Food Kaisers

Food Kaisers 

Engdahl: Food Kaisers [March 1918]


by J. Louis Engdahl


Leaflet published by the National Office of the Socialist Party of America (Chicago). “Organization Leaflet No. 15,” March 1918. Copy in DoJ/BoI Investigative Files, NARA M-1085, reel 927.


Let us dethrone the FIVE FOOD KAISERS of the United States! Let us put an end to the long reign of terror of the masters of meat, Swift, Armour, Morris, Cudahy, and Wilson.

We, the American people, have borne the burdensome yoke of these shameless oppressors too patiently and too long.

Have we lost all power of protest? Have we been bent so low in servitude to the rulers of industry that we shall never again stand erect as free men and women?

Millions dying of neglect, millions on the brink of starvation, millions on the hunger line, other millions, even up into the ranks of the middle class; all help swell the increasing demand for liberation from the greatest evil of all ages — THE PROFIT SYSTEM.

No Relief From Washington.


One year of war has taught us that there is no relief to be had from Washington. The government’s own representatives, in startling exposures, have shown us how the FIVE FOOD KAISERS dictate to the administration in power in many and devious ways.

The FIVE FOOD KAISERS have no dislike for Herbert Hoover, food dictator. He allows them to continue harvesting their increasing profits. They gladly allow him to toy with fantastic plans for satisfying the human stomach on a diminishing ration that already amounts to practically nothing for many of our people.

What the packers, the foot profiteers, think of Herbert Hoover, United States food dictator, is shown to some extent in a letter by P.L. Hughes, Washington representative of Cudahy & Co., dated July 5, 1917, to E.A. Cudahy, one of the members of the “Big Five Food Kaisers” at Chicago, in part as follows:

He took the position that we should get together and formulate plans for our government, and see that the public is protected after a fair profit on our output is taken.

The fact is he likes to talk more about the billions of dollars that will be saved to this country by organizing the housewives of America and inducing them to be frugal and

avoid waste.


He seems to be an earnest, straightforward man. I THINK HE WILL BE CONSERVATIVE AND USE ANY POWERS GIVEN HIM DISCREETLY.

He thought right. Mr. Hoover has been so “conservative” and used his powers so “discretely” that the war has been a godsend to the FIVE FOOD KAISERS — if we are to judge by the harvest of wealth reaped by the profiteers in the things we eat.

The following figures show that neither Mr. Hoover’s regulation of their own much vaunted patriotism has prevented them from gouging the public for all it could stand:

Profits 1913 Profits 1917


Armour & Co. $6,028,197 $21,000,000

Swift & Co. 9,250,000 34,650,000

Morris & Co. 1,916,997 10,358,489

While we do not have the exact figures at hand we understand that the profits of Cudahy & Co. and Wilson & Co. showed the same enormous increase.

So much for their profits and their patriotism, now WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

That is your problem, and mine.

No Hope from Old Parties.


There is no hope from either the Democratic or Republican Parties.

The only hope of labor lies in the growing strength of the Socialist movement. Every new Socialist vote is a fresh victory in the never-ceasing assaults upon the citadels of the profit system. Only the standards of Socialism lead on to the final and ultimate victory of labor everywhere.

Many Opportunities to Protest.


The hour for effective protest never ceases to strike. Up to the present time the right of decision at the ballot box has been preserved to us against all the assaults of blind prejudice and inspired hatreds.

Many cities scattered over the land will witness regular municipal elections in April. Prominent among these will be the struggles in Chicago and Milwaukee,

Wisconsin, [where] voters have won the right to choose a United States Senator to the vacancy that now exists.

There will be special Congressional elections in New York City, Chicago, and elsewhere.

The social struggle is being waged the world over. But the duty of every intelligent voter is confined to his or her own neighborhood. We can best win the

world struggle by achieving victory in the voting district in which we live.

Shake Kaisers’ Thrones.


Let the workers, wherever the right of the ballot is given them during the next few weeks, shake the thrones of the FIVE FOOD KAISERS of the United States and the imperialists and exploiters of all the world, by voting in the Socialist column and swearing allegiance to the Socialist Party for all time to come.

Dot the nation with Socialist victories. Cover it solid with the enthusiasm growing out of big vote increases. Then, with heads erect and all faces toward human emancipation’s rising sun, we will press on untiringly in our efforts to completely dethrone the INDUSTRIAL KAISERS at the state legislative and national congressional elections in November.

MARCH 1918

This is No. 15 of the Series of ORGANIZATION LEAFLETS issued monthly by the National Office of the Socialist Party

803 West Madison St., Chicago, Ill.



Published by 1000 Flowers Publishing, Corvallis, OR, 2008. • Non-commercial reproduction permitted.

Edited by Tim Davenport.

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