1910s >> 1919 >> no-181-september-1919

By The Way

We have for several months now been hearing with wearying monotony that the panacea for the country’s ills is work, more work, and still more work. The fact that there are 350,000 demobbed soldiers who cannot find employment does not, it seems, trouble the master class, the idea clearly being to try and persuade those workers already engaged in production to work a little harder and, incidentally, of course, provide their masters with swollen profits. On the other hand, those who are clamouring for a job being unable to obtain one, will have some “incentive” to join up again in the “voluntary” army and “see the world and be paid for doing so.” Beautiful idea, this !
While we workers are being urged by labour leaders and other capitalist hacks to increase production, and are daily treated to liberal doses of chatter about reconstruction, our masters see to it that they religiously abstain from such an undignified task themselves. Are we not termed workers, and they—well, just a simple word—shirkers ?
Take a cursory glance round and see the strenuous life they lead. Look how hard they work during the season. They attend the Eton and Harrow, the Oxford and Cambridge matches, visit the operas and the beauty spots of the world, and generally enjoy the good things of life. As we struggle in overcrowded trains and trams in a frantic endeavour to get work, as if this were the be-all and end-all of our existence, I read that—

  During Ascot week the London and South Western Railway ran 74 extra trains, saloon and first class only, at special fares ; and 63 extra trains of first and third class mixed, with ordinary first class fares and special third-class fares. —”Daily News,” July 23rd, 1919.

After this off to the moors for a little shooting, and all at the very time when we are informed that without increased production we shall go headlong to ruin and disaster. What swank! Is it not time the workers awoke, rubbed their eyes, and proceeded to inaugurate a social system wherein all the physically fit adults contribute their quota of labour for the social good—where all engaged in healthy work and none were overworked ?
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For four years we were enjoined to hate Germany and all things appertaining to it, at the same time being told that after hostilities had ceased some time must elapse before we could stretch out our hands or to have intercourse with our late “enemies.” In a few words they were to be treated as moral lepers. How soon these things have been forgotten by those who uttered them is evidenced by the following extract:

  It is reported that German bankers have been discussing with bankers over here the loan of £100,000,000—we to lend the money. . . We have no very great faith in the patriotism or unselfishness of cosmopolitan financiers ; and we certainly hope that Parliament will not let this loan slip through by default. Unfortunately, cosmopolitan finance is not without its strong supporters in this present House .of Commons, to say nothing of the House of Lords. ” —”Reynolds’s,” August l0th, 1919.

No doubt the general upheaval caused by the war, coupled with the spreading of what is often termed Bolshevism, has tended to widen the outlook of some sections of the capitalist class, and in order to preserve their interests they are prepared to eat their own words. We now read of the allied and associated powers considering the wisdom of granting loans and once again entering into trade relations with the “enemy.”
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The glories of war. “Dr. Williams, tuberculosis officer for Flint and Denbigh, told the Flintshire Insurance Committee yesterday that the death-rate from consumption had increased enormously since the war, and we were back in the position of 25 or 30 years ago.”—”Daily News,” August 15th, 1919.
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Not long since there was a great hullabaloo in connection with the trip of the R34 airship from England to the United States. It is strange indeed that one should read in the columns of a paper which, makes the claim that if you read it in that journal “it is so,” such a belittling announcement as the following. Says Horatio Bottomley :

  It is not generally known that the R34, which has recently so distinguished itself in its cross-Atlantic flights, is an exact replica of one of the German super-Zeppelins captured by us. “—”John Bull,” July 27th, 1919.

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“Unto him that hath shall be given.” While Tommy and Jack may think themselves lucky on receiving a few paltry pounds for “saving the country,” and incidentally spending three or four years of their lives in muddy trenches or on the ocean waves, not to mention stopping bullets and shells, the master class see to it that the “big men” are well rewarded for services rendered. Now I might expatiate on so interesting a subject, but I forbear. I should be biassed. Rather, therefore, would I quote from a capitalist authority. So here you are:

  Parliament has been pleased to grant from £100,000 to £10,000 to eighteen leading soldiers and sailors. The nation does not wish to be niggardly to men who have served it so well; but we doubt whether there is anything like general satisfaction at this separation of the sheep and the goats. General Blank and Tommy Atkins both did their duty, and offered their lives and their energies to the nation. One, already receiving high pay, gets some thousands of pounds ; the other, receiving very low pay, gets twenty-nine shillings a week unemployment dole if he cannot find work, and nothing if he can.”—”Reynolds’s,” August 8th, 1919.

