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British Socialism - An Examination of Its Doctrines, Policy, Aims and Practical Proposals
by J. Ellis Barker
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"Woman stands to gain much from the growth of a Socialist State. Among the free communistic services the right of the wife to maintenance during the period of maternity will quickly find a place."[941] "For every child born, the State will make provision. Either the mother will be paid so much per child so long as it lives and thrives, as her wages for important work done for society in bearing and rearing it" (it should be noted that children will belong no more to their parents but to "society," that childbearing will be "work" paid for by "wages," and that the breeding of children will become as much a business on the part of independent women as is now the breeding of cats and dogs for profit), "or her absolute independence of her husband will be secured in some other way. The State doctor (a woman for this office) will prescribe and care for the child from the moment of its birth, and State nurses will be in attendance to see that the mother is in need of nothing for her own and the child's well-being."[942] "Socialism will simply be the scientific development of those natural tendencies which augment the happiness or improve the comfort of the people. It is conceivable that every child shall come under the care of the administrative assembly. The right of the child is not interwoven with parental responsibility. They are separate considerations. Only a madman will hold that in the event of its parents being unmindful of their duties a helpless little one should be allowed to suffer. The fact of its being is the child's title to whatever provision society is able to make for it."[943] "Socialism therefore teaches men to expect a communal watchfulness over infant life. If parents refuse, or are unable, to meet the requirements of the case, the State will supply the deficiency."[944] "A State that truly represents its members will legislate generously for those who announce frankly and without cant that they have no desire for the care of children."[945]

In the Socialist State of the future, people could therefore get rid of new-born babes far more easily than they now can of puppies and kittens. The institution round the corner would be the general foster-mother. Hordes of fatherless and motherless children would throng the State nurseries. The words "father" and "mother" would lose their meaning. However, we are told that "Socialism would begin by making sure that there should not be a single untaught, unloved, hungry child in the kingdom."[946] Love would evidently also be "organised" by the authorities.

Some Socialists fear that, under a regime of free love and free State maintenance for mothers and children, life will become a riot, that husbands will constantly change wives and wives husbands, and that, owing to the absence of all responsibility on the part of the parents for their offspring, over-population and consequent pauperisation will take place. Therefore some Socialists think that "A time will come when the patriot will consider it to be his duty, not to kill as many enemies as possible in time of war, but to restrict his family as far as possible in time of peace."[947] Socialist daydreamers seem to be unaware that the best preventive against over-population lies in the duty of parents to bring up and educate their children, a duty which they wish to abolish.

As Aristotle pointed out 2200 years ago, the all-regulating State would also have to regulate the increase of population. "If the State is to guarantee wages, it is bound in self-protection to provide that no person shall be born without its consent. The State is to sanction the number of births; all others are immoral, because anti-social. As national wealth increased, a larger number of births would be allowed, or a larger sum would be expended on such as were allowed. An unsanctioned birth would receive no recognition from the State, and in times of over-population it might be needful to punish, positively or negatively, both father and mother. As such births may be due to ignorance or inefficiency of some check system, it would be the duty of the State to scientifically investigate the whole system of checks, and to spread among its citizens a thorough knowledge of such as were harmless and efficient in practice."[948]

The State would control procreation. Intending couples would apparently have to take out a procreation licence, which would be granted only to those able to pass a searching examination. "Marriage between the mentally weak will not be allowed. Imbeciles, lunatics, and those with dangerous and ineradicable criminal tendencies will not be permitted to reproduce their species at all."[949]

Unfortunately the writer fails to specify how unauthorised reproduction of the species would be prevented, and how contravention of the procreation laws would be punished. These details are furnished by another writer. "All those actually certified as degenerates must be prevented from procreating. Society has not only a right but a duty to protect itself against such by-products, and it can only do this by State control of marriage."[950] "Marriage without a satisfactory medical certificate should be subjected to a penalty which would be in effect prohibitive. In certain cases asexualisation and sterilisation should be applicable under special safeguards and conditions."[951]

Free love has apparently its limitations and its dangers. The procreation inspector might make an irreparable mistake.

There are, of course, Socialists who think that the family ought to be preserved, and who oppose State nurseries. One of them writes: "The State, in its own interests, will do everything it can to develop individuality in its children. The barrack school and State nursery—never much more than the Utopian dreams of amiable people—are condemned by up-to-date psychologists. The personal touch and affection of the mother, the surroundings and ethics of a small community, the sense of continuity which comes to the maturing child's mind from a personal organisation like the family, are all invaluable to a State which must take as much care of its citizens of to-morrow as it does of its citizens of to-day."[952] Mr. Macdonald's views on Socialism are hardly orthodox, and he has been denounced by thorough-going Socialists as an agent of the bourgeoisie.

As women may be the strongest opponents to the dissolution of the family, Socialists addressing themselves to women try to persuade them that they are forced into matrimony by necessity, that marriage is a degradation to them and to their children, and that Socialism will elevate them and make them free and happy. "The average young woman of the working class, who is not herself employed in some well-paid occupation, has nothing but marriage to which to look forward. She gives herself and all she has or is in exchange for such board as her husband's means permit."[953] "For the sake of bread and shelter she marries and becomes the unpaid cook and housekeeper of a husband and the mother of his children."[954] "Woman has been degraded, the mother has been kept down; so the children have been born with slavish instincts, ready to creep for any favour, and only just awakening to the need for self-assertion and independence of action."[955] Socialism will change all that, for "Socialism means freedom for women, just as it does for men."[956]

What is the Socialistic conception of "freedom for women"? What are its privileges and its advantages? "In considering the position of the woman Socialist, one great central fact must be borne constantly in mind. What she will be, what she will do, how she will live—all will depend upon one great fact, the greatest fact in Socialism—a fact which constitutes Socialism—namely, that she will be economically free."[957] "The new order will make husband and wife equals simply by enabling the wife to earn her living by fitting employment."[958] "A living will be assured to every woman."[959] "In the new community woman is entirely independent, a free being, the equal of man. Her education is the same as that of man except where the difference of sex makes a deviation from this rule and special treatment absolutely unavoidable. She works under exactly the same conditions as a man."[960] "Under a Socialist regime every profession will be open to women as to men."[961] "Socialism means enfranchising them, giving them the vote, so that they can lift their voice alongside with men's voice and fight with the same weapon for a better, happier life."[962] "It is only by removing the disabilities and restraints imposed upon woman, and permitting her to enter freely into competition with men in every sphere of human activity, that her true position and function in the economy of life will ultimately be ascertained."[963] "Socialism alone offers woman complete economic emancipation, with all that that implies. It provides her with suitable work, and it pays her exactly as men are paid. It educates her as men are educated, and protects her in pregnancy with tender regard; and, in so doing, Socialism will raise the whole level of society to a height of moral grandeur never yet attained and hardly ever dreamed of by the most optimist of poets and philosophers."[964]

Apparently Socialists will elevate downtrodden woman by compelling her to work for a living, and it is doubtful, as will be seen in Chapter XXXVI., whether she will be allowed to select her task or whether she will have to work under a system of forced labour. She will be given that freedom and liberty which is now called licence by the abolition of all the laws of morality. In the words of an exceedingly straightforward Socialist, "Independence for women will mean a heavy sacrifice for them, for it will mean for them compulsory work."[965] In return for such work they will be given full sexual license and the vote.

There is another aspect to be taken note of with regard to the emancipation of woman. Many Socialists, in giving to woman equality with man as a wage-earner and voter, wish to unsex her completely. They wish to deprive her of those privileges which she possesses at present owing to her sex. The philosopher of British Socialism informs us: "The law nowadays makes no distinction of persons between men. True; but it makes distinctions between men and women, and where law draws no distinction, practice does. 'Benefit of clergy' is superseded by 'benefit of sex.'"[966] "The tendency of the bourgeoisie world, as expressed in its legislation and sentiment, has been towards a factitious exaltation of the woman at the expense of the man—in other words, the cry for 'equality between the sexes' has in the course of its realisation become a sham, masking a de facto inequality. The inequality in question presses, as usual, heaviest upon the working man, whose wife, to all intents and purposes, now has him completely in her power. If dissolute or drunken, she can sell up his goods or break up his home at pleasure and still compel him to keep her and live with her to her life's end. There is no law to protect him. On the other hand, let him but raise a finger in a moment of exasperation against this precious representative of the sacred principle of 'womanhood,' and straightway he is consigned to the treadmill for his six months amid the jubilation of the 'Daily Telegraph' and its kindred, who pronounce him a brute and sing paeans over the power of the 'law' to protect the innocent and helpless female. Thus does bourgeois society offer sacrifice to the idol 'equality between the sexes.' For the law jealously guards the earnings or property of the wife from possible spoliation. She on any colourable pretext can obtain magisterial separation and protection."[967] Bax concludes that if the law is right in flogging men it should flog women too, for "the brutality and cowardice of the proceeding is no greater in the one case than in the other."[968]

The abolition of the marriage tie may mean that general barracks will take the place of private houses. Is the home worth preserving? Most Socialists think it is not. "It may be doubted after all whether it is necessary to regard 'the home' in the sense in which the phrase is here used as the final and immutable form of social organisation. Humanity does not stand or fall by the arrangement whereby families take their food in segregated cubicles."[969] "The entire preparation of food will be undertaken by society in the future. The private kitchen will disappear."[970] "Instead of a hundred kitchens and fires and cooks, we shall have one. Instead of a hundred meals to prepare, we shall have one. Instead of a hundred homes being made to reek of unsavoury dishes, or the detestable odour of bad cooking, the offensive effluvia will be confined to one building. Under Socialism domestic duties will be reduced to a minimum."[971] "We set up one great kitchen, one general dining-hall, and one pleasant tea-garden."[972] Only a few Socialists are in favour of individual houses, believing that "Each house should be self-contained."[973]

The proposals of British Socialists regarding woman, the family, the home, and marriage are not new. They were tried in the French Revolution, and the consequences of the experiments recommended by the philosophers of the Revolution were as follows:

"The legislation of the Revolution diminished the paternal authority and converted the family into a republic. Marriage became a contract which could be broken at will by either party, a contract which allowed of short notice and which could be concluded for any space of time. People married for a year, sometimes only for a month. They married for fun or for profit, and marriages were dissolved and others contracted if it paid to do so."[974] The French police reports tell us: "The depravity of morals is extremely great, and the new generation is growing up in a state of disorder which promises to have the most unfortunate and most far-reaching consequences to future generations. Sodomy and Sapphic love flourish with the same shamelessness as prostitution, and the progress of all these vices is terrifying."[975] From another source we learn: "Society has become terribly depraved; fornication, adultery, incest, and murder by poison or violence are the fruits of philosophism. Things are as bad in the villages as in Paris. Justices of the peace report that immorality has spread to such an extent that many communes will soon no longer be inhabitable by decent people."[976] This is the new and the better world towards which Socialism is steering.

