Friday, June 7, 2024

The Purpose and Method of Colonisation [6] (1914)

From the November 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued from last issue.)
“There are some 830 millions of the neo-Caucasian race of the world, who are either uncultured or backward or retrograd in their mode of life, who stand at present entirely aloof from our civilization, who in the eyes of most white men are helots, without rights to be maintained or feelings to be considered. At the present time these 830 millions of black, brown, and yellow men are unable to wage war on the white man on anything like equal terms. To his aggressive advance they can only oppose a passive resistance ; often they are quite without defence against his conscious or unconscious cruelty. Out of this total of 830 millions of backward peoples at least 365 millions dwell within the limits of the British Empire or its sphere of political influence. If we are going to—I will not say exterminate, for that is now impossible—make the lives of 365 millions of black, brown and yellow human beings miserable and serf-like, so that by degrees they dwindle and die out, are we so sure that we can plant in their places an European population which will prove as suitable to climate and surroundings ? . . . It is very doubtful whether the white man can exist there in large numbers . . . and whether he can suffice for the agriculture and the mass of the work of development. . . . We must, therefore, protect, educate, uplift and encourage the aboriginal population.”
Thus spake Sir Harry Johnston at the Annual Meeting of the Anti Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society on April 23rd, 1914.

Although Sir Harry accuses “most white men” of looking upon coloured mankind as “helots” whose rights and feelings need not be considered, it is pretty evident that for all practical purposes only “our pioneers of colonisation” can be meant— those who have been in the past and are now actually treating the coloured races in this manner ; those who have been and still are waging war upon them to which they cannot reply upon “any thing like equal terms” ; those who, “consciously or unconsciously,” perpetrate cruelties against them.

The phrase “most white men” can only refer to shareholders who do not despise dividends made by torturing innocent human beings in a manner the world had never known before—to a ruling class which has filched the lands of nearly half the coloured peoples, and under whose sway slavery is increasing and millions have already been forced into reserves and compounds. But for an Imperialist to accuse his fellows of disregarding the natives’ rights and feelings is not only an extremely grotesque case of ye pot calling ye kettle black, but also betrays him for the ignoramus and humbug that he is. For none other would suggest that a civilisation based on the right of might, and into the range of which the “backward peoples” must be brought, by fire and sword, is compatible with maintaining the rights and considering the feelings of the weaker.

How, indeed, would our Imperialists establish their civilisation in the colonies if the natives there were to retain their rights to their land ? What would become of capitalist enterprise, and where should the supply of labour come from, if the natives’ rights to the unrestricted use of all nature’s gifts as means of subsistence, were to remain unchallenged ? Is it possible that a policy of scrupulously respecting the feelings of the natives in the matter of industry, and mere theoretic teaching and encouragement, could solve the “labour problem” ? Would it not be a calamity striking at the very roots of civilisation, and making all commerce and progress impossible, if the natives were at liberty to cease work when they had produced enough to “provide their ordinary and very primitive requirements of subsistence” ? Where would their Worships’ profit and dividend come in ?

In fact, as the recent commission upon native labour in East Africa pointed out, the main contention of the planters there is that there is an ample supply of labour in the Protectorate, and that the only difficulty in the way of making them emerge in sufficient numbers to work for the white man, is the comparative affluence, which they still enjoy. It was, therefore, and is still, constantly being urged, that the natives should be forced out of their already small reserves (in the South African Province of the Transvaal, for example, 1,000,000 natives have assigned to them 500,000 morgen of laud which they can call their own, while 31,000,000 morgen are in the possession of 300,000 whites!) or that taxation should be so increased as to force them to spend a larger portion of the year in labouring for the white settlers ; it is suggested that they should do their share of work for the Government; that they should be compelled to wear clothing in order that they should be forced to buy such things, etc, etc.

No, the "labour problem” in the Colonies can only be solved by further encroachment upon the rights and liberties of the native (aboriginal) populations, and the solution must carry with it the character of encroachment even if effected indirectly by the gradual economic development.

However much some Negrophile capitalist souls may pretend to regret the violation of the coloured people’s rights and feelings and however much they may claim to be anxious to see the same glorious triumph which civilisation has resulted in at home, where all “rights” are perfectly safe and all feelings scrupulously considered, it is evident that the natives’ salvation is unavoidably bound up with hardship and suffering in the beginning.

All who recognise the great gulf that separates the primitive coloured man from the highly advanced whites must see that the former, in the very interests of his uplifting, cannot be trusted to the same extent, and left to enjoy the same privileges, as the “high standing” modern working class. Just as their right to their land cannot possibly he maintained, so their well-known and deeply deplored “right to be lazy” must be infringed!

If the civilised worker, as the result sod reward of centuries of “education and advancement,” has acquired the privilege in question, and can be relied upon not to abuse it, it is inconceivable that the granting of a similar right in these Colonies could in any way make civilisation a reality amongst the uncultured and retrograde peoples. Could anyone seriously entertain the idea that without infringing their “right to be lazy,” these simple minded people would develop anything approaching the prodigious industriousness of the modern working-class ? Does not the very existence of the “labour problem” in many Colonies show that “education” and “uplifting” have not hitherto so far advanced things as to bring about this highly desirable result ?

The members of the modern working class, so far from abusing their privileges, jealously dispute with each other, not only locally, but nationally, for what are vulgarly called “the jobs on hand,” and from their repeated applications for the “right to work,” it cannot be doubted that they are looking forward to a time of still greater activity. Is not the claim of the whole working class “more work” ?

Just at present the prodigious industry, coupled with the most rigorous abstinence, of the European working class, has once again literally overwhelmed their masters, and in their endeavours to find new outlets and “work for all,” a deadly conflict for the right to do the work of the world in future has arisen. It is, indeed, at such stagnant periods that the complete triumph of civilisation is moat glaringly demonstrated, because rather than relax their pace of toil, or partake more liberally of the fruits of their labour, they submit to a wholesale destruction, not only of an enormous mass of stored-up wealth, but even of productive human forces.

But while the modern working class, in all these things, as a result of their “culture” and age-long “education,” see eye to eye with their masters; while they again and again justify the masters’ implicit trust, and in spite of all temptations, do not deviate from the path of virtue, and from serving the Lord God Capital, it cannot reasonably be suggested that the ideas of “uncultured backward” people would coincide with the conceptions of a modern master. After all, a high civilisation such as “ours” presupposes an all embracing “system of education,” and last but not least, of religion, such as Christianity. Whereas the modern workers, in obedience to their lords’ and masters’ command, “set themselves at variance against one another” rather than relax their ever increasing productivity or consume more than one eighth to one third of the fruits of their labour, thus periodically leading their masters to the embarrassing problem of how to dispose of the surplus; whereas, in short, the majority of the working class fully come up to the expectations of their masters, it would be most unreasonable to trust savages with the same privileges as are enjoyed at home.

