John Maclean Justice 1911
In her biography JOHN MACLEAN, 1973, Pluto Press, p. 57, of her father, Nan Milton wrote “During the summer of 1911 Maclean began to write the regular Scottish Notes in Justice, using the pseudonym Gael.” In fact the first one was on 11 November though there is one earlier column under the same pseudonym on the 6th May 1911 entitled “News from the North.” The last “Scottish Notes” was published 30th July 1914. Apart from an occasional letter of protest after this Maclean only writes one more article for Justice on 6 August 1914 entitled “The Coal Crisis.”
There do appear to be lots of typos by the transcriber but a good many of them, if not the vast majority, of malapropisms etc, were done by Justice itself. The only one about which Maclean publicly complained in the following week was using "Lancashire" for "Lanarkshire" which does rather change the politico-geographical meaning but there were quite a few others. With enormous self-restraint the transcriber did not change them to what he thought Maclean must have meant. Quite often the photo-copied text was pretty bad and the scan was a mess. It did need a lot of work and many punctuation errors in particular may have slipped through.—Note by transcriber Ted Crawford
From: Justice 11 November 1911, p.5;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.
The West of Scotland Liberal-Unionists are distressed in soul. The reason is that Socialism is spreading at an alarming rate. Earlier in the year a Mr. Faraday, Anti-Socialist, was brought down from London to smash our case to smithereens. After lecturing and debating with prominent Socialists he must have greatly added to the ranks of our good cause, for no less than the learned professor of Anti-Socialism and “examiner” of Socialism, Mr. W.H. Mallock, has been summoned north to Glasgow to stem the flowing tide with three lectures.
In the first he tried by reference to statistics to disprove the “increasing misery” theory. He pointed out that absolutely and relatively income-tax payers had numerically increased and that the workers are better off in consequence of rising wages and failing prices. He triumphantly referred to the decline of official pauperism as a significant sign of the country’s prosperity. Surely, by some mistake, he forgot to mention this summer’s strikes as the most reliable witness to the wealth and contentment of the workers.
As “facts are chiels that winna ding,” I may be permitted to quote one or two from a lecture just delivered by Professor Glaister to the Glasgow Royal Philosophical Society for the benefit of “Gradgrind” Mattock. They certainly expose the weakness of his pauperism test of the workers’ progress. In Scotland one in every 50 is getting “relief” and the number is increasing; in Glasgow (the Municipal Mecca!) one in every 42. The cost per head of paupers has risen from 2s. 2d. in 1845-6 to 5s. 6d. in 1904. The cost per annum in Glasgow has risen from £141,866 in 1904 to £303,608 in 1910, and during the same period in Govan from £72,836 to £126,651. Poor Glaister whines lamentably about this state of affairs, in spite of 40 years enormous educational expense, 30 years’ sanitary expense, and a rise in wages of 30 per cent, in 50 years.
Now then, for Mallock. It is admitted that as much, probably twice as much, is spent by charity societies in Scotland as through the rates. That means that at least in 20 is destitute in Glasgow at the present time, and the money expended is increasing at an alarming rate. Paupers get at the rate of 5s. 6d. per week. If the rate were 2s. 2d., that for 1845-6, then in consequence of price reductions since that date at least, 1 in 8 should get relief. If the poverty in our land of heather was greater in 1845 than has just been calculated for this year of disgrace, then well did it merit the title “Puir Scotland.” Not only that, for, if Mallock’s contention be correct, what becomes of the boasted independence of the Scottish race, unless pauperism be its synonym?
Every real test shows that genuine destitution, the essence of poverty, is spreading in Scotland, as well as poverty itself. Why, so bad have things become that half the counties are losing the cream of their youth. Record crowds of our healthiest, thriftiest men and women have left the Clyde for the Colonies, disgusted with prospects at home. I fear that friend Mallock will have to forge new facts in his London Anti-Socialist factory before paying us a return visit.
In his second he tried to show the absurdity of our theoretical position and the social programme based thereon. He said Socialists had started with the crude fallacy that the sole productive agency was ordinary manual labour, and had tried to find a scientific substitute for it in the meaningless Fallacy that all men are economically equal because no particular person produces or does, or is anything in particular. After all, England has produced one man with a lofty imaginative faculty! It is not strange to learn after the above sample of wisdom that under Socialism all property will be abolished, and slavery, wages, and strikes will be perpetuated along with other evils of capitalism!
