R. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) Ensor.

Modern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; online

. (page 32 of 35)
Online LibraryR. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) EnsorModern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; → online text (page 32 of 35)
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to the conditions of work, hygiene, and safety, by inspectors
elected by the workmen's unions, in concurrence with the
State inspectors.

10. Extension of the industrial arbitration courts to all
wage-workers of industry, commerce, and agriculture.

11. Convict labour to be treated as a State monopoly ; the
charge for all work done shall be the wage normally paid to
trade-unionist workers.

12. Women to be forbidden by law to work for six weeks
before confinement and for six weeks after.

(8) Social Insurance against all Natural and Economic Risks.

1. Organization by the nation of a system of social insur-
ance, applying to the whole mass of industrial, commercial,
and agricultural workers, against the risks of sickness, accident,
disability, old age, and unemployment.

2. The insurance funds to be found without drawing on
wages ; as a means towards this, limitation of the contribution
drawn from the wage-workers to a third of the total contri.
bution, the two other thirds to be provided by the State and
the employers.

3. The law on workmen's accidents to be improved and
applied without distinction of nationality.

4. The workers to take part in the control and administra-
tion of the insurance system.

(9) Extension of the Domain and Public Services, Indust?ial-
and Agricultural, of State, Departnwnt, and Commune.

I. Nationalization of railways, mines, the Bank of France,
insurance, the sugar refineries and sugar factories, the dis-
tilleries, and the great milling estabhshments.


2. Organization of public employment-registries for the
workers, with the assistance of the Bourses du Travail^ and the
workmen's organizations; and abolition of the private registries.

3. State organization of agricultural banks.

4. Grants to rural communes to assist them to purchase
agricultural machinery collectively, to acquire communal
domains, worked under the control of the communes by unions
of rural labourers, and to establish depots and entrepots.

5. Organization of communal services for lighting, water,
common transport, construction, and public management of
cheap dwellings.

6. Democratic- administration of the public services,
national and communal ; organizations of workers to take part
in their administration and control ; all wage-earners in all
public services to have the right of forming trade-unions.

7. National and communal service of public health, and
strengthening of the laws which protect it — those on unhealthy
dwellings, etc.

(10) Policy of International Peace and Adaptation of the
Military Organization to the Defence of the Country.
T. Substitution of a militia for the standing Army, and
adoption of every measure, such as reductions of military
service, leading up to it.

2. Remodelling and mitigation of the military penal code ;
abolition of disciplinary corps, and prohibition of the pro-
longation of military service by way of penalty.

3. Renunciation of all offensive war, no matter what its

4. Renunciation of every alliance not aimed exclusively at
the maintenance of peace.

5. Renunciation of Colonial military expeditions; and in
the present Colonies or Protectorates, withdrawn from the
influence of missionaries and the military regime^ development
of institutions to protect the natives.

' For the Bourses du Travail, cp. p- IS4-



I. — The Programme of the Social Democratic

[Revised 1903]

The Social Democratic Federation is the oldest English Socialist
body. Various Radical clubs in London formed in 1881 the Demo-
cratic Federation, and in 1883 this body declared for Socialism and
took its present title. Most of the leading English Socialists were
for a short while in its ranks.


The Socialization of the Means of Production, Distribution,
and Exchange, to be controlled by a Democratic State in the
interests of the entire community, and the complete Emancipa-
tion of Labour from the Domination of Capitalism and Land-
lordism, with the establishment of Social and Economic
Equality between the Sexes.

The economic development of modern society is cha-
racterized by the more or less complete domination of the
capitalistic mode of production over all branches of human

The capitalistic mode of production, because it has the
creation of profit for its sole object, therefore favours the
larger capital, and is based upon the divorcement of the
majority of the people from the instruments of production



and the concentration of these instruments in the hands of
a minority. Society is thus divided into two opposite classes :
one, the capitaUsts and their sleeping partners, the landlords
and loanmongers, holding in their hands the means of produc-
tion, distribution, and exchange, and being, therefore, able to
command the labour of others ; the other, the working-class,
the wage-earners, the proletariat, possessing nothing but their
labour-power, and being consequently forced by necessity to
work for the former.

The social division thus produced becomes wider and
deeper with every new advance in the application of labour-
saving machinery. It is most clearly recognizable, however, in
the times of industrial and commercial crises, when, in conse-
quence of the present chaotic conditions of carrying on
national and international industry, production periodically
comes to a standstill, and a number of the few remaining inde-
pendent producers are thrown into the ranks of the proletariat.
Thus, while on one hand there is incessantly going on an
accumulation of capital, wealth, and power into a steadily
diminishing number of hands, there is, on the other hand, a
constantly growing insecurity of livelihood for the mass of
wage-earners, an increasing disparity between human wants
and the opportunity of acquiring the means for their satisfaction,
and a steady physical and mental deterioration among the more
poverty-stricken of the population.

