|Cartoon by Robert Barltrop.|
From the May 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard
“Real patriotism to-day can be found among the millions of workers and middle-class people—the industrial and professional backbone of England."
"To win rising wages is one of the most patriotic things to do because rising living standards benefit the vast majority of our people and, therefore, promote the welfare of the nation.”
No! This is not a statement by the “League of Empire Loyalists ” or the Daily Express. It is quoted from a recent leaflet entitled “Patriotism Ltd.”, published by the British Communist Party. It attacks certain Tories and businessmen in Britain for being “anti-British” and unpatriotic.
The leaflet informs us that ". . . the Tory leaders gave the Americans permission to patrol our skies with loaded H-bombers” (emphasis ours.)
Now all this “Communist” patriotism seems, at first sight, all very peculiar. For the Communist Party, ever since its inception, has claimed to be a party of the working-class; the party which addresses itself to “the masses.” But why talk of patriotism or “our country” or “the national interest” to the working-class? Did not Marx and Engels, the founders of modern Communism, say that the worker is “without property” (Communist Manifesto)? And, later in the Communist Manifesto, they wrote:—
“The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality
“The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got."—(p. 78. The Communist Manifesto and the Last Hundred Years, S.P.G.B. ed.)
The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels was written over a hundred years ago—when the vast mass of the people owned nothing in the means of life: they were “without property.” They did not have a country; the skies were not theirs, neither was the land; they could have no “national interest,” neither were the workers of 1847 “. . . working for themselves and their country . . . " as the recent Communist Party leaflet puts it.
But, of course, things are different today!! Do we not live in a “property-owning democracy,” as the Tories put it? Do the workers of 1958 own Britain? Are ‘‘they working for themselves and their country” as the Communist Party pretends? Or are our so-called modem Communists, like Tories and Labourites, pulling a fast one? Do the workers work “for themselves” or are they working for their employers, as Marx and Engels claimed in 1847?
According to Lord Beveridge in 1943 “80 per cent. of the private property of the country is owned by seven per cent of the population.” And, more recently, in December, 1955, Prof. W. Arthur Lewis, of Manchester University, admitted that “two-thirds of the private property in this country is owned by less than four per cent. of the population” (Socialist Commentary, December, 1955), which leaves virtually nothing for the mass of the population—the working-class.
The fact is that, despite the lies of the Communist Party and others, the workers of today do not own Britain; it is not their country. They are propertyless wage-workers—proletarians in the language of Marx and Engels—working for, and creating a profit for, the people who really do own Britain—the capitalist class. If Marx was alive today he would vomit at the lies and the rubbish that “Communists” publish and put before the workers of this and other countries. He would reiterate what he wrote in 1847—"The working men have no country.” And he would not bother himself unduly at the lack of patriotism of British Tories as does the British Communist Party!
Peter E. Newell