Views & Comments Number 40, January-February 1961
Most of the people have been fooled again.
Sixty-seven million American citizens voted in the Presidential elections. The Democratic candidate-Kennedy defeated his Republican rival Nixon by only 300,000 votes, the closest margin of the popular vote in this century.
One of the glaring inequities of the U.S. electoral system is that in presidential elections, the popular vote is not truly reflected in the Electoral College that actually elects the president. Although Kennedy polled only 50.2 percent of the popular vote, he wins by 63.5 percent in the electoral vote. Presidents John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford B. Hayes, William H. Harrison and Woodrow Wilson all were elected without a majority of the popular vote.
The. U.S. electoral system was never meant to express the will of the people. From the beginning the architects of the American Government deliberately built into its structure obstacles designed to insure the rule of privileged groups over the great mass of the plain people.
Election of Senators by State Legislators instead of by direct vote (now abolished), property qualifications and the poll tax in some states, the indirect election of President and Vice-President through the Electoral College, the right of a President to veto legislation approved by a majority of both houses of Congress the numerous obstacles hindering candidacies by smaller Minority parties, the right of the Supreme Court (a body of appointees with life tenure) to declare illegal, legislation that has been passed by the elected parliamentarians, the right of. Congress and the President to declare war without consulting the people; these and many other provisions built into the State and Federal Constitutions give excessive power to the politicians over the masses of the people. While some of these restrictions have been altered or eliminated, other gimmicks have been introduced, such as the failure to reapportion districts to give the growing urban centers their just representation, the gerrymandering of districts, the misuse of "literacy" tests, etc.
The established system of primaries and political conventions places the actual designation of candidates for all major public offices firmly in the hands of the political bosses. Since minor parties are seldom in a position to reach the people effectively, the voter who does not want to "throw away his vote" is forced to give that vote for one of two candidates hand-picked for him by the professional politicians.
The purpose of all government--in "democracies" as well as in dictatorships--is to assure the domination of the few over the many and to preserve a social order based on economic exploitation. The U.S. electoral system is one of the many devices by which political cliques and privileged economic groups get and hold onto control over the government. In a parliamentary democracy the election is primarily a contest between essentially similar rival parties for the prize of political power.
In order to have a chance of election, each party must promise to do something for every section of the electorate: the farmers, big business, small business, the labor bureaucracy, and other pressure groups. These promises are incorporated into the platform of the party for the sole purpose of winning votes. While in Alabama, Kennedy's name appeared in the column headed "White Supremacy," he was wooing the votes of Negroes in the north. While the labor unions were campaigning for him, the Mississippi politicians who support the anti-labor "Right to Work" laws, also endorsed him.
In order not to antagonize the armaments industries, and to provide full employment, Kennedy promised bigger and better armaments. He promised more social security for the aged, more "pie" for the politicians in the form of greater governmental expenditures, and for the big private and corporate taxpayers a balanced budget and lower taxes. The opposing candidate, Nixon, did the same. The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 10, 1960) declared that "Conservatives everywhere winced as he (Nixon) produced proposals to match every liberal Kennedy program."
No sharp concrete issues separated the two parties, their programs, and their candidates. Each made its play for the same voters, with virtually the same promises couched in slightly different wording. This is why the voters could hardly tell the difference between them. Because American political candidates must be all things to all men, they cannot afford the luxury of principles. Because they must not antagonize any important group of voters, they can take no definite stand on any question at the expense of votes. In trying to reconcile group interests the party platforms inevitably become a meaningless hodge-podge of idle promises, vague generalities and boring platitudes.
The candidates scramble for votes--one party loses, the other gains--but the issues remain untouched. Unemployment that in this age of automation can only be met by a lowering of working hours, is in effect untouched. The burning issue of racial' discrimination is straddled by both parties. There are world problems such as mass starvation, slavery in various forms, and the danger of human extermination through nuclear, chemical and germ warfare. These issues plague mankind, but none of them are effectually dealt with by the aspirants for high political office in "The World's Greatest Democracy."
The root causes of these evils lie in our way of life, our lack of any serious ethical values, our false political and social system. They cannot be removed by the politicians and political parties whose existence depends upon the maintenance of the very institutions that are responsible for them and can only survive thanks to their existence.
We anarchists advocate non-participation in the electoral swindle, not because we are indifferent to the problems raised by the political parties. Rather, because of our genuine concern for these problems and for the still bigger ones that the parties do not even touch, we refuse to be accessories to a farce that we feel must be exposed if the people are to acquire the social consciousness that will impel them to seek basic solutions outside of the orbit of the State and its satellite institutions.
(Our complete August 1960 Catalog will be sent on request.)
New Books Received:
IN QUEST OF FREEDOM--Cohen $2.50
The history of the Sunrise Colony.
THE SPANISH LABYRINTH--Brenan (paperback) $1.95
The definitive book on Republican Spain.
THE IWW: A STUDY IN AMERICAN SYNDICALISM--Brissenden $5.00
The classic study of the only union.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF ANARCHISM--Read 50 cents
A short, somewhat metaphysical item.
MANKIND IS ONE--Freedom Press (paperback) 50 cents
Selections of the best from Freedom, 1951.
New Pamphlets Received:
POLITICAL JUSTICE (Selections)--Godwin 20 cents
Excerpts from the writings of one of our pioneers.
FREEDOM: IS IT A CRIME--Read 15 cents
The trial of the English Anarchists in the 1940s.
Special! Large Family Size! Freeola! Capitalist-Type BONUS OFFER!!
Through the courtesy of the Libertarian Book Club we are including a copy of PIONEERS OF AMERICAN FREEDOM by Rudolf Rocker (a $2 book) with each order of Eltzbacher's ANARCHISM at the regular price of $6.00. If you already own PIONEERS we'll try to make some other arrangements.
The following items are now out of stock:
RUSSIAN TRAGEDY; WORKERS IN STALIN'S RUSSIA; and ESTAMPAS DE LA REVOLUTION ESPANOLA.
For The Cuban Revolution: A Policy Statement by the Libertarian League
The blood-soaked regime of Fulgencio Batista, like so many other dictatorships in Latin America, was a puppet of United States economic and military interests. Its overthrow was the result of several years' struggle on the part of virtually the whole population. No one man, no one party, no single class was responsible for the victory of New Year's Day 1959. Students, workers, peasants, middle-class people, guerrilla fighters and civilians had all shared in the collective effort.
The needs and aspirations of the Cuban people called for revolutionary solutions. No palace revolt, replacing one imperialist puppet for another while leaving intact the system of economic exploitation, would suffice. The overthrow of the Batista tyranny unleashed great forces of social change.
Like every revolution, that of Cuba is highly complicated with conflicting and misleading surface appearances. It is a social revolution inasmuch as it has destroyed many of the old capitalist relationships. Industries and large rural estates have been taken away from private exploiters, both native and foreign, and placed under the almost exclusive control of the State. A revolution in which a whole people participated has been directed into Statist channels under the control of a political clique. This fact negates the true values of the revolution itself.
