| VOL. 5.--No. 55.
|| JUNE, 1891.
|| MONTHLY; ONE PENNY
THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AND
Who has not read the description of a whale chase? Who has not read how the monstrous beast, who would hardly know it if he swallowed a man, is pursued in cockle-shells of boats, any one of which be could overturn- and be often does it-by one lash of his tail? Who does not know that despite this enormous disparity of physical strength between the whale and his foes, he sinks in the end before their intelligent combined action, and floats a lifeless mass upon the waves, the victim of the skilful maneuvering of harpoon and line? But first, what floundering and splashing and spouting, what hairbreadth escapes for whale and men! And sometimes the whale gets off, and sometimes the men are drowned, and sometimes, when the whale seems to have got away scot-free, he only rids himself of one crew of enemies to be pierced to the quick by the harpoons of another.
There are monstrous agglomerations floundering in the social life of today, which somehow suggest a whale diving and spouting and lashing the water to destroy its would-be destroyers; corporations and classes united into one body by some fancied common interest, and beset by the needs and aspirations of the rest of mankind. In every progressive community one sees them striking out blindly in this direction and that, wildly endeavouring to save themselves at any cost and by any means. The more desperate their situation, the more frantic their struggles. "Those whom the gods will destroy they first make mad," says the old Greek proverb.
That monstrous aggregation of human beings bound together by prejudice, ambition, greed, and fear, and collectively known as the Russian Government, certainly seems "fey " just now, and its furious contortions are affecting the social life of the civilised world. For in our times of international trade, and finance, and easy communication, a government cannot reduce itself to the verge of bankruptcy by reckless gambling and universal corruption, turn out its population wholesale, grind down those who remain to a state of desperation, and by every sort of barbarious persecution crush out the intelligence and enterprise of its more enlightened citizens, without seriously affecting the condition of its neighbours. At the present moment, when the social atmosphere is charged with revolutionary electricity, it is impossible to say in which direction the storm may first break forth; but financial complications are still more likely now to play their part in precipitating the outburst than in the last century, when they contributed so handsomely to bring about the French Revolution. And Russia is a standing menace to the peace, such as it is, of the financial world. The Russian Government stands desperately in need of money, with its immense crowd of officials, whose stickyness of finger even beats that of their like in the U. S. A., the enormous expenses of its standing army, its would-be first class navy, and its innumerable gang of police agents. It has borrowed from the capitalists of other countries vast sums of money, which it has no means of repaying, when they fall due, except by borrowing afresh. To get these new loans it must keep its credit good, and especially pay the covenanted rate of interest regularly in gold. This interest is paid from as much of the produce of the State gold mines as does not slip into the pockets of contractors and officials on the way. Some millions sterling are lodged with some great financial house in Western Europe who lend at interest as much of it as is not immediately wanted. This Russian business is a doubtful blessing to the financier who accepts it, for the Russian Government, being hard-up and reckless, are liable to call their balance in at three months' notice, and by so doing have ruined two successive agents of theirs in the last few years, i.e., the Comptoir d'Escompte, in Paris, and, last year, Baring Brothers, in London. Baring had lent the gold to the Argentine and Uruguay Governments, who could not repay it on call, and everyone remembers the threatened panic and disturbance of English industry, which the Bank of England rushed into the breach to stave off. Now, even according to the confessions of the Minister of State Domains, in his last official report, the proceeds of the State gold mines were falling off 11 per cent. every year, on an average, between 1883-8, as compared to 1879-83. Thus while it becomes yearly more difficult to wring the taxes from the miserable peasants, and the enormous import duties bring in less than the Finance Minister expected, because the people are too poor to buy at the exorbitant prices they cause, the gold supply with which the foreign interest must be paid is actually decreasing. No wonder the Russian Government is fidgety with their European
balance. After Baring's failure they were obliged to transfer their business to the Jewish House of Rothchild; no other financier being strong enough to take the risk. And to Rothchild (the Paris House) was confided the conduct of a conversion scheme, for the details of which we refer our readers to an article on "Russian Finance" in the Fortnightly Review for February last. Suffice it to say that the object of it was to meet present difficulties by postponing the repayment of a loan until M. Vishnegradsky and Co. should have gone over to the majority, and be no longer liable to suffer from the disagreeables of national insolvency and probable revolution.
