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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Labour and the Next General Election (S576: 1900)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Wallace's response to a general inquiry concerning this subject, printed on page 29 of The Labour Annual: The Reformers' Year-book for 1900. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S576.htm

     Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace, writing on 17th Nov., from Parkstone, Dorset, says: "I believe the only way to get any needed reform is to make it a question at the polls, refusing to vote for any candidate who will not promise, clearly and without any evasion, to advocate and support the required reform. Taking the three heads so admirably laid down by Mill, I would suggest that, under the head of individual liberty; first and most pressing is the total abolition of the abominable vaccination laws. Not only do they take away the liberty of honest and conscientious parents, but they are actually the cause of numerous deaths of both infants and adults--a legalised form of murder. Next, I would claim the abolition of the cruel imprisonment of the workhouse and the casual ward, and require instead liberal old-age pensions and industrial colonies for the unemployed. Under the head of ownership of the raw material of the globe--the land--claim first (as the simplest and least hurtful mode of obtaining it) the abolition of all rights of bequest or inheritance to the unborn, that is, that at the time of the enactment of the law, none but persons then living in the direct line--children, grandchildren, &c.--shall inherit it, and that after their death it shall revert to the nation. Thus no one will be injured, no one will lose anything; yet the people will, beginning at once, gradually but surely, in about fifty or sixty years, regain the whole of the land which throughout many past centuries has been unrighteously taken from them by Kings and Parliaments. As it falls in, it must be held by local authorities for the use of all who need it, and for the benefit of all. Under the third head, of an equal participation in the benefit of combined labour;--little can be done till the land is obtained. But the best use of the land would be, in my opinion, the establishment of co-operative communities of considerable population, so as to include the producers of all the necessaries and comforts of life. And, perhaps, the best guide to the successful organisation of such communities is to be found in that wonderful experiment at Ralahine under the supervision of that good man and admirable organizer, the late E. T. Craig. Ralahine offers us a model and guide of what to do and what to avoid, and how to combine the greatest freedom with the most economical management. Every worker should study the account of it, either in Mr. Craig's own book, or, what is better, in the clearer and more continuous narrative of Mr. William Pare, entitled:--Co-operative Agriculture a Solution of the Land Question, &c., &c. No more instructive work than this exists in the English language, and if it is carefully studied and accepted as a teacher co-operative production will be a certain success."

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