By the Way
As a result of the long and bloody struggle, which has now engaged the world’s attention for something like fifteen months, we find our masters and their agents taking a keen interest in the question of mother and baby. The “Daily Chronicle,” in large headlines, informs us that “Good Motherhood means bigger and stronger Armies of the future.” This is decidedly funny ! What need is there for large armies in the future ? Have we not been repeatedly told in the capitalist Press and on the platform that “this war is to end war.” Verily, verily, I say unto you: Liars need good memories.
Of course, our masters know that so long as their vile system of society lasts—this catch-as-catch-can do-my-neighbour form—so long will the germs of warfare exist, and hence their in¬creased interest in a plentiful supply of healthy infants.
In passing, one must notice the difference that exists in the methods employed by our masters and those of the common or garden working men when meeting to discuss some item of importance. The former, as a preliminary canter, have “a dinner,” whilst the latter get immediately to business, and, if financially strong enough, after might adjourn to the sign of “—…..Old and Mild.”
However, this all important question of cannon fodder for the future was discussed at a dinner at the Lyceum Club, when Mrs. Philip, the chairman, referred to it as “The noble art of mothercraft,” and said, “What we want is a better chance for all children, and not merely those of the poorer classes.”
Dr. Newsholme, of the Local Government Board, gave some interesting figures and facts about this important population question. He pointed out that:
“We might have had many more potential soldiers if the birth-rate of 1914 had been equal to that of 1876. If it had kept up to the former level 50,000 more babies would have come into the world last year than the number recorded. This decrease has been going on for 38 years. We might have had a much larger number of fighting men if small fami¬lies had not become so fashionable.”—”Daily Chronicle,” 26.10.15.
With the development of schools for mothers, meals, etc., for expectant mothers and sterilised milk depots for young children, our masters are hard put to it in their endeavour to raise and maintain an adequate number of slaves, who shall serve them in the industrial army or as a fighting force in days to come.
Mr. Will Crooks recently addressed a meeting in the People’s Palace, Mile End Road, with the object of securing recruits. In the course of his remarks he said: “Don’t some of you want to join ? What are you hanging back for ? Are you waiting for a safe job till somebody doesn’t come back for it ? I can imagine what will happen. The employer will ask where you were in 1915-16, and if he finds that you belonged to the ‘Stay-at-Home-Rangers,’ he will say to you, “Good morning; mind the step.’ ”
“It is a people’s war; a war for the people’s rights and liberties.’”
Doubtless it never occurs to the Woolwich gent, that some “hang back”’ to maintain their “rights and liberties” ; but, of course, here the small number of people have no “rights and liberties.” We are fighting on behalf of small nations ! The threat of the employer saying “Good morning” may be a good incentive to “voluntary enlistment” ! Finally we would suggest to our hon. friend that there are other places than Mile End where he might try his prentice hand, for has not that other great recruiting sergeant, Ben Tillett told us over and over again that “95 per cent. of our fighting forces are enlisted from the ranks of the work¬ing class.” Here, then, is a new field for the recruiting agent.
An Oxford undergraduate serving with the Royal Engineers in France gives the following account of a scene behind the British front :
“I went up as far as the entrance to the communi¬cation trenches and watched the wounded coming out. It was a sight I shall never forget. About one-fourth of the men coming out were Germans, wounded . . . the wounded and our wounded were straggling out, apparently the greatest friends. It was a fellowship bond of suffering, a brotherhood of pain.
Those who could walk were supporting those who could not. I saw two Germans, wounded, the one in the head, the other in the arm, supporting between them a Scottish soldier with a shrapnel wound in both thighs.”—”Daily Mail,” 13.10.15.
“Apparently the greatest friends. A fellowship bond of suffering.” Yes, possibly, until then they had never realised that they had had no quarrel, perhaps never met before ; but, alas, the trumpet-call had sounded, their masters had fallen out and were going to settle their differences by force of arms and they had been goaded to take sides in the dispute.
The increased rent campaign of a section of the masters serves a useful purpose in once again emphasizing the unique “oneness” of the nation in. this its hour of suffering. In our perusal of the Press we notice that there is complete unanimity in this respect with the international master class. So strong is the pressure in some parts that we find the wives of the men who are fighting “our” battles so filled with righteous wrath and indignation that a deputation, accompanied by thousands of women, waited upon the Glasgow Corporation to protest against increases of rent. We are told that they carried a banner with the inscription :
“Our husbands, sons, and brothers are fighting the Prussians of Germany ; we are fighting the Prussians of Partick.”—”Daily Chronicle”,” 8.10.15.
Such pungent sarcasm as this was not allowed to go unnoticed and we find the matter raised in the House of Commons on the motion for adjournment, when a member stated that “this kind of thing (raising rent) is going to sow industrial discontent and unrest.”
A few days later in the columns of the same paper we find half-a-column devoted to the case of a woman in Germany, whose husband had been at the front since the beginning of the war, and who had received a letter from her landlord asking for the payment of the balance of her rent within 24 hours, otherwise steps would be taken. She had paid her rent regularly until two months ago, when bad health had overpowered her.
“Vorwaerts then points out to its readers that the woman’s husband has been fighting for more than a year to defend this landlord’s house, a man who is sitting at his ease in Berlin raking in his rents which have not been reduced by one pfennig. The shop-keepers also are charging the woman exorbitant prices for every necessary of life. Thanks to their skill in exploiting the poor and wretched, the woman got behind with her rent. She found it impossible to make both ends meet . . . and thereupon down comes this blood-sucker and threatens to throw her out of house and home. And all the time her husband, who was torn away from his work, is keeping the Watch on the Rhine and endangering his life for the Fatherland.—”Daily Chronicle,” 11.10.15.
We would once again reiterate the Marxian slogan: “Wage Workers of the World, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains, you have a World to win !
We have for months past received exhortations to economy from all quarters. Printing machines have been busily engaged turning out handbills and posters by the thousand adjuring us to eat less meat, to waste nothing, and be careful with our bread. Yet it is only about three years since that Lloyd George stated that: “You had got side by side with most extravagant wealth, multitudes of people who cannot consider ‘even a bare subsistence’ as assured to them. What do I mean by bare subsistence ? I don’t mean luxuries. I exclude even comforts. I mean that minimum of food, raiment, shelter, and practically the care which is essential to keep human life in its tenement of clay. The wolves of hunger prowl constantly round millions of doors in the land.”
Do our masters really imagine that the working class can do ought else than practise economy now, as ever, particularly bearing in mind that capitalist statisticians admit a 34 per cent, increase in the cost of living ? However, we have noticed during times past that things are vastly different with our bosses, as instance the following :
Turtle Clear Turtle
Fillets of Soles, Sauce Tartare
Mousses Lobster Casseroles of Partridge
Barons of Beef Capons Bechamel Smoked Tongues
Game Pies Orange Jellies Creams
Maids of Honour Princess Pastry
“Daily Express,” 10.11.15.
We would suggest that practice is better than precept.