Friday, November 1, 2013

Putting the boot in (1985)

From the August 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

Football has had something of a rough time of it lately. The deaths in Bradford and Brussels resulted in much talk, most of it uninformed, and even some action. Newspapers have editorialised about the malaise afflicting "our national game" and politicians from local councillors to prime ministers have put in their twopence worth.

The violence is by no means confined to British supporters. In May, when China was eliminated from the World Cup by Hong Kong at a game in Peking, spectators pelted players with bottles and vandalised cars and buses. Thirty policemen were beaten up, and over one hundred people arrested. One local bureaucrat blamed the violence on "the lack of education and discipline among a portion of the younger citizens".

Football violence is seen by those in authority as a problem which they must now do something about. The solutions suggested range from identity cards and banning away supporters to closing down stadium bars and such progressive ideas as the restoration of corporal punishment. Nobody can seriously believe that the root cause of football violence is supporters getting drunk once inside the ground. It is, admittedly, true that there would be no violence at empty football grounds, but no doubt determined supporters would manage to fight elsewhere. In the past, police, especially on the continent, have allowed ticketless supporters into supposedly all-ticket matches, rather than have them wandering around town causing trouble.

It is a truism to say that football violence is really a social problem, that it just happens to be football—rather than, say, cricket or rugby—that the hooligan element have fastened on to. Football violence is often seen as just the response of the poorest sections of the working class—the young of the inner cities, unemployed or in desperate dead-end jobs—to the frustration and emptiness of their lives. It provides them with excitement, solidarity and a sense of identity.

But this violence is by no means only the work of the skinheads or the poorest workers. An article in the Observer (2 June) discussed the new brand of violent supporters, who wear smart, casual clothes and often sit in the most expensive seats. They look "respectable" and travel under their own steam, rather than in official supporters' club trains and coaches, thereby avoiding any special attention from the police. Unofficial newsletters provide tables of teams' supporters and their reputation for "hardness". Many of these supporters come not from the inner cities but from the supposedly more affluent suburbs and new towns. Often their parents have moved out of the cities, but support for the old team has increased. This is still, however, a matter of finding something to identify with amid the barrenness and unfamiliarity of the new home. It is somehow more satisfying to claim allegiance to Chelsea or Millwall than  to, say, Slough or Milton Keynes.

Te following day, in the Guardian, Jeremy Seabrook related football violence to the policies of the Thatcher government and, more generally, to changes within British capitalism. It is clear, he wrote,
that the identity of the manufacturing centres of Britain, the function to which they owe their very existence, has been severely eroded in the past few decades. And the passionate feelings which have crystallised around football teams in these places are in large part the most conspicuous popular reaction against the injured sense of place.
As certain industries decline, he claims, workers fasten on to football clubs as something stable in their lives, lives which are being disrupted by forces beyond their control. Tory MP Edwina Currie responded that the Brussels violence was not "displacement activity but utterly amoral behaviour, deliberately fuelled by drink", the work of "vicious thugs", which had to be condemned rather than understood.

In yet another Guardian contribution (24 June), David Selbourne produced pretentious waffle which appeared to end by criticising the "Left intelligentsia" for refusing to face the truth of the violence seen in Brussels, which apparently shows where "British labour might be going" (whatever that means). Selbourne's was certainly one of the least articulate of the academic/political commentaries on the Brussels events, which clearly reveal the dearth of ideas or the merest hint of originality among the defenders of capitalism.

Fulham chairman Ernie Clay once put things more simply and forcefully: "Football has treated its public like cattle, so it is no wonder they have behaved like cattle". As capitalism treats workers like appendages of a machine, and thereby brutalises them, it is no wonder if some sometimes behave brutally.

It is sheer hypocrisy for the likes of Currie and Thatcher to condemn the events in Brussels while at the same time supporting the vicious and violent system in which they arise. The deaths in Brussels are as nothing compared to the carnage and suffering inflicted by capitalism every single day. The Bradford fire disaster, whatever its immediate cause, was certainly aggravated by the poor condition of the ground (there's no profit in safety precautions) and by the locking of exit doors (to prevent people entering without paying).

