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Am I my brother's keeper? : a study of British Columbia's labor & Oriental problems Laut, Agnes C., 1871-1936 1913

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WAR and rumors of war had for months been coming
out of the West. First it was the Asiatic question and
then it was the Industrial Workers of the World, more
familiarly known as the I.W.W. The Hindu had sent emissaries
Eastward; turbaned, good-looking, smooth-talking gentlemen,
who endeavored to convince the Easterner that they were being
very badly used. These turbaned "sons of the East" haunted
the newspaper offices throughout the Eastern Provinces; they
addressed women's clubs, men's clubs, social teas, prayer meetings; indeed they were met in all manner of places where audiences were to be found and converts made. How well they
succeeded will be remembered by the many expressions of opinion
as to the unseemly manner in which these "British citizens" were
being treated here in Canada.
Of the I.W.W. and their work in the unsettling of labor and
their total disregard of law and order, the Easterner had a glimmer
in the long drawn out battle between the mill owners and this
same desperate, disorderly element in Lawrence, Mass., while
upon occasions meagre reports leaked Eastward from British
Columbia pertaining to the merry time the contractors in charge
of new work on railway extension in that Province were having
with the I.W.W. How serious the conditions were and are is
borne out by the fact that time and again these contractors
have been obliged to seek protection for both themselves and their
men, and in many cases have been unable, owing to the attitude
J of these "won't works," to obtain the men necessary for the construction work at hand.
With the object of obtaining the facts at first hand in respect
to these two great questions which are disturbing the country,
one politically and socially, the other industrially and socially—
the Managing Editor of Saturday Night (Toronto) looked about
for the proper person to send upon the mission, and finally picked
upon a woman, Agnes C. Laut, the well-known author and trained
investigator. Miss Laut scarcely needs an introduction. Writer
of many important works, such as the "Conquest of the Great
Northwest," 'The Lords of the North," "Heralds of Empire,"
"Pathfinders of the West," etc., etc., her reputation as an author
was international, while her newspaper training in the very country
that she was to visit, her knowledge of local conditions, and above
all her tenacity in getting to the bottom of a question when once
she undertook the task, made her easily the first choice. At the
time Miss Laut was at Panama looking over the ground for a
series of articles. Upon her return she took train to Toronto.
The whole matter was quickly arranged, and within a few hours
she was on her way to the Pacific.
The questions which Miss Laut discusses in the pages of this
booklet are two of the most important issues now before the
Canadian people, while in the Asiatic problem the British people
are vitally interested and will therefore do well to have an understanding of it from a Canadian point of view. These reasons,
together with the fact that there has been a great demand for the
articles which Saturday Night has been unable to fill, is the
excuse, if excuse be needed, for their reproduction in the present
"Saturday Night" Office,
Toronto, Canada, Jan., 1913.  '
11 1
Am I my Brother's Keeper?
What the Labor Agitation in
British Columbia Means.
IF you want to be punctured so full of interrogation marks that all
you think you know leaks out and all that's left is what you don't
know—go to British Columbia, and go right now! It will do you
more good than a postgraduate course in economics or a Burton
Holmes travel lecture to all parts of the world; for you'll meet
representatives of all parts of the world there; and if there's any
economic theory, good or bad, glad or sad, sane or mad, that you
don't meet right out face to face walking on two human legs in B. C,
then it's because that theory hasn't yet been born.
The interesting thing is—you don't meet the theory as a theory>
but as a fact walking on two legs, embodied in flesh and blood, ii
may be without a shirt, but still a human and fighting like the furies
for what it calls "the salvation of the race." Socialism out there isn't
a parlor fad, as it is in New York and London and Paris. They don't
discuss the proletariat (I hate the word; we have no place for it in
Canada) ; they don't discuss the proletariat over 40-cent cigars and
$2.50 wine, as I have heard it drawled and drooled and drivelled about
in New York. You meet it horny-handed and on the job, spouting the
reconstruction of civilization from the rostrum of a soap box and in
defiance of a policeman's bat; and don't you laugh at the soap box
either. If it gets spilled, there's nothing to lose. If You get spilled with
your fine spun load of civilization, there's going to be more than an
upset apple cart with curses and wails—my supercilious Eastern critic!
"Fear? What should we fear to lose?" asked one of the most
prominent and sincere of the B. C. labor leaders. "It's the pot-bellied
bourgeois who are afraid to see civilization topple down! We're down
now! He that is down need fear no fall. Let civilization crash! We'll
build a better structure on the ruins. We have nothing to lose and
everything to gain. We welcome the crumbling of the pile. The future
is labor's and the fulness thereof. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh
away! Let the crash come! It's your spineless halfway compromisers
who have everything to fear!"
Doesn't sound like dilettante champagne lily-handed Socialism—
does it? These remarks were made to me the day the Temple of
Labor was opened in Vancouver—a $275,000 structure to house the
executives of all the federated labor organizations, and a $275,000
structure testifies a kind of Socialism different from champagne and
hot air.
Our Canadian idea of anarchy is of something "over the hills
and far away," remote and underground, or something,  like Ferrer's Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
campaign in Spain, or else of boulevarde poets in Paris shedding
crocodile tears and sipping absinthe over 'the woes of the poor. What's
that to us? We're not interested; but what if we find out there are
100,000 organized Anarchist workers in Canada in every walk of life,
both secret and open, not bomb-throwing, but with a creed, for which
they are now fighting, more overturning than any bomb?
"Put 'em in jail!"
The jails of B. C. are filled to overflowing with I. W. W. men
(Industrial Workers of the World), and every man who is sentenced to
jail is paid $30 a month by his organization in compensation for the
"The jails of B.C. are filled to overflowing with I.W.W. men, Industrial
Workers of the World, and every man who is sentenced to jail is paid
$30 a month by his organization in compensation for the service to the
common good. Send him to jail, and you give him free board and $30
a  month  and the  glory  of  a  martyr."—AGNES  C.   LAUT.
service to the common good.    Send him to jail, and you give him free
board and $30 a month and the glory of a martyr.
"I will be pinched to-night," said an I. W. W. man to me. 'They
will run me in; but what does one man's loss matter in a fight for a
great cause like this? There are a thousand ready to take my place.
We can fill the jails to overflowing. We can cost the enemy thousands
of dollars a day for jail food." (As a matter of fact, the organization
was costing the province $1,000 a day in constables.) "No—we do not
believe in violence. Our policy is stronger than that. It is passive,
persistent resistance that will wear out all opposition and paralyze all
industry. We aim by refusing to work to compel the capital of the
world to come to our terms." Which explains why their enemies call
them the I WON'T WORKS.
W Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
"We are going to cast off all oppression, peaceably if we may, but
forcibly, if we must," declares the official Western organ of the
I. W. W.'s.
"Run them out," you say.
"How are you going to know them to run them out when their
workings are as active in secret as in the open? I was saying to one
of the I. W. W. leaders that I did not think their organization would
ever make headway in Quebec owing to the opposition of the Catholic
Church to all secret orders.   He burst out laughing.
"Why, I am a French Catholic of Quebec," he said; and he told
me of an occurrence of which I had twice already heard, but which no
one had explained. A boss in a freight yard had done something which
the men disliked. Forthwith a very valuable car of freight was lost,
deliberately lost in the yards for weeks and weeks.
"The tactics are applicable to the everyday struggle," explains and
advocates the official organ in the West. "The tactics can be condensed
into the following short rule":—(the rule is printed in solid caps)—
Strike without notice! Leave tools where they happen to be! Sign
no contracts unless forced to by economic pressure! Break those same
contracts the first opportunity whenever that can aid fellow-workers!
In cases of dispute, remain at the posts and turn out the product in
such shape as to unfit it for consumption or sale!"
Or, to quote another official organ of the I. W. W.'s:—"Where the
open strike is not advisable, there are the tactics known as sabotage.
This is doing faulty work, having accidents with the machinery until
for economy's sake the employers must give way. The more skilled
a workman is the greater his knowledge of how to spoil work without
being detected. Moulders can turn out casts full of bubbles, electricians
make faulty insulations, carpenters putting in windows need only
slacken the sash cord instead of stretching it.    .    .    "
Or, another advocate:—"The General Strike is not only the introduction of the Revolution, but it is the Social Revolution itself. . . .
The workingmen having mastered the theory might begin expropriation
by taking possession of the warehouses and means of production, without the sanction of the dictators of the labor movement. . . . The
farm workers might imitate the worker of the city and seize the
possessions of the great land owners."
"Look here," I said to one I. W. W. leader—a man of absolute and
fanatical sincerity—"you advocate fighting for a nine-hour day now,
an eight-hour day to-morrow, a five-hour day the next thing, and so
on till you reduce the hours of labor to three hours a day. Now, if
that scheme will work in the big industrial world, why will it not work
in your own home? Try it with your wife. She rises at six. She quits
her work at nine. You hire help from nine to twelve, another shift from
twelve to three, another from three to six, then a last worker to put the
babies to bed. Wliat wages would you need to run that kind of an
establishment? If the thing isn't workable on a small scale, how do you
expect it to work in a bigger sphere?"
7 .aaui...
Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
"I don't," he said, j "My wife is a partner. She goes through my
pockets, and that is what capital and labor will be under the new order
of things. Such short hours will transfer all capital to our side of the
dividing line. It is perfectly true what you say—we are not striking
for this or that. We are striking to transfer power from that class
to this class, from capitalists to the proletariat" and he gave me a
pamphlet with the headlines (solid caps again) :—DON'T BE A HOG
SLOWLY. ■■§' . ll Ijjjj
Sounds as if Anarchy were a bit nearer than "over the hills and far
away," doesn't it? It is a bit more real than the drivel of boulevarde
poets drinking absinthe.
"Pah! Hot air, rant and rot!" said a railroad capitalist of
Eastern Canada when he heard that agitators were busy among his
construction crews. "I have no more love for my contractors than the
I. W. W.'s have ! Let them fight and dog-eat-dog till they rot! Doesn't
affect us.   It's their funeral."
Within one month at the drop of the hat, at a word, somebody
among the I. W. W.'s spoke, and 7,000 workers to a man went out on
strike. I don't know what the strike cost the railroad in delay. It cost
the province $1,000 a day in constables, not counting cost of court
proceedings and the keep in jail of hundreds of men.
All this is in Canada, not "over the hills and far away," remote
and underground, in Spain or Paris or some back of beyond. What's
Anarchy to us? That is why if you want to be punctured so full of
interrogation marks that all you think you know leaks out and all
that's left is what you don't know—go to British Columbia, and go
right now! You'll find all the contradictory economic problems you ever
heard of in college, good or bad, glad or sad, sane or mad, walking
about in flesh and blood on two legs. Laissez faire! What's that to
us? Am I my brother's keeper? If you will look at a few facts for
a minute or two you will soon decide that if you don't become your
brother's keeper he will soon become yours, right here and now, in
Canada, especially your shirtless, hungry brother.   Run their songs:—
We want no condescending saviours
To rule us from a judgment hall:
We workers ask not for their favors;
Let us consult for all.
Then up with the masses and down with the classes,
Death to the traitors who money can buy!
Co-operation is the hope of the nation;
Strike for it now, or your liberties die!
You will eat by and by,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and Pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die!
O, yes, we're the suckers, there's no doubt of that;
We live like dogs, and the boss, he gets fat!
God help his picture, when once we get wise;
He'll be the bum, and we'll be the swell guys!
What's all this to us?   Let us take a look at facts!
Of the Western provinces, British Columbia has the largest area.
8 Am I  My Brother's. Keeper.
the richest and most varied resources.   Yet it has the smallest population.    Why ?
British Columbia pays the highest wages for skilled and unskilled
labor in Canada. Yet labor agitation is the most acute in that
province. Why? Here are several instances of that. The minimum
wage for unskilled labor in B. C, whether "a shovel stiff" or orchard
picker, is from $2 to $3 a day. The minimum wage in the other
provinces is from $1.50 to $2. I met a railroad construction man doing
piece, or station work, on a tunnel. After ten days of labor, when he
had deducted his board, he had only 30 cents left. Not fifty miles
away from the place where this man had worked I saw eleven Montenegrins, who formerly earned 50 cents a day in their own land, also
doing piece, or station work, in a tunnel. The lowest wage earned by
any of the eleven was $4 over and above board, and one fast worker
was earning from $11 to $17 a day. Yet both gangs joined the strike.