FOOTNOTES:

[896] Aristotle, Politics, Book ii. Chapter v.

[897] Blatchford, What is this Socialism? p. 2.

[898] Russell Williams, The Difficulties of Socialism, p. 13.

[899] Kautsky, The Socialist Republic, p. 23.

[900] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, pp. 19, 20.

[901] Morris and Bax, Socialism: Its Growth and Outcome, p. 9.

[902] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 164.

[903] Bax and Quelch, A New Catechism of Socialism, p. 39.

[904] Bax, The Religion of Socialism, p. 145.

[905] Oscar Wilde, "The Soul of Man under Socialism," Fortnightly Review, February 1891.

[906] Wells, "Socialism and the Middle Classes," Fortnightly Review, November 1906.

[907] Fabian Essays in Socialism, p. 200.

[908] A.R. Orage in the New Age, November 21, 1907.

[909] Lansbury, The Principles of the English Poor Law, p. 10.

[910] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, p. 160.

[911] Gronlund, Co-operative Commonwealth, p. 151.

[912] Benson, Woman, the Communist, p. 16.

[913] Davidson, Gospel of the Poor, p. 149.

[914] Russell Williams, The Difficulties of Socialism, pp. 14, 15.

[915] Ibid. p. 15.

[916] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, pp. 159, 160.

[917] Morris and Bax, Socialism; Its Growth and Outcome, p. 199.

[918] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, pp. 114, 115.

[919] Leatham, Socialism and Character, p. 30.

[920] Bax, Outlooks from the New Standpoint, p. 160.

[921] Bebel, Woman, pp. 44, 86.

[922] Bebel, Woman in the Past, Present, and Future, pp. 229, 230.

[923] Karl Pearson, The Ethic of Free Thought, p. 108.

[924] Morris and Bax, Manifesto of the Socialistic League, p. 100.

[925] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 56.

[926] Ibid. pp. 59, 60.

[927] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 165.

[928] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 61,

[929] Bax, The Ethics of Socialism, p. 62.

[930] Ibid. p. 126.

[931] Leatham, Socialism and Character, p. 24.

[932] "The Moltke-Harden Case" in the New Age, November 14, 1907.

[933] For details on this subject see Bebel, Woman; Meslier, Le Testament, 1864, ii. 226; Dezamy, Code de la Communaute, 1842, p. 266; Godwin, Enquiry concerning Political Justice, ii. 507; Owen, The Marriage System, 1838, p. 66; Owen, Manifesto, 1840, p. 56; Owen, What is Socialism? 1841, p. 40; Morris, News from Nowhere, 1899, p. 90; Tucker, Instead of a Book, 1897, p. 15; Grave, Societe Future, ch. xii.; Charles Albert, L'Amour Libre, 1899, p. 191, &c.

[934] See Nordhoff, Communistic Societies, 1875, p. 275; Noyes, History of American Socialism, 1870, p. 623; Hinds, American Communities, 1902, p. 196.

[935] Looking Backward, ch. xxiv.

[936] Erfurter Programm, 1892, p. 145.

[937] Leatham, Socialism and Character, p. 32

[938] Menger, L'Etat Socialists, 1904, p. 187.

[939] Ibid. p. 188.

[940] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, pp. 164, 166.

[941] Benson, Woman the Communist, p. 15.

[942] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, pp. 48, 49.

[943] Russell Williams, The Difficulties of Socialism, p. 9.

[944] Russell Williams, The Difficulties of Socialism, p. 10.

[945] New Age, Letter to Editor, November 14, 1907.

[946] Blatchford, What is this Socialism? p. 7.

[947] A. Menger, Volkspolitik, p. 51.

[948] Karl Pearson, Socialism and Sex, pp. 12, 108.

[949] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 49.

[950] Victor Fisher, The Babies' Tribute, p. 14.

[951] Victor Fisher, The Babies' Tribute, p. 15.

[952] Macdonald, Socialism, p. 98.

[953] Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism, p. 64.

[954] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 13.

[955] Ibid. p. 42.

[956] Independent Labour Party Leaflet, No. 5.

[957] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 37.

[958] Gronlund, Co-operative Commonwealth, p. 148.

[959] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 57.

[960] Bebel, Woman, p. 229.

[961] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 86.

[962] What Socialism means for Women, p. 1.

[963] Keir Hardie, Citizenship of Women, p. 6.

[964] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 113.

[965] Menger, L'Etat Socialiste, p. 191.

[966] Bax, Ethics of Socialism, p. 66.

[967] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 116.

[968] Ibid. p. 117.

[969] After Bread, Education, p. 10.

[970] Bebel, Woman, p. 227.

[971] Ethel Snowden, The Woman Socialist, p. 70.

[972] Blatchford, Merrie England, p. 49.

[973] Jowett, The Socialist and the City, p. 60.

[974] Vandal, L'Avenement de Bonaparte.

[975] Rapports de police publies par Schmidt, iii. p. 389.

[976] Roussel, Un Eveque assermente, p. 298.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE SOCIALIST ATTITUDE TOWARDS CHRISTIANITY AND RELIGION

What is the attitude of Socialism towards Christianity and religion?

A clerical apologist of Socialism informs us that "Socialism is founded on the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man."[977] Another reverend gentleman states: "Socialism in the first place means combination, bringing together men for the building up of a sacred, holy life on this earth. It means the building up together of the different elements of human life. It is, in the grand words of the New Testament, which we were told Socialists did not believe in, 'No man liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself.'"[978] A third clergyman tells us that "The ethics of Socialism are identical with the ethics of Christianity."[979]

Some British Socialist leaders explain that Socialists are good Christians, and that Socialism attacks only the Church and professed Christians, but not religion. "Much of what is regarded as anti-Christian Socialist doctrine is only an attack upon the Churches and professed Christians, and, so far from being anti-Christian, is, as a matter of fact, inspired by the ethics of Christ's teaching."[980] Other British Socialist leaders say that Socialism, not being a religious doctrine, has no concern with religion and does not meddle with it. "A charge against Socialists is that they are Atheists whose aim is to destroy all religion and all morality. This is not true. It is true that many Socialists are Agnostics, and some are Atheists. But Atheism is no more a part of Socialism than it is a part of Toryism, or of Radicalism, or of Liberalism."[981] "Socialism has no more to do with a man's religion than it has with the colour of his hair. Socialism deals with secular things, not with ultimate beliefs."[982]

It is quite true that "there is at present no consensus of Socialist opinion on religious questions,"[983] but it is hardly honest on the part of Socialist leaders to assert that Socialism has nothing to do with religion. The leading journal of the Fabian Society frankly confesses: "There is the argument that Socialism has nothing whatever to do with subjects such as religion and marriage. But if Socialism is a theory of the State, nothing human is alien to it. It may be true that no one of the specific theories of religion or marriage so far put forward by Socialists has any claim to be regarded as the Socialist view; but there is all the difference in the world between such an admission and the denial that Socialism has any concern with the questions at all."[984]

Some Socialists proclaim that Socialism will carry out the will of Christ upon earth. Mr. Keir Hardie, for instance, says: "Christ laid down no elaborate system of either economics or theology. No great teacher ever did. His heart beat in sympathy with the great human heart of the race. His words are simple and not to be misunderstood when taken to mean what they say. His prayer—Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven—was surely meant to be taken literally Are our opponents prepared to assert that in Heaven there will be factories working women and children for starvation wages; coal-mines and private property in land, dividing the population of Heaven into two classes, one revelling in riches and luxury, destructive of soul and body, the other grovelling in poverty, also destructive of all that is best in life? If not, how can they consistently support the system which inevitably produces that state of things upon earth?"[985]

Other Socialists frankly confess that Socialism is absolutely incompatible with Christianity and all other religions; that Socialism can succeed only if religion be abolished, and that therefore religion must be abolished. The philosopher of British Socialism states: "Socialism utterly despises the 'other world' with all its stage properties—that is, the present objects of religion. It brings back religion from heaven to earth."[986] "As to the ethical teaching of Christ, with its one-sided, introspective, and individualistic character, we venture to assert that no one acquainted with the theory of modern scientific Socialism can for one moment call it Socialistic. Socialism has no sympathy with the morbid, eternally-revolving-in-upon-itself transcendent morality of the Gospel discourses. This morality sets up a forced, to the vast majority impossible, standard of 'personal holiness' which, when realised, has seldom resulted in anything but (1) an apotheosised priggism, e.g. the Puritan type, or (2) in an epileptic hysteria, e.g. the Catholic saint type."[987] Mr. Blatchford states: "I have been asked why I have 'gone out of my way to attack religion.' In reply I beg to say that I am working for Socialism when I attack a religion which is hindering Socialism, that we must pull down before we can build up, and that I hope to do a little building, if only on the foundation. I oppose the Christian religion because I do not think the Christian religion is beneficial to mankind, and because I think it an obstacle in the way of humanism."[988] Another very influential writer says: "Personally I feel called upon to attack Christianity as I would any other harmful delusion. I do not believe in the theology of Jesus any more than I do in his sociology. It is no use pretending that Socialism will not profoundly revolutionise religion. The change in the economic basis of society is the more important thing to strive for; but if the triumph of the Socialist ideal does not crush supernatural religion, then we shall still have a gigantic fabric of falsity and convention upon which to wage war. Happily Christianity becomes less and less of a power every day. So far, indeed, from Christianity being able to support Socialism, it goes hard with Christianity to stand by itself. As a support to Socialism it would surely prove a broken reed."[989]

A Socialist poet proclaims:

The name of Christ has been the sovereign curse, The opium drug that kept us slaves to wrong, Fooled with a dream, we bowed to worse and worse. "In heaven," we said, "He will confound the strong." O hateful treason that has tricked too long!

