History of British Socialism. Max Beer 1920

The Social Revolutionary Ferment

First Published: History of British Socialism, Vol. II, Chapter 18, pp. 345-376, 1920, G.Bell & Sons;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.


The future historian, poring on his records and materials and calling upon his constructive imagination to draw a true picture of Great Britain in the period from 1908 to 1920, will gradually behold the unrolling of a series of social revolutionary developments, with the Great War but an episode and the various reform measures as so many concessions wrested by the working class and democracy. For the arrangements of society, constitutional and institutional, appeared to have lost well-nigh all stability. Ferment and unrest spread throughout all ranks. The accepted views on commercial policy and public finance, on the relation between the Commons and the Lords, on the position of woman in political life, on trade unionism and socialism were fiercely assailed and more or less shaken. Even conservative minds, usually averse from popular agitation, were thinking and speaking of revolutionary methods and rebellious acts. Educated and refined women had recourse to terroristic and conspiratory deeds. And masses of workmen, organised and unorganised, used the weapon of the strike on an unprecedented scale. Capital and Labour moved in phalanxes against one another. The whole nation was in movement, as if driven by elemental forces. Taking drama as a mirror of the time it may be said that the nation moved within the short space of ten years (1898-1908) from Pinero’s Gay Lord Quex to Shaw’s Major Barbara and Galsworthy’s Strife. The most salient feature of this amazing chapter of contemporary history was the appeal to economic facts and needs and to new social ethics. Economics, social statistics, prices and cost of living, trade and commercial re-organisation, taxation, and social reform legislation filled the minds of the nation. Behind all constitutional, legislative, and popular questions stood everywhere the economic factor and the ethical problem.

British industrial life has since 1880 been undergoing profound changes. Under the pressure of the German and American advance the leaders of British industry, trade, shipping, and commerce have gradually adopted new methods of organisation, which are aiming at the regulation of competition by mutual agreements and combines for the purpose of securing economies in production, distribution, and exchange, as well as of gaining greater control of labour.[1] Administrative centralisation, scientific management, constant improvement of machinery have cheapened production and gradually enabled British industry to face foreign competition. The new methods of production and distribution could not fail, however, to press upon the working and lower middle classes. Since the beginning of the new century British Labour has been raising its voice against the “speeding-up” methods, and the lower middle classes have been living in dread of losing their independence. Indeed, since 1880 and in a more pronounced degree since 1900 a new factory system has arisen which bears the same relation to the factory system of the beginning of the nineteenth century as intensive cultivation to extensive agriculture, or, better still, as the modern armies to the old ones. The constantly growing mechanisation of the processes of production and locomotion, as well as the enormous development of land and sea traffic, brought a host of unskilled workmen, unused to the discipline of old trade unionism, in t o close proximity to skilled labour or gave them an equal status with it. The traditional gulf between the two categories of labour was gradually bridged. The skilled workers felt their privileged and protected position seriously threatened, and many of them began to learn the lesson of the solidarity of Labour – namely, that the interests of the wage earners, as a whole, no matter what their special crafts or trades or professions might be, were inseparably interwoven with one another. Sectionalism is disappearing, Labour alliances are being formed, hand and brain workers are coalescing.

In commerce and finance a similar process has come into operation. The wholesale traders are reducing the retail traders to the role of distributive agents working on commission. And the great manufacturers are gaining control both over the wholesale and retail trade. The great departmental store, the large importers, and the co-operative societies have been displacing great numbers of small shopkeepers. The tendency of modern times appears to be the displacement of the independent lower middle class by a salaried class of clerks, salesmen, officials, and civil servants. This process of concentration in commerce and finance could not escape the observation of a sociological writer like H.G. Wells. “Shopkeeping, like manufactures,” he declares, “began to concentrate in large establishments, and by wholesale distribution to replace individual buying and selling .... The once flourishing shopkeeper lives to-day on the mere remnants of the trade that great distributing stores or the branches of great companies have left him. Tea companies, provision-dealing companies, tobacconist companies, make the position of the old-established private shop unstable and the chances of the new beginner hopeless. Railway and tramway take the custom more and more effectually past the door of the small draper and outfitter to the well-stocked establishments at the centre of things; telephone and telegraph assist that shopping at the centre more and more .... And this is equally true of the securities of that other section of the middle class, the section which lives upon invested money. There, too, the big eats the little. Through the seas and shallows of investment flow great tides and depressions, on which the big fortunes ride to harbour while the little accumulations, capsized and swamped, quiver down to the bottom."[2]

Finally, the two most popular political leaders of the first decade of the new century, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain and Mr. Lloyd George, taught the masses to think in economics. The tariff reform movement, initiated by the former in May, 1903, not only stimulated economic thought but brought the condition of England question before the nation. In working class meetings the tariff reform leaders spoke of the problem of unemployment, of loss of wages, and of the relatively bad condition of Labour. The most fundamental aspects of manufacture and agriculture were discussed and investigated. Indeed, not since the Anti-Corn Law agitation in the ‘forties of the last century did the working classes receive so thorough an economic education as during the tariff reform controversy. The reply to the tariff reform movement was a Liberal campaign against landlordism, mining royalties, and the House of Lords. After the general election of 1906, Liberal speakers continued to press social economic questions to the front. Dismayed by the rapid growth of the Labour Party and still believing in the peril of tariff reform, Lloyd George came forward as the chief defender of Liberalism against both the tariff reformers and the socialists. Speaking on. October 11, 1906, at Cardiff, he declared: –

“You must remember that up to the present there has been no real effort to counteract the socialist mission amongst the workmen. When that effort is made you may depend it will find it adherents even amongst working men. Common sense bids Liberals and Labour to get along together as far as we can to-day, and not to block the road of progress by standing on it in groups to quarrel about the stage we hope to reach today after to-morrow. We want the assistance of Labour to give direction to the policy of Liberalism and to give nerve and boldness to its attack. If the able men who now think that they are best serving the cause of progress by trying to shatter Liberalism were to devote their energies and their talents to guide and to strengthen and to embolden Liberalism, they would render higher and more enduring service to progress. But I have one word Liberals. I can tell them what will make this independent Labour Party movement a great and sweeping force in this country. If at the end of an average term of office it were found that a Liberal Parliament had done nothing to cope seriously with the condition of the people, to remove the national degradation of slums and widespread poverty and destitution in a land glittering with wealth, that they had shrunk to attack boldly the main causes of this wretchedness, notably the drink and this vicious land system, that they had not arrested the waste of our national resources in armaments, nor provided an honourable sustenance for deserving old age, that they had tamely allowed the House of Lords to extract all the virtue out of their Bills, then would a real cry arise in this land for a new party, and many of us here in this room would join in that cry. But if a Liberal Government tackle the landlords, and the brewers, and the peers, as they have faced the parsons, and try to deliver the nation from the pernicious control of this confederacy of monopolists, then the independent Labour Party will call in vain upon the working men of Britain to desert Liberalism that is gallantly fighting to rid the land of the wrongs that have oppressed those who labour in it.”

