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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 86

Socialism and Slavery; being an answer to Mr Herbert Spencer's attack on the Social Democratic Federation in the Contemporary Review, April 1884 under the title 'The coming slavery'

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Socialism and Slavery,

William Reeves London: 185, Fleet Street, E.C

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Preface to Second Edition.

This pamphlet in reply to Mr. Herbert Spencer's rather feeble article in the Contemporary Review is now reprinted, just five years after its first publication, in response to constant demands for it in this country and from America. Since the year 1884 Socialism has spread so rapidly in Great Britain that it is scarcely too much to say that all parties are now more or less permeated with ideas which then were accepted by comparatively few. Mr. Herbert Spencer's piteous wail at the overthrow of his ill-founded theories by the inevitable development of human society from capitalism into collectivism produced little effect at the time, and the echo of it has long since died away. But the work which he has done in other fields lends a certain importance to the statement that" Mr. Herbert Spencer is opposed to Socialism especially in the United States, where he is the favourite philosopher of the successful railway man and stockjobber. That "the survival of the fittest" means the permanent supremacy of human animals of the type of Jay Gould or Edward Watkin is an interpretation of the Darwinian theory of Natural Selection which has, at any rate, its humorous side. In Great Britain, happily, the truth is now being admitted that Socialism is really neither more nor less than the science of sociology, no longer encumbered with either the theological or bourgeois prejudices which have hitherto hampered its full development. Mr. Herbert Spencer has cleared his mind of the cant of theology; but the cant of the profit-monger still holds his intelligence firmly in its grip. That this little lecture may in its way help [still further to shake his decaying influence is the hope with which its re-publication at the present time has been consented to by

The Writer.

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Socialism and Slavery.

It is now generally admitted that the growth of Socialism in England is one of the features of the time, and this growth has been very surprising to many who have argued from the experience of the last forty years that Socialist ideas could never so much as take root in this country. But the truth is that the Socialism of to-day is quite as much a revival of an agitation which owing to various causes, had died down, as a new departure due to the importation of continental theories. We too often forget that the first great Socialist movement in Europe, the first really formidable and organised struggle of labourers against landlords and capitalists, began in England. Englishmen to-day are the direct heirs of the ideas put forward at the beginning of this century by Robert Owen, Thomas Spence, William Cobbett, Thomas Hodgskin, Bray and others; and carried into the domain of active social and political agitation by the first three, as well as at a later date by such self-sacrificing workers in the cause of the people as Bronterre O'Brien, Ernest Jones, Stephens Oastler, Frost, Bull, Vincent, O'Connor, and many more whose names are now forgotten save by a few survivors of the movement in the districts where they were specially active. Most of these agitators were quite as bitterly, or more bitterly, opposed to the capitalist class than they were to the landlords, and understood how completely that class had obtained control of economical, social, and political power. Nearly all the legislation in favour of the labouring class which has been carried since the great war may be directly traced to the efforts of these men, who would certainly rank as Socialists if they were now alive. But it can scarcely be said that any of them founded a definite school, and consequently their more radical and revolutionary proposals have, since 1848, been overlooked or attributed to others. None the less, however, the present development of English Socialism is directly connected with the work of the Chartists, Owenites, Spenceans, &c., for the enfranchisement of the wage-earning class.*

The elaborate analysis of German Socialists has enabled Englishmen to understand the full historical significance of what was done by their immediate predecessors in the same field, and to grasp effectually the influence which it must have on the present movement. Socialism in fact, no longer consists in mere Utopian schemes or attempts to stir up general discontent among the suffering classes; it is no longer represented by men who think they can reach at one bound an almost unattainable happiness for mankind, or round up little oases of loving co-operators amid a desert of anarchical competition; it is a distinct, scientific, historical theory, based upon political economy and the evolution of society, taking account of the progress due to class struggles in the past, noting carefully the misery and the inevitable antagonism engendered by our present system of production, and following the

* I may here say that the name Social-Democrat, which so many still think we have derived from Germany, was first used by Bronterre O'Brien early in the thirties, more than fifty years ago, and long before anything was heard of the title outside Great Britain.