Had we poor down-trod millions never dreamed Your dream of that hereafter for our woe, Had the great powers that rule, no Father seemed, But Law relentless, long and long ago Had we risen and said, "We will not suffer so!"

"O Christ, O You who found the drug of heaven, To keep consoled an earth that grew to hell, That else to cleanse and cure its sores had striven, We curse That name!"[990]

There is an eminently practical reason for the hostility of Socialists to Christianity. Religious people are not likely to become Socialists. "Christianity is like a set of manacles fastened upon the minds of those who believe in it. It is vain for us to look for aid from the Church and Christianity. It might be supposed that a hungry Christian would rebel against his hunger as readily as a hungry Atheist. But it is not the case."[991]

The belief in a life after death also is incompatible with Socialism, and must therefore be combated: "We are compelled to abandon the belief in immortality. He who is given to meditating on his latter end and for whom the question of a post-physical future life for himself as an individual is of primary importance, is, generally speaking, indifferent where not positively hostile to social ideals."[992] "The moment this belief in an after-death existence is erected into a dogma, the moment it comes to be looked upon as an article of faith, which it is a duty to hold, or at least which it is the evidence of an ignoble disposition of mind not to hold, then it becomes an enemy to be combated."[993]

The practical teachings of Christ are directly opposed to the practical teachings of Socialism: "Jesus said, 'Blessed are the poor.' Socialism recognises that wealth is a good thing, and it exists for the purpose of securing a better share of it for the 'blessed' poor. Socialism declares that all ought to work; but Jesus did no manual work after he was thirty years of age, and he encouraged his disciples to leave their occupations, to wander about and to beg, and this last feature of discipleship has in all ages been well maintained. Socialism incites the workers of all countries to unite for the prosecution of the class war; but Jesus approved of obedience, contentment, and humility of spirit."[994]

Socialism has no use for Christianity. "To-day we have to settle down to our primers and our programmes, our Blue-books and our social experiments, just as if Jesus had never lived, or perhaps all the more because he lived. We get no assistance from Him. His followers are our enemies in every country which owns His influence—and the worst enemies of all because ever professing friendship."[995]

Christianity is, according to Socialists, an outworn creed. "As Marx says, 'The religious world is but the reflex of the real world. Christianity, like all religions, is but an expression of material conditions, a direct outcome of social relations, the unsubstantial image of a world reflected in the muddy pool of human intellect. Jesus varies with the ages. Redeemer of Roman slave; War-God of Crusader; General Overseer of Manufacturing Capitalist."[996] Besides, Socialists resent "the continual reference of ideal perfection to a semi-mythical Syrian of the first century when they see higher types even in some now walking this upper earth, but in vulgar flesh and blood and without the atmosphere of nineteen centuries to lend enchantment to them."[997]

Lastly, Christianity has been a failure: "The success of Christianity as a moral force has been solely upon isolated individuals. In its effects on societies at large it has signally and necessarily failed."[998] "Holiness! Your religion does not make it. Its ethics are too weak, its theories too unsound, its transcendentalism is too thin. There ought to be no such thing as poverty in the world. The earth is bounteous: the ingenuity of man is great. He who defends the claims of the individual, or of a class, against the rights of the human race is a criminal. A hungry man, an idle man, an ignorant man, a destitute or degraded woman, a beggar or pauper child, is a reproach to society and a witness against existing religion and civilisation. In such a world as this, friend Christian, a man has no business reading the Bible, singing hymns, and attending divine worship. He has not time. All the strength and pluck and wit he possesses are needed in the work of real religion, of real salvation. The rest is all 'dreams out of the ivory gate and visions before midnight.'"[999] "In a really humane and civilised nation there should be and need be no such thing as poverty, ignorance, crime, idleness, war, slavery, hate, envy, pride, greed, gluttony, vice. But this is not a humane and civilised nation, and never will be while it accepts Christianity as its religion."[1000]

Our belief in God also must be abandoned, but if we continue believing in God it follows that man is not responsible for his actions, that he cannot do wrong: "Man is what God made him; could only act as God enabled him or constructed him to act. If God is responsible for man's existence, God is responsible for man's act. Therefore man cannot sin against God."[1001] "If God is all-knowing, He knew before He made man what man would do. If God is all-powerful, He need not have made man at all, or He could have made a man who would be strong enough to resist temptation. Or He could have made a man who was incapable of evil. If God had never made man, then man could never have succumbed to temptation. God made man of His own divine choice and made him to His own divine desire. How then could God blame man for anything man did? Man might justly say to God: 'I did not ask to be created. You knew when You made me how I should act. If You wish me to act otherwise, why did You not make me different? I was fore-ordained by You to be and to do what I am and have done. Is it my fault that You fore-ordained me to be and to do thus?' The actions of a man's will are as mathematically fixed at his birth as are the motions of a planet in its orbit. God, who made the man and the planet, is responsible for the actions of both."[1002]

"Divine law says that certain acts are good and that certain acts are evil; and that God will reward those who do well and will punish those who do ill. And we are told that God will so act because God is just. But I claim that God cannot justly punish those who disobey, nor reward those who obey His laws. If God created all things, He must have created the evil as well as the good. Who, then, is responsible for good and evil? Only God, for he made them. He who creates all is responsible for all. God created all: God is responsible for all. He who creates nothing is responsible for nothing. Man created nothing: man is responsible for nothing. Therefore man is not responsible for his nature, nor for the acts prompted by that nature. Therefore God cannot justly punish man for his acts. Therefore the Divine law, with its code of rewards and punishments, is not a just law and cannot have emanated from a just God."[1003]

"I do not pretend to say whether there is, or is not, a God, but I deny that there is a loving Heavenly Father who answers prayer. I deny the existence of Free Will and possibility of man's sinning against God. I deny that Christ is necessary to man's salvation from Hell or from Sin. I do not assert or deny the immortality of the soul. I know nothing about the soul, and no man is, or ever was, able to tell me more than I know."[1004] "I do seriously mean that no man can, under any circumstances, be justly blamed for anything he may say or do. That is one of my deepest convictions."[1005]

Mr. Blatchford's philosophy excuses, and therefore encourages, every action based upon a bad impulse, every vice and every crime, and his creed should find the unqualified approval of habitual criminals and loafers.

Views similar to those of Mr. Blatchford are expressed by many other Socialists. We read, for instance: "It was pleasant to believe that a benevolent hand was guiding the steps of society; overruling all evil appearances for good; and making poverty here the earnest of a great blessedness and reward hereafter. It was pleasant to lose the sense of worldly inequality in the contemplation of our equality before God. But utilitarian questioning and scientific answering turned all this tranquil optimism into the blackest pessimism. Nature was shown to us as 'red in tooth and claw': if the guiding hand were indeed benevolent, then it could not be omnipotent, so that our trust in it was broken: if it were omnipotent, it could not be benevolent; so that our love in it turned to fear and hatred."[1006]

As long as childhood pines in City slum; As long as Landlords steal their racking rent; As long as Love and Faith to gold succumb; As long as human life in war is spent; While false religion teaches men to pray To a false Tyrant, whom they misname God; Whose "Holy Will" is—so they glibly say— The poor should suffer 'neath His chast'ning rod; As long as men do buy and sell the soil, And thereby make their fellow men their slaves; While selfishness exacts its cruel spoil; While yet the poor are ground into their graves; Until these crying wrongs are made to cease Nowhere upon this earth can there be peace.[1007]

Although the Socialists have declared war against the Christian religion and the Christian Churches, they freely quote the Scriptures and the Fathers if it suits their purpose, and shamelessly misuse the name of Christ. In support of their maxim "Property is theft," they quote St. Jerome's saying: "Opulence is always the result of theft: if not by the actual possessor, then by his predecessors."[1008] They quote Christ in support of their demand for the abolition of private property, marriage and the family. "Christ abolished all private property, and with it the State. He abolished all distinctions of race, rank, sex, and intellect. He made the first last and the last first, acknowledging only devoted service as true greatness; the only law, the Law of Love. In His sweeping condemnation of egoism in every form it seems doubtful if He did not even lay iconoclastic hands on marriage and the family, as they existed and exist. In the resurrection they neither marry nor give in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven. Woman (to His mother), what have I to do with thee? Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven the same is My brother, and sister, and mother."[1009] They use the name of Christ for electioneering purposes. At a West Ham election, for instance, the electors received leaflets which stated "If you vote for the Municipal Alliance you vote against God. If Christ were in Plaistow Ward, Christ would vote for Coe."[1010]

Professor Schaeffle, perhaps the most fair-minded and moderate scientist who ever criticised Socialism, was perfectly right in stating: "Socialism of the present day is out-and-out irreligious, and hostile to the Church. It says that the Church is only a police institution for upholding capital, and that it deceives the common people with a 'cheque payable in heaven,' that the Church deserves to perish."[1011] The above words were written with regard to German Socialism, and British Socialism is far more irreligious, violent, and revolutionary than is the German variety.

FOOTNOTES:

[977] Rev. E.T. Russell in Forward, November 23, 1907.

[978] Rev. L. Jenkyns Jones in Forward, November 16, 1907.

[979] Rev. Frank Ballard in Socialism: A Cancerous Growth, p. 19.

[980] Macdonald, Socialism, p. 99.

[981] Blatchford, Real Socialism, p. 4.

[982] Macdonald, Socialism, p. 101.

[983] New Age, October 10, 1907.

[984] Ibid. p. 10.

