By the Way

Nearly three years ago now, when the present international slaughter of the world’s workers commenced, we were informed that this was the “war to end war.” From that time onwards many have iterated the same silly phrase. Many have taken up the cudgels on behalf of the capitalist class and gone out of their way to inform the unwary that this war is different in its origin to past wars, that this time it is in order to put down “Prussianism” that they are called upon to give their services and, if necessary, their lives.

Slowly but surely numbers of our class are beginning to open their eyes and to realise that they have been deceived, and in order to facilitate this larger outlook I propose giving one or two quotations which possibly may help them in their search for truth and knowledge.

From a German source, quoted in a paper the proprietor of which is a keen supporter of the Lloyd Georgian (English-Prussian) Government, we read that General von Stein, Minister of War, said:

“I do not entertain the hope that the war will be followed by international peace. So long as the interests of nations conflict there will be wars. The prospects of an eternal peace are not very brilliant just now when two great peoples which hitherto did not think of maintaining large armies are beginning to create them. Consequently after the war it will be our duty to safeguard ourselves and preserve for our descendants what we have fought for.”—”Weekly Dispatch,” May 6th, 1917.

In order to obviate the retort that might be put forward by some, that the previous spokesman was a German, and, therefore, what he says does not count, let me adduce the evidence of an Englishman who is a Liberal M.P., and as such must necessarily be possessed of all the virtues. Addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders in the British Westinghouse Co., Ltd., Mr. J. Annan Bryce said :

“It seems to be assumed by some well-meaning people that when peace is declared there will be an end of economic war also, and they deprecate any measures tending to perpetuate it. It is forgotten that this war is as much a war for commercial and industrials for military domination, and that there were no more enthusiastic advocates of it than the heads of the great German industries and financial establishments. It is forgotten that the military war is only the complement of the economic war which started half a century ago.”

Here we have supporters of the holy trinity of Rent, Interest, and Profit, or in other words, defenders of capitalist society, coolly admitting that this war is the result of an antagonism of capitalist interests.

The only war that will end war is the class war. Join, then, with us and assist in waging war for the abolition of classes and winning “The World for the Workers.”

* * *

An announcement recently appeared in the Press informing the public that “last year the British Board of Films Censors passed for universal exhibition 4,430 subjects and 904 for public exhibition.” It was further stated that among the grounds for the rejection of over 500 films were:

Impersonation of the King.
Irreverent treatment of death.
Nude figures.
Excessively passionate love scenes.
Scenes purporting to illustrate “night life.”
References to controversial or international politics.
Antagonistic relations of capital and labour.
Scenes tending to disparage public characters and to create public alarm.
Vampire women ; the drug habit ; white slave traffic.
Materialisation of the conventional figure of Christ.
Scenes depicting the realistic horrors of warfare.
Incidents calculated to afford information to the enemy.
Incidents having a tendency to disparage our Allies or to disturb friendly relations wkh them.
Scenes holding up the King’s uniform to contempt or ridicule.
Propaganda films of German origin.
—”Daily Chronicle,” April 3rd, 1917.

How carefully the agents of our masters choose what subjects their slaves shall see when they journey to the picture palace. The references to the “antagonistic relations of capital and labour” and the “realistic horrors of war” are distinctly good.

* * *

A study in directive ability ! Engineer for the cows. Mr. J. A. Morris Bew told the Westhampnett Tribunal at Chichester of the case of a farmer who applied to the military authorities for help.

“A man was sent to the farm on Friday night, but he left on Saturday morning.
“He was sent as a cowman, stockman, and milker, and turned out to be an electrical engineer who had never worked on a farm.”—”Star,” April 10th, 1917. Who said Business as usual?

* * *

In aid of soldiers blinded in the war a bazaar was a short time ago held at the Royal Albert Hall. Now functions of this order are not arranged for we wage slaves. No, indeed not ! Were we to absent ourselves from work, even on such an occasion as this when royalty were in attendance, doubtless we should be confronted with a notice informing us that in this time of crisis and national emergency it is highly unpatriotic to leave our masters’ business and that such a serious dereliction of duty was punishable under the D.O.R.A. And so it came to pass on the appointed day that many of the parasites of society did foregather in order to raise the wind for “our heroes blinded in the war” and whom a grateful country will ne’er forget (?) Now let me quote :

“Many Royal ladies are to assist in the selling. Princess Victoria has valuable lace and a wonderful fan worth £30 to offer, Princess Louise will sell Peking loot, coloured glass, a Chinese shawl, and an inlaid escritoire, Princess Beatrice presides over children’s garments, while the Princess Royal and her daughter, Princess Maud, will sell lingerie of the most lovely description. The great attraction at the Duchess of Somerset’s stall is potatoes.”—”Daily Chronicle,” May 7th, 1917.

