The Settlement as a factor in the Labor Movement
THE SETTLEMENT AS A FACTOR IN THE LABOR MOVEMENT.
One man or group of men sometimes reveal to their contemporaries a higher conscience by simply incorporating into the deed what has been before but a philosophic proposition. By this deed the common code of ethics is stretched to a higher point.
Such an act of moral significance, for instance, was John Burns's loyalty to the dockers' strike of East London. "The injury to one" did at last actually "become the concern of all;" and henceforth the man who does not share that concern drops below the standard ethics of his day. The proposition which workingmen had long quoted was at last incarnated by a mechanic, who took his position so intelligently that he carried with him the best men in England, and set the public conscience. Other men became ashamed of a wrong to which before they had been easily indifferent.
When the social conscience, if one may use the expression, has been thus strikingly formulated, it is not so hard for others to follow. They do it weakly and stumblingly perhaps; but they yet see a glimmer of light of which the first man could not be sure, and they have a code of ethics upon which the first man was vague. They are also conscious of the backing of a large share of the community who before this expression knew not the compunction of their own hearts. A settlement accepts the ethics of its contemporaries that the sharing of the life of the poor is essential to the understanding and bettering of that life; but by its very existence it adopts this modern code somewhat formally. The social injury of the meanest man not only becomes its concern, but by virtue of its very locality it has put itself into a position to see, as no one but a neighbor can see, the stress and need of those who bear the brunt of the social injury. A settlement has not only taken a pledge towards those thus injured, but it is placed where the motive-power for the fulfilment of such a pledge is constantly renewed. Propinquity is an unceasing factor in its existence.
A review of the sewing-trades, as seen from a settlement, will be sufficient to illustrate this position.
Hull-House is situated in the midst of the sweaters' district of Chicago. The residents came to the district with the general belief that organization for working-people was a necessity. They would doubtless have said that the discovery of the power to combine was the distinguishing discovery of our time; that we are using this force somewhat awkwardly, as men use that which is newly discovered. In social and political affairs the power to combine often works harm; but it is already operating to such an extent in commercial affairs, that the manufacturer who does not combine with others of his branch is in constant danger of failure; that a railroad cannot be successfully projected unless the interests of parallel roads are consulted; and that working-people likewise cannot be successful until they too, learn, skilfully to avail themselves of this power.
This was to the residents, as to many people, an accepted proposition, but not a working formula. It had not the driving force of a conviction. The residents have lived for five years in a neighborhood largely given over to the sewing-trades, which is an industry totally disorganized. Having observed the workers in this trade as compared to those in organized trades, they have gradually discovered that lack of organization in a trade tends to the industrial helplessness of the workers in that trade. If in all departments of social, political, and commercial life, isolation is a blunder, and results- in dreariness and apathy, then in industrial affairs isolation is a social crime; for it there tends to extermination.
This process of extermination entails starvation and suffering, and the desperate moral disintegration which inevitably follows in their train, until the need of organization in industry gradually assumes a moral aspect. The conviction arrived at entails a social obligation.
No trades are so overcrowded as the sewing-trades; for the needle has ever been the refuge of the unskilled woman. The wages paid throughout the manufacture of clothing are less than those in any other trade. In order to meet the requirements of the workers, lack of skill and absence of orderly life, the work has been so subdivided that almost no skill is required after the garment leaves the cutter. It is given practically to the one who is at hand when it is ready, and who does it for the least money. This subdivision and low wage have gone so far, that the woman who does home finishing alone cannot possibly gain by it a living wage. The residents of Hull-House have carefully investigated many cases, and are ready to assert that the Italian widow who finishes the cheapest goods, although she sews from six in the morning until eleven at night, can only get enough to keep her children clothed and fed; while for her rent and fuel she must always depend upon charity or the hospitality of her countrymen. If the American sewing-woman, supporting herself alone, lives on bread and butter and tea, she finds a Bohemian woman next door whose diet of black bread and coffee enables her to undercut. She competes with a wife who is eager to have home finishing that she may add something to the family comfort; or with a daughter who takes it that she may buy a wedding outfit.
The Hebrew tailor, the man with a family to support, who, but for this competition of unskilled women and girls, might earn a wage upon which a family could subsist, is obliged, in order to support them at all, to put his little children at work as soon as they can sew on buttons.
