A “capital” reward for heroism

” ‘Nearer My God to Thee.’ With the strains of this beautiful hymn ringing in their ears the brave bandsmen of the ‘Titanic’ went to their death, displaying once more that noble self-sacrifice and courage which is so characteristic our ‘men who go down to the sea in ships.’ ”

Such was the gist of the slobbering sentiment that was spewed up in the columns of the capitalist Press after the great disaster. But let us see how far the glowing appreciation by the master class of the self-sacrifice of these brave working has materialised.

At the Liverpool County Court recently a claim was made on behalf of the wives and child­ren of the “Titanic” bandsmen. The magis­trate who heard the case gave judgment in these words : “Although I have felt compelled to hold that the Workmen’s Compensation Act does not apply to the bandsmen, yet I cannot forget that these brave men met their death while perform­ing an act which was of the greatest service in helping to maintain discipline and avert panic.”

This is a good illustration of how the alleged mutuality of interest between the capitalist class and the working class always expresses itself. The widows and orphans may find consolation in the fact that salubrious occupations such as sewing hooks and eyes on cards brings remuneration at the rate of nearly a penny per hour. Such is the reward for the workers’ heroism.

But surely, on the other hand, such displays of animal cunning shown by the master class, should prove a lesson to the workers. Just as, on the “Titanic,” the workers were “kidded” to fix their eyes on heaven and play beautiful hymn tunes while the Rich were busy slipping their oily carcasses over the side of the ship to safety, so the game is played in mill, mine and factory. To shut your eyes and open your mouth to see what God will send you is a pastime worthy of children and lunatics, but reflects no credit on sane adults.

The workers as a class must organise politi­cally for the common ownership of the means of living, for until this has become an accomp­lished fact they will surely pay toll for their sufferance of a callous and brutal master class.


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