Thursday, April 13, 2023

Party News (1965)

Party News from the April 1965 issue of the Socialist Standard

Manchester area and North West England

Owing to various circumstances, Party organisation and activity in this area has lapsed over the past few years. We now hope to be in a position to review the situation and try and get something going. What we have in mind is a one day Conference in Manchester within the next month or so. to assess our strength and fully discuss what activity can be arranged.

All members of Central Branch will receive a circular in due course. I would however, like all sympathisers and readers of the S.S. who would be interested in Socialist activity to write to me c/o Head Office. Any suggestions of what you have in mind would be very welcome to enable me to prepare a full report.
Cyril May, 
Central Organiser.


Readers of the Socialist Standard in the Drumchapel area can obtain their copies from Menzies, The Main Shopping Centre, Drumchapel.

Socialist Party campaigns (2002)

Party News from the April 2002 issue of the Socialist Standard

London borough elections

South London Branch will be contesting the Clapham Town ward of Lambeth Borough Council in the local elections on 2 May. Anyone interested in helping out can contact the campaign team via Head Office.

University Challenge 2002

Twenty minutes of effort on your part is all that is needed to help with the Socialist Party’s “University Challenge” 2002 campaign. The campaign is an open invitation to student political groups/societies to hear the world socialist case at one of their meetings. This campaign has been successfully run previously and resulted in a number of very positive discussion meetings, putting the distinctive case for a world of free access in front of interested minds. So this year we want to really try and get as many meetings as possible.

Don’t be put off if you don't want to be a speaker yourself - a local speaker can be found. All we need at the moment is for you to contact your local college or university (via their general telephone enquiries) and get the address for the student association or main society’s body.

The Campaigns Department has produced a range of standard letters to be sent out to different types of interested student groups (Third World First, Labour Students, Greens etc). These can be obtained in Word 6.0 format from You can amend the letter for it to be returned to yourself, or to Head Office whichever suits you.

Editorial: The Cry of the Workless. (1905)

Editorial from the April 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the November issue of the Socialist Standard we showed that the unemployed problem could be solved only by the getting rid of the capitalist system of society, and that any attempt to solve this problem within the limits of the prevailing system of industrialism was so much wasted labour.

We offer no apology for again reverting to this question. The whole course of events since our article was written has more than borne out the strength of our contentions, and we are more than ever convinced of the uselessness of trying to combat the economic forces which make for an increase in the number of the unemployed by seeking the assistance of a capitalist government.

Unfortunately for the development of our views on this matter there exists a large number of men who, while admitting the cause of unemployment which we have adduced, viz., the development of machinery and the consequent concentration of capital in fewer hands, yet think that they can secure some amelioration of the life-condition of the workless working-men by trusting to the Government of the time.

With us they are aware that the introduction of more highly specialised machinery is permitting within the factory the liberation of many men formerly employed, and the substitution of women’s labour for men’s labour. Such a result is viewed as highly desirable by the capitalist who constantly scrutinises his wage-bill with the idea of reducing it, but for the worker the result is less desirable. For the latter it means a curtailment of his supply of food and of the other necessaries of life ot himself and his family. His wages being, on the average, limited by the cost of maintaining himself and his family, any stoppage of his wages means a stoppage in his maintenance.

The extent to which the machine has ousted the worker may be ascertained by a glance at the census returns. Comparing the figures of 1891 with those for 1901 we find that there has been a great reduction of those employed in the textile industries at the same time that there has been a great increase in output. In the cotton trade there has been a great reduction both of men and women ; so also in woollen and worsted, linen, silk; while in the lace industry an increase in the number of women has been nearly compensated by a reduction in the number of men employed. Again we must remember that, in the various trades, not only has the number of those employed diminished, but the work of those employed has become more intermittent; out-of-work and short-time workers being on the increase.

These results arise naturally from the conditions of employment to-day. The owners of property are ever on the look-out for means of augmenting their possessions. They employ their capital in industrial operations simply for the purpose of deriving from its use profit or interest. So long as they get their profits increased they care little for the conditions under which the work in their factory, in their mine, or on their railway is carried on. They never seek to know whether those working for them are living happy and contented lives. For them the worker is an abstraction—the materialisation of some portion of their capital in exactly the same way as another portion of their capital shows itself as raw material, as auxiliary material, as factory building, or as finished product. He sees the worker figuring on his periodical balance-sheet as “Wages,” and cares nothing that “Wages” means so many sentient human beings capable of thinking, loving, functioning even as he does.