It does not help his industrial situation that the woman and girl who have brought it about have accepted the lower wages in order to buy comforts for an invalid child, or to add to the earnings of an aged father. The mother who sews on a gross of buttons for seven cents, in order to buy a blue ribbon with which to tie up her little daughter's hair, or the mother who finishes a dozen vests for five cents, with which to buy her children a loaf of bread, commits unwittingly a crime against her fellow-workers, although our hearts may thrill with admiration for her heroism, and ache with pity over her misery.
The maternal instinct and family affection is woman's most holy attribute; but if she enters industrial life, that is not enough. She must supplement her family conscience by a social and an industrial conscience. She must widen her family affection to embrace the children of the community. She is working havoc in the sewing-trades, because with the meagre equipment sufficient for family life she has entered industrial life.
Have we any right to place before untrained women the alternative of seeing their little children suffer, or of complicating the industrial condition until all the children of the community are suffering? We know of course what their decision would be. But the residents of a settlement are not put to this hard choice, although it is often difficult to urge organization when they are flying to the immediate relief of the underfed children in the neighborhood.
If the settlement, then, is convinced that in industrial affairs lack of organization tends to the helplessness of the isolated worker, and is a menace to the entire community, then it is bound to pledge itself to industrial organization, and to look about it for the lines upon which to work. And at this point the settlement enters into what is more technically known as the labor movement.
The labor movement may be called a concerted effort among the workers in all trades to obtain a more equitable distribution of the product, and to secure a more orderly existence for the laborers. How may the settlement be of value to this effort?
If the design of the settlement is not so much the initiation of new measures, but fraternal co-operation with all good which it finds in its neighborhood, then the most obvious line of action will be organization through the trades-unions, a movement already well established.
The trades-unions say to each workingman, "Associate yourself with the fellow-workers in your trade. Let your trade organization federate with the allied trades, and they, in turn, with the National and International Federation, until working-people become a solid body, ready for concerted action. It is the only possible way to prevent cuts in the rate of wages, and to regulate the hours of work. Capital is organized, and has influence with which to secure legislation in its behalf. We are scattered and feeble because we do not work together."
Trades-unionism, in spite of the many pits into which it has fallen, has the ring of altruism about it. It is clearly the duty of the settlement to keep it to its best ideal and to bring-into it something of the spirit which has of late characterized the unions in England. This keeping to the ideal is not so easy as the more practical work of increasing unions, although that is difficult enough. Of the two women's unions organized at Hull-House, and of the four which have regularly held their meetings there, as well as those that come to us during strikes at various times, I should venture to say of only one of them that it is filled with the new spirit, although they all have glimpses of it, and even during times of stress and disturbance strive for it.
It was perhaps natural, from the situation, that the unions organized at Hull-House should have been those in the sewing-trades. The shirtmakers were organized in the spring of 1891. The immediate cause was a cut in a large factory from twenty-five cents a dozen for the making of collars and cuffs to twelve cents. The factory was a model in regard to its sanitary arrangements, and the sole complaint of the girls was of the long hours and low rate of wages. The strike which followed the formation of the union was wholly unsuccessful; but the union formed then has thriven ever since, and has lately grown so strong that it has recently succeeded in securing the adoption of the national labels.
The cloakmakers were organized at Hull-House in the spring of 1892. Wages had been steadily falling, and there was great depression among the workers of the trade. The number of employees in the inside shops was being rapidly reduced, and the work of the entire trade handed over to the sweaters. The union among the men numbered two hundred; but the skilled workers were being rapidly supplanted by untrained women, who had no conscience in regard to the wages they accepted. The men had urged organization for several years, but were unable to secure it among the women. One apparently insurmountable obstacle had been the impossibility of securing any room, save one over a saloon, that was large enough and cheap enough for a general meeting. To a saloon hall the women had steadfastly refused to go, save once, when, under the pressure of a strike, the girls in a certain shop had met with the men from the same shop, over one of the more decent saloons, only to be upbraided by their families upon their return home. They of course refused ever to go again. The first meeting at Hull-House was composed of men and girls, and two or three of the residents. The meeting was a revelation to all present. The men, perhaps forty in number, were Russian-Jewish tailors, many of whom could command not even broken English. They were ill-dressed and grimy, suspicious that Hull-House was a spy in the service of the capitalists. They were skilled workers, easily superior to the girls when sewing on a cloak, but .shamefaced and constrained in meeting with them. The American-Irish girls were well-dressed, and comparatively at ease. They felt chaperoned by the presence of the residents, and talked volubly among themselves. These two sets of people were held together only by the pressure upon their trade. They were separated by strong racial differences, by language, by nationality, by religion, by mode of life, by every possible social distinction. The interpreter stood between the two sides of the room, somewhat helpless. He was clear upon the economic necessity for combination; he realized the mutual interdependence; but he was baffled by the social aspect of the situation. The residents felt that between these men and girls was a deeper gulf than the much-talked of "chasm" between the favored and unfavored classes. The working-girls before them, who were being forced to cross such a gulf, had a positive advantage over the cultivated girl who consciously, and sometimes heroically, crosses the "chasm " to join hands with her working sisters.