Any one who wants details of these two examples can get them by
writing to Mr. Ed. Gilbert, of the I. W. W. Hall, Cordova Street, Vancouver, and Mr. Gwyer, the engineer for the railroad that advocated
the dog-eat-dog policy for contractor and worker. Mr. Gwyer has
nothing whatever to do with contractors and workers except to see
that they live up to the railroad's specifications. Last year when the
coal strike was investigated at Crow's Nest exactly similar discrepancies were reported, and the explanation of them may have some bearing
on the present case. By good judgment of soil and rock and dynamite,
the piece worker may so economise his shots and bring down big
masses with small expenditure for powder and labor that $1 worth
of labor and dynamite may bring down $50 of rock and gravel. In
other cases, the condition of the ground may be such or the man's
judgment so poor that $1,000 of dynamite may not accomplish $300 of
work. Where the piece workers fail to clear expenses they are supposed to be paid the day rate, less board and outlay for clothes.
Construction work is to-day costing $25,000 a mile for plain grade
where it used to cost only $8,000, and is now costing $125,000 a mile
for the mountain sections. Of this total, the provinces guarantee
bonds for over $30,000, the Federal Government for these difficult
sections grants $12,000, and the railroads find the balance. We have a
fashion of saying that the corporation pays for all this. It doesn't!
The public pays first in stocks and bonds, last in freight to pay
dividends on the stocks and interest on the bonds. Interest at 4 per
cent, on cost of $25,000 means charges for freight and passengers up
to $1,000 a mile. Interest on cost of $125,000 at 4 per cent, means
charges of $5,000 a mile. This is where the vital concern of the public
comes in.
Where do the higher wages go? I am not now stating matters of
opinion but of facts. Take two little typical places—Yale and Hope,
places normally of 40 to 100 population. The postmasters reported
that the Austrians and Montenegrins sent a good portion of their
wages home to wives and families.    The other workers didn't.    What Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
did they do with the money? Was it put away in their bootlegs? I
was told to go and ask the saloons. I did. Before the strike, one
saloon was taking in $300 on ordinary days, $1,500 on holidays. I have
no comment to make. Two saloons made practically the same report,
only in the other case the holiday total was $1,200. These workers
have as much right to blow in $1,500 a day on cheap booze as a certain
well known steel magnate in the United States has to come down
periodically to New York and blow in $1,500 a day on champagne. The
point is—and it is not a matter of opinion—both in the case of the
worker and the magnate, it is the public and not an imaginary bloated
figure called Capital that is paying the piper for both these frisky
gambles and gambols. The point also is—neither the magnate nor the
worker could succeed for one day without the approbation of the
public. The point also is—the public is beginning to ask questions—
how much are we going to stand in this little game of dog-eat-dog
that comes so high? That is why the public is vitally interested to a
dollar, to a dime—the whole Canadian public.
B. C. spends annually many millions on imported foodstuffs, butter,
eggs, cereals. If you figure up her total imported foodstuffs and
divide that by her population, you will find that she is spending yearly
$35 for each person in the province for imported foodstuffs. Why
doesn't she raise that foodstuff at home? I have no comment to make.
I state the fact and ask the question. §11
I suppose that it is also accepted as a matter of fact that every
winter there is great destitution among the unemployed. In a province
big as one and a third of Germany, with less population than one of
Germany's lesser cities, why are there any unemployed?
To go back to the fact of importing food and the unemployed.
Stopping at a junction one night, I had supper with an English fruit
rancher and his wife, who were giving up their ranch and going back
to England. I asked why they were giving up. Didn't like the life?
"Best life on earth, but I am a poor man and I can't afford it. The
fruit harvest comes all at once.   I must get help to pick it or it rots."
"But there are thousands of unemployed in this country."
"Yes, but when I pay more than $2 a day for unskilled labor it does
not pay me to pick my fruit. I must ship it at a loss; and I am a poor
man.    I cannot afford to do that."    And he gave me the figures.
As I might make a mistake in his figures, I am going to give the
exact figures on a fruit farm which I have in New York. Laws have
been passed compelling the use of barrels of a regulation size. These
cost 38 cents. Freight on the barrels was 3 cents. At $2 a day, which I
paid pickers, averaging 12 barrels to the day, it cost 16 cents a barrel
for picking. The freight to the market is 27 cents. (In the West the
freight is from 50 cents to a dollar). In all, it costs 84 cents to put a
three bushel barrel of fruit on the market. Early apples sold in New
York at only $1.25, which left a profit of 41 cents for a three bushel
barrel. During the early season labor was very scarce. It could not be
got under $2.50 a day. Now, I should like to pay unskilled labor $1 a
minute if I could, because I am a worker myself and consider work not
I Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
a curse but a joy; but we do not deal with what we like in this life, but
with what we must, and the plain fact, as long as apples were only
$1.25 a barrel, it did not pay to have them picked; for the apparent
profit of 13 cents a bushel was more than eaten up by five sprayings
that cost $86, the spraying machine that cost more than $50, teams and
wagons and drivers that cost up to $500. One $2 a day picker wasted
12 barrels. So I let one car load rot on the ground—this in New York,
only two hours from the best market in America. The minute that
wages came down to $2, which they did when corn husking was over,
and late apples went up to $1.50 and $2.25, I hired more help and
shipped a carload and a half. Now, I am not quarreling over the barrel
law, the freight, the market, the sociological question whether any one
person should have more barrels of apples than can be picked by that
one person. The year before I took the orchard, it had not produced
$25 worth | but by very slight scientific methods that total was raised to
two and a half car-loads. The fact is, however much I might want to, I
could not pay more than $2 a day for unskilled labor and not lose. The
Okanogan rancher told me that he had given up his ranch for the same
reason.   Has this fact anything to do with three other facts, namely:
That there are many unemployed in British Columbia?
That British Columbia imports millions of dollars' worth of food
instead of raising it?
That food is extortionately high all over the Pacific coast?
In other words, is there a high water mark beyond which if you force
wages you are going to prevent employment and cause a sudden drop
down on the other side to low-water mark? I do not say there is. I
do not know. I simply ask; and to drive the question home may add
that I saw one of the men who refused to work for me at $2 a day later
in winter shovelling snow in the city's charity brigade. He had a perfect
right to refuse me, though I had taken him off the street and bought
him a shirt and given him his first regular meal for a week; but the
point is by refusing didn't he indirectly prevent other workers somewhere from getting a car load of low-priced apples to eat?
The labor leader said, "We have nothing to *fear." Is he right
there? Has he nothing to fear? They tell me that the reason farming
is yearly shrinking in the Eastern States is because labor is so high.
They tell me that the reason food is so high-priced in New York is
because farm areas are shrinking.
The railroad man said, "Let them tear at each other's throats and
dog-eat-dog to the crack of doom. What is that to us?" Is he right
there? Is it nothing to him that settlers chuck their ranches and go
back to the Old Land because they can't get adequate labor to handle
the crop? Why are all the railroads in America doing everything
in their power to increase farm crops?
The average Canadian says, "Am I my brother's keeper? Let them
work or starve or get out." Easy way of settling a difficulty, isn't it?
About as easy and futile and childish as to stand with puny fingers to
restrain the oncoming waves o f a tidal sea! Let us look at the facts
again, Mr Average Canadian!
11 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
The Construction Workers of the Canadian Northern having
been goaded on to a point of desperation by the low wages, the
outrageous prices charged for the necessities of life, and the
unsanitary conditions which force the workers to sleep huddled
together like rats, in places unfit for human habitation, where a
window is considered a luxury and where stinking mud constitutes
the floor, many workers falling prey to fever, epidemics, and receiving inexperienced attention when taken to the hovels known
as hospitals for which $1.00 per month, is charged—have at last
risen in Revolt. Seven Thousand Workers, solidly organized in the
Industrial Workers of the World, are on strike, demanding a living
wage and better conditions. All Workers are requested to stay
away from the struggle and by so doing help their fellow workers
to   fight  organized   Capital.
All who disregard this notice will be considered traitors to and
enemies of the Working Class. The following demands have been
drawn up by  the Workers:
That Nine Hours shall constitute a maximum day's work, and
Three Dollars per day shall be the minimum day's wage for all
Common- Labor.
That   all   Tunnel   Workers   shall   be   considered   underground;
workers and as such,  Bight Hours shall be their Maximum day.
That the Board shall not exceed $5.25 per week, or 25 cents a
That the Sanitary conditions of the Camps be looked into.
That Steam Shovel Crews remain as before, for a Nine Hour
Timber  Pramers   ...:|fi- $4 50
Machine Men     4 00
Heading Men      3.50
Bench Men     3.25
Bridge   Carpenters    $4.50
Blacksmiths      4.00
Steel   Sharpeners      3.P0
Handy   Men      3.50
Drillers      3.25
Right-of-way  Men      3.25
Cooks up to    50 men $ 90.00
Cooks up to 100 men   100.00
Cooks up to 150 men   110.00
Cooks up to 200 men   125.00
Second   Cooks        75.00
Bakers         80.00
Flunkeys and Bull Cooks.    50.00
2   Horse   Teamsters        50.00
4   Horse   Teamsters        60.00
6  Horse   Teamsters        65.00
8   Horse   Teamsters        70.00
By order of Central Strike Committee, Local Union 327, I.W.W.
Send all funds to maintain Strikers to  Thos.  Whitehead,  Sec-
Treas.  L.   U.  No.   327,   P.O.   Box  35    Lytton,   B.C.
The strike placard, of which this is a copy, greatly reduced, includes demands
which were made only AFTER the strike was inaugurated on the Canadiari
Northern, and to which Agnes C. Laut refers in her article.
I Am  I  My Brother's  Keeper.
"All the trouble has been with what we call blanket stiffs, floaters,
drifters, the riff-raff, the flotsam and jetsam of the labor world," said
the leader of the B. C. Federation to me.
"You mean outsiders and foreigners who come in?"
"I mean the very bottom dregs of labor. The I. W. W.'s have
aimed to organize in the world of labor the same class that the Salvation Army go after in the religious world. They are what we call
'he-camps,' nearly all homeless and many shirtless."
In one aggregation of 2,000 strikers that I visited there were 17
different languages spoken.
In one group of twenty leaders there were only two native born
Now, Mr. Average Canadian, look at these facts and chuck your
comfortable self-complacency under the chin.
Canada's natural increase is from 75,000 to 100,000 a year.
Canada's foreign increase—immigration—is from 300,000 to 350,000
a year.
In twenty years the foreign factor will outbalance the native born—
override and overbalance in the labor world and in the voting world.
"We are going to cast off that which oppresses us—peaceably if we
may, but forcibly if we must," says the expropriation propaganda.
In less than twenty years the vote will turn the trick. Are you your
brother's keeper, Mr. Complacent Average Canadian?
[SAID that in less than twenty years the vote of the foreign born
will overbalance the vote of the native Canadian. If the foreign
born is trained to the use and meaning of representative government—
it will be all right; but how is he being trained? Just here, some more
matters of fact instead of opinions.
A few seasons ago, the elections were coming on. It was in one
of the Western provinces that has received the largest percentage of
European immigration. In one city in that province, there reside 20,000
foreigners almost en bloc. The contest was going to be very close.
Offices were opened in a certain main street block, which I can name
if I am asked. Ordinarily and legally, it takes three years to transform a foreigner into a voting British subject. He must have resided
in Canada three years before he can take out his papers. The process
is really simple to a fault. The new-comer goes before a county judge
with proof of residence and two Canadian witnesses. He must not be
a criminal and he must be of age. That is all that is necessary to change
a Pole or a Sicilian or a Slav into a free and independent Canadian
citizen or British subject fully competent to apprehend that representative government implies duties and fitness as well as rights.
Listen! Take in exactly what it means! The contest was going to
be close, very close; and a few of the party leaders could not bear tu
have  those  newcomers  wait  a  long three  years  for  their papers  of
13 r
Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
naturalization. They got together in that block on Main street and
they forged in the same hand, the same writing, the same manipulation,
the signatures of three hundred foreigners, who did not know in the
least what they were doing, to applications for naturalization papers—
three hundred foreigners who had not been three months in the
country. I suppose the little matter of Canadian witnesses for proof of
three years residence was as easily arranged as the signatures. Am I
my brother's keeper? What's that to us? If forgery didn't matter,
why should perjury?
Now get on a bit with the facts! They would be comical if they
were not so tragically destructive of a square deal in government. The
perpetrators of this fraud happened to be provincial and of a different
stripe politically from the government at Ottawa. (Personally, I have
my own ideas about the sort of stripe suitable for a case of this kind).
If you think the other party had been asleep while this little game was
going on in the Blank block of the main street of Blank town, you do
not know anything about the Grit vigilance that slumbers not nor
sleeps where a cheat (by the other, fellow) is concerned! Biff!
Whoop ! Waw! An Indian war yell wasn't in it! The papers with
those three hundred forged signatures—names in the same writing,
of foreigners who could neither read, write, nor speak a word of
English—were forthwith sent down to the Department of Justice in
Ottawa; and everybody waited for the explosion. The bang didn't
come! Those forgeries and perjuries slumber yet, secure in the
Archives of the Department of Justice! Perhaps the new Minister of
Justice found them when he came into office. I have heard It said
that from $2 to $5 was paid to each foreigner for his part in the business;
a fine introduction to Canadian citizenship; but of this, I do not know
the truth; but the trtfth of the forgeries was what prevented the bang.
