1920s >> 1923 >> no-229-september-1923

Work

We are told we do not work hard enough nor long enough.
Unemployment, and the evils resulting from it, are said to be due to the fact that the workers will not work. Stagnation in business is supposed to be due to the workers’ dislike for work. This is the piffle continually coming from the master class and their agents. Facts, however, prove the contrary to be true. The more we work, the greater our poverty becomes; the more we work, the greater the wealth of the master class becomes. We look back into the past history of society and see that there was a time when the people were only able to produce sufficient for their subsistence; thus it was essential that all should work.
As recently as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there was no such thing as unemployment through lack of work. Yet, in the days of feudalism, feudal slaves did not work so hard as wage slaves do to-day. Although working less, the people were better off; in recent times, though the workers work harder, poverty and its resultant evils have become greater. If we do not work hard, society would be short of the necessaries of life, ’tis said; but we know that food, clothing, shelter, and luxuries exist in great abundance.
The problem which the capitalist class cannot solve is how to dispose of the whole of the vast amount of goods produced. Factories, warehouses, stores, and shops are crowded with goods, and until these are sold, more will not be wanted. These goods can be bought with money only; money can be obtained by the workers only through working. Goods unsold mean no work for many; no work means no money. This state of affairs is brought about by overproduction, which proves that the workers have been working too much. But the irony of the position is that the workers, who have produced this vast wealth, are denied access to it. Why? Because it belongs to the capitalists. How have the latter gained control of this wealth? By robbing the producers. By this means the capitalist class have become the private owners of the means of living, i.e., factories, land, railways, etc., and they have made laws and raised armed forces to protect their property from the attacks of the workers.
Now, workers, you have the power to alter all this; you have the power to make life well worth living, by gaining control of the means of living. You have this power because the numbers of the working class far exceed those of the capitalist class. Riots, strikes, and bloody revolutions of the past have not given workers control of the means of living. To-day, these methods are still useless. But we have one method which is a sure method—the vote. To be able to use the vote to advantage requires knowledge. Workers, study Socialism, fight for Socialism, and bring about the Socialist Commonwealth which will free you from your chains and give a full and happy life to all.
E. W. C.