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How to Lose and How to Win
THERE is now enough Socialist opinion and sympathy in the country to return some avowed Socialists to the House of Commons if Socialist bodies would take the trouble to work elections as they must be worked if they are to be won.
How to Lose an Election 13 very simple. You will be sure to lose if you devote your energies to
1. Shouting at meetings;
4. Betting that you will win ; and if at the same time you NEGLECT ALL ORGANIZATION.
HOW TO WIN AN ELECTION is a more difficult matter. But it can be done with work. The first thing to do is to ORGANIZE YOURSELVES. Long before the election, committees and secretaries must be appointed in every polling-ward; streets and parts of streets must be allotted to canvassers, who undertake to leave literature at every house, to get to know every elector, and to try to secure his support for the candidate. The canvasser should also make a note of removals, and report all the information he can gather to the Secretary, who should enter it in
A MARKEN REGISTER. When the election day comes, you will then know who are your friends and who are your foes. Every man's energy should be bent upon getting an efficient marked register. The election often depends upon it.
Take every opportunity of making your candidate's name known. throughout the constituency. He should be asked to speak at all sorts of meetings, not only at those called for political purposes. Plenty of political meetings should be held : but don't trust to these to win an election. The candidate who has the biggest and most enthusiastic meetings is often at the bottom of the poll. Meetings are necessary to educate and stir up the people, but
Canvassing gets Votes. The work that tells is the buttonholing of voters in the streets and workshop and club. Always remember that, even if you cannot convert a man to Socialism, YOU MAY GET HIS VOTE ALL THE SAME.
But, unless you help, the election cannot be won. If you cannot canvass a street you can find out the politics of your neighbor, and perhaps convert him if he needs converting. At any rate,
See the Secretary and Join the Election Committee. The German Socialist party is so strong because the electors have been organized, and if we are to win in this country we must take a leaf out of their book.
On the Polling-day, Work up to the Last Minute ! At an election it is your business to get votes. When the contest is in progress the time for general propaganda is past. The business of the moment is to get your man in. With this in view you cannot afford to disregard any matters which may be before the electors. You can of course treat them from your own point of view; but you must show that your candidate takes an intelligent interest in all the burning questions before the country, even if some of them do not immediately bear upon Socialism, and that, if elected, he will be able to do the ordinary work of the House of Commons better than his opponents.
But no election can be won unless, for months beforehand, you have made it your duty to
ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE! ORGANIZE!
FABIAN ELECTION LEAFLETS.-No.64, How to Win; No. 65, Trade Unionists and Politics ; No. 66, A Program for Workers. Each 2 pages, 6d. per 100, or gs. per 1000.
OTHER FABIAN LEAFLETS.–No. 24, Questions for Parliamentary Candidates (revised July 1895); No. 1, Why are the Many Poor? No. 13, What Socialism is; No. 16, A Plea for an Eight Hours Bill ; No. 19, What the Farm Laborer Wants ; No. 22, The Truth about Leasehold Enfranchisement ; No. 37, A Labor Policy for Public Authorities; No. 63, Parish Council Cottages and how to get them. Each 4 pages, 6 for id., or is. per 100.
FABIAN TRACTS.-No. 5, Facts for Socialists: No. 47, The Unemployed; No. 51, Socialism : true and false. id. each, or 9d. per doz. The set of 57 Tracts, post free, 283d. ; bound, 35. ed.
Published by THE FABIAN SOCIETY, 276 Strand, London, W.C.
Printed by G. STANDRING, 7 & 9 Finsbury-street, E.C.
LONDON : THE FABIAN SOCIETY, 3 CLEMENT'S Ixx, STRAND, W.C.
Published JUNE 1896. Third REPRINT, JANUARY 1908.
THE DIFFICULTIES OF
Of all the intellectual difficulties of Individualism, the greatest, perhaps, is that which is presented by the constant flux of things. Whatever may be the advantages and conveniences of the present state of society, we are, at any rate, all of us, now sure of one thing -that it cannot last.
The Constant Evolution of Society. We have learnt to think of social institutions and economic relations as being as much the subjects of constant change and evolution as any biological organism. The main outlines of social organization, based upon the exact sphere of private ownership in England to-day, did not "come down from the Mount.”
The very last century has seen an almost complete upsetting of every economic and industrial relation in the country, and it is irrational to assume that the existing social order, thus new-created, is destined inevitably to endure in its main features unchanged and unchangeable. History did not stop with the last great convulsion of the Industrial Revolution, and Time did not then suddenly cease to be the Great Innovator. Nor do the Socialists offer us a statical heaven to be substituted for an equally statical world here present. English students of the last generation were accustomed to think of Socialism as a mere Utopia, spun from the humanity-intoxicated brains of various Frenchmen of the beginning of this century. Down to the present generation every aspirant after social reform, whether Socialist or Individualist, naturally embodied his ideas in a detailed plan of a new social order, from which all contemporary evils were eliminated. Bellamy is but a belated Cabet, Babeuf, or Campanella. But modern Socialists have learnt the lesson of evolution better than their opponents, and it cannot be too often repeated that Socialism, to Socialists, is not a Utopia which they have invented, but a principle of social organization which they assert to have been discovered by the patient investigators into sociology whose labors have distinguished the present century. That principle, whether true or false, has, during a whole generation, met with an ever-increasing, though often unconscious, acceptance by political administrators.
• Reprinted, with minor changes, from the Economic Journai for June 1891.