Monday, February 10, 2014

WHY WE WANT SOCIALISM

From the October 1927 issue of the Socialist Standard

Old people tell us how lucky we are living in an age when the aeroplane and the steamer and the express train bring America as near to London as Edinburgh used to be. We see moving pictures of tigers in the jungle and natives living in uncivilised ways. We read every day in the papers of fresh marvels in the way of machinery—and yet we have to work hard, or look for work, and keep a watchful eye on a doubtful future—just as our forefathers did before the age of steam, gas and electricity.

In spite of all the marvels man has contrived, we still live near enough as of old, a life of struggle and poverty, with a little joy thrown in.

The reason for this is the same as it used to be. As of old the people who work do not own the things that they make, nor the tools that they work with, nor the land that they live on. The things that are made and the tools and the land are owned mainly by a group apart, the rich people who do not work, but live on the money they get from the shares they hold in companies. To buy enough shares in a company to be of any real use, requires a great deal of money, and as working people generally only earn enough to provide themselves with the most urgent of the things they need, the chance of a worker passing into the rich class of owners is remote.

The things that are made to-day, clothes, houses, food and so on, are not made simply because they are useful, though, of course, if they were not needed they would not be made at all. The real reason why such things are made is because they can be sold, and the company selling them make a profit. That is why we read in the papers of this or that company making good or bad profits. And that is why we read of houses falling down, accidents happening, bad food, and bad clothes being made, because the owners of the companies do not care what they make so long as they make good profit.

Now, if the only way of making things was by a rich class of people setting poor people to work, then there would be nothing to grumble about. But who gave the rich their power and their wealth? There is no law of some supernatural power that lays it down that one man shall be born rich and another poor. As the music-hall song used to run, "We all came into the world with nothing, and we can't take anything out."

The pictures we see at picture shows often give us views of natives who know not master and man. People who club together to make the things that are needed, and then distribute what they make to those who need. Why, then, can't we do the same on a much larger scale? Masters are only needed where despots must be served, where there is an oppressed class to be kept in subjection. Just as an allotment holder cultivates his little plot without a master to push him or a shareholder to draw a dividend, so the whole of the people of the world can cultivate the earth in harmonious societies, and reap its fullness in community when once they make up their minds to do so.
Gilmac.

The Speed of Enlightenment (2012)

The Pathfinders Column from the January 2012 issue of the Socialist Standard

Anyone interested in physics yet curmudgeonly enough to hate UK TV’s newest scientific celeb Brian Cox must be having a miserable time of it at the moment. The nation’s favourite teen-throb professor is enjoying a quantum celebrity, appearing almost everywhere simultaneously on live gigs, radio and TV, as well as the Christmas hot-selling bookshelves. Mathematics has its amenable Marcus de Sautoy, archaeology its balding Baldric, but physics has wormed its way into the nation’s Higgs Bosom with a photogenic superstar who unlike most celebs actually knows what he’s talking about. The secret of Brainy Brian’s success is not that he’s especially good at explaining physics, because he isn’t, and in fact often overreaches himself.

Nor is it his disarming aura of schoolboy innocence, which he wears in the full knowledge that whenever he says ‘Big Bang’ half the adoring audience are thinking of something other than cosmology. The real reason is most likely that science, and especially physics, is downright intimidating for most people, but it’s hard to be intimidated by the man who co-authored New Labour’s diabolically cheesy election song even if he is a professor of particle physics. It’s well known that any science book with an equation in it will not sell. People take fright at anything that looks difficult. But with Cox in charge, things can only get better.

Back in olden days when it was assumed that science was interesting in itself, and when there were only 4 channels and no internet, TV presenters could afford to be eccentric. There was no image to promote, no need to look cool and sexy, and oddball characters like James Burke, Magnus the Windmill Pyke or lisping David Bellamy were anything but. The only ones left of this old school are Patrick Moore, the Churchill of astronomy, orbiting a TV black hole for fifty years, and St David Attenborough, the only man ever to be canonised by popular consent while still alive.

Today science doesn’t just have to combat the aggressive ignorance of increasingly influential religious zealots, it also has to combat the fickleness and attention-deficit disorder of a fast-food media audience which is perpetually dazzled for choice. In TV, if the target demographic doesn’t like the message, you do shoot the messenger. As this column has noted before (April 2011), studies show that people accept or reject facts depending on who is delivering them. So no wonder science is getting a shot of showbiz pizzazz.

