In the days when the cry of "no taxation without representation" was first heard in Parliament, English political leaders had recourse to an argument which England herself has since repudiated. Rejecting the idea of geographical representation except as a convenient method of election, they erected instead the idea of class representation. Their idea fell victim to tendencies of the time, and the twentieth century has seen the triumph of universal suffrage and geographical representation. But with victory attained for the new idea, the old has again emerged. In the Economic Council of the new German Republic, in certain features of the new Russian government, in the thoughts of many men, has appeared, in twentieth century garb, the old conception of class (and now occupational) representation. Mr. Morrison, Secretary of the American Federation of Labor, in his interview in today's Crimson joined the movement and has committed himself to the idea of having in Congress 200 representatives of labor, 200 farmers and 100 business men.
The American Federation of Labor has always played the part of the flirtations coquetio without any permanent bestowal of its affections, and this latest pronouncement may be taken as the expression of a pious wish rather than an active program of political agitation. It is interesting, nevertheless, to see that Labor, if its Secretary is to be regarded as representative, would welcome the success of a Farmer-Labor party. But it all depends on somebody else doing the dirty work.
Commenting on the success of the British Labor Party Mr. Morrison declares that conditions in the United States have never necessitated the formation of a third party. The thought of the many years spent in political wilderness is apparently too horrible for the coquette still overwhelmed by the passing but pleasant affections of Republican and Democrat. Moreover conditions have never necessitated it. There are no millions of unemployed to make Labor fierce and desperate; the country, for the moment at least, is too prosperous to make any radical Labor Party appeal practically feasible. And so Labor goes on coquetting and Congress has its 376 lawyers.