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Manitoba History No. 89
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No. 89

War Memorials in Manitoba
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This Old Elevator
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Jack Houston’s Editorials in the OBU Bulletin: 26 June 1920

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Pussyfooting

Before a people can be robbed, that people has to be ruled or mastered; before a people can be ruled, that people must first be fooled or deceived. Fooled, Ruled and Robbed is the Holy Trinity which the masters of life have imposed upon the workers for their soul’s welfare. That is to say, for the master’s profit.

Last year there was a strike in Winnipeg. The strike was different from other strikes in one respect only, in the hitherto unknown solidarity of the workers in any other strike, in any other place, at any other time. The emergency brake was applied and an industry stood still. The whole world was startled at the astonishing, the astounding fact, of industry at a standstill because workers refused to produce profits for masters on terms dictated by masters.

Then the masters aroused themselves in hottest anger. Every evil passion was lo[o]sed. In dumb, blind fear and fate they turned to the institutions which masters had built up and perfected through the long dark ages of human slavery, to be used on slaves who could not escape the slave’s fate, and who must meekly accept the slave’s portion as determined by the masters. Prison and death by the bullet had to be used when bullying, lies, cajolery, bribes, promises and bluffs failed them. There were no limits to the means that were to be made use of to coerce the slaves.

We live in the days of so-called democracy. The palaverer is the bulwark of democracy. In the days when free men were chained and herded with the spear and the sword, the palaverer began his work. As time rolled by and the servile habits had been acquired by the slaves the palaverer was usually competent to keep the slaves quiet. The palaverer became institutionalized in the person of the priest, the teacher and the whole host of persons who make their livelihood by having a part in the institutions of government. So long as the livelihood will be sure, the holder of the job will cultivate it for itself and try to submit all others to its discipline.

And so it comes that as soon as the bullets cease to fly and the prison gates had closed on the persons who had been selected to make the vicarious atonement for all the others who were equally guilty of breaking the master’s law by downing tools, the spear and the sword are retired out of sight and the palaverer resumes his wonted task of fooling the workers so that they may be ruled and robbed according to the accustomed and accredited rules of democracy.

Not a word is being said in the present election about this class struggle. Having learned by experience, the Manitoba Employers Association has been brought into being to meet any sudden emergency. The means is now sufficient to the ends. New laws have been passed; new precedents have been created; the fences are now hog-tight. The legacy of hate that was still in evidence during the last Civic Election is to be forgotten. The Norris government was always a jellyfish administration which chose to keep in the background and let others take the brunt of the fray. It now thinks that pussyfooting is the correct tactics [sic] by which it expects to sneak back into power.

Lest we forget, let us picture Bob Russell who took the brunt of the hate and vindictive spite of the masters of slaves being locked in his cell at five o’clock on every one of these long and beautiful evenings, and let us resolve to march to the ballot box of our masters to register our undying determination not to forget that we are slaves.

Page revised: 6 August 2013

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