1950s >> 1957 >> no-632-april-1957

Odds and Ends

Wicked Materialists?

Speaking recently (News Chronicle, 22/2/57), as chairman of the Church Assembly, Dr. Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “On so many bodies I belong to, really the business is ruined by these constant discussions about salaries, stipends, and superannuations, and all the rest. . . . I have come to the conclusion that it is an insidious form of pure materialism. It is a disease running through the community.”

Poor Dr. Fisher! He seems so upset at those wicked materialists, i.e. parsons, with average pay, £650 a year: and, of course, all those railwayman, clerks, dockers and the like, who all seem so materialistic in their desire for a better life—in this world. But then our dear Archbishop need not worry himself unduly about his own material well-being. He only receives £7,500 a year as Archbishop of Canterbury.

£400 for a Slave

Fairly recently King Saud of Saudi Arabia visited “the land of the free” —the United States of America, where he was fêted by President Eisenhower, and other American politicians. Little is known of his country except that there is sand—and more important—oil, in Saudi Arabia. But a recent United Nations report (News Chronicle, 22/2/57) gives us some idea just how “free” and democratic King Saud’s oil-soaked land is. According to the report Saudi Arabia has 450,000 slaves—just 20% of the population. Prices on the Jeddah slave market were said to be between £200 and £400 for a girl under 15; £150 for a man under 40 and £40 for an old woman.

Like Christian Archbishops who also live quite well, Moslem Kings, such as King Saud, do not condemn slavery—chattel slavery in Arabia, and wage-slavery in Britain.

Human Nature ?

A most startling recent discover was a tribe of Honest Men! It goes without saying that they were not found in Christian lands. They were found in the jungles of Venezuela by Prof. Tenton, an ethnologist. He reports that these uncivilised people never lie, never make war, never kill and never rob.

They have no politicians, no advertisers, no crooks, and are so used to each other’s honesty that they have no locks and keys, no monetary systems and don’t even wear clothes.

All that remains is to protect these Maora Indians from the Christian missionaries, with their civilising influences.” (Freethinker, 14/12/56).

Women in Antiquity

Women In Antiquity by Charles Seltman (PAN Books, price 2/6d.), is quite an interesting and provocative little book, although the author has a number of axes to grind. Much of what he has written of women “in antiquity” will be challenged. For example, in his first chapter on Palaeolithic and Neolithic society he sees a situation where from 20 to 50 people live “comfortably” in a cave owned by the biggest male. And, further, after dealing with the activities of the women (such as scavenging for nuts, roots and fruit), he writes:

“When one tries to imagine the structure of such a cave-family, one can think of two possibilities : firstly, the senior male (whose property the cave was) might have a series of wives from the oldest at twenty-four to the youngest at twelve, among whom there would inevitably exist a kind of harem-like jealousy productive of much unhappiness; secondly, the whole cave-family group may have lived in what zoologists call a ‘clone,’ in which the women were shared in common by the men.” (p. 14.)

Of course, all of this, is purely speculative, and in contradiction to the findings of other anthropologists, who often see an absence of jealousy in primitive communities and who write not of a dominant male but of sexual equality—”sexual communism”—and “group marriage” during this early period of pre-history. Seltman’s ideas on this period seem to be much akin to those of Freud with his dominant father, the jealous sons and the “Primal Horde.” Still, in the main our author is on the side of the women! He generally sees the position of women “in antiquity” as a favourable one compared to their position m some countries today. And he has little sympathy for the Church’s views on women and sexual relations in general.

“Freedom’s Foe—The Vatican”

This book is by a “free-thinking” protestant, and is a counter-blast to Catholic Action. In the main it reiterates the views put forward in greater detail by Avro Manhattan in The Catholic Church Against The Twentieth Century

Adrian Pigott, the author of Freedom’s Foe, deals with the Catholic Church’s alleged former collaboration with Fascism and Nazism, with the “evils of priest craft,” the misdeeds of some of the Popes, the “cruelty of the Catholic Church,” the extreme poverty to be found in some Catholic countries such as Spain and Ireland (he tells us that “Protestant countries have little discontent or poverty .. .”!!) and the activities of the Church in Britain and the United States.

No doubt many of his criticisms are valid—but what can the Protestant critics of Catholicism, such as our author, offer the working class of Britain and elsewhere? The Church of England, of whom Marx once said, that it would rather give up its Thirty-nine Articles of Faith than give up one thirty-ninth of its property? Neither Protestants nor Catholics, Moslems or Buddhists, have a solution to the problems confronting ordinary people. Only Socialism has an answer to those problems. All the same this little book is worth l/6d.

Freedom’s Foe—The Vatican, is published by the Wickliffe Press, Fleet Street.

Are you Fed-up ?

Do you dislike the Foreman or the Chief Clerk? And when you get home from work at night, do you feel tired, frustrated and fed-up?,

Do you find life worrying, insecure and purposeless?

Do you find it a job to “make ends meet” to save enough money for a holiday, or a new suit?

Do you get fed up with the threat of war with the promises of the politicians?

Do you? Well, then, isn’t it about time you did something about it. No!—don’t take “. . .’s ” little liver pills, or “H. . .’s” just before you go to bed, because, ten-to-one, whilst this present system of society remains you will fed much the same the next day. So why not get to grips with society itself ? Begin to study the world m which you live. And when you understand it, your position in it, the causes of the problems that worry you, and make you insecure, join with others who know about our present system—capitalism—and with them help to change it to a society free from insecurity, poverty, the threat of war; to establish a Socialist wood—a classless, moneyless system of society. Why not start now?

Peter E. Newell

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