Independence for All

In the report of an interview with a Mr. R. M. Kindersley, which appeared in the “Daily Chronicle” of July 13th under the title of “The New Habit,” is about as much piffle as it is possible to get into two columns of that paper. The writer, Mr. Arnold Bennett, praises the subject of the interview for the part he is playing in getting other people to economise and save during the war, by the use of the bait of, not 9d. for 4d. this time, but £1 for 15s. 6d.— we are dealing with “high finance,” don’tcher-know.

Now, you 223,000 railway workers who, according to your “leaders” (“Daily Telegraph,” 21.8.16.) are getting less than 25s. a week, and you other workers who are getting less than a pound, have you read the scheme ? It shows you how to get rich without work ! Buy War Loan certificates. You will see you are on a good thing if I quote from the article. Mr. Kindersley is speaking.

“The proposition is the £1 for 15s. 6d. War Savings certificate. It means an unsurpassed security, the security of the British nation, and principle paid back at the end of a short term, together with compound interest at the rate of £5 4s, 7d. per cent. And no income tax ! And you can cash it at any time on three days notice. This form of saving presents every advantage.
There is simply nothing else to touch it anywhere on earth. Most people, old and young, have a foundation of common sense, and they only need to understand the advantages of the 15s. 6d. certificate in order to buy it.”

Stick a pin there—nothing to pay for the tip. This statement, of course, is wrong. You need more than to understand in order to buy a certificate : you need money. But still they have made it easy to quote again.

“Members need not wait until they have the 15s. 6d. in hand. They can begin to save at once with as small a sum as 6d. . . There is no limit except that no single human being can buy more than 500 certificates.”

This scheme is easy ; indeed there is nothing like it ; it gives everybody a chance. Mr. Kindersley has said so and he ought to know, as this article will show later. Let us see where the chance comes in for a person getting 25s. a week with a wife and four children to keep. He will probably have to pay out for

s. d.
Rent 5 0

Boots 1 6
Clothes 3 0
Coal and oil 2 0
Clubs, insurance, etc 1 0
Wear and tear of bedclothes household necessaries, odd cleansing articles, etc. 1 6
Total 14 0

After providing for these items he has 11s. per week for food for six persons.

In order that at least one of the six can produce a profit for a boss he must be more or less fit and unfortunately (for the boss) he must eat a little. Consequently we will allow him, with things at present prices, 1s. a day, to be allotted as follows :

s. d.
Bread 0

Meat (4 ozs.) 0 4

Vegetables 0 1

Milk 0

Sugar and Tea 0 1

Butter or Grease 0 1

Total 1 0

Now, Mr. Kindersley, after allotting the man a diet the cost of which would starve you, there are still five persons to feed on the princely sum of 4s. a week. How is it done? Do you feed one of your children at that cost ? Not much ! It is quite clear that there is nothing to spare for beer and tobacco, or holidays, or motor-car tours, or for governesses, toys, or pets for the kids. There is nothing for luxuries of any kind, or even to meet the expenses of illness.

Now, Mr. Kindersley, show us where it is easier to effect a saving—but I forgot, you are not doing that ; this side is left to the wives and maiden ladies of your class.

To turn to the interview again, Mr. Arnold Bennett asked, “And what are you persuading the women to do?” To this Mr. Kindersley replied: “We are persuading them to undertake house-to-house propaganda among women and to serve as honorary secretaries of associations, and to arrange for war economy exhibitions, competitions, cookery demonstrations, and all that sort of thing.” “But,” said Arnold Bennett, “this means heavy work for them.” “It does,” agreed Mr. Kindersley. “But the women will do it. They are doing it. They know, as a sex, the value of economy.”

Is it possible for impudence to go further ? For women who have as much in one week to keep a house on as the worker’s wife has in a whole year, to go and preach economy to these same workers’ wives is extreme irony. I should like to hear how they are received when they suggest cutting down the bill of fare in order to buy War Loan certificates.

“Don’t you want to hear about our advertising department ?” asked Mr. Kindersley. “Don’t you want to hear about, our travelling speakers ? And about our film ‘For the Empire’ ?” One of these talking machines or so-called speakers, has been found out by a section of the workers. He was billed to speak twice at an aircraft factory during dinner hours, bat his reception was such, and the heckling and questions were so much to the point, that only one meeting was held, and that of but 15 minutes duration.

Let me quote Mr. Kindersley again :

“But the most important reason is that we are showing members of the Association how to help the country, and this is what they want above all to do. They like to feel they have a stake in the country, and are helping it as well as saving. This combination is a new and delicious sensation to many of them.”

Until they wake up, when they discover it was only sensation.