The leading ideas of this speech form the keynote of the subsequent work of Lloyd George as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The rise of the Labour Party meant the end of the Liberal Party, and it was the duty of the Liberal leaders to enlarge and strengthen their creed by adopting those socialist reform measures which they thought to be practicable. The region of Liberalism having become and was to be made fertile by irrigation from the rivers of socialist thought. The Finance Bills of the years 1908 to 1914 were the result of these efforts. The distinction made between earned and unearned incomes; the transformation of the Budget into an instrument of social reform; the heated discussions to which the new financial measures gave rise; the impassioned and inflaming oratory of Mr. Lloyd George at Limehouse (London, E.) and other working class centres; the land reform agitation, with its inevitable references to the fundamental tenets of socialism; finally, the constitutional struggle between the Commons and the Lords, which necessarily carried the mind of the nation back to the great conflicts and crises of English history, added a force to the social agitation and unrest.

Another aggravating factor was the continual rise of prices, which began in 1896 and was growing increasingly pronounced since 1907 and which resulted in a considerable reduction of the real wages. As far back as 1909, the Labour Party Executive, in their Report to the Ninth Annual Conference at Portsmouth, drew the attention of the delegates to those facts; three years later, the Fifteenth Abstract of Labour Statistics of the U.K. (London, 1912, Cd. 6228) showed that in the years 1900-1911 in the five principal trades (building, mining, engineering, textiles, agriculture) the increase of wages amounted to 0.31 per cent., the wholesale prices of foodstuffs rose by 11.6 per cent., and London retail prices by 9.3 per cent.; and in 1913 the Board of Trade Report on Wages confirmed the painful discrepancy between wages and prices, and thus supplied official material for the revolutionary agitation.[3] The electoral victories and the usual trade union methods, it appeared, resulted in an economic defeat. Revolutionary writers and speakers did not fail to point the moral and draw the lesson against parliamentary action and old trade union leadership. The light of State socialism began to pale before the rise of syndicalism, guild socialism, and direct action.

The Great War accelerated or matured all those tendencies and movements. The dilution of labour, the employment of masses of unskilled and woman workers in skilled trades, the rapid increase of automatic machinery, and the latitude accorded to the manufacturer to draw tighter the net of scientific management, formed a demonstration ad hominem that the privileged position of the upper strata of Labour has vanished. Women’s work penetrated, with surprising success, even into the closely guarded domain of the engineering industry. “In particular the Bristol exhibition was remarkable for the many hundred of specimens of work wholly or mainly done by women. Apart from the still larger range covered by the photographs, fourteen separate groups of samples were shown, dealing respectively with aircraft engines, motor-car engines, magnetos and other accessories of internal combustion engines, locomotives and stationary engines, guns and gun components, small arms, gauges, cutters and allied work, drawing dies and punches, welded and other aircraft fittings, aircraft framing and structural parts, projectiles, miscellaneous engineering, and optical and glass work. The list is long, but its very length summarises no more than fairly the variety of applications that are being made of women’s services in one work or another. A similar variety was seen in the composition of most of the individual groups."[4] War finance and commerce favoured the process of economic amalgamation and concentration. Joint stock banks, shipping companies, chemical works, coal, iron, and steel concerns formed alliances or were linked up with one another. The rich grew richer and the position of the middle classes grew more precarious.[5] Liberalism, which Mr. Lloyd George had expected to rid the land of socialism and independent Labour politics, was finally shattered by the war. A part, however, of his Cardiff prophecy came true. He had warned his audience that “if at the end of an average term of office it were found that a Liberal Parliament had done nothing to cope seriously with the social condition of the people, to remove the national degradation of slums .... to arrest the waste of our national resources in armaments .... then would a real cry arise for a new party, and many of us would join in that cry.” Many Radicals not only joined in that cry, but joined the Independent Labour Party and other socialist organisations; the idealists among the intellectuals have even taken the lead in the social revolutionary movements. The influence of the War on the rise of prices is too obvious to need any further remark. And the accumulated effect of all those developments has been the accentuation of the economic factor and the cleavage between the classes on the one hand, and the weakening of Parliamentary action and purely political democracy, on the other. Here we touch Bolshevik ground.

Meanwhile, the education of the upper strata of the working classes grew apace. Elementary education, continuation schools, debating societies, cheap reprints of some of the best books, socialist propaganda, the classes conducted by the Workers’ Educational Association, which was founded in 1903, and to which 1,071 trade unions, trade union branches, and trades councils, and 384 co-operative societies and committees are now affiliated, and Ruskin College at Oxford have produced a young generation of working men responsive to the mental currents of the time. Great Britain possesses now what it never possessed-Labour intellectuals with a healthy desire for the study of economics, social history, and science. In the 230 University Tutorial Classes, organised by the Workers’ Educational Association, there are now some 4,00o students engaged in courses of study lasting for not less than three years, and in the shorter classes which it has established, several thousand more. Ruskin College, founded by two Americans in 1899, has been preparing annually from thirty to forty of the ablest engineers, miners, railwaymen, and textile workers for further studies and self-education by imparting to them the elements of political economy, evolution, logic, industrial history, and sociology. Students of Ruskin College were among the first Labour intellectuals who responded to the syndicalist teachings which originated in America (Industrial Workers of the World or I.W.W.) and in France (Confederation Generale du Travail or C.G.T.). As far back as May, 1905, when I called at the College to prepare a report on this institution for the Berlin Vorwärts, I noticed a certain dissatisfaction among some students with the economic teaching of the College professors. The students desired to be taught economics from Marx’s Capital, particularly the labour theory of value, instead of the Jevonian. theory of marginal utility. After the election of 1906, with the sudden surging up of social economic problems, the dissatisfaction ripened into a conflict. The dissatisfied students formed a separate organisation called the Plebs League and finally seceded in 1909. They established an institution of their own, the Central Labour College (now the Labour College), at first at Oxford, then in London. The spirit and aim of this institution may be gathered from the following guiding principles: “(1) The College to be based upon the recognition of the antagonism of interests between Capital and Labour. (2) The aim to be the imparting of education of a definitely utilitarian character, viz. the training necessary to equip workers to propagate and defend the interests of their class against the dominant ruling class ideas and theories prevalent in capitalist society. (3) The college to be owned and controlled by the representatives of organised Labour, viz. the trade unions, socialist and co-operative societies.” The main props of the Labour College are the South Wales Miners’ Federation and the National Union of Railwaymen, while the Plebs League, consisting of students, ex-students, and sympathisers, are controlling the curriculum and the spirit of the teaching, so as “to further the interest of independent working class education as a partizan effort to improve the position of Labour at present and ultimately to assist in the abolition of wage slavery."[6]

