1930s >> 1937 >> no-392-april-1937

For Students of Socialism

We are always being asked by readers of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD how, after having become interested in Socialism, they can gain knowledge of its principles and thus fit themselves to be propagandists. Which out of the many books and pamphlets should they read and to what sources should they go to discover the way in which Socialist principles can be applied to everyday problems. It is to meet this need that the S.P.G.B., so far as its resources will allow, publishes pamphlets dealing with important theoretical and practical questions. There is, however, another source of information which is far too little used by students of Socialism, that is the bound volumes of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD for past years. When advised to read these the student thinks of the short-lived interest of articles in most periodicals and concludes that THE SOCIALIST STANDARD suffers from the same defect and that articles published five or ten years ago can have little bearing on current problems.

This is a mistake. The principles of Socialism have not changed and the situations to which they have to be applied are likewise constantly recurring. It will be found, in fact, that the supposedly new situations and problems and proposals facing us to-day have all happened before; and THE SOCIALIST STANDARD has had something to say about them. Is it the question of war ? Then read our war issues, 1914-1918, consistently proclaiming the Socialist message in face of all the treachery of the pseudo-Socialists. Is it the ever-recurring proposal of working-class unity? Then our back numbers will tell you why all the earlier efforts failed.

In short, our bound volumes are indispensable to those who want to understand the reason why the working class have failed to emancipate themselves in spite of heroic and untiring efforts, and who want to understand how to avoid past mistakes.