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Source: “Misanthropy to the Rescue” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 33, 28 August 1886, p.172; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. A paper read by Mr Wordsworth Donnisthorpe at the Fabian Conference has been printed in the Anarchist. It excited much interest at the time when it was read, and aroused no little indignation in the minds of some of the Socialists that heard it; but printed, it does not seem a very remarkable piece, being simple an example of the ordinary pessimistic paradoxical exercises which are a disease of the period, and whose aim would seem to be the destruction of the meaning of language. Thus Mr Donnisthorpe declares himself an evolutionist, but his evolution simply runs round the circle; and in fact what he really mea... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Modern Midas” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 141, 22 September 1888, p.300; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. In one respect at least, we Socialists have an advantage over other people. The very simplest and rudest ideal that a Socialist can conceive of would bear realization well; a Socialist could only be discontented with such realization by ceasing to be a Socialist; and there are few creeds or causes of which this could be said. Some have discounted the usual ideals, so to say, and rejected them beforehand, like the old Scotch lady who declined to sacrifice her pleasure on earth for the chance of sitting on a damp cloud and singing psalms all day for ever in another world; others, like Swedenborg, have gravely (though in... (From: Marxists.org.)
I want you to consider the position of the working-classes generally at the present day: not to dwell on the progress that they may (or may not) have made within the last five hundred or the last fifty years; but to consider what their position is, relatively to the other classes of which our society is composed: and in doing so I wish to guard against any exaggeration as to the advantages of the position of the upper and middle-classes on the one side, and the disadvantages of the working-classes on the other; for in truth there is no need for exaggeration; the contrast between the two positions is sufficiently startling when all admissions have been made that can be made. After all, one need not go further than the simple statement of the... (From: Marxists.org.)
May I be allowed a further word or two on the subject of monuments in Westminster Abbey and its precincts, since I see by your issue of the 11th April that it appears probable that the plan of carrying the plague of monuments into the cloisters and Chapter House will be approved of by the authorities? I think that, whatever scheme for the continuance of what is called, in the detestable slang of the day, our National Valhalla, may be second-worst, this surely must be called the worst. Here very briefly is the position. Incongruous monuments have been allowed to block up and disfigure the Abbey church; this is now allowed by every one who claims to know or care anything about art to have been a deplorable mistake; nevertheless, we are now pr... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “The Moral of Last Lord Mayor’s Day” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 45, 20 November 1886, p.265; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The Lord Mayor’s Show has come and gone, and it may be supposed that many respectable people, including probably the city magnates who formed part of the procession, are easier in their minds that it is well over. But perhaps they will not on reflection be thoroughly reassured. The procession was far from being a triumphant one, and was escorted by hoots and groans all along. The success of the police in preventing a demonstration was only partial, since a huge meeting was held and harangued in Trafalgar Square, in spite of Sir Charles Warren’s proclamation, besides the large meetin... (From: Marxists.org.)
I have read with much interest the proposal of Mr Yates Thompson about the revival of Mr Pearson's scheme for thenew mortuary chapel at Westminster Abbey, and am very pleased to see the note of warning which you have raised, and with which I entirely agree. The whole ground round the Abbey is full of archaeological value, and from this point of view it is most dangerous to tamper with it. But there are other reasons for looking on this scheme with apprehension. Mr Pearson's scheme as adopted by Mr Yates Thompson, decidedly means an addition to the ancient building, I mean a new part added to it. This seems to me objectionable to the last degree. The ancient building at Westminster is in a special degree the work of the people of the country... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Mr Chamberlain’s Leader” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 31, 14 August 1886, p.153; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Parliament has met for a ceremonial, and done about as much as it would have done if it had met for the dispatch of business — nothing, to wit. But besides that, the two parliamentary groups that represent anything like principle and at the same time have any power in Parliament, have also met, and each has done so much at least as to announce its policy in the present state of things. The Parnellites have met in Dublin, and the Jingo-Whigs in Devonshire House; and the conclusions come to by both parties are certainly encouraging to those who wish to see an end of all parties, since they point directl... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Mr Jawkins at the Mansion House” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 45, 20 November 1886, p.268-269; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. Lord Salisbury, in his speech at the Mansion House, did in some respects only strengthen somewhat the words of his colleague, Lord Randolph Churchill. Like him he tried to bury dangerous jingoism decently. It was pretty much the old story: ‘Sir, you have called me a liar, you have pulled my nose, you have kicked me downstairs, now beware, lest you rouse the sleeping lion!’ As to Ireland again, he, like the other, declared for stiff support to landlordism, and hinted at coercion; and his only contribution to the stock of news of Government intentions, was his assertion that no discretion... (From: Marxists.org.)
