Saturday, June 6, 2020

By Strike or By Ballot? – A Critical Examination (1919)

From the April 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

While at the moment of writing final decisions have not been reached in the disputes in the Mining, Railway, and Transport industry, important facts have been revealed from which the working class can draw lessons.

The capitalist Press and the trade union leaders concerned have agreed that a strike of the workers engaged in these industries would be “a disaster,” “an extremely serious matter,” etc. These “labour leaders” have openly done all they could to prevent the men striking, not on the ground that the masters could win if they decided to fight in earnest, but on the shadowy pretext of “injury to the community” or “danger to the industry.” When the master class took millions of wage-workers from production and sent them to slaughter their fellow-workers, these leaders were silent as to the “injury to the community” inflicted.

To help the leaders swindle the rank and file a Commission of Inquiry into the coal industry was formed. As so often happens in these inquiries, no awkward facts about the coal owners leaked out. When introducing the Bill to set up this Commission Mr. Lloyd George made the entirely unsupported assertion that if the miner’s demands were granted the price of coal would rise by 8s. to 10s. per ton. Now this is one of the hoary, but very useful, lies that the master class and its agents—the journalists, economists, labour leaders and politicians—employ to mislead the workers. In this case Lloyd George at once started to contradict himself, as he drew a dark picture of the power of American competition in “our” European market.

But the American miner receives higher wages, reckoned in money terms, than the English miner. Yet American coal, according to Lloyd George, is cheaper!

Lloyd George’s ignorance of the most elementary facts of economics will doubtless shield him from the necessity of attempting to explain the dilemma he has landed himself in.

One superficial answer, “Then why do the masters always resist a rise of wages if they are automatically made good by a rise in prices?” completely confounds the journalist and politician of the master class. For a full working out of the whole question the reader is referred to Marx’s splendid pamphlet, ”Value, Price and Profit.” Here we will only take one or two points from that work.

How are prices determined in any ordinary market? Immediately by the relations of Supply and Demand, ultimately by the cost of Production. Now a moment’s thought will show that a rise in miner’s wages will make no difference in the demand for coal. But without an increase in demand there will be a great difficulty in raising prices. Thus it is evident the coal owners, in the first place, must pay the increased wages from their profits.

“But,” it may be asked, “does not a rise in wages mean an increase in the cost of production ?” Not necessarily. Cost of production is based upon the time taken, on the average, to produce a given quantity of any commodity. When the masters find themselves unable to raise prices after a rise in wages, they try to reduce the time taken to produce the particular commodity by (1) speeding up the workers, (2) cutting out little laxities, as lunch time, etc. If unable to apply these methods they try to improve their organisation, speed up transport, introduce new machinery, and so on. Sometimes these methods are so successful that the commodities are produced at a lower cost than before the rise in wages. In fact, generally speaking, the higher waged worker is the cheaper producer, as is shown by America in so many instances.

In general the masters charge the highest prices the market will bear, no matter how low the wages they pay, and pay the lowest wages the workers will accept, no matter how high prices may be.

One of the first facts brought out at the Coal Commission was that the profits of the coal owners had risen three-fold despite the increase in wages. Taking the figures, profits had risen (after paying £9,000,000 a year in royalties) from £13,000,000 (1s. 1d. per ton) in 1913, to £39,000,000 (3s. 6½ d. per ton) in 1918. The fact that the Government took part of this increased profit in the shape of taxes does not affect the point. What the capitalists do with their profits makes no difference to the workers who have been robbed to produce them.

The Powell Duffryn Steam Coal Co., with a capital of £657,202, had disclosed profits (after deducting depreciation, income tax, excess profits duty and coal mines excess payments) of about £5,261,000 in fifteen years ending 1918. The Ocean Coal & Wilson’s Ltd., capital £3,390,000, paid in eight years over £3,500,000 in cash dividends and distributed £1,000,000 in bonus shares after making the deductions given above.

