Sunday, July 4, 2021

50 Years Ago: Socialism and Religion (1974)

The 50 Years Ago column from the July 1974 issue of the Socialist Standard

One who accepts the Socialist position, and realises therefore, the implications of its scientific basis, has no place as a member of the “holy” Church of Christianity. The superstition and submission taught by religion is in direct opposition to the philosophy of Socialism.

Our pamphlet [Socialism and Religion] was a bombshell to the professional politicians of the social reform parties. John M. Work, the secretary of the “S. P. of America,” tried to minimise its influence by saying the pamphlet was an irresponsible statement. The “Socialist Labour Party,” in reply to questions, continually answered in the words of De Leon that Religion was a private matter, and that a Socialist could hold any opinion he liked about the matter. And the I.W.W. in their leaflets repudiated being “anti-religious,” and said “members of the I.W.W. differ as much in their political and religious views as do members of any other organisation” 

“Communist” politicians anxious to “get in” are careful to dodge the question of religion. At Kelvingrove Bye-Election, where Ferguson ran under Labour Party auspices, a complaint was made that some orator attacked religion. The Communist paper “The Worker” (June 7th, 1924), says: “We cannot say we heard of any Communist orator attacking religion as mentioned by the special correspondent.” It further states that “it is absurd to suggest that Communist speakers generally attacked religion.” The same dodging of the materialist nature of Socialism was made by the Catholic Francis Meynell when editor of the “Communist,” who answered an enquirer by stating that while the logical person must recognise the conflict between Socialism and Religion, logical people are as rare as white blackbirds.

[From an article Socialism and Religion by W. Edgar. Socialist Standard, July 1924.]

Economics and Ideas. Their influence on Political Institutions. (Part 4) (1925)

From the July 1925 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued front last month).

The Machine Age.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century there were then three powerful states in which the class with free bourgeois property, alone or, in England, in conjunction with a commercialised landed-class, ruled society.

It is well to bear in mind the economic stage that had been reached. A majority of the population still lived either wholly or in part on the land. All industry was on a relatively small scale with tools that were individually operated. Production for sale was widespread, but not universal as it is to-day. The supply of materials and the marketing of the product was largely in the hands of merchants and great trading companies. The merchant capitalists had a powerful hold over industry, but the genuine industrial capitalists were few and relatively unimportant.

The workers—the “common people”— were illiterate, inarticulate and unorganised. For the most part they accepted without question the lowly position and toil to which Providence for its higher purposes had consigned them, and they looked upon the affairs of government as the natural and rightful monopoly of “their betters,” the “gentlemen,” the “people of quality,” elegance and education.

But into the apparently stable, easy-going complacent world of eighteen-century England burst an economic tornado that was destined to sweep the whole “bag of tricks” into the museum of antiquities and to create a new civilisation. This power was that child of science and economic necessity—the industrial revolution.

As machine-production extended itself to an ever wider sphere of industry, the whole complexion of social relations was transformed. Of little significance hitherto, the class of capitalist factory-owners now waxed fat in wealth and importance. But at the opposite social pole there gathered an ever-swelling multitude of propertyless wage-earners, factory hands, machine-driven and disciplined, separated entirely from the soil and herded, amid unprecedented squalor, into dismal industrial towns scattered over the coalfields.

The slow, steady controllable methods of the age of hand-tools were replaced by the uncontrolled production of commodities en-masse, by a ceaseless effort to cheapen production and by a wild competitive scramble to sell. In an industrial anarchy without parallel the only regulation and order came through the blind balance of the market, through the inexorable operation of economic forces. “Economic law”—that made and unmade—became the “divine principle” of a new philosophy of social life. Its prophets were the “economists.” They endeavoured to convince the workers as they had succeeded in convincing themselves that the wealth of the rich and the destitution of the poor were due to the “natural,” “eternal” laws of wealth creation that could neither be avoided, controlled, nor—with safety—interfered with.

The bible of the new thought was the “Wealth of Nations,” by Adam Smith, one of the most practically effective books ever written. In it was put forward not alone the economic theory of unbridled competition, but its natural, ethical accompaniment, that the general happiness of society is best secured by the assiduous devotion of individuals to their own interests. In the turmoil of the economic scramble, unlimited wealth and power seemed open to the man of initiative, nerve, organising ability and—capital. Competition, emulation, struggle, were elevated to the dignity of moral principles. The duty of “getting on” was proclaimed. “Hard work” became a virtue par excellence—though not always practised by its preachers. The conviction that the individual is superior to, and can dominate the “fell clutch of circumstance,” gained a hold upon men’s minds.

