From the August 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard
LIBERAL SKUNK PRESS EXPOSED.
Fair play is supposed to be a peculiarly English characteristic. And the Liberal Party and its Press claim to represent "all that is beat” in the policy and character of the English people. But note the application where Socialists are concerned.
A reviewer, signing himself R.C.K.E., attacks the S.P.G.B. with false statements while reviewing a book by a priest. The Executive Committee of the S.P.G.B. sends a reply, that is appended below. One might imagine that in the interests of their so-called “fair play” this Liberal organ would have published that reply. Nothing of the sort. We print their answer with the attempted excuse that a letter “containing the substance” of our reply had already appeared in their paper. In reality this statement is false. A letter signed “Socialist” appeared that criticised some of their reviewer’s statements, but it did not deal with the activities of the S.P.G.B. nor explain what publication of ours the priest was quoting from. Even then, incomplete as “Socialist’s” letter was, the reviewer’s only reply was a falsification of Marx's statements and position on religion.
Their reason for refusing to publish our reply is fairly clear. We referred to our pamphlet on “Socialism and Religion” for several extracts, from Marx’s own writings, showing that our attitude was in line with his views on religion, thus exposing the falsity of the reviewer’s claim to state the Socialist position on this matter. Hence the excuse of the Liberal editor in refusing us space for a reply to a cowardly attack made upon us under cover of a review.
One other point remains. The reviewer’s initials, R.C.K.E., are exactly those of a certain I.L.P. candidate in a particular municipal election. Every reader of our paper is, of course, aware of the anti-Socialist attitude of the leaders of the I.L.P., and their cringing and crawling to the Liberal Party has been exposed over and over again in our pages.
The using of the columns of a Liberal paper for an underhand attack upon Socialism and the Socialist Party is exactly what we should expect from an I.L.P.' er. The sliminess of the attack, the crawling away when challenged, and the similarity of the initials, all point to this I.L.P. candidate acting as an agent of the Liberal Party through the medium of the “Manchester Guardian" as he was equally in his election address when advising the workers to support the second —and openly avowed — Liberal candidate in the above-mentioned municipal election.
N.B. If Mr. R. C. K. Ensor objects to the above, the columns of the “Socialist Standard” are not closed against him as those of the “Manchester Guardian” were against us.
OUR REPLY TO THE “MANCHESTER GUARDIAN.”
25th June, 1914.
To the Editor of the "Manchester Guardian.”
The Executive Committee of the Socialist Party has had its attention drawn to an attack upon that party by your reviewer, R.C.K.E., in your issue of June 4th., under cover of a review of a book by Henry C. Day, and at its meeting on June 23rd it was resolved that the following reply be sent you.
The attack is contained in the following sentence :
“For instance, in discussing Socialism and religion and trying to show that Socialists are anti-Christian, he devotes almost eight continuous pages (a third of the chapter, and the culminating third) to quotations from a manifesto of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Now either Father Day knows that this ‘Socialist Party of Great Britain’ consisted of a few dozen wholly unimportant persons, a microscopic secession from the old S.D.F., itself a small and non- representative body, or he does not.”
No evidence is given by your reviewer for any of his statements about the Socialist Party, bat any schoolboy could see that neither the number nor the importance of the members of the S.P.G.B. is in question. Father Day is evidently quoting, not from our official Manifesto, but from our pamphlet on “Socialism and Religion,” of which we have sold several thousands, published a second large edition, and are still selling large numbers. This pamphlet sets out the Socialist position on religion, which was doubtless the reason Father Day need it in preference to the various shufflings of those who claim to be Socialists without the slightest justification. If your reviewer had discovered any error or mis-statement in the pamphlet it is regrettable that he did not point it out, his obvious duty, instead of trying to sneer at its authors; though the latter method is one in common use where argument is absent.
May we enquire, also, since when it was decided that numbers formed the ultimate test of truth. We would remind our critic that a statement is correct or otherwise by reason of the truth it embodies and the evidence brought to support it, irrespective of the status of the makers. And what is meant by the somewhat pompous statement that the S.D.F. were a “non-representative body”? Organisations represent the views of their officials, or their members, or some set of ideas or principles. The Socialist Party of Great Britain claims to represent the principles of Socialism, the scientific basis of which was laid down by Marx and Engels. Both were strong opponents of Religion, as the various quotations from their writings in oar pamphlet prove. The above claim was set forth in our Manifesto issued in 1905 (which has run through five editions), but up to this moment not one of the organisations exposed therein, nor any of their members, have been able to meet a single argument put forth, or to show any error in our case. Perhaps your reviewer would like to try his hand.
As stated above, the question of numbers is beside the point; but even here your reviewer is open to the same charge as he brings against Father Day. Either he knows our activities and work or he does not. If he does then his suggestion that we no longer exist when he says our Party “consisted of” etc. is entirely contrary to the truth. If he does not, then he is evidently quite prepared to make statements while in absolute ignorance of the facts.
We may mention that, apart from numerous branches in London, we also have them in Bedford, Nottingham, Gravesend, Manchester, Southend-on-Sea and Watford.
In London alone we run over 50 propaganda meetings a week—a number larger than the published lists of B.S.P. and I.L.P. combined. We publish our own monthly organ the “Socialist Standard,” and have issued several pamphlets. In addition, unlike the I.L.P. and Labour Party, the membership of our Party has full and direct control of the policy and actions of the Party.
In fairness to our members and your numerous readers, we ask for the insertion of this reply. Yours on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of Great Britain,
“ Manchester Guardian.”
THE USUAL LIBERAL COWARDICE.
A. Kohn, Esq.,
The Socialist Party of Gt. Britain,
193, Grays Inn Road, W.C.
We are obliged to you for your letter referring to our review of Father Day's book. We have, however, already published a letter containing the substance of your criticism shortly after the review appeared, and we fear we cannot return to the subject again at this date.
Yours very truly,
for the Editor
A. G. W.