1900s >> 1908 >> no-45-may-1908

Book Review: Socialism?

Socialism and Agriculture by Richard Higgs. I.L.P., 1d.

The title of this pamphlet is a mere catchpenny. The only heading it merits is that of “Capitalism and Agriculture,” for the author’s idea of Socialism is purely that of capitalist collective enterprise. The first word in the title might therefore with advantage be obliterated, for the discussion of wages, of present municipal farms, and of other aspects of capitalism is not the discussion of the relation of Socialism to agriculture, which, indeed, the author does not deal with at all. This is typical of the I.L.P. and of its publications; and its writers and speakers would be better employed in studying Socialism rather than giving that title to a certain phase of capitalism.

The author says “The Farming land is the key to the problem of poverty,” and that when a considerable portion of farming land comes under the control of the people” a living wage will be paid ; a regular supply of skilled labour will be available at all seasons and a six days week and the eight hour day will become possible.” This is the author’s idea of Socialism. It is nothing but the old middle-class cry of “back to the land.” At present it is the first duty of a Socialist to make Socialists, and that requires a knowledge that is lacking in the author of the present pamphlet and by the organisation that has published it.