Daniel De Leon editorial - 'Seven Times No!' (1911)


Seven Times No!
From the 'Daily People', October 24, 1911
Reprinted in 'The People', October 25, 1986
A Page From Working-Class History

The posture of the militant socialist at the hustings is one of not allowing things to go by default. Aware tho' he is at present that he will be defeated, socialism not yet having either the numbers to carry an election, still less the economic organization back of it to enforce a suffrage victory, yet does the militant cast his vote -- he casts it deliberately -- a vote of constructive protest. The enemy triumphs today at the polls, but he triumphs not by the default of the socialist. The socialist's voice cries out "Nay!" - a negative voice, for the present.

Accordingly, on election day this year the SLP man in this state will neglect not to cast his ballot both for the candidates of his own party, wherever set up, and also against the amendments proposed to the Constitution lest the election of the bourgeois candidates and the fate of the bourgeois amendments take their course as once they used to do without the socialist orchestration that forbodes an eventually different view.

In view hereof a rapid review of the amendments to be passed upon this year is in place.

Amendment No. 1 proposes an increase of the salaries of the legislators. The senators, now drawing $1,500 are to receive $3,500, and the members of the assembly, now drawing $1,500, are to receive $3,000, besides mileage. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that he would abolish both sets and set them to earn honest livings or starve.

Amendment No. 2 proposes a tinkering with the judicial powers. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that the only "amendment" worth considering on this head would be an amendment empowering the voters to recall one or all judges at will and thereby rescue the judiciary from dependence upon the plutocracy.

Amendment No. 3 proposes the election of two additional county judges. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that sufficient unto the day is the evil of the judges we have. To improve the judiciary by enlarging their number would be like hoping to cure a man whom a dog bit by forcing between his teeth a hair of the dog that bit him. Homeopathy may or may not be wise in medical hospitals. It is unwise in the social hospital.

Amendment No. 4 proposes to regulate in the interests of real estate holders and speculators the taking of private property for public use. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that he will not help to raise higher, not even by abstinence from voting, the already high enough ramparts that protect the legalized holders of stolen property.

Amendment No. 5 proposes to raise the salary of the governor $10,000 to $20,000. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that the nest of that office should be abolished rather than "feathered."

Amendment No. 6 is in promotion of money grabs under the pretense of facilitating canal navigation. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that amendments to canal laws ever have been a reshuffling of the cards to afford a new start to political sharpers.

Amendment No. 7 proposes to extend the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. "Nay!" votes the SLP man, upon the principle that the pinions of the judiciary should rather be clipped than helped to grow wider and stronger.

No! No! No! Seven times, No!