Thursday, September 26, 2019

Marx and Materialism (2012)

From the July 2012 issue of the Socialist Standard

If Marx had a philosophy it could be best described in his own words as critical materialism as opposed to mechanistic materialism. He believed with Feuerbach that critical materialism would mean the end of metaphysics and religion. Again, Marx regarded materialism as the only valid expression of scientific method. Thus, in a footnote on Page 368, Vol. I of Capital, he refers to a particular method as the only materialistic and, therefore, the only scientific method.

Marx took the world that is man and his relations with nature as they are. Marx then embraced a thoroughgoing naturalism as opposed to the super-naturalism of Hegel and other religious thinkers. He believed that facts are not more real than they are found to be, and do not express some deeper underlying truth. It was because Marx collected his facts and organised the knowledge gained from them on the presupposition that he was dealing with a material world, that his theory can be empirically demonstrated. Because Hegel began with metaphysical as opposed to materialistic assumptions he could offer no empirical guide as to the course of history. He could only assure us that a cosmic self-consciousness would come to pass, but how it would do so he is silent. Even in a brief and sketchy analysis of Marx and Hegel, it can be shown that in outlook and method they were worlds apart.

On the question of religion itself, Marx denied that there was some religious essence in man. Religion itself is a product of social life and it only arises when society has reached a certain stage of development in the division of labour. Like all other forms of culture, it can be critically analysed in a specific social situation, and like all other forms of activity it can be shown to change under the impact of changing conditions. While religion had historic justification in the productive rituals of the past, it serves no useful social purpose today.

Marx also denied that man was endowed with a natural religious sentiment, any more than he is naturally endowed with any other aspect of culture. A religious sense is not the outcome of a timeless abstraction, but the product of social consciousness and bound up with a certain stage of social development. To suppose then that any element of supernaturalism could find a place in Marxism is to invalidate the most basic assumptions of historical materialism. For that reason a belief in super-naturalism is incompatible with Marxism.

From the Socialist Standard, July 1957

The Irish Euro Referendum (2012)

From the July 2012 issue of the Socialist Standard
Voting one way or the other was not going to change the reality that capitalism in a slump means extra austerity.
On the 31st May, the electorate of the Republic of Ireland went to the polls to decide on the latest European Union fiscal treaty. The referendum was passed with 60 percent of voters in favour and 40 percent opposed. The Treaty (known as the Stability treaty to its supporters and referred to as the Austerity treaty by opponents) is part of the attempt by Europe to contain the turbulence that has engulfed Euro-zone countries for the past three years. In broad terms signing up to the pact, commits the governments of the signatory countries to limit annual deficits and over the economic cycle to maintain a balanced budget. In return for committing to this, the signatory countries are promised access to the EU’s new assistance fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) if needed in the event that countries cannot raise funds from the capital markets. Most countries within the European Union, both within and outside the Euro-zone, have indicated a willingness to ratify the Treaty and it is expected to come into force early in 2013.

Yes and No
Regarding the campaign that preceded the vote in Ireland, the sides lined up in a predictable fashion. Advocating a Yes were the government (a coalition of the centre-right Fine Gael party and centre-left Labour Party) together with Fianna Fail (long a dominant force in Irish politics but currently much diminished due to their abject handling of the economic crisis that overwhelmed Ireland in 2009) and the majority of big business and farming interests. Conventionally these are regarded as the establishment centre ground.

The opposition consisted of Euro-sceptics from the left and right and single issue political mavericks who customarily appear on these occasions. Leftist opposition primarily consisted of Sinn Fein augmented by the Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Communist Party of Ireland and People before Profit (an organisation that could be characterised as a front for the two ‘Socialist’groups). The rightist component of the opposition in the main came from Declan Ganley and his mysterious Libertas organisation (having minimal membership or popular participation in Ireland and yet amazingly well funded) together with some non-party members of the Irish Parliament and further reinforced with certain publicity-seeking economic commentators. As a whole the trade union movement adopted a position of neutrality though individual union leaders could be found on either side.

The whole context of the debate was framed by the fact that Ireland is currently in receipt of a large loan from the International Monetary Fund and the EU to cover both the government deficit and the huge losses sustained by private Irish Banks due to the property boom (formerly called the Celtic Tiger) that took place in Ireland prior to 2008. The fact that the Irish government (popularly interpreted as the Irish taxpayer/citizen) has had to pick up the tab for 40 billion euros of private debt has proved especially controversial and naturally has caused genuine and understandable bitterness across whole swathes of Irish society. While the initial decision to cover the losses on these private speculative loans was taken by the Irish government, to prop up the banking sector, the continuance of the banking guarantee has been insisted upon by the European Union as a condition of the bail out. Over the past three years, this has been the main bone of contention between the government of the day and the opposition; the former regarding it as unpalatable but unavoidable while the latter demand a tougher stance to be taken on the issue with Europe.

