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I am afraid after all that, though the subject is a very important one, yet there are so many of you present who must know all about it, that you will find what I have to say is little better than commonplace. Still, you know there are occasions and times when commonplaces have to be so to say hammered home, and even those who profess the noble art of architecture want a certain sort of moral support in that line; they know perfectly well what they ought to do, but very often they find themselves in such an awkward position that they cannot do it, owing no doubt to the stupidity of their clients, who after all are not so stupid as they might be, one may think, since they employ them. Nevertheless, their clients generally are not educated pe... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Instructive Items” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 21, 5 June 1886, p.79; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The eight hours movement in America has not been the failure it is so loudly proclaimed. It is found, by actual computation, that nearly half-a-million have gained the eight hours system; that another half-million are working under the nine hour rule, and that not less than a million besides have succeeded in shortening the hours of labor in one shape or another. The fourteen and fifteen hours men have cut off two or three hours; the Saturday half-holiday men have largely gained their object, and the early closing and Sunday closing movements have been successful in most places. ‘What should I go to see in Europe?&r... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Insurance Against Magistrates” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 98, 26 November 1887, p. 377; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The meeting held is the Memorial Hall on November 18th will do good service if the protective League inaugurated by it keeps to its promise (as I see no reason for doubting that it will) of helping all persons without distinction of opinion who ‘get into trouble’ in their endeavors to defend freedom of speech. Stewart Headlam in his speech on that occasion said nothing less than the bare truth when he said that no poor man had any chance of obtaining justice in a magistrate’s court, — in which, by the way, he would doubtless have included the Middlesex Sessions if he had had any e... (From: Marxists.org.)
I found my old friend Morris surrounded by the books and drawings he loves so well, and after the usual civilities I plunged at once into the subject upon which I wished to get his views. "What do you think," I asked, "of the Anarchist outrages; this epidemic of bombthrowing?" "Well," said Morris, handing me a cigarette and filling a well-used brier pipe, "I have no doubt that you know pretty well what my view is, what the view of any Socialist would be, upon the subject. I regard it as simply a disease — a social disease caused by the evil conditions of society. I cannot regard it in any other light. Of course, as a Socialist I regard the Anarchists — that is, those who believe in Anarchism pure and simple — as being di... (From: Marxists.org.)
INTERVIEW WITH WILLIAM MORRIS. BY QUINBUS FLESTRIN. It was a dull night. Even the electric lights burned blue. Everybody knew or had heard of William Morris, yet I couldn't find his residence - Kelmscott House. I was directed down the Mall. I went down. I found a narrow murky passage, as directed. I turned to the left over the Creek bridge as per instructions; then turned to the right, and, after walking briskly for half an hour, found myself in the Hammersmith main thoroughfare, closely adjacent to my starting-place. This was not encouraging, but I took heart of grace, plunged into the Mall once more, but this time turned to the right, and in the fullness of time brought up on Hammersmith-bridge. Then I took a seat and moved the previ... (From: Marxists.org.)
A LIVING WAGE FOR WOMEN. AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. WILLIAM MORRIS. JOURNEYING from town, direct by road to Hammersmith, I traveled over the ground which Mr. William Morris has made famous in his "News from Nowhere," and I must confess that the dream of transformation which he describes seemed impossible of realization. Where on earth, I queried, are all these houses, shops, and people to be banished, in order that the charming district of Mr. Morris' dream may become possible? A short turning from the main road of Hammersmith brought me suddenly face to face with old Father Thames and a pretty stretch of country lining the further bank. It all looked so pleasant, gleaming in the sunshine, and was so great and sudden a contrast to the dir... (From: Marxists.org.)
The following pages form a book giving information concerning that Social Revolution which may be said rather to be in progress than to be at hand; information to those who stand outside it, either as curious spectators, or as declared enemies, but encouragement to those who are within it, and are doing their best in their generation to hasten its progress, or to light the way for its footsteps in the earliest hours of the new dav. The literature of Scientific Socialism in the English tongue is yet but scanty, and a book planned as this, and carried out with so much care as to figures — to speak of nothing else — will doubtless he heartily welcomed by all our comrades in the cause; but the book, besides its intrinsic worth, has... (From: Marxists.org.)
