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justice. If you are rich, you perhaps think that inequality is a good thing—that it fosters a spirit of emulation, and prevents things from stagnating at a dead level. But if you are poor, you must know well that when inequality is so outrageous as the figures above shew, it fosters nothing but despair, recklessness and drunkenness among the very poor; arrogance and wastefulness among the very rich ; meanness, envy and snobbery among the middle classes. Poverty means disease and crime, ugliness and brutality, drink and violence, stunted bodies and unenlightened minds. Riches heaped up in idle hands mean flunkeyism and folly, insolence and servility, bad example, false standards of warth, and the destruction of all incentive to useful work in those who are best able to educate themselves for it. Poverty and riches together mean the misuse of our capital and industry for the production of frippery and luxury whilst the nation is rotting for want of good food, thorough instruction, and wholesome clothes and dwellings for the masses. What we want in order to make true progress is more bakers, more schoolmasters, more woolweavers and tailors, and more builders : what we get instead is more footmen, more gamekeepers, more jockeys, and more prostitutes. That is what our newspapers call “sound political economy." What do you think of it? Do you intend to do anything to get it remedied?
No Remedy without Political Change. The produce of industry has been increased enormously during this last century by machinery, railways, and division of labor. But he first cost of machinery, railways and factories has to be paid out of savings, and not out of the money that people are living on. Now the only people who can spare money to save are those who have more than enough to live on : that is to say, the rich. Consequently the machinery has been introduced, and the factories built out of the savings of the rich; and as they paid for it (with money made by the labor of the poor), they expect to get all the advantage that comes by using it; so that here again the workers are left as badly off as ever. The worst of it is that when the rich find how easily they get still richer by saving, they think it is as easy for everybody as for themselves; and when the worker complains, they say, "Why don't you save as we do?” or “How can you expect to be well off if you are not thrifty ?” They forget that though you can save plenty out of £18 a week without stinting your family, you cannot save anything out of eighteen shillings without starving them. Nothing can help the poor except political change from bad social institutions to good ones.
The Three Monopolies. Moreover the propertied classes, by giving their sons an expensive education, are able to put them into the learned professions and the higher managerial posts in business, over the heads of the wageworkers, who are too poor to get more than the Board School standards for their children. So that out of the price paid for the use of the land, the propertied classes save capital ; and out of th profits of the capital they buy the education which gives to th working members a monopoly of the highly paid employmenisch, whilst the wage-workers are hopelessly cut out of it all. Here the figures for the United Kingdom :
-8. Book BOXEE
Printed by G
e left for Wage-workers (29,500,000 ) 690,000,000
Total National Income ... ... £1,800,000,000 This means that the rich are masters of the wage-workers, because the whole country is governed by the House of Commons, the County Councils and Municipal Corporations, and only rich men can afford to give their time for nothing to these bodies, or to pay the heavy expenses of getting elected to them. The workman's vote enables him to choose between one rich man and another, but not to fill the Councils and Parliament with men of his own class. Thus the poor keep the rich up ; and the rich keep the poor down; and it will always be so whilst the land and the machinery from which the nation's subsistence is produced remains in the hands of a class instead of in the hands of the nation as a whole.
What Socialism Is. Socialism is a plan for securing equal rights and opportunities for all. The Socialists are trying to have the land and machinery gradually "socialized," or made the property of the whole people, in order to do away with idle owners, and to win the whole product for those whose labor produces it. The establishment of Socialism, when once the people are resolved upon it, is not so difficult as might be supposed. If a man wishes to work on his own account, the rent of his place of business, and the interest on the capital needed to start him, can be paid to the County Council of his district just as easily as to the private landlord and capitalist. Factories are already largely regulated by public inspectors, and can be conducted by the local authorities just as gas-works, water-works and tramways are now conducted by them in various towns. Railways and mines, instead of being left to private companies, can be carried on by a department under the central government, as the postal and telegraph services are carried on now. The Income Tax collector who to-day calls for a tax of a few pence in the pound on the income of the idle millionaire, can collect a tax of twenty shillings in the pound on every unearned income in the country if the State so orders. Remember that Parliament, with all its faults, has always governed the country in the interest of the class to which the majority of its members belonged. It governed in the interest of the country gentlemen in the old days when they were in a majority in the House of Commons; it has governed in the interests of the capitalists and employers since they won a majority by the Reform Bill of 1832; and it will govern in the interest of the pcople when the majority is sclected from the wage-earning class. Inquirers will find that Socialison can be brought about in a perfectly constitutional manner, and thu* none of the practical difficulties which occur to everyone in his brst five minutes' consideration of the subject have escaped the attention of those who have worked at it for years. Few now believe Socialismi Co be impracticable except those with whom the wish is father to the thought.