But there’s no doubt that people are interested, when one considers the recent hoo-ha about faster-than-light neutrinos and the more recent hubbub over the Higgs quasi-result. There is a demand for understanding, if it can be made accessible enough, proof that contrary to the fears of Dawkins Doomsayers the Enlightenment is not about to perish beneath Dark Satanic Forces. Perhaps, in a world of discredited politicians, bent journalists and coppers, kiddy-fiddling priests, venal financiers and vacant know-nothing ‘reality stars’, scientists are seen as the last real deal, the only experts left with any authenticity, genuinely interesting things to say, and no squalid private agendas.

Add these credentials to youthful good looks, and it’s easy to see why Brian Cox and others are getting the star treatment. Now they are playing ‘stadium gigs’ as if they were rock stars, lecturing audiences amid music and comedy about biology, chemistry and quantum mechanics.

At a recent Uncaged Monkeys gig it was debatable if the audience grasped fifty percent of it. It wasn’t so bad when Ben Goldacre did a session denouncing drug companies for not releasing test results, since this was a purely political argument, or even when Simon Singh did a presentation on probability theory, since there wasn’t a shred of mathematics in it. But here was the problem: where the show was comedy there was no content, and where there was content it was no fun. Brian Cox soon reminded audiences why he’s a professor, with an eye-glazing exposition of proton gradients in submarine black smokers that had half the audience secretly ordering Modafinil and other alleged IQ enhancers on their iPhones. Even Tim Minchin, brought in to leaven the stodge with music and comedy, managed to look slightly fearful.

Tim Minchin, a kind of latter-day Tom Lehrer with eyeliner, explains in a recent New Scientist interview why he likes to incorporate militant pro-science and atheism into his material (16 November). The interview strikes an odd discordant note when he is quoted as saying: ‘It is entirely appropriate to appeal to authority, in life. For pragmatic reasons, you can’t know everything. If you say 90 per cent of scientists believe this, that’s an appeal to authority. [...] Your job is to figure out what a good authority is.’

Of course he’s right, up to a point, but it would be easy to take the wrong lesson from this. It’s no good replacing one set of priests with another. Science can and should be participative, and you don’t need to be an expert to think scientifically. One organisation which makes this clear in a practical way are the Sceptics in the Pub, a national network of 25 groups to date which meet in pubs to discuss topics of general interest, including the debunking of pseudoscientific claims. It’s a fast growing new pub game that anyone can play, and another healthy sign that capitalism hasn’t managed to brainwash critical thought clean out of us.

If only the same could be said of politics, which is another theatre where there is a large passive audience and a small troupe of actors. Given the way that politics is routinely conducted, it’s no surprise that people have no respect for it. But this removes the will to understand what needs to be understood about how the world works, and this is why radical opposition to capitalism is dogged with misconceptions and circularities. Socialists try to operate in the same way that scientists do, by looking dispassionately at evidence without prejudging the conclusions, by testing theories with prediction, and by challenging assumptions, including their own. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s not that hard either, and it’s a refreshing way to think, compared to the vacuous sloganeering of the Left. In socialist politics, as in science, one can always be learning, and one should always be participating. When people start approaching politics the same way they do science, it won’t take photogenic young celebs to tell them what needs doing with capitalism.

Erratum
Re January Pathfinders, Brian Cox writes: “Good article. Only one fact check. I didn’t co-author Things Can Only Get Better. It was written by Peter Cunnah and Jamie Petri.” Apologies for the grievous misattribution.

The fall of the ILP

Book Review from the November 2007 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Failure of a Dream. The Independent Labour Party from Disaffiliation to World War II.
By Gidon Cohen, Tauris. 2007.

In 1932 the ILP, which had been founded in 1893 and had been instrumental in setting up the Labour Party, voted at its annual conference to disaffiliate from Labour and to set out to establish itself as a leftwing, indeed “revolutionary socialist”, alternative to it. Cohen (a former Socialist Party member as he acknowledges in his introduction) recounts in this book what happened afterwards.

The first thing to happen was that the Stalinists tried to take over the party. With some success. They got the ILP to favour Workers Councils (soviets) as the agent of change, to regard Russia as a “Workers State” on the way to “socialism”, and to commit itself to eventual unity with the Communist Party. In 1935, however, Moscow ordered its agents in the Western Labour movement to change policy and to advocate reliance on the League of Nations (previously, the ‘League of Bandits’) and to agitate for a “Popular Front” of all anti-fascists including Liberals and dissident Tories instead of a “United Front” of workers’ organisations.

