Friday, May 29, 2015

Same Old Shaw (1943)

From the May 1943 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the Daily Herald for March 10, Mr. George Bernard Shaw presented a lengthy article on the subject of Marx, entitled, "What would Marx say about Beveridge?"

His answer to his own question (for what it is worth) is that "if he were alive now he would probably denounce Sir William Beveridge as a rascally appeaser, trying to ransom capitalism for another spell by his Report" — and though that is precisely what Sir William is doing, Sir William is not a rascal.

We are not bothered by literary speculations as to what Marx would have done, or said. The only reason Mr. Bernard Shaw writes such things is because it helps to perpetuate the myth that he is the bold, daring, revolutionary thinker who has "applied" Marx to British conditions. In this article, as in the "biography" by Mr. Hesketh Pearson ("Bernard Shaw," Collins, 1942) this legend is again dished up.

Marx "made another man of me"; "Marx's torpedo hit it [the 19th century] between wind and water and blew the golden lid of hell"; BUT—Marx's "dialectic of historical materialism belongs to the days when Tyndall startled the word by declaring that he saw in matter the promise and potency of all forms of life," (Shaw's metaphysics belong to the days of Methuselah, as we shall see), and "now we know that Marx's attempts to measure value by abstract labour-power, when he should have measured it by abstract desirability and his treatment of both as mathematical constants, instead of as variables, can only lead to nonsense and bankruptcy."

It's quite simple, Marx's own teachings—Historical materialism, the Labour Theory of Value and the Class Struggle are bankrupt  nonsense—but Marx himself was the greatest figure of the 19th century, because he made a new man of Mr. George Bernard Shaw. The "Fabian Essays," which Shaw edited, had nothing whatever to do with Socialism (Marxism). They were pure and simple Social Reform, which G.B.S. in the same article declares the capitalists turned (when published in his programme, "A Plan of Campaign for Labour") to their own account, thus producing the new form of capitalism called Fascism or Nationalism—Nazi for short, in Germany. This is perfectly true—very well known to Socialists—that the sure, certain way to Fascism is via a Fabian, Labour-reformist Government trying to administer capitalism under the false colours of Labourist "Socialism" and driving the workers, disgusted, into the arms of "leaders."

Incidentally, it was very well known to the I.L.P. politicians too. "Wheatley (Labour Health Minister) pointed out that the country was passing through one of its periodical cycles of depression. Within the capitalist system reduction in the standard of life would be inevitable. Wages would fall and the social services would be restricted. Did a Labour Government wish to be responsible for such things> It would necessarily become so if it administered Capitalism. Much better that it should throw the responsibility for the evils of capitalism on the Conservative and Liberal parties." (Page 198, "Inside the Left," Fenner Brockway.) Brockway and W. J. Brown actually proposed that the I.L.P. members of Parliament should resign before the resignation of the Second Labour Government; Brockway's one regret being that they did not.

The problem is how to saddle all this on to Marx. It turns out according to Shaw that the experience of Russia showed that "Marxian tactics broke down ruinously in Russia, and had to be replaced by Fabian ones." The real man in Russia is not Marx—but Sidney Webb. Lenin's new economic policy was Sidney's inevitability of gradualness. Here we might agree with G.B.S. Had he read THE SOCIALIST STANDARD  in 1917-18 or 1920, he would have been aware of the impossibility of Socialism in Russia then, instead of being taken in by it, and signing all those silly Communist statements, after his visit to Moscow.

We would have been interested if G.B.S. had shown us how the capitalists could use Marx's writings to establish Fascism. like they did his and Webb's (Fabian State-Control). Instead, all he does is to urge that all the extracts from Marx dealing with Dialectical Materialism and Economics should be cut of the new "Lawrence and Wishart" edition, leaving only the polemics like the "Eighteenth Brumaire."

