UNDER THE FIFTH RIB
H. T. DERRETT
"And Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there under the fifth rib."—2 Samuel 3, 27.
ANARCHIST COMMUNIST FEDERATION
267 NETHERTON ROAD, GLASGOW, Wi
UNDER THE FIFTH RIB
H. T. DERRETT.
The Glasgow Daily Record of 2nd September, 1988, announced that 100,000 school children who had not then seen the Empire Exhibition were to he taken there as the guests of the Glasgow Corporation. Later, 100,000 of the unemployed were to be similarly treated, and the cost defrayed out of the Common Good Fund.
Other local authorities were invited by Councillor, now Lord Provost P. J. Dollan, to follow the lead of Glasgow in this respect.
"We are reminded almost daily" writes Mark Starr in the opening paragraph of " A Worker Looks at History," that we are citizens of the mightiest empire the world has ever seen. But we cannot appreciate to the full the pride and privileges of citizenship without at least some elementary knowledge of the history of the State or family of States of which we are citizens."
To know only the present, is to understand nothing. To understand the present it is imperative that we know something of the past.
The total area of the British Empire is estimated at 13,909,782 square miles. The total inhabitants at over 460 millions, of whom about 60 millions are Whites.
The total land area of the world is estimated at 55$ million square miles, and the total population at 1,849$ millions.
A quarter of the land area, and about a quarter of the world's inhabitants are therefore comprised in the British Empire.
Canada alone contains more than 30 times the area of the British Isles.
The continent of Australia would contain the British Isles 25 times.
Tasmania is more than half the size of England.
British territories in Africa would contain the British Isles more than 36 times.
British Isles, Dominions, Colonies, Protectorates and Possessions are:—
In Europe and The Mediterranean—British Isles, Gibraltar, Malta and Gozo, Cyprus.
In North America—Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Coast.
Id Central America—British Honduras.
In South America—British Guiana.
In West Indies—Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Leeward Islands, Windward Islands, Barbados.
In Atlantic Ocean—Bermudas, Ascension, St. Helena, Falklands, S. Georgia.
In The Indian Ooean—Mauritius, Seychelles, Andaman and Nicobar Isles, Lacadive, Keeling or Cocob and other Island Groups.
In Asia—Indian Empire, Ceylon, Aden, Perim, Socotra, etc., Straits Settlements, Federated Malay States, Other Malay States, Hong Kong, Wei-Hai-Wei, British North Borneo, Brunei, Sarawak, Palestine.
In Australasia—Australia, Papua, New Zealand and annexed Islands, Fiji and other Pacific Islands.
In Africa—Union of South Africa and S.W. Protectorate, Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Somaliland, Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Nyasaland, Sudan, Zanzibar and Pemba, Gambia, Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Cameroon.
Britain's oldest colony, Newfoundland, was discovered by Cabot, the Venetian navigator, in 1497, and colonized by Britain in the 17th Century.
What Does Empire Mean to British and Colonial Workers, Employed or Unemployed?
Let us try to find out.
In bold type the Press in September, 1928, referred to Britain 's appalling unemployment question, and stated the Cabinet would meet to discuss this most vital of all social problems. They failed to find a solution.
Yet ten years previous to that, in 1918, Ix>rd Leverhulme had committed it to print that proofs were available to substantiate the statement of a British scientist of the Polytechnic School of Engineering in London that we could, with the means science has already placed at our disposal, and which are alt within our knowledge, provide for all the wants of each of us in food, shelter and clothing by one hour's work per week for each of us from school age to dotage.
We must get this quite clear. In 1918, scientists state that means are available, and all within our knowledge, to provide abundance for all, by one hour's work per week from school age onward.
In 1938 an Empire Exhibition is held to display this abundant material wealth, and to prove its existence.
And millions are workless and in want. Why?
Because science has placed at our disposal the means to produce abundance with an ever decreasing demand on human labour.
The logic of this is that Lord Leverhulme's pronouncement is a statement of simple and incontrovertible fact.
The defeat of the Cabinet is therefore a vindication of the claim of the scientists.
If the members of the Cabinet were genuinely seeking a solution to an admittedly appalling problem it is to be deplored that no one appears to have come forward at the time to assist them by bringing the testimony of Lord Leverhulme and the scientists to their notice.
Or i6 it possible the Cabinet were aware of Lord Leverhulme's testimony but considered he was drawing the long bow, and therefore ruled it out as ridiculous. But the ridiculous to Cabinet Ministers may be just plain horse sense to others.
Cabinet Ministers are not infallible guides on the question of unemployment, nor, for that matter, on any other subject under the sun.
"Time teaches a lesson," says a Press correspondent in the Glasgow Daily Record, and continues: —
"It is a melancholy reflection upon the wisdom and foresight of the statesmen charged with readjusting world affairs after the upheaval of the Great War, that policies which were then advocated with passionate fervour now stand revealed as naked folly and economic madness. The speech of Mr. Stanley Baldwin in Glasgow brought this lesson home."
This melancholy reflection is mirrored again for us from the past in the words of iMr. W. E. Gladstone, who observed: "In almost every one, if not in every one of the greatest political controversies of the last fifty years, whether they affected the franchise, commerce, religion, the bad and abominable institution of slavery, or whatever they touched, these leisured classes, these titled classes have been in the wrong."
Mr. Gladstone, himself, in his election address at Newark, had opposed the abolition of negro slavery, 60 we must allow that he speaks with some authority.
Now let us come to grips with the matter in hand.
Lord Leverhulme's words imply socialist society. But socialism is not something that can be placed on the statute book overnight, given and applied to a people, say like the old age pension or the means test acts. It is not an invention. It is not a league of pity. It is not a charity racket.
The exhalting of the humble and meek, and the sending of the rich empty away is part of a gospel of ferocity, and socialism is not a gospel of ferocity. The humble and the meek are not and never will be the inheritors of the earth. They are its encumbrances.
Socialism is an evolutionary process of human society and will follow the present system as certainly as the night is succeeded by day.
