1920s >> 1921 >> no-198-february-1921

Editorial: A Lesson in Politics

Reports to hand of the result of the Parliamentary elections in South Africa furnish the usual lesson to those who follow the Labour Party policy of building up a political party with unsound—because politically uneducated—material. As to the issue between the Smuts and the Hertzg’s, we do not feel the slightest interest in that. But if it is true, as the “Daily Chronicle” (11.2.21) states—and we have no reason to doubt it—that the former party “have already won 72 seats out of 132, . .It has been won largely by the effacement of the Labour party, whose strength has fallen from 21 seats to 9,” then we are interested in as much as we are called upon to point the usual moral.

We have stated time and time again, even to weariness, we are afraid, the only issue upon which the workers can be organised to pursue a steady and consistently progressive path is the plain issue of Socialism. That, of course, means long years of educational work, but it is the only way. When the workers understand the principles of Socialism all side issues cease to interest them. A question such as shall South Africa become a republic or remain part of the British Empire is the sort of question politically ignorant workers can be led to butcher each other over for ages, but the Socialist, who knows that the only thing that matters is whether the workers of the world are to live under capitalism or under Socialism, is not going to be side-tracked into voting capitalist upon ANY issue.

(Editorial, Socialist Standard, February 1921)