Book Review from the May 1938 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Communist Party has issued some amazing pamphlets, but the “March of English History" (September 4th, 1936), illustrating, as it does, several sides of "Communist" mentality, calls for the consideration of all who are looking forward to working class emancipation.
The front page is adorned with fourteen "great figures of English History" and "while we bear aloft the red flag of Modern Socialism, we continue on the road trodden by the great names of England's people" (page 11). An elementary knowledge of English history will prompt the question: “What is Oliver Cromwell doing in that collection?" Two of his most noted feats were the violent expulsion of a Parliament and the bloody suppression of the "Levellers," a political party with a very substantial social and democratic outlook which threatened the triumphant squirearchy represented by Cromwell. But people who speak of the "Glorious Revolution" (1688)— without quotes—are capable of any misinterpretation of history. Up-to-date representatives of “Modern" Socialism include John Bums, Keir Hardie, and Tom Mann. One of-.these worthies is no longer with us, so we will not linger long to enquire his right of admission to Socialist ranks. On page 8 we read: "1889—Tom Mann, Ben Tillet, and John Bums . . . launch their Socialist Movement, together with William Morris, Keir Hardie, and many others."
Keir Hardie: “There is not, and cannot be, any antagonism between Christianity and the Labour movement " (Browning Settlement, December 5th, 1910). From the “Communist" point of view, of course, this "Keir Hardie transfigured into the impassioned Christian," to quote the report, certainly deserves including. Communists to-day are holding the "outstretched hand" to Catholics. (See February Labour Monthly.) J. R. Campbell (Daily Worker, February 10th, 1938) holds the "outstretched hand" to Christians, all and sundry. He outlines "a few of the issues on which Communists and Christians can easily find a basis for co-operation." . . . Enough to make the mummified remains in the Red Square at Moscow rise and walk!
John Bums, who was once denounced by the Battersea branch of the Social Democratic Federation as a renegade, is now promoted by the Communist Party (which absorbed a large part of the organisation which succeeded the S.D.F.) from the political Chamber of Horrors to take rank with Shelley and Morris. (Oh, yes; Shelley and Morris are among the fourteen: you will know now what the big intellectual “ leaders " in die Communist Party mean when they murmur " Dialectic." It would be funny if there were not a proportion of really decent young people who are taken in by the brag and bluster of the C.P.
Tom Mann is one of the star turns of the Communist Party. "May Day, 1936," issued by the Party, gives a short biography of their hero-—omitting some very significant facts. It would be interesting to know whether the very damaging account of his formation of the “Socialist Party of Victoria," given in The Socialist of May, 1909, has ever been answered. In any case, an advertisement which appeared in the official organ of the S.P. of Victoria gives some indication of the outlook of this organisation: "A white Australian uses white American 'White Rose' kerosene, because it is made by highly-paid white Labour." This will surprise no one who follows current expression of political opinion. Says Tom Mann, in January Labour Monthly, after visiting the very source and fount of "Communist" inspiration: "Over a period of many years in the movement, I have seen many demonstrations; but never, not even in Russia, had I seen anything approaching this magnificent celebration of efficiency in all departments. Of necessity, the Red Army was there, in many thousands. The great March Past was extremely impressive, every section of the fighting forces in full equipment, telling of millions of others, ready on the instant to spring to the defence of the Fatherland." (Italics our own.)
—And such a "Fatherland"! In the next issue of The Socialist Standard it is hoped to marshal a few facts (culled, many of them, from Soviet official sources) which will give a genuine picture of this “Fatherland" as it affects the gagged, deluded underdogs of the Red Fascist régime.
Meanwhile, in choirs and places where they sing, the Communist Party in this country will "raise their glasses" and join His Excellency the Soviet Ambassador (still living, lucky dog!) in drinking a toast to His Britannic Majesty.
See 'Reginald's' article, 'Stepfather Stalin', in the August 1938 issue of the Socialist Standard.