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4-266 (Original)

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author,male,Spence, William Guthrie,46 addressee
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Clark, 1975
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The New Unionism is this - production must be for use not profit. (Cheers.) Competition is not necessary. Competition does not cheapen. Competition increases and does not cheapen the price of an article. Competition is not necessary to stimulate as some argue. How many men think about the question of competition, or of the sale of an article when they are working at it? Do not good tradesmen take an interest in their work for the love of it and the desire to do the work well? It is nonsense to say that if you remove competition men will not excel. How many men of genius - the men who have given us the great things - thought of profit when they were inventing them? Was it not the thought of the gratification of having accomplished something with many of them? They did not think of themselves, or of profit. Money has become a god, it has been said, and all humanity is asked to fall down and worship it. The preachers of Christianity have wandered from the teaching of the lowly Nazarene so far that even in our pulpits you will hear the ring of this money question. (Hear, hear.) Some of them are afraid to denounce the sins of the wealthy class because many of them subscribe largely to the church and they dare not denounce them. They make collections and appeal for funds in the nature of a demand for services rendered. Is there anything of that kind put forward by the founder of Christianity? I think it is time that we looked into what they are doing. (Cheers.) Well, then, co-operation instead of competition is one of the aims of the New Unionism; giving equality of right, equality of opportunity, and equality of justice to all men. The destruction, so to speak - and destruction is an ugly word to use, but I don't know a better one - annihilation if you like it better - the doing away of that abnormal growth, the aristocracy of land possession, and setting up in its place an aristocracy of character, genius and intellect. (Cheers.) That is the principle of the New Unionism. [753] When I have used the term of New Unionism it is not because we are going to abandon the principles that guided men in the early days of the old unionism. Under the old Unionism men sank their individualism for the common good of their own class. New Unionism asks the masses to sink individuality for the common good, to unite on the common platform when they speak, and when they vote to vote for the reforms that are necessary. (Cheers.) Many of the unions of Labor organisations that are in existence have adopted the "new unionism" out and out, taking part in political questions and giving effect to their wishes at the ballot box. But "new unionism" means more than mere labor organisation. You have had an example during our recent elections of how men have endeavored to give effect to the proposals of the Labor party. You have seen how those who were non-unionists - the whole body of labor in fact - followed the advice of their mouthpiece or spokesman and joined together to achieve a common end. Dealing as we are to-night with the thought underlying the "new unionism" I call attention to that fact by way of illustration. This spirit is spreading amongst men and it is not to be measured by the number of members in Labor organisations or Trades Unions. It cannot be destroyed because members of some of the unions quarrel amongst themselves and their unions fall to pieces.
An organisation of labor, constituted on the lines of "new unionism", will have to abolish entrance fees and contributions to the lowest sum at which it can possibly carry on. (Cheers.) The aim in this case is, so to speak, to go outside a particular organisation and take in all workers, no matter what their occupation. Women workers will also be included, for the spirit of "new unionism" makes no distinction of sex. Our present social system is altogether against the weak and certainly in favor of the strong. It is to me, and must be to all strict observers, a struggle in which a person possessing the least conscience sometimes wins the race. The weak are crushed down and on their prostrate bodies rise to eminence the unprincipled men who crush them. (Cheers.) New Unionism, with its complete organisation must achieve a greater work than the old unionism, which sought principally to maintain the rate of wages and the hours of labor. Love of our fellows should be broad enough to permit you taking in even those who are non-unionists - so long as they earn their living by labor. Remember that heredity and environment make each one of us what we are to-day. There is naturally a strong feeling, something akin to hatred, sometimes even a revengeful feeling when we look at what the capitalists - the employers of labor - are doing. In the old days labor looked askance at the employer and felt a hatred for him. New Unionism is to-day looking beyond the employer and fixing its hatred upon the system, (cheers) which is bad not alone for the workman but for the employer.