1910s >> 1919 >> no-180-august-1919

By The Way

It is often urged by opponents of Socialism that the workers have not that superior mental ability necessary to control society which, it is alleged, is possessed by members of the capitalist class and their professional hirelings. Even working men themselves engaged in highly skilled occupations take up the same cry that the workers are unfit mentally to run society. They have imbibed these things from early youth, and never seem to question the veracity of such obviously foolish assertions.
Turn in any direction you like and see who it is that to-day do the necessary work of society—run the railways and the ships, producing them also; obtain the coal from the bowels of the earth ; in short, do all the necessary work in producing food, clothing, and shelter, and then ask yourself whether it is the overfed capitalist, with his wonderful “directive ability,” or his slaves, the working class, who perform all the useful services in society.
If, then, the working class do all these things to-day, surely when they see the need for another system of society and unite to bring it about, they will have also the intelligence to control the society which they seek to establish.
Evidence abounds on every hand to show the bungling and incompetence of the ruling class to-day. Could, then, the workers, with their inexperience in controling society, and their lower standard of education, do worse ? Emphatically, no !
During the war there was the spectacle of the Antwerp expedition, the ill-starred Dardanelles campaign, the horrible treatment of the sick and wounded recorded in the Mesopotamia Commission Report, and sending sand to Egypt, to mention just a few instances relating purely to the military side. Other examples abound.
The food question offers another instance of mismanagement. Tons of foodstuffs have been destroyed at a time when the world was crying aloud for food. When we produce for use instead of for profit such cases as the following could not happen while the populace was clamouring for sustenance.

  “The fish glut continued at Grimsby yesterday, and after manure manufacturers had taken all their plants could deal with, tons of wholesome fish food were carted away to be thrown on the land for manure.” —”Sunday Express,” July 13th, 1919.

The workers to-day have sufficient intelligence to produce a superabundance of wealth which they hand over to an idle, parasitic class. When they equip themselves politically they have at hand the necessary weapons to secure their emancipation and institute a system where social production will be accompanied by social ownership; in a word, Socialism. Join up and work for it.
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“Never again !” and we are going to make “England a land fit for heroes” may be good stunts for a while, but the day of reckoning must come. Have I not scriptural authority for saying “Behold, what a man soweth that shall he also reap ? And in order to stave off the day of reckoning Lld. George and his gang are obliged to resort to camouflage and smoke screens in quick succession. One day it is a commission to try and pacify the miners ; then on the subject of labour unrest and the high cost of living he steps into the shoes of Old Moore and kids his audience that all will be well in the Summer. To quote his own words—”By the Summer I hope that the cost of living in a working man’s household will have gone down by about 4s. a week.” Then we get the theatrical performance in the Commons about the Kaiser to be tried. Once upon a time he was to hang! Almost every week some sort of show is arranged in order to divert the attention of the masses. Cavell and Fryatt processions are arranged. Trafalgar Square is decorated for Joy Loan week. Inspections of the troops seems to be a very important item now that “we have crushed this horrible nightmare of Prussian militarism.”
And so the game goes on, and side by side with it come the illustrations which go to show that the speakers who give utterance to the phrases quoted in the beginning of the previous paragraph, are talking with their tongues in their cheeks. I have newspaper extracts from various sources which would fill a whole issue of this journal relating to the way capitalism rewards its heroes.
One organisation recently founded for the benefit of ex-service men, states in an announcement concerning its activities, that—

  “Over 36,000 soldiers had been invalided out of the Army with nerve trouble, and nearly 6,000 were in pauper lunatic asylums, due to war service at the beginning of the present year. Since then the number has very largely increased, and it is still increasing daily.
“The country is teeming with ex-service men suffering from physical and mental instability, who are in danger of becoming derelicts. In many cases they must ultimately drift into asylums unless they are taken in hand at once. I am convinced that nothing equal to the emergency will be done by the Government alone.”—”Daily News,” July 11th, 1919.

That the discharged and demobilised men are beginning to realise that they have been spoofed is evidenced by their refusal to take part in the various “peace festivities” and in the resolutions passed in various parts of the country protesting about the treatment meted out to them. It all helps.
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One other case from the same newspaper and in the same issue—

  “After serving in the Army, John Smith was discharged a few weeks ago. His efforts to find work as a porter were not successful and he was picked up in Greenwich by the L.C.C. Ambulance Service in a deplorable state of destitution and starvation.”

The newspaper account goes on to say that after receiving attention he was taken to the infirmary, where “everything is being done to make him comfortable.” This beautifully illustrates how safe the world has been made for democracy. After fighting for freedom this soldier’s only reward is the freedom to starve.
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“People who say there will be no more war are mistaken: You must keep up drill and a keen spirit, as you will be in the fighting next time.”—Col. Methuen, D.S.O. (Rhodesian forces) to Cadets at Acton.—”Evening News,” June11th, 1919.
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In the days of yore Mr. C. B. Stanton used to proclaim himself “a Socialist and a member of the old red international.” Whether he ever really understood anything about Socialism is gravely open to doubt. Like many other labour leaders, he mouths the phrases in order to catch the votes and support of the unwary. Judging from recent events one might definitely say that he had joined the black international. According to newspaper reports the name of Mr. C. B. Stanton was attached to the letter accompanying the memorial against coal nationalisation, which was sent to the Prime Minister.
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Our democratic King held a democratic garden party when most democrats were engaged in the democratic business of producing wealth. Anyone who read the account of those present, together with the description of their apparel, would readily realise this. However, as we who toil were unable to be present, we were “represented” by such stalwarts of the labour movement as Mr. Will Crooks and Mr. Stanton. Concerning the latter I read—

