John Maclean Justice January-March 1912
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.
From: “Gael,” Justice 6 January 1912, p. 7.
Readers may remember that at the conclusion of the seamen’s strike the shipping companies sent up freight charges owing to the exceptional demand for ships, and that the Press seized the opportunity to blame the rise in wages for the increased cost of carriage by sea. This condemnation of the workers was part of the incessant warfare between Capital and Labour, and was consciously resorted to by unscrupulous journalists to turn public opinion against the seamen in the event of a further demand for rise in wages this coming summer. The “Herald,” at the time lent itself to this practice; and, strange to say the Labour weekly, “Forward,” followed suit.
Now, in its New Year supplement, the “Herald” points out that increasing freights are due to unprecedented expansion of trade leading to the employment of even old laid-up vessels. The carriage of a ton of coal to Genoa, for example, at present costs 11s whilst a year ago it was 7s. 6d. a difference of 3s. 6d., or £300 on a cargo of 3,000 tons. As it takes a fortnight to reach Genoa and a week at most to discharge under the most primitive conditions, we will allow a full three weeks in the process. Let us also assume that a crew of 16, apart from officers and engineers, get 5s. more than they did prior to the strike. The total extra cost in wages amounts to the paltry sum of £12. No sane man is surely going to be convinced that an increase of £12 on a wages bill is responsible for £350 increased freightage. Why, the “Herald” admits that unprecedented profits are being made. Of course they are. If so, it must be plain even to a blind man, that increased wages have not caused the rise in freights.
Seamen ought to hear with gladness that transport is going to be even brisker than at present. Now is the time to prepare to get a share of the increased profits realised by their do-nothing, coupon-clipping capitalists. We hope to see things doing this coming summer by those hardy men who brave the elements and “go down to the sea in ships.”
The increasing demand for vessels naturally creates a stimulus in the shipbuilding world. We learn of the record breaking output of ship tonnage last year, and of the probability of its eclipse in the coming year. Shipbuilders feel this; the workers should know it. It does not surprise us to find that the only two special articles in the “Herald” supplement are by Mr. Fred, N. Henderson, late President of the Shipbuilders’ Federation, and Mr. John Hill, secretary of the Boilermakers’ Union, in view of present bustle in the shipbuilding industry.
Both writers dance round the new great industrial Council that poor Macara seems unable to have applied to prevent the great cotton war in his beloved Lancashire. Fred says it will be useless unless the workers are legally forced to keep agreements: John asserts that it will be “as useful as a fifth wheel on a cart,” and that “for a time at least men will use the old, barbarous weapon until a new relationship can be found between the employing class and themselves, during the period that must yet elapse between the passing of the present industrial system and the coming of the new. Fred knows that the leaders no longer can control the workers as of yore; but urges that rebellions could be prevented if fines could be imposed on unions for breaches of contract by the bolder spirits. By this means, the leaders could again boss the men, instead of being bossed as at present, So, also urges the editor of the “Herald” the following morning. John admits the helpless position of leaders and the tendency towards sudden revolt, even in spite of agreements but wisely refrains from offering any suggestions that might give the enemy the cue.
I hope that our good friend John realises the shipbuilding situation as clearly as he does the new temper of his fellow unionists. As a very clever man, naturally, he does. It remains with him to teach his men the significance of the boom in boats, prime them for the battle against Fred and his friends and lead them in the front this coming season for higher wages, shorter hours and speeding down. “Now’s the day, and now’s the hour.” Meantime, let readers do their share also and so make the work of our friend easier and more effective. A few weeks’ hard, though judicious application will do the trick all right.
Now that the miners’ ballot is at hand, may I be permitted to give a word of encouragement to comrades on the coalfields of Scotland. The boom in transport and ship-building implies a boom in other fields of production. This ought to find reflection in an increased output of coal at higher prices and profits. In spite of the rapid extension of electric coal-cutters, a greater demand should be made for men. Why then, hesitate to vote for a universal strike for minimum wage? Why hesitate to urge all others to do likewise? Let our disdainful Welsh comrades see that we will top the tree when the papers are counted.
The rise in prices has not slackened off this year and is not likely so to do for two or three years yet, unless trade and trusts collapse – not a very likely contingency. It behoves us Scots to lead the way in a renewed fight all round for the establishment of a temporary minimum of at least 30s., and forty-eight hours week for all poorly-paid workers.
From: Justice 13 January 1912, p.2.
Readers need hardly expect that at the Labour Party Conference a great scolding will be given the Labour men in Govan and North Ayrshire for advising their supporters to vote Tory, as those liable to be pilloried can well retort that the Labour Party should have contested these seats at the bye-election, the more readily as a result of the fight put up shortly before that in the Kilmarnock Burghs. Since this century began both Govan and North Ayrshire have been contested twice by Labour candidates, Messrs Hill, Brownlie, and Brown, whereas Kilmarnock Burghs were never contested till this last autumn at the be-election by Tom M. Ketrell. The accused recalcitrants can easily point out that if the contest at Kilmarnock, was intended to punish the Liberals as much as to gain another seat, their line of action (requesting supporters to vote Tory was more calculated to defeat the Liberals than the intrusion of a fresh candidate, as at Kilmarnock, or the adoption of the policy of neutrality.
If the Kilmarnock fight was intended to gain a new seat, the culprits can well plead that it is a wiser policy to try to try an old constituency with an old candidate than a new one with a fresh candidate. My impression is that the Labour men contested Kilmarnock to lay out new claims, satisfy the ambition of Mckerrell, and particularly to claim to wavering supporters, whose minds had been affected by the strike outburst and the formation of the British Socialist Party, that are earnestly independent and are prepared at all costs to oppose Liberalism. The coming reproof of the Govan and the Ayrshire men for carrying the sham independence to a logical conclusion, and to the loss of lately gained Liberal seat, apparently justifies my conjecture. We await the outcome with interest.
Shortly prior to the arrival of the undersigned in these columns, Sir Henry Jones, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow, penned an indictment of the Labour Party in the columns of the “Hibbert Journal.” In the current number Mr. J.R. Macdonald replies. Says the Professor: “If I had the power, as I had the will, I would arraign the Labour Party before the national conscience and ask it to show cause, why it should not be condemned for corrupting the citizenship of the working man.” Naturally we read expectantly to find wherein the poor Labour Party has fallen from grace. Would you believe it? The charge is that MacDonald and his merry men appeal to class prejudices, class interests, class cupidities as a result of a narrowed, prejudiced, biased view of national affairs! Labourism alone lists this peculiarity, for neither Liberalism nor Unionism has a class basis both being representative of all classes
MacDonald’s rejoinder is as weak as all his other writings, except when abusing the Social-Democracy. With it we need waste no time, It is a strange irony that the charge of class warfare should be brought against such Liberal lambs as “Mabon,” Henderson, and brothers, and that the charge of prejudice, narrowness, and bias should be laid at the door of such high-souled and broad-minded idealists as Hardie, Snowden, and comrades. The indictment is untrue, as the Labour Party M.P.’s shout aloud their repudiation of the class war, and have signally failed to do anything but bark wildly when ordered by their Liberal masters. Such an indictment would appropriately have been levelled against us, and we gladly would have pleaded guilty.
But we respectfully – at least, as respectfully as we can – decline to accept the conclusion that the preaching and the fighting of class war corrupts the citizenship of the working man. We are prepared to meet the Professor on any platform and prove to an audience of workers that there are two classes in the civilised world – the owners of land and capital and the owners of labour power – that the former mercilessly rob the latter with the resulting moral depravity that Sir Henry, with all his Moral Philosophy does not understand; that the propertied class always fights for its own interests from a narrow national class position; that this propertied class dominates both Liberal and Unionist Parties, which all through history have faithfully defended its privileged position against into the rights of the oppressed wage-slave class; that never more clearly was this exemplified than when the present Liberal Government, the donor of Sir Henry’s New Year knighthood, used the army to crush the railwaymen last autumn that the conscious workers, taking the international standpoint in the necessary class war, are more moral than the capitalists and landlords whose position is so national that it requires and uses such monstrously immoral instruments as armies and navies; that the preachers and the directors of the workers in the class struggle are more moral than our proud national Sir Henry, in that the society they are very soon going to see established will place the interests of all humanity as a social entity before the interests of sectional nationalities; and that as a result of Sir Henry’s inability to understand the evolution of mankind and the exact nature of the economic and social structure to-day, his Moral Philosophic Idealism put into practice has failed, and needs must fail in its totality to reach any tangible summum bonum.
From: Justice 20 January 1912, p.2
In Scotland it seems that our veteran comrade H.M. Hyndman is just coming into his own, not in a leisurely, but in a hustling, bustling fashion. Last Saturday night, just after a long journey north to Glasgow, he was bundled off to a most brilliant café chantant and reception in the well-appointed Masonic Hall, there to meet with over 400 ardent firebrands, and to enjoy talent such as makes us proud of the accomplishments of our comrades. On Sunday afternoon he gave a wittily-wise little address to an economic class of 150, and in the evening he rose magnificently to a packed house in the Pavilion and to a large overflow meeting in the Union Halls. Not bad for a week-end at three score and ten.
As it is not my business to report, I hasten to the point. Although he in no way attempted to give us a conduct homily, yet in stray remarks he gave us more light on evils and goods, and how to clear out foulness to make room for wholesomeness, than Sir H. Jones could do in a hundred lectures. And what is better? He aroused in us the driving force requisite for our share in the work. In so far as he has played the greater part in arousing the workers to a knowledge of their class position during the past generation, I make bold to say that he has been the greatest moral force of the age, in spite of any protests from him whatsoever.
Let us hark back, however, to Sir Henry. Quite recently the Glasgow Parish Council issued a memorandum in which it was stated, in confirmation of the Chief Constable’s report, that 17,000 women had regularly or irregularly, to sell themselves on the streets to make a livelihood. Many of these women at length found their way to the Lock Hospital, and after partial cure (when not lethal chambered) to the Bornhill, the Parish Council hotel. How many men are diseased the doctors only know. Here is a dangerous, as well as unpleasant, moral and social problem. The memorandum attributes the initial “fall” of young girls to ice cream shops, certain temperance hotels and a desire for money to satisfy a craving for gaiety, etc.; and holds the police authorities guilty of slackness in handling the evil. The accused authorities repudiate the imputation, and try to prove that they have acted strictly in accordance with the law. We say that all the gush on both sides is nonsense; for, to us, it is apparent that prostitution is a trade into which the pinch of poverty drives victims, and in which economic necessity keeps others who for other reasons have deviated from the normal path. Our cure is economic security and justice for all humans, the which can solely be secured by the workers crushing all capitalist resistance to the transformation of class to social property. If our inciting the workers to class warfare even for this end alone is morally wrong, I would like to know what our Moral Philosophic Knight, Sir Henry, is prepared to suggest and do in the matter. I have a missionary friend whose duty it is to visit and preach to those girls and persuade them to leave the trade, and he assures me that many of these outcasts have finer traits of character in them than the Church folks who send him to divert them from their “evil ways.” All such methods as his have failed. What would friend Jones have us do?
Again, Dr. Chalmers, Glasgow, Medical Officer of Health, has frequently shown the connection between the slums and a high infant death-rate – rather, murder-rate. If a villain openly and deliberately did even ten little ones to death it would need no professional moralist to rouse the public: he perhaps might be needed to prevent a lynching operation. In such circumstances the middle class demand the “removal” of the villain lest, the crime unavenged, others might be emboldened to attack their offspring. Murder even is a good thing when property is endangered; for was not a student publicly applauded for shooting a burglar in Glasgow a year or two ago? But when slums kill the children of the common people the middle class is indifferent. How high has Sir Henry raised his voice?
Dr Chalmers has now issued a report showing the connection between slums and consumption. We have pointed out the connection all along, and have denounced these slums not only as destroyers of the young, but likewise as the torturers and murderers of the mature through the white scourge. The professor knows that so long as factors and house owners get blood-money out of the poorest so long will these evils last. Yes, and grow worse, not only through the growth of cities but through the House Letting Act. For instance, here are Dundee owners threatening to raise rents 35 per cent. to cover taxes and add a handsome new profit. Does the professor help us to get the workers to fight the opposition of these leeches in the attempt to get municipal or national houses free of rent? I think not.
Still again, Sir James Crichton-Browne declares that much backwardness in children is due to lack of food, and that “while parents must not be relieved of their responsibilities, all children must somehow be supplied. not occasionally, but always and systematically, with a sufficient amount of food if we are to better the condition of our people.” We have urged full maintenance of children as the only way to solve this evil – a most vile one, too. Class opposition has prevented our attaining success. What would Sir Henry do? If he has a higher morality than we on this issue let him out with it. My contention is that we Socialists are the only moralists.
