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The lapse of time between the reading of the above paper and its publication, makes it necessary, in justice to the Social-Democratic Federation, to add a few words. The explanation of the delay is very simple: a glance back at pages 5 and 6 will shew that their publication on the eve of the General Election might have injured the prospects of the two Federation candidates who were in the field. The close of the polls has not only set the Fabian Society free to issue this tract; it has also apparently convinced the S.D.F. of the practically reactionary effect of its sectarian tactics. The victory of Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji, the official Liberal candidate for Central Finsbury, who won by a majority of three only, was secured by the votes of the Clerkenwell branch of the S.D.F., which very sensibly threw off its allegiance to the central council and “went Fabian” for the occasion in flat defiance of the S.D.F. manifesto calling on the workers to vote for none but SocialDemocratic candidates. Instead of a sentence of excommunication, there came from headquarters the following utterance in Justice (No. 444, 16th July, 1892), presumably from the pen of Mr. Belfort Bax, who was then acting as editor.
PRINCIPLES AND THEIR APPLICATION. Talking about Naoroji affords us an opportunity of seconding the point mentioned in the letter above referred to, namely, as to the desirability on special occasions of relaxing the generally excellent principle of not voting or working for either side. The laxity we complained of last week which is shown by members of the S.D.F. who get the “election fever" in throwing themselves indiscriminately into the struggle on the Radical side irrespective of the programme or the candidate is undoubtedly due to the slightly pedantic attitude sometimes taken up on this point. Now the pollings are over we do not hesitate to say that we think that the non possumus rule should have been relaxed in the North Lambeth election for the purpose of keeping Stanley out, and thereby checkmating the designs of the British East Africa Company, even at the expense of assisting a colorless Radical nonentity to obtain the seat; and also in Central Finsbury, both as a demonstration against the conduct of official Liberalism and for the sake of getting a friendly outsider the chance of bringing the claims of the people of India for the first time prominently before the larger British public. If you give a Social Democrat some, at least more or less, useful work in an election, you keep him out of the mischief of squandering his time in promiscuous assistance to worthless Liberals. For it is not given to every man during the excitement of election times to be able to twirl his thumbs and repeat the obvious Socialist truism that one political party is as bad as the other, as the Moslem reiterates the well-worn and doubtless to him equally certain dictum, “Allah is great." There may be a zeal of principle, “but not with discretion.” We take it there is no compromise in a momentary alliance with any party for the purpose of carrying an important point. This is a very different thing
from the principle of “permeation" advocated by the Fabians. The recantation in the last sentence but one is complete. The last sentence means only that since Justice has given the Fabian dog a bad name, it feels bound to go on hanging him in spite of its tardy discovery of his good qualities.
I do not know whether this declaration of Opportunism is any. thing more than a passing excuse for the action of the insurgent branch. It would, however, be clearly unfair to allow pages 21 and 22 to become public without mentioning it.
G. B. &
BASIS OF THE FABIAN SOCIETY.
The FABIAN SOCIETY consists of Socialists.
It therefore aims at the re-organization of Society by the emancipation of Land and Industrial Capital from individual and class ownership, and the vesting of them in the community for the general benefit. In this way only can the natural and acquired advantages of the country be equitably shared by the whole people.
The Society accordingly works for the extinction of private property in Land and of the consequent individual appropriation, in the form of Rent, of the price paid for permission to use the earth, as well as for the advantages of superior soils and sites.
The Society, further, works for the transfer to the community of the administration of such industrial Capital as can conveniently be managed socially. For, owing to the monopoly of the means of production in the past, industrial inventions and the transformation of surplus income into Capital have mainly enriched the proprietary class, the worker being now dependent on that class for leave to earn a living
If these measures be carried out, without compensation (though not without such relief to expropriated individuals as may seem fit to the community), Rent and Interest will be added to the reward of labor, the idle class now living on the labor of others will necessarily disappear, and practical equality of opportunity will be maintained by the spontaneous action of economic forces with much less interference with personal liberty than the present system entails.
For the attainment of these ends the Fabian Society looks to the spread of Socialist opinions, and the social and political changes consequent thereon. It seeks to promote these by the general dissemination of knowledge as to the relation between the individual and Society in its economic, ethical, and political aspects.
The work of the Fabian Society takes, at present, the following forms:
1. Meetings for the discussion of questions connected with Socialism.
contributing to their elucidation.
arguments relating to Socialism. 4. The promotion of Socialist lectures and debates in other Societies and Clubs. 5. The representation of the Society in public conferences and discussions on
social questions. The members are pledged to take part according to their abilities and opportunities in the general work of the Society, and are expected to contribute annually to the Society's funds.
The Society seeks recruits from all ranks, believing that not only those who suffer from the present system, but also many who are themselves enriched by it, recognize its evils and would welcome a remedy.
The Society meets for lectures and discussions on two Fridays in the month, at 8 p.m.
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