Page:A Jewish State 1917.djvu/32

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
16
A JEWISH STATE

We are, however, speaking merely of the buildings at present, not of what may take place inside them.

I said that the Company would build workmen's dwellings cheaply. And cheaply, not only because of the proximity of abundant building materials, not only because of the Company's proprietorship of the sites, but also because of the non-payment of workmen.

American farmers work on the system of mutual assistance in the construction of houses. This childishly amicable system, which is as clumsy as the block houses erected, allows of considerable amplifications.

UNSKILLED LABORERS.

Our unskilled laborers, who will come at first from the great reservoirs of Russia and Roumania, must, of course, render each other assistance in the construction of houses. They will be obliged to build with wood in the beginning, because iron will not be immediately available. Later on, the original, inadequate, makeshift buildings will be replaced by superior dwellings.

Our unskilled laborers will first mutually erect these shelters; and then they will earn their houses as permanent possessions by means of their work — not immediately, but after three years of good conduct. In this way we shall secure energetic and able men, and these men will be practically trained for life by three years of labor under good discipline.

I said before that the Company would not have to pay these unskilled laborers. What will they live on?

On the whole, I am opposed to the Truck system, but it will have to be applied in the case of these first settlers. The Company provides for them in so many ways that it may take entire charge of their maintenance. In any case the Truck system will be enforced only during the first few years, and it will benefit the workmen by preventing their exploitation by small traders, landlords, etc. The Company will thus make it impossible from the outset for those of our people who are perforce hawkers and pedlars here to re-establish themselves in the same trades over there. And the Company will also keep back drunkards and dissolute men. Then there will be no payment of wages at all during the first period of settlement?

Wages will be paid for overtime.

THE SEVEN-HOURS DAY.

The seven-hours day is the regular working day.

This does not imply that wood-cutting, digging, stone-breaking, and a hundred other daily tasks should only be performed during seven hours. Indeed not. There will be fourteen hours of labor, work being done in shifts of three and a half hours. The organization of all this will be military in character; there will be commands, promotions and pensions, the means by which these pensions are raised being explained further on.

A sound man can do an excellent piece of work in three hours and a half. After an interval of the same length of time — which he will devote to rest, to his family, and to his education under guidance—he will be quite fresh for work again. Such labor can do wonders.

The seven-hours day thus implies fourteen hours of joint labor—more than that cannot be put into a day. I am convinced that it is quite possible to introduce this seven-hours day with success. The attempts to do so in Belgium and