Search      Hot    Newest Novel
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 Jaz took Somers to the famous Canberra House, in Sydney, where the and Labour people had their : offices, meeting-rooms, club-rooms, quite an establishment. There was a lively feeling about the place, in spite of various down-at-heel malcontents who stood about in the passage and outside on the pavement. A business-like air.  
The two men were conducted into an inner room where a man sat at a desk. He was very dark, red-faced, and thin, with deep lines in his face, a tight shut, mouth, and black, burning eyes. He reminded Somers of the portraits of Abraham Lincoln, the same sunken cheeks and deep, cadaverous lines and big black eyes. But this man, Willie Struthers, lacked that look of humour and almost of sweetness that one can find in Abraham Lincoln’s portraits. Instead, he was suspicious, and seemed as if he were brooding an inner wrong.
He was a born Australian, had knocked about the continent, and spent many years on the goldfields. According to report, he was just comfortably well-off—not rich. He looked rather shabby, seedy; his clothes had that look as if he had just thrown them on his back, after picking them off the floor. Also one of his thin shoulders was noticeably higher than the other. But he was a distinct Australian type, thin, hollow-cheeked, with a brightish, , red skin on his face, and big, dark, incensed-looking eyes. He nodded to the two men as they entered, but did not speak nor rise from the desk.
“This is Mr Somers,” said Jaz. “You’ve read his book on democracy.”
“Yes, I’ve read it,” said Struthers. “Take a seat.”
He with a pronounced Australian accent—a bad cockney. He stared at Somers for a few seconds, then looked away.
He asked the usual questions, how Richard liked Australia, how long he had been there, how long he thought of staying. The two didn’t get into any easy harmony.
Then he began to put a few shrewd questions concerning the Fascisti and Socialisti in Italy, the of the land by the peasants, and so on; then about Germany, the actual temper of the working people, the quality of their since the war, and so on.
“You understand,” said Somers, “I don’t pretend to give anything but personal impressions. I have no claim to knowledge, whatever.”
“That’s all right, Mr Somers. I want your impressions. What they call knowledge is like any other currency, it’s liable to . Sound valuable knowledge to-day may not be worth the paper it’s printed on to-morrow—like the Austrian krone. We’re no slaves to facts. Give us your impressions.”
He spoke with a kind of bitterness, that showed passion too. They talked about Europe for some time. The man could listen: listen with his black eyes too. , always watchful, as if he expected some bird to fly suddenly out of the speaker’s face. He was well-informed, and seemed to weigh and judge everything he heard as he heard it.
“Why, when I left Europe it seemed to me socialism was losing ground everywhere—in Italy especially. In 1920 it was quite a living, exciting thing, in Italy. It made people , usually, but it lifted them up as well. Then it sort of fizzled down, and last year there was only the smoke of it: and a nasty sort of disappointment and , a grating sort of . Florence, Siena—hateful! The Fascisti risen up and taking on airs, all just out of a sort of spite. The Dante festival at Florence, and the King there, for example. Just set your teeth on edge, ugh!—with their ‘Savoia!’ All false and out of spite.”
“And what do you attribute that to, Mr Somers?”
“Why, I think the Socialists didn’t quite believe in their own socialism, so everybody felt let down. In Italy, particularly, it seemed to me they were on the of a revolution. And the King was ready to , and the Church was ready to make away with its possessions: I know that. Everything ready for a flight. And then the Socialists funked. They just funked. They daren’t make a revolution, because then they’d be responsible for the country. And they daren’t. And so the Fascisti, seeing the Socialists in a funk, got up and began to try to kick their behinds.”
Mr Struthers nodded his head slowly.
“I suppose that is so,” he said. “I suppose that’s what it amounts to, they didn’t believe in what they were doing. But then they’re a childish, excitable people, with no stability.”
“But it seems to me socialism hasn’t got the spark in it to make a revolution. Not in any country. It hasn’t got the , either. There’s no spunk in it.”
“What is there any spunk in?” asked the other man, a sort of bitter fire in his eyes. “Where do you find any spunk?”
“Oh, nowhere,” said Richard.
There was a silence. Struthers looked out of the window as if he didn’t know what to say next, and he played with a blotter on the desk, with his right hand. Richard also sat uncomfortably silent.
“Nowhere any spunk?” said Struthers, in his flat, voice.
“No,” said Richard.
And again the uncomfortable silence.
“There was plenty of spunk in the war,” said Struthers.
“Of a sort. And because they felt they had to, not from choice.”
“And mayn’t they feel they have to again?” said Struthers, smiling rather grimly.
The two men eyed one another.
“What’ll make them?” asked Richard.