It is often claimed that football is popular because it reflects such values as excitement, physical prowess, local identity and the desire for victory. But so, after all, did the Falklands War, with its rejoicing and its hideous jingoism. The rivalries and violence of the football field are a microcosm of the competitive inhuman society of capitalism.
Paul Bennett

Political Notes: End of the Shah; Russian workers; Labour hypocrisy (1980)

The Political Notes column from the September 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

End of the Shah
In the welter of words about the passing of this remarkably successful capitalist monster, there was a passing reference to the first time he lost his throne in the early fifties. That time it was not the Ayatollah but a nationalist called Mossadegh who had the audacity not only yo kick him off the Peacock Throne but to nationalise the British oil giant which practically owned the country.

The idea of nationalisation was of course too much for the British government, who were so angry that they wanted to resort to their old friend the gunboat. They had to be restrained from this notion by those pacifists in the Truman government of the USA (remember him? Hiroshima? Korea?). In due course the two governments managed to "destabilise" Mossadegh (the dirty tricks department of the CIA knew more modern tricks than gunboats), the "robbery" of nationalisation was put right and the Shah restored to await the Ayatollah (and Death the Great Leveller—it seems he hasn't taken his billions with him).
But the real point lies here. Who were the Blimps who wanted to send in the gunboat and who clearly hated the idea of nationalisation? Churchill? Eden? Well no—actually it was Attlee, the leader of the Labour government of 1945-51. And who were his supporters in Parliament in those days? Why the same apostles of nationalisation that we know and hate today—Wilson, Foot, Callaghan, Mikardo, Allaun—and the young Wedgbenn himself.

Russian workers
The Guardian, like the high-class reformist rag that it is, employs some of the finest leftist creeps in Fleet Street. Among them is a chap called Jonathan Steele who is now their chief foreign scribbler. Up to about ten years ago, he was their main Eastern European reporter and had been licking the boots of the so-called communist governments with great enjoyment.

Suddenly, for no reason that he could think of, this bewildered lefty found himself kicked out of a communist congress in Hungary. He never knew why and was clearly shocked that years of faithful creeping should be rewarded in this way. However, he managed to get over it and became the USA expert of the paper for the next decade. Whether he found it better or worse he never told us. No doubt he was hard put to find much difference.

However, he is now back in Moscow and clearly determined to lick even harder so that he will never be kicked out again. On July 29 he had a large spread in the Guardian with a picture of that great democratic newspaper called Pravda. And under the picture was the caption: "In a one-party state, readers' are the best guide to public opinion". Now isn't that delightful? The very fact of a one-party state means that the ruling class allows no opponents to open their mouths. Imagine the shock to the Soviet system if one day there appeared just one letter in Pravda saying: "As a member of the public, I wish to voice some public opinion. I think that free trade unions and political parties should be legalised at once. Oh yes, and that Brezhnev and the rest of the gang should be sent to enjoy the delights of the Gulag Archipelago".

A likely story, fit only for creeps like Steele—who, incidentally, has provided us with this gem: that most of the letter-writers are pensioners because they have most time. "Next in order are workers, clerks, farm workers and technicians." Now the very existence of a working class is proof positive of the existence not of socialism, but capitalism. It now seems that in Russia, they have got a socialism tat not only has a working class but apparently any number of working classes. Steele omits to tell us whether there are many letters in Pravda from readers who are not members of any working class at all. For example, Communist Party bosses.

Labour hypocrisy
Can anyone fail to be sickened by the antics of the pseudo-socialist parties? When in opposition, they denounce the governments of their countries on account of the social evils all around and when they obtain power they continue with the mixture as before—the same capitalism with the same evils. Well, the British pseudos are now bidding for an all-time record in lies and humbug.

Barely a year ago they were the governing body, gallantly presiding over rising unemployment and cuts in education and the social services. There were cuts too in the living standards of the workers they tried to browbeat in the "winter of discontent" (which they have already erased from their memories) with rises of 5 per cent in the face of inflation of more than twice that amount. And now we read headlines like: "Varley attacks 'wicked' Tories over dole queues" (Guardian July 16). How can this unctuous humbug possibly call the Tories wicked for helplessly watching unemployment grow when he knows full well that his lot were exactly the same.

That question started out as rhetorical but it might as well get the obvious answer—that all these villainous politicians can do all these things simply because the working class allow themselves to be fooled by plausible rogues. Another specimen, the man who calls himself Tony Benn (this makes him a liar even before he says anything) complains that the media is (sic) 100 per cent anti-socialist . . . attacking the Young Socialists (he means young Trotskyists) and all those who stand for full employment, disarmament and peace".

This same Wedgwood, like Varley and the rest of them, was a leading member of the last Labour government which "stood" for unemployment, armaments and wars and all the other evils of capitalism. How could those young "socialists: sit there at their meetings (Guardian July 28) and allow this conman to get away with it?