In a social revolution the people themselves must hold the initiative at all times. The people must participate freely and directly on every level in the re-creation of society and in the building of a new order which in spite of any imperfection is their own creation.
The workers, peasants and students of Cuba had the right to expect the emergence of--at the very least--a revolutionary democracy that would have given free play to their efforts, with workers' control of the industries expropriated from the capitalists, an agrarian revolution carried out and administered by the peasants themselves and the fullest academic freedom. Instead of this, the State has become a new all-powerful master, replacing the weaker masters of yesterday. A totalitarian bureaucracy inhibits and stifles local initiative. The labor unions are converted into a "labor front" for the State without-any effective power of their own, and are in turn, controlled by Stalinist leaders that have been imposed on them from above.
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In spite of the totalitarian statist developments, the Cuban revolution has a number of things to its credit. These appear even greater to the Cuban "guajiro" who previously had so little. The revolutionary conquests are neither as great as is claimed by some, nor as hollow as is claimed by others. Fidel Castro poses as a generous benefactor bestowing gifts on his beloved people. But he who is in a position to "give" can also make conditions or take away.
Industry, agriculture, finance, the press, radio, television, the University, the labor unions, the schools and the much over-rated Militias are all under the rigid and direct control of the clique that runs the totalitarian state. Many of the most strategic posts of control and responsibility are in the hands of Communist Party people, most of whom are Cubans, but with Russian, Chinese and Czech "experts" and ''technicians" in assistance. Cuba is following the same general tragic pattern that became so familiar in Eastern Europe at the end of World War II. Once again as in Russia, Hungary and China, the revolution is being distorted and ruined by the statification of the economy and the suppression of human liberties. Unless the people participate willingly, actively, spontaneously and freely, without State supervision and control, every revolution is destined to the same fate. This can hardly be said to be the case in Cuba today, where there are more political prisoners by far than under Batista.
Fidel Castro can be said not to have gone far enough in the things that really matter, but to have gone too far in the wrong direction. Regardless of his subjective wishes or his possible honesty or sincerity (which are, really, immaterial), it must be recognized that Fidel Castro has castrated the Cuban revolution. He has come to personify the counter-revolution within the revolution.
~ ~ ~
Every social upheaval has its ideological groupings which play--or try to play--vanguard roles in the given situation. The 26th of July Movement was at the outset a political hodge-podge held together by its opposition to Batista, the personality of its maximum leader, and the general anti-imperialist verbiage common to most opposition political movements in Latin America. It was strictly authoritarian in structure. Its membership was based largely on Catholic Action and the Communist Party members who had infiltrated its ranks. With the fall of Batista, the 26th of July promptly pushed aside its allies in the common struggle and seized full political and military control. This was possible because Fidel Castro had caught the popular imagination, was hailed as the country's saviour and unblushingly assumed the mantle of "beloved leader".
Within the 26th of July a power struggle developed that resulted in the anti-communist elements withdrawing from the Movement one by one. Those whose sole interest had been the ousting of Batista were opposed to the revolutionary steps taken by Castro. Some reacted against the ultra-authoritarian character of the new regime. Some favored an understanding with Yankee interests. Others seeing the drift towards the Muscovite orbit, simply objected to changing one imperialist master for another.
Many of Castro's former associates fled into exile, others quietly withdrew into obscurity. Hundreds have been imprisoned and a few have mysteriously vanished. The 26th of July Movement as it existed during the heroic days of the Sierra Maestra no longer exists. It is now little more than a front organization for the Communist Party.
Those familiar with Bolshevik machiavellianism, having observed it in practice before, should not be too surprised. The party that had supported Batista in its leaner days now waxes fat in a situation made to order for its purposes. To the Cuban commies, the important thing is not that they rule in their own name. For the present they are satisfied to pull the strings and direct from the wings.
~ ~ ~
U.S. economic sanctions and the campaign of propaganda in the American press have played into the hands of the Russians and their Cuban agents, since they have had the effect of pushing Castro closer to Moscow. These same factors have also increased his popularity in Latin America. Incidentally, Russian support for Castro has under these circumstances increased the prestige of Communists throughout the area.
For a Latin American politician there is no more direct road to popularity than to actively oppose U.S. imperialism, as was seen with Calles in Mexico, Peron in Argentina and now with Fidel Castro in Cuba. The peoples of the continent and especially the Cubans have had enough of Yankee arrogance and exploitation. To most of them, Russia is as yet an unknown quantity, but is in the position of being the current opponent of their major exploiter, hence is thought of as a potential ally.
~ ~ ~
Considerable masses of the Cuban people still identify Castro with the revolution that he has usurped and feel that his regime favors their economic interests, but there is a rising resentment against its dictatorial and arbitrary aspects. There are several organized opposition movements of which the Revolutionary Democratic Front is the most important. This is a bloc of five or six political groups composed mostly of elements that were formerly "Autenticos," and 26th of July people. These are predominantly liberals but without any positive or unified ideology of their own, agreeing only on the need to oust Castro. Ignoring the basic problems raised by the revolution, they see the overthrow of Fidel Castro as primarily a military problem rather than a social and revolutionary one. The Revolutionary Democratic Front already has armed forces fighting at several points in the island and is actively recruiting and seeking armament at home and abroad.
In our opinion Fidel Castro and his Stalinist gang cannot be defeated without a policy advocating the extension of the revolution and giving its control to the people. The only alternative is to appeal for United States support. A fight against Castro on this basis would be interpreted by the Cuban people as counter-revolution and they would be correct. American imperialism would only give its Support on the basis of guarantees for American investments. Since social revolutionists aim at deepening and extending the revolution, they can have little in common with non-revolutionary opponents of Castro and must also disassociate themselves from the maneuvers of the hierarchy of the Church. They must resist any and all efforts to re-establish the old capitalist forms that have been destroyed.
United States intervention would be tenaciously fought by the Cuban people. They would see it not as an aspect of the "cold war," but as an imperialist aggression against their revolution. The American radical movement and American labor and liberals generally, should oppose such intervention regardless of their evaluation of, or attitude towards, Fidel Castro.
~ ~ ~
A correct revolutionary policy for Cuba requires opposition to all economic, political or military intervention by either the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. It must base itself on the right of the Cuban people to administer their own affairs free from the dictates of anyone...and without any "condescending saviours," Cuban or otherwise.
Elsewhere in this issue of Views and Comments we reprint a document of the Libertarian Syndicalists of Cuba with which we find ourselves in basic agreement. If applied concretely it could serve as a guide to revolutionary policy at this critical period.
Revolutions must reflect the will of the people and while the "vanguard" groupings have the right and duty to propagate their ideas and work effectively for them, they must not be permitted to impose their will as the sole custodians of truth and virtue.