“Ah well—if circumstances.” Richard was almost rude. “I know if it was a question of war the majority of returned soldiers would join up in a month—in a week. You hear it over and over again from the Diggers here. The war was the only time they ever felt properly alive. But then they moved because they hated the Germans—self-righteously hated them. And they can’t quite bring it off, to hate the capitalist with a self-righteous hate. They don’t hate him. They know that if they themselves got a chance to make a pile of money and be capitalists, they’d jump at it. You can’t work up a hate, except on fear. And they don’t fear the capitalist, and you can’t make them. The most they’ll do is about him.”
Struthers still fidgetted with the blotter, with his thin, very-red, hairy hand, and abstractedly stared at the desk in front of him.
“And what does all that mean, in your estimation, Mr Somers?” he asked dryly, looking up.
“That you’ll never get them to act. You’ll never get Labour, or any of the Socialists, to make a revolution. They just won’t act. Only the might—and they’re too few.”
“I’m afraid they are growing more.”
“Are they? Of that I know nothing. I should have thought they were growing fewer.”
Mr Struthers did not seem to hear this. At least he did not answer. He sat with his head dropped, fingering the blotter, rather like a boy who is being told things he hates to hear, but which he doesn’t deny.
At last he looked up, and the fighting look was in the front of his eyes.
“It may be as you say, Mr Somers,” he replied. “Men may not be ready yet for any great change. That does not make the change less . It’s coming, and it’s got to come. If it isn’t here to-day, it will be here next century, at least. Whatever you may say, the socialistic and ideal is a great ideal, which will be fulfilled when men are ready. We aren’t impatient. If revolution seems a jump—and perhaps it does—then we can go on, step by step, towards where we intend to arrive at last. And that is, State Ownership, and International Labour Control. The General Confederation of Labour, as perhaps you know, does not aim at revolutions. It wants to make the great revolution by degrees. Step by step, by winning political victories in each country, by having new laws passed by our , we intend to advance more slowly, but more surely towards the goal we have in sight.
“Now, Mr Somers, you are no believer in , and in this industrial system as we have it. If I judge you correctly from your writings, you are no lover of the great Washed Middle Classes. They are more than washed, they are washed out. And I think in your writings you say as much. You want a new spirit in society, a new bond between men. You want a new bond between men. Well, so do I, so do we. We realise that if we are going to go ahead we need first and foremost . Where we fail in our present position is in our lack of solidarity.
“And how are we to get it. You suggest us the answer in your writings. We must have a new bond between men, the bond of real . And why don’t we find that bond among us? Because we have been brought up from childhood to mistrust ourselves and to mistrust each other. We have been brought up in a kind of fetish worship. We are like tribes of with their witch-doctors. And who are our witch-doctors, our medicine men? Why, they are professors of science and professors of medicine and professors of law and professors of religion, all of whom on their tom-tom drums and overawe us and take us in. And they take us in with the clever cry, ‘Listen to us, and you will get on, get on, get on, you will rise up into the middle classes and become one of the great washed.’
“The trick of this only educated men like yourself see through. The working man can’t see through it. He can’t see that, for every one that gets on, you must have five hundred fresh slavers and toilers to produce the . all men to get on, and it’s like holding a carrot in front of five thousand all harnessed to your machine. One gets the carrot, and all the others have done your pulling for you.
“Now what we want is a new bond between fellow-men. We’ve got to knock down the middle-class fetish and the middle-class medicine-men. But you’ve got to build up as you knock down. You’ve got to build up the real fellow-feeling between fellow-men. You’ve got to teach us working men to trust one another, absolutely trust one another, and to take all our trust away from the Great Washed and their medicine men who bleed us like . Let us mistrust them—but let us trust one another. First and foremost, let us trust one another, we working men.
“Now Mr Somers, you are a working man’s son. You know what I’m talking about. Isn’t it right, what I say? And isn’t it feasible?”
A strange glow had come into his large black eyes, something and half-sweet, fixing itself on you. You felt towards a strange sweetness—perhaps poisonous. Yet it touched Richard on one of his quivering strings—the latent power that is in man to-day, to love his near mate with a , absolutely trusting love. Whitman says the love of comrades. We say, the mate love. “He is my mate.” A depth of unfathomed, unrealised love can go into that phrase! “My mate is waiting for me,” a man says, and turns away from wife, children, mother and all. The love of a man for his mate.
Now Richard knew what Struthers wanted. He wanted this love, this mate-trust called into consciousness and highest honour. He wanted to set it where Whitman tried to set his Love of Comrades. It was to be the new tie between men, in the new democracy. It was to be the new passional bond in the new society. The trusting love of a man for his mate.
