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divergent opinions? How may public opinion in local communities be made intelligent? These, and numerous questions of like importance, demand attention before we can devise a new basis of human relations. Students in increasing numbers need to turn their attention to local communities and community groups in order to discover the facts of human relations upon which the new way of life is to be based.
9. Discussion is not amenable to large groups. A crowd never discusses; it either acts upon prejudice, emotion, or undigested advice from a temporary leader. Much of modern teaching belongs to crowd psychology. Before local community groups can proceed to experiment with a new technique of human relations they will need to know how to plumb each other's consciousness; this can happen only through discussion. Ten small discussion groups in a community will do more to create the new way of life than 100 mass meetings with 1,000 in attendance at each. When people have tasted the discussion method of mental growth they will become dissatisfied with the current methods of teaching. Churches, schools, forums, and all forms of organization await the quickening touch of free discussion. When acute issues are discussed intelligently by small community groups there will have been created a rational basis of public opinion which will ultimately change the direction of our national life.
10. The local community may become a functional reality in organized society when some of the foregoing constructive suggestions become a part of the consciousness of our leaders. Our hopes should not be too sanguine; this is an age of chaos, of disillusionment, of cynicism. It is not a creative period. It may be necessary for us to carry our philosophy of force still farther along its road of destruction before we can build anew; and before the ideal type of community life can be discovered, we must learn how to discover the individual. For, it is not merely local community life which has been sacrificed during this last century of force, of nationalism, of imperialism, but alas, the individual has gone down with his community. Hence, we live in a world without purposes, without leaders, and without satisfying motives. The sheer necessity of living drives us on as slaves of our giant machines and our multiple organizations-but whither? Who knows? If the big things have not held us together, is it not time to begin trying the little things? The disintegration which began with the so-called Great War is still in process, and where it will end no one dares guess. The one hopeful, promising, creative task is to take these disintegrated community groups and there begin a new evolution of integration, based upon mutuality rather than force.
THE EFFECT OF MODERN INDUSTRY ON COMMUNITY LIFE
Max Weinberg runs a vest shop in a great clothing center. It is not a shop for which he is entirely responsible, for it is a contract shop. He takes goods that have been cut at a great factory and is responsible for only their manufacture, not for their sale. And in this contract shop, in the words of Pinafore, he employs his brothers and his sisters and his cousins and his aunts, and a great many others, good friends and neighbors. In that market and in this shop advanced union conditions prevail. But Mr. Weinberg prides himself that he has never had a case brought before the indus
trial tribunal of that market because of his treatment of any of his employees. Not even the most violent agitation of the most violent agitator has ever persuaded one of these cousins or aunts to bring a case. He would much rather, and feels he has found it much more effective, deal with these good relatives and neighbors on the old basis of a common understanding, under which they brought their grievances and exchanged points of view. But growth and development have come to that industry in that market, and in order to bid successfully and economically, in competition with the so-called inside shops of the greater factories, Mr. Weinberg has had to enlarge his production, so that the little shop in which the aunts and uncles work has not room nor the workers necessary to turn out enough of a product to enable him to bid successfully. So some of the work he has begun to send into the homes of his neighbors. At this the union has brought in a complaint, for by the agreement under which all clothing makers operate none of the clothing may be made in the home. Mr. Weinberg's plea is that he did not know any other way to get the clothing made than to depend upon his little community of people. There is no place in which to build a larger shop unless he builds in a place so far removed from the neighborhood where his workers live that it would break up this community which has been a community both of social life and of industrial operation. And yet nothing is more certain than that Mr. Weinberg's shop and the closely knit community are bound to go.
Everybody realizes in this market that the small contract shop around which center the domestic and industrial interests of its workers is doomed because of the competition of the larger factories, and that sooner or later these brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts will be daily leaving their local community-community in the sense of the district in which they live-seeking employment in the larger factories remote from their homes, and modern industry with that will have completed its work of destroying local community life.
Political reformers and social workers in their efforts to resuscitate and reinvigorate community life are facing some such doom as Mr. Weinberg and his vest factory. For more of our efforts are based on the idea that community of residence is bound to be coexistent with community of interest and of action. We recall our backbreaking and heartbreaking attempts to revive the little red schoolhouse and the old New England town meeting upon this assumption, and to our chagrin again and again we would call this group of people living on the block together only to find that those who were there were so addicted to attending meetings they could not stay awake in our presence and the rest of those who ought to be interested in our public-spirited effort were conspicuous by their absence. When a hundred years ago a great Englishman came over here to study our experiment with democracy, he found all the interests of human life coexistent with the small local community, that a man's work, recreational, religious, and family life fell within a small circle within which he could spend his entire time, and so we have more or less assumed, and the whole machinery of political life has been based upon the assumption that there is bound to be coexistence between our place of residence and our vital interests.