For and Against
Given the major uncertainty that now exists about the medium term future of the European economy and particularly of the fate of the Euro itself, a trump card for the Yes side was the fact that Ireland may require a second bail-out when the current IMF/EU assistance ends next year and the thus need to ensure access to the EMU fund in that eventuality by backing the Treaty. This almost certainly swayed people who depend directly on the state for their income such as pensioners, public sector workers and those in receipt of social welfare payments. The government also kept repeating the point that passing the Treaty would instil confidence in Ireland from international investors and the subsequent inflow of funds would promote job creation and help the economy to recover.

The No side’s major argument was that passing the Treaty would copper-fasten a monetarist economic strategy and prohibit future governments from stimulating the economy with Keynesian type initiatives. They declared it would result in many years of unbroken austerity to come with inevitable cuts to social services. A more nationalistic message was also put forward accusing the government of being too timid in defending Ireland’s interests and too willing to fall into line with the wishes of the large powers in the EU (primarily meaning Germany) especially in readily subsuming the massive private bank debt into sovereign debt in order to help stabilise the Euro currency.

While the government won the debate with its clear-cut electoral victory, it derived very little political capital from its success as it just ensures continuance of the status quo. A defeat would have damaged its standing, both nationally and internationally so in that sense the referendum was always going to be thankless for them. It’s generally accepted the big winners were Sinn Fein as the lead mainstream organisation on the No side. Irish electoral rules demand equal access to be given to both sides in any referendum on the constitution irrespective of the relative size of either side. Hence Sinn Fein received huge publicity and air time to expound their ideas and the campaign marked a further stage on their long and calculated transition from being the front organisation and principal apologist for an entirely undemocratic terrorist group (Provisional IRA) to becoming an acceptable alternative to the existing political options. During the campaign their spokespeople blended vaguely radical sentiments about taking a tough line with Bankers (both Irish and European) to defend Irish interests while assuring the electorate of their commitment to financial discipline. From that perspective, they are part of a long history of parties who have moved from a nominal, if unconvincing, opposition to capitalism to outright acceptance of it as the only means of ordering society.

Left-wing advice
The debate associated with the campaign highlighted yet again the fact that many movements claiming to be Labour or Socialist or Left Wing ultimately are only offering a re-ordering of capitalism. The Communist Part of Ireland advocated a No vote and suggested Ireland should borrow money from sovereign wealth funds from countries such as Russia, China, Norway and various Middle East funds as an alternative to seeking to obtain loans from the markets or the European Stability Mechanism on the basis that better terms would be available. Such financial advice to the government of the day is a curious activity for a group with the name of ‘Communist’in its title. Kieran Allen a leading member of People Before Profit and the Socialist Workers Party also attacked the Treaty from a financial standpoint on the basis that it was a ‘bad deal’for Ireland and that its costs would exceed its benefits. He may of course be proved correct but again this viewpoint is devoid of socialist content. He also indulged in the common electoral practise of scaring pensioners about the entitlements they might lose if the Treaty was passed which of course is the type of tactic that all political parties engage in as part of the shoddy custom of drumming up votes from sectors of the electorate. Possibly the most poignant aspect to all of this is that May 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Irish Labour Party in a congress in Clonmel in 1912. One of the resolutions at that meeting committed the new party to the notion ‘that labour unrest can only be ended by the abolition of the capitalist system of wealth production with its inherent injustice and poverty’. While it is not news that such revolutionary rhetoric has long been discarded, it does highlight the fruitless path that these social-democratic parties have followed whereby they are now further away from their original goals than when they first started out.