From: Justice 27 January 1912, p.2,
After Dundee, Glasgow. Last June there came into existence the present Glasgow branch of the Scottish Union of Dock Labourers, a union of which our old comrade Joe Houghton, is general secretary. Since its inception it has held the situation in its hands. It actually has decided who were to work at the docks and who were not and has forced on the stevedores six men to do work formerly executed by four. This is essentially accomplished by forcing the foremen and the tallymen to be members of the Union. Since last autumn I have heard from several sources that the employers have been desperate over the matter, and have been denouncing the state of affairs as intolerable. Exactly so. We hope that they will soon realise that to the class-conscious worker the present form of slavery is even more intolerable.
Never at rest, the capitalists interested in Glasgow and the docks foregathered to devise ways and means of ending of what to them appears bondage. At once they got into touch with the men’s representatives and after meetings certain conditions were agreed to. They were referred to a mass meeting of the men held in the St Mungo Hall last Sunday. The men unanimously rejected them, and just as unanimously decided that the vote was no censure on the executive. Quite a sane attitude; for the agreement meant that employees could engage non-union labour, that, foremen, clerks, measurers, tallymen and watchmen need not join the union, that men seeking employment should attend at the berths in the old manner, and that the employers should decide questions of discipline.
Once the men grant these demands game is up. That is how it looks to one who is an outsider. It is to be hoped, then, that when ballot is taken the same determination will be displayed. The usual whine that trade will leave the port, is being indulged in for the purpose of swaying opinion against the men. That need not disconcert the dockers themselves, for, as far as I have gathered, it will take little to bring them to other ports, as, unlike their kind masters, they have little gear to shift about. The usual threat, that the employers will divert the trade to other ports, also finds expression. My advice to the dockers is to adopt the policy we do at political meetings where we are denounced for driving capital out of the country. Our invariable reply is: “Let it go!” Such a derisive reply has a wonderful effect on the opposition. The dockers need not fear. Trade is good and will be good for some time yet. The capitalists can ill afford to fight; and the dockers might as well starve while fighting for their rights as to do so when the employers can make no profit out of them. If it does come to a fight, I suggest that Glasgow Socialists, in taking the side of the men, urge that the whole channel from Greenock up to the city, and the docks along the route, be taken over by the Government, and that it also does the work of loading and unloading. Should such a proposal be advocated and boomed vigorously we could clearly demonstrate that the employers are the cause of all the trouble, and should be swept aside for government dock agitation. So far as I can see this is the best way to knit up immediate economic and immediate political action.
The same method should undoubtedly by applied all round. Here we have the miners’ ballot leading to a panic fostered by the Press. People, anticipating an immediate strike, rush for coal. Up goes the price to £1 3s a cwt bag. Poor people, who would otherwise sympathise with the miners, feeling the pinch of a 25 per cent. rise at period of the year, are somewhat inclined to get angry and in blind passion to turn round and blame the men who, poor devils, have not the fixing of prices. It is certainly our duty to calm the people by throwing the blame on to the shoulders of the mine-owners and then rekindle the anger, but this time against the miner-owners. Once the people see aright their righteous rage will carry them with us until we win the day for the national ownership and production of coal. Here is a grand opportunity for direct action in political affairs. We do not need to wait on the awakening of a Labour Party, leading members of which seem to me to have helped to fix this very miners ballot at a time suitable far the profit of the plundering class; we can plunge into the fray at once while the people are enraged and carry the day for the conscious, educated revolt. Never before had we such splendid opportunities get at the people by special leaflets, conferences etc. It is time the Scottish District Council set the pace.
And here are the factors seizing the House Letting Act to raise rents from 5s. to 7s per £. Let us organise the people in the towns to set up persistent resistance. Let us form Housing Councils to battle against the factors and urge the public bodies to erect houses suitable for the people and let at rents within the reach of wage-earners. Here is plenty of immediate work for every man of us; and the people will go with us, too!
From: Justice 10 February 1912, p.2.
Unless the unexpected happens the Glasgow dock strike must involve the whole transport trade. The preparations that seem to have been in the making for a vast transport strike this summer were probably one of the causes of the precipitate action of the ship-owners and master stevedores interested in the Clyde trade. As Glasgow certainly was a comparatively weak spot in the strike last summer the masters perhaps have calculated on the possibility of averting another defeat this year by striking heavily against the supposed weakest link of the chain of ports subject to the operations of the Transport Federation. From the temper already displayed by the Clyde dockers, seamen, stewards, cooks, and others we may be sure that the masters are going to have a tough task to tackle to the attempt to trammel their Glasgow slaves. It must, however, be admitted that the masters are more solid than ever before, and have taken care to divert traffic from the Clyde before putting up the famous notices that the men wish taken down before they resume work. If the Clyde men are to win it seems perfectly obvious that the workers throughout these isles must back up their brethren. I am pleased to learn that the Transport Workers’ Federation intend to take over the supreme control of the men’s forces, for then we may assume that stern action will be taken over the whole country, as already at Greenock, Ardrossan, and other Clyde ports.
Returning to the political field, I had better reply to comrade F.B. Silvester on the problem of our action at election time. Let us strip ourselves of analogy and get down to actual circumstances in these isles. We are all agreed that the workers are robbed by a class whose interests are safeguarded by the Liberal and Tory Parties. The Tories openly declare that they are out to protect the society in which we all live, and that they are prepared to make such political and social adjustments as capitalism evolution renders necessary for the conservation of the interests of the dominant class or a section thereof. The Liberals, just as strenuous in the preservation of exploitation, pretend in a vigorous manner that they out for the “people.” If their solicitude for the workers were genuine then we should expect them to stand aside in places contested by Socialists and throw their weight on our side. Our every experience proves that they do not step aside but fight us more immorally (pace Sir H. Jones) with more contemptible lies – than even the Tories. Must we stand idly by at a General Election and let then thus play the double with the masses when with unanimity we can call attention to the game by issuing a circular, and on the strength of our facts appealing to the people to vote the Liberal down? It is quite easy for us to still show the essential identity between the Liberals and the Tories and explain that we in no way support the principles or policy of the Tories, although to vote down the Liberal we are by circumstances forced to put a cross opposite the Tory name.
Comrade Silvester singles out peculiar circumstances relative to Balfour of Govan, in so far as he is a director of the Llanelly Traction Company, the tramway employees of which were at the time of the bye-election on strike. I remember that immediately prior to the January (1910)) election, Sir R. Laidlaw stated he favoured certain of our proposals in the hope of getting our men to reconsider their decision to vote against him. Our attitude then was that we had no feeling against the individual, that we refused to consider his personal merits and proposals, and that when we voted against the Liberal Party and its policy of duplicity. I admit that in the past a few independent Liberals might have been treated on their personal merits. The party machinery is such nowadays that independent men do not exist and it would require most extraordinary circumstances or qualities to induce me to vote for a Liberal if the Party had decided to vote Liberalism down or advise others to do so.
If a Tory were exceptionally obnoxious I should advocate abstention. However, I refuse to admit that the Socialists who, knowing the circumstances at Llanelly, still voted for Balfour ought to be branded as “political blacklegs.” The directorate of the company no doubt embraces both Liberals and Tories, and Balfour is but a unit on the board. To saddle him with made of in such a working-class centre as Govan shows a trait seldom met with in a politician. Comrade Silvester under-estimates the thinking capacity of the working man on detail questions. The average man can quite easily follow our tactical moves: our hope lies in his grasping our principles.
Deplorable overcrowding prevails in Greenock in the slum dwellings as the rents of better houses are too high for labourers despite the shipbuilding boom There are plenty of slums in Greenock, but the trouble is that the demand exceeds the supply. The sanitary inspector cites shocking cases. Just one. Four families, in all sixteen persons, recently occupied a two-roomed house. Our men are taking the matter in hand. The evil is going to be intensified by the economic operation of the House Letting Art, as the factors intend to raise rents 331/2 per cent. and to lift each month’s rent beforehand. The same rent-raising is happening everywhere. Now is the time for Housing Council’s and Tenants’ Defence Associations to resist rises and force forward municipal and national houses.
From: Justice 17 February 1912, p.6.
After a fortnight’s fight the Glasgow dockers have practically conceded all the masters demanded. Early last week, concessions being granted the men at Campbletown and Ardrossan, work was resumed there. About the same time the Greenock men caved in without gaining anything at all. On Saturday, February 3, they seem to have collected money in the town and then to have transmitted it to headquarters in Glasgow. Thereafter they allege that they only received 7d. per head as their first week’s strike allowance. The “Greenock Telegraph,” seizing upon this, at once began to play upon the men so as to get them to break away, and I understand that as a consequence the discontents have contemplated a Greenock union, which they say would flourish famously during a future strike at Glasgow. It is the business of Greenock comrades to avert any such calamitous action.
As far as Glasgow is concerned, it is asserted that goodly numbers of union men were actually prepared to start on the Monday of last week if protection from pickets was guaranteed. This possibly was an evil rumour emanating from the masters so as to prepare for the men’s Executive bending to pressure from Sir George Askwith, who started negotiations on the Tuesday. By Wednesday these failed, and then the masters began to use clerks and others in the discharging of vessels containing fruit and provisions. Naturally, the police were out in large numbers, with the result that rioting began. Had the strike continued much longer the soldiers would have been on the spot too as the Lord Provost and his precious magistrates had specially met on Friday to consider what drastic steps ought to be taken to preserve “order.” We know soldiers at Maryhill and at Hamilton were held in readiness to mobilise on the Clyde at a moment’s notice.
Although by Wednesday the respective committees failed to reach a settlement, Thursday and Friday saw Askwith drawing together a small group from either side, until at last by Friday night he had the full committee face to face again. Before midnight Tillett, Gosling and Anderson set out from London to take over the control of the strike in the name of the Transport Federation, but ere they were halfway on their journey north a settlement had been arrived at – about 3.15 on Saturday morning.
As I have already indicated, I am of the opinion that the masters got all they fought for. After last summer’s strike the Dockers’ Union drew up “port bye-laws” which enabled them to dictate the conditions under which the men should work. It now transpires that certain of the men overdid the immediate privileges wrested from the masters, and this it is that is held responsible for the strenuous efforts the latter have made to recapture their old power of dictating. They now are entitled to take on non-union men, foremen clerks, measurers, tallymen, and watchmen; all seeking employment must proceed to the berths instead of the union’s offices; questions of discipline are in the hands of the employer; “reasonable time shall be allowed to take off and put on hatches”; if the men object to working cargo in the masters’ way they can appeal to a permanent joint committee, five from each side with a “neutral” chairman, who within a week shall decide questions of the interpretation of the agreement, revision of pay or hours, and the conditions for any class of work; the agreement can only terminate after a months’ notice. Specified numbers of tubs in the ore trade, men in holds loading and discharging and men in each gang are laid down. Whilst masters may have scored slightly on certain details of this part of the settlement, still the men will practically resume under circumstances similar to those existing prior to the struggle.
That however, does not immediately need to upset the employers. They have now the power to engage non-unionists through foremen who not require to be members of the union. As Glasgow has its armies of unemployed and wretchedly paid, the masters have thus at hand a sufficient supply to draw upon to break the union later on, or at any rate, to gradually cut away the advantages gained in the summer of last year. The masters presumably selected the moment most appropriate for them to engage in battle, and, doubt the men were well advised at this juncture to accept a truce. But there is now to prepare for conflict when circumstances will favour them more than the masters.
The threat of the factors seems to have roused to action the Greenock Trades Council of which our comrade Hinshelwood is president. A deputation failing to get satisfaction from the factors, the Council has determined to hold a public meeting. Through the initiative of our comrade Harry Campbell a housing council is in process of formation. If all the forces unite Greenock should lead Scotland in municipal housing.
The right-of-way fight at Buckaven has been a centre of public attention lately, and has afforded our men an opportunity of showing their worth in championing the cause of the worker. Such action certainly helps to draw the people into closer touch with one another and to breed the growing spirit of class solidarity.
From: Justice 24 February 1912, p.2.
It is now quite apparent that the shipping interests of Glasgow have determined break the power of the Dockers’ Union, for no sooner did the men return to work after the “settlement,” the main points of which I gave last week, than the Clan and the City lines, at least, began to violate the understanding by using four shoremen per gang instead of six. The men naturally refused to work under these new conditions, as holdmen only had been discussed, and the number to be engaged in a gang under different conditions had been clearly specified. The masters were to standby one another, and a general lock-out was declared last Thursday morning. The masters’ officials now make it quite clear that the employers mean to force men to work under such conditions as they arrange. Thus, up to the present, deadlock obtains. It is now left with the Transport Federation to take action and if the miners really mean to wage war this incoming month, I see no reason why the Transport men should not seize the opportunity to force their masters to surrender. Never were the masses so pugnacious as at present, and never before were they so class conscious as we now find them. And we would like to see them fight for something substantial, but to get them to fight the masters at all is a god’s blessing in this realm. My contention is that the forces brought out by our enemy – that must be brought out by our enemy – afford illustrations of the real class war that are more effective than all the theory we might fire at our benighted class from this until doomsday. Fighting leads to new facts, these to our new theory, and thence to revolution. On with the fight!
