“The Weekly People”—the official organ of the Socialist Labour Party of America, in its issue for April 13th— attempts to reply to our recent references to their policy and their continual decline. (See January “Socialist Standard.”)
We accused them of making Marx responsible for the statement “that only the Unions can set on foot the true political party of Labour.”
They now repeat the old story that their source of information is a reformist periodical run by the German section of the New York Socialist Party. This organ, the “Volkszeitung,” which the S.L.P. never tired of denouncing, is again admitted to be the only source of their knowledge of Marx’s alleged statement. When and where Marx made such an utterance they have never discovered.
“The Weekly People” attempt to find support for their position in “Value, Price and Profit,” but, unfortunately, they are unable to quote any extracts which tells us that only the Trade Unions can set on foot the true political party.
On the other hand, Marx’s reference to the limitations of Union activity is striking:—
“As to the limitation of the working day in England, as in all other countries, it has never been settled, except by legislative interference. Without the working men’s continuous pressure from without, that interference would never have taken place. But, at all events, the result was not to be attained by private settlement between the working men and the capitalists. This very necessity of general political action affords the proof that in its merely economic action, capital is the stronger side.” — (“Value, Price and Profit.”)
We accused the S.L.P. of claiming that “Religion is a private matter.”
They deny it is a public matter, and leave that as their answer. The function of religion as an instrument of capitalism in clouding the worker’s mind is completely ignored by the S.L.P. So also is the fact that Socialism is based on Science.
The S.L.P. does not seem to know that the Socialist view of history is a material one, and has nothing in common with the religious concept of the universe. No wonder the S.L.P. fades.