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The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

Part 8 out of 8

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beating of his heart. And then, explained Schliemann, society
would break up into independent, self-governing communities of
mutually congenial persons; examples of which at present were
clubs, churches, and political parties. After the revolution,
all the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual activities of men
would be cared for by such "free associations"; romantic
novelists would be supported by those who liked to read romantic
novels, and impressionist painters would be supported by those
who liked to look at impressionist pictures--and the same with
preachers and scientists, editors and actors and musicians. If
any one wanted to work or paint or pray, and could find no one to
maintain him, he could support himself by working part of the
time. That was the case at present, the only difference being
that the competitive wage system compelled a man to work all the
time to live, while, after the abolition of privilege and
exploitation, any one would be able to support himself by an
hour's work a day. Also the artist's audience of the present was
a small minority of people, all debased and vulgarized by the
effort it had cost them to win in the commercial battle, of the
intellectual and artistic activities which would result when the
whole of mankind was set free from the nightmare of competition,
we could at present form no conception whatever.

And then the editor wanted to know upon what ground Dr.
Schliemann asserted that it might be possible for a society to
exist upon an hour's toil by each of its members. "Just what,"
answered the other, "would be the productive capacity of society
if the present resources of science were utilized, we have no
means of ascertaining; but we may be sure it would exceed
anything that would sound reasonable to minds inured to the
ferocious barbarities of capitalism. After the triumph of the
international proletariat, war would of course be inconceivable;
and who can figure the cost of war to humanity--not merely the
value of the lives and the material that it destroys, not merely
the cost of keeping millions of men in idleness, of arming and
equipping them for battle and parade, but the drain upon the
vital energies of society by the war attitude and the war terror,
the brutality and ignorance, the drunkenness, prostitution, and
crime it entails, the industrial impotence and the moral
deadness? Do you think that it would be too much to say that two
hours of the working time of every efficient member of a
community goes to feed the red fiend of war?"

And then Schliemann went on to outline some of the wastes of
competition: the losses of industrial warfare; the ceaseless
worry and friction; the vices--such as drink, for instance, the
use of which had nearly doubled in twenty years, as a consequence
of the intensification of the economic struggle; the idle and
unproductive members of the community, the frivolous rich and the
pauperized poor; the law and the whole machinery of repression;
the wastes of social ostentation, the milliners and tailors, the
hairdressers, dancing masters, chefs and lackeys. "You
understand," he said, "that in a society dominated by the fact of
commercial competition, money is necessarily the test of prowess,
and wastefulness the sole criterion of power. So we have, at the
present moment, a society with, say, thirty per cent of the
population occupied in producing useless articles, and one per
cent occupied in destroying them. And this is not all; for the
servants and panders of the parasites are also parasites, the
milliners and the jewelers and the lackeys have also to be
supported by the useful members of the community. And bear in
mind also that this monstrous disease affects not merely the
idlers and their menials, its poison penetrates the whole social
body. Beneath the hundred thousand women of the elite are a
million middle-class women, miserable because they are not of the
elite, and trying to appear of it in public; and beneath them,
in turn, are five million farmers' wives reading 'fashion papers'
and trimming bonnets, and shop-girls and serving-maids selling
themselves into brothels for cheap jewelry and imitation seal-
skin robes. And then consider that, added to this competition in
display, you have, like oil on the flames, a whole system of
competition in selling! You have manufacturers contriving tens
of thousands of catchpenny devices, storekeepers displaying them,
and newspapers and magazines filled up with advertisements of

"And don't forget the wastes of fraud," put in young Fisher.

