Who said War?

I suppose the readers of the SOCIALIST STANDARD, without exception, understand the object of its publication. A perusal of its pages leaves no doubt. The position of the “Daily Chronicle” toward the workers, however, is not so clear. The “Daily Chronicle” represents, faithfully and consistently, that section of the capitalist class known as the Liberal party. It supports the present Government’s every action, even to the shooting of strikers and bludgeoning of women and children. Its function in the poli­tical game of make believe is to kid the workers into thinking that their interests are identical with those of the capitalists.

The point I wish to explain, however, is this. The ” D.C.” has been telling the workers what the Socialist Party have been hammering home for years, but the article to which I am going to refer was certainly never seriously intended for working-class digestion. But a paper that aspires to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds finds itself in no enviable position when hare and hounds meet—as in the case oi a strike or a lock-out.

The “D.C.” tells us that a new organisation has been, formed, called. “The United Kingdom Employers’ Defence Union,” the object of which is to raise a fund of £50,000,000 for the purpose of resisting strikes, and, if possible, of forcing the repeal of the Trade Union Dispute Act. Commenting on this the “Daily Chroni­cle” said (Sept. 26):

“The specious phraseology in which the inspired announcement of the Union’s formation is couched, does not conceal its real object, which is to fight trade unionism. From that point of view we regard the formation of the Union as an ill omened move. It looks very like a deliberate challenge to the trade unions.”

Now, if Capital and Labour are on such terms of affection as we are led to believe, will the “D.C.” tell us whatever made the idea enter the heads of our masters that it was necessary to form a union to fight its “closest friend and ally, Labour ?” And also why working men should find it neccessary to band themselves into a union for the purpose of fighting the masters. Talk of affection aud unity of interests ! why are workers willing to take the risk of being starved, batoned, butchered, by the minions of a merciless master class, if it is not because of warring interests ?

Hear what the “Daily Chronicle” says regard­ing the new organisation :

“For what does its formation mean ? It means in the eyes of those who support it, that the normal terms between Capital and Labour in this country are relations of bitter hostility, war, not peace. Most happily, this is not true.”

Evidently Thorold Rogers was wrong when he wrote: “Of all the wars that have been waged, none has been so bitter and long as that between Capital and Labour.” The trouble is, with the “D.C.,” that the adoption of a defi­nitely antagonistic policy by the masters would cause the workers to become class-conscious. Arbitration, or in other words, bluff and bun­kum, is the favourite method of the “Chronicle,” and the Liberal party generally.

Commenting upon the workers’ unions the “D.C.” said:

“Trade Unionism has helped to make for appeasement and reconciliation. It has enabled Labour to meet Capital on something like equal terms.”

Something like equal terms ! Again :

“Capital has an equal right with Labour to protect its own interests. An equal right, yes, but not an equal need. Trade unionism is sim­ply the banding together of workmen in art association that serves as a counterpoise to the loose but effective combination of Capital. In recent years combinations of employers have become more precise and rigid, and the power of capital has enormously increased. What rubbish it is to talk of an ‘Employers Defence Union’ ! Defence against what ? In nearly every great industry in the land the employers are already united in compact organisations, and act together in arranging wages and con­ditions of work with trade union officials. These employers welcome the co-operation of trade union leaders. They do not want a ‘Defence Union’ : they are well able to defend them­selves.”

“Something like equal terms” ! Very rich, this. With regard to the collective bargaining with the trade union leaders, this gives to the masters a degree of security, and enables them to keep the function of the political machine in the background. Quoting Adam Smith, the “Chronicle” proves conclusively the helplessness of the workers to strike effectually against the masters.

“A landlord, a farmer, a manufacturer or merchant, though they don’t employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two on stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week : few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment.”

I do not know, of course, but that certainly reads like a taunt at Syndicalist and Anarchist action. Starvation certainly seems a serious stumbling block in the path of the Syndicalist movement. The only hope of victory lies in the capture of the political machine, and through that the control of the forces by which tbe sys­tem is maintained. Join with us, then, in the Socialist Party—whose object it is to educate the workers to class-consciousness, and to orga­nise them for the overthrow of the system of wage slavery, and the establishment of the Socialist, Commonwealth.

J. R.

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