Acts of Parliament and the bellowings of dictators are as powerless to stem the sweep forward of changes in social relationships as they are to regulate the earth's rate of progress in its journey round the sun.
But we are under no illusion. The advent of socialism is as yet opposed by the majority, and, in the main, by the very class whose historic mission it is to bring it into being. There is no paradox. The delay is merely temporarily arrested social necessity.
By socialism is meant the ending of the era of Capitalism and the domination of man by man—free society. The establishing of an industrial republic within which the administration of things produced by labour, in which all shall participate, will replace the governing and exploitation of the many by the few—classless society.
If words like "social revolution" send a shiver down your spine —if you are one of those characterless creatures of the working class with no desire to understand, and yet condemn without investigation that which you do not and will not take the trouble to understand— read no further. For socialism is a man's business—and a woman's.
If you are a visionless, workless slave, content with things as they are, bestir yourself and find a master.
But before setting out cast your eye over this: —
"Post war methods of manufacture aim at increasing output while actually decreasing the number of men engaged in production. Commercial activities will in future make progressively decreasing demands on the population and in that sense will play a smaller part as a contribution to the general prosperity," says Lord Ebbisham, President of the Federation of British industries.
Doctor Slossan, an American, in his book "Creative Chemistry" writes: —
"Within the last century it has been discovered that neither human nor animal servitude is necessary to give man leisure for the higher life, for by means of the machine he can perform the work
"The orthodox remedy that everybody should tighten his belt till things adjust themselves is felt to be intolerable when every granary and every storehouse is full and over-full and when factories that are not working half time are closed altogether"
Yes, the old belt tightening wheeze certainly is a bit loopy, isn't it, when every granary is full and over-full? The hauling in of the slack, of course, cannot drive away gnawing hunger pains. Obviously the idea is to adjust the nether garments for decency's sake to the new waist measurement. "Intolerable" says the Times. Quite! Only more so when you've no pants to adjust. Believe it-or not, thousands in this land of bursting granaries are in this predicament. In a back number of the Radio Times you will find this: —
KEPT IN FOR LACK OF TROUSERS!
It's bad enough for a man to have no job. But he's powerless even to move without trousers. Thousands of pairs wanted to help men in the distressed areas.
Please go through your wardrobe and send any pair you can spare to The Personal Service League, 38 Grosvenor Place, London, S.W.I.
However, to proceed:—72,469 less men produced 363,000 more tons of coal. (Board of Trade figures.)
Shipping.—50,880 less workers produced 335,009 more tonnage. (Board of Trade figures.)
The number of workers in the potash industry has decreased by nearly 2000 in four years, but the output has nearly doubled, says the organ of the Scottish Workers' Republican Party.
Turn to the Radio Times of 12th June, 1931, for picture of a grain elevator so mechanized that five operators can handle 41,000 tons of grain.
Kropotkin, writing in 1912, twenty-six years ago, told us that the looms of Lancashire could turn out in one week sufficient cotton goods to meet the whole of the home demands for a year. There was a saying that on Monday and Tuesday the Lancashire spinners made for India and the East; on Wednesday for Europe; on Thursday and Friday for all other foreign parts, while on Saturday morning they cleaned the machines and made for the home market.
But this is hoplessly beaten to-day.
"A new automatic loom is being introduced, so simple in its mechanism that one man can operate 25 looms in place of the present (1929) average of one man to 4 looms. The new looms will run for an hour or more without attention, and it is recognised that dislocation of labour conditions would inevitably follow any large scale introduction of such a revolutionary piece of mechanism
—Manchester Guardian, 1929.
The Glasgow Herald informs us that the associated blacksmiths report that the installation of machinery is affecting employment of smiths and forgemen in the railway carriage and wagon workshops. Where 100 men were formerly employed there are now (1929) fewer than 50.
The same newspaper shows by illustration three new electric transporter cranes erected at the Burns-Laird berth, Broomielaw, Glasgow, displacing dock labourers.
The Todd unit system of stoking ships increased the speed of a vessel by knots and reduced the stokehold staff from fifteen to nine hands.—Glasgow Daily Record.
In Scotland '1700 full time post office positions have been cancelled as against 800 part time positions. The reduction is attributed to the increasing use of motor vehicles which has made the services of many rural postmen and auxiliary workers unnecessary.—Glasgow Evening Times.
There is an electric shovel in operation which can fill twenty trucks at a time.—Glasgow Herald.
The Daily Herald shows a self steering tractor which, after one furrow, will plough a field unattended.
The Daily Mirror shows a pneumatic suction machine which lifts sheaves of wheat or hay direct to the stack.
The Daily Express agricultural correspondent tells of a new method of transplanting. 12,000 plants can be dealt with in an hour.
The "'Monarch" stone breaker will deal with the hardest rocks and reduce them to fine chips.—Glasgow Herald.
The robot fisher girl is here. The "Wizard" bones herring at the rate of 2,500 an hour, and can be operated by unskilled labour.
Revolutionized method in the printing of newspapers, intimates the Glasgow Evening Times. The machine can set up telegraphically at 60 words a minute. Later, three times this speed will be attained.
The press a few months later on reports that an increasing number of machine men are being thrown out of employment.
A mechanical man, a robot, such as was forecast by Karl Kapek, has oome to fruition in the laboratories of the Westinghouse Electric Company.
According to experts it will soon be possible to ran single factorlee and eFftn huge Industrial systems from a central office by a single attendant. The device has already taken the place of workers in the reservoirs of Washington. A number of watchmen have already been dispensed with by the War Department in Washington through use of the mechanical man.
At a dairy show in London a machine for plucking fowls was exhibited. A bird can be plucked in 45 seconds. Only small bunches of feathers are gripped at a time, and 9,000 bunehes can be seized in a minute.
A new tunnelling machine driven by air is shown in the Sunday Pictorial. Eighteen or more powerful pneumatic hammers are assembled in the head.
