The Iron Heel eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 324 pages of information about The Iron Heel.

“’Section Eight, that courts martial, for the trial of officers or men of the militia, shall be composed of militia officers only.’

“’Section Nine, that the militia, when called into the actual service of the United States, shall be subject to the same rules and articles of war as the regular troops of the United States.’

“There you are gentlemen, American citizens, and fellow-militiamen.  Nine years ago we socialists thought that law was aimed against labor.  But it would seem that it was aimed against you, too.  Congressman Wiley, in the brief discussion that was permitted, said that the bill ’provided for a reserve force to take the mob by the throat’—­you’re the mob, gentlemen—­’and protect at all hazards life, liberty, and property.’  And in the time to come, when you rise in your strength, remember that you will be rising against the property of the trusts, and the liberty of the trusts, according to the law, to squeeze you.  Your teeth are pulled, gentlemen.  Your claws are trimmed.  In the day you rise in your strength, toothless and clawless, you will be as harmless as any army of clams.”

“I don’t believe it!” Kowalt cried.  “There is no such law.  It is a canard got up by you socialists.”

“This bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on July 30, 1902,” was the reply.  “It was introduced by Representative Dick of Ohio.  It was rushed through.  It was passed unanimously by the Senate on January 14, 1903.  And just seven days afterward was approved by the President of the United States."*

* Everhard was right in the essential particulars, though his date of the introduction of the bill is in error.  The bill was introduced on June 30, and not on July 30.  The Congressional Record is here in Ardis, and a reference to it shows mention of the bill on the following dates:  June 30, December 9, 15, 16, and 17, 1902, and January 7 and 14, 1903.  The ignorance evidenced by the business men at the dinner was nothing unusual.  Very few people knew of the existence of this law.  E. Untermann, a revolutionist, in July, 1903, published a pamphlet at Girard, Kansas, on the “Militia Bill.”  This pamphlet had a small circulation among workingmen; but already had the segregation of classes proceeded so far, that the members of the middle class never heard of the pamphlet at all, and so remained in ignorance of the law.



In the midst of the consternation his revelation had produced, Ernest began again to speak.

“You have said, a dozen of you to-night, that socialism is impossible.  You have asserted the impossible, now let me demonstrate the inevitable.  Not only is it inevitable that you small capitalists shall pass away, but it is inevitable that the large capitalists, and the trusts also, shall pass away.  Remember, the tide of evolution never flows backward.  It flows on and on, and it flows from competition to combination, and from little combination to large combination, and from large combination to colossal combination, and it flows on to socialism, which is the most colossal combination of all.

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The Iron Heel from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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