Organize or Pay!
ORGANIZE OR PAY!
By Adolph Germer
You, perhaps, are one who voted for President Wilson and feel that you won. You may have voted for Hughes and regret that your candidate lost. Or, you may have voted for Benson, the Socialist. In the latter event you are not disappointed, for you knew that he would not be elected. You voted for what you wanted even though you knew that you would not get it.
Perhaps you voted for Wilson fearing that if Hughes were elected Wall Street would rule this country with an iron hand. Most of those who voted for Hughes feared the same thing of Wilson. Be that as it may, the prices of foodstuffs are climbing up right along. Does that mean anything to you and your family? If it does, what are you going to do about it? Are you just going to grumble and stop at that? Do you think prices will come down by your growling and snarling? If you think that you can bring prices down by quarreling with the grocer and butcher, you are mistaken. Your grocer and butcher are only the errand boys for the well organized speculators. You will have to do more than growl and quarrel. Food prices are fixed by a well organized group of food speculators. These food speculators know how valuable it is to be organized. They know that unless they are organized they will work to each others' disadvantage. Being thoroughly organized they can hold us up at their will when we buy flour, sugar, potatoes, butter, eggs, meats, etc., etc. Organization spells power and advantage for the speculators in foodstuffs and other necessaries of life.
Here are some comparative prices that tell you where your wages go, and why it is getting harder to make both ends meet. The prices quoted are WHOLESALE. Retail prices—those the housewife pays—are higher:
|Flour, per bbl.||$5.10||$9.50|
|Milk, per qt.||$5.06||$5.08|
|Eggs, per doz. (best)||$5.34||$5.50|
|Hams, smoked, per lb.||$5.16½||$5.22|
|Butter, creamery, per lb.||$5.33½||$5.43|
|Lard, per lb.||$5.11||$5.18|
|Sugar, granulated, per lb.||$5.05½||$5.07¼|
|Beans, per 100 lbs.||$6.00||13.00|
|Potatoes, per bu. (60 lbs.)||$5.50||$1.80|
|Tomatoes, per doz. cans||$5.80||$1.50|
|Corn, per doz. cans||$5.65||$1.35|
|Peas, per doz cans||$5.65||$1.25|
|Baked beans, per doz. cans||$5.85||$1.40|
|Tomato ketchup, doz. bot.||$5.80||$1.25|
The above skyrocket prices are the result of organization among food speculators.
Organization means power for you. When you are organized with your fellow workers, then you have power and advantage and can do things for yourself. Don't you think it is your duty to organize and deal with these vexing problems? Let us briefly talk this matter over.
Those who raise prices support the democratic and republican parties. The Socialist party holds out the hopes of the workers. It is always on the side of the victims of organized speculators. It is the one party to which the profit mongers and speculators do not belong and contribute money.
You have undoubtedly read Socialist literature and attended Socialist meetings. You have certainly learned that the Socialist party is the political organization to which you should belong. It may be that you agree with the Socialists and call yourself one. But are you a party member? If not, why not?
Now, don't tell me that you do not want to be tied down to any party; that you want to be free to vote for the "best man." In the past, haven't you voted for what you considered the best man? And how have you benefited by it? Have conditions changed for the better? Ammons, while governor of Colorado, permitted Rockefeller's gunmen to join the militia and burn women and children to death. Don't you think that those who voted for him thought they were voting for the "best man"? Don't you think that in every instance where a despot has been elected those who voted for him did so in the belief that he was the best man? Haven't you gone from one "good man" to another and haven't conditions remained the same so far as you are concerned? The "best man" idea is fine stuff to keep the workers divided and to keep the exploiters in power. No matter how good and lofty those "good men" are, they can do nothing so long as the system of exploitation and speculation endures. The evil elements know this and do not fail to get "best men" votes. But everyone who lives upon the labor of others, watches and fears the Socialist vote, and they fear the growing Socialist party, for it beckons their doom.
Another objection that you may have is that you do not like some Socialists. This is more fine stuff for the exploiters. Do you like all the republicans or democrats? If not, why do you stay in their ranks? Do you like all the members of your union, your lodge, or your church? You ought to have a better reason than that for staying out of the Socialist party. All the workers have a common purpose and must be organized before we can get any tangible results.
The manipulators of prices are not always in love with each other, but for business reasons they belong to the same organizations and work together. There are members in the Bankers' Association that hate the thought of each other. This is true of members of the Manufacturers' Associations and Citizens' Alliances—they miss no opportunity to cut each others' throats in business, but they still belong to the same organization, for they know that only through organization among themselves are they able to keep labor down. They know that if they permitted personal dislike to disband them they would be powerless and would lose control of affairs.
Objection number three may be that Socialists pay dues. That's true. How otherwise would you expect to carry on an organization? No organization can be maintained on good intentions. The very fact that Socialists pay dues keeps the Socialist party in the hands of its members and obviates the possibility of it becoming the instrument of the masters of our bread. Those who profit by this system of exploitation will not pay the bills of the Socialist party. We would not permit it if they wanted to do it. If we did, we would cease to be a party of and for the workers. If we permitted the gamblers in foodstuffs to pay our bills the Socialist party would be of no benefit to you.
The Socialist party relies first, last and all the time on the working class for political and financial support.
The Socialist party stands for the abolition of the system of private ownership of the collectively used tools of wealth-production. We want the collective ownership and democratic management of all large scale industries. The Socialist party stands for the workers getting the full social value of their labor. What objection have you to that?
Just give this matter a moment's serious and unprejudiced thought and you will learn that all your objections fail to stand the test. Do not say that you sympathize with us, but—but—well—you simply haven't joined the party. Why haven't you? There is nothing in all of your objections except your lack of determination to stand up and be counted. The present crisis demands men and women with stout hearts to enlist in this army for the common good. Will you do your duty?
If there is a local or branch of the Socialist party in your community, join it. If there is none, write to the National Office, 803 West Madison Street, Chicago, Ill., and we will gladly give you the information you want on how you can organize one or become a member at large.
Watch these leaflets—they will be issued monthly and will deal with subjects of vital interest and importance to you.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1928.
The longest-living author of this work died in 1966, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 56 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.