In his third round this great man of imagination admitted the existence of economic evils, such as slums. These evils were merely accidental, and could he removed by reform – Liberal-Unionist ones, of course – without touching the seen foundations of society, land, and capital. All this, no doubt, is possible to men of imagination and inventive genius who are entitled to the rent of ability. As Mr. Mallock is of this category, we are entitled to anticipate that ere long – when he sends forth his coming Anti-Socialist statistic – a transformation of the position of the people will take place.
And it seems that this worthy hero will not be alone in the great battle for the people, as the United Free Church has just emerged triumphant from a Congress on social problems in Edinburgh, and its Glasgow Presbytery has just inaugurated a “Labour Week” along the lines of the one recently held at the Browning Settlement, London. More of that next time.
From: Justice 18 November 1911, p.6.
As far as I can gather, fifty-three municipal contests in the name of Socialism or Labourism took place in Scotland on Tuesday, November 7. Of these 23 were victories and included 18 gains, whilst 28 were defeats and included four losses. The results of two are not known yet. Most of these fights do not count for much, as Socialism – in fact, even municipal capitalism – was carefully stowed away from public scrutiny.
Only 5 took place in the name of the S.D.P., and of these but one was successful – that of comrade Dundas at Brechin. To him we all tender our congratulations. Comrade Roberts was most unlucky in losing by a trifle of 13 votes, after scoring 365. Unfortunately, just before the election, our comrade had to lie off ill, and thus disappoint at least one audience; otherwise he would have romped home the victor over the Rev. W.W. Miskimmin, probably the strongest opponent in Falkirk. It is to be hoped that the Falkirk men will put up Roberts next year, since he is sure to win by a handsome majority. At Pollokshaws, comrade Blair, whose good work on the Eastwood School Board everybody admits, fought his first municipal contest against every type of organised interest, and received a larger straight vote than we have ever before obtained in this town of slums. Better luck next time.
It is curious to note that two Labour losses occurred at Kilmarnock, the chief of the burghs recently contested by Tom McKerrell, and two others at Clydebank, the scene of the recent dramatic strike at Singer’s. By the way, Clydebank is the home of “Rob Roy,” the oracle of “Forward,” who never misses weekly jibes at Marxism or the S.D.P. I wonder how this great tactician and slavish apologist for MacDonald reactionism can explain away the defeat of his henchmen at Clydebank. Another curiosity is the defeat of Archibald McPhee, our old organiser, and two Labour men in Paisley. This town is the centre of the Coats’ Trust, which has just declared a tidy net profit of over three millions. The annual declaration of a profit so immense as this ought certainly to convince the “buddies” of the robbery of capitalism and the need for Socialism, let alone watery Labourism. Yet, seemingly, it does not. One never knows, but maybe this obtuseness is allied to the Scotsman’s traditional inability to penetrate or perpetrate a joke!
The most remarkable feature of the elections has been the four Labour gains in Glasgow, three on a minority vote in triangular contests and one in a straight fight with a majority reduced from 1,278 last year to 170 this year. Despite all this the capitalist alarm has exceeded all bounds. The burning question for the Labour men was the tramway surplus, reduced fares, and the late strike of the tramwaymen.
As the Labour group is now ten strong, largely the outcome of the Corporation’s spending last year’s tramway surplus on rate reduction and the tramway situation this year, it remains to be seen what it will do to vindicate the cause of the workers.
The tramwaymen were justified in striking for shorter hours this summer, because for well over a year the Tramways Committee had bluffed them. Their only fault was a lamentable lack of solidarity that turned the strike into a fiasco. Had Davies and Turner given a strong lead at the time, the probability is that success would have attended the men’s efforts. As Turner has now been returned for Townhead Ward, we trust he will make a better councillor than a union leader.