In the struggle to overthrow Castro, our Cuban comrades will find it necessary to work together with other groups with whom agreement is reached at certain stages of the struggle. But the identity and the principles of the revolutionary vanguard must be jealously maintained at all times. It must never give up its right of independent action. Revolutionary principles can only have meaning if they are carried into practice by a responsible movement with its own identity, fighting under its own banner for the objectives of the social revolution.
We want to reiterate to our Cuban comrades, in the struggle for the ideals we hold in common, the expression of our most complete solidarity in these difficult days of decision and of struggle.
WANTED: Back Numbers of V&C to fill Library Requests--Numbers 1 to 11 and Nos. 20, 21, 23, 24, 27, 37.
Statement of Principles of the Libertarian Syndicalist Group of Cuba
1. AGAINST THE STATE IN ALL OF ITS FORMS
We of the Libertarian Syndicalist Group, consider that in this period of revolutionary accomplishment by the people of Cuba, it becomes an inescapable duty for us to point out certain facts. We oppose not only certain manifestations of the State but oppose the existence of the State itself as the directing organism of society. We must therefore resist every policy that tends to increase the growth of the State, the extension of its functions, or its totalitarian and dictatorial development.
We, Cuban libertarian syndicalist militants, as well as our comrades in other countries, believe that it is impossible to accomplish a true social revolution without--simultaneous with the economic transformation--eliminating the State as a political and administrative entity. Its social functions must be given over to basically revolutionary organisms such as labor unions, free municipalities, autonomous agricultural and industrial cooperatives and factory and peasant collectives, all of which must be free of any and all authoritarian interference.
The politically superstitious consider human society to be a result of the State, while in reality the State arose as the worst expression of the degeneration of society, or rather as the result of the rise of classes in society. This anti-social development found its culmination in the brutal inequities, injustices and antagonisms of capitalism. The State is but a parasitical excrescence produced by a class regime supported on private property of the Means of production. It must disappear once and for all with the revolutionary transformation of bourgeois society into socialist society.
2. THE UNIONS AS THE ECONOMIC ORGAN OF THE REVOLUTION
We revolutionary syndicalists affirm that the most genuine expression of the working class is the labor movement. It is therefore the task of the unions to effect the social transformation on the economic field "substituting the government over men by the administration of things." The labor unions and the federations of industry, properly and rationally restructured, contain within themselves the human and technical elements required for the most complete collective industrialization.
As against the careerists of revolutionary politics, and the disappointed cast-offs of reactionary politics who hope to recapture public power, we hold that during the social revolution, not only should the role of the unions not diminish, but that it is precisely today in a period of revolutionary reorganization that these organizations which must play their most important and decisive role. They must be converted from simple instruments of struggle for economic demands, into living organisms for the direction and coordination of the economy.
This being the case, the subordination of the unions to the politics of the State--even though we are in a revolutionary period, or perhaps precisely due to this fact--is a betrayal of the working class. It is a vile maneuver to assure labor's defeat in the historic moment when it should be fulfilling its most important socialist task, that of administration of the means of production and organization of the apparatus of distribution, in the interests of the whole of society and in order that the people may receive the goods they need at the lowest cost to them.
3. THE LAND FOR THOSE WHO WORK IT
We, the men and women of the Libertarian Syndicalist Group, today more than ever before stand by our old revolutionary slogan, "The land for those who work it." We believe that the classic cry of the peasants of all countries, "Land and Liberty," is the best expression of the immediate aspirations of the Cuban guajiros; their own land to till and produce and the freedom to organize themselves and to administer the products of their own labor.
This may be done through individual or family cultivation in some cases; through setting up free producers' cooperatives in others; but above all--wherever possible--through the organization of collective farms. The form of cultivation to be used must always be decided by the peasants themselves, and never through any imposition by the representatives of the State. While these latter may be technically capable men, they are in most cases ignorant of the true sentiments, interests and spiritual aspirations of those who till the soil.
As a result of long experience in the revolutionary struggles of the peasantry, we are convinced that the planning of agricultural production, so vital for our people, cannot be viewed as a simple technical process. Although it is true that the inert factors such as land and machinery play a part, the decisive factor is the human factor--the peasants themselves. We therefore declare ourselves in favor of the organization of collective and cooperative work on a completely voluntary basis, extending to the peasant the necessary technical and cultural aid as a means--doubtless the best means--of convincing him of the great advantages of collective cultivation as distinct from individual or family cultivation.
To act otherwise, to use coercion and force, would be to lay the basis for the complete failure of the agrarian revolution, for the failure of the most important aspect of the Revolution itself.
4. THE SCHOOL SHOULD INSTRUCT; THE FAMILY SHOULD TRAIN THE YOUNG
We militants of Libertarian Syndicalism consider that culture is not the property of anyone in particular but of humanity as a whole. It should not be considered a privilege, in which case it would become the most irritating of all privileges.
All persons regardless of their origin, class, race or religion, should have complete access to the fountains of knowledge without limitations or restrictions of any sort. Knowledge must not be limited to economically or socially privileged minorities, nor should it be under the monopolizing control of the State. Instruction should be free and gratuitous at all levels and in all categories: primary schools, secondary schools, universities, technical and artistic schools.
The moral, political and religious education of their children should be considered the inalienable right of the parents, with no ecclesiastical, political or statist interference. In the final analysis the family is the basic unit of human society and has as its supreme responsibility the moral and physical protection of its youngest members. This responsibility implies rights that must not be taken from it, that of the formation of character and the ideological orientation of the new generations within the family, within the home itself.
5. THE STRUGGLE AGAINST NATIONALISM MILITARISM AND IMPERIALISM
As revolutionary workers, we are internationalists, fervent partisans of peaceful understanding among all peoples across all geographical, linguistic, racial, political and religious barriers. We feel a great love for our country; the same love that the men of other lands feel for theirs. Hence we are enemies of nationalism in all its forms.
Decided adversaries of war and the warlike spirit, we are opposed to all wars. We are in favor of using the great economic resources that are now used for military purposes, to mitigate the hunger and the need of impoverished peoples and of converting the instruments of death produced in such frightful quantity by the great powers into instruments of labor that could bring happiness and well-being to all the world's people.
We are resolutely opposed to the military instruction of the youth, to the creation of professional armies and to the formation of military units for adolescents and children. To us nationalism and militarism are synonymous with fascism. We shall always fight relentlessly for less soldiers and more teachers, for less arms and more plows, for less cannons and more bread for all.
We Libertarian Syndicalists are against all forms of imperialism. We are against the old outworn colonialism; against the economic domination of peoples so common in the Americas; against the use of military pressure against peoples to force them to conform to political systems foreign to their national idiosyncrasies and social ideologies, as is the case in some parts of Europe and Asia.
