What is Exploitation?


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What is Exploitation?

By Randolph Bourne

My western friend who runs a prosperous stove-factory has been finding fault with my insistent use of the word “exploitation.” My outlook on life is not sufficiently cheerful, and I am inclined to see malevolence where everything is, as they say at college, healthy, hearty, and happy. Our quarrel rose over the Mesaba strike, and my acceptance of an I.W.W. pamphlet as a plausible account of what was going on there. The accounts of the insecurity of pay, the petty robberies, the reeking houses, the bigoted opposition to labor organization, seemed to me to smell of truth, because I had read the maddening tales of Colorado and West Virginia, and seen with my own eyes in Scranton and Gary and Pittsburgh the way workers live, not in crises of industrial war but in brimming times of peace. …

Better Any Kind of Action Than Inert Theory

By Mary Marcy

When the war in Europe first broke out, some of us believed that it was only some overwhelming elemental instinct that could cause men to leave the security of their homes to face death and disease at the front. We attributed their swift advances to the hunting instinct or to social stampede, or to mob psychology. We could not believe that anything short of primal instinct or “original tendency” could so sweep men off their feet and carry them into the horrors of war. …

We Must Fight It Out

By Mary Marcy

These last few months have upset many of our old ideas. They have taught us that even we all-wise socialists have much to learn. They have shown us that we cannot count on plastering the Earth with our ideas and looking for the Co-operative Commonwealth the next day. In fact, if we have learned anything, we have come to see that ideas, even right ideas, are not all it is going to take to make the revolution. …

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