Why then should he hesitate, when the markets are glutted, when his wages have been transformed into more goods than the market can consume, when goods cannot be sold because hungry men and women have not the wherewithal to buy food, when ill-clad children cannot have clothing provided for them because there is too much in the shops, to turn adrift those he no longer wishes to employ because they are no longer profitable ?

And the result is invariably that, during periods when the markets are teeming with food and clothing, the workers are sent adrift and cannot purchase the things of which they are so sorely in need.

The only solution to this state of affairs is to abolish Capitalism. The whole trend of events is in the direction of Collectivist production and the inquirer into things political and economic can see that the capitalist, having ceased to be useful, is using the whole governmental machinery to safeguard the interests of his class.

The worker must learn that he has to look to himself and his fellows to work out the emancipation of the working-class. Only by combining to capture the political machinery and to use the power thus acquired for the overthrow of Capitalism can he hope to obtain, once and for all, a full and complete solution to the unemployed problem.

What then are we to think of those who admit these facts and yet inveigh against the Government for not dealing with the unemployed ? The fact that the Government, and the class represented by the Government, have everything to gain from the existence of the unemployed ought to have prevented those people from begging for an autumn session to deal with the unemployed. By such an action they lead people to think that the unemployed problem may find its solution by trusting to parliaments composed of members of the middle-class.

This is the charge we make against those who, while pretending to lead, to organise, to direct the unemployed, believe that no solution of the problem is possible within capitalist society. They lead the workers to think that a solution is to be found without the change from Capitalism to Socialism which we have shown to be necessary. They lead them to think that Government, by holding autumn sessions to discuss the question, can take steps towards its solution. They befog the class-issue in which they pretend to believe. Mr. Keir Hardie refuses to raise the issue in the House of Commons because the Government have decided to shelve the matter by including a pious phrase in the King’s Speech.

We can only believe that those who are engaged in this so-called organisation of the unemployed are doing so in order to make political capital out of it. They have no hope or belief that the unemployed workers themselves will prove valuable recruits to their movement but they think that there are others among the employed who will mistake their efforts for the genuine zeal of those who are in earnest, and who will join their party in consequence.

We have no faith in those beliefs. We do not think the efforts for the unemployed are sincere, and we believe the efforts now made will prove as futile to-day as they have always hitherto done. The unemployed will not be converted by them. The employed will not be befooled by them. They will not gain their political capital.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain stands out as the only party which has not tried to make the unemployed believe that they must trust to parties outside themselves. The unemployed—and every worker is every day more likely to fall within that category—must look to themselves and to their fellow-workers for the redress of their ills.

The poverty of their lives, the misery in which they dwell, can only be removed by a steady effort in the direction of proving to them that the unemployed question is but a phase of the social problem, and that the social problem is to be solved by removing the cause of the poverty and the misery, and the degradation of the working-class —the class-ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth.

Workers, employed and unemployed ! Rally round The Socialist Party of Great Britain and make it your party through which the change is to be brought about which shall secure to you and yours the guarantee of health and comfort and plenty.

A Look Round. (1905)

From the April 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

“No doubt,” says a correspondent,” you have readers who are interested in the affairs of Messrs. Kidd, McAllen, Burns, Curran, etc.,but for me they are unimportant.” Well, much depends upon the point of view, and from ours they are very important.

* * *

The Socialist Standard is not issued with the object of providing a livelihood for professional journalists, or to boom certain persons who think, rightly or wrongly, that good will result if, by becoming Councillors or M.P.’s, they can enhance their reputations as “leaders” of the working-class. It would be easier, and doubtless produce better financial results, for the conductors to devote the paper to cycling, theatrical and anti-theological matters, with Socialism as a side-line. But it is the official organ of a militant Socialist Party, not existing to induce folks to believe in Socialism as a “pious opinion” but as a necessary and desirable revolution which they shall organise to accomplish. The Party holds very definite views as to the tactics of the Socialist Army and was founded because these tactics were not being pursued by any existing body.