page 5 movement into the future with a view to handling the ever-increasing power of man over nature for the benefit of the whole community, not to pile up wealth for the capitalist class and their dependants. Such a change can, of course, only be brought about by putting an end both to the existing competition for individual or class gain above, and the competition for mere subsistence wages below. Organised co-operation for existence in place of anarchical competition for existence; equality of conditions in place of class domination; international friendship in place of national rivalry:—these are our aims. Thus the class struggle which we see going on under our eyes, the revolution in the methods of production—steam, machinery, electricity, &c.—which is affecting all classes, appears in the thoughts of men as a conflict between the principles of collectivism and individualism, between the system of public and private property. The changes in the economical forces below are, in short, reflected in the philosophy and literature of the time. Just in so far as we understand the facts is it possible to help on the change and to influence for the better the surroundings of coming generations. True liberty is the accurate appreciation of necessity.

Such being, in brief, the view of Socialists, it is natural that Mr. Herbert Spencer, the principal living champion of individualism, should take the field against us. He sees—no one can help seeing—that, whichever party is in power, the tendency of modern legislation is to interfere with what is so foolishly called "freedom of contract"; that the State, controlled by the middle-class though it has been since 1832, has been forced to step in to thwart the most cherished ideas of that very class, and even in a growing degree to organise and administer complicated branches of production and distribution, chiefly in the interest of the dominant class itself but partly to the advantage of the whole country. In the Contemporary Review for April, 1884, therefore, Mr. Herbert Spencer boldly attacked this tendency and showed that it must, if left unchecked, lead straight to the Democratic Socialism earnestly worked for by the Social-Democratic Federation. Socialism of this character, is according to him, "The Coming Slavery."

It is not a little remarkable, however, that although he indulges freely in prophecy as to this hypothetical slavery of the future, Mr. Herbert Spencer declines altogether to recognise the palpable slavery which actually exists to-day, or the still worse slavery which the people suffered from before the enactment of the measures he holds to be so harmful. All that is passed by carefully. But, looking out upon the London streets, Mr. Spencer sees a great number of vagabonds and "corner men," tramps and other useless persons, who, according to his theory, owe their present position to their own idleness, thriftless ness, drunkenness or debauchery; or, if not to these causes, then to the action of the Poor Law which came to an end in 1834. That Society itself may be really responsible for the miserable conditions of life (necessarily leading to drunkenness, debauchery, &c.) in which so many of its poorer members are brought up; that the uncertainty of existence owing to the constant improvement in machinery may make men and women utterly hopeless and despairing; that at such a period of industrial depression as that lately passed through hundreds of thousands of workers are forced into idleness by no fault whatever of their own and loiter about ready to pick up any chance work—ideas like these seem never to have presented themselves to Mr. Herbert Spencer's mind at all. There will be a certain amount of suffering and laziness page 6 in any society. No Socialist would deny that. Sloth and lust, like cancer or consumption, would not be cured at once by collectivism; though the sufferings of the victims might be lessened and the diseases themselves gradually uprooted What we wish to get nd of is avoidable suffering and immorality, directly due to the organisation, or rather disorganisation, of society itself.

Again, Mr. Herbert Spencer remarks that the Christian saying "'if any would not work neither should he eat 'is simply an enunciation of an universal law of nature under which life itself has reached its present height—the law that a creature not energetic enough to maintain itself must die." Why what is this? There are thousands of creatures in our present society who have never been energetic enough to maintain themselves in any sense whatsoever, yet who have eaten excellently well every day, and will go on so eating from their cradles to their graves. The labour of other creatures has provided them with sustenance, whether the labourers were willing or no, owing to social conventions entered into before they were born. Such idlers as these are surely more harmful to the community at large and, if ethics are to come in, more open to condemnation, than weary wayfarers who perhaps have never had a full meal their life through, however hard they might work. The truth is our social arrangements breed idlers—wealthy idlers at the top: starving idlers at the bottom.