Need one explain? No, it was not because the Tories came in at
Ottawa and would not discipline Western Tories, for the Borden
Government had not yet come to power. Nothing so decent as that!
You can guess the rest! Soon as the provincial politicians heard what
was doing they sent down a little message: If you go after us for this,
we'll go after you for that; and maybe the pot had better not call the
kettle black. I have not mentioned which political party did what. It
does not seem to me that political stripes matter. The stripes most appropriate are those that go with a ball attached to the leg.
And then I think of another scene. It was out in the I. W. W.
strike camps. There were 1,500 men of eighteen different nationalities, only three or four spoke English, hanging idly over the fence
and round the tents. I was in the inner office talking to the leader—
unkempt, yes, quite as unkempt as your imagination could paint him,
but clean and self educated though he was as he called himself, "only
a shovel stiff," and absolutely sincere, and what is much more dangerous
than all the bombs on earth—so fanatical that he was ready to go to
jail or die for his convictions.
"Yes, I know," he said, "that we are not striking for what you would
call anything special—any special grievance.    We are striking to para-
14 AM
I Am I  My Brother's  Keeper.
lyze every wheel of commerce, to tie up industry, to stop the mills,
the railroads, the mines, the factories, by passive force to compel the
expropriation of industry and to overturn the capitalistic system—"
"Hold on," I said, "it has taken civilization millions of years to
come up from the status of the wild beast; and I admit there are still
ravening wild beasts masquerading in civilized garb, that would make
the creatures of the jungle look innocent. I see the evils! We all do;
but instead of overturning, why don't you fight to remedy the ills and
purge the evils? You have the ballot. It takes you only three years
to get the vote in Canada. Why don't you use the ballot and vote
things right, instead of smashing everything upside down over the
edge of a precipice to build up a new system from the ruins?"
"Why don't we use the ballot?" he asked with contempt. "I'll tell
you why—because politicians have corrupted it; because they are using
it to cheat; because they have made of it a fraudulent thing to deprive
men of self government."
Mr. Complacent Canadian—what was I to answer that man ? He
didn't stop with the period I have put to his speech. He went on and
specified exact cases where the ballot, the Socialistic ballot, had been
used in B. C; to enrich an inside ring and take from the public what
was rightly their own.
That is why if you want to puncture all theories, especially the-be-
good-and-you-will-be-happy kind, you had better go to B. C. And by the
way, that particular forgery case was not perpetrated in B. C.
I did not answer that man.   The B. C. Government did.   It ran him
and his 1,500 confreres out at the point of rifles.   The I. W. W.'s had
advocated and practised illegal passive force.    The B. C. Government
practised illegal active force.    I say "illegal" because there is no use
in fooling ourselves.    If the blind lead the bind, there is a ditch at the
end of their path.    At the time these men were run out, they were on
their  own  premises  which they  had  rented.    They  had  not  begged.
They had not stolen.    They had not had one fight.    They had their
own police and had kept their men  from drinking so that one hotel
keeper came to me with the grievance that the strike was ruining him
—his cellars were loaded with booze, and he could not sell a drink—
this in a place which had formerly been taking in $300 a day.   They had
not committed any nuisance.    They had uttered a lot of illegal  fool-
threats about "intentional accidents" and "doped" coffee for scabs; and
to  some  slight  extent,   they  had  kept  their   followers   in   line  under
coercion; but two wrongs do not make a right.    "Direct action" by the
I. W. W.'s was no more legal than running a lot of men off their own
premises by the B. C. Government. It was not for disorder, but vagrancy,
"the run out" occurred.    I had just left the hall when it happened;
and as the long line of angry faced men set off down the track for a
meal-less hundred mile tramp I could not but think of the prediction of
a Pennsylvania millionaire, when the State used similar illegal violence
against inciters to strike in the coal mines in the great struggle there
some ten years ago.    "We may grin over the trick now," he said, "but
we'll grin on the other side of our mouths over this twenty years from
15 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
now. We are teaching illegal violence and distrust of our courts.
If they take to illegal violence, they are stronger than we are.
Wrong at the top means riot at the bottom. It won't be unionism we'll
have to fight but revolution."   Are we moving to the day so predicted?
Late that night after the camp had been forcibly dispersed and the
constables had gone to bed, the owner of the hotel came and awakened
me. The constables thought they had cleaned out every man. One had
escaped with the account books through a back window, hidden in the
woods, and now came to see me.
"Well," he said, "how about your boasted British justice? This
is a fine sample of your ballot government, a fine education in justice to
1,500 foreigners. You know this outrage is illegal. We have broken no
law. The men who made the foolish threats are already in jail. The
men who stood in the way of the construction engine were run over and
smashed. You know that. You also know that the compressed air
pipe that was blown up was not blown up by us, but by the contractors'
constables on guard there to make a case against us. How do you expect
us to restrain our individual camp followers from violence when this
kind of thing goes on—?"
"If I were you, I'd cut out the word violence," I said. "You are not
the whole show, you I. W. W.'s! Neither are the employers the whole
show! You two sections of society constitute just two-thirds of the
show. The other third is the big public. The section that wins has
to have the public on its side; and the section that uses violence and
quibbles loses the public.    Why don't you fight the thing in the courts?"
The man laughed at the fool question.
"Where do you think we could get the money to fight in the courts?"
That at once brings up the question—are the I. W. W. strike leaders
all over the world in it for the "graft?" I would like to think so. It
would be a harmless frizzle then! Corruption will cure itself of its
own dry rot. No doubt, there are as many Judases among the money
keepers of the I. W. W.'s as among other organizations of mixed
humans, politicians and magnates, included; but from the very nature
of the thing, not much graft can have been worked in B. C. Figure
out! The Western membership is about 100,000. The monthly fee in
time of strike is 50 cents. That gives a war fund of $50,000, a month.
There are over 7,000 men on strike. That gives $7 plus a man to
cover food, housing, travelling expenses, lawyers' fees for the hundreds
of arrests. I confess the possibilities of graft out of that do not appall
me, considering the size of some Western pork barrels in politics.
"Why don't you appeal to the Department of Labor at Ottawa?"
The man's look meant that I was soft in the head.
"The Tories down there would be likely to queer the Tories out here,
wouldn't they? Besides, our head office in Chicago has sent telegrams
to Ottawa !    Nothing doing!"
When I went to Ottawa, I saw those telegrams in the office of the
Deputy Minister. His explanation of the fact of "nothing doing" was
the explanation of every case of "nothing doing" in the United States—
the curse of federal governments everywhere,  "the twilight zone" of
16 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
doubt as to where local jurisdiction ends and federal jurisdiction begins. *
When I saw the Minister of Labor, Mr. Cruthers, he announced his
intention in spite of "twilight zone" of visiting every I.W.W. camp in the
West. I hope he has. If there were more ministers ready to tackle the
job with their sleeves rolled up, there would be no problems of labor
'You don't approve of our revolutionary propaganda. You acknowledge the hurt, the evils in present society. Yet you parlor reformers do
"I would not do nothing if I were living in Canada. I would waken
up the selfish indifference of the Canadian public. Am I my brother's
keeper? I would show them they have to be his keeper; or he will be
theirs, and take good care of them, too."
"And then?" You know the patient sneer of the rip-roaring reformer, who thinks you are talking all "up in the air" for the purpose
of giving him an anaesthetic while you inter him. Just go to sleep and
forget the pain, you know! Pray hard; and never mind an empty turn!
A little hot air; and never mind playing fair ! Look pious; and "eat pie
in the sky when you die," as their song expresses it!
"And then, if you think I'd quit there—that is just where I would
begin. I would fight fire with fire! I would go after your followers
just as you go after converts—out in the highways and byways with
my gloves off. I would undermine you, just as you undermine civilization. The planks of your platform are grievances. I would remove every
plank of them till you had not a leg to stand on. Your great grievance is
that you cannot under the present system own all the products of your
labor. All right, I'd give every man jack of you a farm of his own, a
grub stake in a coal mine, a timber limit where you would own every jot
of your own labor, and starve if you didn't labor—then if you did not
make good, I'd sweep you into the sea—scum not worth letting live! But
I would not hit you with a policeman's club. That only makes converts
for you. You win by appealing to a grouch. I'd go after a stronger
motive. I'd appeal not to the motive for loot but for possession—a sit-
fast spot on earth. When a man owns something, he becomes a 'vested
righter' and isn't going to scheme to overturn all ownership. You say
you have 100,000 members on the Pacific Coast. You call yourseves
'workers in bondage.' I would yank you out of your bondage and prevent
you wearing the sympathy-seeker's tin-pannikin of a martyr's halo. I
would give every man of you a free farm. In Alberta alone are thousands
of acres of the best arable land awaiting an owner. No, those are not
immigration advertising figures—I have canoed and ridden and buck-
boarded over miles of it. In B.C. is twice as much more of unoccupied,
. unowned land, that can be homesteaded on payment of less than your
men used to booze in a single day. I would put your loot game out of
the ring by giving each man something to defend from loot. You
haven't the capital to prepare land for occupation; but you men would
have if they did not booze their wages; and it would be cheaper for the
government to prepare it for your occupation and sell it to your men on
the instalment plan than to fight anarchy with a police club."
17 ■
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He looked at me queerly. "That," he said, "is more dangerous than
police. That would empty our benches. We would have no grievance.
There would be no I.W.W.; but a selfish public will never sanction it."
"And now I want to ask you one question. If you are so sure that
your new industrial system is better than the present system, why don't
you try it on some small area before you overturn the whole edifice of
the past? Every country in the world is in the throes of industrial
evolution or revolution. There is not a country in the world that would
not adopt your system if you could prove it better than the present system. Canada has hundreds of thousands of acres where a community
of 25,000 could settle down and demonstrate whether it is possible to
administer industry collectively—looms, factories, mills, land all owned
and operated by the producers, no more work than the production
actually needed for each dweller, say seven bushels of wheat per head
a year, five barrels of apples, fifty yards of cloth, a short three hour day
like the Indian day. I do not believe men will ever work their best
industrially without hope of profit. You think they will. If you are not
after loot, why don't your people try out the new system, on a small area
and prove that it is practicable before you convulse the world by an
entire upset?"
"No government would grant us the area to try the experiment."
Personally, though my opinion is of no account, I do not believe that
true. Any one of three governments—England, the United States,
Canada—would grant the land area to demonstrate whether a Utopia
system of industry is possible. It would be cheaper for the MacBride
Government to set aside 50,000 acres at $2.50 an acre—the old price for
provincial land—than to pay $1,000 a day for constables for six weeks,
as much again on jail feed; for this total takes no account of the loss
to work during the six weeks idleness of 7,000 men. With the minimum
wage at $2.50—the average would be nearer $3—that six weeks strike
represented a money loss value to the province of 7,000 x $2.50 x 36 days
(though most of the men work seven) or over half a million; and this
is only one strike of hundreds convulsing the Pacific Coast.
'Well, you are beaten, aren't you?" I asked another labor leader, as
a long line of strikers set out down the track for a hundred mile walk.
Boxed in Fraser Canyon with the constable's gun behind them and the
police club awaiting them, the prospect was not cheerful.
"Are we beaten ?" he answered. "You watch and see! Come back
here in a year and see; and I'll bet there isn't a newspaper or magazine
in America will dare publish what you will see. What other labor is
there in B.C. but shovel stiffs like us, drifters and floaters? There is
no white labor on the Pacific Coast but us. You are scared to let the
Jap in for military reasons. You are scared of the Hindu for moral
reasons; and the Lord knows what you're scared of in the slinky little
Chink. All right! Keep your noses so high and mighty in the air!
Who is going to build your railroads, and cut your forest, and mine your
mines but us? You've got to have us; and you know it; and we know
it; and that is just where we have the whip handle. They've beaten us
now because we are out of money and the government does what the
19 Am I ~My Brother's Keeper.
voters say. We'll have votes in a few years. We go back now; and we'll
do work that will be expensive work for the employer; and in one year
when we have funds again, we'll make answer to this rifle game by tying
up every wheel and shovel on the Pacific Coast. You think we are confined to the Pacific Coast, do you ? Who managed and won the mill strike
in Lawrence, and managed and won the strike in Perth Amboy ? You can't
name a railroad yard or factory in Canada where we are not busy.
When we are in funds, we'll strike again; and we'll strike again; and
we'll strike again till it will be cheaper for capital to be administered by
us than pay for increasing wages and shorter hours and the loss of
strikes. This is but a guerilla skirmish, a scouting fray to what is coming, and coming so soon that your spineless half-way compromisers will
scuttle to be in under cover in time."