Recently Michael Foot, who was mouthing the same cant (in the same high-pitched screech) as long ago as most people can remember, said that an anti-unemployment demonstration in South Wales was the greatest he had seen. How conveniently he forgets a similar protest at a steel works in his own constituency in Ebbw Vale, when he was minister in a government about to close the place down. The outrage among the workers was so great that they refused to let him speak and there was a serious danger of violence.

Not that we condone such tactics; we look forward to the day when workers will allow these leaders to speak—and then tell them they have had enough of capitalism, and its left-wing and right-wing stooges and are going to achieve a socialist world with their own intellects and their own efforts.

*

A Labour councillor is quoted (Guardian July 15) as saying that workers "live in poor houses and in a poor environment. That was bearable while they had work" (he didn't say why). "Now that a lot of them have lost their jobs they are starting to ask questions—the process that creates wealth has spurned them and case them aside". Well spoken Labour councillor! (Even though this same thing has been going on for a couple of hundred years.) But what questions are they asking? Here's a suggestion: Who in hell needs Labour councillors? When did Labour politicians make a scrap of difference to those on the scrap heap?
L E Weidberg

Kinnock in the News Again (2013)

The Greasy Pole column from the November 2013 issue of the Socialist Standard

Anyone who suffers from a sense of being unvalued, or disregarded, might find some relief in the recent experience of Neil Kinnock. Or rather the Noble Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty, previously Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party and of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, European Commissioner, Chairman of the British Council...and lifelong supporter of Cardiff City Football Club, recently promoted to the Premier Division and infamous for the aggressive, disruptive behaviour of its fans. In September he went to watch Cardiff play Fulham at Craven Cottage. Although a seasoned football follower like Kinnock should have known better, he chose to sit with his family among the Fulham supporters. In the twelfth minute Cardiff scored a goal which had Kinnock, in his own words, 'wildly ... expressing great joy, standing up...' Within a minute he got some attention from the stewards who 'advised' him to move his party to the Cardiff section of the crowd, where they were greeted '...with some warmth'.

The Sun
Shortly after the exposure of his antics at Craven Cottage Kinnock was in the news again, competing with Ed Miliband for sympathetic attention during the Daily Mail campaign about the Labour leader's father 'hating Britain'. He said he had similarly suffered, especially during the 1992 general election when the Sun had devoted its front page to the infamous headline 'If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights' followed on the day after the election with the claim that 'It's the Sun Wot Won It'. He also had something to say about the Daily Mail editor, the gruesome Paul Dacre, who complained that Kinnock had avoided going to lunch with him when the only purpose in doing so would have been for Dacre to observe whether Kinnock held his knife and fork properly. This was all a part of Kinnock's assiduously constructed image of the humble son of a Welsh miner who won his way to a sparkling education and then to almost the very top in government. But it said nothing about his own readiness to attack opponents, particularly those in his own party, as abrasively as anything thought up in Fleet Street. One of Labour's leading lights during Kinnock's time, Denis Healey, praised his 'incandescent oratory', a possible example of which was his attack at Labour's 1985 conference on the Liverpool members for their 'far-fetched resolutions ... pickled into a rigid dogma, a code ...the grotesque chaos of a Labour council ...hiring taxis to scuttle round a city handing out redundancy notices to its own employees'.

In the sea
Kinnock was elected leader at the 1983 Labour conference in Brighton. To celebrate he went for a walk along the beach accompanied by his wife and a clutch of TV cameras. It turned out to be somewhat symbolic. This young, loud, fiery left winger walked too close to the encroaching tide, a sudden surge knocked him down onto the wet shingle, he quickly scrambled to his feet and turned to face the cameras laughing defiantly and waving a clenched fist to show how he would punch out anyone who denied that this was a new Labour Party. His mission was to purge the inconvenient ideas which some restless party members still regarded as essentially matters of principle. Like all that nonsense in Clause Four about the ownership of the means of production and exchange (which had to wait for abolition until Tony Blair); unilateral nuclear disarmament; local parties having too much say in making national policy; those pesky Militant people who had come into the party nursing tortuous intentions to radically change society. With the hand of the insidious Peter Mandelson on the tiller Labour navigated through two elections, in both of which they fooled themselves that they were on the verge of power (in the after-assessment of their 1992 election one of their perceived mistakes was the 'triumphalist' – taking too much for granted – style of their eve of poll campaign). In the end Kinnock's aggression against any ideas which he saw as voter-repellent was not effective. He retired from the scene with the unenviable record of being the longest-serving Leader of the Opposition to fail to make it to Prime Minister. It was not at all as he had envisaged it, that day he fell into the sea.