There was much less difference of any sort between the residents and working-girls than between the men and girls of the same trade. It was a spectacle only to be found in an American city, under the latest conditions of trade-life. Working-people among themselves are being forced into a social democracy from the pressure of the economic situation. It presents an educating and broadening aspect of no small value.
The Woman's Cloakmakers' Union has never been large, but it always has been characterized by the spirit of generosity which marked its organization. It feels a strong sense of obligation toward the most ill-paid and ignorant of the sweaters' victims, and no working-people of Chicago have done more for abolition of the sweating-system than this handful of women.
But the labor movement is by no means so simple as trades-unionism. A settlement finds in the movement devoted men who feel keenly the need for better industrial organization, but who insist that industrial organization must be part of the general reorganization of society. The individualists, for instance, insist that we will never secure equal distribution until we have equality of opportunity; that all State and city franchises, all privilege of railroad, bank, and corporation, must be removed before competition will be absolutely free, and the man with his labor alone to offer will have a fair chance with the man who offers anything else; that the sole function of the State is to secure the freedom of each, guarded by the like freedom of all, and that each man free to work for his own existence and advantage will by this formula work out our industrial development. The individualist then works constantly for the recall of franchise and of special privilege, and for the untrammelled play of each man's force. There is much in our inheritance that responds to this, and he has followers among workingmen and among capitalists; those who fear to weaken the incentive to individual exertion, and those who believe that any interference would work injuriously. The residents of a settlement hear the individualist pleading in many trades assemblies. Opposite to him, springing up in discussion every time he speaks, is the socialist in all varieties. The scientific socialist reads his Karl Marx, and sees a gradual and inevitable absorption of all the means of production and of all capital by one entity, called the community. He makes out a strong case because he is usually a German or a Russian, with a turn for economic discussion, and widely read. He sees in the present tendency towards the concentration of capital, and in the growth of trusts and monopolies, an inevitable transition to the socialistic state. Every concentration of capital into fewer hands but increases the mass of those whose interests are opposed to the maintenance of its power, and vastly simplifies the final absorption. He contends that we have already had the transformation of scattered private property into capitalistic property, and that it is inevitable that it should be turned into collective property. In the former cases we had the ex-propriation of the mass of the people by a few usurpers; in the latter we have the ex-propriation of a few usurpers by the mass of people. He points with pride to the strong tendency towards State regulation of the means of transportation, and of many industries, and he urges legislative check and control at every point.
Between these two divergent points of view we find many shades of opinion and many modifications of philosophy; but perhaps a presentation of these two, as heard many times from earnest workingmen, will illustrate how difficult a settlement finds it to be liberal in tone, and to decide what immediate measures are in the line of advantage to the labor movement and which ones are against it.
It has been said that the imagination in America has teen seized in due turn by the minister, the soldier, and the lawyer, who have successively held the political appointments; but that it is now the turn of the economist; that the man who would secure votes and a leadership in politics is the one who has a line of action to propose which shall bring order out of the present industrial chaos. This may be illustrated by the marvellous growth of the single-tax movement, which offers a definite remedial measure. Is it not true that our knotty theological difficulties as matters for prolonged discussion are laid aside'.' Is it not true that the interpretation of the Constitution, and the standard of action for the law-abiding and upright citizen, are well determined in men's minds? But that the moral enterprise of each man, not by any means his morality, but his moral enterprise, has to be tested by his attitude toward the industrial problem? The crucial question of the time is, "In what attitude stand ye toward the present industrial system? Are you content that greed and the seizing upon disadvantage and the pushing of the weaker to the wall shall rule your business life, while in your family and social life you live so differently? Are you content that Christianity shall have no play in trade?" If these questions press upon all of us, then a settlement must surely face the industrial problem as a test of its sincerity, as a test of the unification of its interests with the absorbing interests of its neighbors. Must it, then, accept the creeds of one or the other of these schools of social thought, and work for a party; or is there some underlying principle upon which the settlement can stand, as in its Christianity it endeavors to stand on something more primitive than either Catholicism or Protestantism? Can it find the moral question involved? Is there a line of ethics which its action ought to follow? Is it possible to make the slow appeal to the nobler fibre in men, and to connect it with that tradition of what is just and right?
