Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968). rn The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
(From Violence and the Labor Movement)
(American Socialist writer, born 1874)
HERE it is, “the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority,” already with its eleven million voters and its fifty million souls. It has slowly, patiently, painfully toiled up to a height where it is beginning to see visions of victory. It has faith in itself and in its cause. It believes it has the power of deliverance for all society and for all humanity. It does not expect the powerful to have faith in it; but, as Jesus came out of despised Nazareth, so the new world is coming out of the multitude, amid the toil and sweat and anguish of the mills, mines, and factories of the world. It has endured much; suffered long ages of slavery and serfdom. From being more animals of production, the workers have become the “hands” of production; and they are now reaching out to become the masters of production. And, while in other periods of the world their intolerable misery led them again and again to strike out in a kind of torrential anarchy that pulled down society itself, they have in our time, for the first time in the history of the world, patiently and persistently organized themselves into a world power. Where shall we find in all history another instance of the organization in less than half a century of eleven million people into a compact force for the avowed purpose of peacefully and legally taking possession of the world? They have refused to hurry. They have declined all short cuts. They have spurned violence. The “bourgeois democrats,” the terrorists, and the syndicalists, each in their time, have tried to point out a shorter, quicker path. The workers have refused to listen to them. On the other hand, they have declined the way of compromise, of fusions, and of alliances, that have also promised a quicker and shorter road to power. With most maddening patience they have declined to take any other path than their own—thus infuriating not only the terrorists in their own ranks but those Greeks from the other side who came to them bearing gifts. Nothing seems to disturb them or to block their path. They are offered reforms and concessions, which they take blandly, but without thanks. They move on and on, with the terrible, incessant, irresistible power of some eternal, natural force. They have been fought; yet they have never lost a single great battle. They have been flattered and cajoled, without ever once anywhere being appeased. They have been provoked, insulted, imprisoned, calumniated, and repressed. They are indifferent to it all. They move on and on—with the patience and the meekness of a people with the vision that they are soon to inherit the earth.