On one level from a socialist view, the campaign and its result is entirely devoid of interest. There has been a boom and now we have the bust; this is an inevitable part of the capitalist system. Voting one way or the other was not going to change this reality and studies revealed that this was tacitly accepted by the majority of the electorate. The referendum was an example of the sham that is democracy under capitalism; as members of whatever electorate we happen to belong to we are constantly being cajoled to take part in the democratic process when it’s clear that voting will not make any meaningful difference to our future. For the case in point, the prospects for Ireland’s economy and the future of the Euro will not be decided by the result of the Irish referendum but will depend more strongly on economic developments in Spain and the political situation in Greece. Fundamentally as regards the common currency it will hinge on the willingness of German capitalism to persevere with the Euro by balancing the great benefits it bestows to its powerful export sector against the costs it imposes on the wider economy and its ability to strike a bargain with France on the issue.
Kevin Cronin

Theatre Review: ‘Don Giovanni’ (2012)

Theatre Review from the July 2012 issue of the Socialist Standard

Don Giovanni’ by Mozart at Heaven, London, Sunday 29th April 2012

Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, is set in London in 1987 with a modern libretto by Ranjit Bolt.  It was recently produced at the gay nightclub, Heaven in London. Bolt’s libretto has gay philanderer, Don, sung by baritone Duncan Rock but the rest of the cast has been reversed: basses and tenors become sopranos and vice versa.

Mozart represents the rationalist enlightenment when the bourgeois classes were wrestling power from the feudal masters of the ancien regime in 1789.  His opera, Marriage of Figaro, portrays the servile classes as good as their masters. Mozart himself was a servant to an Archbishop and the Hapsburg Emperor.

Bolt’s Don is both a feudal master with droit de seigneur and a greedy Thatcherite capitalist.  The supernatural apparition of Il Commandatore at the denouement does not have its horror-effect because the character appears like Miss Havisham from Dickens and elicits laughter from the audience.  AIDS as a Faustian metaphor is not pursued in the libretto. This is a pity because Forman and Schafer in the 1984 film, Amadeus, successfully incorporated the dark elements of Don Giovanni into the tale of the Mozart and Salieri intrigue. The aria, Il catalogo e questo, is very funny and appreciated by the audience.

In 1987 there was a palpable sense of the smell of Weimar in Britain when Thatcher won a third election victory: capitalism had been unfettered, the nationalised industries sold-off and the working class beaten down with the end of the miners’ strike.  Increased powers had been given to the police, and a Tory MP had declared on the Channel 4 programme, After Dark: Tomorrow Belongs to Us, evoking the brown shirts of Cabaret-era Berlin. Capitalism had one of its periodic crises when the stock market crashed on Black Monday. There was AIDS, and the frenzied voices of the petite bourgeois were heard in the newspapers, the Tory Party, the House of Lords, and the Police. There was talk of re-criminalising homosexuality. The Government introduced Clause 28, prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality; 30,000 marched against it and “Lesbians invade the Lords and the BBC” screamed the tabloids.

Gay rights are subject to the whim of reformist politics and moral re-armament revivals in capitalist society, as can be seen from events in 1987.  And even as recently as May 2012, in North Carolina, gay marriage has been prohibited.  This is a contradiction of capitalism: it allows gay identity to develop but still needs the working class to reproduce.  The family therefore has to be prioritised and homophobia is an inevitable by-product.  Engels identified that oppression begins with the family and the rise of class society, and thus the oppression of women and gays has its origin in class society. With the end of capitalism, the bourgeois family will vanish and, as Engels wrote: “the traditional bonds of sexual relations, like all fetters, are shaken off”. With the transformation to a socialist society all humanity will be emancipated and there will be an end to exploitation and oppression.
Steve Clayton

Socialism and Nationalisation - Part 1 (1912)

From the February 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

An early article by Paul Lafargue
  Readers know the circumstances in which Paul Lafargue and Laura Marx have ended life together, with their last words expressing their belief in the early triumph of the cause for which they laboured. We bow before death. Nevertheless we rejoice that, although Lafargue has laid down his pen, his words still fight on behalf of the workers. The following article, written in “L’Egalité” of June 2nd, 1882, is still trenchant and useful.
At the present moment a kind of Socialism for the capitalists is being created. It is very modest. It contents itself with the transformation of certain industries into public services. Above all, it does not compromise one. On the contrary it will rally a good number of capitalists.

They are told: Look at the Post Office, that is a Socialist public service, functioning admirably to the profit of the community, and more cheaply than if it were entrusted to a private company as was formerly the case. The gas supply, the railways and the building of workmen’s dwellings must also become public services. They will function to the profit of the community and will chiefly benefit the capitalist class.

In capitalist society, the transformation of certain industries into municipal or national services is the last form of capitalist exploitation. It is because that form presents multiple and incontestable advantages for the bourgeoisie that in every capitalist country the same industries are becoming nationalised (Army, Police, Post Office, Telegraphs, the Mint, etc.).

Certain monopolised industries, indeed, delivered up to the greed of private companies, become instruments for the exploitation of other sections of the capitalist class, and so powerful that they disturb the whole bourgeois system.

