The next morning, just as daylight was breaking, Father Workingclass arose and tiptoed into the small improvised nursery to take a peek at the five little orphans. And by the morning’s glare he discovered that two of the babies were white, one was black, and the other two were a little Japanese and a Chinese girl. So he softly called Mother Socialism and made her aware of this new condition that had arisen in his home.
“What shall we do with these five girl orphans, that represent every race, creed, and color?” he questioned.
“I shall adopt them all,” replied Mother Socialism. “For, Father, in our home we cannot recognize race, colour, or creed. these are all nature’s children and are entitled to the earth and its fullness thereof. They are all the children of the working class who, up until now, have been fatherless and motherless. We shall raise them in our home, and as they grow up with one another, we shall recognize no distinction among them. We shall guard their interests as our own and shall instil into their hearts as they grow up the fallacy of race, creed, and colour.”
So then and there they named the two white girls America and Europe. The black girl they named Africa, the Japanese girl Japan, and the other China. As these girls grew up they raced into the valleys and over the hills, free from every care and worry. Among them in play or school there was no distinction, and in the evening Father Workingclass, tired from a day’s toil, would romp his adopted daughters, one and all, over his knees.
To him and Mother Socialism the prattle of their childish talk was music alike. And all these little orphans had tastes and ambitions alike. But their greatest ambition was to serve their adopted parents, to repay them for the sacrifices of the past. This truly was the happy home, “the ideal home of the worker.” So the five little girls started out one morning to seek employment in the marts of commerce.
They presented themselves before a job-owner. He picked out the two white girls, as they were somewhat larger, and offered them positions at $4.00 per week running sewing machines. So next he asked the little black girl her name, and she replied, Africa.
“Can you sew?” he inquired, and the little African replied, “Yes, just as fast as my sisters. Mother Socialism taught us all alike.” “Well,” replied the job-owner, “I can give you a position also, at $3.00 per week, though. Because you do not need so good clothes as your sisters that I just hired. And then we have an off-corner where we will allow you to work. If these terms don’t suit you, you don’t have to work.”
Little Africa, crestfallen, but wanting to help her adopted parents, accepted the position. Then Mr. Job Owner turned to the other two girls and inquired their names and if they could sew. They replied in the affirmative, and that Mother Socialism had taught them to sew.
“So,” replied Mr. Job Owner, “I will give you employment also. However, we can only pay you $2.00 per week, because you are not big eaters and can live on a rice diet. And we also have a separate room for you to work in.”
Now these two little girls, loving their father and mother as dearly as Europe, America, and Africa, and wanting to lighten their labors, accepted this rate of wage.
Here asserted itself the thing that in times past they had been shielded from by Father Workingclass and Mother Socialism, the job-owner’s class distinction. They were for the first time in their lives separated, and their pay unequally divided. That evening little Europe and America walked home together, while little Africa walked alone, followed in the rear by little Japan and China. They for the first time in their lives felt the class distinction among them brought on by the job-owner.
That evening there was no merry prattle among Father Workingclass’s children. No fond caress bestowed on his weary body. Mother Socialism also quickly observed this coolness among her daughters. So they called their adopted daughters before them to find out if possible what the trouble was among them.
And the five weeping daughters stood before their adopted parents and told them of the job-owner’s proposition as put before them.
And Father Workingclass replied: “For years I have nourished you with my labor, and by the sweat of my brow reared you into maidenhood. Therefore this arbitrary class ruling of Mr. Job Owner must cease.”
“And,” replied Mother Socialism, “I also for years have protected and endeavored to guide you in the teachings of mother nature, regardless of race, color, or creed. You are all my daughters that I love dearly without distinction, over whom I have wept many a tear, fearing the future outcome of what happened today. Therefore, Father Workingclass, let us take our daughters, united, in the morning and demolish in the mind of Mr. Job Owner the fallacy of race, color, or creed.”
The Happy Finale.
And that morning Father Workingclass, in all his strength, and Mother Socialism, in all her wrath, appeared before the factory doors and forever abolished the job-owner that incited in the hearts of his daughters the class distinction of race, creed, and color.
