1920s >> 1920 >> no-188-april-1920

By The Way

In the days of long ago we were accustomed to hear that “Socialism would break up the family life,” but with the world war raging it soon became manifest that the sending of working men to participate in the masters’ quarrel was a more potent factor for achieving that object. While the men of England were “crushing the German military menace” and making the world safe for democracy and “our women” later results would seem to show that there are Huns in other places than Germany. A study of the Press would soon clinch the point.


With the Bolshevik rebellion in Russia the antis here soon got to work and a new cry was taken up by them. For the benefit of those folk who put their thinking out to be done for them, like they do their dirty linen, the story was told and re-told of how the Bolsheviks “nationalised” their women, and other lying statements were made in order to throw dust in the eyes of the working people here. Yet at the same time in Christian England we speak of “public women” and on contents bills of local newspapers the line “The Social Evil” meets our eye week after week. Verily our masters are a gang of hypocrites.


Now we read of an astounding proposition emanating from the land of “our gallant ally,” France. I will quote the announcement in full. Here it is:


   “A daring proposal for increasing the birth-rate in France is made in the “Paris Medical,”  by M. Paul Carnot, Professor of Therapeutics at the Faculty of Medicine at Paris University. He says that if the birthrate in France is not considerably increased in a few years France’s losses of 2,000,000 men in the war will have been quadrupled.
Discussing the methods by which maternity could be made a remunerative career for women, he asks whether society should not confide the mission of increasing the population to a large number of “volunteers of maternity,” the community bearing the expense of rearing children and giving bonuses in respect of healthy offspring. ” —”Daily News,” March 26th, 1920.


Doubtless the master class have it in mind that, in order to maintain their system, wage-slaves and an armed force are necessary, and though the war just terminated was to be the last war, signs are not wanting that those who uttered such puerile twaddle so short a while ago were gravely in error or deliberately “kidding” the simple ones. Hence the necessity for preparedness for future eventualities thus the need for “volunteers of maternity.” What will the antis say now ?


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We have all heard at some time or other that if we were careful, industrious, thrifty, god-fearing, and abstained from Bacchanalian orgies the ladder was clear and easy of access for every one of us to climb to fame and wealth. Have we not heard of this man and that who started life in humble surroundings and, by practising the virtues enumerated above, ultimately became what our false teachers call “self made men” ? Most workers now realise that to be born in the ranks of the working class means being doomed to remain there until the end of their days.


For the benefit of those who accept the dictum that we all have an equal opportunity of rising to the pinnacle portrayed by these misleaders, the following taken from the Inland Revenue Department and quoted in an article in “Reynolds’s Newspaper” (28.3.20.) should afford some enlightenment:


(1) 340,000 persons added £2,846,000,000 to their fortunes.
(2) 280 persons added an average of £700,000 to their fortunes (total wealth) between the outbreak of war and June 30th, 1919.
(3) 200 persons added an average increase of £330,000 each to their fortunes.
(4) 564 added an average of £230,000 each to their fortunes.
(5) The remaining 44,500,000 being all those who were worth less than £5,000 on June 30, 1919, added £1,334,000,000 to their fortunes. Just less than one-half of the increase of wealth belonging to the favoured half-million.


No, the road to affluence and power is not through grinding toil.
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The oneness of the international master class has just recently been illustrated. How beautifully humane they are in their treatment of their slaves. From a report dealing with the revolt on the part of the German workers take the following extract:


  “Fighting continues in most of the thickly populated areas, and has been particularly severe in the Rhineland and at Leipzig, where the workers shot down a military aeroplane after bombs had been dropped on the city.—-“Daily News,” March 20th, 1920.


It matters not what part of the capitalist world one looks at to observe the fact that whenever a revolt on the part of the workers takes place it is always met with the armed forces of capitalist society. When will the workers learn the lesson from the past and understand their position in society, then organise to overthrow the system that robs them of the fruit of their labours. “Workers of the world, unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains, you have a world to win !”