But the old Poor Law* still troubles Mr. Spencer and the "support of the offspring of the unworthy," the issue of tickets-of-leave to convicts, the foundation of casual wards, and so forth, have done an infinity of mischief. How is it then that we find precisely similar phenomena in countries where Poor Laws are unknown, casual wards are not in existence, and the ticket-of-leave system is not in vogue? There are plenty of tramps, vagabonds and beggars on the continent of Europe, as well as in England. Nay, even in the United States, that paradise of individualism, where Mr. Herbert Spencer himself reigns supreme in the domain of philosophy, and the almighty dollar rules the roast in material affairs, even in wealthy America there were no fewer than 3,000,000 tramps during the last great industrial crisis : and at this moment the number of tramps and unemployed is causing the gravest uneasiness, as well as the enaction of the most brutal laws, in nearly every State of the Union. Surely there must be some general cause at work to bring about this chronic poverty and idleness in the richest countries of the civilised world? Surely something deeper than petty enactments to relieve the wretched, or the provision of sheds to house the wanderer, occasion this universal distress?

Before stating the Socialist view of the matter it may be well to deal with Mr. Spencer's remarks on recent legislation. At page 473 occurs the following passage: "Meanwhile, those who regard the recent course of legislation as disastrous, and see that its future course is likely to be still more disastrous, are being reduced to silence by the belief that it is useless to reason with people in a state of political intoxication." Now I am far from saying that it is quite impossible that Mr. Herbert Spencer should be the one sober politician in England and all the rest of us hopelessly drunk together. There have been times when one man alone has withstood legislation or political action which has afterwards proved

* I have dealt so fully with the Old Poor Law and the circumstances attending its modification m 1834 in my "Historical Basis of Socialism in England," (Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.) that I need say no more on this point here.

page 7 disastrous to his country. But Mr. Spencer, happily, gives us the opportunity of testing what he means by the word "disastrous"; and it would be interesting to know which one of the measures he thus characterises he would think it beneficial under existing conditions to repeal.

Mr. Herbert Spencer's first disaster, then, was the vote of £20,000 to build schoolrooms in the year 1833. Those who carried this measure, he cries, never thought it would lead to our present School Board policy, "they did not intend to establish the principle that A should be made responsible for educating B's offspring; they did not dream of a compulsion "—this little bit of sentiment is surely rather forced—"which should deprive poor widows of the help of their elder children." Well, no, they did not. But does Mr. Spencer mean that our present education policy is disastrous? Would he have the children of the people grow up in hopeless ignorance rather than see his individualist theories tampered with never so little? It would really seem so. But in that case the "people" need scarcely be in a state of political intoxication if they pay no attention to Mr. Herbert Spencer. His argument that "payment by results" has produced ill effects does not touch the main principle of compulsory education. Such competition and overpressure as sometimes injure the pupils are, at any rate, directly contrary to the first principles of Socialism. Socialists altogether disapprove of encouraging intellectual competition among children. They hold this to be the worst possible form of education, quite apart from the physical injuries produced by overwork.

The next instance of disastrous legislation is more extraordinary still. If there is one set of measures which, by the common consent of the workers, and even of the capitalists, has been beneficial, surely the Factory Acts are so regarded. Mr. Spencer is of a different opinion, for he says:—" Neither did those who in 1834 passed an Act regulating the labour of women and children in certain factories, imagine that the system they were beginning would end in the restriction and inspection of labour in all kinds of producing establishments where more than fifty people are employed." I take it therefore that Mr. Spencer is opposed to the Factory Acts. In that case he can never have read the Reports of the Commissioners and the evidence on which the Factory and Workshops Legislation was based. For these measures were proved to be absolutely necessary to save women, children and sickly babes from the most revolting and cruel slavery of which there is any record in history. So beneficial have they been that their further extension is inevitable. Mr. Herbert Spencer is unable to see that the community interfered only to check the frightful tyranny of a profit-making class.

One other example and I leave this part of the subject. Mr. Spencer says that the only result of fixing a maximum load-line for vessels has been that the owners now load up to that line. Say that this is so, would he therefore contend that sailors should go to sea in overladen ships when State regulation could stop it? There is no freedom of contract here. Sailors when they engage to sail in a craft are unable to say whether she is overladen or not. But the loss of able seamen, apart from the infamy of drowning of men for gain, is a direct loss to the country; for it costs a great deal to rear able seamen. Mr. Spencer would seem therefore to be arguing against manifest utility. But it is unnecessary to say more. If legislative interference is "disastrous" in the instances cited, there is, indeed, no more to be said.

