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PASS ON PAMPHLETS. No. 6. 

Id. 



Stop 



THE 



Strike 



FRANK H. ROSE 



THE CLARION PRESS, 

44, WORSHIP STREET, LONDON, E.C. 



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STOP THE STRIKE 

By FRANK H. ROSE. 

Thirty years of close and active participation in the 
trade union movement have brought experiences and 
induced reflections which are denied to the academic 
student, however deep his interest, however indus- 
trious his research. Intimate knowledge of the men 
who compose the officialism of the movement, con- 
stant contact with those who compose the rank and 
file, and some facilities for access to the inner 
counsels which, in a measure, determine its trend, 
have given the writer unique facilities for observa- 
tion and judgment. Even though all these elements 
were obliterated and all the experiences of three 
decades were ignored, the industrial records of the 
past twelve months would afford all the evidence 
necessary to demonstrate the depth and importance 
of the change that is taking place. 

Beneath the inexorable force of economic pressure 
the old trade unionism has hopelessly broken down. 
The strike policy has been a ghastly failure. The 
stunted and poverty-stricken ideals of the orthodox 
trade union movement have become unrealisable. 
The virtual command of trade conditions has thin- 
ned down to a weak, equivocal voice in their regula- 
tion — a voice almost invariably silenced by the more 
strident mandate of the predominant partner. 

Trade unionism has had but one weapon, one 
line of attack and defence. The political activities 
in which the unions have been figuring with varying 
degrees of prominence are no part of their original 
design, but simply outgrowths, stimulated almost 
entirely by the miserable futility of their orthodox 
effort. Their only weapon is some form of with- 
holding labour. When negotiation effects the settle- 

I 



ment of a trade dispute, its background and setting 
is always the strike, or the fear of the strike. 

The strike is essentially an abortion. It is the 
disruption of the natural relation and contact of 
Labour and the other factors of wealth production. 
Its doctrine is crudity itself. Its underlying idea, 
which never varies, is that by withholding labour 
Capitalism may be starved into subjection. The 
lock-out is a strike of Capitalism against Labour — a 
simple reversal of the forces in conflict. Whatever 
form the strike may take, whether that of entire 
cessation of work, the stoppage of overtime, the 
partial closing or complete shutting down of fac- 
tories or workshops, the object is always the same — 
the betterment, real or assumed, of the persons 
engaged in the dispute. Strikes for higher wages, 
shorter hours, against piecework or overtime, or any 
of the thousand actual or imaginary grievances of 
Labour; lock-outs against any of these demands, or 
for the purpose of imposing the will of the employer 
upon the workman in any form, have all the same 
inspiration. It is the desire, not always clearly 
defined, or even expressed, on the part of the workers 
to achieve industrial betterment. The ideal of the 
old trade unionist is just as low as this : that indus- 
trial betterment must be bounded by the possibilities 
of what the strike or the fear of the strike can wring 
from reluctant Capitalism. 

As long as Capitalism remained unorganised there 
was always the possibility of some modified suc- 
cesses in this direction. The old strike policy 
held always such a measure of promise. The 
engineers gained the nine hours, and carried on a 
long and desperate struggle against piece-work and 
the " two-lathe " system. Many are the instances of 
small and sometimes useful achievement through the 
operation of the strike. But, year by year, the diffi- 
culties increased. Vast federations of the employ- 
ing classes, with perfect equipment, copying all that 
was most effective in the old trade union method, and 
astutely eschewing all that experience had shown to 
be least effective, rose, challenged, fought, and 
defeated Labour. Against employers, isolated and 
unorganised, the strike had succeeded. The unions 

2 



had been able to force up wages and hold a certain 
control over their industrial conditions. But a far 
more perfect organisation of the employers speedily 
reduced the strike to impotency. The lock-out in 
action is an instrument of merciless destruction; the 
lock-out in the background is a shadow of menace 
and terror. It is little wonder that against so deadly 
a weapon the strike should be effete and purposeless, 
and that the experience of those who have faced it 
should constitute a warning and a fear to the worker. 

The Decline of the Old Faith. 