The idea of “progress” as an accepted moral principle dates from this dawn period of industrialism. For the first time in history men could see society being transformed before their eyes—not the mere outward change of political forms or the disruption due to war, but a steady, unceasing progression in one constant direction. For the first time men in general could predict the certainty of development in the future. Men no longer worshipped the past—the “good old days”—they looked ahead, and let their imaginations play tricks. To stand still, to stagnate, became a moral evil—to move, to progress, a moral excellence.

Amongst the political adaptations to the economic needs of the new era the most outstanding were those resultant upon the doctrine of “laissez faire”—the freedom of production and trade from legislative interference, expressed in the “liberalism” of Cobden and the “Manchester School.” The old restrictive Navigation Acts and the Corn Laws were abolished and all fetters removed upon the perfect liberty to buy in the cheapest and sell in the dearest market. Upon the principle of “unfettered production” the fullest exploitation of the worker, regardless of life or health or age or sex, was justified, and it was nominally on the ground that they were “restraints upon trade” that the early trades unions were declared illegal in the Combination Acts of 1799-1800, and thus the attempts of the workers at organised resistance forcibly repressed by the State.

The politics of the “new age” were soon also violently complicated by the struggle of the new capitalists for political power. The necessity of the conflict sprang largely from the fact that the industrial revolution had transferred the mass of production and population to the north and west, areas hitherto thinly populated and economically of little importance. Large industrial towns, such as Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, were entirely without representation in Parliament. A further factor of importance, however, was that the new industrial conditions had produced a large, politically conscious body of lesser capitalists with an intense appreciation of the rights and privileges of property—their property, and intolerant of political control by the landlords and merchant princes.

The great reform struggle lasted some forty years and was bitterly contested by the ruling oligarchy. In the hope, encouraged by the bourgeois reformers that they stood to gain, large masses of the workers were drawn into the conflict which again and again reached open violence. At length, amid intense public excitement, the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed, which redistributed seats in accordance with existing economic facts and extended the franchise to some half-million large and smaller property owners. This was the final victory in England of free property over landed privilege—of the precious yellow metal over “precious” blue blood.
R. W. Housley

(To be continued.)

“The Anti-Fascists”. Their rejoinder and our reply. (1925)

Letter to the Editors from the July 1925 issue of the Socialist Standard

Comrades,

Our reply will be brief. It is a dirty game you play. It is exactly the game we expect the Fascists to play, and we are well prepared to meet it. You would suggest that we are not willing to disclose all (italics, please—they were yours) our books to the public. Very well, examine them for yourself. They are here. Will it be necessary to turn out our pockets also? They are very light—and that by reason of our Socialist activity. We can prove that, too.

We note also that Mr. “H.,” like Mr. “A.” and the Fascists we have had to deal with, prefers cover. Fortunately, we have others means of defending ourselves, and need not depend on the very precarious indulgence of that abstraction you call Ed. Com.

You will note that we address you as “comrades,” and that we subscribe ourselves.
Yours fraternally,
Alfred Holdsworth,
Editor, The Clear Light.


Reply.
Mr. Holdsworth seems to find it difficult to believe that any statement can mean just what it says and no more. We said that freak organisations are usually fair game for the political job-hunter, and further that if the N.U.C.F. made all its meetings and books freely accessible to the public as does the Socialist Party, it would show that it is not so affected. Instead of telling us that the N.U.C.F. does, or will, allow the public free access to all its meetings and books, Mr. Holdsworth offers to let us examine the books; something we are not the least concerned to do.

The remarks on “cover” are merely silly. We published a criticism of the N.U.C.F. Its validity depends on the nature of the evidence provided, but instead of answering the charges made, Mr. Holdsworth prefers to beat the air about a supposed accusation, which was, in fact, never made at all. The soundness of the charges does not in the least depend on the identity of Mr. “H.” It is perhaps for this reason that Mr. Holdsworth prefers not to accept our invitation to defend the N.U.C.F. in our columns.

In passing, it is interesting to note that the N.U.C.F. is also guilty of the “crime” of publishing contributions in its organ without disclosing the identity of the writer.

We do not know what Mr. Holdsworth was trying to express by the words, “precarious indulgence of that abstraction you call Ed. Com.,” but it certainly supports our charge that the literature of the N.U.C.F. is obscurely written.