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Undoubtedly, however, the success which has attended these and similar measures renders their extension certain. Board Schools involve the idea of free compulsory education, and the idea of compulsory education that of one or more gratuitous meals in those schools. On the other hand interference of the community for the general good naturally develops into organisation by the community for the general good. It is manifest that such development is going on today Mr. Herbert Spencer wishes to check it if he can get a hearing.

Why however, asks Mr. Spencer, is this progressive change describe as "The Coming Slavery"? Why indeed? But first let us take Mr, Spencer's definition of a slave. "The essential question is: How much is he compelled to labour for other benefit than his own, and how much he can labour for his own benefit? The degree of slavery varies according to the ratio of that which he is forced to yield up and that which he is allowed to retain; and it matters not whether his master is a single person or a society. If, without option, he has to labour for the society and receives from the general stock such portion as society awards him, he becomes a slave to the society." Certainly, But does Mr. Spencer imagine then that no slavery exists to-day? There is not a Socialist living, at any rate, who would not accept his definition as perfectly accurate. But what is the position of the man without property in our present society, without any command of the means of production—land, capital, machinery, raw materials or credit? He must be forced, in order only to live, to labour the greater part of his time for the benefit of others. The wages his class receive on the average are but a fraction of the value of the goods which they produce; certainly not more than one-third. Thus on Mr. Herbert Spencer's own showing the wage-earning producers and distributors of to-day are the slaves of the employers as a class; "and it matters not whether their master is a single person or a society;" "the ratio between what the workers yield up and what they are allowed to retain" under this class monopoly of the means of production being, in very truth, the measure of the oppressiveness of such slavery. Labourers may change their master, no doubt, but they are still at the mercy of the employing class and compete against one another for subsistence wages; all that they earn in addition going for nothing into the hands of the possessing classes.

It is almost unnecessary to refer to the victims of the "sweaters" in all our large towns; to the miserable match-box makers and dock labourers at the East End of London; to the slaves of tha machine in close, ill-ventilated factories; to the ill-paid shop girls, exhausted with long hours of toil, driven in many cases to eke out their scanty wages by the earnings of prostitution; to the miners working under the most dangerous and unwholesome conditions just to keep body and soul together; to the overworked serfs of the great railway corporations standing at their points or running their locomotives twelve, fourteen, or sixteen hours a day; to the half-fed agricultural labourers of our English counties-it is needless I say to cite such instances of grinding and degrading slavery to show what sort of liberty is that which Mr. Herbert Spencer is so fearful that we shall tamper with, what kind of individuality it is which he is so anxious to maintain.

But Mr. Herbert Spencer admits that the tendency of the time, itself of necessity the reflection of the economical movement, is all against him. "Thus," he says, "influences of various kinds conspire to increase page 9 corporate action." Now the words "corporate action" here mean State, Municipal, or County action. But, as a matter of fact, the greatest corporations at present are often outside popular control. The Railways, the Gas and Water Companies, the great Shipping Companies, are great corporations worked by Boards of Directors and salaried officials in the interest of shareholders, whose interests are often directly opposed to those of the community at large. When Mr. W. H. Vanderbilt said "the people be damned" he spoke as the head of a great monopolist corporation. It is certainly impossible to contend that the New York Central or the London and North Western Railway, the Cunard or Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Companies are cases of individual enterprise. To argue so is an absurdity. Those corporations and others are really as much organised bureaucracies, with as little volition left to the individual employes, as they would be if managed by the State. In the United States, as is well known, the influence of such corporations, handled as they are with utter unscrupulousness, constitutes a danger to the great Republic—a danger which can only be met by the interference and control of Federal Government for the benefit of the whole country. Mr. Spencer saw this himself when he was on the other side of the Atlantic. The bureaucracies, in short, already exist in every civilised or capitalised country, and the only question is, whether they are to be handled by the community and thus made beneficial to all (much labour being saved thereby as well), or whether the present anarchical conflict of interests and wholesale political corruption, direct and indirect, are to go on.

