Friday, December 29, 2017

The Lying "Daily Herald." (1914)

From the May 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

Who has not heard of the “Daily Mail’s” exclusive account of the massacre of the Legations at Peking by the Boxers; of the minute details of the awful carnage that didn’t happen? Why was the “exclusive news” published ?

Briefly, the object was to boom the “Daily Mail”—to foster its circulation. And that is the reason the Press to-day is so dangerous to the cause of the working class. The proprietors will publish anything if it pays. Crippen’s confession that wasn't confessed; speeches by politicians which were never delivered ; battles that were never fought and victories that were never won ; Boers’ blood-curdling brutalities toward natives, and voteless Uitlanders’ unspeakable sufferings. Even the once stately threepenny “Times” showed its foresight and commercial keenness by printing during the height of the Irish campaign a series of letters over Parnell's signature which he did not write, but which were purchased from Piggott for a few thousand pounds.

This is the great lying Press, and when we have stated— as we often have—that the Socialist Standard is the only clean and reliable working-class paper, we have frequently been met with the cry: “What about the 'Daily Herald’?” The “Daily Herald”—the paper which, after declaring advertisements taboo because advertisers always dictated the policy of the paper, printed more advertisements than ever, and, like Oliver Twist, asked for more.

Our answer to this question has invariably been that the “Daily Herald” was like the rest of the Press, with the added offensiveness of its Socialist pretences to make it worse.

Just take one example. Larkin has been very widely boomed, praised, and slobbered over by the “Daily Herald” and Syndicalists and Labourites generally. To make a meeting pay it has only been necessary to bring Larkin there, just as, earlier, Victor Grayson was the “star turn” who would assure a “full house.” Hence, while Larkinism lasts the "Daily Herald” means to exploit it.

Mr. Asquith, or, as he is fondly known to students of history, Lord Asquith of Featherstone, elected to contest East Fife again as a result of his taking the office of War Minister.

The question in many minds was, would the Prime Minister be allowed a walk-over, and among certain elements, will the man responsible for those two graves in Featherstone Churchyard be allowed to go scot free back to Parliament.

On the morning of April 1st, however, the flaring headlines of the “Daily Herald" met the gaze of passers by : “Larkin for East Fife.” “To beard Asquith in his own den.’’ “Official Statement.” “If Tories ready to shirk a fight Jim is ready for the fray.” Such were the heavily leaded lines which abstracted the pence from working-class pockets.

The “Daily Herald” went on to say : “The announcement was made yesterday afternoon when he [Larkin] arrived in Dublin from England. Later an official announcement from Liberty Hall Dublin, Mr. Larkin’s headquarters, confirmed the statement that Mr. Larkin will be a candidate in the forthcoming bye election in East Fife. He starts from Dublin for the constituency at once.”

In the body of the paper we were informed :
   “Intense interest was taken in the statement from London that Jim Larkin bad decided to stand, and there is every prospect of an exciting contest, as a result of which Mr. Asquith may be easily ‘outed.’”
In the leading article much space is devoted to the “irony” of the situation that finds Mr. Larkin fighting Asquith in East Fife after Asquith had placed him in prison. The leader winds up thus:
  “More power to Jim Larkin. In the political as in the industrial arena he is thorough-going and loves to tackle the biggest enemy in sight.” 
The day following this leader the lying paper published a special cartoon on its front page, showing election posters bearing the words: Vote for Larkin.

The scare head-lines again extracted the halfpence from Lansbury’s dupes, “Larkin will surely fight,” they announced, and then they went on to talk about bis prospects. To add piquancy to the paper a notice was printed boldly across it, thus : “What to ask Asquith. Don't give him a single vote TILL he answers these questions! ” Then follow certain silly questions for an intelligent worker to ask.

Now one might think from all this that there was to be a fight in East Fife and that Mr. Jim Larkin was to be the anti-liberal champion. After such “authoritative” news, of course, it was only to be expected. But once again it was only the sensational lies of the muck-heap Press struggling to keep up a circulation. Now let us prove it.

Turning to Larkin’s own newspaper, “The Irish Worker,” for the same week (dated April 4th), we find a leading article, a column and a half in length on the matter of East Fife. The whole of this is written in a vein of fierce condemnation of the lying Press for printing such downright lies as that Larkin was standing for East Fife.

Such phrases as “ brazen-faced monstrosities,” “creatures paid at so much a line,” are used against those who issued the election news. We read on as follows: “He [Larkin] has never had any intention of fighting East Fife, never thought of Fife . . .  He does not bother about Parliamentary action ; has no time to waste at present about elections ; he thinks that politics is a dirty game and the present politicians are dirtier than the game they play at, and rather admires sanguinary Asquith for his game of bluff,” etc.

Is further proof required of how low the “ Daily Herald” is ? Is it necessary to adduce other evidence of the dirty and lying nature of this emulator of the Yellow Press ? We venture to ask the nominal editor of the journal in question, Mr. George Lansbury, for an explanation of such brazen lying. Of course we do not expect to get one. Mr. Lansbury, if we are to believe the deposed editor, is simply the nominee of the wealthy supporters of the paper.

We know Mr. Lansbury. A little while since be stated at Bow Baths that the S.P.G.B. was financed by the rich, but he never had tho courage to admit his “mistake” when, in reply to our official challenge, he failed to produce any evidence. We have memories of Lansbury in the old S.D.F. and his fine power of handling the truth cautiously. But as it is said that “While the lamp holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return,” it is open to Mr. Lansbury even now to take his courage in both hands and come forward and explain that lie in his paper which is just about the limit of lies.
Adolph Kohn

Mind Your Own Business. (1914)

From the June 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

A remark one hears very often is: “Mind your own business.” The Socialist Party of Great Britain is out to teach the working class to do this, but the workers are unconscious of their slavery; they prefer to look after their masters’ business rather than their own.

The business of the proletarian is merely to understand his class position in society. The Socialist Party of Great Britain is frequently explaining this on the platform. The workers to day produce all wealth in society, but, for their noble efforts, receive back from the capitalist class —the shirking class—just sufficient to enable them to exist, with a view to turning out more profit.

Why is it necessary for the working class to become conscious of their position in society? Firstly, because they would be minding their own business. Secondly, because, under the present system of society, no worker can claim that he has the right to work—which is the only way he is able to exist—for that right is in the hands of the master class. Thirdly, because no work is given to the worker unless the master can make a profit out of his labour. Fourthly, because, with the destruction of the capitalist system and the establishment of Socialism, every worker will be producing wealth in the interest of the whole community.

The worker does not mind his own business when he concerns himself about rates and taxes; talks of “our own trams,” or “our Dreadnoughts,” because he is spoofed by the agents of the capitalist class, who are continually misleading the dull and unconscious worker. Why, the workers do not get sufficient wages to buy good, wholesome food, let alone pay rates and taxes! Such things as these are no business of the working class, as the rates and taxes are paid by the property-owning class; and, since the working class own nothing but their labour-power, why not mind your own business?

The worker of to day can be compared somewhat to a motor car. He is given just sufficient petrol (food) to enable him to continue production. When he is not wanted he can stand still, but unlike the motor car, which loses nothing when not wanted, the worker is physically deteriorating by starvation.

Why are the workers worse off? Because they do not mind their own business. Imagine an intelligent working class able to produce all the wealth in society, and after all the energy is pumped out of them, politically ignorant enough to allow masters to rob them of the fruits of their labour.

What good has the capitalist done to the workers? No good at all, in fact, the very system produces misery, degradation, and disease.

Now, the question is. how are you going to alter it? Firstly, by understanding what Socialism means -THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SYSTEM OF SOCIETY BASED UPON THE COMMON OWNERSHIP AND DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF THE MEANS AND INSTRUMENTS FOR PRODUCING AND DISTRIBUTING WEALTH BY AND IN THE INTEREST OF THE WHOLE COMMUNITY. When the working class understand this they must organise in the S.P.G.B., the only Socialist party, for the capture of the political machinery which controls the force that keeps them in subjection to-day

Therefore, workers, wake up and start to-day to Mind your own Business !

Walthamstow Reports. (1914)

Party News from the July 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

The forthcoming season holds great hopes for the Socialist Party in this locality, and the resumption of outdoor propaganda meetings has called forth all the enthusiasm of the branch membership.

As is inevitable in a district where there are two pseudo-Socialist organisations, we have been afforded a considerable number of opportunities to attack the enemy: opportunities that have been taken advantage of, as will be seen.

As the local District Council Elections took place recently the B.S.P. put up two candidates for the Higham Hill Ward in the persons of Messrs. Ramsey and Friedberg.

They placarded the neighbourhood with "Daily Herald” posters bearing the appeal: "Vote for Friedberg and Ramsey,” and there was a special edition of the “Daily Herald” published, called "The Walthamstow Election Number.”

In support of their nominee’s candidature, the B S.P. held meetings, and at those held at Higham Hill Road, at question time they manifested the fact that they wished the members of the Socialist Party anywhere but there.

On the eve of the poll their speaker was Jack Jones of South West Ham; they also had on their platform, Mr. Ellis of the I.L.P., from Buckhurst Hill.

At question-time we put our questions and our Comrade B. Young asked for their platform to oppose, which request was, as usual, refused;. and further questioning culminated in their chairman losing his temper and hurling at our Comrade Young the threat to "come down and twist his neck.”

This threat was, of course, as idle and worthless as their "reply” to the questions of the members of this party. The said reply invariably being: "I was in the Socialist movement before you were born, and I know more about economics than any member of your party.”

"Simply this and nothing more.”

This "reply” and their refusal of their platform to our Comrade Young, are eloquent testimony to their courage and their confidence in their case.

That other organisation of political tricksters and fools (it is difficult to tell which preponderate), the Independent Labour Party, happened to choose the same evening and spot (Hoe Street Station) for holding week-night meetings as had this Branch, so that on May 6th we had to conduct our meeting in opposition to the LL.P.

However, Comrade B. Young addressed the larger of the two crowds on our behalf, and on Wednesday, May 13th, a comrade bringing the platform very early, secured the foremost pitch.

On his arrival, Mr. Peel, of the I.L.P., became so chagrined at this that after hurling a string of epithets such as “scum,” "blackguard,” and "slanderer ” at our comrade, he threatened to horsewhip him.

This "gentleman,” along with his crony, Campbell, manifested by this means, and by his abuse of the Socialist Party when any of its members question them, the rottenness of their case and the weakness of their position.

Our speaker again proved too good for the I.L.P.’s speaker, a leather-tongued individual who said he was proud of West Ham (notwithstanding its filth) because it bad three Socialist (!) Councillors.

We had a large and attentive audience, whilst the I.L.P’er addressed a meeting of their local branch.

We are also giving the Anti-Socialist Union’s speakers a warm time, counteracting, by questions and interpolations, the effect of the rubbish they trot out.

Boys! we are fighting a winning fight, so see that the “promise of spring” is fulfilled. Gird up your loins and have at them!