;'The catastrophic movement will go on," predicts a writer in the
"London Mail" of the English coal and railroad and dock strikes. "The
coal crisis of to-day may pass away; but the movement will gather force
from its failures, determination from its defeat till triumph merge in
"There is a revolution in the air which will make the French Revolution look like a petty local disturbance," says an investigator at Lawrence. "It is designed to be not only a continental but a world-wide
revolution—the great final Social Revolution that will ignore all national
boundaries and different forms of government. Its avowed purpose is
not to wrest from capital, shorter hours and higher wages or any mere-,
improvements in present industrial conditions, but to wrest from capital
all its power and to turn over each great industry to the workingmen
of that industry. Its leaders have no fear of the word confiscation. They
openly advocate coercion. They despise the term, trade agreement. In
a word, the aim is the overthrow of present society."
Am I my brother's keeper, Mr. Canadian? If you are not (and set
about it quickly!) he will be your keeper. He will be your keeper on
the showing of your own census, on the manipulation of your own voting
Though we could not agree that night after the "run out," the strike
leader and I parted the best of friends. Good luck to him! His aim is
the far off brotherhood of man! I think his methods the opening of the
flood gates of loot and crime. He thinks the methods of the present
system are themselves loot and crime. Shall we wave the bloody flag
and break each other's heads; or arbitrate?
As we parted, he gave me this pass to the other camps:
Fellow Worker—This is to let you know that bearer is O.K.    Give
all information.
X. X. X.
I trust I have not violated the confidence imposed by what I have
20 Am  I .My  Brother's  Keeper.
ARTICLE NO. III. ^    • h    -      -
IT would be so simple to settle the whole thing with a policeman's bat.
Just one short, sharp, word—"comply with our customs and laws; or
get out;" and all the labor difficulties that are convulsing the Pacific
Coast are to vanish in thin mist, and the sun is to come out from behind
the clouds, and the sound of the reaper is to be heard in the land, and
prosperity is to reign.
But the trouble with that very simple study-chair theory is that it
ignores facts. Would you believe it, I heard a whole group of B.C.
legislators propound that remedy, and saw the constables carry it out
at rifle point. The facts ignored by this remedy are that in twenty
years, perhaps ten, these trouble makers will out vote the Canadian and
elect the legislators, who make the laws, with which you, Mr. Canadian, must comply or get out! Already the pressure is forcing some
British born out. It forced the Okanogan rancher, who couldn't run his
ranch except at a loss, and so left it; and it forced out a mill-man I
know; not a capitalist, but a young Easterner who had borrowed $20,000
and came West to try a new industry. In three months, strikes had
three times jumped wages $5 a week higher for his mill meri. "Good,"
you say! "The higher the better!" But as I am not dealing with your
opinion or mine, I am going to tell you the rest of the story. About one
week out of every month, the saw mill had to be shut off for the laborers
to recover from a jamboree after pay day. Being a country where everybody is free and equal, why not a jamboree if they wanted it? No why
not, except that at the end of the year there was very little of the
$20,000 left; to be explicit, not much over a $1,000. I suppose it had
been expropriated by what are called the "passive tactics." Anyway,
there was little capital left. The strikes had interfered with delivery of
contracts to Mexico and China and Japan; and the mill was sold on the
bargain counter to a subsidiary of the big trust—the little man being-
ground to pieces by the upper and nether mill stones of the two big
powers of the modern economic world. The men from that sawmill
were among the unemployed walking the streets of Vancouver that
winter. All very well to say: "Comply with force or get out!" This
mill-man both complied and got out. He was now what is colloquially
known as "in the hole;" so he borrowed more capital and began afresh.
Please look straight at the facts without blinking! This man was one of
the first to arrange for and employ Hindu labor in the saw mills on the
Pacific Coast!
"Do you like them?" I asked.
"No ! They are not equal to a white' man; but what was I to do ? I
was in debt.   They had me!    I had to face ruin or find a way out "
"Don't you think the injection of thousands and hundreds of thousands of Hindu in B.C. might bring the same curse here as the South
suffers from the Black?"
"Of course I think so; but you tell me what else there is to do!"
"The other fact which this club remedy ignores is—who is going to
use the club?   Police and soldier are not recruited from office boys; but
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1 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
from the ranks of labor; and the new social revolutionists boast that
they have secret agents busy undermining the loyalty of the army.
"Young man," advises a leaflet that is given to every new member,
"when you are asked to enlist in the army or navy to be used as food
for cannon, be sure you look before you leap!"
"The officers get the honor and the men get shot!
"The officers get three squares a day; the rank and file starve on
mouldy hardtack.
"Let those who own the country do the fighting. Put the wealthiest
in the front ranks; the middle class next; follow these with judges,
lawyers, preachers and politicians! Let the workers remain at home
and enjoy what they produce! Follow a declaration of war with an immediate call for a general strike! American capital wants war to kill
off the surplus of the unemployed, who are threatening to overthrow the
capital system. Do not become hired murderers! Don't join the army
or navy!"
Now you can rave over the-folly of this declaration to your heart's
content. You can prove that every undefended country in the whole
record of history has been attacked, overrun and reduced to a slave
status. You can prove that there is no such thing as surplus labor in
America to-day—that there are more jobs than there are men. The
point is that the American Army is finding it almost impossible to keep
their army recruited up to official numbers. General Lea, in his book,
says that if you deducted officers and skulkers and absentees and padded
rolls, there would be found to be fewer soldiers in the army than there
are officers. If this propaganda succeed, what becomes of your fine
remedy, the policeman's club, the soldier's bayonet? In the Barcelona
riots—and many of the agitators on the Pacific Coast are from European
countries—in fact, the man who speaks English is the exception—soldiers refused to act; and in the recent riots at Lawrence, the Army and
Navy Journal was constrained to refer in veiled words to "sad occurrences," when men who charged the rioters found themselves in such ill
odor with their comrades that all camp kit was scattered out on the
snow. You may applaud or condemn this spirit among the soldiers—
call it mutiny or class loyalty! Your opinion or my opinion does not
matter. The fact is—this new form of social revolution renders your
club remedy an impossible thing—as kid-glove, study-chair remedies
usually are. §3
Take another look at the incongruous and contradictory facts in the
labor situation on the Pacific Coast to-day!
We have an idea that Canada's Industrial Conciliation Act of 1900
is the most perfect labor law in the world. We are told that within a
short time of its passage it had accomplished the amicable settlement
of 40 out of 42 disputes; but the situation on the Pacific Coast is not one
of dispute, but of deadlock. Grant nine hours to-day and a minimum
wage of $3, you are to be asked for eight hours to-morrow, and seven
the next day, down to a three hours working day, at $4 an hour—one of
the street advocates demanded; not for the purpose of reaching an equit-
23 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
able basis for compromise, but for the purpose of compelling the complete capitulation of one side to the other.
"Eastern Canada thinks that"— I quote a leading authority—"the
labor unions are the inspiration of the opposition to Oriental labor."
Didn't a council of the labor unions as late as last January go to Ottawa
and request the continuance of the exclusion of Oriental labor? Yes,
but that was last January; and the hands of the clock move quickly on
the Coast.
"We demand wide open doors to all wage workers," declare the
I.W.W. "We recognize neither race, color, nor creed;" and in the
I.W.W. Hall on Cordova Street, Vancouver, I saw long lists of subscriptions from Hindu workmen to the I.W.W. strike funds.
"Have you no objection to these Asiatic people coming in and cutting your wages?" I asked the spokesman of the I.W.W.'s.
"Not a bit! That day of narrow outlook has gone past in the labor
world. We aim to unite the laborers of all nations in one solid army
against capital. Our workers—revolutionists, you would call them—are
at work among the Hindu in India. Let them come in, we say! They
will make so many more votes to overthrow capital! It isn't labor that
opposes the Oriental. It is your smug middle class—your shop keeper
and tame, spineless citizen masquerading as the spokesman of labor.
They don't want the competition of cheap goods in the market. It costs
me $3 to get my watch overhauled up on Granville street. I can get the
same work done for $1 down in Chinatown. No fear of the Asiatics
ever being allowed on an equality with the half-baked middle class
climbers. No—you bet! Let 'em come in! We'll take care of them!
We'll take 'em right in our ranks!"
I asked Mr. Pettipiece, editor of the B.C. Federationist, and a great
leader of the labor movement on the Pacific Coast—"do you oppose
Asiatic labor?"
"As a labor man, I do not," he said. "Let them come in hordes,
Hindu and Jap and Chinaman! They will swell our ranks! There is
no international boundary in the field of labor! That selfish day of
laborers cutting each other's throats in the interest of capital is past.
The world is our market garden; and if the Hindu comes in and gives
the white trouble, all I have to say is that it is only the social garbage of
white crime and lust coming back here to plague us for our sins in
India." |     | 1     I- $ -1
"Would you like your little daughter to sit in the same class at school
as a Hindu or Jap ?"
"No, I would not," he answered. "As a father, I don't want the
Hindu in here any more than you do as a woman. Let the Asiatics have
separate schools. As a citizen, I do not want the Asiatic. You can't
assimilate him to our civilization; but this labor movement is no longer
provincial. It is a world movement; and labor has found that we might
better have the cheap Asiatics come in here and organized into our fighting ranks, than have the cheap products of Asiatic labor come in here
and undersell our labor products. These shoes," pointing to a pair of
tan, "cost me $6 uptown.    They cost only $3 down in Chinatown.    It
24 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
was not labor, but the small shop men pretending to voice labor who put
the Jap out of business; for they found the Jap was selling at a half and
a third the white price. Chinese goods will come in, if the Chinamen
don't. The same of Jap goods. Better let the laborers come in and
organize in our ranks under our labor laws! Certainly our labor organizations favor letting down the bars to all labor. The Hindu are not
dangerous as laborers, only as neighbors. It was the mill owners
brought them here."
"It's this way," declared another labor leader, who fairly chuckled
with glee over the embarrassment, which Oriental immigration is causing the country. "Capital thought to bring in cheap Asiatic labor to
break us.    Then capital found that the Hindu demanded a vote.    If he
i.lw. w.
Strike Bulletin
NO. 6.
In these days of marvelous
achievements the building of
the west end of the Grand
Trunk Pacific must look to the
most casual observer to have
been carried on in a very desultory fashion indeed. It is
now five years since tbe first
sod was turned, but the steel
has not yet reached Hazelton,
less than 200 miles away.
The company has had the
advantage o^er for
what is a scab?
On the human body today,
when the blood is in disorder,
there always breaks out what
is krown as a scab, to show
to the human animal that his
body is in a poisonous condition. Medical science has used
this lighthouse for years to
discern diseased humanity.
Now the scab on the body is
of no use to the bearer of it,
nor is it of any use
expect a
Once upon a time there
lived on the prairie a little
dog, people called him a
prairie dog, but no matter
what he was called, he lived
as all other prairie dogs do
in a little home of his own
in the ground. No one ever
bothered or molested him and
he and his family lived happily until one day there came
n  into w
Reproduction   of  a  strike   bulletin.
got it he would line up with us. The Jap demanded social recognition,
If he didn't get it, he might line up with us. Then capital got scared,
and we got wise to the whole game. Let them all come in! They are
all ours! But don't you get one point wrong! Get this right! It has
to be the whole hog or none! Capital wants cheap labor in now under
restrictions, no vote, limited numbers, limited occupations. That won't
go! jWe oppose that to the hilt!"
From that labor leader's office, I went straight over to the stronghold
of what they call capital, to the head offices of two railroads, to the head
offices of two big contracting firms, and then spent the afternoon with a
<A Am  I  My Brother's  Keeper.
"Are you in favor of admitting Oriental labor?" I asked-each. To
a man, each answered absolutely "No."
Said a doctor, who for years has been connected with the immigration department: "If Oriental immigration set in here, it would swamp
us. If the law let Asiatics in without restraint, B.C. would either secede
or throw them into the sea."
When you ask "why?" you are up against a curious conspiracy of
silence, a stone wall of "hush," a peeping and a whispering of facts. I
confess I don't like catty tread and stealthy tongue. I like the cause,
whose step rings out sharp and true, and I like a tongue that doesn't
"yes and no" at both ends and lisp delicately in the middle. When I
tried to penetrate that stone wall of silence, I got looks which in the
West mean: "Are you an Eastern tenderfoot? Have you any savey?"
I hadn't any yet; but I was hunting it; and I got it before I left. Said
one secret service officer: "If the truth could be made known, the East
would understand and shut up; but the truth would be of such.a character that no magazine would dare to publish the facts. But we can't
speak without authority from the government."