Each hammer can deliver 500 or more blows a minute with a force of from 1 to 50 tons to each blow. The energy expended by each hammer is:—
25,000 tons a minute.
million tons an hour. 12 million tons in an 8-hour day.
Multiply that by 18 and we arrive at the total capacity of this giant for an 8-hour day. What it displaces in human labour power is a sum for a mathematician.
Mr. 'Stuart Chase in his Nemcais of American Businttt tells of a new harvesting machine that cuts cornstalks without a human hand touching a single stalk;
of a tabulating machine capable of doing the work of 100 skilled actuaries;
of an automatic mechanism producing 73,000 electric bulbs every 24 hours and displacing 2,000 hand operatives for each machine installed;
and that 83 machine operators aided by 87 labourers are doing the work of 7,000 pick and shovel men.
The same writer in Men and Machine* describes an automatic plant for making automobile frames. The plant is 600 feet long and 212 feet wide. Raw materials in the form of steel strips go through a combination of straightening and inspecting machines, and are then sent by monorail conveyor to the piekling department, where they are chemically treated. They then stop at nineteen stations on the main assembly line where machines proceed to pin and rivet bracket plates into place. The frame is then automatically put together and descends by gravity discharge to a painting machine whose baking enamel flows at the rate of 750 gallons a minute. It takes 1 hour 50 minutes to complete a frame, and 90 per cent, of the time the units are on moving conveyors.
The plant operates day and night, seven days a week, and can only pay its way if the output reaches 75,000 frames yearly.
No human hands are needed In the actual working process.
Viewed from the outride, the plant and its machines are making motor car frames absolutely unassisted.
One hundred per cent, automatic performance has been substantially achieved.
Are office robots causing unemployment? asks the Glasgow Bulletin. They arc, answers Mr. Wright, an official of the Scottish Clerks' Association. The counting machine is displacing good class clerks.
The banks, says the Scottish Bankers' Association, are likely to introduce mechanical book-keeping which must inevitably result in creating a reduction of staff.
By the advent of the talking films, thousands of musicians have been paid-off by the proprietors of cinemas. The bread of over 20,000 musicians and their dependents is now in terrible jeopardy. Can nothing be done for us? writes a musician to the press.
And whilst ceaseless chatter goes on about the problem of unemployment science is combing the very heavens for more power and energv.
An experimental station at ^Samarkand, Turkestan, is working on plans to harness the sun's power. Experts are convinced that they will be able to use the sun's rays as a source of energy.
We conclude the newsreel with a star turn.
The star Arcturus opened the Hall of Science at the World Fair, Chicago, a beam of light from the star being captured at the appropriate moment to set in motion a relay which started all the Exhibition's machinery. The ray which arrived in 1933 left the star in 1893, the year of the first World's Fair—forty years previously.
This is but a mere flash on the screen, and we, the Boys of the Bulldog Breed take it lying down when the Investigating Committee informs us that we " are not genuinely seeking employment "— poor mutts that we are.
ONE HOUR'S WORK A WEEK!
In the light of the foregoing evidence, which as has been said, is but a mere glimpse of the power and energy, apart from human energy, at the disposal of industry—in the light of this evidence, is the estimate of one hour's human labour a week a dream, or is it solid realisable fact?
Tn this land, the heart of the British Empire, whilst there are millions rotting in enforced idleness, there are men and women and youths who toil 12, 14 and 16 hours a day for a bare existence. And there are human drones who do not contribute one hour's socially useful work in a lifetime, yet who live sumptuously.
At the Empire Exhibition in Glasgow there were employees who worked up to 16 hours a day.
When they complained and their grievances were represented, the Press, eloquent on Empire, was silent. And Labour "Socialist" Councillors, also eloquent on Empire, bleat that the matter is not within their province. They were too busy basking in the sunshine of Empire and escorting Royalty round the show.
Whilst climbing to careers these champions of Labour found it
convenient to denounce that which they now admire. Watch tbem! They are ready to sit again on the Tribunal bench and to send youth once more to spill its blood upon the altars of Empire. And in that day they will be found on the Tower of Empire hoisting the pale pink flag surmounted by crucifix, skull and cross-bones—and from that eminence bidding youth "Godspeed!"
But suppose we call a conference of statesmen on the spot and find out what they actually have to say on this question in hand. Let them speak:—
Mr. Stanley Baldwin: " 1 have never pretended to have a remedy for unemployment.''
Mr. Winston Churchill: " 1 am sure that if any party men come forward and say:—'We can cure unemployment'—they are misleading the people."
Mr. Neville Chamberlain: " Since my commissioners at West-ham have reduced the number of recipients of out-door relief, a lot of the unemployed in despair have gone and got work."
The first two statements are blunt and to the point but they offer no solution and therefore leave us just where we were to start with—in the bog.
The third, which sounds cynical, appears to have been a purely local drive made by Bumbledom in desperation upon men in despair. As a universal cure it has failed miserably, for the unemployed at Westham and elsewhere are still with us.
That is the sum and substance of every Cabinet Conference and Parliamentary Committee that has ever been set up to deal with this fentering social sore.
But political parties, including the Labour Party, have in the past made the cure of unemployment a main plank in their election programmes.
Before an election: "We have a cure."
After an election: "We have no remedy."
Tt boils down to that.
Who's doing the fooling?
With knowledge and intelligence and the will to do our own thinking no man, no party, no institution, no power on earth can fool us—on anything.
We are fooling ourselves. "No remedy" is blunt, and may pass with the unthinking for honesty. But it is only half the answer. It requires qualifying.
There is no remedy within the existing social system—it is part and parcel of it.
The causes of historic events lie secreted in economic systems, says a professor of political science in the London University.
And unemployment is an historic event.
When the material productive forces of society have advanced to a certain stage of their development, says Marx, they come into opposition with the old conditions of production, with the old property relations under which these forces have hitherto been exerted.
Instead of continuing to serve as institutions for the develop-ment of the productive powers of society, these antiquated property relations now become hindrances. Then begins an epoch of social revolution.
Which means that Capitalism, having performed its historic task—production for the welfare of man, has in the process also produced its own gravediggers.
