Reply to H. Harrison.—To query 1. If a worker (S.P. man included) finds his trade union effective at all, as a means of aggression upon or resistance against the employers, he does well to stay inside, but if not, then he does well to leave. The S.P.G.B. requires adhesion to its rules and principles, and hitherto has confined its utterances, with regard to trade unions, to a discussion of their principles and tactics, leaving its members to use their own discretion as to whether or not they should be members of trade unions.

No. 2. There is no such analogy between the trade unions and the pseudo-Socialist political organisations as you assume when you suggest that the members of this Party should (consistently with their trade union attitude) have remained within those political bodies. In the first place, the political membership is voluntary, while, on the other hand, membership of the economic organisation is, owing to trade considerations, generally compulsory. Pending the establishment of the Socialist, economic organisation (depending upon the decay, as a force, of the old trade unions and upon the increase of Socialists) members of our Party are entitled to remain in the existing trade unions, guided, always, by our Declaration of Principles.

No. 3. Again we expect a man to act as circumstances dictate. The conditions of membership of the S.P.G.B. are adhesion to our Declaration of Principles and rules.

No. 4. We agree that the “coffin club” side of trade unionism impairs its efficiency as a weapon in the class struggle. While Socialists are few we cannot expect much improvement in trade unions : the crying need is more Socialists. In the meantime the trade unions, with all their faults, must, perforce, suffice.

You suggest that trade unionism is a palliative and ask if not why not.

Palliatives are measures for which it is claimed that they will mitigate, soften, aye even prevent (or should we say cloak, like the Old Age Pensions Act ?) the evil effects of the capitalist system, and which will, by their accumulation, change capitalism into Socialism-—measures like the “legal enactment of an Eight Hour Day,” for example, and the innumerable other nostrums advocated by the S.D.P., I.L.P., etc.

The various appendages of trade unionism should not prevent us from recognising that it, on the other hand, is in essence, the combination of workers for the sale of their labour-power by collective bargaining ; a mechanism that the workers have evolved, and that through bitter experience, to aid them in the struggle against the economic degradation caused by the unrestricted play of competition ; a machinery that has in the past acted—and does still act in a declining degree—as a check upon, although not preventing, that degradation.

The continued exercise of such collective economic resistance (to-day requiring membership of existing trade unions) is clearly not the same thing as advocating “palliatives” as above defined and generally understood.

Can you tell us where Marx made the alleged statement re “the idea of God,” etc. ? We should like to know.

Members of our Party can only vote for the Party candidates

—Ed. “S.S.”

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