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Bland, "are said to have condemned
Socialism in authoritative utterances, but when I examine and analyze
these condemnations, I find it is not Socialism in the sense I have
defined it here, that is condemned."[141] It is indeed true that few of
the most bitter and persistent enemies of the Socialist movement condemn
"Socialism" as defined by Mr. Bland and his "State Socialist"
associates.

This capitalistic collectivism promoted by the Fabian Society has
embodied itself practically in the movement towards "municipal
Socialism" of which so much was heard some years ago, first in Great
Britain and later in other countries. It is now from ten to twenty years
since many British cities, notably Glasgow, began municipal experiments
on a large scale that were branded by Socialists and non-Socialists
alike, as municipal Socialism. The first of these experiments included
not only the municipalization of street railways, electric light and
current, and so on, but even the provision of municipal slaughter
houses, bathing establishments, and outdoor amusements. The later stages
have developed in a somewhat different direction. The chief reforms
under discussion everywhere seem now to be the proposals that the
municipalities should provide housing accommodations for the poorer
elements of the population, and that the health of the children should
be looked after, even to the extent of providing free lunches in public
schools. If less had been heard of "municipal Socialism" in the last
year or two, this is merely because reforms on a national scale have for
the moment received the greater share of public attention. This does not
necessarily mean that the national reforms are more important than the
municipal, but only that the latter came first because they were easier
to inaugurate, though perhaps more difficult to carry to a successful
conclusion.

But the first popularity of the municipal reform movement, both in Great
Britain and in other countries, has received at least a temporary
setback as the relations between this "municipal Socialism" and taxation
were recognized. Both the non-taxpaying working people and the small
taxpaying middle class saw that the profits of the new municipal
enterprises went to a considerable extent towards decreasing the
taxation of the well-to-do instead of conferring benefits on the
majority. This might appear strange, since under universal suffrage the
non-taxpaying and non-landowning majority would be expected to dominate.
But in Great Britain, as well as elsewhere, central governments, in the
firm control of taxpayers and landowners, exercise a strict control over
the municipalities, so that this kind of reform will prove advantageous
chiefly to the landlords, by enabling them to raise rents in proportion
to the benefits gained by tenants; and to the taxpaying minority, by
making it possible to use the profits of municipal undertakings for the
purpose of reducing taxes.

The tendency toward the extension of municipal enterprises to be noted
in all the important cities of the world, is hastened by the public
belief that there is no other possible means of preventing the
exploitation of all classes, and consequent widespread injury to trade,
building, and industry in general, by public service corporations. But
it must be observed that whatever municipalization there is will
continue to be under the control of the taxpayers, landowners, and
business men and largely in their interest as long as national
governments remain in capitalist hands.

The national social reform administrations that are coming into power in
so many countries are encouraging various forms of taxpayers' "municipal
Socialism." The ultraconservative governments of Germany, Austria, and
Belgium all permit the cities to engage even in the public feeding of
school children, while the reactionary national government of Hungary
has undertaken to provide for the housing of 25,000 working people at
Budapest. The conservative _London Daily Mail_ cries out that the
Hungarian minister, Dr. Wekerle has "stolen a march on the Socialists,"
but that it is the "right sort of Socialism," and that "it has been left
to the leader of the privileged Parliament [the Hungarian Parliament
representing not the small capitalists, but the landed nobility and
gentry] to make the first start." And there is little doubt that both
the provision of houses for the working people and the public feeding of
school children rest on precisely the same principles as the social
reforms now being undertaken by national governments, such as that of
Great Britain, and are, indeed, the "right sort of Socialism" from the
capitalist standpoint.