Revolutionary working class schools were established in Scotland, South Wales, and the Midlands, where the works of Marx, Engels, Dietzgen, Kautsky, Lenin, and Trotsky were studied and discussed. The materialist conception of history and the labour value theory were favourite subjects. The Scottish Labour College had, in 1919, an income of over £1,000. A small section of the British working class were being imbued with a spirit of generalisation. John Maclean, W. Paul, W. W. Craik, Noah Ablett, Walton Newbold acted as their teachers and writers in various parts of the country.[7]

Of the many books published on the eve of the Labour unrest none had so notable an effect as Sir Leo Money’s Riches and Poverty. The statistics showing the growth of the national income and its very unequal distribution could not fail to intensify the dissatisfaction which sprang from the general tendencies of the economic and political developments mentioned above. The statistical tables had come very opportunely to throw the dry light of facts and figures on a situation full of ferment and excitement. Sir Leo, after having been a member of the Fabian Society and a member of the Coalition Government in 1918, joined the Independent Labour Party and is devoting his remarkable statistical and popularising talents to the service of socialism.[8]


The syndicalist movement or revolutionary trade unionism is differentiated from State socialism or collectivism by the emphasis it places (a) on the economic factor as the primary formative agent of social arrangements and social ethics, (b) on the economic antagonism between Capital and Labour, (c) on the direct action and struggle of the working class for its emancipation from the wage basis of livelihood and for the control of the means of production by Labour. itself, (d) on the trade union and not on the electoral district as the focus of Labour power. Syndicalism, therefore, is averse from conciliation boards and industrial agreements between employers and employees; it recognises no social peace or even truce as long as the wage basis prevails; it is opposed to Parliamentary politics being made an integral and important part of the Labour movement; it scorns. social reform by Liberal or Conservative or Labour legislation; it refuses to believe in the efficacy of a Labour policy acting through Parliamentary representatives and Labour officials. The syndicalist movement is pre-eminently revolutionary; the socialist movement is largely reformist. The former puts itself deliberately outside the present system of society in order the better to get hold of it and to shake it to very foundations; the latter is working within the present order of society with the view of gradually changing it. The syndicalist knows therefore of no compromise; class warfare, relentless and continual, is his supreme means. Starting from the premise (a) that economics rules social relations and shapes social ethics, (b) that the economic antagonism between Labour and Capital is irreconcilable, the syndicalist cannot arrive at any other conclusion.

These principles and inferences may be termed the syndicalist form of Marxism.

It must not be supposed, however, that the syndicalists are materialists on principle. There are among them profoundly spiritual thinkers; but they believe that capitalist society is materialist and that no spiritual uplifting of the people, no social justice and individual salvation are possible unless capitalism, with money and financial success as the measure of all things, has been laid by the heels.

The first body to spread syndicalist views in Great Britain was the Socialist Labour Party in Scotland, whose members originally belonged to the Social Democratic Federation, but gradually came under the influence of the Socialist Labour Party in the United States of America and finally seceded from the S.D.F. in t903. The leader of the American Socialist Labour Party was Daniel De Leon, a University lecturer and a strict adherent of Marxism, who for a long time worked on the application of Marxist theories to the American Labour movement. Disgusted with the corrupting influences of American politics, which, as he believed, rendered all Parliamentary action of socialist and Labour parties nugatory and corrupted the trade union leaders, he turned to the economic action of trade unionism organised for relentless class warfare and for the socialist objective.[9] Similar views were, since 1903, springing up amongst socialist trade union leaders of the Marxist type and led in 1905 to the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), which declared itself to be guided by the following principles:

“(1) There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life; (2) the working class and the employing class have nothing in common; (3) between these two classes a struggle must go on until all the toilers come together on the political as well as on the industrial field and take and hold that which they produce by their labour through an economic organisation of the working class without affiliation with any political party.”

Parliamentary politics were not altogether eliminated, but were made strictly subservient to the economic action of Labour. Later on party politics were dropped and the I.W.W. turned anti-parliamentarian, since parliamentary action involved Labour in compromise with the political parties of the employing class. The leaders of the I.W.W. further argued that the economic organisation of Labour into multitudinous trade unions was obsolete, for the trade union originated in the relatively simple and individualist conditions of manufacture, whereas at the present day manufacture was developing on a vast scale and was based on national and international combines. The modern form of manufacture required not trade unions but industrial unions – Labour organisations as vast and combined as capitalist industry itself. The miners and all the workpeople employed about the mines, be they engineers, firemen, or general labourers, should form one comprehensive mining union; the transport workers one single transportation union, instead of being split up and scattered in hundreds of local, district and trade societies, with their multifarious offices, officials, and consequent waste of energy and money, leading to inefficiency and failure. Concentration of the organised forces of Labour had become an urgent necessity, should the working class be able to face the combined forces of Capital. The extension of the local and district strikes to the general strike is but a corollary of the proposed new form of industrial organisation, or Industrial Unionism.

These views, propagated by the Socialist Labour Party in Scotland, gradually penetrated to the more intelligent or more alert members of the British trade unions and added to the fermentation which was dealt with in the foregoing section. The first symptoms of the operation of the new spirit manifested themselves in the rebellion of many trade unionists against their officials; from 1908 onwards it became a difficult matter for the officials of many trade unions to obtain from their members the ratification of agreements and settlements entered into by them with the employers. The British workman, generally loyal, began to refuse to follow his leader. It was partly under these influences that the formation of the Plebs League at Ruskin College took place. The League formed a section of the Industrial Workers of the World.[10]

The ideas of Industrial Unionism streaming from America through Scotland into England were supplemented and strengthened by the current of syndicalism coming from France. After the excitement of the Dreyfus affair and the disappointment with the socialist Minister Millerand, some of the Marxists and anarchists coalesced and turned the French syndicats or trade unions into the revolutionary Confederation Generale du Travail.[11] French syndicalism has been more theoretical and philosophical than American Industrial Unionism, but in essence both of them represent the same revolt against socialist and Labour parliamentarism and official-ridden and petty trade unionism.

