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MacDonald refers to it as a "crude
Eighteenth Century idea of democracy," "a form of Village Community
government."[120] At the Conference of the Labour Party at Leicester in
1911 he declared that it was "anti-democratic" and that if the
government were to accept it, the Labour Party "would have to fight them
tooth and nail at every step of that policy." As opposed to any plans
for a more direct and more popular government, he defends the "dignity
and authority" of Parliament and bespeaks the "reverence and deference"
that the people ought to observe toward it.

Contrast with these views Mr. Hobson's presentation of the non-Socialist
Radical doctrine. "Under a professed and real enthusiasm for a
representative system," as opposed to direct government, Mr. Hobson
finds that there is concealed "a deep-seated distrust of democracy." He
acknowledges "that the natural conservatism of the masses of the people
might be sufficient to retard some reforms." "But this is safer and
better for democracy," he says, "than the alternative 'faking' of
progress by pushing legislation ahead of the popular will. It is upon
the whole far more profitable for reformers to be compelled to educate
the people to a genuine acceptance of their reform than to 'work it' by
some 'pull' or 'deal' inside a party machine."[121]

Mr. MacDonald not only puts a high value on British conservatism and a
low one on the French Revolution and the Declaration of Independence,
but declares that no change whatever in the mere structure of government
can aid idealists and reformers in any way, and expects politics and
parties to be much the same in the future as they are at the present
moment. It is this attitude that Mr. Hobson has in mind when he protests
that "the false pretense that democracy exists" in Great Britain has
proved "the subtlest defense of privilege"--and that this has been the
greatest cause of the waste of reform energy not only in England but
also in France and in the United States.[122] Mr. MacDonald says
explicitly, "The modern state in most civilized countries is
democratic," and adds impatiently that "the remaining anomalies and
imperfections" cannot prevent the people from obtaining their will.[123]
To dismiss in so few words the monarchy, the restrictions of the
suffrage, the unequal election districts and other shortcomings of
political democracy in Great Britain, and to insist that the government
is already democratic, is surely, as Mr. Hobson says, "the subtlest
defense of privilege."

Mr. MacDonald comes out flatly with the statement that under what he
calls the democratic parliamentary government of Great Britain it is
practically impossible to maintain a pure and simple Socialist Party. He
says proudly that "nothing which the Labour Parties of Australia or
Great Britain have ever done or tried to do under their constitutions
departs in a hair's breadth from things which the Liberal and the Tory
Parties in these countries do every day."[124] "Indeed, paradoxical
though it may appear," he adds, "Socialism will be retarded by a
Socialist Party which thinks it can do better than a Socialistic
Party."[125]

The Independent Labour Party, indeed, has had a program of reform that
is remarkably similar to that of Ministers Churchill and Lloyd George,
and is indorsed in large part by capitalists--as for example, by Andrew
Carnegie. The first measure of this program provided for a general
eight-hour day. Mr. Carnegie protests that to put the Socialist label on
this is as "frank burglary as was ever committed," and the trade union
movement in general would agree with him.[126]

The second demand was for a "workable unemployment act." The Labour
Party had previously introduced a more radical measure which very nearly
received the support of a majority of Parliament. The third measure
called for old-age pensions. Mr. Carnegie remarked of this with perfect
justice: "Mr. MacDonald is here a day behind the fair. These have been
established in Britain before this [Mr. Carnegie's "Problems of To-day"]
appears in print, both political parties being favorable." It is true
that the Labour party demands a somewhat more advanced measure than that
to which Mr. Carnegie alludes, but there is no radical difference in
principle, and the Labour Party accepted the present law as being a
considerable installment of what they want.

Of the fourth point the "abolition of indirect taxation (and the gradual
transference of all public burdens to unearned incomes)," Mr. Carnegie
remarks that "we must read the bracketed works in the light of Mr.
MacDonald's philosophy," and "that this is a consummation which cannot
be reached (in Mr. MacDonald's words) 'until the organic structure of
society has been completely altered.'" We have seen that Mr. Churchill
also aims at the _ultimate_ expropriation of the whole future unearned
increment of the land.

The fifth point of the program was similar,--a series of land acts
(aimed at the ultimate nationalization of the land).

