Noted and Comments
Maoriland Worker, Volume 12, Issue 264, 15 March 1922, Page 2
Noted and Comments
.On -■'■"■ All honest men in the Labor movement with a.sense of their own limita-* tions welcome criticism as a stimulus to -.improvement.-.. But the only .useful criticism Is constructive. It is. pure sterility, and "priggishness to boot, to revile this leader and that for their many patent deficiencies and to disregard the abilities they do possess and the services they have rendered. And it is the sheerest futility to imagine that a clique of! highbrows nagging at each other about miances of meaning in Baudelaire "or Flaubert or et/herealising over some work of art, however exquisite, can take the place of the Labor Movement, however disagreeable it may be with its defective grammar, its Marxist .dotings, and its Neanderthal physiognomy. This sort of criticism is really the most offensive .snobbery. Constructive criticism of the Labor Movement must rest on this basic fact:, that if there is to be any movement at all it must be built from the raw material at hand and those who desire its progress will patiently make the best of it. The. high-falutin' critic will of course scoff at this, tout that is because he finds i more enjoyment in detecting the mote in his brother's eye than in admitting the beam in his own. liupejfinence and Snobbery. Impertinence is a poor policy to. follow when a cash return is desired, and it is surely the very limit of stupidity to indulge in it in an advertisement at the expense of the workers. Yet an Auckland firm (Peter Mack, the Strand Tailors) sins in this respect in the Auckland "Star" thus: "There's as much difference between ordinary tailors and mc as between a Council laborer and Mr. Gunsonl" I
Mr. G-unson is the Mayor and the Council laborer is the Jowly but indispensable person who keeps tbe streets tidy and accumulates in the process his work-stained appearance. Still he does not lack self-respect on that account, and one of him writes Tlsw Worker giving bis opinion that the above .ad. is "damned" cheek."' With the which we agree. The ad. 5s a.n evidence of the disgusting snobbery and contempt for the lower orders *o abundantly plain in New Zealand, although we are supposed to have ' : 3o classes." -
A. Question ior White AHsfettlsisuura.
; A few issues ago we put a Question jto "White Australasians as to which I side they would, take when the Coloi nuil Sugar Company forced the Hindu ' workers, in Fiji to strike by reducing 'their wages. We have now another ■ question to ask. Within the past week lor .so the cables from Hong Kong informed us that the Chinese seamen were out on strike for a 30 per cent. ! increase in wages. That is a laudable J action in favour of a laudable object, I and it is more than probable that these [Chinese seamen have every justiflcaj tion in reason and justice. A day or two after, however, we were told that British troops had fired on the strikers and had killed several and woundled many more. This raises the quesj tion as to whose side should be sup! ported: that of the Chinese strikers or j that, .of the unspeakable and ruffianly ! "white" exploiters whose dirty work ; the unfortunate soldiery were chity- I bound to perform? For our part we j stand with the Chinese seamen and we .'are against the white profiteer even I though his name be Lord Inchcape, as jis quite possible. This does 'not mean lhat we approve of unrestricted Asiatic immigration; it means that we side with the workers against the brigands who convert them into profit. We must add that only by assisting Asiatic workers to reach higher economic levels, here as well as abroad, can we hope to escape the effects of their unfair competition. Hollies Fall Gut. A section of the British Tories thinks the time opportune to jettison Lloyd George and end the Coalition. Well aware that the forces of capitalism are dependent on his personality to retain power, Lloyd George retorts by. threatening to resign. This would have the effect of disorganising the cohorts of plutocracy on the threshold of the general election, which must be fought shortly. Hence we have a political crisis "with a flurry of stale politicians l-unning about pleading for a continuance of the Coalition as the only means of 'safeguarding the Empire's inter.ests." What the Balfours. Chamberlains and Georges are really concerned ■■***cut is the tremendous revulsion of ull ng in favour of the Labor Party and the possibility of honest men coming, , into their own when the rogues fall out. Accordingly there will be desperate efforts to consolidate the rogues, and to give them time( which j in another sense many of them oiTght to be given) the. elections have been postponed till the autumn. But there will be a dreadful reckoning when the time comes. I
'•Bucket Shops" Kick the Bucket.
