out among themselves, is Turkey to be allowed to profit by the squander of blood and treasure added to victory? Not a bit of it. When the combatants are spent with loss of men and money and war weariness supervenes, the Aasvogels of Europe will descend upon the carcass. The Sea Power that once dominated the Ægean has now cleared out, fearful of a rival Power nearer home; its fleets are tied to Home waters, to protect the effete manhood that prefers purse-strings to patriotism. When the soldiers of a nation see more of the world than its sailors, is there any meaning in sea power? What part can England sing in the Concert of Europe that will decide the future of Turkey? Precious little, for it is primarily a land question. Her voice will be the shrill one of an emasculated being when joined in the chorus of Powers who have the armed manhood of their nation to swell the same, and it will be drowned.

If the Powers be in earnest the outline of the solution of the problem should not be difficult to frame. We can have no more creed-wars in Europe (except, possibly, in Ireland-one of our own making). A brand-new Christian kingdom must be carved out of Turkey-in-Europe. Kings are cheap in those parts. Salonika might make the capital of the new State, and Stamboul, with a small province close by, be leased to Turkey for twenty-five years to give her time to settle accounts and select a new site for the capital of Islam.

What a chance for the new kingdom of Utopia, with Esperanto for a State language, to solve the antagonism of the existing Babel of tongues! No State religion, no army or navy, rigidly policed, and all its neighbour Balkan States and Greece called upon to disarm! All existing guns and forts on Bosphorus and Dardanelles cast into the sea. The search for a monarch with character and principles added to the possession of spare millions might be a difficulty. What a chance for a man who combines the generous soul of a Carnegie with the driving will-power of a Kitchener !



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THE existence of a strong Syndicalist movement in this country can no longer be denied.' Thus a writer in the Times on April 16, 1912. Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, criticising this statement in a recently published brochure, says:

As a matter of simple fact, nothing can be denied with more confidence, for Syndicalism in England is negligible, both as a school of thought and as an organisation for action.1

In the face of statements so contradictory the man of peace is inclined to take refuge in the classic aphorism of the landlord of the Rainbow: The truth lies atween you; you're both right and you're both wrong, as I allays says.' And in this case the man of peace would be much nearer the truth than either of the disputants. If by Syndicalism we understand all that is understood by the French and other Continental writers who have expounded its philosophy with a logical exactitude which has no parallel in England, Mr. Macdonald is literally accurate in his contention. But, for reasons which this article is intended to disclose, Mr. Macdonald is the last person to whom we should look for an impartial estimate of the strength or weakness of the Syndicalist movement in Great Britain. The leader of the parliamentary Socialists is naturally concerned to minimise the extent to which working-class thought is permeated by doctrines which, alike in logic and practical effect, are in their ultimate analysis diametrically opposed to those for which Mr. Macdonald and his party stand. There was much truth in words which are reported to have fallen from the Bishop of Oxford at the Church Congress at Middlesbrough on the 1st of October :

I want to point out that the appeal to State intervention has come because Labour seemed to have come to an end of what it could do by trade unions and generally by voluntary organisation. . . . If you want to minimise State action you should be stalwart supporters of trade unions.

But if this statement is true, the converse would be, if not more true, certainly more relevant to the existing situation. 1 Syndicalism, p. 39, by J. R. Macdonald, M.P. London, 1912,

I should hesitate to suggest that the Bishop is not abreast of the thought which permeates the most advanced section of the manual workers; but I am unable to discover any hint of it in the address to which reference has been made. The really significant feature of the contemporary situation is exactly the converse of that to which the Bishop drew the attention of his auditors. It is not that Labour,' despairing of voluntary organisation, has been driven to invoke the intervention of the State, but that Labour, having invoked that intervention, has become intensely sceptical as to its efficacy. The extreme left of the Labour movement is notoriously in revolt against political and parliamentary methods; it derides the well-meant but ineffectual efforts of the socialistic group in the House of Commons; it is impatient of the tardy results achieved by legislation. No close observer can deny that the differentiating characteristic of the industrial turmoil of the last two years has been the repudiation of the leadership of the older and steadier officials, a mistrust of political weapons, and an increasing reliance upon the 'crude anarchism of a general strike.' In a word, the fight has been waged in the spirit of 'Syndicalism,' if not actually under the Syndicalist banner.


This being so, it seems to be important to apprehend the real meaning of a phenomenon still somewhat shadowy and elusive, to define the objects of the movement which it inspires, and to explain its relation to trade unionism on the one hand, and to collectivism on the other. 'Syndicalism' is in its essence the antithesis of Socialism, the negation of the centralised action of the State. Socialism demands the nationalisation of all the instruments of production; of all the machinery of distribution, exchange, locomotion, and transportation. The State being the sole owner of the soil, of all mines and minerals, of all fixed and circulating capital, is to become the sole employer of labour. All the economic and industrial functions are to be performed by a vast Civil Service directed by a multitude of State officials. I am well aware that there are many Socialists who would recoil from so drastic a reconstruction of society, but in so far as they recoiled they would fall short of the ideal inherent in all genuinely socialistic endeavour.

