February 1909 issue of the Socialist Standard
Since our last issue an event, so fraught with human importance that it is bound to become historic, has taken place. Not with a flourish of trumpets, not with a dazzling display on those beautious wayside erections which (it is alleged) many members of the working class, with truly revolutionary disregard for the rights others, claim as “ the working man’s picture gallery,” but quietly, quietly as nature working up to some catastrophic horror, this event baa been developed. In its making it has been evolutionary, doubtless enough, but in its birth, its being launched upon the sea of human environment, it is cataclysmal.
Kata, Greek prefix signifying down, back, thorough; Greek, kluzo, to wash. What should we working men who write for working men do without our Latin and our Greek? Cataclysmal is the very adjective. This event which I speak of has burst upon us as a deluge, a flood; it has given us a thorough sluicing; it has been kluso, to wash (and plenty of it), and kato, down (and up), back (and front) and tree-mendiously thorough. It has been a political washout, and the ground whereon we stood is holey ground, with a vengeance. Gone is that pyramid of economic sophistry and hare-brained political quackery on which we had elevated ourselves to conspicuity; gone also that underlying working-class ignorance and hankering after the moon without which as a foundation our pyramid had never been erected at all, and we and those who gave us faith (it is quite inconceivable that any thought for themselves) stand in gullies and hollows, but with our political feet upon the firm rock of truth of the tertiary formation—as we know by its fossils.
And this event is the publication of the first number of the Anti-Socialist. An auspicious birth, fellow members of the working class, since it spells doom to the Socialist movement. Alas! shall we be able to fulfil our obligations to those who have subscribed to the end of the volume? Shall see even another issue of The Socialist Standard? If there were shareholders —but this is not the Labour Leader.
The Anti-Socialist has the blessing of the Church in the person of our brother in Christ, the Canon of Westminster. Other notable sympathisers with what the Anti-Socialist lightly refers to as the ass-pirations of labour, who recommend the new publication to working men are Sir A. Acland Hood, Lord George Hamilton, Admiral Fremantle, C. Arthur Pearson, Andrew Carnegie, and the editor of the Daily Express. This galaxy of noble and disinterested champions of labour surely have a right to be heard with respect on the matter of what is the true interest of the workers. Andrew, at all events, we know to have very decided views upon the subject, as witness a little shooting affair at Pittsburg some score or so years ago, which is still held in sacred memory.
We are treated to a cartoon in this first number; it is entitled: The Workman's Dream. A workman is depicted, seated, and under the influence of the pantomimic gestures of an individual we are invited to imagine is a Socialist, while another individual labelled “Socialist” has extracted a resplendent watch and chain and quite a fabulous store of coin of the realm, from the subject’s pocket, while from the anticipatory smile on the face of the brigand (who, by the way, I am sure is meant for Mr. G. B. Shaw) there is plenty more to come. Inscribed thereunder we read “ The Socialists hypnotise the working man, and pick his pocket.” And what is the dream with which the Socialists have beguiled the working man while they are a doin’ of it? The artist has given it expression. The worker dreams that he has an easy chair to sit in, a fender to put his feet on, and a table —with some grub on it. That is all, if we except a gem like a decanter stopper which decorates his finger. O chimeric vision of paradise! O ironic mockery! O wickedly delusive irradiance! A divan chair, a fender, and a table with some grub on it. Well might the workman suspect the intentions of those who lure him with such impossible extravagance. I notice that the worker still wears his hob-nails and corduroys. It would fairly have given the Socialists' game away to have suggested escape from these. Born in 'em, live in 'em, marry in ’em, die in ’em.
A. E. Jacomb