Saturday, July 29, 2023

The Provocateur (1974)

From the Special 300th issue of The Western Socialist 

Away back in those Hungry Thirties there was a sub-committee of the United States Senate, headed by Senator Robert La Follette, that investigated what was popularly known as the labor spy racket. A great deal of evidence was gathered that proved conclusively the employment by industries in the United States of provocateurs to infiltrate labor unions for the purpose of stirring up policies that could lead to violence during proposed strike actions. The motive of some of these was, of course, the smashing of the fast-growing labor union movement through use of weapons of violence against striking workers; and industries such as steel, auto and rubber had stockpiled veritable arsenals of weaponry within their gates. The La Follette Committee also disclosed the fact that other industries, those that manufactured tear gas. barbed-wire fences and so forth, had their agents, too, hard at work to instigate the conditions that would lead to more sales of their commodities.

More recently, in the Fifties, there was a burst of activity on the part of the F.B.I. In the business of infiltrating radical political parties, such as the Communist Party, with its agents. It has been said that there were, at one time, at least as many F.B.I. agents as genuine members within the ranks of that organisation and if such an estimate was made in jest it must be remembered that many a true word is spoken in jest.

In fact, the interested researcher can find—with little effort—evidence of the employment of such tactics by law enforcement agencies from the federal level down to city police departments all through the years of American democracy. And one would have to be naive, indeed, to believe that the planting of agents provocateur by the capitalist state does not still exist, even more highly developed than ever before: right here in this land of liberty.

But we are trying to make an important point. Any organization that can make it possible for police spies to influence its policies is an organization that ought to be shunned by working people. When a political group, for example, advocates the abolition of capitalism; states that it would prefer that the socialist revolution be consummated peacefully; but argues that all evidence points to the so-called “fact" that the capitalists would not permit such an event to happen and that, therefore. the working class must prepare itself to meet capitalist violence with their own; such a group lays itself open for infiltration by police spies. And such a group should be avoided by workers as they would avoid the plague.

For it should be apparent that there are no weapons possible of accumulation by working people that cannot be outmatched a thousand fold by the capitalist class. And it should also be apparent, even from recent history, that the capitalists will not squirm at laying waste whole sections of cities—or whole cities—if necessary, when threatened by violent overthrow by rivals of whatever persuasion. If you think that sort of thing couldn’t happen in America, then think again!

The World Socialist Party is not afraid of infiltration by police spies. Our principles, around which we are organized, make such an eventuality implausible, if not impossible. The provocateur would be wasting his time. We are, and we have always been since our beginnings, organized on a basis of above-ground legality We address ourselves to fellow-workers, urging them to unite on the political field in order that a majority of socialists may be elected to control the central organs of power. Only in this way can a situation be brought about wherein the armed forces of the nation, the states, and the municipalities cannot be used against us, while a majority introduce a brand new way of life. A socialist majority has no need for violence. Let us undermine capitalism by spreading socialist information and using the legal machinery of capitalism, itself. If you think such a policy is a utopian dream, take another look at the scene and think again!

Are we Utopians? (1974)

From the Special 300th issue of The Western Socialist

A common response to the case of the World Socialist Movement is the word utopian! It is uttered with a note of finality as though it needs no elaboration. "You are utopian !” they tell us, and whether they are one-hundred percent defenders of what is called the American way of life or blood-and-thunder type, self-styled, revolutionists they regard us with an expression of pity and usually change the subject. The anti-establishment radical and the defender of the status quo are, on this subject, allies because they are both convinced that our goal of a world without nations, without buying and selling, without wage labor and capital — employers and employees — is an impossible dream in our lifetime, the lifetimes of our children, grandchildren and possibly our great and ever-so-great grandchildren. It is utopian, they tell us. to feel otherwise.

Well, we are not so certain that our detractors of either variety know quite what they are talking about, that they really understand the meaning of the term utopian as applied to the advocates of world socialism. For the word does have a definite meaning and utopianism did have a definite role to play at an earlier period in the development of capitalism. In fact, it still has at least a debatable reason for existence in lowly-developed areas of the capitalist world. We refer to the organisation of colonies such as New Harmony, Brook Farm, Oneida, and a host of others in early America; to the kibbutzim of modern, but industrially weak Israel; to all of the attempts in the past and the present here, there and everywhere to build islands of peaceful cooperation in a violent sea of capitalism. This is utopianism, and whether it is the idealist who seeks to get away from it all by retiring to a kibbutz or even to a hippie community, or the so-called socialists and communists who believe that socialism — even communism, as they like to put it — can be built within the borders of a nation it is they, not us. who are the utopians.