His conclusion is that "Marxian strategy is all right, but what Marxian idolatry and bigotry can do without Fabian tactics may be learnt from Fenner Brockway's history entitled 'Inside the Left.'" The History of the I.L.P. "is a heartbreaking record," he says, but it is staggering that Shaw, who claimes to have read the book, can accuse Brockway, who in the course of 340 pages, betrays not the slightest inkling in Marx, of "Marxian bigotry." Brockway's effort is a tiresome lament that the I.L.P. did not know how to kick itself clear of the Labour Party's troubles quickly enough. Listen to this "Marxian idolator"—Brockway :—
The establishment of a revolutionary Socialist Party can be attempted in one of two ways. A few theoreticians can lay down a watertight programme and invite those who agree with it to join: this is the method of the Trotskyists and the Fourth International has remained in a vacuum. Only a party which already has its roots in the working-class movement can evolve, grow, to the revolutionary position by thought applied to experience, by learning its lessons from mistakes, by discussion, by the study of the history of the movement in other countries, and by a sincere and constant effort to find the right way. This second has been the method of the I.L.P. (P.237.)
Which is like saying a few draughtsmen can draw up blue-prints of an aeroplane, but we prefer to tie a pair of wings on you (the workers) and push you off the nearest cliff; we, the leaders, will then learn by "our mistakes."The statement is a typical piece of Brockway's political trickery—"thought applied to experience" IS political theory. His failure to grasp these elementary essentials has led Shaw into writing the stupid letters, published by Brockway, supporting the I.L.P. Not that this matters, as he has also supported everybody else, except the S.P.G.B.

The fact is, as Shaw himself says, his object has always been to "irritate and startle." If you do not say a thing in an irritating way, you may just as well not say it at all, since nobody will trouble themselves about anything, that does not trouble them. ("Bernard Shaw," p. 106.) This is what "poor bankrupt Marx" would have called tautology.

Shaw has nearly always been wrong, as when he said the last war would last 30 years; and advised "Turn up the lights" in this one, in 1939. His simple plan has been to startle the capitalists, by kidding the workers that he is a reckless revolutionary. Nothing is further from the truth; in fact, he is a quiet conventional respectable bourgeois, most apprehensive of the ideas of Karl Marx—a Fabian.

Fenner Brockway tells how at the Finsbury Branch of the I.L.P. in Goswell Road in 1906. Bernard Shaw came to speak one evening.

"The question I put was this: Mr. Shaw, we are young, and want to make the best use of our lives. What is your advice? The answer came in a flash, 'Find out what the Life-Force is making for and make for it, too." How many times have I used that in perorations to Socialist (?) speeches,' says Brockway. ("Inside the Left," p. 22.)

Dear Mr. Shaw, much as we appreciate the third act of "Man and Superman," we still cannot allow your Nietschean "Life Force" (Shavian for "God") to substitute Marx's driving force of social evolution—the tool of production. Perhaps Brockway took your advice, and chased the "will o' the wisp"; we see the motor of evolution in the strong right arm of the working class.

Mr. Pearson, Shaw's biographer, recounts how, in 1915, Eugen Sandow, the physical culturist, tried to entice Shaw as a pupil. Shaw said, "You misunderstand my case; I have you seen you supporting on your magnificent chest twenty men, two grand pianos and a couple of elephants, and I have no doubt you can train me to do the same, but my object as to pianos and elephants is to keep them off my chest, not to heap them on to it." ("Bernard Shaw," p. 317.) The Socialist worker's object as to parasites is to dump them off his chest, by the aid of Karl Marx, not heap them on to it, even when they include Fabian literary elephants like Bernard Shaw.
Horatio.

Immaculate conceptions (2015)

The Pathfinders Column from the May 2015 issue of the Socialist Standard

What’s been happening lately with the people from Occupy, UK Uncut and the rest of the rebellious ‘noughties’ crowd? Whatever activity there is has sunk below the media horizon and therefore dropped off the political agenda, while the restless radical pool continues to evolve into new forms and outgrowths, clustering, merging and diffusing in ways that seem more organic than organised. The big splashes in the morning papers have given way to a grey drizzly afternoon of self-doubt, boredom and endless questions.

What is one to do with a world ‘absolutely in thrall to capitalism’, where most radical groups ‘coalesce around a hollow capitalist meliorism’ or else focus on the bogus rhetoric of having no leaders at the expense of any real strategy, democratic oversight or ability to adapt to changing circumstances?

Thus speaks Novara Media, an ‘outgrowth’ of this very milieu and a sort of alternative online news service cum political analysis show aimed at the young radical, non-state anticapitalist sector. Its founders are a likeable and highly articulate pair of young postgrads/postdocs by the name of Aaron Bastani and James Butler, and five minutes of their quick-fire patter is enough to make your head spin.