These “helots,” after having for centuries laboured under the wicked conception that the sole purpose of all natural resources was to serve as means of subsistence, and who were consequently accustomed to consume the whole of the fruits of their labour (think of the horror!) —these sinful people, who never dreamt that mother earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof, can hardly be rid of their impossible notions, and converted into useful and “profitable” units, by the persuasive efforts of the Lord's chosen servants alone —indeed, corporal punishment has been found a far more efficient means of curing obstinate reluctance to acknowledge the supreme authority and laws of God—Capital.

If one thing emerges more strikingly than another from the history of the efforts by which the capitalistically backward countries have been and are being brought into the range of modern civilisation, it is the fact that the fundamental condition of such enterprises is the expropriation of the mass of the people from the land and and their conversion into wage workers. The much-vaunted “education of the savage races” is really only a high-sounding phrase used by some to hide this awkward fact of expropriation. We only need again refer to the obstinate resistance which the “aggressive advance” (the term is in itself significant) of “civilisation” meets everywhere on the part of the aboriginal populations, and to the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient supply of workers, to illustrate this fact. Deprivation of free access to the means of subsistence is, in fact, the only way to convert free men into wage slaves; and the existence of each a “labour problem” merely proves, as has been pointed out, that the separation of the natives from their own conditions of labour and their root, the soil, is not yet successfully effected, in other words, that the impoverishment of the people is not yet complete. In the eyes of our Imperialists, such countries are, of course, in a very backward and uncivilised state, and “education and culture” must be improved therein. No one in his senses would ever associate a “high civilisation,” such as we find at home, with a similar “labour problem”; quite the contrary, complete (capitalist) civilisation is unthinkable without a permanent reserve army clamouring for “the right to work ”

The lesson is obvious and should not be lost upon the modern working class, who labour under the delusion that they still have “a stake in the country.” It is that “civilisation” presupposes the completed expropriation of the mass of the people from the land and the means of wealth production.

But it is by no means necessary to go to the Colonies to discover the basis of “our civilisation.” Does not the fact stare one constantly in the face that the people have been deprived of their heritage ? What other explanation is there for the “terrible social difficulties” and stupid anomalies surrounding us ? What other cause is there of this awful and degrading poverty in the midst of plenty ? What else could turn every technical progress into a calamity ? What other factor could turn every labour saving device into a means of increasing the unemployment and poverty of the many ? Is it, or is it not, the fact that the few (the capitalist class) have confiscated the land and the instruments of wealth production, and that they allow these things to be used only when it suits their interests — their pockets ?

Never was there, consequently, a more bare faced, hypocritical cry than the present appeal to the workers to take up arms in defence of “ their country.” Why, Lloyd George himself told an audience in Bedford last year that “most of the land of Britain is in the hands of very few persons.” He went on : “I should say it is in the hands of something like half of the population of Bedford.” He pointed out, speaking of the agricultural workmen (and his remarks obviously apply equally to all other workers) that “he no longer had a stake in the country, . . . and that he had been converted from a contented. well fed, independent peasant to a hopeless, underpaid landless drudge on the soil, whose wages are less to-day than they were, in proportion to their purchasing capacity, in the reign of Henry VII ! Where has the land gone?" the speaker asked. “Stolen! Landlord Parliaments have annexed Naboth's vineyard.”

Thus we see that the policy of colonisation that is being carried out before our eyes and has been described in these columns—the robbery of the land from the native and the destruction of his own means of living—is nothing more or less than the policy which has successfully reduced is —“the heirs of civilisation”— to a class of wage-slaves labouring our whole lives in poverty in order that others may enjoy lives of riotous luxury.

Even a Liberal minister, when it suits his party purpose, can tell us truths about our present position, but dare not admit the obvious universality of this practice wherein the whole of labouring mankind is being more and more completely reduced to a condition of abject economic slavery; but the workers cannot forever remain duped. They will realize the fact that the fate of their black brothers is their own fate, that the causes which have reduced them to slavery are reducing their black brothers to slavery.

The white labourer, like the black, is forced to toil for capitalist profit by force or fraud, and it is more than ever clearly true that the working class of all countries are the wage-slaves of a mass that makes its country synonymous solely with its profit. This all-important fact the workers must end by seeing clearly, and then they will stand surely together as one man on the freedom of humanity, by the overthrow of this world-wide capitalist class. This must be so, for economic development fights for us and, to use again the well-worn but fundamentally true words of Marx, the workers have nothing to lose but their chains, while they have a world to win.
Rudolf Frank


Blogger's Note:
By the time the last in the series of these articles had been published in the Socialist Standard in November 1914, Britain and her allies had already been at war with Germany for three months, and in 1915 Rudolf Frank, originally from Bohemia, was to be interned as an 'Enemy Alien' at Alexandra Palace. 

I don't have exact dates for when he was imprisoned but Frank wrote in the December 1964 Socialist Standard article, 'Reminiscences of an old member', that:
When the 1914-1918 war broke out I was put in an internment camp. The long confinement at least offered opportunities for further enlightenment and discussion on politics. Lectures and meetings were held and prisoners were also free to debate subjects in all kinds of private circles, language classes, etc. Soon groups particularly interested in Socialism were regularly gathering around our platform. The discussion became particularly lively when Comrade Neumann, also an active member of the S.P.G.B. (translator of Kautzky's Erfurter programme) later joined the army of internees. Apart from lectures, a very successful May Day meeting was held with Neumann as the principal speaker. Among the many adherents to the Socialist case were Mundl, Guilke, Bankofsky, who all joined the S.P.G.B. after their release . . . 
On his release from prison in 1919, Frank was deported from Britain and was never able to regain re-entry despite many attempts. "Comrade Neumann" was also expelled from Britain at the end of the war and, according to Robert Barltrop in his book 'The Monument', was rumoured to have died in the Spartacist Uprising. Frank eventually settled in Austria, still a socialist, still spreading the word, and played his own part in the eventual formation of the Bund Demokratischer Sozialisten.

The following links give more background on Rudolf Frank:

The Purpose and Method of Colonisation [5] (1914)

From the October 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued from last issue.)

Whether the “Study of British Methods,” in which certain European capitalist politicians seem to indulge, is also responsible for the incident which initiated the ghastly human slaughter now in progress, and which incident it greatly benefits the master class of this country to use for the purpose of hiding their own mercenary objects, it is not in our province to investigate. Anyhow, in reviewing the history of the component parts of the British Empire, no one will be at a loss to find precedents enough and to spare for any violation or outrage, however infamous and however revolting, that may have been committed in Belgium. The “glory and greatness of the Empire” is in fact made up of a long series of piratical conquests in which the sole right of Might has been everywhere proclaimed from the housetops, and in which the freedom and independence of millions of people have often been respected less than “scraps of paper.”

