From the December 1916 issue of the Socialist Standard
The following quotations and comments appeared in the “Manchester Guardian” of Oct. 25th last in a review of "Portraits of the Seventies”—a new book by the Right Hon. G. W. E. Russell.
Mr. Russell'a veneration for Gladstone is well known, and by reason of it perhaps his occasional indications of disapproval for his great leader's attitude derive additional emphasis. At any rate the incident with which Mr. Russell closes his portrait of Archbishop Thompson seems decidedly significant: — “On the evening of May 2nd, l882, I was at a party in Eaton Square, where Gladstone and Thompson were among my fellow-guests. As we entered the drawing-room the Archbishop turning to the Prime Minister with his most impressive air, said ‘I want you to tell me about the State of Ireland.' Feeling, like most other people who were not wilfully blind, a profound misgiving about the unchecked reign of murderous outrage, I listened intently to the reply. ‘The state of Ireland,’ said Gladstone with eager emphasis, 'is very greatly improved. Rent is being generally paid.'" "Not a word," remarks Mr. Russell, "about human life, which, after all, is a more important thing than rent." Four days later came the Saturday of the Phoenix Park murders, “and the Irish difficulty,” says Mr. Russell, "entered on the acutest phase it has ever known.
While the above provides only another illustration of what is a commonplace among Socialists—the Mammon-soaked psychology of the masters’ politicians—it may be enlightening to those numerous members of our class who still regard the hypocritical, Bible-hugging lick-spittle of the master clan as the "grand old man” and democracy-loving friend of the workers.
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The “Manchester Guardian" of Oct. 10th remarked that
“ . . . the Home Office and the Ministry of Munitions are taking every possible step to investigate and deal with the new source of danger from T.N.T. poisoning. During the quarter ending Sept. 30th twenty-one deaths were reported from that cause."
How well the war-workers are doing! In addition to the splendid exercise of tending machines and boilers working almost at bursting point, and enjoying the exhilarating excitement of making explosives in factories which blow up at the rate of one every few weeks, they even have chance of sampling the deadly stuff intended to send to a mythical paradise the Teuton fellow-slave who is also being fooled by his master.
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At the first meeting of the British Manufacturers’ Association, comprised of 700 firms employing over a million workers, Mr. George Terrell, M.P., who presided, said of trade unions,. “No more remarkable change has occurred than our attitude to-day in connection with these unions. Many of us are saying ‘Well, these union leaden are not such bad chaps after all'; they have dropped a lot of their Socialistic nonsense.” (“Daily Mail,” 26.10.16.)
Mr. Terrell is herewith informed that there exists no such thing as “Socialistic nonsense." Socialism is based upon sound reasoning and sense in all its aspects. If he really believes that Socialism is nonsense then his own sense is of a very doubtful variety, but of course it is also doubtful if he really does believe that.. While resenting the implication that the “union leaders” he refers to have, or for the most part, ever have had, anything to do with Socialism, I am truly delighted to find that the love felt by the capitalist date for those who have so long worked vigorously in their interests is at hat. finding OPEN expression.
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Example (Advertisement from “Manchester Evening News,” Nov. 9.16):—
EMPIRE, ARDWICK GREEN, MANCHESTER
16.40 GREAT ATTRACTIONS. 8.50.
in his thrilling oration,
"A Message from the Trenches."
How to Win the War.
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In its issue for Oct. 31st the “Manchester Guardian" quoted the following from an article by Prof. Erich Jung, in the German paper “Alldeutsche Blatter":
The Chancellor has chosen for his representative a banker by profession (Dr. Helfferich) and even his second representative, too, comes from a merchant family. Further, all such men as Delbruck and Sewald and others who hold influential positions, such as Rathenau, Ballin, Goldberger, and others, all come from business and commercial families.. Scarcely one of them belongs by origin or tradition to those quarters which have built the Prussian State in a labour of two hundred years. The Chancellor himself springs, both on his father’s and his mother’s side, from families which for many generations have carried on big banking businesses in Frankfort-on-Main and Paris.
What about the feudal Junker land aristocracy who are (we are told) the rulers of Germany?' As we have always maintained, it is Capital, which dominates in Germany, and throughout the rest of the planet also.
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The commercial struggle which would follow the war would be only second in magnitude to that of the war itself. They must make such preparation as would enable the English people to take the lead again among their competitors, and, as this was a matter of life and death to a great industrial people, they mast be ready to pay the premium that would ensure them success in the peaceful rivalry which was almost certain to come. He strongly advocated raising the age of compulsory education to fourteen and seventeen. (Lord Haldane at Leicester. "Manchester Evening News," Nov. 9.)
Capitalism is preparing for its last great struggle to install itself in even every waste place upon the earth, and is about to make us, its slaves, fit tools to carry out the work. We also have our scheme of education for a worldwide purpose. But the purpose is not the increase and spread of a robber system, but is the revolutionary one of annihilating that system. As capitalism enters upon its final phase—that of rampant Imperialism—in which to disgorge its surplusage of wealth into the remaining but gradually extinguishing markets of the world, let us also hurry on with our work of bringing enlightenment, through proletarian science, to our class in every land, so that ere capitalism in its death-rattle hurls us into the abyss of barbarism we may joyfully hail—