From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 34, 2 December 1940, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
We’re going to take up a Sunday School Lesson this week.
It’s the syndicated newspaper column expounding the weekly International Sunday School Lesson, written by Brother William T. Ellis. It appeared on November 17.
You will now turn to Luke, VIII.
The column is headlined, “CLASS WAR BIGGER EVIL THAN HITLER.” That’s what the Reverend got out of Luke, VIII.
Here’s a lesson for the congregation:
“Jesus ... gave a perfect example of freedom from class-consciousness. He was the best friend of the poor and the toiling. He was also the friend of the rich and powerful. Sarah Cleghorn’s poem, which declares that ‘Comrade Jesus carries a red card’ is mistaken and misleading. Jesus dined with Simon, the rich Pharisee, and others of his ilk; and talked confidentially with rich aristocratic Nicodemus.”
Don’t refuse a dinner invitation from Mrs. Astor or a confidential talk with Mr. Morgan.
And if Mrs. Astor or Mr. Morgan are so class-conscious as to limit their engagements to the Social Register, they ought to go to Sunday School.
Verily, brethren, the evil of class-consciousness is great. There are certain heathen bosses who assemble in Manufacturers’ Associations and Chambers of Commerce, and raise a loud . outcry when their good and faithful servants foregather in Trade Unions.
The following is even more unbelievable: There are rich Pharisees abroad in the land who do not even stick at cutting wages and making other assaults on the well-being of their workers.
There are money-changers and wealthy publicans who openly proclaim: Vote for President Roosevillkie because he will preserve capitalism!
You see. our bosses are class-conscious and practise the class struggle.
That’s why some workers get the idea that maybe they ought to do a spot of class-struggling on their own hook.
But we almost forgot about Luke, VIII.
Luke tells us about a Roman aristocrat who was worried about a sick slave who was dear unto him. This aristocrat, says the lesson, is just like “the myriads of employers today, who have a deep human interest in their workers, and go to great lengths to serve their welfare.’’
Modern aristocrats go even further. Bethink ye of the poor beasts in the London Zoo, who were hustled away to safer lands, in order not to endanger their lives under the egg-shell bombshelters. Why should we struggle against the bosses, when so many of them are undoubtedly kind-hearted and tender and loving?
Now, we don’t recommend smiting your boss upon the cheek and waiting for him to turn the other one. This test may be too trying for both of you. Try the same thing in another way. Tell him: I’m getting $15 a week and I’ve got a wife and children, how about raising my wages to $25?
If your boss is really kind-hearted, he’ll tell you: Believe me, there’s nothing I’d like to do more. But if all my workers got a decent wage, how would I keep my yacht in the style to which its accustomed?
What’s more, he’s partly right. Bosses make their profit these days by taking it out of the labor and sweat of their workers. They can’t have their cake and let the workers eat it too.
The fact is that CLASSES EXIST. They exist because some men live by owning the factories and mines and machines, and the most part have to go to work on these machines which they don’t own.
The boss tries to squeeze as much profit out of the worker as he can. The worker tries to wring as close to a living wage out of the boss as HE can.
And if the workers stopped struggling, they’d just be squeezed more, that’s all. That’s why there’s a class struggle.
There are kind bosses and tough bosses. There WERE kind slave-masters and cruel ones. The working class wants NO slave-masters and NO bosses.
Yea, brethren, the bosses are “Marxists.” They believe in the class struggle. Our Sunday School master proves it. He says the class struggle of the workers is more dangerous than Hitler.
Dangerous to whom? Naturally, to the bosses.
That’s why the French bosses were willing to embrace Adolf in Christian forgiveness. They were afraid the French workers were getting out of hand at home. Hitler wanted to take away only part of their profits. The workers wanted to take away their PROFIT SYSTEM.
Better to kneel to a foreign class brother, than to their native class enemy. Between the two, say the bosses, THE MAIN ENEMY IS AT HOME.
We want to get rid of the class struggle too. We’re going to do it by getting rid of the profit system, which exists only because there is a class of SQUEEZERS and a class of the SQUEEZED.
We’re not going to do it by trying to persuade J.P. Morgan to give up banking and become a Sunday School master.
At least, we’re not going to do it until we see Franklin D. Roosevelt walking on the waters.
Last updated on 5.12.2012