Party News

Classic Reprint
Common Ownership in New Zealand have reprinted the 1910 Socialist Party pamphlet Socialism and Religion with a short modern introduction.

This pamphlet, which can be described as a socialist classic, has long been out of print. It proclaimed and argued for the complete incompatibility, in both theory and practice, between socialism and religion and was issued, in the words of the Preface to the 2nd (1911) edition.“not as the view of an individual, but as the accepted manifesto of the Socialist Party on the subject”.

In its time Socialism and Religion was a best-seller not only in Britain but in North America too.There it received a boost from an eccentric Episcopalian bishop. William Montgomery Brown, who reproduced extensive passages from it at the beginning of his book Communism and Christianism, which went through twelve editions between 1920 and 1928, and whose front cover proclaimed “Banish Gods From Skies and Capitalists From Earth”.

A limited number of copies arc available in Britain on a first come, first served basis. Send cheque (made payable to “The Socialist Party of Great Britain”) for £2 (plus contribution for postage) to: Literature Dept, the Socialist Party, 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN.

What’s in an oath?
In the House of Commons on 18 November Tory MP Alan Clark said that Sinn Fein MPs Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness should be able to take their seats in the House of Commons despite refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen.They refuse because they would prefer to swear allegiance to a different capitalist state, an Irish Republic in 1904:

It is perhaps worth recalling the Socialist Party’s position on this question as worked out in the early years following our formation in 1904:

“At the Annual Conference of 1910 electoral matters had a long discussion on a resolution from Manchester Branch, ‘that any member elected to Parliament shall not take the oath of allegiance‘. That this resolution was tabled in spite of of decision by the 1909 Conference, ‘That the position of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, in reference to the oath of allegiance to Parliament, is that oaths and forms imposed by the constitution shall not be allowed to prevent elected representatives from taking their seats’ showed the interest aroused by the issue. A resolution to send the question to branches was lost by 14 to 13 votes. Conference finally endorsed the 1909 ruling, and this was endorsed by a poll of the party and still stands os the Party position to-day. ”
(Socialist Standard, September 1954).

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