Waiting for Something to Turn Up
A correspondent (Mr. G. Turner, Ponders End) writes asking what the S.P.G.B. is going to do about his problem—unemployment. He says that he is in a hurry and that the S.P.G.B. has been in existence now for thirty years and has done nothing but talk nonsense.
It is of course quite evident that Mr. Turner has not grasped what is the case the S.P.G.B. has been putting forward for thirty years. If we had said thirty years ago, to Mr. Turner and others like him: “If you leave things to us we will solve your problem for you. We will get you work or unemployment pay at once, or in the near future, and in the more distant future we will give you Socialism”—if we had said this or anything like it, Mr. Turner could quite reasonably come to us now and ask: “What about it? Where are the things you promised? What have you done to justify your existence?”
But we never made such a promise, and Mr. Turner and his fellow chasers of will-o’-the-wisps have themselves to blame, not us. What we did promise has been justified up to the last dot and comma. We told the working class in 1904 that what they were suffering from was capitalism, that the only remedy was Socialism, and that the only method was through the control of the machinery of Government and the armed forces by a politically organised majority of Socialists. We said that the reformism, the promises of “something now,” the appeals for trust in leaders, and the electoral vote-catching of the Liberal and Labour parties, the LLP. and the S.D.F., etc., would solve no problem and would not advance us towards Socialism by one single day.
Mr. Turner and the great mass of the workers chose to follow another path than that pointed out by us. The result is what we foretold. They have got what their conduct warranted. Now Mr. Turner comes along and asks us what we have done for him. He should ask himself what he has done. Above all, he should stop and think before he allows his desire to get something in a hurry lead him again along the reformist paths which his footsteps took in 1904. If he ignored our warning then, he should consider it now and save himself more wasted years.
(Socialist Standard, Apil 1934)