The lament of the “also rans”

Mr. Hardie is wild. So is Ramsay Mac. The latter is at Lossieinouth. Suggestive name ! Its like this : we knew if we only kept the bull’s-eye on the Labour Party long enough someone would discern its clay feet. J. Burgess has seen them, likewise J. McLachlan, ditto J. Belcher—three J’s, observe. Then there are Leonard Hall and G. Douthwaite, who, with the latter two, have unburdened their tear-drowned souls to an unsympathetic world in a brain spasm entitled “Let us Reform the Labour Party.” Only the elect were to receive a copy, but we managed to encroach upon the privilege of the elect and became possessed o£ a sample. Mr. Hardie is savage because the “Express” did likewise. Ramsay Mac is positively disagreeable. He threatens. Look at this : “If this irritating unsettlement, even if it is confined to a small section, is to go on year after year, the result is quite obvious. Men are not to waste their lives, when other spheres of useful activity are open to them, in controversy which is silly and in repelling criticisms which are often beneath contempt.” In other words, “you can’t do without me”—a taunt at which even a back ally pigeon club would squirm.

But to the pamphlet. Almost superfluous is it to say that some of the rebellious ones were unkindly treated at the last election. After several pages demonstrating that the Labour Party is some degrees worse than bad, the chief scribe, McLachlan, hopes no one will he cowardly enough to think of leaving it and joining a Socialist organisation. Nothing so logical. Rather says he, “it is for us to state in the clearest possible manner what we stand for and vote steadily on the merits of the questions before us, regardless of consequences, rather than barter our support for some promised measure,” etc., etc. All this in big capitals except “regardless of consequences.” The whole pamphlet, it is worth noting, is a squabble as to the respective value of and precedence given to different palliatives. The Veto and the Budget; whether the Labour Party should have supported them; whether it made the most opportune overtures to the Liberals, and such like, go to make up the bulk of the pamphlet. Unemployment, a question upon which the Labour Party has been “concentrating” for years, was dealt with in a manner quite statesmanlike and practical, as our author shows. It seems Thorne and O’Grady each had amendments put down to the address, dealing with unemployment. Both were dropped because the Tories would very likely have voted with the Labour Party, and thus brought about the defeat of the Government. Appalling, isn’t it ? But the writer points out that, horrible to contemplate, had the Tories brought in an unemployment amendment to the Address, the Labour members would have had to vote against it or abstain. Into such bogs flounder the apostles of the “something now” doctrine.

The foregoing shows the Labour Party getting it—in the neck. We have always urged the fallaciousness of the “something now” attitude, and confess our inability to discover any difference between the sum total of the benefits the Labour Party have conferred upon the workers and nothing. The attitude of the I.L.P. toward the trade unions—who supply the funds—is interesting. The trade unionionists, we learn, “are inferior in political training, and in power of initiative to the Socialists who are in the position of leaders in Parliament.” Again, “Consciousness is vital in leaders, but not necessarily so in the early stages of the rank and file.” And again, “The one way by which the Trade Unionist can be led to accept Socialism is by co-operative action with Socialists.” That consiousness is viewed as not vital in the rank and file, and is only supposed to appear after action with the so-called Socialists, explains the weird doings of the Labour Party in the name of Socialism. General Booth is credited with the philosophy that with one wise man and fifty fools to do his bidding, the world is better by fifty wise men. The theory leaks in two places : the wise one may not remain wise ; the fools remain fools. A membership in which consciousness is non-existent supplies the man on the make with his opportunity. The wage-slave must be conscious of his position in society and know the way out. With the goal clear and distinct, “leaders” are a nuisance.

W. T. H.

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