(Published by the Pioneer, Adelaide)
HOW TO OBTAIN THEM.
AN ADDRESS BY A. W. RAYMENT.
Why should the working man toil ceasing,
Chained like a galley slave, fast to his oar ?
Why should the wealthy still go on fleecing ?
Why should they thrive or. the groans of the poor?
"Something is rotten in the State of Denmark."
FELLOW WORKMEN.—Five years ago I contributed a series of articles to the Register under the above heading. I have been urgently requested to tackle the subject again, making such alterations and additions as will bring it down to date.
The first question we have to settle is this : What are the rights of labor?
WE WILL SETTLE IT.
The rights of labor, my friends, are its full earnings. That is to say, if a man honestly earns a shilling he is honestly entitled to a shilling—the whole shilling—and that nothing short of a shilling will constitute a fair reward for his exertions. In like manner if a man earns a pound he is entitled to a pound—precisely a pound; no matter, in short, what may be the amount earned, the man who earns it is entitled to the whole of it, and if be doesn't get the whole of it there is something wrong.
“That's simple enough,” I can imagine hearing some of you say; “we all know that.”
You are quite correct, my friends, it is very simple, as you say, and as it appears that we understand each other thus far we will go on with the
If we are entitled to our full earnings, I think it is high time we insisted on getting our full earnings. We don't get them now by a long way. We are robbed and cheated day by day, and so long as we tamely submit to it so long will it continue. It is this robbery of labor that is continually going on that is at the bottom of nearly all our troubles. When men get insufficient pay for their work they are commonly driven to long hours, and when they make long hours a number of them are driven out of employment, and when there are a number of them out of employment their employers are in a position to make those who are employed work still harder for their money.
Those who are out of employment frequently complain of the scarcity of work, and a great many schemes have been proposed at one time and another for making more work; but, after all, it is not work that is wanted; what is really wanted is the means to live in a reasonable amount of comfort. If it were work that was really wanted what a lot of blockheads we must have been to have invented so many labor-saving machines. Instead of using Ridley's stripper, why not reap our wheat by hand? Instead of riding on railways, why not every man hump his swag and do his four miles an hour? Instead of a carpenter using a jackplane to smooth a plank, why not rub it down with
A BRICK ?
Depend upon it there need be no difficulty in finding work if that were all we wanted. But it is not work that is wanted; it is not a question of work but a question of wages. Work is but the means to an end. We don't work for the sake of working; we work for what the work brings us. It its a common mistake to confound work with wages, but now that I have pointed out the distinction I hope you will try and remember it. The distinction is a very important one, and if it were only better understood we should hear less of some of the quack remedies for the evils we suffer from.
As I am very anxious that you should thoroughly understand this little matter, let me put it to you in another way. If we all had a thousand a year coming in, how many of us do you think would be looking for a job? You may possibly think that we would not work at all then. But hold on a bit. We should all need food, clothing, shelter, and other necessaries and conveniences in the same way as we do now, and, notwithstanding the thousand a year, we should still have to labor. Were all labor to cease it would be a worse calamity than a stoppage of the rains of heaven. We can manage for a few months without rain; but without labor the majority of us would die in a few weeks But although we should have to work, the thousand a year would make a good deal of difference to us; the surplus labor as it is called would cease to exist; instead of a man running the shoes off his feet in looking for a job we should stand a chance of seeing the job run after the man ; instead of a number of people on charity for a Christmas dinner they would be able to buy one for themselves.
Food, clothing, and all those sorts of things, you perceive, cannot be produced without labor, and this brings us to the gist of the argument; for if it is labor that produces them how is it that those who perform the labor don't get more of them? As things go now we see that the working classes not only have to work hard but also to fare hard, while the wealth they produce, or at any rate a large portion of it, is enjoyed by a class of men who neither delve nor toil, and who, election times excepted, would consider it beneath their dignity to
with those who do.
I remember a few years ago seeing a book entitled “The Working Man: by one who does not believe in him.” In this book the working men were held up to ridicule, and represented as thorough loafers. But how in it possible for working men to be loafers? Loafers are not men who work but men who don't work; men who live not upon their own labor but upon the labor of others. As there are no means of living without work, those who don't work must of necessity live upon the labor of those who do, and the better they live the bigger loafers they are. No, my friends, it is not the working men who are the loafers; the real loafers are the wealthy idlers who fatten at the working men's expense.
You may possibly think from these remarks that I don't admire the aristocracy. Such a conclusion would, however, be wrong. I admire the aristocracy very I much. But when I say aristocracy, I mean the real aristocracy—not the aristocracy of birth, but the aristocracy of worth ; not the aristocracy who revel in undeserved wealth, but the aristocracy I who live by their honest labor.
How is it, I ask, that the majority of those who labor are so poor? How is it that such a number who do not labor at all are so immensely rich? When we see
producing plum puddings and bottles of brandy out of an apparently empty hat, it is quite clear that he is practising trickery, and when we see a man living in luxury without doing a stroke of work it ought to be equally clear that there is something not genuine about it. I say “ought,” for there are a number of people to whom it is not clear; the reason is that they don't think. The fact of their not thinking is to be explained in a variety of ways. Same have no time, some are too lazy, and -there are others again who could not think if they tried.
It is a very common notion that the wealthy do-nothings who go rolling along in their carriages are living on the wealth they have previously accumulated. Even if this were true they might be fairly questioned as to whether they came by their wealth honestly. But it is not true. If it were true that these people lived on what they had previously accumulated their store of wealth would become less in proportion to the demands made upon it; but, instead of growing less, it frequently grows greater. What they really live upon is not that which has been accumulated in the past; it is on that which is being produced now. The carriages they ride in, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and the many luxuries they enjoy are, for the most part, produced under our very eyes, and if labor were to cease, in spite of their so-called accumulated wealth, they would very soon starve. They owe their daily existence to the very men whom they despise.
Some people are in the habit of talking as though the working classes were dependent on the idle rich, but it is just
it is the idle rich who are dependent on the industrious poor. If all our wealthy do-nothings were to leave the colony and were never afterwards heard of, it would be about the best thing that could happen ; we should get very much higher wages, and consequently be a great deal better off. But suppose all the working people were to leave the colony, do you think the wealthy idlers would be better off ? Not a bit of it ; they would be very badly off; they would be entirely dependent on their own exertions, and being out of practice they would have a rough time of it. These are the sort of people that are so often called “independent gentlemen.” Independent gentlemen, indeed ! Let us drop that sort of nonsense. What becomes of their independence when they have nobody to work for them ?
About a hundred years ago the people of France got into a rage with such gentlemen as these and tried the experiment of cutting a few of their heads off. As a remedy for hard times the experiment was very encouraging; it extinguished poverty in France for a whole generation, but it was, nevertheless, not only a crime but a blunder; it is not necessary to burn a house down to roast a pig, nor is it necessary to cut gentlemen's heads off in order that the hungry may be fed ; it is not necessary to deprive a single individual of anything he possesses ; all that in necessary is to put a stop to the robbery that is being perpetrated from day to day on the earnings of labor. If every man gets his fall earnings no man will get more than his full earnings ; and if no man gets more than his full earnings those who don't work at all will be obliged to live upon what they have got, and no matter how big the pile may be it can't last for ever. Under our present social arrangements a working man, unless it be an exceptional case, does not get what he earns ; he only gets a part of what he earns ; the remainder goes to swell the incomes of those who earn little or nothing.
It might be said that a man usually gets whatever he bargains for ; but even so, it does not follow that he gets what be earns. Let me illustrate: Suppose a man had lost his way in a scrub and was
DYING FOR WANT OF A DRINK,
and that while in that unfortunate position another man came alone who had more water then he knew what to do with, it would be in the power of the man who had the water to relieve the man who was dying for a drink, but it would also be in his power to fix the terms, and if his customer was what is called a good mark and he strictly adhered to what are called business principles he would be able to do what is called a good stroke of business. Rather than die the famishing wretch might consent to part with everything he had. But could any man with a conscience regard such a bargain as a fair one ?
Now this is an analogous case to that of a working man when he makes a bargain for wages. He doesn't wish to starve, and if he happens to have a wife and family depending on him it makes his position still worse, and he is thus under the necessity of accepting such terms as the employer offers. It does not matter how competent he may a workman may be, nor how sober may be his habits, if there are a dozen others who are in every respect his equals and who are ready to jump into his billet the moment it is vacant, his wages are pretty sure to go down, or what amounts to the same thing, he will have to work harder for his money. If both parties to the bargain were equally free to accept or decline the terms proposed, the wages actually paid would be a good criterion of the amount actually earned; but when a workman is driven by the stern lash of necessity to take anything he can get, it results in a one-sided bargain—a bargain in which the wages received do not constitute a fair equivalent for the services rendered.
The capitalistic classes are loud in their demands for what they call “freedom of contract,” but between master and man there is no such s thing as freedom of contract—the more’s the pity ; the master—I use the word advisedly—invariably has the whip hand of the man, and the man is consequently powerless. It is not the amount which a man earns that fixes his wages; his wages are fixed by the competition for employment, and every labor saving machine that is invented in place of easing his toil serves but to make that competition keener.
“But what about capital?” some one might say ; “capital is almost as necessary as labor, and are those who furnish the capital not entitled to a consideration?” Yes, certainly; render unto labor the rightful return of labor, and unto capital the rightful return of capital. But let us not get confused over the is matter; let us have an understanding as to what capital really is. Capital, my friends, is wealth; it is a part of the general stick of wealth which is set apart for reproductive purposes the production of more wealth. All capital is wealth, but all wealth is not capital. The essnial idea embodied in the term capital is that it is something to be used in aiding production ; it is an instrument so to speak, for increasing the effectiveness of labor. Anything and everything which is correctly included in the term wealth and which is used for reproductive purposes is capital ; it matters not what its value may be nor who owns it. In our existing industrial system—
for the word “system ;” I am wrong ; let me correct myself. In our existing industrial anarchy it is customary for one lot of people to own the bulk of the capital and another lot of people to perform the necessary labor ; and although it is anything but right that a capitalist should deprive labor of any portion of the reward it is entitled to, it would be unjust—nay suicidal—to deny to those who furnish the capital an equitable return for that capital.