But the more this social division widens, the stronger grows
the revolt — more conscious abroad than here — of the prole-
tariat against the capitalist system of society in which this
division and all that accompanies it have originated, and find
such fruitful soil. The capitalist mode of production, by massing
the workers in large factories, and creating an interdependence,
not only between various trades and branches of industries,
but even national industries, prepares the ground and furnishes
material for a universal class war. That class war may at first —
as in this country — be directed against the abuses of the system,
and not against the system itself; but sooner or later the


workers must come to recognize that nothing short of the
expropriation of the capitalist class, the ownership by the com-
munity of the means of production, distribution, and exchange,
can put an end to their abject economic condition ; and then
the class war will become conscious instead of unconscious on
the part of the working-classes, and they will have for their
ultimate object the overthrow of the capitalist system. At the
same time, since the capitalist class holds and uses the power
of the State to safeguard its position and beat off any attack,
the class war must assume a political character, and become a
struggle on the part of the workers for the possession of the
political machinery.

It is this struggle for the conquest of the political power
of the State, in order to effect a social transformation, which
International Social Democracy carries on in the name and
on behalf of the working-class. Social Democracy, therefore,
is the only possible political party of the proletariat. The
Social Democratic Federation is a part of this International
Social Democracy. It, therefore, takes its stand on the above
principles, and believes —

1. That the emancipation of the working-class can only be
achieved through the socialization of the means of production,
distribution, and exchange, and their subsequent control by
the organized community in the interests of the whole people.

2. That, as the proletariat is the last class to achieve free-
dom, its emancipation will mean the emancipation of the
whole of mankind, without distinction of race, nationality,
creed, or sex.

3. That this emancipation can only be the work of the
working-class itself, organized nationally and internationally
into a distinct political party, consciously striving after the
realization of its ideals ; and, finally,

4. That, in order to ensure greater material and moral
facilities for the working-class to^organize itself and to carry
on the class war, the following reforms must immediately be
carried through : —



Abolition of the Monarchy.

Democratization of the Governmental machinery, viz. aboli-
tion of the House of Lords, payment of members of legisla-
tive and administrative bodies, payment of official expenses
of elections out of the public funds, adult suffrage, propor-
tional representation, triennial parliaments, second ballot,
initiative and referendum. Foreigners to be granted rights
of citizenship after two years' residence in the country, on the
recommendation of four British-born citizens, without any fees.
Canvassing to be made illegal.

Legislation by the people in such wise that no legislative
proposal shall become law until ratified by the majority of the

Legislative and administrative independence for all parts of
the Empire.

Financial and Fiscal.

Repudiation of the National Debt.

Abolition of all indirect taxation and the institution of
a cumulative tax on all incomes and inheritance exceeding


Extension of the principle of local self-government.

Systematization and co-ordination of the local administrative

Election of all administrators and administrative bodies by
equal direct adult suffrage.


Elementary education to be free, secular, industrial, and
compulsory for all classes. The age of obligatory school
attendance to be raised to 16.

2 A


Unification and systematization of intermediate and higher
education, both general and technical, and all such education
to be free.

Free maintenance for all attending State schools.

Abolition of school rates ; the cost of education in all State
schools to be borne by the National Exchequer.

Public Monopolies and Services.

Nationalization of the land and the organization of labour
in agriculture and industry under public ownership and control
on co-operative principles.

Nationalization of the trusts.

Nationalization of railways, docks, and canals, and all
great means of transit.

Public ownership and control of gas, electric light, and
water supplies, as well as of tramway, omnibus, and other
locomotive services.

Public ownership and control of the food and coal supply.

The establishment of State and municipal banks and pawn-
shops and public restaurants.

Public ownership and control of the lifeboat service.

Public ownership and control of hospitals, dispensaries,
cemeteries, and crematoria.

Public ownership and control of the drink traffic.


A legislative eight-hour working-day, or 48 hours per week,
to be the maximum for all trades and industries. Imprison-
ment to be inflicted on employers for any infringement of the

Absolute freedom of combination for all workers, with legal
guarantee against any action, private or public, which tends to
curtail or infringe it.

No child to be employed in any trade or occupation until
16 years of age, and imprisonment to be inflicted on employers,
parents, and guardians who infringe this law.




Public provision of useful work at no less than trade-union
rates of wages for the unemployed.

Free State insurance against sickness and accident, and
free and adequate State pensions or provision for aged and dis-
abled workers. Public assistance not to entail any forfeiture
of political rights.

The legislative enactment of a minimum wage of 30X. for
all workers. Equal pay for both sexes for the performance of
equal work.


Abolition of the present workhouse system, and reformed
administration of the Poor Law on a basis of national co-

Compulsory construction by public bodies of healthy dwell-
ings for the people ; such dwellings to be let at rents to cover
the cost of construction and maintenance alone, and not to
cover the cost of the land.

The administration of justice to be free to all ; the estab-
lishment of public offices where legal advice can be obtained
free of charge.


The disestablishment and disendowment of all State

The abolition of standing armies, and the establishment of
national citizen forces. The people to decide on peace and

The establishment of international courts of arbitration.