It seems inconceivable that men in their senses should thus put their fortunes into the hands of a powerful clique, and then proceed to flout and insult those connected with them by blood and interest. Punch had an excellent cartoon last month: the fawning Muscovite in the character of Antonio borrowing the three thousand ducats from Shylock, who stands indignant in his flowing Jewish gabardine, and turns upon him:--
"You come to me and you say,
Shylock, we would have monies: you say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard,
And foot me, as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold; monies is your suit?
What should I say to you? I Should I not say,
Hath a dog monies?"
Probably the Russian Antonio reckoned the Shylock of to-day an Individualist pure and simple, holding considerations of humanity for so much maudling sentimentalism. But it is never safe to reckon without human solidarity, even amongst thieves. The Jewish trading community stand by one another far closer than the traders of other races, and all over Europe its ramifications are prodigious.* There is competition of Jew against Jew, and exploitation of Jew by Jew, but amongst classes of Jews with an interest in common there is a keener appreciation of the mutual utility of standing solid, than amongst most other people. For instance, the Jewish firms on the London Stock Exchange, and they are the majority of the wealthiest firms there, help one another through difficult times, as the English firms never do, except in cases of special personal friendship. Partly it is the natural drawing together for self-defence of a race who for ages have sojourned as persecuted strangers in a strange land; partly it is the native farsighted shrewdness which has shown them that mutual aid pays.
Be all this as it may, the Russian Government have reckoned without their host. Messrs. Rothchild, since the Jews have been exiled wholesale from Russia, have found the state of the markets inconvenient for the proposed conversion scheme. The Russian Government are making desperate efforts to get gold for their present needs, have drawn off a million last week from the London Rothchilds and will draw more, are buying all they can get in New York, and generally keeping the money markets of the world in a fluster. They will get along for this time no doubt, but it behooves all revolutionists, watching the danger signals of the time, to keep an eye upon them and the disturbances in credit which they cause. For credit is the air-bladder which floats the capitalist system, and with it the lives and fortunes of the workers who are its slaves.
But why this mad outburst of the Russian Government against the Jews? Space fails us to more than allude to the harpoons clinging on all sides to the monster's flanks. There is the out and out revolutionary movement. There is the irritating countenance and support its constitutional side has found in England and America: the outcry about Siberian attrocities, the exposure of Polish iniquities, the Exile Escape fund, the refugee fund, public meetings of protest, and Free Russia. There is the continual agitation and disaffection amongst the peasants, and the increasing difficulties of flogging out their ever growing arrears of taxes. There is the ever-lasting discontent of the town workmen, the students, the middle class, the upper class, dissatisfied
* Take, for instance, the city of Warsaw, in relation to which the statistics of the proportion of Jewish to native traders happen to have been lately published by Consul General Grant. The trades And industries of the city are almost entirely in the hands of Jews ; higher branches of commerce 16 Jews to every 3 Poles; lower branches, 19 Jews to 2 Poles ; agency and brokerage businesses, 48 Jews to I Pole ; large industrial enterprises, 63 per rent in the hands of Jews. There is hardly a business centre, London included, where a considerable portion, if not the majority, of the most successful commercial and trading houses are not Jews, and these larger firms are connected with endless small ones.
with the restrictions on education, on science, on literature, on business, on every profession and avocation of daily life, the victims of "Russification," whose comparatively free national institutions, and even their native language, have been suppressed, the victims of religious persecutions, who have been imprisoned or exiled for not conforming to the State church, each and all go to swell the chorus of dissatisfaction. The financial position we have seen is a perpetual menace. The government must do something to divert public attention-so it has fallen foul of the Jews; driving honest, hardworking citizens, by hundreds of thousands, from their homes and all they possess, to wander poverty stricken and wretched to foreign lands, on the plea that these are the cause of the national want of prosperity. Exploitors of any race are a curse to the community where they dwell, but the blind wrath of the Russian Government has fallen in chief part on the poorest of the Jewish workers, and in any case, where in Russia can be found an exploiter so abominable as the Government itself?