Introductory Source: Commonweal, Vol. I no. 1, Feb 1885, p.1; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. We beg our readers’ leave for a few words in which to introduce to them this Socialist journal, The Commonweal. In the first place we ask them to understand that the Editor and Sub-Editor of The Commonweal are acting as delegates of the Socialist League, and under its direct control: any slip in principles, therefore, and mis-statement of the aims or tactics of the League, are liable to correction from the representatives of that body. As to the conduct of The Commonweal, it must be remembered that it has one aim — the propagation of Socialism. We shall not, therefore, make any excuses for what may be thought journalistic short-c... (From: Marxists.org.)
The poem here illustrated by Mr Gaskin's beautiful pictures was written to suit a Medieval tune by Dr John Mason Neale, who was one of the leaders in the early days of the Ritualistic movement. Dr Neale was a representative of a side of the movement, which, unless I am mistaken, has almost died out as a special characteristic of Ritualism: the historical side to wit. This has happened I think because of the growth among thinking people generally of a sense of the importance of Medieval history, and of the increasing knowledge that the ecclesiastical part of it cannot be dissociated from its civil and popular parts. Medieval history in all its detail, with all its enthusiasms, legends, and superstitions, is now cultivated by many who have no... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Ireland and Italy — A Warning” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 9, October 1885, pp. 86-87; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Mr Parnell has been celebrating his triumphs in the past Parliament, and it may be said also those that are to come in the future one; he and his supporters also fully believe in the complete organization of the party, which will be strong enough not only to return 85 members this autumn, but also to compel every accepted candidate to sign a solemn pledge to submit to party discipline. Doubtless Mr Parnell is strong, and he and his are quite justified in their cries of victory. The English Parties cannot conceal their terror: Tory is calling to Whig, Whig to Liberal, to stand firm at last, since now ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Is Lipski’s Confession Genuine?” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 85, 27 August 1887, p. 276; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. So Lipski has confessed and all is right, ‘he has been brought to a frame of mind that has enabled him to make the reparation’, says the Daily News. Bourgeois justice and the Home Secretary are triumphantly vindicated. Thus, doubtless, thought the ‘respectable’ world on Monday morning. There is nothing to be surprised at in Lipski’s confession. Indeed, it was just what was to be expected; those who have never believed in his guilt have no need to do so now, the evidence is entirely against such an hypothesis; but that under the circumstances the world should be given ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Is Trade Recovering?” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 49, 18 December 1886, p.300; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. We are being told by the middle-class press at present, that there are signs of the passing away of that depression of trade which nobody denies is real enough. Now, non-Socialists will doubtless look on Socialists who dread this recovery of trade as likely to calm down the present agitation as very dreadful persons; but I would ask them first to remember that the realization of Socialism means to us a new and happy world; and considering how frightful are the sufferings of a large part of civilized populations, and how still more frightful is their degradation even in prosperous times of trade, we are surely just... (From: Marxists.org.)
It is told of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary--the Alfred the Great of his time and people--that he once heard (once ONLY?) that some (only SOME, my lad?) of his peasants were over- worked and under-fed. So he sent for his Council, and bade come thereto also some of the mayors of the good towns, and some of the lords of land and their bailiffs, and asked them of the truth thereof; and in diverse ways they all told one and the same tale, how the peasant carles were stout and well able to work and had enough and to spare of meat and drink, seeing that they were but churls; and how if they worked not at the least as hard as they did, it would be ill for them and ill for their lords; for that the more the churl hath the more he asketh; and t... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Labor Day” Commonweal, Vol 6, No. 225, 3 May 1890, p.137; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Is the demonstration of Labor Day a mere isolated demonstration, bearing no relation to anything but to the claim for a legal restriction of the hours of labor to the arbitrary figure of eight? Surely it is not so, whatever may be the wishes of some of those who may take part in it. On the, one hand it points to what has taken place within the last few years, on the other to the coming events of the next few. The great event in the history of labor of the last few years has been the growing comprehension of Socialism by the English workmen, as shown by the spirit underlying all the strikes which have lately taken place, and whic... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Law and Order in Ireland Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 65, 9 April 1887, p. 113; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The Coercion Bill and the attempt to drive it through Parliament is really a matter of great simplicity, although the whirl of party politics has made it seem somewhat intricate. It is the mere ‘outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace’ of that Conservatism, Toryism or Reactionism, whichever you please to call it, to which all the respectability of Parliamentary life gravitates, and which has engulfed not only the grave and portentous Philistinism of the once Tribune of the People, John Bright, but also the gathering ambition and vague aspiration to do something remarkable of Joseph Chamber... (From: Marxists.org.)
