An Obligation


(Continued from the May Number.)

The International Brotherhood Welfare Association requires all its members to take the following obligation:

“I promise to be kind and courteous in my treatment of my fellow-members; to co-operate with them in all their work for the betterment of humanity; to obey the rules and to the best of my ability further the advancement of the International Brotherhood Welfare Association; AND THAT I will NEVER BE GUILTY OF TAKENG UP FIREARMS OR THE TOOLS OF PRODUCTIONAGAINST MY FELLOWWORKERs.”

“And that I will never be guilty of taking up firearms against my fellow-workers.”

It begins to look as if we, the Unemployed, Casual and Migratory Workers (the Hoboes), are about the only respectable and really Christian people in this country, or throughout the earth, for that matter, with the possible exception of the Chinese. For the first time, paradoxical as it may seem, we feel grateful that there are so many of us, and that we, the down-and-out workers, in our millions, are at least a leaven working for Justice and Peace.

They are all in it, from the Churches down. War, war, nothing but hellish war, Damnation for mankind let loose. The parson in his study, the business man in his office, the big-mouthed eveangelist on his platform )scaring the women into fits with his old-fashioned hell dope), the editor in his sanctum, even the workers in the stores and factories, all, all are shouting and preaching war, until, like the Chicago Stock Yards, there seems to be nothing but blood in the air. And this in the twentieth century, in all the so-called Christian lands! There is no getting away from this war; from early morning till late at night, we are so impregnated with it and all its sickening details that even our sleep is troubled with it and we dream of nothing but horrors.

But, we, the Hoboes, have had so much of war that it takes less effect on us than the other classes. We live in an eternal war for Justice and Righteousness. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” And in this everlasting industrial war we are the persecuted. There is no day in all the year when some of us are not locked up and punished for daring to tell the truth about the conditions as they are. But there is no let-up. We remember Chicago, the Coeur d’Alene, Pittsburg, Lawrence, Paterson, and scores of other bloody battlefields from the Atlantic to the Pacific; the murdered men and women of Colorado and West Virginia. We know how the Byrnes and Pinkerton men, the National Guards and Federal troops have treated those victims of our class. And so we take the solemn obligation: We will never be guilty of joining any part of the bloody crew. We will not be strike-breakers and we will not be murderers. We will not kill our brothers. We repeat our obligation, fearlessly; we look the world of labor in the face, and we solemnly repeat that we cannot be bought, nor can we be bulldozed into doing this wicked thing. We are for industrial peace, when no worker shall be foolish enough to hurt his fellows in any way, but shall stick to his class for the Eternal Right. Trades, nations, creeds, color, all must go to the cohesion of the workers.

Here we stand. WE WILL NEVER BE GUILTY OF TAKING UP FIREARMS against our fellow-workers.

Note to Comrades. These main editorial articles commencing in the April number, bearing on the constitution, the aims and objects, the hopes and determinations of the Brotherhood Welfare Association will be continued monthly, and later issued in pamphlet form to be sold with the “Hobo News” as part of our general propaganda.