An Echo of the Past

“A denouncement of young women authors who write obscene books was made by Miss Christabel Pankhurst in a speech at the Æolian Hall, Bond Street, yesterday. She said that pagan novels were much in evidence to-day, and she was grateful to the Home Secretary for the step he had taken regarding books which were not decent to read. This is not the sort of freedom for which we women fought and got the vote” (Daily Chronicle, March 7th).
We do not know by what standard Miss Christabel Pankhurst judges what is decent to read, nor do we remember any special protest being made during the war by either Miss Pankhurst or the present Home Secretary when reams of literature with plentiful detail of war-time atrocities were circulated among young people in order to fan the war fever. We gave it as our opinion at the time that under normal conditions such material would probably meet with the attention of the police. Evidently what is necessary to our masters at one time shocks them at another. In view of the recent extension of the franchise to women it may be interesting to recall that the “freedom” the Suffragettes fought for was only the freedom which would enable Capitalist ladies to vote on equal terms with their property-owning males. Before the Suffragette movement the Working Class had sufficient votes to out-number the Capitalists. To-day, with the extension of the franchise as a means to stabilise present-day Society, the preponderance of working-class votes is greater than ever. Without class-consciousness, however, votes merely enable the workers to continue their enslaved condition. For women, as for men, the only hope lies in the coming of Socialism, the triumph of emancipation, without distinction of race or sex.