1920s >> 1923 >> no-224-april-1923

Who are the Socialists?

By their deeds ye shall know them.
“A Socialist is one who has yearnings for an equal division of unequal earnings.” Thus! our old-fashioned type of antagonist. Finding such puerile nonsense no longer serviceable, more cunning and artful methods are employed to-day. Every sentimental reformer and noisy aspirant to working class “leadership” is hailed by our opponents as a “Socialist.” When we question the justification for the use of the word in relation to these individuals, members of the working class who accept such definitions without thought or reason, offer the inane reply in simple sincerity: “Well, he calls himself a Socialist.” It is not without reason that the capitalist class in an underhand way assist in the deception that these individuals propagate Socialism. It is comforting to them that the workers accept teachings that imply their trust and faith in such people, because the unquestioning acceptance of these teachings signifies that the workers have not reached that stage of mental alertness which would enable them to analyse and draw their own conclusions. Such understanding would render the efforts of both the well-meaning reformer and the self-seeking “leader” futile. One has but to recall the war to remind the reader how these so-called “Socialists” proved conclusively, by their out and out support of Capitalism, the fraudulent nature of their claim to such a title. Unfortunately, working class memory is a fleeting thing, and permits these agents of Capitalism to continue their campaign of confusion. In a good many cases it is from these people that men and women sincerely seeking to understand the why and wherefore of their lives imbibe their unsound economics and confused conceptions. A visit to a few of their meetings supplies the evidence, and where discussion is permitted it is reduced to a mere farce. Not without reason: Does it matter if these false doctrines are the outcome of sincerity or deliberate design? the effect is equally pernicious to the worker, and of service to the masters: What then is the difference between the Socialist Party and other political organisations seeking the support of the workers? It is the difference between Reform and Revolution: We have but one object, the establishment of Socialism, to achieve which we work for the revolutionary political organisation of our class. Reforms are necessary to a rapidly developing Society, but granted the carrying through of the whole of the programmes of the Reform parties, the fundamental condition of the workers would not be improved. Generations of reforms have been accompanied with a relative worsening of their conditions. Likewise, to make ridiculous and extravagant “demands” on behalf of the workers while they remain without understanding, merely shows the ignorance or treachery of their would-be “leaders.” Without power to enforce these demands they may save their breath, for when the workers have the power they need no longer formulate demands or claim “rights,” much less beg their oppressors to hear their woeful tale of want. Powerless in ignorance to-day, they will become mighty and formidable in intelligence tomorrow. While the majority are in the former condition they retain the belief inculcated by their rulers’ so-called education, that Capitalism is the best and only system possible—hence, at election times they vote for that system and in war time fight for it. There can only be one correct conception of Socialism, the scientific one. Likewise, those accepting by understanding, the principles arising from this conception are the Socialists, and all others consciously or otherwise enemies of that cause. What then is this scientific conception? It is briefly summarised in our principles. The present system of Society is the result of the development of a previous system, a development in which was generated the conditions for the new Society. Are similar conditions present within the system of today? All the means for prolific wealth production are present to-day, but privately owned by the capitalist class, and socially operated by the working class alone; yet capable of being socially owned and democratically controlled for an output of wealth in whatever quantities required to satisfy the needs of the whole people. There is one obstacle; lack of understanding by a majority of the workers of Socialism, the knowledge we seek to impart. To talk of reforms, united fronts, demands and rights, is to knowingly or unknowingly play the masters’ game and divert the toilers from correct knowledge. Disillusioned of their frothy “leaders,” and with only contempt for the snivelling reformer, they will march on without need for “trust” or “belief” in anyone, but knowing through understanding that the power of their organised policy will realise their long-delayed emancipation through the establishment of the Socialist Commonwealth.

W. E. MacHaffie