Mr. J. R. Macdonald, M.P., speaking at Stanningley, near Bradford, on Sunday, October 6, said that “for twenty years and more the I.L.P. has been developing its own policy, and has been laying down its own conception and method of Socialism, with the result that Socialism is no longer the creed of a few little bethels in the country, but is the foundation of a great political party.”

And yet, after having removed I.L.P.’ism from the little Bethels to the largely attended P.S.A. meetings and brotherhood gatherings, Mr. Macdonald had to inform his audience that “the Independent Labour Party is a Socialist organisation.”

* * *

Perhaps it was necessary because the man in the street, not being able to distinguish between Labourism and Liberalism, wonders what concern of Socialism and Socialists are such reforms as nationalisation of mines, which Mr. Snowden M.P., speaking at Glasgow on the same day as Mr. Macdonald spoke at Stanningley, said was “a reform which could be defended as a business proposition.”

This was with reference to the Miners’ Federation’s proposal to nationalise the coal mines. The proposal is embodied in nineteen clauses, which variously propose as follows :

Clause 1 refers to setting up a Ministry of Mines, with a salaried Minister of Mines at £2,000 per annum. (A job for a leader here.)

Clause 2 proposes to take over any workings and implements necessary to coal mining, same to be vested in the Minister for Mines on and after a certain day to be appointed (in the sweet bye and bye).

Clause 3 refers to the purchase price for the above workings and plant.

Clause 4 is where the “business proposition” comes in. It provides for appointing a commission to assess the purchase price—Chairman to be a King’s appointee, three Commissioners to be appointed by the Mining Association of Great Britain, three by the Miners’ Federation, and two by the Trade Union Congress. A fine lookout for the future Bells, Shackletons, and Mitchells on the prowl for jobs.

Clause 7 embodies the business side for the master class—purchase price to be paid in Three Per Cent. Coal Mine Stock to consist of perpetual annuities yielding “divi.” at 3% on the nominal capital, after 20 years redeemable at 3 month’s notice at par.

The other clauses are not of interest, but the above are sufficient to show that the Snowden-Macdonald type of Socialism (!) that proposes to nationalise the coal mines in order to pay 3 per cent annuities to the capitalists and find jobs for astute labour leaders, requires a preparatory explanatory remark that “the I.L.P. is a Socialist organisation.” If its leaders only repeat it often enough they may even get a few fools to believe it.

* * *

Time has not impaired Mr. H. Quelch’s ability in a certain direction, as the following extract from a translation of a speech delivered by him to the German Democratic Congress at Chemnitz shows.

Dealing with the development of what he called the Socialist Movement in Britain, Mr. H. Quelch said:—

“Many branches of the Independent Labour Party, indeed, disgusted with the Labour Party alliance, joined the new united Socialist Party, and it is on behalf of that united party, numbering some forty thousand members and comprising all who stand for undiluted, uncompromising Socialism in Great Britain, that I greet you here to-day.” (“Justice,” 21.9.12.)

There is a Latin proverb meaning “Truth begets hatred.” If the present writer never has his “innards” (call it “soul,” if you choose, Mr. Printer) torn with hatred of Mr. Qeolch until he catches that gentleman telling the truth, he is not likely to lose his hair on his account ever.

As for the Labour Party alliance with the Liberals, why, how long ago is it since Mr. H. Quelch was gnashing his teeth and cutting up something awful because the Liberals wouldn’t enter into an alliance with him ? How long ago is it since this (how does he put it ?) man “who stands for undiluted, uncompromising, revolutionary Socialism in Great Britain” was declaring that he stood for the “one-and-one principle”—one vote for Liberal and one vote for Quelch—and calling the Liberals nasty names because they wouldn’t carry him into Parliament on their backs ? The disgusted I.L.P.ers have deserted those who have allied themselves with the capitalists in order to follow one who really couldn’t do such a thing—he tried very hard, he’s sorry and it’s not his fault, and all that sort of thing, but the Libs wouldn’t let him.