“Loot,” Ikey, my boy, “Loot” ! Now “loot,” according to the lexicographers is: “booty; plunder ; especially such as is taken in a sacked city.” If the purveyor of this said “loot” had been the Crown Prince, whose thieving activities we have heard so much about of late, one could understand this reference; but one shudders at the mention of Princess Louise.

* * *

The “Daily Chronicle” (8.5.17) had an editorial article on Food Rationing, and towards the close it dealt with the subject of the destruction of the house sparrow, advocated by the Board of Agriculture. By deleting the words “house sparrow” from the sentence and substituting the word “capitalist” we obtain a fine definition of that type of individual. It would then read as follows :

“The capitalist is undoubtedly a pest; he has few virtues ; he is virtually a parasite on man ; like a true parasite, he purloins much and serves us little; and all the characteristics which he has developed in the course of his denaturalised existence—his harsh voice, his quarrelsome manners, his filthy and untidy nest—mark his degeneration from the standards of true social (text wild-bird) life.”

We Socialists claim that the capitalist is unnecessary. To-day we have social production with individual ownership of the means of producing wealth and the product of our toil resulting therefrom. We suggest, therefore, the elimination of this parasite by an intelligent working class understanding its position in society, and working for the complete overthrow of the existing order of things through the conquest of political power, and the conversion of these individually owned means of wealth production into socially owned for the well being of all. Then we can commence the era of peace on earth and goodwill towards men.

* * *

The “glories of war” : Potatoe queues ; sugar queues ; margarine queues. The question of sugar is an interesting theme and affords a good object lesson of the methods of our “Business Government.” From the Northcliffe organ I cull the following :

“In certain shops—”The Evening News” has the name of one where it occurred last night—no sugar fit to eat is sold to any customer who does not buy tea.
A quantity of evil-looking sugar, full of black lumps and not without dirt and straw, is offered to customers who do not want tea.”—”Evening News,” April 28th, 1917.

One is inclined to ask : Have all the public analysts and local medical officers of health gone to the war ? Or is it a case of “one good turn deserves another” ?

* * *

An event of great importance to the workers, recently took place. Bearing in mind the scriptural injunction : “Ye cannot serve both God and Mammon,” I observed that that highly-democratic organ of the international working class, the “Weekly Dispatch” (29.4.17) vouchsafed the information that a little family gathering took place at Windsor. The touching story is thus told:

“Our Labour Ministers have had an opportunity during the week of seeing the King at Windsor Castle en famille, and it is gathered that they were delighted at the air of informality which characterised their reception.”

It is further added that Mr. George Barnes was also in the company of the elect, and “it is to be regretted that Mr. and Mrs. Henderson were unavoidably prevented from accepting his Majesty s invitation.” Strange, is it not, that these gentry who rejoice in the fact that one crowned head (the “Little Father,” better known as Bloody Nick) has received the “order of the boot,” are overjoyed at being the guests of another monarch. “By their fruits ye shall; know them” is the standard for measuring their value to the workers struggling to be free.

The “Dispatch” writer sums up this dust-throwing incident by adding :

“To be quite frank, everyone likes to see the King and Queen moving in an informal circle that includes honest, outspoken John Hodge and straight-­forward, plain-speaking George Barnes.”

* * *

The antics of these labour fakirs are excruciatingly funny. In the case of the engineers’ strike Hodge refers to “the irresponsible people of about 25” who, tiring of the dilatory methods of the accredited representatives of the union and the Ministry of Munitions, take matters into their own hands in order to force the pace, and he deplores their action, while on the other hand I read:

“Typists who earn 20s. a week in Government offices and the National Union of Clerks are grateful to Mr. John Hodge, Labour Minister, for complaining of the low wage.
If all the girls were to decline to work any longer for 20s. a week, said Mr. Hodge at Sheffield, what a powerful lever he would have. It would give him the bludgeon necessary to go to the Treasury.
“I am very glad,” said Mr. Herbert H. Elvin, general secretary of the National Union of Clerks, “that Mr. Hodge, as a Minister, has advocated a general strike on the part of women.”—”Evening News,” April 28th, 1917.

