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What Is To Be Done?

What Is To Be Done? image
Parent Issue
Day
21
Month
June
Year
1888
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

The tramps are a great nuisance in 4.nn Arbor. They are infesünglhe city n large numbers,- begging on Main-st for a little money, begeing at back doors for crumbs to eat, many of them stealing when they can get a chance. '.ast Sunday , at least 25 swarthy, ragged, dirty fellows lounged on the bank of the river not far from the M. C. R. R-, holding a sort of convention. Why ahould they not organize, in this age of tombinations and trusts, for mutual protection? These tiamps are ca"-" people to do a deal of thinking. Kven the selfsatisfied per-píe ; the p"eople who think that iMÜtBtlons are all right and eyerthing s settled forever, sir ; those nüo, haring succeeded, unaer auvere oircumstances, in getting a comfortable fiving, think that the tramps might hava done so too ; even these good gentlemen are alittle worried about the tramp question. The cry of want is going tip, and the tramp question is becomiag so pressing, that they are almost obliged to stop and think about it, The current explanation of " tramps " and. poverty in general is that " it is all their own fault." " If they would only -work and economize as I did," saidone gentlemen, " they might get a good living." How soothing and comforting such a theorv is ! It enables the good citizen to close his eare to the cry of want, and to send the tramps to the lock-up without a moment's thought. It enables the monopolist to keep right on absorbing the wealth which others produce, without a twinge of conscience. " Why don't they do as I do," he says. As though in a system of monopoly, all could monopolize, any more than all the competitors in a race can be successful. At one time in England's history, when the distress of the poor was particularly keen, and a great protest was going up, a clergyman named Malthus wrote a book, in which he showed, clearly as he thought, that the suffering was not the fault of the rich arietocracy tao did no work in return for the great wealth they exacted from the people. 9od was really to blame lor au mis suffering, because he had made a law whereby population increased faster than food could be possibly made to increase. The eagerness with -which the aristocracy accepted this slur on the Deity showed that they rather welcomed some such explanation of poverty. It left the dukes and the lords to draw and waste their millions of wealth nithout doing any work themselves, and very comfortably to place all the I blame on Deity. The elave-holders in the south said that God establised elavery, and they continued to rob the negro j ■with an easy conscience. But Malthus' explanation didn't fit the facts, nor does this other tion so often heard. The great industrial depressions, the thousands out of employnient, all the signs of the times, are against this soothing explanation that " it is all their own fault," The ne'edlewomen of the cities and the minere of Pennsylvania, whose condition is absolutely worse than was that j of the negroes in slavery, forever disprove the theory. Somehow, it is possible for only a small portion of the people to get as good a living as they ought to have, and thousands, through no fault of their own, actually suffer for the neceB8ities of life. The hardened tramps are unlovely ;reatures ; but there are all degrees of trampdom, andan observant person can gee the evolution of the tramp from the young man who turns away with a -weary sigh that is heart-rending when he is deniedwork. The tramp is a product of our industrial system. To say that each one might, by perseverance, get a more decent living, doesn't touch the point at all. All are not alike as regards perseverance; some men have very little perseverance. The point is that our system, taking men as they come into this world, does not permit all to get their share of the good things of this world. It doorns many to beggary and crime.

Article

Subjects
Old News
Ann Arbor Register