We believe that among the nations of the world, the small are as worthy as the large. Just as we are enemies of the national States because each of them holds its own people in subjection, so also--to an even greater degree if this be possible--are we opposed to the super-states that utilize their political, military and economic force to impose their rapacious systems of exploitation on weaker countries. As against all forms of imperialism, we declare for revolutionary internationalism, for the creation of great confederations of free peoples for their common interests, for their joint aspirations, for solidarity and mutual aid. We believe in an active militant pacifism that rejects the subtle dialectics of "just wars" and "unjust wars," a pacifism that demands an end to the arms race and the rejection of all types of armament, especially the devastating nuclear weapons.
6. TO BUREAUCRATIC CENTRALISM WE COUNTERPOSE FEDERALISM
We are inherently opposed to all centralist tendencies--political, social and economic. We believe that the organization of human society should proceed from the simple to the complex, from the bottom upwards. It should commence in the basic organisms, the municipalities, the labor unions, the cooperatives, the schools, the peasants' organizations, etc., coordinated into great national and international organizations based on pacts between equals. These should be set up freely for common goals without injury to any of the contracting parties, each of which must always retain the right to withdraw from the agreement should it at any time be felt that such action would better serve its interests.
It is our understanding that these societal organizations, the great national and international confederations of unions, peasants' associations, cultural groups and municipalities, will carry the representation of all without having any greater executive powers than those which in each case have been given to them by the federated organisms of the base.
The spirit of liberty of the peoples can only find complete expression in a federalist type of organization, which establishes the necessary limits to the freedom of each at the same time that it guarantees the freedom of all. Experience has taught us that political and economic centralization leads to the creation of monstrous totalitarian states, to aggression and war between nations, to the exploitation and misery of the great masses.
7. WITHOUT INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY THERE CAN BE NO COLLECTIVE LIBERTY
We libertarian syndicalists are firm supporters of individual rights. There can be no freedom for the community as a whole if any of its members are deprived of freedom. There can be no freedom for the collectivity where man as an individual is a victim of oppression.
All human rights must be guaranteed. These include freedom of expression, the right to work and lead a decent life, religious freedom, the inviolability of the home, the right to just treatment, the right to culture, and to health. Without these guarantees there can be no civilized basis for human beings to live together in society. By the same token, we oppose racial discrimination, political persecution, religious intolerance, and all economic and social injustice.
We believe in liberty and justice for all persons, even for those who are themselves enemies of liberty and justice.
8. THE REVOLUTION BELONGS TO US ALL
The Libertarian Syndicalist Group reiterates its will to support the struggle for the complete liberation of our people, while affirming that the Revolution is not the property of any person or group in particular but belongs to the people as a whole. As we have heretofore, so we shall continue to support all those revolutionary measures that tend to remedy the old social ills. At the same time we shall always struggle against the authoritarian tendencies that exist within the Revolution itself.
We have opposed the barbarism and the corruption of the past. Now we must oppose all of the deviations that attempt to undermine our Revolution by forcing it into totalitarian forms such as exist in some other countries and which are destructive of all human dignity.
In spite of all that its admirers of the right and of the left may say, the State is not only the parasitical excrescence of class society, but is also of itself, a generator of political and economic privilege and consequently is a creator of new privileged classes. We oppose both the old reactionary groups that battle desperately to reconquer their abolished privileges and the new oppressive, exploiting groups that in Cuba can already be discerned on the revolutionary horizon.
We are for justice, socialism and liberty, for the well-being of all men regardless of origin, religion or race. On this revolutionary line, workers, peasants, students, men and women of Cuba, we will be found until the end. For these principles we are willing to stake our personal freedom and if necessary our lives.
--Libertarian Syndicalist Group
La Habana, June 1960
Cuban Labor in a Strait-Jacket
The following is extracted from a Report on Cuba issued by the Cuban Libertarian Group of New York, 12 Sept. 1960.
Castro has declared his support of every freedom, while proceeding to smother each and every one of them under one pretext or another. Hence, at present, slightly more than a year and a half after taking power, all of the press, radio, television, movie-news programs of the country are under the absolute control of the State, which dictates in all these mass-communication media.
Within the labor movement, on the pretext of eliminating from the leadership the Batista elements therein, a governmental decree was issued (Law No. 22 of Jan. 20, 1959) imposing a new top committee for the Cuban Confederation of Labor (CTC). This new committee, basing itself on the same law, then designated leading committees for each of the Federations of Industry. These federations in turn called elections in the unions during April and May under their auspices and with their rules.
The communists had been able to seize control of the committees of these Federations of Industry in almost every case. With the support of the Government and its forces, they had used every form of coercion on the workers in favor of their own candidates, having already eliminated from the unions whatever elements they thought might dispute the leadership with them. In all of the unions, slates were presented in the name of the 26th of July Movement, said slates being composed of members of the 26th of July and communists. Many of the members of the 26th of July were at the same time communist militants. These rigged elections were carried out, and following them other, similar elections in the Federations of Industry and in the Confederation itself through special National Congresses.
In spite of everything that was done by the Government, and in spite of the physical presence of Fidel Castro at the Congress of the Cuban Confederation of Labor recommending a joint slate with the communists, this Congress elected a CTC executive committee consisting entirely of members of the 26th, although some of these latter were also communists. In the Congresses of the 33 Federations of Industry, 28 declared against the communists, and only 3 in their favor.
Following the holding of the National Congress of the Confederation the Governmental-Communist [participation] was stepped up, to the point where today almost all of the leaders elected in these National Congresses have been substituted in one way or another by members of the Communist Party. Many of those who were removed have had to leave the country as exiles while others have been imprisoned or 'otherwise persecuted.
As examples we can cite in particular the Federations of Industry of Construction, Public Spectacles, Medicine, the Tobacco Industry, and the Lumber Industry, as well as the case of David Salvador, General Secretary of the CTC.
So much for the labor organizations. Now as to the workers themselves. On the pretext of cooperation with the Revolution (which for the rulers means the State, which is in turn identified with "the People"), the workers have been and are subjected to conditions of work that had been outlived in Cuba long since, through hard labor struggles. Previously between 3% and 5% of the workers' wages had been withheld for pension purposes, the percentages varying in different industries, with an additional 0.025% for Maternity assistance. Today everyone is discounted a flat 5% for pensions, plus 4% for "industrialization", plus 3% for income taxes (which had formerly applied only to incomes in excess of $200), plus 1% for obligatory union dues (which are called voluntary but are checked-off automatically by law). In addition there are special collections, and frequent special levies of a day's wages by decision of the top executives of the Federations without consultation of the membership, for every imaginable sort of thing, such as armament and airplanes, Agrarian Reform, Industrialization, etc., etc.
In addition to all the above, since most industries have passed into the hands of the Government on the pretext that they belong to the workers themselves, the workers are often obliged to work extra hours without pay, wages are reduced, and frequently such benefits as a weekly day of rest with pay and paid annual vacations have been dropped.
In our August issue we presented a quotation by Learned Hand, whom we had designated, incorrectly, as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Our authority for both the quotation and the misinformation was the Wall Street Journal, whose scholarship, apparently, is not of the best. Hand was actually a Justice of the U.S. Circuit Court, Second District.