The dismissal of the incompetent Lord Penthland to Madras, there to experiment on the unfortunate natives, has led to the appointment of Mr. McKinnon Wood, M.P. as Secretary for Scotland. By the way, the Young Scots are wild that “Sandy” Ure K.C., did not receive the appointment. So far as Scotland is concerned, it makes no difference who is thus honourably elevated by the Liberals, the plunder of us “canny” wage” slaves will go on the same.
It seems that McKinnon Wood was aware of the change prior to the public announcement, for he was down in Glasgow nursing his constituency, St. Rollox, before we knew what was on. Everyone seems to have been taken aback. However, it was not long before our men in the constituency began to take action, but perhaps hearing of action on our part the Liberals rushed the election day, Monday, February 16.
The day or two afforded for the finding of cash and a candidate precluded us from directly engaging in battle with the enemy, but the circumstances lending themselves to an attack on Capitalism and to a furtherance of our basic principles. It was decided to issue a leaflet, engage a lecturer to go round the works, and hold a number of meetings each night till election day arrived. To justify our active entrance into the campaign, to show our condemnation of the Liberal police and military friendship for the workers since last summer particularly, and to nullify the tacit alliance of the Liberal and the Labour Parties, we decided to ask the workers to vote down the Liberal. In the leaflet we state the increasing profits, decreasing wages and higher cost of living since 1900, and the unwillingness of the Liberals to do anything in the matter except raise rents by the House-Letting Act, reduce wages by the fourpenny Insurance poll-tax, and use the military to prevent the workers even adjusting wages to the 1900 level. Furthermore, we urge the workers to embrace Socialism as the only way, and to press forward for the realisation of certain enumerated practical and economic immediate demands.
We intend to plunge right into the fray, and if we are but able to rouse the opposition of official Liberalism we are certain to intensify discussion of our action and, if we are tactful, our principles and our policy. This will give us a standing all over the area contested, and enable us to establish a propaganda fruitful of ultimate results. Better to fight, aye! and make mistakes, too, than sulk in our tents.
From: Justice 9 March 1912, p.2.
F.B. Silvester imagines that because I advocate exceptional consideration for the exceptional Tory my case for voting against the Liberal breaks down. Similarly, he avoids have me throw up the Marxian theory of value because certain articles sell at prices above or below their value; throw up the universal gravitation theory because cork rises in water or smoke in air; belief in human reason rising supreme because lunacy is on the increase. If our comrade works exceptions or modifications in all cases as he seems to do in politics, then he is sure to run himself into blank negation of everything.
I maintain that all circumstances must be taken into consideration in asking our supporters to use their votes; and just as a pick or a shovel must be handled differently in different circumstances – tell me the worker who fails to comprehend that – so must the vote. Supposing the Irish voted Liberal here and Tory there, Tory now and Liberal again, all Tory with exceptions now, or all Liberal ,with exceptions again, voted Liberal against Labour and Tory, or Labour against Tory, does our comrade imagine that any would fail to grasp the meaning of that? Surely not. We all know that the Irishman only thinks of Ireland when voting – unless where he is a Socialist – and no-one thinks of accusing him of betraying his cause whatever way he votes.
Normally, we do not condemn individual capitalists for the robbery of today: we blame this capitalist system of production. Yet, if a capitalist is exceptionally bad, we get at him by any means in our power. We would be fools to miss our chance at him if a Tory candidate, even supposing our Party had resolved to single out the Liberals for political death. I would advocate laying him out, not because I would be afraid of the workers failing to understand, but because of his exceptional brutality to the workers.
So far as the Labour Party is concerned. I am prepared to advocate such action as circumstances suggest. If we have evidence that this is the flunkey of the Liberal Party, as it is; if we have evidence that this Party undermines our candidates and votes against them in the interests of the Liberals, and at the instance of the Liberals, as I firmly believe – I maintain, the only course open to us is to get at them in public, oppose them and vote them down. Yet, here again, exception would have to be made of Thorne, and perhaps of others. I can conceive of our Party voting down the Tories in an election fought out on the Protection issue, in spite of any deliberate policy against the Liberals. The average man knows the marvellous intricacies of racing, cricket and football because he applies himself enthusiastically to these matters and the average man is beginning more and more to tumble to the delicacies of politics. As believers in political action, we Socialists have as a duty the kindling of enthusiasm for the study of economics, history and polities in particular, and once we get our class versed in them tactics in politics will become just as easy as tactics in bowling, chess or football. Having trenched far enough on territory beyond Scotland, I now retire to my native heath.
The Glasgow Branch, after hearing the case of those who were out against McKinnon Wood, has now definitely rescinded their previous resolution of neutrality. As the contest was over when this final decision was arrived at, I merely call attention to the point to show the ultimate frame of mind of the active members.
The idleness forced on steam drifters during the parts of the year when herrings are out of season has led to their adaptation to trawling purposes. If such becomes common, I fear that motor-boats in the hands of poor men, even when subsidised by Government, will fail to hold their own. In this industry, as in others, capitalism will win. Socialism is the only hope of our starved fishermen whose risks are as great almost as those of the colliers and whose wages are as low as those colliers working in abnormal places. Fishermen, unite!
A new trust has absorbed 13 companies, with 15 works, in the malleable iron hoops and strips trade in the West of Scotland and the combine will be capitalised at a million pounds. Thus do the capitalists unconsciously pave the way for social ownership. It is also worthy of note that Harland and Wolff, Belfast have bought the works of the London and Glasgow Engineering and Shipbuilding Company, Govan and Stobeross and that Barclay, Curle and Co., Whiteinch those of Sheerer and Sons, Elderslie. If centralisation goes on at this rate how long will it take for the people to centralise the control of all trusts in their own hands? Put that conundrum to non-Socialist friends.
After a great meeting last Thursday in Greenock addressed by Fred Knee, a Tenants’ Defence Association and Housing Council was formed, The same at Galashiels when J. Maclean was the principal speaker. Dundee, I learn, led the way, and Pollokshaws and other places – including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, I trust – will follow. Apart from mining localities, where the topic is not the famine price of coal, it is the fresh impositions and impudence of the house factors and landlords. The people are ripe for a lead from us. Let us give it everywhere. “Many a mickle mak’ a muckle.” Tiny ferments lead to revolutions. Hence, also, should we make united protest against that unheard of price of coal. People are becoming desperate.
From: Justice 16 March 1912, p.2.
The dark shadow cast over the land by the great coal strike has almost obscured all forms of social activity, at least those round which I am expected to twine my words. The absence of blacklegs has demonstrated that the miners can conduct a strike in a peaceful manner, and to far they have thus disappointed the capitalist Press, which has been lying in wait for some indiscretion likely to swing public opinion round against them. The trifling incident at Tarbrax, where some excited miners burned down the engine-house of a tiny pit, was seized upon with avidity by the Yellow Press; but as Poles were blamed no damage was done to the cause of the miners. Defeated in this direction, the Press hacks have turned in another to accomplish the ends of their capitalist paymasters. They are trying by hints of disloyalty to actually create disloyalty. For example, it has been stated and reiterated that the Fife men are disappointed that a strike has taken place, and “Correspondents” from Fifeshire are shamelessly assuring the public that had the vote again to be taken the Fife miners would oppose a strike. Now I know the type of men in the Fife coal-field and I deliberately assert that it is a libel on these black slaves of the “Kingdom” to suggest that they would refuse to stand steadfastly by their fellow miners in any emergency, especially one of such importance as this. Men who annually celebrate the anniversary of the eight hours day won a generation ago are not likely to be so base and cowardly as to leave their fellows in the lurch at such a critical moment in the history of the workers as the present. No! Scottish miners are solid, and will remain so till victory is assured. The successful attempts made in many districts by their branches to get the school boards to feed their children till the minimum is won is proof that they are making every preparation for a prolonged contest. The same should be done everywhere. The need for miners supporting the co-operative movement is most clearly proved by this flank move to starve them into surrender. The trick is the work of the provision trade organisation, and is clearly enough explained by the resolution passed, without further comment from me. He must be dull who cannot grasp its crushing cruelty. Here it is: “In view of the miners strike all retail grocers and provision merchants be recommended to stop credit immediately, and to sell only for cash, and wholesale merchants are advised to restrict credit to their customers.”
Army authorities have suddenly discovered that the sacred precincts of mines are amongst the best spots for “exercise.” It is to be hoped that this will teach young miners the folly of leaving the caverns of the earth for a “profession” the distinguishing feature of which is the murder of miners or similar unfortunate slaves. The Territorial authorities have also suddenly felt the need for crippling the guns of the rank and file in mining districts, whilst the middle class all over have been purchasing gun licences. Strange, is it not? That just reminds that this is the fourth year of the Territorials and the end of the term of the six thousand rash youths who signed up four years ago in Glasgow. These patriotic young men seemed to have learned the meaning of the organisation they so jauntily joined, for the authorities are anticipating a large falling off in numbers. Amen! say we. At any rate, a bait of 1s, 6d, is being offered for every recruit members can suck in. A rush of miners should hardly be anticipated, and let us look to it the those of other occupations will rather find themselves drawn into our ranks.
Dundee again is in revolt, although the Press is most reticent. After thr strike at Cox’s works at Lochlee more than a year ago, a ferment spread through the whole jute trade, emerged at the time of the recent deck drama, and has now culminated in almost 30,000 workers ceasing work in the fight for a 10 per cent, rise in wages, in view of the miserable wages prevailing alongside the Tay, and the tremendous riot in prices within recent years, any fair, unbiassed onlooker would wonder at the obduracy of the masters, most of whom are rolling in wealth. Yet, as everywhere else, the masters in Dundee refuse to consider the merits of the case, simply because their profits would be affected by higher wages. Most likely they are threatening to take their capital off to Calcutta. Such conduct and attitude should be promptly met by confiscation of their mills to be run immediately by the Corporation of Dundee on behalf of the community and the workers involved.
The spasmodic efforts made by factory workers from end to end of Scotland this last two years should certainly give place to more methodical ones by the fusion of all textile organisations into one. The matter should certainly be discussed by the Scottish Congress, for now is the time, by superior methods, to pull our belated old land up the level of the sunny south.
From: Justice 23 March 1912, p.2.
As stated last week by me, no breakaway has been made by Fife miners. Such seems to be the self-control of these sturdy fellows at this time that law-breaking even of the most trivial character, is almost entirely absent. This is specially so at Cowdenbeath, where last wok the Magistrate presiding over a court-sitting received white gloves, as there were no cases to be brought before him. The same also happened at Coatbridge, in the centre of the Lanarkshire iron and coal field. These facts should be used by comrades, as, too frequently, people living outside the mining areas reckon colliers to be drunken, reckless, and lawless. It is only when blacklegs return to work that trouble arises. But all workers are provoked to use violence under such circumstances. And numerous instances are on record of doctors acting even more savagely than wage-earners against recalcitrant members of their craft. Not lawlessness but self-preservation explains such ebullition of feeling, and thus it is viewed in the case of the medicine men. Far otherwise, however in the case of workmen. Here we have the Press enlarging on the rough handling meted out to non-unionists at Rosehall near Bellshill. How pleased would the Press hacks be to see thousands return to slavery, driven back by the whip of hunger! Fortunately, at Rosehall the union his granted a large sum of money to be distributed among the non-unionists. The result is these men are coming out again. Similar precautions are being taken elsewhere. And rightly so. Much as we may despise the man who refuses to join his union, yet it is wiser to have him with us in a fight through the giving of relief money. There is all the more likelihood of getting him into the union if the fight is successful. Our comrades everywhere are making commendable efforts to force school boards to feed the children. Now is the time to demand compulsory feeding, the only way by which the young may be freed from starving during a crisis such as this. And the sooner we clamour for the feeding of mothers and dependent women the better for the workers in the desperate fights that are to be.
