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October 1927

Labourism: A Confession of Failure

 Mr. A. M. Thompson of the Clarion, was one of the founders of the Labour Party. He has, throughout a long career, consistently opposed the formation of a definitely socialist organisation striving for Socialism, on the specious plea that the workers could not afford to sacrifice possible present gains for the sake of a solution of the whole problem of their poverty through a Socialism which could not be obtained immediately.

"Half a loaf is better than no bread ”— so declared Thompson and his fellow Labourites. We opposed that view then, as we do now, on the plain ground that people get what they fight for. If they fight for reforms, they get reforms but not Socialism. Whether reforms are worth struggling for is another point. Experience always testifies that they are not.

Why We Want Socialism

Old people tell us how lucky we are living in an age when the aeroplane and the steamer and the express train bring America as near to London as Edinburgh used to be. We see moving pictures of tigers in the jungle and natives living in uncivilised ways. We read every day in the papers of fresh marvels in the way of machinery—and yet we have to work hard, or look for work, and keep a watchful eye on a doubtful future—just as our forefathers did before the age of steam, gas and electricity.

In spite of all the marvels man has contrived, we still live near enough as of old, a life of struggle and poverty, with a little joy thrown in.

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