Manvers (Yorks.) paid 195 per cent. in ten years ending 1918, on the actual capital and paid off £285,500 worth of debentures. The Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Co., in ten years to 1918, paid 144 per cent. upon their capital. In 1918 a 33½ per cent. scrip bonus was paid. The Fife Coal Co. paid over 300 per cent. on actual capital in ten years to 1918. In 1909 one bonus ordinary and one bonus 5 per cent. preference share were given for every four shares held. In 1918 there was a reserve of £500,000 and a carry forward of £126,456. This company owns a large percentage of the miners’ houses in Fife, of which 80 per cent. have only two rooms.

All the above statements were given in the “Daily Telegraph” of March 18th, 1919.

The Consett Iron and Steel Co. paid 242½ per cent. in the six years 1913-1918, and in 1914 distributed £250,000 in bonus shares. The Navigation Coal Co. has paid its capital back four times over.

These figures do not disclose the whole case. In nearly every published balance sheet the miners’ wages and the directors’ fees are lumped together in one item. More or less ornamental figure-heads, often carrying a title, draw large sums yearly for doing nothing more intellectual than attending a meeting now and again and voting as the chairman directs.

More important still is the fact that under the item “Depreciation” the capital used up each year is repaid. This means that if 10 per cent. is set aside each year for depreciation, at the end of ten years the whole of the original capital has been replaced in addition to the dividends that have been paid year by year.

These few facts show how absurd was the laboured attempt on the part of the masters to claim that to grant the miners’ demands would “ruin the trade,” if not the country.

It was when the Reports of the Commission were given to the Government that the great lesson for the workers emerged. In announcing that the Government had accepted and would act upon the Report of the Chairman’s section of the Commission and referring to the possibility of a strike, Mr. Bonar Law said
  “If such a strike comes the Government—and no Government could do otherwise—will use all the resources of the State without the smallest hesitation.“
If such a strike came the mine-owners, if they decided to fight it out, could win by simply pitting their immense resources of wealth, an indication of which is given by the figures above, against the few pounds the miners could gather together. On the economic field the masters are in a far stronger position than the workers and can beat them any time they decide to fight to a finish. Yet in this, as in so many other cases, they threaten to use the overwhelming power of the State for their purpose because it is so much more speedy and decisive.

But how comes it that they can use the State for this purpose? Because on 14th December, 1918, the miners, in conjunction with the large majority of the other workers, placed the State in the hands of the masters when they voted the latter into possession of political power.

While the workers accept the poisonous nonsense that “capital should have a fair profit,” while they swallow the lies and humbug of the labour leaders like Thomas, Brace, Williams, and so on, that the interests of the master class are the interests of the “community,” or ”society,” they will be easily led to vote their masters into possession of the power to rule society.

When the working class rids itself of this stupidity, and realises its weakness in the economic field against the power of the employers, then it will turn to the facts of its situation for a solution and find that the way to salvation lies through organisation for control of the political power. Not until that is assured can the workers own the means of life and operate them for their own benefit. When that lesson is learnt the day of Socialism will be dawning.
Jack Fitzgerald

Past Class Struggles. (1919)

From the April 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the last article we gave an outline of the English Peasants' Revolt and its consequences. In the meantime conditions in Germany had brought about a similar revolt there.

The break-up of the Roman Empire left Germany cut up into feudal territories with a feudal lord over each. Then came the growth of commerce which developed the wealth and importance of the city burghers. The luxuries of the East were brought West and enjoyed by the townsmen into whose hands gradually centred all the handicraft, art and luxuries of the times. This placed the feudal lord at a disadvantage and aroused his envy. He, who looked down from the superior height of traditional regality upon the lowbred townsman, found himself the townsman's inferior in wealth and splendour. He consequently looked around for means to increase his wealth.

In those days the nobility lived in fortified castles and surrounded themselves with trained bands of retainers and soldiery. Their usual method of increasing the worldly possessions was by issuing from their castles on marauding expeditions, and lying in wait and robbing the travellers that passed through their territories. Wm. Jacobs, in his "History of the Precious Metals," writes of the internal conditions of Germany at this time as follows: —
  "Those countries under a rigid feudal system were divided into various independent and petty sovereignties, all jealous of their neighbours, and frequently embroiled with them. The roads and rivers were insecure, and the protection either to property or persons passing along them, dependent upon the interest, the caprice or the cupidity of the various princes or nobles who ruled the several minor dominions … No protection was afforded to intercourse, and commerce was consequently almost unknown." (Vol. II., pp. 23-24.)
As time went on, however, lying in wait for travelling merchants became less profitable, more dangerous, and but a slow and doubtful way of acquiring the necessary wealth to obtain the delicious luxuries enjoyed by the rich merchants. Consequently the feudal princes and lords had to cast about for other methods of raising the money to purchase the good things of the new life. Right at their hands lay the weapon of conquest—the further exploitation of the peasantry.