Why Mr. Holdsworth calls us “Comrades” we do not know? We do not know that we have done anything to deserve this, “the most unkindest cut of all.” We have made it perfectly clear that we regard the N.U.C.F. as an anti-working class organisation. We gave our reasons and our evidence and are still waiting for Mr. Holdsworth or some other representative to explain why we should alter our opinion. Our columns are still open for them to do so.
Editorial Committee

Working class education. The failure of the Labour Colleges. (1925)

Editorial from the July 1925 issue of the Socialist Standard

By dint of strenuous and persistent agitation the National Council of Labour Colleges (N.C.L.C.) has won its fight for recognition by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress. It and the London Labour College are to be permitted to take part in an Educational Scheme in co-operation with their old enemies the W.E.A., Ruskin College and the Co-operative Educational Committee. The participating bodies are to retain their separate organisations and machinery, and each may continue to operate independently any educational scheme it can arrange in addition to the joint scheme.

Elated by being recognised the Plebs League and other supporters of the N.C.L.C. appear not to have recognised that this event has a quite other significance. No doubt it represents a personal success for the active N.C.L.C. workers, and a propaganda victory for the organisation; but it also signifies the death of an idea, it gives the final blow to the theory of Independent Working Class Education which they have proclaimed and popularised.

The scheme means co-operation with those organisations which in the past have been denounced by the N.C.L.C. and the Plebs League as camouflaged instruments of Capitalist propaganda. Against this the right to operate separate schemes is of little value. A circular addressed to Plebs members by a Plebs E.C. sub-committee admits that in practice “individual Unions…. would probably sooner or later feel it incumbent upon them to transfer their support to any general scheme approved by Congress.”

Nominally, the freedom of action of the N.C.L.C. is guaranteed by a paragraph which concedes “the rights of criticism on propaganda” to the separate organisations “provided that there shall be mutual abstention from criticism of the good faith of any educational organisations recognised by the T.U.C. …” A moment’s thought will show it to be an inadequate safeguard, and this the Plebs E.C. feel for they urge “the importance of getting a clear decision, at the outset of exactly what is implied by the paragraph.” Can one describe the W.E.A. as a body of Capitalist apologists, built up on Capitalist money without “criticising their good faith? ”

In passing, one cannot but ask if the Plebs Leaguers really do believe that working class education is likely to be assisted by the association of mutually warring elements claiming to speak from fundamentally different standpoints. Clarity goes the way of independence and confusion comes into undisputed possession.

The Plebs E.C., while supporting the entry of the N.C.L.C. into the scheme, try to “have it both ways.” They comfort themselves with the argument that “The Plebs League, not being bound by the agreement or signatory to it, will in any case retain the fullest freedom of criticism, and as before show that co-operation with Capitalist-controlled universities and dependence on financial grants from non-working-class sources (as practised by the W.E.A.) are inconsistent with working-class independence.”

The logic is curious. It is wrong for the W.E.A. to associate with Capitalist Universities but not wrong for the N.C.L.C. to associate with the W.E.A., although it always used to be wrong. The N.C.L.C. is right in signing away its independence and Plebs members are to support them in doing so; but in the same breath the Plebs congratulate themselves because they are not doing what it is right for the N.C.L.C. to do.

If the Plebs do continue to denounce the W.E.A. they will find it a little difficult to explain why they urged the N.C.L.C. to co-operate with the W.E.A.

And, moreover, what in fact will be the value of the “fullest freedom of criticism” which the Plebs will continue to enjoy? The “Plebs Magazine,” the chief vehicle of criticism, happens to be the organ of the N.C.L.C., which is giving up its “fullest freedom of criticism.” It is perhaps good propaganda for the vanquished to go on claiming the right to fight while giving up their arms to the victors; but it is not war.

The reasons why this co-operation appears as a desirable object are frankly stated in the Plebs circular. They are the threatened loss of financial aid from Trade Unions and the fear of being “left outside the main field of Trade Union educational activity.” These admissions bear out what we have always contended—that the movement for “Independent Working Class Education” never was really independent. Because their “educational policy,” in the words of the Plebs E.C., “has been from the beginning to win Trade Union support,” the N .C.L.C. had to proclaim and the Labour Colleges had to teach theories which did not offend the reactionary members and officials of the Unions which put up the cash.

