The Dean of Lincoln (Dr. Fry), speaking at Kennington recently, gave utterance to the following characteristic remark : “I wake in the morning with a joy I have not known for years to think that we may, in a few weeks, have the Cross over St. Sophia and Constantinople.” Which means, to give it its true interpretation, that if there are any pickings to be had, they mean, vulture like, to be among the first at the feast, brazenly disregarding the fact that the history of Christianity is bloodier even than that of the Turks.

* * *

It is interesting to note with what alacrity the wealthy class have protested against the flogging clause in the White Slave Traffic Bill. One would suppose that they were actuated by motives of honest indignation against a survival of Middle Age methods of torture. To the Socialist, however, the reason is quite clear. For is not this the class from which the “White Slavers” draw most of their clientele ? And are they not responsible in a double sense, inasmuch as it is due to the exploitation of labour by this class that the degradation of women exists, thus making “white slavery” possible.

* * *

According to news from Paris, a lady has been seen in the Champs Elysees, accompanied by her dog, which was wearing india-rubber boots laced high up the legs, ear protectors, goggles to shield the eyes from cold and mud, and a Raglan overcoat lined with, thick flannel, and provided with a pocket from which projected a tiny handkerchief with a monogram on it, with which to wipe its dear little nose.

In order to more fully appreciate the above I cite another instance of riotous extravagance taken from the same paper (“The London Budget,” 27.10.12).

“An old soldier with the best of characters complained to the Westminster magistrate that everything he possessed, except a small bundle, had been taken from him for a balance of 5s. under a hire-purchase agreement and 3s. 6d. for a week’s rent, which he was unable to pay through being out of work. He showed receipts covering a period of two years for instalments amounting to £12 11s. paid for goods priced under the agreement at £12 16s.” After this who wouldn’t prefer a dog’s life ?

* * *

A circular has been going the rounds of late, issued by that confused set of scaremongers known as the Anti-Socialist Union. It is a wild appeal for “help and support,” promising that “neither the names of members nor subscriptions are published without permission.” In the course of the appeal (which is anonymous, as usual) it states that “predatory Socialism” is rampant in the House of Commons. According to the “antis” there were 40 Socialists in Parliament in 1911, and since 1897 the National Debt had risen from £545,171,525 to £733,072,610, ostensibly due to their advent in the House.

This is certainly news to me, yet I would be satisfied if the A.S.U. would furnish the name of oneSocialist in Parliament, now or any other time. This sort of stuff may do to frighten the commercial and business class to whom these leeches make their appeal, but to the Socialist it is laughable.

* * *

Here is another sample : “One of the first principles of Socialism is the repudiation of the National Debt. That is why Socialists show no concern at the rapid piling up of the nation’s liabilities.” This is both right and wrong. It is wrong in so far that Socialists do not repudiate the National Debt, for the simple reason that it makes no difference to the workers of this country whether the nation has a big National Debt or none at all. The workers’ condition remains the same. They don’t make the debt, and they don’t pay the debt. Therefore the Socialist doesn’t concern himself with the National Debt, even to the extent of repudiating it. It is right in that the Socialists have no concern with the nation’s liabilities. The liabilities are not theirs, be they piled as high as that beautiful place they tell us about. On the other hand, having regard to the fact that Socialism will not be established except as a world-wide system, all national debts, liabilities, Anti-Socialist Unions, and other capitalist institutions will automatically become defunct. Meanwhile, spread the light !

* * *

Keir Hardie, “the famous British Socialist” (according to the Americans), has recently returned from a lecturing tour in that land “flowing with milk and honey.” Asked by an interviewer how he became a Socialist, Hardie (it is reported) answered : “I can’t just say how my own life turned me to Socialism, I think I got my first ideas from reading Robert Burns and Thomas Carlyle. Then came the New Testament.” Good heavens ! I have several times wondered where he got it from !

It seems that Hardie’s services had been requisitioned to give a fillip to the S.P. of America (an organisation similar to the I.L.P.), since Roosevelt had stolen all their platform, and left with them no distinguishing principles upon which to fight. It had been suggested to the party that Hyndman be asked to perform, but the offer was declined on the score of expense. Instead, Hardie was booked at £10 a lecture !—at least, so grumbles “Justice.” It would be very interesting to know what Hyndman’s figure would have been, seeing that Hardie was considered to be a cheap substitute at £10 a time.