How the “indisputable right” over some of the millions of square miles in Africa, for example, has been secured, is in living memory; although it must not be supposed that the sordid history which centres round the gold and diamond fields exhausts the resources in the art of brigandage and massacre that the British “haute finance” is capable of commanding. In such books as “With Kitchener to Khartoum,” “The Unveiling of Lhasa,” etc., etc., typical instances are abounding of how the British “protectors” impose themselves and their “culture” upon small and relatively weak nations. Says the author of the last mentioned account of a Tibetan expedition, speaking of the “strange people we fought and conquered” : “We killed several thousand of the simple, brave, and ill-armed men; I was sorry for these Tibetans. Their struggle was so hopeless; . . . Here was all the brutality of war, and none of the glory and incentive. These men were cheerful, jolly fellows—and I have seen their crops ruined, their homes burnt and shelled, the dead lying about the thresholds of what were their homes, and all for no fault of their own—only because their leaders were politically impossible.” But what matter the lives of these people, if the “freedom of trade,” or trade-routes, in short, the freedom of Capital, is at stake ? As the writer adds with regard to these leaders: “Fortunately, however, this slaughter was beginning to put the fear of God into them.”

In the face of our present daily records of what “white against white,” Christians against Christians, can do, it will easily be granted that the deeds by which resistance to British expansion by the “so much inferior coloured heathen races,” has been crushed, not only equal any tale of brutality that is to-day laid to the charge of “the enemy” with regard to Belgium, but certainly outdo the latter in cowardice when we bear in mind that the unfortunate registers of “the invincible forces of civilisation” and Christianity did not dispose of anything like the modern efficient instruments of murder.

And if those who have laid thieves’ hands on so great a part of the world’s surface and have thereby flouted the independence of millions of people in the past; if these who are responsible for such barbarities as will ever be connected with the establishment of British dominance whether in Africa, Asia, Australia, or elsewhere if those who have never tolerated any interference with the “rights of free trade” (i.e.,, free robbery) and have carried out more “punitive expeditions” and burnt more villages of innocent peoples than the rest of the coloniz­ing nations put together ; if those who could stand by, incapable of shame, when recently hundreds of unarmed men and women were done to death or wounded in the blood-stained streets of Johannesburg ; if those who range themselves now on the side of these human fiends and very embodiment of oppression and tyranny, whose crimes vary between “Bloody Sunday” and exiling of innocent men and women to the icy dungeons of Siberia : if those now accuse their Continental rivals of savagery and violating the independence of small nations, while at the same time posing as the “trustees of freedom and good conduct,” even we—knowing their achievements in hypocrisy—feel bound to admire their insolent audacity in treating the public to this masterpiece of nauseating cant.

Of course, just as the vandalism and beastly deeds, committed by order of the German military authorities, figure in the official chronicles and school-books of the Teutons as heroic achievements, so the merciless usurpations, rapes and massacres which have marked the acquisition of “our” colonial dependencies are gloried in and impressed upon the children of the Empire as examples of British manhood, pluck, and enterprise.

Although to some extent outside the present subject, the foregoing will nevertheless serve to emphasise again the fact that the acquisition of the Colonial Empire is distinguished by the application of the most brutal, up-to-date methods that the machinery of militarism, and law and order is capable of bringing into play. But let us now revert to the subsequent economic policy of our colonial pioneers of “education and native advancement,” and see what the cultural trust imposed upon the “more advanced peoples” comes to.

Authority having once gained a footing, that is to say, the Right of Might having been brought home to the “uncultured heathen,” every subsequent activity of the Colonists is subservient to the process of converting all things capable of satisfying human wants and desires into what Providence intended them to be, namely, Commodities, so that they might at last take their proper places, as holy values and sacred property, in the temple of Mammon. The extent of the success of this process is the measure of the “prosperity” and “loyalty” of the Dominions. It goes without saying, that since all things have to become marketable values, this process involves the expropriation of the natives from all nature’s gifts—which brings the first virtue : Abstinence. And it is equally plain that only when the native’s life is hedged with notices such as:
“No admittance except on business”
“Trespassers will be prosecuted,”
will they lend themselves, or rather be forced, in order to live, to sell and apply their energies in the service of Capital— which brings a further virtue: Industry. This is so self evident that we could only describe as child-like naiveté or gross stupidity, Lord Curzon’s remark that “he greatly deplored, and had tried his utmost to discourage, the settling of Europeans in an in­digenous country with the object of extracting from it the essence which should serve to the natives as means of subsistence.” But where would abstinence come in ? And what, one may ask, are the Colonists to deal in and export if not the produce they have stolen from the natives ?

When, for example, the Chartered Company, who hold immense concessions in Africa, lease (as they have done last year) 1,000,000 acres of land (selected areas to be chosen throughout Rhodesia) at the rental of 1s. an acre, to an enterprising international firm, it is obvious that the latter mean to extract and export the resources of the territory ; in other words, these resources no longer belong to their former owners, the aborigines of Rhodesia, who will shave to look to the new proprietors (their expropriators) for their means of subsistence, unless they are prepared to quit. Such transactions necessitate, consequently, the absolute disregard of the natives’ interests and customs, seeing that if their most vital custom of all were to be observed, namely, the communal ownership (as distinct from private ownership, as in Europe) of all the land, the very object of any capitalist enterprise and colonisation would naturally become illusory. Which is surely more than a Colonial enthusiast, like Lord Curzon, could wish for. Indeed, this deprived of the native of his primitive means of living and own conditions of labour, is the very basis of all colonization; it is only hypocrites of the type of Curzon or His Excellency Dernburg, who pretend to be ignorant of the fact that in first completely disinheriting the mass of the natives, or, in Dernburg’s own terminology, in first “fulfilling the cultural trust” is the key to the “great question of how the white man is to retain his hold and domination over mankind of darker colour.”

Unfortunately, the proclamation of “Protectorates” here, and the annexation of large territories there, in short, the theoretic monopoly of the land and the granting of concessions to trading firms, on the one side, does not always automatically transform the native population into full-blown, wage-workers on the other. However desirable it may be to extract the maximum of surplus-value from this “economically most valuable motive-power,” the vastness of the territories and relatively thin population (the Colonies comprising, as a rule, disproportionately larger areas than the respective mother countries), also the widely different climatic conditions—these two main factors render difficult and protract the establishment of an effective, all-embracing control over, and exploitation of, the natives. Hence, the necessity for the professional labour-recruiting agencies ; the application of direct force (slavery); the importation of foreign labour: all of which methods have been shown to be practised on a large scale at the present time, as a temporary, if unsatisfactory, solution for the annoying “labour problem.”