Mr. William H.K. Redmond. M.P. speaking at a St. Patrick’s Day demonstration in Glasgow last Sunday, stated that he was a Socialist like that great Irishmen, Cardinal Moran of Australia, for with his Irish colleagues in Parliament he would give all his power and help to the legitimate and fair claims of Labour for a reasonable return for the expenditure of strength and labour in their daily toil. I hope some Catholic Socialist got on his track after this display and let him know that such a nonsensical idea is not Socialism. Wages imply profit. Socialists are against profit, at it is blank robbery; therefore they are against wages That does not mean they wish people to work far nothing. They wish people to get all they work for, and that can only happen when class property gives way for social property in land and the agents of wealth production, Society cannot rob itself, and therefore cannot pay wages to itself. Someone might give Willie a few lessons at a guinea a time.
The same day, in Glasgow, the Rev. D. Barry, speaking in St. Andrew’s Pro-Cathedral, said Socialism was a greater danger than the “dungeon, fire and sword,” as it wished to brush aside the faith of St. Patrick. His hearers must pray to their patron saint to watch over them and save them from this great evil. Many of those who listened to this modern Rip Van Winkle in the morning applauded Willie Redmond in the afternoon in his declaration in favour of the Moran type of Socialism. We await with interest the announcement of the expulsion of Moran and the Irish Party from the Catholic Church for avowing a cause that the Rev. D. Barry considers so menacing to his faith. This dear soul would wish Catholic workers to put up with capitalism and robbery rather than fight for Socialism and Justice, just because he alleges Socialism would end Catholicism. Then I take it that the Catholic Church has as one of its tenets that the workers must submit to robbery by the capitalist class; in fact, this must be the prime one, for otherwise Socialism can be no danger to Catholicism. I wish Catholics to defend themselves. Do they believe in the robbery of the workers? If not, let them say so and come out on the side of the workers. No other course is possible.
Census returns for Edinburgh show that 18,608 persons , or 6.1 per cent., live in one-roomed houses; 94,909, or 31.1 per cent, in two-roomed houses; 69,686, or 22.9 per cent. in three roomed houses; 45,820 or 15 per cent in four roomed houses; and 76,266, or 25 per cent. in five rooms or more. This shows that half the people live in hovels under worse conditions than the savage cavemen. No wonder we are all so proud of “Auld Reekie.” The Government expenditure on the Royal Scottish Museum seems to me to be needless as Edna’ itself is, by the above facts alone, shown to be a good enough Museum. But these facts are aggravated when we consider the state of crowding per room – the real test, after all if we had the sizes of the rooms. It appears, then, that 99,824, or 32.7 per cent. live more than two in a room; and 38,973 or 12.8 per cent. more than three to a room; 10,609 or 4.1 percent. more than four to a room. Does the Rev. Barry, Mallock or Prof Jones wish this to continue. If not they must take sides with Socialism in the class war. Next week I may tackle the Temperance Bill, if coal dust or political dust does not drive me to drink.
From: Justice 30 March 1912, p.2.
All over our mining areas Socialists have been exceedingly active, encouraging and helping the miners, getting co-operative societies to aid needy families, and compelling dilatory school boards to feed the children. But none have been more active in purely propaganda work than our Glasgow comrades who have been particularly diligent during the week-ends. And the refrain ever is that never before in the areas touched were the meetings so large, so enthusiastic or so determined. All round the miners are as determined as ever except for a mere handful at Rosehall, Sanquhar and Kirkconnel, where the men are mainly non-unionist. And it is gratifying to know that every miner sees the emptiness of the Minimum Bill. I should say that the rank and file are prepared to hang out a week or two yet rather than accept a “principle” which is about the equal to the summer “assurances” of Mr. D.A. Thomas to the Cambrian miners. The men came out for a fixed money minimum wage per day, and must get it. The pity is that their demands are so modest, especially now that the masters are bent on keeping up the exorbitant price of coal. All organised workers in Scotland should petition the Government to take over the mines, both in the interest of the miners and the public, especially as opinion is rapidly tending that way.
Everybody realises that the arrest of Tom Mann was largely instigated by the desire to crush the spirit of revolt universally prevalent. Unfortunately for the Liberal Party of plunder, it has overshot the mark this time, and feeling is at white heat against this breach of the law of free speech. The day of Tom Mann’s arrest a strong protest was made by the Glasgow Trades Council. Other bodies all round have followed suit. Victor Grayson, at Motherwell, Dumbarton, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, has vigorously defended Mann and defied the authorities before large crowds. And last Sunday on Glasgow Green, 7,000 or 8,000 assembled on short notice at the request of the local Transport Workers’ organisation to protest against the sentences meted out to Guy Bowman and the brothers Buck, and the arrest of our Ilkeston comrades and Tom Mann.
Now that the ball has been set a-rolling, let us settle down to the work of defence scientifically, This can best be done not only by collecting money for the immediate support of the men singled out, but also by systematic agitation work everywhere. To start with, all the working-class societies in Glasgow ought to form a committee to prepare district and central demonstrations, and to arrange for a petition and other steps necessary to obtain the release of the victims. If Glasgow does not lead in this fight, I expect the rest of Scotland to go forward by itself, have confidence in Glasgow rising to the occasion.
The new Temperance Bill for Scotland is a slight patching of the Licensing Act of 1903. If passed in its present form, clubs will be placed under more strict supervision right away; public-houses will be prevented from selling liquor before ten in the forenoon after May 28, 1913, and powers will be granted five years hence and thereafter to reduce the number of or sweep away all licensed premises in a ward of towns with ten thousand inhabitants or more, in the whole of smaller towns, or in parishes or counties. To begin with in August (1917, I suppose, at the earliest) residents in one of the above areas can get resolution papers from the town or county clerk, and after securing the signatures of a tenth of the voters in the area must return the papers by September. If all is well, a poll must be taken in the following November or December. Each elector can have one vote, to be cast for no change in the number of licences, for a reduction of 25 per cent. or for no licences at all. A “no change resolution” will carry with a majority of votes, a “limiting resolution” will carry with a majority of votes if the majority vote is from 30 percent of the possible voters, and a “no licence resolution” will romp home if three-fifths of the voters favour it, and 30 per cent of the possible voters support it. This roughly is the gist of the Bill. First, there is no mention of compensation to publicans. As many of the promoters of the Bill are capitalists, we ought to see to it that we give them in turn a dose of “no compensation” in the transfer of capital to the people. Second, the initiative and referendum are put to a spurious use, because, by its application under the Bill 30 per cent. of the people in a district may interfere unduly with the personal liberty of others. Third, all mention of public control is scrupulously avoided, or even the public fostering of counter attractions. We know that clubs in England and Wales are tending to reduce the excesses of drinking, yet the Bill by more strict control aims at killing them. We know that music halls and picture theatres have tended to lessen drunkenness because of their attraction, yet the Bill suggests nothing in this direction that might be publicly undertaken. We know that municipal enterprise has been successful in all attempted directions, except in very much improving the lot of the immediate employees, yet the Bill skilfully avoids all mention of a “municipalisation resolution” All the Temperance Party suppression Acts have failed in their object, and so will this. The Temperance Party is our avowed enemy. So, therefore, let us fight this spurious measure.
From: Justice 5 October 1912, p. 2.
As indicated last week, a conference took place on Friday, September 27, in Greenock, for the formation of a Housing Council. That the problem of housing is exceptionally acute in Sugaropolis was proved by the large gathering of delegates assembled at the Temperance Institute, estimated at about 200, coming in twos from all sorts and conditions of organisations in the town. Everyone seemed to be unanimous in condemning the tenements about to be erected by the Town Council, to be erected, as some maintain, to prevent the spread of popular agitation for roomy cottages. A committee of ten was appointed to prepare plans for a Housing Council, and it is to be hoped that the enthusiasm will not diminish until every worker has a house worthy of the title “home.” When will Paisley and other towns in Scotland follow suit? Housing in Scotland as we experience it to-day might be considered satisfactory from the point of view of cavemen, but hardly suitable for the highly refined Christian gentlemen of the working class who largely constitute the population nowadays.
I see that Philip Snowden, in his new emanation, “The Living Wage,” draws particular attention to the Fair Wages Clause passed by the House of Commons in 1909 as a proof that in “principle” the State has committed itself to the conception of the living wage, although he has to admit that, so far as actual wages paid by Government contractors is concerned, the principle has been, so far, largely lacking in substantial manifestation. The getting of the Commons committed to “principles” has no doubt admirably succeeded within recent years. I should be prepared now for Ulsteria-smitten Carson and his gang of merry political daredevils admitting the basic principles of Socialism to give further pleasure in life to Snowden and his pals. But those fine Parliamentary boys are not at all prepared to yield up the substance. And it is just this substance the people want. That is why we have the hubbub just now at Rosyth.
For about three and a-half years the contractors have been busy at this Naval base at the Forth Bridge. Immediately before the strike about 2,500 men were engaged on the work, mostly all navvies, working for 5d. an hour, or 23s. 4d. for a 56 hours week. It requires 24s. to give the barest physical existence to a family of five, but where the father is living apart from the family – as happens so often at Rosyth – it will require about 30s. a week to provide exactly the same standard. The wage granted these navvies, who so generously are spending their life building this base considered so essential by the propertied class for the safety of our blessed isles, in view of what even capitalists admit as necessary for the maintenance of a bare existence, can hardly be considered a “living wage.” John Ward has repeatedly in the Commons drawn attention to the condition of the men at Rosyth, although I have not noticed any support given by Snowden; and yet the Liberal Government seems to have failed to force the Rosyth contractors to pay a “living wage.” The men have had to strike. This strike, in view of the Fair Wages Clause resolution and the efforts of Ward in the House, may be reckoned a strike against the State – a very serious strike indeed far the capitalists who are so feverishly intent on the protection of their precious property against the so-called German robbers.
The capitalist Press would have us believe that the navvies worked away quite harmoniously until the contractors brought about 100 extra hands from Ireland. The navvies amongst these hundred men told the others that they had been promised 6d. per hour. This set ablaze the smouldering heather, and an all-round “tanner” was rightfully demanded. This was refused. The Irishmen have returned home, and up to date it is calculated that over 1,000 of the strikers have cleared out to find jobs elsewhere, on the advice of the leaders. This has happened in spite of the offer of 51/2d. an hour, an offer contemptuously spurned by the men. It is likely that the contractors will have to concede the “tanner,” but before another 2,500 are concentrated on the job the work will have fallen behind several months. It must be noted that a man-of-war is lying off Rosyth ready for action, and special constables have been sworn in at Dunfermline – against the sweating contractors or the Government that permits its work to be done under sweated conditions? Certainly not! as always, against the workers, the party, always in the right in such disputes. It should be noted that Snowden almost goes to the length of compulsory arbitration – as near as a slippery politician cares to – to avert strikes. Here is a case where the Government should have intervened, in so far as it is responsible for the work under execution and have settled the matter without arbitration at all. And yet it failed to do so in time to avert conflict. I should imagine this illustration of the attitude of the Government tends to argue against any advantage that might be derived by the dubious expedient of compulsion in trade disputes. The only compulsion that we are out for is that which will mean the handing of the land and the capital of the country over to the people to be used for mutual advantage.
Snowden, in his book, argues against the strike, and urges compulsory arbitration, the absolute depreciation of direct and the absolute appreciation of political action. His plea is that nothing is gained by striking and everything by conciliation bossed by the Government. Personally, I think that conciliation can only be effective after striking, or where the masters are apprehensive of damage due to a possible strike. Here is the case of the Dundee jute workers. The strike fever affected them, and out they came for a rise in wages, although almost completely unorganised. The demand was for a 5 per cent, rise, but the masters only conceded half that, through the intervention of Askwith of the Board of Trade. Another 5 per cent. increase has now been granted by the Jute Spinners’ and Manufacturers’ Association as a result of the application by the workers’ representatives. Superficially, one might argue that the peaceful method here has proved the more effective. My contention is that unless the workers had shown their teeth this present increase would not have been conceded.
At a conference held in Glasgow last Saturday, under the auspices of the Scottish League for the Taxation of Land Values for the promotion of the Land and Taxation Reform Memorial, Councillor A.A. Turner (I.L.P.) presided. Bailie Alston (I.L.P.) moved a resolution for land taxation to relieve rates and remove the taxes on food, as this would be a means of abolishing a hindrance to industrial progress and a burden on incomes. Thus again are the members doing the popularisation of Liberal frauds as they did during the Free Trade and other campaigns. It is significant that this act should be taken at the very time when the Single Taxers are making the most bitter attack they have ever made on Socialism and the B.S.P. in Glasgow, and, I suppose, other Scottish centres.
