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The Vorkers' Volitical
THE FABIAN SOCIETY.
PRICE ONE PENNY.
To be obtained also from the Secretary, at the Fabian Society's
Office, 276, Strand, London, W.O.
THE SOCIAL SCIENCE SERIES. Each 2/6.
NEWEST VOLUMES. THE LONDON PROGRAMME. SIDNEY WEBB, LL.B. THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT. BEATRICE POTTER. ORIGIN OF PROPERTY_IN LAND. FUSTEL DE COULANGE, with an important Introduction on the
English Manor by Professor W. J. ASHLEY. 26. EVOLUTION OF PROPERTY. Paul LAFARGUE. 27. CRIME AND ITS CAUSES, W. DOUGLAS MORRISON, of H.M. Prison, Wandsworth. 28. PRINCIPLES OF STATE INTERFERENCE. D. G. RITCHIE, M.A. (Oxon.). 29. GERMAN SOCIALISM AND F. LASSALLE. W. H. Dawson. 30. THE PURSE AND THE CONSCIENCE. H. W. THOMPSON, B.A. (Cantab.).
PREVIOUS VOLUMES. 1. WORK AND WAGES. Professor J. E. Thorold Rogers. 2. CIVILISATION : ITS CAUSE AND CURE. EDWARD Carpenter. “No passing piece
of polemics, but permanent possession."-Scottish Review. 3. QUINTESSENCE OF SOCIALISM. Dr. SCHAFFLE. “Precisely the manual needed. Brief,
lucid, fair, and wise."-- British Weekly. 4. DARWINISM AND POLITICS. Þ. G. RITCHIE, M.A. (Oxon.). “One of the most sug.
gestive books we have met with."- Literary World. 5. RELIGION OF SOCIALISM. E. BELFORT Bax. 6. ETHICS OF SOCIALISM. E. BELFORT Bax. 7. THE DRINK QUESTION. Dr. KATE MITCHELL. 8. PROMOTION OF GENERAL HAPPINESS. Prof. M. MACMILLAN. “The most advanced
and most enlightened utilitarian doctrine." --Scotsman. 9. ENGLAND'S IDEAL, &c. EDWARD CARPENTER. “ The literary power is unmistakable.”
-Pall Mall. 10. SOCIALISM IN ENGLAND. SIDNEY WEBB, LL.B. “The best general view of the
subject." --Athenæum. 11. PRINCE BISMARCK AND STATE SOCIALISM. W. H. Dawson. “A well-digested view
of German social and economic legislation since 1870."-Saturday Review. 12. GODWIN'S POLITICAL JUSTICE (ON PROPERTY). Edited by H, S. Salt.
“ Shows Godwin at his best ; with an interesting and informing introduction.”—
"--Glasgow Herald. 13. STORY OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. E. BELFORT Bax. "A trustworthy outline."
--Scotsman. 4. THE CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH. LAURENCE GRONLUND. “An independent
exposition of the Socialism of the Marx school."-Contemporary Review. 15. ESSAYS AND ADDRESSES. BERNARD BOSANQUET, M.A. (Oxon.). Ought to be in the
hands of every student of the Nineteenth Century spirit."-Echo. 16. CHARITY ORGANISATION. C. S. Loch, Secretary to Charity Organisation Society. "A
perfect little manual."--Athenæum. 17. THOREAU’S ANTI-SLAVERY AND REFORM PAPERS. Edited by H. S. SALT. ful and entertaining."
Westminster Review. 18. SELF-HELP A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. G. J. HOLYOAKE. There is not a dull page in
the whole book.”—Literary World. 19. THE ELMIRA STATE RÉFORMATORY. Alex. Winter; with preface by HAVELOCK
Ellis. A book to be studied by social reformers, anthropologists and legislators."-Star. 20. COMMON-SENSE ABOUT WOMEN. T. W. HIGGINSON. "A treasury of practical
wisdom."-Spectator. 21. THE UNEARNED INCREMENT. W. H. Dawson. 22. OUR DESTINY ; THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIALISM ON MORALS AND RELIGION.