For this issue, we offer the following quotation: "We rarely hear...of the combinations of masters; though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination....We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of." This wasn't written by a Supreme Court Judge either, but rather by Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations, in 1776.
Report Showing Youth Opposition to Draft "Not Available"
Although it was made public on May 3 in a speech at the convention of the Boys Clubs of America, a survey showing 30% of 1,000 teen-agers in 100 communities strongly opposed to the draft and an additional 35% submitting to conscription only because they are forced to do so--is not available at this time.
So stated John P. Scagnelli, assistant director of Boys Clubs program services, who delivered the convention speech.
When Jim Peck, WRL [War Resisters' League] NEWS editor, called the Boys Club, Edward J. Stapleton, director of public information, referred him to Scagnelli who said that no policy had yet been adopted on making the report available for study and that "certain people" would have to be consulted first.
Referring to a New York Times story headed "Draft Opposition Is Found In Youth," he deplored the emphasis and asserted that this is just one aspect.
When Peck finally reached Stapleton, the latter said he had been engaged in an inter-office call with Scagnelli and proceeded to repeat, more or less, what Scagnelli had said.
Peck again called Scagnelli, who promised to call him back after consulting with the "certain people." He phoned the following day to say that the report is not available at this time, that more work has to be done on it and that it probably will not be completed for several months.
The report was made by the Grant Foundation in cooperation with the Center for Social Research of the University of Michigan at a cost of $50,000.
"30% of 1,000 teen-aged boys 'questioned in depth' during a 2-year survey period voiced strong opinions against being drafted into the armed forces," the Times story stated. "Some boys said: 'I will not be drafted.' Among the remaining youths interviewed, half said they wanted to enlist, the other half said a little hopelessly that if they had to go into the service they would."
The conclusion is inescapable that the "certain people" opposed to making the report available want to suppress the plain fact that conscription is not favored by the American young people who have to submit to it.
--From WRL NEWS, July-August 1960
[no title] by Vince Hickey
Glancing at his watch, the young man saw that he had twenty minutes left of his lunch hour. He smiled to himself because he had saved a few more minutes than usual. He did this by wolfing down his meal as fast as possible so as to have some time in the open air before returning to his desk at the office. Today he had saved not only time but some money by passing up the usual cheesecake. Getting off the stool, he turned and reached for his gray, three-button suit jacket, paid his 60-cent check and heard the tinkle of the bell as he opened the door.
Across the street he heard children's voices, gay and excited. They were playing in a small schoolyard. Watching them, he decided, would be a good way to spend his remaining minutes.
He leaned on the wire fence that surrounded the yard and watched their efforts with an idle pleasure. The yard was a decrepit one. Its pavement contained great cracks that had caused it to warp, creating small hills and gullies in its surface. This, however, did not seem to affect the children's enjoyment of their game.
They were playing some corrupted form of soccer. Shouting noisily, they ran back and forth, in sliding and then jerking motions, kicking the ball, chasing it, jumping in the air, jerking, stopping, starting, bumping into each other, falling down and getting up, all this time shouting and screeching. The young man was enjoying himself, moving barely visibly with the motions of the children.
"Ay! Dats it. Kick da ball!"
The young man, not moving his head, shifted his eyes warily and observed that a small, unkempt old man was standing next to him. The old man was laughing and shouting with the children. Turning to the young man and jabbing him smartly in the ribs, he exclaimed,
"Ah! Itsa goot to see da kidsa play. Noh?"
The young man was uncomfortable and annoyed and besides his side retained the sensation of the other's jab. He nodded his head and grudgingly mumbled,
The young man was not enjoying the play as much as he had before. He was too aware of his "companion." He tried to pretend the man was not there and that he was completely absorbed with the game, but from the corner of his eye he noticed that the man was wearing a battered hat and that the edges of its band were stained with sweat. The blue suit jacket was several sizes too large while the brown pants had long forgotten such things as creases and, instead ballooned out like the sails of a schooner of old. His shoes were scraped and paint-spattered while the laces were knotted in more places than one. The young man judged him to be a derelict, but then on the other hand, he could not be sure. For though the man needed a shave, his hands were gnarled and scarred and yellowed with calluses and stained with ingrained dirt.
The old one leaned on him and put his arm about his shoulder.
"See dat liddle one? Heesa pretty gud boy...dat one da blue shirt. He can handle da ball nize. Noh?"
The young man disentangled himself with as much grace as possible. He was trying to make up his mind as to what he should tell the old one to get lost. He hesitated because, after all if the man wasn't a bum, it would be terrible to insult him. He would feel very badly. If the man had worked hard all his life it wouldn't do to hurt him. Besides, his sociology classes at the university had given him a deeper understanding of these people who were after all less fortunate than he.
"Ya know, I useda play like dees wen I wassa da small one myself. I wassa pretty gud too. Alla da fellas from my town was gud but I wassa betta dan most. Ah we useda hava da gud fun."
The man produced a handkerchief (naturally dirty) and mopped his sweaty brow. His eyes glistened with enjoyment. He kept leaning on the other, now and then jabbing his elbow into the other's ribs.
Several times the young one was about to leave but he was restrained by the thought that he was here first. He was sorely tempted to tell the old one to leave him alone or to move on.
Then he heard a deep, low sob. He looked at the old one and saw that he was no longer mopping sweat with the handkerchief but was wiping away a trickle of tears from a pair of reddened, water-filled eyes. Now isn't this a hell of a note, he thought. Why do people have to intrude on your privacy like this?
The old man was looking at him, his face pleading for some obscure understanding. His lips tried to form wordless syllables but only unintelligible sounds and sobs came from them while a tear trickled down his cheek, leaving a white streak on his dark face.
The young man, trying to control his annoyance, softly said, "What's the matter?"
The old one gestured with his hand toward the children and shook his head. But no words came out.
"Why are you crying?"
"Its... itsa... da children... you know, da children."
"Yes, but why are you crying?"
The old man managed a weak smile and sobbed,
"Da children... da children."
A non-union man may join the enemy to defeat shorter hours and better wages, but when he has lost his fight and the bosses have triumphed, he is always the first man to demand more afterwards of another's effort and to profit from the courted devotion of the men he did his best to defeat.