The ILP stuck to the old policy and the Stalinists left to join the Communist Party. From then on the ILP was situated to the left not just of the Labour Party but of the Communist Party too. This aroused Trotsky’s interest and he ordered his followers to “enter” the ILP to try to take it over and get it to support his call for a Fourth International. They didn’t get very far.

The ILP survived these assaults but its membership fell, according to Cohen’s calculations, from over 16,000 in 1932 to  under 2,500 in 1939.

Trotsky described the ILP as “centrist” (whatever that meant). For us, it was just another reformist party as it retained the programme of reforms to capitalism it had had since the start and sought support, at and between elections, on this basis. We also pointed out that it was confused about the nature of socialism, seeing it (as Labour did) as essentially nationalisation and mistakenly seeing state capitalist Russia as some sort of pro-worker regime.

On one issue, however, we were prepared to give credit where it was due: on the question of war. When Italy attacked Abyssinia, the ILP’s Inner Executive (dominated by its 3 MPs, led by Jimmy Maxton) issued a statement saying that “in our estimation the difference between the two rival dictators and the interests behind them are not worth the loss of a single British life”. The Socialist Standard  (May 1936) described this as a “sound line”. However – as Cohen describes in detail – this turned out not to be the view of most active ILPers. They wanted to take sides and support Emperor Haile Selassie as a victim of imperialist aggression.

Similarly, after the Second World War broke out, the Socialist Standard (May 1940) wrote: “The ILP propaganda to-day is largely concerned with the war. It takes a line which, in appearance, seems to be fairly sound and in conformity with the Socialist position. It is an imperialist war, it is argued, fought over questions of trade routes, colonies and for political domination”.

By 1939, as Cohen shows, most of the members of the ILP were resigned to reaffiliation to the Labour Party, which he says would probably have occurred had the war not broken out. After the war, the matter came up again, but Maxton opposed it. Instead, members left and joined Labour as individuals, including prominent pre-war members such as Fenner Brockway, Bob Edwards, Walter Padley and Jennie Lee, who all became Labour MPs. In fact “later a Labour MP” is a phrase that occurs quite a few times in Cohen’s book.

The ILP staggered on until 1975 when it changed its name to “Independent Labour Publications” and became a think-tank within the Labour Party.
Adam Buick

Further Reading:
October 2009 Socialist Standard: The rise and fall of the ILP

Mis-spent youth (1986)

From the April 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

It seems that the government's new two-year Youth Training Scheme has got off to a sticky start. The television advertisement suggests that, given two years "training", young unemployed workers can become virtually anything they wish, from circus clowns and musicians to business tycoons and professional footballers—all grateful for receiving a place on the new scheme. Full-page newspaper adverts show how a youth writing "SPURS" on a wall with a can of spray paint is transformed into an employed signwriter working on the lettering of a sign at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

But if the waste of unemployment and the YTS makes us angry, we should not jump to the conclusion that "real" employment is the answer. It is in fact the problem. For as long as workers think its natural to work for a boss in return for wages or salaries then we will periodically be faced with mass unemployment, as market forces indicate to our bosses that it is no longer profitable to hire us.

This brings us to the Labour Party, which no longer claims that it can bring about full employment, but that it could lower the figures. Here the Labour Party reaches the depths of political dishonesty. If there was such a master plan to reduce unemployment would not all governments implement the necessary policies? Come to think of it—why haven't Labour cured capitalism of unemployment in their past governments? So what is Labour's secret plan for slashing unemployment?

Well, it is a pretty cunning one. It seems that their latest ploy is to capture the hearts of Britain's youth by wheeling out pop stars (spokesmen for the young generation) like Billy Bragg and Paul Weller to sing passionately about the effects of capitalism—and then tell us to vote for capitalism's great friend the Labour Party. But the oddest solutions come from Labour's intellectual heavyweights like Michael Meacher. They claim that "real" jobs could be created by improving Britain's roads and sewage system.

To suggest that such "public works" schemes can solve unemployment is to misunderstand capitalism—a madness fostered by massive advertising campaigns and a constant barrage of political propaganda which claims that employment is natural. However, many workers see that YTS schemes don't teach real skills and are extremely exploitative. Workers should look at their own daily employment and ask the question: Is the boss doing you a favour by employing you, or are you doing him or her the favour of creating their profits and privileged lifestyles?
Derek Devine


Lost hero (2000)

Book Review from the July 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dan Billany - Hull's Lost Hero by Valerie A Reeves & Valerie Showan. Kingston Press.

