1920s >> 1921 >> no-207-november-1921

Jottings

On the economic field there is constant conflict between the masters and the workers, each in turn fighting to reduce and increase this common standard of subsistence. If, therefore, a section of the master class are successful in shifting the burden of taxation imposed upon them by Parliament, for the purposes before mentioned, it amounts to the fact that by so doing they have succeeded in reserving for their sectional interest a larger proportion of the surplus value, which they and their class as a whole filch from the workers.

 

The activities of Lansbury and Co., therefore, in the interests ot the local industrial capitalists and landlords (our George is one of ’em), is another illustration of the political profiteering of this “Come to Jesus” humbug. There are others besides him, and the Communist Party of Great Britain do not intend to be caught napping by anyone after “Stunt Championships.” Listen to what they have to say on the issue :

 

 “Poplar Borough Council is in gaol. It has done more in one week for the workers than all the other Labour Councils have done in all their little lives.” . . .”The assumption of everyone was that a Labour Council in Poplar would be good and carry out the ‘precept’ of the L.C.C. —levy, as usual, money, that must be wrung, at any rate immediately, from the starving to save the pockets of the wealthy West Enders.” —”The Communist,” 17th Sept., 1921.

 

The Communist Party of Great Britain, affiliated to the Third International, claiming to base its actions on the Marxian doctrines ! Phew ! Revolutionary substitutes.

 

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“America is the home of the free,” so they say. We happen to know, however, that the workers in that country, faced with a capitalist system of production, are subject to similar evils that afflict the workers everywhere that system obtains. They do things on a much “higher” scale in America, however. For instance, we read the following from the “Daily News,” 3rd Sept., 1921 :—

 

  “According to latest advices from Mingo, the recalcitrant miners of West Virginia are to be attacked forthwith by American aviators with tear bombs and gas bombs . . . merely a very modern form of police protection. It is probably a tip taken from a recent German book which showed how effectively aeroplanes could be employed in times of peace for dispersing unauthorised assemblies. If the American bomb droppers really get going they will be able to show the Black and Tans a thing or two.”

 

Overlooking the sardonic suggestion to the Government for a speedy means of settling the Irish question, contained in the last sentence of the above, we did not think that the American masters would devise such an ingenious way of bringing their slaves—with tears in their eyes—to their proper senses. But the Yankee worker will tell you—chewing gum the time—that “he won the war” and that “America is God’s own country—believe me.” But he forgets to add “for the American Capitalist.”

 

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  “The day may be far distant when the actual political arrangements of the world will realise the highest ideal of which our social instincts are capable; but every life honestly spent in the faithful service of the Commonweal, every hour devoted to the earnest study of the public good, brings that day more surely within our reach.” —”History of Politics,” Ed. Jenks, M.A.

 

The object of the Socialist Party is the establishment of Socialism, a system of society wherein the means of production will be owned and controlled by the producers, the Working Class. It is because these means of production are privately owned by the Capitalist Class to-day that millions of the workers throughout the world are in need of food, clothing, and shelter. Wealth is socially produced; it is the result of the co-operation of effort of the Working Class of the world applied to natural resources. But this wealth and the means for producing it are privately owned. It is this antagonism which the Socialist Party is out to abolish. Under the Socialist system harmony will take the place of the existing chaos, because there will be social production side by side with social ownership. This change in the social order is the revolutionary ideal of the Socialist. All else is illusion.

 

Workers, mark well the words contained in the above quotation, and fit yourselves for the mission which historical development demands—that you shall, by the power ot your own individual and collective effort of muscle and brain, some day triumphantly achieve. When you will, who shall say you nay?

 

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“Compromise is virtual death. It is the pact between cowardice and comfort, under the title of expediency.”—George Meredith.

 

Great brains think alike, so it is said. Note the hostility clause in the Declaration of Principles at the back hereof, and in conjunction therewith, write for a copy of  our Manifesto, which explains our attitude of hostility towards all other parties. Price 3d., post free 3½d.

