Editorial: The Class Struggle Is on
In obedience to the poet’s command, old Time rolls on. And the ever changing sequence of events which he drags after him, in spite of the fact that they ore ever-changing, bear a remarkable similarity, day after day, in their main features. All over the place strikes and rumours of strikes All over the place the mustering of organised and drilled and armed bodies of men to preserve “law and order.” Here the coal porters and carmen resort to the weapon of the strike in the endeavour to induce their “very good friends and humble servants,” their Liberal and Tory employers, to shell out a little more wages ; there the Catholic workers of Dublin wear thin in a long death struggle with their Catholic masters; yonder corporation tramway men come to grips with those who control “people’s trams.” In South Africa the “Outlanders” set up the “red flag” against the inevitable results of “nationalized” railways, and a new “miner’s war” finds all old sores healed between Boer and British masters, who deal out in touching unity to the white miners, and as lavishly as if it cost nothing, the same medicine that a few weeks ago these same white miners helped them to deal out to their Indian and native fellow workers.
The taxi-cab drivers try to find surcease from strife in a trade union effort to run their own cabs, and the ’buss men talk of following suit. The commercial traveller on the ’buss confides to the conductor the opinion that “the King and the rich people ought to go round by the docks at 6 o’clock in the morning—as I have done—and see the poor fellows” and so on. The old lady in the train is heard to declare that “in all these strikes it is the poor that suffer,” and to suggest the novel remedy of “ taking it to the Lord in prayer.”
In all this confusion only the Socialist Party holds a clear and consistent course. Other working-class organisations ship heavy seas of confusion and head now this war and now that, as a rudderless ship will. First there is a class struggle, then there is not; at one time the Liberals are the enemy, at another time the Tories; now political action is sufficient for the workers’ emancipation, anon only “direct action” is of use at all.
The Socialist Party, however, at its inception pointed out definitely the essential facts of the working-class position, and laid its policy down in a course buoyed with clearly formulated principles which, after nearly ten years of stress and storm, still mark the course as distinctly and as safely as at first
We have not said the most that can be said for them when we have said the lapse of a decade has revealed no weak spot in those principles, nor presented any need to add anything to them, or to take anything away. They have proved sufficient, as they have proved sound. And more than this, the events which follow day by day, and which are dealing such blows at the quasi working class parties, and stripping the masks from their vain pretences, are hall-marking our principles as fundamental, and confirming our position as impregnable.
Every day those who deny the class struggle find it more difficult to hold their own against the siege guns of fact. When it is seen that no differences of religion, no political barrier, no race hatred or sex jealousies, can keep the masters of the world from joining hands in a struggle with the workers, it is clearly enough demonstrated that the Class Struggle is on. When it is observed that common religion, common race, common politics, and common sex fail to save the workers in the industrial strife, again it is clearly enough demonstrated that the Class Struggle is on. When it is seen that in every case of resort to the armed forces in the name of “law and order,” those armed forces, those pitiless weapons, are turned always toward the workers, still again it is proved that the Class Struggle is on. So we are we confirmed in the very foundation of our policy.
And when it is seen how helpless the workers are everywhere in face of the organised forces of repression, how even the best equipped and most desperate are compelled to surrender and go to prison without firing a shot because they know the futility of attempting to withstand the forces controlled by Parliament, then the necessity for obtaining control of that political machinery as the essential preliminary to taking possession of the means of life is irresistibly borne in upon the intelligent. Thus are we being supported by current events in our insistence upon the extreme importance of the political weapon.
Perhaps the moat significant feature of events to-day is that those who reject the political weapon in favour of what they are pleased to call “direct action” make no headway. Everywhere their earlier efforts have been their most successful, or rather, their least inglorious. It is ever the capitalist authorities that gain by experience. Each recurring attempt at “direct action” finds the master class more easily able to deal with it. Wherever Syndicalism springs up this is so, and appealing only to ignorance, having no support of scientific knowledge, having nothing but the effects of “direct action” to sustain it, it must automatically cure its victims with its succession of ghastly failures.
The Socialist Party, firmly founded on the Class Struggle, holding resolutely to the need for the workers to advance to their emancipation through the conquest of the political machinery, is the hope of the working class. Its Class Struggle foundation keeps it free from those who would have one foot in the capitalist camp; its political policy prevents it from leaning on any but class conscious workers. Hence it can not be betrayed by ambitious misleaders on the one hand, or experience defeats on the other. So when the bitterness of disappointment eats into the hearts and saps the courage of those who are burning their fingers with fire and cutting them with edged tools, the Socialist Party will stand between them and despair, as the only Party that has consistently fought for Socialism, the only Party that has never confused the issue by compromising with the masters, the only Party that has never led the workers into the morass of confusion, the only Party that has never tasted defeat, but has gone steadily on from victory to victory, as it has gone steadily on from strength to strength.
That is one of, the first of our reasons for opposing those misguided people of our class, utterly without reference to what their intentions may be, who are spending their energies in the vain pursuit of error. The time will come when error presents on further possibilities to be exhausted. Well then, for the working class, that they can find one policy they have never tried, one path they have never trodden, one weapon they have never found fail them — the policy and path of the Socialist Party — the weapon of political action on class-conscious, uncompromising, revolutionary lines.
So we go on as we have gone on, declaring that the only way is by the capture of the political machinery by means of the ballot, by the organised, politically educated workers. This implies that the first need is to politically educate and organise the workers. In the pursuit of which purpose the first essential is to adopt such a policy of stern opposition to all other political parties and objects as should leave no doubt as to what the issue is or who the enemy are, and make clear the class nature of the fight.