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The signs of the times indicate that we are on the eve o£ new and important social developments, and,although we do not imagine for a moment that the dream which Edward Bellamy has elaborated in his] remarkable work " Looking Backward," is at all likely to be translated into actual fact, yet there can be no doubt that we are destined to see great changes, and that ere long. And this is especially true as regards the relations of' capital and labor* . That "-Union is strength " has always been recognised by the former, and it has always acted upon the knowledge, but more particularly within the pastjdecade which has been remarkable—notably in America—for the formation of. rings, syndicates, and "trusts," wielding enormous influence, and frequently monopolising and dominating whole departments of the world's business. The aim of these combinations is, of course, the advantage of their members by securing the I highest prices and largest profits possible, and this, too, not only at the cost of the customer, but of . the worker also; the effort to keep prices up to ithe highest level being often accomjpanied by the effort to keep wages down to the lowest. Against this sort of thing the individual worker is powerless, and hence, largely, the existence of such evils as those known as " the sweating system." Obviously the remedy of the workers is to meet combination with and by combination, and, thanks to the spread of education, their eyes having been opened to this fact, we see, not only in the old world but in these young >, offshoots—the colonies—a rallying together of labor in all departments, animated by the sentiment which is the motto of one of our great Friendly Societies " United we stand, divided we fall." The fact that the importance of this movement and its far reaching effects^ have been seen by the young Kaiser, and have led to the dismissal of Bismjarck and the determination of William .111. of Germany to himself stand in the van of social reform, is in itself a remai'kable proof of the breadth and depth and the vast momentum of the tide which has set in ; and as that tide is flowing throughout the well as the old world, it will be, well if the classes direct their efforts to securing that the new movement shall be guided into safe channels, rather than to the raising of an opposition toHhemovement of the" masses which would" have the effect of causing the flood to burst its bounds, sweeping away before it much that should be preserved, nay,i probably working wide-spread mischief and misery. The welding of labor into a great power is inevitable, and given that its forces are employed well and wisely, the sooner the better, The movement now going on for the formation of Labor Unions has therefore our entire sympathy, subject only to the proviso thnt the Unions, when formed, shall exercise their power to prevent oppi'ession, and not to oppress, to give as well as to demand fair play, to carry out, in a word, the motto "Live and'let Live." .If their aims and practice be such as these, then they may be cordially welcomed, and will take a recognised place as among the most useful and beneficent developments of this age of progress,

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2435, 7 June 1890

Word Count

THE LABOR MOVEMENT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XIV, Issue 2435, 7 June 1890