In the meantime, the mills of economic development are grinding ; no sections of natives, hitherto secluded, are to be deprived of the blessings of civilisation and the comforting security it affords. Railways and extensions of railways are constantly opening up new districts and announce to previously obscure tribes the arrival of—the tax-collector; an indispensable means of bringing the native idlers to their senses and to their toil. “If one considers,” says deploringly a correspondent in an East African organ, “that there are about 3½ million of people living in the district of Ruanda and Urundi, who, in consequence of the seclusion of their exceedingly rich homelands, still enjoy, at this time of day, complete freedom from tax-paying, the necessity for opening up, through a railway, will at once become obvious.” And the “Usambara Post” (27.9.13) stated in support of a railway from Tabora to the Kagaraknie, that “such a railway would open up extraordinarily valuable districts, and that the introduction of the poll-tax there would alone make the railway pay its way.”

“No doubt it will cost thousands, but it will bring in millions”—such is their assurance. Railways in particular are powerful levers of “native advancement”—hence the great activity in this direction. They not only open up, and enable the easy transport of the produce, but of the “human material” as well. The Ovambo and Amboland railways in South-West Africa, for example, were built for the specific purpose of “serving the regular and increased supply of workers for the diamond mines.” And during a discussion (4.6.13) of the Government Council in East Africa the following was pointed out: “The idea of a continuation of the North railway up to the Lake Victoria did not originate so much from the endeavour to open up the mystic country of the Squatters and to enter into competition with the Unganda railway, but rather was the plan involved by the desire to confiscate the masses of workers living in the districts of the Lake Victoria.” This does not, of course, prevent our colonisers from pretending at the same time that the railways are built in the sole interest of the travelling workers. Indeed, what would a Christian employer not do for the welfare and amenity of the native ? ” Every friend of theirs,” he says, “must advocate the building of railways, seeing that the worker is exposed to many dangers and risks while en route for weeks and months” to the elevating occupation in the death pits of the diamond mines ! In the face of the comparative scarcity of workers it would, of course, be deplorable that these arms and “hands” should meet with accidents before having been drained of the “milliard values slumbering in them.”

And so, in accordance with the law of development of capitalist production, every activity that the enterprising European traders command in the Colonies, tends to separate the means of production more and more from the native and to concentrate the scattered means more and more under a few controlling concerns, thereby gradually closing to the natives all avenues outside of, and disciplining them for,—the wage-labour market. The exacting of hut-taxes, poll taxes, grazing-dues, etc.; permits for hunting and fishing ; the enclosure of large tracks of land either for cultivation or cattle-breeding ; the construction of railways and other means of transport and communication, water and irrigation works—these are only a few of the things which supply the precious “indirect pressure” and restrict more and more the liberties of the natives, until eventually they will find no other way to live than by selling their labour-power to their foreign masters. The “labour problem” will then be solved.

Naturally enough, this transition, far from being regarded by the natives as a normal economic development, or from benefiting him, is mostly looked upon as an act of aggression, of conquest—an arbitrary charge wrung from him in bitterness, and leaves behind a deep sense of injury. This resentment has undoubtedly been the cause of most colonial wars and rebellions since the first presence of the white man there, but the fact that the “superior” whites (superior, undoubtedly, in weapons) ever emerge victorious from the fray, again proves that Might is Right.
Rudolf Frank

(To be Continued.)

The Purpose and Method of Colonisation [4] (1914)

From the September 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued from last issue)

Attention has already been drawn to a good deal of conclusive evidence exposing the humbug and hypocrisy of the assertion that the “civilised” white man’s effort in the Colonies is in any way disinterested, and prompted by a desire for the amelioration and uplifting of the status of the natives. The Socialist’s suspicion is, of course, immediately aroused by the simple facts that (1) the missionary is ever closely followed by keen business men and concession hunters, and that (2) the boasted “inherent superiority” of the “imperially thinking,” white saviours frankly and emphatically discount any relationship other than domineering distinction from the teeming millions of coloured, and especially black subject races. For our prejudiced opponents, however, it will be necessary to enquire more into the ways in which the interests and affairs of the natives are safeguarded and handled by the white intruders, to perceive the real objective of colonisation. Before entering into more details as to the methods employed, we will, however, take the opportunity to show that the aforementioned “fine qualities” of our masters and their apologetic agents are coupled with a colossal amount of impudence and effrontery. A few examples will suffice.

Among the pretexts which our “disinterested” pioneers of civilisation use in justification of their missions and interference in the natives’ affairs, we find the former “deploring,” and asserting that they are out to “eradicate,” such evils as the precariousness and insecurity of primitive man’s conditions of existence, their inter-tribal warfare, their ignorance, superstitions, etc.

Now, it would no doubt be a highly laudable action for anyone to endeavour to bring light and leading to such tribal societies as are actually afflicted with a similar state of things. But, how should we describe, if not as a piece of colossal impudence, such pretence of remedying and uplifting coming, as it does, from a quarter where men have long been at their wits’ end to know how to grapple with the “gigantic problems” of ever increasing poverty and misery, unemployment and disease, which perplex Europe to-day ? How should we name otherwise than as gross insults, such pretensions coming from quarters where even “ever grinding labour does not always guarantee sustenance or security ; where you still have oppression of the weak by the strong, and where you have a condition of things which, at any rate, was foreign to the barbarities even of darker ages” ? (Vide Lloyd George’s statement at Cardiff, 30.12.11.)

Tribal warfare ! There, no doubt, the savage and the barbarian have something to learn from their superior brethren, provided, of course, they have not yet had a sample of “white superiority” by having their villages burned to the ground by the most up-to-date methods of modern militarism, and finding themselves forced into increasing toil on the plantations of Christian exploiters.

Were a party of African or other aborigines to arrive in these days on the “highly civilised” continent of Europe, their own achievements on the battlefield would certainly and rightly appear to them mere childsplay as compared with the orgies of blood, fire, and rapine that “our” chiefs are capable of engineering, not only on land, but on the sea and in the air. As far back as 1838, William Howitt wrote in his “Popular History of the Treatment of the Natives by the Europeans in all their Colonies” :
“The barbarities and desperate outrages of the so-called Christian race, throughout every region of the world, and upon every people they have been able to subdue, are not to be paralleled by those of any other race, however fierce, however untaught, and however reckless of mercy and of shame, in any age of the earth.”
Apart from the unceasing class-war that is raging inside every civilised Christian nation between the confiscators of the means of life and the disinherited masses who can only exist by selling themselves, body and soul, to the former appropriators, the agents of our “piece-loving” masters and “great intellectuals” have to admit that, as a rule, peace (i.e., the peaceable division of the pieces) between the different nations can only be preserved on condition of being armed to the teeth, and applying every new technical discovery, as fast as it is made, to the instruments of destruction. Nay, so brilliant and beneficient are the results of “our education” and of the gospel of the Prince of Peace, that—as the experience in Ireland, for example, has shown—even the folk of one and the same community can be persuaded to drill and arm against one another !

