Source: Cleveland Citizen
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “Citizenisms”
City of publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 11
Issue number: 34
|“Citizenisms.” Cleveland Citizen 14 Sept. 1901 v11n34: p. 1.|
|anarchism (dealing with); society (criticism); anarchism (criticism); anarchism (personal response).|
|William Jennings Bryan; Leon Czolgosz; Tom L. Johnson; Johann Most.|
The act of the madman, Czolgosz, at Buffalo last
Friday, was deplorable.
Murder, to take the life of another, is a frightful thing, but to assassinate is the most monstrous act in the category of crime.
The assassin is a coward—an abominable creature, usually an insane person, a pervert, or a cold-blooded wretch with a heart of stone. The assassin strikes in the dark and stabs in the back. A snake utters a warning before it strikes, but the assassin is too cowardly and satanical to warn his intended victim and give him a chance for his life.
Assassination or murder cannot be abolished by law. The crime is as old as the human race. Sometimes murder is committed by individuals, sometimes by nations. War is murder on a large scale, and, therefore, all the more horrible and deplorable.
To expect that Congress can enact a law that will prohibit assassination by increasing the penalty or imprisoning someone who may be suspected of being murderously inclined is to pin faith on something unrealizable, for suspects may be innocent while those with murder in their hearts walk at large, and penalties are recklessly disregarded by those who are consumed by the desire to take life and commit crime.
The best method to be pursued is to foster education. Teach the people the injustice and wastefulness and criminality of war instead of encouraging the war spirit and thirst for blood. Teach men to worship Justice more and Greed less. Teach them to improve conditions so that not a human being shall be in want or misery.
Let us remove the cause of crime, and in order to do that we must consider the economic life of the people. When all men are in full enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, when the gaunt wolf of hunger no longer haunts the door of labor, when the fear of poverty no longer exists, crime will disappear for the reason that the cause has been removed.
Can poverty, the mother of crime, be removed? It can if the people decide that it shall be because there is now more than enough wealth produced to provide every man, woman and child of this nation with all the necessities and comforts of life and most of the luxuries as well. The capitalists, who hire labor to produce wealth for profit rather than for use, are devising ways and means of exporting over two billions of that wealth in order to prevent a glut in the American market. This average of $150 per family could be very well used at home. But it is only one item showing the tremendous possibilities of this nation.
There is no excuse for a condition where the many eke out a bare subsistence and the few pile up millions and billions of wealth that they cannot use, and so long as this state of affairs exists, so long as the capitalistic profit system of production exists, it need not be surprising that half crazed cranks spring forth here and there and blindly attempt to wreak vengence [sic] on those whom they believe to be responsible for present unjust conditions.
Anyone who is not a fool knows that to shoot down a President or King does not change anything, for a successor will take his place immediately. The Anarchists, to our notion, have gone daft on the term “governmentalism,” which they are continually mouthing, and their absurd and contradictory tactics prove that the theories that they wish to impress on the people are equally as unreasonable and senseless. Either they resort to physical force or follow a vague line of non-resistance. Either they are terrorists or as meek and inoffensive as a lamb. Either they are rampant devils or angels of peace.
These unbalanced people are wonderfully dissembling and versatile. First, they are uncompromising Anarchists, with a wagonload of phrases, which sound smart, and are either for war to the knife or disgustingly humble. Secondly, when the fit seizes them, they pose as socialists and in the next breath denounce socialism, and studiously avoid working or voting for a Socialist party for fear of compromising their holy principles. Thirdly, they howl as length against “governmentalism,” condemn Socialist parties, and then vote the Republican and Democratic tickets and take political jobs. Last fall Herr Most voted the Republican ticket and one of Czolgosz’ former friends in Newburg informs us that the would-be assassin did the same thing. If we desired, we could give the names of local Anarchists who voted for Bryan and also for Mayor Johnson.
And yet these freaks have the audacity to claim to be Socialists and attempt to make socialism answerable for their damphoolery!
But it won’t work any longer!
There is now a Socialist party in the field that controls a hundred thousand votes that has rescued socialism from the confusion and chaos of freakdom and fakirism, and the name and principle will be protected from conniving adventurers of every brand.
Let the Socialist party press, speakers and members everywhere take a firm stand to defend the good name of their splendid movement against the cowardly, underhanded onslaughts of ignorant and vicious elements, whether they be Republicans, Democrats, Anarchists or deleonized fanatics. The time to temporize has passed. Show them no quarter. If those who pretend to be “socialists, too,” do not subscribe to the platform and principles of the Socialist party, endorse its tolerant and reasonable tactics, and show a clean political and personal character, they should be denounced as frauds and held up to public scorn.
Fair-minded, decent people sympathize with the Socialist party and are gradually rallying to its support, and their good will must be retained at all hazards.