Our Fifth Anniversary
When the Socialisist Party of Great Britain was founded in 1904, many were prepared to prophesy our speedy demise, in fact, six months was the time given in which the Party would die and be forgotten. Nevertheless, despite the assistance they have rendered to the consumation of this, their wish, by the application to us of the boycott, of slander, abuse and opposition, we are still alive, and the Twelfth of June last registered the close of our Fifth Year of strenuous and consistent work for Socialism.

Five years is a goodly time in which to put us to the test, to “nip us in the bud,” and we have triumphed—we have grown. Assailed on all sides by the agents of capitalist confusions and the mental dyspeptics of capitalist reforms, our Party has remained loyal to the cause of the working class. Neither the “New Theology” nor the “new economics,” the “General Strike” nor the war scare, have succeeded in side-tracking us, even for a moment, from the task of working-class enlightenment and organisation for the conquest of political power in order to abolish capitalism.

Thus in the political arena our Candidates have fought for Socialism and Socialism alone. The columns of the SOCIALIST STANDARD have been utilised for nothing else, while in law court and police court, in the Press and on the platform, in debate and in discussion, our comrades have courageously vindicated the revolutionary attitude of the Party. The result—after five years—is that we are very much alive and stronger because of increased numbers and experience. Strong enough to have effectually repelled the reformers who would have strangled us, to have frozen out the would-be-bosses and job-hunters, and to have gained the respect of the enemy who has realised that he cannot use us. We may be a small party but we are a Socialist one, and, the only Socialist party in Great Britain.

Amid the “Babel of tongues” of the profit-mongering-political-and-economic-misleaders of Labour, the Party’s voice has rung out clear, calm and confident, nor has one false note been struck. Events so far have justified its every warning and advice, and while collapsing capitalism is reflected in the hesitating uncertainty and vacillation of so-called Socialist parties, the Socialist Party of Great Britain stands solid and unshakeable.

Entering our sixth year of voluntary effort on behalf of our fellow wage slaves, building up and perfecting the mechanism by which we may emancipate ourselves, we can look back on the past with satisfaction, and, in the light of our Socialist convictions, apply the experience gained to the present, confident that the future is ours.

A Capitalist Budget.
Judging by the noise made about the land-tax clauses in the Finance Bill, one might think that something vital were at stake, yet it is all nothing more than a squabble between sections of the capitalist class as to what share each shall bear of the cost of their class government. It has long been the policy of one section in these serio-comic scuffles, to squeal “Revolution !” “Socialism !” “Confiscation !” when called upon to pay its share by the majority for the time being ; but only the ignorant are duped by it We are also becoming accustomed to finding the Labour Party, the tail of the Liberal cur, out-doing the regular representatives of the masters in spreading confusion among the workers. And now, because there is a pretence of taxing unearned increment on land values for the support of capitalism, these “Labour” members hail it as Socialistic. They ignore the fact that all taxation imposed by capitalists on themselves is a taxation of unearned increment. The masters have already squeezed the workers dry in the factory, so to pay for their new Dreadnoughts the propertied class have, perforce, to tax themselves. That, indeed, is all the budget amounts to; and in what, pray, is it Socialistic ? The Liberals still faintly echo the old conflict between the landed aristocracy and the industrial capitalist, and endeavour to place part of the cost of class rule on the landed interest; and the Labourites, like the Liberals at heart they are, must go wild with delight over it and talk as though it were a taxing of the rich for the benefit of the poor, when it is simply an attempt to lighten the taxes of the industrial capitalist. Moreover, the proceeds are to go, not to the poor, but to the support of capitalist government and to the building of ever more murderous engines of destruction.

Yet Mr. Victor Grayson said (according to the Daily Telegraph of June 23rd) that the Finance Bill contains “a good chunk” of his personal principles. Mr. J. Ramsay Macdonald stated that if need be he would go into the lobby to support the Chancellor of the Exchequor. And Mr. Keir Hardie, consistent with his denial of the class struggle, said, “Labour men and Socialists would be cowards if they did not tell Mr. Lloyd George that they stood solidly behind him.” These men, it should be remembered; are popularly supposed to be representatives of Labour. They would have the workers ignore the fact that the State of to-day is but the collective will of the exploiters ; while they preach the absurdity that a futile tax on land for the benefit of the common expenses of capitalist oppression is an instalment of Socialism ! Their disregard of fundamentals, their support of the Liberals, and their tactics of confusion, all show clearly that they are not Socialists but are Socialism’s worst enemies.

Justified by Our Enemies.
The German Social Democrats are complaining that Messrs. Snowden, Barnes, Macdonald and other “Labour” members went to Germany and associated at dinners and upon the public platform with notorious enemies of Socialism. Of course, there is nothing new in this. It is merely extending to foreign countries their common practice at home—and there is nothing illogical or inconsistent in that. It is true that it has been the custom of these gentlemen when travelling on the Continent, at all events about the time of the recurrence of the International Socialist (!) Congress, to affirm the class struggle which they deny on this side of the Channel, but we here point out to our German comrades, and incidentally also to those compratriots whose “qualities of heart” so far outweigh their qualities of head as to render them at once the support and prey of these “Labour” cannibals, that the deduction to be drawn from this triennial acknowledgement of the class struggle and the acts complained of is that these so-called Labour leaders are conscious of the existence of the class struggle, and are deliberately fighting on the side of the master class. This is the view we tried in vain to convey to our German comrades when, just after the General Election of 1906, August Bebel wrote to Reynolds’ Newspaper a letter congratulating the British electors upon having sent so many Liberals and Labour men to the House of Commons. Now that our British mumpers on the Labour movement are taking to transferring their treacherous practices to German soil, the Social democrats of that country would seem to have discovered that they were gambolling on an inclined plane when they in 1906 congratulated the British electors on sending these very men to Parliament.

(Editorial, Socialist Standard, July 1909)

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