The trend of modern trade unionism is distinctly 
away from the strike method of industrial warfare. 
So far, this trend is at best but semi-conscious. 
Many influences are at work, however, developing a 
lively consciousness. Of these the most potent and 
searching is the restless and persistent propaganda 
of Socialism, which is swiftly and surely turning the 
organised workers from old fallacies to newer and 
broader truths. Besides this, there is the grim irony 
of fact that not even the stodgiest and most preju- 
diced of the old trade unionists can evade. Nearly 
every well-established union is equipped to carry on 
a strike; not one is half equipped to resist a lock-out. 
Not one can protect its members from the ruthless 
speeding up of man and machinery which charac- 
terises modern productive systems; scarcely one but 
has been forced to forfeit the last vestige of control 
over the machine tools of its craft, not one that can 
regulate the hours of labour to the extent of creating 
a guarantee for all its people of the very elementary 
right to work at their own calling. 

The old trade unionism of to-day is the survival 
of the new trade unionism of the " fifties," and 
expresses now, as then, the belief that the industrial 
and social betterment of the workers is achievable 
by the simple expedient of withholding labour. Its 
sheet anchor is the strike. Its justification or its 
condemnation must therefore be found in its actual 
results, and its actual results will be reflected in the 
condition of the working class life it has created. 

A glance at the general structure of the trade 
unionism of Great Britain will show that it is almost 



entirely composed of skilled and partly skilled 
workers. Of the 2,000,000 of organised workers 
more than two-thirds are highly-skilled artisans; a 
considerable, though much smaller, proportion are 
semi-skilled, and a comparatively insignificant 
number are totally unskilled labourers. Then the 
state of the skilled artisan, in point of wages and 
general conditions, must be the real test of the value 
of the strike method. 

The most vivid illustration of the failure of the 
strike is found in the best example of modern trade 
unionism, the Amalgamated Society of Engineers. 
Here we have a concentration of prodigious numbers, 
powerful and almost inexhaustible finance, and 
splendid loyalty to trade union principle. The state 
of the operative engineer is the supreme test of the 
value of the strike method. These men have had 
the cherished advantage of " recognition," the sacred 
right of " collective bargaining," with the " strike in 
the background." After sixty years of unexampled 
effort and sacrifice, the general conditions surround- 
ing their employment are almost startling for their 
poverty and injustice. 

Take wages as the standard of calculation. The 
highest recognised minimum wage rate is paid in 
London, where the skilled fitter or turner receives 
40s. a week for 54 hours' work; the lowest is that 
paid at Merthyr Tydvil, where the same class of 
worker is paid 23s. for the same number of hours. 
It is reasonable to assume that, having regard to the 
great difference in the cost of living in the two places, 
the standard of comfort may be as high, if not 
higher, in South Wales, as compared with London. 
And between these two rates will lie the average 
wages rates of the whole of the operative engineers 
of the United Kingdom. Actually, the average is 
about 36s. for every full week worked. But the 
yearly income resulting from engineering labour is 
not 36s. multiplied by 52 — for no man works 52 full 
weeks a year — but the average income is really 36s. 
multiplied by 44. Thus, we find that the net result 
of sixty years of trade union effort is represented by 
the living possibilities of £88 per annum in London, 
and £50 in Wales. Lest I should be accused of at- 



tempting to minimise the achievements of trade 
unionism, let me add that every member has to his 
credit a sum which fluctuates between £$ and £8, or, 
roughly, the equivalent of a month's wages, a guaran- 
tee against actual starvation in case of unemploy- 
ment, sickness, and indigent old age. It has taken 
sixty years to save the consolidated fund and has 
cost £8,000,000 to secure an average income of 
£69 per annum — and that only to men in the 
unusual possession of constant employment. 

Nor has the old trade unionism clone much, if any 
more, for other classes of workmen. The strike has 
had a full and fair trial in the coal mining industry. 
While it is true that colliers' wages vary even more 
than those of engineers, it may be said that 6s. a 
shift will express the average earnings of skilled 
miners throughout the country. That it is often 
much less than this is well known — that it is less 
frequently more than this will scarcely be denied. 
I have found, both in Durham and Lancashire, 
levels as low as 3s. iod. per shift, though I have 
heard of individual miners, apart from butty men, 
who have at times earned much above the average of 
6s. per shift. In calculating the average income of 
the working collier at the same amount as that of the 
engineer, we are erring, if at all, on the generous 
side. 

