1940s >> 1944 >> no-480-august-1944

By the Way

Medals for Russia’s Mothers.
“A new institution is the ‘Medal for Motherhood’ 1st and 2nd degree, for women who have reached six and five children respectively.
“After that, the ambitious mother—if she manages to produce nine children—receives the ‘Order of Glorious Motherhood’ 1st degree.
“When the tenth child reaches the age of one year, she receives the ‘Hon. title of Mother Heroine’ and a letter from the Supreme Council.”—(Moscow correspondent of Daily Mirror, July 13, 1944.)

But What About the £5,000 a Year.
From a speech by Mr. Herbert Morrison in London on May 22, 1944 (Daily Telegraph, May 23) : —

“I well remember his (the Prime Minister’s) interview with me one Sunday morning at the Admiralty.
He asked me to become Minister of Supply. He said : ‘I don’t offer you cheerfulness, I don’t offer you good fortune, I don’t offer you quick successes. I offer you nothing but tears and blood and sweat and toil.'”

* * *

The Labour Party Summed Up.
From a criticism of the Labour Party’s Report on “Full Employment and Financial Policy” : —

“. . . the Party, as always, is obsessed by institutions and their powers, and ignores their policies. It affects to believe that changing the brass plate at the entrance will alter the way in which an institution acts. Thus, in the present report, there is a great deal about the exercise of control by the State over the Bank of England and the joint stock banks, but hardly a word about the different way in which they are expected to behave.” Economist, May 20, 1944.)

This is what we have been saying for forty years about the reformists, who believe that if you give a capitalist institution a different name and put it under State control, all will be well.

* * *

Free Travel—for The Workers.
On July 6th the London Daily Express carried the story of D. Henry Shepherd. “D. Henry Shepherd has a nerve, they cried; he travelled about on forged London Transport passes—and then wrote complaining bitterly about the service.”

This man Shepherd, Detective Alder said at the Old Bailey, had an obsession about railways. He thought they ought to be nationalised, so that people could travel to and from their work for nothing. Fares, he thought, were an imposition.

Being a talented commercial artist, Shepherd made his own passes and tickets. The Prison Doctor at Brixton confessed himself mystified, unable to account for Shepherd’s actions. Shepherd sounds very much to us like one of those numerous workers who have been tempted to move out of the slums of London to the suburbs, only to find fares an intolerable burden.

Poor Henry ! If only he had known one-hundredth part about the wages system as he did about poster design. Then he would have known that free passes on the railways, like other “free gifts” for the workers, do not solve their poverty problem.

As is quite well known, Henry Kaiser, the Pacific Coast shipbuilding contractor, has transported the entire New York elevated line across the Continent for use by all Kaiser employees FREE.

Mr. Kaiser’s workers do not feel themselves any less exploited. They merely get to work a little quicker. For that matter, men and women in the Services get all sorts of FREE issues, uniforms, cigarettes, passes, etc., but when claims were made for raising Service pay, the Government published a White Paper enumerating all the free services and issues and added them up to prove the Service personnel received more, on an average, than most workers. All these “free” gifts are merely deductions from wages.

Curiously enough, over fifty years ago Mr. H. M. Hyndman, founder of the Social Democratic Federation, delivered a series of lectures preparatory to founding the S.D.F., concluding with six “Immediate Demands,” one of which was “Free Travel for all Workers,” as a stepping-stone (!) to Socialism.

The Socialist Party could have saved Henry Shepherd his fifteen months in jail.

* * *

The Fine Work THEY Have Done !
Lord Royden, the chairman of the L.M.S. Railway, doesn’t need to forge tickets, of course. He has recently made a journey by special train to inspect the stations and staffs between Leeds and London.

Officials travelled with him.

Lord Royden said last night : “I made the tour to congratulate the people on the line on the fine work they have done in the past weeks.” (Daily Express, July 6, 1944.)

This is the first tour the Chairman of the L.M.S. Board has made since the war. The “fine work” has gone on for four years without his absence being noticed.

Like most directors, Lord Royden’s function consists in saying “Thank you very much” periodically.

* * *

” Export or Bust.”
“We must, in fact, export or burst,” said Mr. Clark Henderson, the Conservative member for Leeds N.E., in the House on July 14, 1944.

There’s not very much new in that. The Tory Reform Committee have placed it in the forefront of their proposals. The Government are mainly concerned with it in their paper on Employment after the War. And Adolph Hitler said it many years ago—”Germany must expand or explode.” American capitalists are saying it—and the Russians preparing to do it. The world market is shrinking relatively to the masses of goods being thrown on to it, and at the same time as the governments of the world seek still more exports. The only solution to this sort of situation is Socialism, which abolishes capitalism, trade and exports. There is one temporary expedient for dealing with it—a new war, which, like its predecessor, is almost bound lo develop into a world war.

* * *

The Girl Who Came Back !
Under this heading, a London evening paper (Evening Standard, July 11, 1944) reports the case of Paulette Geburre, a French girl who volunteered for work at Le Bon Sauveur Hospital in Caen during the fighting there.

“The casualties came in like a stream,” she said. “Most of them were Germans, although there were some British parachutists. We worked day and night, sometimes forty-eight hours at a time, with air raids and shelling in the middle of operations.” Such cases—and there are many—are full of deep significance. Why did Paulette volunteer to help the wounded ? Not for money! That was impossible in Caen. Not for nationalistic reasons. With other French medical personnel, in keeping with the traditions of the profession, she helped all, British and German alike.

We have heard of cases of air raid wardens who vowed that “if only they could get their hands on a German airman” they would knock him for six. And yet, when a German plane has crashed in flames about them, they have got badly burned rescuing the screaming German.

That invading troops regularly give ill-spared rations to starving civilians and captured prisoners is well known. Socialists think that all these people are obeying one of the most fundamental human instincts. Man is a social animal, and the urge to protect and preserve the race operates in individuals after all the hate and atrocity propaganda has been poured out.

When it is also considered that most soldiers, airmen, wardens, etc., to-day are workers, we have still one further reason to explain why human solidarity frequently triumphs over political propaganda—even on the battlefield.


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