During the strike the Tramways Committee handed over full power to the manager, Mr. Dalrymple. This capitalist flunkey re-hired dismissed servants, advertised for fresh men, and bullied weak strikers back to work with the help of the police and taxi-cab drivers. Thus the strikers were out-flanked. As soon as the strike was over and the men had returned to work, it was seen that all the active unionists had been spotted and cut out of the service. As each man signed on again, he had to declare that he would sever his connection with the Municipal Employees’ Association. Those that manfully held out against this were set “free,” and after a week or two even many who had bent the knee were, on some trivial excuse or other, dismissed, ostensibly to cow the others.
The first duty of the Labour men is to fight for the removal or degradation of the bully manager, the reinstatement of all victimised workers, the capture of the Tramways Committee, the shortening of the tramwaymen’s and other employees’ hours to 44 per week, and the establishment of a minimum of 30s. per week.
After that they ought to press for a reduction of car fares and the erection of workmen’s cottages with the tramway surplus. When in two or three years the tramway capital is wholly refunded, the total disposable profits will amount to over £360,000 per annum. With such a sum and an annual loan of £1,000.000 at 2 per cent., from the government; Glasgow could soon provide fairly comfortable homes for the people at a third of the rents they have to pay to-day.
From a health point of view housing is the question. The capitalists have tried to side-track the people of Glasgow by urging that the smoke nuisance is the cause of most of the ill-health. It is not, as was clearly demonstrated at the recent Tuberculosis Exhibition. The capitalists suffer huge losses through fogs and that is the reason why they have got excited about smoke. Yet they are so stupid or insincere that they refuse to provide gas and electric cooking and heating apparatus to all householders, and at the same time cheapen the price of gas and electricity.
The worst disease amongst the workers is consumption. A recent report issued by the Local Government Board for Scotland shows that in Glasgow 1,500 die every year of this white wage-slaves’ scourge, 5,000 more are disabled whilst 15,000 are more or less infected. Bad conditions of labour, over-work, bad food, bad clothing, and especially bad housing account largely for this state of affairs. Mallock had better, “examine” these telling facts against capitalism in Glasgow before again attempting to convince us of the blessings of civilisation.
It is remarkable that the lecturer at Tuberculosis Exhibition frankly admit what we Socialists have insisted on all along, – that the slum cages of the poor are the breeding dens of consumption, and urged on all voters to support candidates pledged to municipal housing. The Labour group have, therefore, everything in their favour if they put up a straight and strenuous fight for a large expanding housing scheme to supply commodious houses at rock-bottom rents.
I regret omitting reference to the unopposed return of two comrades at Lerwick. These Northmen must come south and teach us how to do it.
From: Justice 25 November 1911, p.7.
As I promised, I will this week tackle the “Labour Week” held in Glasgow at the beginning of this month under the auspices of the United Free Church.
The Churches’ interest in Labour just now all over the English-speaking world seems to be particularly keen. We learn that in America the plutocrats have financed a stupendous revival scheme. These money-bags are trembling at the rate of progress of Socialism in the States, and are determined at all costs, and with all weapons, to wipe our cause out. It is curious that the revival should take place at the time the two McNamaras, and with them trade unionism, are on trial. The preachers may be innocent, but the plutes know their business.
As circumstances are somewhat different in Scotland, different methods are attempted. The Free Church is finding the pews steadily growing more empty. Empty pews may soon mean unemployed parsons, competition for stipends, and finally starvation wages for the successful. The prospect of this may account for the demand at the assembly meetings in May for a minimum salary for all ministers of £200 per annum. It was at that time contended that no clergyman could live decently on less. Granted. The same applies to the porter and the surfaceman, and yet the clerical trade union never have shown their belief in the brotherhood of man by urging the same pay for these poorer members of the flock. No wonder the pews are empty, and no wonder the black-coats are alarmed. Hence the “Labour Week.”
The line followed was that initiated at the Browning Settlement in London some time ago, a splendid review of the speeches delivered there appearing in “Justice.”
Until verbatim reports appear, we must rely on those appearing in the capitalist Press. From this source we learn that the Labour speakers were Messrs. John Hodge, M.P., William Adamson, M.P., Herbert F. Stead, J.H. Thomas, M.P., Walter Hudson, M.P., J.R. Clynes, M.P., and James Brown, Ayrshire Miners’ Union.
