The Western Socialist
Vol. 24 - No. 198
No. 6 - 1957
pages 18-19

The Socialist

The Socialist! What kind of a person is he? Does he wear a black hat, black coat, black beard and black scowl? Does he snarl when he talks to you? Is he dangerous, loaded down with bombs? Does he bite?

People whose curiosity about the world around them has been taken care of by the ordinary sources of information, such as the daily press and the popular types of magazine, must have weird notions about the Socialist. Over the years he has been associated in people's minds with nearly all the unwholesome elements in the community. He has been considered identical with Nazis, Fascists and Communists. He has had pacifists, reformers, anarchists and uplifters of all hues and patterns foisted upon him. He has been accused of spreading unrest, preaching class hate and fostering violent upheavals in society. The best that is usually said is that he is a well-meaning but misguided crank. Truly not the best type of person to know.

And so there are few people who know him!

Does that not sound odd? So many emphatic convictions about him and yet so little known. So much said about him in the great agencies of public information and so little of it said by him. Does he have so little to say for himself that his voice is seldom heard? Is he the silent type who carries on his nefarious practices quietly in the dark of night?

Make no mistake on this score. The Socialist is not at a loss for things to say. He would be only too pleased to make use of the information agencies to make his views known. But opportunities of this sort are limited. These agencies are willing to allow all kinds of non-Socialists and anti-Socialists to tell you about the Socialist but they are reticent about letting him say a few words for himself. Equally noteworthy too is the fact that a lot of those people he is said to resemble or associate with are not less reticent in allowing his voice to be heard. The Socialists in Germany under the Nazi were either in jail or driven underground. This was also true in Italy under Mussolini. In Russia only one voice is permitted by law and it bears no resemblance to a Socialist voice. And the pacifists, reformers, anarchists and uplifters have all found themselves most of the time at loggerheads with the Socialist.

Maybe then the Socialist is just a hard man. to get along with? But would that explain all the nasty things that are said about him? Perhaps not. Perhaps then, if a doubt has been raised, it would help to unscramble a few contradictions if you the reader were to take a little time off to look a little more closely at this apparently enigmatic person. See what makes him tick. Then build up a few conclusions of your own.

The Socialist is just an ordinary human being, neither brighter nor dumber than the average. He works for wages the same as you do in an office or a mill or factory, or some other place where goods or services are produced He may be bad tempered, but that isn't a necessary characteristic; he may on the other hand have an angelic disposition. He does not really have any distinguishing features — except in the matter of ideas, and of course in the behaviour impelled by those ideas.

The Socialist is a person who looks at things differently from most people. He sees a world at times aflame in war, and he sees war's aftermath of charred ruins and wrecked humans and broken hearts and dreams and families. He sees at other times a silent stagnant wealth-glutted society strewn with empty factories, empty bellies and faces filled with neither mirth nor hope, the faces of humans divorced from the needs of life because they have produced too much. The Socialist sees a world in conflict, now dormant and now vicious, generated by the conflicting interests of those who produce the wealth and those who own the factories where it is produced. He sees poverty, humiliation and insecurity where these things should not be.

A lot of other people see these things too, but they refuse to think about them, to try to understand and do something about them. They prefer to take refuge in the escapist pastimes provided by newspapers, television, radio, sports and so on hoping that these evils will somehow fade or be brought under bearable control by wiser men than they.

The Socialist holds no such hope. He is the one person in society who has given serious thought and study to the things that torture men and who knows what can and must be done to make the world a worthwhile place. His conclusions cause anger and hostility amongst those people who live on the labors of others, and because these people own all the principal sources of information his views are distorted and his voice is subdued. But he uses such means as are at his disposal to spread the knowledge that no release can come to man until the parasite class is dumped from the back of the working class and the collective efforts of man directed towards the establishment of a society in which all the means for producing and distributing wealth are owned by the members of society and operate for the benefit of all mankind.

This is the Socialist. He has much more than this to say, but it can't all be said here — there isn't room. So make it a matter of urgent business to meet him again and have him continue from here. What he has to say is vital to your interests.