1920s >> 1922 >> no-210-february-1922

Letter: Crusader Magazine

Dear Sir,—Referring to the allusion on page 63 of the Socialist Standard to the “Crusader,” will you allow me to say that Mr. Wellock, who is quoted, no longer contributes to the “Crusader,” and that his withdrawal from our regular staff was due to differences on the very points raised by your contributor. The charge of inconsistency therefore fails. There is an article in our current issue in which our standpoint is made clear. Referring to a book by Maurice L. Rowntree on Social Freedom, our reviewer says :—

 

  “It is unfortunate, too, that once more the impressions should be given that the Social Message of Christianity rests ultimately on the teaching of Jesus instead of on the basic facts of revelation—i.e., the incarnation, sacrifice, and resurrection of Christ. When St. Paul wished to impress on his readers the need of cultivating the spirit of service he did not refer to the teaching of Jesus but to the fact that He Who was equal with God “humbled Himself and became obedient unto death.” For those who regard Jesus only as a supreme prophet, Mr. Rowntree’s method may seem satisfactory, but for those who hold the Christian Faith nothing less than that Faith will serve as a sufficient foundation and guide for their social programme.”

 

It may interest your readers that Conrad Noel, Vicar of Thaxted, is now contributing to the “Crusader” his “People’s Life of Jesus.”

 

Yours sincerely,
Stanley B. James.

 

Reply:

 

Mr. James states that Wilfred Wellock, from whom I quoted, has left the “Crusader.” I wrote, however, at the end of September, more than a month, I believe, before Wellock left.

 

I had not made a specific charge of inconsistency, but I will certainly make it now. It is inconsistent to have conflicting opinions published side by side without one or the other being accepted as an official view.

 

It does not seem to me that the “Personal Divinity of Christ” touches on the question of the emancipation of the working class, but the offering of Christian slave ethics to a subject class whose end can be achieved only through a bitter struggle, does touch on it—dangerously.

 

Incidentally, there is in a recent issue a repetition of this idea.

  “Christians . . could become helpful critics of the trade unions. Were they alive to the ultimate and deathless realities of love, justice an equality, they would bring alert criticism from inside when material questions of wages were obscuring the spiritual question of revolution.” (30th December, 1921).

The question of revolution is not a spiritual one. Its means is the wresting of political control from the Capitalist class, and its object the freeing of the workers from economic subjection. It will be met with hatred, and has nothing to do with abstract justice. The expropriation of private property will in fact be, for the present owners, a most unjust proceeding. Capitalist equality, that is, the equality before the law, of Capitalists in the exploitation of the workers, is desirable—for the exploiters. Might not right will prevail against them.

 

Edgar Hardcastle