the watchword of proletarian revolt. This party represented the surrender of the workers to the small trader's interest. IT was essentially middle-class, essentially reformist, essentially comfortable, essentially wanting in all genius of revolution. Its watchword was Lassalle's cry : "Through universal suffrage to victory."
This watchword then represented, and continued to represent Hyndman's ideal. Hyndman swung in with the Social Democratic movement organized by Liebknecht, and became its pioneer in Britain, because the political revolution it aimed at accomplishing in the different countries was to establish a different governing class, and not to achieve a complete social insurrection.
Morris understood economics but did not have an intellect adaptable to grapple with dialectical economics. He took his own genius, his knowledge of medievalism and the expression of his sense of the joy of labour into the Socialist movement. He gave it his poetic vision and understanding of life, and the joy of being which Marx never brought into it. The consequence was that William Morris made a distinct contribution to Socialist thought, but purely because he was himself and not because he tried to model himself after someone else.
Morris, the poet, a man who saw the real nature of artistic values; Morris, who saw and said that truth was truth, came into contact with Hyndman and saw that he was a politician straining all his faculties to a certain end, namely, a political success under a system where all success must be shallow and pretentious; a political success which made John Burns possible, which allows a politician from the ranks of labour to get on, but leaves the workers at the end of the journey where they were at the beginning. Morris was not a Social Democrat for a year when he broke away and founded the Socialist League. He realised that economic control is behind everything else. He realised that many of his late friends were merely Charlatans playing the game for their own ends; Charlatans like the Professors of Philosophy in our universities, the humbugs we put into power and into intellectual authority over us. IF people were true to their art, they would not tolerate these sleek purveyors of unwisdom in the position to which they have elected themselves.
Morris' Socialism, expressed in his poems, his contributions to The Commonweal, and in his lectures, was that economic was greater and more important than political control. That is the message which I want to drive home to-night. There can be no talk of working-class political power in this, or in any other society. There must be an end of political power in society if workers are to be free. That end will correspond with the social revolution and a clear understanding of the economic position of the people, that will come when they try to analyse the conditions of society, and ask themselves why man is a slave of the machine.