How Not To Get Socialism
THE WAY OF THE COMMUNISTS.
The “Daily News,” on January 16th, reported Dr. Brown, President of the Baptist Union, as having said that the Baptists last year lost 4,450 church members and 11,000 Sunday School scholars; in ten years, he added, they would at that rate be “as dead as the dodo.”
This is bad news for the Baptists, and we believe it will also be bad news for the Communist Party. For it appears that when they were hard at work preaching the “United Front,” Baptist ministers as well as the Labour Party were to be brought within the fold. Those who think that there must be a limit to the silliness even of the Communists are asked to read the following. It is a letter printed on the front page of the “Workers’ Weekly,” on December 7th, 1923, at a time when a gencral election was in progress. It is headed, “Helping Ramsay Mac.,” and is signed by J. Stokes, of Portabbot:—
“There is a straight fight in the constituency between Byass, the Capitalist candidate (Unionist), and Ramsay MacDonald. Ramsay MacDonald has all the way to go ; if he gets there, that will be all.
We had a meeting here on November 19th with Ramsay MacDonald, who had three Baptist Ministers on the platform. It was a jolly meeting, and I was most pleased to hear these fellows speaking. We Communists here are doing our best to help Ramsay MacDonald to beat the Capitalist candidate.”
DEEDS, NOT WORDS.
The same issue of the “Workers’ Life” contains many other delightful sidelights on Communist activities. There is, for example, an illustration of what is meant by that favourite slogan of the Communist Party : “Now is the time for action.”
“Comrade Mowatt” writes from Barrow to say that the local Communist Party were working hard to get Mr. J, Bromley returned to Parliament as Labour M.P., and he adds, “all our illusions and theoretical deductions have been hung out on the clothes line to dry.”
We never regarded their “theoretical deductions” as other than unsound, but such candid admission from themselves as to the usefulness of their theories is refreshing.
Having abandoned their theories the Communists were then free to get down to action. Mr. J. McHendrick, of Rutherglen, obligingly tells us what kind of action.
“It was arranged that the addressing of envelopes should be done by team work, and anyone who saw this work being done would have to admit that the Communist Party is a working party.”
And to think that the Soviet Government borrows money at high rates of interest from Russian capitalists and then spends part of it paying British Communists to “help Ramsay Mac.” at elections and address envelopes for Labour Party candidates !
THE MASS PARTY.
The justification given by the Communists for supporting MacDonald, whom they described as a “faithful servant of capital,” was that this was the way to build up a “mass Communist Party.”
In the “Communist Review” (October, 1929) the Tyneside District Party Committee publishes a statement on the condition of the Communist Party as a whole.
This is what they say :—
“After ten years of strenuous effort, the Communist Party of Great Britain finds itself with a financial membership which cannot be placed at a higher figure than 2,500, It is doubtful if even this number of financial members would be found to exist were a careful examination made . . . our Party has never been so weak in membership or influence.”
The significance of this admission will be appreciated when it is remembered that the C.P.G.B. claimed to start with about 10,000 members and that, in addition to thousands of members who joined individually, it claimed to have won over in 1921 5,000 members of the l.L.P. en bloc.
It must indeed be disappointing to spend 10 years helping the Capitalist candidates against the Capitalist candidates, and addressing envelopes in Labour Party committee rooms and then find your membership smaller by three-quarters than when you began.
The stock Communist argument against using the vote as the means of gaining political control for the establishment of Socialism, is that the vote is a “Capitalist instrument,” so that instead of using the vote for that purpose they hasten to use it to “help Ramsay Mac.” administer Capitalism. The vote is a means of attaining power, and as such is neither Capitalist nor Socialist, but it is indeed useless to the workers under Communist guidance.
THE COMMUNIST STREET FIGHTERS.
We have often remarked on the danger to the working-class of the Communist policy of street-fighting, that is, the pitting of practically unarmed men against the colossal weapons of modern warfare in the hands of trained soldiers.
At the Congress of the Communist Party of Great Britain, held at Leeds at the end of November, 1929, fresh evidence was given of the dangerously reactionary nature of Communist methods.
A special correspondent of the “Manchester Guardian” reports a speech in which Mr. H. Pollitt, the prominent Communist and member of the Communist Party Executive, said : —
“Only through social revolution, only through armed insurrection, can the workers gain power.” —(“Manchester Guardian,” 2nd Dec..)
In the “Workers’ Life” (6th December) is a report of a speech delivered at the Congress by Mr. W. Gallacher, another prominent Communist, and also a member of the Central Committee. In it he said :—
“They had talked of a Revolutionary Workers’ Government, but did they realise what was implied ? Would the organisation of the workers for the revolutionary government be a legal one ? The task of fighting for a revolutionary government would be a task of bringing the workers out on to the streets against the armed forces of Capitalism.”
Having assisted their friend “Ramsay Mac.” into office and placed his Government in control of the armed forces, the Communists now talk of leading the workers into the streets against those same armed forces !
This sort of lunacy they call “tactics.”
Last May Day in Berlin we had an example of this street fighting. Large numbers of young Communists “armed” with a few revolvers and one dummy machine-gun suffered heavy casualties at the hands of a fully-equipped, semi-military, police force.
Recently the same suicidal policy has been tried out again, also in Germany. On this occasion a number of Communists were killed and many were more or less seriously wounded by the police, who were armed with revolvers, machine-guns and armoured cars. (See “Manchester Guardian” and “Daily Express,” 16th January.)
The Communists, according to the accounts in the two newspapers referred to above, were “armed” with a few revolvers, plus “bricks,” “stones,” “planks” and “knuckle-dusters” !
We have only one comment to make. Whenever Pollitt and Gallacher intend throwing stones at a machine-gun or hitting a tank with knuckle-dusters we hope they will let us know so that we can be there to see.
ENTER THE PROLETARIAN PEASHOOTERS.
We are now unreliably informed of new developments in the Communist Party. According to this report that Party is now discussing a question which divided the military experts several hundreds of years ago. The question is that concerning the relative merits of the Crossbow and the Long bow. The old controversy was finally settled by the perfecting of firearms, it being found that both crossbowmen and long-bowmen were as good as dead against the gun.
The present dispute among the “street-fighters” is, however, in danger of being side-tracked by yet another school of thought which has on its side two unanswerable arguments. One is that it is possible for workers to die heroically and perfectly uselessly up against armed forces without going to the trouble of having either longbows or cross-bows, dummy machine guns or knuckle-dusters; and the second is that the cheap and homely pea-shooter, while entirely useless, is a weapon which, unlike the vote, has not been besmirched by being used by the Capitalists, Hence the rumoured formation of an entirely new corps of “Proletarian Peashooters.” Pollitt and Gallacher are to be in command of the new force, ably supported by three unemployed Baptist chaplains.