1920s >> 1921 >> no-205-september-1921

Agricultural Industry

In the “Labour Gazette” for July,1921, some interesting facts are brought to light. We are told that the Agricultural Wages Board appointed a Committee in December, 1920, “to inquire into and report upon the extent to which the Unemployment Insurance Act might be made applicable and beneficial to agricultural workers.” This report has now been completed, and in their comment on same we are told: “There was a time when the distress arising from unemployment in agriculture, at least in certain years, was considerable. During the latter half of the 19th century, however, changes in the methods of farming and the extensive introduction of machinery, caused a great reduction in the number of men employed on farms, with the result that the smaller number who were now employed enjoyed greater stability of employment.” Here are some of the figures re-quoted from the report by the “Labour Gazette“: —

 

 

The point it is desired to show once again is that, with the development of the forces of production under Capitalism, there follows greater insecurity of life for the worker. To those who happen to qualify for employment—generally the more skilled and efficient—there follows corresponding intensity of conditions arising from the manipulation of the intricate machinery brought into being to increase the output per hour per man. The writer repeats, therefore, that which has always been insisted upon in these columns, that so long as the means and instruments for producing the requirements of the community remain the private property of the capitalist class, the conditions of the workers must inevitably tend to get worse. The only remedy is Socialism, the common ownership of these means and instruments for producing wealth.

 

The above illustration shows the need for the worker to study his position in capitalist society and organise for the establishment of Socialism. Under that system every device invented will shorten the hours of labour necessary for the production of the requirements and comforts of the human race. As Paul Lafargue so brilliantly puts it: —

 

  Mechanical production which, under Capitalist direction, can only buffet the worker to periods of enforced idleness, will, when developed and regulated by a Socialist administration, require from the producer to provide for the normal needs of Society, only a maximum day of two or three hours in the workshop, and when this time of necessary social labour is fulfilled he will be able to enjoy freely the physical and intellectual pleasures of life.
The artist then will paint, will sing, will dance ; the writer will write, the musician will compose operas, the philosopher will build systems, the chemist will analyse substances, not to gain money, to receive a salary—but to deserve applause, to win laurels, like the conquerors at the Olympic games—but to satisfy their artistic and scientific passions; for one does not drink a glass of champagne or kiss the woman he loves for the benefit of the gallery.

 

O. C. I