Short Story: Heard in the Train
Morning, Dick! Just enough room for you before “she” goes. We’re lucky this morning; only twelve standing. Was just reading in the “Wail” that all the hotels in St. Moritz are booked up for visitors for the ice sports, and that London is “empty.” Wish this carriage was a little more “empty,” don’t you? Always moaning? Surely, Dick, you are not satisfied with conditions in general, are you? It is a poor horse that hasn’t a kick when it is stung with continual whipping, and you are in a worse predicament than that beast of burden, for to buy a horse needs money, but as for you—there are two million workers wandering the streets seeking a master, willing to work but unable to do so, desirous of producing the very articles we are so badly in need of—food, clothing and shelter.
Look at these vile slums we are passing now! Drab, dingy buildings, where no pure air can penetrate. They want bombarding with 15-inch shells, man. A breeder of prize pigs would scorn them rent-free, and yet we are the working class. We build the luxurious hotels and mansions of the world and have to exist in those vile dens from childhood until the master whispers in our ear that we are too old for work, and we toddle along to the workhouse. We build floating palaces to transport our masters to foreign climes, and our share of that luxury is probably a view of the “ocean greyhound” as we stand on the end of Southend Pier.
What d’ye say? Why talk of classes. Look, here’s another train passing us. A few carriages are first class, some second and a lot third. Well, why not have all first class carriages? They are much more comfortable and there is no shortage of material necessary for making first class carriages. The Socialist argues that there should be but one class—the working class —for a class which doesn’t work is not necessary, is but a drone in the hive and should be abolished.
Won’t alter human nature, Dick? Well, the Socialist doesn’t propose to alter human nature. Human nature is but man’s desire to eat, sleep and drink and reproduce his species and to experience, understand and enjoy all that civilisation can make accessible. Our aims are concentrated upon educating the workers to understand what their position in society actually is, viz., a slave class. It is not we who propose to alter anything—only the position of my foot when you’ve finished standing on it. The alteration or change over from Capitalism to Socialism must be accomplished by the working class themselves, and once our mission has succeeded the Socialist Party will cease to exist; its function of educating and organising the working class is the sole reason for its existence.
Oh, yes! I know you think the Labour Party ought to have a chance. They ought to have another chance to vote for another war—the same as they voted for the last war. Do you forget the alliances they have made at elections when they have amalgamated with the Liberals, and vice-versa? Here! look at that “Daily Herald” placard on that bookstall—“ We gave four winners yesterday.” Come on, buy the Socialist Standard and we’ll give you A winner—back Socialism for the Human Race—there is no other running; it’s bound to win.
Well, here we are, Dick. Think it over during the day. There’s probably a branch of the Socialist Party your way. Call round; they’ll be glad to see you.