Monday, June 22, 2015

FISH AND CONCHIES (1942)

From the March 1942 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Sunday Pictorial publishes letters from its readers under the title of "Voice of the People." On Sunday, January 25th, a hater of conchies urged that they should all be made to catch fish with pay at 1s. a day. Alternatively, they should be issued with conspicuously marked ration books which only allowed them foods which men have NOT risked their lives to get.

So conchies should catch fish for one shilling a day! Speaking of fish, we remember a time when particularly large catches of fish were thrown back into the sea. This happened, of course, in the piping days of peace and prosperity. They were discarded, because certain interested capitalists feared that so large an abundance might interfere with their rate of profit. Many workers, particularly the free unemployed, would have enjoyed some of this "surplus" fish.

May we be permitted to suggest that it would be quite a good idea to make the individuals responsible do a spot of fishing themselves. Possibly, after several months at sea, they would consider the advisability of tipping unwanted catches into the briny.

But, of course, these people are not conscientious objectors. They are busy trying to fight, or urging others to fight, for freedom—the freedom to burn food, pour milk down the drains, use wheat as fuel, and, of course, thrown fish into the sea, as their profit-making activities require.

The view that conchies should not be allowed to eat food for which other men have risked their lives affords us some cynical amusement.  Workers also risk their lives during the periods of capitalist peace. They suffer mutilation and death in the mines and factories. And the fruit of their labour is used to make easy and joyful the lives of the propertied few. Shall we issue these people with specially marked ration books? But ah, they are not conscientious objectors.
Kaye.

What will you be doing in the '90s? (1990)

Editorial from the January 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard

The final decade of the century begins. What shall we do? Two options face us. We can have more of the same: more of the profit system where needs will only be satisfied if it benefits the rich minority to sell us access to the wealth of the Earth. Or we can choose the socialist alternative. We take the resources of the world away from the privileged few who monopolise them now and establish common ownership and democratic control of the means of life.

We take the factories, the farms, the offices, the mines, the media, transport—all of the means of producing and distributing wealth—and we say that these no longer belong to the few, but are the common possession of everyone. Instead of the buying and selling system, under which everything, including our own power to work, is regulated by markets and profits, we could abolish the market, and with it the system of wage slavery which turns work into the exploitation of workers by capitalists. We can continue to have a two-class society where those who do not produce possess and the wealth producers possess little between us, or we can abolish the anachronism of classes and live co-operatively as human beings, regardless of age, race or sex. We could work together to produce according to our many different abilities; we could take on the basis of free access from the common store of social wealth, without having to consider the obscene and ridiculous inequalities between those who are "rich" and those who are "poor". We could produce solely for use: food to eat, homes to live in, trains and planes to travel on. Just for use, not so that capitalists can accumulate more and more profit.

There is no third choice. There never has been. When the Socialist Party was formed in 1904 its founders were told by certain sincere people that, whilst they did not like the profit system and its disregard to human needs, neither did they think it possible to bring about such a huge transformation in social affairs as socialism will entail. These doubters, who called us the impossibilists, went on to waste most of this century trying to achieve what is possible for the workers under capitalism. Many of them united within the newly-formed Labour Party (or Labour Representation Committee as it called itself in those early days). They offered to the working class the naive hope of a reformed and decent version of the profit system. Their moment of victory, when government power became theirs, was the moment of cruel truth. Labour governments, as all but the most naive must now see, have done nothing but act in accordance with the dictates of the economic laws of class society.

In such a society you cannot serve both classes' interests; eight Labour governments of this century served one master, the capitalist class. A future Labour government offers no third way between capitalism and the case for socialist revolution as advocated consistently by the Socialist Party. The Labour Party should be abandoned as a useless, dishonest gang of reform-schemers who cannot deliver anything different. The new reformists of the Green Party, with their attempts to evolve a pragmatic path between a clean, balanced environment and the continuation of the market, should be forced to make the crucial choice: either they stick with supporting capitalism and drop all the radical talk, or they transcend mere radical noise-making and embrace socialism. No third way.

Socialism will only come about when there is a majority of socialists ready to take democratic action. Again, there is no other way. The Leninist myth that workers can be forced to be liberated, and then ruled oppressively by so-called proletarian dictators, has been demonstrated to be both wrong and dangerous. Workers do not need to be led: we do not require the established politicians and we do not require left-wing vanguards, like the SWP, with their patronising plans to run a new "workers' state" in our interest. If there is to be change, then the workers must bring it about. If there is to be a socialist revolution, then the majority of the working class must be in on the act.

