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World War One

A Comparison

 Comparisons are odious,” says the proverb. They may, nevertheless, be informative. Marx avers that history repeats itself, the first event being tragedy, the second farce. Occurrences in the political world—especially in parties claiming to speak on behalf of the working-class, here and abroad, since the outbreak of the second World War of 1939, will evoke Homeric laughter from posterity.

 World War No. 1, despite the flood of imperialistic enthusiasm it released, also produced a certain amount of luke-warm opposition from the officials of the Labour Party and T.U.C. On Sunday, August 2nd, 1914, these gentry were to be found on the historic plinth at Trafalgar Square haranguing a considerable crowd, who subsequently passed a resolution, declaring their common interest with workers of other nations and calling on British workers to maintain neutrality.

Life and Laughter

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and so does humour. For instance: Magistrate (at Willesden, of course) :
 
"What is your occupation?"
 
Prisoner: "Unemployment!"
 
This was selected by the newspapers as a police court joke. So it is, but there is more humour than meets the eye. Another magistrate:
 
"What is your occupation?"
 
Prisoner (or should we say defendant here): "I am a gentleman.” No! there is no laughter here, not even a smile.
 
Here is a Labour Government in the seats of the mighty, pledged to abolish unemployment. They are not a sad-eyed, melancholy party. Jollity oozes from their joints and mirth gushes from their mouths.

Book Review: How Christians Awoke to the Slaughter

  Arms and the Clergy, 1914-1918. By G. Bedborough. Price, 1s. (Pioneer Press, 64, Farringdon Street, E.C.4.)

Editorial: Keir Hardie and the World War

In the July issue of the Socialist Standard, we remarked, in passing, that Keir Hardie supported the world war in 1914.
 
Forward (July 14th), in reply to a correspondent says "This is nonsense." As it is the fashion among communists, and "left wing” Labourites to pretend that Keir Hardie was essentially different from the men with whom he associated in the Labour Party and the I.L.P., we give below the evidence on which our statement is based.
 
With regard to Keir Hardie’s attitude in general, it would be interesting to learn from the Communists and others who now worship him, why he continued to work with the Labour Party and the I.L.P. if he differed fundamentally from their advocacy of reforms of capitalism.

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