But having said this much for capital, let me ask, if you please, who produces this capital ? Is it not all produced by labor? Can you tell me of any other way of producing it? Political economists, as it has been the fashion to call them, used to tell us that capital was the fund from which wages were drawn, but they were wrong. Had they have put the proposition the other way up they would have been pretty near the mark. Here is the history of the thing in a nutshell: In the beginning was the earth, and on the earth was placed man, and man exerted himself, and out of the exertions of man there came forth capital. Now, my friends, here is
for you: If capital is produced by labor, how is it that those who perform the labor exerted in its production do not own the capital after it is produced ? A capitalist is not a man who produces capital, he is the man who owns it ; the producers of capital, as a rule own but very little.
It would be useless to urge that capital is the result of past savings with which existing labor has nothing to do, for the same argument applies to capital which, a short time I applied to wealth. I pointed out that our wealthy idlers do not enjoy themselves at the expense of what has been produced in the past, but at the expense of what is being produced in the present. As it is with wealth so it is with capital, which is a part of wealth ; if capital has been produced in the past it has also perished in the past; it is continually perishing, and needs to be continually renewed. Labor bears very much the same relation to capital as a spring bears to the stream which flows from it ; if the spring goes dry the stream will cease to flow, and, in like manner, if labor were to cease capital would rapidly decay and finally be exhausted. It is labor that creates capital, it is labor that preserves it, it is labor that uses it, but, strange to say, it is not labor that owns it!
Just a word more on the question of capital and for the present, at least, I have done with it. I have said that all wealth was not capital, but according to the popular notion wealth of any kind is capital, and in one sense this view of the matter to not altogether wrong. Wealth is exchangeable, and although a given form of wealth may not be capital actual, in so far as it admits of being exchanged for capital it is to the individual who possesses it, capital potential. Were I writing a book on political economy I would have something more so say on the subject, but as what I have said is sufficient for present purposes, we will get along with the business.
with the proposition that the rights of labor were its full earnings. We now see what those full earnings amount to. They consist of nothing short of the total sum of all wealth. No matter whether it be that portion of wealth which is intended for consumption or that other portion of wealth which is intended for production, it is labor that produces it, and it is labor that is the rightful owner. To wealthy idlers who live on the labor of others such a truth may be unwelcome, but, however unwelcome it may be, it is truth nevertheless. If there are any of you who have not followed me closely you may possibly have a little difficulty in seeing the thing in exactly the same light in which I have placed it; but that there is something wrong in existing conditions I am sure none of you will deny, and many of you, to your honor, have struggled hard to effect an alteration.
Now, I want to ask you seriously—Have the means hitherto resorted to been productive of any substantial improvement? You hesitate, and I don't wonder at it. Many of you can remember the condition of things fifteen or
TWENTY YEARS AGO,
The state of affairs was far from satisfactory then, but as far as the working classes were concerned the times were decidedly better than the present ones. With all that has been done instead of things getting better they have been actually growing worse. What explanation have you to give ? Food to eat, clothes to wear, and the comforts and conveniences of life are needed as much now as they were then, and the labor which produces them is quite as effective. It is more effective, for the improved machinery brought into use enables us to produce them in less time and in larger quantities. Again I ask, what explanation have you to give? We send our so-called representatives to Parliament, and they legislate, as they call it, for the good of the colony. They tax us; they borrow money and tax us again ; they make railways and stretch telegraph wires in all directions ; but have any of these things increased the wages of labor? No ; our wages are growing less. The wealth of the colony has increased and its commerce has been extended, but instead of working men being better off they are worse off. We invent labor-saving machines and we have to work the harder ; our labor is more productive, but we receive less wages and no matter how abundant the harvest forthwith comes the cry of want. Governments go in, governments go out, and governments go in again : they talk and talk ; they make new Acts and alter old ones ; but the condition of the toiling masses is continually growing worse. Is it not high time
WE TOOK THE BULL BY THE HORNS
and did something for ourselves ? With invention and improvement of our labor-saving machines our hours of labor ought to be lessened ; with the increased effectiveness of labor our wages ought to be greater ; with far more food than we can possibly eat no one should want. Something like a hundred years ago a theory was started that population tended to increase faster than production ; poverty and hunger were amounted for by the assumption that the earth was incapable of keeping up with the demands of the increasing population. The theory was somewhat plausible and found many advocates. but unfortunately for the theory experience has shown it to be wrong. Since then population has increased immensely, but production has increased still more, and it is curious to note that the overpopulation theory laid down by Malthus is now being reversed. We are now said to be suffering from overproduction. People are complaining of the insufficient demand for their commodities. Nor does this complaint apply to one class of commodities alone ; it applies to all or nearly all ; the markets of the world are glutted, men and machinery are standing idle, and we are passing protective tariffs to keep out the goods which other people are everlastingly wanting to send us. So much for the overpopulation theory !
Now for the other theory—overproduction. I will not attempt to deny the possibility of production exceeding human requirements, but I emphatically deny that it is in the nature of production, no matter how great it may be, to produce want. Production never did and never can produce poverty and hunger. Although the doctrine of Malthus was wrong it had the merit of being to a certain extent plausible, but this theory of overproduction is an unqualified absurdity. How in the name of
can an abundance be the cause of poverty?
This abundance, my friends, is owing to the increased power which man has obtained and is still obtaining over the material universe—the triumph of mind over matter. Our steam engines, our machinery, and the thousand upon thousand of inventions and contrivances, these it is which will explain our abundance, and were it really an evil it would admit of a very simple remedy. We have only to blow off steam and cut our telegraph wires, and instead of our so-called overproduction we should very soon have underproduction ; instead of our warehouses being glutted they would stand a chance of being gutted, and whatever goods were to be had would command famine prices. But the abundance is not an evil; the real evil is the want of a proper distribution. What is called overproduction is not overproduction at all; it in underpay. The value which a working man gives in his labor in greater than the value he receiver in the shape of wages; hence the increasing stocks on the one hand and the deficiency of purchasing power on the other. It is precisely the same in effect as though a man were in the habit of giving five shillings in exchange for half-a-crown, an operation which “needs no ghost come from the grave” to inform us would continually enrich the one while it continually impoverished the other. Were every man to receive the full reward of his labor, the purchasing power would correspond with the producing power like the two sides of a properly drawn balance-sheet. It could not be otherwise, for the two things are in reality identical. When we speak of the cost of a thing we are in the habit of stating it in money, but the real cost of a thing is the labor expended in its production. The man who produces nothing practically pays nothing.
The fact of supply being in excess of demand does not show that there is overproduction, it shows that the producers are robbed, and if you
FIX YOUR EYE ON THE PARTIES
whose incomes are out of all proportion in excess of their earnings you will be able to spot the robbers. I have no ill-feeling towards these people; they are what existing social conditions have made them. All I propose to do in to alter these social conditions—to alter them in such a way as will make it possible for every able-bodied man to get an honest living, and to make it impossible for any man to feast and fatten on the sweat and toil of others. We are all born into the world in the same course of nature, and we are all born equally poor. No man ever brought anything into the world with him, not even a shirt to cover his nakedness. The fact of a man being born does not enrich the world one iota. The only possible way in which he can enrich the world is by labor, and to labor and labor alone should be the reward. When I say labor, don't misunderstand me; I mean labor of the brain as well as labor of the hand. We need both. Even in the came of so-called unskilled labor the intellect plays an important part. Take away from man his brain- power and he becomes at once a helpless idiot unable to perform even the most ordinary services, but by virtue of his intellect he becomes lord of creation, matter lies plastic at his feet, and the potent forces of Nature are subjected to his will. Iron is dug from the earth and shaped into steam-engines, fire and water are his slaves, and the same power that gives us the lightning and the thunder, like an obedient fairy, girdles the earth at his command, and flashes messages from continent to continent in almost as little time as it takes to write them.
“All this is very fine,” you may possibly say, “but we don't see how you are going to bring about the wonderful change you speak of. We freely admit that wages are
ON THE DOWN GRADE
in spite of all our efforts, but our trades unions are as strong as ever, and we are every day making them stronger. If the capitalists like to consent to arbitration, well and good ; if not, we shall strike and strike again, and make no mistake about it, we shall strike hard. What more can we do?”
That you can strike and strike hard none can deny, but striking hard is not sufficient. If you wish to make a clean job of a thing you must strikes in the right place and no matter how strong may be your trades unions your efforts will be practically wasted until you learn to make a proper use of them.
If you listen attentively for a few minutes I will farther explain myself. The late strike in the Australian shipping trade is fresh in the memory of us all. It is not necessary here to enter into the merits of the dispute, I only wish to use it as an object lesson. The strike failed. But why ? If we investigate the causes of failure we may be able to perform what is perhaps one of the highest possible strokes of genius—we may turn a misfortune to an advantage. The failure may be partly accounted for by the fact that outside of your unions there were a number of idle hands and hungry stomachs. When you turned out it afforded the owners of these hands and stomachs an excellent opportunity of turning in. At ordinary times these men were not wanted, and as far as shipowners concerned themselves they might starve or
GO TO THE DEVIL,
but when the strike occurred it suited the convenience of the employers to pat them on the back and call them free laborers. Another source of weakness was the absence of a public sympathy; such for instance as was manifested in the case of the dock laborers in London. But what appears to me to have been the weakest point of any was the insufficiency of the sinews of war. It was a struggle of endurance, and the victory naturally fell to those who could endure the longest. You did not properly see whom you were contending against or the strength of their resources. Had you been contending against a few individual shipowners having no sources of income but that which they derived from their ships the strike might have ended differently ; but you wore contending against wealthy companies consisting of men who for the most part were not likely to have all their eggs in one basket. They might sustain a temporary loss in one venture, but mean-while they were profiting by others, and in numbers of cases getting greater profits than before. Let us reflect a moment. Who are the parties that are in possession of the existing stocks—the men who produce them? No ; they are owned by the men you call capitalists. A strike takes place ; in other words the producers refuse to work. What is the consequence? The strikers who from their very necessities live comparatively from hand to mouth very soon come to the end of their tether, while the capitalists not only have their stocks to fall back upon but in many cases net immense profits through the increase in prices. If the strikers were in possession of these stocks they would probably gain their ends but as things are it is no wonder that the strikes are so unsuccessful.