What does Bastani say about non-state communist strategy in the 21st century? That the 20th century of mass one-way communication was the great outlier and that today’s pathways of communication through disparate and affinity-based back-channels is more akin to the 18th century. What does Butler say about the activist’s disavowal of theory? He explains that doers are always suspicious of thinkers: ‘there’s a history of people thinking that thinking means that one should be in charge of things and lead things, and movements led by thinkers and intellectuals is [sic] always a bad thing and tends to lead to paranoia and narcissism and overidentification’. They observe that protest should be offensive not defensive because defensive strategies become conservative and ‘fail to stake a claim on the future’, and they make clear that ‘people argue about political power needing to be purified, but it doesn’t, it needs to be overthrown’. Butler adds poignantly ‘we have been losing for so long that we’ve forgotten to ask how do we win, and what would winning look like?’

Well, what would winning look like for Novara Media? It would look like something called fully automated luxury communism (FALC). The argument is simple enough. Machines are taking all the jobs, so the future should be one of luxury and leisure. People have said this before but Messrs B&B don’t make the elementary mistake of thinking that this will happen without a revolution to overthrow the powerful elites. What’s appealing about their argument is that it emphasises what you can have tomorrow rather than what you have to put up with today. Communism for them is a glittering prize and an orgy of abundance, not an exercise in hair-shirt asceticism.

Do they mean non-state communism the same way we do? Oddly, Bastani mentions a ‘living wage’, which doesn’t fit the picture. Wages and money presuppose property relations and markets, which inevitably give rise to states. Leaving that to one side, are they anyway overegging the pudding? When talking about post-scarcity socialism we tend to talk about sufficiencies, not luxury. We do sometimes speculate about shortages in the short term as farmers switch from cash crops to subsistence, the ‘bottom billion’ are prioritised for food and healthcare, and the world productive system learns to readjust. Is it realistic and in fact responsible to promise luxury as standard?

As is common with future-gazers, Novara may have been seduced by their own vision. One only has to recall the utopian predictions of early advocates of nuclear power to remember that technology is always rosiest at dawn.

When considering anything to do with automation, indeed any machinery, one shouldn’t ignore that unwritten rule of the universe, Sod’s Law. If it can go wrong, it probably will, and just when you least expect it.

People who can only afford to drive old cars will have noticed that the more sophisticated the technology, the more unfixable and often disastrous it is when it ages and breaks down. It may be that the rate of development of complex systems always outstrips our ability to diagnose failures within those systems or, in the vernacular, we’re too clever for our own good. Why might this be so? Because as you add new features, sensors, cruise controllers, drop-down displays and so forth in arithmetical fashion into a closed network, the number of potential failures and multiple-node failures tends to increase in geometrical fashion.

In the immaculate world of the futuretopians, nothing ever goes wrong and everything always works at its optimum. If you ask what happens when the system breaks you get the response given out about the Titanic and Chernobyl: ‘Don’t worry, we’ve got a system to cover that’. There is just now a debate in airline circles about whether to develop fully-automated planes without pilots, controlled just by their on-board computers. This is how capitalism drives technology - the purpose is simply that the airlines would save a pilot’s wage. Would socialists be interested in this too? Opponents will point out that a driverless car which fails can just stop, whereas a driverless plane that fails has no good outcome.

How much complexity is too much? What is so endearing about clunky, old-fashioned, non-electronic cars is that there’s not so much to go wrong, and not much you couldn’t fix yourself given a shed, a few tools and a basic grounding in car maintenance. Socialism would have production plants and factories for the sake of economy of scale, but not to the exclusion of local, small-scale production and maintenance.

Socialist production, being non-market and not for profit, would work quite differently from the capitalist market process. If you’re giving up your time to build a bus, a power station or a piano, you don’t want to have to put in further work repairing it, nor create work for others by making it difficult to repair. You would use standardised and recyclable parts which could be swapped out easily. You would not bother adding features which looked impressive but didn’t do anything. You would only use quality components, not cheap ones intended to fail. And you’d keep it simple. But simple doesn’t have to mean plain, or plain ugly. Taking a cue from William Morris we could stipulate that beautiful things should be useful, and useful things should be beautiful.

Fully automated luxury communism is a vision based on two assumptions, that people want luxury and that they hate work. We suggest that neither of these is correct. Sufficiency is sufficient for security, and security is what people really want, not to live like Roman emperors, even if today capitalism makes people fantasise about getting stuff for the sake of having stuff. Second, there is the obvious fact that labour, even quite hard manual labour, can be a huge pleasure when freely and cooperatively engaged in. If that were not so there would be no art, no hobbies, and no sport. Full automation, where machines do everything, is probably more a fantasy of capitalism’s stressed-out wage-slaves than a healthy aspiration of free people. And let’s remember to ask, what if it breaks down?