A glance at the labor movement shows that the preponderating force has been given to what may be called negative action. Unions use their power to frustrate the designs of the capitalist, to make trouble for corporations and the public, such as is involved, for instance, in a railroad strike. It has often seemed to be the only method of arresting attention to their demands; but in America, at least, they have come to trust it too far.
A movement cannot be carried on by negating other acts; it must have a positive force, a driving and self-sustaining motive-power. A moral revolution cannot be accomplished by men who are held together merely because they are all smarting under a sense of injury and injustice, although it may be begun by them.
Men thus animated may organize for resistance, they may struggle bravely together, and may destroy that which is injurious, but they cannot build up, associate, and unite. They have no common, collective faith. The labor movement in America bears this trace of its youth and immaturity. As the first social organizations of men were for purposes of war; as they combined to defend themselves, or to destroy their enemies, and only later they united for creative purposes and pacific undertakings, so the labor organizations first equip themselves for industrial war, and much later attempt to promote peaceful industrial progress. The older unions have already reached the higher development, but the unions among the less intelligent and less skilled workmen are still belligerent and organized on a military basis, and unfortunately give color to the entire movement.
It is doubtless true that men who work excessively certain weeks in the year, and bear enforced idleness, harassed by a fear of starvation, during certain other weeks, as the lumber-shovers and garment-workers do, are too far from that regulated life and sanity of mind in which the quiet inculcation of moral principle is possible. It is also doubtless true that a more uniform leisure and a calmer temper of mind will have to be secured before the sense of injury ceases to be an absorbing emotion. The labor movement is bound, therefore, to work for shorter hours and increased wages and regularity of work, that education and moral reform may come to the individual laborer; that association may be put upon larger principles, and assume the higher fraternal aspect. But it does not want to lose sight of the end in securing the means, nor assume success, nor even necessarily the beginnings of success, when these first aims are attained. It is easy to make this mistake. The workingman is born and reared in a certain discomfort which he is sure the rich man does not share with him. He feels constantly the restriction which comes from untrained power; he realizes that his best efforts are destined to go round and round in a circle circumscribed by his industrial opportunity, and it is inevitable that he should over-estimate the possession of wealth, of leisure, and of education. It is almost impossible for him to keep his sense of proportion.
The settlement may be of value if it can take a larger and steadier view than is always possible to. the workingman, smarting under a sense of wrong; or to the capitalist, seeking only to quiet down," without regard to the historic significance of the case, and insisting upon the inalienable right of invested capital," to a return of at least four per cent, ignoring human passion. It is possible to recall them both to a sense of the larger development.
A century ago there was an irresistible impulse, an upward movement, among the mass of people to have their share in political life, — hitherto the life of the privileged. The universal franchise was demanded, not only as a holy right, but as a means of entrance into the sunshine of liberty and equality. There is a similar demand at the close of this century on the part of working-people, but this time it is for a share in the results of industry.
It is an impulse to come out into the sunshine of Prosperity. As the leaders of political democracy overestimated the possession of the franchise, and believed it would obtain blessings for the working-people which it has not done, so, doubtless, the leaders of the labor movement are overestimating the possession of wealth and leisure. Mazzini was the inspired prophet of the political democracy, preaching duties and responsibilities rather than rights and franchises; and we might call Arnold Toynbee the prophet of the second development when we contend that the task of the labor movement is the interpretation of democracy into industrial affairs. In that remarkable exposition called "Industry and Democracy," Toynbee sets forth the struggle between the masters and men during the industrial revolution. Two ideals in regard to the relationship between employer and employee were then developed. Carlyle represented one, pleading passionately for it. He declared that the rich mill-owner's duty did not end with the "cash nexus;" that after he had paid his men he should still cherish them in sickness, protect them in misfortune, and not dismiss them when trade was bad. In one word, he would have the rich govern and protect the poor. But the workers themselves, the mass of the people, had caught another ideal; they dreamed of a time when they should have no need of protection, but when each workman should stand by the side of his employer — the free citizen of a free state. Each workingman demanded, not class protection, but political rights. He wished to be a unit; not that he might be isolated, but that he might unite in a fuller union, first with his fellow-workers, and then with the entire people. Toynbee asks who was right, Carlyle or the people. And replies that the people were right — "The people who, sick with hunger and deformed with toil, dreamed that democracy would bring deliverance.'" And democracy did save industry. It transformed disputes about wages from social feuds into business bargains. It swept away the estranging class elements of suspicion and arrogance. "It gradually did away with the feudal notion among the masters that they would deal with their men one at a time, denying to them the advantages of association." It is singular that in America, where government is founded upon the principle of representation, the capitalist should have been so slow to accord this right to workingmen; that he should refuse so steadily to treat with a "walking delegate," and so long maintain that no "outsider" could represent the men in his shop.