The French influence was brought to bear on the British Labour movement by Tom Mann, a staunch trade unionist and socialist, with a golden heart and mercurial brain. He is one of the best known figures and most effective speakers in the International Labour movement. In the oratorical tournament which took place at the International Socialist Congress in London, 1896, and in which Jaurès, Millerand, Bebel, and Hyndman participated, Tom Mann’s intervention on behalf of the admission of the anarchist delegates made a deep impression. Like most of the British socialist leaders, Mann was stimulated by Henry George’s propaganda tour in the United Kingdom in 1882 and 1884, and soon became one of the main forces of British trade unionism, and together with John Burns organised the London strikes in 1887-1889. He joined the S.D.F., afterwards the I.L.P., whose general secretary he was from 1895 to 1898. Disheartened by the slow progress of the social revolution in Great Britain, he left for Australia, where he was active in the Labour movement until 1910, when he returned to his native country, and in order to study the French syndicalist application of Marxist theories to trade union strife, he, in June, 1910, went to Paris. He “was much impressed with the attitude of the revolutionary comrades in France, who had been able to accomplish a magnificent work by permeating the unions and forming the C.G.T."[12] The journey to Paris was, however, by no means the hegira of Mann. Unknown to himself, he had imbibed in Australia the spirit of the American I.W.W. His studies among the French workmen were but the finishing touches to his conversion. After his return from Paris he at once set to work to permeate the British trade unions, which, as Mann admits, for some five or six years previously had carried on “an agitation for the closer combination of the unions and for the adoption of different tactics.” With the assistance of Guy Bowman, a socialist journalist who knows the French language, the edited, from July, 1910, to June, 1911, a monthly series of syndicalist booklets, entitled the Industrial Syndicalist, in which the need and means for better organisation were outlined. Some of them are ably and effectively written, and all of them had a good circulation. On November 26, 1910, a conference of syndicalists took place in Manchester, which was attended by some two hundred delegates representing sixty thousand workers. As a result of this conference the Industrial Syndicalist Educational League was formed; under whose auspices the monthly paper Syndicalist was edited from the beginning of 1912 to the middle of 1914. Apart from these monthly, booklets, the best of which was the Miners’ Next Step, there appeared from time to time special periodicals like The Syndicalist Railwayman, The Transport Worker, and fly-sheets to the miners. The main idea of all those publications and activities was the class struggle as expressed through direct action and the general strike. Parliamentarism should not be altogether abandoned, but made subservient to economic action, or the “best English Club” should be transformed into the best platform for revolutionary agitation. Behind the Labour politician should always stand the revolutionary trade unionist and dictate his attitude in the House of Commons, since the politician was apt to forget the class character of the State and to talk of the General Will, where in reality there was but the special interest of the capitalist class. The utmost such a politician or old trade union leader could look for, was State socialism, which really signified State capitalism, while the revolutionary trade unionist was always conscious of the fact that Government was but the executive of the possessing classes, and that the emancipation of Labour could only be effected by the working class themselves, by their own ceaseless fighting on the economic battlefield. Nationalisation and, municipalisation could not release the proletariate from the grip of the capitalists and their Government tools. Hence, instead of State socialism, the proletariate must work for the control and administration of the means of production by and for Labour.

Meanwhile, other and far abler champions of revolutionary socialism entered the political arena The New Age, a weekly review, founded in 1907 by members of the Fabian Society and edited with great literary ability and intellectual freedom by A.R. Orage, was transformed into a centre of educated revolutionary criticism; its weekly notes on current political and Labour affairs, though often one-sided. because written in the midst of battle and with the view of provoking thought and controversy, formed a running commentary on contemporary British history. But a still more ambitious journalistic venture was undertaken by the publication of the Daily Herald (April, 1912, suspended on account of the war in September, 1914), which from the beginning of its career formed a platform for all heterodox opinions and rebellious minds. It was a thorn in the side of the Labour Party and a fearless critic of Liberalism. It often mistook the mob for the people and vulgarity for vigour;. but it atoned for these errors of judgment by a profoundly spiritual attitude towards the Labour and socialist problems. The Daily Herald contained some of the basest epithets in the English language, but also some of the noblest aspirations of the human mind. During the war The Herald appeared as a weekly and was, one of the best trade union papers; its writers on this subject were G.D.H. Cole and W. Mellor. At the beginning of 1919 The Herald reappeared in its old form as a daily, under the editorship of George Lansbury.

These movements against the existing social order and against Parliamentarism and political democracy were indirectly strengthened by Hilaire Belloc and Cecil Chesterton, whose literary activities bore the same relation to the British ferment as those of Brunetière, Faguet, Maurras, and Chéradame to the French syndicalist philosophy of Sorel and Lagardelle. The years from 1909 to 1913 witnessed in France a veritable torrent of invective against democracy. Nationalists, chauvinists, and revolutionary syndicalists vied with each other to represent democracy as a sink of corruption and imbecility, as a confederation of freemasons, Jews, Protestants, and aliens, whose main purpose was to ruin France or to sell her to Germany. French democracy was on its trial for life.[13] Belloc, with his French literary training, transferred those Parisian creations to London and found a fervent coadjutor in Cecil Chesterton, who, after having been successively an admirer of Sidney Webb and H.M. Hyndman, embraced Roman Catholicism and joined Belloc in his crusade against British democracy. Their pamphlets, The Party System and The Servile State, as well as their journalism in The New Witness, strengthened the hands of the British syndicalists in their assault on political democracy and added much turbid matter to the social ferment of the years 1911-1913.


The most striking effect of all those various factors was the Labour unrest, which found expression in the rapid growth of trade unionism and the national strikes. The aggregate membership of the British trade unions, which in 1899 was 1,861,000, and 2,369,000 in 1909, amounted in 1920 to over six millions! The trade union statistics of the last twenty years may be summed up by saying that the years 1899-1905, when the Taff Vale decision was paralysing trade union activities, were a period of stagnation or decline; the years 1906-1910, when, parliamentary action culminated, formed a period of slight revival; and the years since 1910, with their increasingly syndicalist character, have been marked by a growth which is, in a comparative sense, extraordinary. Moreover, the tendency has manifestly been towards larger and fewer societies, or towards the combination of smaller societies into larger and better managed trade organisations. Labour has been marshalling its, forces and imbuing them with a spirit of solidarity and battle: –



No of workpeople directly involved.

Aggregate duration in working days



















In the first three years of the war (1914-1916) the strike movement abated, but in 1917 it revived, the number of workpeople involved amounted to 821,000, and the aggregate number of strike days amounted to 5,514,000. Some of these strikes bore a social revolutionary character, to which we shall refer in a later chapter.

The years 1911-1913 will ever be memorable in the annals of British Labour. The United Kingdom witnessed for the first time a class war in which all its component parts were involved. English, Welsh, and Scottish miners, English railwaymen and Irish transport workers were joining hands across the borders and seas. Robert Smillie, Tom Mann, James Larkin, and James Connolly, all born fighters, marshalled and led the new forces in battle array. Nothing like it had ever happened before: neither in comprehensiveness nor in numbers had that Labour upheaval any parallel in British social history. A comparison of this strike movement with that of the years 1839-42 exhibits in an unmistakable manner the enormous advance British Labour has made in organising and executive capacity.

