Sunday, October 4, 2015

Also rans (1990)

The Caught in the Act column from the February 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard

ALSO RANS
Just in case, in this eleventh year of Thatcher rule, there is any misunderstanding: there is only one Prime Minister. But there is no restriction on the number of those who regard themselves as admirably suited for the job and who plot their future accordingly. Indeed, when a new leader takes over it is often fascinating to learn how, from the humblest beginnings, they nurtured the hope to make it to the top of the greasy pole of politics, no matter how many necks they trod in the process. Nervous readers will have seen one implication of this: that lowly MPs like Harry Greenway and Terry Dicks cannot be counted out as future occupants of Number Ten, and they may hope that the best such publicity-crazed Members can hope for is to go down in history as what have been known, since a TV serial of the [same] name some years ago, as Nearly Men.

One of the most prominent of the Nearly Men of the Tory Party (whose ranks are thick with them) is Willie Whitelaw, whose removal from the running was so deliberately serpentine as to be notably less traumatic than that of most of his deposed colleagues. Whitelaw traded on his reputation for unflinching loyalty to his leader—although his recently published memoirs reveal an admiration for Thatcher which is, to say the least, qualified. He also depended for his survival on always trying to appear slightly less intelligent than he actually is, another way of saying that his image as the bluff, cheerful, kindly Teddy-bear of politics was a deception, a front behind which he carefully assessed his chances and plotted his moves.

But when his big chance came the Teddy-bear was shackled by that image; in the 1975 election for the Tory leadership Whitelaw did not stand in the first ballot because, it was said, it would have been disloyal to do so. In fact he was counting on Thatcher making a poor showing on the ballot and so promoting him as the front runner on the second ballot. But Thatcher's campaign had been too well organised and by the time Whitelaw entered the contest her bandwagon was unstoppable. So he didn't get to be Tory leader and all he had to console him was his loyalty to a new leader, his riches, his stately home, his estates and his cunning.

Whitelaw is a past master at the old trick of pretending that all his possessions are not really his but held in trust for the rest of us. This may cause him to give his servants and other employees a rather easier time than they might get from a less guileful employer; doubtless his retainers are well looked after in their old age—not thrown out into the Cumbrian snow when their working life is done, that sort of thing. But it is also a contribution to one of the most widespread and pernicious deceptions of capitalism: that private property does not exist, nor does class division, nor privilege, nor inequality. Whitelaw could practise that deception more successfully than most, perhaps because those he deceived really did believe that he was less intelligent than he really is.

UNSQUEEZED PIPS
There is a Nearly Man in the Labour Party who is as cuddly as Whitelaw but who has a different reputation. Denis Healey ends his political career as a genial, wisecracking thug, an ex-member of the Communist Party (when it was the smart thing to be) turned into the scourge of Labour's leftwing (now that it is the even smarter thing to be). In his tireless defence of the interests of the British capitalist class—of their possession of the most destructive available military force, of their need on occasion to depress working class living standards—Healey was adept at getting himself in the news by encapsulating his ideas in punchy, gutter-press phrases. Defending his policies as Chancellor of the Exchequer against leftwingers who were, as usual, dismayed that capitalism cannot be run in a way contrary to its nature, Healey told his critics that they were "out of their tiny Chinese minds". He had clearly forgotten that, as newly-appointed Chancellor, he had himself stimulated those leftwingers with his promise to squeeze the rich until the pips squeaked.

However, when Labour lost the 1979 election it was apparent that, far from their pips being squeezed, the rich had actually increased their share of wealth; which meant that the poor's share had decreased. Towards the end of that government Healey laid down the policy that pay rises were to be no higher than 5 percent, which proved to be the last straw for the unions, and so conceived the Winter of Discontent. His programme of cuts in government expenditure made him the forerunner of Thatcher's Chancellors. At that time, Healey's famous sense of humour did not desert him; his Chief Secretary. Joel Barnett, later recalled how he would ask his underlings to think up "ripping wheezes" which were his name for disguised cuts in spending, measures designed to make it seem that the cuts were not happening. A year or so after Labour lost the election Healey, still in joking form, refused to cross a picket line, quipping that he did not believe in strike-breaking. It dod not seem to bother him that his government had used troops and Green Goddesses to break the fire service strike in 1977 and that his Prime Minister Callaghan had openly urged workers to cross picket lines whenever they felt like doing a bit of individual strike-breaking.

In spite of Healey's shabby record it is arguable that when Callaghan resigned the leadership after the 1979 election the Labour Party would have been well advised, by the gruesome standards of capitalist politics which say that the best leader is the one who, whatever the methods, wins the most elections, to have made Healey leader instead of Michael Foot. As it was, Healey was left as a Nearly Man, raking over his wretched memories, watching in probable irritation as Foot blundered into his party's worst defeat for fifty years.

A FUTURE NEARLY MAN?
At this point Caught in the Act would like to indulge in a little forecasting about a possible future member of the Tory Nearly Men. Kenneth Clarke was put in charge of the Department of Health after what were acknowledged as some crude public relations blunders by his predecessors, notably the unlamented John Moore. Clarke, of the overweight, cigar-puffing nonchalance, had the reputation of a supremely accomplished communicator, just the man to convince us that it is not what the government does which damages us but the fact that the damage is made to sound attractive and restorative. At his great moment of opportunity Clarke's moon face beamed out from every newspaper as the man of the future, the next Prime Minister but one.

All that was changed by his handling of the dispute with the ambulance crews, which, as ambulance workers piled up an overwhelming public support, exposed Clarke as desperately inept at the crafty game of political deception. Memories were revived of Selwyn Lloyd's ill-advised battle with the nurses and what then happened to him in the Night of the Long Knives. Clarke's colleagues in the Cabinet—his rivals for the top job—were positively underwhelming in their support for him. Not for the first time, to be spoken of as a rising Tory was like being told that you have a terminal illness. We therefore nominate Kenneth Clarke, who has so grievously disappointed his admirers through his lack of guile, as the first Nearly man of the 1990s.

Nearly Men (so far there has been only one Nearly Woman—Barbara Castle when she was in charge of the Department of Employment and composed Labour's union-hobbling proposals in In Place of Strife) are nurtured on the assumption that things would have been different—better—if they had been the one to reach the top of the Greasy Pole. There is no evidence to sustain that for it is not personalties which count but the basis on which those personalities try to realise their ambitions. That is why all leaders fail to solve the problems characteristic of capitalism and why there are so many Nearly Men to trouble history with their piquant grumbles about What If and If Only.
Ivan


Fuzzing the Issues (1980)

From the January 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is probably fair to say that public lack of confidence in the police is more widespread now than it has been for some years. The reasons for this are a crop of cases which go well beyond the sporadic exposures of police corruption and reveal violent handling by the police of prisoners and others. During an anti-National Front demonstration in Southall, Blair Peach died after being beaten around the head, and witnesses have stated that it was policemen who did the beating. The Kirkby division of Merseyside police has figured in several allegations of brutality: in one case a man died who had been arrested for drunkenness, while in another, the victim 'only' had his spleen and one kidney removed after being 'interviewed' by the arresting officers. In Glasgow a policeman resigned in disgust at the way other officers had treated a man who died in police custody. 