Karl Marx, in "Capital," Vol. 1., p. 220, says of these peasants :
"In the I5th Century the German peasant was nearly everywhere a man who, whilst subject to certain rents paid in produce and labour, was otherwise at least practically free. The German colonists, in Brandenbourg, Pomerania, and Silesia and Eastern Prussia, were even legally acknowledged as free men."
These peasants had not sunk to the same level of serfdom as the English peasants of this period, although the degradation was soon to be accomplished. They had stretches of common lands, and under the system of corvee (statute labour) they owed a comparatively small amount of labour and produce to the lords.

With the growth of the lords' appetite for luxury, however, the oppression of the peasantry and the seizure of their common lands developed into a system of bare-faced robbery. Their rents were steadily converted into money rents and increased. Documents were forged whereby the rights of the peasants were curtailed and their duties increased.

From the end of the 15th Century there were sporadic revolts on the part of the peasantry, but these were easily crushed. Eventually (1525) there was a general and extensive rising of the peasantry throughout Southern Germany.

The German Peasants' War was, unfortunately for the peasants, a disunited and badly organised affair. In spite of the fact that the rising was general throughout Germany, each territory fought out its own individual battles, and, although there were numerous peasant armies in the field, instead of forming a united plan of action, they all aspired to be self-sufficient and acted locally only. Not so the nobles. They formed a league (the Swabian League) to raise and equip an army for the purpose of putting down the rising everywhere. While they momentarily concluded peace with one army they fell upon and destroyed another. And in this manner, by bribery, chicanery, fraud, and force, they destroyed the peasant forces peacemeal.

Each group of peasants formulated their demands in the shape of a number of articles, but eventually the twelve articles adopted by the Swabian peasantry became generally accepted as the basis of the movement. The principal demands in these articles were
1. Right of Electing their own Ministers.
2. Reduction of Tithes.
3. Abolition of Villeinage.
4. Liberty to Fish and Kill Wild Game.
5. Restoration of Woods.
10. Restoration of Common Lands.
11. Abolition of Death Dues.
Here, as in England, the lords pursued their time-dishonoured methods of dodgery, promising redress until the simple peasants had been put off their guard, and then falling upon and slaughtering them unmercifully.

Throughout the war the peasants were remarkable for their forbearance, and the lords for their ferocity. In spite of extreme provocation only two cases of alleged barbarity could be quoted against the peasantry. In one case a Baron von Helfenstein, who had achieved notoriety by his cruelty, and who had massacred peasants by the dozen in cold blood, was captured at the town of Weinsberg. The leaders of the United Contingent (the peasant army that captured the place) gave orders that he was to be kept prisoner, but a section of the peasantry (some of whom had suffered personally at his hands) had resolved upon his death, and he was executed. This act was used as an excuse for the atrocities that followed.

The United Contingent, making the same mistake as the modern workers, appointed as commander a dissatisfied hanger-on of the ruling class, a knight Gotz von Berlichingen, and after his appointment the articles originally formulated were gradually watered down. Like the modern labour leader, he played the game of the ruling class, and his vaccilating and treacherous policy largely conduced to the early defeat of the peasants in the quarter where he commanded.

Eventually the lords succeeded, with the aid of mercenary soldiery and a quantity of artillery, in crushing the peasantry. Then the wholesale execution of men, women, and children became the order of the day.

The majority of the leaders of the insurrection were captured, tortured, and wasted to death, or died in prison. It is estimated that not less than 130,000 peasants were slaughtered during and immediately after the revolt. "At least 100,000 were killed," says the ultra-conservative "Harmsworth Encyclopoedia," p. 4623.

