A political primer by an American coalminer (1941)

Submitted by dalcassian on 3 December, 2014 - 11:49 Author: STANLEY OZIENGIELEWSKI (Unemployed Pennsylvania Coal Miner)

Q. What is Americanism?

A. To different people it means different things; to Congressman Dies,*
bankers, manufacturers, land-owners, merchants, all sorts of exploiters, layers, politicians and flim-flam artists it means prosperity, life of pleasure and high culture; to the labourer it means bleeding, sweating, and being killed on the job and always in need of the essentials of life at home, and when out of a Job it means going fhungry, naked, with no roof over his head and rotting alive without medical assistance.

Q What is Democracy? .

A. Democracy means: "Everybody for himself, and let the devil take the
hindmost. To those at the head of the parade, on top of the social pyramid,
it means freedom to exploit and rob as they please; while to those behind, at the bottom of the social set up it means to be the victim of this freedom,
to starve, to bleed, to rot individually and unknown.

Q. Can there ever be true democracy?

A. Yes. but not before we'll have established economic equality.

Q. What is economic equality?

A.Economic equality is a social system in which all members of society
have equal opportunity to obtain education, to practice their chosen vocationn to receive full value of their service, or full product of their labor. Such a system is termed Socialism.

Q. What is liberty?

A. Liberty in a money-democracy is a liberty for the rich to rob the poor
in a legally established manner. The poor has no liberty to commit suicide,
even, or only in secret. The poor has a liberty to starve quietly and peacefully,

Q. What aare the inalienable rights?

A. Inalienable rights are supposed to b: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit
of Happiness.” The Phrase is but empty words in our money-democracy. For Life depends on food, shelter, clothes, to say the least; Liberiy -
how much Liberty has one who does not own enough to lay his head, or to be buried standing up when dead? And for Happiness one needs: Life Liberty, Equality of oppprtunity to choose his vocation, education, avocation, a mate, a home and environment. We know who enjoys these inalienable rights today.

Q. Why do the majority tolerate these conditions?

A. They tolerate them because they were trained to fear. Because the
ruling class had devised a very ingenious system of poisoning the healthy instincts of the majority pf the .people. From the cradle to the grave we are
being trainecl to fear. To fear God, parents, teachers, the boogey-man, police-men, a firing squad, gas charnber and electric chair. Fear rules this world. We are afraid to die, therefore we cannot live.

Q. What one obstacle is the greatest on the road to social progress?

A. Ignorance of the oppressed is the greatest.

Q Is there hope for sensible, orderly society in our time?

A. Definitely yes. Neither war, nor tyranny of dictatorship can stop the
coming revolution. The best proof is that a common labourer like the author of this questionnaire reasons thus; therefore, the class consciousness must be pretty widely spread among the intelligent workers.

Q. What one factor is of greatest importance in order to effect the social
revolution?

A. The greatest of all factors is a revolutionary leadership capable of
organising a proletarian revolutionary party, which in revolutionary struggle will lesd the proletariat to its ultimate victory over the capitalist class and to establishment of socialism.

Labor Action, New York,
March 31 1941
(Language exactly as in Labor Action.)

*Dies was then what Seator Joe McCarthy would be a decade later.

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