this newspaper has emphasised the warning which a Labour M.P., Mr. Rhys Davies, gave to the House of Commons last week. If
the war is indefinitely prolonged " the one man who will win it will be Stalin," said Mr. Davies. " If this misery grows—and it is growing all over Europe—and famine, pestilence and disease result," he continued, " I see no alternative but that the whole of the industrial workers of Europe will turn away from all orthodox
organisations and follow Stalin because he has secured a victory without firing a single shot."
When this danger is openly expressed in the columns of Christian
newspapers there is a tendency to dismiss the warning as having been dictated by class or even narrow ecclesiastical interests.
As to this we can only appeal to those of our readers who have studied our pages for the last few
years. Do they find in them evidence of class interest, of petty
clericalism, of fear to give the working people of this country and of the world the just deal, preached time and again by the Papacy and carried into action by enlightened priests and laymen or by movements like the Y.C.W. and the Catholic Worker Movement here and in the United States? Have they noticed any reluctance to criticise the evils of capitalism and to cite chapter and verse for concrete abuses and injustices?
We emphasise this, because it is of the first importance that the country should realise that many of those who lead the crusade against the Bolshevik danger are very far from being reactionaries and timeservers of the present order.
We do not fear Bolshevism because it will involve a loss of money or status or ease. or because it will give power to what are still too often called " the lower orders." We fear Bolshevism because it has been proved to be a ruthless exercise of despotic tyranny on the part of a handful of gangsters against the laws of God and the welfare of the human being.
And we believe that this fear is shared by the vast majority of our people, whether rich or poor, and that even those who flirt with Bedshevism and indirectly support it have persuaded themselves or been persuaded to misunderstand its true nature.
Nor have we much patience with those who hold that Bolshevism can never happen here. Bolshevism can happen anywhere under conditions of social and economic anarchy where the instruments of propaganda and force can be seized by a determined minority. Under these circumstances only two things can prevent it: the seizing of power by
Fascist counter revolutionaries (which is a poor alternative) or a disciplined persuasion pervading the whole people that there exist leaders capable of carrying through another concrete and indeed revolutionary programme of social and economic reform but on constructive, moral and essentially Christian principles.
What is certain is that no such persuasion can be instilled at the last moment. If it is to exist at the time of crisis it will only be the result of teaching, practice and vigorous leadership established beforehand.
We deplore the fact that even now there is no sort of cohesion and drive to the vast anti-Bolshevik forces in this country,. and that for the most part they can only be discerned among a few Tories and among Christians, content too often to rely on a wholly negative outlook at which the Communists can well afford to smile and which naturally repels many an earnest social reformer of no particular religious principles who is almost forced to appear semiBolshevik himself to distinguish himself from this milk-and-water variety of social reform.
The changes needed in the outlook of the average Christian in this country are, in our view, immense if there is to be any chance of dealing with coming dangers. But even if a vigorous Christian leadership could suddenly spring into existence, it would not be sufficient. We have to realise that in politics and economics millions of our people have long been looking to a different leadership. the leadership of the Trade Unions on the one side and the leadership of the " Left " intelligentsia on the other.
We have no space to analyse here the nature of these two leaderships, nor the various elements that go to constitute them. But we do say this. We believe that both, for the most part, share our revulsion against the crudity, inhumanity and tyranny of Bolshevism in practice, even though they may not fear its danger as keenly, nor realise the risk of flirting with it. We also believe that, however much they may have Iost . the idea of a Christian order (largely owing to our fault), they would if they understood it agree that in an uncompromising, radical and social Christianity, carrying out in practice the teaching of Leo XIII, there is to be found much common ground with their own best wishes.
We say therefore that today, on the eve of events more dangerous and undermining than war itself, we should all work together for the realisation of a radical social programme. wherein the inspiration of Christianity on the one side will be a spiritual leaven, and wherein the practical experience and concrete reforming zeal of Christian reformers, of enlightened Conservatives, of Labour and of the moderate " Left " will be the food.