We must learn to trust our democracy, giant-like and threatening as it may appear in its uncouth strength and untried applications. When the English people were demanding the charter, the English nobility predicted that the franchise would be used to inaugurate all sorts of wild measures, to overturn long-established customs, as the capitalist now sometimes assumes that higher wages will be spent only in the saloons. In both cases there is a failure to count the sobering effect of responsibility in the education and development which attend the entrance into a wider life.
The effort to keep the movement to some consciousness of its historic value in the race development is perhaps no more difficult than to keep before its view the larger ethical aims. There is doubtless a tendency among the working men who reach leadership in the movement to yield to individual ambition, as there is among capitalists to regard class interests, and yield only that which must be yielded. This tendency on one side to yield to ambition, and on the other to give in to threats, may be further illustrated.
The poor man has proverbially been the tyrant of poor men when he has become rich. But while such a man was yet poor, his heart was closed to his fellows, and his eyes were blinded to the exploitation of them and himself, because in his heart he hoped one day to be rich, and to do the exploiting; because he secretly approved the action of his master, and said, "I would do the same if I were he."
Workingmen say, sometimes, that the rich will not hear the complaint of the poor until it rises into a threat, and carries a suggestion of ruin with it; that they then throw the laborers a portion of the product, to save the remainder.
As the tendency to warfare shows the primitive state of the labor movement, so also this division on class lines reveals its present undeveloped condition. The organization of society into huge battalions with syndicates and corporations on the side of capital, and trades-unions and federations on the side of labor, is to divide the world into two hostile camps, and to turn us back into class warfare and class limitations. All our experience tells us that no question of civilization is so simple as that, nor can we any longer settle our perplexities by mere good fighting. One is reminded of one's childish conception of life — that Right and Wrong were drawn up in battle array into two distinct armies, and that to join the army of Right and fight bravely would be to settle all problems.
But life itself teaches us nothing more inevitable than that right and wrong are most confusedly mixed; that the blackest wrong is by our side and within our own motives; that right does not dazzle our eyes with its radiant shining, but has to be found by exerting patience, discrimination, and impartiality. We cease to listen for the bugle note of victory our childish imagination anticipated, and learn that our finest victories are attained in the midst of self-distrust, and that the waving banner of triumph is sooner or later trailed to the dust by the weight of self-righteousness. It may be that as the labor movement grows older and riper, it will cease to divide all men so sharply into capitalists and proletarians, into exploiter and exploited.
We may live to remind its leaders in later years, as George Eliot has so skilfully reminded us, that the path we all like when we first set out in our youth is the path of martyrdom and endurance, where the palm branches grow; but that later we learn to take the steep highway of tolerance, just allowance, and self-blame, where there are no leafy honors to be gathered and worn. As the labor movement grows older its leaders may catch the larger ethical view which genuine experience always gives; they may have a chance to act free from the pressure of threat or ambition. They should have nothing to gain or lose, save as they rise or fall with their fellows. In raising the mass, men could have a motive-power as much greater than the motive for individual success, as the force which sends the sun above the horizon is greater than the force engendered by the powder behind the rocket.
Is it too much to hope that as the better organized and older trades-unions are fast recognizing a solidarity of labor, and acting upon the literal notion of brotherhood, that they will later perceive the larger solidarity which includes labor and capital, and act upon the notion of universal kinship? That before this larger vision of life there can be no perception of "sides" and no "battle array"? In the light of the developed social conscience the "sympathetic strike" may be criticised, not because it is too broad, but because it is too narrow, and because the strike is but a wasteful and negative demonstration of ethical fellowship. In the summer of 1894 the Chicago unions of Russian-Jewish cloakmakers, German compositors, and Bohemian and Polish butchers, struck in sympathy with the cause of the American Railway Union, whom they believed to be standing for a principle. Does an event such as this, clumsy and unsatisfactory as its results are, prefigure the time when no factory child in Chicago can be overworked and underpaid without a protest from all good citizens, capitalist and proletarian? Such a protest would be founded upon an ethical sense so strong that it would easily override business interests and class prejudices.