Here are a few examples. The electric telegraph, on its introduction into France, became a state service because the political interests of the Government required it. In England and the Unites States, where the same political interest did not exist, the telegraphs were established by private companies. The English Government was compelled to buy them out in the interests of all, particularly the speculators, who in the transformation found means of obtaining scandalous profits. In the United States the telegraph service is still in private hands. It is monopolised by a gang of speculators who control the entire Press of the country. Those speculators communicate telegrams only to newspapers in vassalage to them, and which must pay such a heavy tax that many, being unable to bear such a burden, do without telegraphic news altogether. In America telegrams are the most important part of the newspapers; to deprive them of these dispatches is to condemn them to languish and die. In that republican Republic, which individualist Liberals take as the ideal of their most daring dreams, the liberty of the Press is at the mercy of a handful of speculators, without government force and without responsibility, but in control of the telegraph service.

The railway monopoly is so exorbitant that a company can ruin at will an industry or a town by differential or preferential tariffs. The danger to which society is exposed by the private ownership of the means of transport is so keenly felt that in France, England and the United States, many capitalists in their own interests demand the nationalisation of the railways. In capitalist society a private industry only becomes a State service in order to better serve the interest of the bourgeoisie. The advantages which the latter obtain are of different kinds; we have just spoken of the social danger created by the abandonment of certain industries to private exploitation, dangers which disappear or are attenuated as soon as the State directs them but there are others.

The State, by centralising administration, lessens the general charges; it runs the service at a smaller cost. The State is accused of paying everything more dearly than private enterprise; nevertheless, such is not always the case when there is a question of the establishment of means of communication, one of the most difficult and complex enterprises in modern society. Thus the tramways constructed in France have, with rare exceptions, cost an average of 250,000 to 300,000 francs per kilometre as a first establishment charge. The railway from Alais to the Rhone has eaten up per kilometre of line a sum of about 700.000 francs. M. Freycinet, who is not a bourgeois director for fun, has established upon positive grounds that the State could construct railways at a cost of 200,000 francs per kilometre. The State can therefore sensibly diminish the prices of the services it exploits. It is the capitalists who profit by the reduction, because it is they, principally, who make use of them. Thus, what a number of workmen only use the postal service once or twice a year! And how very numerous are the commercial houses and industrial concerns which send out over ten and twenty letters a day!

State services become a means to politicians for placing their tools or dependants, and for giving good, fat sinecures to the sons-in-law of the bourgeoisie. M. Cochery has accorded lucrative posts to Orleanists; among others, to the son of Senator Laboulaye, the man of the inkpot.

Militants of the Parti Ouvrier may and must in their polemics against the public men and the politicians of the capitalist class, make use of this transformation of one time private industries into State services, to show how the bourgeoisie themselves are led by the logic of events to attack their own principles, which demand that society, represented by the State, snatch no industry from private initiative. But they must not desire, and still less demand, the transformation of fresh industries into national services, and that for diverse reasons.

Because it is to the interest of the workers’ party to embitter the conflicts which lacerate the capitalist class, instead of seeking to pacify them – these antagonisms quicken the disorganisation of the ruling class; because nationalisation increases the corruptive power of capitalist politicians; because State employees, like workers in private employ, strike and engage in a struggle with the exploiters.

The only Socialist reason that one might put forward for that transformation is that perhaps it might simplify the revolutionary work of expropriation by the workers’ party; we will examine this on another occasion.
Translated by F. C. Watts

[To be concluded.]

Infliction (1912)

From the February 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

S.P.G.B. Lecture List For February. (1912)

Party News from the February 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Click to enlarge.

Attention ! (1912)

Party News from the February 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are asked to announce that a Public Meeting will be held under the auspices of our Battersea Branch, in the Large Hall of the Latchmere Baths, Latchmere Road, Battersea, on Sunday night, February 11th at 8. Doors open at 7.30.

Speaker: F. Vickers. Subject: "Why We Oppose All Other Parties."

Admission and all seats free. Questions and discussion invited.

Aggressive Lancashire Capitalists. (1912)

From the February 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Rarely has our “free” Press had such an innings as during the recent cotton lock-out in Lancashire (and during the Parliamentary recess, too). Thousands of columns of servile paid trash have been written “about it and about.” Let us sift out the wheat from the chaff, and see what really is the position of the workers in Lancashire. Children leave school to work half-time in the weaving mills at the age of twelve, and full time at about thirteen. After “tenting,” or helping a four or six loom weaver, they get first two looms to look after, then in the course of time, three and four looms. Four is the usual number — when six are minded a “tenter,” or help, is necessary.

