1930s >> 1930 >> no-306-february-1930

Shall We Praise the Lord?

Who has not heard the above expression of religious devotion or first-class humbug? One is reminded of it, on a perusal of the “Star” for January 13th. It seems that there had been a suicide, and almost as usual, the suicide had been a member of the working- class, for he lived not in Mayfair or Belgravia but Walworth, In saying good-bye to his parents in a note left behind, he specially refers to the cause of his action ; he was out of work. Apparently he contemplated the difficulties of the struggle to live and decided that he had had enough. But in case you also read the report and arrived at the same conclusion as the writer, let me hasten to add that the brains of Capitalism as typified by the local coroner, thought otherwise. The mother “said that her son had been temporarily discharged from his work as motor driver because his car was being overhauled. He had a stretch of six months before, and it played on his mind. He was a very sensitive boy.” The Coroner replied : “It is a shocking thing for a lad of 20 to commit suicide. Did you give him any religious instruction?”

“No, Sir.”

The Coroner : “You are his mother and responsible for it. Why did you not give him religious instruction?”

The mother remained silent and this gave our worthy the opportunity to pile on the agony. “There you are, you see. This is the result.” The result, you will observe, not of unemployment, oh dear no, but of the failure of his mother to give him religious instruction ! One can, of course, imagine that had he received this instruction he would have resigned himself to “that position in life to which it had pleased God to call him.” Although, given elementary education, our departed fellow-worker must have had his share of religion from 5 years to 14 years of age, if things haven’t altered since the present writer was maleducated by the L.C.C. It further traspired that our ex-wage-slave had double pneumonia at the time of his decease, in an acute stage, from which it may be supposed that he went to work with it ; such is the struggle to live. He was to be taken back as soon as the car had been overhauled, so said a representative of the firm that had employed him.

A verdict was recorded of suicide while of unsound mind, the real cause being inflammation of both lungs causing depression. Then our worthy coroner returned to the subject of religion.

If, however, we call the cause unemploymment plus the physical state of deceased, we arrive at a verdict of death due to the Capitalist system of society.

Speaking of mentality, one is tempted to at least wonder at the state of the mentality of the official who could add to the agony of a woman who fairly obviously had had, by the loss of her son, more than enough. And if he thinks that any great number of young workers, when they get the sack, nowadays sing “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” he is unaware of the attitude of young workers to-day.

J.B.

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