And so must today the working class unite themselves into an organization of physical strength, regardless of race, creed, or color, and under the guiding wing of Socialism, that is represented in every nation on the face of the earth, storm the political stronghold of the job-owners, forever abolish them, and bring about the democratic ownership of all jobs in the hands of the job-seekers.
Peter Kinnear, The Socialist, Sept. 30, 1911
Those Aliens! (1907)
A Short Story from the February 1907 issue of the Socialist Standard
WILL: (to George, who is discovered reading the Daily Distress): Hello! looking for a loser?
GEORGE: No. I’m reading about those confounded aliens. Those foreign bakers are allowed to come over here and they immediately start agitations and strikes as though the country belonged to them. Taking the bread out of our mouths, I call it.
WILL: Why, you’re a funny chap. You grumble if they work cheaply, and you grumble of they try to better their lot. I suppose the fact is you hate them, and they could do nothing to please you.
GEORGE: Who can help hating the beggars when they take our jobs away from us. Why don’t they go back to their own country?
WILL: Look here, George, the foreign workman has no more a country of his own than you have: his native land, like yours, is the property of a master class and the worker has not even burial space of his own.
GEORGE: That’s an old tale.
WILL: But can you deny its truth?
(George does not answer)
WILL: Do you know that the number of English who are abroad is much greater than the number of foreigners in England; so would you not be much worse off if all the English came back to compete with you in place of the foreigner? Your policy for every man to be compelled to remain in his native land is suicidal on that score alone.
(George scratches his head).
WILL: And are you aware that in history the unmixed races, those people who are cut off from the world as you would have us to be, remain primitive or become degenerate; while the mixed races, those roaming wide areas, are vigorous and progressive?
GEORGE: But why is it, then, that there are so many unemployed and pauperised in England of the alien is not the cause?
WILL: My dear fellow, they’ve got unemployed and paupers in every capitalist country: and they exist, not because of aliens, but because of capitalism.
GEORGE: I don’t see that.
WILL: But you ought to. Let me make it plain. In the first place each western nation is divided broadly into two great groups or classes. One group owns the land, railways, mines, factories, machinery and buildings – in fact this class own all the means for producing wealth. The other group or class, on the contrary, do not own property, all they possess is their power to work which they must sell to the owners of the means of production, or else starve. The propertied, ruling section we call the capitalist class: the propertyless, enslaved section we call the working class. Is that clear?
GEORGE: Oh, yes. I know which is my lot!
WILL: Good! Now this capitalist class want to get as much labour as they can out of the workers with as little expenditure of wages as possible. Hence a conflict of interests. Hence the the capitalist class will employ Chinamen or even gorillas if they are cheaper and can work as well as their own countrymen. Hence the propertied class are ever seeking and introducing new inventions, machines and methods by means of which more can be produced with less spent in wages. You can now see, George, that the master class, being able to supply the markets and get their profits with the aid of proportionally fewer employees, cut down their wages bill and create the unemployed. Hardly a day passes without some new invention or process displacing some of the wage-earners. It is not the alien that causes the unemployed, but it is the ownership of the means of production by a class who use every improvement in them against the workers. The more wealth can be produced today, the fewer workers do the ruling class need to employ. The wealthier the country under capitalism the poorer and more miserable are the workers in proportion. Capitalism, by making the workers disinherited and outcast in Society, is the cause of unemployment and pauperism, whilst the despised alien is in reality simply a fellow sufferer and a brother.
GEORGE: But how would your Socialism alter that?
WILL: Socialism would alter it by making the working class the whole nation; by using the working class capture of the political power to turn all the means of production into the collective, democratically controlled, property of the people. Improvements in production, new inventions, or an increase in the number of workers would then, instead of, as now, throwing numbers of the working class out of work to starve, increase the wealth and decrease the toil of all. The workers will have come into their own and be no longer outcasts in the world their labour has created.
GEORGE: I see. A co-operative commonwealth. That certainly is worth working for.
WILL: It is, indeed, the only thing worth striving for. and I hope you’ll join us: always remembering, though, that the foreign worker is really our brother, for our interests are the same, and our enemy is the same. We have not to fight one another, but to aid each other in conquering the common enemy, the capitalist class of all countries. With the ruling class, patriotism is the mask of self-interest: with the working class it is the brand of utter ignorance. Let us be international.
F. C. Watts