Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
From Revolution to Revolution
George D. Herron
(American clergyman and college professor, born 1862; resigned to become an active Socialist)
WE have talked much of the brotherhood to come; but brotherhood has always been the fact of our life, long before it became a modern and insipid sentiment. Only we have been brothers in slavery and torment, brothers in ignorance and its perdition, brothers in disease and war and want, brothers in prostitution and hypocrisy. What happens to one of us sooner or later happens to all; we have always been unescapably involved in a common destiny. We are brothers in the soil from which we spring; brothers in earthquakes, floods and famines; brothers in la grippe, cholera, smallpox and priestcraft. It is to the interests of the whole of mankind to stamp out the disease that may be starting tonight in some wretched Siberian hamlet; to rescue the children of Egypt and India from the British cotton mills; to escape the craze and blight of some new superstition springing up in Africa or India or Boston. The tuberculosis of the East Side sweatshops is infecting the whole of the city of New York, and spreading therefrom to the Pacific and back across the Atlantic. The world constantly tends to the level of the downmost man in it; and that downmost man is the world’s real ruler, hugging it close to his bosom, dragging it down to his death. You do not think so, but it is true, and it ought to be true. For if there were some way by which some of us could get free apart from others, if there were some way by which some of us could have heaven while others had hell, if there were some way by which part of the world could escape some form of the blight and peril and misery of disinherited labor, then would our world indeed be lost and damned; but since men have never been able to separate themselves from one another’s woes and wrongs, since history is fairly stricken with the lesson that we cannot escape brotherhood of some kind, since the whole of life is teaching us that we are hourly choosing between brotherhood in suffering and brotherhood in good, it remains for us to choose the brotherhood of a co-operative world, with all its fruits thereof—the fruits of love and liberty.