Novara is keen to stress that their ideas are negotiable and do not come fully formed and fixed. It is a fact to gladden the hearts of socialists that people like Butler and Bastani are out there keeping revolutionary ideas alive and fresh, but when concocting revolutionary recipes we would always counsel a pinch of salt.
Paddy Shannon

The Story of the Socialist Party (1975)

Book Review from the December 1975 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Monument, by Robert Barltrop, Pluto Press, £3.90 (see note).

It would be impossible for a Socialist to take up his pen to review the first-ever history of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, without a certain pleasure and sense of occasion. The task of writing such a history has been neglected by friend and foe for far too long. That the seventy-one years spanned have been eventful, interesting and challenging, as well as educational, can be seen from reading The Monument.

One could yield to the temptation to comment upon every point made; this, however, is not the purpose of a review. The task here is to assess the merits of the book and its account of the Party.

It is not easy to capture the mood of an era and to sketch in the many shades and subtleties, to look into personalities and situations and to express their contents and substance. This the author has done with a liberal measure of success. That the era and mood have changed repeatedly since 1904 (all within the context of developing capitalism) is brought out clearly.

The foreword says that the history of the Party
has been a matter not so much of policies as of the kinds of men, often remarkable, who made it.
Whilst as Marxists we would not deny that men make history, the Party has an identity represented by its Declaration of Principles and the ideas developed in them. These stand regardless of the coming and going of individuals. That individuals who wanted to go off at a tangent — and take the Party with them — have appeared from time to time has mainly served to highlight the fact that the Party has never wanted to go. But to have tried to tell the story without the characters, would have been a gross error.

All the major (and many minor) milestones in the Party's history are there. What stands out through everything is the Party's commitment to its Principles and its objective, Socialism. The thrashing out of attitudes towards trade unions in the very early days, was guided by the determination to avoid opportunism and not to put Socialism into cold storage while other issues were pursued.

With hindsight, we in the Party today might regard the "WB of Upton Park" controversy, as a hypothetical debating point. The Party in practice has never supported any reform, and the possibility of a lone Socialist MP. being elected in isolation is remote, to say the least. This kind of imbalance in the spread of Socialist ideas, does not really add up. The reply to WB (which is reproduced in full) makes this point. What is mildly amazing is that both the Party (in its reply), and the group that left, stressed that there could be NO COMPROMISE. When Harry Martin died in 1951, the Socialist Standard published a tribute to him. Although he had left the Party forty years before, he had remained a staunch advocate of Socialism.

The statement issued at the outbreak of war in 1914 is there in full, and the extreme difficulties suffered by members for standing against the war are well detailed. How, in the course of allegedly fighting for freedom, freedom to dissent is trodden underfoot, often quite literally together with the dissenters. The upheaval of 1917 and the Party's rejection of its socialist pretensions. The fact that we alone published the Bolshevik statement against the war in March 1915 shows that we considered the Bolsheviks' evidence before rendering judgement.

The electoral campaigns the Party has fought are dealt with in some detail, from the first contests in Borough Council elections in Battersea and Tooting during 1906 up to the Bethnal Green parliamentary campaign in 1959. The Parliamentary and GLC contests since then are not mentioned but the most important point, namely, our consistent appeal for only Socialist votes, is well registered.

The activities in the years of economic depression between the wars are related with a wealth of colourful anecdotes and description. The second World War, and the controversy over democracy, still has a vital lesson for the working class to learn. The Party had said: "Democracy cannot be defended by fighting for it." One has only to read the extract from Jacomb's reply to see how the years since the war have vindicated the position taken by the Party. Jacomb said:
If democracy cannot be defended by force then the power behind the machine-gun can (unless there is some other way of defending democracy) withdraw all democratic rights at will . . .
The fact is there are always more machine-guns and wars, but the cemeteries with which they have covered the world make no contribution to democracy.

In chapter twelve, which relates the story of the tribunals for conscientious objectors, there is a reference which says Clause Six of the Declaration of Principles is "a clear statement that the Party aimed at using the armed forces as an 'agent of emancipation'." However, that government machinery, including the armed forces must be CONVERTED from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation can be readily checked, as the Declaration of Principles and our Object appear in full on pages nine and ten.

The foreword makes clear that the greater part of the book was written while the author was away from the Party. The final chapter is a strong reaffirmation of his own identification with the Party. The history he has written proves the "anonymous sage" in the foreword was wrong. We are much more a movement.
Harry Baldwin

NOTE: The publishers are making copies of "The Monument" available to Party members and readers of the Socialist Standard at the reduced price of £2.60, including postage, until 31st January only. Cash and orders should be sent to the Book Department at Head Office.

