At a meeting of representatives of employers’ associations held recently to determine, among other things, whether combination for disorganising trading and social conditions should not be made unlawful, Mr. Wm. M. Murphy contributed the following significant statement: “Employers can beat Syndicalism anywhere and beat it hollow. The answer to a general strike is a general lock-out, and that is the only way.”

Which ought to be enlightening to those of the workers who are led away by the ensnaring tactics of the anti-political-actionists. When the working class is sufficiently conscious of its class interests to organise politically in order to capture the forces of oppression and repression, then will the capitalist class experience a “general lock out” ; and “that is the only way “—at present.

* * *

As was to be expected, the Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of the Dublin police resulted in a complete whitewashing from beginning to end. This was only natural, considering its composition. No representative of the workers was present, and in addition, 202 out of 281 witnesses were police officers. These two facts alone are significant.

The Labour Party were obviously disappointed with the result, evidently believing that if the Commission was a Liberal one it would be certain to be just and impartial. They will in­sist on believing that the Liberal is somehow different from the Tory, despite the frequency with which they are “dished.”

When Mr. Geo. Barnes moved an amendment regretting that no mention was made in the Address to the conditions in Dublin, the Li­berals promptly turned it down—by 233 to 45. When the figures were announced a Labour member had the temerity to shout: “Who has run away now?” This can only mean that the Liberals had deserted their pals, the Labour Party. Clearly enough, they are under the im­pression that the Liberals ought to stick to them at any cost ! The fact is, as the most superficial observer can see, the Liberals are determined to fool them at every turn, whilst at the same time making good use of them when it suits their purpose to do so. The reason the Labour Party cannot always see it, is because of a peculiar, though not uncommon, disease with which they are afflicted, and which, in their case, is con­sidered by some to be incurable. This disease has been diagnosed as “political myopia.”

* * *

Fa!her Bernard Vaughan has been through the United States on a tour. As is usual with people who pay flying visits to other countries, he has come back equipped with a complete knowledge of the conditions obtaining there, ranging from the hobble skirt to the delightful methods of the industrial system. He told his audiences, when lecturing on his experiences at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, recently, that he knew of no country in the world where a man could be more sure of a living wage for an honest day’s work than the States, “I found in the States that the employers generally got into closer touch with their employees than anywhere else. They seem to ‘pal’ with their servants instead of patronising them. The employers consider their servants, they study them, they try to give them a co-partnership, a personal in­terest in their work. I was much impressed by the relations between capital and labour. They are drawn closely together and those impersonal terms of industry have been exchanged for real personal relations.”

Now, that’s refreshing ! Ever since I heard this I have been disgusted with my little lot. Oh ! why wasn’t I born in America ! I’ve had iota of bosses, but never one that I could “pal” with. Comrades in America, I envy you ! I’ve read a lot about America, too, but never saw it in this light before. So far as my investigations into American industrial conditions go, the only “personal relations” in which the close “touch” is manifested I have been able to discover, are those in which the policeman’s is used as the medium. It would be interesting to know what our fellow-workers in the U.S.A. think of Vaughan’svanalysis !

* * *

The impression that all is not well with the Insurance Act is gaining ground. The Unionists in Parliament have tried hard to pin Mr. Lloyd George down to some statement regarding the financial position, but up to now the Chancellor hasn’t obliged. Not that the Unionists are solicitous about the way the workers are being diddled. They are simply looking for something upon which to base a party cry at the expected early General Election. The Liberal and Radical Press is filled with a mass of figures which try to prove what a glorious benefaction the Act is to the workers. But to the majority of workers the figures are about as intelligible as the hiero­glyphics on Cleopatra’s Needle.

The following table is about the clearest, and is taken from the “Daily News” (24.2.14):

Receipts for the United King­dom up to Dec. 31st, 1913 £33.424,000
Issues and Investments
Approved societies for: £
Benefits 7,605,000
Administration 3,675,000
Insurance Committees for:
Medical benefit 4,502,000
Sanatorium benefit 801,000
Administration. 252,000
Deposit contributors in sickness and maternity benefits 18,100
Investments :
Societies for investments or invested on their behalf 937,000
Invested by Insurance Commissioners through the Na­tional Debt Commissioners 15,263,000

Whether or not there is any truth in the ru­mour that a large number of approved societies will not be able to pay the minimum benefits and are rapidly drifting into insolvency, one significant fact remains—half of the total re­ceipts has gone into the National Debt !

Whether it is a success from the doctor’s point of view may be gauged from the following scale of payments made to panel practitioners at Bolton — to take a typical case :

5 doctors were paid £800 to £1,000 each
5 doctors were paid £600 to £800 each
14 doctors were paid £400 to £600 each
20 doctors were paid £200 to £400 each

(“Daily News,” 27.2.14.)

Which averages £477 10s. per year each or, roughly, about £9 10s. per week !

* * *

Daring the debate on rating reform in the House of Commons on Feb. 19th, Mr. Chiozza Money (statistical “expert”) argued that old age pensions had not only relieved but had equalised local rates, and the Insurance Act would also tend gradually to ease local burdens, which I can quite believe. An Act which was supposedly passed to benefit the workers is proving to be of immense utility to the capita­list class and its retainers.

The relief mentioned by Mr. Money, it is hardly necessary to point out, does not refer to the burdens of the working class, but, to the “burdens” of the rate and tax payers—the class which gets something for nothing.

* * *

Impressed by the quality of the work done in. their Chicago factory, where the hours are shorter than in England, the firm of Cooper & Nephews, Chemical Manufacturers, Berkhampsted, have decided that for a trial period of three months work would commence at eight in the morning instead of six. Wages remain un­altered. After six weeks’ working the general verdict is that waste has been eliminated, the standard of efficiency has been raised and that the firm wilil have no cause to repent of the change. Will Thorne, please note.

* * *

There was to have been a huge general strike during March, involving about 750,000 men, chiefly engineers, etc. So predicted Mr. Tom Mann at Dublin recently.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately), Mr. Mann has gone to South Africa as the “Ambassador of the Rank and File of Great Britain and Ireland” (em>vide “Daily Herald”), so the strike won’t come off.

* * *

At the time of writing a strike is proceeding on the Tramway system at Barcelona. Despite the fact that the employees have struck work almost to a man, it has made no difference to the service. Why ? Simply because the officials had only to call on the military to find themselves well supplied with every means of maintaining it. Indeed, a distinctive feature of all modern strikes (especially transport) appears to be the equanimity with which the capitalists regard the withdrawal of labour.


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