As a result of two articles by Professor GDH Cole, the Socialist economist and philosopher, in the New Statesman of January last, a World Socialist Movement has been started. The initiators of the Movement make it plain that they do not want adherents of the Movement to renounce existing loyalties to national socialist movements; but they emphasize the necessity of accepting loyalties greater than mere national loyalties if a socialist world is to come about.
Not a new party
The new movement owes nothing, of course, to the three Internationals of the past 100 years – the first associated with Marx, the third associated of course with the USSR and the Comintern.
The Movement is not a new political party, although it acknowledges the necessity of political parties in present circumstances. Nor is it concerned in winning parliamentary seats; it aims to be a forum for the discussion of world socialism, and for the investigation of means of achieving this, without considerations of electoral tactics. It is hoped that the Movement will develop into a rallying point for all socialists, of whatever nationality, seeking to exert an influence on world events.
The first manifesto of the Movement, just published, declares that “Two out of every three people in the world live their lives without ever having enough food to eat; millions never know what it is to be healthy, to have a decent home, to do satisfying work, and to be happy. The world as a whole is cursed with poverty. At the same time, all countries spend millions of pounds every day on armaments.”
How to get rid of this worldwide poverty and misuse of scarce resources? The answer lies in world socialism, in people relating the ethnic of socialism to their daily lives, so setting an example in emphasizing service, not self-interest. This means individual and international education and understanding, with the eventual investigation of world problems from the point of view of humanity as a whole, not from the point of view of how their solution will help one nation or set of nations against a different nation or set.
Abolish Basic Cause of War
Man can only survive, say the founders of the new Movement, if the basic causes of war – that is poverty, ignorance, greed and petty nationalism are abolished. “Man’s only hope lies in planning to develop all the resources of the world for the benefit of all men and women, without distinctions based on nationality, class, colour or religion.
In a Socialist world, for which the Movement will work unceasingly, there will be common citizenship under a single code of law, and under this code every human being will have equal rights.
There will be also world planning for the production of raw materials, the manufacture of basic commodities, and the world ownership of essential industries. Private enterprise and ownership have proved themselves inefficient and unable to solve world problems on a world scale; hence at the outset the World Socialist Movement declares unequivocally for universal public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. In so doing they are, of course, following the age-old theories of thinkers such as St Clement, Ambrose and St Gregory. (The latter, for example, declared that as the earth is common to all, “therefore the fruit that the earth brings forth belongs without distinction to all”).
The Six Principles
The Manifesto of the World Socialist Movement ends with a declaration of the six principles on which the Movement is based: that to a socialist, racial prejudice and religious intolerance have no justification, that the ultimate aim is co-operation between all people; equality of opportunity should be applied on an international as well as on a national scale; that there should be world-communal ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange; that socialism is democracy, and must be practiced in all fields – economic, political and social — and, finally, that socialism is a Faith as well as an economic system and a political creed. It is a Faith which is the only real solution to the problems with which man is faced.
* * *
To Sum Up
The storm raging around our editorial, ‘Priests on Soap Boxes’, has blown over. After devoting a paragraph on Tuesday and an article on Friday to us, and after publishing a translation of our editorial on Saturday of last week, Le Cernéen has calmed down in its conclusions last Monday. What a hectic week it has known!
On the other had Rev. Father Dethise in La Vie Catholique of last Sunday has condescended to talk apparently for the last time to us in an article entitled “Dialogue avec un sourd”.
We, on our part, are not inclined to prolong the controversy anymore. We just want to sum up.
* * *
Both Le Cernéen and La Vie Catholique have asserted that we were out to make capital out of the controversy. In their eyes we are trying to increase the sale of our paper by making use of a stunt! It is so easy to impute motives that they shirked from the comparatively difficult task of trying to understand the real motive power that set us going.
From today we are appearing in a larger size. Is this due to stunts? Or is it because a good number of people care for our paper and do not hesitate to give us their wholehearted support? We don’t believe in stunts. But we are confident that we will grow and spread by honest work.
“Le petit hebdomadaire hindou” has grown big. If that is some sign of progress even our opponents will agree that we are not the despicable little object we are made out to be.
Now, will people who are obsessed by our size and our circulation keep at least half their mouths shut?
* * *
Yes, the storm has blown over. And it has left quite a lot of debris behind. Of these we are going to treasure one in particular, viz. that we are “ennuyeux come la pluie” – perhaps NMU would say, prompted by literary reminiscences! We are thankful to NMU for having provided us with a big laugh. But are we really as irritating as all that? It depends. It depends from what angle people look at us:
“Two men looked out from prison bars.
One saw the mud, the other saw stars”.
If NMU has chosen to view us from the wrong angle, who is to blame? Who is to blame if he can see only mud… and rain, irritating rain?
NMU saw rain. But again his view was so distorted that he caught the bad side of it – just the drip, drip, drip of it and not its music:
« O doux bruit de la pluie,
Par terre et sur les toits !
Pour un cœur qui s’ennuie,
Oh ! le chant de la pluie ! »
* * *
Rev. Father Dethise accuses us of turning a deaf ear to his explanation. He finds us dishonest and impolite. In short he has marked us out as a black sheep. And all that because we are not dumb! Others can dip their pens in a mixture of acid and bile, as much as they like, but we are not allowed to take even a strong stand on a question!
True it is that the Rev Father has drawn a line between the politics of the clergy and the politics of the laity. According to him the politics of priests is of a higher plane than the politics of the common man, which smacks of the market place. He contends: “Un prêtre ne peut pas faire de la politique tant qu’il s’agit uniquement de l’ordre temporel, il doit (civil servant ou non) faire de la politique dès que le bien spirituel est en cause – comme dans le cas du communisme. »
To our mind, that fine line of distinction is but a self attributed licence. When a man wants to hang his dog, does he find it hard to give him a bad name?
* * *
To end, we can state in all sincerity and security that the problem we raised in our editorial remains unsolved.
We are, however, glad that the question has come to the forefront. People may now chart the right sphere of action of priests. Perhaps one day some courageous member of our Council will take the matter up and elicit an official reply.
Or may be the Hon the Colonial Secretary will step in if he finds that in fact some priests are misconstruing their ministry and overstepping its bounds.
65 years ago Mauritius Times was founded with a resolve to fight for justice and fairness and the advancement of the public good. It has never deviated from this principle no matter how daunting the challenges and how costly the price it has had to pay at different times of our history.
With print journalism struggling to keep afloat due to falling advertising revenues and the wide availability of free sources of information, it is crucially important for the Mauritius Times to survive and prosper. We can only continue doing it with the support of our readers.
The best way you can support our efforts is to take a subscription or by making a recurring donation through a Standing Order to our non-profit Foundation.