William Morris. Commonweal 1885

First General Meeting of the Socialist League

Sunday, July 5, 1885
Held at 13 Farringdon Road, London, E.C.

Source: “First General Meeting of the Socialist League” Commonweal, Vol I, No. 7, August, 1885, pp. 65;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

The first General Conference of the Socialist League will be remembered with pleasurable feelings by all that took part in it. It was a day of heartiness and good feeling; of realization of hopes and the planning for future work. Whether the organization founded in December last, and having its second birth, as it were, on Sunday, July 5, 1885, is to exist until the principles it works for are understood and accepted of men — whether it will ever be merged in a larger, wider, more international body; whether those gathered together on that Sunday will see in their time anything more than the lessened darkness of the sky before the dawn of the better day that is to come; whether any of them will be able to sing Nunc dimittis ere they depart — these are but secondary questions. The one thing of primary importance is that a veritable Socialist body is in existence, and is at work in England, the home of capitalism.

A genuine enthusiasm marked from first to last all that was done. Even the dry details of business reports were signals for cheering. In an assembly of men and women holding pronounced and advanced views, considerable differences of opinion upon points of detail and even, now and again, on larger questions, was assured. But even where the difference was marked enough to be called a divergence, all discussion was carried on with kindliness and generosity. In one thing the Conference was unanimous — its earnestness for Socialism, its eagerness to do everything for the furthering of the cause.

And now the League is thoroughly on its feet. Its Council and officers have been chosen. The inspiration of our first gathering together is yet strong upon us. Our work lies before us. The hideous monstrosities, cruelties, and blasphemies due to capitalism, assail our every sense. Our fellows lie supine, or if they struggle at all, so fight they as those that fight the air. To work, then!