I do not quite understand whether Mr Shaw Lefevre's scheme implies any meddling with either the Abbey Church, or the interesting remains of the ancient buildings near it; if it does, it cannot be too severely condemned; but your own article (of January 26th) on this subject gives a dangerous hint, which I hope will not be taken, for `beautifying, at a comparatively small expense, the cloisters which form part of the ancient chapel.' I must say that part of the `expense' would be the destruction of the cloisters themselves, and such an expense is not easily measured in money. As to the general question of monuments in Westminster Abbey, you say with truth that it is one of the most beautiful of ancient fanes. I do not think that it is an exa... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “A New Party” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 8, September 1885, pp. 85; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. It would undoubtedly be futile to prophecy as to the immediate results of the forthcoming general elections, or to wager which side may get the majority; but whichever does come uppermost in the struggle, certain tendencies in the elected and the electors are likely to develop in a manner which can fairly be judged of, without pretense to the gift of prophecy, by noting the signs of the times at present; and it is not out of place, even in a Socialist paper, to look into these tendencies, since some of our friends are so anxious to try their luck in the game which is going on at St Stephens, hoping that they may be allowed t... (From: Marxists.org.)
XXII. Hampton court and a Praiser of Past Times So on we went, Dick rowing in an easy tireless way, and Clara sitting by my side admiring his manly beauty and heartily good-natured face, and thinking, I fancy, of nothing else. As we went higher up the river, there was less difference between the Thames of that day and Thames as I remembered it; for setting aside the hideous vulgarity of the cockney villas of the well-to-do, stockbrokers and other such, which in older time marred the beauty of the bough-hung banks, even this beginning of the country Thames was always beautiful; and as we slipped between the lovely summer greenery, I almost felt my youth come back to me, and as if I were on one of those water excursions which used to enjoy... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “A Note on Passing Politics” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 85, 27 August 1887, p. 276; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The Gladstonians are very naturally triumphant at the Northwich election, and the Tories as naturally have been attempting to explain away their defeat; which, however, taken in conjunction with the other bye-elections, does seem to an onlooker to mean the extinction of the Chamberlain party, the absorption into definite Toryism of Lord Harrington and a few other nobodies, and in short, the defeat of the revolt in the Liberal party against Mr Gladstone, who seems destined to have one more triumph before he dies. To some ardent Liberals the way seems so direct to Liberal victory that the Pall Mall Gazette urge... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “Notes and Queries — Practical Socialism,” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 20, 29 May 1886, p.71; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. A friend who says that he quite understands the theory of Socialism, has some questions on its ‘practical application’:- (1) Will there be any shopkeepers or public houses in the new state of society, and if not how are things to be exchanged? (2) Will there by any money used? (3) Who will superintend workmen in factories, etc.? ‘These’, says our friend, ‘are questions I am constantly asked, and am unable to give a satisfactory reply to; I want to see a plan as it were of the new state of Society.’ When the plan is visible the new state of Society will be r... (From: Marxists.org.)
Hammersmith Socialist Record, Number 13, October 1892 [Untitled] Notes on Parliament FRIENDS AND COMRADES, It has not been considered necessary to call the Parliament together before the beginning of next year and it is to be supposed that in the meantime the country is thought capable of governing itself without the elected representative legislative body, which indeed it probably can do pretty well on the usual lines of real government by an all-powerful possessing class with a machinery of law and police attached to it, whose business it is to administer all matters on the basis of the greatest good for the greatest number—of possessors of capital: Yet supposing that the British Empire could receive any useful service at the h... (From: Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, We are hearing a great deal of the suffering in Cleveland consequent on the miners' strike, and it is a dismal business enough; but after all, it is only and exaggeration of an ordinary incident in the war commercial which is the essence of our epoch and that which distinguishes it from others, and some quite in itself unimportant change in the market has before this caused as much suffering as this great strike has done, and will do henceforward as long as the workers have not command of the market. For the rest, if the Durham miners are striking with an ultimate intention of gaining that command of the market— that is, the realization of Socialism, this suffering, terrible as it is, is not too high a price to... (From: Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, The elections for the new Parliament form by this time a somewhat stale subject, our readers may think; nevertheless, a word in season may be spoken about them, and the prospects of the new House, before those prospects are all muddled together by the cowardice, irresolution, chicanery, and downright lies in action, which after a little while swamp all parliaments (with whatever promise of better things they may have first met); under the strange institution of party government—an institution, be it said, which would be a permanent and striking failue, if it were the business of parliament to do anything: but which as it 1s the business of parliament to do nothing, must be considered a very fair success. But p... (From: Marxists.org.)