As Mr. Spencer truly says, "The officials cannot create the needful supplies; they can but distribute among the individuals what the individuals have joined to produce." But, this being so, surely the fewer officials the better; and, what is still more important, the fewer idlers, or hangers-on of idlers, the better. Socialists, Mr. Spencer should bear in mind, hold that no individuals whatever should be allowed to shuffle off their share of necessary productive labours upon others; so that the "officials" would be as few as possible. Even as it is, the Post Office is managed with less of wasted labour than if two or three large firms were competing, each with a separate staff, for the management and conveyance of mails. What applies to the Post Office would certainly apply in a still greater degree to the Railways. A smaller staff would be needed to do the same amount of work. What is more, it would be done, not for the benefit of the shareholders, but for that of the whole people and as a portion of an organised Democratic system, in which the object of all would be to lessen the hours of labour, whilst maintaining the highest possible standard of general comfort and luxury.

Again we say that shareholders "have laid hands upon the railways,' and Mr. Spencer marks this statement with a note of exclamation. Did the shareholders, then, build the railways? Not at all. They were built by the labour of men now, most of them, dead. Neither the shareholders nor their predecessors organised the labour on the Railways; they simply advanced "capital" for their construction. And what was this capital so advanced? Nothing more than the accumulation of the labour of other men, or the assumption of the right to make drafts upon the labour of other men, according to social conventions legalised by the class which holds possession of the entire means of production. Thus then, the ownership of the railroads of the country, given by the landlord and capitalist Parliament to the middle or capitalist class, means that the shareholders are to have a perpetual right to confiscate the labour of the page 10 living because they or their predecessors confiscated the labour of the dead Such confiscation, carried on daily by means of a legalised monopoly, we Socialists are striving to put an end to without compensation if possible—for why should any have a right to dominate their fellows and live without labour?—with compensation, if so it is willed by the majority of the adult population. The economical forces are all ready for the change. The salaried officials who work to-day for the Companies would work to-morrow for the Democratic State.

"Already exclusive carrier of letters, exclusive transmitter of tele grams, and on the way to become exclusive carrier of parcels, the State will not only be exclusive carrier of passengers, goods, and minerals, but will add to its present various trades many other trades. Even now, besides erecting its naval and military establishments and building harbours, docks, breakwaters, etc., it does the work of ship-builder, cannon founder, small-arms maker, manufacturer of ammunition, army clothier, and boot maker; and when the railways have been appropriated, 'with or without compensation,' as the Democratic Federationists say, it will have to become locomotive carriage builder, carriage maker, tarpaulin and grease manufacturer, passenger canal owner, coal miner, stone quarrier, omnibus proprietor, etc. Meanwhile its local lieutenants, the municipal governments already in many places suppliers of water, gas makers, owners and workers of tramways, and proprietors of baths will doubtless have undertaken various other businesses."

Just so. Why not? Centralisation and decentralisation will go on together; production for use will gradually supplant adulterated production for profit. Only—and this is the important point—the whole of this vast and far-reaching organisation must be under the control of the people, certainly not carried on for the benefit of a non-producing class. State factories have no interest in making adulterated goods, when there is nothing to be gained and great injury may result; the State will require only the minimum hours of labour, when overwork means exhaustion for the employés and not surplus value for the possessing classes. In a word, State employment, when the State itself is only an organised democracy and class distinctions cease, means not slavery but freedom; save in so far as every man and woman must ever be a slave to the necessity of providing enough in co-operation with others to give him or her the standard of comfort generally agreed to be sufficient—an amount lessening with every improvement in machinery or knowledge. What capacities of enjoyment and self improvement would then have free outlet I What a scope for invention and opportunities for art would then open up before millions who now have no leisure for either! When, as is the case to-day, two or three hours' labour out of the twenty-four by all adult males would be enough to give the whole community all the wholesome necessaries and comforts of life, none should be allowed to escape his or her due share of this necessary work. But this would put an end once for all to competition and the sale of men's labour on the market.

