Jack Houston’s Editorials in the OBU Bulletin: 14 February 1920
The O.B.U. Bulletin
With this number, 27, the O.B.U. Bulletin issues the first number in the second year of its existence. From the standpoint of a number of readers the Bulletin is a success. Ten thousand paid for papers should cover comfortably the expense of getting out such a paper as we are now producing. We are now over the nine thousand five hundred mark.
We take subscriptions for six months and for one year. If your mailing slip, or address slip shows the same number as the number of the issue, your subscription expires with that number. We extend no credit, so expired subscriptions will be promptly removed from the mailing lists.
As to policy and as to sedition and seditious intentions, this paper is published by the Winnipeg Central Labor Council of the O.B.U., a strictly labor organization is simple. It is, through the means of the organization to afford aid to its members in making collective bargains and to resist encroachments against the rights of most essential members of society, those who produce the goods which enable all the members of society to live.
The means by which these goods are produced is called an economic system. No economic system can function unless peace and order is maintained. The means by which peace and order is maintained is called social control. When there is no social control, the world lapses into chaos, and the inevitable result is collapse and decay.
There never has existed in this world a complete or nearly perfect system of social control. Anarchy in political affairs, sabotage in industry, are today rampant, laws are ill conceived, badly administered. Antagonists growing out of conflicting economic interests have not just courts by which these may be reconciled and the result is strife, struggle, war, devastation, exhaustion, collapse and decay. The present lamentable economic condition of the nations of Christendom is all the evidence that is needed to prove the inefficiency of social control as it has been in evidence in the immediate past.
It is the duty of every good citizen above all things, to see that proper and effective institutions are brought into being to exercise wise social control. The study of one institution with a view of finding out where they are poorly fitted to function in this regard, with a view to their improvement or betterment, is the first duty of a citizen. Understanding must precede action or the action makes confusion, but worse confounded.
The different social sciences have come into being, as a necessity to afford the scientific methods for the study of social phenomena and institutions. To the extent that men busy themselves with the study of social matters, along the best and most approved scientific lines, to that extent are they fulfilling their duty as good citizens. To the extent that they fit themselves to rationally consider such phenomena, and to the extent that they courageously and manfully proclaim their matured conclusions to the world, to that extent do they fulfill their duty to their fellow men and to society as a whole.
The working class is and has been the mud-sills of society. The working class, in producing the goods for the whole of society with the advent of the machine system of production as the prevailing system of production and with its large draught on the accomplishments of physical science, has necessarily become an educated class. No class in the community is putting in more time in the study of social phenomena, is questioning more the efficiency of the political, economic, the industrial relations which exist along with and are conditioned by our institutions. All the sedition trials in the world, brought by and conducted by men now in charge of the machinery of social control, cannot stop the workers from activities along the above line.
For the Bulletin it is the intention to continue along the lines mapped out for us when we first took charge. We have at no time any seditious intent. We do not preach violence because we do not believe in violence. But we will do everything that lies in our power to show that there is a new and more advanced culture coming into existence in the world which, some day or other, somehow or other, when it becomes pervasive culture, will scrap the old institutions based on autocracy and status and will substitute institutions which will be in harmony with the already in existence, social system of production, brought into being by the advent of the machine, and a large scale production arising out of the machine process.
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