Building a socialist majority is the task of the Socialist Party. It was in 1904, it was in 1980, it remains so and, if necessary, will still be pursued in the year 2000. Ours is the only party in this country putting forward genuine socialist ideas. We have a duty to spread them as vigorously as we can. We shall continue in the 1990s to put before the workers the plain, principled case for socialism. We shall show that capitalism is not worthy of the workers' respect or support; it is a system of legalised robbery and we, the majority, are the robbed. We shall show that socialism is not just desirable, but is practical. Our job is to apply socialist principles to the problems of everyday life and to show that the alternative will work.

We, the Socialist Party, will proceed with the urgency of men and women who know that the socialist change must be brought about before the profit system kills and injures and impoverishes countless more of our fellow workers. We will be making a noise in the 1990s; the more of us there are, the louder the noise shall be. So, what will you be doing in the 1990s, fellow worker?

The Revolutionary Road to Socialism (1986)

Book Review from the December 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Revolutionary Road to Socialism by Alex Callinicos, (Socialist Workers Party, Second Edition, February 1986)

Formed in 1951 as the Socialist Review Group, changed in 1960 to the International Socialists, the to the Socialist Workers' Party in 1977, they claim to represent the revolutionary socialist tradition in Britain. Callinicos says there are two other "socialist traditions" in Britain — Labourism and Stalinism — and that these have proved to be dead ends. That the Labour Party and the Communist Party are dead ends is true enough, but where is the evidence that they were ever socialist? Come to that, on what grounds do the SWP claim to be socialist?

The SWP attempt to justify their insurrectionary politics with the assumption that the Labour Party has sought to establish "socialism" and failed. According to Callinicos:
Throughout this century working people in Britain have placed their hopes in the Labour Party as a means through which they could improve their lot and achieve a socialist society.
Callinicos concludes that, as the Labour Party have failed to establish socialism, this also proves that socialists cannot use parliament. But his assumption is false. What most working people have really done throughout this century is place their hopes in reformist political parties to improve their lot within capitalism. If some left wingers thought that a Labour government implementing reforms (such as nationalisation) would lead to socialism, then they were mistaken. The reality behind the left wing rhetoric is that if some Labour supporters felt betrayed by Labour governments being run by capitalism, then their hopes were misplaced: it is not the case that the Labour Party changed from being something it was never in the first place. In other words, the Labour Party has never had a mandate for socialism and has always been committed to capitalism.

So it is not, as Callinicos claims, that the parliamentary road to socialism has failed; it has never been tried. The sad but indisputable fact is that there has never been more than a small minority of socialists in any country. But Callinicos sees "revolutionary situations" even when the workers themselves do not want it:
So, in 1918-19 the Social Democratic Party in Germany, elected by massive workers' votes, allied themselves with the Imperial General Staff of the army to prevent the workers taking power.
Callinicos argues that the SWP stand for "socialism from below" and he endorses Marx's claim that socialism is "the self-emancipation of the working class"; but there is one contradictory qualification — the leading role of the party. This enables Callinicos to maintain that the Russian revolution of 1917 was a revolution for socialism which later degenerated when the revolution failed to spread into the West. But here again, his assumption is false. Whatever the Bolsheviks may have said or done, most of the workers and peasants in Russia wanted peace, bread and land—not socialism. In any case, self-emancipation and leadership contradict each other, and this has caused much Leninist ink to be spilt on the dangers of "substitutionalism" — the party substituting its own wishes for those of the masses because the party knows best. This totalitarian strategy can be avoided if the majority of workers know what they are doing before the socialist revolution takes place, in which case leadership becomes irrelevant.

Above all, the irrelevance of the SWP can be seen in their conception of socialism: "For what is socialism?" asks Callinicos, and he replies:
With the frills removed, it is people collectively running society. Instead of being prisoners of anarchic capitalist competition and the mad rush of profit at any cost, it is working together for the common good. Our tremendous co-operative power would be controlled, not by a ruling class in the search for ever greater profits, but democratically and for the fulfillment of human need.
This is about as sound a definition of socialism as you will get from the SWP but, as with other statements coming from them, extreme caution should be used. Profits will still be made, even if these go only to the state. Profits will still be made because workers will still be paid wages. Workers are exploited through the wages system and the wages system presupposes that the workers do not possess the means of production. Moreover, what would happen of the workers went on strike for higher wages in this "socialist" society, and who would they be striking against? Although the SWP recognise that Russia is state capitalist, it is clear that their conception of "socialism" means state capitalism. There can only be one conclusion. The SWP represent the state capitalist ideology of Leninism and, as such, are yet another dead end for those seeking the revolutionary road to socialism.
Lew Higgins

