1920s >> 1924 >> no-235-march-1924

By The Way

What abundant evidence in various forms obtrudes itself upon us in the daily press and other journals to prove our contention, that, as the Capitalist system develops, the gulf between the working’ class and the Capitalist class must ever become wider and deeper. At one end of the social scale we have insensate luxury, at the other sordid and sickening, misery such as indicated in the following reports :—
“Sir Richard and the Hon. Lady Musgrave have left for Paris en route for the Riviera, and from there will go to Egypt, where they will spend the remainder of the winter.

  “The Hon. Ernest and Mrs.Guinness are shortly returning to England from a cruise round the world on their yacht, on which they took a party of young people.” (Westminster Gazette, 8.1.24).

By no means isolated instances, the more expensive pictorials are filled with the escapades of these wealthy idlers to whom the world is a beautiful hunting ground of pleasure,where they chase the seasons and live out their useless lives. If such is the lot of these social drones, what of the workers, the class who make possible their enjoyment ? The following are striking contrasts:

  “At last night’s meeting of the Fulham Public Health Committee it was reported that a husband and wife and five children had been occupying one room for five years. Several of the family had tuberculosis.” (Same page, same date, Westminster Gazette, 8.1.24.)
“Three millions of our people, men, women and children, are festering and rotting in slums, living three and four in a room, huddled together, the healthy in close contact with the diseased, in tenements where neither the woman in childbirth, the sick, or the dying, can be given the ordinary decencies of life.” (Mr. C. A. McCurdy, Daily Chronicle, 8.9.23.)

The object of these quotations is not to arouse a sentimental sympathy, useless by itself, but to urge the non-Socialist reader to study our position in order that he or she may join with us to help achieve our object, a system,. in which the enjoyment of life will not be based upon the misery of others.

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 “I am opposed to Socialism. I believe in the liberty of the individual and the Britishers’ constitutional right, to be a free” man.” (Sir Robert Aske, Morning Post, 14.1.24.)
“I believe in my heart it is a God-given opportunity that the Labour movement of this country has to-day to stave off upheaval in India. . . . We want India to be the brightest jewel in the great British federation of free peoples.” (George Lansbury, quoted Democrat, 12.1.24.)

What a charming coincidence! Two “great” minds with but a single thought—and both wrong. For—“they are not free that mock their chains,” even if those chains be the invisible ones of wage slavery.. If, ’tis true, “He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,” alas! how many slaves must be!

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The Capitalist need for raw material and markets often expresses itself in a burning desire to be friendly and restore to more stable industrial conditions a former enemy country.

Such a face-about attitude amazed many unthinking workers when the canting war cry of “never again” trading with Germany was converted into appeals for merciful treatment to aid her recovery. An analogous position presents itself with regard to Russia, the possibility of exploiting the vast mineral resources and the potential market existing in such a country makes our masters yearn to “restore trade relations”:—

 

  “There are many who have loudly declared that ‘they will not shake hands with murderers,’ but are quite aware of the advantages which might ensue from the murderers’ hands being shaken.” (Time and Tide, 8.2.24.)

This oft repeated assertion placed the Capitalists in the humiliating position of having to eat their own words and expose their hypocrisy if they themselves were to negotiate with Russia on supposed friendly terms. But the opportunity arose of a compromise that would allow of government by the Labour Party. The latter have proved their readiness to serve Capitalist interests, as past numbers of the Socialist Standard have shown, so it was not surprising to find them ready to undertake the dirty work of the master class on this occasion—for a price—the fruits of office. Under cover of “Our first Labour Government” they could arrange a “friendly” Anglo-Russian Conference and present a labour veiled appeal to M. Poincaré for “Honour among thieves,” moves which have already received blessing and approbation from the Capitalist Press.

 

Another reason in favour of the Capitalists helping the Labour Party to office, despite the stage thunder of their pretended opposition, is the inevitable failure of such a Party, elected as it is upon a re-hash of Liberal reforms, to solve any working class questions by action that will adversely affect Capitalists’ interests; not without reason has the Capitalist Press reiterated with wearying monotony the lie that the Labour Party is a Socialist Party, for they anticipate that when the hopes of the trusting workers fail to materialise they will be able to discredit Socialism in their eyes; we claim that while the working class do not understand Socialism, they will, under whatever guise or name, continue to support Capitalism as the only system they believe possible. To abandon one incorrect position to take up another equally unsound—or the same position with but a change of name, leaves the workers—as they were.

 

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  “I am quite satisfied that a lot of the housing trouble is caused through young women staying at home instead of going into domestic service.” (Judge Crawford, Southend County Court, Daily Chronicle, 11.2.24.)

Such self satisfaction does not require proof or precision of statement. That might mean admitting that it is reserved for the daughters of the working class to enjoy the delights of domestic drudgery.

 

Our learned beak has also run a very great risk of being called to order for grossly insulting the young ladies of the “Upper Ten,” who might feel hurt by being included among those who bring this trouble (sic) upon us by refusing to be slaveys. Alas! it is the workers who build both the mansion and the slum, but while they remain content to be servants, domestic or industrial, to a class they wrongly think they could not live without, they will accommodate that class with luxuriously appointed residences, while permitting themselves to be herded in sunless barracks and foul smelling jerry built shelters. Housing problems have no separate existence from other working class problems. They will be solved when that class undertakes the task itself instead of waiting for “somebody to do something.”’

 

Mac.