Vanguard November 1915
Source: G.A.C. Vanguard, No. 3. November, 1915, p. 10;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.
The Rev. Charles Mackie, of the Drunock Parish Church, spoke at a meeting organised by the B.S.P. on October 3rd, on “The Original Cause of the War.” God, he said, had nothing whatever to do with the matter. Empire building had always been carried on by fraud and force. The British ruling class, lured by the lust for wealth, as exhibited by the Spaniards of the 17th century, had, by means of chartered companies, by fraud and deceit, by mighty ships and an extensive seaboard, been able to plant their Empire in India, Egypt, Africa, and practically all over the world. The Germans had also been growing, and felt the need for an expanded Empire and a place in the sun. Above all, they needed an extended seaboard for their growing fleet. This was to be got on the Belgian coast. It was too late in the day for the British to hold up their hands in holy horror at the tearing up of scraps of paper, since their whole Empire had been built up by similar methods. Belgium had been created as a buffer State to protect the shores of Britain from foreign invasion, and it was that and not a chivalrous desire for the protection of small States and keeping bonds that involved them in the protection of Belgium. It was, of course, the ruling-classes in the various countries who had done all this. The working class were mere slaves who had to do as they were told.
So far so good though I do not know that the Presbytery would endorse that comment. But the amazing. part of it came out in the discussion. The working class, Mr. Mackie said, had to fight the battles for the ruling class, and should be compelled to do so by conscription. They had to work for them – couldn’t help themselves – and in the same way should fight. Surely there is a lack of logic in this argument. In any case, if we ought to fight for our masters we ought also to vote for them, and Mr. Mackie has always been urging us to vote against them and for the Socialist candidates.
Another “oratress” in the course of the discussion declared that we are fighting, for freedom, and those who were opposed to fighting could not say so outside this room. Surely such freedom as that is scarcely worth all the bother.
Usually a Jingo Socialist speech here begins thus: – “The best way to secure peace is to be prepared for war.” Both Hyndman and Blatchford have said so and it is true. The Germans have been prepared for war for 14 years.
If one were to ask: “How then have the Germans not secured peace?” The stock reply would be given; “You are a pro-German and a disillusioned pacifist.” It is a clinching argument to the hooligan mind. That blessed word “disillusioned” is a fair- knock-out.
Surely if there are any pro-Germans about it is those who are crying for conscription, for that is to introduce Junkerism without the aid of Germany.