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can read or write in their own language. To make such a people feel that the Government is their friend, that they are a part of it, that development and education, not repression, are its objects and its purposes with and for them, is an enormous task, and one which a trade union single handed and alone can not be expected to accomplish by indirection in a few years, with the flood of new ignorance that has been brought in by the high tide of immigration into the stock yards.
In every trade union, however conservative, there are members who will occasionally get the floor and advise their hearers to vote high wages and shorter hours at the ballot box. As the groups of Slovaks gather around after the business is over to have these things explained to them, many get their first real idea of what the ballot and election day mean, and the relation of these to the Government itself. In their own home countries the two essential, if not only, elements of the peasant and agricultural laborer's mind is to believe and obey, or follow. Advantage is taken of this fact here by clan politicians, as well as the clan leader in every department. Once the leader can make these people believe in him, he thinks for the entire group, and insists that their duty consists in following his lead implicitly. Necessarily, the trade union, in order to get them to break away from the leader that opposed the union on industrial lines, would be compelled to urge them to consider their own personal and group interests as wageworkers; to think and act for themselves along lines where they knew the real conditions better than any one else, and certainly better than their leader in a child insurance society, or something else as remote. Here, too, are the first germs of what may be called the departmental thinking implanted in their minds—that is, that while a leader may be worthy of their confidence in one thing, it does not necessarily follow that he is so in some other class of interests.
It is doubtful if any organization other than a trade union could accomplish these things, for only the bread and butter necessity would be potent enough as an influence to bring these people out of the fixed forms and crystallizations of life into which they have been compressed. Certain it is that no other organization is attempting to do this work, at least not by amalgamation, which is the only way assimilation can be secured among these various foreign elements. The drawing of these people away from their petty clique leaders and getting them to think for themselves upon one line of topics, namely, the industrial conditions and the importance of trade organization, result in a mental uplift. The only way they can pull a Slovak away from his leader is to pull him up until he is gotten above his leader along the lines of thought they are working on. The very essence of the trade argument on the immigrant is-unconsciously again-an uplifting and an Americanizing influence. The unionist begins to talk better wages, better working conditions, better opportunities, better homes, better clothes. Now, one can not eternally argue "better” in the ears of any man, no matter how restricted the particular “better" harped on, without producing something of a psychological atmosphere of “better" in all his thought and life activities. If better food, better wages, or even better beer, is the only kind of “better" one might get a Slovak or a Lithuanian to think about, then the only way to improve him is to inject the thought of “better” into the only crevice to be found in his stupidity.
Of course, many object to attempts to improve these people because the immigrants from Lithuania, Slavonia, and Russian Poland are better off here than they ever were or could be in their own countries; that, left to themselves, they would not only be perfectly satisfied, but delighted with their improved condition; that the union must first produce discontent and dissatisfaction with what would otherwise be entirely satisfactory before it can get these immigrants even to talk about joining the union. Again, it is urged that at home these people do not expect to eat as good food as other people, nor to dress as well, nor to live in as .good houses; that, as peasants, they never compare themselves with other people or classes of people.
In opposition to all these things, the union begins by teaching the immigrant that his wages are not so good as another man's, doing practically the same kind of work, while it neglects to tell him he is not doing it so well, so intelligently, nor so much of it perhaps; but the union gets him to compare himself not with what he was in Lithuania, but with some German or Irish family, and then "stings him with the assertion that he has as much right to live that way as anybody." The union attempts to show the immigrant that he can live better only by getting more money, and that by joining the union he will get it. If left alone he would be entirely satisfied, perhaps, with what he was getting before. It is perfectly true, probably, that in most cases the union does not care for the Lithuanian in the first instance, the real purpose being to protect their own wages by getting the immigrants to demand high wages for their labor. So later on some degree of fellowship is engendered, but self-defense is the real motive.
The union point of view is that for a Lithuanian peasant to be contented, satisfied, and happy with the Lithuanian standard of living in America is a crime, a crime not only against himself but against America and everyone who wishes to make individual and social developinent possible in America, and that whatever the union's motives for creating discontent, the fact that it does create a discontent among the immigrants--which is the first step toward their improvement and ultimate Americanization-renders the union so far a public benefactor.