The fact that financial houses (called "bucket-shops" to hide the real gravity" of the situation) are collapsing in dozens in the United States, and that swarms of investors are beleagouring other institutions about to collapse is a curious commentary on the statement cabled not long ago that America is the possessor of a plethora of money. Apparently the one thing the possession, of piles of cash does not do is to secure financial stability, buttressed by masses of ... European
gold though ; it be, the United States financial system is, rocking menacing-; Iγ, and thousands will be. ruined albeit on this occasion it. may be propped up to appear .as solid as the Sphynx or the Pyramids. The nioney-gbd must surely be closing its .mana with the Americans. - They have gained , the whole .world- in money : but six millions, have lost tb.eir jobs, and now their investing classes are tasting the bitterness of ruin* Wlien will., nations learn that not money-grabbing but v/ork is the fountain of wealth and the only means by which the prosperity of all can be.guaranteed? Scientists ..and War. Months ago we remarked on the fact that Professor. Soddy, , recently Labor candidate for the Rectorship of the Aberdeen University, and one of the leading scientists in Britain, refused Mr. Churchill's invitation to join a scientific committee to explore the possibilities of gaseous warfare. The publicity given to his courageous and enlightened act, 'combined with the rapidly-growing'feeling that a scientist who degrades science to the level of an aid to human massacre is the worst kind of prostitute, has caused heart-searcliings among many men of science, and some of them are now become "conscientious objectors." Here, for instance, is a statement by Sir Edward Thorpe in his Presidential Address to the British Association which we do not remember seeing in the cable columns: "An educated public opinion will refuse to give credit to any body of scientific men who employ their talents in devising means to develop and perpetuate a mode of warfare which is abhorrent to the higher instincts of humanity." He hoped ' scientists would refuse to make poison I gas. This pronouncement fortunately is not an-isolated one. and it is a matter for congratulation that we have got at least this far. But the solution of course remains with the masses of ttie people whom war destroys and vnTili"lates ami-who have everything to i.;aln.by ending its monstrous crimes, j "Where There"* a Wi11. ,, H is highly desirable tfc.at the best po«: : jfc!e form of-, industrial organisation snould be expressed iv order to :'a>.'ihitate the progress of the workers. hut forms of themselves will not get z very far. To clot lie the form in f].e.-;ft and blood and give it strength •a))fl -vitality it is necessary to educate those organised wittim it in the ideal to be attained and the methods by ■■vhioh it can be realised. Wliat is wanted more than all else is will, and ■given that the motive power w>3l be available to make the ■wheels go round. Will and resoluiicn have empowered' many an imperfect organisation to do doivsiity deeds against oppression and worknig through forms which reinforce rather-than or-stract them they wi'Jl make the workers jrr/nicible. The Alliance of 'Lahor ft '-'ovni vMrh. J combines simplicity wk'i; cohesive uess. j Have its ;.nembers the will and the knowledge of its purpose to support its policy <• rarageovisly? The .best" .way "to .iv.'iik sicear" js to organise' New Zea];.v:d~vide propagiinfUa, hold meetings, cell literature, get the revival spirit, and make tho welkin r?ng with it's ii.caning asici .rjst?ncation.
Troglodyte Sun; h: als.
The Ma.'rOaiid Jias never been wildly enthusiastic about, the mere nati • realisation of railways, although we have s'upportfrd tins , , as a step in the right direction. But Aye confess to a disagreeable shce'ii when i reading reports of speeches at the Conference of the Commercial Travellers' Association demanding, their denationalisation and sale to private profiteers. This as certainly over the odds and can only have emanated from minds hardly emerged from the cave-dweller period. The alleged justification for this astonishing' proposal was twofold: that iii,soniG localities the railway j servants, dominated the political situation, and that, while the nationalised system was ever in a muddle, that privately-owned was always a success.. The first cf these reasons is indicative c-f the anti-Labor nature of the proposition, and the second betrays an unusually crass ignorance of the facts. In America, for instance; private railway ownership is so much a failure as to make huge Government subsidies necessary to enable it to carry on, and even then financiers look askance at it as an extremely dubious investment. In Britain, the muddle of private ownership, what with its overlapping, duplication of competing systems, watered stock, to say nothing- of its thousands of sweated employees, is the despair of intelligent people. We agree that the management of our ■publicly-owned'system'is far from perfect, but that really is due to ideas which some of the Commercial Travellers' Association -wish to see more .extensively applied in New Zealand. For is not the Massey Government essentially a private enterprise concern, and is it not folly to expect' a public utility to be administered efficiently by those whose hearts are not in the business? In any case our railways are not a profiteering commercial concern; they are a public convenience, and, as .such, like roadsj and bridges, should not be adminis- j tered in the spirit of narrow-minded and greedy dividend-snatchers.