Showing posts with label Eugene Debs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eugene Debs. Show all posts

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crimes of Carnegie

In the land of his birth Andrew Carnegie is commemorated by statues and grand buildings named in his honour. In Dunfermline, where he was born, there is a museum to remember him. This article expresses a different view of the Scottish "benefactor".

Condoning Crime in the Name of Philanthropy

Many thousands of misguided people are applauding the alleged philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie and of these by far the larger number are
workingmen. Manifestly they have forgotten, or they have never heard of the horrors of Homestead — or perhaps they are too ignorant to understand or too cowardly to profit by the bloody lesson.

The reckless prodigality of Carnegie with the plunder of his victims brings into boldest prominencethe crimes he committed when they protested
against his monstrous rapacity. Then what? An army of 300 Pinkerton mercenaries were hired by this bloody benefactor to kill the men whose
labor had made him a millionaire. He did not have the courage to execute his own murderous designs so he commissioned another monster, Frick, by name, with bloodless veins and a heart of steel, to commit the crimes while he went to Europe and held high carnival with the titled snobs there until the ghastly work was done. It was one of the foulest conspiracies ever concocted against the working class and the very though of its atrocities, after nearly 10 years, fires the blood and crimsons the cheek with righteous indignation. Not only were the Pinkerton murderers hired by Carnegie to kill his employees, but he had his steel works surrounded by wires charged with deadly electric currents and by pipes filled with boiling water so that in the event of a strike or lockout he could shock the life out of their wretched bodies or scald the flesh from their miserable bones.

And this is the man who proposes to erect libraries for the benefit of the working class — and incidentally for the glory of Carnegie.

Will the workingmen of this country accept any gift from the hands of Andrew Carnegie, red with the blood of their slain comrades? That some of them have already done so is to their everlasting shame. The employees who a few days ago received, with expressions of gratitude, the bonded booty, to be held in trust for them until they become paupers, have debased themselves beyond expression. They may have to work for Carnegie, but they are not compelled to recognize as a gift the pennies he throws them in return for the dollars he stole from them, and when they do they are guilty of treason to their murdered brothers, and are better described as spineless poltroons than as self-respecting workingmen.

Some years ago, when Carnegie endowed the first library for the alleged benefit of workingmen, I objected. And I object now with increased
emphasis.

Such a library is monumental of the degeneracy of the working class. It is a lasting rebuke to their intelligence and their integrity.

 The workingmen of New Castle have led the revolt. Let their splendid example be followed wherever a Carnegie library is suggested. Let mass
meetings of workingmen be held and let the horrifying scenes of the Homestead massacre be sented to stir them to a sense of indignation at
the vulgar and insulting display of the spoil exploited from their class.

 Let honest workingmen everywhere protest against the acceptance of a gift which condones crime in the name of philanthropy. Let them put themselves upon record in terms that appeal to the honor of their class and the respect of all mankind.

 We want libraries and we will have them in glorious abundance when capitalism is abolished and the workingmen are no longer robbed by the philanthropic pirates of the Carnegie class.

Then the library will be as it should be, a noble temple dedicated to culture and symbolizing the virtues of the people.

Eugene Debs.

March 30, 1901. 
Taken from here 


For more on Carnegie see an earlier post on Socialist Courier

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Prison Blues


In a recent Scotsman article it is estimated that the Scottish prison population will reach American-type proportions . Prof Coyle, head of prison studies at Kings College in London, said Britain was "ten to 15 years behind the US", which he said was already using prisons as a quasi-welfare state. America has a prisoner rate of 738 per 100,000 head of population, nearly six times more than Scotland's rate of 139 per 100,000.

Presently standing at around 7,200 people prison service estimates that the number could hit 10,000 within the next decade but Professor Andrew Coyle, a former governor of Peterhead and Shotts prisons, yesterday said that if courts keep sending mentally ill people, along with offenders whose crimes arise from drug and alcohol addictions, to prison, Scotland could end up with a prison population as high as 35,000.


He notes that seven out of ten prisoners in Scotland have mental health problems, with seven per cent displaying "psychotic elements" and eighty per cent suffering drug addiction problems .
Prof Coyle said that, instead of being used as a "punishment of last resort" for serious criminals, prisons were increasingly being forced to cope with mentally ill people and other problematic cases, such as drug addicts, who should be diverted into the health service rather than the criminal justice system.

Prof Coyle said a lack of adequate facilities for people with mental health problems was fuelling the growth in the prison population.

"I'm talking about the 'too difficult' groups, the mentally disturbed, the drug addicts. People with these health issues are not being given the help they need through the health system. They then appear in the 'system' for committing crimes. That system simply isn't equipped for dealing with people with health and addiction problems."
And what has Scotland got to look forward to if it follows the American incarceration trend .

The USA has the most prisoners in the world .

A U.S. Justice Department report released on November 30 showed that a record 7 million people -- or one in every 32 American adults -- were behind bars, on probation or on parole at the end of last year. Of the total, 2.2 million were in prison or jail.

China ranks second with 1.5 million prisoners

Followed by Russia with 870,000.

The United States has 5 percent of the world's population and 25 percent of the world's incarcerated population

Ryan King, a policy analyst at The Sentencing Project, a group advocating sentencing reform, said the United States has a more punitive criminal justice system than other countries. King said various social programs, including those dealing with education, poverty, urban development, health care and child care, have failed.

"There are a number of social programs we have failed to deliver. There are systemic failures going on . A lot of these people then end up in the criminal justice system."
The easy fix of "lock em up and throw away the keys" isn't working . And the remedy of patching up and reforming the system don't change things either .

There requires to be a more profound and revolutionary approach to the causes of crime and all the many other social ills . Socialists cannot see prisons simply as the dumping grounds for the discarded and the despised .

Eugene Debs once said :-
" Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. "

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