* * *

The Editor of “Justice” and advocate of “undiluted, uncompromising, revolutionary Socialism” was not at all out of place at that same Chemnitz Congress, for I learn that in the German Party : “The old impossible attitude is giving way, and it is recognised that under certain conditions common action for immediate ends with the ‘bourgeois’ parties is of greater moment than a demonstration in favour of the future Socialist State.”

This is because : “Since the Dresden Congress the Revisionists, who were suppressed in 1903, have become too strong to deal with in this summary fashion.” (i.e., by expulsion) “This section of the Party, while retaining the main outline of the Marxian creed, introduced the modifications of doctrine demanded by mere accurate economic knowledge” (a la Bernstein). “In the political field they recommend more attention to the reforms of the moment and greater readiness to act with the Liberal parties.”—(“Manchester Guardian,” Sept. 23, 1912.)

It is before such as these that Mr. Quelch enlarged upon the Labour Party’s alliance with the Liberals. The wail of the disappointed candidate, gentlemen. But doubtless the next general election will bring to the surface another of those “immediate ends” which make “common action with the bourgeois parties of greater moment than a demonstration in favour of the Socialist State of the future.”

The “forty thousand . . . who stand for undiluted uncompromising revolutionary Socialism” will then translate their “undiluted, uncompromising, revolutionary Socialism” into the extraordinarily uncompromising, revolutionary action of joining with the Liberals on the basis of the “one-and-one principle,” in order to secure the “immediate end” of finding Harry Quelch a seat in Parliament.
This, of course, is always supposing that tho Liberals will “trade” with them.

* * *

The remarkable “unity” of the “new united Socialist Party” was well demonstrated at the meeting at the London Opera House, September 30, when Mr. Leonard Hall “thought the workers by organisation and general strike and boycott, could make themselves masters of the situation. They must get power industrially before they could get it politically.”

To which Quelch (whose interests, of course, are in the political field) retorted that “political action is the reason for the B.S.P.”

* * *

At the same meeting Mr. Ben Tillett, in a moment when his natural candour got the better of his discretion, said: “The other side had tried to fool the people, and so far had done better than we had.”

While this may be true in fact, it may be said that the B.S.P. is a very young party yet. It has hardly cut its canine teeth yet. In its few months of existence it hasn’t done so badly in the way of fooling the people. Anyway, they have nothing to reproach themselves with on that score. Their undoubted unity on this point will without question enable them rapidly to overtake “the other side” an soon as they can settle their little differences an to which is the best way to fool the people.

In which settlement tho possession of a journal “not for public circulation” will materially assist.
Cheer up, Ben, the future in bright !

* * *

The Labour Exchanges are still being used for the purpose of strike-smashing. A recent case was that at the Admiralty works at Rosyth. The contractor, with the assistance of the local manager of the Exchange, got men from Ireland in place of the striking navvies, and paid them 6d. per hour for work which the strikers had objected to do for 5d.

This same contract has shown how interested the Liberals are in working-class conditions.

According to a “Manchester Guardian” correspondent, Mr. McKenna has declared that 5d. an hour “was a fair wage for the work, and one in accordance with the fair wages resolution in the House of Commons,” while Mr. Macnamara has expressed the view that “the accommodation provided was sufficient.”

There are 3,000 men employed on the works at Rosyth. Dunfermline, four miles off, is the nearest town, and few of the Rosyth workers live there. At Inverkeithing, a mile from the dockyard, two buildings, both barracks of the barest kind, have been erected. Neither contains any accommodation for married men. The job is likely to last eight years or more. In one of the barracks day and night shifts occupied the same beds in a crowded dormitory. Some have to lodge elsewhere as best they may, and in one small cottage of three rooms a man with a wife and three children takes in seventeen lodgers.

The above details are given in a leading Liberal newspaper (“Manchester Guardian,” Oct. 9, 1912.)

* * *

A vivid sidelight is thrown upon the dangers besetting the workers from industrial accidents by the following passage taken from the same source:—

“The nearest hospital is at Dunfermline ; it is a small one, quite unsuited to the class of case that the dockyard provides. It has recently been overflowing, and cases have been sent further North, along the coast to Kirkcaldy.”

What’s that about the risks of capital ?

J. B.

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