Editorial from the November 1917 issue of the Socialist Standard
The latest move of the capitalist politicians is an endeavour to extend the Labour Party so as to embrace all and sundry who come within the category of “wage-earners.” ‘The announcement meets with the pretty general approval of the capitalist Press, as might be expected. It is realised among the circles of the astute that there is going to be a pretty brisk business doing in the political way when the war is over, and that such business will not follow quite the same old lines. Men who have been dragged from their cricket and football fields and made to waste the years of their prime in the torture chamber of the modern field of war will come back thinking beings; they will have acquired the gravity of greybeards, and the respect for politics of the seasoned Socialist; they will have learned that since all their unforgettable and unforgivable miseries have been heaped upon them by the men they and theirs sent to the House of Commons, and that such men are in a position to do it all again, the vote is not a joke after all, but a weighty and serious matter, worthy of their most earnest consideration.
That the power those who have political control have over the lives of their subjects has been revealed with intense clearness by the events of the last three years is quite understood by our masters and their agents the labour leaders. They know that the mask is stripped from their faces, and that the hollow sham of the “objects” of the war, long since laid bare by their own lying lips, has discredited their parties. They see men turning away from them in myriads, groping with outstretched hands for a new passage to follow, a more hopeful path to tread. For this reason we are to be provided with a working class political party (!) on a very broad base, to the end that the war-awakened proletarians may be shepherded quietly along the road that provides fat paunches and triple chins for labour leaders and safety for their pay-masters.
Well, the change makes little difference to us. The new Labour Party will inherit two legacies from the old—their foul record and the bitter hostility of the Socialist Party. We shall show them no mercy.