Hammersmith Socialist Record, Number 17, February 1893 [Untitled] Notes on the Government FRIENDS AND COMRADES, The present Government has not had as yet any great opportunity for disappointing those who expected much from it; but on one side it has done worse than a reasonable expectation might have led one to believe: to wit in its foreign, or rather foreign-market side. Affairs with Uganda might have been settled in a way which would have commended itself, we will not say to a Socialist, but at least to a non-Jingo Radical: we need not have made a parade of our Khedive-baiting business, and given a little business to enterprising alarmist newspapers. But the truth is, any approach to Jingoism however feeble, is certain to be popular... (From: Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, A little while ago a man brought up before the magistrates at Woolwich and committed for burglary, put forward an unanswerable plea rather for his section of habitual criminals that himself; asking what he was to do, and who was to give a jail-bird employment. People unconvicted of crime, said he, found it hard enough in these times to get employment; and was it likely that he could get it. So it is clear that he contemplated a career of from prison to crime and from crime to prison. The Daily News, in commenting on this speech, heaves a sigh, and says, in effect: How true! How sad! But at least nobody is to blame. Well, shall we not rather say "everybody" rather than nobody; not forgetting the saw that says everybod... (From: Marxists.org.)
FRIENDS AND COMRADES, In a sense no doubt the labor-war, of which we have had so many reports in the newspapers, is a part of the general struggle of labor and capital; the men have been revolting because the working of the market has pinched them; they have been irritated by various incidents past endurance, and so have broken out. Yet on the other hand there is no sign they were acting under the influence of any definite principle, or that there has been any strong feeling of the unity of labor among them. If that had been so, much greater results would have been reached with much less violence and dramatic effect. As things go, the only apparent results are— simply the unsuccessful strike and the dead and wounded of violence. Had ... (From: Marxists.org.)
Perhaps it may at first sight seem to some of you that ornamental art is no very important subject, and that it is no great matter what its origins were: but I hope to show you before I have done that it is a subject of very great importance, and that it is well worth while to consider what its origins were, since it may lead us to finding out what its aims are, or should be; which in its turn may lead us to thinking of matters of the deepest importance. First of all I must say that though the phrase is generally accepted it is not a good or descriptive one; for all art should be ornamental, and when it is not ornamental, and in the degree in which it is not, it fails of a part of its purpose: however, the phrase is used, and understood to... (From: Marxists.org.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, - I must explain to you that I am put, almost at the last moment, to make a few disconnected remarks in the place of a gentleman whom we should have much liked to see - Mr. Boni, who now holds a position under the Italian Government which enables him to be of great service to us in stopping the unfortunate flow of restorations in that country. He could have given to us most interesting and encouraging information as to what is now going on in Italy. Now as to what I have to say to you. Our Society, so far as I can make out, has two sides to its work, which it does not always receive sufficient credit for, especially at first sight. Its first duty is to try to prevent the careless, or what I may call the commercial, de... (From: Marxists.org.)
In the days before man had completely established his domination over the animal world, the poultry of a certain country, unnamed in my record, met in solemn conference in the largest hall they could hire for their money: the period was serious, for it was drawing near Christmas, and the question in debate partook of the gravity of the times; for, in short, various resolutions, the wording of which, has not come down to us were to be moved on the all important subject, `with what sauce shall we be eaten?' Needless to say that the hall was crowded to suffocation, or that an overflow meeting (presided over by working-class leaders) was held on the neighboring dung-hill. All went smoothly; the meeting was apparently unanimous and certainly e... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “An Old Story Retold” Commonweal, Vol 2, No. 36, 18 September 1886, p.197-98; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. 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. He took the matter to heart, being, as kings go, a just man, besides being more valiant than they mostly were, even in the old feudal days. So he called together such lords and councilors as he deemed fittest, and bade busk them for a ride; and when they were ready he and they set out, over rough and smooth, decked out in all the glory of attire which was the wont of those days. Thus they rode t... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “An Old Superstition — A New Disgrace” Commonweal, Vol 3, No. 76, 25 June 1887, p. 204; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. As was said last week, the contempt with which all socialists must necessarily look on the idiotic court ceremony of the week has prevented anything more than a mere hint being given in the Commonweal about the jubilee. And besides this, Socialists feel of course that the mere abolition of the monarchy would help them little if it only gave place to a middle-class republic; such an one, for example, as that which butchered so many thousands of citizens at Paris in 1871 and now in 1887 grown respectable and liberal, still blocks the way to all progress in France, and holds out a hand to the corru... (From: Marxists.org.)