Our strikes are aimed at the capitalists (I use the word here in its popular sense), but it so happens that they are the last to feel the effects of them. The first to suffer are the strikers themselves ; next, a number of people who have no voice whatever in the dispute ; and if in the end the capitalists really lose anything at all, they are of all parties concerned the best able to bear it. I will not deny but that little concessions have been gained occasionally, but as an effective remedy for our wrongs our strikes are a failure.
Nor is there any hope from courts of arbitration consisting of masters and men. A flock of sheep might as well expect justice from a court of arbitration consisting of wolves and lambs. Let me tell you this, my friends, so long as you have masters at all it is impossible for you ever to have your liberties.
Let us not forget that the rights of labor are its full earnings, and that the full earnings of labor are nothing less than the total sum of all wealth. Under existing conditions we, in the first place, hand over the proceeds of our labor to a class of men called employers, who, after the lapse of a certain time—or, as frequently happens, uncertain time—condescend to hand a portion of them back. What I propose to do is to discard employers altogether and distribute the whole of the proceeds to the workers.
and what I propose is thoroughly practical. Let us take the shipping trade as an illustration; It is not an unusual thing for working men to use their own wagons and wheelbarrows, and why should not our seamen go to sea in their own ships? I don’t mean that every man should paddle his own canoe, I mean that ships such as are in general use should be owned by the seaman collectively. “But how,” you naturally ask, “are they going to raise the money to pay for them ?” There need not be any difficulty on that score, as I will explain later on ; meanwhile, let us complete our arrangements. Let us suppose that the whole of the men engaged in the Australian shipping trade have formed themselves into a joint-stock company, and that they are in possession of the whole merchant fleet. The next thing to be done is for them to elect their officers, and these officers would in turn elect the respective captains. They are now ready for sea, and, as in place of a competition between conflicting interests there is a co-operation of mutual interests, the business will be more profitable and matters will run smoother all round than is the case or is possible to be the case at present. The seamen, let us say, are happy; no need for striking now ; they have the management in their own hands ; there is no friction between officers and men ; there exists the highest state of efficiency ; the business is unusually profitable and they get their full earning—the entire proceeds.
Let us now turn our attention to some other branch of industry say boot making. Under the old style of making boots and shoes the workmen provided his own tools and his own leather and he dealt with the customer direct. There was no third party to deduct an unearned profit. The introduction of machinery has changed the face of things, but there is no reason whatever why the same principle should not be adopted still. It cannot be done individually, but it is easy enough to do it collectively. The whole of the operatives, let us say, form themselves into a joint-stock company in a similar manner to the seamen, and own all the necessary material and appliances. They elect their foremen to superintend the various departments, and these foremen elect the head manager. When the boots are finished they are sent to a large central store or warehouse, and from thence are distributed to the branches of which in Adelaide there might be several, while one each would suffice for the smaller towns. As in the case of the seamen, wasteful expenditure is avoided, the returns are increased, the operatives have the entire management and divide among themselves the whole of the proceeds. Our clothing factories may be owned and managed in like manner; in short, every department of industry may be similarly dealt with.
So far, we have a number of joint-stock companies. I now propose to amalgamate them. The advantages of doing so are obvious ; each department of industry will co-operate and work in harmony with every department of industry ; there will be no quarrels as to what lines of business properly belong to this department or to that department, the interests of all are identical ; nowhere will there be competition but everywhere co-operation. Labor would not only get its full earnings, but the enormous waste which is inseparable from our present wretched arrangements would be entirely obviated, the bitter feelings engendered by a cut-throat competition would disappear, and a man would be able to look upon his fellow man not only as a brother in theory but as a brother in fact.
We have now
in hand, and it is time we gave it a name. We might cal it the “S.A. Industrial Joint Stock Company,” the “State Co-operative Society,” and other names might be found more or less suitable . But why beat about the bush? Let us have done with it and call it by its proper name at once—“State Socialism.”
The instruments of production and exchange, instead of being owned by separate individuals or separate companies of individuals competing against each other to the injury of all concerned, are thus owned by the State, that is to say, the people collectively, and the stocks as they are produced are distributed by the State, not for profit but for use and convenience. Instead of things being made to sell, they will be made because people want them, and the quantity produced will be regulated by the demand.
To enter into the full details of such a system is not now my intention, but a few further remarks will not be out of place. There will be no banks, for there will be no necessity for them, and labor will be the gainer of the sum represented by their working expenses together with the rich dividends now pocketed by the shareholders. We should require a medium of exchange as now, but this would be provided by the State which would issue notes in such quantities as were needed. There would be no gold reserves, for gold under such circumstances would be useless ; in fact it would be worse than useless, for there would not only be the trouble involved in taking care of it, but while we held it in our possession we would always be in more or less fear of
or some other party coming up the Gulf to steal it. As there would be no profits to be deducted from wages they would be higher of course, but self-regulating as now. As there would be the utmost freedom in choice of occupation, the operatives in one department of labor could not permanently enjoy any advantages over the operatives in any other department, for it is manifest that any such advantage would be the means of attracting fresh hands, and this attraction would continue until the earnings in the respective occupations had established their proper level. There would be no more dead stock, nothing more being produced than what was required. If at any time supply exceeded demand it would be an evident sign that they were either charging too much for the goods or that they were producing more than was needed, and the balance would be quickly effected either by making a reduction in price or by reducing the hours of labor. No man able and willing to work would be refused employment, the State would see to that ; he would have to be maintained anyway. He would not be drafted off to a workhorse or to any particular occupation, he would chose his occupation for himself, and as his remuneration would depend on the value of his services he would naturally select an occupation in which his services were of the greatest value. The Government Gazette, which would be published daily, would furnish him with every information, and for cases of urgency the telegraph and telephone would always be at his service. He would be a free laborer in the full sense of the word. There would be no landlords, no money-lenders,
no commission agents. no commercial travellers, no dealers buying and selling for profit, no debt collectors, and no bum-bailiffs ; people as these, however hard they may work, are non-producers, and in the new order of things would find no place. On the other hand, there will be an extra demand for the schoolmaster and those whose labors contribute to the refinements of life. Man does not live by bread alone ; his physical wants are ,the first to demand attention, but when these are satisfied new desires develop themselves and he aspires to higher levels.
There will be no benefit societies or insurance companies as they exist now, for the Stale will be its own benefit society and its own insurance company, and it will be one of its first duties to see that every case is adequately provided for. As there will be no tradesmen or storekeepers in a state of chronic insolvency, fires will doubtless be less frequent, but whenever one does occur the State will make good the damage. If a man meets with an accident or falls sick the State doctor will attend him and his income will continue the same as before, and when he reaches sixty years of age he will certainly not be compelled to work. If he prefers to work, well and good ; if not, by all means let him
TAKE IT EASY
As the State is its won benefit society, in the same way it will be its own building society. If a man wants a house built, as a guarantee of good faith and to prtect the State against loss he will be required to pay a deposit, after which he will select the site, and the State architect will submit plans for his approval. The preliminaries being settled, the building of the house is proceeded with, and when finished the man takes possession, and pays the remainder of the purchase-money by easy instalments. As the State will know what is income is and what he can afford to pay, the size of the house will be regulated accordingly. There will be no interest to pay as in ordinary building societies, and with the exception of the ground reant, which will of course be perpetual, he will be put to no expense beyond the cost of its construction. A dwelling-house will be allowed more if necessary, but in no case will it be allowed less than half an acre of land—we have plenty of it and there is no need to crowd ourselves. There will be no unsightly erections, the architect will see to that, and likewise see to all sanitary arrangements. It is not good to live in
A FEVER DEN,
nor is there any necessity for it.
Much more might be said, but it I have said sufficient, my friends, to set you thinking I have gained my object.
It will be noticed that the system I have here outlined differs somewhat from Bellamy’s, but I wish it to be clearly understood that I have no intention of setting up a rival establishment. The beautiful picture Bellamy has drawn is intended to represent the future, but meanwhile we have to deal with the present.
I promised to explain where the necessary capital is coming from. You may possibly imagine that I intend to borrow it, but I don’t propose to do anything so absurd. There might be a considerable difficulty about the borrowing process, but even if the capital could be borrowed such a course would be very unwise. It would spoil all. We should take the risk and the money lenders would take the profit. No ; such a proceeding is not to be favoured for a moment. Instead of all the risk and no profit, we must have no risk and all profit.
As no gold will be needed in our proposed system, and as the medium of exchange will consist solely of State notes the difficulty of raising capital is somewhat lessened, but we shall require a considerable amount of capital to begin with nevertheless, and the method whereby I proposed to said it is simplicity itself. All wealth, as we have seen, is produced by labor; it consequently follows that if the income of a man exceeds his earnings, provided of course that it is not a free gift, he is a robber, and I propos to raise whatever funds are necessary by putting a tax on these robbers. As the funds are ample we need not deal with them harshly; we can be so far lenient with them as to
LET BYGONES BE BYGONES.
that is to say whatever wealth a man may have wrongfully appropriated in the past we will allow him to keep, and that we will confine our operations exclusively to unearned incomes. If you look down an income tax paper you will see that income to described as of two classes—one from property and the other from personal exertion. Now, as a matter of fact, all incomes are derived from personal exertion. If an income is not derived from a man's own personal exertion it in derived from somebody else's personal exertion. The property from which a man is said to derive his income usually remains intact and is simply used as a lever for appropriating the earnings of others. Incomes obtained in this way might be righteously taxed until there was not a penny of them left They are derived from the unrequited toil of the workers, and if the workers insist on the whole of the spoil being returned, those who are called upon to return it have no just cause for complaint. Take a think, my friends.
