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The foundation of the labor movement (1871)

At the Labor-Reform Convention, which assembled at Worcester, September 4, 1871, Mr. Phillips presided, and presented the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted. They are, indeed, a “full body of faith;” and they show just where Mr. Phillips stood for the last thirteen years of his life.


We affirm, as a fundamental principle, that labor, the creator of wealth, is entitled to all it creates.

Affirming this, we avow ourselves willing to accept the final results of the operation of a principle so radical,--such as the overthrow of the whole profit-making system, the extinction of all monopolies, the abolition of privileged classes, universal education and fraternity, perfect freedom of exchange, and, best and grandest of all, the final obliteration of that foul stigma upon our so-called Christian civilization,--the poverty of the masses. Holding principles as radical as these, and having before our minds an ideal condition so noble, we are still aware that our goal cannot be reached at a single leap. We take into account the ignorance, selfishness, prejudice, corruption, and demoralization of the leaders of the people, and to a large extent, of the people themselves; but still, we demand that some steps be taken in this direction: therefore,--

Resolved,--That we declare war with the wages system, which demoralizes alike the hirer and the hired, cheats both, and enslaves the working-man; war with the present system of finance, which robs labor, and gorges capital, makes the rich richer, and the poor poorer, and turns a republic into an aristocracy of capital; war with these lavish grants of the public lands to speculating companies, and whenever in power, we pledge ourselves to use every just and legal

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Wendell Phillips (2)
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September 4th, 1871 AD (1)
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