The Kinder Scout Trespass (1982)

From the April 1982 issue of the Socialist Standard

This year sees the fiftieth anniversary of the legendary Kinder Scout Trespass. On 24 April, hundreds of ramblers are expected to converge on Hayfield, in the Peak District, to celebrate the event. It was from here that the original march began, a march that to end with six of its members being jailed. This action caused a sensation at the time and controversy still occasionally flickers, in exchanges between old members in the Rucksack, the journal of the Ramblers Association. However, the trespass has now become part of the folklore of the rambling fraternity.

Kinder Scout is a high point in the Peak District, overlooking the densely populated lowlands of industrial Lancashire. It is claimed that on a clear day the suburbs of Manchester can be seen from the summit. So it is natural that workers in these crowded area should turn to the hills for an escape from dreary surroundings and for a chance to breathe clean air. But these same hills were the cherished grouse moors, playground of the rich. Here the wealthy indulged in an annual blood sacrifice, politely called sport. Here half-tame birds were driven into a circle of guns: it may be possible to miss them, but it is very difficult. The birds had to be closely guarded and allowed to breed in comfort and safety, in case a carelessly placed proletarian should cheat an aristocratic gun of its prey.

Clashes between walkers and landowners were not confined to the North; but here it took on a more brutal form, with actual assaults by gamekeepers on walkers. Some of the contemporary reports of clashes with gamekeepers make alarming reading. Many of the guardians of the moors seem to have bordered on the insane. Thus it was against a background of great bitterness that the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass took place.

Walking in the country, usually called rambling, was a well established pastime, dating from the nineteenth century or even earlier; but in the 1930s a new name came in from the Continent—"hiking'. For a decade hiking became the in thing. The song I'm Happy When I'm Hiking became a hit, and paved the way for a host of imitations. The hiker, with his "hiker's uniform" of open-necked shirt, baggy trousers and rolled down socks, became a familiar figure, not only in reality but on posters and advertisements. They were a godsend to music hall comics and along with nudist camps, another 1930's phenomenon, contributed generously to the subject matter of seaside post cards. They were, in fact, an example of uni-sex, with men and women sporting the same casual outfit. They can still be seen on old newsreels and on nostalgic television programmes. One of the attractions of hiking was that it was cheap—particularly appealing in areas of high unemployment.

As a result of the popularity of hiking, political and religious organisations began to see possibilities in hiking clubs as a means of propagating their ideas and gaining members by back door methods. The old rambling clubs had been largely non-political, and are so today, but clubs with political or religious aims sprang up. This reflected continental practice, where such clubs were openly political.

The body which organised the trespass, the British Workers Sports Federation, or BWSF, has been accused of being a Communist Party front organisation. This is hotly denied by others, and there is no point at this distance in trying to sort out the truth or otherwise of this claim. Certainly there were political overtones. Bernard Rothman, who led the trespass, is a Communist as he himself states, but he claims that the BWSF was a very real sports body. True or false, at the subsequent trial of the six people much was made of communist links, and undoubtedly this went against the defendants and reflected the anti-communist hysteria prevailing at the time. The jury at the trial included two brigadier generals, three colonels, two mayors, three captains and eleven country gentlemen—not exactly an unbiased collection. Ten years later they would be singing the praises of the Soviet Union and the Red Army, and expressing admiration for that pillar of democracy, Joseph Stalin. That however lay well in the future; in 1932 they saw in this handful of young men a threat to society.

The details of the trespass were as follows. On the afternoon of 24 April 1932, a Sunday, four hundred people gathered in Hayfield. The ground had already been well prepared. An announcement in the Manchester Evening News was splashed in bold headlines. In the 30s, before radio and television robbed newspapers of much of their importance, evening papers were widely read. Other papers joined in, and leaflets were distributed at railway stations. There was also much chalking of pavements (Chalk was widely favoured for political slogans, before the coming of the aerosol paint spray. It had the advantage of washing away in the rain, so you did not get political slogans years out of date still visible.) Chalking squads were a common sight before an event like this. The official rambling organisations stayed away, but the police turned up in force.