Part of the disquiet is due to the way such accusations are dealt with, for it is the police who police the police. In the Glasgow case, a sergeant was charged with culpable homicide and acquitted, but usually an internal inquiry is all that takes place. After the Blair Peach incident, a member of the Special Patrol Group, an 'elite' anti-demo squad, was suspended from duty, but nobody has been charged with murder or even assault. 

'Accountability' is a word beloved by liberal supporters of capitalism when discussing the police force. If public rather than internal inquiries were held, they argue, the police would be seen to be answerable and subject to the laws of the land just like ordinary citizens. Even politicians who as a rule staunchly support police actions will sometimes join in the call for a public inquiry, since it will simply 'clear the police's name'. 

Such demands can be placed in their proper perspective if we ask ourselves exactly what capitalism wants from its police force. The police exist to enforce the laws promulgated by the state with the aim of conserving the capitalists' rnonopoly of the means of production. The police must therefore be as efficient as possible in protecting property (which means predominantly capitalist property) and in apprehending those who take what legally belongs to someone else. Whether such efficiency expresses itself in bending the law and framing innocent people is of no concern unless it becomes sa blatant that public respect for the police is called into question. 

For the capitalists also want the workers — those excluded from owning more than insignificant amounts of property — to regard the police as the protectors of all, high or low. The police arrest not only the perpetrators of bank frauds but also those who mug old age pensioners in the street. They protect individual workers from the wrath and potential violence of picket lines, and also control crowds and keep the peace at football matches. We are, the conventional wisdom runs, all equal before the law, and the police — who are subject to it themselves — do not discriminate in the way they enforce it. 

The capitalists and their apologists scoff at any suggestion that such a description is a myth, and staunchly uphold the honesty and reliability of the police. When this honesty is called into question, it is defended even more strenuously. But just occasionally it becomes impossible to keep up the pretence any longer, and the bent or brutal copper is made an example of and made to resign — or even sent to prison for a stretch. Members of the police force who are found out in this way are characterised as 'rotten apples', the assumption being that such behaviour is quite alien to the vast majority of the police. 

However, the view that the rotten apples are few and far between simply isn't supported by the evidence. An American commission investigating police corruption in 1970 discovered that in one section of Brooklyn, 73 out of 75 policemen were regularly taking small bribes from gamblers and supermarkets for turning a blind eye to lawbreaking. The way bent policemen are exposed is so often the result of chance that many must go undetected, since they never make a crucial slip. For example, Soho's notorious Sergeant Challenor was only exposed in 1963 because one of the people he tried to fit up was an active member of the National Council for Civil Liberties. (Challenor was charged with perverting the course of justice but found unfit to plead through 'insanity'.) 

Such framing of the innocent may happen because of the pressures on the police. Financial reward, promotion and improved status are usually achieved in the force by results — which means a large number of arrests and convictions. Policemen are workers who are forced to sell their mental and physical energies for a wage, and they suffer all the poverty and oppression entailed by such a status. If the prospects for a wage increase will be assisted by a higher rate of solved cases, then the temptation may be hard to resist to bend the rules a little, and gradually to do so more and more. 

The main pressures on the police, however, are due to the kind of society in which they and we live. A society based, as capitalism is, on oppression, violence and inequality will yield crime and policing in its own image. A century and a quarter ago, Karl Marx wondered "what a state of society is that which knows of no better instrument for its own defence than the hangrnan?" And what a state of society is that which relies for its defence on violence and corruption on the part of those who are supposed to ensure the safety of all its citizens? The bent copper — whether one who frames the innocent or takes bribes from lawbreakers — is merely responding to the cut-throat, dog eat dog ethics of capitalism. 

But a police force without corruption — were such a thing possible — would still be an instrument of class warfare, designed to protect the capitalist class's monopoly of property and power. This is seen most starkly in the way the police harass pickets and give protection to blacklegs, thus helping to blunt the efficacy of strike action. Grunwick was just one of a long line of such cases. To expect capitalist laws and capitalist police to act in any other way is utopian. The way the law defends property was revealed in a judgement against squatters handed down by Lord Denning in 1971: 
If homelessness were once admitted as a defence to trespass, no one's house could be safe . . .  the courts must, for the sake of law and order, take a firm stand. They must refuse to admit the plea of necessity to the hungry and the homeless, and trust that their distress will be relieved by the charitable and the good."
(Quoted in J.A.G. Griffith, The Politics of the Judiciary)
Rarely has ruling class interest be en expressed so transparently. 

Besides the possibility of being framed or beaten up, anyone who comes into contact with the police runs the risk of being held in prison while awaiting trial. Judges usually accept police opposition to bail, even where, should the verdict be guilty, the sentence will not be a custodial one. One such case is summarised by Barry Cox in Civil Liberties in Britain
A man was charged with conspiring to rob and possession of a firearm. He had no previous convictions, yet the police successfully opposed bail four times before they withdrew their objections — after the defendant had spent a month in prison. At his trial the judge stopped the hearing and directed the jury to acquit him. But by then he had lost his job and council house, his wife had had a mental breakdown and his son was having to have psychiatric treatment.
It is also worth pointing out the extent to which the police actually create the law as well as enforce it. Picketing is a case in point — the law allows much latitude to the police to decide on the spot what does and does not constitute reasonable picketing. The conspiracy laws are so all-embracing that they allow the police to charge people on suspicion that they planned to commit an offence — even if they don't actually commit it. The centuries-old vagrancy laws come close to giving the police carte blanche to arrest anyone on 'suspicion' that they may be intending to commit an offence, and they have in recent years been interpreted in a racist manner as a device to keep young black people off the streets.

There are also things which the police do without legal justification. Nobody is obliged to go to a police station unless they have been arrested , not even to 'help police with their inquiries'. There is in law no such thing as a general warrant — but the police are in practice allowed to search houses for anything incriminating, not just for items connected with a specific crime. It is not illegal to hold meetings in the street — but that didn't stop two Socialist Party of Great Britain members in Bolton in September from being charged with obstructing the highway. Such is the capitalist concept of freedom of speech, and such is the grubby work of enforcing capitalism 's laws. 