[985] Keir Hardie, Can a Man be a Christian on a Pound a Week? p. 18.

[986] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 52.

[987] Ibid. p. 97.

[988] Blatchford, God and My Neighbour, p. 189.

[989] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 14.

[990] Francis Adams, The Mass of Christ, p. 12.

[991] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 14.

[992] Bax, Ethics of Socialism, pp. 192, 193.

[993] Ibid. pp. 196, 197.

[994] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 6.

[995] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 16.

[996] Socialist Standard, December 1, 1907.

[997] Bax, The Religion of Socialism, p. 90.

[998] Ibid. p. 98.

[999] Blatchford, God and My Neighbour, p. 194.

[1000] Ibid. p. 197.

[1001] Ibid. p. 124.

[1002] Blatchford, God and My Neighbour, pp. 135, 136.

[1003] Blatchford, Not Guilty, pp. 11, 12.

[1004] Blatchford, God and My Neighbour, p. 122.

[1005] Ibid. p. 137.

[1006] Fabian Essays in Socialism, p. 27.

[1007] The Deadly Parallel, October 1907.

[1008] Wheatley, How the Miners are Robbed, p. 13.

[1009] Davidson, Gospel of the Poor, p. 149.

[1010] Times, Municipal Socialism, p. 42.

[1011] Schaeffle, Quintessence of Socialism, p. 116.



CHAPTER XXVII

THE RELIGION OF SOCIALISM

We have seen in Chapter XXVI. that Socialism makes war upon Christianity and upon religion, that it strives to eradicate religion out of the people's hearts. Now the question arises: How do Socialists propose to fill the void? What do they intend to put into the place of that religion which they wish to destroy?

"Socialism involves a change which would be almost a revolution in the moral and religious attitude of the majority of mankind."[1012] "Religion will share the fate of the State. It will not be 'abolished,' God will not be dethroned, religion will not be 'torn out of the people's hearts.' Religion will disappear by itself without any violent attack."[1013] "The establishment of society on a Socialistic basis would imply the definitive abandonment of all theological cults, since the notion of a transcendent god or semi-divine prophet is but the counterpart and analogue of the transcendent governing class. So soon as we are rid of the desire of one section of society to enslave another, the dogmas of an effete creed will lose their interest. As the religion of slave industry was Paganism; as the religion of serfage was Catholic Christianity, or Sacerdotalism; as the religion of Capitalism is Protestant Christianity or Biblical dogma, so the religion of collective and co-operative industry is Humanism, which is only another name for Socialism."[1014] "The religion of the future is to be the religion of the common life. It will have for its ideal the complete organic unity of the whole human race. And this religion will be a political religion. It will be a religion which will seek to realise its ideal in our industrial and social affairs by the application and use of political methods. The popular conception of politics as something apart from religion is a cunning device of the devil to serve his own ends; just in the same way as the popular impression that politics is something apart from bread and butter, and shorter hours, and better homes, and better industrial conditions. There can be no separation between politics and religion. The religion of the future will be an application of the moral truths of religion through politics to our industrial and social conditions."[1015]

To root out the very memory of Christianity, Socialists would abolish the Sunday. "We would surrender once and for all this chimerical notion of one day of universal rest and institute three days a week, or, if necessary, more, as days of partial rest, i.e. on which different sections of the community would be freed from labour in turn."[1016]

This proposal, like so many Socialist proposals, reminds us of the French Revolution, which also simultaneously abolished the Christian religion and changed the calendar. The month was divided into three periods of ten days. The tenth day, the "decadi," replaced Sunday.[1017] The people were compelled to rest on decadi and to work on Sunday. Peasants who on Sundays did not bring their vegetables to market were prosecuted.[1018] Policemen who on decadi heard suspicious noises broke by force into houses to find out whether people were "desecrating" decadi by work, and the people complained, "Where is the liberty you promised us when we may not even dance on any day we like?"[1019]

The French Revolutionaries destroyed the statues and pictures in the churches. British Socialists at present only propose to replace the effigies of Christ and the saints by Socialist heroes: "Let the painters, sculptors, poets, and musicians do honour to the heroes of humanity, the apostles of science and progress, as they have heretofore lavished their taste and skill and imagination on a conventional Jesus, an ideal Madonna and imaginary saints, and Gospel scenes; let statues arise to Bruno, Vanini, Servetus; let the historian and the biographer recount with loving wealth of detail their struggles, controversies, flights, imprisonments, and martyrdoms; let poets and painters cast the halo of romantic art around Caxton, Galileo, William the Silent, Milton, Harry Vane, and great masterful Cromwell; let hymns be sung to Copernicus, Newton, Harvey, to Massaniello, Danton, Garibaldi, Delescluze, to Grace Darling, Sister Dora and Father Damien."[1020]

"To the Socialist, Marx has said the last word that need be said on the subject of the relation of Socialism and religion. 'The religious reflex of the real world can only finally vanish when the practical relations of everyday life offer to man none but perfectly intelligible and reasonable relations with regard to his fellow men.' Material conditions rule. 'The English Established Church will more readily pardon an attack on thirty-eight of its thirty-nine articles than on one-thirty-ninth of its income.' This is as true to-day as when written in 1867."[1021] Among the "Immediate Reforms" demanded by the Social-Democratic Federation is, of course, "the disestablishment and disendowment of all State churches."[1022]

British Socialists, like the French Revolutionaries, have issued numerous travesties of the Christian church service. The following are extracts from a widely read "Socialist Ritual."

"A CATECHISM FOR THE MOB

"Q. What is thy name? A. Wageworker.—Q. Who are thy parents? A. My father was called Wageworker—my mother's name is Poverty.—Q. Where wast thou born? A. In a garret under the roof of a tenement house which my father and his comrades built.—Q. What is thy religion? A. The Religion of Capital.—Q. What duties does thy religion lay upon thee with regard to society? A. To increase the national wealth—first through my toil, and next through my savings, as soon as I can make any.—Q. What does thy religion order thee to do with thy savings? A. To entrust them to the banks and such other institutions that have been established by philanthropic financiers, to the end that they may loan them out to themselves. We are commanded to place our earnings at all times at the disposal of our masters."

"A LITANY

for the use of the respectable classes. Edited by Edward Carpenter.

"O God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners.—Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers, neither take thou vengeance of our sins. Spare us, good Lord; spare us whom thou hast brought into honour and good position through the precious blood of the toiling masses, and be not angry with us for ever: Spare us, good Lord.—From all evil and mischief, from the crafts and assaults of the thief and the burglar, from poverty and the everlasting damnation of the workhouse: Good Lord, deliver us.—From bad trade and bogus dividends, from shady and unprofitable investments, from all unsuccessful speculation and losses, whether on the turf or in the City: Good Lord, deliver us."

"THE CAPITALIST'S TEN COMMANDMENTS

"I am Capital, thy Master, that brought thee out of the Land of Liberty into a State of Slavery. Thou shalt not become thine own Master, nor have any other Masters but me. Thou shalt commit murder for my sake only. Thou shalt give thy daughters in prostitution and thy wife in adultery to me."

THE LATEST DECALOGUE

Thou shalt have one God only, who Would be at the expense of two? No graven images may be Worshipped, except the currency. Swear not at all, as for thy curse Thine enemy is none the worse. At Church on Sunday to attend Will serve to keep the world thy friend.[1023]

The foregoing representative statements and extracts clearly prove that the teachings of Socialism, far from being in harmony with Christianity, are incompatible and directly hostile not only to Christianity but to all religion. The philosopher of British Socialism has very truly said, "Socialism has been well described as a new conception of the world, presenting itself in industry as co-operative Communism, in politics as international Republicanism, in religion as atheistic Humanism, by which is meant the recognition of social progress as our being's highest end and aim."[1024] As there is very little difference between "atheistic Humanism" and Atheism pure and simple, Socialists have really no right to complain if their opponents, relying on Bax's high authority, reproach them with being Atheists. The excerpts given above show that the religion of Socialism is a political and economic one. Its character and principles may be found in the publications of the Labour Church Union and of the Socialist Sunday School Union. The prospectus of the Labour Church Union contains the following declaration of principles:

"(1) That the Labour Church exists to give expression to the religion of the Labour movement. (2) That the religion of the Labour movement is not theological, but respects each individual's personal convictions upon this question. (3) That the religion of the Labour movement seeks the realisation of universal well-being by the establishment of Socialism—a Commonwealth founded upon justice and love. (4) The religion of the Labour movement declares that improvement of social conditions and the development of personal character are both essential to emancipation from social and moral bondage, and to that end insists upon the duty of studying the economic and moral forces of society."

It will be noticed that the words Christianity, God, morality, virtue, &c., do not occur in the foregoing statement.

Now let us study the details of the Socialist religion. These details are taken from a statement of the aims, methods, &c. of the Socialist Sunday Schools, published for the enlightenment of the public by the Glasgow and District Socialist Sunday School Union, the principal Socialist Sunday School Union of Great Britain. In that official publication we read: "Socialism, which the children are taught, is an idealism. It has been described as 'the highest flight of the ideal into the realm of the practical.' It is a faith—a faith based on the divine brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity—irrespective of class, colour, or creed. It is a religion—a religion greater than creeds or dogmas. It is a religion of love! Its followers and disciples are lovers of mankind! Its worship is service to humanity! Socialism has absorbed not only all the essential spiritual elements contained in the Christ teaching, but it has also, as Christianity itself has done before it, absorbed all the highest altruistic teaching of the ages. But Socialism has done something more—it has struck a new note, deep-sounding, far-reaching, and its vibrations are stirring in the hearts of the nations! Socialism has proclaimed its tenets, declaring the only possible ways and means whereby the sacred rites of the religion of love can be observed, and without which there can be no realisation of the divine sentiment—'the brotherhood of man.'