It would be as well to take our bearings again. The rights of labor are its full earnings, and, as we have seen, the full earnings of labor is the sum, total of all wealth. Instead of labor owning all the wealth, it owns but very little of it, and under existing social arrangements such must always be the case. I propose to alter the existing social arrangements. In piece of competition I propose to substitute co-operation, a co-operation of the whole of the workers, and under which system the workers are to be the only parties to participate in the proceeds. For the initiation of this system the workers stand in need of capital, and I propose to raise whatever capital is required for the purpose by a tax upon unearned incomes, that is to say incomes which are the result not of a man's own exertions but of somebody else's exertions.
It fortunately happens that a very large portion of these incomes can be readily traced. Let me tell you the story of Archimedes ; it has been told before, but it is convenient here to tell it again, as the illustration it affords serves better than argument to show how some of the unearned incomes are obtained, and the demoralising effect which they have upon the community which tolerates them.
ARCH IMEDES. [By TWARK MAIN.]
“Give me whereon to stand”, said Archimedes, “and I will move the earth.” The boast was a pretty safe one, for he knew quite well that the standing place was wanting, and always would he wanting. But suppose he had moved the earth, what then? What benefit would it have been to anybody? The job would never have paid working expenses, let alone dividends, and so what was the use of talking about it? From what astronomers tell us, I should reckon that the earth moved quite fast enough already, and if there happened to be a few cranks who were dissatisfied with its rate of progress, as far as I am , concerned, they might push it along for themselves. I would not move a finger nor subscribe a penny-piece to assist in anything of the kind. Why such a fellow as Archimedes should be looked upon as a genius I never could understand ; I never heard that
HE MADE A PILE,
or did anything else worth talking about. As for that last contract he took in hand, it was the worst bungle I ever knew ; he undertook to keep the Romans out of Syracuse ; he tried first one dodge and then another, but they got in after all, and when it came to fair fighting he was out of it altogether, a common soldier in a very business like sort of way settling all his pretensions.
It is evident that he was an overrated man. He was in the habit of making a lot of fuss about his screws and levers, but his knowledge of mechanics was in reality of a very limited character. I have never set up for a genius myself, but I know of a mechanical force more powerful than anything the vaunting engineer of Syracuse ever dreamt of. It is the force of land monopoly ; it is a screw and lever all in one—it will screw the last penny out of a man's pocket and move everything on earth to its own despotic will. Give me the private ownership of all the land, and——will I move the earth? No, but I will do more. I will undertake to make slaves of all the human beings on the face of it. Not chattel slaves exactly, but slaves nevertheless. What an idiot I would be to make chattel slaves of them. I would have to find them
when they were sick, and whip them to work when they were lazy. No, it is not good enough. Under the system I propose the fools would imagine they were all free. I would get a maximum of results, and have no responsibility whatever. They would cultivate the soil; they would dive into the bowels of the earth for its hidden treasures ; they would build cities and construct railways and telegraphs ; their ships would navigate the ocean ; they would work and work and invent and contrive ; their warehouses would be full, their markets glutted, and
The beauty of the whole concern would be
The wealth they made would all belong to me.
It would come about in this way:—As I owned all the land, they would, of course, have to pay me rent. They could not reasonably expect me to allow them the use of the land for nothing. I am not a hard man, and in fixing the rent I would be very liberal with them. I would allow them, in fact,
TO FIX IT THEMSELVES.
What could be fairer ? Here is a piece of land, let us say—it might be a farm, it might be a building site, or it might be something else. If there were only one man who wanted it, of course he would not offer me much, but if the land be worth anything at all such a circumstance is not likely to happen. On the contrary, there would be a number who would want it, and they would go on bidding one against the other in order to get it. I should accept the highest offer. What could be fairer ? Every increase of population, extension of trade, every advance in the arts and sciences would, as we all know, increase the value of land, and the competition that would naturally arise would continue to force rents upward, so much so that in many cases the tenants would have little or nothing left for themselves. In this case a number of those who were hard pushed would seek to borrow, and as for those who were not hard pushed, they would as a matter of course get the idea into their heads that if they only had more capital they could extend their operations, and thereby make their businesses more profitable. Here I am again. The very man they stand in need of ;
REGULAR BENEFACTOR OF MY SPECIES,
and always ready to oblige them. With such an enormous rent roll I could furnish them with funds up to the full extent of the available security; they could not expect me to do more. As for interest, they could fix it themselves in precisely the same manner as they had fixed the rent, and as in the case of rent the highest offer would of course be accepted, everything below per being prudently declined. should then have them by the wool, and if they failed in their payments it would be the easiest thing in the world to sell them out. They might bewail their lot, but business is business. They should have worked harder and been more provident. Whatever inconvenience they might suffer would be their concern and not mine. What a glorious time I would have of it ! rent and interest, interest and rent, and no limit to either excepting the ability of the workers to pay. Rents would go up and up, and they would continue to pledge and mortgage, and as they went
one after another, it would be the finest sport ever seen. Thus, from the simple leverage of land monopoly, not only “the great globe itself,” but everything on the. face of it would eventually belong to me, and the rest of mankind would be my obedient slaves. It hardly needs to be said that it would not be consistent with my dignity to associate with the common rank and file of humanity; it would not be politic to say so, but as a matter of fact I not only hate work but I hate those who do work, and I would not have their stinking carcasses near me at any price. High above the contemptible herd I would sit enthroned amid a circle of devoted worshippers. I would choose for myself companions after my own heart. I would dock them with ribbons and gewgaws to tickle their vanity; they would esteem it an honor to kiss my glove, and would pay homage to the very chair I sat upon; brave men would die for me, parsons would pray for me, and bright-eyed beauty would pander to my pleasures. For the proper management of public affairs I would have a parliament, and for the preservation of law and order there would be
SOLDIERS AND POLICEMEN,
all sworn to serve me faithfully ; their pay would not be much, but their high memo of duty would be a sufficient guarantee that they would fulfil the terms of the contract. Outside the charmed circle of my society would be others eagerly pressing forward in the hope of sharing my favors; outside of these would be others again who would be for ever seeking to wriggle themselves into the ranks of those in front of them, and so on, outward and downward, until we reach the deep ranks of the workers for ever toiling and for ever struggling merely to live, and with the hell of poverty for ever threatening to engulf them. The hell of poverty, that outer realm of darkness where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth—the social Gehenna, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched—here is a whip more effective by far than the keenest lash of the chattel slave owner, urging them on by day, haunting their dreams by night, draining without stint the life blood from their veins, and pursuing them with relentless constancy to their very graves. In the buoyancy of youth many would start full of hope and with high expectations; but as they journeyed along disappointment would follow disappointment, hope would gradually give place to despair, the promised cup of joy would be turned to bitterness, and the holiest affection would become a poisoned arrow quivering in the heart !
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ARRANGEMENT—
ambition urging in front, want and the fear of want bringing up the rear!
In the conflicting interests that would be involved, in the throat cutting competition that would prevail, in the bitterness that would be engendered between man and man, husband and wife, father and son, I should, of course, have no part. There would be lying and cheating, harsh treatment by masters, dishonesty or servants, strikes and lockouts, assaults. and intimidation, family feuds and interminable broils ; but they would not concern Me. In the serene atmosphere of my earthly paradise I would be safe from all evil. I would feast on the daintiest of dishes, and sip wines of the choicest vintage. My gardens would have the most magnificent terraces and the finest walks. I would roam 'mid the umbrageous foliage of the trees, the blooming flowers, the warbling of birds, the jetting of fountains, and the plashing of pellucid waters. My palace would have its walls of alabaster and domes of crystal ; there would be furniture of the most exquisite workmanship, carpet and hangings of the richest patterns and choicest textures, carvings and paintings that were miracles of art, vessels of gold and silver, gems of the purest ray glittering in their settings, the voluptuous strains of the sweetest music, the perfume of roses, the softest of couches, a horde of titled lackeys to come and go at my bidding, and a perfect galaxy of beauty to stimulate desire and administer to my enjoyment. Thus would I pass the happy hours away, while throughout the world it would be a hallmark of respectability to extol my virtues, and anthems would be everywhere sung in my praise.
Archimedes never dreamt of anything like that. Yet, with the earth for my fulcrum and its ownership for my lever, it is all possible. If it should be said that the people would eventually detect the fraud, and with swift vengeance hurl me and all my courtly parasites to perdition, I answer : Nothing of the kind—the people are as good as gold and would stand it like bricks, and I appeal to the facts of today to hear me witness.
Thus endeth the story of Archimedes, the merits of which you must judge for yourselves. I want, however, to have a few words about the moral. In the illustration which Twark Main has given us we see two agencies at work, landlordism and usury, and between the two honest labor gets but a poor show. The main difference between the state of things as here represented and the facts of to-day is that in place of one supreme landlord and capitalist we have a number of landlords and capitalists—labor is robbed in the same manner in either case, and the moral and social, or, to use the correct words, the immoral and anti-social results are identical in character. Henry George and a number of his followers propose to put things right by a Single Tax upon what are called land values, and were the whole of these fictitious values thus swept away it would certainly be an immense gain, but we would need to come to industrial cooperation after all. As it will have to be adopted sooner or later, why wait ?