LAURENCE GRONLUND. 23. THE WORKING-CLASS MOVEMENT IN AMERICA. Dr. and ELEANOR Marx AVELING.
" Very ably written."— Democrat. 24. LUXURY. Professor E. DE LAVELEYE. “M, de Laveleye has never written a page which is
not worth reading and pondering.”—Manchester Examiner. 25. THE LAND AND THE LABOURERS. Rev. C. W. STUBBS, M.A. (Cantab.). “We hope it will be read by all landowners, large and small."-Spectator.
IN ACTIVE PREPARATION.
B. BOSANQUET, M.A. (Oxon.).
SWAN SONNENSCHEIN & CO.,
PATERNOSTER SQUARE, E.C.
IN 1887, the Liberal party, through the Conference of the Nationa Liberal Federation at Nottingham, put forward the following programme (in addition to Home Rule for Ireland):
"One Man One Vote” (this then meaning only the aboli
tion of plural votes), “ Free Land" (this meaning only power to buy and sell
land as an ordinary commodity). “ Disestablishment of the Church in Scotland and Wales.”'
“Reform of Local Government.” The party newspapers, with customary servility to their leaders, expressed satisfaction and delight at this paltry and inconsistent manifesto. Lord Randolph Churchill instantly capped it by offering the same programme on behalf of " Tory Democracy, the addition of (1) Departmental Economy, (2) Free Schools, and (3) Compulsory Employers' Liability. The Fabian Society thereupon issued a pamphlet entitled "The True Radical Programme," in which it attacked the official leaders of the Liberal party for offering to the Radical working classes an old-fashioned, middle-class, Whig programme; and roundly accused them of disaffection to the cause of the people. It accused them, for instance, of " loud-mouthed denunciation of Coercion in Ireland, and silent approval of Coercion in England;" and it flatly questioned the sincerity of the cry, “Remember Mitchelstown," with which Mr. Gladstone was then rallying the Liberal forces.
This was in October, 1887.
In November, 1887, the Government, through their Chief Commissioner of Police, Sir Charles Warren, forbade, by proclamation, a political meeting in Trafalgar Square, under a certain Act of Parliament (23 Vic., cap. 47). The Radicals of London examined this Act, and found that it gave the Chief Commissioner no such power as he claimed. They marched in unarmed procession to the Square, and were dispersed by the police with a violence which earned for that day (13th Nov., 1887) the name of “Bloody Sunday."
Not a single Liberal member of Parliament went to the Square with the Radicals; and Mr. Gladstone hastened to pay compliments to “our admirable police.” Nothing was done by the Liberal leaders to countenance the Socialist member of Parliament (Cunninghame Graham) and the Socialist working man (John Burns) who had been arrested for insisting on their right to speak in the Square, and
who were sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment in January, 1888. They were not indicted under the Act cited above. The Government had withdrawn that false pretence when compelled to sustain the illegal proclamation in the courts by argument, instead of in the streets by force.
