https://www.marxists.org/archive/debs/w ... bition.pdf
I realize the evils of the liquor traffic, but it will never be
suppressed by legislative prohibition. Murder is also prohibited
under the severest penalties, but this does not prevent almost a
thousand murders in the United States every month, and it is
doubtful if the number [would be] increased if the prohibition
were removed. Recent figures show that the percentage of murders
in dry Memphis is far higher than it is in wet Louisville.
I know how prohibition works and how it does not work.
For seven years I spent much of my time in Kansas and I saw it
there in full operation.
I am opposed to the working people being divided upon this
question, as they have been divided upon the humbug tariff and
now upon preparedness, while all the time, whichever side prevails,
they are exploited, impoverished, thousands of them live
in huts and hovels, under conditions which make for drunkenness
and other vices, while thousands of others tramp about
looking for work which cannot be found, and are by degrees
forced into vagrancy, filth, and crime.
There is not a particle of difference between so-called wet
and dry states so far as the workers are concerned. Wet or dry,
there is the same poverty, misery, sweatshops, unemployment,
low wages, high prices, idlers — rich and poor — extravagance
and squalor, prostitutes, male and female, of high and low degree,
and all the rest that go to make up the sum of our Christian
civilization. I have traveled over them all, again and again,
and if there is any difference between them worthy of the fuss
that is being make about it, I have not been able to discover it.
As long as there is profit in whiskey it will be made and sold,
and where this is prohibited, the bootlegger takes the place of
the saloonkeeper and the drinker becomes also the sneak and
Socialize the liquor business, take out the profit, and let it be
controlled by the state, as Socialism proposes, and there will be a
summary end to the evil, but never through prohibitionary legislation.
There is far too much “prohibition” in the world and
often the spirit of it is bigoted and tyrannical. There are tens of
thousands of laws on the statute books which prohibit almost
everything conceivable, and for all the good they do they would
better be repealed.
Frances Willard, grand woman that she was, looking for the
root cause of drunkenness among working people, found it in
the system which exploits them and keeps them in poverty, and
it was while making these investigations that she became a Socialist
and declared that Socialism was the only remedy for the