Review of The Newer Ideals of Peace by Jane Addams
Preeminent among those who have traversed these distances and have come into understanding contact with these social groups stands Miss Jane Addams, whose interpretation of the men and women who live in the congested districts of our cities, and of the conditions out of which they have arisen, and of the conditions of the whole social life which they determine, is again presented us in the Newer Ideals of Peace.
The immediate theme of the book is the inadequacy of a governmental order that has arisen out of, and is still unconsciously
The Newer Ideas of Peace. By Jane Addams. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1907. Pp xviii+243. $1.25.</A></H3>
The congestion of our great cities has been generally regarded as an unmitigated evil. We condemn the movement of population from the country to the city. Especially we condemn the perversity of the immigrant which leads him to herd with his kind in the city slums while the great harvest of our western plains are crying for labor; and condemnation passes over into indignation when the inevitable appeal is made to charity and conscience to cope with the suffering and vice that seem to be the sole fruit of these " plague spots" in our municipalities. this attitude has become fixed and almost traditional, because it is intrenched behind what we regard as the most admirable responses of human nature-its charity and conscience. we accept as our interpreters either the interested politician or the moral reformer, and the actual human experience that exists in these proscribed localities is separated from our vision by spiritual distances which dwarf the physical stretches these immigrants have covered to reach america.
(122) dominated by, military ideals to express the democracy of an industrial community. For these military ideals Miss Addams substitutes those springing from actual human relationships, which do in fact surreptitiously dominate the government of the slums by its police and aldermen. The political corruption and protection of vice that ensue Miss Addams traces to the helplessness of outworn political conceptions and the worse practice they involve. And finally the author affirms that our highest form of social emotion --patriotism-- because it is dominated by warlike impulses and tradition is quite unable to sweep into itself the "finer spirit of courage and detachment" belonging to modern industrial struggles, although we defend warfare because it engenders these very qualities.
To seek our patriotism is some age other than our own is to accept a code that is totally inadequate to help us through the problems which current life develops. We continue to found our patriotism upon war and to contrast conquest with nurture, militarism with industrialism, calling the latter passive, and inert, and the former active and aggressive, without really facing the situation as it exists. We tremble before our own convictions, and are afraid to find newer manifestations of courage and daring lest we thereby lose the virtues bequeathed to us by war. it is a pitiful acknowledgment that we have lost them already, and that we shall have to give up the ways of war, if for no other reason than to preserve the finer spirit of courage and detachment which it has engendered and developed. (p. 217).
The movement which would slough off warfare and usher in universal peace is perhaps more aggressively international than any other, unless it is the socialistic labor movement. It is then natural that a contribution to that movement should find its immediate motive in the international complex of our great city population, and of the laboring force of our great industries. Still, when the reader of Miss Addams' book recognizes the wide range of topic there considered, not simply the third chapter on the failure to utilize immigrants in city government, but the others ranging over the survivals of militarism in city government, militarism and industrial legislation, group morality and the labor movement, protection of children for industrial efficiency, utilization of women in city government, and the passing of the war virtues, one is struck by the constant appearance of the immigrant at the center of the author's treatment of nearly all these subjects. The conflict between the doctrinaire eighteenth-century ideals of government and present conditions, and the consequent reversion to the repressive measures of a military community, is illustrated by the immi-
(123)-gration problem. While immigration began in response to political impulses, and these still play some part, it has become in the main an industrial movement. The immigrant is imported to provide that fund of unskilled labor upon which our industries may draw at will. He comes ignorant and helpless before the system of exploitation which enwraps him before he leaves the old country and may last for two generations after he enters our gates. Our government has nothing to offer him by way of protection but the doctrine of the abstract rights of man, a vote he cannot intelligently exercise, and the police to hold him in his place. But in the cosmopolitan mass of which he becomes a part he enters into human relations with neighbors in the same uncomprehended struggle, with the alderman who can use his human needs and response to kindness, with the policemen who depend upon this alderman and have some comprehension of his daily life. All this social organization lies hopelessly outside of the governmental ideas and institutions. The so-called intelligent community, in its pity as well as its prudence, takes necessarily the attitude of the conquerer toward the conquered, because its government is purely repressive and legal. Our unconsciously military attitude prevents us from making any use of the actual social organization that is going on, and in fact this healthful process leads by its very human vitality to connivance with legal wrong, to protection of vice and municipal corruption.
