Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page

I !KAISER RULE.

News
Cite
Share

KAISER RULE. The Sort of Thing the Germans Call Freedom. [By OBSERVER."] [The Kaiser, in a recent speech, contrasted German principles and Anglo-Saxon prin- ciples. German principles, he claimed, mere based on right, freedom, honour, and morality; Anglo-Saxon principles on the desir-e to make all the peoples of the world work as slaves to the Anglo-Saxon race. It is possible that German principles, in theory. may be based on right, freedom, (Oc., lnit in practice there is a difference well indicated in the following article from the pen of one who has lived in Ger- many and studied closely the conditions described J The working-class political organisation in Germany is the Social Democratic Party, and its leaders comprise not only workmen, but lawyers, journalists, and other middle- class people who are dissatisfied with the autocratic regime that controls the Empire. The Party has done a great deal to dis- seminate ideas among the mass of the labouring population, and at one time it was feared in high quarters that it might grow strong enough to enforce drastic changes. It was this fear that instigated Bismarck to carry through the Anti- Socialist Law. Gradually, however, Germany's rulers made the discovery that the Social Demo- cratic Party was a kind of lightning con- ductor—that the effect of its work in attracting and marshalling the discon- D tented was to prevent action rather than to promote it. Accordingly the Govern- ment concluded that they might safely allow the Party to spring up again, to hold meetings, to issue its literature, and to organise elections. The secret of this harmlessness was the anxiety of the Socialist leaders to avoid alarming the authorities, lest their organisation should be suppressed. Hence, although the Ger- man workman might grumble, he has never, for the last thirty years, made any attempt to show that his revolutionary enthusiasm could go beyond talk. How the Kaiser Treats Democracy. That talk alone can never bring about changes in Germany will be realised from a glance at the workman's political posi- tion. It it true that he has a vote for the Imperial Parliament (Reichstag) and has returned a considerable number of repre- sentatives to that assembly. But the Reichstag is not a Parliament in the sense in which we understand that word in Great Britain. It has no control over the Govern- ment—which is appointed by the Kaiser. It cannot initiate laws—that right being strictly confined to the Imperial Council, composed of representatives of the Govern- ments of the different States forming the German Empire. It has indeed one power-that of refus- ing to pass the Annual Budget, which is mainly concerned with the funds for mili- tary and naval expenditure. But this weapon iiivariiioly breaks m ^ts iicmd when its use is attempted. Directly the Reich- stay declines (as it has done upon one or I two occasions) to pass votes for increased armaments, the Kaiser invokes his power of Dissolution. He then takes up the role of a party leader, issues a manifesto de- nouncing the Social Democrats as traitors I to the Fatherland, and demands from his I people a repudiation of all their works. To this appeal the German population have always responded in the desired sense. Torn between loyalty to his Sovereign and loyalty to his party, the German workman has in the issue obeyed his master's voice ''—the natural result of his prolonged school and barrack-room education. I Throttiing the Elector. Besides the Reichstag, there are the various State Parliaments, the most impor- tant being that of Prussia—for whatever tune Prussia sings, the rest of Germany must chorus. The Prussian Parliament is elected oil what is known as the three- class system. The electors are divided into three groups—the rich, the middling well off, and the workers. Each of these classes in each constituency elects one-third of the Electoral College, which body in its turn chooses the representative to Parlia- ment. Under this scheme, the workmei, are naturally able to secure only a mere handful of representatives, because the rich and the well-to-do together have double the power of the industrial voters. For instance, in the town of Essen, Ilerr Krupp's single vote elected one-third of these who compose the Electoral College, and a few hundred bankers and hotel- keepers elect another third, while the remaining third are chosen by the thou- sands of workers toiling in Krupp's factory. b The political power of the German work- man is also strictly limited in other direc tions. Municipalities are governed by experts and Councils elected on the three or more "class" system-which means that the mass of the population can never hope to be fully represented on them, since the votes of a few rich men outweigh those of thousands of working people. 0 Quoted from "If the Kaiser GovernQd Britain.' by William Stephen Sanders.

-PHEW! AND BANG!

i BACK TO WOODEN" GUNS"

! IA SHEAF OF WAR STORIES.…

A LOOK ROUND.

--H.R.H. IN ITALY.