There will be no peace for them as long as they exist in a capitalist world and to blame this on people of ill-will, on reactionaries, on Republicans or Democrats or liberals or conservatives is to indulge in more escapism from reality, in more utopianism. The pressures of capitalist economics and the pressures of the capitalist state are all around and will allow no peace, no escape, no utopianism. Do we have to dwell on this point?

We are not utopians. We are hard-headed, practical, scientific socialists. We know that capitalism and the suffering for most of the population that goes with it cannot be abolished simply by changing the organization from private ownership to state ownership. Nor can capitalism be improved for most of the population by passing reform legislation in congress or parliament or whatever it is called. Nor does It make sense to retire to some backwoods area where one can live a desperate, hand-to-mouth existence while one is free to toll from sunup to sundown on infertile soil even if the capitalist state were to maintain a complete hands-off attitude, an unlikely probability.

This is not our concept of freedom. Friends! Fellow-workers! There is a world of potential plenty for everybody who inhabit the earth. And it is there for the taking. How do we take it? Not by idle, utopian dreaming. Not by the encouragement of nations whether designated capitalist, communist, or anything else. The way to abolish poverty, war, hatreds based upon skin color and ethnic background is to organize on the political field to abolish nations, to abolish buying and selling, to abolish wage labor and capital, to introduce a world society based upon production for use, not for sale. Anything short of this goal is utopian, will not work. Do you really need more evidence than the history of the last fifty years? Let’s organize now, not for more utopianism but for world socialism.

Urban renewal (1974)

From the Special 300th issue of The Western Socialist

A fellow was telling me about an interesting conversation he heard the other day between a college boy and girl, on the one hand, and a gray-haired man, on the other. Seems that the youngsters were passing out handbills at a busy corner in a slummy neighborhood when the older one happened along. My friend was waiting for a bus, which was late, as usual, and heard the whole business.

The kids were wearing big buttons that screamed: “We shall not be moved!” and it was this that caught the old guy’s attention. “What’s this all about?” he wanted to know. "I used to sing that one on the picket line 30 years ago. ‘We shall not, we shall not be moved . . . Just like the cop who’s standing on the corner, we shall not be moved!’ But you're not striking. What’s the story?”

They laughed. “No. We know what you mean but this is different. We’re trying to stop Urban Renewal. They’re tearing down too many houses in this neighborhood and too many people are being forced to move out of it."

“Well,” says the old fellow, "what’s wrong with that? I’ve known this area for a long time and it's a pretty bad neighborhood to live In. Seems to me they should be glad to get out of it. Why look at that drug store over there. They’ve got a big display of roach powder and rat poison in the window, and I'll bet they sell plenty of the stuff. Look at all the old houses that are ready to fall down. And the crummy drinking joints, and broken glass, and win os Imagine bringing up kids in this sort of scene? And you mean you want to save it?” He looked them up and down.

But they weren't buying that argument. "Listen,” they told him. "We understand that as well as you do. But these people can't afford to live in other districts. They want to stay here but the Establishment is tearing down the low-cost houses and putting up expensive ones. These poor people have to live some place."

Well, my friend says, the old guy told them they were wasting their time. What they ought to be doing was working for the immediate end of the system that creates slums. "If you get rid of capitalism," he told them, "houses will be built because people have to live in houses, not to make money for landlords and lumber merchants. Food will be produced because people have to eat, not because owners have to make a profit. Clothing will be made because we have to wear clothing, not because manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers have to do business. Instead of a system where moneyed interests must find places to Invest, like Urban Renewal, we'll have a system where goods, buildings, services, and everything will be produced only to satisfy the needs and wants of everybody. We won’t need money because we'll produce only to take. You know what I mean — production for use, not sale. And we won’t have slums because nobody wants slums, anymore than they want cheap, shoddy goods.”

They listened to him politely. They were nice, well-mannered kids. But they told him, when they could get a word in edgewise, that his idea was wonderful but rather hopeless. After all, they told him, this is something we can hope to get somewhere with right now, not in the distant future.