"All right, put a request on the wires to Ottawa for permission to
give me facts; and I'll do the same!"
The answer came back from Ottawa—it would be inadvisable to give
facts to the public; it was not wise to investigate the matter so
thoroughly. Thenceforth, not one word, nor the syllable of a word could
I get on Oriental immigration from the government officials.
I hope you see the comical side of that refusal as I did. Here are
the people of Canada being asked to sanction legislation-on one of the
most important immigration problems ever before a country; and in the
words of one government blue book, they are being asked to do it, "with
a minimum of publicity." They are being asked to go ahead intelligently, both blindfolded and gagged; and if the blind lead the blind,
there's a ditch. I'll come back to that refusal and the subterranean facts
behind it in my next article. Meantime,- you might recall the good old
Western cowboy advice about "mocking your shodesty;" with the accent
on the shoddy.
"If you shut out Oriental immigration, who is going to do the work
of B.C. ?" I asked an employer of many men.
"We'll have to develop more slowly; that's all; then get on as best
we can."
Another answered: "We do not object to the Asiatic as a worker.
It's as a colonist we do not want him. Let him come in to work, but not
to. remain. Let him come in for forms of labor for which there are no
white men, such as fruit picking, market gardening, dairying. Restrict
the length of residence and the forms of labor."
As to dodging the question by "developing slowly," will that be possible after Panama opens? If Portland and Seattle and Tacoma have
laborers poured in as the steamship companies are preparing to poui
them in, and Vancouver hasn't—won't the commerce of half Canada
destined for the Western seaboard build up Portland and Seattle to the
detriment of Vancouver ?   As to admitting labor for restricted purposes,
1 fi
Am I  My Brother's Keeper.
why will the Hindu be safe for five years as a neighbor, and not for ten?
If you exclude the Hindu and admit the Chinaman, what do you think
the Hindu and Jap will say about that? Vancouver must look to Asia
for trade expansion—for sale of lumber and flour and coal—as New
York looks to Europe. What do you think the effect would be on New
York commerce, if New York excluded one nationality of Europeans
and not another? And before you take to hitting other nations a bang
on their sensitive international nose, you must have a navy and an army
to protect your own nose in case they hit back. Fifty years ago it was
a safe and harmless occupation to biff Japan on her sensitive bumps,
because she hadn't any. To-day it isn't safe unless you want to be hit
back; because Japan is to-day just one-all-over-sensitive-bump, with a
chip on both shoulders. Yesterday, you could bang old China to wake
the dead, and you wouldn t disturb her. To-day you can't. She is already buying Canadian lumber, and promises shortly to buy flour and
machinery and furniture. If you think India is asleep, just go and look
down the opening of a volcano. So there is your simple way out of
difficulty blocked at the very start!
"We'll solve all labor difficulties by a system of profit-sharing," said
one employer of large units of labor.
Will you? Are you aware that the new industrial unionism hates
and repudiates and fights all and every system of profit-sharing? "We
regard the profit-sharing system as a fraudulent delusion solely devised to speed labor up to the limit and rob it by stock inflation to
reduce dividends," says an official organ of the I.W.W.
"The working classes have nothing in common with capital," says
another declaration of principles. You know that is a lie—that labor
and capital must be partners, or society comes to irretrievable smash;
but that does not prevent the lie doing the damage of wild fire by fomenting class hatred.
In fact, both sides will tell you lies galore; and both sides have
Judas Iscariots in their ranks. A man, supposedly to be loyal to the
contractors, came and told me privately that the strikers "were all right
in this B.C. game; if I'd go and see the camps where the men were asked
to live, I would see that capital was trying to reduce labor to the condition of hogs." Well, I went straight out and saw those camps; and
they were much better than camps where I go to summer and work in the
wilds almost every year of my life; and the fare was much better. Cooks
are paid from $75 to $100 a month. Another man, supposed to be loyal
to labor, came and told me that if I could read "the obscene" literature
—the way he pronounced the word was fairly juicy—I would cry out to
very high heaven over the stench of the evil of this labor propaganda.
I went straight down to the I.W.W. hall and asked them to give me
not only the "obscenest" thing they had, but to turn me loose in their
lockers, so I could pick out a sample of each thing myself. They did;
and the very worst thing I could find was a song about "the devil" not
being able to stand "the smell of a griddle in hell" and so on, because
the last consignment was a non-union lot. And let me set down here,
that I don't think lies on both sides, even for campaign purposes, as one
27 _
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X Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
man excused it, ever settled a quarrel since time began. When you have
cleared the lies away, you will find one of two things: either one side is
trying to put over a villainy; or both sides believe the very same thing.
They will tell you, too, there are "white slavers" among the agitators, j
criminals wanted on bad records in Montreal and Austria and Spain./
There are. There is not the slightest doubt of it. A man wanted foil
a crime was recognized spouting his head off about "the rights of labof
to the produce of toil." He didn't say anything about his own means oft
support through the lives of girls sold to vice; but when his aliases were
recognized, he decamped; and has not been heard of since. "There wis
a Judas among the apostles," said a labor man to me, when I asked him
about this. There are Judases on the other side, too; for when a subcontractor up the line began to jeer the labor agitator, the speaker turned
and gave a chronological record of that man's life that left nothing untold from teething to the murder of a Swede at his hands in another
labor contest. The labor agitator was advocating "doped coffee" for
non-union men. Two crimes do not make one right. They only make
for anarchy, far as I can see.
There are comical sides to the dispute, too. For years, the B.C.
government had only two of a majority; and those two were Socialists,
one of whom habitually referred to the British "flag as a rag." The
B.C. government handled labor with kid gloves and candy. Presently,
the wheels of time turned a trick; and the B.C. government grew to have
only two of an opposition. Then, it handled labor with a police bat.
Also, one of those two rip-roaring Socialists sold some real estate for
$60,000. g He didn't stay to divide it. He hied him home for a holiday
to the country where 'the flag was a rag."
"British justice," said an angry mill striker to me, "you call this
justice! I refused to leave Nanaimo; and they ran me in for three
months, three tiers of men to a cell, with vermin so thick you could not
sleep.   I went in a Socialist.    I came out an anarchist."
He did not like force as an argument. Yet, in my hand I held a
leaflet advocating the three hour day; and it stated that if men came to
the Dream Country of the New Revolution, who insisted on working
more than three hours a day, they should be forcibly returned from the
Good Country to the benighted land from whence they came. More
force, you see! Society is to be asked to change from one kind of force
to another.   Will it elect to do so ?
"Bloody slave drivers," the men, who employ labor, are called from
the soap box platform, because they refuse $3 a day for the minimum
wage, "bloody vampires fattening off the slaves of labor." Yet the
biggest employers of labor in B.C. to-day were themselves "blanket
stiffs" a few years ago, working at $1.25 a day. But these new comers
don't know that. They would hardly credit it when I told them how
some of our biggest men in Canada had worked up from bare feet in
twenty years. One we all respect was splitting rails in the lumber woods
at $1 a day. Another was himself a sub-contractor, or station man. Yet
another I think of was herding sheep in Scotland barefoot.
Who is to tell the truth to the new comers to Canada?   They land
29 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
friendless, burning with a sense of wrong and oppression in Italy or
Austria or Spain. Where are they welcomed, but in the agitator's hall ?
They are not the type of men to swallow doped platitudes from a sissy-
missionary-sort-of-be-gentle preacher. Over the "booze bar" comes
most of their information about Canada and Canadian ways. Who is
to show them that they have come to a land where there is no oppression?   The police bat is about the worst possible teacher.
Over and over, their songs refer to "the hungry workers" seeking
a job, and "the master class gloating over the long bread line." Yet you
know there is no master class in Canada, that there are more jobs than
workers, and that it is the employer who is at his wit's end to find labor.
"The trusts have gobbled up all the country's resources," said an agitatoi
to me. Yet you know and I know that however much the trusts have
gobbled up, it is only a fraction of what yet remains to be gobbled up
by any man alert enough to go in after it. You don't find land and mines
and timber by loafing in city streets or spouting from soap boxes. Cap- j
ital went in after it and got it. Labor can still go in and glut itself with \
~|   possession to the fill.
And you can't leave the tangled situation alone in B.C.; for it will
not leave you alone. Even if you let the future take care of itself and
risk B.C.'s supremacy by so doing, the thing will not leave you alone.
One day in a hurry, a very prominent mill-man of Vancouver forgot
and had some structural stuff carted from the tracks in non-union
wagons. The walking delegate arrived hot. Unless that stuff was
carted back in so many minutes, every man would be called out on
.  strike.
"It was much simpler for me to give in than fight," related the delinquent. "Boys," I said, "the union says we have to cart that stuff back to
the tracks and bring it over in union rigs. The men grinned and put a
few pieces on the wagon. Then the foolery of the thing was too much
for human nature. They burst out laughing and went back to their
30 1
Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
Why the Pacific Coast Fights Shy of
Oriental Immigration.
I MAKE no apologies in setting forth both sides of the Oriental dispute in the labor question.
If you think that shutting your eyes to what you don't want to know,
and stopping your nostrils to the stench, and gathering your garments
up and passing by on the other side—ever settled a difficult question;
then I wish you joy of your system of moral sanitation; but don't offer
the Pacific Coast any platitudinous advice about admitting Asiatics.
Theoretically, the Asiatic should have the same liberty to come and go
with us, as we have with him. Yes, I krio.^fc Theoretically, also, the
colored man should be as clean and upright and free-and-equal and dependable as the white man; but practically—in an mnguish that has
caused the South blood and tears—practically, he isri'fll Your theory
does not work out. Neither does it with the Asiatic. Tfrat is—itvdoes
not work out when you try it close range on the spot, instead of the
width of half a continent away.
Canada is being asked to decide and legislate on one of the most
vital race problems that ever confronted a nation. She is also being
asked to be very lily-handed and lady-like and dainty about it all. You
must not ask about facts that aren't—"nice." You must not ask what
the Westerner 'means when he says "that the Asiatic will not affiliate
with our civilization." Possibly, it's a matter of white teeth and pigments in the skin and so on— it might hurt some one's feelings."|iAlso,
possibly, it isn't. It may be more than skin deep. TlwIfOld Book may
have had some sense when it warned the Children of Israel about mixing their blood with that of alien races. It may have something to do
with the centuries' cesspools of unbridled vice; and that wouldn't be a
"nice" subject for women's clubs to discuss; so the women's clubs of the
East go on passing fool-resolutions about admitting races of whom they
know absolutely nothing.
I may as well say right here—so you can lay this down now and shut
the window and get the smelling salts—that I haven't any use for lilied
phrases and violet water and scented musk covering the putridity of
maral ulcers. I don't want perfume. I want the clean smell of crystal
For centuries, the world wallowed in bad drainage, and then turned
up the whites of its eyes, and said "God's will be done," to any old curse
or plague that came along. That day is past. We don't shut the lid
down on the smell. We clean out the filth, forbid its repetition; and then
thank God for the morning air, clean and sweet. Now, you know what
is coming.   If you don't like it, lay it down and get your smelling salts.
31 W^KSisW
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,d Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
If it isn't the labor unions that keep the Oriental out; who is it,
and why?
Do the same conditions apply alike to Hindu, Chinaman and Jap?
Why has almost every woman's club on the Pacific passed resolutions
against the admission of the Hindu, and almost every woman's club in the
East half favored, if it has not passed resolutions for, the admission of
the Hindu ? I said almost. Why is the concensus of opinion almost
parallel among the ministerial associations? Why did the former Minister of Labor in his report say "that a minimum of publicity *is desired
upon this subject?' How can a people legislate on a problem on which
the only light is a "minimum of publicity?" What did the Minister
mean when he said, "that the native of India is not a person suited to
this country?" If the Hindu "is not a person suited to this country"—
climate, soil, moisture, what not—why isn't that fact adequate to keep
the Hindu out without any legislation? Italians never go to the North
Pole; nor Eskimos to the tropics.
You may ask questions about Hindu immigration till you are black
in the face. Unless you go out on the spot yourself, the most you will
get for answer is a "hush!" "Be very careful!" "Do not say a word!"
Shut down the lid—somebody might sneeze! With that information you
are expected to legislate intelligently. Sensible, isn't it? And it would
not be so ludicrous if the other side were also going around with the
finger to the lip, and a "hush;" but the other side isn't. The Hindu and
his advocates are going from one end of Canada to the other clamoring
at the top of their voices, not for the privilege, but for the right, of admission to Canada, the right to vote, the right to colonize. At the time
that the first 5,000 or 6,000 were dumped on the Pacific Coast, 20,000
more were waiting to take passage, (their leaders had said they would
take passage), and 100,000 more waiting to take passage after them,
clamoring for the right of admission, the right to vote, the right to colonize. Well—why shouldn't they? But the minute you ask that, you
are told "Hush.   Be very careful.   Something might go off."