FREEDOM AND PROPERTY.
THE producer has an acknowledged claim on the produce, we have said: A claim rendered confused and vague by the wage system and by the property law of to-day, but still generally recognised amongst civilised men as having theoretically some justice in it. Why? To discover we must make a careful analysis of the relation between producer and produce. It is a relationship not quite so simple as may appear at the first glance to those who have been accustomed to take it for granted without thinking much about it. As there is no question which leads us more directly to the root of the Anarchist position, we propose to dwell upon it at some length.
When a man claims a thing on the ground that he is its producer, be certainly does not mean that be has made it out of nothing, as God was supposed, in the ancient Jewish legend, to have made the world. No man has yet succeeded in adding a single element to those which, as far as can be discovered, singly or in combination are the component parts of every existing object. And each element possesses its own inherent properties, its own inherent force which man can neither diminish nor increase. All that any man can do is to set these elements in motion, causing them by force of their own natures to part company, to associate, to coalesce in various forms, to unite in different proportions. As J. S. Mill says: "Putting things into fit places for being acted upon by their own integral forces, and by those residing in other natural objects, is all that man does, or can do, with matter." The relation then of the producer to the produce, upon which his claim to ownership in it is founded, depends solely upon this "setting in motion," this "putting"; in fact, upon the transmission the energy in the man to the substance wherewith he is dealing. Therefore, when the producer of a material product directly (or indirectly through some medium) sets in motion the matter of which it is to be formed, he is actually putting something which was in him into it. The thoroughness and closeness of the relation be thus enters into with the product depends on the completeness with which he expends the energy of his whole being in the process, added to the amount of energy he expends. When a man puts into the production of anything the energy of his muscles, his will and his mind, with the utmost intensity of which he is capable, during the whole of the most energetic period of his life; his relation to that thing as its producer is the completest--and most thorough possible. Thus the strength of the relation between producer and produce varies according to its completeness, to its intensity while it endures, and to the length of its duration. And, we hold, with the strength of the relation between them varies the strength of the producer's claim (in the character of producer merely) to the product. In other words, the more the thing fashioned embodies of the personality of the fashioner, the stronger his claim to decide how it shall be used.
So much for a general summary of our position. Let us now work it out more in detail; and to begin with, let us take a very simple and trivial example and look closely into the various essential factors concerned in the productive process.
Harry, a very ordinary, Nineteenth Century young Englishman, is walking along a country lane and sees a stick that takes his fancy growing in the hedge. He climbs the bank, cuts off the branch, trims and peels it, carries it home, steams it and ties the top to a curve be likes for a handle then he lays the stick to dry and harden and finally polishes it and puts on a steel ferule. Obviously this smart walking stick differs considerably from the branch growing in the hedge. It is still wood, but wood whose form, surface and tissue have been modified by the action of many agencies, which we may classify, according to their nature, in three divisions.
In the first place, these changes have been effected by the action and counter-action of that combination of matter we call wood, with all its inherent properties and forces, and a succession of other combinations of matter, with their inherent properties and forces--steel, steam, string, air, polishing materials, etc. If any of these had been wanting, or had been in themselves other than they were, the result would not have been produced. So here we have class one of essential agencies--the non-human.