 

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“CALMLY STRIVING.” 

 

 “A sunny view of world and life
As balm for brain and heart,
It is with health and beauty rife,
With noblest works of art.
But do not for a moment think
That it is captured in a wink.
The golden harvest does not grow
 Unless the early tempests blow.
And only bitter woe and strain
Will bright and lofty wisdom gain.”

 

 

The present social structure was not conceived by any one man or number of supermen. It is the result of slow, steady evolutionary processes. So with the new order—the Socialist society of free men and women—it will come when the time is ripe, when the productive forces are developed to the point when a change will be inevitable. Our message to the workers is: Be prepared for that time to welcome the birth of the new social order ; to herald in the Co-operative Commonwealth. As the poet puts it: “What is life?

 

‘Tis not to walk about and draw fresh air
From time to time and gaze upon the sun.
‘Tis to be free. When liberty is gone
Life grows insipid and has lost its relish.”

 

To those who yawn in this black hell of Capitalism, arouse yourselves to the work of Working Class emancipation.

 

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Owing to the failure of the Working Class to understand their position in society, they easily become the victims of any Labour Shark desirous of fattening on their ignorance. At the present time, millions of workers unemployed or on short time are demonstrating in almost every city and town, demanding work or maintenance. Lacking knowledge, they are easily led into difficulties and conflicts with the Police. Quite recently in Liverpool the unemployed workers demonstrated in great numbers, and one of their number shouted, “Raid the Art Gallery.”

 

Whatever could be obtained by capturing that object passes our comprehension.

 

The building was immediately rushed and occupied by the unemployed, but they were driven out by the Police with drawn batons, with the result that much damage to heads was done and many unemployed were arrested. We have often pointed out that so long as the workers fail to make a serious study of the Socialist proposition, that the private ownership of the means of life is alone the cause of unemployment and all its concomitant evils, the workers will, sheep-like, follow any politician or would-be Labour leader to their own destruction and disillusionment.

 

Apropos of the workers, we read the following in the Evening News (27/10/21) :

 

  “An extraordinary example of the way sheep will follow their leader, even to destruction, occurred here to-day (Yarmouth), when one of a flock of pedigree black-faced ewes attempted to eat some leaves which covered a disused well. The animal fell through the leaves and disappeared down the well. Other sheep immediately followed until 17 had leapt in. All were killed or suffocated before help arrived.”

 

Further comment would simply spoil it.

 

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It is becoming almost impossible now to pick up any of the daily papers without reading in their columns terribly distressing stories of privation, starvation, suicide, or murder consequent upon the awful struggle for existence of the Working Class. If man’s command over Nature had not reached the point it has, where, with the aid of wonderful machinery, he is able to produce wealth in abundance, such starvation and want in our midst to-day would be understandable. Millions to-day are idle, cannot obtain permission to manipulate the machinery of wealth production, and, with the raw material provided by Nature, fashion into the finished products we need for food, clothing and shelter. And yet we can read of the following in the so-called Twentieth Century of Enlightenment

 

“CRYING FOR BREAD.”

”It is one of these awful cases of dire distress and starvation,” said Detective-inspector Hall, in the Thames Police-Court.
Emma Coughlin, aged 41, of Willis Street, Poplar, was remanded on a charge of attempting to murder her three children and commit suicide by means of coal gas.
When arrested she said : “I put some money in the gas and locked the bedroom door. I only did it to frighten him (evidently meaning her husband). I do not know why I did it.
The children are continually crying for bread, and I do not know where to get the money. . . . I sold some furniture and I have pawned nearly everything. I have no clothes for my bed. I did not know what to do.” Evening News, 1/10/21

 

Bread, like every other form of wealth, can only be produced by applying human energy to Nature’s resources.

 

The land, all in it and upon it—the workshops, factories and machinery, the mills, mines, and railroads, all the necessary tools and implements for producing and distributing wealth—are owned and controlled by a comparatively few people in society. The vast majority of the human race, being divorced from the means of life, obtain permission from the owners to produce wealth for the latter, with a view to profit, and in return receive a wage, just a portion of the total value produced.