To please the miners they were forced to pretend that industrial organisation is the method of achieving working-class emancipation. It is a cruel fate which has reduced the Miners Federation to a state of confessed impotence.

They styled themselves Marxians, but had to take great care, when explaining the significance of Imperialism, not to give offence by exposing the part played by the Trade Union officials in leading the workers into the war.

They talked of the need for revolutionising society, but had to keep on good terms with the Labour Party opponents of revolution.

They followed the popular school of orthodox economists of the Tory, Liberal and Labour Parties in regarding inflation of currency as the chief cause of high prices in Great Britain. Events have here, too, rewarded them unkindly. Although we have returned practically to 1914 currency conditions, including gold export, yet prices remain 75 per cent. above 1914 level.

The hard truth is that independence can be had only at a price. You cannot base an educational system on the urgent need for the overthrow of Capitalism and yet honestly gain the financial support of Trade Unions whose members would not approve the overthrow of Capitalism. Still less can you avoid discussion of the ways and means of achieving emancipation, and if ways and means are to be discussed you cannot escape the responsibility of approving or condemning particular theories and existing industrial and political policies.

To try to teach Marxism without pointing out the political implications of the class struggle is to rob it of its meaning and value. The exponents of Independent Working Class Education set out determined to preserve their independence ; but they also wanted to succeed and show tangible results, a very human but, nevertheless, dangerous weakness. The price of independence in the existing state of working class indifference and political backwardness is to be “left outside the main field of Trade Union Educational activity,” and the N.C.L.C. and the Plebs have just decided that the price is too great.

The Road to Power. An exposure of the Social Democrats. (1925)

From the July 1925 issue of the Socialist Standard

An exposure of the Social Democrats in Germany and their allies.

In the June “Labour Monthly,” Mr. M. Philips Price, writing under the title “The Great Retreat,” gives a useful account of the position of the German working class since 1918, dealing in particular with the impotence of the Social Democratic Party and the treachery of its leaders. He quotes from a recent book, “Vom Kaiserreich zur Republik” (From Empire to Republic) by Richard Mueller, a Social Democrat who, in 1919 was chairman of the Berlin Workers’ Council. Mueller states (Vol. II., page 112) that when his council after the armistice drew up plans for the immediate workers’ control of industry in Berlin, the “Social Democratic Trade Union leaders protested ; they had already signed an agreement with the employers which was neither known to us nor to the public.” This agreement, it appears, bound the Trade Unions not to demand “any kind of workers’ control over the employers or insight into their financial transactions, in return for which the workers should get the eight-hour day.” (Price.) The ensuing years have shown, as might be expected, that even the eight-hour day was not to be safe when it suited the employers to attack it.

To excuse their refusal to attack the employers, at so opportune a moment, these leaders argued that if such an attack were made the allies would at once stop the supply of food for the starving. This was officially denied by the American Government, and the “Temps” (November 16th, 1918) declared that “The conditions which President Wilson put for the supply of food to Germany did not come from him, but were suggested to him by the German Chancellor himself.” (The Chancellor was the Social Democrat Ebert.) Again, the capitalist paper the “Frankfurter Zeitung” announced, “In actual fact, M. Clemenceau is quite indifferent to what form of government there is in Germany, whether it is Capitalistic or Socialistic, if Liebknecht is crowned Kaiser in Prussia or Prince Henry is elected President of the Republic in Kiel.”

What really happened was that “Vorwaerts” (Social Democrat Official Organ) got someone to telegraph to it from Holland that “the food which has been obtained abroad for Germany is being held back by the American Government because it is not certain if Germany can guarantee that she will have a free constitution . . .”

Ebert, when asking the U.S.A. for food for Germany, worded his telegram “provided that public order prevails there.” (Vol. II., page 118.)

This treachery was engineered, of course, to please the employing class, and to dissuade the workers from listening to the minority, who urged an attack on their class enemies.

The disclosure of these actions is useful, chiefly because it emphasises what we have always taught, that the workers can never afford to place uncontrolled power in the hands of leaders, no matter what their record and views may be. It is, however, no less essential to view these actions against the background provided by the general conditions and our knowledge of the rank and file. We must avoid the groundless assumption that different leadership could have altered the result materially.