An objection has frequently been raised to “the Single Tax” on the ground that its adoption would not touch bank shareholders and many other wealthy capitalists. As a matter of fact it would touch them more than many people imagine, but that is a point I do not intend here to discuss, for as rent and interest are so mixed up with each other that in many cases it in practically impossible to correctly draw the line between them, and as they are both unearned incomes, I propose to
MAKE THINGS COMFORTABLE
by taxing the two indiscriminately.
Besides rent and interest, there in another class of unearned incomes made up of what is vaguely termed “profit,” but this we cannot so effectually trace as it gets mixed up with incomes said to be derived from personal exertion, and as there are such strong probabilities that any tax which we might propose to levy upon it would be successfully evaded, we had better leave it to receive its death blow in the socialisation of labor. The programme as I have sketched it will make things comfortable all round—we are to socialise labor, and, as far as we are able to trace them, we are to impose a tax on all unearned incomes. When the socialization of labor is complete there will be no unearned incomes to tax, nor will there be any need for taxation.
There are a number of people who seem to be under the impression that the only object for which governments exist is the imposition of taxes. No man wants to be taxed, and if this were all a government was capable of doing we should be better off without one; but it is not all, as I will explain later on. The only remark I wish to make at present is that if the principle of industrial co-operation in ever to be properly applied, it must be done through the legislature; any other method will prove inadequate. Some years ago many honest hard-working men subscribed their shillings to establish little co-operative stores, and in some cases tried to do a little manufacturing. The principle was right, but the basis on which it was sought to be established was too narrow. Fix it on a proper basis, and you may hail at once the advent of a new era.
Before I go further, I want to say a few words on the question of compensation. When the earnings of a working man are taxed nothing whatever is said about compensation; he in expected to grin and bear it like a good citizen, but when a proposal is made to tax the rent-roll of a landlord the cry is at once raised that the landlord ought to be compensated. But who is to compensate him? The working classes have been robbed quite enough already, and to force them to contribute sums of money under the miserable plea of compensation would be but a continuance of the robbery in another form. The parties having the strongest claim to compensation are not the landlords but those whom the landlords have robbed—the working classes. In any scheme of compensation these ought to be the first to be compensated. Having rendered full justice to them there will be little difficulty in compensating the landlords. But I have proposed to let bygones be bygones, and if the working classes are content with this it ill becomes the landlords to complain.
The position of affairs in well illustrated by William A. Phillips in a work on “Labor, Land and Law: a search for the missing wealth of the working poor.” He begins his book with the following story:—
“It is related that a certain Eastern potentate fell into the impecunious condition common to many of his predecessors, and set his wits to work to devise a remedy. A farmer of imposts, who had often aided him in this dilemma, came to his rescue. He offered him
SIXTY THOUSAND TOMANS
for all the winds that should ever blow over Cashmere. The monarch at first affected to be staggered at the proposition. He was unable to find anything in precedents to warrant it, but although a believer in the doctrine that whatever is to right, he was forced to admit that a monarch may introduce useful innovations. Of course, it was assumed that he was the supreme owner and disposer of all things, in his dominions, not only for his own brief, erratic span of life, but for all time, and so he came to the conclusion that as everything in the world had been sold which could be sold, there was no good reason why the winds, unstable though they might be, should be exempted if a purchaser could be found. After a proper amount of preliminary haggling, a sale was made, and the transaction legalised by all that signatures, seals, and parchment could do for it.
“Before the public had fairly got over laughing at the absurdity of this novel bargain,
THE OWNERS OF THE WIND
issued a proclamation forbidding all persons in Cashmere from using his wind to turn their windmills, winnow their corn, propel their vessels, or employ it in any other manner, until they had at first entered into agreements with him, and obtained leases for the various localities. covenanting to pay certain amounts for the privilege. Then the laughing turned to lamentation. The monarch met the torrent of petitions and complaints by affecting to deplore the circumstance. He could not foresee, of coarse, all that had occurred, but
HIS SACRED WORD
was involved. Rulers of that type are usually very particular about their sacred word. Driven to desperation, the inhabitants contributed the amount that had been paid for the wind, and tendered it to the sovereign so that this unheard of transaction could be cancelled.
“The matter was not to be so easily arranged. The owner of the winds of Cashmere would not think of such a thing. He had acquired a vested right in them. Since it had become purchasable, the wind had greatly risen—in price at least. Wind stocks were on the upward markets. The owner insisted that his title was good. He did not claim it merely by his right of discovery of the commercial value of the wind, or that he had been the first to pre-empt this privilege, but that he had fairly bought it from the representative of government, and declared that his title was begirt and founded on all that was sacred in law on the theory of eminent domain and supreme authority. It would be altogether unfair to ask him to surrender this valuable privilege for any. thing less than what it might bring him in case he should be allowed to keep it. The proposition of the people was merely a bald scheme of robbery. It was subversive of all
PROPERTY RIGHTS ;
was socialistic, agrarian, and revolutionary ; and to force him to accept of a price so inadequate would strike a fatal blow at the best interests of society, and undermine the whole fabric on which the rights of property rested.
“This reasoning was of ; course entirely conclusive to the monarch, who was undoubtedly the confederate of the farmer of imposts, but as human endurance can only be stretched to certain limits, it was agreed between them that a fair price for the wind, at that date, would be ten times what was originally paid for it. This amount was finally raised by a long suffering people, who merely exacted a promise from the commercial monarch that he would never sell the wind again, but permit it in God's providence to blow over them free and unrestricted as of Yore.”
All this is of course very ridiculous, and it would be a hard job to make some people believe that there was a word of truth in the whole story, but the term landowner is every whit an absurd as the term windowner ; the property rights of the one rest on no better foundation than the property rights of the other. They are not property rights at all, they are property wrongs, and the sooner we right such wrongs the better.
“We quite agree with you” many would may, “that property in land is wrong, and that it is a wrong that ought to be righted, but we do not approve of your method of doing it. Whatever may be said against landlordism, the man who has invested his savings in the purchase of land, honestly believing that he was doing no wrong, is certainly entitled to consideration.” The apparent difficulty that here presents itself is thus alluded to by
HERBERT SPENCER :
“Had we to deal with the parties who originally robbed the human race of its heritage we might make short work of the matter. But, unfortunately, most of our present landowners are men who have either mediately or immediately—either by their own acts, or by the acts of their ancestors—given for their estates, equivalents of honestly earned wealth, believing that they were investing their savings in a legitimate manner. To justly estimate and liquidate the claims of such, is one of the most intricate problems society will one day have to solve. But with this perplexity and our extrication from it, abstract morality has no concern. Men having got themselves into the dilemma by disobedience to the law (moral law), must get out of it as well as they can ; and with as little injury to the landed class as may be.”
“Meanwhile, we shall do well to recollect that there are others besides the landed class to be considered. In our tender regard for the vested interests of the few, let us not forget that the rights of the many are in abeyance ; and must remain so, as long as the earth is monopolised by individuals.”
I decidedly object to Spencer's remark that with the perplexity alluded to and our extrication from it, “abstract morality has no concern.” Having set up abstract morality as his guide and rule for human conduct he ought to have stuck to it, but instead of doing so he pitches it overboard the moment he finds himself in a difficulty. This, from the man who has been called our great philosopher! I will appeal to this same guide to show us a way out of the difficulty, or correctly speaking, apparent difficulty, for it exists only in the imagination. With the light it affords let as examine the words of Spencer. “Equity,” he tells us, “does not permit property in land.”
SO MUCH IS CLEAR.
“But, unfortunately, most of our present landowners are men who have, either mediately or immediately—either by their own acts or by the acts of their ancestors—given for their estates equivalents of honestly earned wealth.” And pray, Mr. Spencer, where did you get this information from ? The chances are that it was it not honestly earned wealth ; even in the case of small estates it is more or less questionable, and as for large estates the thing is impossible. I know of a number of people who have made a pile as it is called, but I never knew of a man who made much of a pile out of his own honest earnings. When a man makes a pile it is usually out of somebody else's earnings. But let us suppose that in an occasional sort of way an honest man makes s pile. A Pile of what? We all know he cannot make a pile of land ; if he makes a pile at all it must be of something which is the product of labor. Suppose he made a pile of boots and shoes, they would not breed or increase in value, nor would they last for ever; on the contrary, they would in course of time be worn out, or, supposing they were not made use of, they would in course of time decay and become valueless. And so on we might go through all occupations; the labor in some will last longer than the labor in others, but in no case except in that of the gravedigger will the work last till Doomsday. No matter what form wealth may take it will not keep, and as it will not keep it cannot possibly be handed down to posterity, and it cannot possibly be handed down to posterity what becomes of the claims of those who profess to have inherited their wealth from their ancestors ?
The honestly earned wealth which Spencer speaks of and by virtue of which he imagines that existing landlords possess valid claim to compensation, turns out on examination to be little better than
Let us look at it in another way. Let us suppose, as Herbert Spencer supposes, that present landowners really have given for their estates equivalents of honestly earned wealth. Even so, such a circumstance does not give to a man the right to levy a tax on the honestly-earned wealth of others, and if it does not do this how is it possible for him to transfer the right of doing so to another ?
Let us put a case. We will suppose that a man has honestly earned £100,000. How he could honestly own such an amount I am at a loss to imagine, but we will stretch the imagination a little and suppose that he really has honestly earned that amount. By all means let him spend it and enjoy himself. But this is the very thing he would be most unlikely to do ; the chances are that he would either purchase land or lend his money on mortgage. In the one case he would receive rent; in the other he would receive interest. We will suppose that the rent or interest, whichever it happened to be, was five per cent. this would yield him an income of £5,000 a year, the
£100,000 remaining all the while intact. He is not spending it or living on it, he is simply making use of it as a lever for appropriating the honestly earned wealth of others. I don't blame him in the least; under existing conditions his conduct is even to be commended, but he is a robber nevertheless.
