The Worker January 1916

The Awakening of the Clyde Workers.

Source: The Worker no. 4, 29 January 1916 p. 6, by J.T. Aitken;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

I write from no official knowledge, having just the outlook of a shipyard worker, but I welcome the birth of the gallant little Worker. It surely marks a new era in the history of labour’s aspirations, it has sprung from discontent, and has its birth in the awakening conscience of labour. The greatest enemy of the toiler is the Capitalistic press, which always gives a garbled account of their demands for redress. It is a tragedy that the workers here should support a paper like the Record, whose stupid muck has besmirched their honour. “German Gold on the Clyde” is the lowest effort of the gutter press, a monument to its eternal disgrace. I earnestly hope the issue of the Worker, week by week, shall act as .a clarion call to the Clyde Workers in general, to rally round that noble band who compose the “Clyde Workers’ Committee,” all honour to them. Our supposed labour leaders have been supine and helpless in our interests, treacherously supporting the forces of monopoly, privilege, and tyranny. The Munitions Act is a standing monument to the appalling stupidity of our erstwhile leaders, forging the chains of industrial slavery for the inarticulate toilers. And lo! we see the inheritance of ages of toil and heroic sacrifice laid low in the dust of dependence to the end that the Capitalistic exploiters may make us, the workers, stalking horses to greater gains, and bloated dividends. Well may the columns of the Glasgow Herald (that gospel according to Capitalism) be filled with horror at the thought of labour’s revolt on the Clyde (how terrible it seems to these reactionary organs, when labour begins to think.) I, for one, welcome this discontent; it marks the awakening of the workers to their class interests. The insurgent forces, so ably led are going to win. Yes; there is trouble on the Clyde. And how has it arisen? It is through a total absence of any sense of fair dealing between employer and employed. The harsh treatment meted out to some workers by unscrupulous firms, taking undue advantage of the Munitions Act has done its work. Hence the revolt. The wave of industrial prosperity for shipbuilding and allied trades is beyond precedent, yet the spirit of capitalism, remains divorced from all consciousness of honour or humanity. As a worker transplanted from the rural districts and but recently brought into the Socialist movement, I pay my tribute to that noble and unselfish band of men in the Socialist ranks, by whose heroic efforts the workers will ultimately secure the wealth they create. The Socialist movement is not actuated by greed for money but is the outward expression of an inner yearning for a fuller and freer life. As Socialists we are out to destroy the present intolerable industrial system, and to substitute a better, wherein the city dwellers shall forget the endless meal of brick and stone, and shall have visions of trees and fields, musical with birds lending charm to the dream-like quiet of the country, where Nature has dealt so bountifully. As a student of nature, give me the note of the skylark, and those pleasant sounds which whisper gladly of summer and green fields and open country, and here I am filled with the joy of living. With the advent of so virile a paper, The Worker, the toilers, I am confident, will awake from their stupor and cut a way through the blight of commercialism to that beautiful inheritance which nature has in store for them.

Rally, ye workers! Help your own paper; make it grow by your influence, persuade your mates to buy it, and help by your literary efforts.