The Socialist knows that there must be a majority of the working class understanding and determined on achieving Socialism before the real tasks of the socialistic revolution can even be begun. Given such a majority in possession of the machinery of government, with the powers and in the position of a ruling class, nothing but a possible capitalist revolt can stand between the workers and their object. Such a revolt would, in the nature of things, be foredoomed to failure, and need cause anxiety only to those who may be misguided enough to resist the forces of the State when the workers control those forces. We do not seek a majority out of any merely sentimental attachment to the idea of democracy. We need a majority because our aim is Socialism, and Socialism is democratic or it is nothing at all; only self-deception allows the belief that Capitalism is any the less Capitalism because in Russia it is administered by a Communist bureaucracy. Indeed, we do not have to look so far ahead to see the uselessness of minority action. Vain hopes to the contrary notwithstanding, there are not in existence any means by the use of which a minority can seize and keep the powers of government in modern democracies. Those who govern us on behalf of the Capitalist class do so with the active support or passive consent of the great majority of the workers. To oust them the minority which aspires to power would need to overwhelm not just the Capitalist few, but the mass of the workers as well. Merely to state this is to expose it for a wild and dangerous dream.

And, if further argument be necessary, what one minority could do, another minority could and would endeavour to undo. The knowledge of the numerical weakness of the revolutionary forces would naturally encourage the defeated Capitalists to a new trial of strength. Prolonged civil war may sound fine to young Communists, but Socialism does not from choice select such difficult beginnings.

The German Communists have signally failed to achieve anything tangible and lasting. Anxious for quick results and impatient of educational work to win the support of the workers, they have relied alternately on intrigue with Capitalist parties and on futile violence. They played with extreme nationalism and urged the workers to defend the interests of German Capitalists in the Ruhr against the French and British. They are now reaping their reward.

In the May, 1924, elections they polled over 12 per cent. of the votes cast; in December, 9 per cent.; in March, 1925, 7 per cent. ; and in April, 6.4 per cent. The Communist “short cut” does not lead to Socialism.

But while the Communist Party is no longer the danger that it was, those who believe that salvation for the workers lies along the road which is followed by the British Labour Party and the German Social Democratic Party, are more numerous than ever. The Communist does not appreciate the nature or the magnitude of the task of overthrowing Capitalism, and wants to set enthusiasm and pea-shooters against the organised might of the State. The Labour Party aims at organising a majority of the electorate, but does not seek the overthrow of Capitalism at all. It is a party not of Socialism but of reform; not of knowledge but of discontent. It lacks a definite and primary object on which to enforce unity among its self-centred and often hostile elements. Only on one issue is general unanimity possible; that is the search for some ground on which the exploited and the exploiters can live amicably together. Believing such amity to be possible it rejects the Socialist solution of the abolition of private ownership in the means of life. The Labour Party view is that expressed by Mr. Clynes (“Daily Herald,” April 3, 1925) :
  “If all classes can preserve the spirit that carried us through five years of terrible war, we can go forward in a spirit of co-operation and goodwill which will benefit the whole community.”
We believe on the contrary that the Capitalist class alone have an interest in promoting such co-operation. We want for society the property now owned by the employers, and we do not anticipate that they will yield it up with goodwill. We recall not with pride but with regret, the years when the workers of each nation willingly hated and fought the enemies of their respective sections of the ruling class. We urge not co-operation but the acceptance of the truth of our peacetime and wartime slogan “The enemy of the working class is the master class.”

And because the Labour Parties are not fighting for any fundamental change their method of organising is quite unlike that which is required to win Socialism. The Labour Parties command millions of votes and the support of thousands of active and devoted workers. They have highly-organised and richly-financed political machines for winning elections, and a press of growing power with which they endeavour to mould opinion. The Socialist Party lacks these things because its aim is Socialism, and there are as yet too few Socialists to make such widespread organisation possible. But of what use to the working class are these millions of votes cast for Labour candidates and these electoral victories leading as they do merely to “colossal” parliamentary battles about taxes on silk stockings and such trivialities? Germany developed such a party well nigh to perfection and next to Germany, England. And what is there to show for it all?

They boast of the reforms, old age pensions, insurance schemes which have been initiated or at least amended through the influence they are able to exercise on the various governments; yet in spite of all, the condition of the workers gets worse year by year, and was getting worse for a decade before the war. This is true of Germany, England and America and of “our” colonies. It is the worsening conditions imposed by Capitalism which make reforms necessary to the Capitalists, and it is the vague discontent bred of worsening conditions which builds up these huge Labour Parties. The reforms are not the effect of the growing power of the Labour Parties. As George Washington learned by hard experience, “Influence is not Power.” The entry of Labour Leaders into Capitalist Cabinets and to their social functions merely shows how easily the non-Socialist rank and file are deceived by the gift of the shadow of power by those who keep tight hold on the substance.