In the second place, that these substances should have been so combined and arranged as to act upon one another for the production of the walking stick implies the strenuous activities of countless human
beings for countless ages. Firstly, all the activities which have gone to prepare the natural agents which we have seen acting upon the stick. Secondly, all the activities which have gone to prepare the idea of a walking stick, as it exists for the community whereof Harry is a member. Thirdly, all the activities which have gone to prepare Harry in mind and body to use that idea and those natural agents effectively. It is bewildering to attempt to realise the vast amount of human energy which is thus, indirectly but essentially, a factor in such a simple productive process as we are considering. If Harry had been living in England many thousand years ago and wanted to cut himself a tough staff, he would have had to hunt about for a sharp stone or piece of the bone of some dead beast. Later he would have had a ready-split flint flake for the purpose and later on again might have possessed a flint knife., tied into a rough wooden handle. Long ages after that a bronze dagger would have been an available implement. The other day, so to speak, if Harry had been one of the earliest Englishmen to emigrate from the mainland to this island, he might have been able to cut his stick with an iron blade. A steel-bladed, folding pocket knife is a very modern luxury. As with the knife, so with all other agents employed in the transformation of the branch into the walking stick. The string, the steaming apparatus, the polish, all involve the muscular and mental activities of numberless men; from the first wild savages who happened to bethink them of trying to divide something by rubbing it with a sharp stone or bone, or fastening things together with grasses and withes of creeper, or heating water, etc., etc., on to the export steel founders, cutlers, string makers, etc., etc., of to-day, So again as regards that general idea of a walking stick which is the common property of the society where Harry was born, so that he and all around him received it as they received impressions of horses or trees, without intending to do so or taking any trouble about it. Nevertheless the perception of a walking stick differs from the perception of a growing branch just by reason of the activities of human beings involved therein, from the ingenious expedient of' those primitive ape-like animals who thought of picking up a broken bough to support their shaky steps when they walked on their hind legs, to their far more intelligent descendants who conceived the idea of purposely breaking off branches to lean upon. And so on through those endless generations of men who have exercised their brains and hands upon the manifold diversity of staves and crutches which have been forerunners of the modern walking-stick. Further, there is Harry's own fitness in mind and body to use what has been prepared for him, a fitness in which the activities of the human beings surrounding him have played a considerable part. We are not speaking of his faculties and perceptions in general. His faculties have been developed, his perceptions suggested by his education and social surroundings and in bearing their part in the whole of his mental and physical life, have all been strongly influenced by the activities of other human beings. Such general considerations would lead us here too far afield; but if we glance only at the knowledge and skill directly required to enable him to make use of the non-human and human agencies required for making his stick, we see at once that he is immensely indebted to the activities of others. He has learnt from others the uses of knives, string, steam, etc., the practical capacities of these things, and where to get and how to apply them for the special object he has in view. In fact both the main idea and the processes for its realisation have been given to him by means of other people's activities. Here then we have the second class of agencies essential to the production of the walking-stick, i.e., the indirect human activities involved.
However there is evidently another essential factor in the case, a third agency, without which the other two could not be brought into action, and this, of course, is--Harry. Whatever it may have received from other things and other people the piece of wood has received something special and definite from him. "Well," you may say impatiently, "it is quite obvious what he has done. He has applied some energy, which before was lying stored up in himself, or which be was expending otherwise, in setting the wood and the other agencies concerned in motion." True; but so general a statement is something like the first rough charcoal sketch for a picture. It enables us to realise very faintly what is actually implied by it. Let us take the first stage of the productive process and examine it more particularly.
By an expenditure of his nervous and muscular energy Harry severs the bough from the parent plant. But he would have done exactly the same-- expended just as much nervous and muscular energy if he bad been scrambling through the hedge and broken the branch off accidentally. And the energy transmitted by a stone, if it effected the game result in rolling down from the cliff above, would be much the same in amount. Yet under these circumstances, Harry would be about as likely as the stone to put forward a claim to the broken bough in the character of its producer, if he should chance afterwards to discover he had broken it. Obviously, in severing it for a walking-stick lie has expended more than the nervous and muscular energy required by the mechanical action of severing. He has severed the piece of wood of set purpose. He has put into the action energy of will.
