Saturday, March 24, 2007

Lewis Masquerier, "Mental, Chattel, and Hireling Slavery"

For the Boston Investigator.

Mental, Chattel, and Hireling Slavery.

By Lewis Masquerier.

It is shameful that every race known by history, though cursed by the alienation and monopoly of every right, yet both the oppressor and the oppressed have but a dim conception of the true principles of rights and wrongs. Human sucklings have been so long bewitched with such toys as crosses, crucifixes, crescents, idols, with banners, crowns, lions, eagles, and similar baubles, given them by priests and politicians, that they will squall for them some time yet, before they will be substituted for inalienable homesteads, giving them the power of self-ownership, self-employment, and the whole product of their labor.

The true principles of rights and wrongs, would be as palpable to the mind as those of other sciences, were it not moulded by the surrounding institutions of society, so erroneously founded upon the opposite principles of wrong. It is a glaring fact, that, as each man's natural wants and productive powers, are the most universal properties of his body, and so nearly equal and enduring, they, therefore, become the only true foundation of his rights, and none but prejudiced and narrow minds will found rights upon race, color, sex, intelligence, majorities, parties, residence, or pretended social compacts, which are not universal properties or conditions of men.

Then, as each one's natural wants and powers, are universally the same—equal, perpetual and individual, so must the rights of each, be equally, perpetually and individually the same. This sameness in wants and rights, practically organized would guarantee every man as much soil as he can cultivate, and the exercise and enjoyment in proper person, of both religious and political opinion, will or sovereignty, without intermediate rulers by either birth, election, or appointment But instead, society is founded upon and governed by the opposite evil principles of the inequality, alienation and monopoly of all rights, and this is the cause why creeds, constitutions and legislative enactments, operate so much as general deeds of conveyance, conveying away the rights of the many to the few!

The only thorough remedy for this gigantic system of the alienation and monopoly of the rights of each human being, is the organization into properly sized district divisions of the proportionate number of employments, necessary to supply the principal articles of subsistence, all upon inalienable homesteads, and with central villages, containing public buildings only; such as equitable exchange marts, hall for legislative and judiciary proceedings, common school, lyceum, library, reading room, &c. By this arrangement, all, without regard to sex, could take part by direct speech and vote, in all the townships throughout a state or nation, for the very few laws that would be required, when all have attained to their rights thus organized. This would relieve the property producing, and a valuable portion of mankind, from the nuisance of religious and political officers, from masters, bosses, landlords and profit mongers. This would concentrate rights, capital and labor in the hands of the same person, and make all producers as well as consumers.

But, it is most disheartening to see how much mankind have to unlearn, before they can organize themselves into some such form of society as the above plan suggests. Reformers have yet done but little more than to mistake the evils flowing from the inequality, alienation and monopoly of rights, as mere abuse of good principles. The supposed abuse of temperance, is the exercise of its opposite, intemperance. The supposed abuses of God and religion, of governors and government, come from the infernal dogmatic principles upon which these things themselves are founded.

See then the various forms of tyranny arising from the alienation and monopoly of rights. See in the Indies, both the religious and political power, united in the same persons. See them dividing society into several unapproachable castes. The Sudra outcasts at the bottom, begging and getting only a few cents for a day's work, reduced to such a servile state of degradation, that there has not been an insurrection among them for many centuries to improve their condition. See in Thibet, in China and Japan, the religious and political head slightly separated, but both co-operating in the monopoly of the soil and of sovereignty. There, all the learned are put in office, and become interested it the general robbery of the laboring masses. With a hieroglyphic language, expressing ideas, without vocal sounds, to be read only by the eye like a picture, there can be no criticism upon the acts of the clerical and political scoundrels. What a field here is, for some one to write the vocal languages of these countries in an alphabet with a differently shaped letter for each elementary sound and modification of the voice, and to spell their words according to the vowels and consonants of the voice! Then to publish papers and books for the instruction of the people. Reading is learned in a few weeks when words are written according to the sound of letters and the accented syllable marked. The monopoly of the soil and power of governing is so great in these countries, that the glut of labor has so cheapened it, as to banish larger labor-saving machinery. Even transportation is principally effected upon the backs of men. Still, many for want of employment, are compelled to band together with a leader, and force contributions from people of towns and hamlets nearly as poor as themselves, and in seasons of drouth, thousands starve.

In Mahometan countries, owing to population being thinner, there is not so much starvation. But the soil, property, and power of government are monopolized with an equal vengeance. The religious and political power is concentrated in a most absolute Sultan, with subordinates equally absolute in their respective departments. With the absolute control of the lives and property of the people, they add that of the traffic in the charms of women, and enslave them in harems The Mahometan monster planned his religion and government for the entire conquest of the earth, adding all conquered nations to his empire. And nothing but the inferior civilization of Mahometan nations have stayed their conquests.

See, too, the forms of tyranny, which the alienation and monopoly of rights, have produced in Christian countries. We see in Russia, the clerical and political power united in the Czar. There bishop-lords, claim whole provinces of land, and their millions of serfs are several centuries behind the rest of Europe, in attaining what is called personal freedom; but only in reality changing the slavery of a serf for that of tenant and hireling. For after striving to get their little homes along with the ownership of their bodies and manhood, they are turned adrift. See, too, how Catholic and English, as well as Greek Europe, unite Church and State, in the same heads, while gradually ridding the world of a monster-head, in the form of a Pope—one monster destroying another. But see the immense monopoly of the toil in all Europe by priest and nobility—and the consequent pauperized lazzaroni of Italy, and agricultural and manufacturing operations of France, Britain and Ireland. Here, the masses were changed several centuries ago from serfs to tenants: They got along as small tenants and tradesmen. But first, the increase of labor-saving machinery by large capitalists, took away the business of mechanic trades; and made hirelings of them to large manufactories, and we have witnessed the suffering from want of employment, wherever trade flagged. But the advance of steam-driven machinery, has also taken hold, and is now monopolizing agricultural employments. General evictions are going on from small tenants, as larger farms are preferred. The agricultural tenants are therefore now being driven into small towns, into crowded rooms, and contiguous to the lord's manor, where they are employed upon his own terms and time, or else to starve. And it now remains to be seen whether manual labor can exterminate machinery, as in Asia.

Such is the deplorable consequence of the alienation and monopoly of soil and governmental power, and we are now suffering from a new phase of tyranny. The Southern politicians, perceiving that the laboring masses can be degraded below the point of insurrection, have conceived the plan of founding their society upon slave labor, and to do so, must separate from the Northern States. The slave-holding oligarchy, by keeping every member of their families from becoming landless and negroless, hope to keep all like the Chinese government, in the interest and support of their measures. By disfranchising the poor white trash, they could have them as overseers and guards. They are striving to crush out what little liberty there is on this continent. Sham democracy is so demoralized in the border free States, that our last hope is upon the New England and lake States to defend our youthful liberty.

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