THE NEW PARTY
The Labor Party of the United States, created in Chicago last Monday, is likely to become a Frankenstein monster unless a pretty sharp eye is kept on its development. It holds potentialities that on the whole bode no good to the country. It is the formal declaration of class war in America; and we have seen what class war means wherever it has been waged. But there is still time to spike the guns of the new party. The only question is whether those who hold the spikes are broad-minded and observant enough to see their chance.
The Labor Party, while designed, or course, to get the support of "all hand and brain workers," is at the same time likely to gather under its standard a great many persons who would like nothing better than to wreck our government. All the I. W. W. people and Red agitators will flock to it, not because they believe that in it lies the salvation of the workingman, but because they think they see a chance to get something for themselves. It is possible that in a short time it will make itself a dictator, and the tyranny of the many is no more comfortable a yoke than the tyranny of the individual.
Radical labor was taught a lesson in the Massachusetts election, but it was not a constructive lesson. The real question of how a workingman can improve his conditions of labor has yet to be answered. At the present time the strike is the only means available. Public opinion is against the strike. So is labor; a strike is as hard on the worker as it is on anybody else. But a Labor Administration would be beer and skittles for everyone except capital and the public. It is not hard to see who would be on the top of the heap with such a regime.
The remedy for the situation is not in brute force. Harsh and repressive measures will merely drive more and more voters into the new party. The remedy lies in justice and fair dealing on both sides. At the present time capital holds the upper hand. It should be the business of capital to meet labor and adjust their differences equally. Though there never was a time when production meant so much to the world, capital and labor bicker and brawl. This cannot go on. The new party shows that the crisis is at hand. It can be averted, but not by any half-way measures. Employer and workingman must come to an understanding; and it looks as if the employer would have to take the first step, lest a worse thing befall him than the mere injury to his pride.