Peerage
But there were other, very lucrative, opportunities open to him – such as European Commissioner, which in 1976 he had described as 'a tariff club administered by an unelected commission and a bureaucracy with the principal objective of sustaining a capitalist market economy' but which, during his time in office between 1995 and 2004 (while he imposed savage cuts in staff wages and pensions) yielded him some £2.5 million in salary, expenses, pension and the like. Shortly after his term in Europe came to an end he announced that he had '...accepted the kind invitation to enter the House of Lords as a working peer for practical political reasons'. He was not deterred by his established reputation as a bitter opponent of the Upper House, for example in 1976: ' The House of Lords must go – not be reformed, not be replaced, not be re-born in some nominated, life after death patronage paradise, just closed down, abolished, finished'. In case he was misunderstood, in 1977 when the MPs walked to the Lords to hear the Queen's speech to open Parliament he stayed defiantly seated in the Commons alongside the Beast of Bolsover Denis Skinner.

Blair approval
Kinnock's story has been a bit like someone recovering from a serious illness; one after another the symptoms of all those fevered days as a troublesome, agonisingly ambitious left-winger died away to be replaced by convalescent signs of conformity. He strongly supported Michael Foot in his turn-about over the Falklands War, including the sinking of the Belgrano. And he backed the British attack on Iraq on the feeble excuse that the infamous liar Tony Blair had assured him that the Americans would safeguard the situation there after the war. Such political acrobatics were, of course, warmly approved by Blair, who noted in his book A Journey that as a result of Kinnock's leadership the Labour Party became 'broadened and ...more popular'. Nothing more needs to be said about Kinnock's relentlessly cynical betrayal of so much that he once proclaimed as promises to radically transform society to humanity's benefit. An overview of his time reveals his passionate support for Cardiff FC to be a lone example of consistency.
Ivan

Dirty Talk at the Tory Conference (2013)

From the November 2013 issue of the Socialist Standard

‘Profit is not a dirty word, says Cameron’, read the headline in the (London) Times (2 October), anticipating what he was going to tell the Tory conference that day:
‘It is businesses that get wages in people’s pockets, food on their tables, hope for their families and success for the country,’ he will say. ‘Profit, wealth creation, tax cuts, enterprise: these are not dirty elitist words.’
Some of this is true, but some is not. It is true that businesses do pay people wages but it can be doubted that they provide ‘hope for their families’. And ‘wealth creation’ is not a dirty word as long as it is understood that it is those who work for a wage who produce wealth not the business enterprises that employ them and only pay them as wages a part of what they produce.

As far as the workings of capitalism is concerned, Cameron’s point is valid. For capitalism, profit is not a dirty word as it’s what drives the system. It is an incentive to the profit-seeking businesses which control production under capitalism to produce, but only up to a point – the point at which it is no longer profitable to produce any more, even if some people’s needs have not been met. ‘No profit, no production’ is a basic economic law of capitalism.

The pursuit of profits distorts production by only responding to what people can pay for rather than what they need, so the richer you are the more and better you get while the needs of those who can’t pay are not met. ‘Can’t pay, can’t have’ is another basic economic law of capitalism.

The pursuit of profits also leads from time to time to overproduction (in relation to the market not needs) and the sort of economic downward that we are now in. No wonder supporters of capitalism have to work hard to try to convince people that profit is not a dirty work.

A couple of days earlier the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, also had a go at criticising socialism, saying that for Ed Miliband (as if he was a socialist):
‘the global free market equates to a race to the bottom with the gains being shared among a smaller and smaller group of people. This is essentially the argument Karl Marx made in Das Kapital.’
Actually, Marx did say something like this, but in a speech he gave on Free Trade to a meeting of radical democrats in Brussels in 1848 rather than in Capital.

Osborne implies that, like what he accused Miliband of, Marx too wanted to try to protect people from the workings of the ‘global free market’. But he didn’t. He said he was in favour of free trade as he thought, somewhat over-optimistically, that this would speed the social revolution:
‘But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favour of free trade.’
Socialists still look forward to the social revolution Marx was anticipating which will replace the capitalist world market by a global socialism where, on the basis of the common ownership of the world’s resources, there would be production directly to meet people’s needs rather than for sale on a market with a view to profit.

