Autograph "Notes on News," Commonweal, on pit-brow women and Chamberlain's vote against a Home Rule bill

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One of the saddest things in the terrible struggle for life at the present day is the eagerness with which any ‘employment’ however miserable is clutched at; so that when the Bourgeois conscience awakes to the fact that some occupation or other is so disgracefully carried on that something must be done to amend it, the victims of the above themselves are often among the first to cry out against the interference: the case of the Pit-brow women is an example of this: they are prepared to fight tooth and nail in defence of their wretched work, and are being helped in their battle by philanthropists & fine ladies whose imaginations are not strong enough to master the picture of their daughters or themselves working day in day out on such terms. When will the workers at least come to understand the meaning of employing women and children to do work which men can do better, which is simply the reduction of the wages paid to the adult male at the expense of the overwork and degradation of the weaker members of the household: a price not too high to pay for cheap labour, thinks [2] the capitalist, since I don’t pay it.


Mr. Chamberlain was much exercised at the anti-democratic nature of the Home Rule Bill at Birmingham the other evening, nor are we Socialists at all concerned to defend its details as is said elsewhere in this paper: but when he said that it was ridiculous to suppose that the Irish people would accept it it is really strong that he was not met by a shout of laughter even in the Halls of the Caucus, and the fact seems to show that the Birmingham radicals are deficient in a sense of humour, and Mr. Chamberlain has the same right to be displeased with them as the teller of a Joe Miller has when one of his audience requests a reasonable explanation of the joke. Mr. Chamberlain knows perfect well that the Irish people have accepted the bill, because they understand that whatever shortcoming or follies there may be in it it is intended to give them the management of their own affairs. Mr. Chamberlain’s constituents ought to know, and do know unless they are fools that this is the very reason why Mr. Chamberlain opposes it.

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