"When one comes to the ultra-modern profession of advertising,"
responded Schliemann--"the science of persuading people to buy
what they do not want--he is in the very center of the ghastly
charnel house of capitalist destructiveness, and he scarcely
knows which of a dozen horrors to point out first. But consider
the waste in time and energy incidental to making ten thousand
varieties of a thing for purposes of ostentation and
snobbishness, where one variety would do for use! Consider all
the waste incidental to the manufacture of cheap qualities of
goods, of goods made to sell and deceive the ignorant; consider
the wastes of adulteration,--the shoddy clothing, the cotton
blankets, the unstable tenements, the ground-cork life-
preservers, the adulterated milk, the aniline soda water, the
potato-flour sausages--"

"And consider the moral aspects of the thing," put in the

"Precisely," said Schliemann; "the low knavery and the ferocious
cruelty incidental to them, the plotting and the lying and the
bribing, the blustering and bragging, the screaming egotism, the
hurrying and worrying. Of course, imitation and adulteration are
the essence of competition--they are but another form of the
phrase 'to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest.'
A government official has stated that the nation suffers a loss of
a billion and a quarter dollars a year through adulterated foods;
which means, of course, not only materials wasted that might have
been useful outside of the human stomach, but doctors and nurses
for people who would otherwise have been well, and undertakers
for the whole human race ten or twenty years before the proper
time. Then again, consider the waste of time and energy required
to sell these things in a dozen stores, where one would do.
There are a million or two of business firms in the country,
and five or ten times as many clerks; and consider the handling and
rehandling, the accounting and reaccounting, the planning and
worrying, the balancing of petty profit and loss. Consider the
whole machinery of the civil law made necessary by these
processes; the libraries of ponderous tomes, the courts and
juries to interpret them, the lawyers studying to circumvent
them, the pettifogging and chicanery, the hatreds and lies!
Consider the wastes incidental to the blind and haphazard
production of commodities--the factories closed, the workers
idle, the goods spoiling in storage; consider the activities of
the stock manipulator, the paralyzing of whole industries, the
overstimulation of others, for speculative purposes; the
assignments and bank failures, the crises and panics, the
deserted towns and the starving populations! Consider the
energies wasted in the seeking of markets, the sterile trades,
such as drummer, solicitor, bill-poster, advertising agent.
Consider the wastes incidental to the crowding into cities, made
necessary by competition and by monopoly railroad rates; consider
the slums, the bad air, the disease and the waste of vital
energies; consider the office buildings, the waste of time and
material in the piling of story upon story, and the burrowing
underground! Then take the whole business of insurance, the
enormous mass of administrative and clerical labor it involves,
and all utter waste--"

"I do not follow that," said the editor. "The Cooperative
Commonwealth is a universal automatic insurance company and
savings bank for all its members. Capital being the property of
all, injury to it is shared by all and made up by all. The bank
is the universal government credit-account, the ledger in which
every individual's earnings and spendings ate balanced. There is
also a universal government bulletin, in which are listed and
precisely described everything which the commonwealth has for
sale. As no one makes any profit by the sale, there is no longer
any stimulus to extravagance, and no misrepresentation; no
cheating, no adulteration or imitation, no bribery or

"How is the price of an article determined?"

"The price is the labor it has cost to make and deliver it, and
it is determined by the first principles of arithmetic. The
million workers in the nation's wheat fields have worked a
hundred days each, and the total product of the labor is a
billion bushels, so the value of a bushel of wheat is the tenth
part of a farm labor-day. If we employ an arbitrary symbol, and
pay, say, five dollars a day for farm work, then the cost of a
bushel of wheat is fifty cents."

"You say 'for farm work,'" said Mr. Maynard. "Then labor is not
to be paid alike?"

"Manifestly not, since some work is easy and some hard, and we
should have millions of rural mail carriers, and no coal miners.
Of course the wages may be left the same, and the hours varied;
one or the other will have to be varied continually, according as
a greater or less number of workers is needed in any particular
industry. That is precisely what is done at present, except that
the transfer of the workers is accomplished blindly and
imperfectly, by rumors and advertisements, instead of instantly
and completely, by a universal government bulletin."

"How about those occupations in which time is difficult to
calculate? What is the labor cost of a book?"

"Obviously it is the labor cost of the paper, printing, and
binding of it--about a fifth of its present cost."

"And the author?"