In the textile industry there are few workers who 
earn as much as those already quoted. The spinners 
or "minders " of the Lancashire cotton centres, the 
power loom overlookers, the tapers, and a few others 
in the weaving section, are the only cotton operatives 
who command a wage as high as engineers and 
miners. For the rest it may be said that the weavers 
barely average £1 a week (the year round) and that 
the mass of the card room hands are even worse 
paid. In the woollen trade, the wages range lower 
again, and the pay of the flax and jute workers is 
probably meaner than any of the others. If we take 
£1 a week as the average of the whole of the textile 
operatives, we are making ample allowances on the 
right side. 

The skilled workers in the building trade are no 
better paid than those engaged in the iron trade, and 

5 



the position of the whole of the skilled trades may 
be summarised at 30s. a week. It is impossible to 
estimate the average of the earnings of the unskilled 
labourers, but that it is pitifully low is well known. 
Below those again are the sweated trades, and that 
these work and live below the poverty line is 
notorious. 

It is the skilled workers, however, who form the 
great body of the trade union army, and whose 
present condition may be expressed by the living 
possibilities of 30s. a week when working, and 7s. 
or 8s. a week when out of work. To produce these 
results they have spent fifty millions of their own 
earnings, and have fought thousands of strikes. It 
is not remarkable that there should be a growing 
distrust of a method which has brought no better 
results. 

The Trade Union Breakdown. 

Only where employers are isolated and unorgan- 
ised will the strike bear the promise or the possi- 
bility of success in the future. Within the trade 
union movement are defects and diseases which for- 
bid the smallest hope of successful conflict with so 
poor and effete a weapon. Organised Capitalism 
will defeat trade unionism on the old lines every 
time the two come into hostile contact. Whether it 
is done by opposing the lock-out to the strike, or by 
holding it in the background as an auxiliary to the 
farcical freedom of "collective bargaining," matters 
very little. " Collective bargaining n is nothing but 
a delusive expansion of the old Manchester School 
doctrine of " freedom of contract.' ' Without the 
strike or the lock-out in the background, it amounts 
only to this; that the workmen are collectively free 
to accept the conditions the employers collectively 
think fit to offer, or to collectively remain without 
employment until hunger on one side or financial 
anxiety on the other brings the parties to terms. 
You may multiply the numbers on either side as you 
will ; the principle remains the same. 

The strike in the background as a potent accessory 
to "collective bargaining M is as nothing compared 
with the lock-out utilised in a similar connection. 

6 



The events of last year afford abundant evidence of 
this. A threat of a lock-out brought the great and 
powerful Boiler Makers' and Iron and Steel Ship- 
builders' to their knees, and frightened them into 
the acceptance of terms which were utterly out of 
harmony with all their trade union traditions and 
policy. The vaguest hint of a lock-out held up the 
North-East Coast engineers, after a year's " collec- 
tive bargaining " for a trumpery advance of wages. 
The lock-out of the Hemsworth colliers, after three 
years of unutterable misery, ended, as the lock-out 
must always end. in the total defeat of the workers. 
The strike of the Denton hatters provoked the lock- 
out as a counterblast, and the lock-out triumphed in 
seven weeks. Lock-outs were threatened in all three 
sections of the cotton trade quite recently, and in 
each instance the workers made peace on disadvan- 
tageous terms to escape. Workers are beginning to 
realise the position. It would be strange were it 
otherwise. 

Distrust of the strike is a growing sentiment. But 
the growth of the sentiment is accompanied by a 
strange hesitancy to revoke the old faith and to 
revise the old policy. The conviction that the strike 
has ceased to be effective as a weapon of industrial 
warfare is most reluctantly admitted, however pro- 
foundly felt. 

Factors of Failure. 

The fear of the lock-out and the heavy conscious- 
ness of the failure of the strike are not the only 
influences which are expediting the passing of the 
older fallacies. Undoubtedly the first cause of the 
failure of the old trade unionism is the squalid 
poverty of its ideal. The grotesque notion that a 
better social and industrial order can be achieved by 
simply raising wages or shortening hours is un- 
imaginative, as well as fallacious. It takes no 
cognisance of the real cause of the evil it seeks to 
remedy. But, if we assume that the old trade 
unionism might conceivably lead the workers to a 
better order of life if comprehensively applied, it 
only remains to be said that an entire reconstruction 
and reorganisation must be effected before it can 

7 



have any appreciable result upon the workers' con- 
dition for the better. 

