After Twelve Years
June 12th is the anniversary of the formation of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. On Saturday the 24th of June, 1910, a Reunion of Party members and friends is being held at Devonshire Hall, Devonshire Street, Mare Street, Hackney.
June 12th ends the twelfth year of the Party’s existence. Twelve years, though but a span in the history of the working class movement, is a large slice of the individual man’s “allotted span,” and for that space of time the Party membership, in face many obstacles, have succeeded in their struggle to clear a space from which to prosecute effectively the vital work of Socialist education.
The way has been hard through those years. At first, faced not only with the opposition of our avowed enemies and the enmity of the “friends of labour,” but also with the smallness of our numbers, internal difficulties, and with our means of subsistence barely visible, our fight seemed a hopeless one. But good progress has been made. Fighting with a determination born of the logic of the Socialist position, the little band clung to their task and consolidated the ground that they had won for Socialist propaganda and working-class politics. Forced to notice the “insignificant” party of “impossibilists” (as we used to be called), our opponents at home and abroad tried in turn to crush us and to cajole us ; but our case was too strong to fall before their whirl of windy words, and our principles too precious to pawn for the loan of their flattery or favour.
At the present moment, however, our Party has to face greater difficulties than it has yet been called upon to surmount, and the result of twelve years strenuous and unremitting labour is threatened with destruction.
The bulk of our most active members, always too few, are threatened with the chains of military prisons, or, what is to them perhaps even more objectionable, the degradation of khaki. It therefore behoves those who are left to redouble their efforts to keep the organisation together, to keep its policy as clean and its principles as clear as its record of past years.
Since we raised the “STANDARD” of the Socialist Party twelve years ago it has floated free to the breeze ; now that the winds of adversity freshen into a gale, see to it, comrades, that it is kept flying.