Our society is based on the family, the love of a man for his wife and his children, or for his mother and brothers. The family is our social bedrock and limit. Whitman said the next, broader, more unselfish rock should be the Love of Comrades. The sacred relation of a man to his mate, his fellow man.
If our society is going to develop a new great phase, developing from where we stand now, it must accept this new relationship as the new sacred social bond, beyond the family. You can’t make bricks without straw. That is, you can’t hold together the mixture of modern mankind without a new principle, a new passion. And this will be the new passion of a man’s absolute trust in his mate, his love for his mate.
Richard knew this. But he had learned something else as well. He had learned the great danger of the new passion, which as yet lay only half realised and half recognised, half effective.
Human love, human trust, are always , because they break down. The greater the love, the greater the trust, and the greater the , the greater the disaster. Because to place absolute trust on another human being is in itself a disaster, both ways, since each human being is a ship that must sail its own course, even if it go in company with another ship. Two ships may sail together to the world’s end. But lock them together in mid-ocean and try to both with one rudder, and they will smash one another to bits. So it is when one individual seeks absolutely to love, or trust, another. Absolute lovers always smash one another, absolute trusters the same. Since man has been trying absolutely to love women, and women to love man, the human species has almost itself. If now we start a still further campaign of men loving and absolutely trusting each other, comrades or mates, heaven knows the horror we are laying up.
And yet, love is the greatest thing between human beings, men and women, men and men, women and women, when it is love, when it happens. But when human love starts out to lock individuals together, it is just courting disaster.
Man-and-woman love is a disaster nowadays. What a holy horror man-and-man love would be: mates or comrades!
What is it then that is wrong? Why, human beings can’t absolutely love one another. Each man does kill the thing he loves, by sheer of loving it. Is love then just a horror in life?
Ah no. This individuality which each of us has got and which makes him a wayward, , dangerous, untrustworthy quantity to every other individual, because every individuality is bound to react at some time against every other individuality, without exception—or else lose its own integrity; because of the inevitable necessity of each individual to react away from any other individual, at certain times, human love is truly a relative thing, not an absolute. It cannot be absolute.
Yet the human heart must have an absolute. It is one of the conditions of being human. The only thing is the God who is the source of all passion. Once go down before the God-passion and human passions take their right rhythm. But human love without the God-passion always kills the thing it loves. Man and woman virtually are each other with the love-will now. What would it be when mates, or comrades, broke down in their absolute love and trust? Because, without the polarised God-passion to hold them stable at the centre, break down they would. With no deep God who is source of all passion and life to hold them separate and yet sustained in accord, the loving comrades would smash one another, and smash all love, all feeling as well. It would be a rare gruesome sight.
Any more love is a hopeless thing, till we have found again, each of us for himself, the great dark God who alone will sustain us in our loving one another. Till then, best not play with more fire.
Richard knew this, and it came to him again powerfully, under the dark eyes of Mr Struthers.
“Yes,” he answered slowly. “I know what you mean, and you know I know. And it’s probably your only chance of carrying Socialism through. I don’t really know how much it is feasible. But—”
“Wait a minute, Mr Somers. You are the man I have been waiting for: all except the but. Listen to me a moment further. You know our situation here in Australia. You know that Labour is stronger here, perhaps, more unopposed than in any country in the world. We might do anything. Then why do we do nothing? You know as well as I do. Because there is no real unifying principle among us. We’re not together, we aren’t one. And probably you never will be able to unite Australians on the wage question and the State Ownership question alone. They don’t care enough. It doesn’t really touch them emotionally. And they need to be touched emotionally, brought together that way. Once that was done, we’d be a grand, solid working-class people; grand, unselfish: a real People. ‘When thou save the People, oh God of Israel, when?’ It looks as if the God of Israel would never save them. We’ve got to save ourselves.
“Now you know quite well, Mr Somers, we’re an , unreliable body to-day, the Labour Party here in Australia. And why? Because in the first place we haven’t got any voice. We want a voice. Think of it, we’ve got no real Labour newspaper in Sydney—or in Australia. How can we be united? We’ve no voice to call us together. And why don’t we have a paper of our own? Well, why? Nobody has the initiative. What would be the good, over here, of a -airing rag like your London Daily ? It wouldn’t be taken any more seriously than any other rag. It would have no real effect. Australians are a good bit subtler and more than the English working classes. You can throw Australians , and they’ll laugh at it. They may even pretend to peck it up. But all the time they know, and they’re not taken in. The Bulletin would soon help them out, if they were. They’ve got a natural turn, have the Australians. They’ll do imbecile things: because one thing is pretty well as good as another, to them. They don’t care.
