A Short Story from the May 1949 issue of the Socialist Standard
If ever I stood before the microphone and was asked by Wilfred Pickles what two thing I disliked most, without hesitation I would say Poverty and War. Furthermore, if I was asked what one thing I would like to do before I died, I would reply that I would like to play a part, if only a small part, to help to establish a new social order, in which the whole earth and the fulness thereof would become means to the comfort and happiness of all. Likewise the aforesaid means of wealth production and distribution would be democratically controlled by and on behalf of the whole community, regardless of their sex or colour.
Then waxing rather eloquent, I would inform my astonished audience, that under the new social order there would be no landowners, no property owners, no rent books, no title deeds. As for their rent books, the ration books, identity cards and their bank books, etc., they could cast them into the bonfire. Then Armies, Navies, Air Forces and Police Forces would not be required, as the causes of war and private property had been abolished. There would be no Secret Service, no espionage, no counter espionage, no Gestapo, no Ogpu, no M.I.5, no F.B.I., or any other form of Secret Police. There would be no Frontier Posts, no Customs, no Excise. This would gladden the hearts of my listeners,—there would be no Entertainment Tax, no Purchase Tax nor Income Tax. There would be no Millionaires, Dollar Millionaires, Sterling Millionaires, or Russian Rouble Millionaires. Neither would there be required a dog licence, a car licence, or a wireless licence. I would then ask my listeners if their wireless sets were now playing better.
Then the audience would gaze and wonder when I informed them that there would be no Popes, Cardinals, Bishops or Priests. No Deans of the Red Variety, nor Deans of the Dean Inge Variety. And the audience would gasp when I informed them that there would be no longer be required a Home Office, a Foreign Office, a War Office, no Board of Trade, no Import Boards, no Coal Boards. Finally I would inform them that when they thoroughly understood the real causes of their poverty, squalor and war, they would make a rapid decision that would speedily end the Social System which is the cause of those evils. They would no longer be content with half a loaf, but would take possession of all the bakeries of the world
. They would also take possession of all the textile machines and all the millions of yards of cloth, make good, beautiful clothes and wear them, no money or price being required. Also they would take possession of all the stone, clay, concrete and steel and make strong, beautiful houses and live in them, again no money, no price, no rent book, no mortgage or building society.
They would require no Leader, no Messiah and no Saviour. They the Working Class would have to transform Society themselves. When they commenced to do these things, it would usher in a New Social Order and it would be known throughout the world as Socialism.
Then Wilfred Pickles would say, "Barney, give him the money."