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The "man in the street" has a lackadaisical habit of lumping with the American Federation of Labor, socialists, "Reds", anarchists, and hoodlums who make high revel with brickbats. Of this view, so widely held, Mr. Woll's article, which appears in this issue, is a complete refutation. With clarity and vigor he has pointed out that the A. F. L. is not a helpless ward of the state but a buxom, independent part of it, not an enemy but a supporter of the present capitalistic order, not a body with untested theories but one with policies matured out of experience. He has wasted no time in proving the truism that combination of labor was inevitable; what he does prove by the tenour of his words is that such combination is proper and good for the health of the economic world.
By far the most interesting statement in the article is that politics and legislation, since they are incompetent to change industry for the better, should be kept out of industry. With this statement Labor joins hands with Capital against all forms of socialism and lends its voice to the cry, "Keep politics out of business". In taking the part of evolution against revolution, the American Federation of Labor derives its non-partisan policy by logical deduction. The proofs which Mr. Woll bring forward to clinch his argument against participation in politics by Labor are in reality defenses of the laissez-faire policy as opposed to an overturn of the present order and establishment of state ownership. In England where Labor has elicited government aid, the wheels of industry have certainly been clogged. And when each factor in production comes to draw off its share from the pool of products, it is a joint interest that this pool should be as large as possible.
Production thus far has been greater under complete non-interference by the state then under what interference Labor has prompted the government to in England; in so far the policy of the A. F. L. appears the more far-sighted of the two. At the same time production has not been nearly as great as possible. It has moved in leaps and bounds rather than steadily. Neither strikes nor monopolies are good for industry and both certainly work hardships upon the consuming public. Until standards exist which will eliminate these, there must be some government interference. If non-partisanship of Labor will square with this, Mr. Woll's argument is perfect.
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