It is a common-place of observation how fast and how thoroughly a man may exhaust his energy by the exercise of his will. We all know that when a man "works with a will," "puts his heart [it should be "his will"] into what he is about," he is sooner knocked up and obliged to rest before he can go on again than if he is merely exerting himself mechanically or listlessly plodding along. And this happens just the same if the work he is about is work of brain or of hand. Further, we know that a man may be utterly exhausted without stirring a finger, simply by having to make a great effort of will. Whatever the human will may be--and no one seems yet to have lit upon
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a satisfactory definition or explanation of it--there is no doubt that its exercise involves expenditure of energy. Therefore when he cuts the branch, Harry is expending his energy in a twofold manner; through his muscles and the nerves which direct their mechanical action and through his exercise of will. But this two-fold expenditure of energy on his part would have taken place just the same if he bad intentionally cut off the stick merely because it was in his way when he wanted to get through the hedge. And if he had picked the severed stick up and, being in a bad temper, had carried it away with him and hit all the stones and bushes he passed until he had smashed the stick to pieces, he would most probably have expended as much energy both of muscle and will as if he had taken all needful measures to transform the rough bough into a walking-stick. Evidently then Harry's energy when be sets about producing a walking-stick, is expended in some third way, which we have yet to analyse.
BETWEEEN TWO WORKERS
BY ENRICO MALATESTA
(Continued from previous number.)
William. But now tell me: how would it be if an arrangement were made with the owners of property: they to contribute the land and capital and we the work; the produce to be shared between us and them? What do you say to that ?
Jack. First of all I say that if you were willing to go shares, ten to one your master would be willing to do nothing of the sort. You would be obliged to use force to bring him to it. But in that case, why do things by halves? Why content yourself with a system which allows injustice and parasitism to continue and prevents the increase of production? And further, what right have certain men who do not work to come and take half of what is produced by the workers? Besides, as I have told you, it is not only that half the produce would go to the employers, but that the sum total of produce would be less than it might be, because where you have private property and isolated labour less is produced than by working in common. It is like when you want to move a rock: a hundred men would not succeed by trying singly, whereas by uniting their efforts two or three can raise it easily. If one man wished to make a pin, I don't know if he could get through it in an hour; whereas ten men working into each other's hands can make thousands of pins a day. Economists, many of whom have let themselves be scandalously biased by class prejudice, have often said that poverty is not the result of the seizure of property by the upper classes, but of the scarcity of natural products, which would, say they, be quite insufficient, if they were distributed to all men. This enables the said economists and their disciples to conclude that poverty is ail inevitable thing, against which no measures can be taken. Don't believe a word of it. Even as things are organised to-day, the produce of the earth and of industry is enough to enable every man to live in comfort; and if it is not more abundant, that is the employers' fault. They think of nothing but how much they can gain, and even go so far as to destroy articles or let them go to waste merely to keep up the price. Whilst they pretend there is not enough natural wealth, they are leaving large tracts of country uncultivated and numbers of workmen with nothing to do. But, answer a certain school of economists, even when all ground is brought under cultivation and tilled as intelligently as may be, still the productive power of the earth is limited and the increase of population is not. Therefore there must always come a moment when the production of food stuffs will be stationary, whilst population will go on growing indefinitely and with it famine. The sole remedy, they conclude, for social ills is that the poor should have very few children. I'm not very learned about the law of rent but I'm sure this remedy is no cure for our social evils. You have only to look at countries where there is plenty of land and a scanty population; you will see as much or more poverty as where population is dense. We must change our social organisation and bring all the land under cultivation, and then, if the population seems growing too fast, we can consider how to check it. But let us go back to the question of produce-sharing between property-owner and workman. It is a system which used to exist in parts of France in field work. It still exists in Tuscany, but it is gradually disappearing because the landowners find day-labour pay them better. Now-a-days, what with machines, scientific culture and foreign produce, the masters are obliged to farm on a large scale and employ hired labourers. If they don't, they are ruined by competition. If the present system goes on, I believe that property will be more and more concentrated in the hands of a few, and the workers reduced to utter wretchedness by machinery and rapid methods of production. We shall have a few big financiers and capitalists masters of the world, a certain number of workmen attending upon the machines, and a number of servants and police to wait on and defend the aforesaid big men. The mass of the people will have to die of hunger or live on charity. The beginnings of such a state of things may already be seen: small
properties are disappearing, the numbers of out-o'-works increases, the gentlefolks, from fear or from pity, busy themselves with soup kitchens and the schemes of General Booth. If the people do not wish to be reduced to beg their bread from rich philanthropists or Local Boards, as they once did at the gates of monasteries, let them lose no time in taking possession of the land and machinery and working on their own account.