Well, just then the bus came along and the old guy got on it so the debate was over. My friend told me, "You know,” he said, "those socialists are not as crazy as they might sound. Do you know how many years that neighborhood has been a slum? Seems that all the good intentions of all the reformers have been of little use. And in spite of the efforts these people put into their crusade to save the slums for the poor workers, the tearing down goes on. Seems to me that the hopelessness argument of theirs is all wet. It's they, not the socialists who are carrying on a hopeless struggle because even if they win they lose. What could be more hopeless than preserving poverty for the poor? I think I’m going to look into that socialism.

Are we “Commies”? (1974)

From the Special 300th issue of The Western Socialist

Whenever a socialist begins to present his case, especially if it is with somebody who has not been exposed to the case for scientific socialism, he is almost invariably greeted by at least one of his audience, with the epithet: "Commie!” For there are some who have the knack of listening without following what is being said They can listen to the champions of the Soviet Union or of Cuba and yet fail to see the basic similarity between what these people advocate and what we already have in America. They can also listen for a few minutes. at least, to a scientific socialist and somehow manage to confuse what he is saying with what they thought they heard from the lips of the so-called Communists or whatever they might call themselves.

So let us see if we can put to rest that fallacy, at least for those who will pay attention for a mere four minutes or so to what we are saying.

Let us remind you of some happenings you should certainly have known of if you were around at the time. If you were too young during the days of WW II, or not yet born, there are books and articles dealing with the cooperation and friendship between the bolshevik-style Communists on the one hand, and the professed champions of "democratic" capitalism on the other, readily available.

When the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Great Britain were wining, dining, and dealing with Joseph Stalin in the Kremlin, the World Socialist Party and its Companion Parties in other countries were openly opposing the war as a carnage not worth the shedding of a single drop of working-class blood. When the secret police of the Soviet Union and the secret police of the United States (the forerunner of the present CIA) were acting in unison, we were speaking out and writing articles attacking the War. When widely-known political leaders such as Wendell Willkie and widely heralded labor-haters such as Eddie Rickenbacker, the aviator hero, were extolling the virtues of the Soviet Union and of kindly old "Uncle" Joe Stalin — both through written and spoken word — we of the World Socialist Party were denouncing the entire Bolshevik Movement as a menace to working-class interests.

When the Communist Party was recruiting for the war effort, selling Victory Bonds, waving the flag and singing the national anthem of America, as well as that of Russia, we of the World Socialist Party were speaking from our rostrum on Boston Common as our comrades in England spoke in Hyde Park; continuing to urge our fellow workers to organize for the abolition of capitalism everywhere — the basic cause of war.

We were not called "Commies” in those days. It was obvious we were not "Commies” because we were calling for world socialism, not defending Western and Russian capitalism.

We did have our troubles, though, and it wasn’t easy to carry on. The Canadian Government went so far as banning our journal, The Western Socialist, within its borders, for a time, because of our articles that exposed the war for what it was, a fight for supremacy between and among rival capitalist nations. We were harassed, but we continued to speak and to publish.

No. We are not Communists in the popularly accepted meaning of that much-maligned word. We do not support or sympathize with Russian or Chinese or Cuban or any other state capitalism We are communists, though, In the classical meaning of that word. We are scientific socialists who advocate the complete and immediate abolition of the wages, prices, profits, money system in all its forms, everywhere and the immediate introduction of a system of production for use. We urge you to investigate our case.

Women’s Liberation (1974)

From the Special 300th issue of The Western Socialist

A long time ago — back in 1904 — our Companion Party In Great Britain was organized and drew a Declaration of Principles made up of eight clauses. The fourth Principle states:
“That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind, without distinction of race or sex.”
Of course a lot of water has flowed over the dam since 1904. And yet, despite all the struggles in the last six or seven decades in the area of equality for the different ethnic groups and for women, inequality for the so-called colored peoples within society and for women throughout the world has not appreciably lessened. Nor can so-called equality for most non-whites wherever whites are dominant, or most women, anywhere in the world today mean very much since most of the population regardless of so-called race, or sex — is compelled to live out a lifetime in a condition of wage servitude. Equality under capitalism can be nothing more for most of us than “equality” within slavery.