South Africa and Australia "hushed" so very hard and were so very
careful that after a very extensive experience—150,000 Hindu in one
country—they legislated to shut them out altogether. At least, South
Africa's educational test amounted to that; and South Africa and Australia are quite as imperial as Canada. Why did they do it? The labor
unions were no more behind it in those countries than in British Columbia. In fact, the labor unions are fairly chuckling with glee over the
embarrassment of the whole question.
"The Hindus morally cannot fit into our civilization," declared the
resolution of one ministerial association. Why didn't they come out
manfully and say what they meant by that; so that the East could judge
for itself?
Let us state the case of each side plainly. Then the East can judge
for itself. These are not your opinions and they are not my opinions.
They are the arguments of those advocating the free admission of the
Hindu and of those furiously opposing that free admission; and as I
said before, you will need your smelling salts.
33 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
It was some five or six years ago the dispute began. British Columbia
as usual was at her wits' end for laborers—labor for the mills, labor for
the mines, labor for the railroads. India, as usual, was at her wits' end
with a plethora of labor—labor at from 3 to 10 and 20 cents a day—
laborers—thanks to the centuries' practice of the Rooseveltian theory of
birth—starving for the right to live. It doesn't matter very much who
acted as the connecting link—the saw mill owners, the canneries, the
railroads or the steamships. As far as I could gather—though I am open
to correction here—the steamship lines and the saw mill men seemed to
be the combined sinners. The sawmills wanted labor, the steamship lines
saw a chance to transport laborers at the rate of 20,000 a year, which
meant an enormous traffic. The Hindu came tumbling in at the rate of
one, two, three, six thousand in a single year; when, presto! British
Columbia inert at first, suddenly awakened and threatened to secede or
throw the newcomers into the sea!
By interviewing the Imperial Government and the authorities of
India, a sort of subterfuge was rigged up in our immigration laws to
keep them out. The Hindus had been booking to British Columbia via
Hong Kong. The Japs had been coming via Hawaii. By way of killing
two birds with one stone, by order in council, the regulation was put
through forbidding the admission of immigrants except on continuous
passage from the land of their birth. Canada's immigration law also
permits great latitude in its interpretation of the amount of money that
must be possessed by the incoming settler. Ordinarily, it is $50 for
winter, $25 for summer, with a $500 poll tax against the Chinaman. The
Hindus were to be required to have $250 on their person. One wonders
at the simplicity of a nation that hopes to fence itself in safety behind
laws that are such pure subterfuge. For the time being, yes, there is no
continuous passage from the land of birth; but what is to hinder such a
direct line going into operation any day? What is to hinder an immigration syndicate such as finances the Chinaman, and used to finance the
Japanese, financing the Hindu immigrant with an advance loan of $250?
But the Hindus realized that more immigration was not* advisable
till they had stronger backing of public opinion throughout Canada; and
a publicity campaign was begun from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.
Churches were addressed, women's missionary societies, women's clubs,
men's Canadian clubs. Every variety of argument has been used. Simultaneous with the publicity campaign, legal action was taken; first, to
force the Hindu on the resident voters' lists; second, to break down the
immigration laws by demanding the entrance of the wives and families
of the Hindu now in Canada. Both these cases are at time of writing
in the courts; and it may be frankly admitted that while the fight to get
on the voters' list will probably be defeated, the attempt to exclude the
women and children will fail. It will fail because it is a subterfuge and
ought to fail. It has been conducted with a trickery on both sides of
which Canada should be ashamed. Either the Hindu is to be admitted
to Canada, or he is not. Canada has to decide that; and decide at once.
Under constitutional test, the exclusion tactics will not hold water. The
! Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
steps of this attempted exclusion of the women and children may be
A Hindu deputation understood from the Minister of the Interior last
December that the wives and children of the resident Hindus would be
admitted. The Hindu deputation may have misunderstood; or the Minister may not have realized exactly what the permission he was granting
entailed, but when the two ladies arrived, it at once raised a test case
of the immigration laws. One was the wife of the secretary of a mining
company, the other the wife of a temple priest. As ladies, they were of
course welcome; and their stoppage, an outrage. Imagine it on yourself
if you went to India! As a test case to break down Canadian law, their
presence at once raised a furore in the courts; and the wires to Ottawa
were kept hot. At the very last minute before the sailing of a vessel,
legal notice was served for their deportation. Counsel for the Hindu at
once made application for habeas corpus. The order for deportation was
only served at 4 p.m., when the courts had closed. The Hindu's lawyer
went after the judge to his residence and after the immigration agent to
his residence with notice of the application. Adjournment the next
Monday on a technicality followed; and the steamer proceeded without
the women. Subterfuge—all of it! Canada, like South Africa and Australia, must decide on the merits of the case, and not dodge sharp legal
corners that give occasion for reproach.
Now for the arguments on both sides:—
We need room for colonization, says the Hindu. Dr. Wilkie, the
veteran missionary to India, probably expresses this argument tersely
when he says: Let England lose India, and she loses five-sixths of the
British Empire. By refusing admission to the Hindu, Canada is endangering English dominion in India. Moral conditions are so low as
to make one boil; but give these people a chance; and they will become
good as you are; for we are sprung from the same Aryan stock.
British Columbia has immense tracts of arable land. Why not give
India's teeming millions a chance on it as colonizers?
There was not so much sedition among the Hindus of British Columbia as among Canadian-born Socialists who spoke of the "flag as a
ras" 1  • i
The vices of the Hindu are no worse than the vices of the low whites.
They are British subjects and have a right to admission. Admission
is not a privilege but a right.
How can we expect good morals among three to five thousand men,
who are forcibly separated from their wives and children ? Admit their
wives to prevent deterioration. This argument was used by a Hindu addressing audiences in Toronto.
What right have Canadians to point the finger of reproach at the
institution of the child wife, when the age of marriage in one province
is twelve years?
Canada's treatment of the Hindu is immoral and intolerable, a twisting of the law passed in the first place to keep out the Japs who came
bv wav of Hawaii.
In the days of the mutiny the Sikh proved his loyalty.
35 • Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
Many of the Canadians now denouncing the Hindu made money
selling them real estate in Vancouver; and expropriation is behind the
idea of exclusion.
"Imperial unity is threatened by this attack on Sikh homes," in the
exclusion of the women.
The Sikhs are particularly adapted to the cultivation of the soil.
The admission of the Hindu would relieve British Columbia's great
need for manual laborers.
Canadian missionaries to India are received as friends. Why are
the Hindu not received as friends in Canada?
Why should a Sikh not marry a white woman as one did in Vancouver? This question was asked by the official publication of the Sikhs
in Vancouver.
If Canada shuts her doors to the Hindu, let the Hindu shut doors to
These, remember, are not my arguments. They are the arguments of
the people advocating the free admission of people from India to Canada.
To these arguments, the Pacific Coast makes answer. Likewise, the answer is not mine.
We know that you as a people need room for colonization; but the
question we have to decide is if we admit you as colonists—150,000 of
you, as in South Africa—will your presence drive out other colonists, as
it was doing in other lands; as the presence of the colored people prevents the coming of colonists to the Southern States? If we have to
decide between having you and excluding Canadians, or excluding you
and having Canadians—we cannot afford to hesitate in our decision.
We must keep our own land for our own people.
Australia and South Africa have excluded the Hindu—at least, South
Africa's educational test amounts to that—and that has not imperilled
British Dominion in India. Why should it in Canada? The very fact
that there are "teeming millions" ready to come is what alarms us.
Morals are low, you acknowledge—and these people would be better if
they had a chance; but would the chance not cost us too dearly, as the
improvement of the blacks has cost the South? We are sorry for you,
just as we are sorry for any plague-stricken region; but we do not welcome the plague among us because of that pity.
There may not be as much sedition among the Hindus of British
Columbia as among Canadian-born Socialists who rant of the flag as "a
bloody rag"; but our Socialistic seditionists have never yet been accused
of collecting two million dollars to send home to India to buy rifles for
the revolution.
"I think," said a gentleman, who had investigated this rumor, "I think
that is an exaggeration, I think the sum was under a million."
All right, put it under, a million. Canadian Socialists have never yet
collected one dime to buy rifles for a revolution.
"I (don't believe the money ever went forward from San Francisco,"
said another investigator. "I think it was swiped there for graft for
these leaders, who are posing as saints in white."
36 Am  I  My Brother's Keeper.
"All right," said another, "why don't you expose them? You have
a chain of complete proofs."
"Because the Imperial Government has ordered us to keep quiet."
Remember, these are not my accusations. They are accusations that
are in the very air in Vancouver and San Francisco. If they are true,
they ought to be proved true. If they are untrue, they ought to be
proved untrue; but in view of the shoutings over loyalty, they are a little
bit comical. Could the Hindu, who landed in British Columbia destitute
a few years ago possibly have had that amount of money among them?
At last census, they had property in Vancouver alone to the amount of
five or six million dollars worth, most of this held collectively by a few
leaders for the whole community.
True, their vices may be no worse than the vices of the low whites;
but if our immigration officials find that whites low or high have vices
those whites are excluded, be they English, Irish, Scotch, or Greek. For
instance, an official in the king's household was dismissed for blackguardism. He was supposed to be coming to Canada. If he succeeded
in passing the immigration officers, he did so in disguise; for they wert
on the look out to exclude him, notwithstanding the fact that he had
been an officer in the King's household and was British born.
True, the Hindu are British subjects! but we don't allow British
subjects in unless we want them—unless they can give a clean bill
of health and morals.
Canada does not regard admission as a right to any race, European,
Asian, African. She considers her citizenship a privilege, and reserves
to herself the right to extend or not to extend that privilege to whom
she may.
That separation from families will excuse base and lewd morals—
is a view that Canada will never admit. Her sons go forth unaccompanied by wives or sisters to lumber camps and mines and pioneer
shack; and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred come back clean as
they went forth, and manlier. There is the occasional degeneration;
but those degenerations are so exceptional as to prove and justify
Canada's confidence in good blood. That women should be victims on
an altar of lust is an argument that may appeal to the Asiatic—the
sentiment all draped in wistaria and lilies, of course; but it isn't an
argument that will prove anything in Canada but the advocate's unfitness for citizenship.
•>-^What right have Canadians to point the finger of reproach at the institution of the child wife, when the age of marriage in one province
is as low as twelve?
And that brings up the whole question of the child wife; and you
had bettter get your smelling salts. Because one province has a marriage age criminally low, does not prove that that province approves
of marriages at twelve. In the whole history of that province, marriages at that age have been as rare as the pastime of skinning a man
alive, and as far as I know, that province has no law against skinning
men alive.   It has no such law because that type of crime is unknown;
J Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
but can you say that the institution of child marriage is unknown or
even a rare crime in India? Is Eastern Canada aware that some of the
Hindu wives for whose admission loud outcry is being made in pulpit
and women's club are little girls barely eight years of age,, whom the
husbands have never seen, men of 35 and 40 and 48 asking for the admission of little girls as wives ?
Does Eastern Canada realize what child wifehood means? Does
she desire that system embodied in her Canadian civilization? We'll
suppose as Dr. Wilkie outlines, that 100,000 Hindu colonists come to the
vacant arable lands of British Columbia. As the inalienable right of
a British subject, the colonist must be allowed to bring in his wife.
What if she is a child to whom he was married in her infancy? Waken
up, Eastern Canada. You would forbid the child wife system. Hold
on! That's exactly what you couldn't do. This colonist being a British
subject is to be given a vote. The Hindus are fighting for that now
in the courts of British Columbia! How would you abolish the child
wife system if their vote outvoted yours? Speak up—says British
Columbia. How would you abolish some of the temple practices, if
their vote outvoted yours? How would you abolish some crimes not to
be named here if their vote outvoted yours? Forget all about that rifle
fund. Forget all about labor and millowner and color of pigments.
You know now, it is more than skin deep. Just consider these questions,
says British Columbia; and it's an even wager that at this stage Down
East opens the window for fresh air; or runs away before you can
go on.
Oh. yes. we have lots of advice for British Columbia; but woe is us
if British Columbia asks us a few straight questions. Go a little deeper
into this child wife thing. You don't suppose that the child wife system
is a crime just because of the matter of age, do you? Take a look
at a few medical figures. Now don't baulk; for you have been asking
British Columbia to admit this system past her immigration bars.
Thousands, hundreds of thousands of children in India age from
9 to 12 are wives actually living with their husbands; and the husbands
are in many cases from 30 to 80 years of age; unions, that Anglo-
Saxons for physical reasons regard as criminal.
One-third of all children born of mothers under sixteen years of
age die in infancy. Why? Because of tortures to the mother's body
compared to which the tortures of the inquisition are merciful. Look
at that and say whether you want that system in British Columbia.
