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of Commons consisting of 660 gentlemen and 10 workinen will order the soldier to take money from the people for the landlords. A House of Commons consisting of 660 workmen and 10 gentlemen will probably, unless the 660 are fools, order the soldier to take money from the landlords for the people. With this hint I leave the matter, in the full conviction that the State, in spite of the Anarchists, will continue to be used against the people by the classes until it is used by the people against the classes with equal ability and equal resolution.
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PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 1893. REPRINTED OCTOBER 1906.
[Reprinted, with additions, from "THE NINETEENTH CENTURY” (No. CXC.,
Dec. 1892), by kind permission of the JAMES KNOWLES, Esq.]
WHEN in ordinary busy years autumn arrives and the leaves begin to fall; after the harvest has been gathered and the hop, fruit, and market gardens have given up their yield; when the nights draw in and the weather breaks, then begins to gather in the city and the town the advance guard of the workless army. As winter approaches they grow in numbers and persistency. Increasing education, political enfranchisement, and economic knowledge have engendered amongst them healthy discontent at their enforced idleness and poverty.
In times of bad trade and its accompanying exceptional distress, by meetings, processions, and deputations the unemployed now call public attention to their sufferings and their wants. In London the bolder spirits amongst them believe and practise what the moral cowardice of politicians and the lack of initiative on the part of local governing bodies have taught them—that is, to make a nuisance of their grievances. For, in the language of a noble politician, " the people are only in earnest when they pull down railings, break windows, and create riots."
Acting on this suggestion, it is not to be wondered at that a few desperate men should use threats and urge others to violence ; or that the genuine distress of the unemployed should be exploited by individuals who simply use the workless as a means of pushing to the front views and interests for which they require publicity, and which are incompatible with a healthy agitation on behalf of the unemployed movement.
But if there have been loafers, cranks, and other contemptible persons using the unemployed for ulterior purposes, this should not blind us to the grievances of the genuine men who may attend the meetings and who are really desirous of finding employment.
Whether these are 10,000 or 100,000 men does not affect, except in degree, the responsibility of society for meeting their demands. And if it were true, which it is not, that these meetings are composed altogether of thieves and loafers who meet in thousands for predatory reasons only; then that would be additional and urgent reason why we should hasten all remedial agencies of a permanent character.' Society should anticipate the loafing and thieving stage that casual labor too often produces, by providing work for willing workers—work that must be made more attractive, remunerative, and steady for the individual than is now the precarious life of the average laborer, through the gradations of which he descends to the unemployed, the dosser, the loafer, and the criminal—a curse to himself, a pest to all, The practicability of some remedy for all his troubles is dawning upon, yea is being felt by, the modern
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