“I’ll wager the Oligarchy finds justification,” Ernest said, when its treachery to the German Emperor became known. “As usual, the Oligarchy will believe it has done right.”
And sure enough. The Oligarchy’s public defence for the act was that it had done it for the sake of the American people whose interests it was looking out for. It had flung its hated rival out of the world-market and enabled us to dispose of our surplus in that market.
“And the howling folly of it is that we are so helpless that such idiots really are managing our interests,” was Ernest’s comment. “They have enabled us to sell more abroad, which means that we’ll be compelled to consume less at home.”
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
As early as January, 1913, Ernest saw the true trend of affairs, but he could not get his brother leaders to see the vision of the Iron Heel that had arisen in his brain. They were too confident. Events were rushing too rapidly to culmination. A crisis had come in world affairs. The American Oligarchy was practically in possession of the world-market, and scores of countries were flung out of that market with unconsumable and unsalable surpluses on their hands. For such countries nothing remained but reorganization. They could not continue their method of producing surpluses. The capitalistic system, so far as they were concerned, had hopelessly broken down.
The reorganization of these countries took the form of revolution. It was a time of confusion and violence. Everywhere institutions and governments were crashing. Everywhere, with the exception of two or three countries, the erstwhile capitalist masters fought bitterly for their possessions. But the governments were taken away from them by the militant proletariat. At last was being realized Karl Marx’s classic: “The knell of private capitalist property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.” And as fast as capitalistic governments crashed, cooperative commonwealths arose in their place.
“Why does the United States lag behind?”; “Get busy, you American revolutionists!”; “What’s the matter with America?”—were the messages sent to us by our successful comrades in other lands. But we could not keep up. The Oligarchy stood in the way. Its bulk, like that of some huge monster, blocked our path.
“Wait till we take office in the spring,” we answered. “Then you’ll see.”
Behind this lay our secret. We had won over the Grangers, and in the spring a dozen states would pass into their hands by virtue of the elections of the preceding fall. At once would be instituted a dozen cooperative commonwealth states. After that, the rest would be easy.
“But what if the Grangers fail to get possession?” Ernest demanded. And his comrades called him a calamity howler.
But this failure to get possession was not the chief danger that Ernest had in mind. What he foresaw was the defection of the great labor unions and the rise of the castes.