 

When a profit is no longer forthcoming, and, incidentally, when the markets of the world are glutted with the good things of life, the workers in thousands remain idle and go without just at the time they should be enjoying the fruits of their energy. Such cases as above could never disgrace a system of society where the means of life were the common property of all, inasmuch as when the whole of those who are physically and mentally fit, capable of contributing their quota of energy in association with their fellows the world wide, would, when the wealth is produced, socially own, control, and enjoy the results of their social labour.

 

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That vile, sickly sentiment, of which only the Press of the Capitalist Class is capable, is once more being indulged in by the daily papers, concerning the coming anniversary of the signing of the Armistice.

 

Once more they are urging that November 11th should be a day of “National Observance” as paying a tribute to the “Heroic Dead.”

 

If our masters were able to show and to prove that those who survived the terrible struggle in France and Flanders were passing through those “fields of waving corn” promised so often, which have never materialised, something might be said for the tribute they wish us to pay.

 

Right from when the last cannon and machine-gun spluttered forth its deadly missile, until the present time, the Working Class, including the ex-Service men, have faced a far worse struggle for existence than ever known before.

 

Since the last anniversary, the workers, irrespective of whether they had been in the armed forces or munition factories, fighting and slaying to maintain the “glorious prestige of the British Empire,” have suffered a greatly reduced standard of subsistence as a result of the reductions in wages forced upon them by the Capitalist Class.

 

Far more common it is to-day to see the “brave lads” begging support in the streets, playing barrel-organs and generally trying to appeal to the generosity of our benevolent Ruling Class! Thousands are seeking employment, many of whom are physically wrecked on account of their experiences in the trenches. Their chance of employment is almost hopeless, and doubtless they will find their way to the heroes’ home—the workhouse, or a premature grave, the victims of starvation.

 

The hypocritical Ruling Class will always pay tributes in words, but not in deeds. Those workers who perished fighting the battles of our masters to satisfy the latter’s insatiable greed for profits, we know only too well, did so under a conception of patriotism drilled into them when young and fostered since.

 

Were it not for the fact that they have no understanding of their position in society, where they are divorced from the means of life, we should see them fighting the battles in the only fight that does matter —the Class War. We who lived through those four years of unparalleled destruction of precious human lives, say again, as we did in our September, 1914, issue of the Socialist Standard: “The struggle did not justify the shedding of one single drop of Working Class blood,” and that it was “a commercial war being fought out in the interests of the Capitalist Class for the markets of the world in order to dispose of the wealth robbed from the workers.” While we regret that so many workers of all countries lost their lives in the bloody shambles, the appeal of the Capitalist Class leaves us cold.

 

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On many occasions in the columns of the Socialist Standard we have pointed out that the object of Sinn Fein was to further the material interests of the manufacturing section of the Ruling Class of Ireland, and whatever be the outcome of the conflict between them and the British Government, the wealth producers of Ireland will find little alteration in their position.

 

This question was dealt with more fully in our issue of June, 1917, but we do not think it would be out of place for our readers to note the following (Evening News, 3/10/21) :

 

“LABOUR TO FIGHT SINN FEIN.”

“Irish labour leaders do not hide their anxiety regarding the future under a Sinn Fein government. Sinn Fein is claiming greater powers than Ulster regarding the repeal of legislation passed by the United Kingdom Parliament, and in particular takes exception to restrictive trade union practices which are accused of stifling Irish industrial development.
“It is well-known that some of the most prominent men in Southern Ireland believe the Trades Disputes Acts to be inimical to Irish interests and will not assume responsibility for enforcing such laws in Ireland. Realising that they may have to fight their own Government harder than they did the British authorities, the Irish labourers are preparing for conflict.
“They threaten to fight every constituency in the towns, and expect that with the issue of self-government out of the way it will he easier to make headway against official Sinn Fein.”

 

Members of the Communist Party and the S.L.P., please note.

 

O. C. I.