“…our present system of Society is based on a state of perpetual war. Do any of you think that this is as it should be? I know that you have often been told that the competition, which is at present the rule of all production, is a good thing, and stimulates the progress of the race; but the people who tell you this should call competition by its shorter name of war if they wish to be honest, and you would then be free to consider whether or no war stimulates progress, otherwise than as a mad bull chasing you over your own garden may do. War, or competition, whichever you please to call it, means at the best pursuing your own advantage at the cost of some one else’s loss…”
This pamphlet contains the text of a lecture delivered to the Hammersmith Branch of the Socialist Democratic Federation at Kelmscott House on November 30th, 1884. It is still relevant today.
William Morris (1834–1896) was a textile designer, novelist, poet, translator and socialist. He was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, and he played a significant role in the early Socialist movement in Britain. Morris trained as an architect, then turned his hand to interior design. He published poetry and novels. In 1877 Morris founded the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, and in the 1880s he embraced Marxism and became a revolutionary socialist activist, first with the Socialist Democratic Federation, then founding the Socialist League in 1884.
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