The Socialist Demonstration.
The demonstration of menace to the Board of Trade made by the Communists Tuesday evening last was rendered abortive by the presence of a sufficient police force to close all access to the new building by the ignorant and excited crowd which had been gathered together by Spies, Parsons, and other leaders of the so-called "International Working People's Association." The occasion, however, was one of sufficient gravity to provoke comment, and as this association officially styles itself as one of "working people" it is from this point of view that the comment should be made.
Against what was this demonstration aimed? The Board of Trade of Chicago, finding its quarters on Washington street growing too stinted for its increasing business and membership, decided to remove to a more commodious location four blocks south. A lot was found of sufficient size, which had been lying idle for many years, and which was surrounded by comparatively unproductive property because it was covered by rookeries of the shabbiest description. This lot was purchased by Chicago capitalists as the site for a new Chamber of Commerce, and in view of its erection new and capacious business blocks began to spring up all about it in the place of the shanties which stood there so long. Architects were employed to draft plans, contracts were made for materials and labor, and the result is the present magnificent structure, which represents in the cost of the land, the building, and its furnishings, as it stands today, about $1,800,000. It gave two years of labor to hundreds of men who are either members of this Communistic International Association or belong to the class whose interests it pretends to represent. Two-thirds of this money was spent in Chicago and Cook County among the working classes, and the other one-third went to railroad transportation and laborers at the East, who quarried, prepared, and shipped the stone for the outer walls. The contract with the laboring-men was faithfully observed; the wages paid were at the highest market rate, and there were no strikes or disagreements during the progress of the work.
The capitalists who erected the building parted with at least $1,125,000 which went to laborers in Chicago and Cook County. It was not necessary for them to do this. They might have spent it, if they had been so disposed, in speculations on Wall street. It would have been practicable of course for the Board of Trade to have put up a plain brick building large enough for $200,000 or $300,000, in which they could have transacted their business, but the laboring classes of Chicago would have lost a million of dollars in wages.
This great work has now been accomplished and this is not all. All about this splendid structure new business blocks are in process of erection and more are to follow, each representing from a quarter to a million of dollars, to be divided among workingmen. These buildings are giving and will continue to give employment for a long time to come to thousands of mechanics and laborers, as the result of the construction of the new Chamber of Commerce, against which the International Association is spitting its idiotic venom. It has made part of the city a vast hive of industry.
These workingmen demand labor. It has been given to thousands of them at their own prices. It has divided millions of dollars among them. Now, what is their return? Having contracted to do the labor and having been paid for it at its highest market value, they turn round and menace the lives and property of those who have given them the labor and wages they demanded! They parade at night with their black and red flags in the very shadow of the buildings which have furnished them full employment and menace the lives of their owners and threaten the destruction of the buildings with dynamite which they were paid to construct! What do the leaders of this unreasoning, ignorant, inconsistent association mean?