Skip to Content

Class Society

Our Message for May Day and Every Day

 Once again May 1st sees the gathering of Labour to march, with banners flying, to the places appointed as centres for speech-making. For over forty years these processions have been an annual Labour event, but the class that lives on Labour still remains solidly entrenched in the seat of power, and, bitter commentary on the periodical display, is kept there with the aid of the votes of the processionists.

 It is interesting to recall that at one of these meetings in 1915 Ben Tillett, for long a favourite May-Day orator, addressed the following message to French workers: —

    Britain alert, mutually co-operating with France, stands for civilisation, for a spiritual awakening of Europe for the overthrow of Kaiserism, militarism, and the capitalistic vandals whose brutal power is now ravishing Europe, and the world itself.”
    ("Reynolds,” May 9th, 1915.)

The Social Environment of the Worker

 When the industrial revolution occurred in this country, roughly between 150 to 175 years ago, its champions, the merchant manufacturing class preached the gospel of work. These commercial highwaymen and their followers, the aristocracy, the priest and the politician, were all loud in proclaiming the “virtues and glories" of work. Not being fond of it themselves, they were able to let others enjoy the “honour." In those days there was little else to engage the time of the workers— except the prisons and the stocks, if obstinacy made them prefer the open-air life to the foul fumes of the “workhouse." Because it must be remembered that the wholesale confiscation or enclosure of the common lands which had previously taken place, had driven the small peasant farming class and their motley following off the land. Those who failed or refused to find masters were treated and branded as criminals, vagrants, etc.

Socialism and Materialism

 Any person lacking previous knowledge of the subject can hardly fail to be confused by the contradictory pronouncements issued in the name of Socialism regarding the basis of society. A few days ago, for instance, Mr. Robert Young, M.P., speaking at a Brotherhood meeting, pleaded for a “new society based upon Christianity." This represents the prevailing attitude among the “Socialists” (so-called) of the Labour Party. On the other hand, we find supporters of that Party claiming to be atheists or materialists, and professing to derive their “Socialism" from some abstract ideal of “justice” or “brotherhood."

Evolution

 Now that the principle of evolution has found recognition in practically every field of scientific thought, one of the consequences is that the word "evolution” has become quite common. But although it is used more frequently, the word is in many instances used quite fallaciously. It seems to be a general rule that, with the popularisation of any given principle or set of ideas, the student needs to exercise greater care over terms. Phrases too often take the place of thoughts, and owing to a superficial acquaintance with their meaning, they are often used to convey inaccurate ideas, and thus cause a great deal of confusion.

Syndicate content