Under Canadian law, we treat those kinds of crimes to thirty-nine
lashes; under American law, to the court of Judge Lynch.
Twenty-five per cent, of the women of India die prematurely because
of the physical crimes perpetrated through child marriage; 25 per cent,
become invalids from the same cause. Ask a doctor what that means
before you pass any resolutions on British Columbia.
Nine million girl wives in India are under fifteen years of age; two
million are under eleven.
I asked a British Columbia saw mill owner why the Hindu could not
speed up with a Pole or Swede.
38 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
"No stamina."
"Why is that?"
"Too many generations of vice; too many generations of birth from
immature mothers; no dower of strength from birth."
"But," the advocates of Hindu immigration say, "prohibit child
marriage! Bar out child wives! Our climate will modify the Hindu
constitution." (It hasn't yet modified the negro). "All this does not
apply to the Hindu in B. C.; because many of the Sikhs are married to
only one wife."
To bar out child wives sounds easy. How are you to know that
they are child wives and not daughters? If there is one thing more
than another that has been established in Vancouver, not excepting the
very leaders of the Hindu contingent, it is that you cannot believe
a Hindu under oath. Of this, examples will be given. Also the British
constitution does not allow you to bar out a subject's wife unless she
is diseased or vicious. As to the climate argument, that is no reason
for Canada accepting as her burden the heritage of another country's
century cess-pools of crime. The point is—if you let down the bar
to any section of the Hindu, teeming millions will come, will come
with a demand to vote.   Do you want them?
That Canada's continuous passage law is immoral and intolerable—
no one will gainsay. It is more. It is a subterfuge and a joke and a lie.
The day that any steamship company sends liners direct, the Hindu can
come to Canada.
True, says B. C, the Sikhs proved their loyalty; but was it for
their own sake or England's? If British protection were withdrawn
from India to-morrow, what would happen? A thousand petty chiefs
would fly at each other's throats. "English administration," said a
Hindu, addressing the Canadian Club in Vancouver, "has been a most
unmitigated blessing." Some of us think that English blessing might
omit a few things, as to opium and the compounds; but even with those
defects in the balance, English administration has changed rapine and
tyranny and injustice and perpetual war to peace and security and comparative justice. The day England fails of that, it will be time enough
for the Sikh to claim rights in Canada in return for his simple duty to
himself in India.
The idea that expropriation is behind exclusion is an idea that
could only be entertained by an Oriental mind. Expropriation is impossible under Canadian law.
Imperial unity is no more threatened in Canada by exclusion than it
was threatened in South Africa and Australia.
The Sikhs are adapted to the cultivation of the soil; but the point
is—if they come in "teeming millions" to cultivate the soil, would any
white race sit down beside them as neighbors?
The need of labor in B C. would be relieved; but does that balance
the fact that white immigration might be stopped?
"But would it?" asks Eastern Canada.
39 Am  I  My Brother's  Keeper.
Look at the Southern States—says B. C.—a country of rich fertility
and five crops a year! Why does white immigration refuse to go to
the South? Why is land there the cheapest in America—cheaper than
in B.C.? Because of a black shadow over the land. Do you want a
black shadow in Canada?
As to the missionary argument, B. C. can hardly take that seriously.
Missionaries do not go to India to colonize. They do not introduce
white vices. They go at Canada's expense and give free medical
and educational service to India.
"Why should a Sikh not marry a white woman?" There, again, you
are up against a side of the subject that is neither violet water nor
pink tea; but believe me—it is the vital side of the subject. The
answer is—for the very same reason that the South objects to and
passes laws against mixed unions among the races. These laws are not
the registration of prejudice. They are the registration of terrible
lessons in experience. It is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter
of fact. When Booker T. Washington dined with President Roosevelt
and the South raised great uproar, many people, (myself among them),
in the North grieved and wondered. Why should a cultured gentleman
and philanthropist, who happened to be black, not dine with the president? The South did not object to Booker T. Washington dining at the
White House. What the South feared was the effect of this fact on the
lewd mind. Was the fear justified? I had some women friends go
to a theatre party in a Southern city the night that the news came out
in the papers. There was a great deal of jostling among a noisy crowd
of blacks at the door, when the ladies came out. When these women
reached home and could see themselves in the light, they found their
light dresses and opera cloaks soaked and covered with tobacco wads.
That was the lewd man's way of showing that the great colored leader
having dined with the great white leader, the great colored mob
was as good as the great white mob. For the first time, I understood
that rooted Southern prejudice. The same of the Sikh and the Saxon
marriage! What is feared is not the marriage of a Sikh who is a zuell-
educated man, to a white woman, who knows what she is doing. What
is feared is the effect of that union on the lewd Hindu, the effect on the
safety of the average (not cultured) white woman and white girl;
and there is no one on the Coast, who has lived next to Asiatics, who
does not know what that means in terms of fact that cannot be set
down here. Are there two sides to this question also? Have the English not carried vices to India—"social garbage for our own lust and
crimes"—as the labor leader put it? Yes—but what is that to Canada?
We do not purpose poisoning the new young life of the province for the
sake of the English soldier's vices—says B. C.
If Canada shuts her door to the Hindu, let the Hindu shut their
door to Canadians. When we begin colonizing your country with
"teeming millions"—says B. C.—shut the door! If you shut out our
medical missionaries and our educators and our agricultural scientists—
is that your loss or ours ? We do not fear your educators and financiers
and students from India—says B. C.    We do not shut them out!    We
40 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
do not fight them when they come in here through perjury, as two of
your leaders did. What we do fear, and are determined to shut out are
your Asiatic vices; and we grant you a perfect right to shut out any
vices which Canadians may carry to India.
You understand, of course, these are not my views. They are the
reasons given for the Pacific Coast excluding the Hindu; and even with
the arguments before you, there is a great deal untold and untellable.
(For instance, some of the leaders talking loudest in the East in the
name of the Sikh are not all, and one at least has, under oath, I
f«a criminal record in San Francisco.
For instance again, when the coronation festivities were on in England, there was a very peculiar guard kept round the Hindu quarters.
It would be well for some of the Eastern women's clubs to enquire
why that was; also why the fact was hushed up that two white ivomen of
bad character were carried out of that compound dead.
Said a mill owner, one who employs many Hindus, "If the East
could understand how some of these penniless leaders grow rich, they
would realize that the Hindu has our employment sharks beaten to a
frazzle. I take in a new man from one of these leaders. The leader
gets $2 or $5 for finding this fellow a job. I have barely got the man
broken in, when the leader yanks him off to another job; and sends me a
new, man, getting, of course, the employment agent fee for both
"But why not let them come out here and work and go back?" asks
the East.
Because that is just what the Hindu will not do. When he comes,
he fights for the franchise to stay. That is the real meaning behind
the fight over Rahim's case, now in the courts.
('They are curious fellows, poor beggars," said a police court official
to me. 'They have no more conception of what truth means than a
dog stealing a bone. We had a Hindu come in here as complainant
against another man, with his back hacked to beef steak. We had very
nearly sent the defendant up for a long term in the 'pen,' when we got
wind that these two fellows had been bitter enemies—old spites—and that
there was something queer about the complainant's shanty. We sent out
to examine. The fellow had stuck bits of glass all over the inside of his
shack walls and then cut his own back to pay an old grudge against the
other man. Another fellow rushed in here gesticulating complaint, who
was literally soaked in blood. We had had our experience, and so
sending for an interpreter, we soused this fellow into a bath tub.
Every dab came off and there was not a scratch under."
'You say the Hindu is the negro problem multiplied by ten plus
craft," said a life long resident in India to me. "That is hardly correct.
The Hindu is different from the negro. He is intellectual and spiritual
as well as crafty and sensuous. You will never have trouble with the
Hindu, if you keep him in his place "
"But do you think a democratic country can what you call 'keep
a race in its place?' The very genius of our democracy is that we want
each individual to come up out of his place to a higher place."
41 Am  I  My Brother's  Keeper.
"Then you will learn a hard lesson here in Canada."
What kind of a lesson?    Again, let us take facts, not opinions.
A clergyman's wife in Vancouver, full of missionary zeal for India,
thought it her duty to accord the Hindu exactly the same" treatment
as to an American or English immigrant. She took a man as general
house servant and treated him with the same genial courtesy she had
treated all other help in her home. You know what is coming—don't
you? The man mistook it for evil; or else failed to subdue the crimes
of the centuries in his own blood. Had he not come from a land
where a woman more or less did not matter, and hundreds of thousands
of little girls are yearly sacrificed on the altars of Moloch? I need not
give details. As a matter of fact, there are none. Asiatic ideas about
women collided violently with facts which any Canadian takes for
granted and does not talk about! No Anglo-Saxon (thank God) is
too ladylike not to have a bit of the warrior woman left in her blood.
The Hindu was thrown out of that house. Then the woman reasoned with
the blind persistence peculiar to any conscientious good woman, who
always puts theory in place of fact! There are blackguards in every
race. There are scoundrels among Englishmen in India. Why should
she allow one criminal among the Hindu to prejudice her against this
whole people? And she at once took another Hindu man servant in
the house. This time, she kept him in the kitchen and garden.
Within a month, the same thing happened with a little daughter.
This Hindu also went out on his head. No more were employed in that
house. That woman's husband was one of the Pacific Coast clergymen
who passed the resolution "that the Hindus would not affiliate with our
Canadian civilization."
Personally, I think that resolution would have been a great deal
more enlightening to the average Easterner if the ministerial association
had plainly called a spade a spade.
THE question of Chinese and Japanese immigration is entirely distinct from the Hindu.
"The Chinaman does not want to colonize. He does not want to
vote. He wants only to earn his money on the Pacific Coast and hoard
it and go home to China with it. The fact that he does not want to
remain in the country, but comes only to work and go back has always
been used as an argument against him.- Neither does he consider-
himself your equal. Nor does he want to marry your daughter, nor have
you consider him a prince of the royal blood in disguise—a pose in which
the little Jap is as great an adept as the English cockney who drops
enough "h's" to build a monument, all the while he is telling you of his
royal blue blood. If you mistake the Chinaman for a prince in disguise,
the results will be just what they were with a poor girl in New York
I Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
four or five years ago.   The results will be just what they always are
when you mistake a mongrel for a thoroughbred.
"All the same, dismiss the idea from your mind that labor is behind
the opposition to Chinese immigration! Five years ago, when Oriental
labor came tumbling into B. C. at the rate of 12,000 in a single year—
when the Chinese alone had come to number 15 or 16,000 in B. C,—
labor was alarmed; but a twofold change has taken place since that
time. First, labor has found that it can better control the Chinaman
by letting him enter Canada, than by keeping him in China and letting the
product of cheap labor come in. Second, the Chinaman has demonstrated
his solidarity as a unit in the labor war. If he comes, he will not foregather with capital. That is certain! He will affiliate with the unions
for higher wages.
"If the Chinaman comes in here lowering the price of goods and
the price of labor," said the agitator a few years ago, "we'll put a poll
tax of $500 on, and make him pay for his profit." The poll tax of
$500 was put on every Chinaman coming into Canada; and, presto,
do you think John Chinaman pays it ? Guess again! It is a way that
unjust laws have of coming back as a boomerang. The Chinaman
doesn't pay it! You pay it, Mr. Canadian Householder; for no sooner
was the poll tax imposed than up went wages for household servant
and laundryman and gardener, from $10 and $15 a month to $40 and
$45 and $50 a month. The Italian boss system came in vogue, when the
rich Chinaman who paid the entrance tax for his "slaves" farmed out
the labor at a profit to himself. The system was really one of indentured slavery till the immigration authorities went after it. Then,
Chinese Benevolent Associations were formed. Up went wages
automatically. The cook would no longer do the work of the gardener.
When the boy you hired at $25 had learned his job, he suddenly disappeared one morning. His substitute explains he has had to go away,
he is sick, any excuse; with delightful lapses of English when you ask
questions. You find out that your John has taken a job at $40 a
month, and you are breaking in a new green hand for the Chinese
Benevolent Association to send up to a higher job. If you kick against
the trick, you may kick! There are more jobs than men. That's the
way you pay the $500 poll tax; funny isn't it; or it would be funny if the
average white householder did not find it $500 more than the average
income of $500 can spare? So the labor leaders chuckle at this subterfuge, as they chuckle at the "continuous" passage law.
"For a time, the indentured slavery system worked almost criminally;
for if the newcomer, ignorant of the law and the language got wise to
the fact that his boss was doing what was illegal under Canadian law,
and attempted to jump his serfdom, he was liable—as one of them expressed it—"to be found missing." It would be reported that he had suicided. Among people who did not speak English, naturally, no details
would be given. It seems almost unbelievable, that in a country wrestling
with the whole Asiatic problem the fact has to be set down that the
government has no interpreter among the Chinese, who is not a China-
43 1
Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
man, no interpreter among the Japanese who is not a Jap. As it chances,
the government happens to have two reliable foreigners as interpreters;
but they are foreigners.