Look at the question of wages, for example — equal pay for equal work — for women. Certainly it is true that women have always been paid less than men wherever that was possible. And certainly it makes sense to rebel against this discrimination. And yet there is something radically wrong with the attitude expressed by militants of the Women's Liberation Movement on this question. Women, as a group, have been used in the same sense as all workers from industrially-backward nations who become immigrants in industrial countries. Because it is the nature of capitalist economics that capitalists should be able to purchase labor-power at the cheapest possible price, women are taken advantage of to the fullest extent this is possible. Certainly women should rebel and certainly, too, the labor unions should take a strong stand against such practices, even among the unorganized. For the purpose of labor unions is, primarily, to keep wage rates from becoming further depressed, to fight for better wages and conditions. Most women are part of the working class as a whole. It would be more apropos, then, for militant Women Liberationists to work for equality in wages from a class angle rather than to segregate themselves into separate units based upon sex.

And yet, even this would not solve the problem of slavery and discrimination against most women. In the final analysis, labor power is a commodity and, as such, sells for what it takes to produce and reproduce the worker and his family. Total commodity production is not determined by the gross total of workers — male and female — but on the conditions of the market. The needs of the population, as a whole, have little to do with the matter.

Certainly the whole history of women in class society has been and continues to be a history of special discrimination, of attitudes based upon male superiority. But these attitudes are a product of class society and are not due to something in the male character. They did not exist among primitives in tribal communist society and they cannot possibly exist under world socialism. Why spend your lives fighting against this effect of capitalism? Women can't be free until men are free — just as black workers can't be free until white workers are.

Why not join with us in working toward a goal of world socialism which will make all mankind free — with no discrimination against race, or sex?

How Liberals win Elections. (1905)

From the June 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

Writing upon the Boer War, Mr. Dooley observed that if he had been in control there would have been no fighting. He would have conceded the Uitlanders’ demand for the vote, but he would have done the counting ! The Liberals are never tired of professing their desire to enfranchise the workers, but it is rarely that they make such a muddle of their schemes for depriving the workers of any use which the franchise might be to them as they did recently in Canada. In an interesting article in “The Co-operative News,” Mr. Edward Porritt states that a scandal already in the courts arises out of what is known as ballot box stuffing. It was done in the interest of a Liberal candidate in one of the rural ridings of Ontario. The facts are no longer in dispute, and they show callousness to moral considerations, daring and ingenuity. The Ontario ballot boxes were most ingenious. They were provided with a double side and a trap door. With the connivance of a deputy returning-officer, some of them were substituted for the official boxes, and before the polling began they were loaded with votes concealed in the double side, and marked in favour of the Liberal candidates. The ballots were marked in the names of men known to be Tories, and when these Tories came to vote, their votes, by means of a spring, were thrown into the false side of the box, in the place of the concealed ballots, which had been passed through the trap door into the box proper. The newspapers were full of this Ontario scandal just when Earl Grey took possession of Rideau Hall.

The second scandal turns on a plot by a handful of financiers and promoters to defeat the Laurier Government, in order, it is believed, to secure from an incoming Tory Government such a revision of the Act for building the Grand Trunk Railway as would enable these men to plunder the railway by means of a constructors’ company similar to that by which millions of dollars passed to an American syndicate when the Canadian Pacific Railway was carried across the Continent.

Mr. Blair (the ex-Minister of Railways) is the central figure in this scandal. While he was Minister of Railways he opposed in the Cabinet and in the House of Commons the Government plan for a second Trans-Continental Railway. On account of this opposition, he dropped out of the Cabinet and out of the House. He was made chairman of a newly-created Commission for settling railway freights and other questions between the public and the railway companies. His pay was ten thousand dollars a year—as much as the Premier receives; and it was understood when he accepted the office that he bid good-bye to politics. About ten days before the general election, however, Blair suddenly resigned his place on the Commission, and the same day it was announced in a New Brunswick paper that he was to take the stump against the Laurier Government and the Railway scheme during the few days before the polling. This astonishing news was telegraphed from St. John to every newspaper in Canada, and for a week or more Canadians were eagerly looking for Blair’s appearance on the Tory platform, and for the red-hot shot which he was to fire into the Laurier Government and its railway scheme.

No such shot from the Blair guns was fired. Blair was dumb until the election was over, and since then the question has interested all Canada, “At what point and why did the plot against the Laurier Government fail ?” For the Laurier Government was returned with a larger majority in the House of Commons than any Liberal Government has had since Confederation.

