Friday, June 23, 2017

Dirty Political Work (1906)

From the January 1906 issue of the Socialist Standard

Lest we forget Mr. H. M. Hyndman's reference to his organisation as being “wholly destitute of political aptitude” he and other prominent members of the S.D.F make a point of reminding us of the fact.

Last month we dealt with Mr Hyndman's description of a certain political compact as a “dirty dodge" although he and his friends have been guilty of similar dodges. which they have termed " tactics."

Now we have Cllr. Jack Jones standing up for "clean” politics and publicly denouncing and apologising for his fellow members of the S.D.F. for indulging in “political dirty work," to wit, moving an amendment at a public meeting called in support of a Literal candidate!

Once the S.D.F. would have considered that it was part of their legitimate work to oppose all Literals and Conservatives, but not now!

Mr. .lack Jones is doubtless well qualified to speak of “political dirty work!” Is he not the S.D.F. candidate for Camborne, opposing a Liberal candidate with money supplied by some person or persons unknown to the said Mr. Jones, as be himself has publicly admitted?

The scene of this latest exhibition of S.D.F. unity was laid at Stratford Town Hall, at a public meeting in support of the candidature of Mr. C. F. G. Masterman, Liberal, who when he last contested an election (Dulwich) was supported by Mr. J. Hunter Watts, of the S.D.F. Executive, the I.L.P. and by the local Trades Council. Early in the evening the chairman had promised to accept an amendment, and at the proper time Cllr. McAllen and a Mr. Ernest E. Hunter, whom the Stratford S.D.F. had invited for the purpose, mounted the platform to submit it. Mr. Hunter’s right to speak, he not being an elector, was challenged, and an uproar ensued. Then Cllr. Jack Jones mounted the platform and pointing to Mr. Hunter said: — "I have to apologise for the movement I belong to. I never thought they would have stooped so low as to try and get expelled members of our organisation to do dirty work at political meetings. If my Stratford comrades cannot find somebody better to do their dirty work then they bad better leave it alone.”

We are not here concerned with the quarrel between Mr. Jones and the Stratford S.D.F., but we emphasise this point, that, according to the protege of the mysterious rich man who is financing bis Camborne candidature, to move a Socialist amendment is to do “political dirty work!”

How circumstances alter cases !

When Cllr. Jack Jones, Mr. H. Quelch and other prominent members of the S.D.F. supported the recent Parliamentary candidature of Mr. J. J. Terrett, at Stratford Town Hall, without the sanction of the S.D.F. Executive, as required by the rules, was that clean or dirty political work ?

When John Burns, whom the S.D.F. now denounce as a traitor, an apostate, and the like, last stood for Battersea, was he any the less a Literal, a traitor to the working class. au apostate, than he is now? Had not the S.D.F. previously declared that Bums was a "self seeker and a traitor to the cause of the people” and that he was “firmly caught in the nets of the Liberal Party”? When therefore the S.D.F. Executive not only instructed their Battersea branch to support Burns but permitted Cllr. Jack Jones to go to Battersea to canvass for him, was that clean or dirty political work ?

When the S.D.F. Executive gave permission to one of their number, Mr. Daniel Irving, to sign the L.R.C. Declaration, a few months after the S.D.F. Annual Conference had decided not to rejoin the L.R.C., was that clean or dirty political work ?

When six branches of the S.D.F. recently demanded that the Executive should poll the organisation as to whether W. Thorne should be repudiated as an S.D.F. candidate, because he had signed the L.R.C. Declaration at the request of the Gas Workers" Union, which is paying his expenses, and is consequently running as a "Labour" candidate, and the S.D F. Executive broke the rules by refusing to take the poll, was that clean or dirty political work?
Jack Kent

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