Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Paddington going strong (1913)

From the November 1913 issue of the Socialist Standard

It has long been realised by the Paddington members that there existed in the surrounding districts ample material to work upon and thereby extend the Party's influence, the only barrier being the lack of speakers. Finding ourselves continually bombarded with inquiries as to when we intended opening up these sources for Socialism, we determined to meet this insistent demand for the Party’s propaganda with a series of week’s meetings at selected venues. Operations were therefore commenced at Kilburn, which duly materialised into an energetic branch that has completely pulverised the wobbly opposition formerly entrenched in the locality.

Fortified by that triumph, we made tracks for North Kensington, where further conquests were made. Our speakers had no difficulty in effectively smothering the smattering interruptions of the local illiterates, and the large audiences that nightly assembled showed that the time was never more opportune for the establishment of a branch of the Party.

That treacherous section of the Anti Socialist brigade, the B.S.P., till recently had a motley following, and to hasten the millenium they put up their chief mesmeriser as “Socialist” candidate for the General Election to come. The local sheets commented on the “self sacrifice of this well known gentleman,”and unkindly suggested that the prospect of £400 a year should bring forth quite a crop of budding M.P.s. The campaign was opened by inviting the constituents to nibble at a mish-mash of social reform. Street-corner harangues were held extolling the candidate's virtues, and for a while it looked as if the day of universal emancipation was at hand. Then dissension arose over his “programme,” recriminations were flung about, the '‘rankers” began to revile their “leader” and renounce bis unofficial candidature, and the branch went “nap.”

So we concluded that it was our duty to get our platform out and explain why it is the B.S P., so-called, is anti working class right through. This was done, and we have the satisfaction of knowing that our week's mission will fructify into a branch of our organisation.

In North Paddington an agitation is being worked up against the M.P. because be happens to be a foreigner. In spite of his Tory views and Tariff Reform ideas he is anathema to the local patriots because, to use their own words, “he is no good ; he does nothing for the working man." Well, this is what we have said for quite a long time. If anything is to be done for the working class, that class has got to do it itself. Millionaire Parliamentarians have not the remotest intention of abolishing unemployment and poverty. They are in Parliament to conserve their own privileges and power. Therefore we call on the working class to organise in the Socialist Party for the capture of this stronghold of capitalism.

Our itinerary for 1914 embraces the N.W. corner of London, but this cannot be successfully accomplished unless those who earnestly desire to see the pall of ignorance rent asunder by the spreading of scientific Socialism come inside and get on with the business. “The harvest, truly, is plentiful, but the labourers are few."
Ben Carthers

1 comment:

imposs1904 said...

The BSP referred to in the article is the British Socialist Party, the successor to the SDF/SDP, which the SPGB had split from in 1904.

The 'foreign' Conservative MP referred to in the article may be Alan Hughes Burgoyne, but there is little or no information about him on the net, so it's just a guess at my end.

The article is signed 'Ben Carthers'. In other previous pieces from the Socialist Standard archive, the same writer has signed himself 'Ben Carthurs'. So you can take your pick.