“Then what’s the good starting another Red rag, if the bull won’t run at it. And this Australian bull may play about with a red rag, but it won’t get his real dander up.
“No, you’ve got to give them something to appeal to the deeper man in them. That deeper man is waiting to be appealed to. And we’re waiting for the right individual to come along to put the appeal to them.
“Now, Mr Somers, here’s your chance. I’m in a position to ask you, won’t you help us to bring out a sincere, paper, not a grievance airer, but a paper that calls to the constructive spirit in men? Deep calleth to deep. And the trouble with us here is, no one calls to our deeps, they lie there . I can’t do it, I’m too grimy. It wants a deep, fresh nature, and I’m too stale.
“Now, Mr Somers, you’re the son of a working man. You were born of the People. You haven’t turned your back on them, have you, now that you’re a well-known gentleman?”
“No, no,” said Richard, laughing at the .
“Then here is your work before you. Come and breathe the breath of life into us, through the printed word. Come and take charge of a true People’s paper for us. We needn’t make it a daily. Make it a twice-weekly. And let it appeal to the Australian, to his heart, for his heart is the right place to appeal to. Let it breathe the new air of trust and comradeship into us. We are ready for it: dying for it. Show us how to believe in one another, with all our hearts. Show us that the issue isn’t just the wage issue, or who holds the money. It’s brother-love at last, on which Christ’s Democracy is bound to rest. It’s the living People. It is man to man at last.”
The red face of Willie Struthers seemed to glow with fire, and his black eyes had a strange as he watched Richard’s face. Richard’s pale, sombre face showed that he was moved. There was a strange excitement, a deep, exciting in the air, as if something secret were taking place. Jaz in his corner sat silent as a mouse, his knees wide apart, his elbows on his knees, his head dropped. Richard’s eyes at length met the black, excited, glistening eyes of the other man, and he felt that something in the glisten was bearing him down, as a snake bears down a bird. Himself the bird.
But his heart was big within him, in his breast. Because in truth he did love the working people, he did know them capable of a great, generous love for one another. And he did also believe, in a way, that they were capable of building up this great Church of Christ, the great beauty of a People, upon the generous passion of mate-love. All this theoretical socialism started by Jews like Marx, and appealing only to the will-to-power in the masses, making money the whole , this has cruelly injured the working people of Europe. For the working people of Europe were generous by nature, and money was not their prime passion. All this political socialism—all politics, in fact—have to make money the only god. It has been a great against the generous heart of the people. And that heart is betrayed: and knows it.
Then can’t the injury be remedied? Can’t the working men be called back, man to man, to a generous opening of the heart to one another, money forgotten? Can’t a new great inspiration of belief in the love of mates be breathed into the white Peoples of the world, and a new day be built on this belief?
It can be done. It could be done. Only, the terrible stress, the strain on the hearts of men, if as human beings the whole weight of the living world is to rest on them. Each man with the poles of the world resting on his heart. Men would go mad.
“You see,” Richard, “it needs more than a belief of men in each other.”
“But what else is there to believe in? ? Medicine-men? Scientists and politicians?”
“It does need some sort of religion.”
“Well then—well then—the religious question is , especially here in Australia. But all the churches are established on Christ. And Christ says Love one another.”
Richard laughed suddenly.
“That makes Christ into another political agent,” he said.
“Well then—I’m not deep enough for these matters. But surely you know how to square it with religion. Seems to me it is religion—love one another.”
“Without a God.”
“Well—as I say—it’s Christ’s teaching, and that ought to be God enough.”
Richard was silent, his heart heavy. It all seemed so far from the dark God he wished to serve, the God from whom the dark, sensual passion of love , not only the spiritual love of Christ. He wanted men once more to refer the sensual passion of love sacredly to the great dark God, the ithyphallic, of the first dark religions. And how could that be done, when each dry little individual was just mechanically set against any such dark flow, such ancient . As for instance Willie Struthers at this minute, Struthers didn’t mind Christ. Christ could easily be made to subserve his egoistic purpose. But the first, dark, ithyphallic God whom men had once known so tremendous—Struthers had no use for Him.
“I don’t think I can do it. I don’t think I’ve the right touch,” said Richard slowly.
“Nay, Mr Somers, don’t you be a funker, now. This is the work you were born for. Don’t leave us in the .”
“I shouldn’t be doing what you want me to do.”
“Do what seems best to yourself. We’ll risk it. Make your own conditions. I know as far as money goes you won’t be hard. But take the job on, now. It’s been waiting for you, waiting for you to come out here. Don&............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved