The Western Socialist
Vol. 27 - No. 214
No. 3, 1960
Although business men and politicians are not missing many turns before the microphone to tell us how prosperous we all are, we are not all as prosperous as they would have us believe. The Indians of Manitoba, for example, were reported recently to be facing a winter of starvation; in Winnipeg police arrested two small boys for stealing coal and found that the boys belonged to a family of seven who were without fuel; and Canada's unemployment figure for December, 370,000, indicates that the numbers in need are not few.
Then there are some who get their "prosperity" the hard way. The United States steelworkers have just gained increases in pay that are generally regarded as substantial. But these increases came only after a three-month strike and the prospect of another strike.
One might have thought that this improvement in the lot of some workers would have given impetus and inspiration to the talk about prosperity. But that didn't happen, at least not in Canada. Instead, we have been subjected to the customary hand-wringing on the subject of the dangers of inflation.
There is never a time when wage increases are justifiable. When there is talk about prosperity, the workers are expected to believe it, but not to the extent of counting themselves in.
"The conditions under which torture of prisoners can properly be practised to obtain military information, are regularly taught at a special training camp for officers at Philippeville in Algeria," according to the statement of a French reserve officer as reported in the Manchester Guardian Weekly, December 24. The conditions are :
(1) Torture must be clean. (2) It must not happen in the presence of young soldiers. (3) It must not happen in the presence of sadists. (4) It must be carried out in the presence of an officer or someone responsible. (5) It must be humane, that is to say, it must stop the moment the man has talked — and, above all, it must leave no trace.
If French uplifters are anything like the kind we have in Canada, this nauseous note must have them all clamoring for even more humane methods of torture. The thought is suggested by the press report of a few days ago that the Winnipeg city jail is too small; built to hold 40, there were 93 prisoners in it, and sure enough, the Manitoba CCF leader, Lloyd Stinson, is demanding the building of a new jail!
Striking trade unionists and other workers who find themselves locked up in it in the years to come will no doubt recall affectionately Mr. Stinson's pioneer efforts in their behalf.
THE NEW PARTY
The Winnipeg Free Press is not at all impressed by the budding labor party. Examining a draft document outlining "objects" of the new party intended to provide a basis for discussion before the coming CLC and CCF conventions, it finds the objects "so qualified and woolly that they could be endorsed without so much as a noticeable twinge by almost any member of the 'old line' parties." (Free Press, Jan. 18.)
A quotation worth preserving follows :
If the New Party is really new, it ought surely to be able to differentiate its objectives clearly from those of the older groups. Which of the national parties professes opposition to the safeguarding of Canadian democratic institutions, the protection of civil rights, the widest possible educational opportunities for Canadians, social and economic improvements, the strengthening of unity by affording the provinces necessary means to perform their duties, the development of Canada's culture, co-operation with other peoples to abolish poverty and to extend freedom?
Which of the parties is opposed to the United Nations, disarmament and the goal of a world police force? The briefest glance at political literature should convince anyone that all our parties are strongly for virtue and against sin.
The Free Press article continues at some length in the same vein. It expresses no fear that the new party will in any way endanger the system of wage slavery, but it sees no reason why the management should change hands.
This is one of the rare occasions when the workers might learn from the Free Press — except that the management of the system of wage slavery is not a matter for their concern ; it would be more to the point for them to end wage slavery.
LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT
The following item comes from Fort William, Ontario :
City council has taken action to prevent employees from taking sick leave when they are not genuinely ill.
Now, civic employees will be required to report their absence prior to the start of the work day. The city has the right to check the home of the employees absent on sick leave. Special medical examination is authorized in instances of unexplained sick leave.
The city has granted the department heads authority to suspend or discharge any employee misrepresenting facts relating to sick leave.
—Winnipeg Free Press, Jan. 13.
THOSE MEN OF STEEL
W. C. Ross, Manitoba provincial leader of the Communist Party, is reported in the daily press to have written to the Board of Broadcast Governors complaining that the CP has been denied paid radio time to discuss disarmament. His letter asks the Board to "ensure that the media of mass communications, radio and TV, are not kept as a monopoly of private interests but are made available for the expression of all opinion on questions of public concern."
Mr. Ross should now write to Mr. Khrushchev asking that the publicity means in Russia be made similarly available. There could then be room for an assumption that his tongue was not in his cheek.