The Iron Heel
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Jack London (1876–1916) / http://argonautbookshop.com/Jack%20London.htm#Iron%20Heel, Author: See Source) Details Source DMCA
The digital world has changed our lives. A topic unto itself, but here is what I consider a new and improved book report. I quote from the book, which speaks so well for itself, and that I can't possibly improve on. I'd call it an ad for the book, ~1916, which is utterly brilliant for that time and the times today, and astoundingly prescient for anyone writing at in the early 1900s. But, please, have a look at this short piece and decide for yourself. It's on Kindle and Amazon, I can't recommend it strongly enough. dg
Ernest [the brilliant socialist protagonist, who explains both socialism and Karl Marx as none other has, that I know of-- as written by his lover and later wife] proceeded with his attack. He accounted for the existence of the million and a half of revolutionists in the United States by charging the capitalist class with having mismanaged society. He sketched the economic condition of the cave-man and of the savage peoples of to-day, pointing out that they possessed neither tools nor machines, and possessed only a natural efficiency of one in producing power.
"Five men," he said, "can produce bread for a thousand. One man can produce cotton cloth for two hundred and fifty people, woolens for three hundred, and boots and shoes for a thousand. One would conclude from this that under a capable management of society modern civilized man would be a great deal better off than the cave-man. But is he? Let us see. In the United States, condition in life in which, through lack of food and adequate shelter, the mere standard of working efficiency cannot be maintained.
In the United States to-day, in spite of all your so- called labor legislation, there are three millions of child laborers. in twelve years their numbers have been doubled. And in passing I will ask you managers of society why you did not make public the census figures of 1910? And I will answer for you, that you were afraid. The figures of misery would have precipitated the revolution that even now is gathering.
"But to return to my indictment. If modern man's producing power is a thousand times greater than that of the cave-man, why then, in the United States to-day, are there fifteen million people who are not properly sheltered and properly fed? Why then are there three million child laborers? It is a true indictment. The capitalist class has mismanaged.
"In face of the facts that modern man lives more wretchedly than the cave-man, and that his producing power is a thousand times greater than that of the cave-man, no other conclusion is possible than that the capitalist class has mismanaged, that you have mismanaged, my masters, that you have criminally and selfishly mismanaged. And on this count you cannot answer me here to-night, face to face, any more than can your whole class answer the million and a half of revolutionists in the United States.
You cannot answer. I challenge you to answer. And furthermore, I dare to say to you now that when I have finished you will not answer. On that point you will be tongue-tied, though you will talk wordily enough about other things. You have failed in that your profits were impossible without the toil of children and babes.
"Don't take my word for it. It is all in the records against you. You have lulled your conscience to sleep with prattle of sweet ideals and dear moralities. You are fat with power and possession, drunken with success; and you have no more hope against us than have the drones, clustered about the honey-vats, when the worker-bees spring upon them to end their rotund existence. You have failed in your management of society, and your management is to be taken away from you. A million and a half of the men of the working class say that they are going to get the rest of the working class to join with them and take the management away from you. This is the revolution, my masters. Stop it if you can...
"But it seems you have breath to use, and I'll give you a chance to use it. I indicted your class. Show me that my indictment is wrong. I pointed out to you the wretchedness of modern man--three million child slaves in the United States, without whose labor profits would not be possible, and fifteen million under-fed, ill- clothed, and worse-housed people."
Attempts were made to disprove the indictment, but all they did was enhance the veracity of it...
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