* * *

In promulgating their views concerning the establishment of the Socialist Republic and the basis of organisation of the Socialist working-class, the members of The Socialist Party of Great Britain are inevitably brought into conflict with other bodies claiming to be Socialist as well as with capitalist politicians. It is necessary to show how not to do it, as well as how to do it. It is claimed that the L.R.C., S.D.F., and I.L.P., are examples of how not to do it, and it is therefore necessary to criticise and to oppose them, quite as much as the orthodox politicians. In this connection, however the aim has always been to be as vigorous and as critical as circumstances demand, but not caustic or abusive.

* * *

A case in point. Class-conscious Socialists must oppose capitalist candidates because the latter stand for Capitalism as against Socialism, for the perpetuation of the class war by the perpetuation of classes, for the interests of the exploiters as against those of the exploited. These reasons should always be stated on the platform and in the press. Yet only last month, at a meeting called to promote the candidature of Major Jameson for South West Ham, Councillor Davis (I.L.P.) moved, and Councillor J. Jones (S.D.F.) seconded an amendment declaring that because Major Jameson had been indifferent to his Parliamentary duties during the present Parliament, and knowing that he was elected for West Clare as an Irish Nationalist and had now changed his politics, he was not a fit and proper person to represent South West Ham. Now the reasons given here might be good ones from the point of view of one set of capitalist politicians opposing another, but they are not Socialist reasons. The policy here pursued was not a “straight” one ; the tactics were those of suppression and confusion.

* * *

It is easy to multiply instances of the contradictory and confusing tactics of the S.D.F. W. C. Steadman is the London Trades Council and Liberal candidate for Central Finsbury, vice-president of the Central Finsbury Liberal Association, president of the Stepney Liberal, Radical, Labour, and Progressive Association, and Progressive member of the L.C.C. for Stepney. At the February meeting of, the London Trades Council, presided over by H. Quelch (editor of Justice) the question of Steadman’s refusal to sign the L.R.C. constitution was raked, and Quelch pointed out that it had been understood all through that Steadman had the support of the L.T.C. His failure to conform to the rules of any other body made no difference to their attitude. They supported him before the L.R.C. was formed. Now, not only the chairman, but the secretary, and also very many of the delegates to the L.T.C. are members of the S.D.F. They are supporting Steadman, although in Justice for May 22nd, 1897, H. Quelch wrote: “The non-Socialist trade-unionist is the type of labour representative which is fashionable in the House of Commons and in other representative assemblies in the kingdom. We had better have none at all. Flunkeys and sycophants, they ape the airs of their masters, while they contemn and misrepresent the class in whose name they claim to speak” ; and in the same paper a fortnight ago Steadman was described as a “Liberal decoy-duck.” Undoubtedly he is, and as such is supported by the S.D.F.

* * *

“Is it true that Lady Warwick has become a Socialist ?” asks a comrade in Bulgaria, on a postcard written in Esperanto. The long reply which has been sent to him in the same language will give him an up-to-date idea of the condition of the Socialist movement in this country. According to her ladyship’s own statement she is now a “proud and convinced member of the S.D.F.,” but it does not follow that she is therefore a Socialist. To a representative of the Daily Chronicle she quoted details of the S.D.F. programme with which she is “wholly in agreement,” but it is not at all necessary to be a Socialist to agree with the items to which she refers. Moreover, she takes exception to the abolition of the monarchy, and it is quite evident that she has still a very great regard for the pomps and vanities connected therewith. To believe in the establishment of the Socialist Republic and object to the abolition of the monarchy is like endeavouring to make the Socialist omelet without breaking the capitalist egg.

* * *

One wonders what is the real significance of the booming of the Countess of Warwick in the capitalist press, especially since the banquet to “Labour” M.P.’s and candidates at which she told of her “little scheme.” “I have been saving up my money” she said “for ever so long, and I have bought a forty h.p. motor car to be at your service. It is to be painted red and some of us are going in it to visit every constituency for which a Labour candidate stands, from John O’Groats to Land’s End. We shall leave no stone unturned, when the great struggle comes, as come it will very soon, to put Labour members into Parliament.” The italics are ours ; so put because of the obvious attempt by “H. W. L.” in Justice to lead us to suppose that this is not the object of the tour.