• This item is made up of six hundred and fifty millions (6150,000,000) which go 28 Rent and Interest absolutely for nothing, and of four hundred and sixiy in.
i s 160.000.000) incomes of professional men and profits of business man. udledalo (Swe Fabian Trac: No. 5, “ Facts for Socialists." Ninth edition , one penny.)
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FE BRUARY, 1891.
Since the time of the Chartist agitation, no attempt has been made to formulate a thorough scheme for the reform of the laws regulating our Electoral System, if the confused, inconsistent, and often unintelligible mass of Acts of Parliament on the Statute Book can be dignified by such a name. From the Statute of Edward I., establishing freedom of election, down to the County Electors' Act (1888), there have been between one hundred and fifty and one hundred and sixty Acts to regulate the Franchise, Registration of Electors, and Procedure at Elections, etc.; of which, no less than one hundred and sixteen have been enacted since the passing of the Reform Act of 1832-a measure intended by Lord John Russell to settle finally the question of Reform.
With the single exception of the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act (1883), no attempt has been made to codify any section of Electoral Law. One Act of Parliament nullifies another, and a superstitious reverence for antiquated modes of draughtmanship has only made confusion worse confounded. A vote is given to every male householder, only to be taken away from him by a cumbrous and iniquitous system of registration, with an arbitrary term of qualification, and an intentionally complex arrangement of claim, objection, and revision.
It is often said that the points of the People's Charter have been embodied in English law; but, as a matter of fact, the Ballot alone has been adopted in its simple entirety. The Suffrage has been considerably lowered, and some approach has been made to the establishment of Equal Electoral Districts, but nothing whatever has been done with regard to the Payment of Members and the Duration of Parliaments. The abolition of a Property Qualification for Members has been merely a nominal reform, and can only be rendered effective by Payment of Election Expenses.
In the following draft bill an attempt has been made to put into practic. able legal shape the aspirations of advanced politicai reformers. Its provi. sions include the following points :ADULT SUFFRAGE.
EXTENSION OF THE HOURS OF POLLMINIMUM RESIDENTIAL QUALIFICA
RESTRICTION ON USE OF CONVEY. EFFICIENT QUARTERLY REGISTRA
AXCES. TION BY PAID OFFICERS.
PAYMENT OF ALL ELECTION ExSECOND BALLOT.
PENSES, AND OF NEARLY ALL THE SIMULTANEOUS ELECTIONS.
NECESSARY COST OF CANDIDATURE. ABOLITION OF PLURAL VOTING.
PAYMENT OF MEMBERS, AND OF THEIR ABSOLUTE SECRECY OF THE BALLOT.
TRAVELLING EXPENSES. ADEQUATE PROVISION OF POLLING TRIENNIAL PARLIAMENTS. PLACES.
To make a complete Reform Bill, provision should also be made for the establishment of Equal Electoral Districts, automatically re-adjusted according to population after every census; the consolidation of the eighty-five statutes dealing with the Disqualification of Candidates, and of the thirty-one dealing with the procedure at an election; the further simplification and strengthening of the law relating to Corrupt and Illegal Practices; and the Abolition of the House of Lords.
Until the electorate consists of the whole adult population, and perfect treedom of choice of members, combined with the fullest control over their legislative action, has been secured through Payment of Members and their election expenses, and the Second Ballot, the people will be seriously handi. capped in the promotion and enactment of those measures of social reform, which will ultimately result in the socialization of industry and the establishment of the Commonwealth on a co-operative basis, for which end alone political reform is of any value.