Easy Essays – The Sit-Down Technique

By Peter Maurin

On Gandhi Lines

Strike news
doesn’t strike me,
but the sit-down strike
is a different strike
from the ordinary strike.
In the sit-down strike
you don’t strike anybody
either on the jaw
or under the belt,
you just sit down.
The sit-down strike
is essentially
a peaceful strike.
If the sit-down strike
remains a sit-down strike,
that is to say,
a strike in which you strike
by just sitting down,
it may be a means
of bringing about
desirable results.
The sit-down strike
must be conducted
on Gandhi lines,
that is to say,
according to the doctrine
of pure means
as expressed by Jacques Maritain.

In the Middle Ages

The capitalist system
is a racketeering system.
It is a racketeering system
because it is
a profiteering system.
It is a profiteering system
because it is
a profit system.
And nobody
has found the way
to keep the profit system
from becoming
a profiteering system.
Harold Laski says:
“In the Middle Ages
the idea of acquiring wealth
was limited
by a body of moral rules
imposed under the sanction
of religious authority.”
But modern business men
tell the clergy:
“Mind your own business
and don’t butt into our business.”

Economic Economy

In the Middle Ages
they had a doctrine,
the doctrine
of the Common Good.
In the Middle Ages
they had an economy
which was economical.
Their economy
was based on the idea
that God wants us
to be our brothers’ keepers.
They believed
in the right to work
for the worker.
They believed
in being fair
to the worker
as well as the consumer.
They believed
in doing their work
the best they knew how
for the service
of God and men.

Proper Property

Leon Harmel,
who was an employer,
not a labor leader,
says: “We have lost
the right concept of authority
since the Renaissance.”
We have not only lost
the right concept of authority,
we have also lost
the right concept
of property.
The use of property
to acquire more property
is not the proper use
of property.
The right use of property
is to enable the worker
to do his work
more effectively.
The right use of property
is not to compel the worker,
under threat of unemployment,
to be a cog in the wheel
of mass production.

Speed-up System

Bourgeois capitalists
believe in the law
of supply and demand.
Through mass production,
bourgeois capitalists
increase the supply
and decrease the demand.
The speed-up system
and the extensive use
of improved machinery
has given us
technological unemployment.
As a Catholic worker
said to me:
“Ford speeds us up,
making us do
in one day
three times as much work
as before,
then he lays us off.”
To speed up the workers
and then lay them off
is to deny the worker
the right to work.

Makers of Depressions

Business men used to say:
“We make prosperity
through our private enterprise.”
According to business men,
the workers
have nothing to do
with the making of prosperity.
If the workers
have nothing to do
with the making of prosperity,
they have nothing to do
with the making
of business depressions.
The refusal of business men
to accept the responsibility
for business depressions
is what makes the workers
resort to sit-down strikes.
If business men
understood business
they would find the way
to increase the demand
for manufactured products,
instead of increasing the supply
through the speed-up system
and the extensive use
of improved machinery.

Collective Bargaining

Business men
have made
such a mess of things
without workers’ co-operation
that they could do no worse
with workers’ co-operation.
Because the workers
want to co-operate
with the business men
in the running of business
is the reason why
they sit down.
The sit-down strike
is for the worker
the means of bringing about
collective bargaining.
Collective bargaining
should lead
to compulsory arbitration.
Collective bargaining
and compulsory arbitration
will assure the worker
the right to work.

The Modern Mind

Organized labor,
whether it be
the A.F. of L.
or the C.I.O.,
is far from knowing
what to do
with the economic setup.
Organized labor,
as well as
organized capital,
is the product
of the modern mind.
The modern mind
is in such a fog
that it cannot see the forest
for the trees.
The modern mind
has been led astray
by the liberal mind.
The endorsement
of liberal economics
by the liberal mind
has given us
this separation
of the spiritual
from the material,
which we call
secularism.

Paul Chanson

Organized labor,
organized capital
organized politics
are essentially
secularist minded.
We need leaders
to lead us
in the making of a path
from the things as they are
to the things as they should be.
I propose the formation
of associations
of Catholic employers
as well as associations
of Catholic union men.
Employers and employees
must be indoctrinated
with the same doctrine.
What is sauce for the goose
is sauce for the gander.
Paul Chanson,
President of the Employers’ Association
of the Port of Calais, France,
has written a book
expounding this doctrine,
Workers’ Rights and the Guildist Order.

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