UNCLE SAM, THE REAL CULPRIT
Joseph A. Labadie
Labadie was a lively, incisive and often witty writer, although he had only a few months of formal education. His columns titled "Cranky Notions" were widely published in the labor and radical press, and in Benjamin Tucker's Liberty, the leading journal of individualist anarchism. "Uncle Sam, the Real Culprit," originally published in the Detroit Labor Leaf, appeared in the October 3, 1885 issue of Liberty, at a time when Chinese immigrant workers were widely reviled by labor leaders because they were willing to work more cheaply than white workers.
From the Labadie website: "http://members.aol.com/labadiejo/index.html"
I hope that it is true that the Knights of Labor had nothing to do with the brutal massacre of the Chinese in Rock Springs, Wyoming…It is my opinion that this cry against foreigners is redounding more to the benefit of the capitalist and monopolist classes than it is to the working class. If our masters can only keep up the race prejudices, and pit us against the foreigners in the scramble for the dear privilege of using Nature's bounteous gifts, which, under existing law, are absolutely under their control, there is little fear that their unjust privileges will be questioned in such a manner as to endanger them…It is the right of every human being to live wherever he chooses on this earth. There is a good deal of nonsense in the idea that this is "our" country. Who are "we," anyway? Are we not "foreigners," or the direct descendants of foreigners? No more of this earth rightly belongs to any individual or set of individuals than is necessary for the maintenance of their own existence. There is room in America for a hundred times more people than are now here. But monopolists would make us believe that these poor wretches--who are brought here by themselves [the monopolists] for their own ignoble purposes, by the way--are responsible for our poverty. This is not true. No one who is willing to work and earn his own living can be the cause of another's poverty. He who stands between the laborer and the natural means of producing wealth is the real cause of poverty. We are wont to look upon Uncle Sam as the protector of the poor, of the laborer. This is a Great Mistake. Uncle Sam is the aider and abettor of the robbery that is continuous and that keeps you and me living from hand to mouth. Does not Uncle Sam uphold landlordism in all its injustice and brutality? Does not Uncle Sam sustain a law of his own making that no individual or set of individuals shall exercise the right of issuing notes as money who has less than fifty thousand dollars? Does not Uncle Sam establish agencies all over the world that induce laborers to come here who are cheaper than those at home to work for his privileged class? Does not Uncle Sam put on a high duty to prevent you and me from buying goods wherever we can do the best, thereby forcing us to buy of his pet robbers? Uncle Sam is really at the bottom of nearly all this misery and degradation, and a great deal of t would be abolished if he would only withdraw the suppose of his big strong arm from these pickpockets…If we could only get the old man out of the way, class conflicts, race conflicts, economic injustice, and social degradation would gradually die out. This kind of talk may be treason to Uncle Sam, but it is patriotism to the human race.