Page:Oliver Spence.djvu/30

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of leisure, education, independence, and comfort. Pure Democracy is, I believe, the only form of Government which is theoretically sound, and were the people possessed of the advantages I have just mentioned, and were there no wealthy class, but only a wealthy people, pure Democracy would be possible and beneficial. But, hitherto, wealth has been the monopoly of a class. Wealth is power, great power, whoever possesses the wealth of a people, will rule that people, consequently, we have had in Australia, what was in name a Democratic Government, but, in fact, an Oligarchy, composed of the few man who owned Australia's wealth. Though the masses had the vote, there was no real Democracy, only Plutocracy, or Government 'by the wealthy. The masses could read, but they were not educated, they had neither means, nor leisure, to obtain a knowledge of economics, and of the processes by which they were robbed and degraded. Indeed, their knowledge of how to read actually had, under the circumstances, a pernicious effect, for by its means they were enabled to read the class-owned newspapers, which, having an enormous circulation, drugged with lies, their gullible, ill-informed, toiling readers."

Mary: "What you have said about the former condition of the working-people, I know to be absolute truth, my dear Oliver, but why would it not have been better to wait until, by oral propaganda, and the use of an independent Democratic press, we had converted the majority and thus changed things peacefully?"

Oliver: "Because, even if possible, a peaceful radical change would have taken many generations, and we preferred to have the change in our own time. Posterity can take care of itself. I am, besides, very doubtful if the change could ever have been brought about by peaceful means. Everything worth doing in the past, has been done by the sword in the hands of a determined minority. Majorities may crucify a Christ, poison a Socrates, and hang innocent men, like the so-called Anarchists, who, many years ago were judicially murdered in Chicago, but they do not reform abuses, or radically change systems. Majorities are always too much occupied with their own private and domestic affairs, to interest themselves in anything but the doing to death of some unpopular poor man. As to the peaceful reformation of society, men have been trying that, ever since the commencement of the Christian Era. Here is a valuable work by C. Osborne Ward, who was in the days of the existence of the United States of America, a Librarian and Translator to their Department of Labour, his book is entitled "The Ancient Lowly," and he shows that there were not only labour unions more than two thousand years ago but that that the unions tried by peaceful political action and co-operation to reconstruct society. Workers have been trying, by the same means, ever since, but, as you know, without success. Listen to some of the Labourer's electioneering inscriptions, found among the ruins of Pompeii overwhelmed A.D. 79:—

(1.) 'The members of the Fishermens' Union, nominate Pompedins Rufus for member of the Board of Public Works.'