Last Friday week saw a most suitable opening of Glasgow’s second Smoke Abatement Exhibition. The day was the blackest witnessed in any September for many a year. The Saturday, however, was perhaps one of the clearest. Had the Liberals passed a Smoke Abatement Bill on the Friday, and had it come into operation on the Saturday, they would have had the cheek to claim the change as being due to their Bill. Thus do the politicians seize every circumstance to justify their pottering with the social problems of to-day. It is, therefore, all the more reason why we should specially discount all that comes from politicians, and examine critically events that follow one another to find if we can really trace any genuine connection between them. This attempt to tackle the smoke problem in Glasgow is not due to the Corporation’s overweening desire to protect the lungs of citizens. That may be the factor emphasised to gain public support. But, as was clearly shown two years ago at the first exhibition, a pure atmosphere would prevent traffic stoppage on the Clyde, and the great waste of materials in warehouses and shops. In other words, the avoidance of fogs would prevent huge financial loss. Here again we see that economic interests are the real prime movers.
Since the Midlothian bye-election the Unionists have been keeping their Anti-Socialist agitators in Scotland. Four of these have been in Fife since the fight, and are now in the West. Their names are H. Gauld, Thomas Ducat, Robert Macartney, and P.J. Ryan. Comrades might notify Organiser Macdougall of their whereabouts and their doings, so that we might weigh in after them.
From: Justice 12 October 1912, p. 2.
Before these rather rambling remarks appear our organiser, James D. Macdougall, will have returned to the pen. Since the end of March, when the miners’ strike was still at its height, till the end of September our comrade, with the utmost thoroughness, executed the work before him, a work that at times would break the heart of a Titan. Although back to pen-driving, Macdougall has not ceased his efforts. In fact, since he was fourteen years of age he has not ceased striving to advance the cause; and whilst still a boy, I might say, he was driven out by the Clydesdale Bank because he refused to give up the secretaryship of the Pollokshaws Branch of the old S.D.P. He has been largely instrumental in organising the Glasgow economic class, which, by the way, is already about one hundred strong, and is engaged in lecturing on Industrial History to it. He is also this Wednesday starting an economic class in Edinburgh, and it is to be hoped that Edinburgh and district will rival Glasgow. Macdougall is running off copies of Maclean’s notes on economics, and would be only too pleased to forward copies to comrades who are prepared to conduct classes anywhere. I understand that Anderson (Stonehouse) is running classes in his neighbourhood. I would be pleased to hear particulars from him and others where classes are being set on foot – the size of the classes and the scope of the work undertaken.
Paisley Branch has started its Municipal campaign with comrade Gallacher, who is one of the keenest and ablest men in our Scottish movement. Threadopolis sadly needs an awakening, and the man to do it is Gallacher, who knows how to speak and has the heart to speak out. Falkirk, I believe, is putting up comrade Hart and three or four others. Pollokshaws Branch is putting up comrade Canning for Glasgow Council; and has revived the “Pollokshaws Review,” 3,000 copies of which are distributed monthly. Three issues will have been placed in the hands of the people before election day, as well as other literature. It would be advisable for other districts to follow suit. For instance, there is no reason why the Fife area should not be covered by a single paper conducted by comrade McNabb. I hear that Anderston Branch is approaching Joe Houghton, secretary of the Scottish Dockers, to contest Anderston Ward. Joe is the very man. He lives in the ward, and many dockers live in the ward. And Joe is a strong, determined man. There is no reason why other Glasgow wards should not be contested.
That “sincere” lawyer, Sir Edward Carson, recently spoke in the St. Andrew’s Halls, Glasgow. We Socialists took a deeper interest in the fight of another lawyer, Walter G. Leechman, in the Springburn Ward bye-election. If not standing under our auspices, Leechman had at least the support of our only Cunninghame Graham, who seized the opportunity to talk national politics! Leechman polled 1,278 votes, and only lost by 67. He intends to hold on to this ward like a leech for November will again see him in the field.
At a temperance demonstration in Glasgow last Friday, Mr. McKinnon Wood, the Secretary for Scotland, stated that the principle of popular control would have a powerful influence upon the conducting of public houses, and would tend to secure a high standard of management in the houses that were left. In the next breath he said it would be an evil day for the municipalities when they went into the drink trade. The audience applauded both statements, yet Scotsmen are considered logical! Sinclair was kicked out to India for incompetence: we will next have to send Wood to Egypt. Supposing Glasgow sold alcoholic beverages, there would only be one public-house needed for every ward, and it could be a perfect palace for the populace, where every type of refreshment and amusement could be provide cheaply and well. That would be more beneficial to the people than the vile pubs and the worse licensed grocer shops of to-day.
Whilst my Celtic blood is aglow let me protest (and let our Glasgow branches back me up) against the decision of the Corperation to take a plebiscite, costing £1,000, of the 200,000 voters on the three alternatives embodied in the Insurance Bill relative to the number of licensed premises: “For reducing,” “For no change” and “For increasing.” When the Puritans decided to get powers to close all shops on a Sunday I thought that the limit. This new success caps it, however. Absolutely no chance for the Prohibitionists and the Municipalisers. Let us storm the Corporation with protests – direct action my boys – and try to force the other questions: “For Prohibition” and for Municipalisation,” on to the paper.
Last Saturday twenty-three delegates from various towns in Scotland met in the Co-operative Tea Rooms, Glasgow Cross to discuss questions relating to the changes brought about by the new House Letting Act. It was decided to form a Scottish Federation of Tenants’ Association for the protection and advancement of the interests of tenants. Every opportunity, at election times particularly to be seized to obtain amendments to the Act and to foster municipal housing. If readers are members of Tenants’ associations unrepresented at the Conference they might send word to George Pollock, Pollokshaws.
At the twenty-seventh grand habitation of the Scottish Branch of the Primrose League, held in Glasgow, the Countess Dowager of Ancaster said it was one of the most urgent duties of members to counteract the teaching disseminated by the leaders of the Socialist movement and by the Socialist schools. “Come one, come all,” say we.
From: Justice 19 October 1912, p. 2.
After considerable delay, the Committee appointed by Glasgow Trades Council to investigate the dispute between the National Seamen’s Union and the Scottish Seamen’s Union reported last Wednesday, and the report was accepted by a large majority against a proposal for delay until the report be printed and circulated among the delegates. Mr. Shinwell’s secession has been justified. That is the upshot of the matter so far as we outsiders are concerned. His new union seems to be thriving well, and has agreed to amalgamate with the union formed by the men who broke with Havelock Wilson’s one-man concern last year at Southampton. This important Trades Council decision should materially add to the strength of the new organisation. Although we preach amalgamation and unity, yet we are convinced that the seamen and firemen of this country could never be really united under a Liberal such as Wilson. I had a taste the man at North-West Manchester, when he was used by Churchill and his gang to slap Irving and Socialism. We cannot pretend to any regret for him now. Enough of him. Shinwell has been selected by the Labour Party to contest Plantation Ward this November. Many dockers and seamen live there, so it will be interesting to watch the result of the contest.
At the same meeting of the Trades Council, Mr. J.H. Jones, Lecturer on Political Economy at the University, addressed the delegates on the new School of Study at the University. Two courses of lectures on the health of the nation and the social unrest will be given this session, and it seems there will be a diploma course extending over two sessions. The purpose is to train, the “social imagination.” The school is to be purely of an educational character, and will have nothing to do with propaganda. I am told that on this declaration some delegates were seen to smile knowingly and abruptly close the left optic. That may be explained, I suppose, by the fact that a few members of the B.S.P. are delegates to that august assembly of the cream of Glasgow’s workmen. The teaching will be conducted by University professors and lecturers. No wonder Mr. Jones’s address amused some of the delegates. A considerable number of the delegates have attended or do attend our Glasgow Sunday class. These certainly would give the other fellows a chance. One comrade who took our course and Smart and Jones’s night courses simultaneously, had Marxism more deeply indented than if he had but tackled Marx alone. The appeal to the Trades Council is significant, however. By the way, this fresh outbreak of humbug non-partisan University lecturing to workers ought to spur our men on to still further enlarge the Glasgow class, which now exceeds the hundred in number, although the tariff has been doubled.
I see that John Ward, M.P., has advised his navvies at Rosyth to temporarily accept the 51/2d. offered by the contractors pending a Government inquiry. To obtain the 6d hour at Rosyth the heroic John set about organising the builders’ labourers in Dunfermline and getting them to demand 6d. The masters having refused this modest mite, John has pulled these men out in their turn. And thus the situation troublously reposes at present. I cannot see how the Advisory Committee can now wriggle out of a decision in favour of the men working at the naval base, seeing that all the workmen in the neighbourhood now up and out for the sixpence. We must congratulate John on playing his cards straight and well on this occasion, and we heartily endorse the appeal sent in by comrade Milne. Here is chance for the Fife Miners and the Fife Co-operative Societies.
The Executive of the Scottish Miners’ Federation has recommended that West Fife, Midlothian, Mid-Lanark, South Lanark, and South Ayrshire be contested at the next election. In South Lanark the candidate will have to stand as an avowed Socialist, or else he will get our sternest opposition. The B.S.P. has done hard work there, and certainly do not mean to lose it on some anaemic Liberal dubbing himself a Labourist. It is time that Fife took up the same attitude.
Things are beginning to waken up in Glasgow. A deputation from the Glasgow and District Societies’ Council of Public Health urged the corporation to build cottages. The principal spokesmen were Dr. Wishart Kerr and Mr. Gerrard, chairman of the United Co-operative Baking Society. Unfortunately, they missed their chance. If they had urged, as we are urging, that the tramway surplus of £50,000 should be used to erect cottages at a cost of £200 each, then 250 could be put up right away With four rooms, a bath-room, scullery wash-house, etc., and these would house 1,250 persons. If the rent included land rent of £2, a sinking fund of £2, repairs and taxes at £4, and nothing for interest, then these cottages could be let at £8 per annum, or 13s. 4d. per month. If a nominal interest of 1 per cent. were charged the cottages could let at £10 per annum, or, 16s. 8d. month. This interest and sinking fund added to next years’ tramway surplus would amount to more than £50,000, and the increased sum could be used to erect a still larger number of cottages. Three years hence Glasgow will have a clear £250,000 off the trams, and then the cottage building could proceed more merrily.
P.S. – Last week I said Insurance Bill for Temperance Bill.
From: Justice 26 October 1912, p. 2.
The telegraphists of Scotland have just been complaining before the House of Commons Select Committee on the lower rate of wages paid to them compared with that granted to their English confrères. The whole issue hinged upon the cost of living. In giving rises all round, the Postal Department had conceded more to the English than to the Scottish clerks on the ground that south of the border people live in larger houses, and hence have to pay higher rents. For the telegraphists, Mr. W.J. Ash, chairman of the Postal. Telegraph Clerks’ Union, stated that on inquiry it was found that the average wage was £2. 10s. a week, whilst the average expenses were over £2 11s. This £2 11s is quite a modest estimate, for not long since the North British Railway Company’s clerks presented a memorial to the directors requesting an increase in salary, and in it they inserted the necessary outlay for an average family in full detail. They challenged the directors to exclude any superfluous items in the week’s bill which amounted to £2 16s. 7d. but this the directors were unable to do. I have the railway clerks’ memorial, and certainly would like to get that or the telegraphists’ also for purposes of comparison.
The industrial unrest seems likewise to be affecting teachers, for last Friday a very large turn-out of Glasgow district teachers met to discuss proposals sent out by the Federal Council. A few days prior to the meeting, the Socialist group of teachers in Glasgow – formed in June – issued a circular to their colleagues in all the schools to support a scheme of salaries ranging from £100 to £300 for elementary teachers, irrespective of sex, and rising by annual increments of £10. This circular was the first ever issued by Socialist teachers, and therefore indicates a real advance for the Cause. The Glasgow group is already about forty strong, and still they come! At the meeting the resolutions carried demanded classes of 40 pupils at most; salaries ranging from £100 to £280, rising by £7 10s. a year, sick pay for periods lengthening with increase of service, five school-board areas for Scotland, with Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, St. Andrews, and Inverness as centres, and the regulation of the supply of teachers to meet the demand, as in recent years too many have been turned out only to swell the ranks of the unemployed. The atmosphere at the meeting was the healthiest from our point of view ever experienced amongst teachers, and should encourage the Socialist group to proceed vigorously with the work they have sketched out for the immediate future.
I have just learned that a Labour Representation Association has been formed in Gourock. It is composed of individual members of our Party and the trade unions. This new body is seemingly bent on business, for it has selected three candidates for the three wards: W. Coton of the A.S.E., and J. Hopley and H. Hinshelwood of the B.S.P. This is the way to do business. Only once before did a working-class candidate come forward for the town council when our comrade Hinshelwood four years ago contested the first ward. This time he is handing the first ward over to W. Coton, and is going to tackle the third one – aristocratic Ashton. We wish the trio all success. Comrade McKinnon, as well as comrade Hart, is going forward in Falkirk. The former is being run by the B.S.P. with Trades Council financial support, whilst comrade Hart will be directly run by the Tenants’ Defence Association as an avowed Socialist. Things are healthy in Falkirk, and the good work done by McKinnon on the Parish Council, and Hart on the T.D.A, are likely to ensure success. Elsewhere, also, the campaigns are proceeding vigorously. I trust that every reader within reach of our candidates will rush in for the last lap and lift our men in victoriously, or where no comrades are contesting a ward push the claims of our class at the meetings of opponents. Everyone ought to be on the hustle.
