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They outnumber the large capitalists and
their retainers ten to one, and they hold _the political balance of
power_ between these and the propertyless classes. The control of
industry and the control of government being in the long run one and the
same, the only course left to the large capitalists is to compromise
with the small, and the common organization of centralized and
decentralized capital with the aid and protection of government is
assured.

The fact that, for the masses of mankind, capitalism is the enemy, and
not "Big Business," is then obscured by the warfare of the small
capitalists against the large. Perhaps nowhere in the world and at no
time in history has this conflict taken on a more definite or acute form
than it has recently in this country. So intense is the campaign of the
smaller interests, and it is being fought along such broad lines that it
often seems to be directed against capitalism itself. The masses of the
people, even of the working classes, in America and Great Britain have
yet no conception of the real war against capitalism, as carried on by
the Socialists of Continental Europe, and it seems to them that this new
small capitalist radicalism amounts practically to the same thing.

The "Insurgents," it is true, differ fundamentally from the Populists of
ten and twenty years ago, in so far they understand fully that in many
fields competition cannot be restored, that the large corporations
cannot be dissolved into small ones and must be regulated or owned by
the government, because they have deserted the Jeffersonian maxim that
"that government is best that governs least."

"With the growing complexity of our social and business relations," says
_La Follette's Weekly_, "a great extension of governmental functions has
been necessary. The authority of State and nation reaches out in
numberless and hitherto unknown forms affecting and regulating our daily
lives, our occupations, our earning power, and our cost of living. The
need for this intervention, for collective action by the people through
their duly constituted government, to preserve and promote their own
welfare, is a need that is growing more and more important and
imperative to meet the rapidly growing power of commerce, industry and
finance, centralized and organized in the hands of a few men."

This is nothing more nor less than the creed of capitalist collectivism.
The analysis of the present political situation of the Insurgents is not
only collectivist, but, in a sense, revolutionary. After describing how
"Big Business," controls both industry and politics, La Follette says:--


"This thing has gone on and on in city, State, and nation, until
to-day the paramount power in our land is not a Democracy, not a
Republic, but an Autocracy of centralized, systemized, industrial
and financial power. 'Government of the people, by the people, and
for the people' _has_ perished from the earth in the United States
of America."


An editorial in _McClure's Magazine_ (July, 1911) draws a similar
picture and frankly applies the term, "State Socialism," to the great
reforms that are pending:--


"Two great social organizations now confront each other in the
United States--political democracy and the corporation. Both are
yet new,--developments, in their present form, of the past two
hundred years,--and the laws of neither are understood. The entire
social and economic history of the world is now shaping itself
around the struggle for dominance between them....

"The problem presented by this situation is the most difficult that
any modern nation has faced; and the odds, up to the present time,
have all been with the corporations. Property settles by economic
law in strong hands; it has unlimited rewards for service, and the
greatest power in the world--the power of food and drink, life and
death--over mankind. Corporate property in the last twenty years
has been welded into an instrument of almost infinite power,
concentrated in the hands of a very few and very able men.

"Sooner or later the so far unchecked tendency toward monopoly in
the United States must be met squarely by the American people....

"The problem of the relation of the State and the corporation is
now the chief question of the world. In Europe the State is
relatively much stronger; in America, the corporation. In Europe
the movement towards Socialism--collective ownership and operation
of the machinery of industry and transportation--is far on its way;
in America we are moving to control the corporation by political
instruments, such as State Boards and the Interstate Commerce
Commission....

"And if corporate centralization of power continues unchecked, what
is the next great popular agitation to be in this country? For
State Socialism?"


When a treaty of peace is made between "Big Business" and the smaller
capitalists under such leadership as La Follette's, we may be certain
that it will not amount merely to a swallowing up of the small fish by
the large. The struggle waged according to La Follette's principles is
not a mere bid for political power and the spoils of office, but a real
political warfare that can only end by recognition of the small
capitalist's claims in business and politics--in so far as they relate,
not to the restoration of competition, but to government ownership or
control. As early as 1905, when governor of Wisconsin, La Follette
said:--

"It must always be borne in mind that the contest between the State and
the corporate powers is a lasting one.... It must always be remembered
that their attitude throughout is one of hostility to this legislation,
and that if their relation to the law after it is enacted is to be
judged by the attitude towards the Interstate Commerce Law, it will be
one of continued effort to destroy its efficiency and nullify its
provision." Events have shown that he was right in his predictions, and
his idea that the war against monopolies must last until they are
deprived of their dominant position in politics is now widely accepted.

The leading demands of the small capitalists, in so far as they are
independently organized in this new movement, are now for protection, as
buyers, sellers, investors, borrowers, and taxpayers against the
"trusts," railways, and banks. Formerly they invariably took up the
cause of the capitalist competitors and would-be competitors of the
"Interests"--and millionaires and corporations of the second magnitude
were lined up politically with the small capitalists, as, for example,
silver mine owners, manufacturers who wanted free raw material, cheaper
food (with lower wages), and foreign markets at any price,--from
pseudo-reciprocity to war,--importing merchants, competitors of the
trusts, tobacco, beer, and liquor interests bent on decreasing their
taxes, etc.

The great novelty of the "Insurgent" movement is that, in dissociating
itself from Free Silver, Free Trade, and the proposal to _destroy_ the
"trusts," it has succeeded in getting rid of nearly all the "Interests"
that have wrecked previous small capitalist movements. At the same time,
it has all but abandoned the old demagogic talk about representing the
citizen as consumer against the citizen as producer. It frankly avows
its intention to protect the ultimate consumer, not against small
capitalist producers (_e.g._ its opposition to Canadian reciprocity and
cheaper food), but solely against the monopolies. Indeed, the protection
of the ultimate consumer against monopolies is clearly made incidental
to the protection of the small capitalist consumer-producer. The wage
earner consumes few products of the Steel Trust, the farmer and small
manufacturers, many. Nor does the new movement propose to destroy the
"trusts" by free trade even in the articles they produce, but merely to
control prices by lower tariffs. With the abandonment of the last of the
"Interests" and at the same time of the "consumers" that they use as a
cloak, the new movement promises for the first time a fairly independent
and lasting political organization of the smaller capitalists.

While Senator La Follette is the leading general of the new movement,
either Ex-President Roosevelt or Governor Woodrow Wilson seems destined
to become its leading diplomatist. While Senator La Follette declares
for a fight to the finish, and shows that he knows how to lead and
organize such a fight, Mr. Roosevelt and Mr. Wilson are giving their
attention largely to peace terms to be demanded of the enemy, and the
diplomatic attitude to be assumed in the negotiations. Perhaps it is too
early for such peaceful thoughts, and premature talk of this kind may
eliminate these leaders as negotiators satisfactory to the small
capitalists. Their interest for my present purpose is that they probably
foreshadow the attitude that will finally be assumed when the large
"Interests" see that they must make terms.

Mr. Wilson's language is at times so conciliatory as to create doubt
whether or not he will stand with Senator La Follette and the Republican
"Insurgents" for the whole of the small capitalist's program, but it
leaves no doubt that, if he lives up to his declared principles, he must
aim at the government regulation, not of "Big Business" merely, but of
all business--as when he says that "business is no longer in any sense a
private matter."


"We are dealing, in our present discussion," he said in an address,
delivered in December, 1910, "with business, and we are dealing
with life as an organic whole, and modern politics is an
accommodation of these two. Suppose we define business as economic
_service of society for private profit_, and suppose we define
politics as the accommodation of all social forces, the forces of
_business, of course, included_, to the common interest." (My
italics.)


It is evident that if the community gains by an extended control over
business, that business gains at least as much by its claim to be
recognized as a _public service_.



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Keywords: itself, monopolies, nation, merely, senator, growing, follette's, corporations, commerce, economic
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