I Break Strikes: The Technique of Pearl L. Bergoff

by Edward Levinson
[McBride, $2.50]
THIS account of guerrilla warfare between capital and labor is unpleasant reading. It is gruesome, it is tiresome. Any one chapter tells the tale. A strike is in the making; the employer, instead of shutting down his plant if he wants to fight, hires robbers, murderers, and assassins; they beat up the strikers and then ‘gyp’ them.
Mr. Levinson gives facts, figures, dates, and names. And unless someone sites for libel we must assume that the data are accurate. No one would want to check on his lists of criminals; it is enough that one man knows who they are.
Such a work as this should have been prepared with scholarly footnotes. Although a bibliographical list is appended, the evidence for a particular statement is rarely given. For instance, we are not informed how much of the strong-arm activities of the scoundrels is taken from government reports and court records and how much Mr. Levinson got in interviews with Pearl Bergoff, who is obviously given to boasting, as the author points out.
It is interesting to note that nowhere does the author indicate his own point of view. He does not guide his reader to an avoidance of the distress caused by strikes and strikebreakers. He is a journalist who is out on a fire and catches a gruesome human-interest story.
But what is to follow? How are strikes to be avoided? How is the employer to handle the situation? What are industrialists to do when they are faced by what they regard as unjust demands of labor? Mr. Levinson has nothing to say. He is not on the editorial page; he is a reporter.
Yet, it is colored reporting. For industry is always wrong in these pages. Industry always consorts with indecent people. Industry is brutal. A mayor who does not accept the union’s point of view is a ‘fink mayor to Mr. Levinson; a sheriff who deputizes strikebreakers is bribed. Only the strikers are heroes.
I suggest that Mr. Levinson do a book on labor racketeers. Let us have both sides of a nasty picture.
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