This brought to his feet Comrade Norwood, the young lawyer who had helped to put through “Section Six” in the National Convention of the party. If there were people so keen against this Section, why couldn’t they get out of the party and form an organization of their own?
“Because,” answered Murray, “we prefer sabotage to striking!”
“In other words,” continued Norwood, “you stay in the local, and by a campaign of sneering and personalities you drive your opponents out!”
“This is the first meeting for some months that we have had the pleasure of seeing Comrade Norwood,” said “Wild Bill”, with venomous placidity. “Perhaps he knew that we were to be asked to raise a regiment for Kitchener!”
And then again Comrade Stankewitz was on his feet, with distress in his thin, eager face. “Comrades, all this vill not get us anyvere! There is but vun question ve have to answer, are ve internationalists, or are ve not?”
“It seems to me,” continued Norwood, “the question is, are we anti-nationalists?”
“All right!” shrilled the little Jew. “I vill leave it so—I am an anti-nationalist! Such must all Socialists be!”
“But I don’t understand it so,” declared the young lawyer. “It is easy for some who belong to a race which has not had a country for two thousand years—”
“And who’s dealing in personalities now?” sneered “Wild Bill”.
So matters went in Local Leesville. The upshot of the debate was that Comrade Dr. Service declared that he washed his hands of the Socialist Party from that time on. And the Comrade Doctor buttoned his handsome black coat over his stately chest and stalked out of the room. The greater part of the remainder of that meeting was devoted to a discussion of him and his personality and his influence in the local. He was no Socialist at all, declared Schneider, he was an English aristocrat, or the next thing to it—his wife had two brothers in the British Expeditionary Force, and a nephew already enlisted in the Territorials, and a visiting cousin on the point of setting out for Canada, as the quickest way of getting into the mix-up. But in spite of all these damaging circumstances, the local was not disposed to give up its most generous supporter, and Comrade Gerrity, the organizer, and Comrade Goldstein of the Ypsels, were constituted a committee to go and plead with him and try to bring him back into the fold.