1910s >> 2018 >> no-99-november-1912

Come To Jesus “Socialism.”: The Brotherly Love Way

Heads or Tails
The avowed opponent of the Socialist movement takes up one of two positions of attack, each antagonistic to the other. If either one is correct, then the exponent of the other view must be as ignorant of capitalist conditions as that ignoramus, the Socialist himself.

One brand of “anti” informs us, with horror, that Socialism means slavery and vile servitude; that the abolition of capitalism will involve the establishment of prostitution and horrors the like of which capitalism never knew. The other variety tells us that “Socialism is a grand ideal —far too good to be true.” They explain that for Socialism to “work” we have all got to be as heavenly as angels, and they point m despair to the touch of “the old Adam” which they discern in all human kind

Each type has its cause, and, like most other evils, its cure also. The first is the result of the cast-iron “State capitalism” preached by the Fabian tribe under the name of Socialism, while the second is due to the prevalence of the disease misnamed “Christian Socialism.”

To abolish these evils all that is required is a knowledge of the cause of the trouble and determination in the removal of that cause. Abolish the “State Socialist ” and his spurious ideas and exterminate “Christian Socialism” and its evil appurtenances, and those who gain the ear of the worker by attacking such rubbish will cease to be.

The “Socialism means slavery” merchant is easily disposed of, for no matter how vivid his imagination may be, he cannot discover one evil which is not found to be rampant in some form under capitalism.

Neither can he show how such evils will be increased by the advent of Socialism, which means to substitute organised social production and social enjoyment for the present chaotic “social” production and private ownership of the wealth produced. That slavery will be more intense under a system of state capitalism is for the advocate of nationalisation to deny, and has no concern for the Socialist.

The “State Socialist” and his opponent are both in the same boat since they are defending systems which have as their basis the extraction of profit by the method of wages and the consequent enslavement of the wage receiving class Both systems depend upon the robbery of the producers, which is to-day the cause of poverty and all its attendant ills.

The White Eye
The pious individual who, showing the the whites of his eyes, declares that “the doctrine of Jesus is the purest and most perfect Socialism ever known,” is well represented by a writer in the “Hibbert Journal” (October 1912). He starts out by saying .—

“A great many respectable and prosperous people imagine that Socialism is nothing but a violent expropriation of the Haves for the benefit of the Havenots. It is possible that a number of the so called Socialists are themselves influenced by that view, but I doubt very much whether it commends itself to thoughtful Socialists, and I am satisfied that no such program ought to be, or ever will be, carried out.” 

It is the usual attempt on the part of religion to emasculate any militant movement it tries to enter. “Be a Socialist if you will.” it says, “advocate your new system and dream of it, but do no more than dream. Do not act. Remember we are all brothers and do nothing violent.”

The writer tells us that

“the violent expropriation of the rich, whether by predatory legislation or at the immediate hand of the mob (the usual way the working class is described by the blessed brotherhood), can only result after further disorder, in the reinstatement of the Haves in their unhealthy predominance, leaving the Havenots worse off than before.”

The Ought of the Oughty
No, we must not be violent. We must leave violence to our enemies. We must he kind and gentle to the murderers of our wives and children. If the representatives of the “Haves,” by raising the Plimsol Mark, send to their death our seamen brothers, we must “turn unto them the other cheek also,” and ask the ghouls to slaughter a few more of of the the “Havenots,” in order that the “Haves” may have more. The poor girl in Belfast manufacturing Irish linen goods at 1d. per hour should bless the good, kind master who lives a luxurious life on the proceeds of her toil, for we must know that “ the attitude of the thoughtful Socialist toward the wealthy is and ought to be, one of friendliness.”

Our Christ-like friend admits the existence of an antagonism of interest and recognises robbery, for he speaks of capitalism as “the system where the whole nation is exploited for increasing the possessions of the fabulously rich,” and he confesses to having a difficult job on hand to reconcile that antagonism.

Naturally so. But it can be done if you (the mob) will be quiet and docile, and, what is far more important, you will refrain from “predatory legislation.” Bend your necks in patience and humility, yea, even until your noses be well on the grindstone.

The “thoughtful Socialist” is going to do it for you if you will only wait. He is going to do it thiswise: He is going to “educate not only the Havenots, but the Haves. He must open their eyes to the injustice of which they are the victims thus equally with the Havenots ; he must awaken their consciences, so that a millionaire will come to feel ashamed of himself as a man who has been warned off the turf.”

A Splendid Joke
A difficult matter, my brother? No, quite simple! We shall go to Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harry Thaw, and the  Marquis of Townshend and point out to them that they are the “victims of injustice,” and then, “when it becomes as disreputable to be a millionaire as to be known to have robbed a bank, the main attraction of wealth will have disappeared.”

Can any thoughtful person doubt it, much less a “thoughtful Socialist? When it becomes disreputable to be a millionaire!

Of course, no one “will lay violent hands on the millionaire (the thoughtful cove does not want to get pinched), but his position in society will become like that of a bookie or a publican, or even worse.”

Is this possible? Worse than a bookie, or, horror of horrors, worse even than a publican! Could the idle rich survive such treatment? Of course not. But worse is to follow. “He (the millionaire) will be shunned and avoided and no nice person ” (not even the dustman and the chimney sweep) “will care to be seen in his company.”

Later on we are told that “the idea may be regarded as semi-religious.” Yes, it may be. It may also be considered by some to be idiotic, but then those people will not be “thoughtful,” and can be described as the “so called Socialists” — an easy way out of the difficulty.

So much for the method of obtaining this “higher system.” But what of the “system” when we get it?

This “Socialism” of the future “scorns compulsion ’ of any sort, and should the millionaire, remain untouched by the above described antics, as doubtless he would, and “prefer to keep his wealth, no true Socialist would say him nay.” Those depraved individuals who preferred to be millionaires under “Socialism” could, of course, do so, and as a punishment they would he compelled to herd with the bookies, the bankers, and the publicans.

Wealth denotes poverty. For one to be wealthy many must be poor. Poverty stricken and exploited wage slaves must exist with idle millionaires. Robbery and exploitation must go hand in hand with affluence.

Peace Be Still
If, then, we wait with patience, all these things will be added unto us in this “higher system,” the coming of which will only be delayed by “encouraging violent assaults upon the property of the Haves and by organised attempts upon the health and comfort of the country, such as the recent coal mining, railway and shipping strikes. ”

Such is the nonsense dealt out in the half-crown journals of our masters. How much it says for their intelligence as a class that such muck can find sale among them. I will leave the reader to judge.

T. W. Lobb

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