An Obligation


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 TAKING UP FIREARMS OR THE TOOLS OF PRODUCTION AGAINST MY FELLOW WORKERS.”

This is neither a Labor, a Religious, or a Political Organization, although it partakes to a certain extent of the qualities of all three.

It is not a Labor Union, although handling Labor in its waste form of the Unemployed, Casual and Migratory Worker (or hobo). Under ideal conditions, this vast body of men, numbering many millions, would belong to some sort of a Labor Union. But the time seems far off when such a consummation can be reached. constitute a great and ever increasing danger to all those who are employed, whether Union or non-Union, from the mere fact that, Self preservation being the first law of nature, they are tempted, may at times almost compelled to seek the other fellow’s job. Thus, no Union man, no matter how skillful his craft or how good his wages, can consider himself and his family safe while such conditions exist. The strike-breakers are all taken from this elass. Therefore, when a member of this Association takes his obligation and solemnly declares that he will never be guilty of taking up the tools of production against his fellow-workers, he is standing on the high moral ground of self. abnegation. It behooves the Union man, insecure as he is in his job and living constantly in the dread and fear of discharge, or at least a reduction of his wages, to remember the down and outs who thus directly aid him, and by all the means in his power reciprocate by material, moral and financial help at all times, and particularly in times of great stress. This is not only Justice, but it is commonsense and plain SELF-DEFENCE.

Religious. The Brotherhood Welfare Association is not a Religious Organization in the common acceptance of the term. It knows neither creeds nor dogma. It cares for one, thing, and that alone, the Brotherhood of Man. And yet it is religious in the highest sense. The man who agrees to co-operate in all work for the betterment of humanity stands on high moral ground and as the Love of God can only find expression in love for our fellowman, he who takes this obligation and keeps it is on the plane of righteousness far removed from the selfish and self-seeking world.

Political. The Association is not political in this, that it cares nothing for machine polities. They are a degradation sapping the life of the nation. And yet it is political in this: that the betterment of the workers can only be brought about under the present system,  by using the tools that are at hand. Thus it is necessary to agitate, demand legislation for pressing needs, where possible put into motion the Initiative and take all other measures which are necessary to bring before the people the great injustice, misery and poverty of the system, and procure by any and all means such measures as shall at least alleviate.

Looking forward always to the Great Change.

A lady scientist blew in here from Washington the other day, making investigations for the Government. She discovered 138,000,000 microbes in one dessicated egg. This is counting some. We wish she had come a few days earlier and counted the protoplasms we hoboes got in the desecrated codfish we had to eat on Good Friday. The poor girl would have been counting yet.

You will find plenty of room for thought in this paper. Debs says if you use your brains and get corns on your heads, you won’t have so many corns on your hands.

Brother Will Quirke got the Editorial goat the other day, when he wrote: “I trust that your future issues will be written down to the level of your first, edition.” Well, say, how is that for a back-handed compliment? But Brother Will did not mean so badly after Tall. He simply wants us to use every day, virile and simple language.

Now, it is a fact that the average worker when he dabbles in literature, has a weakness for all the big words in the dictionary. It is to be deplored. We can assure Brother Quirke, that if the Editor has to write an article about a big fire in Washington, he will absolutely refuse to call it a Tremendous Conflagration in the Metropolis. We will even cut out that fool word sabotage as far as we can. And, as for Economic Determinism. Gubernatorial. Apropos, Bourgeoisie, Proletaire and Conception of History, they will promptly go into the new waste paper basket.

Contributors will please take notice. Make it simple and sweet or the blue pencil will get you.

To be sung by all the Comrades as they pray over the graves of the unknown dead, our sis: ters and brothers who have gone before and who lie in the Potters’ Fields, neglected and forgotten except by their fellow-sufferers of the Brotherhood Welfare Association. Words by a Hobo Poetess, Sister Mattie McCaslen.