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The ECONOMIC BASIS OF EVIL

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The ECONOMIC BASIS OF EVIL Mr. Brailsford's Lesson in Social Science. I The Economic Slavery of a League of Nations. I .Few industrial centres in these iftlee can give best to the Merthyr and Aberdare Vallies in their appreciation of the work that Mr. H. N. Brailsford has done for democratic advance- ment through the medium of the press. His permament contributions to the literature of the movelllent have, we opine, found their way into more workmen's cottages pro rata. than even he might imagine; whilst he has lifted himself easily into the front rank of our journalist-pub- liciets by his pertinent oontrloutions to the problems of the moment and the movement in the columns of the Herald," and the pamph- lets of the U.D.C. It is not surprising, there- fore, that despite the sleet-driven nature of Sunday the attendance at the Rink, on the oc- oamon of Mr. Brailsford's visit, was most satis- factory, from the standpoint of mere numbers. Even more so was the spirit in which the audi- ence so attentively followed the indictment of -Capitalistic expansion as worked out by the author of The War of Steel and Gold." Bert "Brobyn was in the chair, and he made a strong I appeal to all unattached persons in the audience to ally themselves with the I.L.P. in their locality. .PAROCHIAL MORALITY. I I Mr. Braiisiord opened by remanding us 01 we Gretna Green rail disaster during the early days of 1915, and reminding us of the horror and -concern which was aroused in the country by Lhat unfortunate occurrence; and horror and oonoern far different from that awakens! on the ■Continent at that moment. When we were ..dealing with a woman whose tears we could see, or a man whose anguish was expressed in words or cries, our. sympathy went forth at once, but when we had before us the dim. unrealised millions of a continent then our sympathy moved very languidly. That fact seemed to bo at the basis of much tha.t was strange and difficult in our international "dat.ionsbips. Those relation- ships had taken on a world-wide sweep dpnng the past half-century, and the consequence was that those relationships were getting beyond the range of that instinctive sympathy which only seemed to behave naturally and humanely when it was dealing with people at our own doors. Our civilisation through the last half-century had gone on with a. physical extension, it had swept over the earth, but along with that physi- cal development had not gone a cor respond mg development of mind and morals. Civilisation had put on the seven-league boots, but with that Democracy had not acquired the seven-league mind which would have enabled it to control this enormous process. We could not go back. That extension had come for good or for evil. It had come without our volition, without even our unde<r>tanding where is was carrying us. He was going to try to survey some of the forces that had h-d ûO this develop- ment of this so-called civilisation—this Imperial policy. THE ECONOMIC INTERPRETATION. "I x'he rorw uiu. hi.Ù, \J. llot the will or the masses or the directing mind of a Demo- cracy. The forces that made it were tJie econo- mic pressure 01 the Capitalist System. It seemed to him that tho roots of our modern Imperialism, and ultimately of militarism, lay in our own factories and coal vallies. and iron worlds. The Capitalist System was grinding out all the while its surplus values, its vast ao cumulations of fresh capital. Capital added end- lessly to itself, and the relation of this aspect of Capitalism to Imperialism was simply that because Capital had paid less ivages than was che workers' due as beings, it had been able to -add to its own stores, to accumulate that which •ould not be absorbed within the shores of its national grouping, and which, therefore, com- pelled a search for means to employ it. There was such a tiling as unemployed Capital, just ,;us there was unemployed labour, and such ,(-aixtal looked about for a m-irket in which it -oild employ itself to- its tlwn advantage. If the Capitalists had dealt fairly with t.he worke.1. if they had raised wages as their con- -erns thrived, there would ha.ve been in the home markets a demand for the products of home industry, for the more the employer paid, -t.ho more the woi- k t?.r hz n orv?, the oiyipl o?vt-.z- pai d the more the worker had to spend. Because there was not at home a free and prosperous Democracy, unemployed Gapatal had to travel to the distant -orners of the earth and there see k the possibility of employment. THE ALTERED OUTLOOK. I During the last quarter of a. century there had become ajiparent a new industrial pheno- menon. Accumulated capital began to bestir itself in the search for concessions. It ocgan not only to send out goods for sale, but to ex- port itself; it began to look for opportunities not merely to sell things, but to anchor itself -an the soil of the out-lands, a.nd of tlib decaying •rtlpires of earth. Oonsumable goods did not. ■engender that k«n interest in the country to which they were exported, as did Capital which was anchored down in the ph&pe of mirit-,6 or a railroad, for in the latter event The Capital was ind-issolubly bound up with the interests ol' the country in which it was invested. So we found that the Capitalist called on his own country to guara.nt<v him tlie extension of his enterprise, to assure to him his profits; to protect him in dealing with native governments. Diplomacy was thus tailed in as the pioneer for ■exported capital, as its protector and as its shield in the background. The Ambassador hn- camfl the advance agent of finance, but he was an advance agent who did his business with aU L-- -natj()n !-A, h iii(i )i i in. the armed power of his nation Jx'hind him. ÐVPTywhern the shadow of armed power was he- hind this financial dealing. That was. bad for the little nationality or decaying empire that, -was being financed; but it, had another and oven more disastrous aspect. It meant that the rivalry behind the different national groups was no longer the rivalry of financiers, but, was the rivalry of governments with their armed forces behind them. And as soon as we had reached that stage the whole relationships of states and ■empires was degraded at the touch of Capital- istic Imperialism. It came to this, that when we talked of the Balance- of Power we meant that the nation holding that balance was in a. favour- able j>osition to deal with the rivals of its na- tional financiers in this enormous process of I(ImpiWi.st expansion overseas. That was hound to break down somewhere, sometime, and for three years we had been in the awful struggle to re-adjust the balance of power by the appeal to the sword. THE BALANCE