1910s >> 1910 >> no-69-may-1910

As Good As His Masters

“An officer of the Church Army tells a story of a famous pickpocket who became a convert at a mission meeting, and decided to live straight in the future. He resolved to make a start by contributing to the collection, and being broke, solved the difficulty by picking the pocket of the individual next to him, putting the results in the plate. The logic of the proceeding is a little curious, but in no way affected his desire to live an honest life.”


What an example of the current morality and logic of the capitalist regime as a whole—with the difference that it is by no means due solely to simple mindedness, but mostly from cunning and class interest that the master class so act. Take, for instance, the charitable donations that the master so generously (!) bestows upon hungry and shivering members of the working class. Where does he get them from if not from the workers themselves? In the factories and workshops he grinds us and drives us, keeping us, by the aid of the unemployed (who constitute an evil he dares not if he could remove) down to a wretched subsistence, enfeebling us in body and mind, while he waxes fat on our product. Then, having assured his comfortable economic future, he decides to reform, to be and do good in a way that he feels he ought to according to the station of life to which it has pleased his almighty and merciful God to call him. So with flourish of trumpets and many words, he donates a few thousand pounds to a society for rescuing fallen women maybe, ignoring the fact that he got his millions at the cost of these women becoming what they are. Perhaps it is to the “waifs and strays” he will turn with his cursed charity: the same thing applies. It is the present system of producing for profit on a basis of private ownership of the means of life, with proletarian (propertyless) labour that causes our streets to swarm with waifs and strays. All attempts by various organisations to cope with the evil have not lessened it one atom.


The narrator of the incident describes the logic as a little curious. This is a peculiarity logic has when it becomes mixed up with religion. In fact it is frequently so curious as to be better described as irrational. But its peculiarities sometimes have a good effect, arousing a curiosity that to the persistent enquirer will be of great value, as it will assuredly lead him to a recognition of the fallacy of believing anything that has no rational sanction, and as a logical sequence he will find himself in the course of time in the ranks of the S.P.G.B., striving to realise our motto: “The World for the Workers.”