For the inherent defects in the system choke up the channels of distribution to society as a whole. The masses starve in the midst of plenty. This ought to be apparent to the meanest intellect, for Capitalism itself makes it noonday clear by public display.
The purpose of the exhibition of Fimpire goods is to advertise the Empire's vast resources. And to this grand show it invites an army of workers pauperised by the very expansions and improvements that have made possible this abundant wealth and have thrown them as lumber upon its industrial scrap heap.
They are asked to the feast to admire and applaud—not to partake of the repast. It is like showing an elaborate menu card to a famished man but denying him the right to touch or taste the food itself. If this is not in its crudest aspect the antiquated property relations of Capitalism in operation and become the open hindrances to social progress, then what in the name of goodness is it?
The machines and what they produce are owned, not by the producers, but by their exploiters. Each advance means dislocation and social hindrance. The proofs are so obvious and so directly under our noses that many of us fail to see them. Instead, we have our eyes cast in other directions for saviours, who, when pressed, are compelled to admit that they have no remedy.
Thus Mr., now Earl, Baldwin: "We are to-day in the midst of an industrial revolution as important as that which occurred a century ago. That revolution means incalculable hardship to the men engaged in industry, and the heavy end of the stick at these times falls always on those least able to bear it. They deserve our sympathy.
" And I would say this of my own experience, that there have battened on industry large numbers of men connected with managements and directorates who are parasitical to industry and nothing but that. This country will never watch that with tolerance at a time when working men are thrown out of work through no fault of their own."
But Mr. Baldwin has no remedy. He calls for sympathy. We cannot blame him as a defender of Capitalism and Empire for failing to produce a remedy.
But his sympathy is an insult.
To protect itself when the jungle snarls, authority oozes sympathy and outdoor relief.
When the jungle is partly appeased by scraps, and sympathy, translated into terms of cash, becomes a nuisance and a burden, authority turns off the tap and announces triumphantly that the destitute, in despair, have gone and got work.
The law of the animal jungle is necessity. The human jungle has worse horrors without the excuse.
" After a mass meeting of unemployed men in Hamilton, hundreds marched in procession through the town to the Parish Council Chambers. A deputation interviewed the members of the Parish Council. County Councillor Irvine, who was a member of the deputation, said he did not want to intimidate the Council, but deputations would not satisfy the people now. Starving men were becoming like wild beasts, and if they could not get what they wanted they would get it somehow or other. The Council would understand what hungry and ferocious men would do if they were not given fair play. After three hours' discussion, the Council unanimously decided to provide for each applicant according to merit."—Glasgow Bulletin.
Earning only 13/- a week by preparing rabbit skins, Mrs. Elizabeth Stacey of Petrockstow, Devon, tried to keep herself and her twelve years' old grandson. To feed the boy she went without food herself. -She was found dead from extreme emaciation, sitting in front of a board on which was a rabbit skin, and with a nail in her hand.—Darlington Evening Dispatch.
Startling revelations regarding underfeeding were made at a meeting of the Teesdale Education Committee. "Are members aware," asked Mr. Bromley, " that the children of Cockfield School are suffering from malnutrition to an appalling extent, and are they aware that after a brief spell of physical drill a number of them were so exhausted that they fainted?"
The Attendance Officer bore out Mr. Bromley's statements.
We have heard the story to the point of saturation of the nameless man up the street who won't work and who would rather idle on the "dole." The story is generally related with quivering nostrils and with the implication that what fits one fits all. To their shame this mean libel is repeated parrot fashion by individuals of the working class itself.
Even the Sunday Press, the encyclopedia of the unintelligent, is more kindly.
The Sunday News is enabled to say that in all official reports that have been made it is stated that the majority of people out of work are keen and capable after a little training. Particularly is it emphasised that the majority of young men are sound and eager.
Each Saturday the Glasgow Evening News will publish a unique S.O.S. appeal to employers in the city to find situations for decent ex-service men in desperation for a job.
More than 1000 unemployed swarmed outside Bermondsey Town Hall in response to a notice offering work to 200 men. Police and Council officials restored order and the men balloted for the 200 jobs—Glasgow Evening News.
"The path is hard," says Mr. Baldwin. "Now is the time to call in the youth of the nation in whatever class it may be found, to help you to regain and maintain that industrial supremacy on which we live."—Glasgow Herald.
The Captains of Industry have done their best in the circum-
stanoes. Here is one effort to obtain youth to maintain that industrial supremacy on which they* the Captains, live.
"Carting boys (underground), must be prepared to wear the 4Gus' (body harness)- Permanent wages per shift of 8 hours, age 14, 2/8J."—Advertisement at the Bath Labour Exchange, 1935.
Arising out of a statement on conditions in the mining industry by the Secretary of State for Mines in the House of Commons, 25th July, 1938, the following facts came to light:—
In one pit it was found that the who work naked lose on an average, 11 lbs. every time they go down. In Pendleton pits where conditions were even more severe as much as 18J lbs. in weight were lost per day.—" Hansard," quoted in Socialist Standard, September, 1938.
What about emigration?
State-aided schemes for the transference of unemployed men and families to other parts of the country or to the Empire overseas were brought forward at the first full Cabinet meeting to discuss unemployment.—The People.
The chairman of the General Council of the T.U.C. had the year previously gaid there was unemployment in 'the Dominions; that it was a feature of the Capitalist system everywhere.
But Dean Inge, if wc drag in the incomprehensible fco reconcile the irreconcilable, has said that the Dominions could find room if our emigrants were of the right type. The whole tendency of the T.U.C., says the reverend gentleman, is to make the British workman so troublesome that he is nowhere welcomed—Glasgow Daily Record.
The Australian Federal Parliament assembled at Canberra. Lord Stonehaven, the Governor General, in his speech said: "The Government has communicated with the Imperial Government suggesting the suspension of the assisted passages clauses of the £34 million migration agreement in view of the serious state of unemployment in the Commonwealth."—Glasgow Herald.
