The chapter of accidents

As things are, peace is an ideal greatly be­loved by those who do not understand the cause of war. As usual, love proceeds from ignorance. For years the Liberal party has had emblazoned on its banner the motto “Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform,” and its inflated armaments ex­penditure should not be taken as indicative of inconsistency, but rather must be regarded as a portion of its peace programme in as much as it at least temporarily satisfies the armaments manufacturers. The giving of pieces procures peace (but not perfect peace).

This year the centenary of peace between England and America will be celebrated by tbe establishment of a fund known as the “Brit­ish and American Centenary Appeal.” A list of subscribers published in the “Daily Chronicle” of October 10th makes interesting reading. The treasurer is Earl Gray, who, strange to tell, is a debenture trustee in Armstrong, Whitworth, & Co., Ltd. The donors include Messrs. N. M. Rothschild and Sons (whose efforts toward peace by financing war are well known), the Rt. Hon. Lord Glenconner (chairman of a branch of the National Service League and shareholder in the Nobel Dynamite Trust), Lord Revelstoke (share­holder in Armstrong, Whitworth, & Co., Ltd.), Rt. Hon. Lord Kinnaird (Vice-President of the British and Foreign Bible Association and shareholder in Vickers, Ltd.)

According to Mr. Asquith (Featherstone peacemaker) the objects of the committee have the support of the Government. How beauti­ful ! Supporting peace and drawing dividends from the manufacture of the implements and munitions of war ! It is a striking application (especially by Lord Kinnaird) of the precept of not letting your right hand know what your left hand does. Their attitude in this case could be paralleled by the Rev. F. B. Mayer opening an emporium for the sale of boxing gloves, or by the Socialist Party instituting a provident fund for the succour of impecunious capitalists.


October of this year will go down to posterity (according to the pictures in the “Daily Mir­ror”) as a chapter of accidents culminating in a royal wedding and a speech by Mr. Lloyd George at Bedford. Mr. George had been boomed for months, and the Liberal Press had forecasted the remedies he was going to propound for the evils inflicted by the terrible curse of landlord­ism. Enthusiasm (in Liberal editorials) was at fever heat. A terrible secret committee had been pursuing its ruthless investigations for months, and at long, long last the day of salvation had arrived.

Before an audience of 3,000 agricultural labourers (especially unearthed from the various Metropolitan Radical Clubs) Mr. Liar George’s philippic was delivered on October 11th at Bedford. He said : :”The time has come”—for what ? For nationalising land ?—no ; for abo­lishing landlords ?—no ; for providing houses for labourers?—no; but “the time has come to enqire into that” (the reason why landlordism is the least controlled of all monopolies).

To enquire ! O ! what a fail was there, my countrymen ! How invigorating must an en­quiry be to land-starved men ! Truly the Liberals were ever a party of going to do.

Mr. Lloyd George also answered his own party on their record of reforms when he let fall this gem. “The labourer, if anything, is worse off than he was 150 years ago.” This under Free Trade and ontop of a trade boom !

The reason for the existence of the Georges etc. was shown by Marx in his “Poverty of Philosophy,” and our Marconi muddler was answered before he made his speech. Said the Socialist pioneer:

“We can understand Mill, Cherbulliez, Hilditch, and others, demanding that rent should be handed over to the State to be used for the remission of taxation. That is only the frank expression of the hate which the industrial capitalist feels for the landed proprietor, who appears to him as a useless encumbrance, a su­perfluity in the otherwise harmonious whole of bourgeois production.”

And if that were not sufficient, then Mr. Harry Verney (landowner and Liberal M.P.) adds the finishing touch when (according to the “Daily Chronicle” of October 18th) he said, speaking to landlords, that a revision of our land system would produce a more plentiful and more effi­cient supply of labour. That is the crux of the whole position—greater efficiency and the smoother working of capitalism. More out of the workers’ bodies and more into the masters’ pockets. And that is where the accident lies for the working class.


As regards lives, a more serious accident took place at Senghenydd, which has now become famous throughout the world owing to the fact that about 430 miners were murdered there in the interests of the mine-owners. According to the “Daily News and Leader” of October 15th, in one portion of the pit men were unable to work owing to its gassy nature. The “Daily Chronicle” of the same date says editorially :

“There can be no doubt that many explo­sions are preventable, in the sense that they would not have occurred if the colliery equip­ment had been on a level with that of the best collieries. … It is, we fear, only too true that the equipment of many collieries for avert­ing explosions lags far behind what the best scientific experience dictates.”

That is, men are murdered for profits. The miners are regarded as dirt, and as such are cheaper than coal-dust. It is a capitalist truism that “men must work and women must weep,” and so the men are free to choose between a lightning exit by explosion and a “South East­ern” departure by starvation.


It takes a lot to please a parson, but it is not often that a holy Joe has the graceless temerity to express open dissatisfaction with the way God does his work. The following extract from the “Western Mail” (South Wales) of October 20th is therefore the more interesting as show­ing that some among the clergy think that God has such good reason to be ashamed of some of his handiwork that it should offend his eyes.

“The harrowing, heartrending tale of death at Senghenydd, said the Rev. Gwilym Francis at St. John’s Parish Church, Cardiff, was light­ened by stories of noble deeds, which one was proud to think inevitably accompanied such tragic scenes. He had officiated on Saturday at the last sacred rites over the grave of one of the victims, amid the heartrending grief of the widowed wife and children. Next to this man had been working his unmarried brother, with no ties and no responsibilities, and he had been spared. Why ? Again, from the English Church at Senghenydd had been swept away a church­warden, an organist, a superintendant of the Sunday School, and several sidesmen—all good men, earnest workers. Why did God permit such things ? Religious Pharisees, humbugs, might say that a tragedy was a Devine visitation for sin, but they knew that it was not so, that it was part of a higher, deeper mystery held from their eyes and soluble only to a Divine Provi­dence. . . . He (the preacher) liked to think of a God who could permit such wastage of life doing so with averted eyes.

Yes, but the religious Pharisee and humbug whose words I have just quoted, if he were not more afraid of his earthly masters than he is of his “divine” one, would tell what he knows to be the truth, and instead of saddling God with the blame for this odious crime, would declare that the mine-owners alone, in their ghoulish thirst for profits, were the murderers of these 430 or more miners. But when do you get the truth from a parson ?

The Senghenydd holocaust is another incident of criminal capitalism which will not be forgotten when the Revolution arrives.


Another accident (still they come). A capi­talist newspaper has stumbled on the truth. One wonders if the “age of miracles” is really past. From the “County and City of London Observer” for September 27th the following is culled. It is written in reference to the fifty million pounds indemnity fund proposed to safeguard innocuous employers against brutal agitators who are always inflaming the working class:

“The working classes (sic) undoubtedly hold the balance of political power, and they would resort to political action, which no conceivable union of employers could control. Our Consti­tution is so framed that Parliament is supreme, and the working classes could elect a Socialist Parliament to make short work of both property owners and employers.”

Comment is superfluous.


But there is one more “accident” to which reference should be made, and that is the “accident” to the employing class implied in the Revolution. How long will it take the working class to consummate it ? It rests with them. Let them speed the day.


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