Sunday, May 8, 2016

Snapshots (1934)

From the June 1934 issue of the Socialist Standard

THE “SENTIMENTAL” CLARIONETTE.

For several years “before the War” there was a paper called the Clarion. There still is. There is a contrast, however, in its present tone, which expresses the degeneracy of the Labour movement, with which it is associated.

The old Clarion sent forth a shrill and challenging blast. Its economics were decidedly “wonky” and its excursions into philosophy were somewhat crude, but compare “Britain for the British,” or “God and my Neighbour,” with the near-deathbed confessions of J. C. Lansbury, commencing in its issue of April 14th. “The foundation of all true reform or revolutionary change must start with this ‘that ye love one another,’” says old George; and, confronted with the question, “How am I to do it, placed as I am in the midst of a world of strife?” continues: “This is our problem, and it can only really be solved by us all individually.”

“Ker-ist!” and one is asked to pay twopence a week to listen to the apologetic squeak of this tin-trumpet! “Odham’sbodikins!’’


THE “INTELLECTUAL” CONSPIRATORS.
A document has fallen into our hands contrary to the wishes of its authors. It is labelled “Forward to Socialism” and is issued by the National Council of the Socialist League for discussion at that body’s forthcoming Annual Conference (May 20th and 21st), and at the foot of the title-page occurs this tit-bit: —
“Members and branches are requested by the National Council of the League to take the greatest care to secure that the contents of this document are not divulged in whole or in part to other than League members.”
Needless to say, the proverbial wild horses shall not drag from the writer the secret of how he came into possession of this precious document with its solemnly futile attempt at secrecy. Let us glance at its pages. About halfway through we encountered the phrase, “We must have Socialism!” in capital letters, repeated seven times. It is, of course, common knowledge that seven is a number of mystic potency, but this hardly explains the jargon which occurs after each repetition of the phrase. One of the alleged reasons for having Socialism is ”that society as a whole shall be responsible for the health, well-being and education of its people.” Does not capitalist society pull down slums and build banks and departmental stores? Does it not provide us with a water supply and drains, hospitals and convalescent homes, and free education for all? And are not these things done in order to facilitate the working of a system for the production of profit?

This little spasm ends with a reference to "all those financial institutions necessary for the maintenance of a highly-organised industrial life.” This reads somewhat like an auctioneer’s advertisement, but we are left guessing what necessary function financial institutions will fulfil under Socialism.

On the same page, our dear old friend, the House of Lords, is severely dealt with, and we are assured, in italics, that “the will of the people must prevail.” Shades of 1910! Play me those "Limehouse Blues”!

These Socialist Leaguers are hot-stuff. The final agenda (which descended from heaven along with the document) contains a resolution on Policy in the name of three branches, one clause of which (15) demands "Compensation of the existing owners of socialised industries or compulsorily closed units by the issue of State fixed-interest bearing bonds, based on the assessed capital value of their holdings.” There are several amendments to this, all of which safeguard the interests of "the present holders.”

All of which goes to show what practical people these chaps are. No foolish upsetting of the existing capitalists and their dependents for them.
Eric Boden

1 comment:

imposs1904 said...

I'm guessing J. C. Lansbury is George Lansbury but I cannot be 100% per cent sure.