Canada is one of the wealthiest Dominions of the British Empire, yet poverty, unemployment and hunger are widespread. In the city of Toronto there are nearly 100,000 unemployed. I saw 500 single men living in a jungle. The lads have no home and no income at all.—Bob Edwards in the Ne-w Leader, 12th August, 1938.
Sir Wilfred Woods, a member of the Commission of the Government of Newfoundland was addressing a meeting of some 200 men at Bonne Bay, and when he replied that he had nothing to offer in the way of work to relieve the distress, some of the crowd threatened to pu*t him on dole rations. They rushed aboard the steamer in which Sir Wilfred was to leave and attempted to beach her.
—Glasgow Daily Record, 30/8/38.
And now hitch up another hole in the old waistbelt if your backbone will stand the strain—let the missus share the glad tidings— then stagger out and order your shroud.
" Wages in this country are too high. The prosperity of those employed is a severe penalty to others," says Mr. George Mitchell, President of the Chambers of Commerce. " In Italy the workers voluntarily agreed to an all round reduction in wages. If a similar
arrangement were adopted here by the highly paid men I am satisfied that unemployment would be reduced."—Glasgow Evening Citizen.
All the workers of this country have got to take reductions to help to put industry on its feet."
—Stanley Baldwin quoted in Daily Herald.
When that was said, the shareholders' list of Baldwin's Ltd., showed that the Right Honourable Stanley Baldwin, P.C., M.P., owned 194,526 ordinary shares and 35,591 preference shares. Baldwin's Limited employ over 2000 miners.
Earl Baldwin also receives a State pension of £1000 a year.
" The wages of those engaged in the Coal industry cannot permanently rest upon considerations of cost of living or what the men may call a living wage. It will ease the burden of the miners if the wages of workers in other industries are correspondingly reduced."
—Sir Adam Nimmo. Scottish Coal Master.
Profits for September quarter up.—Economist.
Wages, same period, down.—Ministry of Labour.
PENNIES FROM HEAYEN.
" The Hamilton Presbytery expresses admiration of the way in which the suffering people were conducting themselves despite their destitution. When they were receiving wages they called for more, but when they were not receiving sufficient to live on they pulled another hole in their belt and carried on in the hope of better times."
—Glasgow Evening News.
In the early days of 1914 when the Empire needed defenders, Mr. Lloyd George, speaking at the Queen's Hall, London, said:
" The people will gain more in this struggle in all lands than they comprehend at the moment. I see a new recognition that the honour of a country does not depend merely on the maintenance of its glory in the stricken field, but in protecting its homes from distress as well. A great flood of luxury and of sloth which had submerged the land is receding and a new Britain is appearing. The fundamental things that matter in life and that have been obscured from our vision by the tropical growth of prosperity."
—Daily Sketch, 21/9/14.
1914—Distress in the midst of a tropical growth of prosperity.
1938—Distress, only more of it.
And the army of belt hitching outcasts sends a contingent to see the display and to bear witness to the existence of a prosperity they have helped to create, whilst they .... tighten their belts.
But if they have no share in the prosperity, they are invited to defend it in the interests of others.
They die that others may live.
For Empires, all of them, are built on dead men's bones and on the wretchedness of the submerged.
Here is a page from the bill of Empire, written in the War Graves Commission's Report, by General Sir Fabian Ware.
But shed no tear— " Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie, dust unto dust; The calm, sweet earth that mother's all who die,
as all men must. Mourn rather, the apathetic throng,
the cowed and meek, Who see the world's great anguish and its wrong, and dare not speak."
And having pinned on our Flanders Poppy, let us look at the General's report.
" The chain of graves encircles the earth. They stretch across France and Belgium from the English Channel. The chain continues across Italy, stretches across Macedonia, the Balkans and the Greek Islands, and down the Gallipoli Peninsula to Smyrna, through Syria, through Palestine, passing over the Mount of Olives itself, then branching South through Egypt, into East Africa and onward to Iraq.
" Among the sand-dunes at Etaples, France, 11,000 of our own soldiers are buried in a single cemetery. The most impressive is the cemetery at Tyne-Cot on the Passchendael Ridge, where 11,000 soldiers, mostly unknown, lie around German blockhouses.
" These cemeteries and memorials are in all parts of the old world and in that which was unknown to ancient empires and conquerors, and they will bear a message to future generations as long as the stone on which they are constructed endures."
The report omits to inform us that these men were murdered by those they marched out to defend, and that our brother fools of Europe were likewise sold and butchered by the interests they served.
Whilst British and overseas soldiers were stated to be fighting with their backs to the wall and Britain was calling up her last man, British patriots in safe seclusion at home were exporting to the enemy the means of their destruction. The cold statistics of the Board of Trade figures testify to the extent of this callous infamy.
Admiral Consett, who was at Copenhagen during the war, in his book, " The Triumph of Unarmed Forces," writes: —
" The Consul and I walked along the quays among thousands of cases. I must confess to a feeling of degradation when I see all this stuff en-route to Germany."
These cemeteries and memorials do bear a message. How future generations will interpret it we can but surmise, but some of us at least of this generation know now that this senseless sacrifice is but the highest pinnacle of imbecility so far scaled by man. It may not be the last nor the highest, for human stupidity is tough. Nevertheless where Empire has trailed its slimy chain of death and desolation we follow with the message of hope to broken humanity that these things shall cease.
Workers of the World 1 Let us bow our heads in shame. We and we alone have permitted the prolonged massacre of our valiant class mates in Spain. True, we have passed the hat round and sent
them a shipload or two of tinned milk and bandages, but beyond that, done nothing. Our working-class knights do not approve, and we remain dumb and docile.
Shame, Shame on us.
And are we not once again tripping one another up at the call of our masters, clamouring to forge the weapons that may one day be turned upon ourselves? As we sow, most assuredly we shall reap.
Are not our Labour Leaders and pseudo-Socialists at this moment demanding that the areas they represent shall receive their quota of orders ?