The crowd began to march off in the direction of Kinder Scout, singing the Red Flag and the Internationale as well as the usual songs. On the way up a fight broke out between keepers and demonstrators, in which one keeper was injured. They walked to Kinder Scout, held a meeting, and then returned to Hayfield in a body. It was on return to Hayfield that the arrests were made. There is even disagreement as to whether they actually reached Kinder Scout or Ashop Head, which is 400 feet lower, but it seems unlikely that people with knowledge of the area would make such a mistake. However, doubtless all such disagreements will be absent from the coming re-union.

The Kinder Scout Trespass was a romantic and exciting episode in the long, dour struggle for better access to the mountains. This struggle still goes on. In the fifty years which have passed since that day much progress has been made. Better access to mountains, the creation of national parks and long distance footpaths have brought improvements; there will, in fact, be a fell race over Kinder Scout itself. But fresh problems keep arising. The grubbing up of hedges and ploughing of footpaths in pursuit of greater profits, the wrecking of green lanes by heavy farm machinery, turning them into quagmires, and the ugly concrete buildings of the modern factory farm are just a few examples of this. The whole question of access to the countryside is just one small aspect of the continuing struggle between those who own and those who do not.
Les Dale 

Would you believe it? (2015)

Book Review from the June 2015 issue of the Socialist Standard

'Towards A Science of Belief Systems', by Edmund Griffiths. Palgrave Macmillan. 2014

Edmund Griffiths has recently been a Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford and this philosophical work was written as a product of his research there. His aim is a laudable one:
‘How other people think and feel, both generally and individually, seems to me to be one of the things in life that are most urgent and most compellingly worth knowing’ (p.154).
As such, this is a study about sets of ideas, their component elements and how these elements interlock and lead on from one another. Griffiths contends that the most effective way to understand belief systems – irrespective of their content or nature – is through a method he calls ‘descriptive logic’.  This is an objective method that can be used regardless of whether one agrees with the belief systems being analysed or not.

He uses it to discuss belief systems as varied as Fabianism, Gnosticism, and flying saucers. Here, below, is an illustration of it with regard to alternative historiography, where the proposition A could range, for instance, from the view that Giza is really modelled on Orion’s Belt, to ‘9/11 Truth theories’, to the view that the moon is really an artificial construction:

‘1. Official knowledge is drab, conformist, monolithic, and an obstacle to the free exercise of the imagination and of the sense of wonder.

2. Therefore, official knowledge should be refuted.

3. Official knowledge is incompatible with the proposition that A,

4. and yet some evidence can be assembled which does tend to show thatA.

5. Therefore, A.

6. Therefore, official knowledge is wrong.

7. Therefore, we are once again free to imagine for ourselves and to feel wonder’ (pp.123-4).

Griffiths has developed his descriptive logical method in a way that is underpinned by the Marxist materialist conception of history though he argues that his method is in its early stages and much more work has now to be done (including logical annotations of key representative texts to illustrate how the ideas presented develop, interlock, and link with similar types of argument presented elsewhere).

In style, the book verges from the wry and whimsical at times to the difficult – it is, after all, a theoretical work and one which is academically rigorous. Griffiths is also exceptionally well read and the text is illustrated by references that range from the pronouncements of the North Korean state to quotations from ancient poetry.

The general method and standpoint of Griffiths is not incompatible with our own. In terms of its objective (if not method) it also has some similarity with the theory of systematic ideology developed by Harold Walsby, George Walford and others. This was a group who left the SPGB in the 1940s and who became motivated by a need to understand the ideologies of the modern world – their defining features, how they interlock and particularly the limitations on their spread and development.

We have sparred with the advocates of this theory many times in the past, though ironically this is one book that might have benefited from a consideration of their ideas. This is because – whatever the flaws in their arguments – theirs was one of the very few other attempts to traverse this type of terrain. In essence, they attempted to use a dialectical method to account for why people think as they do, why types of ideas recur persistently in society, and why some seem to attract more adherents than others.

Nevertheless, it is clear Edmund Griffiths has produced a very useful and informative book that represents a significant contribution to the study of belief systems, both ancient and modern.
DAP

Business as usual (1963)

Editorial from the November 1963 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the last few months, the Tory Party has been rent by internal squabbles and has staggered from one crisis to another, culminating in the Profumo affair. No longer the arrogantly confident party who won the 1959 election, it was perhaps inevitable that they (or at least some of them) would thrown some pretty hefty brickbats at Mr. Macmillan, and make strong demands for his resignation. Nevertheless, it did seem that he had weathered the immediate storm and would survive long enough at least to lead the Conservatives at the next general election.

