From the front

The Archbishop of Canterbury, in dealing with the “labour unrest” at the Church Congress, suggested that in order to achieve industrial peace, the employers should get in personal touch with their men, see the conditions of their work and of their home lives with their own eyes. Also that the workmen should try and understand the conditions under which business in these days of international competition has to be carried on. But why not an actual change of places ? The worker would then understand the real function of the capitalist—luxurious loafing—while the capitalist would be able to enjoy the benefits that are said to be inseparable from “honest toil.” Both suggestions are equally practical—and nonsensical.

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Referring to the attitude of the Church towards “labour unrest,” his Grace said: “There is above all the disputes and passions of men, a will of ‘God’—that conscience knows it, and that obedience to it is, and keeps all things, right.”

Conscience knows it—God’s instructions are so unmistakable—yet the Archbishop says the Church “has no commission from its master to take sides, or to invest any particular scheme or policy with his authority.” And this in spite of the fact that, in his own words, “capital is responsible for the condition of the labour it employs—in railways and factories at home, or in rubber plantations abroad,” and that “even now multitudes of children are born into an environment where the only chances are downward.” And the Church still claims to be on the side of the oppressed.

How pitiful these high humbugs appear in their futile endeavours to reconcile their interested attitude with their creed !

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Bernard Shaw has at last told why he “left off lecturing on Socialism.” He says : “Nine-tenths of the art of popular oratory lies in sympathising with the grievances of your hearers.” When his audiences were no longer of the working class he changed his tune.

The lesson is clear. Shawism is for the shirkers, while Socialism is for the workers.

Bernard Shaw is not by any means the only one to adapt his principles and bend the truth to suit his audience. Prominent Labour men have said more than once that “those who pay the piper call the tune.” As this is said in tones of reproach, because the workers do not pay, we can only infer that all “Labour” men are capitalist agents.

The Welsh Messiah, too, subscribes to the Shavian creed. When advocating social reform—greater economy in administration—he tells his audience that “seven per cent. of the people in the great cities live in a state of chronic destitution. Thirty per cent., or nearly one third, live on or below the poverty line.” Or: “There is something wrong—where the labourer, working hard from morning till night in spring, summer, autumn and winter, in rain and sunshine, only to receive his eleven shillings a week in vast areas in England—in a country where you give thousands of pounds to men who do not labour at all.”

These are extracts from his speeches, called to mind by their publication in “Better Times.”

When the question is one of taxation, however, he claims that all sections profit equally by good government, and all should, therefore, contribute.

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For downright contradiction the above is hard to beat ; but the same gent goes one better than his previous best. His “good government,” on another occasion, becomes a class government guilty of legislating in their own interests. He says : “There are about six million electors in this country at the present day, and yet the government is in the hands of one class. It does not matter up to the present which party is in power, you have practically the same class governing the country.”

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Women’s Suffrage is the cry of the Pethicks and the Pankhursts, who want votes for propertied women. In their efforts to enlist the sympathy and support of working class women they tell them that their wages are lower than men’s because they have no political power. With political power, they say, women would become a force to be reckoned with, and would be able to demand higher wages and better conditions.

This bait, however, will not do for the women in the hosiery trade. They are actually afraid of higher wages. According to the secretary of the Hosiery Union, Leicestershire, “women are paid a lower rate than men in every branch of the trade. We want them to demand the same as the men, but they insist on the difference and say : ‘Oh, no, in that case we shall not be wanted.'”

Sir Alexander King, Secretary of the Post Office, has threatened to discharge women and employ men if the demand for the same wages is conceded. Women engaged in many occupations are in the same unhappy position. They dare not demand high wages, even when they do the same work as men, because they would be sacked and men would do the work. Men, however, demand higher wages and sometimes get them, only to find themselves, sooner or later, in the same position as the women, because machinery has been introduced.

Truly, almost every move of the workers on the industrial field is trumped by the masters.

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Mr. Ramsay Macdonald has discovered in a New Zealand Government report, striking confirmation of his own views on Tariff Reform. According to this instructive report the cost of living has risen because of Tariff Reform, 16 per cent. On this statement he builds up a case against Protection—a case which collapses like a house of cards when one remembers that the rise in the prices of the necessaries of life in Free Trade England, over the same period, is according to Professor Ashley, 24 per cent. Pity the blind!

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The quarrel between Liberals and Tories over Banbury’s amendment, although not likely to make them forget their mutual interests and their opposition to the workers, nevertheless revealed the hooligan nature that is always one of the characteristics of those who live by plunder. As far as it went it should teach the workers that the so-called respectable and cultured class can be as vicious and vulgar as Parisian bandits. It is on record that Mr. Will Crooks did much to ease the situation by a timely rendering of “Auld Lang Syne,” while Mr. Barnes told an interviewer that the Labour Party would do their best to preserve the Parliamentary machine. Labour Members render yeomen service. They are especially good at dispute settling in the interest of the class that employs them at £400 per year—for Auld Lang Syne.

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A censor of cinematograph films is the latest precaution taken by the representatives of the master class. Pictures that show the way “not to successfully burgle” are to be taboo, presumably because they excite the spirit of emulation in the minds of ambitious youngsters. By the manner in which such freaks are magnified, the worker is almost encouraged to believe that there is no such thing as unemployment and poverty leaving thousands only the choice between starvation, crime, or the workhouse.

But not only must property be protected—capitalist morals have to be safeguarded. The respect and veneration with which the workers have been taught to regard their rulers must be preserved. With that object in view pictures are to be excluded that represent royalty, aristocracy, judges or other State dignitaries in ludicrous or undignified positions. Yet with all their care, discontent becomes greater, and Socialism—the end of all things capitalistic—makes steady progress.

F. F.

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