Such an overturn of the whole bourgeois system Mr. Spencer evidently cannot bring his mind to contemplate. To him competition alone can mean freedom; the forfeiture by the labourers of the greater part of the labour value of their produce to the employing class and their hangers on can alone prevent slavery for the workers. For, under Socialism, "each member of the community would be a slave to the community as page 11 a whole." Surely the word "slave" is here misused, both in its literal and historical meaning. If it comes to that, all of us are slaves to the forces of nature, and, in a slightly less degree, to the social conditions into which we are born. The very definition which Mr. Spencer himself has already given of slavery excludes the use of the word "slave" under conditions where all co-operate in order that none should be the slave of an individual or of a class. Socialists, at any rate, contend that we now permit the forces of nature and the social and economical conditions to master us, that the individual ownership of the means of production and exchange absolutely hampers progress: in the future by the collective ownership of the means of production and the use of all improvements to enhance that production or lessen toil, mankind will master the forces of nature.

To take a single but very important instance of the way in which our present system works ruin all round. Industrial crises occur more and more frequently in each successive generation. The increasing powers of machinery, the greater facility of transport and communication, do but serve to make matters worse for the mass of the workers in all countries, inasmuch that the uncertainty of employment is greatly increased by these recurring crises, apart from the danger of the workers being driven out on to the streets by the introduction of new laboursaving machines. But these crises arise from the very nature of our capitalist system of production. Thus, when a period of depression comes to an end, orders flow in from home and foreign customers; each manufacturer is anxious to take advantage of the rising tide of prosperity and produces as much as he can without any consultation with his fellows or any regard for the future; there is a great demand for labourers in the factories, workshops, shipyards, and mines; prices rise all along the line, speculation is rampant; new machines are introduced to economise labour and increase production. All the work is being done by the most thorough social organisation and for manifestly social purposes; the workers are, as it were, dovetailed into one another by that social and mechanical division of labour, as well as by the increasing scale of factory industry. But they have no control whatever over their products when finished. The exchange is carried on solely for the profit of the employing class, who themselves are compelled to compete against one another at high pressure in order to keep their places. Thus a glut follows and then a depression of trade, when millions of men are out of work all over the world, though ready to give their useful labour in return for food; and the capitalists are unable to employ them because the glut which they themselves have created prevents production at a profit. Here, then, is a manifest and growing antagonism between the social system of production and the individual (or profit-making company) control of exchange. Can Mr. Spencer reasonably argue that individual effort will remedy, or that individuals by themselves can influence this system?

To show how these cycles recur, and the increasing frequency of their recurrence, we have only to take the record of the cotton industry. From 1770 to 1819 there were 41 good and only 5 bad years; from 1822 to 1860 there were 20 good and 19 bad years (this was the period when cotton was king); from 1861 to 1884, 9 good years and 15 bad years. The proportions are worth noting. The dangerous increase of bad years accounts fully for the "overpopulation" in all civilised countries; just as the introduction of new machines and the replacement of the page 12 labour of men by the labour of women and children accounts for the growing uncertainty of employment between the periods of crisis. The only means whereby this anarchy can be reduced to order is by removing the fundamental antagonism of proletariat production and capitalist appropriation, by giving, that is, to the whole community of workers, social control over a manifestly social system of production. As also the crises are international in character, so must eventually be the industrial organisation. England being the centre of the capitalist system is the country where the reorganisation must begin.

The immediate practical proposals of the Social-Democratic Federation which Mr. Spencer criticises are being even now accepted as necessary stages in this development. Free schools and free meals in those schools find thousands of advocates to-day, where yesterday there were but tens. It is coming to be understood that as the labourers produce all the wealth of the country it is not only unjust to them, but harmful to the community that their children should be left ignorant and unfed by thou who take the greater part of the labour-value they produce in the shape of rent, profit, interest, commissions, &c. Short hours of labour are likewise agitated for m every civilized country. Eight hours as the maximum limit for toil in every industry is now the working-class cry in all lands. Of the construction of artisans' and agricultural labourers' dwellings I need scarcely speak. The manifest failure of our miserable competitive system has absolutely forced both political parties to give up laissez-fair in this direction. Good housing, however, can only be got by State or municipal action. Mr. Herbert Spencer points out himself quite clearly how, by the increase of rates, by the competition of better dwellings with the old ramshackle, rackrented hovels, by the gradual coming into the market of better houses at cheaper prices, owing to the joint action of these two causes, such intervention would break down competition rents, with the accompanying jerry-building, and bring about a proper arrangement of housing and garden ground; eventually putting an end to the harmful separation between country and town.

