Bird’s Eye View – minimum wage, philanthropists, Helen Keller

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me

1865: ‘Instead of the conservative motto, A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, Abolition of the wage system’ (Value, Price, and Profit, Marx, ).

1928: ‘Earning a wage is a prison occupation’ (Wages, DH Lawrence, ).

1965: Workers still ‘…don’t realise that they can abolish the wages system’ (What are your wages?, Socialist Standard, ).

1 April 1999: Britain gets first legally binding minimum wage of £3 if 21 or under, £3.60 for those over.

1 April 2023: ‘Today’s minimum wage rise by the UK Government will still leave thousands of Scots in poverty, say opposition parties’ (Daily Record, ).

Rich stay rich poor stay poor

‘For more than a dozen years now, Wall Street and corporate lobbyists have blocked both financial executive pay restrictions and a federal minimum wage increase. This speaks volumes about who has influence in Washington — and who does not’ (Common Dreams, 1 April, ).

Sarah Anderson is being quoted here. She directs the Global Economy Project of the Institute for Policy Studies, is a co-editor of, and champions several measures including a ban on stock options at Wall Street banks. These measures can only be considered revolutionary in that they represent yet another spin on the reformist misery-go-round. As Eugene Debs said in 1913 ‘What the poor need is that the rich shall get off their backs’ (The Oppressed Need Justice, Not Charity, ).

None so blind

Helen Keller, one year earlier (1912) in an essay titled How I Became a Socialist, wrote of the hypocrisy of self-styled philanthropic elites who assailed working-class radicalism: ‘I like newspapermen. I have known many, and two or three editors have been among my most intimate friends. Moreover, the newspapers have been of great assistance in the work which we have been trying to do for the blind. It costs them nothing to give their aid to work for the blind and to other superficial charities. But socialism — ah, that is a different matter ! That goes to the root of all poverty and all charity. The money power behind the newspapers is against socialism, and the editors, obedient to the hand that feeds them, will go to any length to put down socialism and undermine the influence of socialists’ ( ).

‘Who was Karl Marx and What is Communism?…

Let’s start with where it came from, because ’the roots’ are always connected to ’the fruits’. Communism grew out of the haunted life of Karl Marx (1813-1881), a German philosopher whose life seemed to be shadowed by something dark. Several of his children died before reaching adulthood, he had extremely poor hygiene, he was often covered in painful boils and he could barely keep a job. Marx lived on the generosity of his friend Friedrich Engels. Ironically, Engels got his money from the same capitalist factories that Marx came to criticise. Marx was also known for his infatuation with the prince of darkness himself. In many of his writings he openly expressed admiration for Satan. People around him sensed he was troubled. Even his own father-in-law, worried that the “demon” that pestered Marx would kill his own daughter (The Stream, 1 April, ). This bad biographical sketch would have Marx spinning in his grave – two years before he died in 1883. And what follows is even worse! Our A to Z of Marxism ( ) is concise, fact-based and provides suggestions for further reading.

Pie in the sky

‘Judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei earlier threatened to prosecute “without mercy” women who appear in public unveiled, Iranian media reported… Describing the veil as “one of the civilisational foundations of the Iranian nation” and “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic,” an Interior Ministry statement on Thursday said there would be no “retreat or tolerance” on the issue’ (Raisi says hijab is the law in Iran as unveiled women face ‘yoghurt attack,’ Yahoo. 1 April, ).

Religion is the badge of the mentally enslaved. It uses a cloak of mystification to reinforce its authority by promising a mythical afterlife as a reward for blind obedience and by making threats of eternal punishment, backed up by intimidation and persecution for those who do not submit. It has been a useful tool in the hands of the ruling classes to keep their subjects subservient.

Keller again:

‘This great republic is a mockery of freedom as long as you are doomed to dig and sweat to earn a miserable living while the masters enjoy the fruit of your toil. What have you to fight for? National independence? That means the masters’ independence. The laws that send you to jail when you demand better living conditions? The flag? Does it wave over a country where you are free and have a home, or does it rather symbolise a country that meets you with clenched fists when you strike for better wages and shorter hours? Will you fight for your masters’ religion which teaches you to obey them even when they tell you to kill one another? Why don’t you make a junk heap of your masters’ religion, his civilisation, his kings and his customs that tend to reduce a man to a brute and God to a monster? Let there go forth a clarion call for liberty. Let the workers form one great world-wide union, and let there be a globe-encircling revolt to gain for the workers true liberty and happiness’ (Menace of the Militarist Program, 1915, ).

Next article: Material World – Food, another banking failure ⮞

Leave a Reply