O U Rube, in The Workers’ Republic, Communist Party of Ireland paper, January 7th 1922
We in Ireland are talking about the unemployed – talk is cheap, yet being without finds it is the only thing we can do. The Liberty Hall magnates are talking; the Dáil, when it gets over its Treaty spasms will talk. In fact all and sundry, except the unemployed, are talking. In England, aided by the Communist Party, they are acting. In Ireland – well they are still talking. Perhaps at some future date we will act: will refuse to starve quietly. When that day comes the question of tactics will arise. Thereby hangs the tale of Unemployed Tactics in another ‘Dominion’ of the ‘Vampire’.
The Same Result
In America the Slave Market is always the Slave Market. Never has it degenerated into a Soup-Kitchen- Britain buying off the Revolution” by keeping the slaves running after doles. No, over there the Reds are jailed or killed to cow the others into quietude. Though the tactics are different the results are the same. In Ireland the tactics may not be the same as those adopted in Canada, yet the results and the education given will the same.
During the hard winter of 1913-14 the unemployed of Edmonton, Alberta [Canada], began to discuss their sad plight. A certain percentage were Wobblies, and such being the effect of leaven, their ideology permeated the mass.
During the discussion, one Sunday afternoon, it was suggested that they should all go to church. They did. They invaded the Methodist church of which the City Mayor was a member. During the service from six to seven hundred hungry and homeless men occupied this church, and proceeded to enjoy the warmth and comfort thereof.
But the clergyman was indignant. He protested. The men slept. The Mayor began to reason with them. Hungry men are not reasonable. Where are your leaders? They had no leaders! Were they hungry? Everyone! How many had no place to sleep? Everyone.
Hotels and boarding houses were canvassed, and before night fall the city of Edmonton was paying and had contracted to keep on paying for the support of the guests – the Unemployed.
After the War
When the freedom of Small nations war had been won a number of valiant ex-servicemen and conscientious objectors found themselves unwanted, without work in the City of Montreal. The One Big Union took their case in hands, and under its influence things began to hum.
They interviewed the local Executive of the Bosses. They were politely ordered by the Chief of Police to keep out of the City Hall. An interview with the Minister of labour at Ottawa produced vague expressions of sympathy. Sympathy does not fill empty bellies or cover bare feet. But after all for what purpose was food produced if not to feed the producers. Accordingly the cafes of Montreal took on the job of feeding the hungry men! Voluntarily! You ask? Certainly! This is how it was done. A number of men would waltz into a restaurant and invite the manager to ‘set out the eats’. Bills for food were to be sent to the city authorities.
Being fed they were in a mood to listen to reason, and in the Union headquarters the problem was discussed. All that came out of the conference was a scare in the Press. It was discovered that Bolshevik gold was causing the trouble. Thus ended the Bosses efforts to quieten the discontented. But the out-of-works carried on as usual. Raids on restaurants continued, and they managed to get something to eat. The net result being that about 500 ‘loyal soldiers of the King’ decided to fall in line with their comrades and joined up in an ‘association’ pledged to the overthrow of Kings and Capitalists.
And in Ireland there are unemployed, and the promise of more. The Free States are going to start the wheels of industry moving to produce more at a time when international capital in only too ready to swamp the markers with its unsaleable goods. Our patriots will fail, and we, the intended victims who can foresee what is coming, should remember that whatever tactics are adopted their object should be to educate our fellow-wage slaves into class-consciousness.
One party, one object. That Party the only International party in Ireland. That object the creation of International solidarity.
O U Rube
Back to the Pat Read Collection