The Rev. Dr. Wells, Moderator, acting as chairman for Mr. Hodge, stated that the most zealous and successful helpers in the work of improving the social conditions he had ever known were men and women saturated with the faith and spirit of Christ. His experience is limited. We Social-Democrats know that the most bitter and unscrupulous attacks on us have come from saturated Christians. I do not blame Christ, remember, as he was neither Socialist nor Anti-Socialist. It is quite possible for charitable and soft-hearted Christians to harden their very hearts against us, not, because our principles are false or capitalism moral, but solely because we are called atheists. However they may try, such saturated Christians must fail in “good” work because their heads are muddled, and their standard of morality is antiquated. If saturated Christians wish to do good they must join our Party and fight with the faith and spirit of Socialists.
Mr. Hodge, M.P., held that the Church has failed because it had lost sight of one of the fundamentals of Christ’s religion: the bodily side. As the Church has such a powerful organisation for good, he wished a close association between Labour and the Church. It was a shame to have London railway porters living only on tips. If the Church were behind Labour it could remove mountains. The night after the railway porters’ story, Mr. Hodge denied that the world was getting worse, and asserted that the brother’s keeper spirit was greater than ever. The £400 per annum for M.P.s perhaps had induced this optimistic spirit.
The Rev. W. Lindsay saw that with the shedding of prejudice the Church would become a centre towards which the people would turn for light and guidance and inspiration. No doubt of it, when all the pulpits are occupied Sunday after Sunday by Socialist orators, Clergymen are back numbers as a rule, and frequently make fools of themselves when discussing the social problem with us. They rather need to come to us for light and leading in mundane affairs affecting the interests of the workers. We will heartily welcome them as students and comrades once they shed their spiritual priggishness.
Mr. William Adamson did not think there was any cause for antagonism between the Church and Labour. Surely he remembers that the quarrel between the “Wee Frees” and the “United Frees” was not one of religion, but property – most sacred property. The Church knows the value of property – knows that it is more sacred than the soul. Hence there can never be anything but antagonism between the Church and Labour, at least if Labour knows its business.
Bailie Pratt wanted their brothers in the Labour movement to feel more trust than they had been feeling for a while that the Church was their home, their shelter, the fountain where they might be refreshed for the great work to which they had put their hands. Yet this very gentleman was at the moment engaged in opposing two Labour men for the Glasgow Town Council. Let us – laugh.
Mr. J.H. Thomas, M.P., said this “Labour Week” was not an attempt to capture the movement, or he would not have been there that night. After his capture by Lloyd George during the railway strike, Mr. Thomas should hold his tongue. His prating about fighting as long as 100,000 men have less than £1 per week will not do. Had he stuck out with the men no railway workers to-day would have less than £1.
Sir William Bilsland maintained that if individuals would only listen to what the Churches had to say they would be better men and women. Perhaps, Sir William, but poorer, for do not the Churches urge on the flock to be content with the position in which it has pleased God to place them?
Mr. Walter Hudson; M.P., maintained that Christ came into the world to save mankind. If so, the House of Commons is not the place for this railwaymen’s leader. He asserted that it was conduct that ruled life – that conduct told. He should try to change that of the shareholders of the North-Eastern Railway Company by inducing them to carry bags for tips, say.
Mr. Clynes, M.P., assured his hearers that the most eloquent and most able and undying voice that ever spoke upon the side of Labour was the voice of Christ himself, for he had always pleaded for the poor. If that were so, then I should have thought that there would have been fifty-two “Labour Weeks” per annum in all the Churches since Churches began. As we have just reached our first Labour Week in Scotland, I fear the mists of paganism must have clouded our vision till Mr. Clynes arrived. He asserted that a nation had better work to do in enlarging the moral and religious sense of its people than in enlarging its maps. Perhaps this is the end the Labour Party has in view, and in mistake we have judged it rather severely. Still, I used to think it existed in Parliament to see that the nation looked after the material and mental interests of the workers. A further gem. Manual labour had lost its place of dignity. When on earth ever had it any? Not since slave labour began thousands of years ago. Fancy Clynes expecting saturated Christians to preach that manual labour is the most indispensable, also!
Mr. Brown claimed for the men of the Labour movement that they had given a heart and conscience to politics during the last 20 years. If the use of the whole army against the striking railwaymen by the allies of the Labour Party is an indication of this heart and conscience, then assured success has crowned their efforts. This speech concluded the famous first “Labour Week.”
