Editorial: Blatchford, War and Socialism
Upon the cue of the General Election, the Conservative party has acquired the services of (for the moment) a most useful journalistic hack. We refer to Mr. Robert Blatchford, the idol of the multi-coloured conglomeration, the Clarionettes. An able writer or speaker who will (for a consideration) beat the big drum of “the country in danger,” “the peril of invasion,” etc, is sure of a large hearing in the present state of mind of the working class. This the Tories well appreciate, and their object in giving “Nunquam’s” German War Scare and pro Conscription twaddle such enormous advertisement through their perhaps most widely read organ, the “Daily Mail,” and elsewhere must be patent to all.
Meanwhile Socialists have an account to settle with Blatchford. This man has for many years taught in gentle phrases what millions have in all confidence mistaken for Socialism.
He gained the confidence and affection of thousands — only to betray them. For to invite the British workers to arm themselves to fight their German fellows—to ask them to give “the question of national defence” “precedence of every other question”—in a word, to ask them to drop Socialism, is nothing less than betrayal. However, the betrayed have not been without warning. Since its inception the Socialist Party of Great Britain has frequently demonstrated Blatchford’s worthlessness as a teacher of Socialism, and his culpability in misleading the workers. So in passing we may perhaps be allowed the mixed consolation afforded by the reflection that their idol’s flagrant jingo and anti-Socialist attitude will, for some “Clarion” worshippers at least, have the effect of breaking their mental bonds and set them to reconsider their position.
Blatchford appeals to “the evidence of facts.” But what facts? The facts that most nearly concern this and every other capitalist-dominated country? By no means. Had he dealt with the facts of working-class misery and enslavement—the hideous facts of the capitalism his pen is to-day helping to perpetuate—his screed would not have been printed in the “Daily Mail” nor in any other capitalist daily. Not by helping the toilers but by their betrayal could he gain prominence in immense type, and for many days in succession, on the placard of a great capitalist paper.
The fact is the the working millions are impoverished and subjugated, whether under the Kaiser and his German Rothschilds et al, or under Edward and his English Rothschilds & Co., and consequently have no business to offer their blood and interest for the war service of either set of bloodsuckers. This is unwittingly suggested for the British workers by Blatchford himself when he says: “I got back from Germany and I saw the wretchedness and squalor of the Borough and Bermondsey and the rest of London’s underworld. You don’t see anything like that in Germany and I thought to myself “Is this how we are preparing to fight for the existence of our empire? What use will these ragged, famished spectres be?” (Italics ours.) Indeed, this language invites the reflection that if such is the case, conquest by Germany might, then, mean an improvement here.
So, then, in view of the simple facts we must invite our readers to do all they can to counteract the evil works of capitalism’s ally, Robert Blatchford. We invite them to join the Socialist Party of Great Britain and this help render impotent all the misleaders and their pay-masters, and bring nearer the day when a people’s dreams shall no more be haunted by fear of famine, rapine, and the shambles.