  “One of the most interesting things at Friday’s Garden party was the King’s meeting with Mr. C. B. Stanton, whom his Majesty recognised at once. They had a long talk together, particularly about Labour subjects, and his Majesty was delighted with the frank and easy way in which the M.P. addressed himself to each topic raised. A little later Prince Albert saw the member in a crowd and begged someone to introduce him. “I know all about you,” the Prince said, and am delighted to meet you.”—”Sunday Express,” July 13, 1919.

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Peace ! What an air of unreality there is about the official celebration of what our masters are pleased to term the peace. With a state of turmoil existing between the railway men and the N.E.R. Co. over the question of the eyesight test, the miners demanding the nationalization of the mines, and the Government increasing the price of coal by 6s. per ton, not to mention what one might call the hundred-and-one minor industrial troubles, the bosses order us to cease work for half-a-day, proclaim it a bank holiday, and a large number of us will receive capitalist generosity to the extent of being paid for a few paltry hours absense from the grindstone. Bells are being rung and sanctimonious humbugs and thieves are giving thanks to God for giving “us” the victory after millions of creatures “created in His own image” have been defacing “His handiwork” !
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It is, of course, common knowledge that the great Powers have been engaged in a war for freedom and democracy, though I must confess that I should not have detected this sublime truth had not the papers and capitalist politicians told me so. In the matter of freedom the following extracts from the text of a Bill, reintroduced by Senator H. S. New, of Indiana, and which breathes freedom in every clause, was recently taken in the sixty-sixth Congress, with a view to suppressing Bolshevik activities in the United States, are illuminating.

  “That the display, exhibition, or appearance of a red flag, red banner or red emblem, or a black flag, black banner or black emblem at a meeting, gathering or parade, public or private, held for the purpose of political, governmental, social, business or religious discussion, is hereby declared to be unlawful and illegal.

  That the advocacy, by speech or writing, of the overthrow, by violence or any other unlawful means, of the representative form of government now secured to the citizens of the United States, and the constitutions of the several States, is hereby declared to be unlawful and illegal.

  That the organisation of, or attempt to organise, any association or society the object of which is to advocate the overthrow of the existing form of government of the United States by any unlawful means whatsoever, or the renting of any assembly hall or meeting place, with or without compensation, for the organisation of any association or society, the object of which is to advocate the overthrow of the existing form of constitutional government by violence or unlawful means, is hereby declared to be unlawful and illegal.

  That any person or persons convicted for violating any section of this act shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.” —”Christian Science Monitor,” May 30th, 1919

From the foregoing, noted in conjunction with similar steps being taken by other governments, it would seem that the international capitalist class are getting the “wind up.” It is necessary, then, for the workers the world over to study their position in society, to realise that the day is fast approaching when they must cross the line either to take their stand with that ever-increasing army of class-conscious workers desirous of ushering in the Socialist Commonwealth, or of actually opposing it. The class war is on. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.
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In a leading article of the “Daily News” (4.7.19) dealing with Lloyd George’s presentation of the peace treaty to the House of Commons there occurred amongst other matter the following statement and question, which are worthy of repetition here—

  “The argument that German colonies should be held by trustees responsible to the League of Nations because in many cases Germans have ill-treated natives may deserve consideration. But are there no records of ill-treatment of natives by Belgians and Portuguese ?”

And I would add, as our contemporary appears to suffer from forgetfulness, is England free from guilt in this matter ? Let the cocoa scribe, together with the news writers of what is often termed the Yellow Press, take a peep back into history, and re-read what Dr. Conan Doyle says in his “Crime of the Congo.” Speaking of British responsibility in this matter he says (p. 13):

  “More important, however, is Article VI., both on account of the issues at stake, and because the signatories bound themselves solemnly, “in the name of Almighty God,” to watch over its enforcement. It ran: “All the powers exercising foreign rights or influence in these territories pledge themselves to watch over the preservation of the native populations and the improvement of their moral and material conditions of existence, and to work together for the suppression of the slave trade.” That was the pledge of the united nations of Europe. It is a disgrace to each of them, including ourselves, the way in which they have fulfilled that oath. Before their eyes, as I shall show in the sequel, they have had enacted one long, horrible tragedy, vouched for by priests and missionaries, traders, travellers and consuls, all corroborated by a Belgian commission of enquiry. They have seen these unhappy people, who were their wards, robbed of all they possessed, debauched, degraded, mutilated, tortured, murdered, all on such a scale as has never, to my knowledge, occurred before in the whole course of history, and now after all these years, with the facts notorious, we are still at the stage of polite diplomatic expostulations.”

And yet nations so severely condemned by Conan Doyle for being untrue to their trust are to be entrusted with mandates for the administering of colonies and native populations !

The Scout.

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