Readers may wish to know what it, in essence, it all means. Absolutely nothing, so for as I can see. This new attempt of the U.F. Church to side-track the workers we must expose.
From: Justice, 2 December 1911, p.2.
Comrade Anderson and his wife (Stone-house) are to be congratulated on their, or rather their family’s, success. The eldest son has won his M.A. with first-class honours in mental philosophy and a bursary of £100 per annum for two years. He was second to comrade Robertson. Both are ardent Social-Democrats. It also appears that the second son has topped the bursary list at the preliminary examination for Glasgow University. Very soon we will expect the red flag to wave over Gilmorehill.
We notice that the half-Scot, Bonar Law, in his Leeds speech, admitted that though prices had risen 10 per cent. this last decade wages had remained stationary. Although wages are actually lower, we will let that slip pass; suffice that he is cutting the ground from under the feet of Mr. Mallock, who came to Glasgow to tell canny Scots that they are getting better off. How we must admire the great authority of great Tories when we find such great unanimity in two such shining lights.
Mr. Mallock should revisit Scotland, and this time lecture the fishermen on their increasing prosperity. He would be sure of a free bath methinks. It seems that from 1899 till 1911 steam drifters have increased from 44 to 764; and that whereas the crews used formerly to own their sailing crafts, capitalists to-day largely own or control the drifters. Returns state that 109 are owned by capitalists, 102 by fishermen, and 553 by fishermen and fish merchants. Men who used to be independent are now wage-slaves aboard the drifters, and have to undergo the hardships of the sea for wages often worse than those of the poorest paid city labourers. Thus, again, does capitalism evolve along lines indicated by Marx.
At Yarmouth 1,200 Scottish fishermen met and appointed a deputation to ask the Government, through Lord Pentland, for loans to enable them to purchase drifters or motors for their boats. The deputation complained of the high rate of interest charged by capitalists, and therefore appealed to the State to save their independence! We take it, then, that the fishermen have realised that capitalism kills independence, and yet these men vote for capitalist Liberals. Why don’t they follow the example of the men of Lerwick and become Social-Democrats? Then they could go to the Government and demand that the fishing trade in its entirety, right up to the retailing, be taken over by the Government. What say our fishing comrades?
Comrade Hale’s motion for free books was again defeated by the Govan School Board, this time by a larger majority than before. The majority are anxious to leave some dependence in Scotland, you see. Or, perhaps, they had listened to Mallock on the increasing prosperity of the people. It is strange, but some of these supposed to be able to provide books have their children working morning and night, and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. till 10 p.m., to add a shilling or two to the family income. When we demand that this child-labour shall cease we are reminded by these advocates of economy of the burden we would thus place upon the parents. Cheap and pliant labour swells the profits of their friends, and hence their willingness to sacrifice the bairns’ independence. Clergymen, vote against free books, and then they wonder why the masses desert the Churches. We expect our comrade to peg away.
The Inveresk Paper Mills, Musselburgh, employ 700 people. The owners have seen fit to give each worker a bonus of a week’s wage, to be paid this December. That the system may be continued the employees are asked to show hearty co-operation and diligence. Just so. Produce more and we will give you a “bawbee” to yourself! No doubt about it, the bait will be snapped at by the “fool gudgeons.” This is the only firm I am aware of in Scotland that has adopted this profit-sharing allurement— except; perhaps, the co-operative productive societies. Those who know of others might oblige.
The weakness of the Glasgow Labour group is apparent already. Bailie Alston got a Special Committee appointed to find out how many Committees of the Corporation allow workmen to appeal against dismissal so as to get all to do the same. Why did he not demand that dismissed workers, especially tramway strikers, be reinstated without delay? Strong, direct action was taken against the tramway workers and others. It follows that the Labour men should respond in the same way.
At the Renfrewshire Co-operative Conference on Saturday last a paper was read on “Co-operation and the Rise in Prices” by comrade J. Maclean. His !contention was that the upward price tendency assists the multiple shop and the universal provider systems, and he gave figures to show that these are growing more rapidly than the co-operatives. Once the “independent” private traders were crushed out a bitter conflict would ensue for supremacy. The paper is to be printed and circulated amongst the branches. By the help of comrades this paper could be read at other conferences and before societies. The distributive trade is evolving more rapidly in Scotland than even the fishing industry, and hence the necessity of pointing the moral inside the co-operative movement. We risk this in face of the wrath of Russell Smart!
