50 Years Ago: On getting with the workers

The continual claim of the Communists and others is that we must be with the great masses of the working class. If the masses want “immediate demands” and reform agitations then we must go with them in this policy. Shout 44 hours and £4 a week or nationalisation of coal mines or any other plank the masses take up. Sometimes this leads to quarrels about which reform should be supported. MacDonald, Mitchell & Co. shout Weir houses whilst the other section wants a different kind of steel house or brick one. Mitchell accuses George Hicks of the Builders of signing a report in favour of the weird houses and Hicks tells Forward readers he is sorry he ever did such a thing. So the reformers, with their crowds of supporters, unite the workers by fighting about the kind of plaster to apply to capitalism.


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Our work is not to pander to the prejudices of the ignorant but to win the workers’ minds for Socialism, not by agreeing with their unsound ideas but by replacing these wrong notions with sound knowledge.


(From an unsigned article “Party or Mass” in the Socialist Standard, March 1926.)