1920s >> 1920 >> no-194-october-1920

The Reason of It

To save the next generation is, according to “Lloyd’s News” (8.8.20) the mission of a tearing campaign through London, that is to be inaugurated by a “distinguished body” representing all denominations and young people’s organisations, headed by Mr. Lloyd George and the Bishops of Barking and Stepney.


These gentlemen, fresh from the contemplation of the divine spectacle of the butchery of millions of working men, the starvation of millions of working-class women and children, the drowning of thousands of seamen, the murder of miners, the atrocity of Amritsar, recoil with horror from the “paganism” of the rising generation.


Therefore, fellow workers, Lloyd George and Co. would fain lead your little ones away from the “appalling examples of licentiousness all around them.” To do this they will not consider such sordid material things as tenement life, child factory labour, insufficient and adulterated food, clothing, etc., in short, the beastly conditions in which the children are reared. No! They will appeal to the heart, because to admit that conditions are responsible would of necessity involve the alteration of those conditions.


David, however, is not concerned about the vices or virtues of the workers, but, as the representative of the capitalist class, he is perturbed at the growing tendency of the workers to question and criticise the institutions of capitalism.


Mr. George knows that in view of the more frequent and more violent manifestations of the class struggle, greater attention must be paid to the dulling of the intellects of the potential wage slaves. Those beautiful dreams; Homes for Heroes; Fields of Waving Corn, have failed to materialise. Instead there are the keener competition of children with their parents, a growing army of unemployed, prostitution, famine, and disease rampant, dark clouds hovering over the industrial field, and the probability of more wars. No wonder that our children will have need of the “corrective of the self discipline of Christianity.”


So our far-seeing capitalists see to it that every inducement is made to working-class children, to entice them into the wage-slave organisations—the boy scouts, girl guides, bands of dope and glory, etc. Our children must be taught to believe in the humility of man, the sanctity of poverty, the shame of idleness, the chastening influence of disease— for the workers. Yes ! Because the capitalist class desires “good and faithful servants,” cheap, docile, and ignorant wage slaves. And to get them there is no better preparative than religion.


While the worker’s head is full of such notions as God, the devil, and the hereafter, to him his slave condition on this planet is a minor affair. He looks upon his revolting conditions as heaven-sent and unchangeable. That his life and destiny should be controlled in just the same way as the machine which he is compelled to tend gives him no food for thought. The ownership by a small section of society of the economic resources of the whole community, “always has been and always will be”—in his mind.


The Socialist, however, has analysed society from top to bottom. He knows and understands the laws of the development of the social organism. Religion he explains as having its origin in ancestor worship, and owing its development to the changing economic conditions, which will also be responsible for its disappearance in the future. The poverty and degradation of the working class to-day he knows is due to the private ownership of the means of life.


Therefore, reader, he suggests to you that instead of thinking about “changing your heart,” you should consider the alteration of the basis of society—to establish in place of the present system, one based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of producing and distributing wealth.


What is your view?


A. H.