Taking the municipal reformer as a type of the so-called Socialist, Mr.
Belloc, a prominent Liberal Member of Parliament and an anti-Socialist,
says that "in the atmosphere in which he works and as regards the
susceptibilities which he fears to offend," that the municipal Socialist
is entirely of the capitalist class. "You cannot make revolutions
without revolutionaries," he continues, "and anything less revolutionary
than your municipal reformer never trod the earth. The very conception
is alien to this class of persons; usually he is desperately frightened
as well. Yet it is quite certain that so vast a change as Socialism
presupposes cannot be carried out without hitting. When one sees it
verbally advocated (and in practice shirked) by men who have never hit
anything in their lives, and who are even afraid of a scene with a
waiter in a restaurant, one is not inclined to believe in the reality of
the creed." Mr. Belloc concludes finally that all that this kind of
Socialism has done during its moments of greatest activity has tended
merely to recognize the capitalist more and more and to stereotype the
gulf between him and the other classes.[142]

And just as Mr. Belloc has reproached the Socialists for their
conservatism, so the _New Age_ and other mouthpieces of Socialism
condemn the non-Socialist radicals who constitute one of the chief
elements among the supporters of the present government (including Mr.
Belloc) as being too radical. In the literature of the Fabian Society
also, the accusation against the Liberals of being too revolutionary is
quite frequent. Years ago Mr. Sidney Webb accused them of having "the
revolutionary tradition in their bones," of conceiving society as "a
struggle of warring interests," and said that they would reform
_nothing_ "unless it be done at the expense of their enemies." While
this latter accusation is scarcely true, either of the British Liberals
or of the revolutionary Socialists of the Continent, it is obvious that
the _most important_ reforms of the Socialists, those to which greatest
efforts must necessarily be given, those which alone must be fought for,
are precisely the ones that must be brought about "at the expense of the
enemy."

In no other country has public opinion either within the Socialist
movement or outside of it so completely despaired of democracy and the
people. In none has the spirit of popular revolt and militant radicalism
been so long dormant. Yet, there can be little doubt that the British
masses, encouraged by those of France, Germany, and other countries,
will one day recover that self-confidence and self-assertion they seem
to have lost since the times of the "Levellers" of the Commonwealth, two
hundred and fifty years ago. It may take years before this new
revolutionary movement gains the momentum it already possesses in
Germany and France. But the great strikes of 1910, 1911, and 1912 (see
Part III, Chapter VI) and the changes in politics that have accompanied
these strikes show that this movement has already begun. There is
already a strong division of opinion within the Socialistic "Independent
Labour Party," and this organization has also taken issue on several
important matters with the non-Socialist Labour Party, of which,
however, it is still a part.

After the unsatisfactory results of the elections of 1910 the conflict
within the Independent Labour Party became more acute than ever. Mr.
Barnes, then chairman of the Labour Party itself, and Mr. Keir Hardie,
the chief figure in its Socialistic (_Independent Labour Party_)
section, criticized severely the tactics that had been followed by the
majority, _led also by two members of the same "Socialistic" section_,
Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Snowden. It is true that the difference was not
very fundamental, but it is interesting to note that MacDonald and
Snowden and their avowed non-Socialist trade-union allies were accused
of giving so much to the Liberals as even to weaken the position of the
Labour Party itself to say nothing of the still greater inconsistency
of such compromises with anything approaching Socialism. Mr. Barnes and
Mr. Hardie pointed out that the timid tactics pursued had endangered not
only the fight against the House of Lords, but also the effort to keep
down the naval budget and the proposed solution of the unemployment
question that was to have acknowledged "the right to work." That is, Mr.
MacDonald and Mr. Snowden had been so anxious to please the Liberal
government, that they had risked even these moderate reforms, which were
favored by many anti-Socialistic Radicals.

At the "Independents'" 1911 conference at Birmingham, again, a motion
was proposed by the radical element, Hall, MacLachlan, and others, which
demanded that this Party should cease voting perpetually for the
government merely because the government claimed that every question
required a vote of confidence, and that they should put their own issues
in the foreground, and vote on all others according to their merits.
This very consistent resolution, in complete accord with the position of
Socialist Parties the world over, was however voted down by the
"Independents," as it had been shortly previously at the conference of
the non-Socialist Labour Party of which they are a section. The
executive committee brought in an amendment in the contrary sense to
that of the radical resolution, and this amendment was ably supported by
MacDonald.



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Keywords: germany, majority, cities, working, within, british, socialistic, section, children, independent
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