Editorial: The London Society of Compositors and the “Socialist Standard”

In the May issue of the “London Typographical Journal” the SOCIALIST STANDARD is advertised. The advertisement takes the form of an attack, in which this Party is charged with producing its official organ in a “NON-SOCIETY OF­FICE,” and wherein incitement is given to the members of the London Society of Compositors to act with a view to getting this altered.

The immediate result was that at many of our public propaganda meetings our speakers were bombarded by L.S.C. members and others, with such questions as: “Where is the SOCIALIST STANDARD printed?” and “Why do you support rat-shops that employ blacklegs ?”

In most cases the questioner’s air of injured innocence coupled with a display of bad feeling made it quite clear that, while, apparently, he sincerely believed it to be nothing short of sacri­lege to have anything printed outside a “society” house, he was obviously as ignorant of the facts relative to the production of our party organ as he was of the rottenness of his own “sacred” trade union. Our speakers, of course, were quite able to deal with such, and that line of attack was speedily abandoned.

Meantime, on the request of Mr. T. E. Naylor, of the L.S.C., the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party agreed to receive Mr Davies, Organising Secretary of the L.S.C., on the matter. In the course of the interview this gentle­man made the following admissions :—

(1) That the L.S.C. did not know where the SOCIALIST STANDARD was produced or
(2) how it was produced.
(3) That it would have been more fair if the L.S.C. had made enquiries of us before “black­listing” us.
(4) That it might be advisable for “legal and political” reasons for a “revolutionary working-class paper” to obscure its place of production.

Mr. Davies then explained that his society was desirous that the “composition” of the paper should be done at a “fair house,” defining a “fair house” as an office where the employer pays the wages and observes the hours and conditions as approved by the L.S.C., and when he was assured that, such definition could not meantime be applied to the production of the SOCIALIST STANDARD, since it is not “set up” in any “office” within the meaning of the trade language, he again admitted that it was a pity his society had not known that before, as had they been aware of the facts, he was quite sure they would not have put our journal on the “blacklist.”

Mr. Davies was then asked if he would request his Committee to publish a retraction and an apology. This he was not prepared to do, but he said that if a letter (the text of which was agreed upon) was sent to the “Typographical Journal” he would use his influence with the editor to have it inserted and thus close the incident.

The letter was duly sent and inserted in the columns of the “Typographical Journal,” and there, as far as we are concerned, the matter could have rested had not the editor of that paper (who, we understand, is Mr. T. E. Naylor, of the L.S.C.) thought fit to publish with our letter a false and dishonest comment.

Says the “Typographical Journal”: “We ac­quit the Socialist Party of any deliberate inten­tion to produce their paper under any other than fair conditions. . . . Pending a satisfactory outcome of the negotiations now proceeding we must insist on retaining the name on the Objection List.”

Now it is a deliberate lie to say “negotiations now proceeding,” and although we wrote Mr. Naylor under date June 13, asking him what negotiations were referred to, he has not yet (July 29) been able to tell us. Seeing that no negotiations are proceeding, our name is likely to remain on the L.S.C.’s objection list for a considerable time—and we have no hesitation in saying that this is exactly what Messrs. Nay­lor & Co. wish.

The SOCIALIST STANDARD is a Socialist paper—the official organ of the Socialist Party, while Mr. Naylor and many of his committee are psuedo-Socialist ; hence the pitiful attempt on the part of a few canting hypocrites to damage our circulation.

Although our organ is not “set up” in a “NON-SOCIETY office,” and although it is actually printed in an office that has for years appeared on the “Fair List” of the L.S.C., we wish it to be clearly understood that we do not worship at the shrine of Trade Unionism, most certainly not at that of such a perversion of Trade Unionism as is typified by the L.S.C.

Nor, understanding as we do, the evils inhe­rent in the capitalist system, can we engender such a horror of the “non-society” man as some ultra Trade Unionists profess to feel.

Therefore it is really with feelings of disgust and contempt that we listen to the unctuous twaddle of Mr. Naylor, who, it might appear, would put a ban on everything that does not carry the seal of Pope (or is it Father ?) Naylor from the “chapel” of St. Bride Street.

Yet what is the record of this man and his Committee ? Prior to the recent strike in the printing trade they were doing their best to keep men out of the society. During the strike they were advertising for all and sundry to come and join. And after miserably muddling through the worst managed strike of modern times—a strike in which they lost everything but the contempt of the masters and the pity of their fellows, while becoming the laughing-stock of the printing trade, Mr. Naylor now PERMITS L.S C. members to pose as non-unionists in order to get work and thus relieve the drain on the society’s funds—which are needed for the main­tenance of useless, because incapable, officials.

Can Mr. Naylor deny the above ? Dare he deny that he “permits” his members to leave their “cards” with him while they go and work as non-society men, with non-society men, in non-society houses, under non-society conditions ?

In his “Annual Report” of the L.S.C. issued February 1910, Mr. Naylor writes:—


Here we have this psuedo-Socialist humbug of a labour leader desiring to keep men out of the society, thus making them “blacklegs,” and then endeavouring to corner all the work for Society men—thereby condemning those kept out of the Society to perpetual unemployment, or banishing them from London. Meanwhile, with consumate impudence, he is prepared to give “permits” to his society men to play the role of non-unionists !

Could dirty, devilish deceit descend lower ? Could the idea of Trade Unionism be reduced to a greater mockery? Could more noxious cant be conceived than that those men should prate about “FAIR houses” and fair conditions of Labour ? Yet these are the men who would impeach the SOCIALIST STANDARD ! UGH ! !

Arrogating the virtues to themselves, they point tbe finger of scorn at us. They put us on the “Objection List”—we return the compli­ment. We put the L.S.C. Committee and the “Typographical Journal” on our objection list, and we do so because we object, in view of the above, to Messrs. Naylor and Co. interfering with us—after all, there are limits ; and further, because even if our party organ was “set up” in a non society shop (which it is not), it could even then be done by L.S.C. men, and Mr. Naylor knows it.

Therefore let Naylor & Co. see to themselves.

To the rank and file of the L.S.C. we say read the SOCIALIST STANDARD and think for yourselves. Soon you will arise and sweep out the Augean stables of St. Bride Street—the sooner the better if you wish to save your society for Trade Unionism.

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