What it Means to be Human (2013)

Editorial from the November 2013 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialists argue that the current way of organising society is not the best one. This naturally means that we are interested in alternative forms of social system. We propose a classless society based on common ownership, and we present arguments to support the view that such a system (socialism) is both realistic and preferable. There are plenty of other suggestions along similar lines, such as the science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed, with its depiction of a radically egalitarian and non-hierarchical world.

Various disciplines deal with different types of social organisation: politics, economics, history, sociology. But perhaps the widest-ranging is anthropology, which has been defined as ‘the study of humankind – of ancient and modern people and their ways of living’ (Marvin Harris). Which makes it a pretty comprehensive science, covering everything from biological evolution and the spread of homo sapiens around the earth to language and the development of art and religion, and much more besides. Incidentally, Le Guin’s parents were both anthropologists.

This issue contains a number of articles on anthropology, designed to explore the socialist case by discussing various forms of society, how they came into being, just how people live in such societies and whether they have anything to teach us nowadays. Are some of these alternatives just primitive set-ups that are appropriate for technologically-simple people living in small bands who survive by hunting animals and foraging for fruit and vegetables, or do they show that other systems are viable ways for people to organise themselves?

Forty years ago Marshall Sahlins published a book Stone Age Economics that began with a chapter entitled ‘The original affluent society’. Against the prevalent view that life was hard for hunter-gatherers, he argued that their wants were easily satisfied, since they desired little. Free from the influences of markets, advertising and pressures to consume, they ‘lived in a kind of material plenty’ and worked just a few hours a day. Dan Everett writes of the Pirahã, hunter-gatherers who still live in Brazil, that they ‘show no evidence of depression, chronic fatigue, extreme anxiety, panic attacks, or other psychological ailments common in many industrialized societies’.

It is clear, then, that alternatives to a system based on wage labour and capital are perfectly possible. It is not just a matter of how people get their means of subsistence, though. Anthropologists have studied many people who live in essentially stateless societies, with nothing resembling modern-day governments. The exact status of ‘primitive communism’ is a controversial area, but there is little doubt that societies structured along similar lines existed for millennia.

At the very least, the study of anthropology, the study of humankind, demonstrates that capitalism is not the sole way of running society and that alternatives, based more on sharing and caring and co-operation, are available and maybe even preferable. We hope this issue will help you to reflect on these and similar topics.

Reorganising poverty (1988)

Book Review from the March 1988 issue of the Socialist Standard

Ideologies of Welfare: From Dreams to Disillusion. John Clarke, Allan Cochrane and Carol Smart (Hutchinson)

The book traces the development of the key arguments about welfare in Britain. Intended as both an analysis of the main ideologies and as a source book, it contains extensive extracts from various publications in which positions about welfare are being argued; including a pamphlet issued by The Socialist Party. Three significant periods are examined, with a brief historical introduction to each period.

In Part One, "The Birth of the Welfare State (1900-1914)", the main arguments concern the role of the state in welfare. Supporters of the laissez-faire free market view resisted any extension of state intervention and emphasised individual responsibility. Where self-help failed the Poor Law, and the charitable relief of distress aimed at the "deserving poor", were the answer. The notice issued by the Charity Organisation Society to those who applied for assistance makes it clear that, even for those concerned "deserving", little help was forthcoming. The New Liberals were influenced by the growing body of evidence that the misfortunes of the poor were caused by inadequate incomes (rather than the inadequacy of individuals) and, following a series of electoral defeats, by the significance of the working class vote for the survival of the Liberal Party. They argued that the state was the "collective will" of society and should be used as a vehicle for social reform.

The Fabian Society also criticised laissez-faire economics and took a collectivist view of the state. Fabianism is represented by the extracts from the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, which dominated the debate after its publication in 1909. It sought to end the Poor Law (as did the Majority Report) and transfer "its several services" to already existing local Authorities, to be "charged with the prevention of the several causes of destitution". The Principle of Prevention meant that "far from involving any increase of aggregate cost to the community, the abolition of the Poor Law and of the Poor Law Authority will have been a most economical measure."