The upheaval of 1911-1913, though apparently defeated, profoundly affected British social and political history. The Irish transport strike disclosed the misery of the Dublin proletariate, but also their dour determination and revolutionary fervour. The manifestoes of Larkin and Connolly were distinguished by a high spirit of Labour solidarity and socialist self-sacrifice. They laid the foundation of that remarkable coalition between revolutionary Labour and nationalist Sinn-Fein, as well as of the “Citizen Army,” both of whom played their part in the Irish Easter tragedy of 1916. Connolly, the author of Labour in Irish History, fell in the insurrection.[14]

Another effect, likewise pregnant with social revolutionary portents, was the formation, in April, 1914, of the Triple Industrial Alliance of miners, railwaymen, and transport workers, with an aggregate membership of 1,500,000. Moreover, Robert Smillie, President of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain and the brain of the Alliance, expressed the opinion that, while the scheme at the moment was not intended to include more than the three trades referred to, “it may well be found advisable later on to extend the scope of the Alliance in the general interests of Labour as a whole."[15] The miners, forming the main strength of the industrial alliance, have been agitating for the nationalisation of. the mining industry, and have tried to educate public opinion to the necessity of such a measure. One of the most striking means used for that purpose was the Coal Commission which, under the menace of a general strike, was held in London in the spring, 1919, under the chairmanship of Justice Sankey. The representation of Labour on this Commission was remarkable, having embodied the coalition of hand and brain workers, viz. Robert Smillie, Herbert Smith, and Frank Hodges (miners), Sir Leo Money, R.H. Tawney, and Sidney Webb. The evidence and the discussion ranged from wages, profits, and hours of work to the origin of property, land nationalisation, and Marxism. It was a landmark in social development. The Sankey Report was a victory for Labour. The first Report, signed by Mr. Justice Sankey and three business men, declared that “even upon the evidence already given, the present system of ownership and working in the coal industry stands condemned, and some other system must be substituted for it, either nationalisation or a method of unification by national purchase and (or) by joint control."[16]

Nationalisation has become a burning question. We shall see in one of the next chapters the meaning of it. The transformation which it has undergone mirrors the struggle for supremacy between State socialism and revolutionary trade unionism.


Notable attempts at interpreting the social revolutionary ferment and adapting it to British mental and material conditions have been made by several socialist intellectuals – S.G. Hobson, A.R. Orage, and G.D.H. Cole, the leading writers of the New Age.[17] Cole sees in the new Labour movement the inchoate expression of the desire of the more intelligent and alert workmen for the control of production. He argues that socialist and Labour parties and collectivist schools had been regarding the social problem first and foremost as a problem of distribution of the division of the national income. A more equitable distribution in the interest of Labour being impossible under the capitalist system of economics, the socialists and advanced Labour leaders proposed the transfer of the means of production from the private capitalist to the State. Nationalisation of the monopolies was their policy. They looked forward to an impartial State, controlling and organising industry, securing for the worker an adequate share in the wealth he produces, laying charges on industry for the benefit of the weak and incapable, and in other respects carrying on production much as it is carried on now, with a State Department in place of a limited company or combine and a bureaucrat in place of a managing director. On the other hand, syndicalism claimed for the worker not merely higher wages, but also something which it termed “control of industry.” It demanded that men be regarded not as citizens and consumers only, but primarily as producers, that their work be recognised as the central fact of their lives. This tendency manifested itself even in the older trade unions, for whilst wages were still the dominant question of disputes with employers, another set of disputes was coming to the front which concerned conditions of labour, limitation of hours, employment of non-unionists – questions, in short, which touch the process of production or what had long been regarded as the exclusive sphere of the master class. This tendency towards transforming the trade union from a wage-bargaining into an organic unit of production should be developed and brought to maturity. From this point of view the trade unions represented the germs of the future organisation of industry.. The trade union should do for modern industry what the guild did for the medieval arts and crafts. Collectivism would form an industrial bureaucracy: syndicalism – an industrial democracy. Pending the consummation of this supreme end and aim, the workers, if they desired an improvement of their condition,should co-ordinate their forces, organise on the basis of industrial unionism, and use the weapon of the strike, since political action could achieve little, if anything at all. The Liberal reforms in the years from 1906 onwards, for all the praise bestowed on them by politicians, had done practically nothing to raise the condition of Labour. The strike period from 1911 to 1913 had raised wages, improved the conditions of labour, and increased the respect for the organised working class far beyond any so-called social reform legislation could have done. Where the strike failed it was due to the obsolete form of trade union organisation. The day of the small union had passed. Large industry must be confronted with greater unionism. The small trade union was wasteful. Labour parliamentarism, as at present constituted, was a costly delusion.

While Cole devotes much space to a review of Labour in France, America, and Germany with a view to tracing the new tendencies, the author of National Guilds deals exclusively with Labour and economic conditions in Great Britain. Its author and editor have drunk deep from the source of Marxism and have acquired method and system, which give to their work a logical sequence and unity not often to be found in English writings. The book must be regarded as one of the most important documents of the Labour unrest which dominated British home affairs in the years 1908 to 1913. Its critical apparatus is grounded on the syndicalist form of Marxism, and it is followed up with that relentless logical force which characterises the writings of Karl Marx. Its positive contribution contains several British elements – it envisages the nation rather than a class and it presents an outline of the practical application of syndicalist ideas to British economic life. Its main ideas, negative and positive, contained in the National Guilds and in the New Age 1912-3, may be summarised as follows: –

For three generations British Labour had been engaged in a struggle for emancipation, but it had never grasped the full meaning of its object. It had not realised that emancipation meant the rescue from oppressed or evil living and the inauguration of a healthy way of life. The foundation of social life was labour. Hence it followed that if the conditions that governed labour were evil the whole way of life must needs be evil, and that the real emancipation consisted in replacing those conditions by a new scheme of labour. The conditions that had been governing labour formed the wage system or wagery, which was one of the species of the genus slavery. A struggle for emancipation must therefore aim at the abolition of the wage system. Instead of which the working men frittered away their energies on a struggle for higher wages and for the improvement of the wage system of labour. Even the socialists, whether as members of the Social Democratic Federation or of the Fabian Society or of Independent Labour Party, had never fought consistently against the wage system. Some of them even went so far as to deprecate the economic action of Labour and to seek salvation in Parliament – political power should lead to economic power – utterly oblivious of the most salient lesson of history that economics precede politics. The grand experiment in Parliamentary Labourism had been made in the last ten years. In the first flush of satisfaction that followed the general election of 1906, and in consequence of the marked respect paid to the Labour Party at that time, a great number of workmen seriously believed that emancipation was nigh. In the first two sessions of Parliament the Labour representatives were treated with exceptional deference: in the third session a change manifested itself – the sentiments of the. House were distinctly hardening against the Labour Party, and since 1910 they had been practically ignored. The Labour movement outside Parliament had become a much more serious factor than inside. What was the meaning of this transformation?