It is impossible for any entire industry and for 
few trades to make common cause. It is impossible 
to give even the semblance of coherence and common 
purpose to any great section of the organised work- 
people. It is impossible to secure the adoption of 
a common policy or a common line of action in 
industrial movements by any single industry. 

I cannot pretend to present anything like a clear 
picture of modern trade unionism. Its complica- 
tions are so perplexing and its want of design so 
obvious. The whole movement is a jumble of cross 
purposes, overlapping, and discord. Exactly how 
many trade unions there are it is imposible to tell. 
There are between 200 and 300 usually represented 
at the great annual gatherings, and many hundreds 
more that are too insignificant to aspire to repre- 
sentation. There are fully 50 in the engineering 
trade alone, every branch of which is catered for by 
one or more sectional societies. 

In the textile trades there are sharp divisions 
between spinners, weavers, overlookers, tapers, 
beamers, and other sections, and divisions again 
between the cotton, woollen, and flax trades. The 
building trades are similarly divided and sub- 
divided. There are scores of unions for unskilled 
labourers, and more than a dozen for men engaged 
in the working of cranes and the tending of engines 
and boilers. There are five or six unions connected 
with the railway services alone. This sectionalism 
is continually on the increase, and the endless split- 
ting off of sections and sub-sections makes for a 
confusion at once bewildering and mischievous. 

A vivid consciousness of this anomalous state of 
things has led to attempts to lessen the sectional evil 
by the formation of federations which are supposed 
to cohere some of these volatile fragments. There 
are probably twenty or more of these federations. 
The Miners' County Associations are loosely feder- 
ated, the furnishing trades, the shipbuilding and 
printing trades, and the various sections of the tex- 
tile operatives. Besides these sectional federations, 
there is the General Federation of Trade Unions, to 

8 



which something over half-a-million of workers sub- 
scribe. With the exception of the Miners' Federa- 
tion of Great Britain, none of these organisations 
appear to discharge any useful function. They 
have little or no influence in the direction of keeping 
the unions in line for concerted action ; the inevitable 
dissensions between the smaller unions composing 
them, and the friction between the officials, is rather 
intensified than eased. Such an army, with no 
better weapon than the strike, can have little hope of 
victory. The impossibility of concentrating any- 
thing like an adequate force upon any effort for 
betterment is manifest. But beyond this tangle of 
disorganisation there is the debilitating influence of 
internecine jealousy and distrust which the multi- 
plicity of unions engenders and accentuates. 

The Blight of Officialism. 

The animosities of the unions are chiefly traceable 
to their officialism. The great growth of section- 
alism has brought with it a corresponding increase 
of the permanent official element. By slow, almost 
imperceptible degrees, trade union officialism has be- 
come a profession, and its members a social caste. 
A distinct interest, growing curiously apart from the 
general interest of the rank and file, and drifting 
more and more widely away from democratic senti- 
ment and practice, has evolved. It is most pathetic 
because it involves the misapplication of high capa- 
city and great administrative aptitude. Certain it is 
that the average trade union official compares well 
with the average man in any walk of life in points 
of character, intellect, and ability. I am referring 
especially to the permanent paid secretaries, organ- 
isers, delegates, presidents, and executive councilmen 
of the unions, not to the vast army of district officers 
who carry on the detail drudgery of the societies in 
their spare hours for trifling fees. The man who 
becomes a permanent official unconsciously develops 
a personal interest, which is distinct from his former 
interest in the society itself. This is perfectly 
natural, and quite inevitable, but it is none the less a 
potent factor in the general confusion of the move- 
ment. 



Though in most societies these higher officials hold 
their appointments for stated terms, and may almost 
all be said to be subject to dismissal, it is very 
rarely, except for downright misconduct, that a 
permanent officer is removed from his place. Re- 
elections are mostly formalities, and only excep- 
tional circumstances provoke more than a passing 
interest in them. " Once an officer, always an offi- 
cer," may be said to express the situation. After 
all, this is no more than fair and proper; for a man 
who has spent years of middle life in official pur- 
suits is ill fitted to return to workshop life. Never- 
theless, it does accentuate the sentiment of self- 
interest, and leads to an assumption of almost pro- 
prietorial right to the occupied position. 

