John Maclean Internet Archive
Transcribed by the John Maclean Internet Archive

An Affair of Outposts

by John Maclean

Source: Justice 19th September 1908, p.8
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Copyleft: John Maclean Internet Archive ( 2007. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

On its formation a few years ago the Calico Combine bought up Thornliebank Print Works from Mr. Crum. Since then it has been speeding-up the employees and putting them on short time. Thus many labourers, for two years at least, have scarcely earned 10s per week on an average. As you know, the watering of capital and the juggling with finance have made it impossible for ordinary shareholders to get interest to any extent. Speeding-up and dismissals have been the consequence.

Last summer our Pollokshaws Branch was instrumental in starting a good open-air propaganda there. Of course we dealt with local conditions and showed the workers how they were completely in the hands of the company because they lived in company houses and burned company gas. We foretold them of further speeding-up and hustling, but warned them not to blame their managers and “gaffers” as these had simply to carry out the dictates of the directors. Our case was soon proved by the sudden dismissal of the manager on a day or two’s notice. This event again permitted us to give counsel to the masses who, ere our arrival, had felt enraged against the bosses and growled forth imprecations and threats.

We pointed out to the breaking of machinery as a folly parallel to their own and tried to let them see that only the social ownership at land and capital could eliminate the conditions they felt aggrieved at.

This year our work was so successful that we seized the opportunity of forming a branch on the visit of the “Clarion” Van. This maddened the Orangemen, who are fairly numerous in the village.

On Friday last a shot was fired from a Lee-Metford gun at one of the undermanagers. Consternation has since reigned in the village, because all know this incident is the direct outcome of the cruel speeding-up of late. The Orangemen, who have seized the opportunity of blaming our “inflammatory speeches” have threatened to rush us on the next occasion we visit the village. These wild barbarians from Ulster are so stupid that they fail to see they are playing the game we would have them play. They fancy we can be handled as the Irish can. These are exactly the occasions when a Socialist’s knowledge of economics and politics enables him to gain a victory out of a seeming set-back. The incident is of value, as it illustrates vividly the “growing pains” of capitalism.