BRITISH LABOR SITUATION
George Lansbury Declares That Recent Developments Point Toward Government Ownership.
George Lansbury, British Socialist and former member of Parliament, spoke at a joint meeting of the Harvard and Radcliffe Socialist Clubs at Brattle Hall yesterday. He told of the labor situation in England, as it has arisen from the recent industrial uprising in Dublin, of the immanence of public ownership of railways and coal mines in the United Kingdom, of the problem of unemployment, and of the Woman Suffrage movement.
British labor has learned from the great railway strike and the nation-wide coal strike of recent years, that a mere strike for higher wages, even where successful, confers no lasting gain on the working class, since the coal operators and the railway managers promptly raise rates and prices to several times the amount of the increase. The present aim of the working class is to bring all its influence, by striking and by political pressure on Parliament, to bear on the nationalization of coal mines and railways. Public ownership of tramways in London, as a first step, has been a complete success, bringing a reduction of rates and an increase of wages.
To show the rapid march of events in England, Mr. Lansbury described the Dublin transport workers' strike. It has marked as important and as definite an epoch in the industrial history of England as did the great dock-workers' strike of the nineties, which heralded the birth of the new unionism. Its effect has been to make Catholics and Ulstermen, in Belfast and Dublin, forget their religious and racial animosities, and join in the struggle for industrial emancipation.
Discussing Woman Suffrage as a social symptom, the speaker made a strong plea in its favor. The argument that women should not vote because they cannot fight is based on the antiquated theory that physical might makes right. Persuasion and argument are much more potent. Especially in such matters as marriage and divorce, and the education of children, and in taxation, women should be given an opportunity to use their influence. But, it should be added, if it had not been for the militant movement in England, the suffrage movement would have been dead years ago.