Considering he addressed 43 meetings it cannot be said that he did badly, and yet it certainly was indiscreet of him to tell the interviewer that “the commonsense of humanity is bound to manifest itself sometime.”

Whilst agreeing that this is probable, yet, it seems to me, if its manifestation depends upon the dissemination of Carlyle and the New Testament at £10 a dose, then it is a very long way off indeed. Happily, however, there are teachers of Socialism in the field.

* * *

The Executive of the Labour Party has been wroth with Mr. H. G. Hancock, M.P., because he announced his intention of attending the meetings of the Mid Derby Liberal Association and reporting to them his work in Parliament. The Executive does not see how he can square this attitude with his pledge to support the Labour Part) ‘s constitution.

To me there appears to be no difficulty whatever. Events have proved that the Liberal party stands for all that the Labour Party stands for. Besides, was not Mr. Hancock congratulated years ago by Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd George on his former successful campaigns in Mid-Derby ? Why was he not pulled up before ? Simply because the Labour Party has known all along that Mr. Hancock was a Liberal. He has never disguised the fact. Again, did not Mr. Ramsay Macdonald himself say that Socialism was to be approached, “not by a broad, ready-made road, but through morass, through forests, up hill and down dale, round this corner and that” ? (Oxford, 13.10.11.)

Numerous instances could be cited where Labour M.P.’s have admitted their identity with the Liberal Party. So why blame a member if he elects to go “round this corner and that” ?

* * *

If those who support a Labour policy are desirous of doing a little house-cleaning, they have set themselves a huge task, for upon observation we find the same treachery throughout the movement. On the occasion of the conference of the freedom of the City of Liverpool upon Lord Derby, we find Mr. “Jim” Sexton present on the platform in spite of the resolution passed by his Trades Council, forbidding members to take part in the ceremony. Not satisfied with this, he needs must inform his audience that he “regarded it as a very considerable privilege to be there.” I can quite believe it, and hope Lord Derby will duly appreciate his services. “A small section of the community,” said Sexton, “have expressed, their disapproval, and whilst I do not doubt their sincerity, I cannot appreciate their motives.”

After this is there any doubt as to which class Mr. Sexton is serving ? Of course, nothing will happen. The only difference is that on this occasion a Tory was supported, whereas it is usually the right thing to support a Liberal.

As Mr. W. C. Anderson, the Chairman of the I.L.P., says in the Liberal “Daily Citizen” (13.10.12): “Some would argue that the Labour Party must prove its independence of the Liberals by voting against the Government, even when the Government are supporting seme useful (!) reform. But that is not independence: it is much nearer being an advanced stage of political lunacy. On a number of political questions—Lords’ Veto, Plural Votes, and Home Rule—the Liberals are certainly more advanced than the Tories. On all such questions Labour will go into the same lobby with the Liberals without the slightest sacrifice of independence.” Which is quite true. It would be difficult indeed for them to sacrifice something which, for them, does not exist.

At Manchester last month, during the municipal elections, both Labour and B.S.P. candidates signified their willingness, if elected, “to work for the unification of Rates” and “the transference of Rates from property to site values,” for which they were promised the support “by word, deed and vote” of the League of Young Liberals. These are issues, be it noted that are of no import to the workers, but are intended solely to benefit one section of the capitalist class by shifting the rates burden onto the shoulders of another section, incidentally using the worker as a mug in order to accomplish it.

* * *

According to Lady Aberconway, there are “only two ways for a woman of the upper classes to obtain money ; one by inheriting from the dead, and the other by begging from the living.” I venture to affirm that this is not quite correct. There are three ways of getting a living : by working for it, by begging, and by stealing. Knowing that the “upper” class neither work nor beg for their living, there is no other conclusion left us than that they get it by stealing—from the workers.

* * *

Robert Blatchford has recanted on the question of compulsory military service, of which he was such a strenuous advocate. He admits that “universal military service under the control of the ruling ‘classes’ would result in slavery : it would undoubtedly lead to the enslavement of the workers.” (“Clarion,” 1.11.12.) Which is an admission on the part of R.B. that his position, after all his protestations to the contrary, was the wrong one. It has taken him a long time to find it out, which, in itself betrays the fact that he has not devoted much time to the study of Socialism. Seemingly it requires concrete instances, such as the employment of troops as blacklegs in the recent strikes, to force home to him the absurdity of his position. The point is, what becomes now of his “Britain for the British,” seeing that one position conditions the other ?


Leave a Reply