Workers should reject the liberal view that a publicly accountable police force could be turned from a tool of oppression into a bastion of liberty. The police are a class creation and will always remain so. It will be a testimony to the human and comradely nature of socialist society that it will require no policing and no police. 
Paul Bennett

Enoch Powell exposed (1970)

Book Review from the January 1970 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Rise of Enoch Powell, by Paul Foot. Penguin 4s.

Enoch Powell is a hypocrite and an opportunist as Paul Foot shows in this short book.

Powell entered politics after the war as a Tory Imperialist who opposed giving India independence and even suggested how it might be reconquered. But the mid-fifties, however, he had abandoned these illusions and was a Conservative Cabinet Minister. During this period the late Sir Cyril Osborne began his ranting and raving about coloured immigration leading to a "coffee-coloured" Britain. Powell, on the other hand, said nothing controversial on this issue. Foot can find no speech of his against coloured immigration or integration till 1964. In fact Powell was Minister of Health for three years and, as Foot points out:
During Powell's régime at the Ministry of Health, Health Service recruitment drives for doctors and nurses in the West Indies and from India and Pakistan were not slowed down in anyway.
What led Powell to change his mind and make a series of sensational racialist speeches in 1968 and 1969? Foot suggests that it was sheer opportunism. The Tory victory at Smethwick in the 1964 election had shown that colour prejudice was a vote-winner. Powell, says Foot, resolved to exploit this in a bid to become leader of the Tory party.

At one time Powell could have been regarded with some respect because of the frank way he spoke out against futile attempts to reform capitalism. Capitalism, his message went, runs on profits and Governments should recognise this. Socialists, of course, agree that capitalism runs on profits and have always said that any Government, be it Labour or Tory, would be forced to recognise this in its policies.

This is where Powell is shown up as a hypocrite. Foot quotes some of Powell's many speeches in favour of the "free movement of labour". In the Sunday Telegraph of 3rd May, 1964 he asked:
Instead of trying to reverse economic trends, might it not be better to reinforce them by helping and encouraging the man who needs a job to move to the place where someone is anxious to employ him?
Powell often argued that it was foolish to try to stop the drift to the South East. As if the same economic trends which brought workers from Ireland, Scotland and the North to London and the Midlands did not also bring workers from the West Indies and India!

What is worrying is not so much what Powell thinks but that millions of workers follow him on the colour issue. The task of Socialists remains to point out that colour doesn't matter and that workers have no country.
Adam Buick


Who needs religious morality? (1984)

From the November 1984 issue of the Socialist Standard

The capitalist system of society, with its production of wealth for sale at a profit on the market, has not always existed. Contrary to common belief, such social features as wage labour, the cash nexus and capitalist companies are relatively new developments in social evolution, To the citizen of England in the early fifteenth century, the economic characteristics which modern British workers are conditioned to regard as natural and inevitable simply did not exist.

Prior to capitalism the feudal mode of production prevailed. Under the feudal system all land was owned, theoretically at least, by the king. He allowed members of the feudal ruling class—the aristocracy—to control areas of land on his behalf. Those who laboured on the land were peasants, obliged to contribute most of what they produced to the landlord, leaving the remainder for their own subsistence. Feudal Britain was almost entirely dominated by agrarian production; neither industrial manufacture nor trade played any significant economic role. Most agricultural production was arable: in short, producing food for the domestic population was the chief feudal concern. It would be no exaggeration to say that it was the emergence of the European woollen cloth market, centred in Antwerp (the commercial capital of the Holy Roman Empire), that had the most profound effect on the transformation from feudal to capitalist production in Britain. As arable farming was contracted to make way for sheep, as peasants' arable strips and common lands were enclosed to allow room for the new, relatively massive pastoral farms, and as the landlord increasingly lost social power in relation to the merchant, the imperatives of capitalist trade—caring for nothing but profit and prepared to trample on tradition for the sake of commerce capitalism came to life. As early as the fourteenth century the export of woollen cloth began to be significant: in the 1390s over 43,000 sacks of woollen cloth were exported; by the early 1500s the figure had increased to 84,789 sacks; in the years 1538-42, 118,000 sacks were exported—accounting for 92 per cent of exported wool. With the rise of merchant trading, the priorities of sale and profit shook the social stability of the medieval slumber: the rise of capitalist trade transformed peasants into landless labourers, robbed of their strips by landlords who were forced into commercial avarice by the dictates of the market. Propertyless, the peasants had no option but to offer themselves as hirelings to whoever could afford the price of their mental and physical energies. The class of wage slaves was born. 

The morality of feudalism placed value on social routine. The king's power, and therefore the power of the ruling class which owed feudal allegiance to him, was justified by the theory of divine right. Why was the king on top? Because a god ordained that he should be. And as the feudal god determined that the few should live in privilege, so it was His Holy Word that the poor should accept their lot with humility and deference. Feudal ethics left little room for the prospect of social mobility: inherited privilege and ordained poverty were not to be interfered with by social action. The Roman Catholic code of ethics condemned trade, moneylending for interest (usury) and the general idea that those who were not affluent should pursue riches at the expense of others. Catholicism was not a business morality, but one concerned with the perpetuation of class rule by undisturbed custom. St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic moralist, argued that "immoderate love of possessing" is covetous and "covetousness is a sin". His colleague, St. Antoninus, stated that "If the object of the trader is principally cupidity , which is the root of all evil, then certainly trade itself is evil". Until 1545 it was illegal for bankers (or moneylenders) in London to lend money for interest: there were cases of men being imprisoned for engaging in such practices. In an age in which the trader and the banker had little or no role, religious morality reflected the material interests of the land barons and the hereditary rulers. 

With the rise of capitalism came the birth of a new morality. The ethic of capitalism was the holy scroll which the new legalised robbers wrapped around themselves to cover their naked class thievery. Now, there is a school of thought, dating back to the writings of those far from unreasonable social thinkers, Max Weber and R.H. Tawney, which contends that the emergence of the capitalist ethic—protestantism, and especially Calvinist puritanism—gave rise to capitalism. This is to mistake cause for effect or, to be more precise, to ignore dialectical interaction between economic and intellectual forces (both of which are material) and to present an idealistic interpretation of history, that is, one which assumes that ideas determine material development. The idea of capitalism did not give rise to the new social order. It was the evolution of the new system, generated by the contradictions between the emerging world market and the anachronistic social relationships of feudalism, which gave rise to new ethics. 

