"I do not believe that the labor situation can be entirely solved by attacking it from the bottom, through the labor organization, but that much can and must be done by working from the top down. Here there is a real opportunity for the college man who enters a profession to help, by gaining some of the labor viewpoint." Such was the conclusion of Mr. Paul Blanshard's address, when he spoke to members of the Liberal Club at luncheon yesterday.
He delivered a lecture on "British and American Labor--A Comparison," --which was radical from the capitalistic standpoint,--in so quiet and sane a manner that he could not possibly be termed an agitator and scarcely a propagandist.
Some of the interesting points of Mr. Blanshard's address were: "Numerically the British labor movement is much stronger than the American; in fact it has twice the membership of the organizations of this country. Labor there is more stratified than in this country and class spirit more deeply ingrained. In the United States we are so deeply moved by the "log cabin to White House spirit" that a man fails to regret and remember the class that he has left, when he rises to a higher one. In Britian, on the other hand, laboring men have the feeling that they represent a class which is desirable and necessary, and which merits good treatment at the hands of the other classes.
Attitude Is Different In England
"The attitude of capital is quite different toward labor in England than here in the States. Here one finds the employer boasting gleefully at his club about how he won a strike and defeated labor, how he maintains an open shop and prevents the men from organizing. But such an attitude can scarcely be said to exist in appreciable amounts in the British Isles, where the capitalistic organization, representing over $20, 000,000,000, have admitted the right of collective bargaining.
"In Britain capital resists the demands of organized labor--it does not resist the right of labor to organize.
Capital Discourages Organizers
"This can certainly not be said of conditions in this country. A labor organizer is in reality almost a pugilist, so aggressive must he be in order to continue his work. He is constantly in danger of being thrown into prison and even of worse punishment. Capital in this country does all in its power to discourage the organizer. Thus, a man who is an organizer may lose his position and because of the capitalistic organization be unable to get another. This threat of capital has a significant meaning to men with wives and children. Because of this, many of the best possible organizers refuse to take up the work in labor.
"This danger to the organizer and to those who hear him is no myth: I have been in non-union towns and cities where organizers have taken the stump to address the men, only to be promptly arrested and carried to jail. Time and again have I seen men beg to be taken to the station to plead their case in the presence of a magistrate before being placed under lock and key. Often there seems to be no local justice in our industrial towns. When the labor organizer is confronted with the situation of a mayor and local capitalist being one and the same man, he almost despairs.
Bolshevism Due to Lack of Justice
"To this lack of justice I attribute much of communism and bolshevism which exists in this country today. To deny a communist the right of free speech in the street, or the privilege of marching down the street waving a red flag at the head of a column, only aggravates an evil. I am not a communist or a bolshevist, but I am sure that persecution only gives strength to these orders. In England there are far fewer of these elements than there are in this country, yet there the red flag to waved freely and the stump used often. England has a much stronger which in democracy than has the Union States.
Labor May Organize Cabinet
"Now, what does the Labor party mean to England". Organized about 20 years ago, it has become his Majesty's official opposition in Parliament, holding 144 seats. It Lord Baldwin falls to retain his majority tomorrow and the Conservative Party loses power, Ramsey McDonald, leader of the Labor Party, will probably be called upon to organize a cabinet. That McDonald will do this, I very much doubt, for it is the desire of the Labor Party not to take control of affairs until it controls an actual majority in the House. A coalition government is deemed undesirable," further stated Mr. Blanshard.
Intellectuals Support Labor Party
"It may almost seem incredible to Americans that a Labor Party may gain control of the English government, but to appreciate the fact, one must understand that the British Labor Party is not followed only by laboring class alone, but also by so-called intellectuals. One of the supporting organizations is the Teacher's Union, comprised of 100,000 members. Years ago saw Bernard Shaw preaching the gospel of labor from soap boxes. Sydney Webb and Henderson are, with McDonald the leaders of the Party. Yet, these two never worked up through the ranks of labor but reached their conclusions and convictions as a result of thought. When you find such men as Arnold Bennett and Thomas Hardy voting the labor ticket, or H. G. Wells running for Parliament from Oxford University on the labor ticket, you can see that the Labor Party is not limited to the working classes only.