“It is astonishing to the ‘businessmen’ to find how ‘practical’ the ‘Socialist dreamer’ is when he is on public committees. His ideas nearly always work out best as ‘business propositions.'” The above is culled from the columns of “Justice” (29.6.12) in order to give wider publicity to the self-condemnation of the B.S.P. which is therein contained. Any comment would spoil it.

* * *

The Anti-Socialists are fond of indulging their vivid imaginations by weaving tales to the effect that ability is bound to make its way while competition prevails, and that under Socialism talents would cease to be used for the common good because of “a lack of incentive.” How ability is rewarded under the existing order may be judged from the Civil List Pensions for any year.

Take the financial year closing March 31st, 1912, for instance. There are 17 awards to 19 persons, total amount, £1,200 per annum. Eight of the persons whose qualities are the basis of award are still alive ; three of these have been awarded their pensions on account of ill health and necessitous circumstances, and of the remaining eleven awards to dependents of well-known workers in the realms of the graphic arts, literature, research, and science, eight receive their pensions because of “reduced circumstances,” “inadequate means of support,” necessitous circumstances and “ill health.”

Of course these 19 cases are only an infinitesimal portion of the vast number where talent fails to get its due reward under capitalism.

Professors Tyndall and Huxley for a large portion of their lives were very poor, Herbert Spencer had to struggle long with poverty, and Karl Marx had to depend upon the kindly aid of Engels. A rather striking illustration is the case of Colonel Robert Hume, R.E., a brilliant officer, who, according to Sir William Butler, “was finding brains and knowledge, geographical and other, for Ministers and Statesmen whose names figured largely in the European congresses that preceeded and followed the Russo-Turkish War. He frequently sat late into the night at home, working a sewing machine to keep his children in clothes.”

This was the man who “coached” the Ministers in charge of foreign affairs at the time of the Russo-Turkish War, 1877.

Talk about “the reward of ability” and “incentive to gain” ! Ye gods !

* * *

By an error, in the paragraph in last month’s issue dealing with the B.S.P. and the St. Rollos bye-election, the word “Liberals” appeared instead of “Tories.” This will be sufficient intimation to those readers who know the old S.D.F. policy of “voting against the men in office”.

* * *

Substantiation of the Socialist explanation of the why and wherefore of war is to hand in the comments of the “Daily Telegraph” (11.7.12) on Sir E. Grey’s speech on the relations between England and the foreign powers. I could not, for instance, add much to the following :

“The solid truth—if only it could be realised abroad—is that we have no vaulting ambitions or schemes which can run counter to the aspirations of neighbours unless these aspirations are essentially inimical to our welfare. The real rivalry of nations in this generation is the rivalry in commerce.”

* * *

The “Manchester Guardian” (8.7.12) also assists in the confirmation of our contention that wars to-day are fought in the economic interest of the capitalist class. Dealing with Mr. J. W. Graham’s book “Evolution and Empire” it says :

“With remorseless logic Mr. Graham traces the economic interests moulding Imperialism and enforcing a policy of armaments as an instrument in this sordid game. He shows how the loanmonger, the concessionaire, and the investor become more and more the directing influences in foreign policy, utilising for their profitable ends the ambition of politicians and sentimental patriotism of the peoples. . . . The pressure of surplus goods and surplus capital for foreign markets is everywhere at work making history. . . . Nothing that Mr. Graham can say about the waste and folly of modern warfare disposes of the fact that it may pay, or seem to pay, powerful interests within the several nations to expose these nations to risks and sacrifices of unknown magnitude in order to gain their private profitable ends.”

This is plain speaking.

* * *

When some of us have criticised the B.S.P. from evidence appearing in “Justice,” exception has been taken to the evidence on the ground that “Justice” is not the official organ of the party. The first number of the official organ of the party is to hand, and judging from the report of an Executive Council meeting held July 8,1912, the same confusion repudiated in “Justice” is to figure as officially certified. Take this as a sample:—

“Some correspondence and a resolution were read announcing the intention of the Aberdeen branch to attack the I.L.P. locally: decided to write the branch that such action was contrary to the decision of the Conference to send fraternal greetings to the I.L.P., and the branch must refrain from such action or withdraw from the Party.”

Which makes the “Appeal” leaflet of the B.S.P. lie when on page 3 it says :—

“The British Socialist Party, therefore, refuses to consider any reforms as beneficial which presuppose the continuance of poverty.”

For in so far as the I.L.P. stand for reforms which are only necessary because of a continuance of poverty, to that degree do the B.S.P. acquiesce in the workers being misled when they prevent their branches opposing the fraudulent campaign of the I.L.P.

* * *

Take also the matter dealt with on page 3. (“Bye-Election Policy.”) :—

“Consideration was therefore given to the bye-election proceeding at Holmfirth, but in view of the presence of the Labour candidate and the absence of any branches in the division, it was decided to take no action.”

From which it can only be assumed that the B.S.P. is unnecessary since it is not to oppose Labour candidates and the I.L.P. Especially is one driven to the conclusion that the B.S.P. is entirely superfluous when one considers that it is “a union of Socialist (!) forces which have hitherto been divided on method and detail” (“Appeal,” page 1). For if the I.L.P. is reckoned a Socialist organisation by the B.S.P., and its method and detail have not altered, why the B.S.P. ?

J. B.

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