Manifestations of the labor movement are erratic and ill-timed because of the very strength of its motive power. A settlement is not affrighted nor dismayed when it sees in labor-meetings, in caucuses, and turbulent gatherings, men who are —
"Groping for the right, with horny, calloused hands, And staring round for God with bloodshot eyes,"
although the clumsy hands may upset some heavy pieces of convention, as a strong blindman overturns furniture, and the bloodshot eyes may be wild and fanatical. The settlement is unworthy of its calling if it is too timid or dull to interpret this groping and staring. But the settlement should be affrighted, and bestir itself to action, when the groping is not for the right, but for the mere purpose of overturning; when the staring is not for God, but for Mammon—and there is a natural temptation towards both.
A settlement may well be dismayed when it sees workingmen apathetic to higher motives, and thinking only of stratagems by which to outwit the capitalists; or when workingmen justify themselves in the use of base measures, saying they have learned the lessons from the other side. Such an attitude at once turns the movement from a development into a struggle, and the sole judge left between the adversaries must in the end be force. Class interests become the governing and motive power, and the settlement can logically be of no value to either side. Its sympathies are naturally much entangled in such a struggle, but to be of value it must keep its judgment clear as to the final ethical outcome — and this requires both perceptions and training.
Fortunately, every action may be analyzed into its permanent and transient aspects. The transient aspect of the strike is the anger and opposition against the employer, and too often the chagrin of failure. The permanent is the binding together of the strikers in the ties of association and brotherhood, and the attainment of a more democratic relation to the employer; and it is because of a growing sense of brotherhood and of democracy in the labor movement that we see in it a growing ethical power.
Hence the duty of the settlement in keeping the movement from becoming in any sense a class warfare is clear. There is a temperamental bitterness among workingmen which is both inherited and fostered by the conditions of their life and trade; but they cannot afford to cherish a class bitterness if the labor movement is to be held to its highest possibilities. A class working for a class, and against another class, implies that within itself there should Vie trades working for trades, individuals working for individuals. The universal character of the movement is gone from the start, and cannot be caught until an all-embracing ideal is accepted.
A recent writer has called attention to the fact that the position of the power-holding classes — capitalists, as we call them just now — is being gradually undermined by the disintegrating influence of the immense fund of altruistic feeling with which society has become equipped; that it is within this fund of altruism that we find the motive force which is slowly enfranchising all classes and gradually insisting upon equality of condition and opportunity. If we can accept this explanation of the social and political movements of our time, then it is clear that the labor movement is at the bottom an ethical movement, and a manifestation of the orderly development of the race.
The settlement is pledged to insist upon the unity of life, to gather to itself the sense of righteousness to be found in its neighborhood, and as far as possible in its city; to work towards the betterment not of one kind of people or class of people, but for the common good. The settlement believes that just as men deprived of comradeship by circumstances or law go back to the brutality from which they came, so any class or set of men deprived of the companionship of the whole, become correspondingly decivilized and crippled. No part of society can afford to get along without the others.
The settlement, then, urges first, the organization of working people in order that as much leisure and orderly life as possible may be secured to them in which to carry out the higher aims of living; in the second place, it should make a constant effort to bring to bear upon the labor movement a consciousness of its historic development; and lastly, it accentuates the ultimate ethical aims of the movement.
The despair of the labor movement is, as Mazzini said in another cause long ago, that we have torn the great and beautiful ensign of Democracy. Each party has snatched a rag of it, and parades it as proudly as if it were the whole flag, repudiating and not deigning to look at the others.
It is this feeling of disdain to any class of men or kind of men in the community which is dangerous to the labor movement, which makes it a class-measure. It attacks its democratic character, and substitutes party enthusiasm for the irresistible force of human progress. The labor movement must include all men in its hopes. It must have the communion of universal fellowship. Any drop of gall within its cup is fatal. Any grudge treasured up against a capitalist, any desire to "get even" when the wealth has changed hands, are but the old experiences of human selfishness. All sense of injury must fall away and be absorbed in the consciousness of a common brotherhood. If to insist upon the universality of the best is the function of the settlement, nowhere is its influence more needed than in the labor movement, where there is constant temptation towards a class warfare.