The morality of capitalism reflected the class interest of those whose affluence was derived from surplus value—rent, interest and profit. The old feudal ethics were swept aside, much to the displeasure of the aristocratic remnants who maintained their moral whining for the old system of parasitism well into the nineteenth century. According to the new morals there was no contradiction at all between becoming rich at the expense of others and being morally pure: "O ye rich citizens, we tell you from Him, whose title is Rich in Mercy, that ye may be at once rich and holy", proclaimed the protestant preacher, Joseph Hall. The Nonconformist preacher, Richard Steele, urges capitalists "to be most happy in your shop and business and drive the nail whilst it is going. But direct all to a right, the honour of God, the Public Good as well as your Private Commodity, and then every step and stroke in your trade is sanctified". The protestant ethic of justification by faith left morality to the conscience of the individual: it you can kid yourself that your actions are motivated by love of god, only the outward expression of "simple faith" is required to ensure moral righteousness. In his 'Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses', the celebrated spokesman for the new capitalist theology, John Calvin. justified usury, rejecting the claims of those Christians who still hung on to the old feudal morality: 
... those who think differently may object, that we must abide by God's judgement, when he generally prohibits all usury to his people. l reply, that the question is only as to the poor, and consequently, if we have to do with the rich, that usury is freely permitted. (London, 1852 edn, Vol l, p.151.) 
And so it came to pass that this god, invented by men to give moral backing to their class actions, had one law for the poor—who must not lend money for interest—and another for the capitalists. 

As capitalism evolved, especially when it entered its industrial phase, the morality of the ruling class became more and more based upon the principles of profit as a reward for righteousness and thrift, humility and faith being the best virtues for the propertyless majority. The Church went hand in hand with the state, following the industrial capitalists in all of their sordid efforts to enrich themselves at the expense of others. And, as Bishop Sprat wrote in 1667, in his History of the Royal Society
If our Church should be an enemy to commerce, intelligence, discovery, navigation, or any sort of mechanics, how could it be fit for the present genius of this nation? 
As men, women and children were forced to labour in the most filthy, dangerous and undignified conditions, the churches blessed those who profited from such exploitation and counselled the exploited to accept their fate in obedience — for the righteous wage slave here on earth would be rewarded with paradise beyond the grave! The Church controlled education before 1870 and, in the age before mass broadcasting or the popular press, it fell to the religious bodies to spread information to the workers. Despite "Thou shalt not kill", the moralists of 1914 found it within themselves to justify the slaughter of lives for the sake of the material advancement of the ruling class. Indeed, the sight of vicars blessing bombs has not been an uncommon one during this century of ethical hypocrisy. In 1916, when workers were conscripted to fight in the war, the Seventh Day Adventists (a small, fundamentalist Christian sect) refused to fight on the grounds that 
As a Christian Church, believing in the undiminished authority and perpetuity of the moral law, given by God himself in the Ten Commandments, we hold that we are thereby forbidden to take part in combatant service in time of war. (Quoted in Seventh Day Adventists in Time of War by F. Wilcox, Washington DC, 1936.) 
Ironically, more pragmatic Christian theologians were appointed to sit on tribunals and do their best to drive the fundamentalists away from their politically unacceptable position. In fact, the position taken by the Seventh Day Adventists demonstrates very clearly why it is that morals, which are always presented as absolute precepts, are relative standards of social behaviour, adapted over the years to fit in with the class needs of different rulers. A striking modem example is the attitude of Islamic morality towards commerce. R. Levy points out that "The Koran forbids as a deadly sin all taking of increment as distinguished from . . . transfer for equivalents" (The Social Structure of Islam, Cambridge, 1962, p 257). This has not prevented the extensive growth of banking and interest-taking in the Islamic countries in modem times. 

Socialism is not a moral proposition based on absolute values but the product of a class analysis of capitalist society and its material contradictions. Once we have socialism there will be no need to advocate "socialist ethics": the people of the world will live their lives unfettered by the certainties of dogma. 
Steve Coleman

Lewis Henry Morgan and the last 100 years (1977)

From the February 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

One hundred years ago, in March 1877, Morgan's final work, Ancient Society, appeared. Morgan was not a Socialist, but his book was the result of objective investigation into mankind and its social institutions. If anything, he was religious. The book is dedicated to the Rev. Mcllvaine, DD, a close friend, and describes the evolution of society in approximately 600 pages. Marx and Engels praised the work, and Engels, writing in the 1884 preface of his own work The Origin of the Family, said Morgan "in his own way had discovered afresh in America the materialist conception of history discovered by Marx forty years ago". Marx intended to present the result of Morgan's researches in the light of his own conclusions, but his death in 1883 prevented it. Engels took over the task and based The Origin of the Family on Morgan, but went far beyond Morgan by showing the political and economic implications, the changing political systems arising from the historic development of property, the emergence of social classes and consequently the State. 

Working independently, Morgan provided the scientific corroboration of Marx's theories. He was the founder of the science of anthropology, but his work was largely ignored on both sides of the Atlantic when it was realized that his theories and discoveries clashed with the ideas and interests of the ruling class. The established capitalist view was that religion, property and the family are as old as man himself, and these institutions had always existed and were unchanging elements in society. Scientific ideas which challenged this concept were treated with hostility. Morgan, a Republican Senator and lawyer, spent forty years on the preparation of his book, his sole purpose being to explain the evolutionary process, but in doing so he inadvertently committed the cardinal sin of exposing the working of society. He showed that the idea of property had undergone the same growth and development as had society generally, and was far removed from being an eternal category: 
Commencing at zero in savagery the fashion for the possession of property as the representative of accumulated subsistence has now become dominant over the human mind in civilised races."
(Ancient Society, p. vii preface. MacMillan, 1877.) 
Part 4 of the book goes into greater detail and investigates the growth of the idea. The growth of property is shown to be closely connected with the increase of invention and discovery, and with the improvement of social institutions, commencing with the stage defined as Savagery. Human progress from a state of ignorance in Savagery slowly advanced as men gained experience, as nature forced them to obtain subsistence or perish. The procuring of the means of subsistence is intimately associated with the idea of property in the very early stages of man's development. The gradual accumulation of knowledge leading to greater control over nature pushes society along through its various stages up to Civilization: the idea of property is no longer based on subsistence but on its social power. 
Since the advent of civilisation the outgrowth of property has been so immense, its form so diversified, its uses so expanding, and its management so intelligent in the interests of its owners, that it has become on the part of the people an unmanageable power. The human mind stands bewildered in the presence of its own creation, The time will come nevertheless when human intelligence will rise to the mastery over property, and define the relations of the State to the property it protects, as well as the obligations and the limits of the rights of its owners. The interests of society are paramount to individual interests, and the two must be brought in to just and harmonious relations. A mere property career is not the final destiny of mankind, if progress is to be the law of the future as it has been of the past. (Ancient Society, p. 552)
Views like these, backed up by factual evidence coming from a capitalist politician who was a rich man in his own right, shocked the capitalist class at the time. It was just as well that Morgan secured an audience at which he shook hands with the Pope in 1871. He certainly would not have received one after his book was published in 1877. These ideas attack the roots of capitalism and its claim to permanence. 

