During December the “Clarion,”—a “Socialist” journal which devotes more attention to smash­ing the Christain religion than it does to the advocacy of Socialism—issued a special number to commemorate the birth of Christ !

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In consequence of the efforts of the Catholics being successful in re-electing the present gov­erning party in the Italian Chamber, the Catho­lics in the Italian Parliament are organising a group of their own. This means that the Pope, who hitherto has kept his personality in the background, is now to enter the political arena.

The Catholic religion, like all other organised religions, being to a certain extent a political force, and politics being essential to its existence, it is not surprising to find its adherents throw­ing off the spiritual cloak in order the more readily to grapple with, the economic and social conditions, of which their creed, like all others, is the reflex.

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The “Daily Sketch” (19.12.13) has discovered that the antidote to poverty is football. If it means that by interesting the workers in football their attention is distracted from investigating too closely the causes of their misery and poverty, then it must be admitted that in the majority of cases it has had a certain measure of success. A visit to the L.C.C. school in Devons Road, Bow (East London), is described, where the boys are taught football and music. “Many are without boots and stockings. Many are in rags and tatters, but they have brave hearts and smiling faces.”

The headlines described them as “Happy London schoolboys who defy poverty’s terrors.” “Football and music as antidotes” ! The con­dition, then, I suppose, must be maintained at all hazards !

Side by side with the above was another item, describing a raid on a West End flat, where ladies and gentlemen in evening dress made varied attempts to win the smiles of Dame For­tune between the hours of 12 p.m. and 4 a.m., and where a quantity of gold and notes was lying about in profusion. The “Sketch” did well to place these items in such close juxtapo­sition. They make a deadly parallel, for the one presupposes the other.

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During the recent strike of the Leeds Corpora­tion employees, several well-known army officers volunteered to act as blacklegs in the scaveng­ing department. They cheerfully set to work to empty dustbins of their accumulated refuse, working all night under police protection.

Socialist speakers are often asked who will do the dirty work under Socialism. This incident suggests a solution. Seeing that under Social­ism the forces of organised murder will have ceased to exist, and that the asassins in connec­tion therewith will be out of a job, what is more natural than that they should be put to the more useful (and less dirty) work of scavenging ? Especially an they seem to possess an aptitude for the job.

Apropos of the frequency with which municipal strikes have occurred of late, there arises a point which, I think, sorne of our ” Labour” leaders ought to explain. If, as they constantly affirm, municipalisation is really ownership by the people themselves for the benefit of the peo­ple, who are these strikers fighting? Them­selves ? If it be true that the people themselves control the municipal machinery, and the workers constitute the majority, why do they not as a starter vote themselves higher wages and better all round conditions ?

On the other hand, is it not a glaring fact that even under the most “progressive” of municipalities the workers are robbed, brow­beaten, and scabbed every bit as bad as under any privately-owned concern ?

If, as our euphemistic “leaders” declare, “Socialism is simply an extension of the present principle of municipal ownership,” is it not rather something to be condemned in view of its oppresive nature ?

To the Socialist the position is clear enough, but it would be interesting to hear what these advocates of “practical Socialism” have to say about the present municipal unrest and its rela­tion to “citizen government,” having regard to the thousands of volumes they have foisted upon the working class advocating this particular theory. Up to now they have maintained a very discreet silence.

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It was disclosed at a recent meeting of the Salford Town Council that there were no fewer than 400 little children running about the streets of Salford suffering from consumption. Though the Education Committee were prepared to spend £500 on an open-air school for them, when the matter came before the Council it was vetoed on the score of expense. Now had. it been a royal visit —— !

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The “Daily Sketch” for Jan. 8th published a list of the supporters of Lord Roberts and his ideals and aspirations as exemplified in tha National Service League. Squeezed in among a lot of earls, lords, and viscounts was the name of H. M. Hyndman !

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One has no need to go to the “Clarion” pub­lications for a knowledge of economics. Econo­mics was never their strong point. In fact, they know nothing about it. They say so. So one does not know whether to take them seri­ously when they endeavour to condemn Marx without ever having read him.

For instance, “The Clarion” lately reviewed a book by Sienkhovitch, a professor ef economic history at aa American university. Sienkhovitch, as many who read this paper are doubtless aware, has been trying to refute Marz’s theories, and has succeeded to a great extent—in making a fool of himself.

The “Clarion” is in the same boat. Says the “Clarion” :

“Not only does he (Sienkhovitch) make mince­meat of the theory of value, but also of several other theories on which Marx founded his scien­tific prophecies of the inevitability of Socialism—in the middle of next week, as it were : e.g., the economic interpretation of history, the disappearance of the middle class, the theory of increasing misery, the theory of crises, and the inevitable cataclysms.”

All of which, chuckles the “Clarion,” have been smashed. But is the “Clarion” sure?

What interpretation of history is there other than the materialistic one ? Is it untrue to say that the middle class is gradually but surely disappearing ? And was Marx lying when he prophesied increased misery for the workers with the intensification of machine production ? Is the class struggle a myth, and is the theory of exploitation wrong ? Perhaps the “Clarion” will show—if they can. One thing they do show —their definite position among the opponents of Socialism.

“Marx, unfortunately,” our contemporary goes on to say, “had not the advantage of being a reader of the ‘Clarion,’ otherwise he would not have laid himself open to attacks of this kind.” Which is perhaps true. Had Marx belonged to that peculiar set of people afflicted with that incorrigible disease known as “Clarionitis,” he would, in all probability, have known nothing of those theories (alas ! now smashed), a know­ledge of which, he claimed, was essential to the understanding or Socialism. And the Socialist Movement would have been the loser.

“In the present state ol social science it is unsafe,” babbles the “Clarion,” “to prophesy even about the simplest phenomena ; how much more to indulge in the forecasting of conditions so complicated as a social system ?” Marx was no prophet in the sense that the “Clarion” would have it appear, but he certainly possessed more insight into the conditions around him and the tendencies thereof than the smart alecks of the “Clarion” appear to possess. What Marx did was to point out the probable results of cer­tain tendencies in the capitalist system—results which time has proved, proving also that his line of generalisation was correct. Touching the same point—has the “Clarion” staff ever read “Britain for the British” or “Merrie Eng­land” ? All the details of the (Clarion) Socialist Commonwealth are there ! And who has portrayed it all ? Who but the infallible pro­phet, Blatchford ! The “Clarion” disdains all knowledge requisite to Socialist principles, being content to remark : ” We want Socialism. That is enough to go on with.”
tom sala.

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