The recent allegations of atrocities on rubber plantations made by an Englishman to the Brit­ish Government bid fair to outdo even Putumayo. This gentleman states that “the peonage system, as it now operates in the Beni, Acre, and other districts; is more cruel and more des­tructive of human life than the old system of slave-owning and slave hunting.”

Shades of Lincoln and Wiiberforce !

One man is said to have obtained his initial capital for exploitation work from the sale of two women and two boys taken from the Putumayo. As usual, British capital is involved.

Since the above disclosures were made the Government have drafted a Bill to put down slavery existing in connection with British limi­ted companies abroad. Dealing in slaves is defined as “any sale, purchase, barter, or ex­change of slaves.” This Bill, however, only applies to coloured labour, hence the “sale, pur­chase, barter, and exchange” of white slaves, both at home and abroad, will continue as here­tofore. Rule Britannia !

* * *

“When slavery was abolished (!) in 1834 the sum of twenty millions was paid to the slave owners as compensation for the loss of their slaves ! Yet slavery has existed since then and exists to-day. Similarly to-day there is a move­ment which proposes to indemnify the slave owners (capitalists) against loss on the ground that “the collective body has a conscience too tender for confiscation” !

Notwithstanding the fact that the require­ments of the working class necessitate a complete change in the system of production, we yet find a so-called working-class organisation wishing to pay for the chains with which the workers are shackled ! I refer to the Labour Party.

* * *

Speaking of slavery, the recent exhibition of victims of industrial slavery at Caxton Hall goes to show that it is quite as horrible in this coun­try, in proportion to the supposed difference in the degree of “civilisation.” Yet it is really astonishing with what ignorance people (especially the “educated” ones) seek to explain or excuse its existence.

The Countess of Malmesbury, who was pre­sent at the exhibition referred to relieved herself of the following :

“But for the grace of God, there stand we. Every one of us on this platform, and those of us who are better dressed, but for the grace of God would be making chains, making boots, or per­haps worse.”

The Countess may, or may not, be interested to know that only by the foolishness of those poor victims of the sweater’s greed is it made possible for “those of us who are better dressed” (meaning the aristocracy, of course) to visit an exhibition in order to ascertain, out of curiosity, maybe, what is meant by “sweat­ing.” Not “by the grace of God” are they in the position of onlookers, but because the proceeds of the robbery of those objects of passing interest have placed them there. Not “by the grace of God” are these poor victims “making chains, and making boots, and even worse,” but in order to satisfy the rapacious greed of the flesh-and-blood devouring capital­ists. Hence slavery, destitution, and disease. Hence exhibitions for the robbers to while away an idle hour.

* * *

Perhaps we dwell too much on the dismal side of things. What we need is a world tour to buck us up (never mind who pays), then perhaps we should see “our” empire in a different perspec­tive. For has not our Will Crooks returned from his “tour of Empire” filled with pride (and swank) that England is the proud possessor of such vast dominions beyond the seas ? Says he: “You have no idea what hospitality is like until you have been round the world. We used to begin drinking the health of the King and Empire at 7.30 a.m. It was a common thing to have seven meals a day and light refreshment.” (Oh, you guts ! You know what pal Hardie means by a “glorified pig trough.”)

“We drank His Majesty’s health and prosperity to the Empire in tea, coffee, cocoa, and every imaginable liquid.”

S’truth, Bill ! you’ve been going it and no mistake. And I always thought yon were strictly “tee-tee,” too ! Still, it’s well to know which side your bread is buttered on, isn’t it? One can almost hear Bow Bells chiming : “Turn again William, Lord Mayor of London.”

* * *

“If putting a piece of paper into a tin box would effect a revolution, you can bet your boots that the State (i.e., the bosses) wouldn’t supply the box.” (“Daily Herald,” 24.11.13.)

Which is quite forgetting the fact that the ballot box is a necessity of the present system, and is provided by the masters as a receptacle for the votes of the working class after they have been kidded into voting for . When this method no longer suits their purposes they may endeavour to change it.

* * *

The recent case wherein a Staffordshire cler­gyman of 52 was charged with immoral conduct towards a young girl, but serves to show that the emissaries of God are just as liable to devi­ate from the “straight but narrow path” of righteousness as anyone else. Indeed, they are very frequent offenders in this respect. Hardly a week passes but what some pious but erring shepherd of the Lord is brought to the front to explain his lapse from the path of virtue.

* * *

Usually the details disclosed are of a most disgusting character. Though it is possible to account for the various emotions by explaining the conditions out of which they originate, yet one can hardly be blamed for electing to judge them by the same standards they are so fond of judging others by—especially if only for the lying statements they make from time to time to the effect that sexual promiscuity would be one of the chief attributes of a Socialist system of society. If, before setting out, on his self-imposed task of cleaning the Augean stables of the public mind, the Bishop of Kensington had commenced operations a little nearer home, he no doubt would have discovered plenty of ma­terial upon which to confine his attention.

* * *

Prominence is always given in the election manifestos of those candidates who aspire to municipal honours in the “Labour” interest, to the question of rate reduction. At the Dublin Housing Inquiry held recently to enquire into the condition of slum tenements, it was ascer­tained that twelve councillors were owners of slum property—proving which class it is that stands to benefit by “rate reduction.”

* * *

Dean Ingle has discovered that pain is really a blessing in disguise. Says he : “We must not shirk pain. It is part of God’s order of things to show man his faults and blunders. It is a sentinel to warn us that something is wrong and therefore is beneficial.” So when the hired bullies oi the capitalists steal up behind and swat you one on the head, you must believe it is all for your own good—has a Divine sanction, in fact.

* * *

There is another point of view, however. See­ing that half the pain in the world is inflicted by the operations of greedy capitalists and is therefore preventable; seeing also that in the category of pain must be included disease, poverty, and misery ; these crumbling pillars of a dying Church assuredly stand self accused of impotence (and ignorance) when they seek to justify its existence by attributing it to the vagaries of a “Divine Will.”


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