OF POWER. I What did the Balance of Power mean? It 1 mieaut that even a. victorious ooaiclusion to one side in this war might result in not transferring a single yard of territory, but in "deciding that that side should have the advantage of dealing with the minor half-civilised states and dying Empires in which Capital sought its opportuni- ties. The Balance of Power meant the oppor- tunity of controlling concessions and controlling the raw materials for industry, and securing the expansion of new finances. As illustrating the truth of his analysis Mr. Brailsford traced. the history of the Frar.co-German difficulties over Morocco from 1904 to 1911, in which tho real struggle under the political issue was the fight of the different groups of national financiers to control the untapped wealth of iron ore in the Atlas mountains; and in which we were em- broiled by our determined opposition to the ex- pansion of German finance in the Bagdad rail- way. THE SIX ECONOMIC UNIONS. Other instances were also cited to clinch the argument, which he further claimed be need not have been at such pains to illustrate, since it was set forth in the resolutions of the Paris Economic Conference—at which we declared in effect that the Allies should declare economic war on their enemies at the termination of hos- tilities on the field, by the discrimination against Germany, and, in a lesser degree against neu- trals, and the preferential treatment of Allies in the sale of the raw materials of which the Allies possessed a virtual monopoly. This had somewhat of a parallel in the memorandum which the Six Economic Unions of Ge-nnanv laid before the Chancellor in the early days of the war. In that document the Six Economic Unions—syndicates of employers mostly in the metal trades—it was brutally laid down that the war aims of Germany should be the coalfields of Belgium and the ironfields of Northern Fram e, these, of course, to pass into the pos- session of German financiers, the present holders to be paid out with money extracted as an in- demnity. IA SINIST-ER PROSPECT. How did all this look from the- point of view 01 the workers?, asked Mr. Brailsford. It had several aspects. First of all there was the aspect of this Imperial process as it concerned the workers of the countries exploited—Turkey, China, and so on. For they also were our bro- thers, bound to the wheel, victims of the same Capitalist, machine, with this difference, there were no Factory Acts east of Suez. (Shame.) 1 At home, and abroad this Capitalist System was orutal and anti-social; having exploited us on the ewnomic field it got to work on the aT"Tua-1 ments of the world. and worked out its schemes in the blood of our sons. (Cheers.) If those Paris resolutions were to be insisted upon, then the war was going on, for they would mean debt, bankruptcy and ruin for the German workers who were, divorced from the raw ma- terials of their trades. The (Jerman worker being a manly fellow, with deplorable faults we would admit. Imt with the characteristic primi- tive courage of the Western races, and he would say that the next war was going to be a war for his Right to Work." If that, policy was car- ried out it would mean that in the next war Germany would have a motive that would seem just, not only to her financiers, but to every worklllàn in tli-L, We had talked for Year in Britain about the Right to Work, but kn. us also remember that a nation, too, had the Right to Work. (1a,pitaüt expansion had made a slum at one end of the scal e and a Dreadnought at tho other, and it built the Dreadnought because it had first built the slum. (Cheers.) There lay the past behind ii-, and it had led us into the awful clash of this war. Sometimes he felt that, the evil was going to euro iteelf by its very excesses. He thought that some compromise, some arrangement, would be come to, and the Paris Economic Conference re- solutions allowed to go. He thought that we might get a settlement in some ways more sin- ister than that. We would get instead of that rivalry between national groups of financiers, a deal between them, and the result would be an arrangement to exploit the rest of the world without the troublesome interruption of war. That had its good side, since we would be able to count on the reassurance of peace in the fu- ture. It was bad because it meant a world- wide power of Capital. Hitherto Oipitul had been mobilised in national groups, but he saw in tlie future a League of Nations which might be at firat a League of Ruling Classes, a League of Capitalist Governments, and under that in peace as in war we might bo sure that the ma- chine would have its Capitalist System. The economic motive would go on so long as the division into Worker and Capitalist in Society. We of tae workers' movement must in the future be alert where we were supine, organised where we were disorganised, awake where we were as leep. (Cheers.) We had to realise the enormous powers and forces against us. We must realise the fact that Capital in its foreign policy, and expansion was mow intelligent than we wi,n,. with it that policy waa not a matter of abstract speculation, but of direct, financial interest. We hrd to realise that our Democratic power had been wasted, and was directed largely through ignoraaico of t.he enor- mous world-wide process going on around us. War it-self was a disease- ignorance—the ignor- ance of the voters, t;he workers of the country. (Cheers.) We were to-day rationed in butter, in sugar and in truth, and the only way to get at the truth for ourselves was to turn our La- bour Party to the task of criticising and track- ing down this Imperial process at. the. mercy of which we lived to-day, and at the mercy of which our children and grandchildren would con- tinue to exist if we ourselves did not face the t^i,sic of ending it. At the moment we coukl do little, but when the moment once more arrived for negotiations we must be strong enough to seiw it, a.nd a.t the settlement our forces should joe knit, united and organised to demand a set- tlement of this war by Democratic methods—by open Democracy and not by the devious and secret ways of the older statecraft. (Cheers.) He looked upon this problem as the most vital and the largest that, the working-class had to solve, and we must see to it that we were not diverted from its settlement by the questions of purely domestic reconstruction and reform. (Cheers.) If we oould not, face and master this secret diplomacy and this economic exploitation we were liable to have our family life inter- rupted by the call to arms and conscription. THE ONLY WAY. I i,m us not imagine that the settlement of I this was was goin 1 to settle our international I (Continued at foot of next column).

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