Undoubtedly, the bulk of the difficulties in the 
way of better forms of trade union organisation are 
raised by the conflicting interests of the official 
leaders. Just as certainly, the rivalries and 
jealousies rife in the midst of the movement are 
attributable to the frequently conscious stimulus of 
interested officialism. 

There is a peculiarly human aspect of this state 
of affairs. Many of the smaller unions owe their 
existence to the men who, as a matter of course, 
become their chief officials. The livings, if not 
luxurious, are usually superior to those experienced 
in industrial life. Besides the financial advantages, 
there is some element of social prominence and a 
sense of dignity and authority dear to most men. 
As a general rule this constitutes the chief difficulty, 
and makes it wellnigh impossible to bring about 
coalitions which would decrease the number of 
unions which appear to exist for no purpose but that 
of providing a salary or several salaries for their 
officials. 

The unskilled labour unions are notoriously kept 
asunder by the same influences. The actual growth 
of half the newer unions is due to the same cause. 
Every attempt to reduce the evil, for evil it is, fails. 
The competent industrial organisation of the 
workers becomes hopeless; and, were the strike a 
competent weapon, there is no disciplined army to 
use it. Much more might be said concerning the 

10 



mischief wrought by the petty intrigues of the host 
of small and relatively insignificant and useless 
unions and their equally superfluous officials, but 
I have only in view a demonstration of the influences 
which account for the failure of the strike to accom- 
plish the very limited mission involved in the old 
trade union creed. Criticisms of persons can hardly 
help us to correctly summarise actual results or 
future possibilities. When capable and astute men 
are hanging on to a species of vested interest and 
find it necessary to foster animosity and wrath 
among the workers to give them a tighter grip, there 
remains no cause for wonder that trade unionism on 
the old lines has miserably failed as an instrument 
of industrial progress. 

The vast majority of strikes terminate in favour 
of the employers or in compromise inimical to the 
interest of the workers. The stern logic of fact 
cannot be always ignored. Nearly all the great 
industrial conflicts of the past decade have been 
disastrous to the workers. The disorganisation of 
the employers is the only guarantee of partial suc- 
cess. Under any other conditions the strike injures 
more friends than foes : its recoil is ever deadlier 
than its fire. Bitter as the lesson is and hard to 
learn, it is coming home to the slow-moving and 
prejudiced intelligence of the British trade unionist. 

In the Sacred Name of Liberty. 

The passive acquiescence of the public in the 
present conditions is somewhat remarkable when 
closely examined. Long-standing habits of thought 
appear to have given us a distorted conception of 
liberty. The liberty of the worker to strike and the 
liberty of the capitalist to lock out have been 
exalted into unassailable verities, and the liberty of 
the rest of the community to occupy the position of 
chief sufferers seems to be accepted as equally just 
and reasonable. We need but contemplate the dire- 
ful and cruel results of this year's struggle in the 
shipbuilding trade to realise the stupendous charac- 
ter of the anomaly which we have grown to accept 
as sacred in the name of liberty. The rights and 
the wrongs of the dispute are of no consequence; 

II 



it matters nothing upon which side of this senseless 
and callous wrangle the sympathies of the public 
are ranged. The right of any two parties to fight 
may be conceded, but always with the proviso that 
their blows shall fall only upon each other. If the 
fact of the fight destroys my happiness and security, 
and even cuts me off from my daily bread, then, 
surely, the exercise by the belligerents of the right 
to fight is destructive of my liberty to live. This is 
less a question to be decided by the employers and 
their workmen than by all the people, for every in- 
dustrial upheaval is fraught with a greater measure 
of suffering to its victims than to the combatants. 

A strike of five hundred engine fitters throws a 
thousand families into want and sometimes destitu- 
tion. A lock-out of the shipyard woodworkers has 
plunged 500,000 human beings into misery and 
sorrow. It is monstrous to prate about the rights 
of any strike or lock-out as long as the burden of 
suffering must be borne by those who have neither 
hand in the struggle or voice in the quarrel. 