The excuse that it means work is as pitiful and craven as the offence.
In this Song of Empire we now strike the chord that opens the chant of the Colonial choir.
The colonial workers, says James Max ton, M.P., constitute BO per cent, of the population of the British Empire, and most of the Empire has been under the control of Britain for mi average of 150 years. At the end of that time you have dire poverty and labour conditions removed only in name from slave conditions; widespread disease and general illiteracy. You have in Britain this problem of large scale deep poverty. You have it right throughout the Empire. You have it throughout the whole globe.
From Africa we hear that the hands of British Imperialism first spread over Kenya in 1895. When its sources of wealth were realised it was made a Crown Colony in 1920. The natives have suffered from a brutal and calculated oppression ever since. Periodically, Royal Commissions were appointed to enquire, but no improvements resulted.
The conditions on the tea plantations are described as worse than slavery. The wages are 8d. a day for men; fid. for women, and 4d. for children.
A similar story is told of the West Indies. In Jamaica the hunger among the native workers became so desperate that hundreds of them clamoured to enter prison to get food. This intolerable poverty was the cause of the recent riots. It was appropriate that they should break out on the very day that King George opened the Empire Exhibition at Glasgow.
In Trinidad the average wage of the agricultural workers is 1/6 a day. Even the British Governor, Sir Murchison Fletcher and his First Secretary denounced the shocking conditions and urged that the sugar industry should use the subsidies it received from the Government to pay better wages rather than higher dividends. For this the Governor was denounced in the House of Lords by the Duke of Montrose as a " Bolshevik."
The Governor was " fired " by the Colonial Secretary on the excuse of ill-health and the First Secretary was transferred to another post.
The Royal Commission subsequently appointed confirmed the Governor's description of the conditions.
In Barbados there had also been strikes. The strikers were met by troops. Agricultural workers received 6d. for 9 hours a day and skilled workers in the sugar factories 1/- a day.
In the House of -Commons on the 14th of June, 1938, Mr. Lloyd George stated that he spent over three months in Jamaica and was appalled at the conditions whilst we were boasting about our great Empire. There was no language, however violent, adequate to describe the conditions.
And now to India, stated to be the brightest jewel in the crown of Empire.
" It is said in missionary meetings that we conquered India to raise the level of the Indians. This is cant.
" We conquered by the sword and by the sword we hold it. We hold it as the finest outlet for British goods in general and Lancashire goods in particular."
—"Sir W. Joynson Hicks, late Home Secretary.
" Hansard " of the 4th May, 1925, gives the weekly hours worked and wages paid at a large representative mine in each of the six coalfields in different provinces in British India.
In the Punjab a miner receives 10/8 for a 54 hour week. Other underground workers 9/10 for a 60 hour week. 'Surface males 8/4 for a 60 hour week.
In the Pench Valley Mine a surface female worker receives 2/3 for a 55 hour week.
A professor of Economics in the University of Bombay states in "Wealth and the taxable capacity of India"—" The average income is just enough to feed two men in every three, on condition that the entire population consents to go naked and without shelter; have no amusements or recreation, and want nothing but food, and "that the lowest and coarsest."
Indian seamen man British ships because their labour is cheaper than white labour. They subsist on a diet of rice and dhal and chupatties. Pigs are better fed and sheltered, and for obvious reasons. There is money in pigs. We eat pork but draw the line at lascars.
In April, 1919, 5000 Indians assembled in the public gardens near Amritsar. They were unarmed and were met to protest against intolerable conditions.
General Dyer ordered his "troops to fire on them. 379 were killed and 1,200 wounded. Dyer was censured and retired. Sympathy was expressed for the perpetrator of this slaughter and through the agency of the Morning Post over £21,000 was raised for him.
Let the Morning Post, trumpeter of Empire and paymaster of its butchers write the epitaph of Empire.
Eleven years after the Dyer incident the Morning Post wrote:—
" The condition of our land, our Empire, and of the world beyond is thoroughly disheartening."
Quite sol Destitution simply cannot be shot away. Not by a thousand Dyers. It is an integral part of Capitalism and Empire. It thrives with these and will perish with them.
44 Our chief world sickness is this " says Stanley Jones, author of " Christ and Communism —
We are trying to respond to world unity while our economic life is based on competition.
41 Of all the outmoded conceptions, selfish competition is the most outmoded. If we cannot base the future on co-operation we perish. I sat on the same platform and heard Sir John Simon tell of the earnest but pathetic and fruitless efforts they were making to disarm the nations through the disarmament conference at Geneva."
And in the League of Nations Union publications we are treated to this feast of tripe: —
° An inquiry into the causes of world depression was ordered. A general feeling was prevalent that the world was in rather a bad way and "that if anything could put it right the League could. The keynote of the debates was a general demand that the league should take some steps even though no one could quite suggest what, to discover what was wrong, and put it right/'
Pathetic futility. Void and meaningless drivel. The very desolation of emptiness!
A Daily Record leader tells us, and after reading the foregoing, can it be disputed that:—
The language of diplomacy and of international conferences has been expressly designed for the hiding of the realities of any given situation/'
Let that soak well in, brother.
Of those who sent us like sheep to the shambles in 1914, Lord Welby, a Treasury Official, wrote: <4 We are in the hands of crooks/' War memoirs prove beyond all dispute that he spoke the simple unvarnished truth. That goe6 for 1914. It stands for Geneva and is equally applicable to the Conference at Munich on the 30th September, 1938, which postponed the world terror of that hour only to ring up the curtain when the stage is set, on a worse.
Empires, like individuals, have a life cycle. They are born. Tbey have their periods of infancy, youth and vitality, middle age, old age, decay, death and dissolution.
In his " 'Short History of the World/1 H. G. Wells, writes:— 14 In the Roman Empire the free will and the free mind were nowhere to be found. The great roads, the ruins of splendid build-ings and temples, the tradition of law and power must not conceal from us that all its outer splendour was built upon thwarted wills, stifled intelligences and crippled and perverted desires/'
W. Bell Robertson in 4< Foundations of Political Economy " records that when Egypt went down, 2 per cent, of her population owned 97 per cent, of her wealth (property). The people were starving.