"The Church, the State, and the people alike, in so far as they sanction and sanctify unrighteous social conditions, are equally guilty of breaking the very first laws of brotherhood, and thereby of violating the pure and holy religion of love. When the Sun of Social Justice—Socialism—has arisen in its full glory, all the artificial and unnatural causes of evil and error will have been rooted out from the pathway of human progress. The sons and daughters of men may then, without mockery, stand before the great throne of love and worship the beauty and the wonder and the glory of the earth, sky, and sea, as brothers and sisters in one holy unity, and be more worthy to fathom the deeper mystery. Thus Socialism, or the law of the religion of love, unfalteringly maintains: That private property in land is public robbery. It is public robbery because, the land being the source of all the necessaries of life, it should belong equally to all, by birthright of our common inheritance in the brotherhood of the world. 'Let them know that the earth from which they were created is the common property of all men, and that therefore the fruits of the earth belong indiscriminately to all. Those who make private property of the gift of God, pretend in vain to be innocent, for they are the murderers of those who die daily for want of it.' Such is the terrible and unassailable dictum of one of the great founders of the early Christian Church, Saint Gregory I. Private property in capital—whether in money, railways, mines, factories, machinery, tools, &c.—is public robbery. It is public robbery because it creates and divides the human family into classes. Classes of rich and idle people who claim and hold all these things as by right—and classes of hirelings who are thus forced to pay for the use of them—as rent in land, interest in capital, profit on labour. This means that the hireling classes require to give all the work of their hands and brains in order to secure a small share of the things which they need to live, and which they themselves have produced out of Nature's ample store. And this at once hinders the possibility of any unity of brotherhood or sisterhood and breaks the law of love."[1025]

It will be noticed that in this lengthy statement God is mentioned only for party purposes, and that the chief aim of the "religion of love" is to sow hatred and to incite to plunder.

The Labour Church Union and the Socialist Sunday Schools use the same form of the Socialist Ten Commandments, which are as follows:

"Love your schoolfellows, who will be your fellow-workers in life. Love learning, which is the food of the mind, and be grateful to your teacher as to your parents. Make every day holy by good and useful deeds and kindly actions. Honour good men, be courteous to all, bow down to none. Do not hate or speak evil of anyone, do not be revengeful, but stand up for your rights and resist oppression. Do not be cowardly, be a friend to the weak and love justice. Remember that all the good things of the earth are produced by labour. Whoever enjoys them without working for them is stealing the bread of the workers. Observe and think in order to discover the truth. Do not believe what is contrary to reason, and never deceive yourself or others. Do not think that he who loves his own country must hate and despise other nations, or wish for war, which is a remnant of barbarism. Look forward to the day when all men will be free citizens of one fatherland and live together as brothers, in peace and righteousness. Socialism is the hope of the world."

Here also the words Christianity and God do not occur.

We are officially told that "Socialist Sunday Schools are intended to serve as a means of teaching economic causes of present-day social evils and of implanting a love of goodness in the child mind."[1026]

The following extracts from the "Red Catechism" serve to show how "love of goodness" is inculcated in the Socialist Sunday Schools:

"Q. Is there any difference in the teachings at Socialist Sunday schools and other Sunday schools? A. Yes.—Q. What is taught in Christian schools? A. Christian morals and capitalist teachings.—Q. What is meant by the term 'employing men for profit'? A. Capitalists, when they pay wages, make the workers produce three or four times the amount they pay them. The extra which the men produce over their wages is called profit.—Q. What evidence is there that the workers earn a great amount and get very little? A. The national amount of wealth produced every year is two thousand millions and the amount paid out in wages is only five hundred millions, showing that the poor are poor because they are robbed.—Q. Who creates all wealth? A. The working class.—Q. Who creates all poverty? A. Our capitalist society.—Q. Who are the workers? A. Men who work for wages.—Q. What class of men get into Parliament? A. The capitalist and aristocratic class?—Q. How is that? A. Because the workers are opposed by men interested in keeping them poor.—Q. How many children are there in London who go to school insufficiently fed and clothed? A. It is stated as many as 100,000; a number equal to the population of a small county.—Q. To what class do these poor starving children belong? A. The working class.—Q. Is it not the working class which creates all wealth? A. Yes.—Q. Do the rich trouble about the poor children of London who are ill-fed and clothed? A. No.—Q. What is a pauper? A. One who lives upon others, while being able to work?—Q. Are the rich class able to work? A. Yes; because they are well cared for when young and grow up strong?—Q. Do they work? A. No; they consider it menial and beneath them.—Q. Then they are paupers? A. Yes.—Q. Do the rich and their children live at the expense of those who work? A. Yes.—Q. What does machinery enable the workers to do? A. To produce wealth quicker.—Q. Do the workers benefit by machinery? A. No. On the contrary. It generally reduces their wages and throws them out of work.—Q. Why is that? A. Because the machinery is controlled by the capitalist class.—Q. What is a wage-slave? A. A person who works for a wage and gives all he earns to a capitalist.—Q. What proportion does a wage-slave receive of what he earns? A. On the average about a fourth. The slave and serf always had food, clothing, and shelter. The wage-slave, when he is out of work, must now starve or go into the workhouse and be made miserable, or commit suicide.—Q. What is the remedy for wage-slavery? A. Socialism.—Q. Who pays the rent? A. Father and mother.—Q. Who demands the rent? A. The landlord.—Q. Can you say how much the landlord takes from the wages of father, generally for rent? A. Yes; a fourth.—Q. That is sheer robbery, is it not? A. Yes; but working men cannot help it.—Q. Why is that? A. Because the landlord class have a monopoly of land and houses, and workmen have no land and are too poor to build for themselves."[1027]

With this mendacious stuff the "Religion of Love" systematically poisons the innocent minds of little children. The religion of Socialism is indeed a political religion, as Mr. Snowden, M.P., has stated.

FOOTNOTES:

[1012] Ball, The Moral Aspects of Socialism, p. 23.

[1013] Bebel, Woman, p. 213.

[1014] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 81.

[1015] Snowden, The Christ that Is to be, pp. 6, 7.

[1016] Bax, Religion of Socialism, pp. 58, 59.

[1017] Mignet, Revolution Francaise, ch. viii.

[1018] Sciout, iii. 176.

[1019] Sciout, iv. 386.

[1020] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 16.

[1021] Socialist Standard, December 1, 1907.

[1022] See Appendix.

[1023] A Socialists' Ritual, pp. 7-16.

[1024] Bax, Religion of Socialism, p. 81.

[1025] Glasier, Socialist Sunday Schools, p. 9.

[1026] Glasier, Socialist Sunday Schools, p. 10.

[1027] Hazell, The Red Catechism, pp. 3-10.



CHAPTER XXVIII

CHRISTIAN SOCIALISM

The position of the Christian Churches and of Christian ministers towards Socialism is one of considerable difficulty. Socialism and Christianity are two words which are not easily reconcilable. Chapters XXVI. and XXVII. show that the attitude of British Socialists, not only towards Christianity but towards all religion, is in the main a hostile one. Their attitude is only logical. Socialists see in religious men and in religious corporations obstacles to their revolutionary and predatory progress. However, as many Socialists have declared that the teachings of Christ and of Socialism are identical, some large-hearted Christian ministers have tried to reconcile Christianity and Socialism. Working under the banner of Christian Socialism, these are rather trying to exercise practical Christianity than to assist the Socialist agitation, as may be seen from their programmes given in the Appendix.

Many Christian Socialist ministers are pious and worthy men whose actions are wise and moderate. Others have adopted an attitude of hysterical enthusiasm and admiration towards Socialism. Whilst the former have only a few adherents, some of the latter have rapidly secured for themselves a considerable Socialist following, and if one takes note of their views, one cannot help doubting whether their motives are entirely disinterested. The following utterances, for instance, one would expect from the mouth of a Soudanese dervish or an Indian fakir, but not from the pen of a Christian minister:

"Socialism is the Greatest Movement for Justice and Brotherhood that this old Planet has ever known. Socialism is the Greatest Passion for the Release and Freedom of the Human Soul that this world has ever felt. Socialism is the Greatest Urge of the Average Man to stand erect, independent, and free, without a Master and without a slave, that the human race has ever experienced.

"The Spirit of the Lord of Life within me, burning as a fierce flame in my bones, saith 'Speak unto the people these words': There is only one Sacred Thing beneath the stars—Human Life. Human Life is the Incarnation of the Desire of the Lord of Life. Behold! He awaits the Full Expression, the Complete Emancipation, the Perfect Freedom of that Human Life, as Life, in all its undisclosed majestic meanings. And it doth not yet appear what it shall be! The Average Man at your side in the street, next door—the average woman, any woman, the child, any child—Behold here is the Sacred One. Love, Worship, and Bless in the name of the Lord of Life. 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, ye have done it unto Me.' No artificial, conventional, social, or financial dignity can make that Human One worthy; no present degradation or humiliation can finally obscure that Radiant One. 'I see through your sham tinsel and title; I see through the dirt and despair to the Human One shining there,' saith the Living Truth. 'The worship that passeth these Darlings of My Heart and leaveth them—that worship I am against,' saith the Lord of Life. O stand erect now, just where you are, just as you read these words. Thou hast no Superior! Thou art very Beautiful! Thou art the Freedom Incarnate, whose Heart-beat shall dissolve all slaveries and Injustice. I Love thee, O Thou Human One. There is only one Sacred Thing beneath the stars—Human Life. Whatever hurts, harms, makes cheap, blights, hinders, enslaves, subordinates, or profits off Human Life is Wrong tho' demanded by ten thousand priests, tho' framed in a thousand laws, tho' hoary with ten thousand years. Whatever hurts the Son of man—that—that is the Blasphemy. Whatever helps, releases, emancipates, makes free, glorifies, makes sacred, enlarges, enricheth Human Life, that is the Right and Good, tho' persecuted by private interests; that is the Truth, tho' withstood by dead men's creeds. Whatever emancipates the average man—that—that is the coming of the Lord. The Fundamental fact of Life is Bread. Man doth not—cannot live by Bread alone. But man cannot live without Bread. In the eating of Bread, behold the Divine Democracy of Human Life. The necessity of eating Bread—there is the Universal Sacrament—all are present—all partake. Behold, the Supper of the Lord is—just Bread—our common Daily Bread. Why is this Bread Sacred? Not in itself. No! Why, then? It is the food of the Sacred Ones—the Human Ones. It is the Food of the Incarnation of the Lord of Life. And the first Basic Sacred Ceremony of Man is—Labour in securing that Bread—the Fact of Bread-Getting. If that is not Just, True, Right, Good, a Blessing—then nothing is. All else is measured here. You cannot build a Sacred Ceremony in the superstructure of Human Life if the Basis in Bread-getting is a Lie, a Fraud, a Cheat, a Theft, a Slavery, a Service to the Gain-god—Mammon, a Gamble with Human Flesh. Nay, verily! 'I will not hear your prayers, your chants, your liturgies, your praises; My soul hateth even your solemn meeting,' said the Lord of Life, if thou wilt not see Me in these Human Ones as they struggle for Bread, if thou wilt not make thy Bread-getting Just, and Holy, and Good, and True.