The sixth point was the nationalization of the railroads and mines. Mr.
Carnegie reminds us that many conservative and reactionary governments
own their own railroads. We have seen that Mr. Churchill is in favor of
the same proposal. Mines also are now national property in several
countries, and there is nothing particularly radical or unacceptable to
well-informed conservatives in the proposal to nationalize them
elsewhere.

The seventh demand of the program was for "democratic political
reforms." While the Independent Labour Party and some of its leaders are
in favor of a complete program of democratic reforms, I have shown that
others like Mr. MacDonald are directly opposed even to many modern
democratic measures already won in other countries.

It would certainly seem that the social reformers, Mr. Carnegie and
others, have as much right as the Socialists to claim such measures as
all those outlined.

Many of the other reforms proposed by the Independent Labour Party are
such as might readily find acceptance among the most conservative.
Indeed in urging the policy of afforestation, as one means of helping in
the solution of the unemployed problem, the party actually uses the
argument that even Prussia, Saxony, and many other highly capitalistic
governments are undertaking it; though it does not mention the
reactionary purposes of these governments, as for example, in Hungary
where it is proposed to use the government's new army of labor to build
up a scientific system of breaking strikes. Afforestation would add to
the general wealth of the country in the future, and would be of
considerable advantage to the capitalist classes, which makes the
largest uses of lumber. Such a policy could undoubtedly be devised in
carrying out this work as would absorb a considerable portion of the
unemployed, and, since unemployment is a burden to the community and
troublesome in many ways, besides tending to bring about a general
deterioration of the efficiency of the working class, it is also to the
ultimate interest of the employers to adopt it.

A leading organ of British Socialism, the _New Age_, went so far as to
say of the Budget of 1910 that it was almost as good "as we should
expect from a Socialist Chancellor in his first year of office," and
said that if Mr. Philip Snowden, were Chancellor, the Budget would have
been little different from what it was.[127] And it is true that the
principles of the Budget as interpreted by Mr. Snowden only a few years
ago in his booklet, "The Socialist Budget," are in nearly every instance
the same, though they are to be somewhat more widely applied in this
Socialist scheme. Of course all Socialists would have desired a smaller
portion of the Budget to go to Dreadnoughts and a larger part to
education, though, in view of the popularity of the Navy, it is doubtful
whether Labour Party Socialist's would materially cut naval expenditure
(see Chapter V). It must also be noted that the Socialists are wholly
opposed to the increase of indirect taxation on tobacco and liquor, some
four fifths of which falls on the shoulders of the workingman. But aside
from these points, there is more similarity than contrast between the
two plans.

Mr. Snowden declared that it was the intention of the Socialists to make
the rich poorer and the poor richer, that they were going to use the
power of taxation for that purpose, and that the Budget marked the
beginning of the new era, an opinion in strange contrast with Premier
Asquith's statement _concerning the same Budget, for which he was
responsible_, that one of its chief purposes was "_to increase the
stability and security of property_."

Indeed the word "Socialism" has been extended in England to include
measures far less radical than those contemplated by the present
government. The Fabian Society, the chief advocate of "municipal
Socialism" and a professed and recognized Socialist organization,
considers even the post office and factory legislation as being
installments of Socialism, while the Labour Party would restrict the
term to the nationalization or municipalization of industries--but the
difference is not of very great importance. The latter class of reform
will undoubtedly mark a revolution in the policy of the British
government, but, as Kautsky says, this revolution may only serve "to
Prussianize it," _i.e._ to introduce "State Socialism."

"The best government," says Mr. Webb, "is no longer 'that which governs
least,' but 'that which can safely and advantageously administer most.'"


"Wherever rent and interest are being absorbed under public control
for public purposes, wherever the collective organization of the
community is being employed in place of individual efforts,
wherever in the public interest, the free use of private land or
capital is being further restrained--there one more step toward the
complete realization of the Socialist Ideal is being taken."


The fight of the British Socialists has thus been directed from the
first almost exclusively against the abstraction, "individualism," and
not against the concrete thing, the capitalist class.



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Keywords: snowden, churchill, independent, interest, reformers, revolution, political, future, present, considerable
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