The author does not, however, rest with this negative phase of the immigrant's condition. She sees the great positive losses to the community which its lack of comprehension of him entails. Just because the immigrant has torn himself loose from the old soil and comes with hope and fear to the new land, he brings with him a fund of emotion which is the precious material out of which social values and ends are built up. There are in addition the valuable habits, representing often the selective development of many centuries that our external repressive government is utterly unable to utilize. There is no encouragement for the combination of community life with agricultural occupations, which exists among Italian peasant groups. The Doukhobors have occasioned endless complications with the Canadian government because its fixed and inflexible legal and property concepts could not adapt themselves to the common ownership of land that represent the inherited morale of these people. Apart from the organized habits of these immi-
(124)-grants, there is their native readiness to assist each other, to cooperate in human fashion in meeting the exigencies that surround them, that would be of enormous value if an intelligent government could recognize these possibilities and use the social materials already there. But our municipal governments offer only repression, or the extra-legal or illegal assistance of the politician who finds in the human situation his stock-in-trade. What might be done toward building up, out of social habits already there and their human social instincts and susceptibility, a deeper and more organic community control, if our government had other ideas and methods than those of police to repress crime and courts to protect vested rights! Even the more frankly military governments of Europe have made longer strides in this direction than we. Their legislation not only protects, where ours ignores, but takes positive steps toward better housing, toward health, and insurance, that our democratic community is helpless as yet to imitate.
In discussing militarism and industrial legislation, Miss Addams gathers her argument about two recent strikes-that in the anthracite coal-fields and the -Chicago Stock Yards strike. She shows that a purely repressive government which is unable to reinterpret its legal conceptions from a larger industrial point of view, is quite outside the real struggle for social control. The actual process of government takes place in the two camps of the employers and the employed. Representation, legislation, and executive administration, even the referendum, appear in these groups. And here the real issues appear-the issues of the standard of life, of economic efficiency-and actually control conduct. When, as in the anthracite coal-fields strike, the deadlock between the contending forces became unendurable, when the central government was forced to intervene and bring the issues before competent judges, the questions that were discussed were not simply those with which the military and legal type of government has concerned itself. On the contrary, the real questions, that everybody knew underlay the controversy, inevitably appeared in court:
Did the union encourage violence against non-union men, or did it really do everything to suppress violence? Did it live up to its creed, which was to maintain a standard of living, that families might be properly housed and protected from debilitating toil and disease, and that children might be nurtured into American citizenship? Did the operators protect their men as far as possible from mine damp, from length- of hours proven by experience to be exhausting? Did they pay a wage to the mine laborer sufficient
(125) to allow him to send his children to school? Questions such as these, a study in the human problem, invaded the commission day after day during the sitting. One felt for the moment the first wave of a rising tide of humanitarianism, until the normal ideals of the laborer to secure food and shelter for his family, a security for his own old age, and a larger opportunity for his children, became the ideals of democratic government (Pp. 98 f.)
In the case of the Stock Yards strike in Chicago, the issue was found in the reduction of the wage of the unskilled and unorganized labor. Organized skilled labor attempted to fight the battle, with the mixed motives that always arise -- the fight against a movement to reduce wages which would inevitably reach them, and a fight for the weak and socially less effective by the stronger and better organized. False steps early in the contest, the unwieldly body of men to be controlled, endangered the hold which the labor-union strike managers had upon their men. The contest was a genuine one; the issue in terms of humanity took hold upon the Stock Yards community. The politician who understands dealing in human issues as the basis for his City Hall pull, tried to get possession of this struggle for the betterment of the condition of the underpaid unskilled labor. The real issue in terms of actual human conditions came to the surface, confronted the policemen on duty, the political leaders who controlled the repressive function of government. It was so real, this issue, that the strike managers almost lost it, so eagerly did the politician want to make his use of it.
The moral is evident that as long as the government remains within its military attitude, as long as the policeman, its soldier, is its sole executive, and its arbiter courts which will admit to consideration only the abstract and property rights which hide the vital issues, its legislation cannot deal with the actual social forces out of which social control must arise. It cannot identify with itself the social organization which arises in the labor union, nor draw out in patriotism the devotion with which the laborer responds to its call. Actual social control and social emotion are lost to this government.