The question has not been answered, but much of the plot has been uncovered. It has been ascertained that Blair was persuaded to resign by a young company promoter named Russell. Blair was to have some position in the gift of Russell, worth more than ten thousand a year. Russell is almost young enough to be Blair’s grandson ; but he was wily enough to persuade Blair to resign and to make other plans for the overthrow of Laurier. He bought three daily papers as part of the scheme—two in St. John and a third in Montreal. It is also openly said by men whose position in Canadian politics warrants acceptance of their word that on the eve of the election three members of the Laurier Government were to be arrested for malversation in office, and that ten or fifteen Liberal candidates in Quebec were to be paid 2,000 dollars each to resign as a protest against this Ministerial scandal. They were to resign on such short notice that the Liberal organisation would have no time to nominate other candidates.

About much of this remarkable plot there is no longer any doubt. Blair admits that he was persuaded by Russell to resign, and the purchase of three daily papers by Russell is a matter of legal record. What Canada wants to know now is why Blair came back, and it wants to be quite sure that the Trans-Continental Railway construction was the game for which Russell and his moneyed associates were playing. More must come out when Parliament meets.

At Quebec, the so-called Liberal premier is so much a tool of the monopoly interests at Montreal that the Liberal Party is in revolt, and anything may happen when the newly-elected Provincial Legislature begins its Session. The ugliest incident in the Quebec election was the attempt of an attorney of a Light and Power Company—a concern with forty millions of capital—much of it water—which controls all the public utilities of Montreal, to secure re-election to the legislature. Montreal is the most monopoly-ridden city in the British Empire. It pays more for heat, light, and power than any city in the United States—not excluding Tammany-ridden New York—and this monopoly is so well entrenched at Quebec, the Provincial capital, that the people of Montreal have resigned themselves to despair.

All this only emphasises that which we Socialists persistently endeavour to impress upon the workers. As long as the means of life are owned and controlled by a class, that class will dominate all institutions, whether political, religious, or social. The only remedy for “scandals” such as these is to organise in the International Socialist Party for the complete overthrow of capitalist domination, by the only means, the realisation of the object of The Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Blogger's Note:
'K'. was the occasional pen name of Adolph Kohn but I don't think it was Kohn who wrote this article. Why? 1) I don't think Kohn was a member of the SPGB in 1905 & 2) The subject matter of the article. My guess is that this 'K'. was either a member of the Socialist Party of Canada or an SPGBer residing in Canada.

Editorial: A Retrospect. (1905)

Editorial  from the June 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

The 12th of June witnesses the first anniversary of the formation of The Socialist Party of Great Britain. It thus affords a meet opportunity to review our year’s work to ascertain whether our hopes have been fulfilled and our efforts justified.

The formation of a new party was rendered imperative by the falling away of the S.D.F. from the paths of political right doing. Those who formed the new party had, almost without exception, been members of the S.D.F., the primary and for many years the only Socialist organisation in Great Britain. During many years of its life it had held aloft the banner of uncompromising Socialism in this country and many of us hoped that it would continue to work along the lines of no compromise with other political parties which is dictated by the existence of a class struggle.

Some years ago, however, when reaction dominated every sphere of thought—political or scientific—throughout Europe and America, new ideas were introduced into the S.D.F. by members of the organisation whose Socialism was rooted in sentiment rather than in scientific knowledge. Looking around them in the political world they saw that organisations of the half-way house character were obtaining a larger measure of support than was their own organisation. Unwitting that such must needs be the case in the present stage of capitalist development, they set themselves to the task of winning their own organisation to a similar position and to the adoption of a similar line of action. In this they were highly successful and the manner in which the S.D.F. adapted itself to its new way of looking at political events is of exceeding interest, and at a more convenient season we shall unfold the manner of its development from a no-compromise organisation to an organisation believing in and accepting entangling alliances.

The falling away of the S.D.F. from its traditional method was viewed with the deepest regret by those members of the organisation who still adhered to the ideas of uncompromising Socialism. They hoped against hope that their organisation would be recalled to a sense of its wrong-doing—that once again it would return to the true path of Socialist progress and weld itself into an organisation deserving the support of every Socialist.