Last week the Leith carters came out on strike for more money. A concession of 1s. had been granted by the railway companies and the large contractors on October 5, but this does not appear to have satisfied Councillor Lyon of Glasgow and his men. Hence the outburst, attended by the usual vigour of the carters: Leith Harbour particularly was just on the point of paralysis when, through the intervention of Provost Smith, arbitration was suggested and accepted. We wish the carters every success. Within the last two years Lyon has done exceedingly for the carters in Scotland. More power to his elbow, for the carters have still a long way to go to get even a “living wage.”
As the workers in Scotland are just now settling the affairs in the Balkans they have failed to provide me with decent copy. Once the tasty Turkey has been gobbled up they may return to their muttons only to find them stolen in the interval. Then the lament will go forth from lusty windpipes, and the industrial claymore and target be again taken up. Meantime, I seek repose on the nearest broken reed.
P.S. – Although MacDougall was once expelled from the Clydesdale Bank, by mistake he forgot to take its coffers with him. In consequence, he has refrained from replying to the numerous applicants for the economic class notes until stamps are forwarded. We Scots and Celts are “gey canny.”
From: Justice 2 November 1912, p. 6.
A Royal Commission has been appointed to inquire into housing conditions in Scotland. “Prodeegious,” as Dominie Sampson would say. It is all so funny. The last time I heard a Liberal M.P. speak like an innocent, I was assured that the Scottish Liberals, from Asquith up and down, were the people’s representatives, and being poor men and workers themselves they would see to it that the housing and other problems pinching poor people would be solved by these sympathetic and all-wise geniuses. And, Lord Lovat! (pardon! I but irrepressibly quote the striking name of one of the Commissioners) here are these friends of the people in this twelfth year of the twentieth century and the eightieth year of modern Liberalism in a Liberal country compelled to appoint a committee of themselves to find out where the poor live – and perhaps why they have not captured the palaces and mansions. If takes the Liberal Party eighty years to find out that there is the possibility of a housing problem in Scotland worthy of such a great thing as a “Royal Commission,” how long will it take that Commission to report? The editor will present a palace on the top of Ben Nevis to the one who sends in the most approximate reply.
In the appointment of the twelve Commissioners the Liberal Government has seen fit to select two representatives of Labour, Mr David Gilmour of (the Lanarkshire miners) and Mr. J.F. Duncan (of Aberdeen). Neither of these two is very dangerous to present-day vested interests, so we may sleep with a serene consciousness that the dear housing problem will remain with us for some time to come. The census and other returns are in the possession of the Government to convince them, were they honest, that Scotland is land of slums, crowding and high rent: What we wish is the housing of the people by the nation itself. It requires no Commission, royal or republican, to accomplish that. It simply requires the will, and you can depend on it that the Liberals never will have that will.
Our comrade, Robert Small, seems to doing good work as secretary among the shale miners. At first he set himself to strengthening the ranks of his union. Hundreds poured in. Then he moved for a increased wage for the miners, and got it. Now he has succeeded in getting the wage of nearly. 700 on-cost men raised from 6d. to 1s. 6d. a week. We send him greetings.
In connection with the visit of Earl Grey to the City Hall, Glasgow, to address a gathering on the advantages of proportional representation a vote on the names of representatives of all the parties was taken. H.N Hyndman’s name was selected to represent the British Socialist Party. Although he received more than any of the three Labour men – Barnes, Hardie, and MacDonald – yet, on the transfer of the votes, he seemed to lose, for Barnes and Hardie were returned, and our grand old man was defeated. Glasgow comrades ought to have pushed hard in this matter, for the return of Hyndman would have had a good effect on the politicians of Glasgow, and our weight locally would have increased. We will do better next time.
The revolt of the Rosyth navvies seems to have given vent to biting criticism of the accommodation provided for these national slaves. The supply up to the present has largely been in the form of huge model lodging houses instead of the garden city demanded by the Government. Extortionate prices are being asked for wretched night shelter. No wonder the navvies are revolting. The pity is that Government bluff, as usual, will result in the continuance of things as they are. Between “Royal Commissions” and visits from government architects we Scots are in a proud position.
In consequence of the Glasgow School Board enforcing the attendance of children who leave school at fourteen years without obtaining a merit certificate, at continuation classes until seventeen years of age, they have been obliged to compel employers to let these youths off work four hours a week. Last week a deputation from the Scottish Chamber of Manufacturing Industries, appeared before the Board, and pointed out that in the Glasgow cotton-spinning industry the adults depended on young persons, and that if they were let off four hours the works would have to be stopped. This would mean loss of wages and profits and probable ruin, as Lancashire competition was exceptionally keen. One Board member suggested the doubling of the number of young persons, but this idea was scouted as ruinous. The refrain of the masters was that the younger the children the more easily they learned the trade and the more nimble their fingers became. Exactly the same plea as put forth eighty years ago, when very young children were to be excluded from the mills by the operation of the first Factory Acts. The Board has deferred consideration of the question. Our Glasgow men should write the Board on the issue.
From: Justice 9 November 1912, p. 3.
Shortly after the miners’ strike the men’s federation demanded 1s., and obtained an advance on the coal minimum of 6d. per day, thus raising the normal day’s wage to 6s. 6d. for the normal day’s output. At the end of August the masters appealed for a reduction of 6d. a day. Fortunately for the men the price of coal steadily rose while the Coal Trade Conciliation Board were considering the matter. The men’s representatives seized the opportunity to strike a bargain with the masters to the effect that if the men were granted an increase of 3d. a day no further demands would be made before January. Seeing that the men had the whip hand, the masters accepted the offer. It is a pity, however, that the men’s representatives did not claim the 6d. as the men in Lanarkshire at least were hugely disappointed at not getting the shilling increase in the summer. As all records are being broken at the ship-building yards on the Clyde, now is the time for all men in all the industries affected to press forward their just claims. Even from the standpoint of the capitalists in their attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the workers when they emphatically assert the identity of interest between Capital and Labour, the workers ought to obtain a share of trade “prosperity,” and that can only be realised through a rise in wages. When it comes raising wages the identity of interest does not apply, of course. It is only trotted forth when the class war is insisted on by us, and the workers are urged to fight the masters politically as well as industrially. It is advisable on occasion to use the masters’ own line of argument against themselves. What think you, my trade union friends?
We have with us just now one of the fishiest strikes experienced in Scotland. Whilst the net fishing capitalists at a mass meeting in Yarmouth are protesting on the one hand against the trawling companies trawling for herring, the Granton wage-slaves toiling on the seas for these trawling companies, on the other hand, are protesting against sweating and other grievances. The men are members of the Enginemen’s and Firemen’s Union which is particularly determined on getting the men an extra trimmer for every vessel over 97 ft in length. Since the start of the Granton Company, promoted by Sir S. Chisholm and other Glasgow capitalists, I have heard statements of the harsh treatment of the crews, from the captain downwards. The ugly reports heard by me must have had some grain of truth in them, or there would have been no strike. By Saturday last all the vessels had returned, and are now laid up. No fish is now coming to Glasgow from Granton but a fair supply is being sent down from Fife, Aberdeen, and the Moray Firth ports. However, the supply falls far short of the demand, and therefore the wholesalers are feeling the pinch. If the men hold out a bit longer they run a good chance of winning. A good catch to them.
Ardrossan has generally a black look-out. It exports large quantities of Ayrshire and Lanarkshire coal. At present affairs are somewhat bright, or at least lively, there, for the coal trimmers, who are members of the Dockers’ Union, are out for a slight increase on their ton rates, which are 1d. for self-trimming boats, 11/4d. for ordinary boats, and 31/2d. for bunker coal. The attempts of the masters to bring down blacklegs from Glasgow have been largely defeated by the activity of the Union’s officials, although a few managed to arrive at Montgomerie Pier Station. On hearing of this, many boys and workers effected an entry on to the pier, even when guarded by police, and they were in the midst of a discussion with the new arrivals when a contingent of policemen, specially drafted into the town, approached and with their batons began to strike out right and left.
From: Justice 16 November 1912, p. 2.
Once again the municipal elections have swept past without anything very startling happening. In all about eighty Socialist and Labour candidates came forward. Of these fourteen retained their seats, whilst four lost theirs. Against the four losses have to be placed, twelve gains. As is to be naturally expected, many Labour nominees were of the most nondescript character, not clearly distinguishable from the usual petty shopkeeping candidate. Their successes in no way need cause any unwonted exhilaration amongst the buoyant optimists on the revisionist side. Of the eighty there were about thirteen good men and true who dared flaunt their flag in the face of the enemy. Of these four were successful; one of them, Joe Westwood (Dysart), who is already on the School Board, being elected for the first time. Cormie, in Buckhaven, again came out with flying colours, completely knocking out his opponent, whilst two comrades of the new branch at Bonnyrig were returned unopposed. Of the others, White (Dalkeith), Nelson (Buckhaven), and McKinnon (Falkirk) came close to victory. Strict attention to business should pull these out of the fire next year. Passing note ought certainly to be given to plucky Davie Milne, who since he went to Inverkeithing has fought several battles single-handed, and each time seems to be doing better. Davie, we are watching you.
The most important of the fights was certainly in Pollokshaws, since for the first time it was contested as a part of Glasgow. On previous occasions in the two best wards against weak candidates about 180 and 100 votes respectively were netted by us. This time, against the consolidated forces of reaction, with a novice of a candidate untrained even in the art of public speaking, we polled 540 votes. The most hopeful sign was the attitude of extreme respect displayed towards our men by the workers as a whole. Our work is telling. Next year, with no Irish candidate in opposition, and with two or three hundred workers on the roll through the operation of the House Letting Act, we should surely manage to force an entry into the city chambers. It is regrettable that the other Glasgow branches did not put forward a man in their several wards. And where, oh! where, are Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen? Have they all gone over to Anarchism or Rip Van Winkleism, waiting in dormant condition till the great change comes? Get over your sulks, lads. Buckle on your armour and into the fight with heart and soul. That is your only chance of enjoying yourself in this life of drudgery.
Readers may remember that during the summer a crowd of misguided Catholic lads and lasses were incited to make a mad attack on John Wheatley. The local priest must now feel like burying himself, for Wheatley was returned at the top of the poll for the new Glasgow ward in Shettleston. So far as Shinwell is concerned, he unfortunately had that resurrected adventurer, Scott Gibson, as an opponent. It looks as if the Glasgow capitalists have obtained Gibson’s discharge to enable him to return to the Corporation to draw attention from the efforts of the Labour group, who for the last twelve months at least have bravely fought against the jobbery that incessantly goes on. As was to be expected, Gibson was successful, whilst Shinwell failed to get either of the other two vacant seats. The latter’s vote of 813 shows that a large number of the Clydeside workers had confidence in him.
I see that on the suggestion of our comrade Malcolm McColl, the Glasgow Trades Council has appointed a committee to find out the agencies catering for the education of the workers in the subjects likely to help men active in the trade union movement with a view to getting the school boards, or the council itself, to start a scheme if present opportunities are too meagre. If the trade unionists were anxious, we could soon establish and equip a Labour college for them and other workers’ organisations. The co-operative educational bodies in Scotland are squandering money in a way that is frightful. A part of this money ought to be used for the purposes of a college to teach subjects that cannot be taught from the workers’ standpoint elsewhere.
I see that Mr. George Lansbury has again been in the City Hall. Last time he was in the company of the clergy; this time in that of the women. He seems to have made reference to the Labour Party betrayal of the spurious women’s vote movement as one of the best proofs of that party’s dependence on the Liberals. One of the worst. I have no objection to the Labour Party betraying the ladies, for these knowing ones are only anxious about Labour and all connected with it just so long as it will help to further their ends. After that the workers and their wives may join the outcast Turks. It is the Labour Party betrayal of the working class that ought to incense Lansbury, or anyone else with all pretensions to Socialism.
Just at the moment I learn that the Government has been defeated on the Home Rule question. Just so; as some of us expected. The time will be opportune to let Grey do dirty work in the East unquestioned. A Parliamentary election may come off soon, however. It is our business in Scotland to make a fight for principle such as we have never done before. Let us gather our forces and have a sweeping campaign, Here is a chance for direct action the agitational field. My claymore and target are already excited in hopes of stirring battles.
From: Justice 23 November 1912, p. 2.