It is worth noting that Martin Luther, the apostle of revolt (for early capitalism) against Roman Catholicism, opposed the peasants' rising with all his power, and suggested that the best way to deal with the insurrection was to exterminate the peasantry! He is reported to have written the following sublime exhortation: "Crush them, strangle them, and pierce them, in secret places and in sight of men, he who can even as one would strike dead a mad dog." ("Encyclopedia Brittanica," 9th edition, article "Luther.")

The German Peasants' War, like the English Peasants' Revolt, was but a reactionary movement, an incident and an accompaniment of the gradual rise to a share in political control of the wealthy burghers of the towns.

The crushing of the peasantry in the war fixed the bonds of servitude still more securely upon their backs, and degraded them to the lowest depths of villeinage. Many decades elapsed ere they could rise from their prostrate position, and then it was only to be precipitated into a still worse servitude—the servitude of the wage slave.

In the evolution of society only movements that are logical sequences of social development can
succeed. The writer recommends this point to the consideration of the Anarchist Communist, who mournfully moans for the return to peasant-proprietorship or small ownership, disregarding 
economic development and the results of the scientific examination of society. The conclusions
 of the Socialist are correct and safe because they are based on, and harmonise with, the normal
 development of society.

Correspondence. A "Bolshie" Critic. (1919)

Letter to the Editors from the April 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

To The Editor.

Sir,—In this month's Socialist Standard I read an unsigned article entitled "Where we Stand." I take it for granted that it is the object of the writer to outline the S.P.G.B. position in relation to "Bolshevism" and kindred subjects.

Perhaps you will also permit a little criticism from an ignorant wage slave, one, at least, upon whose shoulders the mantle of the Pope has not fallen.

This article is apparently intended to impress upon its readers that the Bolshevik Government in Russia is not in any way Socialist, in consequence if that is where WE are to stand I maintain that WE shall be anything but Socialists. In the words of the S.P.G.B. Declaration of Principles,
"Socialism is the establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community."
That is Socialism, and that is what the Bolsheviks are now doing. It is obvious to all reasonable men that it cannot all be done at once, especially considering the horrible mess Czarism and Kerenskyism left Russia in.

Therefore I maintain that Bolshevism is Socialism in embryo, and in truth Bolsheviks are Socialists in practice.

Our friend says: "On what do the Bolshevist leaders depend for their strength ? Certainly not on a class-conscious working class." Perhaps in next month's "S.S." he will explain how it is that the workers of Russia overthrew the Czarist and then the Kerensky Government if they were not class-conscious. They must have distinctly realised the difference between Czarist Feudalism, Kerensky Capitalism, and Bolshevik Socialism. In order to achieve this they must be class-conscious. There is no necessity for one to read the whole mountain of Socialist literature in order to become class-conscious. The idea is quite easy of understanding, and the Russian peasant, although illiterate, probably thinks more clearly than the alcohol-drenched, narcotic-poisoned, syphilitic, football-playing, novel-reading, mis-educated mob of OUR civilisation. The peasant living in his village commune knows the value of self-help and mutual aid. He knows also his miseries are due to the class above him. His tutors have been of the class war, bitter experience, the knout, the Cossack, and the bayonet. He is class conscious in the real sense of the word; that is why he flung out Kerensky & Co.

Our writer goes on to tell us "the peasant cannot understand Socialism." I have discovered the only thing necessary to overcome in the teaching of Socialism is prejudice. It is unnecessary for the peasant to read vols. I., II., III. of "Capital," but merely to realise, as he undoubtedly does, that the reason why his lot is so deplorable, or was, is because his home, his tools, his life, his labour and the land on which he works is owned and controlled by a robber baron who grinds him down for the product of his labour power. He knows also the only way to achieve salvation is by means of the Social Revolution and the establishment of that system advocated, taught and fought for by Lenin known as Socialism.

The Russian peasant understands not the theories of philosophy, economics, and science, but he has tasted the fruit of Socialism, and in consequence is a Socialist. Our friend further says: "How is it likely that they" (the peasants) "can conceive any advantage arising from common ownership of the land?" Isn't it perfectly obvious to all that the peasant must immediately see the advantages accruing from the social ownership of land? He who has been enslaved in serfdom from time immemorial by the despotism of a land-owning gang of archdukes under Czarism, cannot see the advantages accruing to his own freedom of organisation and control through the Soviet. Our friend's ideas of the establishment of Socialism are also very curious. He seems to imagine Socialism will spring up in a night all the world over like the proverbial mushroom.

