Source: Socialist Spirit
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Congress and Reaction”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 1
Issue number: 2
|“Congress and Reaction.” Socialist Spirit Oct. 1901 v1n2: p. 4.|
|U.S. government (criticism); McKinley assassination (government response: criticism); Virginia Constitutional Convention.|
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.