Socialism in Coventry
Socialism in this city is of the sort one would naturally expect to find where its professors fail to recognise its basic principle. To this fact we may attribute the lack of proper enthusiasm, and want of adequate financial support which were conspicuous features of the Clarion Sunday lectures held last winter.
All the alleged labour and so-called Socialist parties here have identified themselves, time and again with one of the capitalist parties–the Liberals.
Some two years ago when Dr. Clifford brought his nonconformist conscience to Coventry, and spoke in the Corn Exchange to the kind-hearted Liberals on the monstrosities of the wicked-hearted Tories, the Independent Labour Party had its representative on the platform. Is Dr. Clifford in favour of, or will the Liberal Party grant, that Secular Education which the I.L.P. and other professedly Socialist bodies demand ? We know they will not Then why this coquetting ? Is such a policy calculated to make converts to the Cause from amongst Conservatives who see professedly independent Socialists hobnobbing with their natural enemies, the Liberals?
The Liberal element was much in evidence during the Clarion Lectures referred to. Liberal members of the Town Council took the chair on more than one occasion, and I heard Mr. H. K. Farren express the hope that the Mayor (a Liberal) would see his way to preside at some future date. Yet only a few weeks ago this same mayor bluntly informed a deputation convened by the Trades Council on behalf of the unemployed, that “the general feeling of the Council was antagonistic to the Trades Council, and communications sent by the latter body “were invariably treated with contempt.”
As a result of this unemployed conference, work was found by the Town Council for 90 men of the thousands standing idle. Val victis !
“See yonder poor o’erlabour’d wight,
So abject, mean, and vile,
Who begs a brother of the earth
To give him leave to toil ;
And see his lordly fellow worm
The poor petition spurn,
Unmindful tho’ a weeping wife
And helpless offspring mourn.”
So the capitalist-class flouts the claims of the worker and the only way for Socialists to checkmate them and effectually combat the evil tendencies which are the natural outcome of Bourgeois domination is by the maintenance of complete independence and of uncompromising opposition to both wings of the capitalist party. Complete independence must be the watchword of all Socialists, otherwise we cannot wonder at Conservatives regarding us as little more than a wing of the Liberal Party.