Some Remarks on the Immigrant Scare


Revolt Library Anarchism Some Remarks on the Immigrant Scare

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(1854 - 1944)

: Charlotte M. Wilson was an English Fabian and anarchist who co-founded Freedom newspaper in 1886 with Peter Kropotkin, and edited, published, and largely financed it during its first decade. She remained editor of Freedom until 1895. Born Charlotte Mary Martin, she was the daughter of a well-to-do physician, Robert Spencer Martin. She was educated at Newnham College at Cambridge University. She married Arthur Wilson, a stockbroker, and the couple moved to London. Charlotte Wilson joined the Fabian Society in 1884 and soon joined its Executive Committee. At the same time she founded an informal political study group for 'advanced' thinkers, known as the Hampstead Historic Club (also known as the Karl Marx Society or The Proudhon Society). This met in her former early 17th century farmhouse, called Wyldes, on the edge of Hampstead Heath. No records of the club survive but there are references to it in the memoirs of several of those who attended. In her history of Wyldes Mrs Wilson records the names of some of those who visited the house, most of whom are known to have been present at Club meetings. They included Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, Sydney Olivier, Annie Besant, Graham W... (From:

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Some Remarks on the Immigrant Scare

 Photo by James Abbott, CC BY License

Photo by James Abbott,
CC BY License

The defenders and guardians of property are trying to raise such a dust in one comer of the labor market as to divert public attention from the general misery of the workers and stave off the Social Revolution with one more quack reform. They feel specially called upon to inquire into the condition of the comparative handful of Jewish and other foreign immigrants who have fled to London from the persecution and oppression of the ruling classes elsewhere. Very probably the Tory Government might find a new and stringent alien law convenient in dealing with other foreign refugees, besides the victims of the sweating system, if only they could establish any sort of pretext for proposing it,

What would these disinterested philanthropists think of a law to forbid the emigration of English capital to search for cheap labor in other countries! Yet to the English worker it is much the same if his labor-force is undersold at home or abroad.

Is the terrible fight for a day's employment that takes place every morning at our dockyard gates caused by the competition of Russian and Polish Jews? In a recent report to the House of Lords, it was stated that in the months of January and July, 1887, 440,000 cases occurred of railway servants oil the fire great English railways working from 13 to IS boom out of the 24. Is this the outcome of foreign immigration? The pitiless machine of monopoly and competition is everywhere grinding its slaves, English or foreign, down to the lowest conditions of existence they call be forced to accept rather than fight or die. The only possible remedy is the international combination of all workers to resist this international tyranny of property by every means in their power, until they can finally overthrow it.

Our Socialist comrades among the East end Jewish immigrants are doing their level best to bring about this combination. Their weekly paper, The Worker's Friend, printed in their own dialect of Hebrew, is obtaining so good a circulation that it bus been publicly denounced by the middle-class Jews and determined underhand attempts made to suppress it. It holds its own nevertheless, though our comrades have hard work to pay their pay. Several English groups of Socialists gave practical proof how thoroughly they appreciate the international character of the labor struggle by, helping The Worker's, Friend over a financial crisis the other day. If any of our readers care to send subscriptions, large or small, for the support of this Jewish socialist paper, we shall be very glad to receive them and forward them to our East-end comrades.

Our Jewish comrades are not only Socialist propagandists. They are energetically occupied in organizing trade societies to combat the sweating system, raise the rate of wages to subsistence level, hold out a helping band to friendless immigrants, who being ignorant of English and English wage rates, are helpless victims of the sweater and his agents, and to communicate the real state of affairs in the London labor market to their brethren abroad.

Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Socialism
Vol. 2 -- No. 20,
MAY, 1888

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May 1, 1888
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