Conscripted from the Press

“Strange as it may seem, there are good grounds for believing that the efforts of M. Kerensky to restore order are not viewed altogether with disfavour by certain influential persons in Berlin. These latter fear that a nation given over to the sway of Anarchy would make a bad neighbour.”—”Reynolds’s Newspaper,” 5.8.17.

In other words the German capitalist class is afraid that the German working class may become “infected” and revolt against the conditions which are the cause of their misery, poverty, and degradation. Bismarck thought the same in 1871 when he helped Thiers and the French ruling class to crush and avenge in torrents of blood the workingmen’s Commune of Paris. Despite their differences, the interenational parasite class are solid against the working class. When will the converse be also true ?

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“The Japanese are working hard in anticipation of the coming peace. When the war is over they will flood the markets with much of the cheap goods that before could only be produced in sweated Germany”.—”Reynolds’s Newspaper,” 5.8.17.

And yet some fools talk about this being the “last war” ! Was not the industrial efficiency and consequent cheap production of Germany the cause of her phenomenal commercial progress which was the chief of the immediate causes of the war ? The capitalist class of England as well as that of Japan are wide awake to their opportunities, as can be seen in their schemes for the better co-ordination of scientific research with industry, and the more efficient education of the workers.

Greater efficiency in production—bigger-profits—a larger surplus of goods for export—more competitors (Russia will rapidly develop)—fewer markets, leading to—a wild scramble to capture them, and consequently—more wars. To those with eyes to see the ferment of future conflicts is even now in virulent progress. The question is, how long will the workers stand it.

Although it is the workers who are to be “educated,” it is not they and their interests which are considered in the Government’s education proposals, but those of their capitalist masters, as I have above indicated. Mr. H. Fisher, when introducing his Education Bill, carelessly admitted this. He said :

“In asking the employers of this country to assent to these changes—abolition of half-time and the further regulation of employment during the period of elementary school life—I feel that I am asking them to submit to a readjustment of the organisation of their industries which in some cases will be troublesome to effect. But I rest my appeal upon the broad grounds of national advantage.”—”Times,” 11.8.17.

In other words some of the capitalists are requested to sacrifice their immediate interests for the sake of the prospects of that class as a whole.

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When Herr Michaelis, the new German Chancellor, was a lecturer at a law school in Tokyo (1897) he said :

“Practically we have at the moment in the world only one real opponent and enemy, that is the Englishman. Nowadays wars of nations are only fought on economic grounds, and our economic development is opposed by the Englishman. We bubble over in Germany, we must get outside. Wherever we want to go, there stands the Englishman, with his legs apart and shameless, in the door to bar our way.”—”Times,” 9.8.17.

The Chancellor means by “Englishman” the English capitalist, who certainly has grabbed most of the corners of the planet worth having, greatly to the discomfiture of his foreign competitors, especially the German capitalists.

Michaelis has no illusions about the cause of the war ; neither have we. Workers ! study our principles thoroughly, and when you realise the sordid reasons for the wars you slaughter and are slaughtered in you will know also how to end them.

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Whether “ideal” or economic aims are at the root of China’s entry into the war will be seen from this cutting from the “Daily Chronicle,” 7.8.17 :

“China will benefit financially by throwing in her lot with the Allies. Automatically, her obligation will cease to pay Germany her share in the Boxer indemnity amounting to half a million sterling a year. A similar fate would also befall the payment on the German shares of the five Anglo-German railways and other loans granted during the last 20 years.”

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The truth of the Socialist contention as to what determines wages was admitted by Mr. Prothero, M.P., Minister of Agriculture, when he moved as part of the wages clause in the Corn Production Bill, that—

“In fixing minimum rates under this section the Agricultural Wages Board shall so far as practicable, secure for all able-bodied men wages which, in the opinion of the Board, are adequate to promote efficiency and to enable a man in an ordinary case to maintain himself and his family in accordance with such a standard of comfort as may be reasonable in relation to the nature of the occupation.”—”Times,” 7.8.17. The italics are mine.

Wages are not, and never have been, determined by what the worker himself produces, but by what it takes to produce the worker. Like the chattel-slave of old, he receives enough on the average to keep him in such a condition as will make him a profitable instrument of production.

“Just like a horse or a cow,” you will say. Exactly so, except that you can be starved when you are not required for work, while a horse or a cow must be fed.


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