1920s >> 1924 >> no-233-january-1924

Tom Mann Retracts !

For years Tom Mann has been held up to public admiration as the sturdy champion of the General Strike as the only means by which the workers can achieve their emancipation. He has written much rubbish on the subject, and he has poured much scorn upon those who pointed out that the working class must either capture the political machinery or give up all hope of getting out of wage slavery. But history will have its little joke! Tom Mann has thrown up the sponge—the, pillar of fire was after all only a pillar of smoke.

Enshrined in the columns of “The Communist” Sydney (17/11/1922), the official organ of the Communist Party of Australia, is the renunciation. Here is what he wrote:

  “Now, however, the experience of the war and after the war has shewn conclusively that we can no longer think simply of an industrial struggle, and industrial organisation is not enough. Whatever is done by industrial organisation, the organised State machine will continue to function, and will beyond question be used by the plutocracy in any and every available form against the workers. The dominant ruling capitalist class, the plutocracy, have complete control of that highly efficient machine for class purposes; the interests of the community are ever secondary to the maintenance of power by the master class, and that machine will continue to be theirs until it is wrested from them by the workers.  .   . .
   “The most sanguine amongst us, as believers in the power of industrial organisation, are compelled by facts and experience to realise that the State institution in the hands of the master is not merely a danger to our success, but makes our success impossible no matter how perfectly we organise in our respective industries.”

The article from which the above is taken is entitled “Syndicalism, Communism, and Revolution : An Answer to the Reformists of Australia and elsewhere.”

Another fallen idol! Working men, here is one of your trusted leaders—one who has incited you to the shambles many a time. But what is this?

   “In a rousing speech, Mr. Mann advocated the policy of the general strike as the ‘only means of bringing the boss class to its knees.’
    “ ‘Do I advocate,’ he asked, ‘the killing of anyone? Nay, all you need do is to fold your arms, go to bed if you like, and three days would be sufficient. No strike pay would be required.’ ” (Daily Herald, 11/4/1923).

Notice that he advocates the “General Strike” as the “only means.” Perhaps, you think, Tom Mann is merely a shameless turncoat. He is not, he is an opportunist— searching for opportunities to the advantage of one Thomas Mann. For example, in spite of the above, he went to Scotland to assist Walton Newbold’s candidature for Parliament. Perhaps that partly accounts for Newbold’s failure to “get in” !

   One of the most enthusiastic election meetings over held in Motherwell was that addressed by Walton Newbold and Tom Mann, in the Pavilion Picture House, on Tuesday evening.  . .  .
Newbold and Mann were in splendid form, especially Mann, who gripped the big audience right away, and the cheering at the conclusion of his rousing speech could be heard all over the district. (The Workers’ Weekly, 7th December, 1923.)

What do you think of him? The chameleon is constant compared with him!

They are all the same, these precious leaders. They change their tune with the change in their interests. Their object is to obtain pelf and place.

Have done with leaders. Direct your own movements, and let leaders go beg for their bread.


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