But this was not all. The central theme in Morgan's work was that mankind had gone through several successive stages in its road to Civilization. The proposed ethnical periods described by Morgan commenced with the three stages of Savagery — the lower status, middle and upper. Then came the lower, middle and upper status of Barbarism, and finally the status of Civilization. Food supply commenced with the collecting of natural food in tropical forests and the gradual acquiring of the knowledge of the use of fire and a fish subsistence, The invention of the bow and arrow prepared man's entry from the upper stage of Savagery into the lower stage of Barbarism. This began with the invention of pottery and the domestication of animals, followed by the cultivation of plants and the use of clay bricks in the middle status of Barbarism. The upper stage of Barbarism commenced with the smelting of iron ore, the use of iron tools, and the development of field agriculture. Civilization was reached with the invention of the phonetic alphabet and the use of writing. 

These seven stages, claimed Morgan were universal as were the forms of social organization based upon the gens which corresponded to them. From Australia in the south, the whole of Europe including Rome and Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean and India — all their respective social organizations were based upon the gens. Although Morgan commenced his researches among the American Red Indians (he was a blood-brother of the Iroquois) he made an extensive study of the known forms of tribal society, and studied the histories of all forms of civilization. 

The point of Morgan's theories was that ethnic groups who had reached civilization had only done so after a long development through these seven stages, and that this general evolutionary principle governed all social development which had taken place. The fact that backwoods tribes discovered today in the state of savagery can be brought forward rapidly into capitalist civilization without undergoing the long development as postulated, does not invalidate the theory. 

The materialist conception of history discovered by Marx forty years earlier had the same principles, but with the addition that the economic organization and social relations corresponded to the' particular stage society had reached in the development of its productive forces. Morgan proved the existence of a social organization which was neither political nor economic, but pureIy administrative. It was based on gentes, phratries and tribes, and he demonstrated how this form of organization held ancient society together and prevailed throughout the entire ancient world. The gens were founded upon kin; descent was linked to the female line and it embraced all persons who could trace their descent through a common female ancestor, and possessed a common gentile name. 

These gentile institutions were thoroughly democratic. Two or more related gens organized themselves in phratries (brotherhoods), and a number of phratries constituted a tribe. Several tribes formed a confederacy, and eventually coalesced into a nation occupying common territory. Because the basic unit of organization was democratic there was no State or political society. As special social needs or objectives arose, the form of organization was enlarged to meet them, but its democratic function was maintained throughout. Bureaucracy could not arise because there was no separation between administration and people, as exists today in the form of the coercive state which has replaced the administration of 'people by territorial government administering and maintaining property relations in the interests of a small minority of people. 

Morgan also showed that systems of communal ownership gave rise to and were the basis of this social organization for many thousands of years. The State, which according to the capitalists had existed throughout history, was a comparatively recent development, and arose with the advent of private property. 

Theories such as these could not go unchallenged. The ruling class did what it will always do when its interests are threatened: ignore or misrepresent the facts. Anthropology was taught in universities in England and America, but up to very recently Morgan was ignored, although many of his theories and methods were plagiarized. His classification of ethnic periods was attacked, as also was his theory of the origin of the family, and the role of women as the original property owners. Morgan showed that the family had passed through successive forms commencing with consanguinity, which was founded on the marriage of brothers and sisters (own and collateral) in a group. This was succeeded by the Punaluan (intimate friend) family founded up on the intermarriage of several sisters wit'h each other's husbands in a group. Also, the intermarriage of several brothers with each other's wives in a group. Then the pairing family founded upon single pairs, but without exclusive co-habitation and with voluntary separation. The patriarchal family founded upon the marriage of one man with several wives. Finally, the present monogamous family founded upon single pairs with an exclusive co-habitation. 

The impact this information had on bourgeois Victorian society who bad barely recovered from the shock of Darwinism, was startling. Darwin at least dealt mainly with animals and man's biology, but the shame of being confronted in the respectable atmosphere of Victorian society steeped in cant about the dignity of the family and marriage, with tales of incest, group sex and polygamy, and all the other alleged vices (practised in secret by wealthy parasites) brought forth an avalanche of protest led by the religious hyenas of all creeds. The anti-evolutionary school of anthropology was founded by Dr. Franz Boas, Professor Westermarck, Malinowski, Lowie, Ashley Montague and many others. Their object was not so much to develop the infant science of anthropology as to prove Morgan wrong. The Catholic "cultural historical" school of anthropology led by Fathers Wilhelm Schmidt and Wilhelm Sylvester, and A Sieker, SJ, set out to oppose the theories of primitive communism. As far as the Jesuits were concerned Morgan's work was more beneficial to Socialists like Marx and Engels than any other section of the community. Lowie insisted that the State in various forms had always existed, and C. H. Stark and Professor Westermarck maintained that the present capitalist-type family had always existed. Dr. Franz Boas of Columbia University refused to admit discussion of the question because in his opinion there was no evidence, nor could there be any. He described Morgan's stages as arbitrary postulations. Morgan also upset the Jews by pointing out that Abraham married his half-sister Sarah.

The last hundred years have produced numerous controversies about certain aspects of Morgan's theories. For the most part these are peripheral and largely concern questions of detail. The main body of his work has stood up and remains the cornerstone of modem anthropology. The section in Ancient Society dealing with the origin of early Greek and Roman society is a classic by any standards, and brought particular praise from Marx. 

Morgan has become the Marx of anthropology, and like his famous contemporary is always being repudiated — a periodical exercise which usually collapses through lack of evidence being presented by the detractors, Typical of the kind of criticism are the remarks contained in Peter Farb's book Man's Rise to Civilisation (Paladin Books, 1971): 
He was a thoroughly conventional man, unquestioning in religious orthodoxy, and also a staunch capitalist, but he published his theories in Ancient Society at the same time Marx was working on the third volume of 'Das Kapital' (p. 100). 
There is no connection between the two, but the object is to discredit Morgan by implying that if it bad not been for Marx Morgan's theories would have had no importance. Later Farb makes his position clear: 
That bourgeois gentleman, Morgan, is to this day enshrined in the pantheon of socialist thinking," (p, 100) 
Again the innuendo being: only because of Marx and Engels's influence. Rubbish like this is supposed to represent a criticism of Morgan's work, but Farb carefully refrains from going into the work itself. His other nonsensical statement that "By a strange irony the League of the Iroquois has become a model for Marx's theory" shows his ignorance of the subject and of Morgan's theories as well as Marx's. 

