ADELAIDE, APRIL 16, 1892.
Now that the politicians are beginning to realize how extensively Socialism is finding favor among the working classes there is great danger that this word will be outraged by unscrupulous place-seekers merely to catch the popular vote or retain the popular confidence; and this is a danger which cannot be too carefully guarded against.
Socialists are sometimes charged with a want of Radicalism in their proposed remedies. Considering in their entirely the now programmes most approved by them, this charge cannot be sustained. It is, however, unfortunately true that there are many who, while they thoroughly sympathise with the aspirations of Socialists, are not conversant with the means whereby the most prominent of the socialistic bodies seek to attain their desired ends. This is the large class that will, unconsciously, easily lend its sympathies and energies to be diverted into side issues by any politician who, fearful of radical measures of reform, will yet declare himself a Socialist, confident of securing a following and knowing full well that the vagueness of the term "Socialist" will leave him practically unpledged to any measures of definiteness .or real importance.
Such gentry will grow very eloquent over such minor matters as the enforcement of an eight-hours' working day, while utterly ignoring the fact that it is the sting of poverty that forces men to wish to work as long as strength remains unspent, and any practical proposal to remove the cause, to do away with the necessity for involuntary poverty, will meet with but little support from such clap-trap reformers.
The main plank in any Socialist programme up to date must necessarily be the nationalization of the land. There is a tendency to overlook this, and a danger that the body of laborers will be led off on to minor points. Many of these may in themselves be valuable adjuncts to socialization of rent, but, nevertheless, it must never be forgotten that this should be the first and most important point pressed for. Energy diverted from the main issues is, for the time being, practically so much wasted.
It will be well for our labor leaders to bear this little point in mind, and Socialists of the true type, such as the Hon. D. M. Charleston, will do well to continually force upon their colleagues the imperative necessity of first and foremost throwing open to all alike the natural opportunities for wealth production.
This is the lesson that cannot be too thoroughly learned.