An excerpt from 'The Monument' can be read at the following link.

Bermondsey and the Press (1983)

From the April 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard

Fleet Street's descent further into the gutters was clearly demonstrated by the campaign of vicious character assassination pursued in the run-up to the recent Bermondsey by-election. The power of the media to persecute those who do not fit in with its smug capitalist values is proof that the much-celebrated freedom of the British press is all too often a freedom for journalists to imitate the tactics of their colleagues in Moscow and Johannesburg in defaming with impunity the characters of their opponents.

Much as the press attack must be exposed and deprecated the Labour candidate in Bermondsey, for all his sincerity, was defeated because of his own political opportunism. It was only because he was a candidate for a party which traditionally wins votes from ideologically conservative, nationalistic workers that the press attack was successful. The press labelled Labour's candidate as a homosexual; the old Labourite bigot, John O'Grady, went around the streets of Bermondsey singing a song accusing his Labour opponent of homosexuality; the Liberals, whose official policy is supposed to favour "gay rights", also used the homosexual smear. But the Labour candidate, seeking votes from workers who detest sexual non-conformity, refused to stand up and affirm his homosexuality.

Similarly, the Labour candidate was attacked for being a "draft dodger" because he refused to fight in Vietnam. All socialists would seek publicity for their opposition to all war, and would make it clear that those who fight cannot call themselves socialists. But Labour, when in office, supported the war in Vietnam, just as it has given its support to many other bloody capitalist battles. The Labour candidate had to appeal to nationalistic Labour voters who are all in favour of flags and armies and wars. When that sickening enemy of the working class, Frank Chapple, President of the TUC, was asked on Any Questions why Labour lost Bermondsey he replied, "Well, I ask you, who's going to vote for a gay draft dodger?" In short, the man at the top of the TUC and close to the top of the Labour Party, admits openly that Labour voters are too bigoted to vote for a man who is homosexual and too chauvinistic to vote for a man who refuses to kill Vietnamese workers.

The hacks of Fleet Street made much of the fact that the Labour candidate was not even English -  the ultimate crime. Ignorant people with nothing more sensible to say, were reported as running after the Labour candidate and telling him to "go back to Australia". It is doubtful whether the same workers will be urging the Duke of Edinburgh to return to Greece. The Labour candidate for Bermondsey will not be the first aspirant political leader to fall victim to his own political opportunism.

Labour's opponents in Bermondsey accused them of being communists and Marxists; and the Labour Party does not like that. The fact is that Labour has no more to do with Marxism or true communism than the Mafia has with fighting crime. Communism and socialism are, when properly defined, synonymous terms: they have identical meanings. The Labour candidate for Bermondsey was not unacquainted with the real party of Socialism (or communism), the Socialist Party of Great Britain. But, like his fifteen electoral opponents, he dismissed the aim of abolishing the wages system and creating a classless, propertyless, moneyless society as one not worth working for. Instead, he spent his time on the traditional path of capitalist reform—trying to gain a few more crumbs for the wage slaves of Bermondsey from the cake that they had baked. When the lie-makers of the press called Labour's candidate a revolutionary he protested with all the horror of a radical vicar whose belief in god has been questioned. Any real socialist candidate in Bermondsey would have proclaimed to all the electors that he or she is a revolutionary—not in the anachronistic sense of building barricades in the street, but in the social sense of aiming to end capitalism and replace it with worldwide production for use.

Where there are leaders it will always be possible for the media to direct their viciousness against personalities rather than principles. That is why the Socialist Party enters elections as a political party, advocating a clearly stated object; our candidates are simply put up to satisfy the electoral laws of Britain—a vote for the Socialist Party is a vote for socialism, not for any particular socialist. If the media wants to talk to us they will have to discuss serious ideas. The Socialist Party, unlike all other political parties in Britain, does not make promises or ask for votes. Indeed, we alone urge workers not to vote for our candidate unless they are convinced socialists. Those who we have convinced will not be persuaded to desert the socialist cause by the puerile tactics of the capitalist-owned press. The greatest strength of the working class is the strength of ideas; once we are consciously organised the propagandists of capital can pervert the truth until their faces are as blue as their rosettes—the workers will treat them with the contempt they deserve. That is why socialists are so emphatic about the need for political education. A single worker who is conscious of the system which exploits him and understands the realisable alternative is better than fifty floating voters with floating minds.