"I have already said that the state could not control
intellectual production. The state might say that it had taken a
year to write the book, and the author might say it had taken
thirty. Goethe said that every bon mot of his had cost a purse
of gold. What I outline here is a national, or rather
international, system for the providing of the material needs of
men. Since a man has intellectual needs also, he will work
longer, earn more, and provide for them to his own taste and in
his own way. I live on the same earth as the majority, I wear
the same kind of shoes and sleep in the same kind of bed; but I
do not think the same kind of thoughts, and I do not wish to pay
for such thinkers as the majority selects. I wish such things to
be left to free effort, as at present. If people want to listen
to a certain preacher, they get together and contribute what they
please, and pay for a church and support the preacher, and then
listen to him; I, who do not want to listen to him, stay away,
and it costs me nothing. In the same way there are magazines
about Egyptian coins, and Catholic saints, and flying machines,
and athletic records, and I know nothing about any of them. On
the other hand, if wage slavery were abolished, and I could earn
some spare money without paying tribute to an exploiting
capitalist, then there would be a magazine for the purpose of
interpreting and popularizing the gospel of Friedrich Nietzsche,
the prophet of Evolution, and also of Horace Fletcher, the
inventor of the noble science of clean eating; and incidentally,
perhaps, for the discouraging of long skirts, and the scientific
breeding of men and women, and the establishing of divorce by
mutual consent."

Dr. Schliemann paused for a moment. "That was a lecture," he
said with a laugh, "and yet I am only begun!"

"What else is there?" asked Maynard.

"I have pointed out some of the negative wastes of competition,"
answered the other. "I have hardly mentioned the positive
economies of co-operation. Allowing five to a family, there are
fifteen million families in this country; and at least ten
million of these live separately, the domestic drudge being
either the wife or a wage slave. Now set aside the modern system
of pneumatic house-cleaning, and the economies of co-operative
cooking; and consider one single item, the washing of dishes.
Surely it is moderate to say that the dishwashing for a family of
five takes half an hour a day; with ten hours as a day's work, it
takes, therefore, half a million able-bodied persons--mostly
women to do the dishwashing of the country. And note that this
is most filthy and deadening and brutalizing work; that it is a
cause of anemia, nervousness, ugliness, and ill-temper; of
prostitution, suicide, and insanity; of drunken husbands and
degenerate children--for all of which things the community has
naturally to pay. And now consider that in each of my little
free communities there would be a machine which would wash and
dry the dishes, and do it, not merely to the eye and the touch,
but scientifically--sterilizing them--and do it at a saving of
all the drudgery and nine-tenths of the time! All of these
things you may find in the books of Mrs. Gilman; and then take
Kropotkin's Fields, Factories, and Workshops, and read about the
new science of agriculture, which has been built up in the last
ten years; by which, with made soils and intensive culture, a
gardener can raise ten or twelve crops in a season, and two
hundred tons of vegetables upon a single acre; by which the
population of the whole globe could be supported on the soil now
cultivated in the United States alone! It is impossible to apply
such methods now, owing to the ignorance and poverty of our
scattered farming population; but imagine the problem of
providing the food supply of our nation once taken in hand
systematically and rationally, by scientists! All the poor and
rocky land set apart for a national timber reserve, in which our
children play, and our young men hunt, and our poets dwell! The
most favorable climate and soil for each product selected;
the exact requirements of the community known, and the acreage
figured accordingly; the most improved machinery employed, under
the direction of expert agricultural chemists! I was brought up
on a farm, and I know the awful deadliness of farm work; and I
like to picture it all as it will be after the revolution. To
picture the great potato-planting machine, drawn by four horses,
or an electric motor, ploughing the furrow, cutting and dropping
and covering the potatoes, and planting a score of acres a day!
To picture the great potato-digging machine, run by electricity,
perhaps, and moving across a thousand-acre field, scooping up
earth and potatoes, and dropping the latter into sacks! To every
other kind of vegetable and fruit handled in the same way--apples
and oranges picked by machinery, cows milked by
electricity--things which are already done, as you may know. To
picture the harvest fields of the future, to which millions of
happy men and women come for a summer holiday, brought by special
trains, the exactly needful number to each place! And to
contrast all this with our present agonizing system of
independent small farming,--a stunted, haggard, ignorant man,
mated with a yellow, lean, and sad-eyed drudge, and toiling from
four o'clock in the morning until nine at night, working the
children as soon as they are able to walk, scratching the soil
with its primitive tools, and shut out from all knowledge and
hope, from all their benefits of science and invention, and all
the joys of the spirit--held to a bare existence by competition
in labor, and boasting of his freedom because he is too blind to
see his chains!"

