Chapter 26 - The Common Soldier
Eugene V. Debs - Originally Featured in Appeal to Reason.
The common soldiers of all Nations are drawn from the "Lower Class", and but for war, they would be engaged in the peaceful pursuit of producing wealth for the "Upper Class". They have no more voice in declaring war, or planning campaigns, or manipulating battles that if they were so many cattle. They simply obey orders. When the order comes to go to war, they go. They are perfectly trained in the noble art of killing, poor servile lackeys they do not think. And all they know, or are expected to know is to blindly do what they are told. But for these common soldiers drawn from the working class, armies would cease to exist and war would be no more.
If only the common soldiers knew what they were for, and why they fight and bleed and die. But they don't, or they would not be soldiers. Their poor brains are doped just enough to make them servile to their masters, and to regard their servility as patriotism. In the frightful war that devastated Europe, the common soldiers murdered one another with a ferocity unknown to savages or wild beasts. Millions were shot or sabered, maimed and mangled, torn and disemboweled and that is what common soldiers are for. And why not? If the soldiers of one nation are not to kill the soldiers of another nation, then why soldiers at all?
The soldiers that slayed one another with such fiendish ferocity on a hundred battle fields in Europe never saw one another and yet they fell upon one another in a fury of passion that makes men monsters and sinks them lower than the brutes. Alas. If these common soldiers only knew that they are but the tools of their aristocratic and soulless masters, and that fight, and bleed, and die to perpetuate their own slavery and degradation.
Chapter 27 - Boomer Jim, by Tom Scribner
As reprinted from Lumberjack News:
Comes to mind now, a boomer lumberjack that I knew in the logging cams of Northern Minnesota in 1915. He was a damned State of Mainer, but a good man for all that with, but a good man for all that with an idiot stick (can't hook to you) and he could do a good job with the old Swedish Fiddle, Misery Whip (crosscut saw). He would even swear a blue streak with the best of 'em as every one knows you can't log without that.
Yessir, old Boomer was a preacher in that small town north of Bemidji, Minnesota, and his favorite sermon was about how there would be hell to pay when, "Gabriel blew his horn", and he harped on that every Sunday.
Some high school boys hid in the belfry one Sunday and when old Boomer came to that part about "Gabriel", the boys cut loose with a trumpet-and there WAS hell to pay! All hands rushed to the door and old Boomer was up there using his elbows to make room and hollering, "Lemme outta here, Goddam a church with only one door into it anyway."