August 16, 1894
THE President of the United States has appointed a board of commission of “arbitration,” in consequence of the Chicago strike.
IN the way that this has been brought about, however, there could not be a more complete misnomer than to call it a board or commission, or anything else, of arbitration.
THERE is not a single element of arbitration in it. For arbitration is “the hearing and determining of a controversy by a person or persons mutually agreed upon by the parties to the dispute.”
NOW these persons have not been “mutually agreed upon by the parties to the dispute.” There has been no sort of an agreement in the matter by the parties to the dispute. Indeed, only one of the parties to the dispute called for it or had anything to do with it in any way. This board or commission, or whatever it is called in that respect, therefore, is entirely lacking in the very first elements that attach to a board or commission of arbitration.
INDEED, the idea of any mutual agreement or action on the part of the parties to the dispute seems not to be contemplated in the act of Congress under which this commission is appointed. For the act provides that “the services of the commission to be ordered at the time of the President, and constituted as herein provided, may be tendered by the President for the purpose of settling a controversy such as contemplated, either on his own motion or upon the application of one of the parties to the controversy, or upon the application of an executive of a State.” Thus is it clear that there is no such thing as a mutual agreement of the parties to the dispute respecting who shall be the arbitrator, nor even that there shall be an arbitration of the controversy at all. The appointment of the commission and the tendering of its offices may come altogether from the outside, and the nearest that it gets to the parties is that it may be appointed and tendered upon the application of one of the parties to the dispute. Thus in any and every phase the procedure lacks every element of arbitration. Yet for all this lack, the commission has been appointed; it is called a commission of arbitration, and is expected to have, indeed, “shall have,” “all the powers and authority given in section 2 to a board of arbitration”!
NOW, if the action of this board is to have any force whatever—whether its decision is to be enforced by the power of the Government upon the party adjudged by it to be in the wrong, or whether it is to be only by the “moral influence” of the weight of the Government in favor of the other party, putting the party adjudged to be in the wrong to the disadvantage of publicly disagreeing with the national Government; in either case the result can be only dictation instead of arbitration. If the decision of the committee is not intended to have any real force either governmental or moral, then the procedure amounts simply to a piece of meddling which in itself is suggestive of dictatorship. But it may be asked, Shall the Government do nothing? Answer: The Government, State or national, as the case may be, shall see to it that all parties shall keep the peace in all respects, whatever their differences or disputes may be. This the governmental power may do and keep itself and all others in place.
YET there is no doubt that the decision of this commission is intended to have force of some sort, and that, apparently, in no small measure. And as the commission, with the procedure altogether, it totally lacking in the elements of arbitration, whatever force it may exert will be nothing else than the assertion of the principle of dictation. This is true also in another way; because it is intended by those who are engineering this that if this does not bring the desired result then the next step is to be legislation establishing “compulsory arbitration” in so many words. But compulsory arbitration is a contradiction in terms. The very suggestion of compulsion destroys all idea of arbitration. The only word that will properly express the idea of “compulsory arbitration” is the plain and simple word dictation. This plain and simple word, however, is rather too strong to start with, and so it must be covered up with the self-contradictory expression, “compulsory arbitration;” and even to this the way must be smoothed by the practice of a pretended arbitration that is not arbitration at all in any true sense of the word.
WITH the action of the committee, however, we have nothing to do. It matters not which way it decides nor what it does. It is the establishment of the principle and the fixing of the precedent, with which we are concerned; it is this and this only that we are discussing. It is the logical tendency of this sort of “arbitration” that we desire to trace. We are simply inquiring what is wrapped up in this thing, and what therefore must inevitably come out of it.
IT is worth remarking that this idea and practice of “arbitration” is not intended nor expected to put an end to strikes. In fact, it is the doctrine of one of the chiefest of the leaders of organized labor that without contention there can be no arbitration, and without a strike there can be no contention. In remarking upon the appointment of this committee by President Cleveland, Mr. Gompers, the president of the American Federation of Labor, said:—
If President Cleveland has made any stipulation that the strike should be called off as a preliminary, he has made arbitration impossible; for that means the attainment of a settlement between contending forces, and after the strike ceases the contention has ceased.
According to this doctrine, and according to all the probabilities in the case, there is no room for doubt that strikes will continue, and continue to increase in extent and violence, as they have done ever since labor-unions were first organized in this country.
CONSIDER, then, that strikes will continue, and that this kind of “arbitration”  will also continue. It is hardly to be expected that the decisions will always be in favor of the strikers. If this is expected, then this only adds to the procedure another element of dictation. If there is any probability that the decision of the “arbitrators” will at some time be against the strikers and in favor of the operator, then this carries with it also the probability that there will come a time when the decision of the “arbitrators” will not be at all satisfactory to the strikers. Then they will denounce the board as being allied with capital against labor, and will refuse to accept it as a settlement. In other words, they will strike against the decision of the “arbitrators.” Suppose this commission had been appointed in time to reach Chicago at the height of the contest last month, and by any possibility had found and decided that the Pullman Company was justified in the stand that they had taken, is there a man in the United States who supposes that Debs and his committee would have accepted such a decision and ordered off the strike? In view of their open denunciation of the President of the United States for merely ordering troops to Chicago to maintain the laws of the United States, is it at all supposable that they would have accepted a decision actually in favor of the Pullman Company or the board of railway managers?