The campaign in “Justice” a few weeks ago shows that the Anti-Vivisectionists have of late been putting a spurt on. It appears that they have been attempting to arouse public feeling on the question throughout the country by a travelling exhibition of specimens and methods to show the brutality of vivisection. Whilst the exhibition is on in any city, experts deliver lectures on the exhibits and on the aims of the Anti-Vivisectionist Association. Some three weeks ago or so Glasgow had its turn, and it appears that the exposures were too much for some medical hooligans of the immature University brand, for, during a lecture in the City Hall, the speaker was subjected to continuous interruptions from a well-organised gang of students and probably their friends. In extenuation, I must admit that Socialist agitation and education in Glasgow must having a polishing effect on these bye-products of Glasgow University, for this display of “good-natured toleration” was gentility itself compared with the medical outburst about three years ago when, a certain electric quack doctor was “curing” tens nightly at the Coliseum and gulling thousands. On that occasion this finely appointed music-hall was almost wrecked and many lives were endangered, to say nothing about the ruin to the reputation of a man whose remedies were probably just as effective as 90 per cent. of the usual medical prescriptions. On this occasion, then, the Glasgow medicos acted with marvellous restraint and decorum. Our work is certainly having a civilising effect.
I regret that I cannot say the same of our efforts in Edinburgh. The explanation I leave to local talent. The probability is, however, that the Edinburgh students may for three years have felt a stain on their reputation in so far as they had never risen to the heights of notoriety attained by their chums in Smokopolis. To that may be added the cue given by a letter of protest emanating from that august dignitary, Sir W. Turner, the Principal of Edinburgh University, and 14 of the professors, in denunciation of the exhibition. Whatever may have been the inspiring motive, an organised raid was made on the exhibition shop in Nicolson Street last Friday. At first only a few policemen were present to protect property, and so the student gentlemen of “culture” had it practically their own sweet way. The arrival of fresh stalwarts of law and order forced a pitched battle that led to a little extra vivisection and vivipatching at neighbouring infirmaries. Twenty-three students or their allies were arrested. Their trial comes off this week.
I anticipate that University influence will be brought to bear on the judges of these energetic youths, and they will be released after a trivial fine and an admonition of stern reproof accompanied by twinkling eyes. Certainly the treatment meted out will be different from that experienced by hundreds of miners and other slaves during the recent industrial revolts. And yet from a capitalist standpoint these students are worth a year’s confinement each, to suggest a modest penalty. Here is a public organisation attempting in an open manner to convince the people that vivisection ought to be made illegal. If the medical fraternity think that their activities in the realm of animal and human experiment are being misrepresented, they surely have it in their power to exhibit, lecture, and write in opposition. If their position is sound, they certainly do not need to resort to the barbaric methods just adopted in Scotland’s proud, stately capital. Their arrogance in the past may have convinced the mass of the untrained, but it fails nowadays when we have a clear idea of the comparative futility of the work of the medicine man. This arrogance failed to convince us that vaccination was good. And it will fail on this occasion. I for one am up against vivisection now largely as a protest against the spirit manifested by the most powerful, professional organisation in the country. But when arrogance goes the length of irrational destruction, then we must consider the profession as one of blackguardly desperadoes, fit only to be inside the “gentlemanly” party. In any sane community that recognises as sacred the principle of freedom of thought and decorous expression, the penalty that ought to be meted out to any who try to suppress these should be of the severest character. A year each for these youthful scamps would, therefore, be extremely lenient. That, with the propagation of Socialism, might have a salutary influence on the whole profession. But such a penalty will not be given.
The Ardrossan dock labourers strike is not by any means settled yet. The men demanded a farthing per ton more for loading the coal exported from the Ayrshire mines, and were stubbornly refused any concession at all. Even negotiations with the men’s union were broken off. A strike was inevitable. Then came an indrafting of strike-breakers from Glasgow under that resurrected gallant, Mr. Graeme Hunter, and of policemen from the country. Thereafter followed clashes between the strikers and the blacklegs. Most of the latter have been glad to clear out more quickly than they entered, and if this process continues for a few days longer victory will come to the strikers. We wish them every success. Joe Houghton and Ben Willett have both been busy in the fray. Readers may, therefore, feel assured the fight is a good one.
The miners of Scotland are at present considering the fusion of their county unions into one for the whole country. A conference on the matter will take place early next year. The masters have one union. So ought the men.
The North British Railway Company has just been forced to concede rises to shunters, guards, drivers, and others, with better scales and in some cases shorter hours applies to the men of the other Scottish lines, at least to the larger ones. The English strikes ought to be thanked for that. The best way the Scots can repay their Southern brothers in affliction, is to flock into their unions. Scotland here lags behind. My patriotism makes me blush to think of it.
From: Justice 30 November 1912, p. 6.
It was as the result of an article in “Forward” on the “snap vote” by which the Government was recently defeated that Mr George Barnes M.P., got into trouble at the anti-war demonstration in London a fortnight ago. Immediately after his somewhat stirring reception, George betook himself to his study write to “Forward” again defending his slobbery references to Asquith. His plea is for toleration to express his views freely and openly. Not even the hottest rebel amongst the workers would object to that. But when a man who supposedly goes to Parliament to fight for the workers goes out of his way to praise the head of a Government recognised to be the bloodiest to the workers since workers appeared in English history, whilst he fails to kick that very Liberal leader when he duly deserves it, I for one am of the opinion that the workers who see the political meaning of the praise are quite justified in seizing the first opportunity to show their disgust.
In connection with the Ardrossan strike, which still continues in spite of capitalist Press assertions to the contrary, Mr. Joe Houghton, secretary of the Scottish Union of Dock Labourers, along with five local members of the union, was summoned to the Kilmarnock Sheriff’s Court last Tuesday on a charge of threatening blacklegs. Our comrade Houghton was dismissed, but fines ranging from £2 to £1 were imposed on the others. It is quite heartening to note that some of the blacklegs have turned on their recruiting agent, Hunter, and have washed his hide in the Clyde. As in the case of the Rosyth tussle, Irishmen have been brought over to blackleg; but up to the present these men have returned home on learning the true state of affairs at the harbour. Let us hope that Houghton and his merry men hold the trump cards.
The first fruits of the Scottish Land Court have now been published. At the Wick sittings 50 decisions were given in relation to holdings on six estates, and 16 decisions at the Dingwall sittings. Sittings are in progress on the island of Arran, but the results are not yet to hand. In all the above decisions, rents were reduced except in two cases where they remained at their former figure.
Here are two instances from the Wick sittings to make the work of the Land Court create a more vivid impression. On Latheronwheel Estate Mr. James Georgeson has obtained a reduction of rent from £31 to £29, and on the same estate Mr. Alexander MacIver has had his reduced from £2 15s. to £1 15s. On Mey Estate Mr. Malcolm Mansom has not only had his rent reduced but his arrears also from £41 to £20. Another instance of debt reduction is recorded, whilst two others are given of arrears of £1 and £3 10s. respectively being cancelled. The largest rent reduction was in the case of Mr. John Clyne, of Latheron Estate, who now gives £18 instead of £27 as formerly, a difference of £9. From the point of view of these peasants the Land Court must have worked most effectively. But the whole business is a laughable farce as an attempt to help keep people on the land. If the rents, which range from £55 to £2 with the largest number under £10 for house and land combined, then the peasant occupiers are not so hard put to it as the city labourer who has to pay about £10 a year for a slum house of two squalid apartments. The reduction is in most cases about a £1, and that trifling sum will make no visible difference to the plight of the peasants. This will certainly not reduce migration to Canada or Australia, or induce town dwellers to leave their slums for the charms of country life. Our hearts may be in the Highlands but it will take a big bit of Liberal land legislation yet before we venture thither with our precious bodies. I would like to know what it cost to pass the Small Landholders Act, and to run the Court the first results of which we here refer to, and then compare the total outlay with the meagre benefits afforded the peasants or crofters. I should imagine that for every £1 of benefit to the latter £10 have directly or indirectly been squandered. From the point of view of the land problem, the whole business is a joke that has been perpetrated by some subtle legal wit. Just another manifestation of Scottish grim humour.
The members of the Cowcaddens Unionist Association had a real treat last week in the form of an address on socialism by Mr Vivian L. Henderson, who has been selected to oppose George N. Barnes, in Blackfriars, Glasgow, at the next General Election. To Mr. Henderson the right to live was synonymous with the right to legal protection. My innocent brain has all along conceived of it as the right to food, shelter and clothing, and all the rest of it. It is not a legal, it is a human, a social right. He thought that Socialists broke their principle of the right to work when they prevented non-union men getting work. What an innocent lamb is poor Vivian! Does the dear gentleman not see that we object to non-union labour because we object to the capitalists convenient principle of the right of silly working men to starve on low wages?
From: Justice 7 December 1912, p. 2.
This year the General Council of the Scottish Liberal Association held its autumn meeting in Aberdeen. In connection with this conference Mr. Lloyd George addressed a large crowd in the music hall on Friday night: He is reported to have talked 61 minutes. It has been my misfortune to read that 61 minutes oration, for in it he told the world absolutely nothing that a schoolboy did not know a twelvemonth age. Ninety per cent of it was the purest chaff. On the Saturday he proceeded to Kirkcaldy, and gave a worse exhibition still. In Aberdeen he deprecated the dearth of the strong men who once upon a time were fools enough to sacrifice their lives for the British plundering class, and the plenitude of grouse, unfortunately of no use as murderers in the rush for empire. The calibre of Lloyd George’s speeches clearly indicates that he had come north to address conclaves of grouse. His, certainly, was fowl language.
As a slippery politician, Lloyd George knows his business. In the North of Scotland be sure to say something on the land question is a dictum this Welsh Messiah well acted up to. He told us – what everybody knows – that more emigrants are now leaving Scotland than even Ould Oireland, that it pays better to keep grouse on the land than men. But he failed to inform us how even to keep the present remnant on the land. The whole capitalist Press, Liberal as well as Tory, is engaged throughout Scotland the year round in depicting the fine prospects in Canada, Australia, and Rhodesia for farming. It pays well, you see. The fine pictures drawn seem to appeal more powerfully than Georgian speeches or Liberal Land Acts, for the outward stream steadily grows from year to year. Last week I gave details of the results of the Land Courts sitting in Wick and Dingwall. Besides rent reduction and abatement, new allotments of land have been granted to crofters, and old crofts have been enlarged. Yet, in spite of all, for every one attracted back to the land of Scotland ten are leaving it. Even if those willing to till the soil got as large a patch as they could manage, working eighteen hours a day all the year round, and were allowed to sit rent free, there would go on the same depopulation. Not even land banks added to free land would cure the evil. Probably knowing this and the bankruptcy of Liberalism to solve the problem, Lloyd George had the horse sense to simply talk platitudes.
If Lloyd George and his pals of plunder in office wish to prevent a national collapse through sheer land depopulation, they must move quickly. It is now clearly the duty of the Government to take patches of the Highlands and cultivate them with associated or co-operative labour along the lines of factory division of labour, each village to consist of a composite village of at least five thousand people. In these days of motor traction and electric power the problem is easy of solution, especially for a Government that can spend forty-five million pounds on a Navy alone. Co-operative labour on the land is the only possible way of stemming the outward human tide. Even now the current may be too strong for us unless we take the unemployed from the slums. In this connection I see that the efforts some of us made two or three years ago for a farm colony in Renfrewshire has probably been influential in bringing about a farm colony in the shire for convalescent consumptives. Even though this is not what we desired, we welcome the experiment. It ought to inspire us to continue our demand for another one, this time for the unemployed when the next trade depression sets in. The more experimental colonies that can be established the better. Our school board comrades ought to push for colonies for children run down in health. Let us get down to this kind of direct action, even though it be trivial. It will train unto tackle the larger issues in preparation for us on the morrow of the revolution.
The Glasgow School Board are to be congratulated on refusing, by 14 to 9, to have anything to do with the prize essay scheme formulated by Lord Meath in connection with his wild Empire Day craze. Schools have been subjected to the blight of too many fads of recent years without adding to the number of essays along the lines of rampant jingoism. If the Board had consented, the Socialist teachers would have had to pour their shrapnel into the whole affair. A growing agitation is arising in rural Scotland against the attempts of inspectors to confine education to elementary subjects. In the good old days the country teacher took pride in preparing “lads o’ pairts” for the universities. It would be a crying shame if the Department were permitted now to unscrupulously crush one of the few glories Scotland ever had.
From: Justice 14 December 1912, p. 2.