One more illustration of old trade union im- 
potency. This is not the story of many strikes that 
are lost, but the story of the few that are won. 
Ernst Hubel, the Secretary of the German Textile 
Workers, in his report to the International Con- 
gress of Textile Workers, offers this uncon- 
sciously-eloquent testimony to the abject futility 
of the strike — even the successful strike : " We 
have more and more to rely on ourselves. 
The more we seek to strengthen our posi- 
tion, the more the employers, by their mode 
of action and powerful resistance, seek to frustrate 
our efforts. Yet, in spite of all, if we have in the 
years 1906-7 obtained for 119,550 persons 141,206 
marks (£7,060) more per week in wages, we may be 
somewhat encouraged, although the social conditions 
of our colleagues have not experienced a real rise 
owing to the increased cost of the -provisions of life 
through the political tariff of our aristocracy? 

So, the "political tariff" of the German aristocracy 
has the same absorbent capacity as the land and 
capital monopolies of our own aristocracy. The 
shillings our workers strike for and win rarely get 

12 



as far as their own pockets, and never as far as their 
homes. The shillings they strike for and lose are 
gone for ever, and with them the hope and the 
promise of freedom and happiness to thousands of 
their helpless fellow-creatures. 

The Legacy of the Pioneers. 

Where and how has the " strike and starve " trade 
unionist missed the track the old pioneer heroes of 
his order marked for him ? 

Where is the spirit and the inspiration of the old 
trade union pioneer? It was not such a miserable 
social chaos as this that formed the ideal for which 
our fathers fought and sacrificed. Not for this the 
old trade club heroes dared the prison and exile 
when they buried their books in the turf and met 
in secret on the bleak moors. 

Listen to a voice from the grave. Every 
A.S.E. man has heard it, and said "Aye" to it. 
Sturdy old William Newton, wiser in his generation 
than we in ours — the father of the A.S.E. — whose 
words are read to every member of the greatest 
association of skilled workers the world has seen : 

If union be important to any order of 
the community it must be pre-eminently so 
TO the working man, whose only property, 

HIS LABOUR, IS IN CONSTANT DANGER OF BEING 
DEPRECIATED IN VALUE BY THE COMPETITIVE 
STRUGGLES IN SOCIETY. 

He knew ! Why have his children forgotten ? 
The competitive struggles in society, now, as then, 
are no less the cause of the workers' woe and want. 
The yearning for a better order and a higher life 
was the mainspring of the old pioneers' glorious 
toil. Why should those who walk in the path they 
smoothed in sorrow and self-sacrifice forget the 
message and misconstrue their own mission ? 

The object of the trade union is to better the 
social and industrial condition of the workers. If 
the strike method could bring betterment, the strike 
stands vindicated. But it has not brought better- 
ment, and the condemnation of the strike is not the 
condemnation of the trade union, but only the 

13 



acceptance of the belief that trade unionism must 
work through truer and surer channels to the 
realisation of the ideals the pioneers cherished and 
suffered for. 

Trade unionism and Socialism have a common 
origin and a common object. They are alike the 
children of the same sorrowing mother. Every trade 
unionist is, consciously or unconsciously, at one with 
the Socialist. Put the cases side by side and see 
how far they coincide, how much they have in 
common, and where and how much they differ : 



TRADE UNIONISM 

Implies a consciousness 
of social inequity. 

Recognises that such 
social inequity arises 
from the competitive con- 
ditions of society. 

Endeavours to rectify 
existing anomalies by 
collective action. 

Accepts a competitive 
basis of society as in- 
evitable, and seeks to 
lighten its incidence by 
the application of purely 
industrial remedies, such 
as higher wages, reduced 
hours, or trade restric- 
tions. 

METHOD: Any form 
of withholding labour. 



SOCIALISM 

Implies a consciousness 
of social inequity. 

Recognises that such 
social inequity arises 
from the competitive con- 
ditions of society. 

Endeavours to rectify 
existing anomalies by 
collective action. 

Repudiates the com- 
petitive basis of society 
and demands the recon- 
struction of society upon 
a co-operative basis. 



Method : Independent 
political action of the 
workers. 