When Persia went down, 1 per cent, of her population owned all
When Babylon went down, 2 per cent, of her population owned all the wealth.
When Rome went down less than 2000 persons owned all the known world.
" In dealing with the history of Greece," says 0. A. Fyffe, M.A., Oxford University, in his 44 History of Greece," 4'we must bear in mind that we are reading the history of the masters only, and that all the greatness of Greek life belonged only to a part of the population. There was another part—the slave population whose history, if it existed, is a record of appalling misery and suffering."
Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England after Wolsey fell, in the 16th century, in his 44 Utopia," wrote: —
44 Giving up the land to the enjoyment of the few and making the industry and the needs of the many secondary to the whims of the rich whereby poverty of life and happiness becomes the lot of most. Poverty is the mother of idleness, of debate and decay. Empires are founded on beggary and through beggary pass away. The activity of kings, the excitement and preparation for war are signs of want and evidence of crime—not proof of power, happiness and prosperity."
So spoke Lord Chancellor and prophet of the 16th century.
Statesmen of the 20th—for kings are become but puppets— How stands it now with the activities and excitements of Geneva and Munich; with Empires and their beggared proletariat; with the foul persecution of the Jews and the blowing up of Arab villages in Palestine ; with the rape of China and the crucifixion of Spain ; with the theft by violence of Abyssinia, and the bombings from the air on Afghan territory; with the cry for justice from the truncheoned negro—How stands it now?
As to Abyssinia, Signor Mussolini has said in an interview published in the 44 Petit Journal ": 44 Italy has no lack of juridicial arguments to support her demands. In 1925 I placed my signature with that of the British Ambassador, Sir Ronald Graham, to an act which practically divided Abyssinia." For verification consult the Handbooks of the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, and the exchange of notes between Britain and Italy in 1925.
How do you reconcile your claim to culture, with bayonets, bombs, battleships, guns and poison gas? These abominations are not signs of greatness, but are the evidence of the lack of it, and of inward corruption. And that which is rotten cannot endure.
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece. Rome.....The
splendour that was theirs 1 Yes, but 44 we must remember we are reading the history of the masters only. There was another part, the slave population, whose history, if it existed, is a record of appalling
misery and suffering.".....44 built upon thwarted wills, stifled
intelligences, crippled and perverted desires."......44 industry
and the needs of the many, secondary to the whims of the rich whereby poverty of life and happiness bccomes the lot of most."
......44 the fundamental thing3 in life obscured by a flood of
luxury and sloth."......44 the path is hard—incalculable hardship—the heavy end of the stick falls always on those least able to
bear it."......44 deprived herself of food to feed her grandson—
she was found dead from extreme emaciation."......44 There was
no language however violent, adequate to describe the conditions."
......,4 bufc deputations would not satisfy the people now. Starving men were becoming like wild beasts and they would get what they wanted somehow or other."......44 These antiquated property relations now become hindrances—then begins an epoch of
social revolution."......" We are, to-day, in the midst of an
That is the history of all empires, past and present. History as known to scholars—history stripped of the blare of trumpets and the crescendo roll of drums—of the amorous adventures of libidinous monarchs and their court lackeys—the history of the people, the sanculott-es, that great heaving mass of humanity called " the mob " by the harlot scribes of the press when oppression becomes intolerable and it revolts, and " Saviours of Country, Empire and Civilization " when in servile obedience it dons the State garb of murder to protect the loot of its masters.
This is history in the raw, and it teaches that in each epoch the ruling class and its engine of oppression, the 'State, pave the way for revolutions. It is the workers' destiny to carry them through. Up to now these nonentities of the orthodox drum and trumpet history books have emancipated all but themselves—the last class it obliged in this respect being the Bourgeoisie, when it rose in revolt and shook itself free from the restraining shackles of feudalism, to become what it is to-day—the master class. The next and final revolt is that of these ragged trousered, belt-hitching philanthropists, the working class itself, on a world wide basis, against the antiquated property relations which are strangling it to-day.
Local revolts and industrial strikes (and the air hums with news of them from near and far) are the preliminary ripples of the advancing tide of world revolution.
Dictators and frenzied statesmen fill the screen to-day, but they are poor shadow stuff and will fade out in due coarse. And all they stand for will be remembered by posterity as we, to-day, remember Torquerriada and the Inquisition—repulsive scars on the face of Time.
" Poverty,"writes Vanoc II.f " is a disgrace—and the highest thing in life is livelihood. Nothing undermines the moral character so effectively as poverty. One has only to glance back into the economic sewer of early Victorian days to realize this fact. A dangerous fact intrudes itself into the world—namely, the economic knowledge that the poverty of the many is a prerequisite of the riches of the few. To-day poverty Is a blot on sooiety* Let us face the facts squarely and admit that the continuance of mass poverty pests on two conditions; the refusal of the rich to abandon their defence of the present social systemt and the failure of the poor to destroy It. All the rest le sophistry and elaborate argumentation of special Interests.
The deepening of mass poverty is, like the accumulation of wealth into fewer hands, an historical phenomenon pregnant with a new order. This fact the defenders of the present social order must face. The black disgracc of poverty is felt sooner or later by all but declassed pariahs. It entails the enforced surrender of human independence to a point where life becomes a prolonged funeral pro-
cession. The disgrace of mass poverty such as is to be witnessed at the present, time lies heavily on all classes. But that the poor should uccept their poverty and wear it in their caps as a badge of spiritual honour—this is the deepest disgrace of all. There is no room in life for such people. Only the poor who hate their poverty like hell are fit to live. For it is to such people that history has entrusted the task of bringing forth the new order of society.
The poor white differs from the poor black in only one respect. He belongs to a conquering caste. But ihe poor black can wish him the joy of that for it does not alter the essential identity of their conditions and interests.