(From the official paper of the International Typographical Union
Pith and Vinegar
In the insane socio-economic system currently palmed off on society there is absolutely no way of obtaining large amounts of money which does not involve dishonesty and/or exploitation. By rights wealth should automatically preclude prestige and respect, but instead it engenders them. The brainwashed patriot looks up in awe at the man of wealth and says, "He has what it takes." The Anarchist looks down in disgust at the same man and says, "On the contrary, he has what he took."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"A parliament is a king with 600 heads"...all mediocre.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Regardless of how seriously the poor voter regards his rights of suffrage, it really doesn't matter a damn bit who gets elected president. And don't think that the people with money and power in this supposed democracy aren't fully aware of the farce. On October 7, 1960, the conservative New York World-Telegram and Sun ran an item entitled: BUSINESS HAS FEW WORRIES OVER ELECTION: ONLY 2.6% IN POLL CALL IT MAJOR FACTOR. The item went on to state: "No matter who wins the Presidential election, it's worrying American business--including the top 500 corporations in the country--very little. A survey released today by Dun & Bradstreet Inc. showed that of 1,225 large companies in 147 cities only 2.6 per cent felt that the forthcoming election is the 'most important single issue facing American business at this time.' And, in the next 5 to 10 years, as business looks at it now, the 1960 election will still remain in first place as a business problem for only 0.3 per cent of the 1,225 firms."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The apathetic populace, fully aware of the overwhelming corruption of policemen, politicians and other bureaucratic poltroons, never recognizes the basic cause: governmental authority itself. The socialists, on the other hand, equally aware of the stench, have a brilliant remedy: More Government!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Peculation is far from a purely American phenomenon. Every country is pervaded from top to bottom with corruption. In sunny Italy, for instance, Roncalli and Luciano are still vying with one another in their rival narcotic enterprises. Our own favorites, however, are the four worthies who were arrested in Rome on July 26th of this year. According to the New York Times, the Commander in Chief of the Italian National Association of Boy Scouts and three of his National Lieutenants. were hauled in on charges of defrauding their compadres of 50,000,000 lire ($83,000). Their particular racket was based on a purported scheme to reform wayward boys.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dubinsky once stated that Labor needs Capital like a fish needs water. Actually Labor needs Capital like a fish needs a worm with a hook in it.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Our smug super-patriots seem loath to compare the vengeance wreaked by the Russians on Mr. Powers to that "reeked" by us on the Rosenbergs and Sobell. Powers, caught red-handed and tried for an overt act of espionage, was given only ten years; the Rosenbergs, tried only for conspiracy to commit espionage--for a then war-time ally--were executed. Sobell, not even charged with conspiracy, was given 30 years solely for having known the Rosenbergs. On the one hand, the Powers case was open and shut, whereas the Rosenberg-Sobell case was dubious at best, and more likely was an absolute travesty. There has been some recent activity on the behalf of Morton Sobell, who has spent the last ten years in Alcatraz. If successful, it may partially obviate our own barbarity.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Consumer Reports was banned as subversive in the early 1950s by the Cincinnati Public School system. Evidently the assumption was that anyone who doesn't like to see people get cheated is a Communist.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We are Given to understand that Pope John's favorite song is "All God's Rhythm Got Chillun."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The political approach to revolution, as espoused by various socialist groups, has now been obviated completely. The "powers that have" recently circumvented the equal-radio-television-time ruling for all qualified candidates for political office. Thus only the Republocrat-Demican twins need to be considered. This is the final nail in the coffin of democratic-socialist theory. The only sound approach now, as it has always been, is that of the General Strike--the direct action strategy long championed by the Anarchists and the IWW. Views and Comments will announce the date as soon as feasible.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
After the G.E. Strike by S.W.
In some circles, the settlement of the 116-day steel strike was hailed as a great victory for Labor. It was optimistically claimed that the great union-crushing offensive spearheaded by the steel trust had been decisively repulsed and that the anti-labor forces would not for a very long time attempt another large-scale attack.
Recent events have shown that these hopes were unfounded. With the defeat of the strike of the International Union of Electrical Workers against the giant General Electric Company, the union and with it the whole organized labor movement has suffered its greatest setback since World War Two. The union was forced to accept the uncompromising terms offered by General Electric. The union gave up the crucial escalator clause in the original contract which would have provided for an increase in pay to match increases in living costs. At first the company had refused to reinstate workers who had been discharged or laid off for strike activity, although later it agreed to submit this question to arbitration. The same union was further humiliated when it was forced to settle with the second largest electrical corporation--Westinghouse--on even less favorable terms.
When there is general "prosperity" and the demand for labor is great, almost any union looks good to the worker because it can get him tangible benefits from the employers. But the real character and power of any labor organization is revealed when the going is rough. The test comes in a time like the present when automation, economic stagnation and unemployment embolden the bosses to cut wages, diminish fringe benefits and working conditions and/or threaten to move their plants to cheap-labor southern states. Fear of the loss of their jobs, the company propaganda, and the fact that other unions have accepted such cutbacks, has sapped the strength and vitality of the movement. Workers have feared that their leadership did not have the ability to conduct a successful strike, and many of the workers have therefore voted against strike action.
The G.E. strike shows that the American labor movement cannot cope with capitalism in a time of crisis, partly because of structural-defeats but mainly because of the erosion of its morale, fighting spirit and class consciousness. The call to strike at a time when only one-third of G.E.'s 240,000 workers were organized in the union, and when electrical supplies glutted the market, was bad enough. To do So when the membership was lukewarm and at a time when the Other unions would not respect the picket line was even Worse. The low morale was shown by the shameful betrayal of the 8,700 members of the union's largest local in Schenectady, N.Y.
To insure the necessary solidarity and win strikes the union must organize the strategically powerful army of white collar workers, engineers and technicians. Because the union leadership has been too busy playing politics to devote the necessary attention to labor's real problems, and to the changing composition of the American working class today, the workers have had to pay a very high price--that of inglorious defeat.
The employers have been encouraged by the weakness of the unions to launch offensives all along the line. The three-year contract with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler expires in the fall of 1961 and the motor companies are already preparing to follow the example of General Electric and grant no concessions. The U.A.W. leaders are trying to avoid a strike by talking things over with the management of the auto companies. But the employers have rejected these overtures. The oil companies, the Steel Trust, the lumber barons, the rubber 'corporations, the trucking industry--all of these and many more--are preparing to break future strikes by anti-union propaganda designed to weaken the morale of the workers and influence public opinion. They publicly state that far from granting wage increases and other concessions, they intend to demand wage cuts and the elimination of various fringe benefits.
One steel company executive recently declared: "Preparing for negotiations is a year-round job with us. We've got to hold down wages because we operate on a profit margin of 1% or less."
"I think the G.E. approach is going to be emulated by many companies," says an official of a major West Coast oil company.
Sam Schulman, President of the Associated Fur Manufacturers, said "Our attitude is, we're not going to give them anything, as a matter of fact we're going to try to get a few things back."
So far, the labor leaders have developed no effective answer to the challenge of the employers. They are not willing or prepared for a real fight on the economic front. They pin all their hopes on two discredited and futile tactics: 1) conciliating the employers by back-door agreements made at informal get-togethers at well-laden tables in swank hotels, and 2) lobbying for favorable labor legislation. Now that the employers are proving uncooperative, the misleaders of labor look to President-elect J.F. Kennedy, as a last hope, to reward their efforts in his behalf.