Such was not to be the case. Reluctantly there was forced upon them the opinion that the organisation to which they had hitherto given a whole-hearted support was unworthy and they decided to withdraw from its ranks and form a Socialist organisation into which they could throw their entire energy and untiringly work towards the making it into a strong political organisation.

This then was the idea of those who, on June 12th, 1904, decided to form The Socialist Party of Great Britain. The founders were fully alive to the fact that much spade work had to be performed ; that there could be no mushroom growth for the new party ; that its ranks could only be recruited steadily and, at first, slowly.

And even so has been our course during the last twelve months. Parties which compromise—parties that concentrate upon one or two palliatives must necessarily have for the time a larger success than the party which seeks to build up a political party for the overthrow of modern commercial society. It is easier to gain adherents to belief in a small palliative reform than to gain them to a new philosophy based upon an understanding of the material foundation of modern industrial slavery. But in the former case the adherents are not adherents for Socialism, in the latter case they are.

Our work in the past year has been based upon a knowledge of the aforementioned facts. We have concentrated our attention upon the propaganda of our principles and to making public the fact of our existence. Our progress has necessarily, therefore, been slow and has been almost entirely confined to London where our propaganda has been greater than that of any other body. The result of this propaganda has been the strengthening of our party by the addition of a gratifying number of new members and the weeding out of the worthless elements which attach themselves to every party.

In face of many difficulties we have brought out and maintained our party organ, the Socialist Standard. Our paper has been written by the members of our party in the intervals snatched from their daily toil and their oral propaganda. It has met with sufficient success to warrant its continuance as an unfearing exponent of the principles of the party. As time goes on and we gather experience we shall introduce new features, and with a growing membership insure greater variety of topics than has hitherto been the case. We have had critics who have suggested alterations and their suggestions, when considered advisable, we have adopted. Further criticism is solicited.

Last August we sent two delegates to the Amsterdam Congress. While there it was borne in upon them that the admission to the Congress was too wide, and that to make it truly a Socialist Congress alterations should be made in the direction of excluding the representatives of non-Socialist organisations such as the L.R.C., the Fabian Society, and the I.L.P. in England. By no stretch of the imagination can such bodies be recognised as Socialist, and the sooner definitive action is taken for their exclusion, such as laying down principles to which the organisations must adhere, the better it will be for the International Socialist movement. We are convinced that much though not all of the difficulty which arose at the recent discussion on the bureau as to the method of representation at the Congresses is due to the fact that no principles have ever been clearly laid down to which every body represented must give their adherence.

Such rules must be sufficiently wide in their scope to admit of their universal application and must not cover matters of detail which must be modified by national conditions. This is not the time to offer suggestions as to the nature of those principles but at another season we shall return to the subject and offer tentative suggestions as a basis for discussion.

Our work and its results during the past twelve months, although necessarily limited, have, we claim, justified the step we took on the 12th of June last. The seed we sow will germinate in the future and will be reaped, perhaps, by other hands than ours, but we can see that the fruits of the harvest will be a Socialist Republic carrying with it a guarantee of a healthy human race living in a society of free men and free women—the children of the life that is to be.

A Look Round. (1905)

From the June 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

An appeal to the possessors of this world’s goods and chattels has been issued, signed by a peculiar collection of side-trackers, amongst them the Countess of Kinnoul, the Hon Claude Hay, Mrs. Clara Hendin, and Mr. George Lansbury. These good people have discovered that the employment of working-class mothers to the detriment of their children is an evil. Do they therefore propose to abolish the capitalist system which produces the evil ?—to stir up the mothers and other members of the working-class to revolt, so that they can establish the Co-operative Commonwealth and properly provide for all, grown-ups as well as children ? No, my friends, As the appeal states, they are “Social Reformers.” The aristocratic and middle-class of them desire to show the working-class how the hearts of the upper-class beat in sympathy for the sufferings of the lower-class, and how much they are willing to do to brighten the lives of the poor. As usual, they have been cute enough to secure the help of some members of the working-class, and as soon as the funds come in Model Day Nurseries will be established.

* * *

And as soon as possible after they are in working order, and mothers are relieved of the cost of providing for their children during the day time, the wily capitalist will seize the opportunity to reduce the wages of the women.