I presume Socialism will grow and spread, experience victories and suffer defeats like all other social growths, and at last become a world owned by workers. The Russian Socialist Commonwealth is the first great blow but even now it is extending ; in every country Bolshevism is showing its head. On p. 54 our friend sneers at the idea of Industrial organisation, but I would point out that in the Socialist Commonwealth we must have the workers committees in every workshop ; it is the only way for the workers to democratically control their work. We want political and industrial control. If the writer wishes to maintain the parliamentary system of perennial cackle about nothing in particular, he is not a Socialist.  As a closing word I protest against the mean, belittling attitude to the Bolsheviks maintained by some members of the S.P.G.B.

At the present moment Bolshevism is the grandest movement of history in progress before our eyes, a proletarian revolution. The expropriators have been expropriated ; the workers of Russia have united and broken their chains. When the Russians read of this Pecksniffian criticism, not a word of praise or appreciation, they will say, are there any Socialists in the S.P.G.B.? Let this Philistine remember those who are real Socialists, those who have sacrificed all for the Cause and some who have died for it—Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxembourg, Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin, and last but not least, Lenin and Trotsky.
—Yours, "A Wage Slave."

Like most of the Bolshevist supporters in this country, our correspondent reveals himself a genius for loose thinking, translating itself into random utterance. Take, for example, one of his earliest assertions : "In the words of the S.P.G.B. Declaration of Principles, 'Socialism is the establishment of a system of Society,' " and so on. A person who can imagine that our Declaration of Principles contains any such statement may well say that the mantle of the Pope has not fallen on his shoulders. The "Pope's mantle" has graced the shoulders of many a rogue, but never a fool. The establishment of a system of society, no matter on what basis, is not Socialism. It is an act—Socialism is not an act, it is a system of society.

One who is ready to write so loosely, and with such small regard for the truth, finds it easy enough to show that Socialism has been established in Russia. He simply declares it for a start, and then embarks or a course of fiction to ''lend an air of verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative." So it is "unnecessary for the peasant to read . . ' Capital,' but merely to realise, as he undoubtedly does, that the reason why his lot is so deplorable, or was, is because his home, his tools, his life, his labour, and the land on which he works is owned and controlled by a robber baron . ." and "He who has been enslaved in serfdom from time immemorial," and so on.

Now that might pass as fiction of the kind which is not "founded on fact." But in real life "He who has been enslaved in serfdom from time immemorial" was emancipated from serfdom over 50 years ago in the first place; his "home, tools, labour and the land on which he works" are not "owned and controlled by a robber baron" in the third place, and even if the peasant were still living under feudalism his home and the rest of it would not be owned and controlled by a robber baron, for such conditions belong, not to feudalism, but to chattel-slavery. Might not the facts as here out lined make some difference in what it is necessary for the peasant "merely to realise" ?

Of course, one who cannot see the difference between a peasant and a serf; one who fails to understand that the conditions of feudalism are not those of chattel-slavery, is hardly likely to appreciate the point that a social order is a system, in which every part stands as cause and effect to the other parts. Hence his difficulty.

Our correspondent, rising to olympic heights of irony, suggests that we should, by way of supporting our contention that the Bolsheviks do not depend on a class-conscious working class for their strength, explain how it is that the "workers of Russia overthrew the Czarist and then the capitalist Kerensky Government if they were not class-conscious." The answer to that is that they did nothing of the sort. If our critic has any proof, nay, even any evidence, that what he suggests is correct, we challenge him to produce it. As a matter of fact it is admitted by the staunchest friends of the Bolshevist movement that the election for the Constituent Assembly (an election based upon a popular franchise) resulted in a bourgeois majority. So far is it from being true, therefore, that the working class overthrew the Kerensky crowd, that the working class voted the bourgeoisie into power, and the Bolsheviks it was who squashed the Kerensky crowd by suppressing the Constituent Assembly.