Dr. Schliemann paused a moment. "And then," he continued,
"place beside this fact of an unlimited food supply, the newest
discovery of physiologists, that most of the ills of the human
system are due to overfeeding! And then again, it has been
proven that meat is unnecessary as a food; and meat is obviously
more difficult to produce than vegetable food, less pleasant to
prepare and handle, and more likely to be unclean. But what of
that, so long as it tickles the palate more strongly?"

"How would Socialism change that?" asked the girl-student,
quickly. It was the first time she had spoken.

"So long as we have wage slavery," answered Schliemann, "it
matters not in the least how debasing and repulsive a task may
be, it is easy to find people to perform it. But just as soon as
labor is set free, then the price of such work will begin to
rise. So one by one the old, dingy, and unsanitary factories
will come down--it will be cheaper to build new; and so the
steamships will be provided with stoking machinery, and so the
dangerous trades will be made safe, or substitutes will be found
for their products. In exactly the same way, as the citizens of
our Industrial Republic become refined, year by year the cost of
slaughterhouse products will increase; until eventually those who
want to eat meat will have to do their own killing--and how long
do you think the custom would survive then?--To go on to another
item--one of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a
democracy is political corruption; and one of the consequences of
civic administration by ignorant and vicious politicians, is that
preventable diseases kill off half our population. And even if
science were allowed to try, it could do little, because the
majority of human beings are not yet human beings at all, but
simply machines for the creating of wealth for others. They are
penned up in filthy houses and left to rot and stew in misery,
and the conditions of their life make them ill faster than all
the doctors in the world could heal them; and so, of course,
they remain as centers of contagion, poisoning the lives of all of us,
and making happiness impossible for even the most selfish. For
this reason I would seriously maintain that all the medical and
surgical discoveries that science can make in the future will be
of less importance than the application of the knowledge we
already possess, when the disinherited of the earth have
established their right to a human existence."

And here the Herr Doctor relapsed into silence again. Jurgis had
noticed that the beautiful young girl who sat by the center-table
was listening with something of the same look that he himself had
worn, the time when he had first discovered Socialism. Jurgis
would have liked to talk to her, he felt sure that she would have
understood him. Later on in the evening, when the group broke
up, he heard Mrs. Fisher say to her, in a low voice, "I wonder if
Mr. Maynard will still write the same things about Socialism"; to
which she answered, "I don't know--but if he does we shall know
that he is a knave!"

And only a few hours after this came election day--when the long
campaign was over, and the whole country seemed to stand still
and hold its breath, awaiting the issue. Jurgis and the rest of
the staff of Hinds's Hotel could hardly stop to finish their
dinner, before they hurried off to the big hall which the party
had hired for that evening.