In Bermondsey, an apparently solid Labour majority of 12,000 was reduced to a total vote of just over 7,000: the voter who lacks class consciousness can be manipulated by whichever trickster is the most cunning.
Steve Coleman



Who do you think you are? (1980)

From the October 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

Let's get some things straight.

Being working class does not mean scrubbing front doorsteps of terraced houses on hands and knees, or wearing a cloth cap or a donkey jacket, does not mean smoking Woodbines, or playing darts, bowls or crib for the local pub team, does not mean watching Coronation Street and Carry On films, or speaking in a local dialect, heavy accent or slang, or passionately supporting a football team standing on the terraces, does not mean filling a mantelshelf with little ornaments from Blackpool, or keeping pigeons or greyhounds, does not mean shopping at the Co-op or reading the Daily Mirror, or . . .

Being middle class does not mean wearing a shirt and tie, having a mortgage, having a building society or bank account, or a nice car, or going to college or university, does not mean sounding your aitches, does not mean working in an office, being a foreman, a manager, a doctor, a teacher or living in a house in a quiet avenue, or having a bath twice a day, does not mean watching BBC2 documentaries, or supporting a football team and sitting in the stands, or slippers by the fire, or being polite, or being a self-employed plumber, window-cleaner or keeping the little corner shop, does not mean drinking wine, or reading the Observer or the Guardian or the Telegraph, does not mean . . .

Being a socialist does not mean voting Labour, or being on the "left", or being an "extremist" or a "militant", does not mean being an idealistic student who'll grow up in a few years, does not mean campaigning for a minimum wage, for more money to be spent on housing for the homeless, more medicine for the sick, more financial aid to third world countries, or waving banners urging governments to ban nuclear weapons, does not mean abusing policemen on the beat, or listening to Sham 69, or becoming hysterically emotional about "the Right to Work", or  . . . 

Being a revolutionary does not mean throwing bombs, barricading embassies, or violence in the streets, or listening to the Clash or the Sex Pistols, or taking heroin and cocaine, or wearing a Che Guevara beret and moustache, or shouting "Capitalist Pigs Die!" and raising a clenched fist in salute, does not mean becoming a rastafarian, or following the latest fashion, or going "underground", or dodging fares on British Rail, or . . . 

Get all this out of your head and you are ready to see things as they really are. Society is not split into thousands and thousands of little sections as a lot of misguided and ill-informed people would have you think. There are basically only two sections: the working class and the capitalist class. Being working class is an economic condition. The middle class, lower middle class, upper middle class, lower upper middle working class, and so on and so forth is all a myth. If you have to sell your physical or mental energies to an employer in return for a wage at the end of the week or a salary at the end of the month in order simply to survive, then you are working class. This is a fact,not an attitude. It doesn't matter a scrap what job you've got or wish you'd got. You are a member of the social class which produces all the wealth in society but which possesses nothing but its labour power, its ability to sell its mental and physical capabilities. The other class, the owners, are able to live as they please from the profits gained from the wealth that you contribute, directly or indirectly, towards producing. The capitalist class owns everything in society that is required for human beings to live (factories, railways, mines, land, raw materials, tools, machines), but they have no need to lift a finger. The working class are employed to do that. And all governments in all countries have no option but to act on behalf of this tiny owning section. Therefore all governments have no option but to perpetuate the exploitation of the workers—no matter what bull they try to feed to those they are governing.

A socialist is someone who recognises that this state of affairs is nothing less than continuous robbery, and who further recognises that there is bound to be a permanent antagonism of interests between the two sections so long as the present system exists, and who recognises that there can only be one possible solution: abolition of the present capitalist system and the establishment of socialism. Socialism: a classless, moneyless, stateless, worldwide social organisation based on the common ownership of the means of living, where everything is produced solely for use, and where everyone will be able to take freely from society whatever is available, whenever he or she so desires, and will be free to contribute to society to the best of their ability, whenever he or she so desires, purely because it will be in the interests of people as individuals and as members of the community as a whole. The transformation from capitalism to socialism will come when the vast majority of the world's working class understands and wants it and it will be voted for democratically because this will be how the new society will function. This transformation can be achieved no other way. It will be a complete change, a social revolution, the first conscious revolution in the history of the human race.

The only qualification to become a socialist is socialist understanding and the desire to bring socialism about as quickly as possible. In addition to being a socialist, I like hot baths regularly, Benny Hill, Dire Straits, Double Diamond and middle-to-low tar cigarettes. Some of my friends say I have bad taste.
Paul Breeze