April 04, 2012

193 Jahre William Batchelder Greene

"Economic laws creating privileges are usually enacted at the instance of persons intent upon private interest, and for temporary purposes, without foresight of the permanent privileges which those laws create. For example, the banking-laws were passed in the interests of the stockholders and officers of the banks, without any special intention, or even thought, of annoying the working-people in their exchanges of labor for labor. The giving-away of the public lands was, and is, for the purpose of enriching the persons who received them, and are receiving them, not for the purpose of leaving future generations of working-men without homes. The immediate purpose is to cheat and rob the people, not to enslave them. The whole thing is one of shortsighted avarice, rather than of concerted ambition; and the subjection of the laborer comes incidentally only, and 'without observation'. The servitude of the working-class is of indirect but efficacious LEGAL origin: the emancipation of the working-class must come, therefore, the nature of the State being what it now is, from political action, resulting, not in the making of new laws,—for very few new laws, perhaps none, are called for,—but in the repeal of all existing laws that breed and hatch out privileges. It is for this reason that 'the achievement of political supremacy by the working-class has become A DUTY'.

The members of the International are no office-seekers. They are confident, that, with the abolition of privileges, nine-tenths of the existing political offices, since they are constituted as privileges, and with a view to the protection of privileges, will also be abolished. The abolition of privileges would also abolish the necessity for ninety-nine one-hundredths of the current legislation. Many members of the International maintain that office-holders should no longer be paid, as they are now, fancy salaries, but that they should be paid, like other working-men, simple working-men's wages. This plan succeeded well in the Commune of Paris, during the siege, and provided a superior class of public functionaries. Better men, and more competent men, taken directly from the working-class, were hired by the Commune, at a dollar and a half per day, than had been hired by the old governments at five times those wages. If special honor is attached to any position, that honor should be counted as a part of the wages; and the pay in money should be proportionably less. If there were no privileges to be protected, the necessities for political government would go on gradually diminishing; and the social autonomy of the people would gradually establish itself outside of the government. 'The best government is the government which governs least'. The public treasury ought to be kept at all times nearly empty, so that knaves and adventurers may not be tempted to thrust their fingers into it. The people should be rich, and the government should be very poor. The triumph of the International would throw an effectual wet blanket on the existing lust for public positions, and would cause a return to productive pursuits, and to day's wages, of many very brilliant, but now worse than useless, members of society. (...) The evil of the existing system is this: not that the working-people work for wages, but that wages are not regulated according to amounts of real labor performed, and that the highest wages are paid to persons who do no real work, or very little work, or work extremely deleterious to the community."
(aus: Adress of the Internationals, Broschüre der "Boston Section, No. 1 (french-speaking)" der ersten Internationale, verfasst von William B. Greene, 1873).

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