From: Justice, 9 December 1911, p.7.
I believe I express the sentiments (admitting that we canny “N.B.'ers” have sentiments) of all north of Berwick and many of our dominant race south thereof when say that we are proud of the latest “combine,” the combine of Socialist forces. This amalgamation is not perfect yet, in fact, cannot be so long as avowed Socialists remain apart from the British Socialist Party. The men of the I.L.P. still hold that union with non-Socialists is more advantageous to the cause of Socialism than union with fellow Socialists. That I cannot see.
A composite body can never attain Socialism that alone can be accomplished by determined and openly avowed Socialists. Neither is Socialist opinion more rapidly advanced by such an alliance if Socialists are themselves apart from one another. Socialists who are more anxious to join with non-Socialists and sometimes Anti-Socialists than with fellows of kindred opinions have a strangely distorted point of view. I should imagine that a completely united body of Socialists would be better able to carry the working class with it than a disrupted one. The Socialist movement, composed as it is largely of trade unionists, can as effectively convert the members of the unions whilst retaining its separate identity as when definitely allied. There nothing that the I.L.P. can do to-day inside, the unions that the B.S.P. cannot achieve.
Where Socialists maintain separate organisations they naturally clash with one another, and frequently attempt to undermine one another. For example, at the beginning of this summer an organiser of the I.L.P. in Scotland declared his intention of starting branches in every town where the S.D.P. ruled supreme. Had the I.L.P, had dominion over all other parts of the country I could have understood this move. But we know that the I.L.P. was languishing for lack of speakers in very many parts. Hence we were forced to the conclusion that sinister motives actuated that organiser, and that his specific object was more to weaken the S.D.P. than to advance Socialist principles. Unable to accomplish his ends openly and directly, this individual has for months been trying to do so through the old trade unions, through new ones, or through new branches of old ones.
What does all this prove? Surely that the policy of separateness leads to antagonism and active opposition, and that means a brutal waste of Socialist energy. This difficulty must be got over in Scotland once the British Socialist Party gets on to its feet. At least an effort must be made to get I.L.P. branches to fall into line with us.
Whilst still having the larger outlook constantly in view, we must meantime set our house in order. Linking up all the new forces will present a few difficulties, but the sooner we commence business the better.
Scotland will need a national council. The basis of such already exists in the Scottish District Council. This body could easily be adapted to fulfil all the functions required of a national council. I think it would be wise, then, for the secretary of the S.D.C. to get into touch with all new branches of the British Socialist Party; and arrange for an informal conference during the New Year week at Glasgow.
At this gathering preparations could be made for something more definite in the spring. Officials and a committee could be appointed to prepare a policy for Scotland and make arrangements for summer propaganda over the country. For this work three or four organisers will certainly be needed. The sooner we work out the matter the better.
District organisation will have to be set up for local work. Areas might easily be mapped out at this conference and so save friction and overlapping of work. The principal area will be Glasgow and district. This might at first include the whole West of Scotland from Dumfries right up, with an inner committee for Glasgow proper. So far as this city is concerned it might be advisable to have a gathering of all members during the New Year week also or after the larger one as thought fit.
All will admit that the New Year season is the one best fitted for new resolves and new impulses; it is a season when all factory workers are idle, and therefore able to foregather; it is far enough off to enable preparations to be made; and it will give the S.D.P. branches a chance to wipe out all debts so as to be ready for a new start.
Meantime, I appeal to all old comrades to be up and doing. Those of you who have lapsed, return; those who have lost heart, cheer up; those who have heart, pull in the indifferent and stimulate dormant or defunct branches. Let us “ring in the new” with rejuvenated animation.
From: Justice, 30 December 1911, p.?.
