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George Bernard Shaw

English Social Democratic Parties - Part Two

 Part 1 here.

 January, 1884, the Democratic Federation brought out a weekly periodical, "Justice,” which had a hard struggle to exist owing to lack of funds, and was eventually taken over by the Twentieth Century Press, a publishing company whose share capital was provided by small subscriptions from workers and small organisations. A monthly periodical was also issued privately with Belfort Bax and J. L. Joynes as editors. The title of this publication was “To-Day” and it claimed to be a journal of Scientific Socialism, but would open its columns “to all expressions of advanced opinion.” Its contributors were drawn from a very wide field, including Eleanor Marx. Morris, Lafargue, Hyndman, Shaw, Havelock Ellis, Walt Whitman, Michael Davitt, Stepniak, William Archer, and Henry Arthur Jones.

Personalities or Principles?

 The conflict now raging between Social Democrats and Communists in almost every European country is receiving far more attention than it deserves. From the working-class view-point the questions in dispute are of little or no importance, and personalities, not principles, are the chief issues.

 The corresponding parties in this country are the Labour Party, now in power, and the Communist Party. Both these parties claim to be out for a fundamental change, and to base their respective policies on this aim. Yet the activities of both parties are concerned solely with the advocacy of reforms within the capitalist system.

The Waning Status of the "Intellectual"

 The death of H. G. Wells and the celebration of the ninetieth birthday of G. B. Shaw is a reminder of the social influence of a group of which they were outstanding representatives. Wells may have been a first-class novelist and Shaw an equally first-class dramatist, but what concerns us is their advocacy of the pernicious doctrine of “ intellectualism,” based upon a mythical middle-class layer of society; this group of self-styled intellectuals have so often, during the post hundred years, striven to control the working-class movement, basing their claim to leadership upon the alleged incapacity of the workers to handle their own affairs. Although the modern claim is rooted in the losing battle of small and pushful proprietors for independence and for protection against the crushing power of large industry, it is not new in history.

Love Your Enemies

 Was Jesus a Communist ? I don’t know, search me! Bernard Shaw and the Rev. “Dick” Sheppard say that he was. Prebendary Gough and the Very Rev Dean Inge, of St. Pauls, on the other hand will not stand for this. In fact one could almost say that the latter gentleman in particular, regards Communists as very unnice people. In the course of an article in the Evening Standard (13. 3. 29) entitled “ Should Blood Sports be Banned?” our kindly and Very Rev. Dean becomes almost irrev.:—

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