"Isn't it perfectly obvious to all that the peasant must immediately see the advantages accruing from the social ownership of land?" asks our critic. Well, in the first place there is no evidence to show that the Bolsheviks have attempted to place the land on a basis of social ownership. The reports of those most favourable to the insurrection even, fall short of this, and claim that each peasant may own as much land as he can till without hired assistance. That is not social ownership, but the very reverse. Socialisation of the land would take away from the peasants the land which they previously owned, and seemingly it was so "perfectly obvious" to the Bolsheviks that such a proposal would not commend itself to the peasants that they dared not attempt to proceed to it. When the Russian serfs were "emancipated" and became peasants the trouble was that, in order to compel them still to work for the nobles, they were given insufficient land to support them. Enormous taxation was superimposed on this. The natural view-point of the peasant is therefore quite clear. His aspirations would be, not in the direction of giving up his little land to society, but of getting more land—an economic holding. In those districts where the mir still exists, and the land is the property of the commune, the opposition would for obvious reasons be even stronger.

There are other points we should like to have dealt with, and had not our correspondent abused our space with a lot of sentimental twaddle we should have had room to answer more fully the wild and unsupported statements he has treated us to. But for the present our space is quite exhausted.
Editorial Committee

By The Way. (1919)

The By The Way column from the April 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Church has been used for many and varied purposes since the time when the Christ of the Gospels was supposed to have turned the money changers out of the Temple. The observation which, according to the narrator, he then made, namely, that his father's house, which was a house of prayer, had been converted into a den of thieves, would apply with equal force to-day. However, the latest 20th century use to which the Church has been put is to convert it into a kind of picture palace so that well-fed and well-groomed bourgeois women can see on the sheet how their poorer sisters live, move, and have their being in that "station of life in which it has pleased God to place them." Beautiful phrase, this ! I've heard many an oily-tongued parson work it off with due solemnity. But let me return to the announcement:

"Fashionably-dressed women crowded into St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church yesterday to see the production of a film depicting the lives of the poorer women of the East End."

It was much more pleasant to glean the desired information this way than going through dismal alleys and squalid courts to see these things as they really are. My lady might peradventure soil her gown, or in some other way become contaminated.
  The Mayor of Bethnal Green said that in one locality he had visited a soldier's wife lived with her four children in one room. Standing in the room, he could touch the ceiling with one hand and reach the wall on either side without moving. It was quite easy to push a stick through the wall and make a hole through which the street could be seen.—"Daily News," Feb. 24th, 1919.
Whether, as a result of this entertainment, the above-mentioned soldier's wife and her four children (which are a "priceless national asset") have been invited to come over West and live sumptuously is not recorded. But doubtless the "fashionably-dressed women" are cheered on life's rough way by the thought of the hymn which says:
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate; 
God made, them high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.


Since the above remarks were written another wonderful discovery has been made. Owing to the publicity given to the gathering at St.-Martin-in the-fields Church the Queen summoned the Mayor of Bethnal Green to the Palace that she might hear more about slumdom. And lo and behold one morning on perusing the daily paper we read :
"It is pretty clear to me that when I have visited the poorer districts I have been taken mainly to the highways and not to the by-ways."—The Queen, "Daily Sketch," March 15th, 1919.
Now it would appear that those who are responsible for organising the joy-rides which royalty partake of have been guilty of perpetrating a cruel hoax. At long last the truth is out. In this fair land of England there are sunless homes.
   "Describing one set of properties, Col. Lewis said they were what was known as "back-to- back" houses. This he illustrated by two boxes, and explained that only one side was open to the outer air, and that was the front of each cottage.
  As the whole of the sanitary arrangements were located close to the front door, her Majesty could imagine what the conditions of life must be.
  "Horrible !" was the Queen's comment.
  The Mayor further stated that some of the properties were never reached by the rays of the sun during any part of the day." (Same paper.)
One would imagine from the prominence given to this subject that slumland was a characteristic only of the East End instead of being one of the main features of capitalist society. The workers are herded where the idle master class would scorn to keep their cattle.

