Editorial: God and the Labour Party

“One above sees all” is only a variation of the saying, “onlookers see most of the game.” Whether or no the truth of either can be demonstrated, it is certain that those not immediately concerned can get plenty of amusement out of the antics of all sections of politicians who are now claiming God as their “guide, philosopher, and friend.” Mr. G. H. Roberts, Labour M.P. for Norwich, visited the Burton Town Hall on October 21st and “in language rich in proverbial philosophy advanced the aims and objects of the Labour Party.” He had long claimed, he said, that, given an equal opportunity, there was no reason why the workman should not take his place by the side of the wealthy representative; in the House of Commons ! He did not explain how the workmen could possibly have an equal opportunity with the wealthy. It would have been difficult, of course. Neither did he suggest that the workers should supplant all the wealthy representatives with a view to depriving them of their power to exploit ? No ! his “rich proverbial philosophy” finds expression in a desire for a “fair representation of all classes” in the House of Commons. He contended that the Labour movement was not only a sound political movement but it was “the greatest religious factor they had at the present time.” The Labour Party believed in the love of God and the brotherhood of man. They wanted the word of God to live in their industrial and human activities. And much more to the same effect. The only inference to be drawn from all this is that during all these years of working-class exploitation, Almighty God has been asleep or has been “winking the other eye” while those who believe in him and his “Love” and his “Word” have been fighting and maiming, and killing and enslaving each other. In the year 50 A.D., it is said, James, the Brother of Jesus, called upon the rich men to weep and howl for the miseries that were to come upon them ! “Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days . . . Behold, the hire of the labourers, who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth.” . . “And the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord.” Despite this denunciation, the exploiters have continued to carry on business at the old stand, improving their methods, securing more power, and appropriating more wealth. So that it would seem that the Lord has been on their side. And now that the workers are slowly beginning to see the justice of Socialism, the masters who have “made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field,” finding they cannot argue, that they cannot oppose Socialism by other means, are endeavouring to play upon the ignorant passions, prejudices and fears of the people. They know how true were the words that Louis XIV. wrote to the King of Tonquin on January 10th, 1681: “For this God is … above all, the most useful in giving to Kings unlimited power over peoples.” And the “Socialist” members of the House of Commons should know it also. But instead of boldly and honestly facing the position, instead of avowing on the platform the opinions they hold in private, instead of standing by the scientific position that neither capitalism nor Socialism, as such, has anything to do with speculative opinions as to the existence or non-existence of a god or of gods, good or devilish ; they are, for vote-catching purposes, mouthing such twaddle as that which fell from their lips during the Kirkdale election and is quoted above. Let the people, instead of wasting time claiming God for their side, in answer to the exploiters who claim him for theirs, “leave tears and praying,” gird up their loins, harden their hearts, and strengthen their hands preparatory to engaging in the final struggle for the overthrow of class supremacy, a struggle that can only succeed when undertaken by a determined and intelligent proletariat.

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