* * *

Whether she understands Socialism or not, it is apparent that the Countess does not intend to “come out from among” that Society which “either bores or is bored,” “There are few sights more impressive,” says Vanity Fair, “than the entrance of the King and Queen into the House of Lords on the opening day. . . Lady Warwick was in vivid green, with her hair dressed in high Empire curls, which showed above her crown of emeralds and diamonds.” From the same journal we learn that ”the Queen had a great day on Friday. . . The meet was at Melton Mowbray, in the Countess of Wilton’s grounds.” Besides the Countess of Warwick, there were present Dukes and Duchesses, Earls and Countesses, Lords and Ladies, Baronets, and even a Marquess and a Prince. We must confess that the presence of an “avowed Socialist” at such functions as these is distasteful to us because they are outward and visible signs of the domination and degradation of the wealth-creators by the monopolists and their parasites.

* * *

No report of the Countess’s dinner to “labour” candidates appeared in Justice, although the editor himself was present !

* * *

Speaking of motor-cars, what has become of “Tattler’s” crusade against those, “infernal machines invented by the classes for the purpose of maiming and killing the masses” ?

* * *

Some branches of the I.L.P. wish to incorporate the word “Socialist” in its title. London City, diplomatic and probably inspired, wish the N.A.C. to report upon the matter at the 1906 Conference. This is the Royal Commission method. Derby would like the name to be “The Socialist Party.” The Socialist Party of Great Britain would be imitated and ought to feel flattered. With Shakespeare we can say “Who steals my purse steals trash.” As ours is the straight Socialist Party, the man with the bag is not weighed down by its ponderosity. But when it is suggested that the I.L.P. should “annex” our good name, we must protest; although we do not anticipate that the proposal will receive much support. The leaders, at any rate, prefer to keep their Socialism in the background, or to confuse it with references to Christianity and Labourism, or like the S.D.F., to support its enemies. A party must be judged by its actions, and these have proved that the I.L.P. is the enemy of uncompromising Socialism.

* * *

A Walthamstow comrade, who finds it exceedingly interesting and instructive to read back numbers of Justice and compare them with present issues expresses his surprise at the very great change that has taken place. He says that in September, 1894, the leading article declared that the object of the I.L.P., in common with that of other working-class organisations, whether they had accepted collectivist theories or not, was to secure better rations for the wage-slave, but that that was not the object of the S.D.F., which was striving for the abolition of wagedom. Seeing that the energies of the S.D.F. are now devoted to the advocacy of two palliatives, viz., relief works for the unemployed and free meals for the wage-slaves that are to be, he asks what has become of the object of 1894. As we have so often pointed out, the S.D.F. has ceased to be a revolutionary body, and is now a mere reform society, like the I.L.P. and other bodies which it so freely criticises and condemns.

* * *

This comrade calls to mind the condemnation of Tom Mann which appeared in Justice in June, 1896, for allowing a joint committee to delete from his election address the words : “I am a Socialist,” and otherwise modifying and moderating it. He questions the official announcement that the Walthamstow branch of the S.D.F. are running G. Bailey for the District Council, because the Walthamstow Trades and Labour Council are running him with others as pure and simple “Labour” candidates. In support of this he forwards a copy of Bailey’s election address. It is true that on the front page the candidate is described as of the “Navvies’ Union and S.D.F.,” but in much larger type the candidates are referred to on the same page as “the only Labour Candidates selected by the Walthamstow Trades and Labour Council.” The address itself contains no statement of the principles of Socialism and no reference thereto. It speaks of the “need of independent labour representation.” One item of the education section is purely individualistic and the whole of the programme could be subscribed to by any municipal “reformer.” In conclusion it is signed by the candidates for all the wards, and even the letters “S.D.F.” have been omitted from Bailey’s name, who is simply “Secretary, Navvies’ Union.” And our correspondent again refers to Justice of June, 1896, which stated that it was of no consequence at all to get Socialists elected unless they were elected as Socialists. That, of course, was and is the sound position. All that has changed in the policy of the S.D.F. It was because of this change that many of us, convinced that the intransigeant, uncompromising policy is the only sound and honest one, were compelled to resign our many-years’ membership of the S.D.F. “The policy of ‘no compromise’ must necessarily be defeated again and again before it wins. But when it does win it wins unconditionally, and is unhampered by restrictions, arrangements, or intrigues.” That holds good as much to-day as when it was written, in the name of the S.D.F., nearly twelve years ago; and in this country those who, having accepted the principles of Socialism, agree with the policy of “No Compromise,” agree with Wilhelm Liebknecht that “the separation of the Socialists from all other parties, this essential difference which silly opponents take as a reason or pretext for declaring us political outlaws, is our pride and our strength,” should join the only party which is organised upon these lines, The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
J. Kay