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.
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Better not to talk about it. We just need better capitalism. Freer, less regulated markets and whatnot. Talk about that. Only.