I have a confession to make before I start: this review is one of those tedious ". . . and the Socialist Party is briefly mentioned in line x of page x-ty x". Yes Billany was an ex-member - joining in 1931 and being expelled under foggy circumstances just two years later. But besides this, Reeves and Showan's biography is a fascinating study of the author of The Trap, which Ken Worpole, in his study of working class writing Dockers and Detectives, called the "finest novel to come out of the war".

Billany was born in 1913 in the terraces off Hull's famous Hessle Road, close by the western docks. Leaving school at 14 he was briefly an errand boy before starting an apprenticeship as an electrician with a local firm. As part of the training he had to attend evening classes and like many other working men found a new interest in learning. Before long he left the electrical works to become a full-time student first at the local Technical College and then at Hull University. By the outbreak of the Second World War he was an English teacher at Chiltern Street school in Hull and in the spring of 1940 he joined the army. It was at this point his writing career took off with the publication of The Opera House Murders, a rather run-of-the-mill thriller, and the acceptance of The Magic Door, based on his advanced teaching methods. In 1942 Second Lieutenant Billany was posted to North Africa, and not long after his arrival was captured at the fall of Tobruk. After months of appalling deprivation he was shipped to a POW camp in Italy. After the Armistice in September 1943 he was released by the Italian authorities but because Italy was occupied by the Germans was forced into hiding. In all probability he died of exposure in the Apennines near Rome a few months later. The Trap and The Cage, two novels relating to his wartime experiences, written while in captivity, were published posthumously.

Just for once the socialist ideas held by Billany are represented very accurately. That nationalisation is merely state capitalism (and this well before the late Tony Cliff appropriated the notion for his own sloganising purposes) and that "colonial freedom" really meant the substitution of a local boss for a white boss are both mentioned. The problems with this book lie elsewhere.

Firstly, the purpose of Reeves and Showan is to portray Billany as a repressed homosexual. This is tendentious. Billany was definitely interested in the idea of male homosexuality, as for instance in The Cage which is a rather tedious account of the obsession of one man for another in a POW camp. However the authors go too far in presenting fiction as dramatised fact. In relation to his early unpublished novel Paul they talk about Billany "fantasising" about being in love with a boy. This is practically accusing the fellow of being a child molester; an image of homosexuals not only old-fashioned but totally unjustified by facts.

Secondly, and rather more importantly, Reeves and Showan do not really address the crucial question of why Billany volunteered for service in 1940. Vaguely saying he wanted to prove himself really doesn't wash, because Billany was not politically ignorant. In The Trap he clearly refers to the cause of the war as diplomatic scrambles over "international credits, trade routes, and a steady five percent" and goes on to state that "I do not 'believe' in the war—in this or any other." Yet he was there, as an officer fighting for the cause of British capitalism. He was not forced to enlist, indeed with bright prospects as an author he had no personal reason to. The reason lies doubtless with Billany's attitude to fighting. This first crops up when, as a teacher, he inspires his class with the story of an old pupil who was a hero in the First World War, single-handedly taking a section of the enemy front line. Billany was a romantic with a romantic's desire for adventure. For heroism. And for this he went against what his logic and political background told him. This was to cost him dearly. He paid for it with his life.
KAZ


Hovels or Homes?

The Material World column from the February 2014 issue of the Socialist Standard

The shanty towns that choke the cities are experiencing unstoppable growth, expanding by more than a million people every week, according to the UN. It maintains that over the next 30 years, the population of African and Asian cities will double, adding 1.7 billion people  – more than the current populations of the US and China combined. Every major metropolis has its share of slums; the U.N. estimates that one-third of the developing world's urban population lives in them, with nearly 40 percent of East Asian urban dwellers living in slum conditions. The majority of this urban poor will be under 25, unemployed and vulnerable to religious fundamentalism.

A 2002 report concluded that more young people below the age of 18 are killed by guns each year in Rio de Janeiro than in many areas of the world formally at war. The study concluded that there are strong similarities between children involved in drug wars in Rio's slums and child soldiers elsewhere in the world. There are estimated to be between 5-6,000 armed children in Rio. The report details how the gangs employ teenagers to guard their domains. Sometimes they are even given ranks and called soldiers. The levels of violence are comparable to a war zone. In the last 14 years, for instance, almost 4,000 under-18-year-olds were killed by firearms in Rio alone. That compares, the report says, with just under 500 children killed in the fighting between Palestinians and Israelis in the same period.

Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo is home to over 30 percent of the country’s population, one in every two people living in the Greater Colombo Area is a slum dweller.

Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, is home to 34 percent of the country's population and is the fastest growing city in Asia – around 40 percent of those living in Dhaka are slum dwellers.

In India fully half the population of the capital, New Delhi, lives in slums, while the figure could be as high as 60 percent in glittering Mumbai. Nationwide 93 million people are estimated to be living in slums.

Ming Zhang, the World Bank sector manager for Urban Water and Disaster Management for South Asia, predicted that the urban population in South Asia would double in the next 25 years. Already one in every four persons is categorised under ‘informal population’ or living in shanties or slums in the urban areas of the region

Regional experts and those from the World Bank agree that most of the problems faced by the cities are man-made, primarily due to lack of proper planning.

‘If we thought about proper urban planning, institutional coherence and community participation, we would be able to address a big chunk of this problem,’ Abha Joshi-Ghani, the World Bank's Sector Manager for Finance Economics and Urban Planning explained, ‘We are depleting our resources by inefficient and indiscriminate use of resources.’ Joshi-Ghani went on to say that any relocation of slum-dwellers has to take into consideration the incomes and lifestyles of those affected, which, if disrupted, could turn the solution itself into a problem. ‘Many think that cities make people poor, when in fact cities attract the poor who think they can make a better living there’ she said.

‘It's pointless trying to control urban growth by stopping migration,’ George Martine, a demographer and the author of the report said. ‘It doesn't work. We have to change mindsets and take a different stance. We're at a crossroads and can still make decisions which will make cities sustainable. If we don't make the right decisions the result will be chaos.’ (http://news.independent.co.uk/world/politics/article2714169.ece)

The modern slum is not the result of a lack of resources. It is the product of the capitalist profit system. The only way to free humanity of the slums is to overthrow the system that breeds them. The only way to ensure that every single human being on the planet has an equal chance to enjoy a life free from material deprivation is a world where all the resources of the planet have become the common heritage of all humanity. Another world is possible but it has to be a non-capitalist – a socialist – world, offering decent comfortable housing for all in well-ordered communities.

Engels wrote of the slums of Britain, offering clear descriptions of the degradation that was to be found. He also wrote of a possible future where urban and rural were no longer separate entities:
’The abolition of the antagonism between town and country is now not only possible, it has become an absolute necessity for industrial production itself. It has also become a necessity for agricultural production, and is, above all, essential to the maintenance of the public health. Only through the amalgamation of city and country can the present poisoning of air, water, and localities, be put at an end and the waste filth of the cities be used for the cultivation of vegetation rather than the spreading of disease.’ (Anti-Dühring, chapter 9)
ALJO

Socialists and Pacts with Capitalist Parties (1936)

From the August 1936 issue of the Socialist Standard

In our April issue we replied to a letter written by Mr. W. J. Last, in which he gave his reasons for thinking that Socialists should join with the Labour Party and should support Trade Union struggles. We replied, pointing out that the differences between Socialists and the Labour Party are fundamental, and that the S.P.G.B. does support the efforts of the workers on the economic field.

We have now received a letter from "United Front" continuing the discussion. The writer, having failed to grasp what we replied to Mr. Last, repeats the advice that the S.P.G.B. should support struggles with the employers over wages, and tells us that "to deny that this is an integral part of the class struggle is to relegate that struggle to text books and arguments." If "United Front" would read again the reply to Mr. Last, or would read any of the numerous pronouncements made by the S.P.G.B. in the past 32 years he would know that we do not deny that that is an integral part of the class struggle. On the contrary, we have on several occasions made a special point of criticising that school of thought which maintains that it is not part of the class struggle, but only a "commodity struggle," like the haggling between buyers and sellers of other commodities, and which, consequently, believes that the term "class-struggle" should only be applied to the class-conscious minority of organised Socialists. So much for that.