William. But how would it do if Government were to make some good laws to force rich people not to make the poor suffer?
Jack. The same old story, William! Isn't the government made up of gentlefolks, and is it likely that they will make laws against themselves? But even supposing the poor could manage to take their turn at governing, would that be a reason for leaving the rich with the means of getting the upper hand again? Rely upon it, wherever there are rich and poor, the poor may make their voices heard for a moment during an outbreak, but the rich will always get hold of the power in the end. This is why we, if we are the stronger for ever so short a time, must at once take property away from the rich, so that they may not have the means of putting things back as they were before.
William. I understand. We must have a real Republic, make all men equal, and then the man who works will eat, and the man who does nothing can go with an empty stomach. Ah me! I'm sorry I'm old. You young folks will see a good time.
Jack. Softly, softly, friend! By the word "Republic" you mean the Social Revolution, and for those who understand you that is all very well. But you are expressing yourself badly; for what is commonly understood by a Republic is not at all what you mean. Get it well into your head that republican government is a government like the rest; only instead of a king there is a president and ministers who really have just the same powers. We see that very plainly across the Channel, and even if the French had the democratic republic promised by their radicals, they wouldn't be any better off. Instead of two Chambers they would have one, the Chamber of Deputies, but wouldn't the people be forced to be soldiers and to work like slaves all the same, in spite of all the fine promises of the gentlemen deputies? Don't you see that as long as there are rich and poor, the rich will have the upper hand? Whether we live under a Republic or a Monarchy the results which spring from private property will always exist. Whilst economic relations are regulated by competition, property will be concentrated in a few hands, machines will take work from working men and the masses will be reduced to misery. Have any of the Republics that exist seriously bettered the condition of the working classes?
William. Well to be sure! And I always believed that Republic meant equality!
Jack. Yes, the republicans say so, and this is how they make it out; "Under a really democratic Republic," say they, "the members of parliament who make the laws are elected by the whole people. Consequently when the people are not contented, they change their M.P.'s for better ones and everything comes right. And as the poor are the great majority, it is practically they who govern." That is what the republicans say, but the reality is something quite different. The very poverty of the poor causes them to be ignorant and superstitious, and they will remain so as long as they are not economically independent and are unconscious of their true interests. You and I who have been lucky enough to earn more than some and to be able to teach ourselves a little, may have intelligence to understand where our interests lie and strength to face the employers' revenge; but the great mass will never be able to do so as long as present conditions last. In a time of Revolution one brave man is worth a score of timid ones and draws along with him numbers who, left to themselves, would never have the energy to revolt. But in front of a ballot-box character and energy go for nothing. Mere numbers are all that tell. And in the present state of things the greatest number will always be for the men who hold their daily bread in their hands and can give or withhold at their pleasure. Haven't you happened to notice as much? To-day the greater part of the electors are poor, but how often do you see them choosing men of their own class to represent them and defend their interests?
William. No, most of 'em don't like to run the chance of offending the landlord, the parson, or their employer. If they do, they are as like as not to be turned off and even evicted.
