our platform contained
Rome of the officials of the Manufacturers' Association, of which
Mr. Van Cleave is president, boldly appealed to this prejudice and
attempted to make the labor question paramouut in the minds of
all those who look upon the laboring man as a sort of dangerous
creature who, if not surrounded by actual bars, ought to be under
Then, too, it must not be overlooked that a large percentage
of the population seems to be entirely indifferent to the laboring
man's condition and to his demand for remedial legislation.
The merchants, while they may not sympathize with the hostile
attitude of some of the large employers, are not brought into sympa
thetic connection with the employes engaged in wealth production.
The clerks in the stores do not count themselves in the same
class with the laboring- men; they do not regard their interests
as identified with those of the toilers.
The farm laborers also regard themselves as in a different class
und they labor under conditions quite dissimilar from those which
surround the factory worker or the miner. '.The farm laboi'er is
employed by an individual rather than by a corporation. His per
sonal acquaintance with his employer protects him from the injustice
to whichthe 'employe of the corporation is subjected.
The fanners do not as a rule understand the labor situation.
Their business does not bring them into contact with the industrial
life of the city, and the relations between themselves and their em
ployes, instead of informing them on industrial conditions, ' is apt
to give them a wrong impression as to the city laborer.
Now, what is our party to do? Admitting that the laboring
men are not as free as they should be to vote their sentiments; ad
mitting that unorganized labor does not feel the sympathy that it
should feel for organized labor; admitting that some of the larger
corporate employers are distinctly hostile to labor as a class; and
:;dmitlki that merchants, clerks, farm laborers and farjners do not
thoroughly understand the legislative needs of the industrial laborers,
what is the democratic party to do? Should it follow the. example
of the republican party, and. form an alliance with the forces that
seem to control politics? Should it cater to the corporate employers;
should it encourage the indifferent by misrepresenting the attitude
and the plea of the laboring men? The democratic party is a per
manent party and an universal party.: "While free government ex
ists and wherever it exists, there must be a democratic party a
party in-sympathy with the common people and devoted to the wel
fare of the common, people. If the party which calls itself the
democratic party fails to meet the requirements of the situation,
Homo Industries Worth Fostering
A Series of Articles Relating to Lincoln
Business Enterprises that Should
Command Lincoln Support .
THE CITIZENS RAILWAY COMPANY.
The average American municipality is wonderfully pa
tient sometimes to the point of.asininity. And Lincoln
was for many yeais no exception to the rule. But Lin
coln finally rebelled. For years it submitted, with many
a murmur and many a useless protest, to a street ear ser
vice that was abominable in the extreme. The powers
that managed the street railway acted on the presump
tion that it had a "lead pipe ciuch" and did not have
to spend any of its receipts in extensions or betterments.
As a result the growth of the city" was retarded and the
recording angel kept working overtime keeping the ac
counts of citizens who said thufir nd thought things
hardly suitable for publication in a great rcligous jour
nal like The Wageworker. , '
Finally, when forbearance had ceased, to- be a virtue,
some longheaded and enterprising men got together and
organized the Citizens Railway company. This company
is essentially a "home institution," because its stockhold
ers are, with one or two exceptions' Lincoln business men,
and the one or two exceptions noted own so little stock
that they do not, fortunately, count for much in the man
agement of the company's affairs.
There was very little of flourishing of trumpets about
the organization of this company. The organizers were
business men who have the habit of saying little and doing
a whole lot. The old street railway company's managers
living in New York, laughed the new company to scorn.
"We've got the franchise, and we've got .the streets ;
what can a new company do?" they asked.
But the new company did not waste any time in ex
planations. It secured a franchise long dormant and
proceeded to build its lines. It went into territory long "
neglected by the old company, and it built "for keeps."
It took the people into its confidence, and it also shared
the proceeds of its business with the people who own the .
-streets 'and let the "company usethem. The city council
acted promptly, because the couneilmen knew the temper
of a long suffering public, and the new company was
given every reasonable thing it asked. Those parts of the
city that had been longest neglected were the first taken
care of. Then the new company went gunning for busi
ness in what might properly be ealled competitive terri
tory. So successful has been its management, and so ad
equate its service, that the Citizens Railway Company is
now operating unwards of twelve miles, and is building
additional miles all the time.
The latest line to be opened by the Citizens' Railway
Company is the College View line. The first car was run
over the new line on Friday, November 13, the day and
date showing that the company pays no attention to
ancient superstitions, but goes right ahead doing husiness.
This line operates on South Twelfth street to South street,
east on South street to Twenty-seventh street, and thence
in a southeasterly direction to College View, going across
the crest of the divide without either cut or fill worthy of
mention, and opening up a new residence section that will
in a short time be the pride of Lincoln.
Franchise and right of way have been secured for a line
through University Place to Havclock, and work on this
extension is being pushed with all possible speed. It ap
pears that this enterprising company is determined to
make Lincoln the hub of a lot of radiating spokes of in
terurban rails. The New College View line is shorter by
a mile and a half from Twelfth and 0 to College View than
the Traction company line.