In contrast to the paternalistic view taken of mothers in poor families in the Minority Report (needing the "watchful influence by inspection and visitation, advice and instruction . . . ") feminists were identifying the role of mothers as another vital factor, beside low wages, in their poverty and associated ill health. There was not a unitary feminist ideology on welfare but the central concern with the poverty and welfare of women and children was a uniting factor. Differing attitudes are illustrated in the "endowment of motherhood" (family allowances) campaign. The suggestions in the National Endowment of Motherhood (1918) pamphlet by A. Maude Royden, that the endowment of motherhood would solve the vexed question of women being paid lower wages than men and would withdraw many thousands of women from the labour market altogether, were strongly opposed by other feminists. Anna Martin, who had argued in the Common Cause in 1911 for maternity benefit to be paid to the wife, contemplated the idea of a system of child endowment with dismay - a "a temptation to sloth, self-indulgence and sensuality". The authors point out that moral issues were a vital element in feminist arguments, much of it of a conservative nature which "would probably now be regarded as anti-feminist".

In the last essay on this period socialism is described as "a political approach based on a critique of capitalist society which sees many of the social problems supposedly tackled by the welfare state as caused by the fundamental structures of that society" (p 74). While the Fabians believed that their reform proposals would lead "inexorably, if slowly, to socialism, the Independent Labour Party was committed to working through the existing structures of the state. Among the extracts is part of the evidence of the Social Democratic Federation to the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, setting out practical proposals but concluding that "poverty will be the portion of large numbers of the working class whilst the land and the wealth of the country are privately owned and industry is carried on for profit".

The debate on welfare continues. Part Three - "Beyond Consensus"  - deals with the period 1970-1985 when laissez-faire arguments, defeated at the turn of the century, appear again to be in the ascendancy. The political consensus in favour of Beveridge in the post-war period is seen as a brief historical aberration and is the subject of Part Two -  "The Beveridge Report (1942-8)".

The Socialist Party published two pamphlets in 1943: Family Allowances: A Socialist Analysis and Beveridge Re-organises Poverty. It is the first pamphlet which is considered in the essay on socialism in Part Two. At a time when there was "little criticism from any quarter" for the Beveridge Report, The Socialist Party critically assessed its proposals. We are told that the pamphlet dismisses Family Allowances "as little more than an attempt to reduce the earnings of individual workers and increase employers' profits" and that recent research "seems to confirm that the reduction of wage levels was an important consideration for the government".

It is pleasing to acknowledge that we were invited to comment on the text surrounding the lengthy extracts from our pamphlet, and that some amendments were agreed. Further clarification is necessary. The authors appreciate important facts about our position. For example -
. . . it is not possible to detach one small policy area for separate consideration. It has to be set within the wider context of capitalist development. Although the issue is discussed in terms of wage levels, the key point being made is that reforms cannot solve the problems which the SPGB argued were inherent within capitalism. (p 114)
 However the observation is made in a later essay that - 
The tension identified in Part One between socialism's strength as a critique of capitalism (and a call for revolutionary change), and the desire to present proposals which are realisable even before such change, is particularly noticeable in contemporary debates. (p 160)
which makes the following comment on the Family Allowance pamphlet a little strange -
. . . it is perhaps hardly surprising that its authors simply focused on the issue of wage levels, instead of going beyond that to identify ways in which the private costs of sustaining and reproducing labour power could be effectively socialised. (p. 114) 
The arguments used in the pamphlet are seen as forming a link with those of William Morris (the inadequacy of social reforms when revolutionary  change is required) and of the SDF. In 1904 a group of men and women came to the conclusion that having a revolutionary aim and a programme of reforms is contradictory. The issue of socialism must be kept clear. They left the SDF, which at the time was campaigning for Free Maintenance of schoolchildren, to form the Socialist Party of Great Britain. It is not our purpose to make suggestions about the "socialisation of private cost" of bringing up a family, or reforming some other aspect of life, within capitalism. Our sole object is socialism.

The "fundamental structures" of capitalist society arise from its foundation. What is required is a revolutionary change in the basis of society; the abolition of class ownership of the means of production, and, thereby, an end to production for sale and profit. The authors rightly point out that -
The utilisation of Marxist economics by the SPGB led them to take a fundamentally different position to contemporary feminists. Their analysis suggested that equality between men and women could only be achieved through revolutionary change.
This has never meant that women must passively wait for some new dawn, rather that reforms to benefit women (like other reforms) do not solve the problems they attempt to deal with -  witness the history of family allowances. The socialist revolution cannot take place without the understanding of the majority of the class which is dependent on the sale of labour power. It is for both women and men to organise consciously and politically to abolish capitalism and establish a condition of things where there is economic and social equality between all human beings. It is the way to end both poverty and "welfare".
Pat Deutz