50 Years Ago: ‘Adopting’ the Unemployed

It is interesting to note how at this time of the year the Press weep tears of tenderness over the starving bodies of the workers who have been cast down to such depths of misery by the workings of the capitalist system; the hypocrisy of the writers is only emphasised by the humility with which the doles of food and clothing are received by the victims of capitalism.

Under the heading of ‘Adopting a Family: A Useful Birmingham Scheme’ the Birmingham Mail(20 Nov. 1921) quotes the Daily Post:- “The suggestion that individuals should adopt necessitous families had elicited a promising response and a considerable extension of the movement appears likely”.

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Life will be one long holiday for the unemployed, with cakes and pictures thrown in, if this idea spreads. But stay, who is going to decide the scale (useful terms) of food for the adopted family; what will be the menu? Will it assume the proportions of a ration just sufficient to keep alive the victims of capitalism, or will it be on the same scale as the Patron’s family?

We get a little enlightenment on this point when we read in relation to the adopted family of the staff of the Post: ‘It is hoped to keep the family in a state of efficiency until they are again able to provide for themselves’.

So it is evident the adopted are to have just enough for the purpose of keeping them in such condition as, when the depression is over, they will be capable of producing once again a maximum of surplus value for their masters.

(From an article “Foster Parents” by E. J. in SOCIALIST STANDARD January 1922)

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