The average earnings per loom (given by Wood in his “History of Wages in the Cotton Trade”) are 6s. 6d. per loom per week for a two loom weaver ; 5s. 11d. per loom per week for a three loom weaver ; 6s. per loom per week for a four loom weaver; but many have help to pay for. Weavers having happy family connections or other exceptional help may become overlookers and earn 45s. or 50s. weekly, conditioned by the earnings of the weavers. The overlooker, paid on the weavers’ earnings, is thus tempted to keep production up to the maximum.

A large number of weavers are women, and when married many continue their employment. The sight of women taking out infants to their nurse at half past five on a winter’s morning is an incident of family life which only an anti-Socialist can appreciate. In Burnley, out of the total number of married women and widows, 33.8 percent. are occupied in various industries. The average earnings per loom before mentioned only applies to times of regular employment, “bad” times come, when many looms are stopped and fewer hours worked. Taking all in all, the outlook for a lad or lass when school is left behind, is, in Lancashire, much the drab, dull outlook of the worker the capitalist world over.

Beaming Radical politicians gloat over the extravagant prosperity of the weavers compared with the poverty of their forebears. Let us briefly examine the course of events.

In Lancashire, says Toynbee, “we can trace step by step the growth of the capitalist employer. At first we see, as in Yorkshire, the weaver furnishing himself with warp and weft, which he worked up in his own house and I brought himself to market.” By degrees he became dependent on the merchants at Manchester, who gave him out warp and raw cotton. Finally the merchant would get thirty or forty looms in a town — then came the great mechanical inventions.

The times when the weaver fully or partially controlled his product were decidedly his golden age. Down to the year 1810 the hand-loom weaver waxed fat; then the power loom caused a catastrophe. Even in 1833 the hand loom weavers out-numbered the power loom weavers by three to one. Says Mr. Wood: all the records agree that an extraordinary fall in prices paid and amounts earned by hand loom weavers took place between the early years of the century and 1830-40. In Lancashire in 1806, according to the same authority, there existed :
80,000 to 100,000 factory operatives earning 9s 6d. to 10s 6d. per week.
165,000 hand-loom weavers earning 18s. to 24s. per week.
From the year 1806 down a rapid change took place in the earnings of the hand-loom weavers, a reduction in wages of 50 per cent. taking place in 25 years. The competition was drastic, and it was not until 1840 that the turn was taken, and not until the year 1890 that the wage level (nominal wage) of 1800 was again reached truly a century of progress for the workers.

Besides changes in piece wages (for over 30 years stationary) there are two factors affecting the wages of weavers: the speeding-up of the looms and the increase in the number tended. These factors become more important if we remember that in the year 1901 over 350,000 fewer persons were employed in the textile trades than in 1851; a diminution contemporary with a constant increase in the quantity of textiles produced. If we take the cotton trade alone we find a slight increase in the number employed, an increase, however, negligible compared with the vast difference in the amount of stuff produced This is the truth: after a century of mechanical change we have not equalled the conditions existing prior to that change — now power loom production is established the worker is in many ways in an inferior position to that of the weaver in the palmy days of the hand-loom. If it is not so I should be pleased to see some textile union leader haul forth some facts.

To come to the lock-out, during the past year an attempt has been made to bring non-unionists into the ranks of the textile unions. Oral persuasion failed in some cases, and the weavers at an Accrington mill refused to work with non-unionists. The reply of the masters was to lock out the bulk of the weavers in Lancashire. Now what were the masters' motives for their action ? Were they anxious that a few non-unionists should have freedom or license or liberty or some other abstract concept? Reverse the position and imagine that but ten percent. of the weavers were in the union, and that the ninety per cent. non-unionists threatened to cease work unless the unionists abandoned the union — would then the bosses have prated about freedom and liberty? It is not at all likely. The unionists would have to surrender, for at such a time, in the midst of a trade boom, the mills would never have closed, and it would have been left to the philosophers to prate about liberty. So in the case of the lock out it cannot be possible that the bosses were much bothered about the few non unionists.

