Articles from Social-Demokraten.

The Labor Issue

Issue 25 September 1885

Source: Social-Demokraten, 25 September 1885. Written by August Palm and Axel Danielsson;
Translated: by Daniell Brandell;
Transcribed: by Hal Smith;
HTML Mark-up: by Andy Blunden.

The Worker Issue is a question, which during the last decades with more force has drawn attention and at the moment has drawn all other interests back. Neither the religious question, nor the educational question, whose solution by the way is dependent on the solution of the worker issue, is at the moment occupying both the great masses themselves as the statesmen, the economists and humanitarians as this enormous, undefeatable movement which like a mighty wave roll through both the new and the old world’s civilized societies. The reason for this movement’s weight and importance is that it is the solid ground that first must be conquered, the foundation which must be laid, before something can be built up. The working class, whose freedom it refers to, is, as once said, the rock on which the church of the future is to be built. If the ground raises, so does the building. The freedom of the workers, their raising from a millennium of suppression, under which they moan, is therefore equal to the freedom and sophistication of all mankind. It is therefore this movement that can be greeted as one of the most hopeful, and gratifying phenomenon, history one time will carve into its papers. In what way this, as we would hope peaceful revolution will be carried out, only future can tell us.

Now it is above all the issue that the working class understands its place and its call in and for the transformation of society which has already begun, and in the consciousness of its duty seeks in a worthy way fill the high reformatory task, which is the same as presented in the struggle for a brighter and better future not for this or that individual, not for this or that nationality, but for all of mankind. A fight is near, a hard and serious fight against centuries of ignorance and prejudice, and if a victory shall be won, it is first of all for the soldier to organise because without order they are no force. The workers must therefore unite, they must feel, that they are a particular estate with common interests, which they only together and united can raise. It is also the more clearer awareness of this, which have made so many worker’s associations, which our present worker’s movement has brought to life.

But for the associations or organisations to be of any real importance for the workers in their struggle for their rights it must take such a route that its edge is directed towards the root of the evil, from which they suffer most, from the misery and poverty. Among all known forms of worker’s organisation it is mostly one, which promises good for the future, the trade union movement. Because this movement has as its goal to through the association of workers to gather the widespread and powerless individuals to a force, which the capitalists must have to deal with when they decide the wage, which under present conditions tend to decrease to a level when the worker barely can sustain alive. But if this association in unions shall be able to do anything it must break the narrow borders of nationality and be international. In this lies the union movement’s deepest, its moral, in the very meaning of the word revolutionary importance. International trade unions see that there is a way to the brotherhood of all mankind, to the different people’s merging into one, to the end of battles and wars, which so far has stained the path of mankind. One can hardly notice any higher and more noble task than this, to which the worker’s movement aim. This is on the other hand only one side of the task, which the unions have.

Not less profound is the reorganisation of our present conditions of production, which their development in the future must lead to. Once unions reach the closest goal, to organize the association of workers to give them better economical conditions, the step not far to unloading the heavy burden of slavery, through the overtaking of production by the wage slaves, which therefore is made common property of the whole society, and when the now present and unfair randomly distribution of wealth with its unavoidable consequences, wealth for a few privileged and misery and poverty for the masses, will be succeeded by a more just and natural distribution of the good of this earth, to which we all as humans and brothers have the same rights.

This is the so condemned, so twisted, so misunderstood and so feared goal of socialism, a goal so high and mighty that no culture ever in the past can measure to it. Therefore, workers, join this movement! You have nothing to lose, but everything to win. Join together under the red flag of socialism and go bravely and energetically forward, the future belong to you, on this you can be sure.

The Swedish socialists’ closest task seems now to be to gather and unite the workers in unions first in the home country, and then work for these unions to be Scandinavian, i.e. include also the brotherhood-people’s workers. And the Swedish social democratic party must as one of its closest goals work for common and direct suffrage, when it is clear that the working estate’s political rights, its participation in the popular representation is a main condition for realising the social reforms stated above.

We therefore call upon all our land’s workers and especially the social democratic organisations to energetically and hopefully work for the association of workers in unions and suffrage. This is the way and the means to the big goal. May then no one forget to walk it.

The victory is secure. Forward!