There is not much to learn — there is so much to 
unlearn. If the awful futility of the strike methods 
will not teach, then where must we turn for the 
light ? The millions squandered on strikes would 
ransom the world; the effort and sacrifice and 
splendid devotion lavished upon the hopeless 
struggles of one decade might bring Labour's every 
foe to suppliant submission. There is nothing to 
show for it all but the golden gift of the hope of a 

14 



better day that the strike and the lock-out can never 
usher in. 

Look round ! 

To-day there is no light in the path of the toiler 
save the light that Socialism sheds. There is no 
little sign of betterment. The struggle for life 
intensifies as the years go on. Work is harder to 
get, harder to do, harder to keep. Humanity is 
depreciated and degraded, speeded up to exhaus- 
tion, robbed of strength and sinew, crushed in spirit, 
sterilised in mind and heart. Every skilled worker 
knows this for himself; how much more need he 
think for the unskilled ? Swift-coming changes 
have brought the million-fingered machine, the 
hustle and acute specialisation of a high-speed pro- 
ductive system that is destroying the crafts and 
turning skilful artisans into machine-wheel cogs 
without soul or aspiration. It has brought the 
famished hordes of workless and anxious helots 
into competition, and the crush at the factory gates 
and the clamour of the breadless man cheapens the 
skill and drowns the demand of the skilful. The 
old trade unionism cannot change it; the strike 
cannot stay it. The trade unionist is part of the 
people — the people of whom nearly one-third are 
always on the verge of destitution. Why has he 
forgotten he is a citizen — nay, why has he forgotten 
that he is a trade unionist ? 

Let in the Light. 

High above the clamour of selfish sectionalism 
and the shrilling of jealous and ambitious officialism 
rises the voice of the messenger of hope. 

" There must be refuge." Mankind's destiny can- 
not be bounded by the industrial bastille and the 
shame of a fruitless life. When the trade unionist 
weaves into his life and work the simple truths of 
Socialism, the strike and the lock-out will have 
vanished and trade unionism will reap the harvest 
the pioneers sowed in tears and travail. 

We want the shadow of the lock-out lifted for 
ever from the heart of the people, and until men sur- 
render the strike we know that the shadow will 
linger. The broken lives and the shattered hopes 

15 



that mark the path of Labour's long and weary 
march are not the memorials of sacrifice all in vain 
if they serve to quicken the dormant conscience of 
the worker and rouse him to a sense of the pitiful 
wrong they represent. The old fighters who have 
gone down to their rest have left us their example 
and their inspiration. They have bequeathed to us 
all the potentialities of better things if we will but 
use them aright and cease to imagine that methods 
are of more importance than the objects they had in 
view. "Let me entreat you to aid, by all the 

MEANS IN YOUR POWER, A CAUSE SO IMPORTANT TO 
YOURSELF AND YOUR ORDER. LET CHARITY AND 
WISDOM GUIDE YOU IN YOUR EFFORTS; REMEMBER 
THAT IN AIDING OTHERS YOU ARE ELEVATING YOUR- 
SELF, AND THAT CO-OPERATION IS THE EMBODIMENT 
OF BOTH CHARITY TO OTHERS AND WISDOM TO YOUR- 
SELF." Thus spake old Newton, the stalwart father 
of the old Union. If he were with us now he would 
be the first to recognise the failure of the strike — 
the only method that existing conditions made pos- 
sible in his time. He would be in the forefront of 
the battle to-day, pointing and leading, in the light 
of a brave man's hope and faith, to the open portals 
of the better day to come. He would not bid men 
cringe at the factory gate for the privilege of being 
allowed inside to tread the everlasting mill for 
others' profit, or to bear the crushing burden of 
modern industry for a slave's reward — bread to eat 
and a hovel to dwell in. He would not tell men it 
was brave to strike, or honourable to starve women 
and children, or just to inflict misery on others in a 
paltry scramble after sixpences. 

To unify the forces of Socialism and trade 
unionism is the work that lies to hand for all who 
are earnest in the love of their fellows. Trade 
unionism will wander in the desert until it takes 
the hand of Socialism and the two pass on together 
— out of the darkness of ignorance and prejudice 
into the Empire City of Labour's Dominion — the 
city whose foundations are Eternal Justice, whose 
walls are Everlasting Peace, whose gates are Grace 
and Love. 

The Utopia Press, Printers, Worship St., London, E C. 



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