1900s >> 1908 >> no-49-september-1908

The Pillory

The speakers at the Burnley labour demonstration of August 2nd included Dan Irving and H. M. Hyndman of the S.D.P., and S. Walsh, M.P., of the “Labour” Party. The resolution unanimously passed commenced “This meeting heartily supports the Labour Party in Parliament and urges them to press forward in demanding from the Government such reforms as the provision of work for the unemployed, a general eight hours day, adult suffrage,” etc., etc. (the usual list).

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The Labour Party in Parliament which these prominent members of the S.D.P. “heartily support,” is the same Labour Party that the S.D.P. has been heartily denouncing (when it has suited its purpose) for months. The reforms which Hyndman urged the Labour Party to push forward are the reforms that Hyndman has said are useless. “As long” said Hyndman at this very meeting “as they had wages paid by one class to another, there would be poverty, degradation, and slavery, and the only remedy was Socialism.” The wage system will last while capitalism lasts and with all the palliatives pressed for realised, there will still be, given capitalism, poverty, degradation, and slavery.

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And we who take action consistent with this knowledge, preaching Socialism only and exposing the fraud of attempted palliation, are the “impossibilists.” “How long, O Lord, how long ?”

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“Being in the House of Commons did not tend toward a man’s moral or intellectual improvement.” (Pete Curran. Tottenham, 19.7.08). This is sad. Apparently Pete is called upon to choose between moral and intellectual stagnation and £200 a year. Up to now he has not evinced an overpowering determination to relinquish the pieces.

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“I question whether I am equal intellectually to what I was years ago.” (Curran again. Same speech). Why question ?

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Challenged by a S.P.G.B. representative in Manchester to take the platform and defend his Party’s position, John Lackland, S.D.P., replied “What is the use? Your position is unanswerable.” The next move is obviously with John Lackland.

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Lord Weardale, Liberal, the one time Philip Stanhope, Liberal candidate for Burnley, in whose favour Mr. Hyndman, S.D.P., withdrew his own candidature, was in the chair at the Barnard Castle Labour and Progressive Association’s Annual Demonstration (20.6.08). He was supported by Messrs. Arthur Henderson and Ramsay MacDonald, Chairman and Secretary respectively of the Labour Party. Mr. MacDonald dealt with the work of the Labour Party and spoke of the great advance in the honesty of British politics to-day.
Manchester Guardian, 22.6.08.

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Honesty in politics according to Ramsay MacDonald, seems to require further definition.

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Will Thome, M.P. (Finsbury Park, 19.7.08), appealed for larger labour representation in the House of Commons, where, at present, not more than 200 members were sincere. The test is, then, sincerity. It doesn’t matter so much whether they are capitalists or not, so long as they are sincere. William is usually rich !

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It was of the highest importance, not only to the workers, but also to the great commercial classes, that the objects of the Association (The British Association for Labour Legislation) should be forwarded. . . . If a feeling of discontent was allowed to grow in the minds of the workers, if their demands were left unsatisfied to go on steadily increasing, the commercial classes must be exposed to danger.—Arthur Henderson, M.P., reported Manchester Guardian, 1.6.08.

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Such solicitude for the commercial classes from the Chairman of the Labour Party is very touching. It is also significant. The feeling of discontent in the minds of the working class must not be allowed to grow lest injury comes to the commercial classes. Does the position of Arthur Henderson require further elucidation ?

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The majority of the people were ready to accept any excuse that the upper classes put before them for doing nothing. One of the greatest pieces of humbug that was put before them was the Licensing Bill. What he disliked about it was the utter humbug which Mr. Harcourt, for instance, talked at Rawtenstall. He said that if the money spent on drink were put into industry the condition of the people would be improved. That Mr. Harcourt knew to be a lie.—H. M. HYNDMAN, Burnley, 2.8.08.

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The candidature of J. F. Green, S.D.P. Executive, was withdrawn from the Rossendale Valley (Mr. L. Harcourt’s constituency) without consultation with the Rossendale branches of the S.D.P. The reply of the S.D.P. Executive to the protests of the local men was that Mr. L. Harcourt was the only member of the Government who had improved his position (from the S.D.P. point of view). He was a good chap and the S.D.P. had plenty of worse men to oppose. Mr. Hyndman appears to be of opinion that in addition to being a good chap, Mr. Harcourt is a good liar and a good humbug. Consistency is a jewel indeed !

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The advance guard of Liberalism and Radicalism were moving forward on every road to social progress.—WINSTON CHIRCHILL, Dundee, 26.6.08.

Cast your bread upon the waters and it will return to you after many days. That was the Government policy.—WINSTON CHURCHILL. (Same speech.)

So, really, that advance guard is only moving forward to cast its bread upon the waters in the hope that it will return to them after many days as social reform. The advance guard had much better eat its bread if it has any. It will be more satisfactory in the long run. And it is a long run to the end of those many days. But what an inspiriting policy !

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At a public farewell to a local publicist, Mr. Rentle of the Social-Democratic Party, said (Reading Standard, 1.8.08) “Mr. Jones (the publicist) was going with his family to a land that was not under the merciless heel of the capitalist (New Zealand). They hoped he would carry into that land the red flag of Socialism, and plant it firmly and deeply, and drive into the minds of the workers there that Socialism was their only hope.” The usual S.D.P. confusion. The Socialist movement is the revolt of the workers under the merciless heel of capitalism. No merciless heel, no Socialism, and no red flag necessary. A thinking cap is not a bad fitment for one who would be a working-class representative. Mr. Rentle should secure one as soon as may be.

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The Post Office is a working example of Socialism without democracy. It is better than capitalism because neither the Postmaster General or the officials whose mouthpiece he is work for personal gain—but it is not what we want it to be by any means.—F. JOWETT, M.P., Clarion, 24.7.08.

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Socialism without democracy ! P.O. Officials who do not work for gain !! Lord ! Lord ! Why persecutest thou me with baffle-headed labour “leaders.”

DEVILSHOOF

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