An Englishman’s Home. An Appeal to Reason [leaflet, 1909]

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With Tennyson we ask—

Is it well that while we range with science glorying in the time, 
City children soak and blacken soul and sense in city slime? 
There among the glooming alleys, progress halts on palsied feet, 
Crime and hunger, cast our maidens by the thousand on the street. 
There the master scrimps his haggard sempstress of her daily bread. 
There, a single sordid atttic, holds the living and the dead. 
There the smouldering fire of fever creeps across the rotted floor, 
And the crowded couch of incest, in the warrens of the poor.” 

The above description of an “Englishman’s Home,” by Tennyson, is as true to day as when written. Your own town proves this to be so. Your single roomed tenements, containing the hale and the sick, herded in common misery, undoubtedly make the Englishman’s home the burning question of the day. 

Such homes are endangered, not by foreign bayonets, but by British bailiffs. 

To day we find our politicians playing upon our national prejudices, and threatening to squander, in piratical wars, our people’s lifeblood and treasure. They cannot provide the few shillings per week necessary to brighten the old man’s journey to the grave, but are prepared to pour out money like water to provide instruments of murder to drain the life’s blood of our fellow workers. 


We protest against war. Capitalism makes Patriotism spell Profit, but to the worker it spells loss. The profit mongers make fortunes from the misfortunes of their country. Shipowners, Stock Jobbers, Army contractors and all kinds of financial sharks grow rich by the losses of their country. 

To the worker, war means death and misery to the sons, unemployment and poverty to the parents, degradation to the wives, and pain and suffering for the children.

In times of peace the worker is a trespasser in his own country, owning neither the land he was born in, nor the factories he has built, the machines he has created, or the food and wealth he has produced. The only thing the worker has to fight for is the National Debt. The Navy belongs to the King, the land to the Landlords, and the factories and wealth to the Capitalists. 


There can be no quarrel between the workers of Germany and Britain. One object they have, in common, bread and freedom. Their common enemy is Capitalism, which is international, and bleeds them all alike. 

The army of defence? knout the workers of St. Petersburg, sabre the workers of Berlin, and shoot down the workers of Featherstone, Mitchelstown, and Belfast. 


Herr Bebel speaking on behalf of the Socialist Party, the most powerful body in Germany, addressed the Chancellor as follows :— 

Take care. If you conduct the nation in such a manner, that the German workman is driven to ask himself, whether he has any interest in defending it, beware how you enter a war; for that day you are lost.”

Your strikes have shown you, that all wealth belongs to your masters, and that the army exists to protect it from your attacks. Refuse then to join the Territorials, who are not volunteers, but are liable to be commanded to shoot down their fellow-workers in case of a strike. 


Fellow-workers. Refuse to be fooled. The workman who takes up arms to fight the battles of his enemies, is a traitor to his class. The man who advocates war, is no patriot, but is a criminal lunatic, an enemy to the whole human race. Lay down your arms. Refuse to shoot your brothers. Remember, the workers enemy is always to be found at home and not abroad. Fight not for the stockjobbers and the profit-mongers, but for your own freedom and the well-being of your families. 


Newcastle Communist Club, 77A, Blackett Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne. 

J. Dowling and Sons, Ltd., Printers, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle. 

[Handwritten addition: March/[19]09]


Featherstone : (miners killed by troops during a lockout, 1893) See Bullets for bread! the Featherstone massacre by David Nicoll
Mitchelstown (Co. Cork, 1887) Killings by police during a protest meeting
Belfast: presumably a reference to the use of troops during the dock strike of 1907.
Bebel: August Bebel
the Territorials: The Territorial Army, created in 1908.
Newcastle Communist Club formed in early 1909 and changed its name to the Newcastle Anarchist Club in 1910. For more on Tyneside anarchism see Anarchism in North East England 1882-1992 [reviewed here:]