In the years from 1900 to 1910, or during the first decade of the history of the Labour Party, in spite of all so-called social reforms and Labour victories on the parliamentary field, profit, interest, rent, cost of living were rising and real wages were falling, and even the rate of the increase of nominal wages fell far short of that of profits. According to the report of the Board of Trade, 1913, giving particulars of rents, retail prices, and wages in 1905 and 1912, prices advanced 13.7 per cent., wages between 2 and 5.5 per cent., While the capitalists increased their income by 22.5 per cent. per annum. This was a period of Labour triumphs in Parliament, a period of Liberal social reform which was claimed by its authors to be unprecedented in the annals of legislation.

The contrast between political triumphs and real failure, with its immediate consequence in the total eclipse of the Labour Party in Parliament, had not taken the syndicalist or guild socialist unawares, for he knew beforehand that Parliament always responded to economic power and ignored economic weakness. If the working class desired political power it must first acquire economic strength in factory, mine, and field. Those who owned and controlled the sources of wealth commanded also the labour which produced the wealth, and in commanding labour they controlled the foundation of society and its political superstructure. Labour could never acquire any power if it left the wage system untouched. This system of remunerating labour was the most potent factor in the upholding of capitalist domination. Wages were not the equivalent of the produce of labour: they were not paid to workmen as human beings who contributed their quota to the welfare of society, but for the purpose of being able to subsist while the employer exploited their inherent force of labour, just as he exploited a mine, a field, or a river, regardless of the fact that labour possessed the particular quality of vitalising the materials offered by nature to man, rendering them capable of being assimilated by the social body and thus enhancing their value and multiplying wealth. Labour was being bought for a subsistence wage, while all the wealth produced by it went to the employer, so that one-half of the national income was swallowed up by one-fifth of the population. And it was in wealth, in property, that economic power, and with it all political and social power, resided. How, then, could a Parliamentary Labour Party, which failed to assail the wage system, acquire power? Manifestedly, it could not.

There was only one way to destroy the wage system, and that was the determination of the workman never to sell their labour for wages. Let the workmen stop spending money on political action and on strikes that aimed merely at mitigating the evils of capitalism: they should spend it on a great effort to organise themselves as completely as possible and to acquire a monopoly of labour. Trade unionism and manual and mental labour should be co-extensive. There would then be on one side the army of workers in complete possession of living, value-creating labour: on the other, the capitalist class possessing the dead machinery of production. Such a situation would lead to a deadlock and to a long and arduous struggle, in which the majority, well organised, skilfully led, and completely united, would finally be victorious. The owners of the dead means of production would yield them up to the State for a compensation consisting of a reasonable annuity for two generations. The State, as trustee for the whole community, would then lease the means of production to appropriate guilds, about fifteen in number, covering the vast majority of manual and brain workers. They would produce, administer, and exchange their products, referring all difficulties and questions to a general committee of the federated guilds, elected by the annual congress of the guilds. The nuclei of such guilds already existed – the trade unions. They needed but to concentrate their energies on (a) the organisation of all who work in industrial unions, as a means and as nuclei of guild socialism: (b) the abolition of the wage system and the vesting of all industrial assets in the State, as the end and aim of unionism.

Before proceeding further with the elaboration of the theories of Guild Socialism, it may be useful to define the nature of a National Guild. This is a combination of all the labour of every kind, administrative, executive, and productive, in any particular industry. It includes those who work with their brains and those who contribute labour power. Administrators, chemists, skilled and unskilled labour – everybody who can work – all are entitled to membership. Numerically considered, the trade unions must form the bases of these National Guilds: but they, in their turn, must merge into the greater body.[18]

The theory of guild socialism gained much strength from Cole’s new book, Self-Government in Industry (1917), which presents a notable advance on his first book. While Hobson and Orage, in their first effort, seem to have given their best, Cole is still advancing: indeed, his World of Labour appears now to have been in the nature of a reconnaissance anterior to a general assault on Collectivism or State Socialism. His new book, in the chapters dealing with the nature of the State, contains quite original views which, though still fragmentary, are destined to form the foundation of the theoretical structure of Guild Socialism. A full development and comprehension of his views may, at the first blush, make the State of the Collectivists appear an obsolete affair.

Differing from the Marxists who hold that the State is but the Executive of the ruling class and that with the overthrow of capitalism the State will disappear, and unlike the Anarchists who, in consonance with the philosophy of the law of nature, think the State as such to be the root of evil, Cole defines the State as the political and governmental institution of the citizens as consumers. The community, whose governmental organisation is the State, consists of a certain number of individuals, inhabiting a certain geographical area: they are, territorially, neighbours to one another, who desire to use and to enjoy all those things that affect them in an equal way as consumers: the State has to see to it that they should be able to satisfy that desire. In municipal life the view of the citizen as a consumer and the role of the local government unit as the communal representative of the inhabitants as consumers, are quite evident. The case, argues Cole, is the same with the national State. Parliament, in so far as it is democratic, represents men as users or enjoyers in common, this time on a national instead of a local basis (pp. 71-8). If, then, the State is a sort of an association of the citizens as consumers only, the proper function of which is to safeguard their interests, it can have neither the qualification nor the powers for dealing with the interests of the citizens as producers or as believers. “The State,” declares Cole, “is not equally qualified in those matters which affect men differently according as they are miners or railwaymen, Catholics or Protestants.” (p.79). The question naturally arises: Why should the State be qualified to deal with consumers and not with producers? The answer to this pertinent question, if I understand the author aright, is, that the citizens as consumers have identical interests; they all desire to pursue, without disturbance, their business, to use the means of locomotion, to exchange their services and products, to enjoy the opportunities for worship or entertainments, to satisfy their bodily and mental needs; on the other hand, the citizens as producers or adherents of religious beliefs have by no means identical interests, therefore they cannot have the same organisation or the same machinery for regulating their affairs; as a matter of fact, the citizens as producers are divided into various and diverse groups and have or may have each their own associations, specially qualified to deal with their respective interests. The State thus appears to be really one of the many organisations of the community; it may be the most extensive, but on no account the supreme one. And since economic power controls politics, and the State is a political association, it follows that the State may even be regarded as subordinate to the associations of production. At any rate, the State is not the supreme institution of society. If it is not supreme, “the theory of State sovereignty falls to the ground.” The nation, as we see, resolves itself into a certain number of autonomous associations, with their own rights and powers, owing allegiance to nobody but their own members. “In all this diversity of human association, the State can claim an important place, but not a solitary grandeur"(pp. 80-3).

