1910s >> 1919 >> no-179-july-1919

By The Way

It is just possible that, by the time this issue of our journal is ready for sale, the opposing sections of the capitalist class who, for close on five years, have been urging their dupes to slaughter, will have temporarily patched up THEIR quarrel.

 

The fact that there are, as Mr. Bonar Law has told us, twenty-three minor wars on hand, does not matter to those who are making the world safe for democracy. At long last the cry ”Give peace in our time, O Lord,” has been heard, and “our greatest enemy” is crushed. We are now bidden to hang out our flags and rejoice. For what should we rejoice? Is it the knowledge that millions of the world’s working class have been done to death and thousands upon thousands more rendered mental and physical wrecks, not forgetting the widows and orphans, in order to satiate capitalist greed, that we are now exhorted to rejoice and be glad ?

 

How mechanical it all is ! In the beginning the capitalist class inform us, the working class, through their Press, that we have an enemy “over there.” We are told to hate him; tall stories are written in order to infuriate us and work us up into a warlike attitude ; and when our liberty-loving masters cry “halt!” we obey. And last of all they arrange peace concert parties for us. How stupid ! Think it over, fellow wage slaves.

 

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In perusing some of the peace prattle I came across the following morsel which beautifully illustrates our masters’ way of doing things, and proves incidentally beyond all disputation, that the noble ideal which has actuated the Allies from the very beginning down to the present time, namely, the crushing, root and branch, of militarism, has been worthily maintained. Here it is :

 

The German plenipotentiaries will arrive through the park, and military honours will not be accorded them on their entry, but they will leave at the same time as the Allied plenipotentiaries, and, being no longer enemy delegates, will receive military honours.

—Reuter Special.

 

Blimey ! I can almost imagine Lloyd George and Wilson leading the singing at some peace concert. Such songs as “For Old Times’ Sake” and “We’ll All Go the Same Way Home” would be most appropriate.

 

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Just recently the big-wigs of the Empire’s capital—the representatives of the holy trinity of Rent, Interest, and Profit—assembled for the purpose of bestowing the freedom of the City of London on “those two heroes of the war,” Admiral Beatty and Field Marshal Haig.

 

Arising out of this little jollification there are just two points to which I desire to draw attention. First, it does seem somewhat incongruous that the claims of the men who have been fighting for the Allied section of the capitalist class should require to be incessantly placed before whose whose interests they; have been so well serving. Why is it that our capitalist masters so soon forget their faithful warriors when the last shot has been fired ? In the din of battle “we are one” ; there is the “new spirit of comradeship” which was generated in the trenches or on the man-of-war ; but with the cessation of hostilities the curtain is rung down on all the flowery talk, and once again the players return to the old game of scrambling for jobs—that phenomenon peculiar to capitalist society.

 

Here we see the antagonism of interests between the working and the employing classes. We may have been “over there,” facing the “enemy,” but coming back to the ordinary work-a-day world we suffer no delusion. Even the agents of capitalism are themselves occasionally forced to step in and, as it were, “pour oil on troubled waters,” or remind the employing class that they have certain “obligations” to the men who have kept the flag flying, which should be honoured. This brings me to the burden of Admiral Beatty’s speech, from which I quote the following :

 

  “I should like to express here the hope that in the revival of commerce, employers will consider the claim of ex-naval officers. Their inevitable lack of experience is, I understand, proving an obstacle to their finding employment. They have, however, invaluable qualities of resource, loyalty, discipline, and experience in handling men, which make them peculiarly fitted for many of the positions that have to be filled.” —”Daily News,” June 13th, 1919.

 

In the event of the Admiral’s hope not coming to maturity, well, of course, the men can form part of the new “voluntary” armed force. The posters recently exhibited state : “If you are out of work call at the recruiting office.” An empty stomach is a good recruiting sergeant.

 

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The second point arises from the contribution of Sir Douglas Haig. Notwithstanding the innumerable occasions on which we have been told that this war was to end war, and that we were fighting militarism, we have this warrior bold asserting at the very time “we” are insisting that the Germans must limit their military forces to 100,000 men, that what we want is more militarism. According to a report of his speech I find he delivered himself as followeth:

 

  “My message to you, and through you to the Empire, is to urge you, now that the war has given you at once the reason and the opportunity to do so, to set up forthwith the organisation of a strong citizen army on Territorial lines—an organisation which shall ensure that every able-bodied citizen shall come forward when the next crisis comes, not as a willing, patriotic, but militarily ignorant volunteer, but as a trained man.”

 

Yea, verily, I ask what it shall profit you if, having dethroned militarism in Germany it is enthroned in England ? Thousands of men have laid down their lives believing that in doing so they were helping to eradicate the evil of militarism. Surely they have died in vain if ear is given to these people of whom Sir Douglas Haig is the chief mouthpiece.

 

Our speaker revels in his subject. To make sure that none shall slip through the meshes he says later on—

 

 “There must, in addition, be our highly trained professional army to maintain the standard of our  military knowledge, and meet the daily needs of a police force for our vast Empire, and there must be proper and sufficient training schools and staff colleges that the higher arts of war may be kept abreast of the times. Above all, however, to ensure that the military strength of our race may be readily realisable to meet whatever danger may threaten us we need to organise at once our democratic citizen army.”

 

This is what capitalism holds in store for the workers who blindly support this hellish system. Arise, then; remove the blinkers from your eyes, and help to fight for

 

THE WORLD FOR THE WORKERS.

 

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Though we were told that the Germans initiated the war in the air, and it was a violation of international law, the Allies seem quite content to extend its usage. For colossal hypocrisy the Allies take some beating. Now for a quotation on a recent air excursion—

 

BOMBS ON AMIR’S PALACE.

A telegram received from Simla reporting the air attacks on Jalalabad, according to a Reuter message, says that these bombing raids have been highly successful. In a night raid Captain Carbery dropped four small bombs on the Amir’s Palace. In a day raid four bombs were dropped amongst 2,000 infantry on parade, inflicting about 50 casualties. The infantry scattered into the barracks, which were bombed in the next raid. Six direct hits were obtained, and all the bombs were dropped in the town, which was much damaged. Fifteen machines took part in the raid and nearly two tons of bombs were dropped.—”Daily News,” 28.5.1919.

 

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We live in a strange world. The Government’s appeal for money by the 4 per cent. Funding Loan and the 4 per cent. Victory Bonds does not in any way excite us. But we have some difficulty in understanding why the “Daily Herald” accepts these advertisements and prints them in its columns—whether paid or not does not matter—rails continuously at the Government, and claims to be voicing the views of the revolutionary working class. Is this the class-conscious action that paper frequently speaks of day by day ? Surely by issuing such an appeal our contemporary is assisting the master class to carry on, to further entrench themselves, to keep their hold upon the workers, and above all, assisting in spreading confusion amongst the workers by such anti working-class action ?

 

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Though we frequently hear the Psalm-singing fraternity giving lip to the hymn “We are not divided, all one body we,” the truth of their contention is gravely open to doubt, as witness the following :

 

The Church of England is so divided that many excellent churchmen have turned away in despair from any further effort to recover external unity.—Bishop of Hereford at Westminster.

 

The Scout

 

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