And from such quarters comes the pretence of concern about the evils of tribal warfare existing in continents thousands of miles away, amongst peoples who are despised and held in utter contempt by the Christian nations ! The unblushing effrontery of it ! Just imagine those who do not care a rap about the welfare of their fellows at home ; imagine those who could stand by in perfect composure, during the recent Balkan atrocities, hearing week in and week out the poignant tales of the wholesale devastation of innocent peasants’ villages; imagine those who are to day responsible for :
“Battlefields Covered With Dead”
“Brilliant Bayonet Fighting”
“Great Slaughter of Germans” ;
imagine, if you can, those intellectually bankrupt and morally decrepit apologists for the powers that be, to be capable and anxious of decently educating or bettering the lot of anybody, let alone obscure savages !

Also the ignorance and superstitions of primitive peoples have long worried our masters. Hence, with their almost proverbial disinterestedness, missions were organised and are now tumbling over one another in an endeavour—well backed by guns and bayonets—to enlighten the ignorant on these points and to teach them reverence for, and awe and worship of the “unknown” and the “unseen” which, rightly interpreted, mean—the Christian Capitalist.

Probably the interpretation which we place on this claim of “enlightenment” will not be seriously disputed by its authors or our opponents, and therefore we say no more about it. Who, indeed, could take seriously or see anything but humbug in such a claim, coming from a quarter where the mass of the people are steeped in profound ignorance and obsequious superstitions ? What detrimental superstition is there amongst savages that does not find its corollary amongst the so-called civilised white peoples of to-day ? Think only of the present European war with its manifold tragic phases and consequences to the age-long dispossessed “labouring poor”—horrors which would be inconceivable in any sane system of society where actual science could be diffused among the people, instead of that abominable apology that goes to-day by the name of education.

Of course, the necessity for the deliberate inculcation of the conventional lies will be sufficiently clear when we realize that the wealth and power of the bourgeoisie are bound up with and dependent upon the ignorance and superstition of the mass of wealth-producing people.

But the bluff which veils the real intentions of the colonisers is not the worst of the evil. Just as this civilisation, based, as it is, on the capitalist mode of production, has the inexorable tendency to more and more impoverish and degrade the white peoples, in the same way many, and certainly not the mere imaginary evils afflicting the coloured races to-day in tropical and sub-tropical countries, are directly due to the contact with the civilised European who “means business.” Whether we refer to the abominations of the caravan and carrying system, which condemns thousands of blacks, including women and children, to carry heavy burdens of colonial produce over tracks of hundreds of miles ; or to the revolting labour-recruiting methods, by which the unsuspecting natives are practically forced to work on plantations or in mines, often in deadly climes thousands of miles from their homelands (under conditions of which they had not the slightest notion) ; or whether we refer to the flourishing slave-traffic, pure and simple, it is obvious that those horrors were unknown in the Colonies before the advent of the rubber speculators, cocoa and tea-planters, soap-boilers and influential Christian bootblack dealers.

With regard to the last mentioned evils, we have it on the authority of, amongst many others, the British Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society, that the exercise of force to secure labour for the colonies is increasing. In an official letter to the “Daily Chronicle” (23.7.14) the said Society stated :
An Official Definition of Slavery

“To The Editor Daily Chronicle.

“In view of the increase in the exercise of force to secure labour for tropical regions, serious developments in the South Seas, and proposals now being made in British East Africa, the committee of this society appealed to Mr, Harcourt to declare publicly that in the opinion of his Majesty’s Colonial advisers forced labour for private profit is a form of slavery and will not be tolerated within the British Dominions.

“Upon this important issue Mr. Harcourt has given us permission to say that, in his opinion, the proposition contained in the society’s letter ‘that forced labour for private profit amounts to slavery appears to him to be self-evident.‘

“This eminently satisfactory reply brings the Colonial Office into harmony upon this cardinal issue with the Foreign Office, for to Sir Edward Grey is due this definition of modern slavery.

“At the same time we beg to point out that not only in foreign territories, for which we have treaty obligations, but even in certain British territories forced labour for private profit appears to be increasing.
Travers Buxton, Secretary.
“Organising Secretary. 
It may be left to a future occasion to record some of the ugly and harrowing revelations that have recently been made concerning the slave-traffic in various dominions, amongst others Angola, British New Guinea, the New Hebrides, and East Africa. We will only say that advertisements “seeking to buy and sell labourers” appear as freely in the Colonial Press as for any other merchandise. Mr. Cadbury, according to a statement in the “Daily Chronicle,” actually received an offer of a cocoa plantation, the “assets” of which included “200 black labourers £3,555,” and at the annual meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society, Sir Geo. King-Hall said that “the state of affairs in the New Hebrides was scandalous and disgraceful. . . . Acts had occurred in the Islands which were a blot and a slur on a chivalrous nation.”

So far, then, is the white man’s mission from improving the conditions of the backward races, that the latter’s real misery and degradation only begins at the contamination with the civilised. Indeed, the springing up of “protection societies” points to the fact, alarming to the exploiters of the Colonies, that in many districts, especially in Australia, the havoc caused through such contamination is so great that “preservative” measures form to-day a good deal of controversy.

Direct slavery, properly so-called, is, of course, not the desired ultimate aim and end of our Colonisers ; imbued, as they are, with a keen sense of responsibility in carrying out their “cultural trust,” our masters have always had an “angelic” antipathy against the exercise of force in connection with the “labour question.” The “civilising mission” will not be terminated, and the “native problem” will not be considered to be satisfactorily solved, so long as the ideal wages-system, under which the Christian nations so harmoniously and gloriously thrive and prosper, is incomplete in the Colonies.

However, we will next confine ourselves to deal with some of the methods employed for the purpose of bringing about the desired result, or—as Dr. Dernburg, the late German Imperial Secretary for the Colonies, on 22nd June last, at a visit to the London Chamber of Commerce, said : “The great question of how to deal with all mankind of darker colour ; how the white man was to retain his hold and domination over them whilst at the same time fulfilling the cultural trust imposed upon the more advanced peoples to improve the condition of the backward races.” And to set at ease these who might shrug their shoulders at what has been and what will still be said about the methods of the foreigner (as if the same did not apply to the British Dominions) Dr. H. E. Dernburg’s assurance that “whenever he was in a difficulty as to how a certain Colonial problem ought to be handled, he had found a solution in the study of British methods” will suffice.
Rudolf Frank

(To be Continued)

The Purpose and Method of Colonisation [3] (1914)

From the August 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued from last issue.)