After Trafalgar Square, Socialists had no further difficulty in persuading the London Radicals that the Liberal leaders were hardly less disaffected towards the English working class than their Tory rivals. Within three months a powerful daily newspaper, The Star, was founded, under the editorship of Mr. T. P. O'Connor, the well-known organizer of the Parnellite party. He at once found that the Liberals could only regain the support of the London workers by substituting for the Nottingham programme an advanced Radical programme on the lines indicated in the Fabian tract. By advocating this the paper achieved a great political success; and the Liberal official ring became thoroughly frightened, the more so as the Tory Government “ dished" the chief item in their programme by introducing, in March, 1888, the Local Government Act, which established much more democratic County Councils than the Liberal party had ever dared to commit itself to. The tone of the London Liberal and Radical Union steadily became more and more like that of the Metropolitan Radical Federation. In November, 1888, the Liberal party confessed the meanness of its Nottingham proceedings of the previous year by passing a series of comparatively revolutionary resolutions in favor of Public Payment of Returning Officers' Expenses at Parliamentary Elections, Free Education, and Taxation of Ground Rents and Mining Royalties. But Payment of the Returning Officer is of little use without Payment of Members; and as the Council of the National Liberal Federation refused to entertain a Radical amendment introducing this reform, the Radicals perceived that the new resolutions were a mere sop thrown to them, and were in no way dictated by sincere Radical principles. Con. sequently the Radical agitation, especially in London, went on with undiminished vigour; and the London School Board elections in Nov., 1888, were contested on more advanced lines than had ever been ventured upon before, with the result that the greatest number of votes in East London was secured by Mrs. Annie Besant, who was in favor, not only of abolition of all fees ("Free Education "'), but of the provision of free meals for the children in Board Schools. At the first County Council election, in January, 1889, John Burns, the Trafalgar Square prisoner, was returned by 3,071 votes at the head of the poll for Battersea ; and the success of the other Progressive candidates in London was the more remarkable, as the term was only applied to those who had returned favourable answers to a searching list of questions drawn up on frankly Social-Democratic lines. The new School Board, and later the County Council, at once proceeded to consider the question of the wages paid by its contractors to their workmen; and resolved only to employ houses.” Such a thing had never been heard of in a public body before ; and it would not have been heard of then had the Radicals tamely submitted to the middle-class dictation of the Liberals.
No sooner had Parliament risen that year than the Liberal leaders began in all directions to make speeches on “ Social Reform.” They were mostly bad speeches, shewing that the speakers did not understand working-class politics; but they showed how the wind was blowing. Many of the Metropolitan Liberal and Radical Associations,
led by South St. Pancras, passed a strong series of resolutions improving on the Birmingham programme. In December, 1889, the annual Liberal Conference was held at Manchester; and this time, instead of refusing to consider Payment of Members, they not only put forward Mr. Stansfeld to propose a resolution in its favor, but actually had the impudence to declare, through him (after opposing it ever since 1832) that it is “a necessary part of the Liberal programme. But when a Radical amendment in favor of an Eight Hours Bill was proposed, the old Liberal hostility to Radicalism broke out again ; and they refused to allow the amendment even to be put to the Conference. The London workers answered this renewed attempt to ignore them by turning out, a quarter of a million strong, on the 4th May, 1890, to demonstrate in Hyde Park in favor of the Eight Hours Day. Next year, if the Radicals continue to threaten the Liberals instead of blindly cheering for them, they will swallow the Eight Hours Bill as they have had to swallow Payment of Members.
One small result of this change in politics has been to revive the demand for the Fabian Tract “The True Radical Programme." Some of it, however, is by this time a stale pennyworth. In response to the demand, the rest of it is now reprinted with such comments as are necessary, and with the additions for which the time is ripe. A summary of the present" official” Liberal Programme is appended, with questions and information for the use of Radicals who desire to employ their political influence in the most effective manner.
It is unnecessary now to give much attention to the programmes with which Lord Randolph Churchill still from time to time trumps the Liberal cards. For Lord Randolph Churchill can only carry his proposals into law by the support of the Tory Party, which declines to listen to them.
It is easy to see that a Tory cannot be a true Radical. But what people are not used to yet is the more important, because half-hidden truth, that the Tory party is now a Whig party, and that those Liberals who are only Whigs (whether they are Home Rulers or not) are just as bad as the so-called Tories. The Radical party will never do any good until it drives all the mere Liberals out after Lord Hartington and Mr. Goschen, and fills their places with genuine representatives of the workers. It will do so the moment it is in a position to choose its own leaders; and it can attain that position by adopting and carrying out the Workers' Political Programme.