His sudden illness on the eve of the Tory conference changed all that. Within a matter of hours it was know that his resignation was imminent, and almost as quickly the flimsy facade of unity was whipped away and the undignified scramble between the contenders for his position was there for all to see. According to most pressmen present, the conference was gripped with near-hysteria when it was known that the leadership was vacant. Four candidates were in the lists straight away—Butler, Hailsham, Home and Maudling—and touting for support began. Undignified indeed: as bad in that respect as the Labour Party ever was.

Now that the fight is over and Douglas Home has emerged as the Tories' new leader, we may expect frantic efforts to paper over the cracks and present a single face to the electorate, in much the same way that their Labour rivals have done since Wilson took over. When the next election comes it will at least be interesting to see which of them is the more successful in keeping the cracks covered.

And while comparing the two parties, it has been said that the Tory method of choosing a leader is less democratic than Labour's. Be that as it may the thing which matters to both organisations is that the new man will be a sure vote catcher at the next poll, one who can convince working class voters that his party can solve their problems for them. He is the one who will get the rank-and-file support, never mind for the time being the method of appointing him. Here it is that the new Tory leader will not differ very much from his predecessor. Like Macmillan he will tell us that his party will cure our social ills. And just like Macmillan they will fail to do so.

Does it really matter, then , who gas got the Conservative leadership laurel now? There was certainly plenty of furore and speculation both in and out of the Tory Party at the time, and we were constantly reminded of this man's qualities as against that man's faults. But we seem to remember that "bright boys" have held the reins in the past, and the ills of capitalism have still been there when they were gone. So we will answer our own question. No, it doesn't really matter very much. For the Capitalist Class it will be business as usual. For the Working class exploitation as usual.


Why Study Economics? (1951)

From the September 1951 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are sometimes asked why we should spend our time studying economics, and told that there are enough problems and evils in Capitalism for us to attack without wasting our time on such a dry-as-dust subject as economics. We reply, in the first place, by saying that we do not find economics dry-as-dust, but, on the contrary, we find it fascinating, as it is the only way by which the world we live in can be explained. Secondly, it is only be a knowledge of economics that we can explain the poverty and exploitation of the working class, and, what is far more important, how that poverty and exploitation can be ended.

The economics we study is that first of all laid down by one of the founders of scientific Socialism, Karl Marx. The first sentence of the first chapter of the first volume of his monumental work "Capital" says:—
"The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails presents itself as "am immense accumulation of commodities," its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity."
Marx then proceeds to examine the commodity. He strips it of all incidental factors—shape, size, quality, use and so on, and finds that all commodities have one thing in common. They are the product of human labour. This characteristic is common to all commodities, and Marx proceeds to examine the exchange relationship between them. As commodities have only one thing that is measurable in common, it must be this that governs the exchange of commodities. Marx lays down that the value of a commodity in exchange must be determined by the amount of socially necessary labour involved in its production. "Socially necessary," mark you, that is, labour under the prevailing conditions and with average skill and produced at an average rate,

Then, one commodity emerges that is different to all others—the commodity labour power—the physical and mental energies of the worker. This, too, is exchanged like any other commodity, and its exchange is governed by the amount of socially necessary labour involved in its production. Here we have the secret of the poverty of the working class. On the whole they can never receive in wages more than enough to keep them going week by week as members of the working class. Surely this should be obvious to you from your own experience. You know that you can never save enough to be able to say that when you wish it you can leave the arena of wagedom and start to enjoy a full and free life. Wages are, in fact, the badge of slavery and slavery will last as long as the wages system remains.

There are, of course, some, a few, not more than 10 per cent of the population, whose position is very different from that of the workers. For them, and in their interests the workers work. For them, the workers produce what we know as surplus value, that is, the amount of wealth produced by the workers over and above what they take in the form of wages. Surplus value produces for the capitalist, rent, interest and profit and the aim of the capitalist is to always increase the amount of surplus value produced. Thus we have speeding up and intensification of the labour process. But the surplus value produced has to be sold as no capitalist wishes to hold on to stocks of commodities produced in his factories. This leads to rivalries on the international field, a struggle for markets, for sources of raw materials, and, at times, for sources of cheap labour power. This is the root of war in the modern world.