These labor fakers want the Government to help the unions and do their job of protecting labor's rights. President McDonald of the Steelworkers made this quite plain in a recent television broadcast. He declared that he expects the government to shorten working hours and use its influence to avoid strikes. What the new president will do can be guessed from Kennedy's answer to a question asked by a representative of the Scripps Howard newspaper chain...."Would you ask Congress to shorten the work week to deal with automation's effects on unemployment?" To which Kennedy promptly answered, "No--the effect of automation can be to increase our net product and to increase our economic strength." (!!!)
For the working class, the situation becomes increasingly unbearable. We are caught in a trap created by the offensive of the employers and the inadequacy of our own organizations to cope with it. The venality of the labor fakers is in large part responsible for this situation. Something must give...and soon. Even the most docile workers will ultimately be moved to take action in their own behalf.
On Art & Craftsmanship by Carlos Cortez
Oft times at the galleries, coffee house bull-sessions or what-have-you, one is apt to overhear learned discussions by various and sundry self-styled art critics (I also include the paid and syndicated critics in that category) waxing profoundly on the nature of art and where art ends and craftsmanship begins, and no one seems to know where to place the dividing line.
However, there is no difference between artist and craftsman.
A true artist is a craftsman and a true craftsman is an artist. To imply that one is different from the other would sell both of them short. If one is either, he loves his work and takes pride in turning out a good job. Whether one paints a landscape, writes a sonnet or haiku, composes a sonata, makes a basket, builds an outhouse, or works on a lathe, if satisfaction is gained by that act all are blood brothers.
Let one thing be made clear, there is nothing esoteric, exclusive or ivory towerish about art. To say that the creative urge is the province of a select, discerning minority whose vision is broader than that of the greater masses would be to imply that art is not really necessary and performs no vital function in the scheme of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Whether one is a believer in a higher power or an atheistic analyst he must arrive at the inescapable conclusion that art is a vital part of the universe and that the communication of that art involves craftsmanship. It takes craftsmanship to arrange tones in a symphony or jazz bit or place words correctly in a piece of literature, and it takes artistry to assemble a well run machine so it can function in harmony with its environment.
True, on the surface you will encounter works of art that will appear to lack a craftsmanlike precision, as you will see machinery that seemingly is devoid of esthetic value, but believe it or not, both are dependent on each other. As an amateur archeologist, I feel I can cite one small example. Aboriginal campsites and hunting grounds have yielded to posterity a treasure of spear heads, projectile points and other stone implements. Among these projectile points you will find some that have been crudely fashioned and are coarse in appearance, while others are perfectly chipped and have a pleasing symmetry that ranks them as true works of sculpture.
Look upon these different artifacts to see which has the greater appeal to your esthetic sense of values, and with only a rudimentary knowledge of aerodynamics you will be able to identify the one that best performed its technological function and kept its owner longest from starvation.
Art, besides being a vehicle to embellish existence, is the harmony of a well-arranged universe, and as such cannot be divorced from the economics of everyday living despite the endless parade of parasitic ruling classes who throughout history have tried to corral it for their own little status symbol, for by the same universal scheme of beauty these rulers bring about their own destruction. Through the diligent shovel of the archeologist, works of art survive to be appreciated by ensuing generations.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
During the recent Presidential election, many socialists and liberals supported the Democratic Party's candidate John F. Kennedy as the lesser evil, preferable to their minds over the reactionary Nixon. Also, the Stalinists in their quiet but hopeful Machiavellian way threw their support to the same candidate as did Senator Eastland of Mississippi.
Kennedy's first public "act," upon learning of his victory, was to announce that he will continue J. Edgar Hoover in office as Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation....
The Cult of The Leader
Styles may change, like women's dresses that go up and down, but some tendencies seem to be eternal. There is a basic similarity among dictators all of whom appear to have sick egos that can only be satisfied with continual praise. The following are illustrations from the recent past:
DUCE! DUCE! DUCE !
HAIL THE BRIGHT SUN OF SOCIALISM, THE GENIAL STALIN!
FRANCO! FRANCO! FRANCO!
To these we must add a new one found as a streamer on top of the first page of "Revolucion," organ of the Cuban 26th of July Movement:
FIDEL FIDEL FIDEL FIDEL FIDEL
It appears that Fidel is trying to outdo Mussolini and Franco. We dare not venture to guess how far this may go. After all, one of the Roman Emperors built temples for the worship of his horse that he had proclaimed a god.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DICK--Please come home. All is forgiven.
--Pat, Julie, Tricia.
Bakunin and Marx
Franz Borkenau, in his excellent book THE SPANISH COCKPIT (London, Faber & Faber, 1937), makes the following comparison between Anarchism and Marxism:
"It (Anarchism) has fully explained its convictions in the debates with the Marxists. The salient point of these debates is that Bakunin accepted the atheist faith of the Marxists, but not their materialistic interpretation of history. What are the implications? Marx regarded social revolution and socialism as the inevitable result-of the economic progress of capitalism. He identified himself in consequence, to the full with 'progressive capitalism' and all its implications, including parliament and political action within the framework of capitalism. Bakunin, for his part, regarded social revolution and socialism as the result of the revolutionary action of the people prompted by the moral conviction of the immorality, the hideousness, the human unacceptability of the capitalist world. The one waited for industrial development and democratic action (without shunning revolutionary means) to bring the hour of the social revolution nearer. The other saw socialism as possible at any moment, provided there was revolutionary conviction and decision. But this conviction and decision, according to Bakunin's idea, could not be put at the disposal of the masses simply by a small group of professional revolutionaries; they must emerge from a revolutionary spirit in the people itself. A closely-knit group of self-sacrificing revolutionaries would be needed to prompt the movement, but would be of no avail without a revolutionary people....(A spontaneous revolutionary spirit) was not to be found among the progressive nations, where the proletariat had, according to Bakunin, become nice, decent, and subdued, and itself admired' the blessings of modern capitalism; in these countries revolution had withered down to a merely political principle. It had left the hearts of the people only to remain in their heads....Revolutionaries by heart and instinct, according to Bakunin, were first and foremost those nations who did not admire the blessings of civilization; who were not in love with material progress; where the masses were not yet imbued with the capitalist spirit; and particularly his own people, the Russians; and to a still higher degree, the Spaniards....Bakunin, as historical experience has proved since, was completely right as against Marx. Revolution did not come to Britain and Germany, but to Russia and Spain."
Crime and Punishment by Harold Henry
I am pleased to give my opinions on the subject of crime and punishment and welcome anyone to take issue with me.
It is my view after almost 20 years of law practice that crime is a result of emotional and mental disturbance. This opinion is viewed from the standpoint of a criminal defense attorney. I have never met a criminal who, in my opinion, was a 'rational human. Crime and its punishment was originally in the charge of the church which decided things by "divine will." The criminal walked over a bed of hot coals and if his feet did not burn he was considered innocent. The laws of both England and the United States are both largely based on theological thinking, and punishment of the criminal is the "mens rea" which translated means bad mind. The test for insanity is based on the theological idea of the difference between right and wrong, but does not take into consideration the emotional instability of the individual.