Let us now suppose that in place of living up to £5,000 a year he confines his expenditure to £1,000, adding the remaining £4,000 to the sum he has invested at interest ; and let us suppose that he keeps on doing this, that is to say continues to limit his annual expenditure to £1,000 and invests at interest the whole of the remaining portion of his income ; it is evident that the £100,000 he started with will in course of time be doubled and in course of further time doubled again. Let us further suppose that he hands his parchments, or his estates as Spencer would possibly call them, down to his son who acts in like manner, and that this process is continued from generation to generation, it is obvious that the $100,000 originally started with will be increased to fabulous millions, the surviving heir will in fact be owner of everything and the rest of mankind be his slaves in precisely the same manner as is illustrated in “Archimedes.” According to the compensation theory, if it were then decided to put things on a proper footing this owner of everything would have to be
for would not he and his ancestors, as Spencer would say, have given for the estate the equivalents of honestly earned wealth ?
The claim to compensation in this case is seen to be an utter absurdity and it is quite as much an absurdity when applied to the facts of to-day. It makes no difference to the principle involved whether everything be owned by one man or a number of men, and if there is no equitable claim to compensation in the one case, there is none in the other.
If men have got themselves into a dilemma by an infraction of the law of abstract morality the proper way out of it is by a conformity to that law. Indeed, there is no other method.
To attribute the social inequalities of to-day to robberies that have been perpetrated in the past, and to imagine that existing landlords and capitalists are honestly entitled to compensation is to exhibit a misconception as to the true character of the problem. The unearned incomes of landlords, money-lenders, profit-mongers, or any other genteel, or ungenteel, drone of society are not derived from the labor of the dead, but from the labor of the living. It is not the robbery that has been perpetrated in the past that is hurting us but the robbery that is going on in the present, and the explanation of this robbery is to be found in the simple fact that under existing conditions, wealth, no matter how obtained, carries with it the power of exacting a perpetual tribute from the earnings of labor. The only way of escaping this tribute is by abolishing the social organisation that makes it possible, and with our labor unions, our manhood suffrage and the ballot box, the tools are ready to hand for doing all that is needed.
One word more. I have repudiated the so called landowner's claim to compensation, but I have no objection to compensation provided it be consistent with justice. It so happens that compensation, and ample compensation, is in strict j justice possible after all, as, by the time I have done, you will be able to see for yourselves.
When it is proposed that the State should undertake the control and management of our industries, there are a number of people ready to exclaim that the State has no business to do anything of the kind ; it is contended that it would be an unwarranted interference with the liberty of the subject. and what are called “authorities” are quoted with the object of showing that the principle is unsound. The proper policy, we are told, in laisser-faire ; in other words the State should leave each things alone. But if a principle can be proved to be unsound, no matter what array of names may be paraded in support of it, it is unsound still, and, contrariwise, if a principle is sound it will remain sound though all the authorities in the world be arrayed against it. Let us examine the matter. I do not ask you to take my word for everything, I only ask you to hear what I have to say; having done that, I will leave you to form your own conclusions. I will take first
THE RIGHTS OF THE STATE.
Don't be alarmed, my friends, the question is a very simple one, and there in no necessity for you to torture your brains for the purpose of understanding it. When I say “State,” do not misunderstand me; I do not mean the Government—we will deal with that question afterwards. I mean by the term “State”, the people collectively; whatever anybody else may mean by the term is a matter with which I am not now concerned, it is sufficient for my purpose to know what I mean myself. The State, then, is the people collectively; and the rights of the State are the collective rights of the individuals composing the State.
All we have to do now is to ascertain what are the rights of the individuals ; having done this the matter is settled. Herbert Spencer's definition of these rights is thus stated—“Every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.” Herbert Spencer does not mean that every man really possesses this freedom, he means that every man ought to possess it ; “it is the law,” as he says, “of right social relationships.” John Stuart Mill's definition is put in other words but practically amounts to the same thing, and the principle thus not forth has been endorsed by many others. I accept this definition—not because Mill, Spencer and Co. have put their signatures to it, but because it is consistent with reason.
According to the principle thus laid down, the rights of an individual are bounded only by the corresponding rights of other individuals; and if these are the rights of a man individually, they are necessarily the rights of men collectively ; and with the necessary limits always understood it may be briefly asserted that the rights of the State consist simply of the right to do
JUST WHAT IT PLEASES.
I will put it in another way. If one man has a right to start in business, another man has a right to start in business ; and if two of them have a right to go into partnership, any number of them have a right to go into partnership, and, consequently, the whole of them have a right to go into partnership ; in other words, the state has a perfect right to enter into any business that may be legitimately undertaken individually.
“All correct so far,” you say, “but what about the Government? What you are talking about now is simply a big joint-stock company, but it in a different thing altogether for the Government to take a thing in hand, and in spite of what you say we are of opinion that the Government has no business to interfere in such matters.”
It is a satisfaction to know that you agree with my conclusions so far. You have nothing to object, it appears, against what I have said about the rights of the State. Let us now define the rights of the Government. The thing in easily done, my friends, for, as a matter of fact
GOVERNMENT HAS NO RIGHTS
but those which are deputed to it by the State, that is, the people. The word “right” when applied to a Government is a misnomer. Governments have function and duties, not rights.
And now let us define these functions and duties. This, again, is an easy matter. They consist in faithfully serving the State; and so whenever the State resolves itself into a big joint-stock company for the purpose of undertaking the control and management of our industries, and desires to make use of the Government machinery for doing no, it will be the duty of the Government to accede to its wishes.
It might possibly be contended that our Government as at present constituted would refuse to perform such a duty ; but the remedy would be in our own hands—those who give the power can take it away, and others could be appointed who were better qualified for the position.
It is sometimes said that a Government could never stand the strain, and that it would break down under its manifold responsibilities. If a lie is repeated often enough people are apt to accept it as a proverb and without question, and it seems to be so in this came. Has the South Australian Government broken down under its postal department? Has it broken down under its ever enlarging railway system? If it can manage these things so successfully why in the name of reason should it not be able to manage other departments? It is not the big. concerns that break down, as a rule it is
THE SMALLER FRY ;
it is the big concerns that are breaking down the little ones. A man in a small way of business gets crashed by a man in a large way of business ; individual enterprise is giving way before joint stock companies ; small joint-stock companies are being merged into large joint-stock companies, and why should not a State joint-stock company wipe out the lot? This in the end towards which, whether we are aware of it or not, we are constantly tending; and the goal which, if it is only in self defence, must be reached sooner or later.
The advocates of laisser-faire have continually asserted that better general results are obtained from private enterprise than from anything that could be done by State management ; but the facts we witness to-day bear testimony to the contrary. The doctrine of laisser-faire, that indiscriminate scramble of every man-for-himself. and. the-devil-take-the-hindmost, though bolstered up as it has been in the past by men posing as political economists and philosophers, and the vaunted benefits of which have been set forth in huge volumes, now happily growing musty, to theoretically and practically coming to the end of its tether. It is laisser faire that is breaking down—on the horizon is to be seen the State star in the ascendant.
No wonder at laisser faire breaking down ; the only thing to wonder at is that it has lasted so long, and that the consequences have not been worse.
Within a radius of ten miles of the London chief post office, so the recent census tells us, there are near upon six millions of people ; every one of these, it is reasonable to suppose, has
to be fed and a body to be clothed ; they also need beds to lie on and roofs to cover them, besides innumerable other things ; and to meet the varied and manifold requirements of this vast multitude there in no better provision than laisser-faire? Is it really strange that so many go ragged and hungry, and that such numbers perish from want and starvation ? Far more strange would it indeed be if it were not so.
The same evils, and proceeding from precisely the same cause, are to be found in all other large centres of population, and exhibit themselves more or less prominently throughout the whole so-called civilised world. I say “so-called”, for what we call civilisation is not civilisation at all, it is but a refinement of barbarism. We may make a steam-engine and fall down and worship it, but it is a mistake to suppose that this constitutes civilisation. The laws we live under will not allow a man to stab his neighbour, or to blow his brains out, but they will allow him to start in business next door or immediately over the way, and if by superior capital, superior cunning, superior want of conscience, or any other cause, he succeeds in
and reducing his wife and family to destitution, the ruined man and his family have no redress. The law forbids a man to blow his own brains out, but it allows deeds to be perpetrated that will drive him to madness and despair, so that the thing is frequently done. Under the name of business a man may ruin his competitors by the dozen, having done this he may take advantage of the monopoly he enjoys and practise the most unheard of extortion and eventually bloom into a millionaire ; but if any of the wretches he has ruined should help himself without permission to a loaf of bread, he is forthwith run into jail as a thief.
Bakers' children go hungry, shoemakers' children barefooted, tailors' children in rags , and those who build palaces for others have to content themselves as best they can in a miserable hovel. Such are the fruits of laisser-faire !
Let it be supposed then that we civilise, or what is the same thing socialise our industries, the question at once arises as to where we are to begin. In the sketch I gave further back of the system I proposed to adopt, I started with the shipping business, but that was merely for convenience of illustration. When anything is to be done, it is usually an advantage to work by some definite rule; and the rule that should be adopted in this case is pretty clear, we should begin with those branches of industry which present the fewest obstacles and offer the best results.
I wish now to call attention to
A VERY IMPORTANT FACT.
Our industries are partly socialised already. The State has already undertaken the postal and telegraph service, it owns and works our railways, it has established an educational system, it conveys parcels for us across the ocean, and performs a number of other services. In South Australia there is nothing particularly new in the socialisation of our industries—we have adopted the principle for a long time back; all that needs to be done is to extend the sphere of our operations.