The relevance of Morgan and Marx to modem Socialist thought and propaganda is in providing the positive proof that capitalist society is the culmination of a whole series of historical social changes. Men's ideas change, habits of thought and conceptions of life change. The man of today is not the man of tomorrow; the environment of today is not the environment of tomorrow, any more than the man of yesterday and his environment are relevant today. Capitalism is not the end of social progression, although the capitalist class and their servile adherents will claim it to be so, Morgan reckoned that out of an estimated 100,000 years that man bad spent on earth, at least 60,000 (three-fifths) had been spent in a state of Savagery; 35,000 years in the various stages of Barbarism, and 5,000 years in Civilization. Out of those five thousand years only the last 250 years have been spent under capitalism. 

The intensity of capitalism's development, with its compression of time and space, has produced the subjective man with little sense of history, dominated by social conditions which are not only anti-social but obsolete and unnecessary. Man must become objective and not dominated by his immediate conditions. We must move on to Socialism. A Socialist society will organize itself on a democratic basis at every level. The social form will not, nor cannot be, tied to the past, but it will truly reflect the great contribution of the past in he form of the accumulated knowledge and social experience so painfully acquired which has made Socialism possible. It should not be forgotten that the principal institutions of mankind have developed from a few germs of thought and a few simple cells of organization. The natural form of social man is that which equates him with his fellow man, and that great equalizer is common ownership of the means whereby he lives.
Jim D'Arcy


Birds of a Feather: The Russo-German Bombshell (1939)

Editorial from the September 1939 issue of the Socialist Standard

THE London newspapers on Tuesday, August 22nd (except the Communist Daily Worker, which was busy ringing up Moscow) reported with astonishment the announcement from Berlin that Germany and Russia had negotiated a non-aggression pact, and that Herr von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, was flying at once to Moscow for the formal signature of the Treaty. This announcement, which came immediately after the completion of a trade agreement between the two Governments, was confirmed by the official Russian Tass News Agency in the following terms : —
After the conclusion of the Soviet-German trade and credit agreement there arose the problem of improving political relations between Germany and the U.S.S.R.
An exchange of views on this subject, which took place between the Government of Germany and the U.S.S.R., established that both parties desire to relieve the tension in their political relations, eliminate the war menace, and conclude a non-aggression pact.
Consequently, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, von Ribbentrop, will arrive in Moscow in a few days for corresponding negotiations. —(Evening Standard, August 22nd, 1939.)
The Pact was duly signed in Moscow on August 23rd, thus realising a possibility suggested in these columns more than once.

That the capitalist Press was, for the most part, genuinely surprised is undoubtedly true — though this betrays some simplicity on their part and remarkably short memories. They had reasoned on the basis that Russia and Germany were fundamentally divided over the issue of Communism and that, consequently, Russia could be counted on to help British capitalism in its difficulties with Germany, Italy and Japan, the three principal members of the Anti-Comintern Pact. The reasoning was superficial in the extreme and overlooked the ease with which Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini had arranged pacts of friendship on earlier occasions, for example, the Russo-Italian "Pact of Friendship, Non-Aggression and Neutrality" of September 2nd, 1933, and the ratification and continuation on May 5th, 1933, of a German-Russian Agreement of earlier date. Though Hitler was then in power and was ferociously crushing Communists in Germany, the Russian Government could put its signature to an agreement which affirmed that the two Governments, by prolonging the Berlin 1926 treaty of neutrality and non-aggression, " intend to continue the existing friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Germany."

The Press should also have remembered Stalin's speech of March 10th, 1939, in which he made it very plain that Russia had no intention of falling a victim to what he declared was British-French policy, the policy of enmeshing Russia in war with Germany and Japan.

Yet when all these facts have been allowed for, it cannot be denied that, for Stalin to choose this moment, when a German army waits on the Polish border, to enter into a new 10-year Pact with Hitler represented a staggering affront to all those people who had believed that the Russian Government was above the disreputable ways of traditional diplomacy and that for that Government opposition to Fascism and aggression was a matter of principle. As Mr. Lloyd George — a supporter of the policy of alliance with Russia, who has been much praised by the Communists — says, the German - Russian Pact "is a stunning blow to Britain's Peace Front " (News Chronicle, August 22nd). It was so regarded by supporters of the "Peace Front" in Britain and other countries and, according to Press accounts, was received with jubilation in official circles in Germany and Italy.

Sordid Pacts Secretly Arrived At
The method by which the Stalin-Hitler Pact was reached merits a little attention, if only to expose the Communist hypocrisy of denouncing "secret diplomacy." Without being so naive as the Evening News (August 22nd), which says that the Pact "appears to have, been arranged without the (British) Foreign Office having the slightest inkling of what was going on," it is unquestionable that Germany and Russia must have been negotiating secretly for some considerable time, simultaneously with public declarations by Russia that all they wanted was the Peace Pact with Britain and France against aggression. The Daily Herald (August 22nd) reports from Berlin that, according to German accounts, the secret negotiations began in June, though the Evening News thinks they probably began even earlier, in April, when the Anglo-German Naval Treaty was denounced by Germany. Here we have an example of the cynical indifference of the Nazi and Bolshevik rulers to the views of the masses, so cynical that they can arrange in secret a Pact which must shock millions of simple-minded Germans and Russians alike. These rulers will, however, live to regret their action, for it will have repercussions as yet undreamt of by them.

Taking a long view, this is the outstandingly important feature of the Russo-German Pact, in spite of the fact that at no distant date both signatories to the Pact, having served their immediate purpose, may seek to explain it away as of no particular significance. The fact remains that Hitler, who built himself up on the slogan of protecting Germany against Bolshevism, and Stalin, who built himself up on the slogan of anti-Fascism, will have exposed themselves to their own sincere followers as being prepared to shake hands with their allegedly implacable foes, and to compromise with what they have denounced as the worst of all evils. From this realisation may flow the progressive demoralisation of both the dictatorships, with resulting revived hopes for democracy and Socialism.