Advising the ruling class what to do to stave off revolutionary discontent is not winning power for the working class. When Capitalism had its time of crisis the leaders and the machinery of the Labour Parties of the warring nations were openly employed to help the master class wage their war. This was the end in England, Germany, France, and in fact In every country the workers of which had followed the same unsound policy. Many have now realised the disastrous failure but have quite misunderstood the underlying causes.

Philips Price is one of these. He knows well the black record of the Social Democrats during the war. He knows how fully they deserved the epithet “the Kaiser’s Socialists,” and he must see that their policy after the armistice could not become suddenly and completely different from that which they had pursued before. But what he fails to see is that long years before the war the ground was being prepared and the harvest could be no other than it was and is. For him as for most of those who criticise the Social Democrats, 1914 was the year when what he calls “the pillar of the old International, the party of August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht” threw over its Socialism and betrayed the workers of Germany. Thus he writes, for instance, that “an aristocracy has risen up during the last ten years in the party” (italics mine). This simply is not true. To the Socialist Party of Great Britain the internal rottenness and anti-Socialist outlook of the German S.D.P. were apparent long before the war, and consistently with our knowledge, we declined to share the current foolish confidence in the Second International. Neither it nor its affiliated societies were Socialist; how then could it or they take up a Socialist attitude to the war? Years of war were needed to teach this simple lesson to the founders of the Third International.

Yet as long ago as 1896 Bertrand Russell was able to see what was to prove the fatal defect of the S.D.P., although at the time he seems to have anticipated that the weakness would be overcome. In his “German Social Democracy” (1896, Longmans, page 131), he wrote as follows :—
  ” . . the élite of the Party acquire a dominion over their less intelligent and less definite companions; these are often very vague as to what Social Democracy is, and may even retain a liking for the military or a disbelief in Communism, totally inconsistent with the Party Programme.”
Russell quoted Paul Göhre, whose conclusions on the outlook of the party membership coincided with what he himself observed.

He goes on (page 132) :—
  “The final alms of the Party, in particular, appear for the most part rather unpopular, so great a change as the abolition of private property was unintelligible to the average working man. The opposition to militarism, too . . was not shared, if Gohre may be believed, by any but the official members.”
He concludes :
  “As, however, the official members alone are clear as to the aims to be pursued, and alone decide the choice of candidates, their views alone are represented in Parliament . . . the views of the rank and file, however different from those which find expression in party literature, do not seem to me to have any great political importance.”
Events have shown Bertrand Russell’s hope to be ill-founded. The views and lack of views of the rank and file proved to be all-important. Not being Socialists they were as easily led into war as they had been led before the war. Sheep do not at the cry of danger suddenly become lions. It would be absurd to expect those who looked with favour on peace-time militarism to turn against it when their own leaders ranted about the danger to the “Fatherland.”

Naturally too, years of wartime propaganda left the Social Democrats, war-weary though they were, still less ready to take a Socialist course of action. Philips Price charges the leaders with giving a wrong lead in 1919, but what else could he expect? Were the members who supported the German Capitalists in the war the kind of body to carry on a fight against the Capitalists and for Socialism immediately the war ended?

The party did not even command a majority in Germany. In 1919, they polled 45 per cent. of the votes, but that 45 per cent. did not represent Socialist convictions. It was a combination of all kinds of discontent, natural in a war-weary and defeated country, and it rapidly disappeared as the immediate and pressing causes receded. Lack of success soon turned uninstructed enthusiasm into apathy and even hostility, leading eventually to a revival of patriotism.

By 1920 the vote of the S.D.P. had fallen to 42 per cent. ; and by 1924 to 20 per cent. Although it rose again this year it reached only 30 per cent., and the issue of recent elections has never been Socialism or anything which plainly challenged the position or privilege of the ruling class.

All the efforts of all the years of S.D.P. activity have led up to the Presidential election of May, 1925, when S.D.P. members had to vote for one avowed Capitalist in order to defeat another avowed Capitalist candidate. They had not even the gratification of selling out to the winning opponent of the working class.

In the meantime our own Labour Party, superior to the lessons of past or contemporary history, gaily treads the same path to the same slaughter.
Edgar Hardcastle