It is idle to talk of a peaceful strike.
None such has ever occurred. All combinations to interfere with
perfect freedom in the proper management and control of one's
lawful business, to dictate the terms upon which such business
shall be conducted by means of threats, are within the condemnation
of the law.
Farmer's Loan and Trust v.
Northern Pacific, 1894
Combinations are reappearing
on all sides....They all do something to raise prices, or hold
them up, and they wind up with banquets for which we pay....
The coal combination was investigated by the New York legislature
in 1878, after the combination had raised the prices of coal
in New York to double what they had been....The committee found
that coal could be laid down on the dock, after paying all charges,
for an average of $3.20 a ton. It was at that time retailing
in the city for $4.90 to $5.25 a ton....
Our industries, from railroads to working men, are being organized
to prevent milk, nails, lumber, freights, labor, soothing syrup,
and all these other things from becoming too cheap....
If the tendency to combination is irresistible, control of it
is imperative. Monopoly and anti-monopoly, odious as these words
have become to the literary ear, represent the two great tendencies
of our time: monopoly, the tendency to combination; anti-monopoly,
the demand for social control of it.
Henry Demarest Lloyd, 1884
The enormous increase in productive
power which has marked the present century...has no tendency
to extirpate poverty or to lighten the burdens of those compelled
to toil....In factories where labor-saving machinery has reached
its most wonderful development, little children are at work...amid
the greatest accumulations of wealth, men die of starvation,
and puny infants suckle dry breasts; while everywhere the greed
of gain, the worship of wealth, shows the force of the fear of
In the United States it is clear that squalor and misery, and
the vices and crimes that spring from them, everywhere increase
as the village grows to the city....So long as the increased
wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great
fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between
the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real
and cannot be permanent....The ideas that there is a necessary
conflict between capital and labor, that machinery is an evil,
that competition must be restrained and interest abolished, that
wealth may be created by the issue of money, that it is the duty
of government to furnish capital or furnish work, are rapidly
making way among the great body of the people....Is there not
growing up among us [wealthy men] who have all the power without
any of the virtues of aristocracy? We have simple citizens who
control thousands of miles of railroad, millions of acres of
land, the means of livelihood of great numbers of men; who name
the Governors of sovereign States as they name their clerks,
choose Senators as they choose attorneys....
Henry George, Progress and
But now comes a harder question.
How is this growing wealth divided? Is it rightly or wrongly
divided?...During the past fourteen years the wealth of this
nation has increased much faster than the population, but the
people who work for wages are little if any better off than they
were fourteen years ago....
What has the Christian moralist to say about this state of things?
He is bound to say that it is a bad state of things, and must
somehow be reformed....Christianity...ought with all its emphasis
to say to society: "Your present industrial system, which
fosters enormous inequalities, which permits a few to heap up
most of the gains of this advancing civilization, and leaves
the many without any substantial share in them, is an inadequate
and inequitable system, and needs important changes to make it
the instrument of righteousness."
This is not saying that Christians should ask the state to take
the property of the rich and distribute it among the poor....There
are, however, one or two things, that he will insist upon as
the immediate duty of the state. Certain outrageous monopolies
exist that the state is bound to crush....Another gigantic public
evil that the state must exterminate is that of gambling in stocks
Washington Gladden, 1886
It is hardly disputed that
capital, under our modern industrial system, is receiving more
than a just share of the fruits of labor, and the laborer is
receiving relatively less and less of the profits of his toil....It
is to the interest of capital, when it releases itself from moral
and social obligations and looks only to its own increase, to
keep a huge class of unemployed men who must work or starve.
The present industrial system could not exist were it not for
the fact that the great multitudes of the unemployed have been
brought to this country, systematically and purposely, for the
sake of reducing wages and producing a state of poverty....
The state must be redeemed from the worship of property and from
commercial theories of government....A baseless assumption which
the state must correct is, that employers have an economic right
to employ and discharge from the individual standpoint, with
only a money obligation to employees, and no responsibility to
society....No industrial concern has a right to receive the benefits
of society without bearing commensurate responsibilities.
George D. Herron, 1893
Section 1. Every contract,
combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy,
in restraint of trade or commerce among the several states, or
with foreign nations, is hereby declared to be illegal.
Sherman Anti-Trust Act of l890
The recent alarming development
and aggression of aggregated wealth, which, unless checked will
invariably lead to the pauperization and hopeless degradation
of the toiling masses, render it imperative...that a check should
be placed upon its power and upon unjust accumulation, and a
system adopted which will secure to the laborer the fruits of
his toil....We have formed the Knights of Labor with a view of
securing the organization and direction by cooperative effort,
of the power of the industrial classes....
To secure to the toilers a
proper share of the wealth that they create; more of the leisure
that rightfully belongs to them.... The establishment of cooperative
institutions, productive and distributive. The reserving of the
public lands--the heritage of the people--for the actual settlers;--not
another acre for railroads or speculators. The abrogation of
all laws that do not bear equally upon capital and labor, the
removal of unjust technicalities, delays, and discriminations
in the administration of justice, an the adopting of measures
providing for the health and safety of those engaged in mining,
manufacturing, or building pursuits....The prohibition of the
employment of children in workshops, mines, and factories before
attaining their fourteen year. To abolish the system of letting
out by contract the labor of convicts in our prisons and reformatory
institutions. To secure for both sexes equal pay for equal work.
The reduction of the hours of labor to eight per day....
Constitution of the Knights
of Labor, 1878
Just as religion has fettered
the human mind, and as property, or the monopoly of things, has
subdued and stifled man's needs, so has the state enslaved his
spirit...."All government in essence," says Emerson,
"is tyranny."...In every instance its aim is the absolute
subordination of the individual.
Emma Goldman, Anarchism, 1910
Dynamite!...Stuff several pounds
of this sublime stuff into an inch pipe (gas or water pipe),
plug up both ends, insert a cap with a fuse attached, place this
in the immediate vicinity of a lot of rich loafers who live by
the sweat of other people's brows, and light the fuse. A most
cheerful and gratifying result will follow....A pound of this
good stuff beats a bushel of ballots all hollow--and don't you
The Alarm, 1885
Now one of the very first requirements
for a man who is fit to handle pig iron as a regular occupation
is that he shall be so stupid and so phlegmatic that he more
nearly resembles in his mental make-up the ox than any other
type. The man who is mentally alert and intelligent is for this
very reason entirely unsuited to what would, for him, be the
grinding monotony of work of this character. Therefore the workman
who is best suited to handling pig iron is unable to understand
the real science of doing this class of work. He is so stupid
that the word "percentage" has no meaning to him, and
he must consequently be trained by a man more intelligent than
himself into the habit of working in accordance with the laws
of this science before he can be successful.
Frederick Winslow Taylor on
the principles of scientific management, 1911