We Enter the Parliamentary Fray.


We consider that the time has now come to test the wishes of the working-class in this country by putting forward Socialist candidates at the next Parliamentary elections.

We have been in existence for nearly twenty-four years. During this time we have propagated our views as widely as our modest means would permit. All the tortuous twisting’s of capitalism and its upholders have been subjected to the searching light of Socialist knowledge. The false friends who have dazzled the workers with fair promises in order to climb to place and power, have been shown up for what they are—birds of prey and passage.

When the war cloud burst over Europe and the East, the self-styled parties of labour failed to live up to their pre-war promises; the)’ “united,” they compromised, they squirmed and twisted, and finally developed into the thoroughly respectable “Party of the Opposition.” In the meantime other groups sprang up like mushrooms, to pass into obscurity within a few short years. The “heroes” of yesterday have left the stage, taking with them their drums and trumpets, leaving not even a track behind them.

The war hit us a smashing blow. We had gradually built up our organisation until we were on the verge of projects like those of to-day. We refused to compromise our principles and, from the beginning to the end, kept the promise we had made in August, 1914:

 “Having no quarrel with the working-class of any country we extend to our fellow workers of all lands the expression of our goodwill and Socialist fraternity, and pledge ourselves to work for the overthrow of capitalism and the triumph of Socialism.”

The struggle to keep up our opposition and, at the same time, get a living in those difficult times scattered many of our members over the world. When the end of the orgy of useless carnage came in 1918, we had to pick up the threads once more and laboriously build up again our battered organisation. But we were sound at the core. Our basis is solidly grounded on the rock of knowledge, so that we have been able to weather the storm and build up our party once more.

Lately our progress has been so good that it has been forced .upon us that we must now enlarge our activities and, by participating in elections, start upon the direct road for the conquest of the powers of government.

In spite of our progress, however, there is one direction in which we are relatively weak, and that is in finance. The money that keeps our organisation and our propaganda going is almost all subscribed by our own members—working-men who give up a portion of their hard-earned pence to finance the fight for Socialism. To meet the needs of the parliamentary contests this will not be enough, unless the workers join our ranks in masses and thereby become “one of us.” An election contest is expensive, as a nomination fee of £150 has to be paid down before a candidate can take the field. Apart from this, however, the expenses need not be great—just the cost of leaflets and other literature, and the hire of halls for meetings. Still, £150 per candidate is a big proposition to an organisation of our present size. In order to meet this expense we have decided to open a fund to be known as “The Parliamentary Fund.” To this fund we now heartily invite the generous subscriptions of all our sympathisers, and those who wish to see genuine Socialist candidates in the field. Our speeches, writings and actions over twenty-four years of strenuous activity are our credentials. All our meetings, propaganda, branch, and executive are, and have always been, freely open to the public, because we have nothing to hide and everything to gain by inspection.

Now is the opportunity for all those who have complained about the lack of a Socialist candidate to help to lay this first stone in what we may call the practical conquest of the powers of government.

The appearance at the polls of representatives of a genuine Socialist Party would be a strong weapon in the spreading of Socialist knowledge. So far we have been compelled to move with halting steps owing to our financial poverty. Those who consider our principles and policy sound, and who are fortunately enough situated to subscribe, can give practical evidence of their wishes, and help speed the present system of private ownership out of existence.

There is one warning we wish to give. We would ask all those who are in the habit of subscribing to our general funds not to divert their subscriptions to the new fund. To do so would not assist us at all, as impoverishing the general funds would hamper us at once. We simply ask those who can spare more money, and deem the object worthy, to do what they can to help us put candidates in the field in order that we may make a direct attack upon the central seat of power, and take out of the hands of our oppressors the power they wield and the wealth thev have stolen.

(Socialist Standard, February 1928)

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