Our ongoing series where we dig through the archives to bring you some old-school gems that are still relevant today. This entry comes from the February 15th, 1912 issue of IW.

No slave class ever made a law and never have the instruments of oppression been wielded in such a manner as to secure freedom for the oppressed. All attempts to use the present government in the interests of the workers are sure to result in failure. Politics is based upon property and the state is simply the mailed fist of the master class. The workers own no property as a class, and are not concerned in capturing the government, but are anxious to capture the tools of production and the natural resources so as to render the capitalists powerless. The laws that are made by the workers in an industry and enforced when they work are the only ones which really touch our lives. All else is folly and rainbow chasing. No revolution was ever accomplished by legal methods, and even attempts in that direction are met by the sneers of the organ of the oppressors. The following clipping from the Saturday Evening Post has hit the nail on the head:

“Theoretical Socialism is the most ambitious of political programs, involving nothing short of a whole-nation-wide—or world-wide—revolution; but, except a solitary congressman and seventeen members of state legislatures, Socialists so far have been elected only to local offices, and those usually of an administrative rather than a legislative nature—elected, that is, not to bring in a brand new, all-embracing revolutionary program, but to work the lumbering old bourgeoise machine in a little honester, more intelligent, kindlier manner perhaps than some Republican or Democrat would work it.” 

The German Social Democracy with its numerous members in the Reichstag, hand in hand with militarism of an extreme type and bitter poverty as well; and Australia, with its labor legislation, starvation, and strikes, are further proofs of the absurdity of trying to settle economic problems by dealing with the effects springing from those problems. The cause of our slavery can be found in industry and in industry must the remedy be applied. Organization into a class union along industrial lines, for the fighting of every-day battles and the final abolition of the wage system is the only hope of the disinherited and dispossessed producers of wealth. 

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