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The Pittsburgh Manifesto to the Workingmen of America

Linked by Paul Ciano on March 6, 2017

Manifesto of the International Working Peoples’ Association, 1883:

Fellow-Workmen, we ask you to give us your attention for a few moments. We ask you candidly to read the following manifesto issued in your behalf, in the behalf of your wives and children, in behalf of humanity and progress.

Our present society is founded on the exploitation of the propertyless classes by the propertied. This exploitation is such that the propertied (capitalists) buy the working force body and soul of the propertyless, for the price of the mere costs of existence (wages), and take for themselves, i.e. steal the amount of new values (products) which exceeds this price, whereby wages are made to represent the necessities instead of the earnings of the wage-laborer.

As the non-possessing classes are forced by their poverty to offer for sale to the propertied their working forces, and as our present production on a grand scale enforces technical development with immense rapidity, so that by the application of an always decreasing number of human working forces, an always increasing amount of products is created; so does the supply of working forces increase constantly, while the demand therefore decreases. This is the reason why the workers compete more and more intensely in selling themselves, causing their wages to sink, or at least on the average, never raising them above the margin necessary for keeping intact their working ability.

With the accumulation of individual wealth, the greed and power of the propertied grows. They use all the means for competing among themselves for the robbery of the people. In this struggle, generally, the less-propertied (middle class) are overcome, while the great capitalists, par excellence, swell their wealth enormously, concentrate entire branches of production, as well as trade and inter- communication, into their hands, and develop into monopolists. The increase of products, accompanied by simultaneous decrease of the average income of the working mass of the people, leads to so-called “business” and “commercial” crises, when the misery of the wage-workers is forced to the extreme.

The increasing eradication of working forces from the productive process, annually increases the percentage of the propertyless population, which becomes pauperized, and is driven to “crime,” vagabondage, prostitution, suicide, starvation, and general depravity. This system is unjust, insane, and murderous.

To the achievement of such a system the political organizations of the capitalistic classes - be they Monarchies or Republics - form the barriers. These political structures (States), which are completely in the hands of the propertied, have no other purpose than the upholding of the present order of exploitation.

All laws are directed against the working people. In so far as the opposite appears to be the case, they serve on one hand to blind the worker, while on the other hand they are simply evaded. Even the school serves only the purpose of furnishing the offspring of the wealthy with those qualities necessary to uphold their class domination. The children of the poor get scarcely a formal elementary training, and this, too, is mainly directed to such branches as tend to producing prejudices, arrogance and servility; in short, want of sense. The Church finally seeks to make complete idiots out of the mass and to make them forego the paradise on earth by promising a fictitious heaven. The capitalistic press, on the other hand, takes care of the confusion of spirits in public life. All these institutions, far from aiding in the education of the masses, have for their object the keeping in ignorance of the people. They are all in the pay and under the direction of the capitalistic classes. The workers can therefore expect no help from any capitalistic party in their struggle against the existing system. They must achieve their liberation by their own efforts. As in former times a privileged class never surrendered its tyranny, neither can it be expected that the capitalists of this age will give up their rulership without being forced to do it.

Paul Ciano

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