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If
"State Socialism" were carried to the point of equalizing the share of
labor, either immigration would be attracted until wages were lowered
again, or capital would emigrate, or the nation would have to defend its
exclusiveness by being prepared for war.


"It is hard to see how any country, whether Socialistic or
individualistic in its industrial organization, can long keep its
advantage over other countries without some restriction of
immigration. A thoroughgoing experiment in collectivism, therefore,
could not be made under favorable conditions in New Zealand or any
other country, unless that country were _isolated_ from the rest of
the world, _or_ unless the whole world made the same experiment at
the same time."


As between comparative isolation possibly in the near future and
world-wide or at least international Socialism, certainly many years
ahead, the Australian Labour Party, under similar circumstances to that
of New Zealand, has chosen to attempt comparative isolation. It does not
yet propose to keep out immigrants, but it makes a beginning with all
non-white races, and it stands for a policy of high protection and a
larger army and navy. Naturally it does not even seek admission into the
International Socialist Congress, where if any Socialist principle is
more insisted upon than another it is Marx's declaration that the
Socialists are to be distinguished from the other working class parties
only by the fact that they represent the interests of the entire working
class independently of nationality or of groups within the nation.

Moreover, the militarism necessary to enforce isolation may cost the
nation, capitalists and workers alike, far more heavily than to leave
their country open to trade and immigration. Indeed, it must lead, not
to industrial democracy, or even to capitalistic progress, but to
stagnation and reaction. The policy of racial exclusion will not only
increase the dangers of war, but it will bring little positive benefit
to labor, even of a purely material and temporary kind, since the
farming majority will not allow it to be extended to the white race.
Instead of restricting immigration, the new government projects require
a thicker settlement, and everything is being done to encourage settlers
of means and agricultural experience, and we cannot question that the
coming of white laborers will be encouraged when they are needed.

The size of the farms the government is promoting in New Zealand proves
that the country is deliberately preparing for a class of landless
agricultural laborers, and Australia is following the example. Since
these new farms average something like two hundred acres, we must
realize that as soon as they are under thorough cultivation they will
require one or more farm laborers in each case, to be obtained chiefly
from abroad, producing a community resting neither on "State Socialism"
nor even on a pioneer basis of economic democracy and approximate
equality of opportunity similar to that which prevailed during the
period of free land in our Western States.

Unmistakable signs show that in New Zealand an agrarian oligarchy by no
means friendly to labor has already established itself. Even the
compulsory arbitration act which bears anything but heavily on employers
in general, is not applied to agriculture. After two years of
consideration it was decided in 1908 that the law should not apply on
the ground that "it was impracticable to find any definite hours for the
daily work of general farm hands," and that "the alleged grievances of
the farm laborers were insufficient to justify interference with the
whole farming industry of Canterbury" (the district included 7000
farms). Whatever we may think of the first justification, the second
certainly is a curious piece of reasoning for a compulsory arbitration
court, and must be taken simply to mean that the employing farmers are
sufficiently powerful politically to escape the law. The working people
very naturally protested against this "despotic proceeding," which
denied such protection as the law gave to the largest section of workers
in the Dominion.

What is the meaning, then, of the victory of a "Labour Party" in
Australia? Chiefly that every citizen of Australia who has sufficient
savings is to be given a chance to own a farm. A large and prosperous
community of farmers is to be built up by government aid. Even without
"State Socialism" or labor reform the working people would share
temporarily in this prosperity as they did to a large degree in that of
the United States immediately after the Civil War, until the free land
began to disappear. It was impossible to pay exceptionally low wages to
a workingman who could enter into farming with a few months' notice.

The Labour Party hopes to use nationalization of monopolies and the
compulsory regulation of wages to insure permanently to the working
classes their share of the benefit of the new prosperity. How much
farther such measures will go when the agricultural element again
becomes dominant is the question. It is already evident that the
Australian reform movement, like that of New Zealand, includes, or at
least favors, the same class of employing farmers. The fact that a
Labour Party is in the opposition in New Zealand, while in Australia a
Labour Party has led in the reforms and now rules the country, should
not blind us to the farmers' influence. The very terms of the graduated
land tax and the value of the farms chosen for exemption show
mathematically the influence, not alone of the small, but even the
middle-sized farmers. Estates of less than $25,000 in value are exempt,
and those valued at less than $50,000 are to be taxed less than one per
cent. Such farms, as a rule, must have one or more laborers. Will these
employees come in under the compulsory arbitration law? If they do, will
they get much benefit? The experience of New Zealand and the present
outlook in Australia do not lead us to expect that they will.

Many indications point to a coming realignment of parties such as was
recently seen in New Zealand, when in 1909 it was decided to form an
opposition Labour Party. And it is likely to come, as in New Zealand,
when the large estates are well broken up and the agricultural element
can govern or get all they want without the aid of the working people.
Already the Australian Labour Party is getting ready for the issue. Its
leaders have kept the proposed land nationalization in the background,
because they believe it cannot yet obtain a majority. But it may be that
the party itself is now ready to fight this issue out on a Socialist
basis, even if, like the Socialist parties in Europe, such a decision
promises to delay for a generation their control of the government. If
the party is ready, it has the machinery to bring its leaders to time,
as it has done on previous occasions. For it already resembles the
Socialist parties in Europe in this, that it makes all its candidates
responsible to the party and not to their constituents. That is to say,
while it does not represent the working people exclusively, it is a
class organization standing for the interests of that group of classes
which has joined its ranks, and for other classes of the community only
in so far as their interests happen to be the same.

Already the majority of the Labour Party voters are undoubtedly working
people. When it takes a definite position on the land question, favoring
one-family farms and short leases or else co÷perative, municipal, or
national large-scale operation, and states clearly that it intends to
use compulsory arbitration to advance wages indefinitely, including
those of farm laborers, there is every probability that, having lost the
support of the employing farmers, it will gradually take its place as a
party of permanent opposition to capitalism, like the Socialist parties
of Europe--until industry finally and decisively surpasses agriculture,
and the industrial working class really becomes the most powerful
element in society.


Space does not permit the tracing of the "State Socialist" tendency
in other countries than Great Britain, the United States, and
Australasia. Originally a brief chapter was here inserted showing
the similar tendencies in Germany. This is now omitted, but the
frequent reference to Germany later in dealing with the Socialist
movement makes a brief statement of the German situation essential.
For this purpose it will be sufficient to quote a few of the
principal statements of the excellent summary and analysis by
William C. Dreher entitled "The German Drift towards Socialism":

"The German Reichstag passed a law in May, 1910, for the regulation
of the potash trade, a law which goes further _in the direction of
Socialism_ than any previous legislation in Germany. It assigns to
each mine a certain percentage of the total production of the
country, and lays a prohibitory tax upon what it produces in excess
of this allotment. It fixes the maximum price for the product in
the home market, and prohibits selling abroad at a lower price. A
government bureau supervises the industry, sees that the prices and
allotments are observed, examines new mines to determine their
capacity, and readjusts allotments as new mines reach the producing
stage....

"But the radical features of the law are not completed in the
foregoing description. The bill having reduced potash prices, the
mine owners threatened to recoup themselves by reducing wages. But
the members of the Reichstag were not to be balked by such threats;
they could legislate about wages just as easily as about prices and
allotments. So they amended the bill by providing that if any owner
should reduce wages without the consent of his employees, his
allotment should be restricted in the corresponding proportion....

"While the law is indeed decidedly Socialistic in tendency, it is
not yet Socialism.



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Keywords: similar, allotments, australian, majority, germany, farming, benefit, element, employing, community
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