* * *

Well, we suppose the S.D.F. and the I.L.P. can assist the employing-class to “humanise” the conditions of capitalism, if they wish. We prefer to devote our energies to changing the system. That is why we claim to be the only revolutionary party in this country.

* * *

“We cannot find much to say for a Bill which looks suspiciously like a quack remedy for the present industrial disease.”

* * *

Thus the Tory People about the Government’s Unemployed Bill, which Keir Hardie and other Labour “Leaders” are so anxious that the House shall pass. It is this thing which Hardie must know is a quack remedy that he advises the Unemployed not to endanger by marching on London !

* * *

The “tactics” question has reached an acute stage in America, in connection with the Spring elections in Milwaukee. According to Wilshire’s Magazine, the Socialist Party there, upon a referendum vote, has decided not to contest these elections, as has hitherto been its custom. Victor Berger, recently their candidate for Mayor, explains that it is merely a judicial election, and doesn’t count for much ; and anyway the party can, by casting its vote for one of the old party candidates defeat one of the other old party candidates, a man who is strongly “anti-Socialist.”

* * *

In comment the Editor of Wilshire’s writes :— “Inasmuch as I had supposed that all non-Socialist party candidates look alike to us Socialists, all in our eyes being ‘anti-Socialist,’ I hardly see the logic of Mr. Berger’s position. When the fall elections come round Mr. Berger may have trouble leading all of his Milwaukee flock back out of the old party ranks into the fold of Socialism. His tactics are most dangerous and are calculated to destroy the solidarity of our Socialist political movement.”

* * *

Well said, Mr. Wilshire. It is precisely because we of the S.P.G.B. take up a similar position that we are denounced by the would-be political wire-pullers of the S.D.F. and I.L.P. as “Ishmaelites,” “Impossiblists,” etc. But we hold that “straight” tactics are best, at all times. A straight line is the shortest distance between two points.

* * *

After Mr. Berger’s reply, however, Mr. Wilshire says:— “There may be no objection to Socialists voting for capitalist candidates when the Socialist Party has no nominee” ! We admit that “may” is different to “can,” but surely, in the comments quoted above, Mr. Wilshire has given the best possible reasons why such a course should not be pursued. And so we “hardly see the logic” of Mr. Wilshire’s position.

* * *

“Socialists demand the abolition of the system of competition and the private ownership in its entirety, and are in politics to voice this demand, and not merely to get through any particular reform, even if that reform is so good and soundly Socialistic as municipal control of street railways. The Goddess lost the race by stooping to pick up the golden apple. The apple was good and beautiful enough, but it was not worth the losing of the race. This is the Socialist position regarding municipal ownership, the referendum, and other side issues. All good enough in their way, but not good enough for us to break up our Party and let go of Socialism to chase after them.”—Wilshire’s Magazine.

* * *

At the Annual Dinner of the Woolwich Chamber of Commerce last month, Mr. Hugh Montgomery (Conservative candidate) proposed the toast of “The Houses of Parliament,” and coupled with it the name of Mr. Will Crooks, M.P. In reply Mr. Crooks said that in the House of Commons there was a comradeship which was comparatively unknown in any other gathering elsewhere. In the tea room could be seen the Prime Minister chatting with the humble “Labour” member. The labour members were very much like the Chamber of Commerce, they “looked after the interests of the whole community.” And so on, only more so. And this is the man whom the S.D.F. and the I.L.P. delight to support.

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Mr. J. R. Clynes, Organising Secretary of the Gasworkers’ Union, has publicly denied the statement made in the Executive Report of the S.D.F., submitted to the Annual Conference at Northampton, that W. Thorne, at South West Ham, is one of the Parliamentary candidates for whom the S.D.F. is financially responsible. He states that Thorne is a candidate promoted by the Gas-workers’ Union, which makes itself responsible, the members paying a quarterly contribution to a Parliamentary Fund, on conditions similar to the other candidates endorsed by the L.R.C.

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As we pointed out in our November issue, W. Thorne, acting upon the instructions of his Trade Union paymasters, has signed the constitution of the L.R.C., and is running as a “Labour” candidate accordingly. But the S.D.F. still claim him as “their” candidate (and they are quite welcome to him as far as we are concerned) and mislead their members into believing that he is running as a “definitely avowed Social-Democrat” as required by the Rules of the S.D.F. Pie-crust !