"And now, O Capitalism, Thou art doomed! I am against thee, saith the Spirit. O Capitalism, I have weighed thee in My balances—thou art found wanting. O Capitalism, thou hast gambled with the Land that I gave to all for Bread. O Capitalism, thou hast gambled with the great machines that are for the bread-getting of the people. O Capitalism, thou hast made Human need an asset of thy gains. Thy Purse is filled with Bloody Coin. Thy Store-Houses burst where the many Hunger. The Little Ones cry in the streets whilst thou hidest thy Plunder. I am against thee, O Capitalism, I am against thee! Thou hast gambled with the very Bodies and Souls of men in thy Mad Mammonism. Thy fierce Profit-Hunger Hath rejoiced in the Hunger of Man. I am against thee, O Capitalism!

"Behold! the Day Dawns! I see Justice arise. I see the Land redeemed! I see the Titans of Iron, the machinery of shops, used for man! I see the Toilers go forth to their labours and return with the product of their toil! I see Capitalism lie prone! I see Mammonism fallen! I see the Profit of the Many Arise! I see Freedom! I see Brotherhood! I see the Socialist Age! I see the Commonwealth of Man! 'Tis the coming of the Lord of Life."[1028]

Much of the foregoing is printed in half-inch letters. At the end of these wild utterances we read in letters an inch tall: "Rally, Rally, Rally! Great Social Crusade! Rally, Rally, Rally!"—which unpleasantly reminds one of the shouting butcher's insistent cry, "Buy, Buy, Buy!" to be heard in crowded thoroughfares on Saturday nights.

The moderate Christian Socialists cannot help opposing the most important item in the Socialist programme. For example, "The Christian Social Union asserts that it has not the slightest sympathy with confiscation." In fact, "the whole question of expropriation is tacitly ignored in the literature of Christian Socialism."[1029] "The Christian who believes in the words: 'Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness, for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth,' cannot easily be a Socialist, and a Christian minister cannot easily approve of the spoliation of the Church."[1030] Professor Flint stated quite correctly: "What is called Christian Socialism will always be found to be unchristian in so far as it is socialistic, or unsocialistic in so far as it is truly and fully Christian."[1031]

Christian Socialist leaders urge Socialists to join the Christian Socialist movement. "Every Socialist who understands how deeply religion has been concerned in every movement that has ever won the enthusiasm of men, every Socialist who realises how enormous is the work before him, must welcome the assistance of this ancient and imperishable organ of love and justice. And every Christian who rejoices in the singular growth of religious zeal in recent years must long to see all that huge force given to the service of the Humanity which Jesus Christ has taken up into the Godhead. For the man that loves much is a Socialist, and the man that loves most is a saint, and every man that truly loves the brotherhood is in a state of salvation."[1032] These words seem rather perfunctory and laboured.

By far the largest number of Socialists regard the Christian Socialist movement with suspicion and dislike. The philosopher of British Socialism, Mr. Bax, for instance, wrote contemptuously: "The leaders of the Guild of St. Matthew wish to accomplish vast changes through 'a clarified Christianity'?—a Christianity which shall consist apparently of the skins of dead dogmas stuffed with adulterated Socialist ethics." A leading Socialist weekly wrote of the early Christian Socialists: "Whether their labours were largely beneficial depends on the way one looks at these things. We have no doubt that for the capitalist class these labours were eminently beneficial, and that is why Maurice and his friends are held in such great esteem by them. For the working class, however, their labours spelt slavery, and ought always to be remembered when similar attempts to 'Christianise' Socialism are made by the 'servants' of the Church. Here, as in many other things, the motto of the worker must be 'I fear the Greeks, even when they come with gifts.'"[1033]

FOOTNOTES:

[1028] The Social Crusade to Herald the Message of Truth and Freedom to this Age, conducted by Rev. J. Stitt Wilson, M.A., November 1907.

[1029] Woodworth, Christian Socialism in England, p. 161.

[1030] Church and Socialism, p. 39.

[1031] Flint, Socialism, p. 441.

[1032] Dearmer, Socialism and Christianity, pp. 22, 23.

[1033] Justice, October 19, 1907.



CHAPTER XXIX

SOCIALISM AND COMMUNISM

Socialism is not a simple but a complex movement. It contains a powerful strain both of Communism and of Anarchism. In fact one might almost divide all Socialists into two classes: Communist Socialists and Anarchist Socialists. A study of the history of Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism shows that all three movements have much in common. It shows instances of Socialistic parties branching out and having Communist and Anarchist offshoots, and shows instances of Anarchist and Communist groups combining under the red banner of Socialism.

Owing to its intimate historical and sentimental connection with Communism and Anarchism, Socialism is hostile to the State, and many Socialists desire its downfall: "The expropriation of all the private proprietors of the means of production being effected, society starts on a new basis. The conditions of existence and of human life are changed. The State Organisation gradually loses its foundation. The State expires with the expiration of a ruling class, just as religion expires when the belief in supernatural beings or supernatural reasoning powers ceases to exist."[1034] "The first act wherein the State appears as the real representative of the whole body social—the seizure of the means of production in the name of society—is also its last independent act as State. The interference of the State in social relations becomes superfluous in one domain after another and falls of itself into desuetude. The place of a government over persons is taken by the administration of things and the conduct of the processes of production. The State is not 'abolished,' it dies out."[1035] "The representatives of the State will have disappeared along with the State itself—ministers, parliaments, standing armies, police and gens-d'armes, law courts, lawyers and public prosecutors, prisons, rates, taxes and excises—the entire political apparatus. The great and yet so petty parliamentary struggles have given place to administrative colleges and administrative delegations, whose function it is to settle the best methods of production and distribution."[1036] "The Co-operative Commonwealth will incorporate the whole people into society. The whole people does not want, or need, any government at all. It simply wants administration—good administration,"[1037]

The arguments contained in the foregoing extracts are exceedingly shallow. The various authorities quoted tell us in more or less involved language that the State disappears because "governments" will be replaced by "administrations." Unconvincing verbiage apart, the only change which would take place would be a change of name. Countries would be ruled by Socialist governments instead of by non-Socialist ones. The State could disappear only with the disappearance of nations and of frontiers, with the advent of the "Brotherhood of Man." The first Socialist State might of course proclaim the Brotherhood of Man in accordance with the precedent set by the French Revolution, but other nations might feel as little inclined to join it as during the time when bloodthirsty demagogues ruled France in the name of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, with the liberal assistance of the rifle and the guillotine.

What is Communism? John Stuart Mill tells us: "The assailants of the principle of individual property may be divided into two classes—those whose scheme implies absolute equality in the distribution of the physical means of life and enjoyment, and those who admit inequality, but grounded on some principle, or supposed principle, of justice or general expediency, and not, like so many of the existing social inequalities, dependent on accident alone. The characteristic name for the former economical system is Communism."[1038] "Palgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy" says: "Communism is the theory which teaches that the labour and the income of society should be distributed equally among all its members by some constituted authority."[1039]

Let us now take note of some Socialist views on Communism. "Laurence Gronlund, whose 'Co-operative Commonwealth' has been styled the New Testament of Socialism (as the 'Capital' is its Old Testament), has tried to distinguish between Socialism and Communism by describing Communism as meaning 'each according to his needs,' and Socialism 'each according to his deeds.'"[1040] "As soon as the principle of equality is applied to Socialism, Socialism becomes 'Communism.'"[1041] "Socialism and Communism are very generally confounded, but they are quite distinct economic systems. Socialists seek only to control the instruments of production—Land and Capital; Communists leave nothing to the individual which he can call his own. St. Paul was a Socialist, Christ a Communist."[1042]

Many so-called Socialists are in reality avowed Communists who look forward to the introduction of Communism more than to the advent of Socialism. They see in Socialism merely an intermediate stage towards their final goal. "If the millennial haven of Communism is to be reached by mankind generally, it must be through the disciplinary portal of Socialism."[1043] "Communism, the final goal of Socialism, is a form of Social Economy very closely akin to the principles set forth in the Sermon on the Mount."[1044] "Socialism and freedom 'gang thegither.' Socialism implies the inherent equality of all human beings. It does not assume that all are alike, but only that all are equal."[1045] "Between complete Socialism and Communism there is no difference whatever in my mind. Communism is, in fact, the completion of Socialism; when that ceases to be militant and becomes triumphant it will be Communism."[1046] "The vision of freedom is an ever-expanding conception of life and its possibilities. The slave dreams of emancipation, the emancipated workman of citizenship; the enfranchised citizen of Socialism; the Socialist of Communism."[1047]

Some Socialists champion Communism because Communism, the equality of all, is "natural," whilst individualism is "unnatural": "Capitalistic individualism has no prototype in Nature and is therefore unnatural. But some opponent will say, 'It is here, and therefore it must be a natural product.' The answer is simple. It is here, but it is one of Nature's failures. We have seen how, low down in the organic scale, Nature makes many failures in order to achieve one success. Sometimes even millions perish in order that one of high type may survive. Nature always accomplishes her purposes in the end. We know that her aim is Communism, for some of the higher species have already reached it, and all are tending towards it."[1048] The assertion, "We know" (who are we?) "that Nature's aim is Communism," can hardly be called a sufficient scientific proof of the foregoing proposition. Other Socialists assert that Communism is in accordance with the Bible: "Christ's teaching is often said to be Socialistic. It is not Socialistic, but it is Communistic, and Communism is the most advanced form of the policy generally known as Socialism."[1049]