Those who doubt the perfervid nature of the Celt, and especially of the Celt turned Socialist, need doubt no longer. On the first Sunday of this month, a day that will be memorable for the intensity of the cold, a debate took place in the Secular Hall, Glasgow between our late organiser, J. Macdougall, and a representative of the Young. Scots, Mr. McLaren, who took up the case for the Single Tax. The burning, ardour of our comrade seems not only to have enabled him to destroy the arguments of his opponent, but also to have had dire consequences, the like of which have never before been experienced after a debate participated in by a Socialist. Next morning we all read in our papers of a conflagration extending from buildings right opposite the City Hall in Candleriggs to the Secular Hall in Brunswick Street. Some of us are now planning to make the utmost use of our talented comrade for the purpose of starting the social conflagration.
On New Year’s day the half-yearly conference of the Scottish branches will take place at Falkirk. It is gratifying to learn that branch contributions during the year have been comparatively large, and that the dues have been promptly paid to our keen treasurer. It is to be anticipated that every branch will be fully represented, and that delegates will come prepared to order large quantities of books from the American Press, as a large and varied consignment will be on view. We look forward with confidence to the gathering as one likely to exceed all its predecessors in every worthy respect. A long and a strong pull, my lads.
On Thursday last the annual conference of the National Union of Conservative Associations for Scotland took place in the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh. It was noteworthy, in so far as it accomplished the union of the Conservative and the Liberal Unionist forces in Scotland. The amalgamation will now be known as the Scottish Unionist Association. Nothing else new took place at this conference. It would really be unfair to expect more, as these worthy wiseacres believe in but one “revolution” at a time. The change was a good one – for the class concerned. When, oh! when, will the Scottish Socialists take a leaf out of their book and fuse forces? If this could be accomplished before 1913 starts on its hazardous course, we confidently predict that the Radicals would throw in their lot with the newly formed organisation before its end. Let us give the matter a trial.
The same day saw Mr. Birrell give his Rectorial address to the Glasgow University students. He was pestered by Suffragettes, who were “mildly” handled by the more ardent students, who resented any attempts to deprive them of their monopoly of “cultured” rowdyism on such an important occasion. After the address the Sauchiehall Street premises of the Women’s Social and Political Union were raided and wrecked. At the same time an attack was made on the consulting rooms of “Dr.” Temple, who advertises all over the country that he can “cure men.” Three students only have been arrested, and one of these for attempting to rescue his captured comrade. The trials have been delayed. As in the case of the Edinburgh students who recently destroyed the exhibits of the Anti-Vivisectionists, the trials may be continued and continued, and then the report of the verdict suppressed. I have carefully watched for the decision in the Edinburgh case, and have asked friends who keenly followed it. The result we have yet to learn. No wonder the Glasgow Students took the law into their own hands. They seem to be able to do anything with almost absolute impunity. The law-breaking will not cease here, we may feel assured. The women will have it out with the students. I would not wonder but that they might try to get our above-mentioned comrade to debate the suffrage question in the Students’ Union rooms at the ‘Varsity!
Some week or two ago an epidemic of smallpox broke out in Kirkcaldy. Last week a carters’ strike started. It never rains (in Scotland) but it pours! Whereas the authorities have almost completely controlled the smallpox, they have signally failed to crush the other, even aided with a plentiful supply of baton blows. My latest information assures me of the complete success of the men whose wages will now rise 2s. a week. When in the Kingdom, I might mention that from rumours floating about Kirkcaldy Socialists intend setting up a little press of their own. Some folks, do love to get near to the “devil.” We are pleased to learn that Sam Hynds and Robert Robertson are now officials of the Fife Miners’ Union. The next step is up the stairs to the House of Commons, I pray. Why not?
At the Glasgow Trades Council last, week George Carson made a statement about the grievances of temporary sorters employed for the Christmas season at the General Post Office. He read from the aggrieved men’s memorandum that twelve had been engaged through the Labour Exchange on October 14 to work 48 hours a week for £1. A fortnight later 60 others were engaged for 391/4 hours a week for 18s., the work being done each day in one stretch of 61/2 hours. Officials have pointed out that from December 21 these men will be paid at the rate of 24s. a week, with 8d. an hour for Christmas Day and Sundays. On the other hand, Mr. George Barnet, of the Postmen’s Federation, points out that these temporary men got 25s. a week. So far as we are concerned, we see further illustration of the blackleg nature of the Labour Exchanges, and this time, worst of all, for a very important Government Department. If Lloyd George were interviewed on the matter, he might be found proving that the land question was at the root of the trouble. Of course, if you sweated men care not for Samuel or Lloyd George, trust Asquith (as you most probably have done in the past).
From: Justice 21 December 1912, p. 6.
Last issue I referred to the failure of the decisions in connection with the Edinburgh students arrested for the attack on the Anti-Vivisection exhibits to appear in the Press. Last week they did leak, into the papers. Unfortunately, my note of the fines has disappeared. I can only account for this unusual occurrence by blaming the boisterous breezes that have been battling with our smoky atmosphere this last few days. I can assure the world – or at least that part thereof that counts – that the sentences were trivial. The trial of the Glasgow students proceeds from delay to delay. To make sure that the world will this time get the news, I have meantime ordered a pot of glue.
The Glasgow Corporation last week had a deputation from what terms itself the “Committee of Citizens of Glasgow.” It must be noted that the workers are excluded from this category for the purposes of the committee except in so far as it suits the interests of this precious committee. The first spokesman was that “friend of Labour,” Principal Sir Donald MacAlister, who delicately hinted that money was needed to establish a department for the study of civic and social problems. He was followed by that “special friend of Labour,” Mr. William Lorimer, L.L.D., who is boss of Hyde Park locomotive works. This gentleman said that the solution of all social problems had been prevented by the thorns of prejudice and the gloom of ignorance. No satisfactory solution would ever be arrived at until each side (Capitalist and Labour, he means) honestly studied and assimilated the point of view of the other. The question was, how could it be done? It certainly could not be done amidst the strife and angry passion roused too often by disputes. It must be the subject of calm, dispassionate and judicial consideration. The workers’ money, we see by the above, will be used to endow another organ of that mighty capitalist institution, the Glasgow University. One enthusiastic advocate of this new department is that ardent Welsh Liberal, Professor Sir Henry Jones, who some time ago, in the “Hibbert Journal,” spent his fury on the poor, old, withered Labour Party because its outlook was biased and class. If the workers had forty red-hot Socialists in the House of mediocrities, I fear the worthy old gentleman would lose his moral philosophy altogether. To such as he, Glasgow workers’ money has to be handed over to give “unbiased” training in the social problem. It was my misfortune to suffer the moral philosophy of Jones and the political economy of Start, and both were as capitalistic as anything could be. If these men spoke the truth from our point of view, their lecturing within the sacred precincts of the University would come to an abrupt termination. Workers, protest against the corporation spending your money thus. Would the corporation endow a Socialist college? Never! The gang there are too class-conscious for that.
At the instance of a majority of the Glasgow School Board a test case was taken before the Court of Session in relation to the medical provision for school children. The presiding lords have decided that it is illegal to medically treat children. English education committees have unlimited powers to spend money on the repair of children physically defective. The wording of the Scottish Education Act (1908) is somewhat different, with the result as indicated. The Lord President tried to make clear that Boards were empowered to supply doctors and nurses to examine children, but nothing could be done to treat them. As a simple layman, I would like to know why nurses are mentioned at all, then. Nurses are supposed to carry out instructions relative to the treating of patients. If treating is forbidden, then nurses will have to do the work of doctors or clerks. It is our business to see that the Act is made more explicit, so that the Boards may proceed with the work they have just launched out on. The work that has been done is so beneficial from a physical and educational point of view that we cannot allow it to tail off just to please the reactionary black brigade on Glasgow School Board.
My remarks last week on the carters’ strike at Kirkcaldy were rather premature; but now the fighting his ceased with a 2s. concession to the men. The carters in Leith, in September, had a strike, and got 1s. increase. Not satisfied with this, they came out again last week. They also are in process of finally winning. And now it seems that the Glasgow carters are also on the move. Councillor Hugh Lyon seems to be doing splendid work among the carters in the south here. Good luck to him and his daring followers! Hugh is also moving in Glasgow Corporation to get steps taken towards the establishment of house rent courts. May he succeed.
Mr. Austen Chamberlain last Thursday, spoke in Glasgow on the occasion of the conference of the Scottish Tariff Reform League. He urged a tax on foreign grain of 2s. per quarter, on other foodstuffs 5 per cent., and on manufactured goods 10 per cent. He expects us canny Scots to believe that it is all for our good. Brisker trade, more employment, higher wages. Austen, dear lad, forgets that with the present brisk trade wages are not rising as rapidly as prices. We are not having any.
From: Justice 28 December 1912, p. 6.
I have just received a communication which shows that a movement is on foot to establish in Scotland a co-operative college to which any worker might go, or be sent by co-operative societies or trade unions. To justify its existence it would require to present knowledge from the Marxian standpoint as a foundation, and to train men for genuine leadership in the various movements of the masses. In view of what is transpiring in University circles anent this new department for the instigation of social questions, it seems to me the best we can do is to make a success of this new working-class aspiration and see that a genuine institution is established. The surest way is for the Socialists at once to start classes here and there, and thus pave the way for success. Two classes will be starting in Fife after the New Year festivities are over, and this should lead other places to do the same. I understand there is the possibility of a closer working-agreement of Socialist forces in Glasgow next winter so far as educational classes are concerned. These classes of the rank and file are certainly of the greatest importance, although day work in a college is absolutely requisite for the final polish that needs must be given to our brightest gems. Let us work hard and thus prepare for that college, which ought to beat anything in the world. Why not?
The forethought indicated in last issue anent the pot of glue has brought success in its train, as ever forethought does. For I have to record two decisions against Glasgow University students whose escapades I registered a week or two ago with the certainty of the recording angel. One youth was found guilty by Bailie J.W. Stewart, who decided to fine him £5, or send him to prison for thirty days. The day after (Friday) Stipendiary Neilson imposed on another student a fine of £6 6s., with the alternative of twenty days. In both cases the fine was paid. If imprisonment alone had been the decision, I fancy that student riots would quickly terminate. As such displays of youthful exuberance implies no revolutionary intent the propertied class attach no social importance to them. Working-class youth, on the other hand, are allowed no such latitude, as their exuberance in the end might lead to events subversive of capitalistic robbery. We are, therefore, entitled to conclude that the above sentences were “class distinction” ones. From that conclusion I, at any rate, cannot escape.
It will be of interest, at least to our impecunious branches and district councils, to know that eight large banks of Scotland have a capital of £9,227,000, with a reserve of £9,768,000. The net profits amounted to £1,842,000, and the dividends ranged from 11 to 20 per cent. It would not surprise me to hear of a resolution at the next statutory meeting of the Scottish District Council being brought forward by the financial genius of some struggling branch urging the formation of a bank to give us a sound economic basis for our educational work.
At the same time as we hear of the fabulous profits of these banks, the Press loudly trumpets the record-breaking investments in the Savings Bank of Glasgow, the largest of the kind in these Isles be it noted. These deposits now exceed £12,000,000, the, increase this last year being a balance of fully £98,000. The number of open accounts reaches the total of 240,515; but of these 112,646 owners, or 48 per cent., have a claim on less than £10. The joke is that the city capitalists and the Press are gloating over these monstrous savings, the lives’ scrapings of one in four of the population, despite “the active discouragement of thrift by Socialists,” who are “impairing the independence of the adult workers of the country.” It should be noted that the interest on the twelve million pounds was £283,937 14s. 10d. From a capitalist point of view this small interest return is hardly just such an incentive to thrift as the above £1,842,000 collared on nine millions capital by the proprietors of the big banks. This parallel shows clearly that the game of petty saving by the workers – if all the depositors at the Saving Bank are workers or their offspring – is not so profitable for them as for the capitalists to whom they hand over their mites. We Socialists have never discouraged saving under capitalism, as the uncertainty of work and health necessitates some kind of provision or other where possible; but our contention holds true that the savings of the workers are used by the masters to further rob them of the wealth created by them. Furthermore, we insist that an agency that thus helps to extend and intensify the robbery of the workers cannot by any flight of the imagination be considered as a method of solving the poverty problem for the workers, as this very poverty problem is itself a product of robbery. Capitalism means the ownership of the source and instruments of wealth, and therefore of wealth itself, by a small robbing class. That involves slavery, the simple word used for lack of independence, for the robbed or working class. It is a Chinese puzzle to me to know how some brains can work out to the conclusion that saving means independence for the workers when, as I have shown, this very saving simply adds to the means whereby the rich rob the poor. However, wise it may be for the people to scrimp themselves to-day to avert acute starvation to-morrow, it cannot, for a single moment be maintained that saving is the supremest virtue when it but intensifies the vilest vice ever inflicted on suffering mankind, the robbery of class by class.