Letters to the Editors from the May 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard
A reader who was present at an S.P.G.B. meeting and heard members of the audience trying to shout down the speaker writes as follows:
"In view of the fact it was practically impossible to hear the Speaker, the very able Mr. Cash, for the cries from the crowd, "We want Mosley," and "Down with the Communists" (what an insult to hurl at an S.P.G.B.'er!) I should just like to know how you propose to teach the Socialism of Karl Marx to a crowd of this description. Perhaps you could enlighten me in the columns of the Socialist Standard. Perhaps!!!
Yours, etc., R.S.B."
It is certainly true that there are some workers who not only do not accept or even know the Socialist case but do not want to listen. They do not want to hear anything that challenges their own opinions and prejudices and they try to prevent their opponents from getting a hearing. They try to shout down Socialists and anyone else who disagrees with them. They are a bye-product of Capitalism. They prefer violence to argument. Some—but by no means all of them—find their way into the ranks of the Fascists. Communists sometimes try the same methods. On the other hand our correspondent should remember that it is an exception for S.P.G.B. meetings to be disorderly and we have had some debates with Communists and some with Fascists that have been conducted without any disturbance. Our meetings compare favourably in that respect with the meetings of all other organisations. There is an important difference between our meetings and those of other parties, it is the fact that audiences know that they will be allowed to ask questions and get on our platform to state their case against the S.P.G.B. This right of opposition may not always impress those other opponents of the S.P.G.B.—and they are the great majority—who are willing to listen and state their case in an orderly fashion. In short we can usually rely on the good sense of the majority of workers to deter a disorderly minority. And this brings us to the very important point that in the last resort it is what the majority want that determines the course of events. When the majority understand and accept Socialism we shall not have to be concerned with the awkward minority. They will fall into line when they find the majority against them.