A cutting cutting

“When found make a note of !” Thus our old and esteemed friend, Cap’n Cuttle. Here is something we found and made a note of. It was discovered in the financial column of London Opinion for November 21st last. You all remember the great cotton “lock-out” of last year? The capitalist Press was never tired of reminding you of the awful loss the workers sustained in working days, wages, and what not, whilst the loss to “your country’s trade” was incalculable, irreparable, and altogether deplorable. The inference is, of course, that you were a very stupid, short-sighted lot, to grumble at, and actually go so far as to resist, attempts at slicing your wages. A shilling in the pound off £2 10 per week only meant 2s. 6d. per week short, and £2 7s. 6d. was not such a bad wage, after all. Why will you be so unreasonable ?

Perhaps it is accounted for by the fact that many of you were only getting 18s. or £1 per week, and 5% off that meant all the difference-between at best a hand-to-mouth existence and positive privation. Many of you, no doubt, took the view that “if we accept a 5% reduction, what is to prevent the imposition of a 10 or 20% reduction” ? Perhaps the cutting will help us.

“TEXTILES.—The termination o£ the strike amongst the Cotton operatives should have a good effect on prices in this section of the Industrial Market. That little harm will have been done appears apparent, and that the masters will be benefited to no small extent seems probable, for they have been able to get rid of the large surplus stocks which had accumulated during the depression which is now passing away, in addition to saving an enormous aggregate in wages and working expenses.” London Opinion.

The italics are ours.

Need we say more? Do you want it any plainer than that ? They have given you the sack for several months and made a profit on the business. Sounds like a joke, doesn’t it ?

In our unregenerate days we used to wonder what the Socialists meant by affirming that the average trade union was the best friend the employers ever had. Is anyone in doubt after perusing a statement like the foregoing ? Five or six months without employment and consequent lack of the wherewithal to live, would, if occurring upon so large a scale as in the instance under notice, speedily settle the hash of the workers. How fortunate, then, that when the cotton operatives have produced more fabric than the market can absorb, and the employers “find themselves compelled to announce a reduction in wages” in the sure and certain knowledge that the men will “jib,” how fortunate, we say, that the men are able through their trade union, to scrape along on bread and margarine until the “large surplus stocks” have been got rid of.

Nothing remains to be done now but to create some more surplus stocks, and then the same tragi-comedy will be enacted over again. You pay the piper, fellow-workers, how do you like the tune ? Don’t you think a change of melody might be advantageous ? Or do you prefer to shuffle along until the fast approaching day when you will be “scrapped”—too old at forty—and die in the cheerful knowledge that your children will do the same ?

On our back page you will find a Declaration of Principles. Read it through carefully and think it over. There is not a difficult word or sentence in it. It was thought out, written and put together by working men ; it should not be difficult for any working man in possession of ordinary common sense to understand it. If you should be doubtful upon any point, let us have your difficulty. It will only cost you a penny stamp. Or if you care to drop in at any of our meetings (they are all open) we will do our best to help you there. But, above all, do something definite. Don’t become a “half-and-halfer.” Don’t become a parti-coloured nonentity—a Socialist “er, to a certain extent” to the Socialist; a Liberal to the Liberal; a Tory to the Tory and nothing to the nobody.

If you see no flaws in our position, let us have your name and, above everything, your help. Socialism will come in your time—if you want it—and work for it. Our Secretary waits.


Leave a Reply