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The lower cost of living “foretold” by G. H. Roberts, the Food Controller, and the Prime Minister is well illustrated by the following :

“Official figures supplied by/the ‘Labour Gazette‘ show that the cost of living this month has advanced 5 per cent. on the previous month, or 115 per cent. above the pre-war cost.
Just before the armistice (Nov. 1918)   120 per cent.
June, 1919         105    “”
July, 1919         110  “”
August, 1919                 115  “”

The worker may well ask himself if his wages have increased in proportion.
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In order to demonstrate to the Germans our intense dislike of militarism “a salute of 19 guns was fired on the river front of the Hohenzollern Bridge,” so we were informed, on the occasion of the visit to headquarters of the Secretary for War, The Right Hon. Winston Churchill. It is to be hoped that they are now duly impressed by this pompous military reception.
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The following item of news makes interesting reading in the light of what has been said and written, concerning England’s late “chief enemy.”

  An article has been published in the Moscow “Investia” showing (according to the Bolshevik wireless message) to what extent the “supposed German Republic has become an agent of the Entente, and affiliated to the House of Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Wilson and Co.
“The chief objects of this honourable house,” says the article, “is the struggle against Bolshevism.” —Star, August a6th, 1919.

From which I gather that the much-hated “Hun” is useful if only to assist the Allies in their fight against the Bolsheviks.
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We have heard during the late war quite a lot of talk about the blood of Frenchmen and Englishmen, which has been so freely shed, cementing the ties of friendship between the two nations. But now the question of the division of the spoils is coming to the fore the pretty prattle of yesterday vanishes into thin air. Concerning this interesting question a Paris newspaper (“Soir“) comments thus on the question of Syria:

  The continuity of British territory from India to Cairo may be an advantage to our Ally, but we regret the animosity which it has evoked in this matter.—”Star, ” Aug. 26th, 1919.

Further information with regard to the Paris newspaper and the French Economic Commission, just returned from Syria, tells us that “the interview, portions of which have been deleted by the censor, consists of a review of the economic position in Syria, and gives a very pessimistic impression of the outlook for French trade, industry, and finance in consequence, mainly, it is stated, of the activities of the British.”
Again, later, we are told—

  Regarding the alleged incidents in Syria the “Homme Libre” states that for some time past friction with Great Britain has increased only too much.
The “Liberté” says: British officials are convinced that our exclusion is necessary to the security of the British Indian Empire which to their mind, ought to stretch from Calcutta to the Cape by way of Cairo.
At most they will consent to leave us, like a bone thrown to a dog, the narrow band of the Lebanon coast, just as in the eighteenth century they left us Pondicherry and Chandernazor. They have only forgotten one thing, and that is that then we were conquered and enemies, and to-day we are conquerors and Allies. —”Daily News,” September 3rd, 1919.

All this reminds me of the old saw of our school-boy copy books—”When thieves fall out honest men come by their own.” More information on this subject can be gathered from the secret treaties first published by Trotsky, the existence of which was then denied by our truthful Government, but which, owing to the occasional jars in the allied camp, have now become accepted facts.
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Once again the attitude taken up by our party in opposing the gentry of the Labour Party (and all other anti-working class candidates) who batten and fatten on the political ignorance of the working class, is justified.
In connection with the contest just closed at Widnes, the following extract throws a flood of light on the worthless character of the ”labour” candidate.

  The Liberal Association of the Widnes Division met this evening, and having considered the political situation in reference to the election now pending; passed a resolution recommending the Liberal electors of the division ‘to vote for the Labour candidate and to support the candidature of Mr. Henderson in every possible way, and thus unite the progressive forces.’” —”Daily News,” August 20th, 1919.

The workers of Widnes have been asked to vote for this nominee of capitalism, who was prepared to accept office in a capitalist ministry, went to Russia at the time of the collapse of Tsardom to do the bidding of a capitalist government, and at most is prepared, like any Liberal, to tinker with and endeavour to patch up the awful mess created by capitalist society.
The folly and futility of such procedure has been exposed time and time again, and even Lloyd George himself has said that as soon as one sore is removed another breaks out. Study Socialism, and then vote fox it.
The Scout.

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