Sunday, November 16, 2008

The New Offices (1923)

From the December 1923 issue of the Socialist Standard

"No, Jack! I shall not join just yet. Your Party is right, your position sound, and your arguments conclusive. I admit all that, but I don't think the time is ripe. When that time comes, Jack, 'You may count on me.”

"And when do you think the time will be ripe, as you call it?"

"I haven't a ghost of a notion. But I'd like to see the workers wake up a bit , first. I'd like to see your Party bigger, more active, you know what I mean - more prominent.”

"So would I, friend. But apparently you have not seen our new headquarters, I can hear."

"New headquarters? I -"

"Listen! It is neither a pretentious, nor a massive building. We are not building it for posterity; we shall not need it long. Immediately to the right of the entrance hall, there is a book saloon wherein any work helpful to the furtherance of Socialism may be procured or consulted. Most of the leading periodicals are represented on the reading stands. To the left are the editorial offices, where the three official journals and numbers of pamphlets are produced"

"Three official journals? I –“

"Wait a minute. There is the Socialist Standard, now enlarged to forty pages, still appearing monthly and having all the characteristics of a first-class political review. There is the Socialist Tribune, a weekly summary of a more topical character. It focuses the reader's attention upon events whilst they are still current, and picks out the thread of history whilst it is being made. The Socialist News appears daily, and, I say it without boasting, is unique in the world's journalism. Not an advertisement appears in it. It is thus entirely free from subsidised matter, and is independent of any attempt at a capitalist boycott. It is smaller in size than the usual capitalist rag, but it is all meat. Its editorial and contributory staffs are well grounded in Marxian economics and their historical application. Its daily articles are the despair of the few remaining capitalist sheets, for the latter's long reliance upon reiterated lies and mass suggestion has broken down in face of hard economic facts. You cannot convince a man who is going down for the third time that he is not drowning by bawling through a megaphone fifteen times that all is for the best. And the workers were no longer convinced that capitalism was the only possible system, when they remembered the hard times before the war, the little glimpse of better times during the war's progress, and the return to bad times again afterwards. But I am digressing. There is a dispatch department at the back, and that about completes the ground floor. Upstairs there are writing rooms, studies, classrooms and committee rooms. There is a good-sized hall for lectures and public meetings, and there is even an information bureau, where anyone with a difficulty may seek Socialist 'counsel's opinion'. The most interesting perhaps ate the organiser's room, where information, facts and figures are compiled for the use of our staff of speakers and propagandists. There are other details you would find interesting, and even stimulating, but I think I have said enough to set you wondering."

"You have, Jack! I have been wondering where these premises are situated."

"There now! If you, a convinced Socialist, were only in the movement, you would know as much as I about it."

"Yes! But tell me, Jack, where are these new headquarters?"

"Well! At the moment, they are in my mind's eye. All we are waiting for is for you, and many others like you, to leave off waiting for the time to be ripe, and to come and help ripen it. We shall get our new offices and our new journals, when we get the funds. We shall get the funds when we get the members. We shall get the members when you leave off waiting, as I said just now, and start working. Then will follow, not merely new offices and journals, but, greater than all else, a new social system -Socialism. Join up!"
W.T. Hopley