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needed. Direct and frank dealing between the Bureau and the families is more to be desired.
There are now a number of district offices being organized to relieve somewhat the congestion in Washington and facilitate more intimate and direct dealing between the Bureau, through its responsible agents and field examiners, and the families and individuals who are, or think they are, entitled to benefits under the Act. Applications for exemption from compulsory allotment are numerous and many of them, upon investigation, reveal family conditions which will require the expert assistance and cooperation of social workers to bring to account enlisted men who are dodging their responsibilities, or to protect the government from fraud. Usually the sworn statement of soldiers and sailors is accepted, and of course there are heavy penalties for any attempt at deliberate fraud on the part of enlisted men or their families.
Many notable cases of self-sacrifice and of a splendid spirit of patriotism brighten the days' work in the Bureau of War Risk Insurance. One woman recently returned a check for $70 covering an allotment and allowance for two months with the statement that she felt that she did not need the money as much as the government did to prosecute the war. She was advised to invest it in Liberty Bonds if she wished to place it at the disposal of the government. A father recently returned his allowance which he had received for two months and had asked for on the basis of an allotment made by two sons in the service, while he was in the hospital, saying that though just out of the hospital and still unable to work, he can now manage to care for himself. The cooperation of families with that spirit, which is the true American spirit of independence and self-help, with the government in its efforts to do justice in the emergencies created by this war, and with the aid of all the social agencies of the country, especially that of the semi-officially organized Home Service Work of the Red Cross, will assure the ultimate success of all the great purposes of war risk insurance and will make these measures the very backbone of the morale of the men at the front and of those at home who also fight for the cause of freedom.*
'Note: A fuller descriptive account of the War Risk Insurance Act as amended to July 1st, 1918, will be found in my article entitled "Purpose and Scope of War Ri»k Insurance," published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Philadelphia, in September, 1918, and reprinted with further revisions, October, 1918, by the New York office. Second District Investigation Service of the Bureau of War Risk Insurance, at 280 Broadway, New York.
1. Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago, in discussing Miss Lathrop's address, said in substance:
England, during the first year of the war discovered a sudden rise in the mortality of children. One reason for this increased death rate was found to be the fact that mothers were working in munition plants. During the second year of the war, the infant death rate fell below pre-war levels, as the result of concerted action by the entire nation, roused by the seriousness of the situation.
Munitions plants in the United States are now arranging to take in mothers and provide day nurseries for the children. Fortunately these nurseries are being placed under the management of existing organizations of women familiar with such institutions. But is it necessary, at the beginning of the second year of the war for mothers to work in munitions plants? Cannot the heightened solidarity of the nation be used, now while the subject is up, to protect these children? Mothers' pensions have been provided in many states to enable widows to stay with their children. Why should the wives of soldiers not also be kept with their children? It should be easy to persuade the community that the children of soldiers should be protected. Such a movement would serve as a good beginning toward the solution of the whole question of taking care of mothers.
Some people contend that a large number of children are better taken care of in nurseries than by mothers who have spent their girlhood as factory workers. Let the mothers, it is urged, go back to the factories. After the day's work, the short period before the children go to sleep would not fatigue the mothers; indeed they would enjoy their children better for not having spent the whole day with them. Such is not the point of view advocated in America, urged by the Children's Bureau, nor embodied in the best legislation. America should insist that munitions work shall be done by others than the mothers of little children.
Our general but passive beliefs need sharpening, sometimes by acute experience. Leaving a meeting of the Chicago Board of Education one night at 2 a. m., I found a scrub woman wet from head to foot with the mother's milk which her work prevented her from giving to her nursing child at home. By an ironical coincidence, the city council had just been called back from its vacation to consider means of protecting the city from contaminated milk furnished its children from four states.
A biologist at the University of Wisconsin has said that a tadpole well fed produces a fat frog that can stand a good deal of starving without visible damage, while an underfed tadpole always produces a thin frog whom no amount of feeding will fatten. In respect to children, too, he argued, one can never make up in later life for the hardships of childhood. We must see what we can do to keep the mother with her children until they have made at least their first start in life.
2. In addition to those mentioned heretofore the following delegates took part in the discussion: Mrs. Kelley; Oscar Leonard, St. Louis; Rev. James Parsons, Kansas City; J. Bruce Byall, Philadelphia.
SOCIAL WORK AND RADICAL ECONOMIC MOVEMENTS
Introductory Statement by the Chairman, Roger N. Baldwin, Director, National Civil Liberties Bureau, New York
This program is the first upon which we are free to discuss under Conference auspices the relation between social work and radical economic movements. We shall make no half-way job of it. We have among our speakers representatives of the extreme radical view, who will paint vividly the contrast between the reformer and the revolutionist.
Such a discussion is particularly opportune when the world is shaken to its foundations, when old institutions are challenged as never before. Scores of social workers in the Conference feel a need for closer contact with the larger social and economic movements of the world. This section is one expression of that need.
We are obligated to examine without prejudice even the revolutionary programs for abolishing poverty and economic slavery. President Wilson has made clear that necessity in his recent letter to the New Jersey Democrats. The British Labor Party has warned us to beware of patchwork in the approaching reconstruction. We must examine the foundations of our present political and industrial order in the light of the radical programs.
The issue is well put in a recent story in the New Republic entitled "On the Road to Amiens." An American soldier, in conversation on a train in France, tells a French soldier that he is doubtful about the efficacy of President Wilson's slogan "making the world safe for democracy." Democracy in America, he says, means only "the chance for each of the many to become one of the few." The real struggle, he maintains, is to make each of the few one of the many, if we are to realize the new political and industrial idea of equality. The remaking of the world for democracy and brotherhood cannot admit the existence of classes—"the many" and "the few."
