Remarks on Labor Night Concerning Participation of Representatives of Labor in the City Club
"I myself have not quite the attitude that Mr. Hoxie and even Dr. Favill, it seems to me, have taken so far. It does not seem to me that we are treading on thin ice when we ask the representatives of the great mass of the community to come together here and consider what we can do for the benefit of this community. That there are grounds for differences, of course we know to be true and that those grounds for differences have led to very serious difficulty in this country. But when a club such as the City Club opens its doors and endeavors to enlarge its own work as we know that work to have been in the past, it does not seem to me there should be any difficulty on the part of the members of trades unions or any other group in the community in coming forward and saying: 'Let us work together as far as that is possible.'
"We know that if the public sentiment of the community ever expresses itself with definiteness, the officials will carry out that which public sentiment demands.
(215) But what we also recognize is that public sentimenty is with the very greatest difficulty formed upon the subjects where the application of public sentiment is most needed. We recognize that our newspapers represent frequently, or generally, political parties, instead of bringing together the common interests of all of us -- that they represent only single parts. We know that our political parties really erect barriers between those whose interests are common interests. We know that classes and groups and organizations of all sorts keep people more or less apart. That makes it almost impossible to formulate that public sentiment which, if we could get rid of some of these barriers, would be sure to formulate itself and lead to just that form of government which democracy represents.
'That is definitely what the City Club stands for, but, as has already been said, there is one great group that has not in the past been represented in the City Club as it should have been represented. We have not had the great mass of the community represented, those that come, perhaps, under the caption of labor. We have discussed housing, but we have not had the great mass of the people who live in just those houses that ought to be pulled down. We have undertaken city planning, and that city planning has not taken into account the great extent of the city itself. It has considered only a certain part of that city. We have taken up the interests of transportation, the interests represented by sanitation, the interests of health, but we have not had those persons who are most immediately interested ill all these problems present with us in the discussion.
"That is the situation which we hope gradually at least will disappear, and that as we take up those problems we shall find representatives here from the great mass of the community, for the interests of one are identical with the interests of all. We hope that upon the basis of those common interests we shall be able to take steps in advance, which we have not been able to take in the past " (Applause)