Thieves Falling Out
Behind these negotiations are intrigues involving all of the Great Powers, an all in game of international blackmail. It is easy enough to reconstruct what has been going on, with reasonable confidence of substantial accuracy. The British and French capitalists, with interests in Europe, but with great interests in and on the way to the East, have long been vulnerable to an attack in both quarters at once. How, then, to gain the greatest measure of security? Equally the game of the German and Italian capitalists was to mass as many allies and potential allies as possible to keep the ring for their expansion. Russia's rulers, on the other hand, have feared that both groups might settle at the expense of Russian territory when various small nations had been gobbled up. After Munich, and the disappearance of Czecho-Slovakia, British policy veered towards a Russian alliance (though this still did not prevent private and "unofficial" conversations between the Secretary of the Overseas Trade Department, Mr. Hudson, and Herr Wohltat, Economic Adviser to General Goering, about possible economic assistance and a loan to Germany, these discussions being suddenly brought to light towards the end of July.) Nevertheless, British capitalist interests in and about China necessitated some action against, or compromise with Japan. Russia not desiring to be isolated, has retaliated with the Russo-German Pact, intended no doubt as a final warning to the British Government of a real Russo-German alliance unless the British Government would line up definitely with Russia and against the German-Japanese group. But in the international scramble every new alignment of forces provokes further jostling for position, so now Japan will have an increased fear of herself being isolated through loss of German backing, and the Japanese capitalists will have to ask themselves whether to crusade under the banner "Asia for the Asiatics," line up still closer in the Anti-Comintern Pact with Germany against Russia, or revert to the British alliance, and divide the Chinese market with the British Empire. Germany, having used the Russian Pact to try to bring Japan to heel, may drop it as quickly as it was taken up, in which case Russia, Britain and France may yet be forced into a close alliance. At the moment this still seems the most likely outcome, with, as a minor phase, a further attempt by Britain and France to detach Italy and Spain from the Axis. That the Pact is supposed to endure for 10 years will not disturb either party for 10 minutes if they want to break it.

One feature of the situation which has received less attention than it deserves is the trade agreement which preceded the German-Russian Pact. The Manchester Guardian's Moscow Correspondent (August 22nd) states that the trade agreement, under which Germany advances Russia a trade credit of £16,000,000, was delayed because Russia insisted on being supplied by Germany with "equipment of a strictly military nature" in return for Russian exports to Germany. The Guardian's Berlin correspondent states that, according to German accounts, the agreement arose out of Russia's great need of industrial machinery, which Germany can supply," and out of Germany's need for Russian exports. It may well be that economic difficulties in both countries are forcing the two Governments to revise their policies of recent years and, indeed, one German newspaper states that the Russian Government has recently decided to reorganise its foreign trade and aim at expanding it. (Quoted in Daily Express, August 22nd.)

In the meantime, the rights and wrongs of Danzig and Poland fall into their true perspective as mere counters in the sordid international scramble of the capitalist Powers — not omitting the Bolsheviks. One thing at least should be gained, a growing refusal by the workers to be influenced by the shoddy propaganda alike of "big-business democrats" and Nazi-Bolshevik believers in totalitarian capitalism.

The Apologies of the Communist Party
After their first reaction—one of utter consternation—the British Communist Party Central Committee published a remarkable statement in the Daily Worker (August 23rd). Its claims were so amazing and the evidence on which they were based is so negligible that the statement is no less amazing than if the Communist Party had decided to deny everything and declare the whole affair to be an invention of the capitalist Press. (They might just as well have taken this line for all the effect their apologetics seem to have had on most of their followers.)

During recent weeks the News Chronicle has several times reported statements that the German Government was making approaches to Russia for a Pact. Each time the Daily Worker has ridiculed the suggestion and put it down to pro-Nazi influences in Great Britain. Now, when it transpires that the statements were correct, and the Russian Government had secretly been negotiating such a Pact, the Daily Worker (August 23rd) blares forth in great headlines that the German-Russian talks are a "Victory for Peace and Socialism," a "Blow to Fascist War Plans and the Policy of Chamberlain." In brief, the argument is that Mr. Chamberlain's policy was that "of endeavouring to strengthen Germany to attack the U.S.S.R., and to refuse the Peace Front," and that "the action of the Soviet Union in its present negotiations with Germany has spiked the guns of the pro-Fascist intrigues of Chamberlain and has strengthened the hands of the British people in their fight for the Anglo-Soviet Pact. Now is the time and the hour to develop the mass movement for the immediate signing of the Anglo-Soviet Pact."

The statement further declares that it represents a climb-down and defeat for Hitler, and that the Pact is fully in line with past declarations of Russian foreign policy. To show this the statements made by Stalin in March last are quoted. One in particular will show the hollowness of the Communist Party's defence. Stalin is quoted as having said : —
We stand for the support of nations which are the victims of aggression and are fighting for the independence of their country.
To justify the present attitude Stalin should have added, "We also stand for Pacts of Non-Aggression with the aggressor State (Germany)." He did not do so, but that is what the Communists are now seeking lamely to defend.

If, as the Communist Party say, the Pact means defeat and "capitulation," of Hitler and the Axis Powers, they signally fail to explain why, in their own words, "the Berlin papers spread the news in the largest of type across their front pages. "

Altogether, the whole of the Communist Party's explanation fails to explain away the glaring impossibility of reconciling the action of the Russian Government with the propaganda of the Communist Party.

One true statement—but only half the truth—is this : —
What kind of discussions are proceeding to-day in German factories, shipyards and mines ? What a strengthening of the mass opposition to the Hitler regime the negotiations will present ? What an exposure of Hitler they represent.
For the other half of the truth read "Russia" for German and "Stalin" for Hitler, for it will be just as disconcerting in Russia as in Germany.

Pass the Salt II (1979)

From the August 1979 issue of the Socialist Standard

"God will not forgive us if we fail." 

In England there is a principle called the sanctity of contract, which means that if two parties make a binding agreement for, say, the sale and purchase of a house and one seeks to renege, then the court will enforce the provisions of the contract. The losing party cannot thumb their nose at the decision of the court because they know it to be the servant of the all-powerful state. While many people think they can apply this principle to contracts between capitalist states (usually called treaties), the analogy is false for the simple reason that here each party is a power in its own right and there is no superior power or court which will hold the scales — and the even more important sword — of 'justice' between them. 

Capitalist states nevertheless do make treaties when it suits them (which usually means that one side is strong and the other weak). History is littered with treaties, and when it is convenient they may even be adhered to, sometimes for long periods. But history is also littered with broken treaties. There was one to respect the 'neutrality' of Belgium in 1914. And again, that of Norway in 1940. In each case Germany broke the pact; the western allies were most indignant and accused Germany of regarding treaties as scraps of paper. How right they were; scraps of paper is just what treaties are. 

The indignation is of course faked and fraudulent. In both cases the western powers had been seriously contemplating doing the violating themselves. Germany just got in first. And, as we mentioned in a recent issue of this journal, the ballyhoo surrounding the signing of a treaty at Camp David between Israel and Egypt could not hide the fact that while both sides clearly thought the piece of paper was worth having, there were simultaneous arrangements whereby both sides made sure they had enormous armaments on the new Sinai dividing line. These capitalist states were not going to defend themselves with a scrap of paper. 

