Letter to the Editors from the February 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard
To The Editor.
I notice in the current issue of our Party Organ a “Letter to Irish Workers,” by Mr. Thos. Brown. Although there is nothing to lead one to suppose that that letter was written by a member of the Party, and bears evidence (to the initiated), in the absence of the usual comradely salutations, that it was not, I think that some more definite disclaimer should have accompanied the letter, provided, of course, I am right in my surmise as to its authorship.
While it is difficult to place the finger on any definitely unsound phrases, it is nevertheless a fact that the “atmosphere” of Mr. Brown’s letter suggests the nationalist rather than the Socialist. The references to “suffering, bleeding Ireland,” “loving service to living Irishmen,” “profound sympathy with all the struggles of his countrymen,” “No true Irishman who has any real regard for his country,” and so on, do not ring true to the Socialist hammer, while such phrases as ‘”Ireland a nation’ . . . is not a first-class Socialist issue” gives a Socialist the creeps.
A Socialist does not have profound sympathy with the struggles of his countrymen but with, his fellow workers; he does not demand “loving service to living Irishmen,” or Englishmen, or Frenchmen, but intelligent service in the cause of his class.
I have no desire to make a long criticism on Mr. Brown’s letter, but there are two other points that need attention before I close. The first is his reference to the “Clarion” as a “prominent Socialist organ.” No Socialist could think of that paper as anything but the most insidious of anti-Socialist journals, which its war record alone is sufficient to prove it to be. Then the constant use of the term “international Socialist—as if one can be a Socialist without being an internationalist.
We humbly accept the gentle chiding administered by Comrade MacC. All that he says is quite true, and as a matter of fact instructions were issued to the effect that Mr. Brown’s letter was to be inserted under such a safeguard as our comrade suggests, but—” somebody blundered,” and Comrade MacC. gets the chance to immortalise himself.—Ed. Com.