This is simple enough. Take the railway department, for instance; we already run our own trains and manufacture a portion of our rolling stock. What is to hinder us from manufacturing the whole of our rolling stock ? What necessity is there for either trucks or locomotives to be made in other peoples' workshops ? There is no earthly reason why the State should not perform all the labor, that is to say all the labor that it is considered advisable to do in the colony, in its own workshops. More workshops and more plant will be required, undoubtedly ; then let the State provide whatever is necessary. You want work you say, here is work for you at once. In every department over which the State now presides, whatever it may be that is wanted, its construction or manufacture in all cases where convenient should be undertaken by the State. The State is quite as able to do its own work as a limited liability company is able to do it for them and there is always this advantage, whatever profits follow from the undertaking we should in this way pocket for ourselves ; moreover, every fresh step we take makes the next easier and brings us nearer and nearer to the ideal social system.
As its industries are extended the State will be under the necessity of increasing its imports, and as soon an the time arrives when it would be convenient to import in its own ships, it ought to do so; and having once started in the ocean carrying business it could further extend operations by importing and exporting for the general public. This sort of thing is found an advantage to railway companies elsewhere, and what is there to stand in the way of a State Railway Company doing it in Australia ? Nor is there any necessity for the State to confine its operations to the inter-colonial trade ; it already undertaken the ,conveyance of small parcels to and from the old country, and if it convoys small parcels there is no reason why it should not convey large ones, the steamers are big enough, and it is done by other firms, why not by the firm of
WE US AND CO?
With the carrying trade in our hands it would be time to open our own warehouses and establish the necessary branch stores, and having done this we could steadily push our way into the various colonial manufactures and likewise undertake the purchase of all colonial produce.
We would then be in a position to use our own notes, it might even be found advisable to do it somewhat sooner, but with exports and imports, warehouses, factories, and everything else in our own hands, the use of gold as a medium of exchange would be an absurdity.
We would then have a big word to say about the hours of labor, the early closing movement, and a good many other things.
In thus sketching the line of transition from the present to the new order of things I do not wish it to be understood that the line drawn must be strictly adhered to. All I have sought to do is to show how the transition may be made and with but a small amount of friction. How it actually will be made none can tell. It will of necessity be determined by circumstances, and many of these circumstances it is impossible to foresee, but that it will be made, the signs of the times and the converging forces that are thickening around us, assure us there can be no doubt whatever.
I am aware that there are a number of fools in the world who imagine that things are unalterable, that they will always remain as now, and there have doubtless been fools of this kind in all ages; but, as Galileo in reported to have said, “the world moves for all that.”
The human race has by a number of philosophers been compared to an organism, and the changes that have been undergone in the past are said to be but the successive phases of its development. Whatever may have been the origin of man he possesses in his nature the capacity of an apparently infinite improvement, he is forever seeking a better state of things, and it is utterly impossible for existing conditions to continue. “Progress” says Spencer, “is not an accident but a necessity, instead of civilisation being artificial, it is a part of nature, all of a piece with the development of the embryo or the unfolding of a flower. The modifications mankind have undergone and are still undergoing, result from a law underlying the whole organic creation.”
I have alluded to our labor unions, our manhood suffrage, and the ballot-box as being tools ready to hand for doing all that is needed ; but with regard to our labor unions, I have something more to say. That they can exert a powerful influence at the ballot-box has been shown at the recent elections, but it seems to me that they might be improved in such a way as to be capable of doing a great deal more. At the present time a very large portion of our industrial population is to be found outside of our unions. Why not bring every man Jack of them inside ? With the unions as they are constituted at present, I hold this to be impossible ; but then, in all common sense, let us make it possible.
Every now and again some ingenious individual pretends to have had a dream that the Russians or Chinese are invading our shores, and tries to get up a scare ; but our real enemies are already in our midst, robbing us of our liberties, and levying toll upon the earnings of labor every day and every hour. This is not a dream, but a stern reality, and it is time we made a determined effort to shake off so crushing a despotism. If we would be free, let us marshal ourselves beneath one common banner; with a united front victory is ours. What I am thinking of my friends is an
While our long-winded members of Parliament are talking about importing a Governor-General, and wasting their breath in trying to concoct an impracticable paper federation, let us show then how to construct a real federation, a federation of honest labor.
If the cardinal principle of this federation were to place labor on a proper footing through the medium of the ballot box, I see no reason why not only every artizan and laborer, but every clerk and shop. keeper's assistant, in short, every man who honestly works for his living, should not be a member. The same causes which operate in keeping down the wages in one department of industry, operate in keeping down the wages in every other department of industry, and what is to the interest of one in to the interest of all. There are some who regard the difficulties in the way of forming a federation such as has been proposed as being insuperable ; but let us remember that the world moves, not only physically as Copernicus and Galileo taught us, but intellectually and socially; working men are learning to generalise, and instead of tracing their afflictions to the caprices of an individual employer, they begin to see that there are causes at work over which the individual employer has no control.
When a school-boy after a considerable amount of trouble succeeds in getting a situation in a merchant's office, he is possibly inflated with the notion that he will continue to climb higher and higher, until one day he is a merchant himself ; but as he grows older he sees that others around him have like hopes and like ambitions, and that in the majority of cases these hopes and ambitions must of necessity meet with disappointment. He grows to manhood, let us say, and possessing a respectably-dressed exterior, a refinement of manner and a fair education, he is welcomed into the society of ladies. and unintentionally and possibly before he is aware of it, his affections become riveted to one whom he would like to make his wife; he discovers by some means that his feelings are reciprocated, but, meanwhile,
WHAT ABOUT HIS WAGES,
and the certainty of continuous employment ? If of a cautious disposition, he will hesitate, and if prospects do not improve possibly part for ever from one whom heaven seemed to have made for him. If of an impulsive disposition, he will probably marry, and find only too soon that his- means are inadequate, and that they are not only inadequate, but that even such as they are, they are uncertain. In either case, whether he marries or not, the chances are that his life is a wretched one.
Under existing conditions, insufficiency of pay and uncertainty of employment are not the exceptions but the rule ; and no, matter what profession or occupation a man may follow, it will be to him interest to join in a federation that furnishes the means of placing labor on a proper footing. The machinery of such a federation need not be complicated or expensive; the lees complicated and less expensive the better.
There in a fair amount of time between this and the next general election ; and if good use is made of it, the federation ought by that time to be in good working order. If the federation is as widespread and far-reaching as I propose it to be, there ought to be no difficulty in publishing a newspaper (a real newspaper), containing the same kind of information as is now published in the ordinary dailies ; besides this it would faithfully represent the interests of the working classes. Let us now suppose that the time for the elections in approaching ; instead of waiting for all manner of political adventurers to announce themselves and ask us for our votes let us nominate our own candidates; be particular in the first place as to choice, but having once selected them we must
VOTE FOR THEM TO A MAN ;
only in this way can we hope to succeed.
I shall make no effort here to enter into any details concerning this federation scheme ; in fact there are but very few details wanted; I have thrown out the hint, and I now leave it for you to decide as to whether it will be acted upon.
My task is drawing to a close, but there are one or two more points on which it is necessary for me to speak. I promised to explain how in strict justice to all parties we might compensate the landlords; and you will excuse me, I hope, if I take the liberty of doing it in my own way.
Early in the spring of 1861, I was sitting in a comfortable parlor, in Regent-street, Cambridge ; my Sunday - school teacher, Mr. W, had invited me to spend the evening and take supper with him. Why I was invited on this particular occasion, I never knew from that day to this. I thought when I was invited that he was probably giving a little party, but on my arrival I found that the only visitor besides myself was a Mr. L the schoolmaster. I remember the circumstances well. The schoolmaster and I got at loggerheads over the poet Shelly ; he painted him black and I painted him white. It was only a few years previous to this that this Mr. L was in the habit of knocking the dust out of my clothes with a stout can, but the time that had elapsed had put us on more even terms, and we pitched into each other like two game cooks, the schoolboy thinking that on this subject at any rate he was as good as his master. The discussion ended like many other discussions, each of us being of the same opinion that we started with. All this to by the way; if you have patience for another minute I will come to the point. Whatever might be our differences of opinion, this schoolmaster was an intelligent man; his eyes were not two brass farthings, nor was his skull
STUFFED WITH SAWDUST,
as he told the boys on one occasion ; and besides his knowledge of mundane affairs, he posed as an authority on spiritual matters, some of his friends regarding him as a veritable wiseacre. On the occasion referred to, spiritual matters seemed to be the order .of the evening, and I remember Mr. W asking our long-headed friend, if he thought that the spirits in heaven had power to return to earth ? The reply that was given seemed to me exceedingly smart. “Undoubtedly they have,” was his response, “but it would be a very unlikely thing for them to do. I would be just about as likely to leave my warm bed on a winter's night to sleep on the cold frozen ground. The spirits in heaven are too supremely happy ever to think of returning to earth.”
I don't know anything about the spirits in the heaven referred to by my old school-master ; but I am quite satisfied that with a proper social organisation, this earth would be such a paradise to what it is now that not even landlords would wish to return to the old order of things. To use the simile already quoted, “I would be just about as likely to leave my warm bed on a winter's night to sleep on the cold frozen ground.”
Most of us know only too well what the world is now, but probably we have not all reflected on what it might be under better conditions. I do not mean natural conditions, the natural conditions seem to me to be everything that could be desired. It is not the natural conditions I complain of, but the artificial conditions—not the conditions imposed by nature, but the conditions imposed by man. I have not tortured you with poetical quotations, but having mentioned the name of Shelley perhaps you will pardon me for introducing a few lines of his, breathing as they do in this instance sentiments so much akin to my own
Look on yonder earth !
The golden harvests spring; the unfailing sun
Sheds light and life ; the fruits, the flowers,
Arise in due succession ; all things speak
Peace, harmony, and love. The universe,
In nature's silent eloquence, declares
That all fulfil the works of love and joy,
All but the outcast, Man. He fabricates
The sword which stabs his peace; he cherisheth
The snakes that gnaw his heart ; he raiseth up
The tyrant whose delight is in his woe,
Whose sport is in his agony. You sun,
Lights it the great alone? Yon silver beams,
Sleep they legs sweetly on the cottage thatch
Than on the dome of kings ? Is mother earth
A step-dame to her numerous sons who earn
Her unshared gifts with unremitting toil ;
A mother only to those puling babes
Who, nursed in ease and luxury, make men
The playthings of their baby hood, and mar,
In self important childishness. the peace
Which men alone appreciate?