“The great beauty of capitalist production,” said Marx, “consists in this—that it not only constantly reproduces the wage-worker, but produces always in proportion to the accumulation of capital, a relative surplus population of wage workers. Thus the law of supply and demand is kept in the right rut, the oscillation of wages is penned within limits satisfactory to capitalist exploitation, and lastly, the social dependence of the labourer on the capitalist, that indispensable requisite, is secured.” (“Capital,” p. 794)

In such “highly civilised” countries as England, France, or Germany, the organisation of wealth-production for profit, e.g., to the glory of capital and consequently in the sole interest of the possessors thereof, the capitalists, is to all intents and purposes complete. How “the poor,” that is, the members of the working class, have been made, and are being made, to view as part and parcel of their “inevitable fate” the awful consequences, and notably the constantly harassing insecurity, resulting for them from such production ; the apathy with which the male workers can see their manhood destroyed by suffering their wives and children to endure the most cruel privations and humiliations, especially in times of unemployment; the dull resignation with which they look forward to their “evening of life” and “honorable ease”—in the workhouse, if unable to depend on friendly or children’s aid; in short, the readiness with which they accept their degradation and misery in the face of the most ostentatious display and squandering of the wealth they have produced ; the success, on the other hand, with which the chloroforming fetishes and superstitions of patriotism, religion, hero-worship, etc., are inoculated ; also the respect shown to the “strong arm of the law” and the rest of the foul institutions of oppression: all these things, which clearly demonstrate the “superiority of ‘our’ working class,” must constitute a source of great gratification and felicity to our masters.

It would almost seem that, unlike all preceding stages and forms of human co-existence, the capitalist system is to last for ever and ever, were it not for the discontented and strife-stirring Socialist. Only the latter, indeed, will not see that property and profit are far more sacred than human life, and will not recognise that without capitalist “enterprise” the working class would be in a worse way.

No wonder that, with such queer notions as these, we are also credited with being unqualified to duly appreciate the great Christian work of systematic up-“lifting” organised by our pious masters, under great difficulties, in the colonies. Nevertheless, we realise at least the difficulties of their task, knowing, as we do, that man has a rooted objection to being robbed. 

It is notorious, and has already been referred to here, that the arrival abroad of the enterprising pioneer of civilisation has been marked everywhere by obstinate resistance on the part of the “uncivilised” natives, and that, more than at home (where the conditions satisfactory to capitalist exploitation are already at hand), the “necessity” for wage-labour has to be constantly demonstrated by the display and frequent application of the full strength of the arm of the law. Brute force, in fact, plays the chief part in the process of “converting” the natives to serve God Capital, in other words, into wage-slaves. The missionary, as already said, forms only the cloak, the avant-garde of the bourgeoisie, behind which lurks, an agent a thousand times more powerful and convincing than the silly “Word of God,” to wit—the gun. By blood and infamies, deceit and vile trickery, in which the agents of the bourgeois parasites are well versed, the separation of the natives from their own conditions of labour and means of subsistence is effected, and thus is secured the exchange of their liberty for that ominous capitalist “freedom,” which is so well and so “profit”-ably (to the capitalists and their hacks) established at home, and which only the wicked Socialist does not enjoy.

It will not be necessary for our purpose to refer here to more than the previously mentioned bloody expeditions to one of the continents oversea, namely Africa, and it will also be sufficient to quote from only a few of the colonial capitalist mouthpieces to prove our contention that the object of colonisation is, besides confiscation of the natural resources, the forcible subjection and exploitation of the natives. Moreover, the history of one colony only reflects what, in the main, has been and is going on in the rest of the capitalistically backward countries, so soon as they have been discovered to possess things convertible into exchange-values, and men ignorant of, and uninfected with, the blessings of civilisation and Christianity. And since enough is known in these islands about the dirty work that its greedy millionaire Empire-builders have accomplished abroad, the experience in colonies of their rivals, the Germans, may serve as evidence in support of our foregoing statements.

Although with Bismarck’s “blood and iron policy” before them, and in spite of the sacrifice of at least 150,000 innocent human beings (as stated in the German Reichstag on 4th March, 1913) on the altar of “Kultur” and civilisation since the arrival of the German “Kulturtrager” in Africa a generation ago, the organisation of capitalist production there is as yet very incomplete. In the vast tropical territories of Africa, which the German has set himself to open up and colonise, the control over, or—in bourgeois terms—the “freedom” of, the native workers is still far from being in the right groove ; these men are scattered about and can still escape from dependency on the capitalist for their, means of subsistence—to mention only one difficulty. It is doubtful whether even the genius of Lloyd George could devise a scheme delivering those men more speedily and inexorably into a better grip of the Christian employers.

Unlike the modern proletarian, many of those natives can still manage to return to their wonted mode of living, and so disappear from the labour market, to the great chagrin of the colonist. Hence, the great controversies raging in the colonial Press, in the Reichstag, and elsewhere, around the “labour-problem”—the problem being, of course, to secure a greater and more regular supply of those wonderful men, who,—as the learned Dr. P. Rohrbach has discovered (Luderitzbuchter Zeitung 27.3.1914) “possess a large amount of labour-power—in fact, FAR MORE THAN IS USED UP, ON AN AVERAGE, FOR PROVIDING THEIR ORDINARY AND VERY PRIMITIVE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBSISTENCE.” (From the connection in which the above words appear, it is evident that their author is entirely unconscious of the fact that he is referring here to the greatest of all human discoveries, seeing that the bourgeiosie owes its existence, and capitalist enterprise its stimulus, to this same surplus labour. This is certainly fortunate for him, bearing in mind the fate of one economist for putting in almost the same formula his discovery of the sole source of—PROFIT.)

More direct compulsion and recruiting is, according to some colonial experts, necessary, while others clamour for more indirect pressure to make the natives yield their precious surplus labour-power. “There must be no fake weakness,” says Rohrbach, while numerous other learned toads are equally loud in their denunciations of “misplaced humanitarianism in connection with the labour question,” and the justification given for advocating such direct constraint is that: “In Europe and all other advanced countries everybody (meaning naturally the working class) is compelled to surrender their full energy to work and a great many must toil beyond their physical capability.” (Luderitzbuchter Zeitung 27.3.1914). This after centuries of civilisation and “progress” !