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On more than one occasion lately Mr. Lloyd George has told those who read his speeches that there is growing up in this country a movement which means to put an end to the capitalist system. To counteract this movement he desires a fusion of the different political parties he thinks that by this method he can give an extended lease of life to his capitalist paymasters. The puny efforts of this political mountebank are only to be likened to Mrs. Partington endeavouring with her broom to stay the incoming tide.


Strange, is it not, that this individual who was so loud in his condemnation of capitalist society from 1906 to 1910 should now be so keen in endeavouring to maintain that system, which he said at Swansea on October 1st, 1908, “No one can really honestly defend.”


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Perhaps in view of the foregoing paragraph a few extracts from that speech would not be amiss, Indeed, it may be helpful to those who as yet only see as through a glass darkly. In that speech Lld. George himself states part of the indictment against capitalism and furnishes the Socialist with ammunition to help him in storming the capitalist citadel. Let me quote:


  “There are 43 millions of people in this country. They are not here of their own choice. Whether they are here by accident or by the direct decree of Providence, at any rate they have had no control or voice in the selection of the land of their birth. If hundreds and thousands of them either starved, or were on the brink of starvation, we must not blame Providence for this misfortune. There are abundant material resources in this country to feed, clothe, and shelter them all—yea, and if properly husbanded and managed to do the same for many millions more.”


Speaking of the callous indifference of the capitalist class he says :


  “We are still confronted with the more gigantic task of dealing with the rest—the sick, the infirm, the unemployed, the widows, and the orphans. No country can lay any real claim to civilisation that allows them to starve. Starvation is a punishment that society has ceased to inflict for centuries on its worst criminals, and at its most barbarous stage humanity never starved the children of the criminal.
But what happens to-day. . . A workman breaks down in his prime, and permanently loses his power of earning a livelihood. . . . Why should he be allowed to starve and his children to die of hunger in this land of superabundant plenty ?”


Another quotation from the same source taken from the right honourable gentleman’s speech at Newcastle, on October 9th, 1909, is particularly appropriate at this juncture. In fact, were he to refresh his memory once again and give utterance to his former speeches, one could imagine the cry of “Bolshevik” escaping from the lips of his patriotic supporters. In the speech referred to he asked a series of questions, as follows:


  “Who ordained that a few should have the land of Britain as a perquisite ? Who made ten thousand people owners of the soil, and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth ? Who is it who is responsible for the scheme of things whereby one man is engaged through life in grinding labour to win a bare and precarious existence for himself . . . and another man who does not toil receives every hour of the day, every hour of the night, whilst he slumbers, more than his poor neighbour receives in a whole year of toil ? ” (Extracts from “Better Times,” by D. Ld. George.)


Now this was the position of the workers fourteen years ago when Lld. George and the Liberal Party came into office — then he was going to lead us to the “fields of waving corn.” At that period he stated — “If at the end of an average term of office it were found that a Liberal Parliament had done nothing to cope seriously with the social condition of the people, to remove the national degradation of slums and wide-spread poverty and destitution in a land glittering with wealth. . . then would a real cry arise in this land for a new party.”


Fourteen months ago the same gentleman, having won the war, came along with his Coalition Party and his “New World”‘ stunt. A gain he glibly talked about a “land fit for heroes,” and his reform-mongering panacea for all our social ills. Surely the time has arrived when he should be judged by the test he himself laid down fourteen years ago. Let the workers themselves ask and answer the question —Has Lloyd George and his Governments done anything to cope seriously with the social condition of the people, the poverty and destitution? Then, I think, they will bring in a verdict that capitalism has been found guilty, and that the next thing to do is to pronounce sentence of death and usher in the Socialist Commonwealth.


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It is extremely interesting to read the pronouncements of the men of God. Just recently Cardinal Bourne, in his Lenten pastoral, declared, according to the “Illustrated Sunday Herald” (15.2.1920), that “through the terrible scourge of the war God has wrought a real improvement in His People. Evils such as prodigal expenditure and unrestrained luxury were the outcome of the unreasoning restlessness which has always followed a terrible conflict. But deeper down one saw a more genuine desire in all classes to see justice done to those who in the past had been exposed to poverty, pauperism, and desolate old age.”


