1920s >> 1923 >> no-228-august-1923

“Harder lying”

To distinguish between counterfeit and genuine necessitates close examination. Experts can at a glance detect the spurious, while Socialists know what is and what is not Socialism. But to those whose contact with pseudo socialism is so close that it is accepted by them as “the goods,” Socialism, when expounded, seems a different philosophy. In a leader of the Daily Herald of Monday, June 25th, headed “Hard Lying,” the scribe writes in the following fashion :—

“When Tories of the Banbury type inveigh against Socialism, they blunder into every kind of foolishness, because they take no intelligent interest in public affairs and have never troubled their heads to understand what Socialism means.”

Unfortunately there are many Banburys who, having control of political power, and possessing vast wealth, have no need to “trouble their heads,” as members of the working class (for a weekly wage or monthly salary) can always be hired to study or understand for them. But even so it cannot be said that they do not understand ; they do, and doing so, are always seeking means, by propaganda, misrepresentation and other methods, of diverting the minds of the workers from proper understanding of their class position and socialist knowledge. They, however, are not the only guilty ones, as the following extracts prove. The writer continues as follows :—

“But when a man of the intellectual eminence of Sir John Simon misrepresents Socialism and solemnly warns people against a danger which he knows must be imaginary, it is necessary to nail his false coin to the counter. It is necessary to prove that he uttered it knowing it to be false.”

Why this particular lawyer politician should be expected to be exempt from capitalist propaganda it is hard to say, but let the writer continue :—

“On Saturday, Sir John Simon told a gathering of the ‘Dubb’ family in Yorkshire that the Labour Party aimed at the suppression of private enterprise in all directions, intending to commit the fortunes of this country, the happiness of every man, woman and child, and the delicately poised mechanism of our international trade, to the crude untried experiment of vast Socialistic schemes.”

This indictment the writer disclaims, obviously meaning that the Labour Party are not out for the suppression of private enterprise, a disclaimer with which we are bound to agree.

The writer likens Simon to an utterer of base coin, a clear case of pot and kettle; listen to this :—

“Let us first take the statement that Socialist schemes are crude and untried, would Sir J. apply those epithets to the London Water Board? Would he apply them to our municipal gas and electric light undertakings? Would he hurl them at the L.C.C. tramways, and all the other systems of road transport which are run by ratepayers, not for profits but for use? All these are Socialist schemes.” (Writer’s italics.)

First he naively states that things are run by ratepayers for use and not for profit ! and are socialist schemes. Reform or improvement is the utmost they can be labelled.

The writer continues :—

“To say that the Labour Party aims at anything so nonsensical as a complete and simultaneous suppression of private enterprise is to charge it with lunacy.”

In other words, we are promised a social system which will allow private enterprise to operate, and it will be called “socialism,” and it will be the essence of sanity ! That being so, we shall earnestly hope that in the near future the predominating com¬plaint of the workers will be “lunacy.” Could anti-socialist aims be clearer? Now, you workers, adjust your headphones and listen to us.

The common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, by, and in the interest of, the whole community.

That is Socialism, and anything based differently is not Socialism. Government control or nationalisation of industries under the existing system does not comply with the demand of Socialists, nothing short of the complete overthrow of the capitalist system and the establishment of the co-operative commonwealth will suffice.

This is not the Labour Party’s aim; it only wishes to apply remedies that have commended themselves to a British Cabinet and a Royal Commission.

The writer concludes by stating :
“It does equal discredit to Sir J. Simon’s reputation for honesty and to his political acumen.
“No one can long believe such wild slanders, which merely prove that the Liberals admit the death of Liberalism, and have decided to join with the Tories in the effort to check social improvement by hard lying.”

If the writer hoped that the death of Liberalism would improve the vitality of Labour, and suffers disappointment, we would counsel him to hope on, perhaps Simon will see the error of his simple ways and join the Labour Party.

As for the “wild slander which no one can long believe,” we hope that the wilder slander here reproduced will also be not so long believed.


(Socialist Standard, August 1923)

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