You will see now the value of a study of economics—the most valuable and interesting study there can be. In this article we have only touched on the fringe of the subject. There is plenty more for you to learn and we earnestly ask you to get down to the job of learning. We want Socialism established quickly and you are the people who have to establish it. We know that, in Marx's words, "Every beginning is difficult," but in the case of the study of economics the beginning is much worth while.
Clifford Groves

A Common Objection Answered. (1914)

From the July 1914 issue of the Socialist Standard

Opposition at Socialist meetings often takes the form of asking for a detailed plan of Socialism, and on receiving the reply that none can be given, the opposer declares triumphantly that Socialism is impracticable.

Now, as a matter of fact, any forecast of the details of a future system of society will be vitiated by its being coloured by conceptions engendered by our present environment. As all our ideas are suggested by our material surroundings, past and present, we cannot mentally project ourselves into a form of society that has never yet been in existence.

Further, no detailed plan is necessary for the attainment of Socialism. We know that Capitalism was brought about by the revolution that destroyed the old society, Feudalism. Were the pioneers of that revolution, the men who fought the battle of the rising bourgeoisie against the feudal nobility, prepared with a plan of capitalist society? Had they in mind such details as wheat corners, massacres, and Liberator swindles? No, it was sufficient for the purpose to wrest the political machinery out of the hands of the feudal nobility. The details of Capitalism have been settled by the capitalists themselves as they have arisen. Similarly, it is sufficient for the working class to capture the political machinery and to seize the mean of production and distribution. The details of Socialist society will then be settled by the people as they arise. The broad basis of Socialism, viz., the common ownership of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, and their democratic control by the people, is sufficient for the present.

Moreover, the opposer is not usually very consistent, for he is probably either a Liberal or a Conservative. If the former he would at the last general election have voted for Home Rule for Ireland, without having any knowledge of the details of the present Home Rule Bill. If a Conservative he would have voted for Tariff Reform, of which Mr. Balfour has declared no details can be given thus: "I may say incidentally that I am not going to be bullied by our opponents into doing what they never think of doing, which is to give an account of the precise details of their procedure some years hence".
H. T. Edwards.

Ownership and Political Power. (1926)

From the June 1926 issue of the Socialist Standard

We have received an Edinburgh journal called "The Proletariat," the organ of the British Section of the Socialist Labour Party. This is a body which has "existed" since 1912 and broke away from the now defunct Socialist Labour Party. Why they call themselves the British Section it is hard to judge, because the other Socialist Labour Party (in America) repudiate them.

"The State of the S.P.G.B." is the title of an article purporting to deal with us. The state of this British Section of the S.L.P. may be judged from their criticism which we quote:—
"To show far misconception dominates the S.P.G.B., Engels, in the closing chapters of Origin of the Family points out that the State derives all its substance via taxation from the economic factors. These dominate the State which includes the Army and Navy. In a word, condition them in the fullest meaning of the term. And, further, the capitalist class to-day, who are the economic masters of all wealth, mark you, the civil power, subject that military thing to their requirements, increase or decrease it as the case demands. The owners of the economic wealth factors are masters of the situation.
"The S.P.G.B. position that 'dispossession necessitates disarmament,' suggest that it is the armed force that dominates the situation, and consequently, from the Marxian position, must be ruled out."
Can criticism be more idiotic?

Ownership depends upon power to maintain possession, therefore the capitalists depend upon their control of political power, which gives control of the armed forces. As Marx says in the Communist Manifesto, the first step in the emancipation of the working class is the winning of political supremacy.

Engels, in his "Retrospect," points out the all-importance of political action for the purpose of wresting control from the hands of the employing class.

The recent general strike completely justifies our position that those who control the armed forces dominate the situation. Hence a capitalist victory.

Our critics quote from the January, 1925, issue of the "Socialist Standard" on disarmament. Let us give the full statement from that issue:
"Ownership to-day consists not in occupation but in mere legal title, meaningless, unless recognised and upheld by the forces of State. The overthrow of the capitalist ownership, therefore, and the establishment of common ownership, involves the capture of the State by the working-class. Dispossession necessitates disarmament. The organisation of the working-class must, therefore be a political organisation i.e., a Socialist Party."
Like all other species of Anarchists the so-called S.L.P. of Edinburgh offer no alternative to political action.
Adolph Kohn