To all this the Syndicalist is essentially opposed. He regards the authority and interference of the centralising State with an abhorrence not less genuine than that exhibited by the oldfashioned Individualist. Of representative government and of parliamentary action he is frankly mistrustful. The 'democracy' in which he believes is direct; and he is inclined, therefore, to prefer communal to national action. This involves the elimination

• I borrow this excellent phrase from Mr. J. A. Hobson-a source which will not be suspect.

of the 'representative,' if not of the 'delegate.' On these points The Miners' Next Step-a small pamphlet which was issued by the Unofficial Reform Committee, and is believed to have inspired the policy of many of the South Wales miners in the recent coal strike-is exceedingly illuminating. Thus on page 23 we read :

Democracy becomes impossible when officials or leaders dominate. For this reason they are excluded from all power on the Executive, which becomes a purely administrative body, composed of men directly elected by the men for that purpose. Agents or organisers become the servants of the men, directly under the control of the Executive and indirectly under the control of the men.

Conformably with the principles thus laid down the proposed constitution ordains:

(vi.) No agent or other permanent official of the Federation shall be eligible to a seat on the Executive Council. .. (xi.) Any agent who may be returned to Parliament shall be required to relinquish his industrial duties and position. (xii.) No member of Parliament shall be eligible to seek for or retain a seat on a local or National Executive Council. . (xiv.) On all proposed labour legislation Conferences shall be called to discuss same and instruct our M.P.s. (xv.) Any member of Parliament as such under the auspices of the organisation shall at once vacate his seat if a ballot vote of the membership so decides (pp. 21, 22).

Similarly, M. Pierrot in Syndicalisme et Révolution, writes: Under pretext of discipline the workers' organisation must not cause a new spirit of resignation to spring up. The organisation should aim at the individual development of its members, not at replacing individual development of each one by a more or less authoritative direction. It would be bad if individuals trusted entirely in delegates, and gave them full powers, leaving it to them to make all decisions."

No less clearly illustrative of a similar tendency is the hostility which is manifested in influential labour quarters against the idea of compulsory arbitration. The Trade Unions Congress of 1912 is understood to have condemned the principle of compulsory arbitration by the decisive vote of 1,481,000 votes to 350,000. 'Organised labour to-day was, as it ever had been,' said Mr. Brace, M.P., speaking on Mr. Tillett's resolution, against compulsory arbitration.' This is, indeed, the old and orthodox trade union attitude, which emphasises the necessity of preserving to the manual worker the sacro-sanctity of the strike weapon. It is, however, none the less harmonious with the new spirit which Syndicalism seeks to infuse into the old trade unionism.

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On one point, perhaps on others, the Syndicalist would seem to be more clear-sighted than the Socialist. The former perceives

* Quoted by A. D. Lewis, Syndicalism and the General Strike (London, 1912) a work which contains an instructive repertory of Syndicalist opinion collected with much diligence from contemporary literature.

what the latter does not, that however much you may change the form of the Government, or revolutionise the economic structure of society, the centralised State, whether Individualist or Socialist, must still exercise coercion.

For this purpose [writes M. Emile Pouget] it is necessary to prevent the workers from passing from a society in which they are under the economic oppression of their masters into one in which they are under the oppression of an economic State. Syndicalism and Democracy are the two opposite poles which exclude and neutralise each other."

If, then, Syndicalism be the negation alike of Democracy and of Socialism, at what does it positively aim? Its ultimate object would seem to be to make the workers' in each industrial group both politically and economically supreme, and it hopes to attain this end not by means of the parliamentary vote, but by direct action.' By 'direct action' the Syndicalist means primarily the 'general strike'; but as Mr. Lewis ingenuously adds :

There are other useful forms of 'direct action'-sabotage, or the destruction of property, intimidation of masters, sitting in factories with folded arms, so that no blacklegs can take your place, leaving work at an hour earlier than the masters want, wasting materials, telling the truth to customers-all these are means by which masters can be made to yield.

The same writer distinguishes two 'schools' or 'types' of Syndicalism: the Italian, which would make the craft or trade. the unit of reorganised society; and the French, which would make the locality the basis of organisation and would let 'the workers of all kinds in each small locality or commune regulate the production of their own locality.'

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The reader will observe that in describing the aims of Syndicalism I have had recourse to conventional terms, such as 'society and organisation,' but it is proper to point out that the consistent Syndicalist would repudiate the ideas connoted by these terms. Organisation is to be reduced to a minimum and society' is to be dissolved into its constituent atoms. Society' implies some form or semblance of mutual obligation; mutual obligations imply sanctions to enforce their observance; sanctions suggest a coercive authority—in a word, force. To the Syndicalist, however, the use of force is justifiable only as a means towards the destruction of the existing order. Once that is destroyed, the federated groups of ' workers' will exercise undisputed sway, and 'coercion' will be put on the shelf among the rusty and antiquated weapons of an industrial era already effete and discredited.

Even for the destruction of the existing order force may be unnecessary. Economic pressure steadily and consistently applied

Le Syndicat, quoted by A. D. Lewis, op. cit. p. 23.

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