Industrial Socialism or the Problem of Getting
a Living [excerpt]
Socialists draw a beautiful
picture of future industrial conditions where peace and plenty everywhere
abound. In  examining the
background of the picture, the scenery and the figures, I can see
that most of the color spread upon the canvas is drawn from the
imagination. Looking again I see another picture where the background,
the scenery and the figures are all real, they have been spread
on the canvas with the color of actual experience in human life.
This picture represents the evolution of mankind in solving the
problem of getting a living. It shows improvement upon improvement,
progress following progress. It also shows that the spirit of justice,
never sleeping, constantly operating upon men, actively and steadfastly
asserting its claims to the conscience and judgment of the world,
forces its decrees in proportion as wealth increases and that wealth
increases and finds more equitable distribution in proportion as
it is respected and protected.
Still another picture appears before
me in which the figures, the scenery and the background are all
real. I saw in a neighboring city two years ago a great exposition,
to which were brought the best products of all America. These products
were summoned as witnesses of man’s skill and invention. Rewards
were offered and the measure of reward was determined by benefits
to humanity. Man asserting his individuality and operating through
private agencies was there contesting for these rewards.
The President was there also to join
with the people in honor of their industrial triumph. Of the eighty
million inhabitants of this country there was one man present, a
 young man, who hated the
present economic system, who believed that capital robs labor, that
the rich are the rulers and that it was his duty to kill the President
because he was a slave of capital.
This man said: “I was born in Detroit
nearly twenty-nine years ago. I got my education in the public schools
in Detroit and then went to Cleveland. In Cleveland I read books
on socialism and met a great many socialists. I was pretty well
known as a socialist in the west. During the last five years I have
had as friends, anarchists in Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit, and
suppose I have become more or less bitter. I never had much luck
and this preyed upon me. What started the craze to kill was a lecture
I heard some time ago by Emma Goldman. Miss Goldman’s words went
right through me and when I heard the lecture I made up my mind
that I would do something heroic for the cause I love.”
Can we fail to see
and shudder at the fatal similarity between the ideas expressed
by Cholgosz and the ideas now taught by leading socialists, labor
unionists and anarchists? “The slave of capital,” said Cholgosz.
“Capital enslaves the wage workers,” say these teachers. Perhaps
they did not intentionally encourage that tragedy. Maybe they did
not know their extravagant and virulent utterances were loaded with
assassination. At that time did they believe what they preached?
Do they believe it now? If they do believe it 
ought not that pistol shot to be taken as a signal by them and all
others to pause and carefully re-examine and thoroughly review and
candidly reconsider the facts surrounding the now burning issue
which involves such terrible consequences to mankind?
That poor young man, who was educated
in the public schools, who read books on socialism, whose life was
made bitter, who never had any luck at anything, was tried and convicted
alone and put to death in less than a month. Vengeance was swift.
In youth and alone. Think of it! Young and alone in that dark hour
in the morning of his life! McKinley was buried with universal tears
and covered with flowers. Cholgosz was buried with universal curses
and covered with quick lime.
Is it not strange, more than that,
is it not pitiful that not one of the many who taught the economic
philosophy which he believed and which, however misguided, he gave
his life to advance, came out into the open then, and offered a
word or look or sign of sympathy in that mortal crisis of his young
life? What a cowardly confession of doubt in the truth of their
doctrines is concealed in the universal desertion of Cholgosz and
in the shameless silence which prevailed among those who incited
and encouraged hatred of capitalists in teaching socialism to the