AMS certainly as there is a probability that a decision will fall sometime against the strikers, so certainly also there is a probability that the strikers will sometime strike against the decision. But a strike against the decision of the “arbitrators” will be nothing less than a strike against the Government itself. Then as certainly as such a thing as that ever happens, there will be a dispute between labor and the Government, which dispute will have to be arbitrated. Then who shall be the “arbitrators” to settle this dispute? Neither the Government nor capital nor labor can do it, because these are all parties to the dispute. There cannot be one chosen from each of the three parties in dispute, because as the Government will have already decided in favor of capital, and the strike is now against both, this would give a board of two to one against labor to start with. Plainly, then, the Government and capital and labor will all be excluded from conducting any arbitration between the Government and labor. There is one element remaining, and but one, that could do it, and that is the Church. This is the only element remaining sufficiently separated from all parties to such a dispute, to be qualified to come between them in the character of arbitrator. And she will occupy the place as surely as it shall ever be made. And the place will be made as surely as this sort of “arbitration” that has been started shall continue. And it is just as likely to continue as that the contest between “capital and labor” shall continue.
THUS there can be, and almost certainly will be, created the much-coveted opportunity for the Church further to insinuate herself into the place of control and guidance in governmental affairs. And as to what church it will be, in the last resort at least, there can be no shadow of doubt. It will be the Catholic Church. For some considerable time Cardinal Gibbons has been advocating a national board of arbitration, such as is now begun. Besides this, as so vast a majority of the discontented, agitating, striking, violent, element, are members in good and regular standing in the Catholic Church, it will be urged, and urged successfully, that she is entitled to a representative on the board. More than this probability, she has a representative on this board that has been lately appointed by the President, namely, Francis Kernan, who finished his education at that Jesuit seat of learning Seton Hall College, Orange, N.J. And if Mr. Magone, who was first named, is not also a Catholic, the fact is contradictory to the suggestion of his name.
THIS is the logical outcome and the sure result of this scheme of “arbitration” that has been begun in the United States. And when the Catholic Church shall have made firm her footing here in this thing, made shall have thus put herself in the place of chief “arbitrator” in national affairs for, and to, this great American nation, then in this also Europe will be drawn to follow the example, and thus in another way will the papacy be lifted to the headship and control of the world. And thus will the great ambition of Leo XIII. be accomplished in having the pope recognized and referred to as the great “arbiter” of all national differences.
IN times of such difficulties as those that have covered this country the present year, and which will be continued along the line that we are here discussing, both in this country and in Europe—in times such as these, it is with peculiar force that the papacy suggests itself to the minds of rulers and statesmen as the source of the greatest help. In times of violence, strife, anarchy, and revolution, when the very foundations of States and even of society itself seem to be moved, it is almost instinctively that the European statesman especially grasps the hand of the papacy. The papacy has passed through revolution after revolution, and complete anarchy itself is no terror to it.
THE papal church not only saw, but caused, the fall of the Roman Empire. And as that empire was the “mightiest fabric of human greatness” ever set up, so its fall was the most terrible ever seen in history. Yet the papacy not only passed through it, but she gathered new strength from it all. The Catholic Church thrives on revolutions; the perplexities of States are her fortune; to her, anarchy is better than order, unless she can rule. She is so completely the mistress of every kind of deviltry that it matters not what phase of it presents itself, she can manipulate it to her own advantage. Therefore when revolution is imminent and anarchy threatens, it is almost instinctively that rulers and statesmen grasp the ever-proffered hand of her who has survived the anarchy of the Middle Ages and the revolutions of fifteen centuries.
IT is with perfect satisfaction that the papal church sees the Government of the United States taking the step that involves “arbitration” between itself and its own violent and lawless citizens. For she knows that as the vast majority of these violent lawless ones are her own subjects, so the outcome must certainly redound to her profit and her exaltation. As she has already announced that “the solution of the present social difficulties is to be found in the Catholic Church;” and that “if society is to be saved from a condition worse in some respects than pagan times, it is from the Vatican the savior must come;” so she is most gratified to see the steps taken that inevitably involves herself and her power as this savior. And she has also announced that, as “the United States succeed in solving these problems, Europe will follow their example,” and these, too, will turn to her as their savior. This is the publicly announced plan of the Roman Catholic Church, and everything is drawing her way, and she is glad of it. This is the means by which she ascended to her height of power and dominion before; this means will surely raise her to that place again. From her experience before, she knows how to take advantage of the like means now to raise herself to the place of power and dominion such as she had before, only greater as the world is larger now than it was then. Mgr. Satolli made no mistake when he declared, in behalf of the papacy, that in America more than anywhere else lies the key of the future. Mgr. Satolli is here to turn that key. It can be turned many ways to favor the aims of the papacy. And in no one way can it be turned more to favor the papacy than in the manipulation of this idea of “compulsory arbitration.” This is simply dictation, and it will end in the dictation of the papacy to the nation and to the world.