The equipment of the Citizens Railway company is of
the latest model and make. Everything that will add to
the comfort and convenience of its patrons is given espe
cial attention by the management. In brief, the managers,
contrary to custom, are acting on the presumption that
they owe something to the public ; that they are in duty
(Continued on Page Five.)
some other party will step in arid , become the champion of the
masses. It is impossible for any party to become a successful rival
with the republican party for plutocratic support. If the democratic
party were to adopt a. platform entirely satisfactory to the bene
ficiaries of privilege and favoritism, it would simply commit suicide,
for. its record and the record of its leaders would make it impossible
for the democratic party to secure any considerable portion of the
plutocratic vote, while "an abandoning of the democratic position
would alienate the rank and file of the party.
The hope of our party, therefore, lies not in apostasy to demo
cratic truth; not in the surrender of ideals; not in the desertion
of the cause of the people, but in education.
The laboring men should be strengthened to resist the tempta
tion which is presented every four years, when they are asked tci
accept the promise of temporary employment in exchange for the
hope of better things. It is an old saying that "no one need be a
slave who has learned how to die;" bondage is only possible because
men prefer bondage to death. With equal truth it may be ; said
that no one need suffer injustice in a free country who is willing
to risk his all in the effort to secure justice. .-':') ';.- ' '
Unorganized labor should be taught that its interests' are in
dissolubly linked with the interests of those, who through organiza
tion, are seeking to improve the condition of all ' who toil. The
employer should be taught that industrial peace and harmonious co
operation between labor and capital are possible only, upon, a basis
of justice and that it is short-sighted to deny , to the laboring man
iegal protection in the enjoyment of his rights. It is time that the
large corporate employers were forced to abandon the cant and
hypocrisy in which they indulge when they express solicitude about
the protection of non-union men from the union men. They are
no more interested in non-union labor than they are in union labor.
They used unorganized labor to defeat the demands of organized
labor, but they are just as ready to oppress the unorganized work
ing men as they are to oppress those who are organized. - They
arrogate to themselves the championship. of law and order, and yet,
they know that order can, better be observed by the enactment of
remedial legislation than by the continuation of abuses that have
grown up under the law or because of the absence of needed law.
The democratic platform contained"T6ur 1 demands . for legisla
tion asked for by the laboring men. First,, the creation of a depart
ment of labor with a cabinet officer" representing the wage-earners.
Is this revolutionary tWe-haTe ti department- of Commerce1 and
Labor now, but commerce overshadows labor, and this department,
without giving to labor the representation it deserves, is used as
an answer to the laboring man's demand. Who would say that it
would be dangerous to the country, or "that it would "work an in
justice to any class to give tohe toilers a spokesman in the, presi
dent's council? And yet this is one of the labor planks of our
platform which was opposed by the large employers.
Our platform demands an amendment of the anti-trust law ex-:
eluding the labor organizations from the operation of that law': Is
this revolutionary? It is only five years ago that this very demand
was endorsed by a republican house of representatives in the fed
eral congress. , When the Littlefield anti-trust bill was before the
house, the democrats . introduced an amendment exempting labor
organizations from the operation of the. law, and the amendment
was adopted by a vote of two hundred sixty to eight. Must our.
party be assailed now for urging an amendment which was so re
cently endorsed by republican congressmen on a roll-call? ,
Another plank of our platform demands a limitation- of the
writ of injunction so that the writ will not be issued in a labor dis
pute unless the conditions are such as to justify an injunction even
if there were no labor, dispute. Is this revolutionary? Should a
labor dispute be in itself a cause for the issuance of a writ of in
junction. Should a court of equity be permitted to issue an injunc
tion to prevent a labor dispute or to end one already begun,' when
no injury is threatened to life or to property? That plank in our
platform cannpt be misunderstood, . and yet the republican leaders
constantly endeavored to misrepresent it because they were not
able to meet the proposition which the platform itself presentd.
And what of. the fourth proposition, namely, the demand for a
trial by jury in cases of indirect contempt? Is that revolutionary?
Our platform express and specifically . endorsed a measure 'that
passed a republican senate twelve years ago , by a vote so over-
whelming that no roll-call was demanded. In fact, it is stated, by
a senator who voted for the bill and who was instrumental in se
curing its passage, that only one vote' was cast against it; .Are we
to be condemned for endorsing a proposition so sound and element
ary that twelve years ago republican senators dared not present an
argument against it? . ? .
And yet these are the planks' of our platform that were made
the basis of an appeal to the prejudices of large employers and a
basis of misrepresentation to those, not thoroughly . informed as to
The democratic party seeks to build society upon an enduring
basis; it seeks to promote peace and good will among those who
must necessarily co-operate in thev production of the nation's wealth.
Our party's platform, and our party's purpose are entirely in har
mony with the spirit of the report of the President's Board of
Arbitration in the anthracite coal strike, as set forth in the language
of -Bishop Spaulding, one of the commission:
"All through their investigations and deliberations the eon
viction has grown upon them that if they could evoke and confirm
a mora genuine spirit of good will a more conciliatory disposition
in the operators and their employes in their relations toward one
another they would do a better and more lasting work thanany
which mere rulings, however wise or just; may accomplish. Fairness,
forbearance, and good will are the prerequisites of peace and har
monious co-operation in all the social and economic relations of
men. The interests of employers and employes are reciprocal. Th
success of industrial processes is the result of their co-operation, and
their attitude toward one another, therefore, should be that of friends,
(Continued on page four.)
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