The Politics of Socialism
(1854 - 1944) : Charlotte M. Wilson was an English Fabian and anarchist who co-founded Freedom newspaper in 1886 with Peter Kropotkin, and edited, published, and largely financed it during its first decade. She remained editor of Freedom until 1895.
Born Charlotte Mary Martin, she was the daughter of a well-to-do physician, Robert Spencer Martin. She was educated at Newnham College at Cambridge University. She married Arthur Wilson, a stockbroker, and the couple moved to London. Charlotte Wilson joined the Fabian Society in 1884 and soon joined its Executive Committee. At the same time she founded an informal political study group for 'advanced' thinkers, known as the Hampstead Historic Club (also known as the Karl Marx Society or The Proudhon Society). This met in her former early 17th century farmhouse, called Wyldes, on the edge of Hampstead Heath. No records of the club survive but there are references to it in the memoirs of several of those who attended. In her history of Wyldes Mrs Wilson records the names of some of those who visited the house, most of whom are known to have been present at Club meetings. They included Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, Sydney Olivier, Annie Besant, Graham... (From : Wikipedia.org.)
The Politics of Socialism
First and foremost it will destroy that most grinding of all tyrannies the rule of the poor by the rich. Now the public affairs being no longer administered by a class privileged on account of its riches-how are they to be administered?
We have one and all of us Do hesitation in answering, By the people themselves. A beautiful phrase: but what do we mean by it? Democracy or Anarchism? Administration with authority or without it?
We English people are very much given to managing our public and private affairs first, and inquiring (if we ever do inquire) on what principle we did it afterwards, and this has been exactly the case with the politics of English Socialism. Some English Socialists within Socialist society are democratic in their politics, and some Anarchist-and very often the Anarchists are loudest in proclaiming themselves Democrats. And does it matter you may say. So long as we have the thing what's in a name I Agreed as to the mere name. It does not matter--so long as we get clear about principles, but very often confusion of names means a read absence of clearness in thought.
We all see this very plainly on the economic side of the question. We object for example to the bourgeois confusion of calling all land nationalizers Socialists--because we see very clearly that though the idea of Land Nationalization has been the thin end of the wedge for the idea of Socialism, and though the common ownership of the soil is a fundamental part of Socialism, mere land nationalization of the George type by itself would never deliver the mass of the workers from middle-class exploitation and it is a mere confusion of thought to give it that name. A confusion which may be a very real danger for the revolutionary movement, if not cleared up. A red herring across the track which will be skillfully used by the reactionaries to lead the less thoughtful and thorough-going malcontents off the scent. just exactly in the same way it is a real danger on the political side of the revolutionary movement for us revolutionists not to clear up among ourselves the real nature of our convictions and the sort of action into Which if we are true to ourselves, our principles must carry us. For, every want of clear-sightedness and thoroughness on our part affords an opportunity for the reactionary party, who as the movement grows more formidable are always on the look-out for chances to divert its energies from the straight path, to turn aside our claim for full mud complete equality and justice between man and man with a compromise-or an equivocation. There is not only the old, old story of economic justice for the people put off with some juggling bribe of a trifling reform in the machinery of government-not only that which the workers are beginning to see through; but there is the serious danger of mixing up the Socialistic propaganda with schemes of public administration and theories of politics which, while they profess to represent the best aspirations of the new social life, are nothing better than a compromise with the worst abuses of the past, the evil principle from which those abuses spring.
And then remember the mingling of the idea of a compromise in politics with a new departure in economies does not merely serve to alienate thoughtful minds and weaken action now, but when the revolution breaks out (and none of us know how soon that may happen) a want of definite political ideas among Socialists will open a wide, door to the numbers of well-meaning reactionaries and self-interested political men of the old society who will join the new movement directly it is successful. They have a principle on which they have been accustomed to believe that public affairs must be managed-the old principle of authority, expressed in the old method of representative government--and if the people are not ready to put in practice some better principle of action and the new methods belonging to it, the political mistakes of' the revolution may--nay assuredly will-spoil its economic success. The conscious revolt against property which will shortly take place win fail of its full effect if the revolt against authority that accompanies it is not conscious too. If the political blunders of Socialists should weary the people with Socialism before it is fairly established among us and give the property holders a chance to recover some of the lost ground, they will not be slow to take it.
Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Socialism
Vol. 4 -- No. 38,
From : AnarchyArchives
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