There is an old French proverb : “Il faut souffrir pour etre savant,” which might
be translated : “It is necessary to suffer to achieve wisdom,” although one might wish it could be translated to mean that wisdom was the inevitable result of suffering. Truly the working class of the world have suffered untold miseries, particularly during the last few years; but, alas! they appear to be no wiser than before.
There were some amongst us who used to comfort ourselves, during the deluge of blood and fury that swept over Europe, with the reflection that surely the proletariat blindly seeking relief would lift their eyes to the right way, the Socialist way, out.
But we find that the terrible memories, the nights of horror, the weary years in blood-soaked trenches are all forgotten and, worse still, forgiven.
What do we read in the daily Press, the criterion of popular thought ? What does the average man talk about on his way to work in the morning ? Does he ask his neighbour why it is that, in spite of the fact that he was at the capture of Jerusalem, or that he assisted in driving the Germans out of their African colonies, he finds the struggle to live more difficult than before, that his wages are insufficient to keep him in comfort just as they were before, and that, despite the fact that “we” have won the greatest war (as yet) in history, his position has not improved one iota, but has, on the contrary, worsened ?
No ! listen to him and you will find that he is discussing the chastity of Mrs. Bamberger, expressing the opinion that there is “something in” the spiritual messages transmitted to the Rev. G. Vale Owen, or weighing the chances of his football favourites winning the English Cup. Anything but his own misery—and I defy you to produce a member of the working class to whom misery is not more familiar than the sort of tenth-rate happiness he sometimes enjoys.
A cynic said that nothing but a volcano could lift the working class from the position they now occupy in society. He was right and he was wrong! The volcano has come, yet the working class still grope in the mud and lava it has left behind. But there is still to come the volcano of organised political action. Nothing else will serve. Direct Action is an easily exploded fallacy, Nationalisation is a polysyllablic nothingness as far as the working class are concerned. The Labour Party have never understood the Class Struggle and never preached it. The other parties have been tried and found wanting. All that remains, therefore, is for the proletariat to provide their own volcano. The nucleus whence will burst forth the eruption is the Socialist Party.
It takes no more than average intelligence to understand why the working class are robbed and how to stop that robbery. It will take no more energy than they already sell to the master class to build up their organisation on sound lines. They have the brains to build beautiful houses, luxurious motor-cars, exquisite furniture for their masters. Why, then, will they not do things for themselves ? Why remain divorced from the wonderful potentialities of a world young in evolution, still ignorant of its own chemistry, and still possessing all that man can desire ? It takes no more than a little thought to understand the absurdity of slavery, and no more than intelligent class-conscious action to win through to happiness, comfort, and security for all men.