Cole’s reasonings on the subject are challenging and suggestive. His point of departure is evidently the Liberal and Nonconformist view of the State as the big policeman, as Lassalle might have said. Its main duty is a negative one – to prevent disturbances and disorders. But, while Liberalism, as the philosophy of the capitalist middle classes, acknowledges State sovereignty in order to have a powerful stick to keep the exploited classes down, Cole, as the advocate of Labour, attempts to divest the State of its sovereignty, thus reopening the old and ever new controversy between State and Church, State and manor, State and individual, but no more for the purpose of adjudging supremacy to the one or the other. He is rather striving to put all national associations on a footing of equality or to obtain for the National Guild the same rights and powers of which the State has been deemed the only repository. It is a revolutionary theory, and it is catching, too.

Let us now try to apply this theory to the practical problems with which Great Britain has to deal. Stripped of the phraseology of the various Socialist schools, the problem is: How is the economic life of the nation to be arranged, so as to produce an abundance of wealth, social peace, and freedom for all?

With the social reformer the Guild Socialists will have no parley, since all his measures are rendered nugatory by the economic power of the capitalist class. To the Collectivist or State Socialist, the Guildsman will point out that the function of the State is not production, but consumption. And the Syndicalist, who works for the supremacy of the trade union in all matters, is dismissed by them with the remark that the purely industrial sovereign is no advance on a purely political sovereign. What, then, is the solution?

The nation, which, for the purpose of the revolutionary struggle, has been divided into opposing camps of Capital and Labour, will now, with a view to reconstruction, divide into producers and consumers, having each their proper national association. The State should own the means of production; the Guild should control the work of production. The former is to regulate the prices of commodities and, generally, take charge of the interests of the consumers so as to prevent the producers from exploiting the community or dictate to it what it shall consume. State and Guild will form a partnership of equals, “not the revocable concession of a benignant and superior State, and, to make it real, the Guilds must be in a position to bargain on equal terms with the State. The conditions upon which the producers consent to serve and the community to accept their service, must be determined by negotiation between the Guild and the State. The Guild must preserve the right and the economic resource to withdraw its labour; the State must rely, to check unjust demands, on its equal voice in the decision of points of difference, and on the organised opinion of the community as a whole” (pp. 109-110, 86-7). In case of conflict between the two associations, “we must look for our ultimate sanction to some body on which all the citizens in their various activities are represented” (p.87). This division and co-operation of powers implies the establishment of two legislatures – the Guild Congress and Parliament, the former for all matters concerning production, including science and technical education, the latter for all other matters; there will thus be Guild laws and State laws (pp. 97-8).

The process of production, based on complete self-government of the Guild and thus freed from private and State oppression, will henceforth go on without friction and will yield abundant wealth. Social peace will reign, for, the capitalist class and State bureaucracy being abolished, there can be no antagonism of classes or accumulation of dissatisfaction. And these two facts combined will give the producers freedom at work and at leisure, freedom for self-expression in their handiwork, and instead of the deadening machine drudgery of the wage-slave for the capitalist, there will be the joyful creation of beautiful things by free men for the use of the whole community.[19]


The first outcome of the social revolutionary ferment has been the demand of organised Labour for the control of industry combined with nationalisation. This demand represents a compromise between social democracy and syndicalism. It is a British product. It began to make itself noticeable during the last war and has been growing in volume and importance. What this demand signifies and how far it has modified the older socialist thought, we shall see presently.

Since the revival of socialism in 1880 till about 1909, the main object and the final goal of all socialist propaganda was nationalisation of the land and the other means of production. This demand was put forward in general terms, few socialists having taken the trouble to define the term nationalisation and its practice. While there was, as a matter of course, a general consensus of opinion that the means of production should be owned by the State as the representative of the nation, socialists, with few exceptions, were not clear or differed on the question as to who should organise and conduct the process of production.

The first trace of this demand, not in the form of a Utopia, but as a practical proposition, is to be found in the revolutionary ferment of 1649, when Peter Chamberlen called for the nationalisation of certain landed properties and mines. The meaning of nationalisation was at that time quite clear; it was in conformity with the principle of the Elizabethan poor law. The Commonwealth was asked to manage, through its officials, the nationalised properties and unearned increments in the interest of the labouring poor, and should assume the duties which employers performed.[20] The authority of the State was still unshaken. It was the Leviathan. The next advocate of nationalisation was Charles Hall, who demanded that the State should be the only legitimate owner of the land and should divide it in equal shares among the farming population or the overwhelming majority of the nation. Hall, however, does not appear to have favoured State management; he but desired that the rents should be paid to the State.[21] The same remarks apply to Bronterre O’Brien’s nationalisation programme, which was based on the plan of buying out the landlords and settling the land with farmers who would pay their rents to the State, which, resting on manhood suffrage, would form a Democracy.[22]

From 1882 onwards, the term Nationalisation came into popular use. In that year, Alfred Russel Wallace published his treatise Nationalisation of the Land, and H. M. Hyndman republished Spence’s Newcastle lecture and gave it the title Nationalisation of the Land, although Spence would have demurred to it, since he desired to see the communes the owners of the land, and not the State. Wallace distinctly declared that he only desired to see the State as landlord, but not as manager of agriculture.[23] Hyndman and his organisations, the Democratic Federation and the Social Democratic Federation, were evidently not clear as to the meaning and scope of nationalisation. In their various programmes, published between 1881 and 1883, nationalisation was used both in the meaning of State ownership and management as well as ownership only. The S.D.F. programme used also the term “Socialisation,” meaning, however, “control by a Democratic State.” Indeed, the Social Democratic knew no difference between nationalisation and socialisation.[24] The clearest definition of nationalisation was given by the Fabian Society, who declared that “socialism means the organisation and conduct of the necessary industries of the country ... by the nation as a whole, through the most suitable public authorities, parochial, municipal, provincial, or central."[25] The Independent Labour Party and the Labour Party, in matters of theory, were dependent either on the Fabian Society or the writings of J. Ramsay MacDonald, who, as we have seen, were State socialists. Control of industry by Labour was not thought of. The control of the Democratic State and municipality by the voters was believed to constitute an adequate safeguard against oppressive measures on the part of the managing authorities.