The Lesser Arts of Life The Lesser Arts of Life may not seem to some of you worth considering, even for an hour. In these brisk days of the world, amid this high civilization of ours, we are too eager and busy, it may be said, to take note of any form of art that does not either stir our emotions deeply, or strain the attention of the most intellectual part of our minds. Now for this rejection of the lesser arts there may be something to be said, supposing it be done in a certain way and with certain ends in view; nevertheless it seems to me that the lesser arts, when they are rejected, are so treated for no sufficient reason, and to the injury of the community; therefore I feel no shame in standing before you as a professed pleader and ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Lesson of the Hour” Commonweal, Vol 5, No. 191, 7 September 1889, p.281-282; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The labor revolt in the East-end, whatever the result of the dock-laborers’ strike may be, will leave a lasting impression behind it, at least on the working men. The wiseacre Norwood, in his speech of Tuesday last, made the very remarkable discovery that ‘the strike was aimed at capital and employers generally’, and seemed to think that this discovery was a set-off against his other shortcomings. As matter of fact, it is just this element of conscious or semi-conscious attack on the slave-drivers generally which distinguishes this strike from the ordinary trades-union bickerings. These l... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Letter from Scotland” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 25, 3 July 1886, p.105-106; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. On Tuesday 22nd I found myself at Arbroath, a pleasant stone-built town of some 20,000 inhabitants on the German Ocean, the original of ‘Fairport’ in Scott’s ‘Antiquary’, the remains of a magnificent church and abbey dominating the homely houses. The industry practiced there is sail-cloth making, and it is in a very dismal condition at present. There was much suffering there in the past winter. In a walk that I took with my host (a Free Kirk minister and a Socialist), we got into conversation with a field-laborer who was resting from his job of harrowing at a field’s end. I sho... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Letter from the Pacific Coast” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 13, February 1886, pp. 13; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. We have received an interesting letter from San Francisco relative to the labor question and especially to the conference lately held there, in which the main subject of discussion was the Chinese labor question. Our correspondent’s letter is as follows: ‘1035 Post Street, S. F., California, Dec. 9. ‘85. ‘Dear Comrades,- We last night adjourned from the ‘Trades and Labor Organizations Convention’ which had, with an interval of two days, been sitting since last Monday week. A full report is in course of preparation, of which you will undoubtedly receive a copy, but thi... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Liberal Party Digging Its Own Grave” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 98, 26 November 1887, p. 380; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.. For months past the Gladstonian Liberals have been protesting loudly against Coercion in Ireland, and the speeches of the ‘distinguished’ among them have been filling columns on columns of the papers. They have just had a splendid opportunity of striking a great blow against Coercion in London. We need not ask how they have used that opportunity, that would be a joke; but it may be profitable to point out some possible consequences of their gross stupidity in throwing it away. It is their business as political Liberals to get the working-classes to believe that if they come in agai... (From: Marxists.org.)
Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle On Sunday afternoon, happening to be in the neighborhood of Ravenscourt Park — which, I may state, is near Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush ─ I saw the sturdy, well-knit figure of Mr. William Morris tramping along heedless of the driving rain and the keen north-east wind. Mr. William Morris is an extraordinary character — in fact, he answers to the description of "three single gentlemen rolled into one." Firstly, he is a poet ─ "the idle singer of an empty day" he calls himself; secondly, be is an art-decorator, a designer of artistic wall-papers, and man of a flourishing business in which there is little time for idle singing; thirdly, he is a gentlemanly Sociali... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “London in a State of Siege” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 97, 19 November 1887, p. 369-70; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Sir Charles Warren has kept his promise and prevented the meeting organized by the Radical Clubs. From the military point of view he has been eminently successful, and deserved to be so, and it is now proper that we should make him a peer of the realm and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces, if he will kindly consent to waive the title of Emperor or three-tailed Bashaw or whatever else is the proper nick-name of a supreme and irresponsible ruler. Sir Charles, I repeat, made his military dispositions admirably, and revolutionists should study them, since they have had a little piece of real war sudde... (From: Marxists.org.)