The Vale of Leven strike has now terminated. The unions are to be recognised; there is to be no victimisation; and a conference has to take place before January 5 to settle wages and conditions. Just as this fight against capitalism was concluding, the Dundee battle burst forth with meteoric suddenness. Dockers and carters made a combined and almost unanimous effort to raise wages. At once orders were sent to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, to fetch along blacklegs, whose arrival naturally meant sport. At once the working class rose in revolt, and in a determined way handled the traitors and the police sent out to protect them in the interests of the employers. Terrified lest the workers should gain the upper hand, the Lord Provost, to be in the fashion, I suppose, sent to Edinburgh for the Black Watch, 300 of whom received hissing hospitality from the starved wage-slaves of Bonnie Dundee.
So far as my limited knowledge goes, this is the first occasion within a lifetime, if not longer, on which the soldiers have been called out in Scotland ready to shoot down their fellow-members of the wage-slave class. The Lord Provost must feel proud after his feat of daring.
This strike, although only of a week’s duration, has been one of the most effective in any town in Scotland. The Tay was blocked with vessels freighted with jute, the goods stations were perfect chaos, and most jute mills had to close down through lack of fuel. No wonder Sir George Askwith and (Sir) Isaac Mitchell were sent for to solder up the breach, Starting at 10 a.m, on Saturday, 23rd, they had accomplished their purpose by 2 a.m. on Sunday by forcing the adoption of the usual compromise.
The old carters are to receive 23s. a week, and new-comers 22s. Just imagine that for a settlement when Newcastle carters have just obtained 26s., and Glasgow carters, after preliminary meetings without a police and military strike are offered 25s, by the contractor! The dockers are to receive from 71/2d. to 9d. per hour for day work, and from 11d. to 1s. for overtime, with a minimum of 3s. for night work. I wonder when these toilers will make a bid for a minimum guaranteed wage of £2 per week for 52 hours in the year? This should be the aim of all Scottish workers this year. The trouble to-day is that the workers only hope for an odd shilling added to wages at a time when the cost of living has advanced by shillings and the power of production of the workers by pounds. Let the workers now line up and demand pounds. That, I make bold to say, will prepare them for the demand of the earth, the only ultimate demand that must satisfy the masses.
Workers need not get excited over the House-Letting Act, for although in many cases the missives and yearly lets will be abolished, bedding, tools, and £10 worth of furniture will be safe from the clutches of the factor ; yet they will still have to pay sweet rents and rates. The factors will now collect the rates along with the rents weekly, fortnightly, or monthly as the case may be, and there may be the probability of many thus losing, the vote. To cover extra expense the factors will, in all likelihood, increase rents and rates alike, as there has to be no slumping or compounding of these. Such is Liberal “reform.” We Socialists would abolish rent and taxes altogether, the only thing possible in a sensible community.
Of like nature is the act to provide Small Holdings. It is a Liberal joke. The census showed the rapid depopulation of all rural Scotland. The best blood of the land his been let slip off to the Colonies, and the stream is ebbing so swiftly that soon our landlords, our Tullibardines, may have to guide the plough themselves. Hence the Act, accepted by all Parties in both Houses. The Act is useless and reactionary. We demand co-operative farms in these days of motors and machinery, the farms to be run by the State through the County Councils.
Tullibardine is weakly defending his ancestors, accused by the Rev. Mr. Mcintosh of clearing Glen Tilt. And here is the Duke of Sutherland now offering Melness Farm of 20,000 acres for small holdings, after his ancestors cruelly clearing the Highland crofters out of the country. I demand that the newly appointed Agricultural Board for Scotland should take the Development Fund and use it on Glen Tilt and on Melness Farm, which should both be taken over free of compensation, as the land originally belonged to the clansmen, in conjunction with the respective county councils, and with the Agricultural Colleges of Scotland. Thus huge experiments in collective agriculture could be carried out, and the only sane training given to budding managers of State farms. This is the only way to begin the genuine development of the full resources of the land. Small Holdings and Land Banks are humbug, and we should fight them tooth and nail.
The Class Teachers’ organ has just discovered open-air recovery schools everywhere else, and urges them here. Our demand at School Board elections was the sending of all school bairns to country or coast during the long summer holidays of eight weeks. Why should we wait till children break down before we do anything for them? Why not prevent calamity? This is the only way, when coupled with good food and housing. School clinics are entirely subsidiary to these requisites of healthy childhood and education.