1920s >> 1925 >> no-249-may-1925

Self-Denial: A Millionaire’s Advice

With tiresome regularity the defenders of capitalism from Leverhulme to Lansbury reiterate that a dreadful catastrophe awaits “us” if the workers lose the taste and desire for work. The demoralisation resulting from the drawing of the “dole” or the workers craving for pleasure (heavens!) are themes for daily discussion in the press. Discontent is considered by our masters and Labour politicians as almost criminal, and an attempt is made to counter the weariness of monotonous toil by carefully-constructed appeals for hard work and sacrifice to save “us” from utter ruin. What stinking hypocrisy! To our masters, men and women of the working class are but their beasts of burden or their playthings. Hearken how they voice their contempt for you :—

  Some people, he said, asked what chance there was for the young man when all businesses required so much money . . .  The answer was that what the young man required for success in business was the practice of self-denial. (Lord Leverhulme, “Daily Chronicle,” 14.4.25.)

It is a commonplace to the Socialist that to such lengths are our masters and their agents put to defend their rotten system that they invariably contradict their statements in an effort to give them plausibility. A fuller report of the above specious reasoning was given in “The Grocer,” 18.4.25 but with the addition of the following sentence in the space we have indicated “ . . . . an amount of money that even with the greatest care and saving, it might take any man far past the prime of life to acquire.

How significant this omission on the part of the “Chronicle,” considering that the noble Lord shatters the beautiful dream of “self-denial” and damns his case with his own words. How unfortunate too for the soap magnate’s plea that the same issue of “The Grocer” contains three pages of reports of bankruptcies in that trade. Within the present system, the slave condition of the workers is one of finality; only in the most exceptional cases do they ever rise to become masters. Even the rare cases of the self-made man, so-called, are relics of an age of small businesses and small capitals, now almost departed. Leverhulme’s soap trust is itself an example of the wiping out of the small concern. Liptons, Lyons, the multiple stores, etc., are other examples that support our case. No need for harder work while your efforts only multiply the pleasures of the Capitalist loafers; no need for self-denial when for countless generations you have practised it with a brutal and callous indifference to your own welfare. Hurl back the lying insults at those who rob you of all life’s enjoyments. Hurl them back in the only way that will matter by your organised action for the ushering in of a system wherein the Capitalist absurdities of self-denial, over work, and parasitism, can have no place.


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