A man may know right from wrong, and yet not be responsible for his acts due to his emotional and mental outlook. It is true that some progress has been made in getting criminal matters out of the hands of the clergy, and into the hands of the lawyers who generally make our laws and are responsible for the conduct of the defense and prosecution as well as the sentencing of the criminal from the bench. But the matter is not one for the lawyer, but for the psychiatrist and psychologist. There is no known cure for the criminal, but that does not mean that it is not a psychiatric problem.
I am sure that lawyers would not agree that this problem is a mental, as opposed to a legal problem, for it is a lucrative field for the lawyer, and under the social system in which we live no one seems to be disposed to give up his livelihood. We find lawyers on one occasion hired to' represent the defense, and on the other hand, hired as prosecutors to send the criminal to jail or the electric chair. They work arduously either way for a fee, maintaining a system of thinking that is hundreds of years behind the times in punishing the guilty or bad mind.
A man is what he is by reason of two things environment and heredity. Which is the greater no one seems to know. No man is responsible for his environment which includes everything a man does from childhood onwards. Everyone he meets affects his environment. His teachers at school, his playmates, both at home and in the school, and the thousand and one things that he does from the time he takes his first breath until the last. The society and its mores effect his environment either for good or for bad.
Equally true is the fact that man is what he is by reason of his heredity. A man does not choose his parents nor their millions of ancestors. Just how many men and women is the average man kin to? If one accepts evolution, as the majority of scientists, especially the biologists and anthropologists, do, his ancestors go back to a remote branch of the ape family.
Since man is what he is by reason of these two factors, he is not therefore responsible for what he does anymore than he is responsible for the size of his foot, the color of his skin, or his inability to carry a tune, and since he is not responsible for what he is, what right has anyone to decide his fate? If crime and punishment is for the consideration of the psychiatrist, the crazed killer will not be turned loose on society, but will be treated like other mental disorders--by scientists in hopes that some cure can be affected. At least the problem will be in the hands of those best capable of treating him.
This problem has been recognized by the University of Pennsylvania, where a psychiatrist has been employed to teach in the criminal law section of the law school. That the problem has not been solved I will agree, but new roads of thought are needed with a new approach to the problem, in order that we may arrive at a solution.
More God or religion is not the answer, because our penal institutions are filled with Christians. The Godless make up less than one per cent of the inmates of modern penal institutions. Neither is more punishment by advocating more use of the electric chair a solution. This point has been particularly proved in five states that have abolished capital punishment, there having been no corresponding increase in crime.
With those who contend that it is the economic system that induces crime I am in complete agreement, since this is part of the environment. A different economic system would eliminate the crime of theft. But fifty per cent of the crimes are those in which the passions are involved, and it is in this latter fifty per cent that I contend they are mentally sick at the time of the commission of the crime.
Mr. J. Edgar Hoover has recently made the statement that we should not coddle the juvenile delinquent, and there have recently been statements that we should make the parent responsible for the acts of his children. Many juvenile delinquents come from the middle class, but since the dawn of civilization we have had juvenile delinquents, and they are still with us, and unless the proponents of parental responsibility and the non-coddlers can come up with a more concrete solution, the problem will remain to be solved.
--Harold Henry, attorney
The above comments by a man whose opinions are based on actual observation and long study of the problem of which he writes will certainly provide food for thought for many. The author has expressed interest in discussing his ideas by mail with any who may care to write to him.
In our own opinion, the writer assumes too fatalistic an attitude when he attributes the actions of people entirely to heredity and the conditioning of their environment. Were we to follow this to its logical conclusion we could do little more than hope that the environment might someday, miraculously, be changed.
But man can and often has changed his environment by his own conscious acts. Individuals can, by the exercise of their own will, alter the circumstances in which they live. Naturally the environment determines much but it is not the only factor aside from heredity to be taken into consideration.
In discussing the mental illness that lies at the root of most crimes of passion, the writer fails to go into the causes of the mental instability so prevalent today and which is indeed at the root of much of today's criminality.
A healthier social order would create healthier, saner individuals and would ultimately reduce this type of crime to the vanishing point. But, in order to change the present insane society to one where greed and war are no longer the guiding forces, people must act-on--their convictions, breaking the bonds of spiritual and economic servitude.
On the Welfare State
In the 1830s Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French political thinker, described the evil effects of what is known today as the "Welfare State" in these prophetic terms:
"It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances. What remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living....?"
"The will of men is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided. Men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence. It does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, until each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."
(from "Democracy in America")
Libertarian League Financial Report: July-Sept. 1960
ARIZONA: S.B. $1.40. BRITISH COLUMBIA: J.R. $5; G.B. $2.50; CALIFORNIA: B.B. $7; R.H. $1. FLORIDA: G.L. $5; ILLINOIS: J. de M. $3; R.A.B. $12.; MARYLAND: C.B. $1.75; MICHIGAN: J.B.W. $5.80; M.M. $12; Fede $3; L.A. $5; J.S. $13; F.R. $1; P.D. $1; Detroit Group $15. MISSOURI: E.S. $3; NEW MEXICO: J.C. $1; NEW YORK CITY: Russian Group: $20; forums $100.65. Transferred from Literature Funds $85; Outstanding printing bill $21; R.F. $1; S.K. $2; J.F. $9; G.M. $7; Miscellaneous $5.50. OHIO: A.G. $3; H. Family $8; L.M.R. $5; ONTARIO: P.P. $5. OREGON: V.G. $1. PENNSYLVANIA: T.O. $5. WISCONSIN: C.C. $14. Proceeds of Youngstown Picnic: $136.
Income, July through September, 1960: $527.60
Balance carried forward: $97.17
Office supplies: 1.55
Misc. V&C expenses: 57.57
P.O. Box rent: 4.50
Payments on paper bill 180.00
Recording tape 41.00
Cumulative deficit for paper brought forward: $448.17
Accounts receivable: 98.03
Cash on hand: $35.27
What We Stand For
The "free" world is not free; the "communist" world is not communist. Fundamentally they are identical: one becoming totalitarian, the other already so.
Their current power struggle leads inexorably to atomic war and the probable destruction of the human race.
We charge that both systems engender servitude: pseudo-freedom based on economic slavery is no better than pseudo-freedom based on political slavery.
The monopoly of power which is 'the State must be eliminated. Government itself, as well as its underlying institutions, perpetuates war, oppression, corruption, exploitation, and misery.
We advocate a world-wide society of communities and councils based on cooperation and free agreement from the bottom (federalism) instead of coercion and domination from the top (centralism). Regimentation of people must be replaced by regulation of things.
Freedom without socialism is chaotic, but socialism without freedom is despotic. Libertarianism is free socialism.
These ideas are expanded on in the Provisional Statement of Principles of the Libertarian League and in other literature that will be supplied free on request.