George Walford: Liveried Lackeys

One might have expected the various movements opposing hierarchy and exploitation – socialism, communism and anarchism – to work together against the common opponents. But most murders take place within families, and each of these movements reserves its bitterest venom for its close predecessors in the series. Here is Trotsky on reformist socialism:

Together with theological literature, Fabianism is perhaps the most useless, and in any case the most boring form of verbal creation… The cheaply optimistic Victorian epoch, when it seemed that to-morrow would be a little better than to-day, and the day after to-morrow still better than to-morrow, found its most finished expression in the Webbs, Snowden, MacDonald, and other Fabians… These bombastic authorities, pedants, arrogant and ranting poltroons, systematically poison the Labour Movement, befog the consciousness of the proletariat, and paralyse its will… the Fabians, the I. L. P. ers, the Conservative bureaucrats of the trade unions represent at the moment the most counter-revolutionary force in Great Britain, and perhaps of all the world’s development… Fabianism, MacDonaldism, Pacifism, is the chief rallying-point of British imperialism and of the European, if not the world, bourgeoisie. At any cost, these self-satisfied pedants, these gabbling eclectics, these sentimental careerists, these upstart liveried lackeys of the bourgeoisie, must be shown in their natural form to the workers. To reveal them as they are will mean their hopeless discrediting.

Trotsky L. Where is Britain Going? Quoted by J. M. Keynes in Essays in Biography 1961 (1951).


NIAT: The old Scholastic epigram has it that Nihil in intellectu quod non prius in sensu. (Nothing in the mind that has not first been in the senses.) Exactly! The idea of nothing is the only idea that does not enter the mind through the senses, the only idea, therefore, that does not ultimately rely upon the dubious validity of sensual experience for its truth. The only idea, in short, that is or can be absolutely true.

from Ideological Commentary 62, November 1993.