Yet it is difficult to make the poor white realize and acknowledge this important fact. For whatever the state of his trousers he has a vote. Ife way be verminous, but he can read the newspapers, and although he sometimes lives with his wife and three or four kids in a single room he will one day thrill to read M Esquire " after his name on the letter which calls on hirn to get blown up, gassed or bayoneted for his country.
But the white skin has until now had the better of the deal. It has, say, been flayed less frequently than the black.
When the surplus value tides of colonial exploitation run tardily or dry the poor white is called on to shoulder the burden, but in the main the black gets it in the neck more brutally than the white. Perhaps it won't always be so. White workers have been shot down by business authority-in the guise of the State, and they will probably be shot down again. But white workers cannot be so silently and safely dispatched as black workers. Blood on the pavement is more shocking than blood on the jungle earth. I don't know why it should be ; but there it is.
The black man's scream of pain is drowned in the Wagnerian overture of the jungle. Nobody hears it except the black people themselves, and they don't, matter, and perhaps a few representatives of Imperialist who are tone deaf to all sound save that of surplus value. And this scream of pain never stops. I«t goes on and on. It drives sensitive whites to despair, but the despair of sensitive whites does not matter.
Occasionally one hears above this orchestra of pain which is black Africa the sound of shots. Shooting, in fact, always goes on, but one hears it only occasionally. A sound wave encircles the globe almost instantaneously. The roar of the oceans, the crash of earthquakes, the song of birds, the gritting of a dictator's teeth, the whistle of soup through a monarch's whiskers—all these are transmitted from pole to pole.
But the groaning agony of forced labour, the cries of mass despair, the hunger of children, the thud of blows, the hiss of the lash, the gasping of blood-choked throats—these may not be transmitted.
The masters of life have developed an artistic sense in the course of a long experience in the preparation of broadcast material. And the shooting of a few blacks in Rhodesia—what are they among so many?
Copper workers have been shot dead there by armed police for protesting against the raising of the pole tax from 10/- to 15/-. A bucket of blood for five shillings. Things must be pretty desperate with both the blacks and the Imperialist extractors' surplus value.
And things are desperate. But this is not an uncommon state of affairs for wage labourers, whether black or white.
What relation does the exploitation of the black bear to the white workers of Britain? Is an exploited white worker justified in shrugging his shoulders at the spectacle of an African shooting match and pleading his own woes. No. For his condition and interests are inextricably bound up with those of his black brother.
So long as colonial peoples are enslaved, the hope of economic freedom for the white worker is a delusion, for a decadent economic tyranny revives itself for the final attack on white workers with the wealth created by its black slaves.
The interest of all wage-workers of whatever race and colour is the same. The antagonisms of rival groups of plunderers, even when camouflaged under high flown imperial myths, are no concern of theirs.
Black skin and white merge. Both are minced in the same machine. When the supply of one runs short the machine is fed with the other.
And there is no escape so long as the machine exists!
Libertarian Socialists have nothing to give but the message, though some have forfeited their lives, others their liberty in its delivery.
" Dreamers of Dreams! we take the taunt with gladness, Knowing that man, beyond the years you see,
Has wrought the dreams that count with you for madness, Into the texture of the world to be."
Libertarian Socialism or Anarchism offers not an empire, but the world. A world based on liberty and justice in the full senso of all that these words imply. To-day they are but husks, abstractions, travesties and blasphemies against all mankind.
Libertarian Socialism provides the remedy not only for unemployment, but for every social infamy and rottenness -that stinks today in the nostrils of every honest-tliinking man and woman.
Inside the framework of a socialist society the low, mean, selfish gospel of grab would be both useless and meaningless, and it is in this mean gospel that every social evil has its roots.
It is the remedy and the only permanent and lasting cure for gangsterdom, whether it flourishes in the city street or in the secret chambers of national or international conferences.
It is the remedy for prostitution both of the body and of the intellect—for a system that manufactures crime and grows virtuous on vice.
It is the remedy for murder. And war is but organised hooliganism and murder directed by the State, sanctified by the Church and waged by the dupes of both.
Gold lace, court breeches, pacts, protocols, mandates, spheres of influence, and gentlemen's agreements signed with gold pens on
scraps of paper are but the fore-runners of blood baths and mangled
Libertarian Socialism has a ready remedy for the slums— dynamite.
A world without masters and without slaves, wherein men need not to trim their words in fear and trembling of authority ; wherein honesty of thought, speech and deed will replace lying, sham, fawning pretence and cringeing hypocrisy; wherein men shall cease to tread the dull and dreary paths of petty and contemptible respectability, and shall rise from the degrading posture of supplication and helplessness, to the full and dignified stature of Man—four square to life.
If Socialism means not this, then let us destroy it.
To that section of the leisured class, the educated class, the titled class, who, as Mr. Gladstone admits and history proves, has been wrong about the franchise, commerce, religion, slavery, and wrong upon whatever subject it touched ; to statesmen and diplomats whose policies once advocated with passionate fervour and which now stand revealed as naked folly and madness; to those gentlemen who have battened on industry and who are parasitical to industry and nothing but that; to-those who have no remedy for capitalism's class inequalities and injustices, its iniquities, its Elizabeth Staceys and its hungry children—no remedy and no immediate and impelling necessity to find one. Libertarian Socialism comes not as a threat, nor with the avenging, blood-lusting jaws of the guillotine—but as an opportunity for them to assist in the cleansing of the Augean stable, of the sweeping away of all this moral leprosy, and as an honourable way out for them to get off the backs of their fellow-men.
The promises, pleadings, patchings-up and political clap-trap of this class and of its contemptible hirelings seduced from the ranks of the working class in the final issue will prove of no avail Libertarian Socialism in its world stride, in the fulness of time will gather them, too, within the new social order and will raise them or endeavour to raise them to higher and nobler conceptions of life.
Libertarian Socialism is not the end of civilization but its beginning.
The workers, whether they contribute brain or brawn service to the community, have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to gain.
Libertarian Socialism is the hope of the world. All else is illusion.
By PETER KROPOTKIN.
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