Professor Anton, in an article on the “Labour Question,” which appeared last April in the “Koloniale Rundschau”—the organ of the German Association for the protection (!) of the Natives—and was widely circulated in the Colonies, says that “Since the colonising people cannot wait until the higher requirements, or over-population and hunger, induce the natives to constant work in the service of others, there is no alternative but to substitute direct compulsion for the unwillingness of the natives to do work for their foreign masters.” As Anton admits, on the same occasion, “free labour” is “besides by no means an exclusive condition to­-day in the tropical colonies, … as all colonial authorities avail themselves of direct compulsion on an extensive scale.” In fact, where necessary, the Divisional Magistrates in certain districts of East Africa compulsorily procure workers for plantations, as can be proved from a confidential circular to planters’ associations, which says in effect: “The Authority is prepared, as hitherto, to procure, through the medium of the native chiefs, to every European enterprise as many workers as possible from the neighbouring native communities.” (“Usambara Post,” 16.5.14.)

Besides the existence of direct compulsion, there is in most of the tropical countries the unscrupulous professional labour-recruiter, and it is obvious and has repeatedly been admitted, that the recruiting does not always take place of the natives’ own accord and free will, but that thousands of defenceless and ignorant blacks fall victims to the cunning, fraudulent, crafty, underhand expedients of those ignoble “procurers.” Small wonder, then, that when the so deceived natives discover what has happened, and become troublesome or run away, they fall from misfortune to misfortune, and thus provide the gutter-Press at home occasionally with the means to work up a circulation at the expense of their sufferings.

To meet half-way the above mentioned apostle of over-population and hunger, Herr Eduard Woermann, the wealthy Hamburg financier, who is “largely interested in the colonies,” has given a sum of 6,000 Marks as a prize to the Colonial Institute for the best treatise on the following question :
“Through which practical steps can the German Colonies obtain an increase in the birth rate and a decrease in the infantile mortality amongst the native population—THE ECONOMICALLY MOST VALUABLE MO­TIVE-POWER of our colonies? ”
The result of the competition, which is to be published next year, will no doubt provide us with more details of what is to constitute those people’s increased happiness. Meanwhile we can appreciate the modesty of this shining light of capitalism to have kept silent about the necessity of the capitalist in the process of wealth-production. Or could it be that Herr Woermann has nothing to learn from the modern “economists” ? What about Directive Ability ?

The majority of our colonial enthusiasts, of course, would rather see more indirect methods, notably hunger, permanently established amongst the natives, and so get the (sufficient) supply of “motive-power” (at home known as “hands”) into that automatically working way which, as Marx says, is the great beauty of capitalist production. They know that direct and legal forms of compulsion are “attended with too much trouble, violence, noise” and, last but not least, expense; while hunger, for example, is a “peaceable, silent, unremmitted pressure,” just as Woermann realises what a great blessing is the existence of a large industrial reserve army.

And lest there might be any doubt about the motive underlying all efforts and controversional proposals, whatever their nature or source, we give room to the declaration of the “Deutsch Ostafrikanische Zietung” which appeared prominently in their organ (4.6.1913) as a statement of their position and policy in the matter of the “labour problem.”

It says literally :
“It may be briefly recalled (but the policy of our friends in the North had caused a renewed flaring up of the rising of 1905-1907, which has only just been suppressed with great sacrifices in blood and money. It must now be openly admitted that the insubordination of the Warnwera and Wandonde tribes, the general rising of the Wamakonde and Wamaraba, . . . had been caused through the preliminary steps taken by the Government in compulsorily recruiting natives as plantation workers. . . . We do not advocate general compulsory recruiting of workers through the Government, because it is impracticable, but demand instead the exercise of a persistent indirect pressure—differentiated according to the individuality of the particular communities— A PRESSURE WHICH WILL MAKE THE MILLIARD VALUES SLUMBERING IN THE INACTIVE ARMS OF THE NA­TIVES, ACCESSIBLE TO THE GERMAN NATIONAL WEALTH.”
For national wealth, read—capitalist class.

There is the truth about the hypocritical cry of “Kultur” in a nutshell—”Kultur,” indeed, if thereby they mean exploitation and robbery, naked and unashamed !

It is proposed to deal subsequently more in detail with some of the methods in operation and advocated, which supply, and are intended to supply, the pressure necessary for the “education” and accelerated “advancement” of the natives into the abyss of wage-slavery.
Rudolf Frank

(To be Continued.)

The Purpose and Method of Colonisation. [2] (1914)

From the July 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued from last issue.)

Every analysis of, and enquiry into, the conditions of the overwhelming majority of the peoples of Christian civilised countries will and must reveal the fact that, so far is this civilisation from giving or promoting genuine joy in life, there is a very real justification for the common reference to this existence as “the burden of life,” if not for the necessity of having “to bear the cross” in silent resignation. Surely, then, it is anything but desirable or justifiable to inflict such “burdens” upon other peoples who live in happier circumstances—free to enjoy the natural bounties surrounding them, and above all, the fruits of their labour.

The records of many individual missionaries, explorers, travellers, etc., besides being almost invariably full of praise for the physical beauty and soundness of the greater number of more or less primitive peoples, and paying high tributes to their skill, moral qualities, etc., such records with equal frequency depict the free and happy existence of the “uncivilised” as compared with the sordid “struggle (!) for life” of civilised man. In a recent number of the “Samoanische Zeitung” for instance, the following appeared:
“In this sunny climate with glorious scenery around us, we forget the squalid, sordid atmosphere which envelops all great European cities, and the fierce, stone age struggle for a bare living in which hundreds of thousands of men and women there are piteously involved. When we compare the happy condition of the Samoans and other Central Polynesian natives with that of the abject poor in England, America, and Russia, we feel sorry for the latter. . . . Let us not, then, over educate the native, and especially let us not instil into his mind the belief that cash is the main chance. For many of us it is, but not for him.”
And from an East African paper I extract the following, written by an experienced traveller:
" . . . On broad well-kept roads . . . the villages and huts of the Washambaa people and other native tribes can be reached ; there one can observe them tilling their fields, feeding their children, collecting the milk from their herds, and one cannot help a feeling of envy at the leisure which they can enjoy in these proceedings. They live simply, and without a care in the world—not tilling much more than is required—most of the food practically grows into their mouths, but they are almost too ‘lazy’ to grasp for it. Black children with dark clear eyes and well-fed little “tummies” are hurrying through rich banana-groves and break down the fruit ; if it is ripe they eat it, if not, it remains on the ground to rot.