The agitation of revolutionary trade unionists and adherents of direct action, as well as the propaganda of the guild socialists and the activities of the Webbs since about 1910, have changed the concept of nationalisation and the tenets of State socialism. The demand for the control of industry by the workers themselves, through shop committees and industrial councils, has been rapidly popularised. Nationalisation and State socialism have come to be regarded as another, and by no means better form of capitalism, unless combined with joint control of industry by organised Labour, “both in relation to workshop management and the question of discipline."[26] The last war, which strengthened the revolutionary movements all over the world, contributed a great deal to the rapid popularisation of the demand for the control of industry. The shop steward movement is partly the expression of this demand. The Clyde strike in February, 1915, was the first manifestation of the new spirit. The strike committee turned into a workers’ committee, and this model was imitated in other industrial towns; workers’ committees and shop steward committees took the place of the old trade union executives and formed the centres of the extensive strike movements in 1917. The Clyde strikers, the pioneers of the new economic organisation of the proletariate, were largely under the influence of the leaders of the Socialist Labour Party, who, as it has been shown on the preceding pages, are adherents of revolutionary trade unionism or of the primacy of economic action.[27]

The importance of the new demand is shown by the partial and reluctant recognition it found in the Whitley Report upon Works Committees (Cd. 9001) and the Garton Foundation Memorandum on the Industrial Situation after the War.[28] The Whitley Report recommended the co-operation of employers and employed in certain workshop matters, and the Garton Memorandum proposed the establishment of joint boards composed of representatives of the employers’ associations and the trade unions. But, while the authors of those reports, having had mainly in view the reconstruction of the economic life after the war, may have regarded their proposals as an industrial expediency rather than a new social principle, the Trades’ Union Congresses since 1915 onwards have taken up the question of control in the sense of a forward move of Labour towards a higher conception of social justice. At the Bristol T.U.Congress (1915), on the motion of the Post Office Associations, the following resolution was carried unanimously: – “This Congress expresses the opinion that nationalisation of public services is not necessarily advantageous to the employed and the working classes unless accompanied by steadily increasing democratic control, both by the employed and the Parliamentary representatives of Labour.” At the Birmingham T.U. Congress (1916), the chairman, Harry Gosling, in his opening speech, inveighed against industrial autocracy and, in demanding for Labour a share in the management of the workshop, declared that industrial democracy was the only means to social peace. The same Congress called upon the Government to nationalise the railways and to grant to the trade unions concerned “such a share in the management of the railway system as will enable the railway workers to have a real voice in the control of the conditions of their life and work.” The National Union of Railwaymen demanded, in 1917, that the nationalised railways shall be jointly controlled and managed by the State and the railwaymen’s representatives. A similar demand was put forward by the Annual Conference of the Miners Federation in 1918, when the following resolution was carried:- “The time has arrived in the history of the coal mining industry when it is clearly in the national interests to transfer the entire industry from private ownership and control to State ownership, with joint control and administration, by the workmen and the State.” The Nationalisation of Mines and Minerals Bill, 1919, drafted by the Miners’ Federation, was based on the same principle: the State and Labour as joint managers of the mining industry. Thus, the demand for nationalisation and control of industry has been the positive outcome of the turmoil of the last ten years.


1. U.S. Industrial Commission Report, Vol. XVIII., p.15 sqq., quoted in Carter Tendency toward Industrial Combination, pp. 3-4.

2. H.G. Wells, New Worlds for Old, 1908, ch.viii. §1.

3. Cf. S.G. Hobson, “Guild Principles in War and Peace,” London (Bell & Sons) 198, pp. 17-18.

4. Times Engineering Supplement, June 29, 1917.

5. “For every 20s. which the Government spent during the war they borrowed 16s. This system of financing Government system of financing Government expeditions tends to accumulate more and more wealth in the hands of the well-to-do.” (Sidney Webb, in Labour Year Book, 1919, p.68

6. Oxford Chronicle, October 20, 1911; Ruskin College, Manifesto to the Students, July, 1909; Plebs League, The Democratic Control of Ruskin College, Leicester, i9o9; The Plebs Magazine, Sheffield (monthly), Labour Year Book, 1919, p.294-5.

7. The Call (London), December 11, 1919,

8. Cf. The Highway (monthly), W.E.A. Year Book; A. Mainsbridge, Oxford and Working Class Education, 1908. R. H. Tawney, “An Experiment in Democratic Education,” in the Political Quarterly, May 1914. (Compare Times, January 14, 1914, note on the meeting of the Historical Association.)

9. In November, 1899, when I went to New York on a lengthy visit to my parents, I was at once introduced to Daniel De Leon, with whom I remained on friendly terms till September. He was one of the straightest Marxists I had ever come across. Two years later, when I met Ulianov (Lenin) in. London and enjoyed his friendship for over a year, I could not help being struck by the great similarity of character and views of both revolutionary leaders. De Leon believed literally in every word Marx had written. He held the materialist conception of history, the class war, and even the iron law of wages to need as little defence as the multiplication table. His capacity for work and his devotion to the cause won him the admiration even of those who were opposed to him on the score of his flint-like orthodoxy and his fanatical intolerance.

10. The Preamble of the I.W.W., published by the Socialist Labour Party, Edinburgh; Industrial Unionism, by G. Harvey, Edinburgh; David Evans, Labour Strife in the South Wales Coalfields, Cardiff, 1911; English Review, March, 1912 (R. Kenney, “The Brains behind the Labour Revolt”)

11. An account of the rise of French Syndicalism is given by G.D.H. Cole in his Self-Government in Industry, 3rd edition, pp. 303-321, London 1917.

12. Tom Mann, From Single Tax to Syndicalism, 1913, p.164.

13. Those who desire to learn something of the French anti-democratic literature prior to the war will obtain much information from Georges Guy-Grand, Le Proces de la Démocratie, Paris, 1911 (Colin).

14. Concerning Connolly’s views on Socialism and Labour, compare S. and B. Webb, History of Trade Unionism, 1920, pp, 655-657.

15. Robert Smillie, Labour Year Book, 1916, p. 103-04.

16. R. Page Arnot, Facts from the Coal Commission, 1919.

17. G.D.H. Cole, The World of Labour, 1913; S.G. Hobson, National Guilds, edited by A, R. Orage, 1914.

18. S.G. Hobson, Guild Principles in War and Peace, 1908, p.26-7.

19. Cf. A.R. Orage, An Alphabet of Economics, (T.F. Unwin, London); Cole and Mellor, The Meaning of National Guilds, Allen and Unwin, London; A.J. Penty, Old Worlds for New; Id. Guilds and the Social Crisis. National Guilds League Leaflets, A Catechism of National Guilds; Id. A Short Statement of the Principles of the N.G.L.; Reckitt and Bechhofer, The Meaning of National Guilds.

20. See supra, Vol. I., p.72-73.

21. See supra, Vol. I., p.130.

22. See supra, Vol. II., p.20; cf. Bronterre O’Brien, Rise of Human Slavery, 1885, pp. 118, 128.

23. See supra, Vol. II. p.268.

24. See supra, Vol. II. p.285.

25. Fabian Society, Report to the International Socialist Congress, London, 1896.

26. G. D. H. Cole, Introduction to Trade Unionism, p.99.

27. Cf. J. T. Murphy, A Workers’ Committee, Sheffield, 1918; William Paul, The State, 1919; both authors are prominent writers of the S.L.P.

28. For a socialist criticism of the Whitley Report see J. T. Murphy, Compromise or Independence? Sheffield, 1918; Labour Year Book, London, 1919, pp. 253-256. On the Garton Memorandum see S.G. Hobson, Guild Principles in War and Peace, 1918, pp. 76-126 (Bell & Sons).