A Socialist Bible student and very prolific writer says: "Can anything be conceived more diametrically opposed to the principle laid down by Christ than the present system, based as it is on the principle of competition? 'You are all brothers,' says Christ, and if all are brothers, then it needs no philosopher to tell us that all should work together for the common good."[1050] In support of this doctrine that Communism is in accordance with the Bible, the said writer quotes Acts iv. 32-35, "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."[1051] The Socialist can quote Scripture for his purpose—and misquote it too. Therefore the pious Socialist writer leaves out the lines which follow: "But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price."[1052] Will there be no Ananiases in the Socialist Commonwealth? Besides, the early Christian Communism was voluntary and dictated only by charity. It certainly was not enjoined as a religious duty.[1053] Lastly, the first Christian experiment in Communism proved immediately a failure, probably because there were many Ananiases, and because Communism is opposed to human nature and leads to poverty and strife, not to prosperity and peace. Hence, St. Paul founded no more Communist settlements, but collected everywhere for the "poor saints at Jerusalem" in order to relieve them in their "deep poverty," as may be seen in Romans xv. 26-27, 1 Corinthians xvi. 1-3, 2 Corinthians viii. and ix. To misquote Scripture in support of Socialist Communism with an attitude of deep piety is not only in bad taste, but also dishonest. It is cant and hypocrisy.

Another prolific Socialist writer, under the title "Was Jesus a Socialist?" tells us that Socialism "claims complete equality of rewards for all members of society, not on any theologico-metaphysical ground, such as the Christian abstract principle of brotherhood, but because it sees men to have on the whole the same natural endowments, and the same natural needs."[1054] Have they? Considered merely as two-legged animals requiring only food, warmth, and shelter, men have not even the same physical needs.

It is very difficult to make out a good case in favour of Communism, an equal reward for all, a doctrine which will be attractive only to the lowest rank of workers, the lazy, and the inefficient. Therefore Socialist Communists endeavour to make Communism appear more palatable to the active and the efficient by the lavish use of poetry and hyperbole. For instance, we learn: "He who makes the canvas is as useful as he that paints the picture. He who cleanses the sewer and prevents disease is as useful as the physician who cures the malady after it has been contracted."[1055] To learn painting or medicine requires at least ten years' study; sewer-cleaning requires no study. The offer of equal rewards for an hour's work at painting, at amputating in a hospital, and at cleaning sewers must be very attractive to sewermen. Will it prove equally attractive to surgeons and painters? Socialism is to be world-wide. Will the highly skilled British trade unionist agree to work side by side with unskilled Chinamen and for equal wages?

In youth, as I lay dreaming, I saw a country fair. Where Plenty sheds its blessing down, And all have equal share. There Poverty's sad features Are never, never, seen; And each soul in the Brotherhood Scorns cunning arts or mean.[1056]

I think skilled workers will hardly hail with enthusiasm the day of liberty and equality and of sewermen's wages all round, poetry notwithstanding.

Other Socialists try to recommend Communism by a ridiculous and dishonest play upon words: "He who declares himself an enemy of Communism declares himself an enemy of common interest, an enemy of society and mankind. Whoever wishes to annihilate Communism will have to destroy the common roads, the schools, he will have to destroy the public gardens and parks, he will have to abolish the public baths, the theatres, the waterworks, all the public buildings; he will have to destroy the railroads, the telegraphs, the post-office. For all these belong to Communism."[1057] It would be as logical to say, "He who opposes Socialism will have to destroy the Royal Society, and all clubs, for all these are social institutions." The Social-Democratic Federation says about Communism: "Has there not always been the aggregation of wealth in the hands of a few in all stages of human society?—Certainly there has been a tendency to such concentration throughout history. In what did tribal society differ from civilised society?—Briefly, it differed in that its underlying principle was that of social solidarity and Communism. We may instance such examples as survived in the village communities of India before the establishment of British institutions; in the Russian Mir, in its older form; in the Arab tribal organisation and the Javan village communities."[1058] That "primitive Communism" of "tribal society," the organisation of savages and semi-savages, of the decadent and of the unfit, Socialists wish to foist upon a highly cultured nation. The above arguments, penned by the philosopher of British Socialism and the editor of "Justice" in recommendation of Communism, suffice to condemn it.

We have a survival of ancient Communism in the Russian Mir, and to the Mir is the great backwardness of Russian agriculture chiefly to be attributed.[1059] The Russian peasants, recognising the disadvantages of the Communist Mir, are gradually abandoning it and converting common into individual properties. Nevertheless some Socialists have the hardihood to ascribe the universal disappearance of ancient Communism to the tyranny of man, not to the logic of facts and the action of Nature which replaces inefficient by efficient organisations. "There have been attempts in all ages to introduce some system of holding things in common in order to alleviate and soften the hard struggle with Nature for food, clothing, and shelter. This voluntary Communism rendered the workers too independent for the governing classes, and the jealousy of Church and State invariably destroyed it as the Russian village communes are now being destroyed by the Government."[1060]

Another Socialist quotes with approval the pronouncement of Gregory the Great "Let them know that the earth from which they spring, and of which they are formed, belongs to all men in common, and that therefore the fruits which the earth brings forth must belong, without distinction, to all."[1061] China suffers from over-population and is very poor. Would the writer give to the Chinese a share of Great Britain's wealth since "the earth and its fruits belong without distinction to all?"

Mr. Keir Hardie, M.P., who has apparently a somewhat elementary knowledge of ancient history, and who seems to rely for information on a primer such as "Little Willie's First History Book," recommends Communism because "In Sparta there were not only common lands, but also a common table, whilst dogs and horses were practically common property also. Sparta, which kept its Communism almost to the end, was also the Republic from which came the immortal heroes who made the pass of Thermopylae one of the great inspirations of the world."[1062] The Spartans were barbarians among the Greeks. Spartan Communism was founded on slavery and on the virtual community of women. Slave-murder, child-murder, rape, and theft were legally enjoined, and that is the community which Mr. Keir Hardie bids us consider as our model. Mr. Keir Hardie concludes: "We have seen how mankind when left free has always, and in all parts of the world, naturally turned to Communism. [Has it? When, and where?] That it will do so again is the most likely forecast of the future which can be made, and the great industrial organisations, the Trade Unions, the Co-operative Movement, the Friendly Orders, the Socialist organisations and the Labour party are each and all developing the feeling of solidarity and of mutual aid which will make the inauguration of Communism a comparatively easy task as the natural successor to State Socialism."[1063]

The ideas of Socialists with regard to Communism are incredibly confused. For instance, we find in the same book the following contradictory statements describing Socialism: "Socialism is the common holding of the means of production and exchange, and the holding of them for the equal benefit of all"[1064] (the italics are in the original), and "To distribute the gifts of Nature justly according to the labour done by each in the collective search for them. This desire is Socialism."[1065] These absolutely contradictory statements, telling us that Socialism is both individualistic and that it is also Communistic, are taken from the fundamental book of the Fabian Society, the most scientific body of Socialists, and they have been reprinted again and again down to the edition bearing the imprint "43rd Thousand."

Socialism is eternally between the horns of a dilemma. It promises to make all men happy. If it rewards men by results, the inefficient and the lazy will be dissatisfied. If it rewards all men alike (Communism), the efficient, able, and energetic will be dissatisfied. Reward by result will, in the absence of self-regulating commercial demand and supply, require an autocratic and absolute authority which arbitrarily apportions the unequal rewards of labour. It would be the tyranny of the few over the many, and would mean the abolition of democracy. Communism, equal rewards for all, would lead to the tyranny of the many over the few, and would stifle all motives to excel. Well might the Fabians ask: "Since we are too dishonest for Communism without taxation or compulsory labour, and too insubordinate to tolerate task work under personal compulsion, how can we order the transition so as to introduce just distribution without Communism and maintain the incentive to labour without mastership?"[1066] Unfortunately for the Socialists, that question is unanswerable. It is likely always to remain so, and the impossibility of answering it makes Socialism impossible. However, since Socialists wish to array the masses against the classes, the poor against the rich, they naturally incline, for tactical reasons rather than from honest conviction, to Communism, the worst of all tyrannies, and the most retrograde and inefficient of economic organisations.

"Communism in proposing the appropriation of the results of the unequally productive labour for a uniformly equal distribution according to needs, seeks to establish a universal and monstrous appropriation by one set of persons of the surplus value belonging to others. Socialism would, in short, do to a far greater degree the very thing with which to-day it so indignantly and bitterly reproaches capitalism."[1067] Whilst Mr. Keir Hardie and his numerous followers enthusiastically support a free Communism in which "the rule of life will be—From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,"[1068] "the Fabian Society resolutely opposes all pretensions to hamper the Socialisation of industry with equal wages, equal hours of labour, equal official status, or equal authority for everyone. Such conditions are not only impracticable, but incompatible with the equality of subordination to the common interest which is fundamental in modern Socialism."[1069]

The Communistic idea is not yet dead. The short-sightedness and folly of mankind is such that Communism, in spite of a record of more than 2,000 years of universal failure, is still a power to be reckoned with. Visionaries like Saint-Simon and Owen, and madmen like Fourier, are still able to lead the people astray.

