Page:Historical Catechism of American Unionism.pdf/57

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to conciliate more than the foreman or superintendent under whom you worked. He exercised more control over your life than any other agency with which you came into contact. He was one to conciliate and to "stand in" with. THE UNION WAS HIS. It was, because the union members abdicated in favor the officialdom. That is the power in which the officialdom of the A. F. of L. deals; that is their business; the business of controlling—and delivering—unassertive, docilely obedient, and submissive packages of human labor power like you.

174. Why say the A. F. of L. bears the brand of capitalist agent?
Because it does. It has lost the militancy that marked the first ten years of its existence. Its aggressiveness was tempered by the reluctance of forces that came to control it absolutely after its tenth year. The jealous regard of the international unions for autonomy made itself felt in the adoption of the first and second sections of Article I, of the constitution. The first of these, by confining the function of the A. F. of L. to the effort of securing labor legislation, denied it the opportunity of ever becoming a national labor union; and there was retained to the international unions, in the second section, the privilege of being the only national economic expressions of their particular organized groups. Here, at the very outset of its career, the Federation became the loosest kind of a bond between the international unions. It took on the appearance of national unity, behind which was hidden permanent and unalterable division of the American working class.
The A. F. of L. really performs no legitimate function for labor, but it does serve the interests of the capitalists by making for a perpetually divided and, therefore, weakened condition of the American working class. What serves capitalism is capitalistic. Its preamble is contradicted by its constitution. The one proclaims the class struggle, the other denies it. Where "strict autonomy of each trade" prevails, it will, in the words of the A. F. of L. preamble, "work disastrous results to the toiling millions." Between unions unassociated and those separated by the rigid lines of trade autonomy