Jack. Not a hopeful outlook for the benefits to be expected from universal suffrage, is it? The people will always send middle-class men to parliament, and these will always be contriving how to keep the people as dependent and submissive as possible. Even if we were to have paid members and the poor were to take advantage of this to send working men to represent them, what could they do in so corrupt a medium? The few that have been tried have not cut a very brilliant figure in any country, No! during the next revolution the people must not allow themselves to be hoodwinked as they have so often been by democrats and republicans. Over and over again the people have dropped their arms on being promised a Republic, because they have been taught to believe that it is the best possible form of social organisation and will work marvels in their condition. Next time they must not rest content with empty words, they must resolutely lay hands upon property.
William. You are right. We have been deceived so often, it is time we opened our eyes. But still there must always be a government, for if there is no one to give orders, how can things go on?
(To be continued)
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THE FIRST OF MAY.
May-day of '91 will not be memorable for any marked display of revolt on the part of the workers. But it will be remembered, bitterly remembered, by the workers for the wonton and cowardly brutality with which their rulers, craven with fear, shed the blood of poor women and children, as was the case at Fourmies. One of these days in the near future a crime like this will be the beginning of the end. It is very probable there is more news still to come as to events from other parts; for, as every honest person knows, the capitalist press is a liar by trade, and would certainly suppress news of revolutionary interest, if so minded. Still after making all allowances, it is evident there has been a period of "calm" this year which may be attributed to several things, but which to our thinking principally indicates a dying-down of the enthusiasm for the eight-hour day. In London especially this seemed to be the case, the third of May demonstration having nothing of the fire and enthusiasm of the year before. Perhaps the men are disheartened at the sight of their "leaders" playing the fool on royal commissions. In this case it is to be hoped they will soon see the necessity of making a new departure, in other words, of thinking and acting for themselves. In fact it seems to us this is the only course open to them, since it is being admitted on all hands that the problem of the organisation of labour in East London is too vast for either government or Trade Unionism to cope with. Very much too vast, we think; and we are convinced that if the workers cannot solve it themselves no one can solve it for them.
THE ANARCHIST PROTEST.
The only spark of last year's enthusiasm decernable amongst the London workers on May the third was struck out amongst the audience round the Anarchist platform; where comrades from several groups met together to protest publicly against the LEGAL eight hour day and political methods in general. The direct revolutionary action and out and out Communism advocated by Cantwell, Louise Michel, Yanovsky, Mowbray, Kropotkine, Mainwaring, Wess, and Nicoll roused a livelier response than any of the parliamentary platitudes of the professional labour leaders. Meetings of like character were also held by several comrades on May the first, in Hyde Park and on Mile End Waste.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE "COMMONWEAL."
Last month the 'WEAL came out again as a weekly, and, better still, as a "Revolutionary Journal of Anarchist Communism." We heartily wish our comrades of the London S. L. success in the decided step they have taken. As long as the paper was the "Official Journal of the Socialist League," supposed to express the united convictions of a loose aggregation of "branches," wherein was represented every shade of Socialistic opinion, from the mildest parliamentary Social Reform to the most revolutionary Communist Anarchism, it could not be thoroughly satisfactory to any one. But that state of things has passed away, and now that the ancient centralised League, with no political creed, has evolved into a number of friendly but independent local groups, most of whom tend more and more to become definitely Anarchist, the paper has evolved also. May it have the best of good luck in its new departure. It has long ceased to be the parade ground of the Marxists, and has done much useful propaganda with its free and revolutionary Communistic articles. We feel sure that the avowal of thorough-going Anarchist opinions will strengthen and enlarge its influence for good.
