E. Belfort Bax, The Essential Socialism Again, Justice, 30th December 1911, p.12. (letter)
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Comrade, – With most of what our friend “Tattler” has to say in this week’s Justice on the above subject I, of course, entirely agree. There is one observation, however, that I should have more expected from Mr. Ramsay MacDonald than from the estimable “Tattler.” Speaking of marriage relations under Socialism, he expresses the view that “there may be a marriage contract of the most binding and sacrosanct character” Now, I submit that any such contract as be speaks of would be fundamentally at variance with Socialist principle. I can hardly think but that “Tattler,” in his zeal to conciliate the Philistine, has let his pen runaway with him. What the Philistine for whose benefit he is writing really wants, or professes to want, is the assurance of the continuation under Socialistic conditions of the coercion exercised by the State and bourgeois public opinion of to-day on men and women in their private relations. This assurance, I take it, no exponent of Socialism can give him consistently with Socialist principle, however convenient it may seem, for the moment, to do so for reasons of expediency. If “Tattler” means that with the absolutely free relationship which is the only marriage consistent with an economically free society – lifelong monogamy would, by its own inherent strength, continue to hold its own, which is possibly what he did mean, this may be all right. But there is surely no moral justification in pandering to the evil prejudices of the Philistine by talking of the possibility of marriage under Socialism being hampered by such an accursed abomination as a contract “of the most binding and sacrosanct character.”
What “Tattler” says about religion is, of course, unimpeachable; but while no one may be called upon to abjure their religious belief, yet it may be open, even in this personal matter, to point out to them its inconsistency of outlook with the Socialistic “Weltansicht.”<</p>
E. Belfort Bax
Last updated on 16.9.2004