It would be a hard-hearted person indeed who could either object seriously to or look sourly upon the Lord Mayor's Show as a holiday pageant, an afternoon brightening-up of the hideous and sordid streets of the "Great Wen," as Cobbett called it: and considering the depths of the degradation of all spectacular art at the present day, it would be too cruel to criticize the spectacle of last Monday from an artistic point of view, even if the columns of JUSTICE were the best place in which to do so. But since the Fathers of the City have thought good in one part of their show to call attention to an episode of London history, the murder of Wat Tyler, it may be worth while for the sake of the practical moral to recall to our readers the story of... (From: Marxists.org.)
The Committee of the S.P.A.B. having noticed that the Pall Mall Gazette has on several occasions done good service towards the cause of the preservation of the remains of the art of past times, has desired me to write to you, & beg the favor of space in your columns for the following remarks on the threatened destruction of Magdalen Bridge at Oxford, which it is much to be feared is imminent. It may well be thought that the mere words, `the destruction of Magdalen Bridge' would go at once to the heart of any one who knows Oxford well; that any one who has lived there either as gownsman or townsman, & who does not want to be set down as dull to any impression of art or history, would be eager to protest against such a strange piece... (From: Marxists.org.)
As other ages are called, e.g., the ages of learning, of chivalry, of faith and so forth, so ours I think may be called the Age of makeshift. In other times of the world's history if a thing was not to be had, people did without it, and there was an end. Nay, most often they were not conscious of the lack. But to-day we are so rich in information, that we know of many and many things which we ought to have and cannot, and not liking to sit down under the lack pure and simple, we get a makeshift instead of it; and once more it is just this insistence on makeshifts, and I fear content with them, which is the essence of what we call civilization. Now I want to run through certain of these makeshifts, and see what there is of evil in them, wha... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: Manifesto, pub. 1st May 1893 Authors: J.M. Hyndman, W. Morris, G.B. Shaw Transcribed: by Graham Seaman, May 2019 There is a growing feeling at the present time that, in view of the increasing number of Socialists in Great Britain, an effort should be made to show that, whatever differences may have arisen between them in the past, all who can fairly be called Socialists are agreed in their main principles of thought and action. This is the more hopeful since, though much has been made of those differences by the opponents of Socialism, it is safe to say that they have been of rather less importance than similar disputes of the early days of great movements which have afterwards become solid and irresistible. There has indeed ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Fellow Citizens, We come before you as a body advocating the principles of Revolutionary International Socialism; that is, we seek a change in the basis of Society - a change which would destroy the distinctions of classes and nationalities. As the civilized world is at present constituted, there are two classes of Society - the one possessing wealth and the instruments of its production, the other producing wealth by means of those instruments but only by the leave and for the use of the possessing classes. These two classes are necessarily in antagonism to one another. The possessing class, or non-producers, can only live as a class on the unpaid labor of the producers - the more unpaid labor they can wring out of them, the richer they... (From: Marxists.org.)
Prefatory Note The spread of Socialism since the first issue of this Manifesto makes a new edition necessary; all the more, as the word Socialism is now freely used by Ministers and ex-Ministers, who cannot be expected to understand it, and who nevertheless take credit to themselves for their audacity in patronizing it before vast popular audiences, so that the word has got to be used loosely and in a misleading manner. It is hoped that this new issue may be a corrective against misunderstandings that may arise from all this. The Notes appended to this edition will at any rate, we hope, clear up any possible ambiguities in the text as w... (From: Marxists.org.)
A Society coming before the public with such a name as that above written must needs explain how, and why, it proposes to protect those ancient buildings which, to most people doubtless, seem to have so many and such excellent protectors. This, then, is the explanation we offer. No doubt within the last fifty years a new interest, almost like another sense, has arisen in these ancient monuments of art; and they have become the subject of one of the most interesting of studies, and of an enthusiasm, religious, historical, artistic, which is one of the undoubted gains of our time; yet we think that if the present treatment of them be continued, our descendants will find them useless for study and chilling to enthusiasm. We think that those l... (From: Marxists.org.)
Certainly May Day is above all days of the year fitting for the protest of the disinherited against the system of robbery that shuts the door betwixt them and a decent life; the day when the promise of the year reproaches the waste inseparable from the society of inequality, the waste which produces our artificial poverty of civilization, so much bitterer for those that suffer under it than the natural poverty of the rudest barbarism. For it is undoubtedly true that full-blown capitalism makes the richest country in the world as poor as, nay poorer than, the poorest, for the life of by far the greater part of its people. Are we to sit down placidly under this, hoping that some blessing will drop from heaven upon us which will bring content... (From: Marxists.org.)

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