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NATIONAL PROHIBITION, Issue 15654, 19 November 1914
[PUBLISHED BY AttBANGEMENT.]
WHAT SOME LABOR ORGANISATIONS THINK.
The American lias a reputation for the frankness and vigor of his public utterances, and those of some Labor federations on the question of Prohibition do not lack the national trait. The first example is afforded by the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor, who have put themselves on record in the following terms: Whereas the fanatics propose legislation which will take away the weekly earnings of tens of thousands of wageearners, thereby breaking up their homes and' disrupting their family ties ; and
Whereas Wisconsin Prohibition has proven that it does not prohibit, but leads to secret use of the vilest sorts of alcoholic drinks, to hypocrisy, and corruption; therefore be it resolved that the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor, in convention assembled, declares in no uncertain terms to all official's (legislative and executive) olected by the votes of tho wage-earners that a stringent stand should bo taken against anv and all measures that lead to Prohibition. ' In a set of remarkable resolutions put forth by the Indiana State Federation of Labor it is affirmed:
That this organisation does enter into most emphatic protect against any further tampering with State or municipal laws that have for their purpose the closing of such establishments and the prevention of making or vending the products of breweries, distilleries, and vineyards. Resolved, that wo hereby appeal to our membership throughout tho State to decline to vote for or aid in any manner whatever any party or organisation that has for its purpose tho restricting of the rights of personal liberty of the men and women of the State, or that may become
such hereafter. The trade unions fp South Dakota utter this warning against Prohibition, the destroyer of Labor :
We have our homos and families here and want to stay, but tho adoption of the County Prohibition Bill will destroy our opportunities, and that of thousands of others, to earn a living in this State. "We reaffirm our allejriance to tViat cardinal principle of jurisprudence which assures equal rights to all and special privileges to none. We condemn class legislation; we brand the proposed law as not only unfair, but un-American, and we call upon the working men of South Dakota to lend their support to the defeat of this infamous and obnoxious measure, as its adoption would establish a dangerous precedent.
The Central Trades and Labor Union of St. Louis, at a meeting held in that city on February 28, 1909, passed a resolution urging the State Assembly to so amend the liquor laws of Missouri that it would be impossible for the State to destroy or confiscate tho property or business of anv citizen, or to inconvenience thousands of citizens without an appeal to the courts. The latter clause was intended to prevent the closing of saloons three days in succession, as had been done when primary elections were held on three consecutive davs.
The Central Labor Union of Brooklyn, on February 23, 1909, passed the following : —'• Resolved, that the Central Labor Union is opposed to any legislation that will at this time of widespread industrial depression and unemployment suddenly throw out of work thousands of members of organised labor employed in the liquor industry." The "Federation of Labor of Baltimore passed a resolution scoring the Anti-saloon League for its reprehensible tactics and declaring that much, of the present business depression was due to Prohibition. The resolution in part reads: We believo that Local Option and the incessant agitation by paid agitators is largely responsible for the unsatisfactory condition of business. We desire to record our unqualified opposition to the Anti-ealoon League and its efforts to force Local Option and Prohibition upon tho people of thia State.
The Missouri Stato Federation of Labor passed a resolution protesting against a Prohibition campnign in Missouri. This body declared that tho peoplo of tho State did not want Prohibition, and that there was no call for such an issue being submitted to tho voters.
In Michigan the CigarmakeTs' Union p.ssscd resolutions condemning Prohibition and Local Option. The cigarmakers also did excellent and efficient work in opposing Prohibition at the polls at tho locenfc election in Michigan The Central Federated Union of Greater New York and vicinity passed a resolution urging its members and menibeTS of all organised Labor unions throughout the country to oppose the passage of prohibitory legislation wherever ench measures vers agitated. . The Michigan, Florida, and Louisiana State Federations of Labor, tho Boston Central LaboT Union, the National Potters, Coopers, and other representative labor bodies have been equally outspoken in repudiating Prohibition. Speaking on this point before a committee of the Maryland House of Delegates, Mr Edward Hirsch, president of the Baltimore Federation of Labor, said: " I am arguing that the American working man believes in freedom and the right to regulate his own conduct. All this temperance legislation proceeds on the theory that those who patronise saloons or take a drink are wealc or irresponsible and need a guardian. If you are to pass such laws as to drink, where will it stop? Tho Antisaloon League already dictates to us our politics and threatens to dominate parties } give them their way, and the next step will bo to tell us what we muet eat cr smoke or wear. The principle is the same. Our American conception of free government is that men are assumed ta be responsible and are guaranteed their freedom until thev abuse it. Has the American working "man who stands for tho decent saloon abused his freedom that he must now bo placed in tho custody of the Antisaloon League?"
From the above it is at least a legitimate inference that, riglltly or wrongly, there is a large body of; intelligent Labor opinion in the United States that, spite of the object lessons aflorded by " dry " States, does not regard Prohibition as a policy that is in the best interests of the individual nor in the highest interests of the State.
NATIONAL PROHIBITION, Issue 15654, 19 November 1914
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