Said Dr. Munro, one of the medical staff of the Immigration Department: "Even in complicated international negotiations, where each
country is jockeying to protect its rights, Canada has to depend on
representatives of China or Japan to translate state documents and
transmit state messages. Here we are on the verge of great commercial intercourse with two of the richest countries in Asia, countries
that are just awakening from the century's sleep, countries that will
need our flour and our wheat and our lumber and our machinery; and
we literally have not a diplomatic body in Canada to speak either
Chinese or Japanese. I'll tell you what a lot of us would like to see done
—what the Southern States are doing with the Latin-Spanish of South
America—have a staff of translators for our chambers of commerce
and boards of trade, or price files, and lists of markets, etc. How could
this be brought about? Let Japan and China send yearly, say twenty
students to study international law and English with us. Let us send
to China and Japan yearly twenty of our post-graduate students to be
trained up into a diplomatic body for our various boards of trade, to
forward international trade and help the two countries to understand
each other. (It may be said here that the United States are now
doing this in agriculture, three or four men constantly scouring China
and Japan for ideas, plants, seeds, methods, to be tried in America).
"When trouble arose over Oriental immigration a few years ago,"
continued Dr. Munro, "I can tell you that it was a serious matter that
we had to have the translating of our state documents done at that
time by representatives of the very nations we were contesting."
Unless I am misinformed, one of the men who did the translating
at that time is one of the Orientals who has since "suicided," and the
reason for that suicide you might as well try to fathom as to follow the
windings of a ferret in the dark. Certain royal clans of Japan will
suicide on order from their government for the good of their country.
"The trouble with these foolish raids on Chinatown for gambling,"
said an educated Chinaman to me, "is that the city police have no
secret service among the Chinese; and they never raid the resort that
needs most to be cleaned out. They raid some little joint where the
Chinese boys are playing fan-tan for ten cents, when they do not
raid uptown gambling hells where white men play for hundreds of
dollars. If the police employed Chinese secret service, they could clean
out every vice resort in a week. Except in the segregated district,
which is white, there would not be any vice. They need Chinese
police, or men who speak Chinese; and there would be no Chinese
vice left in this town."
To go back to the matter of the poll tax and the system of indentured
slavery, the bosses mapped out every part of the city and province
in wage areas. Here, no wages under $25, to which green hands were
sent; here, a better quarter, no wages under $40; and so on up as high
44 Am I  My  Brother's Keeper.
as $60 for mill work and camp cooking. About this time, riots
turned the search light on all matters Oriental; and the boss system
merged into straight industrial unionism. You still go to a boss to get
your gangs of workmen; but the boss is secretary of a benevolent
association; and if he takes any higher toll than an employment agent's
commission, the immigration department has never been able to detect it. "I have no hesitation in saying," declared an immigration
official, "that for four years there has not been a case of boss
slavery that could be proved in the courts. There has not been a case
that could be proved in the courts of women and children being brought
in for evil purposes. Only merchants' wives, students, and that class
can come in. The other day, an old fellow tried to bring a young
woman in. We suspected he had left an old wife in China; but we
could not prove it; so we charged him $500 for the entrance of this one
and had them married on the spot. Whenever there is the slightest
doubt about their being married, we take no chances, charge them $500
and have the knot tied right here and now. Then the man has to treat
the woman as a wife and support her; or she can sue him; and we
can punish and deport him. There is no more of little girls being brought
in to be sold for slavery and worse."
All the same, some evils of the boss system still exist. The boss
system taught the Chinaman organization; and to-day, even with your
higher wages, your $45 a month cook will do no gardening. You ask
him why. "They will cut his throat," he tells you; and if he goes out
to mow the lawn, he is soon surrounded by fellow countrymen who
hoot and jeer him.
"Would they cut his throat?"   I asked another Chinaman.
"No; but maybe, the benevolent association or his tong fine him."
So you see why labor no longer fears the Chinaman and welcomes
him to industrial unionism, a revolution in the attitude of labor which
has taken place in the past year.   Make a note of these facts.
The poll tax has trebled expenses for the householder.
The poll tax has created industrial unionism among the Chinese.
The poll tax has not kept the Chinaman out.
How about the Chinese vices? Are they a stench to Heaven as the
Hindu's? I can testify that they certainly are not open; and they
certainly are not aggressive; and they certainly do not claim vice as a
right; for I went through Chinatown with only a Chinaman as an
escort, (not through "underground dens," as one paper reported it),
after ten at night; and the vices that I saw were innocent, mild, pallid,
compared to the white man vices of Little Italy, New York, or Upper
Broadway. We must have visited in all a dozen gambling joints, two
or three midnight restaurants, half a dozen opium places and two
theatres; and the only thing that could be remotely constructed into disrespect was the amazement on one drunken white face on the street that
a white woman could be going through Chinatown with a Chinaman.
Instead of playing for $10 and $100, as white men and women gamble
uptown, the Chinese boys were huddling intently over dice boxes, or
45 Am  I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
playing fan-tan with fevered zeal for ten cents. Instead of drinking
absinthe, one or two sat smoking heavily, with the abstracted stare of
the opium victim. In the midnight restaurants, some drunken sailors
sat tipsily eating chop suey. Goldsmiths were plying their fine craftsmanship. Presses were turning out dailies with the news of the
Chinese revolution. Grocery stores, theatres, markets, all were open;
for Chinatown never sleeps.
"Not so many Chinamen want to come to Canada now the progress
party has won in China," said my guide. "We sent funds home for the
Revolution.   Now we want to go home."
"Then you do not think the Chinese will want to colonize in
"No, not now," he said. "A new day is coming to us in China. We
can prosper in our own country now without being robbed. This
man was himself the editor and proprietor of a progressive paper in
Vancouver. In the theatres, Chinese boys, painted with a depth and
finish that would have done credit to a flour barrel and left something to spare—bobbed and bowed and sang songs and simulated women
actors to an audience composed altogether of men.
"How much do those men earn a week?"
"Ten to fourteen dollars if they are good singers."
Of open vice, such as you can see flaunting law and even decency
on the streets of New York, "cadets" and "pimps" and "barkers," or of
such vice as you can see in two infamous all-night white restaurants
in Vancouver—there was not a trace. Yet not so long ago, a foolish
young white woman was taken from Chinatown more dead than alive—
lured by curiosity, drugged, then secret passageways, and saved from
unknown death purely by chance—and the very week that I went through
Chinatown, a white official told me that he had seen two young white
girls come from an opium joint so intoxicated they could not walk.
"Why can't that sort of thing be put everlastingly down?" I asked a
Chinaman. "Don't you realize that if you could put this sort of thing
down, there would be no objection to your coming to this country
without a tax?"
"It can be put down. It can be put down easily," he declared; "but
your police do not try. They raid a lot of boys gambling for 10 cents,
and leave the criminal vices untouched. If they would take our secret
service men among them, they could stamp out vice in one week."
And he spoke true; for there is one thing always stronger than
vice; and that is fear. "Put the fear of the Lord in with the cat or the
bat, and it stays," an old Westerner I knew used to say.
In the Jap are combined all the worst and all the best qualities of
Hindu and Chinaman. The Jap is as good a worker as the Chinaman,
and as unreliable as the Hindu. His country's progress, his country's
pride, his country's ambition are in his blood; and he expects you to
treat him as a prince in disguise. Also, you never know whether he is
colonist or government spy. The planters of Hawaii thought they were
getting workers;  and they  found they had 60,000  former soldiers of
46 ii..UWWU)WJJMUIIil. - .   'Jl.        .1      '■ :     ".I  —
Am I  My  Brother's  Keeper.
the Mikado's army. About that time, the Japanese of Hawaii were
supplanted by the Portuguese; and the Japanese came tumbling into
Canada—8,000  a year.
Also, don't forget it; never forget it for one instant—Japan must
have room to expand. Japan to hold her ascendancy in Asia must
dominate the Pacific; and before she can dominate the Pacific must meet
and overcome two powers—England and the United States. There
are comical aspects even to the serious phase of the Japanese problem.
When the coolie workers came tumbling into B. C, in 1907, the law
required that each immigrant have $25 on his person. The immigration
company that brought them in had an agent on board one vessel with
1,500 men to hand over a loan of $25 to each just as they landed; but
the agent naturally hadn't the centipede's multitudinous legs and arms
to get ashore and grab his charges before they scuttled without returning the $25; and the agent could not complain of the $25 loss,
(in all $25,000), for his action was illegal; and the Jappies scampered
as they landed.
The riots of that year—Canada knows. What Canada does not know
is that if the Dominion had not been a part of Great Britain at that
time, Japan would not so readily have consented to restricting passports for emigrants to Canada; and "the continuous" passage law bars
out those from Hawaii. Japan takes no special stock in her coolie
laborer. He is but a pawn in the world-empire game she is playing.
What Japan cares for and what she said at the time of those negotiations
was—that she did not want the badge of inferiority placed on her
There is no doubt that white labor opposed the Japanese at that
period. Up at Atlin, some Japanese non-union men had been taken in to
work. The white laborers collected money, gave it to them, told the
Japs "it was not a good country to live in," and sent them across the
ice. At one big mine, some Japs had arrived to clear the saw-off.
The whites insisted that the Japs should do only the dangerous dynamite
work at $2.50 a day. The whites got $5 a day for the same work.
Later in the season, a doctor was called up to the Jap camp. Thirty-
five or forty of the men were ill of stomach trouble with all the
symptoms of poisoning. Neither was that a "good country to live in."
The Japs didn't stay.
Now ask yourself how long Japan will tolerate that status for her
people in Canada; how long England would tolerate that status for her
people in Japan. Then you know why though B. C. may appreciate the
Jap as a worker, she fears him politically. Why she also fears hihi
socially—need not be given here. She does not fear the student class.
She does not fear the merchant class; but she does fear the coolie class
masking as princes in disguise; and she fears them for the same reason
she fears the same class of Hindu or colored man.
We feel secure that Japanese immigration is limited to 500 a year.
It is not so limited by treaty. It is only so limited by the courtesy of
Japan.   You read the treaty; and you will see that—the beautiful result
47 K.
Am  I  My  Brother's Keeper.
of having no diplomats understanding the Japanese language among
ourselves. Japan will never go to war over her coolie laborers. She
has no taint of what we proudly call democracy; no taint of individualism. Every individual in Japan exists for the good of the Empire; but
if ever the Empire wanted an excuse for war, could she fail to find
it in that limitation by courtesy? That's why—though B. C. needs
labor, needs it desperately, she hesitates about throwing open her doors
to the  little Japs.
And now where are we as to the great need of labor in B. C. ?
The Pacific Province must have labor, or see the progress that
should be hers go to Washington and Oregon and California. There is
practically no white Canadian labor to be had for love or money in
B.   C.   to-day.
"Well, then," says the fruit growers, "let the Chinese who don't want
to colonize or to stay, in for a limited time for limited occupations."
"Do you think we will stand that discrimination against British
subjects?" demand the Hindu.
"We do not care whether you stand it or not," says B. C. 'You
have to stand the educational test in South Africa."
"Would B. C. welcome Oriental labor if it could get it without
Oriental vices?" I asked. "It seems to me with commerce opening up
with Asia, you can ill afford to biff the three biggest nations on the nose."
"You pass strict enough laws against Oriental vices, against sedition
and blackmail and secret tongs and traffic in lust," said one thoroughly
conversant "with the situation, "and you erect a ten barred gate."
Let me repeat—these are not my views. They are the views of those
out on the spot up against the real thing, where an ounce of fact
is worth a ton of platitudinous theory; where one grain of common
sense is worth a bushel of ideals.
And what about the I. W. W.'s? Are they to be barred out, too?
Shall we run them out with the policeman's bat and the constable's gun;
or—is there no middle way? Have we met them with help or a club?
Have we tried to make each man a vested righter, instead of a bomb-
fighter? Have we taught them that the flag is not a rag, but an
emblem of enfolding justice, to them as to capital? I want you to nail
down in your memory one point—the I. W. W.'s have only arisen to
power in the United States since the court began granting injunctions
to capital against labor, and refusing injunctions to labor against
capital. Can we in Canada stop the perjuries and the forgeries and the
ballot thefts and the inside loot ring? Or shall we see our civilization,
too, ground to pieces between the upper and nether millstones of legalized
loot and lawless riot?
AM I MY BROTHER'S KEEPER? That is the whole pith of the
labor question in Canada to-day.
48  I  


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