Such facts are a necessary corrective, should anyone be foolish enough to imagine that the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) recently signed between Carter and Brezhnev is going to bring peace to the capitalist jungle. The treaty Russia and America have just solemnly entered into is SALT II; there was once a SALT I, and already the papers are telling us that the next stage is SALT III. If two neighbours agree to love each other, or at any rate not to strike each other, that's fine. But if they need a complete series of agreements to say they won't hurt each other, their sincerity is clearly a sham. It all sounds too much like the dictum of that puritan militarist Cromwell: trust in god, but keep your powder dry. 

The question may well be asked: why do these superpowers go through this meaningless rigmarole? The answer is that, as with Camp David, a piece of paper can have some value. It can give a breathing space. Sometimes it can be respected — if it suits the parties — for a very long time. The 1704 Treaty of Utrecht gave a piece of Spain called Gibraltar to England, whose ruling class still own it (much as they would like to get shot of it!). The reality behind SALT II is that it has dawned upon both super-powers that the cost of continual 'improvements' of nuclear weapons is becoming astronomical — and more and more ludicrous. Each side clearly has in its arsenals enough H-bombs and nuclear submarines and missiles and impregnable silos to ensure that if it came to the crunch, both sides could be wiped out — and the rest of the human race too — in a short, sharp, mutually destructive holocaust. 

In 1956, at the time of Suez, when Khruschev was sabre rattling against England, CNDers and leftists generally were quick to point out that Russia would have no difficulty in blowing England off the map, and 'our' little H-bombs could not stop her. But it is a leftist defect not to see what does not suit their arguments. The fact is that one little British Polaris submarine carried sixteen warheads, each one of which packed a punch a hundred times as violent as the pea-shooter which devastated Hiroshima and killed about 100,000 'little yellow bastards', as they were then affectionately called. A Polaris submarine is almost undetectable in the depths of the oceans and would have no problem in hitting — and wiping out — Moscow or Leningrad. 

So the balance of terror, though overwhelmingly on the side of Russia, still left Khruschev with same tricky problems; for example, would he and the rest of the red fascist gang in the Kremlin be there to smell the roses after the ball was over? Capitalist politicians (which term includes Brezhnev, of course) may not be very clever, but it does occur to them from time to time that continuous multiplication of the 'overkill' factor is enormously expensive. It is therefore in the interests of both sides to see if they can reach same accommodation on the matter. Leftists tend to think that states belong to armament makers and militarists and that consequently the more money that is spent on arms, the more the capitalist class likes it. This is nonsense, The enormous costs are paid out of the collective pocket of the capitalist state. If one section — the arms manufacturers — make huge profits, the others have to pay huge taxes. So it is in the interests of the state as a whole to try and curb all expenditure — on H-bombs as well as on the NHS. But it's a tricky job because neither side is so stupid as to trust the other. Even the capitalist class can't win 'em all, so they do the best they can. 

If you want to see the best commentary on the whole ludicrous negotiations, read Punch (16 May) with its article headed "SALT talks break down in utter confusion or maybe success". But it is nearly as hilarious to read serious papers. The Guardian (21 June) had an article by Hella Pick (their Russia expert , whose writings would always look better in Punch) headed: "Pravda warns against changes to letter or spirit of SALT". The following piece of the article is worth quoting: 
Pravda also sought to convince Americans of the Soviet Union's good faith by promising not only to observe the treaty itself', together with its accompanying 'common statements of understanding' but also all other commitments signed by Brezhnev in Vienna . . .  Pravda evidently tried to insist that Brezhnev's word, even if not put altogether into writing, was good and would be carried out." 
So it seems we can now not only trust our lives to politicians' scraps of paper, but even to the breath that comes out of their lying lips. No doubt if Brezhnev reneges (or Carter, of course) we can send him a summons to appear in the Small Claims Court. 

That other journal for leftist would-be intellectuals, The Observer, had one of its most ponderous leading articles on the subject (24 June), headed: "We must back SALT". It gave a number of reasons. The first will be enough: 
While SALT II is a disappointment because it allows both sides to build new weapons systems, it is a necessary step towards arms reductions in future.
The entire article reads like a satire worthy of Swift or Voltaire. The appalling thing is that these highly paid pundits take their own guff seriously, and no doubt Observer readers nod sagely as they read these words of wisdom. This is very sad; as ordinary people allow themselves to be fooled by this, so long will this horrific social system remain. 

As an addendum, I must not forget to give the ascription to the little quote in the sub-heading to this article. It is taken from The Observer (24 June) 'Sayings of the Week'. I fancy it is really the saying of the century. It was uttered by one of the two Great Men at the SALT talks. Carter. No — it was the other fellow. And no newspaper - not even the Morning Star - saw fit to comment on it. The mind, in this case, does not boggle. 
L. E. Weidberg

The Oval Money-Spinner (2015)

The Action Replay column from the October 2015 issue of the Socialist Standard

The story goes that in 1823 Rugby was invented when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it. This is probably a myth, but the current Rugby World Cup 2015 is named after him. The playing rules of rugby developed after many acrimonious meetings with football (soccer), but unlike football, rugby failed to come to terms with professionalism which led ‘to an historic split between the amateur union and the professional league’ (Mihir Bose, i newspaper, 4 September).

Tony Collins novel The Oval World: A Global History of Rugby skilfully weaves a story together by including details of matches alongside the wider historical and social picture and comments on how the oval ball has managed to keep Ireland united as one rugby nation when nothing else has been so effective.

However, for a hundred years, rugby has not only tolerated racism but has also arguably encouraged it. New Zealand excluded Maori players when playing the South African team (pre Mandela) but when the Springboks won the World Cup for the first time, Nelson Mandela proudly wore his Springbok jersey.

The professional services specialist EY thinks that the current tournament in England will generate £2.2bn of economic activity for the UK and could boost GDP by nearly 1bn. A record 500,000 overseas fans are expected to visit England and Wales for the competition, which is expected to help deliver a near £1bn boost for the UK’S travel and tourism industry, based on the expected fans spending on accommodation and entertainment. The society of independent brewers believes its members could see their sales to pub companies grow by as much as 20 percent equating to 250,000 pints.

Firms such as DHL and Land Rover are among the sponsors supporting the event. However, some more cautious brand experts are worried that the tournament will not generate the economic activity that football’s World Cup does. A more optimistic view is sounded by World Rugby’s chairman, Bernard Lassett, who says ‘the Rugby World Cup 2015 is set to be a game changer for a sport that continues to experience record growth around the word.’

It seems that professional sport and finance are as inextricably linked as ever.
Kevin