The rest of "United Front's" letter is as follows :—

“Can we deny that valuable reforms and concessions have been wrung from the ruling class with the collaboration of sections of the master class? Obviously, such privileges as the franchise, social insurance, free education, etc., are partly the work of petty bourgeois elements supported at times by sections of the ruling class itself. If the ruling class is divided on the question of peace or war we cannot say that this is a matter of indifference to the working class. The very weakness of the ruling class, its fundamental contradiction that makes its downfall inevitable is the conflict of interests within it. How then pan you maintain in Point 1 of your Declaration that the interests of the working class are diametrically opposed to all other interests? 
Every concession gained by the workers strengthens their consciousness of their power and their need for unity. At the same time it prepares them for making fresh demands and, weakening the ruling class, makes the latter less able to concede them. Then and therefore comes the time when the working class, conscious of its power, makes a demand which the weakened and demoralised ruling class cannot grant. A reformist demand thereby becomes a revolutionary demand, as the workers, united, see the impotence of the ruling class and realise that they can seize power and thus solve their problems themselves.
In your reply to Comrade Last’s letter and in your Declaration of Principles you ignore the contradictions implicit in the capitalist system which must be exploited by conscious revolutionaries to bring about a downfall of the regime. As Comrade Last points out, failure to co-operate with Labour and other parties in a reformist policy because of abstract "Socialist" principles can only strengthen the reactionaries and demoralise the working class. 
The role of a Marxist is to aid and direct the class struggle on every front—not to start a private war of his own against everybody.
—Yours faithfully,

UNITED FRONT.”

The argument here is a hotch-potch of half-truths and false assumptions that need only be pointed out for their nature to be revealed.

In order to prove that Socialists ought to join with the Labour Party, "United Front" tells us that the franchise, social insurance, and free education are "valuable reforms," gained with the collaboration of sections of the master class. He overlooks the fact that the greater part of these reform measures was gained before the Labour Party came into existence. Consequently, if they prove anything they prove that the Labour Party should never have been formed at all and that the still earlier policy of playing off Liberals and Tories against each other should have been continued. Then "United Front" leaves out of account the major aspect of some, if not all, reform measures. He assumes they were won because they were valuable to the workers. The truth is they were, in many instances, forced, on workers and capitalist minority alike, because they were valuable to the dominant section of the capitalist class. When, as in the case of the Trade Union Law in 1927, the capitalists have wanted to go back on changes formerly introduced, not all the wailings of all the reformist parties together made the slightest difference.

"United Front" tells us that "we cannot say "that the issue of peace and war" is a matter of indifference to the working class." It is precisely for that reason that we have not said so, and we challenge our correspondent to show that we have ever said or suggested such a thing.

Granted, then, that the question of peace is a vital one to the workers, how does this necessitate that Socialists (who are utterly opposed to supporting capitalist wars) shall sink their identity in the Labour Party (which supported the last war and is committed to supporting the next if it is under League of Nations auspices) ?

The next statement, that the downfall of the ruling class is inevitable because of "the conflict of interests within it," is contrary to Socialist teaching and to all the facts before our eyes. The downfall of capitalism is only inevitable because the working class have an interest in securing its downfall. The overthrow will come from outside the ranks of the capitalist class, not from within. That a minority of capitalists may be at loggerheads with the majority on certain secondary issues may hamper them, it will certainly not itself cause their downfall. On the primary issue of the maintenance of capitalist private ownership all sections of the capitalist class will unite against the working class. Can "United Front" name any exception to this rule?

Regarding the ancient theory resuscitated by "United Front," that a reform demand becomes revolutionary when the capitalist class cannot grant it, not a year passes without numerous instances showing this to be false. By definition, a reformist demand is one which reforms without abolishing capitalism, and which, therefore, can be granted by the capitalists. Every time the capitalists are faced with a more or less widespread demand for some reform they can try various methods of splitting, side-tracking or breaking the movement. Failing anything else they can always go half-way and thus rob the movement of a large part of its support. They rarely have to concede the whole of the reform demand, but, of course, could, if need be. That is what they have done with demands for adequate maintenance for the unemployed, old-age pensions, "workers' control," etc., even down to appropriating the name " Socialism " in certain instances.

In conclusion, in order to make the position clear, we would emphasize that Socialism can only be brought about by Socialists. This involves the hard plodding work which the impatient and the ambitious cannot bear to undertake. To avoid it they seize upon any flashy apparent substitute which presents itself. The reformism and political bargaining with the capitalists advocated by "United Front" are all of them quack remedies of that kind. They lead to corruption, disgust and general apathy. Socialists must expose and condemn them without cessation. 
ED. COMM.