Watford Branch Report. Labour Misleaders and the Local Elections

Since our last report two or three more labour organisations have been born, while some of the old ones have died or lapsed into moribundity. At any rate we never hear of them. Altogether we have now not more than a dozen bodies (mainly composed of very much the same people) all convinced that something really ought to be done for the working man but none very clear as to what should be done. Thus we had the organ of one body crying out upon the local Council that could not find anything better than a few hours in the gravel pits for the unemployed, and gravely suggesting that the Council ought to set them to work putting sand on frosty roads! (It is only fair to add that we have had at least 3 days upon which the roads were in a bad condition through frost).

Thus again the I.L.P. after threatening public meetings which are never held takes its courage in both hands and suddenly rushes into public life with a revolutionary proposal to obliterate the betting news in the public reading room. After which, flushed with the success of their maiden effort, they hold a public meeting upon the unemployed problem—this being the thing at the moment—and secure the services of an estimable and reverend lecturer, who admitted that he did not know much about the unemployed, or that he was expected to speak upon the unemployed, and who confined himself to relating his experiences among the poor dear fellows in the Belgium Labour Colonies or Penitentiaries—who have such a splendid time of it (according to the reverend gentleman) with their reading-rooms, smoking rooms, and other luxurious conveniences that the authorities have to dig a deep and wide trench all round the colony to prevent them running away !

And now the Trades Council are contesting the Urban Council elections and working-class support is asked for because the other candidates have no programmes worth talking about. A few short months since the Trades Council were running their candidates with no programme at all, and only adopted the present attenuated apology for a programme because their hands were forced by those who now form the Watford Branch of The Socialist Party of Great Britain. And these are the good and earnest but ill-infprmed and misguided folk who believe that they are remedying the evils under which the workers suffer ! And they seem to think that in a multiplication of societies is much wisdom. Instead of which of course it is a potent cause of working-class confusion.

How can the workers understand unless the issues are kept clear ? And how can the issues be kept clear when half a score of organisations persist in popking their petty programmes between the eyes of the workers and the real cause of the workers’ condition. What the workers of this town want in common with the workers of every other town, is a plain statement of the position as it affects them and clear reasons why nothing but Socialism will suffice. And there is no organisation in this district other than the Watford Branch of The Socialist Party of Great Britain presenting this plain statement and these clear reasons. All the others are engaged in deluding the workers into the belief that something less than Socialism will avail.

And so we ask that those whom this paper reaches in Watford before the elections take place shall refuse support not only to the capitalist candidates of the Tradesmens’ Association, but also to the Labour candidates of the Trades Council. The former cannot help the workers and don’t propose to. The latter, with their programme (!), are equally impotent. There is nothing for the workers of Watford to do in this or any other election other than to organise their forces for the capture of the Urban Council and all other political machinery, not with the object of securing a few absolutely inadequate and entirely useless reforms, but with the object or using their power to the best advantage by concentrating directly upon the only change that will affect them, viz., the transfer of the means of life from out the hands of those who at present control them (the capitalist class) into the hands and the control of the whole people. Join the Watford Branch !

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