Fourier taught that Communism would alter not only man but the physical world as well. The duration of the human race on earth would be 80,000 years, divided into two periods of ascending and two of descending vibrations. Lions would be taught to draw waggons, as a symbol of the victory of man over Nature. Human life would on an average last 144 years. The aurora borealis, which now rarely appears in northern regions, would become permanently visible and be fixed at the Pole. It would give out, not only light, as at present, but also heat. It would decompose the sea water by the creation of citric boreal acid and convert it into a kind of lemonade which would dispense with the necessity of provisioning ships with fresh water. Oranges would grow in Siberia and tame whales would pull becalmed sailing-ships. The full indulgence of human nature in all its passions would produce happiness and virtue. Society would harmoniously be organised in groups (phalanxes) of 1,600 persons to inhabit a large palace called a phalanstery. If England would introduce these phalanxes, her labour would become so productive that she could pay off her national debt in six months by the sale of hens' eggs. Labour would be organised and occupation be changed every two hours. Workers would be taken in carriages to and from their work, and agricultural labourers would work under tents so as to be protected against the rain. The relations between the sexes would be of the freest. All should freely satisfy all their passions, and all passions would naturally combine in one grand harmony. The world would become a huge Republic which would be governed from Constantinople, and French would be the universal language.[1070]

Notwithstanding the evident insanity of Fourier's proposals, and the almost equally extravagant proposals of Owen, more than a hundred phalansteries and other Communistic settlements were founded in Great Britain and elsewhere, especially in the United States. Their failure was universal and their immorality was very great.[1071] "The trouble with all the Fourierite communities was that they were fanciful and theoretical schemes, not simple and natural growths. They had little definite religious spirit to hold them together. They had little business headship. At the least discouragement and misfortune they melted away. Only religious communism, the facts seem to prove, can be successful."[1072] Only the communism of the convent and of the monastery, the equality of all based on a fervent religious belief, on a firm discipline, on an equal and absolute poverty, and on the almost insurmountable difficulty of re-entering the world, has hitherto proved practicable from the time of the Essenes to the present day.

FOOTNOTES:

[1034] Bebel, Woman, p. 178.

[1035] Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, pp. 76, 77.

[1036] Bebel, Woman, p. 212.

[1037] Gronlund, Co-operative Commonwealth, p. 123

[1038] Mill, Political Economy, Book iii. ch. i. par. 2.

[1039] Palgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy, vol. i. p. 297.

[1040] Leatham, Socialism and Character, p. 89.

[1041] Menger, L'Etat Socialiste, p. 35.

[1042] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 93.

[1043] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 94.

[1044] Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism, p. 36.

[1045] Ibid. p. 9.

[1046] Morris, Communism, pp. 11, 12.

[1047] Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism, p. 77.

[1048] Connell, Socialism and the Survival of the Fittest, p. 19.

[1049] Blatchford, Real Socialism, p. 5.

[1050] Ward, Are All Men Brothers? p. 19.

[1051] Ward, All Things in Common, p. 5.

[1052] Acts v. 1, 2.

[1053] Acts v. 4.

[1054] Leatham, Was Jesus a Socialist? p. 5.

[1055] Davidson, The Old Order and the New, p. 159.

[1056] Clarion Song Book, p. 27.

[1057] Sorge, Socialism and the Workers, p. 8

[1058] Bax and Quelch, A New Catechism of Socialism, pp. 20, 21.

[1059] See Simkhowitsch, Die Feldgemeinschaft, 1898; Haxthausen, Studien, &c.

[1060] Benson, Socialism, p. 4.

[1061] Ward, All Things in Common, p. 1.

[1062] Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism, p. 17.

[1063] Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism, pp. 96, 97.

[1064] Fabian Essays in Socialism, p. 212.

[1065] Ibid. p. 4.

[1066] B. Shaw, The Impossibilities of Anarchism, p. 17.

[1067] Schaeffle, The Impossibility of Social Democracy, p. 60.

[1068] Keir Hardie, From Serfdom to Socialism, p. 89.

[1069] Report on Fabian Policy and Resolutions, p. 7.

[1070] See Fourier, Oeuvres; Pellarin, Fourier; Sargant, Social Innovators.

[1071] See Noyes, History of American Socialism; Nordhoff, Communistic Societies of the United States.

[1072] Bliss, Encyclopedia of Social Reform, p. 319.



CHAPTER XXX

SOCIALISM AND ANARCHISM

Socialism is, on the whole, hostile to the State. All Socialists hate the State as at present constituted, because it protects the property which they wish to seize. However, many Socialists hate not only the State in its present form. They have become doubtful whether private capital or the State is the greater evil. They long for liberty, and would not welcome the restraint of any State, and least of all that of the absolute, all-regulating, and constantly interfering Socialistic State. Hence many Socialists have become Anarchists. Socialists may be divided into two classes—Communists and Anarchists—and Prince Kropotkin, the foremost Anarchist leader living, described the two Socialistic sections as follows: "A section of Socialists believes that it is impossible to attain Socialism without sacrificing personal liberty on the altar of the State. Another section, to which we belong, believes, on the contrary, that it is only by the abolition of the State, by the conquest of perfect liberty by the individual, by free agreement, association, and absolute free federation, that we can reach Communism."[1073] Many Socialists, seeing the enemy rather in the State than in private capital, express their passionate hatred of the State: "The State at present is simply a huge machine for robbing and slave-driving the poor by brute force."[1074] "The Parliament ever cries for more money, more money for the service of the State. Just heavens! Of what service is the State? Of very little service to honest, industrious men,"[1075] The philosopher of British Socialism frankly confesses himself a revolutionary Anarchist: "As an international revolutionist I have always been strongly sympathetic with all movements for local autonomy as most directly tending to destroy the modern 'nation' or centralised bureaucratic State."[1076] "It is quite true that Socialism will have to take over the accursed legacy of existing national frontiers from the bourgeois world-order; but Socialism will take it over merely with the view of killing it off and burying it at the earliest possible moment. The modern nation or centralised State is a hideous monstrosity, the offspring of capitalism in its various phases; in its present shape the outcome of the developed capitalism of the great industry. We quite admit that in form it may, and probably will, survive the earlier stage of Socialism, but its ultimate disappearance is none the less certain. The sentiment of the national patriotism will then, let us hope, be reduced to its last expression—the holding of annual dinners, or some harmless festivity of this sort, such as is affected by the natives of certain English counties resident in the metropolis. The Nationalist movement, therefore, is an old Radical 'plank' which clearly no longer belongs to us as Socialists."[1077]

The Socialist-Anarchist hates State government in every form. To him a Social-Democratic State is quite as hateful as any other form of government: "The State is the evil, the inveterate foe of labour—be the Government Autocratic, Bureaucratic, or Social-Democratic. For what, after all, is our vaunted nose-counting, majority-ridden Democracy but an expansion of the old-time tyranny of monarch and oligarch, inasmuch as the Governmentalist, whatever his stripe, is doomed to act on the two root principles of statecraft—force and fraud? And, obviously, so long as that is so, his particular profession of political faith is almost a matter of indifference."[1078] "What was, what is the State, wherever it exists, but a community of human beings barbarically held together by a well-drilled gang of magistrates, soldiers, policemen, gaolers, and hangmen?"[1079] Mr. Blatchford, who is apparently never quite sure in his mind whether he is a Socialist, a Communist, or an Anarchist, gives voice to his Anarchist sentiments in the words: "Rightly or wrongly, I am opposed to godship, kingship, lordship, priestship. Rightly or wrongly, I am opposed to imperialism, militarism, and conquest. Rightly or wrongly, I am for universal brotherhood and universal freedom."[1080]

Another influential Socialist writer exclaims: "What is freedom but the unfettered use of all the powers which God for use has given?"[1081]—a sentiment which is heartily endorsed by all Anarchists. However, the unfettered use of all powers means that the will of the individual, not the will of society, is the supreme law. It means the denial of the supremacy of society, the State, government. Similar sentiments are expressed with greater energy and greater fulness by many Socialist writers. Mr. Davidson, for instance, says: "In the new order every man (woman, of course, included) will be his own legislator. In the state of ultimate and universal freedom to which we aspire, when the greatest of all tyrants, poverty, is slain and plenty sits on the throne which the lean monster has so long usurped—it may well be that there shall be no necessity for any law except that which the purified conscience of every individual man and woman will readily supply. Then will have come the true Golden Age, the millennium of Christian Anarchism."[1082]

The claims, programme, and aims of Socialism and Anarchism are curiously alike. Prince Kropotkin, the leading exponent of Anarchism, writes: "Anarchy appears as a constituent part of the new philosophy, and that is why Anarchists come in contact on so many points with the greatest thinkers and poets of the present day. In fact, it is certain that in proportion as the human mind frees itself from ideas inculcated by minorities of priests, military chiefs, and judges, all striving to establish their domination, and of scientists paid to perpetuate it, a conception of society arises, in Which conception there is no longer room for those dominating minorities. A society entering into possession of the social capital accumulated by the labour of preceding generations, organises itself so as to make use of this capital in the interests of all, and constitutes itself without reconstituting the power of the ruling minorities. Acknowledging as a fact the equal rights of all its members to the treasures accumulated in the past, it no longer recognises a division between exploited and exploiters, governed and governors, dominated and dominators, and it seeks to establish a certain harmonious compatibility in its midst not by subjecting all its members to an authority that is fictitiously supposed to represent society, not by trying to establish uniformity, but by urging all men to develop free initiative, free action, free association."[1083]

There is little difference between the Anarchism of Proudhon, Bakounin, and Kropotkin, and the Socialism of many British Socialists. The economic doctrines of Socialism and Anarchism are practically identical. Socialism has taken the most important doctrines from Proudhon,[1084] and, owing to the similarity of their views and aims, Socialists and Anarchists are commingling and fraternising. Anarchists see in Socialists a wing of the great Anarchist army of destruction, and Socialists see in Anarchists associates and friends and partners in the revolution and general pillage which both movements equally strongly desire to bring about. Therefore a leading Fabian Socialist tells us: "Kropotkin is really an advocate of free Democracy, and I venture to suggest that he describes himself as an Anarchist rather from the point of view of the Russian recoiling from a despotism compared to which Democracy seems to be no government at all, than from the point of view of the American or Englishman who is free enough already to begin grumbling over Democracy as 'the tyranny of the majority' and 'the coming slavery.'"[1085] If Kropotkin is a "Democrat," then Ravachol, Vaillant, Henry, Pallas, and Bresci were also merely Democrats.

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