Another “useful” member of the class which “provides the capital with which to employ labour” (to use a favourite expression of the anties) has just passed away in the person of Mr. Peter Coats, of the well known cotton-thread combine. According to “Reynolds’s,” “Mr. Coats was a model millionaire. He indulged in no lavish display. He was a courteous and kind-hearted gentleman. He did not gain his wealth by grinding down his workers. And he has left a third of his estate to charitable purposes.”

How was his wealth gained, then ? “Rey­nolds’s” does not say. Are we to assume that the Paisley workers were equally kind-hearted, and that they allowed this “model millionaire” to retain their share for them, secure in the belief that they would get it back some day in the shape of charity ? To the writer, from his knowledge of wealth production under capitalism, it would appear that he had been kindest of all to himself.

* * *

Wherever increases of pay have been granted, from whatever circumstances, it is safe to affirm that the first thought of the masters has been : “How to get it back.” Whilst all are agreed on the process known as “squeezing,” they differ, of course, in method. How it is done may be seen by citing the case of the Standard Mill Go. at Oldham, who were prosecuted quite recently. Their speciality was “time-cribbing,” and operated as follows :

Instead of stopping the machinery at the proper time each day at the dinner hour, it was allowed to run for four minutes longer. Carried on to this extent, it meant that the wage earners worked two weeks in the year for nothing ! It was pointed out that in a case like this, if they could get two weeks a year in “time-cribbing,” it would mean a special profit of £600 a year !

And this is only one way of getting it back !

* * *

“Reynolds’s” (21.9.13) announces that “Mr. Lloyd George has just refused an offer of £20,000 to visit Australia and deliver ten speeches on the progress of social reform in England.”

The “Daily Citizen” thinks that “the Chan­cellor is far too busy a man to undertake a trip of this distance.”

Yes ! Mr. Lloyd George must be busy indeed if twenty thousand jimmy o’goblins won’t tempt him. Are there greater incentives to remain on this side ? or is it that the Labour Party can’t spare him now that Ramsay has gone to India again ? I have known far smaller sums than that tempt many people—labour “leaders,” too ! Who does not remember our beautiful “Social­ist” countess taking a trip to America last year in order to deliver a series of lectures, for each of which, according to the Press, she was to receive no less a sum than £300 ?

Other instances could be quoted.

Though there may have been no truth in the rumour that went round the Press recently to the effect that “a well-known Socialist had netted £12,000 (!) by selling stock on inside in­formation, yet it is plainly apparent that it pays some people to be in the “movement.”

* * *

An informal conference has been held in London between Emile Vandervelde and Camille Huysmans, of the International Socialist Bureau, and representatives of the I.L.P., the Fabian Society, and the B.S.P. for the purpose of inaugurating a scheme for amalgamating those bodies so as to bring about “Socialist” unity in this country.

The B.S.P. welcomed this, to the surprise of those in the I.L.P. But what was the alternative if it wished to save its face ?

Itself the result of a project of “Socialist Unity,” it has been a failure ever since it was launched two years ago. It was stated then that the B.S.P. would be formed of I.L.P., S.D.P., Fabians, and Church Socialist Leaguers (the “Clarion,” 18.8.11)—the same elements that are now seeking co-operation !

They can’t quite stomach having to affiliate with the Labour Party, but “needs must when the devil drives.” And all this confabulation in order to determine just who stands for So­cialism in this country !

Of course the joke is that there has been a Socialist Party in existence for some years. It was formed in 1904, and bears the same name that it bore at its formation—The Socialist Party of Great Britain. Standing definitely for So­cialism, and imbued only with those principles which correctly determine the attitude of an organised working class, it contains none of the discordant elements which go to make up what is known as Fabianism, I.L.P.isrn, or B.S.P.ism.

So far in the proceedings toward “unity,” its co-operation has not been solicited. To avoid possible misunderstanding, however, allow me to state that we are not open to invitation.

* * *

That was a good point against his own case that Ben Tillett made when he declared at the recent Syndicalist Congress that “Sir Edward Carson is a legal, political and economical, and racial Syndicalist.” It destroys the theory that Syndicalism can be a working-class weapon in the fight for emancipation by making the capi­talist class themselves eligible for membership. It is a complete negation of the economic fact that the interests of the capitalist class and the working class are diametrically opposed.

The fact that Tillett is also a member of the B.S.P., and thereby committed to Parliamentary action, only adds to the confusion caused by this Cinquevalli of the workers’ movement.

* * *

“We ought never to take subscriptions from people who make their money out of the life-blood of poor girls.” So says the Bishop of London to the Fulham Ladies Association.

But does the bishop really mean what he says ? For the day that the Church refuses to accept contributions from the exploiting class that day the Church goes out of business.

Parsons, as a rule, argue “up in the air.” Whenever they elect to make a pronouncement bearing on the “social problem,” they assume such a profound knowledge of the subject that papers of the “Daily Citizen” are kidded into giving prominence to the rubbish they talk and write.

The Vicar of Burtonwood, Lancashire, has been letting himself go. He knows something about ecomomics. Here is some: “There is none other landowner but God” (Lloyd George please take note). “Land monopoly, from the Scripture standpoint, is robbery of God.”

From the Socialist standpoint land (and every other) monopoly, implies robbery of the producers. The holy “problem” solvers will not have that, however. It means disaster and extinction for them.

* * *

What is a workman ? Whether it was a lack of knowledge of capitalist development, or a feeling that he was a budding capitalist, that prompted a Stratford engineer named Turner to refuse to take out an unemployment book under the Insurance Act, passes me to under­stand, But whatever the cause, it landed him in the Police Court, where the magistrate set­tled the question of his place in society for him to the tune of £1 and costs.

It seems that Turner had some money of his own, and this, along with the fact that he was in charge of an engineering department, evi­dently created the impression in his mind that he should not be classed as a workman. So he refused to take out a book under the Act, with the aforesaid result.

Though he apparently did not know it, he was as much a workman as the lowest paid labourer under him. He belonged to what Marx would call “a special kind of wage-labourer”—that section of the working class known as managers, foremen, supervisors, etc., but workers, nevertheless.

Suppose an accident had happened to any process under his charge, would the masters have taken the blame ? Not likely ! Who but he ? And who is it but the workers take the blame on almost every occasion ? Simply be­ cause they are right on the job. A passage from Marx’s “Capital” will clinch the point.

“All combined labour on a large scale requires more or less a directing activity in order to se­ cure the harmonious working of the individual activities, and to perform the general functions that have their origin in the action of the combined organism, as distinguished from the action of its separate organs.”

So that we see it matters not whether a man is a low-paid labourer or a highly paid manager: he is a worker, and as such is useful to the capitalist for the purpose of exploitation.


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