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It will be remembered that a few issues ago we drew attention to the illogical position of the S.D.F. in opposing Mr. Masterman at North West Ham in face of the fact that at Dulwich Mr. J. Hunter Watts had voted for him and urged the local S.D.F. to do likewise. We contended that the reasons which were given for opposing Dr. Rutherfoord Harris by supporting Masterman could be urged against Ernest Gray at West Ham. Last month Dr. Rutherfoord Harris addressed a crowded meeting of his constituents at the Denmark Hill Schools, and his principal supporter upon the platform was Mr. Ernest Gray ! Are our S.D.F. friends still unrepentant?

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An interesting article on “James Farley, Strike-Breaker” has appeared in the Times. Not many years ago, it says, the need of a job constrained Farley to join the crowd of “blacklegs” in a strike at Brooklyn. After this was over, he devised a scheme for keeping in touch with “blacklegs,” and it is said that he has today on his books nearly 40,000 names. He perfects his arrangements for breaking a strike to such a degree that, at the moment when the employees of the elevated and underground railways of New York came out on strike recently, Farley had on the spot a man to fill nearly every deserted post, and within three days it was generally recognised that the strikers were beaten. Farley is considered to be a very wealthy man now, as the result of his operations, and. we fear he will amass much more wealth before the workmen of America recognise the futility of the Strike, as now understood, and make up their minds to strike at the ballot box—not merely for shorter hours and higher wages, but for the abolition of the wage system by the substitution of public for private ownership, democratic for class control, and production for use for production for profit.

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In the article referred to the Times says that “labour troubles in Chicago mean war.” And they mean war everywhere. A war in which the employing class are ever ready to use the maxim gun and the magazine rifle, the gatling and the gunboat, and, in fact, all the death-dealing forces of Christian Civilization against the men, women, and children of the working-class. And while even the Times admits that this war exists, the leaders of the I.L.P., when it suits them, deny it.

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The Co-operative Small Holdings Society has issued an appeal for funds to enable it to carry on its work. Now it is indisputable that the land must play a very vital part when the reorganisation of our economic system is under consideration, but evidently this society, to quote a phrase used by Sir William Harcourt concerning the Liberal Party, “has no revolutionary schemes.” It appears to be merely desirous of establishing the labourer, as such, more firmly on the soil, because “it is proved that in the few districts where allotments and Small Holdings are numerous, farmers have less difficulty in securing labourers.” It therefore proposes “to supply a ladder whereby the agricultural labourer or artizen may rise from the cultivation of a small allotment to the occupation of a holding capable of contributing materially to the support of himself and his family.”

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It will be noticed that the Society does not aim at providing a Holding which will be capable of entirely supporting the holder, and the position seems to work out somewhat in this way. The provision of allotments and small holdings on a large scale will enable landowners to obtain more for their land than otherwise and secure the presence of a large supply of labour in districts where at present it is scarce. The Holdings will not suffice for the sustenance of the holder and his family, therefore, he must sell his labour-power to the farmer. But his holding will partly sustain him, so that he can accept a lower wage. But if he has to work for the farmer he can only labour on his own holding either before commencing his wage labour or after finishing it for the day. The nett result to him therefore is that his hours of labour are greatly increased, his rate of wages is decreased, to the advantage of the farmer. This being so, it is clear that Allotments and Small Holdings offer no solution of the agricultural problem. We shall return to this matter, but cannot refrain from asking why, amongst others, the names of Joseph Hyder, Percy Alden, J. R. MacDonald, and Fred Maddison appear in the list of supporters of the Society. Why should they strive to increase the landlord’s rent, the farmer’s surplus-value, and the labourer’s hours ?

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At a Conference held on Saturday last at the Passmore Edward’s Settlement to consider the Unemployed Bill, Mr. J. Hunter Watts represented the S.D.F. He characterised the Bill as a wretched one, but it was better than none, and for that reason he hoped it would be passed.

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Oh! what a falling off is here ! It is not merely a case of half a loaf being better than no bread, but even of the distant prospect of a crumb being better than half a loaf. Which shows how easy it is to tread the downward path when once a start is made.

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Speaking at the Town Hall, East Ham, yesterday week, H. Quelch stated that he had no sympathy with the working man because at one time he voted Conservative and at another Liberal. Well, this is precisely what the S.D.F. has advised him to do at different times
J. Kay