It must not be thought that because the “Daily Herald” failed, mainly because it did not know or understand the working-class position, that George Lansbury has given up. Oh, no ! Within the pages of its successor, “The Herald,” he still advances a strange and mysterious dogma. Listen to this :
“Last week I said I wished Arthur Henderson would come out of the Governmcnt and against the conscriptionists, set the true ideal of national service by all for the good of all . . . . Whether or no Henderson comes into the wilderness and puts himself at the head of the working class in their march toward the promised land that march will go forward, for out of this present time of trouble and difficulty it is the only road which will lead the nations of the world to safety.”
The pure insolence of young Arthur putting himself at the head of the working-class army is rather in the nature of “coming it.” You must really wait, Arthur, my boy, until we’ve selected you. We must kick a bit about the reference, too, to “the promised land.” We seem to have heard the phrase before. But let Georgie make it clear. In the course of the same discourse he says:
“We need at this moment a spiritual awakening, bidding us all cease our strife for money, for fame, or for power.”
There, there, now ! That’s good, for is it not “light in our darkness,” and does it not prove that “Capital” will probably be forestalled by — the Holy Bible.
On Sept. 16th, 1915, the following letter appeared in the columns of the “Daily Express,” written presumably by a City business man. We must compliment this good gentleman on his very correct deduction at the outset, but crave his indulgence at having to severely “strafe'” him regarding his remedy.
To the Editor of the “Daily Express.”
Sir,—More than a year of the greatest trial and danger that Britain has ever known has not only failed to still the strife between capital and labour, but would even appear, on the contrary, to have widened the breach between them, and if this eternal question is not promptly, carefully, and cleverly handled it is hound to affect disastrouslv the improved social conditions to which we all look forward when the victory of the Allies shall have brought the great war to an end.
With a view, therefore, to making an eflort towards grappling with this question in a practical manner, may I be allowed to use the medium of the widely read columns of your newspaper to issue this challenge to all or any of the responsible representatives of both capital and labour to state as frankly, briefly, and definitely as possible, through this same medium, their objections to the introduction of a system of profit-sharing into every trade, business, or industry in which it can possibly be instituted.
E. GORDON BIGGINSON. Copthall-buildings, E..C.
I suppose we scarcely come within the gentleman’s description of the “responsible representatives of labour,” but anyhow, we’ll have a shot at dispelling his acrobatic remedial notion. Briefly, we object to co-partnership because it is a complete snare and altogether useless as a means of “stilling strife.” Co-partnership or any other form of so-called profit-sharing in almost every instance means extra profit for the “boss.” As anything extra in wages earned by the co-partners is purely money paid for extra work done, it becomes quite obvious that the master class does not share his profits with his co-partners. As the basis of all “profit”-sharing schemes is the intensification of labour’s production—as witness the introduction of professional “sloggers” as instructors—does the gentleman still miss the objective, i.e., that the displacing of many workers owing to the increased output means increased dividends for the ordinary shareholders ? If the remaining workers earn, say, an average of two shillings more per week, who pockets the wages of the labourers displaced, save for the little that is necessary to woo those who, by doing their work, force them out of employment ? Thus while the workmen still engaged receive a wee bit extra in return for a big bit extra, the big balance always, by some wise dispensation of providence, finds its way into the master’s pocket. Will the writer of the letter see how the scheme works at Port Sunlight, The South Metropolitan Gas Co., and many other such works and engage the confidence of the “heads” there. The remedy for an evil will certainly never be gained by increasisg the evil. Understand this, my boy, there are ten thousand ways of missing the bulls-eye but only one way to hit it.
The following is from the Bristol Congress and is worthy of a place in anybody’s cutting-book :
“To a resolution expressing approval of the Labour Party’s action in assisting recruiting, the National Union of Clerks tabled an amendment regretting that they had not first secured from the Government guarantees of adequate provision for disabled soldiers. This “huckstering” spirit was hotly denounced by several speakers.” – Daily Mail,” 10.9.15.
The report that the assembled Congress received a telegram from the disabled trade unionists offering profuse thanks for services rendered is grossly exaggerated. Some people have all the luck while gratitude pays all our debts. Needless to add the amendment was lost.
The attached cutting was something in the nature of a smack in the eye for the dear Congress delegates. It reads :
The Socialist National Defence Committee, the members of which include Mr. H. G. Wells, Mr. Robert Blatchford, Mr. John Hodge, M.P., the acting Chairman of the Labour Party, and Mr. Charles Duncan, M.P., has issued a manifesto to the members of the congress. In it they say :
“In this hour of supreme national peril, when the independence of the people is brutally and the established public law and liberties of Europe are ruthlessly violated, a handful of PSEUDO-SOCIALISTS in this country are breaking the national solidarity and weakening the national efforts in face of the enemy ; it has become a duty for TRUE BRITISH SOCIALISTS to expose and repudiate the errors of these dreamers.”
Having explained so lucidly what is the duly of “true British Socialisls,” the “true British Socialists” proceed to perform that duty. They accomplish the painful task of exposure and repudiation with surprising cheerfulness, proceeding upon the true British lines of the true British bulldog. They say :
“Some of them are extreme pacificists, some are aliens by both blood or sentiment, and ALL OF THEM ARE CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY THE AGENTS OF GERMAN KAISERDOM, and traitors to the IMPERISHABLE IDEALS OK LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY which have united free Britain, independent Belgium, and Republican France in an indissoluble and glorious alliance.”
One seems to see in that hooligan jibe “alien” the moving finger of Blatchford, the “true British Socialist who once publicly announced (in the “Clarion”) his antipathy toward Spaniards. Could any other hand so carefully have drawn that fine distinction between “German.” Kaiserdom and all other kinds of Kaiserdom ? or so cunningly have obscured the fact that, even he could not find a term that would serve to bring autocratic Russia into that “indissoluble and glorious alliance” which had been created by the “imperishable ideals of liberty and democracy” ? Yet it was easy enough. What was wrong with “Holy” Russia ? That should have appealed to the author of “God and My Neighbour,” and in the matter of veracity it would have matched the rest. And “lest we forget,” congratulations are due to two such eminent literateurs as Wells and Blatchford on the production of that gem, “aliens by both blood or sentiment.” And then again the reference to “pseudo-Socialists” and “true British Socialists” is indeed delightful. Fancy referring to Ben Tillett as an agent of German Kaiserdom, after all he has done, too. This is too bad, and the Tower Hiller has our deepest sympathy. Never mind, the truth about some men is never known until after they are dead, and even then you cannot find it on their tombstones. All the signatories to the manifesto are expected to figure in the next Birthday honours lists.
B. B. B.