Freemasons, Fraternities and cults

Martin Spellman mspellman at
Tue Jul 2 15:39:08 MDT 2002

> >> This is a misconception. There are no links between
> freemasonry and early
> trade unionism as there are none between the medieval guilds and trade
> unionism. <<
> Are you sure? E.P. Thompson seems to take a different view. In
> The Making of
> the English Working Class, he writes:

	Yes, what would any socialist's library be without 'The Making of the
English Working Class'. I agree with what he says, in particular:

>  "In the very secretiveness of the friendly society, and in its
> opaqueness
> under upper-class scrutiny, we have authentic evidence of the growth of
> independent working-class culture and institutions. This was the
> sub-culture
> out of which the less stable trade unions grew, and in which trade union
> officers were trained. Union rules, in many cases, were more elaborate
> versions of the same code of conduct as the sick club. ..." (pp. 460-61)

	What I don't support is the idea that they were either inspired or took
their lead from the freemasons (who were getting started around the same
time). The oaths and declarations were necessary for trade unions as they
were viciously suppressed at the time. The masons' oaths and secret ways
cloaked their real content and purpose. Some of these oaths were still
around in the 1960's, when it was not unknown for new members to be invited
to a branch meeting and be 'initiated' into the union. The NUR, NUM and
General and Municipal Workers and many other unions had clauses in their
rules about aspirations to socialist society. They were very much a dead
letter, especially in the G&M. But even today members sign a declaration
that they will obey the rules of union.

	Neither do I think that freemasons originated from stonemasons. They may
use the level, square and plumb bob among their regalia but this is all part
of the mythology, together with all the stuff about King Solomon's temple.
Incidentally, in my Freemasonry 101, I said there were two 'Juwes' -- in
fact, of course, there were three: Jubello; Jubella and Jubellum.

	Freemasonry must be the ultimate sect: a pyramid, within a pyramid, within
a pyramid. Craft masonry providing the mass base with the money for
charitable activities and so on. It is not evangelical and sells no papers
and holds no public meetings. (You cannot apply to join. If you are not from
a masonic family you are 'sounded' by other masons who invite you in.) Then
you have the Royal Arch for the enthusiasts and within that the core: the
Rose Croix. It has never to my knowledge been infiltrated or exposed. The
initiation takes so long and so much a part of your life that any subversive
will be weeded out very early on. What exposure there has been seems limited
to its rites and rituals, which are not secret anyway. And it plays an
important part in capitalist power structure, which I suppose is its appeal
(but not to me).

	On Jim Craven's contribution: some of this stuff about wierd practices,
sexual depravity, S&M and so on might be true (Tail Hook springs to mind)
but I think serves to deflect serious consideration of the real purpose of
these organisations. Some of it is disinformation designed to throw the
curious off the track.

Martin Spellman

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