Page:Karl Marx the man and his message.pdf/18

This page has been validated.

action. It will also interest the single taxers to note that about the time Henry George was due to be born, Karl Marx was recommending that the rent of land should be taken by the State and used for public purposes.


This fresh and vigorous study of the life and teaching of the founder of modern Socialism will, I believe, exert a great and. abiding influence upon the activities of the Socialist movement in many lands. Here is the conclusion at which Mr. Spargo arrives concerning what Marx's attitude would be to the different sections of the Socialist movement in Great Britain were he alive to-day:—

It is impossible, of course, to say with certainty that Marx, were he alive to-day, would do thus and so, but it seems a fair inference from the facts of his life that in England, for example, his sympathies would be with the Labour Party, despite its lack of a satisfactory theoretical programme, rather than with the Social Democratic Party, which, despite its admirable theoretical programme, practically considered, remains a section.

In a footnote, Mr. Spargo explains what he means is that the Labour Party, despite its shortcomings, is yet "the real movement of the workers," which Marx regarded as being vastly more important than theoretical correctness. There we have the crux of the whole matter and the opinion is the more valuable as coming from one who, when he was in this country, was an active worker in the S.D.P., and is a member of the Executive of the Socialist Party of America. Marx never conceived Socialism as a dogma. To him the all-important thing was the working-class movement. He made it clear that Socialism had not been "discovered" or "invented" as a patent cure for all the ills of humanity. Marx explained Socialism as being the working of a natural law, just as a scientist might have done in any sphere of science. He showed how certain influences were at work in Society and the results to which these must inevitably lead. Marx in "Das Kapital" did for the working class exactly what Adam Smith did for Free Trade and for the commercial and capitalist class in the "Wealth of Nations," viz., make clear the working theory by which their business should be conducted. Mr. Spargo says elsewhere that with the publication of the Communist Manifesto Socialism became "a theory of Social evolution, not a scheme of world building; a spirit, not a thing.... Socialism had become a science not a dream." This is finely put and contains a truth which critics of the Labour Party have yet to learn. In fact, one is driven to one of two conclusions concerning these critics: either they have never read any standard work on Socialism, or having read it they have not understood. Judging by their sayings and doings no other conclusion seems