1900s >> 1908 >> no-51-november-1908

Forum: The Relation of Princes to Pauperism

The following is suggested as a suitable

OPEN LETTER TO PRINCE ARTHUR OF CONNAUGHT

Dear Arthur,—Has it not occurred to you that your visit to Glasgow to feast at the expense of the ratepayers displayed the worst possible taste, seeing that thousands of people were without bare necessities of life, owing to the fact that the parasite class to which you belong own and control the means by which the working-class live? Had a brick-bat been hurled at your royal nose you would only have had yourself to blame. You must not think that you will be allowed to insult the people’s poverty with impunity. You who have so much leisure time ought to begin to understand the trend of events. The people are gradually awakening from their long sleep, and the day is coming when a nod from a lord will cease to be a breakfast to a fool. When the working class understand their economic servitude to the master class, they will set about taking over the means of producing and distributing wealth in their own interest. At such time the gilded puppets who now mock the people’s woe will be found some useful job at which there will be some possibility of them growing into men.
—Yours fraternally, J. H. K.

What princes of the blood, or princes without blood, may do at the expense of the ratepayers does not affect the working class, who are not ratepayers, tuppence. Whether Prince Arthur is an amiable or callous fool, a gentleman of polish or a vulgar snob, doesn’t matter a tinker’s anathema. From a working-class point of view he is no more than a portion of the frilling of the capitalist system. When Socialism supplants the capitalist system out go princes of the blood. The only point in the visit of Connaught minor to the high priced junketting of the city fathers of Glasgow at a time when thousands of men women, and children in that “municipal Mecca” were (and are) literally on the verge of starvation, consists in the callous indifference of capitalism to the sufferings of the working class and the utter hypocrisy of the pretence of monetary shortage. If this assists in bringing home to the workers of Glasgow the futility of expecting the employing class to do anything more than they are absolutely scared into doing to ameliorate the sufferings of the unemployed it will have served its turn. The workers must however, always remember that, although the capitalists under pressure are prepared to give out of their hoard, derived from the robbery of Labour, some comparatively small percentage in doles, they are not, prepared to relinquish their powers to rob. They will fight to retain these to the last ditch. And as this accentuated poverty problem will always recur while the capitalist class hold to their powers, the workers’ only hope is to consciously organise themselves for the fight that must precede such an alteration in the present system as will secure for the wealth producing class the wealth that class produces. That way—by organisation on Socialist lines for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism, they will scare the doles out of the capitalists to-day, and at the same time forward their ultimate object. Organisation for the Revolution, therefore, will get that “something now” for which the one-step-at-a-time reformer pleads in support of his method, without setting back the revolutionary movement. Invariably this set back results from the adoption of the reformers’ idea of concentrating upon a particular immediate reform, for the obvious reason that the reform when realised is painfully limited in its operations—as all reforms must necessarily be—and not having the ameliorative effect that the workers in their ignorance may have expected, disappointment is bred, and out of that apathy, and that stagnating indifference that is almost the despair of the propagandist of Socialism.

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