Many persons were interviewed in securing information along these lines-bankers, professional men, and all classes. One gentleman, in the banking business in the stock-yards district for many years, stated that the Slavonians and Galicians have been buying homes within the last eighteen months to a most remarkable and unprecedented extent, anul that this is in a measure true of the Lithuanians, but not to such a marhed degree. He testifies that the union has given these people a en of security in their positions. By mixing up the nationalities in the union meeting it has made them acquainted with each other and in an undetined dread of pending race war or struggle between rates in the yards. Formerly most of the Slovak and Lithuaraimigrants were a floater class. About the only ones who return toi: le now are the Galicians, in whose country a more or less ripriative form of gorernment prevails. Others testitied in a
ist war, although some thought the union had done little except tongitute for higher, higher, and higher wages, regardless of economic conditions
On the police side of the problem, a sergeant of the twentieth precinct, that known as “ back of the yards," which is crowded with the Bohemian and Polish elements, stated that there had been the greatest improvement since the union was formed, in 1900-less disorder, better living, more intelligence, and more understanding of American institutions and laws; that they employ fewer policemen in the district, and that lens crime is committed than prior to 1900.
The studies of the various nationalities involved in the present meat strike brings out some valuable points relative to the restriction of immigration. Among them there seems to be an unalterable opposition to law excluding those who can not read and write in their own language, and their argument is that the peasant population of central and ea-tern Europe, from which they came, have more rugged morals, simpler lives, and fewer vices than the inhabitants of the cities and town who can read and write, as a rule. They consider themselves not re-ponsible morally or politically for the fact that Ru--ia has fewer
cols than Illinoi- and spends les money on education in a year than do's that state. They claim that their ignorance is not of the kind that is nonymous with rice or with crime; that they are as innocent a-iynorant, whereas a far wore town and city population would be admitted without question under such laws. They have some peculiar bilo-a- about prohibiting absolutely any immigration for a specific term of years and then allowing only a certain percentaye to come in each Tear thereafter; but the main point they make is a- to the illiteracy of the peasant class, the most desirable we can sture, and the literacy of the criminal clases of the great cities, which could come in under uch restrictive legislation. Such things are only a part of this study brought out by your two letters, and the study has seened to me so interesting and, in a way, so novel, that I have taken courage to give you the relt: quite in extenso. I am, with the highest regards, very respectfully,
CARROLL. D. WRIGHT,
LABOR CONDITIONS IN AUSTRALIA.
BY VICTOR S. CLARK, PH. D.
The Commonwealth of Australia is not coterminous with the continent of that name, but includes in addition the island State of Tasmania, with an area of 26,000 square miles, or slightly larger than West Virginia, and the dependency of British New Guinea, which has an area of 90,000 square miles and an estimated native population of over 300,000. Of the six States of the Federation, however, five are upon the Australian mainland, and embrace the whole continental area, an extent nearly equal to that of the United States exclusive of Alaska and the insular dependencies. But the population, after more than a century of settlement and development, hardly exceeds that of the Union in the time of Washington, and is scattered along a coast line of nearly 10,000 miles. There are no great rivers affording easy and reliable means of ingress into the interior, no transcontinental lines of railway have been constructed, and the great central plains of the continent, as yet only partially explored, are visited or held only by hardy prospectors and venturesome graziers, whose precarious tenure is dependent upon a scanty and uncertain rainfall. Reverse a dinner plate and you have a fair relief map of Australia, or at least a diagram of its characteristic elevation features. The sloping rim represents for the most part fairly well watered and habitable country, timbered usually with the ever present but ever varying eucalyptus, the "gum" forests or “bush” of the Australian settler. Where the rim breaks into a depression toward the center is a barrier of more rugged country, a land of hidden mineral treasures that paid toll to the running streams and created the placer deposits of the early gold fields. Beyond sink the interminable plains and the “ Never-never” country, cften blasted with drought but ever ready-even after years of absolute aridity--to burst forth in a moment into oceans of rank green pasture if a moist breeze escapes over the mountains to their relief. On no part of the continent except in the southern highlands is it usual to find snow, but the temperature range dips to the frost level in Victoria and the more elevated plateauy of New South Wales, while sugar cane and bananas, and the luxuriant vegetation of the Tropics thrive in northern Queensland.