Sunday, October 04, 2020

William Morris on Migrant Workers

 "...The Chinese workmen are only doing what every workman is forced to do more or less, that it to compete with his fellows for subsistence. It is true that the Chinese are forced by capital into being more obviously the enemies of their fellow-workmen than is usually the case, but that is only a surface difference; it is more dramatic, that is all. Every working-man is forced into the same false position of contest with every other working-man until he becomes a Socialist, and is conscious of his being naturally the friend of every workman throughout the world and until he does his best to realise the consequences that should flow from this friendship

The Chinese workmen are no more guilty of the suffering which their competition causes than are the women and girls who in London are starving the male adult tailors; are being used to starve them one should say — used against their own husbands, brothers and sweethearts.

It would be miserable indeed in this Chinese matter if, as too often happens, the instruments should receive the suffering due to those who have used them; who indeed in their turn are but the instruments of the long centuries of oppression which we may surely hope are now drawing to a close. If the American workmen can see this, and abstain, as we may well hope they will, from playing into the hands of their real enemies by attacking their fellow wage-slaves the Chinese, they will deserve well of the Brotherhood of labour, and will show that they understand the motto: Wage-workers of all countries unite!..."

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