E. Belfort Bax

The Gaggers

(19 March 1910)

E. Belfort Bax, The Gaggers, Justice, 19th March 1910, p. 10. (letter) [1]
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

DEAR COMRADE, – That a body of Feminists belonging to the S.D.P. should have sent a round-robin memorial to the editor of the Social-Democrat, protesting against the insertion in the magazine of opinions of which they disapprove is not surprising to me. If I mistake not, they have done something similar before. I would suggest that they get Mr. Herbert Burrows, Miss Zelda Kahan, or some other leading light among them, to propose a resolution at the forthcoming S.D.P. Conference, in the form of a “recommendation” to the T.C.P. to publish nothing on the Woman question before its Feminist orthodoxy has been guaranteed by a committee appointed for the purpose, and presided over (say) by Mr. H.B.

This might save them a lot of trouble generally, and especially might relieve Miss Kahan of having to shrug her shoulders, as she says she has learnt to do (Social-Democrat, p. 537), when she reads my articles on the subject. This shrugging of the shoulders is a good idea when one is confronted with inconvenient facts or arguments. If I ever find myself in a controversially tight place in future I shall “lie low” and shrug my shoulders.

It is marvellous how the slimy trail of a maudlin Feminism finds its way everywhere in the present day. I will only mention two instances from the issue of Justice of March 5. Let us take your dramatic critic first, the same who thinks that the plot of Elektra, that noble tragedy of righteous vengeance, stands in need of moral apology! In his account of Mr. Galsworthy’s new play, he, in his Feminist ardour, refers to “the treatment Ruth Honeywell receives from the brute of a husband from whom the law grants her no protection.” Now, here is the usual attempt to enlist sympathy on the side of the woman by falsehood. “P.P.H.” must surely know by this time that the modern English matrimonial law’s one concern is to load the wife with legal rights against her husband, flinging all considerations of justice to the latter to the winds in the process. There is, indeed, only one expression – not a “Parliamentary” one – to characterise such an outrageous statement as the above. Do Feminists imagine that by this sort of thing they can “fool all the people all the time,” or are they content if they can retard the day of public disillusionment?

My second instance is our comrade Ben Tillett’s tilt in favour of the Charlesworth women. Now, considering the long-protracted and cold-blooded calculation of their proceedings, and the amount of the “swag” – for, after all, £30,000 is a pretty good “steal” – the sentence pronounced would seem to be extraordinarily lenient. If comrade Tillett felt impelled to point the perfectly true moral and adorn the only too obvious tale of the way in which the law under Capitalism often vindictively punishes small and comparatively venial thieves and lets the big ones go their way in honour and triumph, surely he might have found a more appropriate and telling instance to his hand than that of the Charlesworths. How about the poor clerk who, for embezzling a few pounds of his employer in a moment of temptation (oftentimes for the sake of his family), commonly receives a sentence of five or even seven years’ penal servitude? But if one asks why the condemnation and sentence of the two interesting and selfish females in question is singled out for indignant comment rather than that of the poor clerk, there can surely be only one answer – Cherchez la femme!

All these things simply prove what sickening cant is Feminist talk about equality between the sexes. – Yours,


E. Belfort Bax


Note by MIA

1. This furious letter of protest arose over the fact that Justice from now on refused to advertise The Legal Subjection of Men (1908) by Bax, New Age Press. Zelda Kahane is perhaps better known as the prominent early Communist Zelda Coates.

Last updated on 23 July 2018