Whether we think of the precinct, or the ward, the assembly district, or the congressional district, from the bottom up or from the top down, we have political machinery based upon geographical divisions. But this assumption that community interest will coexist with one's residence has brought deep disappointment to us in many of our experiences. In the first place we no longer find single communities far removed from
other single communities. There was a time when the farmer, in the spirit of the American pioneer, said, "I must move on now for I have a neighbor within ten miles."
The general futility of our efforts at political life rest upon the breakdown brought about by modern industry. I have seen whole wards of our most respectable citizens canvassed, only to find that 50 per cent were not registered and were out of communication with the district in which they were supposed to have their vital interests. Last winter I went to a city club where there were about 200 members present, and I dared to venture the question as to how many there had taken an active part in securing the results of the last election in the precinct. There were five who raised their hands. They were greatly interested in the theory, greatly interested in discussing things generally, but somehow grouped for political action in ways in which they could put their theories into practice, it seemed impossible for them to function effectively. Can it be that the game we continually play with the politician is bound to be a losing one for us because we try to act in groupings that have lost their real meaning except for those who make their living by perpetuating it?
This breaking up of the local community groups, based not primarily on residence but coexistent with residence, accounts for some of the other weaknesses of our present civilization. America is said to be in contrast to almost all other modern countries, the graveyard of repeated co-operative efforts. The attempts to buy the necessities of life upon the basis of profit to none but of service to all have met with repeated failure because there is in the local community no such mutual confidence, no such common taste, no such ability to make a common effort, as have made possible those most successful efforts in Europe. So, as Professor Lindeman has already called to your attention, the word "local" in labor organizations has come to have a different meaning, and the weakness of labor organization is due to the fact that they have not adjusted their organization to a recognition that the groups they call "locals" are based upon geographical residence, and that what is needed is a larger and consolidated organization of a city-, state-, or nation-wide character.
The I.W.W. is one of the by-products of this situation. The migrant laborer, finding no place for him in the orthodox form of organization, has been attracted to the I.W.W. because it is founded not upon geographical basis but upon their common interest. But more important to us than these breakdowns in the industrial field is the breakdown of community morale. You have heard through the reports of the Cleveland Crime Survey that offenses are increasing thirty times more rapidly than the population, and the newspapers are full of the stories of the increase of crimes. We are faced with the daily recounting of the unaccountable flappers and flippers and shifters. Why is it all? Because the fundamental basis of character and behavior, the morale of the local community, is gone, and that support and reinforcement and incentive to good behavior is gone with it. The only inaccuracy about the word "shifter" is that at present it seems to be applied to a group of rather young persons whose more or less loose organization is troubling their elders, while it would be more accurate if we recognized that the word applies to us all. These are some of the effects of modern industry upon community life, thinking of the community as a collective whole, a unit. We all view things from our personal point of vantage, and that colors my own thinking probably, but between being the son of a minister and myself a social worker, it has been my lot to live in seven of the nine largest cities of the country and in the national capital. I have been a migrant worker. How can such a one belong to a
local community? And yet in every community in which such a worker lives there is a group of people of common mind and common interest. It is not because you live in this street or that but because you are bound to seek out those with whom you will be congenial and with whom you may co-operate to a common end. This little personal experience is borne out by the most conclusive studies.