But already there were people waiting, and already the telegraph
instrument on the stage had begun clicking off the returns. When
the final accounts were made up, the Socialist vote proved to be
over four hundred thousand--an increase of something like three
hundred and fifty per cent in four years. And that was doing
well; but the party was dependent for its early returns upon
messages from the locals, and naturally those locals which had
been most successful were the ones which felt most like
reporting; and so that night every one in the hall believed that
the vote was going to be six, or seven, or even eight hundred
thousand. Just such an incredible increase had actually been
made in Chicago, and in the state; the vote of the city had been
6,700 in 1900, and now it was 47,000; that of Illinois had been
9,600, and now it was 69,000! So, as the evening waxed, and the
crowd piled in, the meeting was a sight to be seen. Bulletins
would be read, and the people would shout themselves hoarse --
and then some one would make a speech, and there would be more
shouting; and then a brief silence, and more bulletins. There
would come messages from the secretaries of neighboring states,
reporting their achievements; the vote of Indiana had gone from
2,300 to 12,000, of Wisconsin from 7,000 to 28,000; of Ohio from
4,800 to 36,000! There were telegrams to the national office
from enthusiastic individuals in little towns which had made
amazing and unprecedented increases in a single year: Benedict,
Kansas, from 26 to 260; Henderson, Kentucky, from 19 to 111;
Holland, Michigan, from 14 to 208; Cleo, Oklahoma, from 0 to 104;
Martin's Ferry, Ohio, from 0 to 296--and many more of the same
kind. There were literally hundreds of such towns; there would
be reports from half a dozen of them in a single batch of
telegrams. And the men who read the despatches off to the
audience were old campaigners, who had been to the places and
helped to make the vote, and could make appropriate comments:
Quincy, Illinois, from 189 to 831--that was where the mayor had
arrested a Socialist speaker! Crawford County, Kansas, from 285
to 1,975; that was the home of the "Appeal to Reason"! Battle
Creek, Michigan, from 4,261 to 10,184; that was the answer of
labor to the Citizens' Alliance Movement!

And then there were official returns from the various precincts
and wards of the city itself! Whether it was a factory district
or one of the "silk-stocking" wards seemed to make no particular
difference in the increase; but one of the things which surprised
the party leaders most was the tremendous vote that came rolling
in from the stockyards. Packingtown comprised three wards of the
city, and the vote in the spring of 1903 had been 500, and in the
fall of the same year, 1,600. Now, only one year later, it was
over 6,300--and the Democratic vote only 8,800! There were other
wards in which the Democratic vote had been actually surpassed,
and in two districts, members of the state legislature had been
elected. Thus Chicago now led the country; it had set a new
standard for the party, it had shown the workingmen the way!

--So spoke an orator upon the platform; and two thousand pairs of
eyes were fixed upon him, and two thousand voices were cheering
his every sentence. The orator had been the head of the city's
relief bureau in the stockyards, until the sight of misery and
corruption had made him sick. He was young, hungry-looking, full
of fire; and as he swung his long arms and beat up the crowd, to
Jurgis he seemed the very spirit of the revolution. "Organize!
Organize! Organize!"--that was his cry. He was afraid of this
tremendous vote, which his party had not expected, and which it
had not earned. "These men are not Socialists!" he cried. "This
election will pass, and the excitement will die, and people will
forget about it; and if you forget about it, too, if you sink
back and rest upon your oars, we shall lose this vote that we
have polled to-day, and our enemies will laugh us to scorn! It
rests with you to take your resolution--now, in the flush of
victory, to find these men who have voted for us, and bring them
to our meetings, and organize them and bind them to us! We shall
not find all our campaigns as easy as this one. Everywhere in
the country tonight the old party politicians are studying this
vote, and setting their sails by it; and nowhere will they be
quicker or more cunning than here in our own city. Fifty
thousand Socialist votes in Chicago means a municipal-ownership
Democracy in the spring! And then they will fool the voters once
more, and all the powers of plunder and corruption will be swept
into office again! But whatever they may do when they get in,
there is one thing they will not do, and that will be the thing
for which they were elected! They will not give the people of
our city municipal ownership--they will not mean to do it, they
will not try to do it; all that they will do is give our party in
Chicago the greatest opportunity that has ever come to Socialism
in America! We shall have the sham reformers self-stultified and
self-convicted; we shall have the radical Democracy left without
a lie with which to cover its nakedness! And then will begin the
rush that will never be checked, the tide that will never turn
till it has reached its flood--that will be irresistible,
overwhelming--the rallying of the outraged workingmen of Chicago
to our standard! And we shall organize them, we shall drill
them, we shall marshal them for the victory! We shall bear down
the opposition, we shall sweep if before us--and Chicago will be
ours! Chicago will be ours! CHICAGO WILL BE OURS!"

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