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Pioneers of Anti-Parlimentarism
by Guy A. Aldred

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Morris, in his Socialist League days, as a champion of the Communist Party policy. Morris here definitely repudiates all palliative proposals and the united front policy of Parliamentarism, for which the C.P. stands. His "rebels" are very different persons from the C.P. members of Parliament. What he says is that we must not send Socialists to Parliament as legislators. That is correct. But he has not thought out how we shall send them. It is now quite clear, with the growing collapse of Parliamentarism, what has to be done. We can write more definitely, more clearly, and if less beautifully, yet more distinctly than Morris. It is all the fortune of time and circumstance. Watch the evolution of economic doctrine ; note the respective doctrines of the Physiocrats, Adam Smith, Ricardo, and Malthus, Sismondi, and St. Simon, on to Marx : the gradual yet definite evolution that so smoothly effects a complete revolution of vision adn understanding in the matter of the dismal science; and then realise that the voice of William Morris, inevitably, must be, however powerful, less distinct than ours to-day. There is something immortal in every thinker, yet the thinker is not immortal. To-day, William Morris' points 3, 4, 5, and 6 can only have one meaning. Parliament is the representative of the enemy and must be treated as such. under no circumstances must the workers return members to Parliament to talk and to legislate. They only can be returned, if returned at all, to liquidated and to abolish Parliamentarism: i.e., as rebels and ambassadors, to state the case against Parliamentarism before the bar of the House of Commons, to refuse to take any oaths or make any declarations of allegiance, to decline to sit in the Commons, to work outside on the streets, preparing worker's opinion for the coming social change, evolving the conception of the new social order, building up the new social structure within the shell of the old. This is the furthest one can depart from the complete boycott of the ballot-box. And side by side with such departure, there must be developed a powerful and effective agitation for boycotting the ballot-box so that Labourism can never be represented in parliament: for industrialism not Parliamentarism, is the parent of the new social order. Labour Parliamentarism is the last bulwark of capitalism. Its negation will destroy political society.

The parliamentarians were routed and William Morris now found himself the centre of a struggle between the Communist and Anarchist elements. He is pleased at the rout of the parliamentarians, but has no sympathy with Anarchy. The division is lamentable but not discouraging.

Morris writes to Bruce Glasier on March 19, 1890, detailing his pessimism and the grounds for it. He anticipates the passing of the Commonweal and the Socialist League, but is no longer troubled by it. He adds: -

"Socialism is spreading, I suppose, on the only lines on which it could spread : and the League is moribund simply because we are

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