To the Death

We are going, dear friends, to have a very hot time. We shall soon, we understand, be fighting for our very lives. So far we have had an easy time of it. Up to now we have been left severely alone. The “Constitutional” forces have held their hand. We have been allowed plenty of rope. We have enjoyed unfettered liberty; unrestrained license. And we have used our opportunities. We have insinuated our delusive doctrine into the working-class mind. We have inoculated the working class with the poison of our principles. We have preached .an unreasonable discontent with things as they .are. We have sown dissension between master and man. We have upset the harmony between Capital and Labour. We have dammed up the river of progress. We have throttled industry. We have choked the breath of life out of enterprise. And, if we may loan the chaste expression of the ”Constitutional” poet, Kipling, we have played hell generally.

But now we are to be taken in hand very severely. Our pernicious propaganda is to be scotched. Our license is to be endorsed. Reason, my friends, is to be re-seated on its throne, and gems of knowledge will be scattered broad-cast as chaff before the wind. The confidence of the “working classes” is to be restored. They will no longer go abroad with the canker of Socialism gnawing at their vitals. Fear for the safety of their little hoards will no longer haunt them. The millions in the Post Office Savings Bank will be rescued from danger of the avaricious maw of the professional agitator. Trade will return from the exile to which we have banished it. There will be plenty of work. Bellies that to-day are filled with the East wind will then be soft and sleek and with fat capon lined. And sweet Peace and happy Content will brood o’er the smiling land of “Wiggin” and “Snellin” and “Owdam” and Manchester, and may even, although this would be expecting too much, come as far South as London and Watford !

So, if we are to maintain our hold on the people; if we are not to be deprived of our comfortable jobs; it we are to continue in the enjoyment of our riotous debauchery; if we want to batten upon the credulity of the workers in the future as now and heretofore, it behoves us to re-organise the forces of brigandage, to look to the joints of our devilish harness, to sharpen our swords and test our bucklers ; to strengthen our outworks and our outposts, so as to be ready when the slogan of the “British Constitution Association ” and the shrieks of the Shanghai Press herald the imminent attack.

Verily the outlook is dark and full of fearsome portend. But, thank God! the Daily News is still to be relied upon. It is going to stand by us in the hour of trial. “And who shall say at close of day which side will have to mourn” while our weakness is voluntarily augmented by its strength ? It gives us heart, this chivalrous offer of the noble News. We have no words wherewith to frame our thanks—so, on the whole it will be well not to attempt it. But we take courage knowing what we have behind us in Fleet Street, and feel as if we might, much daring, even venture to open the attack. And indeed, that course would, haply, be the best. It would bring our waiting suspense to the issue of action. Yes—we will chance it. We will risk our all on this hazard. We will enter the lists. We will pick up the gauntlet—if it has been thrown. We will throw it ourselves if it hasn’t. We will. Now! Up ! herald. Hang our banner on the outer wall. And you there, you with the trumpets, blow! you beggars, blow !

So. ‘Tis done. And now, soft, while our champion speaks. Sh-s-ss—

To the Lord Balfour of Burleigh, President of the “British Constitution Association,” the Lord Northdiffe (of the Daily Mail), the Lord Burnham (of the Daily Telegraph), the potential Lord Pearson (of the Daily Express), and all others whom it may concern; give ear. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, the head and front of that which stands to you for offence; the only party in this land that fights consistently and unwaveringly for Socialism; the party that preaches relentless war upon the capitalism for which you stand ; the party that is organising the working class of this country to the end that shall spell the extermination of the capitalist; the party that is inciting the worker to revolt; that is urging him to seize the control of the political machine in his own interest so that he may the more surely capture and hold the factory and the railway and the workshop against the power of the employer ; this Socialist Party of Great Britain gives you defiance and bids you select your champion—the mightiest man amongst you—so that he may do battle in the lists of rhetoric on your behalf and in your defence. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, will meet you in hall or street or Press ; its champions will combat yours one at a time or—or all at once ! They will take you on seriatim—one down t’other come on—or en bloc. They will oppose a working man to the most skilful of your professors, in the largest hall or the smallest, in London or the provinces, on Sunday or any other time, in season or out of season, on any question that will bring to a direct issue the relationship of the working class to the capitalist class. Name your man or men, my lords, or if their valour is out weighed by their discretion, come on yourselves. You will receive the warmest of welcome, but—your case will be slaughtered to make a working-class holiday. The god of Capital help you in that day, my lords, for verily, you will want it.



Since writing the foregoing the Daily Express (October 10th, 1907), the exponent of what may fairly be called the “bad-egg and flour-bag” method of argument, has come out with a woefully frank, and, for the Daily Express, an amazingly honest expression of the importance of the British Constitution Association and the anti-Socialist propagandist generally. Says Pearson’s Pride—


The anti-Socialist winter campaign is again in full swing, and the battle will shortly be joined all along the line. There is one tactical feature of the Socialist plan of campaign which is worthy of close attention. It is now the order of the day in the enemy’s ranks to issue challenges to anti-Socialist speakers to take part in joint public debates. The motive of this particular procedure is well defined, and, from our opponents’ point of view the result is likely to be profitable to the movement.
To accept these challenges—except in special cases and for particular reasons—would be to play into the enemy’s hands. What anti-Socialisls want is to put Socialism on its own defence. It behoves us, therefore, to point out quite candidly that, as matters now stand, the average Socialist speaker is better primed on Socialism than the average anti-Socialist. The London Municipal Society will probably make a point of organising a department whose duty it will be to provide text-books as well as speakers to meet the Socialists on their own ground. When that is accomplished we shall probably hear no more of Socialist challenges.”— Daily Express, 8/10,07.

Tlie italics are our own.

Observe, “the battle” is to be “joined all along the line,” but—the join must not be made too effectively. The enemy must be engaged—at a respectful distance. Socialism must be put upon its trial, but for heaven’s sake don’t let the trial take place upon a B.C.A. platform unless the prisoner is muzzled and gagged ! If you do it will surely be to the advantage of the Socialist Movement, because, don’t you see, the Socialist has the facts and the Constitutionalist hasn’t. The Socialist, of course, is all wrong. He hasn’t a leg to stand on. He hasn’t a shred of evidence to support his case. His objective is a chimera. His principles are an outrage on common sense. His methods are fanatical and dangerous to the well known peace and prosperity of this our land. He is a fool where he isn’t a fraud. Put upon its trial Socialism must fail upon every count, but whatever you do, don’t let its champions defend themselves upon your platforms. And don’t get upon the Socialist platform. That would be quite as bad—in fact worse. Join “the battle all along the line,” but—caution, eager hearts ! the Socialist is an artful person and you are artless. When you get that text book you will be all right, but until then put Socialism on its trial—and may the spirit of stern resolve and lofty purpose that animated our Drakes and Whitaker Wrights and Nelsons, Lord Cowleys and the rest of our Empire builders strengthen your arms and direct your aims so that your flour and eggs and other such arguments may speed true. As it is, as it will be until the arrival of that text book, the B.C.A. gentlemen are on the clear confession of the enlightened Express, without even the means of combatting the ‘”absurdities,” “illogical sophistries,” evidence-less postulates and reasonless conclusionss, of that danger to the Constitooshion, the Socialist. Did ever army march out to join “the battle all along the line” with such rotten equipment ?


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