1900s >> 1905 >> no-13-september-1905

Editorial: A Challenge

The statement has been repeatedly made both in the Organ of the S.D.F. and by individual members of that body, that The Socialist Standard has not had regard for the truth in its criticisms of the actions of prominent S.D.F. men and of the work of their organization. The most recent pronouncement to this effect comes from Cllr. J. Jones, S.D.F. organizer, who affirms that this paper “has been pressed into the services of capitalist Liberalism (as though there were a Liberalism not capitalist) to malign the prominent members of the S.D.F. in particular and misrepresent the organization generally” ; but neither from Cllr. Jones nor from any other member of his party, nor from his party organ, “Justice” has any evidence for this accusation been forthcoming.

 

We are concerned that the rank and file of the S.D.F. and all others interested should quite clearly understand that The Socialist Standard is not in existence to malign or misrepresent anybody; neither is it prepared to lie in the interests of the organization it represents or in any other interest. It exists to speak the truth upon questions affecting the working class. Its views are the views of The Socialist Party of Great Britain, a party which consisted in the beginning, mainly of ex-members of the S.D.F. who, holding that that body had forfeited its claim to consideration as a Socialist organization by compromise with Capitalism and by refusal to abandon an attitude that could only retard the development of class consciousness among the workers, had felt compelled to resign their membership as the only way of escape from the grave responsibility that must attach to anti-Socialist — because confusionist — tactics.

 

Since its inception The Socialist Party of Great Britain has consistently propagated the principles of Socialism and consistently refused to retreat from its position of irreconcilable antagonism to every manifestation of Capitalism. In so doing it claims to be proceeding along the only lines that a party rightly expressing working-class interests — which are, and can never by any chance be other than, in diametrical opposition to capitalist interests — can pursue.

 

In entering the arena of political activity as a separate organization, The Socialist Party of Great Britain has, of necessity, to continually justify its position in the eyes of those —whether members of bodies claiming to be Socialist or not — who, through geographical or other causes are not in possession of all the facts—just as it has to justify its existence in opposition to the orthodox political parties. To do so effectively it must of course make references to the actions of persons and parties from whom and from which it has been obliged to sever itself.

 

Such references we assert most emphatically have never been in the nature of abuse of individuals or misrepresentation of organizations. If it can be shewn that we have been guilty either of the one or of the other, we are quite as ready now, as we always have been, to make honourable and straightforward amends. We invite Mr. Jones and the others to make good their allegations against us or to frankly withdraw them. In this connection the printed word is far easier of reference than the oral utterance, and as it is The Socialist Standard that has been accused of slander, vilification, malignity and misrepresentation the file of the paper is at the disposal of any of our objectors who desire to refer to it.If Messrs. Jones, Quelch, Irving, or the other individuals concerned will not accept the offer we make, the value of their fulminations will, we think, be assessed at their proper worth by those who are at one with us in their desire for the truth to prevail. We throw out the challenge fearlessly. If there is cause for complaint against us as an exponent of Socialism we are anxious to hear of it. But we want the evidence of it also. Allegation without proof is not helpful. Let our accusers therefore state their whole case against us. We shall be obliged to them. But if it should happen, as we believe it will, that they cannot produce evidence for their charges, we ask the working-class to judge of the motives that will lead men to persist in false statements even while they are alleging misrepresentation against us.

We ask the workers whose class interests we champion and to whom we belong, to constitute themselves our judges in this and to carefully note the character of the responses our challenge receives.