The abolition of courts-martial ; all offences against disci-
pline to be transferred to the jurisdiction of civil courts.


II.— The Programme of the Independent
Labour Party (1903-4)

The Independent Labour Party was founded in 1892-3, mainly by
Socialists in close touch with the trade-union movement. It held its
first congress on January 13 and 14, 1893.

Name. — "The Independent Labour Party,"

Object. — An industrial commonwealth founded upon the
Socialization of land and capital.

Methods. — The education of the community in the principles
of Socialism.

The industrial and political organization of the workers.

The independent representation of Socialist principles on
all elective bodies.


The true object of industry being the production of the
requirements of life, the responsibility should rest with the
community collectively, therefore —

The land, being the storehouse of all the necessaries of life,
should be declared and treated as public property.

The capital necessary for industrial operations should be
owned and used collectively.

Work, and wealth resulting therefrom, should be equitably
distributed over the population.

As a means to this end, we demand the enactment of the
following measures : —

1. A maximum eight-hours' working-day, a six-days' work-
ing-week, with the retention of all existing holidays, and Labour
Day, May i, secured by law.

2. The provision of work to all capable adult applicants at
recognized trade-union rates, with a statutory minimum of
sixpence per hour.


In order to remuneratively employ the applicants, parish,
district, borough, and county councils to be invested with
powers to —

(a) Organize and undertake such industries as they may
consider desirable.

(d) Compulsorily acquire land ; purchase, erect, or manu-
facture, buildings, stock, or other articles for carrying on such

(c) Levy rates on the rental values of the district, and
borrow money on the security of such rates for any of the
above purposes.

3. State pensions for every person over fifty years of age,
and adequate provision for all widows, orphans, sick and dis-
abled workers.

4. Free, secular, primary, secondary and university educa-
tion, with free maintenance while at school or university.

5. The raising of the age of child labour, with a view of its
ultimate extinction.

6. Municipalization and public control of the drink traffic.

7. Municipalization and public control of all hospitals and

8. Abolition of indirect taxation, and the gradual trans-
ference of all public burdens on to unearned incomes, with a
view to their ultimate extinction.

The Independent Labour Party is in favour of every pro-
posal for extending electoral rights to both men and women,
and democratizing the system of Government.


III. — The Programme of the Fabian Society

The Fabian Society dates from January 4, 1884. It differs from
other Socialist bodies in not trying to enlist the mass of its converts in
its ranks, and in encouraging its members to join and permeate other
organizations. It exists for purposes of co-operation in research,
internal discussion, and external propaganda. It does not bind its
members to a programme, but only to a basis ; this is, however, here
supplemented by two of the lists of questions, which it formulates to
meet every variety of popular election.

Basis of the Fabian Society.

The Fabian Society consists of Socialists.

It therefore aims at the reorganization of society by the
emancipation of land and industrial capital from individual and
class ownership, and the vesting of them in the community for
the general benefit. In this way only can the natural and
acquired advantages of the country be equitably shared by the
whole people.

The Society accordingly works for the extinction of private
property in land and of the consequent individual appropria-
tion, in the form of rent, of the price paid for permission to
use the earth, as well as for the advantages of superior soils and

The Society, further, works for the transfer to the com-
munity of the administration of such industrial capital as can
conveniently be managed socially. For, owing to the monopoly
of the means of production in the past, industrial inventions
and the transformation of surplus income into capital have
mainly enriched the proprietary class, the worker being now
dependent on that class for leave to earn a living.

If these measures be carried out, without compensation
(though not without such relief to expropriated individuals as


may seem fit to the community), rent and interest will be
added to the reward of labour, the idle class now living on the
labour of others wiU necessarily disappear, and practical equality
of opportunity will be maintained by the spontaneous action
of economic forces with much less interference with personal
liberty than the present system entails.

For the attainment of these ends the Fabian Society looks
to the spread of Socialist opinions, and the social and political
changes consequent thereon. It seeks to promote these by the
general dissemination of knowledge as to the relation between
the individual and Society in its economic, ethical and political



(Revised September, 1900.)

Will you press at the first opportunity for the following
reforms : —

I. — A Labour Programme.

1. The extension of the Workmen's Compensation Act to
seamen, and to all other classes of wage earners ?

2. Compulsory arbitration, as in New Zealand, to prevent
strikes and lock-outs ?

3. A statutory minimum wage, as in Victoria, especially
for sweated trades ?

4. The fixing of " an eight-hours' day " as the maximum
for all public servants ; and the abolition, wherever possible,
of overtime ?

5. An Eight-Hours' Bill, without an option clause, for
miners : and, for railway servants, a forty-eight hours' week ?

6. The drastic amendment of the Factory Acts, to secure
(a) a safe and healthy work-place for every worker, (Jb) the
prevention of overwork for all women and young persons,

Online LibraryR. C. K. (Robert Charles Kirkwood) EnsorModern socialism, as set forth by socialists in their speeches, writings, and programmes; → online text (page 32 of 35)