The Australian Socialist League, December 1888

Fellow Workers

You are invited to join the Socialist League, and help in spreading the principles of Socialism. Some of you have been persuaded to have nothing to do with Socialists or Socialism; and you may naturally be frightened of the name, since you have been told that it means absolute despotism or disorder and violence.

The truth is, that as society is now arranged, there is necessarily a constant war between the so-called upper and lower classes, between the rich and poor, privileged and plundered and in this war the poor and ever being crushed lower-in spite of their thrift and industry-while the rich, who do not work, and who are not thrifty and industrious, continue to thrive upon the toil of the poor or working class.

The workers produce all wealth, and if society is divided into two classes—the idlers and the workers—any privileges taken by the idlers must be so much loss to the workers. The effect of such loss is disastrous to society; the condition of the poor is a terrible one, and the rich themselves are not happy, as they are continually endeavouring to gain advantage over each other.

Socialism will end this war, by abolishing class distinctions, and make the rich become members of the working class. This, at first sight, appears to the thoughtless a terrible proposal, but work is a physiological necessity, and if all classes did their share, the share of each individual would be a light task. The rich recognise that work is necessary to health, and frequently spend hour after hour daily in exercise or unproductive work; hence SOCIALISM would ensure the rich their exercise and the poor the fruit of their labor.

Socialism is hence a practicable endeavour to substitute social harmony for total discord, peace for war, and those who say it is the opposite say so in ignorance or prejudice.

`LIBERTY, EQUALITY AND FRATERNITY' is the motto of the Socialist, and the constant study of these principles leads him to feel sure that the condition of the working class can be changed from a miserable one to one of comparative happiness.

Working men are invited to come to our lectures and debates and learn more fully the objects and aims of the Socialist League.

Comrades in the country, or at a distance, who desire to assist in spreading our principles can do so by sending donations to our PRINTING FUND. This FUND will be devoted to propagandist purposes, and will be used for printing tracts, leaflets, pamphlets, all for free distribution. Comrades may assist the PRINTING FUND and do practical work in their own localities by sending ls. for 100 tracts, which they can distribute themselves in any particular direction. They may write their own tracts and have them printed at the same rate by forwarding their orders to the Secretary, or to the Editor of the RADICAL.

All donations to be sent to the Secretary or to the Editor of the RADICAL. All donations will be acknowledged in the columns of the RADICAL.

All Communications to be addressed to the Secretaries

J.E. Anderton

W.H. McNamara

James Normington Rawling Collection, ANU Archives of Business and Labour, Item N57/330, ‘ASL Manifestos, rules and constitution’ (Rawling’s handwritten copy). Reprinted in David Lovell, Marxism and Australian Socialism before the Bolshevik Revolution, pp.252-253