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A man, a newspaper, a rifle

Fabian Månsson

From the magazine Fram, July 1903.

It is now summertime and the many shooting clubs around the country have started their shooting practice. Strangely enough, this year these shooting exercises are attended in many places by a large number of upper class youngsters. Even those who have never done a day's work with hand or brain in all their time have this year signed up to take part in these exercises, for whatever reasons may be left open, but the main motive has probably been to get an armed upper-class hunter-youth to command the respect of the increasingly class-conscious working-class youth.

Well, we do not sleep! We workers understand so well and observe so carefully these phenomena which at first sight seem insignificant to us and our movement.

We'll come along. Against an external enemy we will and shall defend what little freedom we have. We no longer have an ear for impertinent phrases to the effect that we have nothing to defend or that we cannot defend ourselves. The first of these statements we reject without further reasoning. As for our not being able to defend ourselves, our officer corps and its leadership will have to answer for that. If our army and navy are bad, if our people are tempted to spend many tens of millions of crowns and immense masses of daily labour for a satisfactory defence, and if unsuitable officers are promoted to the leading posts, we shall probably speak the language of an enraged people to these gentlemen in the day of disgrace and defeat. But one thing is certain: we will never give up our national position, neveras little as our organisations, as long as one bullet and one man are left to carry out the bloody work of an avenger. One thing is certain: that honour we shall carry, even if we cannot carry our lives, whether the struggle be against external or internal enemies.

I mentioned internal enemies, and by these I mean, as is well understood, the enemies of the people, the enemies of the empire, the light-quenchers, the destroyers of liberty, the destroyers of society. Thanks to their ability to seize the fruits of the work of the inventor, the scientist and the worker, those who sow nothing and spin nothing, but are nevertheless more beautifully dressed than the lilies of the field, are becoming more and more insolent every day as their profits increase. They have now but one object - to exterminate and unhappy as much as possible an already disinherited and unhappy people, to see the workers humbly licking their shoes in gratitude for the crumbs which these gentlemen are pleased to let fall from their rich tables. They have no fatherland but their own profit, no enemies but the workers' organizations, which demand orderly relations of production. And when one day these organizations prepare for the last decisive battle to recover for the State and the communes what has been taken from these institutions, it may be that their only legal weapon, the right to vote, will be taken away from them. But to insure against such an eventuality, it is necessary that there should be a rifle in every worker's dwelling and that its owner should have learned to "look the other way." For the unfortunate thing may happen that we shall have to drown privileges in the blood of the privileged. Undefiled is best.

Workers of all kinds. Into the ranks! Into the ranks of the organised workers! Every man who feels replaced, depressed, has his place there. Every man should keep close track of his time, keep his own newspaper, and keep his arms strong and ready to fight and his eyes on our common goal. Every one who can in any way, should join the shooting movement and have a rifle of his own.

Don't forget that, so far, only the strongest are right.

Into the ranks!

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