Again, it is the immigrant that forces this problem upon us. The anthracite coal field strike was but the climax of the long-drawn-out fight between the employer's power to import unskilled cheap labor, and the employee's power to assimilate him and identityy him with the interests of his American fellows. In the Stock Yards strike, skilled organized labor found the lower unskilled
(126) positions being given to the immigrants from among the most oppressed peasantry of Europe. Identification of their interests with those of these Slovaks and Lithuanians was the price of their position. It is the immigrant who comes in response to the call of our feverish industry and our innumerable machines, that is forcing the deepest problems of social organization and evaluation upon us. It is the humblest and the stupidest among our foreign-born citizens that are forcing upon us the problems of our industrial, non-military community. And those who meet them in their real human form are not the legislators nor the executives nor the judiciary of our government. They have in a large degree isolated themselves in outworn categories, though they are still powers to be used by those who are face to face with the real problems. The employer to whom the immigrant is an economic possibility, and the laborer to whom he is a threat of a lower wage, and a different and often a lower standard of life-they are face to face with the problem. The problem grows rapidly with its human content. It involves the whole question of wage, standard of life, education, and insurance against sickness and old age. It involves protected machinery, control of dangerous callings, hygiene in the factory and home and city. All these pressing questions come in the train of the immigrant.
In dealing with group-morality in the labor movement, Miss Addams emphasizes the shortcomings of the unions which arise from their own isolated character. They are as handicapped in meeting the social exigencies as is any small group within a larger one, which must still maintain itself over against the larger whole of which it is a part. Thus the labor union arrays itself as the enemy of the employers' association, and their contacts naturally become those of warfare until common interests bring them close enough to each other to force to the surface the principle of common action, until the employer backs up his control by the judgments of the industrial expert, and the union comes forward with the consistent demand for collective bargaining in their commodity--labor and skill. Meanwhile the very human interests and impulses which make the labor union possible compel its earlier history to be that of effervescence and conflict. Because our outworn governmental conceptions make it impossible to the community to recognize and frankly deal with the human problems that face the laborer, he must attack them from the limited point of view of his group.
(127) Thus the machine is a social product for which no individual can claim complete responsibility. Its economic efficiency is as dependent on the presence of the laborer and the market for its products as mechanical structure. is dependent upon the inventor, and its exploitation upon the capitalist. But the group-morality under which the community suffers, recognizes no responsibility of the exploiter to the laborer, but leaves him free to exhaust and even maim the operator, as if the community had placed a sword in his hand with which to subjugate. On the other hand, the laborer turns upon the machine with a hostility which assumes that there are no interests involved beyond his own which he is bound to recognize.
It is but natural that we should feel the loss, which a merely crime-preventing and contract-enforcing government entails upon society, most vividly in the case of the children; but the situation is rendered absurd as well as horrible by the fact that the community claims the right to give a certain education to the child, but regards itself as perfectly helpless over against the exploitation of the same child the moment he steps from the school. The very form of the machine has been adapted to this exploitation of the child as well as of the immigrant. This exploitation leaves the child worn out, and deprives not only him, but the community, of his inheritance of play, of imagination, and in so far of the great spiritual products of the play-impulses-art and aesthetic appreciation, with the life that depends upon them.
An equal inconsequence Miss Addams brings to light in the attitude of the state toward woman. Because our more or less unconscious definition of citizenship includes only the warrior who will defend the community on the battlefield, woman is politically irresponsible; and yet the whole industrial nature of the community relates her and her interests as closely to the process of social control as the man. Indeed, the fields within which municipal inefficiency is most pronounced and corruption most rank are those whose functions have been the province of woman from the beginning of society.
Over against the outworn conceptions of government which date from the military organization of society, Miss Addams places these ideals of social control arising out of the industrial nature of our community. It is the contrast of nurture with repression; of the living social relation with the abstract formula; the instinct
(128) for workmanship with the drudgery of unrelieved factory toil; the standard of life with an economic wage; the value of the child to the community with his legal right to freedom of contract; the intelligence born of social function with the use of doctrinaire concepts in the service of yspecial interests. These ideals spring from the very industrial character of the community. To recognize them is to come socially to consciousness. On the other hand, the whole process and paraphernalia of warfare are outworn and antiquated means of interpreting the social situation.
One does not feel, in reading Miss Addams, the advance of an argument with measured
tread. I think in logical organization this book suffers more than her earlier writing. On
the other hand, perhaps, nowhere can one find the social point of view, which we must
assume, presented with so much inherent necessity as here. It is not the necessity of a
deduction, but the necessity of immediate reality. It is not burdened with a creed nor
with socialistic dogma. It is the expression of enlightened social intelligence in
sympathetic contact with men, women, and children whose reality is all the more impressive
because our eyes have been holden from them by economic and political abstractions. The
thesis of the book is that social control, that government, must arise out of these
immediate human relations.
George Herbert Mead.