Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER II.: SUBSIDIES TO STRIKERS. - The Tyranny of Socialism
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CHAPTER II.: SUBSIDIES TO STRIKERS. - Yves Guyot, The Tyranny of Socialism 
The Tyranny of Socialism, ed. J.H. Levy (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1894).
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SUBSIDIES TO STRIKERS.
The Question before the Municipal Council of Paris—The 2nd April, 1884—My Argument—Demand refused—Strikes and the Seventh Municipal Council—Hypocritical Measures—Sympathetic Actions—M. Ferroul’s Proposition of November 25th, 1889—The 117.
While awaiting this final result, the interference of Deputies in the questions relating to strikes had convinced the strikers that the public authorities ought to come to their rescue with subsidies.
The first time that the question came before the Municipal Council of Paris was in 1884, with reference to the Anzin strike, upon a proposal of a subsidy of 10,000 francs brought forward by M. Pichon. I opposed it, and caused it to be rejected by 55 votes to 20, by some arguments which I will permit myself to recall:—
M. YvesGuyot.—I beg of you, gentlemen, to reject this proposal, in order that we may remain faithful to the principles of political liberty, from the economic point of view, adopted by you at the Municipal Council.
M. Joffrin.—Not I.
M. YvesGuyot.—If you to-day intervene between the employers and men, you will deny the principles to which you have given your adhesion—that each one shall intervene individually on behalf of the miners, and do that which seems to him best. (Hear! hear!)
We can only intervene collectively with money belonging to the ratepayers. If, to-day, you intervene in struggles between individuals, under the pretext of a strike, there is no reason why you should not take part to-morrow in any other strikes, without making any exceptions. For why should you refuse your co-operation to one of them? This would mean a perpetual intervention of the Council in individual covenants. We can no more subsidise the workmen than we could subsidise the company. . . .
By advocating the intervention of the city of Paris, you are asking for a policy of compression.
You in pity propose a subsidy of 10,000 francs. What are you about to do? You will delude the miners and create in them deceptive illusions; you will cause them to believe that the city of Paris will commit itself in their favour.
To-day people are suggesting a disgraceful intervention to you. . . .
If I followed that policy, it would not have been 10,000 francs that I should have asked for.
Because, when the 10,000 francs were exhausted, what would you do? If you wish to take effective measures, make up your minds to put 100,000 francs weekly, at the disposal of the miner’s families.
M. Joffrin.—That proposal would be rejected as well as mine.
M. YvesGuyot.—The mine, notwithstanding what you say, is private property; and the Anzin concession was originally granted to a few individuals.
People talk of realised profits. It seems as though the only wish of some French people was to see all their fellow-countrymen ruin themselves in all their undertakings. As for me, I regret that there are not a large number of mining companies who have realised the same profits; that would be far better than to see 45 per cent. of the concessions lying idle, as is shown by the Commission of Enquiry of 1873. . . .
I asked the Municipal Council, in order that it might be logical, to start a special chapter called: “Premiums and encouragements for strikes.” That which I suggested in irony has come to pass. The seventh Municipal Council has subsidised no less than twenty-two strikes.1 It has given 2,000 francs to the strike of the matchmakers, who are employed by the State. I do not know whether the Prefect approved of this intervention of the Municipal Council against the Government. On the 11th July, 1891, the Municipal Council granted a subsidy of 10,000 francs to the workmen of the Orleans Railway out on strike; and on July 24th, 1891, 20,000 francs to railway servants in general. These two decisions were cancelled; but the administration has not been so strict with all. It has compromised by not distributing the subsidy amongst the families until after the strike was over, as though, by this hypocritical means, it did not give moral and material support to the strike.
So clearly has it been support which the Municipal Council has given to the strikers, that at the Municipal Council, M. Mesureur, Reporter of the proposal to subsidise the Decazeville strike, which was led up to by the assassination of M. Watrin, said: “More than a manifestation of Platonic sympathy is needed for the miners of Decazeville. Action is needed.”
Whilst the Municipal Council has thus been subsidising strikes, I think the question has only once come before Parliament.
On November 25th, 1889, M. Ferroul brought forward a law proposing the opening of a credit of 150,000 francs for the aid of the victims of the strikes in the Nord, Pas-de-Calais, and Tours.
As Minister, I gave the same reception to this proposal as I had done five years earlier, whilst Municipal Councillor, to that of M. Pichon. Having said that “a strike was a voluntary act,” I was violently interrupted “from several benches on the Extreme Left;” but I again asked if we ought “to let social forces intervene, and charge the cost as part of the budget,” in favour of strikes; if we ought to lay down the principle of “the subsidising of strikes by the State.”
The proposal of M. Ferroul was rejected by 364 votes against 117.
In the United Kingdom, as well as in France, we are paying the penalty of neglect of the principles of local government. Everywhere the just demand for Home Rule, for large areas as well as small, is upon us; but the limits within which such local government should be confined, so as to safeguard personal and proprietary rights, have not been considered.—Ed.