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School Board passed a resolution pledging itself in effect not to give contracts to firms who do not pay the trades-union rate of wages. This was an important point gained, and the example of this metropolitan board is almost sure to be followed by other public bodies. John Burns is a member of the London County Council, and he will shortly try to get that authority to make a similar regulation.
The efforts of Socialists to promote the closer union of the workers are not confined to England, but, as the international scope of the movement requires, are directed towards securing an understanding between the workers in all European countries. This work has produced good results, and is fostering a sense of international solidarity, which, as events have actually shown, is leading workmen on the Continent to refuse to replace their English comrades at lower wages.
In conclusion, let me say that Socialism is very much more as a revolutionary force in modern life than these practical aims would seem to imply. It has appeared as a new hope, not only to the needy and baffled wage-worker, but to many a despondent poet, philosopher, artist, and craftsman. And thus it is that the movement has become penetrated by an inspiring sense that it is the herald of a nobler epoch of civilization, the liberator not only of the down-trodden people, but of a corrupted art and literature and religion. On all sides, men and women are coming to see that the diverse evils and deformities of our civilization are closely connected with a fundamental social injustice, and that no fair flowers of life and deed can spring from a society that is rooted in dishonor, in a de basing struggle for riches, and in an estranging inequality. The significance of Socialism lies in the fact that it is at the core the expression of a new view of life; and yet not new in any absolute sense, but new to the average conviction and conscience of the age. At the heart of it lies the belief that we are, with our absorption in "getting and spending," missing the true end of life through a foolish care for the mere means of living. This is but to say again, in the language familiar to Christendom, that human happiness does not consist in the abundance of possessions, and that riches are a real impediment to the higher life.
If there is anything that convicts the modern world of insincerity, it is the appalling discrepancy between its profession and its practice, - the root of much prevailing cynicism and infidelity. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon”; “a rich man shall hardly
enter into the kingdom of heaven"; "lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” — reflect what a glaring unfaithfulness to these sayings the commercial and social life of to-day discloses ! Socialism would have those who believe in such ideas turn and be faithful to them. As opposed to the present life of struggle for outward riches, it advances the ideal of a life of co-operation for that true wealth which is the enrichment of man's mind and heart with truth and beauty and fellowship,- a life not choked by material encumbrances, but clean and wholesome in its refined simplicity; a life which promotes the development of manly character and the full fruition of human powers for the good and enjoyment of all.
TRANSACTIONS OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION.
SARATOGA PAPERS OF 1887.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION PAPERS.
PUBLISHED FOR THE
AMERICAN SOCIAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION, DAMRELL & UPHAM, BOSTON, AND G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, NEW YORK.