Front a Correspondent At Friends' House, Euston-road, there is an Empire exhibition.
It is a footnote to the Glasgow one—a very brief footnote, but to the point. It has been devised by young men with no money and put together in hack kitchens.
Charts, photographs, newspaper cuttings, lists of figures, maps, cartoons, give the facts about the existence of the silent basis of Empire: the proletariat.
Prominently on a screen next the entrance is pinned a letter from the " Daily Worker," refusing an advertisement of the exhibition. Comment, in brightly painted capitals, Is " And they call us Communist."
The Duke Dances Merrily
The section giving some of the less conventional biographical details of Scotland 'S aristocracy and titled pluto-democracy is not likely to appease soured Communists.
The husband of the indefatigable Duchess Defender of the Spanish Communists is advertised in a way not likely to draw the enthusiasm of workers. Again an appropriately feudal background of stag, halberds and musketry is the Duke of Atholl photographed. His activities are curtly summed up in bold, blue print : "Director of seven centpanics, including the Jamaica Sugar Estates, Ltd."
The Duke of Montrose dances merrily above the information that he is a director of six companies, including the Trinidad Consolidated Oilfields, Ltd. Compared with Lord MacGowan, however, he is small fry.
African Explosives and Industries, Ltd., British Overseas Bank, Ltd., Canadian Industries, Ltd., International Nickel of Canada, Midland Bank, Ltd., and twelve other companies claim and no doubt reward Lord MacGowan's services as it director.
Mr L. S. Amory, M.P., who has often expressed violent antipathy to German claims in Africa, is a director of the SouthWest Africa Co., Ltd., and of another twelve companies, including Youannti Gold Mines, Ltd., Trust and Loan Company of Canada, and Gold Exploration and Finance Company of itustralia.
At least one name among the people with the lion's share of the Empire must have felt peculiarly at home in the small meeting house. That is Mr Laurence Cadbury, a director of the Bank of England and chairman of Daily News Ltd., which controls pro-Popular Front NewsChronic'
Battered and Gassed
After the power the poverty. . . .
The designers of the exhibition have a pretty eye for contrasts. Next the section about the lead-s of the Empire Plutocracy is a large screen filled with photographs of housing conditions in the British West Indies. English piggeries are on the whole better looking, and more solid.
In the Canadian section there are accounts of violence in Vancouver, where unemployed demonstrated in June, 1938, for higher relief. A single man unemployed was receiving two
meals and a bed ticket a day. The demonstrations resulted in police reprisals of tear gas attacks, of baton teillanTr,giConnhgeina, India, Samoa, Africa. It went round: Ireland, Palestook barely twenty minutes to see everything thoroughly, but one learnt quite a lot in the swift, depressing empire tour.
One learnt that sections cd Jewish and Arabian workers in Palestine are trying to establish a common front against capitalism; that the Jewish paper Bamuphne, published last Autumn a special number in commemoration of the Russian Revolution; that Britain has £230,000,000 invested in China whilst the United States and Japan have less than £470,000,000 between them; that in Nyassaland the white child receives a state education subsidy of a 14s., whilst the Negro child receives only 2s. 4d.—representative of Government help to missionary schools; that on occasion every negro in South Africa and certain East African colonies must carry Identification Pass, Travelling Pass, Six Days' Special Pass, Monthly Pass, Daily Labourer's Pass, Day Special Pass, Night Special Pass, Trek Pass, Location Visitor's Pass, Lodger's Permit, Poll Tax Receipt Pass, Exemption Pass ; that it is a penal offence for Kenya natives to prospect for gold even in their own preserves.
In one of the pamphlets on sale at the exhibition it is predicted—not with any brilliant originality—that "within a short while there may be another world war to decide which of the Great Powers shall have the privilege of bringing the blessings of peace and citnitisaHon to the benighted people of the colonies!' But such a war must be made the begetter of revolution.
"Is the war to end at Versailles or on the barricades of every capital city in Europe." I.L.P. extremists are not the only people who need ponder on the question.
I.L.P. spells M.U.D. to Communists Although the exhibition demonstrates convincingly that I.L.P. spells M.U.D. to the orthodox supporter of the Communist Party, there is nevertheless a touching veneration for Marx, and a symbolist picture of muscular clenched fists which might do much to wipe out the distasteful impression (for Communists) of the letter from the Dail,u Worker. After ite its sojourn ourn at Friends' House the exhibition will tour Cardiff, Bristol, Norwich, Leeds, among other places.