Socialist Ten Commandments

By Ed

17 April 2012

A genuinely affecting paradigm of this close-to-the-earth leftist culture is provided by the example of the “Socialist Ten Commandments”, taught in the Socialist Sunday Schools set up by the ILP [Independent Labour Party] from the 1890s onward...

1. Love your school companions, who will be your co-workers in life.

2. Love learning, which is the food of the mind; be as grateful to your teachers as to your parents.

3. Make every day holy by good and useful deeds and kindly actions.

4. Honour good men and women; be courteous to all, bow down to none.

5. Do not hate nor speak evil of any one; do not be revengeful, but stand up for your rights and resist oppression.

6. Do not be cowardly. Be a good friend to the weak, and love justice.

7. Remember that all good things of the earth are produced by labour. Whoever enjoys them without working for them is stealing the bread of the workers.

8. Observe and think in order to discover the truth. Do not believe what is contrary to reason, and never deceive yourself or others.

9. Do not think that they who love their country must hate and despise other nations, or wish for war which is a remnant of barbarism.

10. Look forward to the day when all men and women will be free citizens of one community, and live together as equals in peace and righteousness.

If there is an element of sentimental paternalism and pedagogy here and elsewhere in Socialism with a Northern Accent, this is part of the point. One of its repeated assertions is that we have to learn from our socialist elders, that there are vital lessons to be derived from the example of the ILP and the northern grassroots culture that grew up around it.

From Alex Niven's review for NLP of Socialism with a Northern Accent: Radical traditions for modern times


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2 Comments on "Socialist Ten Commandments"

By William, on 17 April 2012 - 16:46 |

A Red Sunday School in Glasgow also had its own, more Marxist, version of the Ten Commandments. The following was drafted on May 1 1917:
1. Thou shalt inscribe on your banner: ‘Workers of all lands unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains: you have a world to win’.

2. Thou shalt not be a patriot for a patriot is an international blackleg. Your duty to yourself and your class demands that you be a citizen of the world.

3. Thou shalt not usurp the right of any man or woman, nor shall you claim for yourself any natural advantage over your fellows; for every man and woman has an equal right to an equal share in the product of their collective labour.

4. Thou shalt not take part in any bourgeois war, for all modern wars are the result of the clash of economic interests, and your duty as an internationalist is to wage class war against all such wars.

5. Thou shalt teach Revolution, for revolution means the abolition of the present Political State, and the end of Capitalism, and the raising in their place an Industrial Republic.

6. Thou shalt demand on behalf of your class, the complete surrender of the capitalist class and all the means of production, distribution and exchange, with the land and all that it contains, and by so doing you shall abolish class rule.

7. Thou shalt wage the class war, by pointing out that the history of all recorded societies is an history of the Class Struggle, and that the emancipation of the working class from wage-slavery must be brought about by themselves.

8. Thou shalt take part at all times in the political and economic struggles of the working class. Thou shalt renounce craft unionism, and work for the organisation of the working class into one vast industrial union, to take and hold the means of life.

9. Thou shalt perform a mission in society by achieving an ideal of a fuller and higher life for all, in the abolition of classes, and by the regulation of industry by the Industrial Republic, which shall end the Political State.

10. Thou shalt remember that the economic structure of Society determines the legal and political super-structure, and the Social, Ethical, Religious, and intellectual lifeprocess in general. It is not men’s consciousness which determines their life; on the contrary it is the social life which determines their consciousness.

By ward Whitehorn , on 18 April 2012 - 00:16 |

Excellent commandments regardless of your economic principles.

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