Really the follower of the lowly Nazarene must have had his rose-coloured spectacles on to observe the things he portrays. Where, might I ask, is the “real improvement to be found? True we have read of the millionaire who has found “real improvement,” and who exclaimed “What is the use of having a war if you do not make anything out of it ?” But generally speaking, from a working-class point of view, no improvement is discernible.


As to the statement that “deeper down one saw a more genuine desire to see justice done to those who had been exposed to poverty, pauperism, and desolate old age,” that, to put it mildly, is a terminological inexactitude. The bitter struggle which ensues when these people endeavour to obtain an increase of wages or pension to keep pace with the ever-increasing cost of living gives the lie direct to these Holy Joes who prate about “genuine desires.”


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In the days long ago when I used to attend Divine Worship one heard a great deal about the gospel of Christ being a gospel of peace and goodwill towards men. Maybe this was a good stunt for Sunday, intended to be put away in the drawer with the Sunday clothes. During the war period we are all aware that notwithstanding the lip-service given to this glorious gospel of “peace” by the ambassadors of Christ, they were, in the main, whole-hearted supporters of war to the bitter end, aye, to the last drop of somebody else’s blood. Even now that our masters have arranged a kind of patched-up peace they want to be preparing for the next war. Witness the following :


  “At the morning and evening services at the Waltham Abbey Baptist Church yesterday the congregations passed resolutions declaring that the closing of the Royal Gunpowder Factory would have a disastrous effect upon the town and neighbourhood, and calling upon the Prime Minister to intervene to save the factory and thus avert the spread of unemployment. “—”Daily News,” March 1st, 1920.


Here you have the glories of Christianity and capitalism. On Sunday you have the local tin-Bethelites forgathering ostensibly for worship and preparation for the “next world,” but the uncertainty of an existence in this apparently troubles them more. They have their eyes firmly fixed on the main chance. What damned hypocrisy!


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At one time we heard a lot about the lofty ideals of the Allies—that they did not enter the war for self-aggrandisement or gain; no, simply to crush Prussian militarism and make the world safe for democracy. How successful they have been even an individual with one eye can perceive. From time to time quite a number of little differences have arisen among these would-be saviours of the universe over the division of the spoils. Take this as a recent example:


  “In shipping circles the decision of the Supreme Council with regard to the allocation of German tonnage among the Allies is being awaited with some anxiety. The council is to deal with the thorny question this week. France is going to fight against the plan that each Ally should be allowed to retain all the ships captured or interned in that Ally’s ports during the war. Under this plan America would retain 50 per cent. more German tonnage than she lost. France would suffer in comparison, but so would this country, although much bitter French criticism is directed against us. France, it is asserted, will decline to hand back the 250,000 tons allocated provisionally for her use, in addition to her final share in the restricted pool, so that an amicable solution seems difficult of attainment. “— “Reynolds’s,” March 21st, 1920.


Another interesting piece of information was vouchsafed to us by the daily Press a few days ago. It concerns the question of “our mandate” for Mesopotamia, and it runs thus :


  “Mr. Lloyd George has stated that the reason why we are extending our frontiers to include the distant province of Mosul is that ‘Mosul is a country with great possibilities. It has rich oil deposits.’”— “Daily News,” March 29th, 1920.


Of course we are not told who are going to work these rich oil-fields or who will receive the dividends arising therefrom. But it is perfectly obvious that all the benefits to be derived therefrom will accrue to Lloyd George’s paymasters, the capitalists. Working men laid down their lives to make this secure for their masters.


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While we are exhorted to work, and work harder, to increase production, I note that a “vote as a grant-in-aid of the mission of the Prince of Wales to Australia and New Zealand is fixed so as not to exceed £20,000.” A holiday for the parasites of society while the only useful class toils on to maintain them in luxury. When will the workers awake and end the system which robs them of the fruits of their toil ?


The Scout