The last United States census says that of all the native-born population in the United States about one-fourth live in states in which they were not born. In other words, they are shifters. Here in Rhode Island your percentage is about the average. The percentage in Wyoming runs up to 70. No one knows whether that is unusual or not compared with other countries, but it reflects a great degree of shifting among our population. It is due primarily to occupation, to our search to find jobs that are more remunerative or more to our taste. There is one indication in the last Massachusetts census of 1915. Here the native-born are unusually shifty, for that census showed that twice as many of the native-born were disqualified for voting as the foreign-born because they were not long enough in residence in a given district. We Americans are primarily shifters. If we think of our greatest industry, the largest employer of labor in the country, the United States Steel Corporation, with its over 500,000 employees, we will realize how true it is that industry is no respecter of communities. Do you realize that during the last few years we have had more immigrants return to the old countries than we have had come into ours, a situation never known before in the world's history? This was due largely to fluctuations in the demand for employment in the United States Steel Corporation and other such great places of employment. It is the coming and going, the ebb and flow of the tide, that make it almost impossible that people shall take root in local communities and the fact that the breaking up of the community has been recognized by such employers as did not wish to have too much of that sort of thing, and they have cultivated such a mixture of people, bringing them from here and there, from across the water, from the rural districts of the United States, that there may not have been long enough continuity of common residence for them to make
The labor organizations of the country are recognizing this in their insistence that their organizations, while including all local workers, shall be based upon a countrywide consolidation. When the labor leaders that called the late steel strike did so they called not only steel workers, but men organized in the packing industry of Chicago, and the maintenance of way workers on our railroads, who realized that the wages of the steel workers had a bearing on the wages of those in the packing and other great industries and that there was a community of interest here, whether or not there were community of residence or of occupation, that required they make common cause. And when Mr. Gary said that it was utterly against the principles of America for those not engaged in an industry and living in a distant locality to do anything about conditions in the steel industry, he was like old King Canute trying to set the bounds of the incoming tide. Just at the time when he said that I took pains to analyze the membership of the directorate of the United States Steel Corporation and found it composed as follows: a representative of the International Harvester Company, a representative of a coal mining corporation in Pennsylvania, a representative of a great coal and steel carrying railroad from Philadelphia, an eminent jurist from the city of Pittsburgh, the president of a great national bank in New York, and so down the line. There was no appeal of community interest by common residence, but there was a
group who had gained a community of interest because of interlocking relations in a great variety of fields of life. And that is the climax of the development of industry in this country. There is apparently utter disregard for the local community in the organization of industry itself. That is the future of Max Weinberg's vest shop. They are all going the same way if industry works its will with them as it has with the steel workers.
So has industry, by making nomads of us all, destroyed our local community life. And then along comes the great by-product and handmaiden of industry, the press, and facilitates that movement, for with the scattering of the population over the face of the land has gone all of that interest in the news of the locality which first established our great journals. It is no longer the near, but the novel that makes the news.
No such dark and dismal picture concludes all that is to be said on the subject. If we are hopeless under such circumstances it is because we do not realize the original foundations of our community life. It was accidental although inevitable that that strong community spirit by which our early life in this country was characterized coincided with communities. We had no transportation, practically no communication, and for that reason vital fundamental interests coincided with geographical lines. It is that eternal vital interest that will give us through community life again, or a substitute in its place, for all over our country today we see new groupings based upon intercommunication and co-operation for common ends whether in labor organizations, in social workers' associations, banking clubs, bar associations, medical societies. People are regrouping themselves according to the lines of their vital interests.
All these groups, to be sure, will come to have their local foci and nuclei, but we need to realize as social workers that the underlying forces of the grouping bring us opportunities, for upon them we may base our relations to them. It is absolutely necessary that there be revived these small groupings in order to have a revival in democracy for meeting modern industrial and other problems. If we are impatient with the slowness with which these new groups learn to function democratically we need to remember that it took our forefathers a hundred and fifty years to learn to operate those old local communities that finally made up these United States. The state of Rhode Island was founded by a revolt from town meeting. Shay's rebellion, the tariff wars, were all instances of how long and how slow and how gradual a growth it was before these groupings along geographical lines, but founded upon community of interest, learned to function effectively enough to make these United States. De Tocqueville describes how the old town meeting was primarily the school of American self-government. We need to ask ourselves what is to be the substitute for it. We never learned self-government out of books. That would be like trying to learn to sail a boat out of a book, as I once tried to do. It was not till I felt the tug of the sheet and the pull of the tiller that I learned how to sail a boat. So it is with new groupings, the most precious development of our modern life. In every one of them people are attempting to do some self-governing. The lessons our forefathers learned in town meeting we are learning over again in the groups which represent a common interest, a common aim. We need to learn the lessons of patience and of co-operation. You will remember that at the Milwaukee Conference a year ago there was a young labor leader who has helped to devise what is perhaps the most interesting attempt toward industrial peace, and that he outlined that plan to us. It has been my privilege during the past year to work with him in the operation of that great school of democracy,