We social workers often delude ourselves into a belief that we are important factors in the remaking of society. I think no debate is needed to characterize that as pure delusion. We have very little influence in molding the forces working toward great social changes. Our work is essentially for the existing economic order—not against it. We are either caseworkers patching up the evils and the miseries of the industrial system; or propagandists for reform legislation; educators; collectors of facts and figures; or neighborhood and community workers. In all these activities we work with and tacitly sanction the existing political and industrial system. We do not challenge, nor do we oppose, the underlying bases of that system, as do all radicals. Our work is undemocratic at heart—and the heart is its source of financial support. No work can be democratic which is supported by one class for the benefit of another. Even public funds raised by taxation are undemocratically used when applied for the benefit of a class. Only that work can be truly democratic which is financed by all for the benefit of all—only a group for the benefit of that group. Our radical critics are within the facts when they point out that we are as a group merely adjuncts of the capitalist system.
Now so much for ourselves. Who are the radicals? They are those who would reorganize the very institutions on which our present society is founded—private property, competitive business, representative government and the like. They are for the most part from the ranks of labor, with a few detached from the middle and upper classes who make common cause with them. Their common purpose is expressed in various movements—radical trade unionism, political socialism, syndicalism, the I. W. W., the Farmers' Non-Partisan League, to mention only the larger organized forces here and abroad. Their common purpose is the abolition of the control of industry for profit by private capital, and the substitution of co-operative control by the workers, for service only. Their war is waged against exploitation, privilege, private capital, militarism, imperialism, autocratic authority in government and industry the world over. Our fight as social workers is only against the products of those institutions—namely, poverty, crime and industrial disease. We need the larger view that is theirs if we are to see ourselves in perspective—if we are to make our purposes count most in the greater processes about us. Those movements of the workers themselves are the only means to industrial democracy—the control of industry by labor. But we can help— those of us outside these movements. Outside our work, we can join in the radical political movement of socialism; we can get the facts of economic injustice, and talk and write them, helping indict the present economic system. We can help interpret to our public the purposes of labor. We can help socialize the public service by promoting more community activities to replace those run for profit. In social workers' clubs we can help among ourselves to make clean the purposes of labor and the radicals.
In this day of great challenge, let us fearlessly examine these radical programs born of the misery and the faith of the workers. Let us lift our eyes from the road before us and look forward to that great goal of human freedom, which we in our time may help a struggling world to reach.
THE CHALLENGE OF MASS FACTS TO THE SOCIAL
Hornell Hart, Research Fellow, Helen S. Trounstine Foundation,
Living, as we do, in the midst of the greatest radical movements of all times, it is natural for us to discuss the relation between these radical movements and social work. To me the function of the social worker in connection with these movements seems not so trivial as our chairman has indicated. Rather, it is vitally important. "Radical" means going to the roots. Roots of what? The previous speaker has indicated that radical economic movements drive at the roots of poverty, crime, and misery. As social workers we have come to see that individual social maladjustments are not like a field of weeds, each with its own independent roots, but rather like a tree with several trunks, and a common set of roots.
Scientific statistics have revealed the entanglement of every social problem with a whole series of other social problems. Crime and delinquency are vitally connected with unemployment, poverty, feeblemindedness, retardation in school, and alcoholism. Infant mortality is associated with poverty, bad housing, employment of mothers and unemployment of fathers. Failure in school is bound up with sickness, physical defects, feeblemindedness, poverty, and lack of adjustment of school courses to needs of pupils. Tuberculosis goes with poverty, bad housing, alcoholism, widowhood, over-fatigue, and unwholesome working conditions.
Interweaving of Social Problems.
Tangled together as these problems are, it is a hopeless task to attack them singly, through highly specialized individualistic organizations, as is now being done. The only hope of abolishing or greatly reducing poverty, sickness and crime, lies in the working out of a comprehensive, unified program for going to the common roots of social problems—literally a "radical," or rooting-out program. The character of such a program must be based upon the two conditions which cause the interweaving of social problems:
First, certain individuals are born with too little intelligence to face any of the problems of life successfully. The high grade feebleminded person cannot resist temptation, cannot acquire sufficient skill to make a decent living, and cannot learn to spend earnings intelligently. Here such persons, left to themselves, fail in school, become low grade laborers, and are frequently unemployed, live in cheap and insanitary dwellings, have insufficient and badly cooked food, suffer consequently from frequent sicknesses, break the law and go to jail repeatedly, and raise children who do the same.
The second reason for the constant connection between various social problems is that the person who breaks down under one sort of social pressure loses strength to resist other forms of adversity. The unemployed workman is likely to economise on food and invite sickness through undernourishment. His need of money and his discouragement stimulate impulses to steal. When a family loses its father from tuberculosis, sequences often are that the mother goes to work, that the education of the children is cut short, and that expenditures for rent, food and clothing are dangerously cut. These factors lead to delinquency, bad housing, undernourishment, and sickness. In a similar way, any break in the normal living acts like the running off the track of one pair of wheels on a train; a wreck is likely to result unless normal conditions can quickly be rsetored.
The case-work method of dealing with these tangles of misfortune is to try to restore normal conditions in such suffering families as happen to come within each agency's influence. But case agencies reach only a tiny fraction of the families living under sub-normal conditions, and reach them only after a serious wreck has occurred. A far more comprehensive and preventive program is needed.
Misery can be practically abolished by a two-sided program: First,