In searching for reasons for the lock out it is necessary to ask: Were the masters opposed to the trade unions on principle? Would they not rather negotiate with the unions than with unorganised workers? The following quotation from the “Manchester Guardian” of Jan. 20th, the day following the settlement, is apt here : 
“Comparatively few employers could be found to deny, or even question, the advantage winch they as employers have gained from the regulation of wages and the general systemisation of conditions of employment which their own associations and the uuions have jointly brought about. We believe that a great majority of employers wish the unions to be strong, if for no other reason than that they shall be able to prevent the minority of what may be described as non-union employers from competing unfairly with them by paying wages less than the standard rates.”
The following gem is from the “Blackburn Daily Telegraph'' of Jan. 19th. The manufacturers “have a direct interest in the effective working of the employees’ unions, which they have no desire to see smashed, as they operate effectively in keeping prices at a uniform rate. The absence of these organisations would result in certain firms underpaying, to the detriment of all fair competition.”

Such citations could be reproduced in abundance from the capitalist Press at the time of the lock out.

It is the writer's opinion that the cotton capitalists do not desire to smash the unions so long as they retain their present servile position. Then why the lock out? Why this apparently disproportionate, huge lock out in reply to a strike at a single mill? Does it not look as if it were a case of using a steam hammer to smash a nut, even if there was danger of an extension of the strike? The truth is probably this—that within the Lancashire unions exists a militant section, and it is this minority which has taken the initiative on the non-unionist question and forced action upon the supine majority in the unions. The capitalists are not afraid of trade union leaders of the old school, but, rightly or wrongly, they look with suspicion on the activities of a section of the workers.

The lock-out was settled on terms that left the weavers in a worse position than before the non-unionist agitation. When the terms were known meetings of protest were held in many weaving centres; in Nelson. Accrington, Blackburn and other towns vigorous language was used anent the terms obtained, a majority of those who take an interest in the working of the unions condemned their “delegates” Unfortunately, many are insensitive to humiliation by employers, and it is such the “delegates” lean upon for a mechanical support.

This minority I speak of are not Socialists; they are no doubt reformers and would disavow the class war. But the silly habit of looking upon capitalism as a thing that was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, is fading away. A more rebellious, if uninformed, spirit animates many of the workers. It is this which the masters fear.

Many factors are at work which will in the near future bring these operatives to see that Socialism is the only way out of the mire. Their stationary wages, the increase in the cost of living, the failure of the Labour Party, the “flitting” of their leader, Shackleton, the obvious permanency of their proletarian condition under the present system—all such factors must tend to compel the workers in Lancashire to make the war against the bosses political besides industrial; and permanent, not haphazard and fitful.
John A. Dawson.

By Their Works Ye Shall Know Them. (1912)

From the February 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Those politicians who are out for political fraud, must, in the very nature of things, persue their object by means of fraud The explanation is that since they wish to practise fraud upon their victims, they must always cloak the truth for fear their dupes may become enlightened. On the other hand the honest politician has no use for the dupe The realisation of his object demands that everyone who stands with him shall do so in knowledge and understanding. Therefore when trickery is resorted to, it shows that those who use it depend upon ignorance, and hence are engaged upon fraudulent enterprise. These few words are sufficient introduction to the following.
  “Tooting. At a meeting held at the S.DP. Rooms on Saturday. December 30, the following resolution was unanimously carried, members of the I.L.P. and S.P.G.B. being present, although these organisations, unfortunately, were not officially represented: ‘That, in the opinion of this meeting, it is desirable that a branch of the B.S.P. be formed in the Tooting Ward of the Borough of Wandsworth, and urges the several Socialist organisations in the said ward to take steps to wind up their affairs, in order to unite in said branch, and also calls upon the assistance of all unattached Socialists.' "
Justice." Jan. 6th.
As this is clearly an implication that members of the S.P.G.B. were present at the time the resolution was put to the meeting, and that they therefore acquiesced in it, the following letter was sent to “Justice.” It is significant that it was refused publication.
141. Eswyn Road. Tooting, S.W.
Jan. 14, 1912
To the Editor of “Justice.”
Referring to a report in last week’s issue of “Justice.’’of a public meeting held at the S.D.P. Rooms, Tooting, on Saturday, the 30th ult, with the object of forming a local branch of the British Socialist Party, I, as the only member of the Socialist Party of Great Britain present on that occasion, wish to point out that that being the case, your report was incorrect inasmuch as it says “members” of the S.P.G.B. were present. I should also like to add that I only arrived toward the end of the meeting, after the resolution referred to had been put, so it is obviously incorrect and misleading to state that members of the S.PG.B. were present and the resolution was carried unanimously.
I trust you will insert this letter in your next issue and so remove any misconception arising through the inaccuracy of your report
Yours, etc., D. B. Campbell.