“During my travels there I was often reminded of other parts of the world I had visited and I drew comparisons. Thus, many a landscape made me think of Italy ; there, for example, between Amalfi and Sorrento (Italy) with its disrupted mountains and high plunging brooks, an industrious people wrings treasures from the soil. On the mountainsides there are teeming vineyards, whose yield, however, the hungry, begging multitude of children, who imploringly stretch out their meagre fingers at the approach of the visitor, can never enjoy !”
Apart from the absence of anything that modern society, as at present constituted, could offer to other leas advanced races to guarantee the latters’ enhanced welfare and happiness—supposing for a moment that the bourgeoisie, of all human societies, were capable of such an altruistic feeling—there is the indisputable and glaring fact that the Bourgeoisie utterly reject any idea of association with, or relationship other than unconditional distinction, from the colored, and especially the more or less primitive black races—not to mention their abhorrence for such notions as “equality” or “brotherhood.” This fact, then, would also constitute a queer explanation for the Bour­geoisie’s keen interest in colonizing and their support of missionary effort. Not only the Colonial Press, but writers and politicians at home take every opportunity to lodge their pro-tendencies. “We will not have any equality or test against any what are called “negrophile fraternal relation with those African races !” vituperate those superior, if conceited, Sons of God. “Assimilation of our high-standing working class (c’est bon !) with the detestable, lazy rabble of Africa ?—Never!” they rave. One feels it necessary to remind the enquirer, that the coming of the vulgar “civilized” has no more been invited by the “detestable, lazy rabble” than the presence of the bourgeoisie is appreciated. What, then, one may ask, is the incentive—the purpose of the missionary effort ?

Now, although the disinterested apostles and propagandists of Christianity, and the rest of the vulgar satellites of the bourgeoisie, often let the cat out of the bag by themselves boasting of the commercial value (to their paymasters) of their missions, there are none the less the assertions of their more hypocritical, or shall we say ignorant, brethren affirming pompously that the object of their “missions to the heathen” is their great concern for the education, moral and intellectual uplifting, and general welfare of the natives of foreign “uncivilised” lands. Childish as this assertion may seem at this time of day, even to the non-Socialist, it is nevertheless the officially declared and avowed object of missionary organisations, besides being frequently used by those following on their heels.

It will, therefore, not be superfluous to have on record in the “Socialist Standard,” fresh evidence from Colonial mouthpieces of our Christian promoters of “civilisation,” that the sole object of the colonization and opening up of foreign “uncivilised” countries, is first of all the forcible appropriation of their natural riches (wealth), which the native, of course, never dreamed was by the Will of God ordained to serve a purpose far higher than that of being merely enjoyed as means of subsistence.

Further, and necessarily, the forcible subjection and exploitation of those peoples for the benefit of the cosmopolitan clique of capitalists and concession hunters, since for the purpose of success in the piratical enterprise of appropriation it is necessary to have the co-operation of the natives themselves. And it is here the “good offices” of missionary societies come in. They offer the cloak behind which to hide the brutalities connected with the conversion of the native from an owner of his land and independent conditions of existence into a propertyless wage-earner—the element which is as indispensable to Capital as is the stomach to the human being. All the talk of education, moral and intellectual uplifting, etc., simply resolves itself into an effort to imbue the native with the due respect for that mysterious quality of all things known by the “civilised” as Value and Price, and the inestimable virtues of industry and abstinence.

It is, besides, a matter of history how the various peoples, who to-day “enjoy” the company of “cultured civilised man,” have been and still are being “educated” and “guided.” The Putumayo horrors still haunt the memory and are in themselves sufficient to prove how far from the truth is the impudent assertion that the concern of the “pioneer of civilisation” is the welfare of the natives. Indeed, the blood of thousands of innocent men, women and children cries out aloud against such a lie as this.

A glance over the map of Africa, for example, which has in later years in particular received the attentions of the Gospel merchants and their “followers”—the concession hunters—will prove to the world in whose service the former are, and will provide for posterity a lasting example of Christian love and brotherhood.

The governments of Germany, England, France, Belgium, Italy, etc. have vied with each other in their disinterested desires to help on the work of “education” and “uplifting” pre­liminarily started under the auspices of their sky-pilots, while the factory hells of Krupp and Maxim and other murder-instrument makers have been kept busy supplying the wherewithal to furnish the recalcitrant with a dose of the eternal bliss promised by the missionary. Almost each designative name on the map recalls the cold-blooded slaughter of numberless innocent human beings in the most cowardly and fiendish manner, although the whole extent soldiers will, of course, never be told. One has of the horrors perpetrated by the Christian to be satisfied with what filters through, and can only gather from one’s knowledge of the all-pervading greed of that sinister and dehumanised 20th Century product, the modern capitalist class, what the innocent multitudes of the natives can expect once they come into the clutches of our masters.

Who of us, who are Socialists, can forget the Congo or the Tripolis atrocities, the wholesale slaughter in South Africa, the massacres in Egypt and in the Sudan, the butcheries in Algeria and Morocco, the systematic murders in German East and South-West Africa ? All of which have been perpetrated, and are still being perpetrated, in order to obtain access to, and confiscate the riches of the land, and by the same token force the natives into the labour market !

As a rule, after the chiefs of the staff in the human slaughterhouse have had their day and their “purse” for successfully establishing their masters’ authority abroad, the equally deadly, if less noisy and often more deceiving, weapon of legislation completes the work of brigandage and the consequent impoverishment of the subdued peoples. Thus, last year’s “Land Act” assigned to the 4 millions natives in the South African Union, 11,000,000 morgen land out of the total area of 142,000,000 morgen, the remaining 131,000,000 morgen being in the occupation of 1,250,000 whites. The provisions of the Act are, of course, such as to prevent the natives from acquiring land outside the scheduled areas, and to leave them no alternative but the wage-labour market—no escape from the dependancy on the “profiteer.”

It is obvious that so long as a man can find his means of subsistence freely provided by nature, e g., so long as he owns means allowing of the production of the things whereby he lives, he need not and will not sell himself to another man ; in other words, he is not fit material for capital. This fact alone is sufficient to indicate that expropriation of the native is an indispensable condition. And just as the history of the rise of the bourgeoisie in Europe is marked by a series of revolutions and wars ending, as it did, in the complete dispossession of the great mass of the people of every vestige of independent property, so the natives of “uncivilised” Africa have to go through this metamorphosis as soon as they have the misfortune to come in contact with the modern bourgeoisie. Capital, the demon inseparable from the bourgeoisie, is as we know, not a thing—it is a social relationship and requires the existence of a huge class of men and women deprived of all possibility of producing their own means of subsistence. The crucial point in the Colonies is, therefore, to ensure the separation of the natives from their own conditions of labour and their root, the soil; and thus create there that “high-standing” artificial product of modern society, the proletariat, which is synonymous to saying—”the poor.”
Rudolf Frank

(To be Continued.)