Nevertheless, so long as mere "supply and demand" rule in the sphere of production and exchange, so long as producers and distributors have no control, either collectively or individually, over the means of production or the methods of exchange, so long, that is, as men and women are obliged to sell their labour-force, or even their mental capacity, to a class in order merely to subsist—so long, I say, as this anarchical system exists, just so long will good education, good feeding, good housing in childhood simply bring up better wage-slaves for capitalists. Even shorter hours of labour will only mean that better and more rapid machinery will be introduced and the glut thus be brought about more rapidly. Here is the blighting curse of our existing competitive system. This is why all so-called reforms, however taking they may seem to superficial, well-meaning philanthropists, are valuable only in so far as they lead up to a complete social revolution. Adulteration, crises, starvation, pauperism will ever go on until that revolution is brought about. The iron law of competition means, and must mean, continued degradation for the workers, even though their physical condition in youth may be improved.

But nationalisation of the land accompanied by "industrial armies' gives our individual philosopher another shock. This surely, he says, must be an oversight on the part of the Executive of the Federation. Not at all. Socialism means organisation in place of the existing page 13 anarchy; the only difference is that the educated and well-nourished workers of these industrial armies will elect their own leaders and organisers, and, equality of conditions being the rule throughout, there need be no domination, as, certainly, there would be no profit. To lay down laws for a system of society which is being formed under our eyes would, however, be absurd. What all can see clearly is that even bourgeois economists like Mr. Henry Fawcett, who oppose all State management, are forced by necessity to prove as administrators their own utter foolishness as theorists. State organisation grows as we are talking. The only question is whether it shall be used by the Democracy to break down wage-slavery and competition for bare subsistence, or whether some despot shall step in to secure physical welfare for the people at the cost of their freedom. The reign of the middle class with their ideas of mock liberty and real slavery for the producers is coming to an end. Profit-mongering and adulteration are pretty well played out as the objects of human existence.

All this of course is far away from Mr. Herbert Spencer and his individualist philosophy. Evidently he felt so secure of his own position that he has never read a line of any writer on Scientific Socialism in his life : while the slight importance which he attaches to political economy unfits him from being the critic of a school of thought which considers the forms of production and distribution of wealth as the real bases of human society at all periods of history. Nevertheless, Mr. Spencer's attack on the Social-Democratic Federation has been of great service to the Socialist cause. His criticisms have at any rate induced many to study the question and assuredly have not weakened the intellectual convictions of a single Socialist.* While his admission that somehow, in spite of all his objections, the evolution of society is carrying us necessarily farther and farther into State or Municipal management, led a considerable number of those who have been taught the doctrine of evolution by Mr. Spencer himself to accept Socialism as the only logical outcome of his own earlier theories. Thus Socialists are perfectly satisfied with the exposition of middle-class philosophy by its principal champion.

There are few really unprejudiced thinkers who do not now admit that capitalists and the middle-class generally are quite incapable of handling the growing powers of man over nature for the benefit of the race. That fact comes out more clearly as each year passes by. Socialism rnerefore—the organised co-operation of men and women educated from early childhood to take their share in light, varied and pleasurable labour—must come in to control and develop those forces which individuals did not invent and which individuals cannot turn to the advantage of mankind. This evolution, I say, is inevitable, it is going on all round us at this hour. Shall we help its peaceful development by thoroughly understanding its growth and clearing away obstacles, or shall we render violent revolution inevitable by sheer determination not to see? In either case such harmonious association of workers, such adaptation of surroundings and application of the increasing powers of science to the highest physical, mental, and moral development of man—such Socialism, in a word, as we champion, means for all future generations not Slavery but full and never-ending Freedom.

* Since this pamphlet was written Mr. Spencer has published some further criticisms of the "Sins of Legislators." With these I have nothing to do. Socialists have no hope that the middle class can carry out Socialist legislation effectively. Robbery and jobbery are their only ideas of management when felt uncontrolled by pressure from without.

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