1950s >> 1953 >> no-585-may-1953

The Floods — Another Solution

  It is claimed by Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists that they are revolutionaries not reformists; that they are opposed to the various politicians’ schemes for patching up the present social system. A recent editorial of The Syndicalist (February, 1953), however, shows that this is not so.

 Under the title “A Floodworkers’ Scheme,” The Syndicalist deals with the condition of the sea walls and dykes around the British Coast. “It is a disgrace,” says the writer, “that the people of Canvey Island should have been relying for their safety on dykes built by Dutchmen two hundred years ago, and that elsewhere clay walls built in the time of Henry VIII were relied upon to keep back the relentless sea.” After castigating the authorities for not having tackled the task of strengthening the sea defences before, and merely waiting for disaster and then bringing in the Army, The Syndicalist puts forward its own “revolutionary” solution. “What is needed is a national scheme for flood and tempest.” And, continues our Anarchist writer :—

       “The country can afford to keep a few old men as watchmen for such a job . . .  and the possibility of lookout posts, with sirens, on a job modelled on that of the lighthouse-keeper is something that will at the very least help out a few pensioners while remaining a surety for warning if not for safety.
       “A flood labour scheme could continue throughout the year, but particularly employing unskilled labour in slacker periods of the year. That there is vast pool of foreign labour which would be only too anxious to come over and participate in such a scheme is undisputable. But a national scheme is required, and proper rates should be paid, for it is impossible to conceive that Army and volunteer help such as at present exists in the flood areas can continue indefinitely.”

Need we comment on this Anarcho-Syndicalist “solution?”

Peter E. Newell

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