Oliver Spence/Chapter 3
THE GENERAL STRIKE.
At the conclusion of the first Chapter Oliver Spence was left master of the situation in Parliament house, declaring that that house would henceforth be used as a revolutionary headquarters. This declaration seemed to be taken as a matter of course by his followers, and, calling for the keys, Oliver, having obtained them, locked up the House, and—first, placing a strong guard at the various entrances proceeded, accompanied by a number of his adherents, to the old headquarters of the Council of the Brotherhood, the rest of the insurgent multitude having in the meantime, under the skilful direction of members of the Brotherhood, taken possession of the principle Government buildings and other places of importance in the city.
To the great joy and exultation of those members of the Council who were not absent superintending the operations of the mob, Spence related what had occurred; and, after some slight discussion, the following manifesto was drawn up and ordered to be printed:—
TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE.
The organised toiling and poverty-cursed inhabitants of Australia have at last achieved a great and glorious victory over the wealthy oligarchy which has so long compelled the men and women of the poor to prostitute their intellect, their beauty, or their strength for the purpose of keeping in luxurious power a class which is without conscience, compassion, or sense of justice. A class which has considered and treated the laboring poor as of far less importance than were the chattel slaves of ancient times.
The Revolutionary Committee of the People's Will
has now by force and right of conquest taken possession of the Sydney Parliament House and many other buildings of strategical political importance, and henceforth the Committee will sit at Parliament House for the purposes of a Revolutionary Administration, which are:—
1st. To safeguard the interests of the suffering and the poor against possible reactionary monopolistic conspirators.
2nd. To freely and impartially administer justice to all.
In order to effectually paralyse the resources of our enemies, the Committee deem it necessary that the workers in every industry or occupation shall at once cease work. The Brotherhood of the Poor is charged with the duty of seeing that this order is promptly and effectively obeyed.
The Revolutionary Committee is certain that in all its present onerous work it will have the active support of all those who have suffered from plutocratic tyranny, for the poor have nothing to lose by revolution but sordid misery and odious slavery.
They have a world to gain!To Arms! To Arms!!
Signed on behalf of theRevolutionary Committee,
OLIVER SPENCE,Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Forces.
This manifesto having been posted up in all places of public resort, was at once acted upon. The newspapers, telegraphs, and railways, which hitherto had been always at the disposal of the plutocracy, were, if used at all, used only by the strikers to facilitate their own operation.
The Revolutionary Committee also strengthened its hands tremendously at this period by the institution of Nationl Workshops and Stores, which supplied the strikers and other revolutionists with the necessaries of life and the sinews of war.