Here we see John Hodge advocating for the women what he condemns in the case of the men. Will Hodge be proceeded against under some regulation of the Defence of the Realm Act, or is such distinction reserved for “people of about twenty-five,” and whose earnings do not yet suffice to support a triple, hodge-podge chin?

* * *

The Government have to blame themselves entirely for the chaotic conditions which they have brought into being in the engineering trades. With the deliberate suppression of news from the storm centres, the cutting off from communication of one section of men with those in other parts of the country, the one sided and meagre reports such as were allowed to be published, all tended to exasperate those concerned. The Munitions Act (Amendment) Bill still before the House, with its purposely ambiguous wording (a common feature of all Bills), also intensified the trouble that was brewing. So complex and incomprehensible is this Bill that the powers that be went to the length of issuing an explanatory poster to reassure the workers that the Bill was not designed to trespass on their hard-won rights as trade unionists, and so on ad nauseam.

From newspaper reports it first appears that Dr. Addison refused to recognise the Shop Stewards Committee, which obviously understands the local conditions better than the Central Executive, but afterwards changes his mind and agrees to see the Shop Stewards’ Committee if they agree to “act in unison with the trade union Executives.” Later we are informed that the Ministry of Munitions replied to the engineers’ delegates, who were in session at Walworth, that: “We shall be glad, if asked to do so by your Executives, to meet them accompanied by yourselves or by any other body your Executives may desire to bring with them, but we cannot receive you under other circumstances.” Then comes the arrest of certain men on a charge of promoting strikes. Commenting on this the “Daily News “of Saturday (19.5.1917) says :

“A number of the leaders in the engineers’ strike have been arrested, and one more step has been taken by that action on the perilous path down which the Government are being driven. We have never defended this strike. But no one acquainted at all with the circumstances which have led to this dispute, and the real history of how it has been allowed to grow to its present proportions, can doubt where the real responsibility lies for the gloomy prospect with which the whole nation finds itself to-day confronted.
“In respect of most of the men,” says the “Morning Post,” “they have been irritated and worried by the authorities. The fact is, the Ministry of Munitions have made a sad business of it ; and the sooner the Government recognise the fact the better.”

“Evidently “the fact” has been recognised by the Government at last, and a meeting has taken place at which Lld. George attended and at which what appears to be a temporary peace was arranged.

* * *

The Archbishop of Canterbury has authorised special prayers for “God’s blessing on the crops and the fruits of the earth in this time of sowing,” runs an announcement in the Press. Then follows a passage from the prayer telling the All-knowing that we have some Allies and some ships which the Archbishop wants protected. It is to be hoped that the recording angel has duly noted this petition.

* * *

The King has been on tour and at one of the works he visited we are informed in all seriousness that he “clocked on” as if he were an ordinary employee. Doubtless after seeing other people work he “clocked off,” and was duly thankful that his lot had been cast in smoother places.

* * *

“One of the liveliest and noisiest meetings in Glasgow for many years was that held last night when Mr. G. N. Barnes, M.P., Pensions Minister, met with a distinctly hostile reception on the occasion of his addressiug his constituents in the Blackfriars Division.” (“Daily News,” 12.4.17.) The storm in the tea-cup was over this gent’s reference to “veritable weeds” in the House on the Pensions problem. He now regretted having used the phrase as it seemed to indicate a lack of sympathy on his part.

Mr. Barnes need not worry his guts into fiddle-strings over this matter. Far from indicating a lack of sympathy on his part, his whole handling of the Pensions problem has shown him to be a very sympathetic man—but his sympathy is reserved, not for disabled soldiers, broken in the war, but for those who pay him for it—the blood-reeking masters.

* * *

The War Office recently announced its intention of opening two new groups for attestation, the age limit being from 41 to 50 years. A kind of Derby Scheme is thus once again in operation, with the promise of an armlet slightly different in design from that issued in the earlier campaign, for those who hurry along and volunteer. According to figures given in the Press there is quite a large amount of recruitable material. This card waits to see how many respond to the call. What a fine opportunity is now presented to those who a short time ago were dying to enlist were they within the age limit. Having urged the younger men to hasten forth to battle for King and Country, it is now up to them to honour the obligation they were prepared to impose upon others.

* * *

“Nine British soldiers are dying every hour.”—Gen. Baden-Powell. But, “There are worse things than bloodshed.”—Windy Churchill.



Watch the antics of the pseudo-Socialists.

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