The workers of this country, like the workers of other countries, have no stake in the country they happen to be born in. Out of the hundreds of thousands of members of the working class that have been killed in the present bloody war, how many have left wealth sufficient to have to pay death duty on, although the amount is only £100 ? Read the list of wills and you will see how seldom the working-class soldier has anything to bequeath. The butchered wage-slave has given all he had—life. And even that was not his. All there is in and on this country belongs to the capitalist class. Not only have the workers no stake in the country, they have no right in the country except at the bidding of the master class. This class has set up its tribunals to decide whether you shall work, where you shall work, and what work you shall do—or whether their interests would be better served by making a fighting unit of you, to go and murder other workers who are cajoled and coerced by masters in the same way that you are.

What rights have you ? For all the boasted “freedom” of the British race you have the right of slaves—the right to obey your masters. Anything you do in your own interests which is
against the interests of your masters, as it must be since the interests of masters and slaves are
opposite, is met with imprisonmentt, banishment, the ignominy of being strapped to a gun wheel, of even death by shooting or hanging.

Don’t blame the master class for what they are doing. Every class acts in its own interests as it understands them. Therefore as this country is owned by the capitalists who live in it it is to their interest to see that it is not endangered by the capitalists of another land, hence their present actions.

Just another quotation from the report in question ; it is a warning of what is likely to happen to all who don’t save. Says Mr. Kindersley :

“My belief is that these Associations are doing more than help the war—they are changing the nation. I foresee the day when the man, woman, or child who does not possess savings in the shape of a national security will be a marked man, women, or child.”

There’s a timely warning. Take heed, otherwise you will be marked “Cain” because you weren’t “Abel,” and the crime will not be on Mr. Kindersley’s shoulders.

Has it ever dawned on you why these people want you to save ? Some of the least astute of the capitalist class have partly told us, though we knew previously. Lord Clarendon, presiding over a War Savings committee meeting at Watford a few weeks ago said : “This saving scheme will not only help us now, but it will help to tide over the industrial depression which must follow the war.” There you are, fellow-workers, though these be lean years there are leaner ones to follow, and if you can be kidded to take up your belt another hole now and live on a bit less you will either be used to it or dead by the time the leaner years come. In either case you will not want poor relief. Should you fail to save in these times of “plenty” and dare to seek relief in the lean period, look out, for Mr. Kindersley has said you will be “a marked man, woman, or child.”

Perhaps the workers who exist in the small village in Herts where Mr. Kindersley’s large residence is situated will wonder what is going to happen to them seeing that their wages are well below 25s. per week. This apostle of working-class economy had the damned cheek to lecture these opulent villagers on the interesting subject of economy a few weeks before he took his family for a month’s holiday to Bangor. A staff of servants, averaging more than two to each member of the family, was sent on by rail, whilst the family followed by road in a Rolls Royce motor car and a cheap £750 knockabout Wolsely car (purchased to run one of the kids to and from school at Eton).

That is economy as practiced by a director of the Bank of England and a governor of the Hudson Bay Company. It is typical of the capitalist class as a whole. In peace time they rob you, the workers, of two-thirds of the wealth that you produce, and now when it is harder to live than any living person can remember, they tell you to save while they themselves spend more on their private billiard room than the average worker gets in wages all his life.

How do they manage it ? They are few compared with the working class, yet they control the lives of the latter. It happens this way.

The capitalists own the country and all on it. The business of the country is carried on through a political machine called Parliament. Control of this machine gives control over the Army, Navy, Police, magistrates, and all the judicial machinery of the country. All laws that matter are passed by and in the interest of those in control of Parliament, and are forced upon the people by the Army, Navy, Police, etc., who act according to instructions from Parliament. Any worker or body of workers who attempt to do anything against the interests of the capitalist class, who at present control Parliament, can at any time be punished or brought back to capitalist law and order by the coercive forces. How do the capitalists get control of Parliament and keep it ? It is quite simple. Every few years an election takes place, whereat there usually come before the people two persons, one calling himself a Liberal and the other a Conservative. Sometimes a Judas from the working class is allowed to take the place of the Liberal, but in the main it is Liberal v. Conservative. Now you know how they call each other names in order to get you to vote for them. Both are representatives of the class who own the country, and in the fight for the seat whichever gets elected makes no difference to the workers.

Millions of pounds of the masters’ money are spent on elections, and it pays because it gives them political control. They dangle before your eyes on posters big loaves and little loaves. “The foreigner has got your job !” they tell you on other posters. “Vote for Have’em and work for all,” they implore; “Vote for Kidem and cheap food,” they wail.

All this goes on because the working class have the power in their hands to give or withhold control of Parliament. That is, they possess the majority of votes. Consequently they have the power to take the control of Parliament from the capitalist class and use it in their own interests. But while they continue to vote for the representatives of the capitalist class, thereby giving them power, they must expect that power to be used in the interest of the class who, for the time being, possess it.

The way out of the trouble is to organise for the capture of the political machine. Organise on the basis of your class interests ; that is, organise as a class who produce all the wealth and own none of it, but who has for its object the social control and ownership of all the means and instruments for producing wealth, and the wealth when produced.

In this way and in no other will you prevent an idle class robbing you of 13s. in the £, and be able yourselves to live a free and full life.


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