By the way, we are glad to notice the present editors of the "Commonweal" denouncing, with the contempt it deserves, the lying assertion of the capitalist press that the 'Weal has turned upon its former editor. Comrade Morris is not avowedly an Anarchist by conviction; but in character he is a born-Anarchist, and in very much of his writing--for instance, "News from Nowhere"--the most hypercritical of Anarchists would have to borrow a pair of spectacles to discover serious points of disagreement. Like other people, Anarchists admire his art-
istic genius, but, in addition, there is not an Anarchist worth his salt who, being acquainted with William Morris, does not respect him as a good comrade and an honest man.
JUDGE NOT THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED.
Possibly this adage may have crossed the mind of Captain Verney when sentence was pronounced upon HIM,--he who had so often sentenced the unfortunate victims of our present system, the criminals so-called. Yet Verney differs probably from a multitude of men like himself in this fact only that he has had the misfortune to be found out. And however much we may despise the man, it is after all not much use expressing our contempt while we leave the wealth and power which he used to buy women's bodies in the hands of numbers of men no better than be. To our mind however he is infinitely more despicable than the majority of such offenders from the fact that he voluntarily chose to become a maker of laws for our general guidance and improvement. Think of his solicitude for poor men's morals; of his Liberal Principles; of his admonitions from the bench as a J. P.; of his speeches as a legislator in the House of Commons. What a double-died hypocrite. What a typical saint of this middle-class Nineteenth Century.
ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF LEGAL MARRIAGE.
Since the decision in the "Queen v. Jackson" case, many magistrates, to whom ill-used wives appealed for protection and order of maintenance, have declined to grant the order, saying that if wives did not like their husbands they were free to leave them as Mrs. Jackson had done. Such decisions are no doubt bitter pills to wives who are also mothers, but they must be swallowed, if the social evil we call marriage is ever to be eliminated. The despotic husband and the dependent wife are fast vanishing amidst the dusky shades of antiquity, but so also must vanish the chivalrous man and the woman whose wounded affections can be healed by thumping damages awarded by a sympathetic jury, before we can hope for a better state of things between men and women.
GETTING THROUGH THE HEDGE.
Those who are unlucky enough to find themselves mated with uncongenial spouses should find a useful lesson in the doings of a certain Mrs. Buck, who quietly took herself off one day, leaving her husband Johannes a little note to the effect that she did not mean to return, as she could not stand his grumbling any longer. Johannes accepted the situation, and, moreover, the care of a year old child. Later on he met a woman, who was more congenial and who, knowing the position of affairs, was brave enough to take him for her husband. An anonymous busybody drew the attention of the police to Johannes' new- found happiness and he was marched off to the lock-up. Next day, however, as no one appeared to prosecute, the magistrate practically dismissed the case. And so mutual consent effected a divorce, without any of the parties being the worse for it, which our precious laws can never be said to do.
SONG IN THE LABOUR MOVEMENT.
The voice of Labour soundeth shrill,
Mere clamour of a tuneless throng,
To you who barter at your will
The very Life that maketh song.
Oh! you whose sluggard hours are spent
This Rule of Mammon to prolong,
What know ye of the stern intent
Of hosted Labour marching strong!
When we have righted which is wrong,
Great singing shall your ears entreat.
Meanwhile in the movement there is song,
And music in the pulse of feet.
SOCIETY ON THE MORROW OF THE REVOLUTION.
Translated from the French of JEHAN LE VAGRE.
CHAPTER XIV.--THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY.
THAT the earth is a common property, that its products ought to supply without distinction the needs of everybody, these are truths which are still denied by some and regarded as utopian by others, but which are accepted by all those who think and have succeeded in getting rid of some of the prejudices instilled into them by the injurious education received from the present society. This is then acknowledged, but another truth which has not been clearly brought to light is that sentiment of liberty which exists in an absolute form in the brain of every individual but which most people do not try to fully understand, as it has not yet been clearly defined and at present amounts to this, that, whilst claiming complete liberty for himself, each wishes laws to regulate the actions of his neighbours, and as a consequence of that fatal prejudice which desires that the individual shall be the slave of the society in which chance has caused him to be born, being himself considered only a part of that
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