Congress and Reaction
Thoughtful people, mostly socialists, noting the reactionary plunge
of the Virginia state convention, must feel grateful that the crime
was not committed during a session of Congress. Even those who are
content to sit in darkness and turn from the educative light of
socialism with unreasoning aversion,—as the bugs do,—acknowledge
that Congress is almost wholly made up of men who represent special
interests opposed to the general interests of the people.
Our government has become the instrument
for our exploitation. This is because it is supported and administered
by persons sitting in darkness. As soon as one becomes the political
guardian of private property he loses faith in human liberty. The
complexion of Congress for the past twenty-five years has been of
this color. We have sugar senators, and coal senators, and silver
senators, and railroad senators—all but the people’s senators.
Laws of a distinctly repressive character,
abridging personal liberty, can only be passed under the cover of
popular emotion. This is why such a crisis as the one through which
we have just passed is such a menace to human freedom. It enables
the reactionaries to score for tyranny under the cloak of popular
condemnation. The Virginia convention would never have dared to
abolish free speech in cold blood. Even as it is, many of the persons
sitting in darkness have expressed disgust at Virginia’s action.
But under the cover of the general hue and cry, a very considerable
spike was driven into the coffin of the republic.
That the wise protectors of monopoly
in Congress would have done their utmost to put through similar
reactionary measures cannot be doubted. Even now a movement has
been started by the Marquette Club of Chicago, a republican partisan
organization, to “influence” Congress to that end, during the coming
session. We may expect the capitalist papers to continue their cry
for “vigorous action,” therefore, somewhat beyond the normal limit.
However, it must be admitted that the American people as a whole
bore the crisis very well, and that if human liberty, peace and
good-will to men are ever to triumph on the earth no country presents
a more hopeful outlook than our own.