But fortunately the dawn appears to be breaking, and at last the workers show signs of studying their class position and the cause of their enslavement—the class ownership of the means of life. When they fully grasp this they will join with us in the Socialist Party, realising that the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.


We have on more than one occasion in the past drawn attention to the fact that in spite of the label "Liberal" or "Tory" which the adherents of these political parties attach to themselves they are at bottom supporters of capitalism. Consequently when they think that their interests as such are threatened they drop their labels for the time being in order to present a united front to the impending menace. Never was this more clearly shown than in the recent London County Council Elections.

In the North Paddington District the mere nomination of a couple of Labour candidates was sufficient to "put the wind up 'em." The municipal reform candidates enclosed with their election address the following note :
The Progressive Party are NOT opposing our re-election—but at the  last moment the Labour Party have nominated two Candidates, therefore we trust Electors will not fail to record their votes."
To those who have carefully studied Labour's Programme for London, which, after all, is not very revolutionary, this attack of nerves of the reformers may cause some amusement.


There recently appeared in "Reynolds's Newspaper" (23.2.1919) an alleged copy of an official document published in the "Anarchiste de Briansk," as follows:
"The Workmen's Soviet of Mourzilowka,

September 16, 1918.
An order to Comrade Gregoire Savelieff, The Soviet hereby gives full power to Comrade Gregoire Savelieff to requisition at his choice and discretion for the needs of the Artillery Division stationed at Mourzilowka, district of Briansk, sixty women and girls of the bourgeois and speculator classes and bring them to the barracks.
(Signed) President of the Soviet, Skameikius."
Then the "Reynolds" scribe adds—"We print this document because it shows better than anything else what our women have to expect from any triumph of Bolshevik principles in this country."

Unfortunately for the writer of those words, this document has appeared in slightly different form in other capitalist journals. On one occasion a reader of the "Times," who had spent two years in Russia (Sept. 1916 to Oct. 1918) wrote to that journal explaining the "nationalisation of women" proclamation, but failed to get his reply inserted. Such tactics show the value of these "reliable authorities" and "official documents."


We might ask our contemporary in passing what they have to say with regard to the "nationalisation" of the women and girls in the licensed houses in France. This canting hypocrisy maketh one sick!


Perhaps it would not be amiss at this juncture to again refer to the "Infamous Circular Memorandum" issued in 1886 by Lord Roberts, part of which read as follows :
"In the regimental bazaars it is necessary to have a sufficient number of women, to take care that they are sufficiently attractive, to provide them with proper houses, and above all, to insist upon means of ablution being always available."
The story of how these "attractive women" were obtained is told in the work entitled "The Queen's daughters in India," published in 1898. One extract must suffice :
"The orders specified were faithfully carried out, under the supervision of commanding officers, and were to this effect. The commanding officer gave orders to his quartermaster to arrange with the regimental Kutwal (an under official, native) to take two policeman (without uniforms) and go into the villages and take from the homes of these poor people their daughters from fourteen years and upwards, about twelve or fifteen girls at a time. They were to select the best looking. Next morning these were all put in front of the Colonel and Quartermaster. The former made his selection of the number required. They were then presented a pass or license, and then made over to the old woman in charge of this house of vice under the Government. The women already there, who were examined by the doctor, and found diseased, had their passes taken away from them, and were then removed by the police out of the cantonment, and these fresh, innocent girls put in their places."
After such, well-authenticated evidence as to the ''nationalisation" of women and girls in India by the British authorities one would have thought that even writers for the capitalist Press would have been more careful when engaged in mud-slinging lest some should recoil upon themselves.


The following titbit, one of many, shows the supreme disinterestedness of the Allies, and proves conclusively that they only seek to make the world safe for themselves, no, beg pardon, for democracy.
  "The question of the Italian—Jugo-Slav territory will not be easily settled. . . .
   Signor Orlando and Baron Sinnono have been in communication with M. Clemenceau and Mr. Lloyd George, and will shortly also see Pres. Wilson on the matter to intimate that the Italians must possess Fiume, and that if the Conference refused this they will withdraw from its deliberations."—"Reynolds's," March i6th, 1919.
The Scout.

Some receipts. (1919)

Party News from the April 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard