Editorial from the October 1917 issue of the Socialist Standard
In these uncertain times there is one thing that is as certain as the demand of the landlord—the war cannot last for ever. Some time before it comes to the turn of the heroic editor of our unsavoury contemporary, the “Weekly People,” to seal his faith with his blood, of the occupants of other “heroic chairs” in and about Fleet Street to take their turn in the uncomfortable and unsafe task of “licking Germany,” and of certain politicians to dip their hands in their pockets, not for the last shilling of sacrifice, but for the first, we shall have that condition of affairs which we are wont to call peace. Our masters and butchers are already getting ready for it. That is the meaning of all their talk about “reconstruction,” all their humbug about franchise and housing reforms, all their vague verbiage about improving the condition of the workers—after the war.
They fear that the day of peace will be also a day of reckoning, and they are getting their red-herrings ready in order to get the workers, smarting under a sense of unparalleled outrage, running on false scents, and sniffing round any casual and profitless garbage instead of tracking down their quarry. They realise, do these reeking, red-handed agents of our ghoulish masters, that millions of young men who have been torn from their homes and forced to spend the best years of their lives in the misery of the trenches, will want to know, when they come back to their wage slavery, their threatening face-grinders, their bullying foremen, their dreary toil, their winter unemployment, their scowling landlords, their filthy slums, their sad, drab lives, will want to know of the war’s potbellies why their lives have been clouded over by awful memories they can never forget, why they have been compelled to butcher men they had never met, why their comrades have been slaughtered by hundreds of thousands, why their healths have been ruined by their terrible privations. And knowing this our wily masters are preparing schemes to throw dust in their eyes, and to make them think it is not the same old country wherein they were everywhere trespassers that they have fought and bled and suffered for, and the battle over a farthing an hour they have returned to from their battles for Potbelly’s millions.
And the day of peace must be a day of reckoning. We must see to that. The opportunity will be unique. The stupendous crime of the international capitalists will come fully home to their victims when they find that all their sacrifices have left them simply where they were, facing the old familiar evils, whose only change is their aggravated form. Capitalist politics and politicians, then, from the Liberal and Tory super-lords to the “labour leaders” prosperously reeking in their treachery, will be ripe for utter discredit. Our day will be come—our harvest will be ready for the garnering The place, therefore, of all those who are with us in mind, more now than ever before, is in our ranks. Let us have every ounce of our strength organised for the coming struggle.