The idea of uniting all sections of the Socialist and Labor movement into one party daily grows in public favor. I am glad to say that my allusions to it at Manchester and Liverpool were greeted with hearty applause, and that reports from all quarters assure me of the general desire for unity of action. Only an hour ago I got a letter from William Morris on this point. I am very glad to hear from a man for whom I have much respect, and am the more pleased to find him entirely with me. William Morris says: Dear Comrade Blatchford,—l am asked by the Hammersmith Socialist Society to write to you on the point which you have so well put forward in the Clarion, as to the necessity of the formation of a definite and united Socialist party.... (From: Marxists.org.)
Mr. William Morris lectured on "Machinery" at Kelmscote House, Hammersmith, on Sunday evening. It was not to be expected that the poet and the handicraftsman should look with a very favorable eye on that important part of the modern social system, but he indulged in no denunciations of special machines. On the contrary, he admitted that machines might have a place in the socialistic society of the future, but he believes that this society would not be so much in bondage with machinery as we are at present. He said, however, that what are called labor-saving machines ought rather to be styled profit-grinding, as their action did not lessen the hours of labor for the worker. He holds that any good done by machinery is largely reinstated by it... (From: Marxists.org.)
The following letter from our comrade William Morris, in response to an inquiry from a person if it were true he had "changed his mind" regarding Socialism, will interest many of our readers :- "MY DEAR SIR,—I am a very busy man, but on this subject I will answer you briefly. I have not changed my views on Socialism. My view of the point of relation between Art and Socialism is as follows: Society (so-called) at present is organized entirely for the benefit of a privileged class; the working class being only considered in the arrangement as so much machinery. This involves perpetual and enormous waste, as the organization for the production of genuine utilities is only a secondary consideration. This waste lands the whole civiliz... (From: Marxists.org.)
Source: “On Some ‘Practical’ Socialists” Commonweal, Vol 4, No. 110, 18 February 1888, p.52-53; Transcribed: by Ted Crawford. The study of economics is no doubt necessary for militant Socialists; the more a man knows of them in all their details the more able he is to meet not only the sophistries of the ‘educated’ anti-Socialist, but, which is still more important, the awkward and hard-to-be-answered questions which people who have never thought of these matters at all sometimes stumble on. Of course, that he should be able to make his knowledge of any use depends on whether he has understood what he has learned, especially in dealing with inquiring ignorance. The ‘educated’ man will som... (From: Marxists.org.)
The invention of printing books, and the use of wood-blocks for book ornament in place of hand-painting, though it belongs to the period of the degradation of medieval art, gave an opportunity to the Germans to regain the place which they had lost in the art of book decoration during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. This opportunity they took with vigor and success, and by means of it put forth works which showed the best and most essential qualities of their race. Unhappily, even at the time of their first woodcut book, the beginning of the end was on them; about thirty years afterwards they received the Renaissance with singular eagerness and rapidity, and became, from the artistic point of view, a nation of rhetorical pedants. An... (From: Marxists.org.)
Manchester The talk was first given in Manchester on the 21st of October 1893, under the title Printed Books - Ancient and Modern Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertizer An illustrated lecture on "Printed Books — Ancient and Modern," was delivered by Mr. William Morris, under the auspices of the Technical Instruction Committee the Manchester City Council, in the Mayor's Parlor, Town Hall, on Saturday evening. Mr. Alderman Hoy presided, in the absence of the Lord Mayor, and there was a good attendance. The lecturer said books were written by the scribe long after printing became an art, but they were more for ornament than publication. He feared they must regard printing as a makeshift for writing. The rubricator an... (From: Marxists.org.)

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