Spirit of nature! No!
The pure diffusion of thy essence throbs
Alike in every human heart
Thou aye erectest there
Thy throne of power unappealable :
Thou art the judge beneath whose rod
Man's brief and frail authority
Is powerless as the wind
That passeth idly by;
Thine the tribunal which surpasseth
The show of human justice
As God surpasses man.
There are many who would attribute all the evils of the world to what they call man's natural depravity, and who are under the impression that until we can put all mankind through some sort of regenerating machine things will remain for ever very much as at present. There is no hope for anything better in this world, they tell up, we must look to the next. But there is no regenerating machine wanted, what is wanted is a change in our environments, the artificial environments that we have unwittingly made for ourselves. As for regarding things in this world as being hopeless, I would like to call attention to what a certain carpenter's son said on the subject ; He who taught the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and who left a prayer on record that it might serve us a model. He did not say, “Father, take me to thy kingdom,” but, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
And it will be done. But in saying this, my friends, I would like to warn you against a somewhat prevalent philosophic fatalism, and to which the theory of social evolution appears to give countenance. When a mail steamer leaves our shores for England it would be pretty safe to predict that in a given number of weeks it would arrive there, but the captain and crew do not on this account stand with folded arms watching the current of events. If they did this, the ship would never arrive, and so with our social evolution ; if we were to stand idly looking on in the belief that as we were bound to make progress our exertions were unnecessary we should never make progress ; the reason that we make progress at all is that we put forth efforts to make it, and the rate of that progress will always be governed by the force and character of those efforts.
FRIENDS—I have surely now justified the title of this address. The rights of labor have been defined, and you have been shown how those rights may be obtained. If any one else can give a better definition of the rights of labor or can show a better way of obtaining them, by all means let him do no. I think, however, that as far as the main arguments are concerned most of you will agree with what has been said ; and if the principles I have enunciated please you, let us set to work to put those principles into practice.
Let us have an understanding with each other. I am not talking to you for the sake of pay, nor yet for the pleasure of seeing my name in print. It would be very much to my own personal advantage were I to leave all such matters alone; and as for seeing my name in print, it has been there too many times already for the thing to be any luxury, and in any came it would be but a very poor satisfaction. If a man is seeking wealth and honor, he will find it to his advantage not to champion the cause of the down-trodden and oppressed, but to insinuate himself into the good graces of the rich and powerful. If you want to see the sort of reward which a man gets for speaking the plain honest truth about things, take a walk down Hindley-street and look at
representing the Crucifixion. Many who have looked at that beautiful painting have doubtless laid the flattering unction to their souls that had they lived in those days they would have known better than to crucify so noble a specimen of humanity; but let none of us deceive ourselves over this matter, for it has been ever thus-we worship, or pretend to worship, the noble and heroic spirits of the distant past, while we go on persecuting from day to day the corresponding spirits who are amongst us in the living present. It is true chat we do not in this part of the world nail the victims of our displeasure to crosses of wood, but however much we may refine our methods of persecution, persecution is persecution still. A man might almost as well be crucified as to be reduced to want and beggary, and this is the reward that is too often meted out to the Christs of to-day. And this thought leads to another reflection. With the spectra of poverty continually haunting a man, who shall say how many a noble aspiration has been smothered in its birth? How many of those, I would like to know, who occupy our pulpits dare to speak that which they really think ? However virtuous they may be at heart, they require the means to live; but, unfortunately, Dives holds the purse, and Dives is their paymaster, and it is no wonder that the “living waters” are so often flavored and sweetened to suit his palate.
If we would be free, we must not look to our chief priests, our scribes, our rulers, or those who sit in high places; for them to champion the cause of the working classes would be, in a worldly sense,
A BAD INVESTMENT ;
if anything is to be done that is worth doing we must do it ourselves. Without fear and without hope of favor, I have honestly endeavored to show you a way out of our present bondage, to show you what can and what ought to be done, and if you think anything I have said is worth acting upon the only reward I ask is that you should show your appreciation by resolutely acting upon it.
Think over the matter. But don't stop at thinking. Neither thinking nor talking is of any use unless it is backed up by action.
Were I proposing some unjust or impracticable scheme, I would not expect you to listen to me ; but from beginning to end Justice has been my motto—it will always be my motto— and as far as the practicability of my proposals is concerned, the only thing wanting is that you should resolutely determine to put them into practice. Nor need it be supposed that the proposals I have made are of too radical a character. We are suffering from radical wrongs, and it is idle to think that anything short of radical remedies can ever right them.
History bears record of reforms that have been far more drastic; but there in no need, however, to appeal to history. The great leveller Death is at all times busy in our midst, and it in only a matter of a few more years for the richest amongst as to be placed on a level with the meanest pauper. One might almost imagine from the opposition that is raised in certain quarters to every measure of real reform that these people expected to live for ever, or that when they died they would take their estates and bank balances with them ; but they can neither take their ill-gotten gains with them nor live for ever ; and even if they were to live for ever it would be far better for them to live under more equitable social conditions.
I want to say a few words more particularly to
MY SINGLE TAX FRIENDS.
You will have noticed that while in some respects I have followed precisely the same lines of argument, I have in other respects handled the subject somewhat differently to what I did five years ago. But I wish you clearly to understand that I have no intention of going back from anything which I then said upon the land question. In place of going back, I claim to have gone forward, and, as I undertook to do at the beginning, I have brought the subject down to date. There are a number of people in the world whose ideas have reached a certain point, but who seem utterly incapable of proceeding further ; it is possible that at some date in the future such maybe the case with myself, but I am happy to say it is not so at the present; my ideas have been making progress from the time I drew my first breath, and I live in hope that they will make still further progress.
I withdraw nothing, and I am as sensible now as then of the iniquity of property in land. The expediency and justice of taxing what are called Land Values, has also received further support from the conclusions I have reached respecting the cause of interest, and which have been set forth in my essay on the subject but I am of opinion that something more can be done. I am still of opinion that were land once nationalized, every other reform would be easier, but I am also of opinion that land nationalisation itself would be easier if undertaken in conjunction with other reforms. I do not put forward the socialization of labor in opposition to the socialization of land, but as an ally ; and I am convinced that it will prove a very valuable ally.
THE TWO CURSES
that we are suffering from at the present day are the opposite extremes of competition and monopoly ; the one is wasteful and demoralizing, the other arbitrary and tyrannical ; socialism will remedy both.
“The idea of socialism,” says Henry George, “Is grand and noble ; and it is, I am convinced, possible of realisation, but such a state of society cannot be manufactured—it must grow.” And it is growing, it has been growing for along time back, not only ideally but also practically. Our literature is teeming with it, the very air seems thick with it, unconsciously we have in a number of departments already adopted it, and its extension to other departments will be in thorough accord with the spirit of the times. A word now to
You have grasped the fact that individually you are weak, and that your strength lies in combination ; you have grasped the fact that the well-being of an individual worker is bound up with the well-being of his co-workers ; and, to your honor be it said, you have stood shoulder to shoulder making personal sacrifices and heroic efforts to benefit, not yourselves individually, but the whole class to which you belong. This is the true spirit of socialism, and it is on your disciplined battalions that I place my greatest hopes.
I would like also to say a few words to another class. There are a number of people in the world who are honestly striving, each in his own way, to make the world better and brighter ; but, unfortunately, many of the efforts that are made, though commendable as far as they go, are inadequate and fail to reach the cause of the trouble. A plaster may serve to cover a pimple, and a poultice may serve to relieve a boil, but if a man has
A BROKEN LEG
plasters and poultices will not serve the purpose—there is no effective remedy but to set the bone in its proper place. And as with physical disorders, so with social disorders—no remedy can be effective that does not reach the source of the evil.
We may build State schools, orthodox churches, and marble house of Parliament; schoolmasters may instruct, the clergy may preach, and members of Parliament may legislate; but so long as we are deprived of our rights in the land, and the toiling mass are systematically robbed of their honestly earned reward, poverty, crime, and suffering will abound in our midst.
We may bridge the ocean with our steamships, and chain the lightning's flash to the depths below ; we may fertilize the desert, and go on multiplying the earth's increase ; Nature may reveal her secrets, and the genius of the inventor may abridge and add to the efficiency of labor ; but what will these avail if justice is to be denied ? What will all the wealth of the world profit a man if he himself is refused the means to live ? The sum of human happiness is not to be measured by the wealth of nations; the wealth of nations needs to be diffused among the masses who compose the nations. Each one should enjoy his due share. The extravagant enjoyments of a millionaire are no compensation for the sufferings of those who want. It is not sufficient to have enough for all, but all should have enough. There is enough for all, but it needs distribution—not charitable distribution, but an equitable distribution—a distribution based upon the eternal law of righteousness !
A social organisation that places widespread poverty side by side with redundant wealth is a double curse, which embitters and exasperates on the one hand, while it corrupts and demoralises on the other. Agur was wise when he prayed that he might have neither poverty nor riches, lest he be poor and steal, or rich and forget his God.
The subject I have been dealing with in this address is not a mere question of political expediency, nor a mere question of how taxes shall be raised. It is a broad moral question. It is a question of right versus wrong ; a question of liberty versus bondage. I have endeavored to show you a way out or your bondage. I ask for no pay, and I seek no popularity; with a slight alteration of the words of Danton—“May my name perish for ever, but let my fellow man be free!” If, however, you should regard the principles I have set forth as worth acting upon, to one and all I would say again, let us by all means act Upon them.
In the world's broadfield of battle,
In the bivouac of Life.
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife.
Trust no Future, how’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act -act In the living Present!
Head within, and God o'er head!