Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library

THE FIRST SOCIALIST M.P.s.

Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library (1962), 23, (1), 5–8.

Abstract

- 5 No doubt increased mechanisation, automation, one-sided and limited education for the vast majority of the population tend to complete more and more man's "subsumption" under the machine; and further growth of monopoly can only lead to the increased political restrictions that have invariably proved to accompany that other distortion of the original form of private enterprise, and result in a further distortion of the already stunted human standards by which creation counts for nothing and possession for all. Add to that the growing domination by monopolies of opinionforming media, the press, the wireless, TV and the cinema with its enrichment of technicali ties at the expense o.f substance, and uniformity and inhibition of individuality cannot fail to increase. The only people who under such conditions are capable of a certain amount of individuality are the workers who identify themselves with their class - and members of other strata genuinely embracing their cause - and who, accepting it, fight for the classless society, the only form of society where individuals cease to be shaped by their class position, where the freedom of all is the prerequisite for the freedom of each, whore private ownership of the means of production (including the mass media), and the stiflingd:iY'ision of labour connected with it, is abolished, and the opposition between individual and society, a subject preoccupying the present, capitalist society more than any before it, ceases to be a major problem for humanity. In that society there will be general freedom of truly individual development. Ruth Hodgetts. ***** THE FIRST SOCIALIST M.P.s. On August 4th it will be exactly 70 years since the first independent Labour members and avowed Socialists, John Burns and Keir Hardie, took their seats in the House of Commons. There had been working men in Parliament before this time, but they had been Liberals. As long ago as 1869 the Trades Congress had expressed the view that there should be representation of the trade unions at Westminster,and nl874 Thomas Burt and Alexander Macdonald wero elected, to be joined in 1880 by Henry Broadhurst. But though these men obtained, under great pressure from outside the House, a few useful ~odifications of oppressive anti-working class legislation, their general political outloolc did not differ from that of Liberal capitalists, and the latter welcomed their co-operation. By the mid-1880's the inadequacy of this "Lib-Lab" representation (as it was dUbbed) was becoming more and more sharply felt. On the one

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P.B.