By this Sign.
The “War that will end War” is over, and on the strength of this an immense explosive trust, called Explosives Trades Ltd., has been formed with an authorised capital of £18,000,000 (vide “Daily Chronicle,” 2.12.18). If all wars are to end the combination of the 29 firms forming this company for the production of explosives is somewhat perplexing. If munitions of war are still to be manufactured on a large scale although, there are to be no more wars, then the only conclusion one can come to is that they are to be produced for the keeping of the peace—that eternal “order” the capitalist cries for when working men attempt to interfere with his profit-making career.
On a superficial examination we are driven to the conclusion that those who raised the cry that this war would end war were liars—that in reality it was only the commencement of war on the grand scale.
When we come to look below the surface, however, we see that there is just a possibility that the war crowd were not quite such liars as we thought. Perhaps, after all, it is the end of wars as understood by the capitalist mind—a struggle among the robbers for the largest share of the spoil. Perhaps they think that the end of this war will enable them to settle their local differences and thus be left free to pursue their policy of exploitation to the uttermost parts of the earth, with only one barrier—the growing class-consciousness and revolutionary tendency of the world’s working class.
Bullets Still Needed.
This being so their old enemy the workers, now growing to formidable proportions, neither so docile nor so pliable as of yore, having eaten to the full of capitalist bullets and capitalist gratitude, must be suppressed and kept within a certain prescribed relation to their masters. Hence the wheels of the munitions of war machine, the instrument of suppression, must continue to whiz merrily round, and “pile up the war material” continue to be one of the watchwords and orders of the day.
Hands Off Profits.
Proof that there is at least a grain of truth in the above forecast is shown at every turn. Sir Charles Macara
, writing in the “Daily Chronicle
” (18.12.18) bears witness to the intended great trade revival, and also reflects the deadly fear of his class that their profits may fall through a too rapid fall in prices. While workers are finding it difficult to obtain necessaries in the shape of food and clothing this cotton magnate writes:
“These raw materials, which contribute so largely to the production of clothing for the inhabitants of the globe, have been raised owing to the vicissitudes of war to almost unprecedented prices, and I hope the Allies will act together in controlling these commodities and distributing them equitably.
Further, it is in the interest of all just as important to prevent a too rapid depreciation in the price of these raw materials as it is to prevent a further undue inflation.”
Workingmen have lost homes, limbs, and lives as a result of the war, but for God’s sake don’t let the capitalist lose a penny piece of profit !
Poor Sir Charles groans at the fact that wages were increased instead of bonuses being given, as the latter are more easily knocked off. He hopes :
“The nations of the world would only fully realise their interdependence and organise capital and labour, work together in developing the undeveloped resources of the world.”
Ready to Sweat.
Sir Charles need have no fear : the devil looks after his own. The process of organising capital and labour has already begun. The war has splendidly shown the capitalists how maximum of output can be obtained with the minimum of labour.
Contests have been held among workers for turning out work at the greatest possible speed. Women, have been introduced into numerous employments previously banned. “Unskilled” labour has been diffused among “skilled” in a way hitherto untried. Undertakings of all sorts are being fused, bringing further economies in the cost of production. Small firms have been wiped out by the thousand.
An Industrial Fatigue Research Board has been set up to determine the most economical ways of applying labour.
“The Board’s Investigations will be directed towards finding the most favourable hours of labour, spells of work, and rest pauses, and they hope to receive help from both employers and workers in their enquiries.” “Daily Express,” 20.12.18.
“The nation that secures the most efficient production will be dominant in the new world on whose threshold we stand. That nation will be the one whose workers are the most contented, the best nourished, and the most physically fit. Keen, eager work—with the real heart and the real joy in it—judiciously blended with healthy exercise and sane recreation, gives the secret, the “open Sesame,” to success. Our final word to the professional fatigue victim —there will be a terribly long rest in the next world.” —”Daily Express,” 20.12.18.
“Appointed by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Medical Research Committee jointly, it will consider hours and conditions of labour and methods, and how they cause fatigue, having regard to industrial efficiency and the health of the workers.
The Board will investigate, organise and promote by research, grants or otherwise, investigations in different industries, to find the most favourable hours of labour, spells of work, rest pauses, and other conditions applicable to the various processes, according to the nature of the work and its demands on the worker.” “Daily Chronicle,” 20.12.18.
The meaning of all this is to transplant the military system into the industrial world still more completely, to develop as efficient an industrial army as our masters can so that the greatest possible amount of wealth can be produced and the smallest possible part of it returned to the workers in the shape of wages.
Our kind and loving masters, having laid their plans for a production of wealth (and profit) previously unheard of, standing as they do on the threshold of a new world of untold treasure, find one bar to the realisation of their ideal. This bar is the growing discontent and revolutionary tendency of the workers everywhere. They therefore must strengthen their military power and hold secure their political supremacy.
The situation in Russia fills them with anguish, and they are sending soldiers from all quarters to quell the revolution as quickly as possible. Classing themselves as the “Saviours nf Society” and the champions of democracy, they pour vituperations upon the Bolsheviks and invite all comers to assist in saving Russia from destruction. The destruction they fear, however, is the destruction of the debts owed by Russia to European and other capitalists and the spreading of the revolution to other countries with the consequent break-up of the capitalist regime. They therefore fall over each other in their anxiety to smash up and discredit the Bolsheviks.
What the workers may expect in the future is illustrated by the following which is reported from Amsterdam :
“Serious rioting has occurred in Bottrop as a result of the Westphalian miners’ strike. A large crowd of demonstrators proceeded to the Gladbeck pits with a view, it is supposed, of wrecking the works, but the military intervened and fired machine guns among the strikers, killing some and injuring others.” —”Daily Express,” 20.12.18. (Italics mine.)
Now more than ever the need to get behind the guns should be obvious to all workers. The masters still control the military machine, and so long as this is so they can, in the last analysis, defeat all attempts of the workers to alter the basis of society. Working men and women must therefore organise politically to obtain control of the political machinery from which all power emanates. They will then be able to render the capitalists’ dream of a new world but the stuff that dreams are made of.