Saturday, March 25, 2017

Notes by the Way: Mussolini Fights Bolshevism (1939)

The Notes By The Way column from the March 1939 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mussolini Fights Bolshevism
In the years when Russia and Italy were in close relationship their trade was fairly considerable, and part of it took the form of Italy receiving Russian oil for the navy. In payment for goods received from Russia, Italy, in return, built some warships for the Russian navy. A year or so ago a dispute arose and trade came nearly to a standstill. Russia refused to supply oil and the Italians refused to deliver a small 3,000-ton cruiser built for Russia at the Leghorn navy yards.

Now the dispute has been patched up and trade is being resumed. It is also announced by the Rome correspondent of the Evening Standard (February 7th) and the Daily Telegraph (February 20th) that the vessel is being handed over to the Soviet authorities, and Italy is to receive, among other things, manganese, which is, no doubt, required for armament purposes.

It is all a curious commentary on the alleged impassable gulf between Fascism and Bolshevism, and on Mussolini's violent speeches about the imperative need of destroying Bolshevism.


A Liberal Demands Action Against Unemployment
Lord Meston, President of the Liberal Party organisation, in a letter to the News Chronicle on February 14th, 1939, demands immediate action to remedy unemployment. "For ten years and more," he says, "the Liberal Party has been pressing for drastic and considered action towards the solution of this problem."

He asks: "Is it too much to hope . . . that public opinion in this country will demand that immediate action should be taken?"

The curious will wonder why the Liberal Party, in its many years of office in the past 100 years, never did something about unemployment. In the present century the Liberals held office from 1905 to the outbreak of the War, but unemployment was not abolished. Is it that Socialists are right, and that the capitalists want to keep capitalism much more than they want to abolish unemployment, and they can't do both?


Lenin’s Views on War
The Daily Worker (January 23rd, 1939) reproduced some selected passages from Lenin's writings dealing with war and the attitude workers should, in his view, adopt. Among them were the following passages:—
  Marxism which does not degenerate into philistinism demands an historical analysis of every single war in order to ascertain whether one can regard this war as progressive, serving the interests of democracy or of the proletariat, and in this sense as a just and righteous war.
  The slogan of defence of the native country is nothing but a petty, bourgeois, backward justification of war if one is unable to grasp historically the sense and importance of each individual war.
  Marxism gives such an analysis and says: If the “real character” of war is, for example, the overthrow of an alien yoke (as was especially typical for the Europe of 1789-1871), then this war is progressive from the standpoint of the oppressed State or people.
   If the “real character” of the war is the redistribution of colonies, the division of spoils, the conquest of foreign territory (the 1914-1918 war was such a war), then the phrase “defence of native country” is simply deception of the people.
    . . . War is the continuation of politics. One must study the policy before the war, the policy which led to the war and brought it about.
    If the policy was an imperialist policy, i.e., a policy of defence of the interests of finance capital, of the robbery and oppression of colonies and foreign countries, then the war resulting from this policy is an imperialist war.
  If the policy was a policy of national emancipation, i.e., expressed the mass movement against national oppression, then the war resulting from this policy is a war of national emancipation.—(From “A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism.”)

Discussion on War at the French Socialist Party Conference
Another view is that now being put forward in France by the trade unions and political groups in the French Socialist Party which oppose Blum's policy. One of their spokesmen is the General Secretary of the Party, Paul Faure. At a speech at the Party Conference in Paris on December 27th last, he summarised his views as follows:- -
In 1914, he said, there was the Berlin-Rome-Vienna axis and the militarism of the Hohenzollems: yet the Socialist Party declared that peace had to be saved. There was also the French-Russian Treaty. There was no point in being a pacifist in quiet times; pacifism counted only when war threatened. If they were going to save the peace by tremendous armaments and by alliances, then they had to be prepared for dictatorship. If they were to take part in an arms race with Germany they would be ruined without gaining any additional security, for Germany’s birth-rate was three times as great as France’s, and Germany’s chemical industry was ten times as great.—(Times, December 28th, 1938.)
A resolution put forward by Blum demanded a more active French foreign policy, and resistance to the further claims of the dictator countries based on intensified rearmament and pacts with other countries, including Great Britain, Russia and U.S.A.

Blum's resolution was carried by 4,322 as against 2,837 votes in support of Faure's position. There were 1,014 absentees.


Nazis Copy Brutality from the Catholic-Fascists
Much indignation has been roused by descriptions of Jews being forced to scrub the pavements in Vienna. A reader of Picture Post writes to that journal (January 14th, 1939) to point out that this practice was started by the Dolfuss and Schuschnigg regimes in Austria. Those governments were Catholic-Fascist governments guilty of the brutal suppression of the trade unions and workers’ political parties. He says: — 
It originated in the idea, which was undoubtedly a good one, that those who had daubed swastikas and Nazi slogans on walls and pavements should eliminate the traces of their activities themselves, but this was largely abused later on, when quite innocent people, who were known to cherish Nazi sympathies, were indiscriminately pilloried in the same way.

London Trade Unions and the Labour Party
The London County Council, controlled by the Labour Party under Mr. Herbert Morrison, seeks trade union support, but is hotly criticised by the union to which many of its employees belong. The National Union of Public Employees, with other unions, is seeking to get the L.C.C. to increase the minimum wage of its scavengers, park-keepers, etc., above its present figure, 56s. Mr. Bryn Roberts, the General Secretary of the Union, says: —
We have been opposed in our application for this arbitration all along by the authorities’ side, led by Mr. Herbert Morrison.—(Evening Standard, December 15th, 1938.)
There are many London boroughs (including boroughs with Labour majorities) which pay 10 per cent. more, but the L.C.C. has so far refused. Doubtless, Mr. Morrison fears the charge of “wasting the ratepayers’ money." He can hardly argue that 56s. is regarded by his party as enough to live on.
Edgar Hardcastle

Our Propaganda in War Time (1940)

Party News from the March 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

At the outbreak of the war, many thought that Socialist propaganda would become, if not impossible, exceedingly difficult. 

Unlike other political parties, we did not wait a week or so before venturing forth—within two hours of the declaration of war, a huge crowd in Hyde Park were listening attentively to our speakers stating the Party’s attitude to the war.

Despite many difficulties which the war situation has imposed upon the Party, our propaganda efforts have been expanded considerably. In London, Conway Hall has been the scene of five mass meetings within the last four months. At each of these meetings the literature sales and collections have reflected the tremendous enthusiasm of the audiences for the Socialist message, and their questions and discussions have revealed an intelligent understanding. A high standard has been set for the future.

Every Sunday evening the smaller Conway Hall has been packed to capacity by audiences eager to learn the Socialist Party’s case. The quantity of literature sold at these meetings is remarkable, and as the weeks went by the consistency of the sales proved that it was no mere passing phase. Sales at these meetings would have been even higher had we been able to meet all the demands for such publications as the “Western Socialist” and the pamphlet “Bolshevism." Other meetings had exhausted our available supplies.

The news from Glasgow Branch is just as encouraging—packed meetings and record sales of literature. Manchester Branch staged a successful mass meeting at Stockport on January 7th, in addition to their normal propaganda.

An indication that the influence of the Socialist Party is widening rapidly is to be found in the ever-increasing number of requests from other organisations that we should send a speaker to state the Socialist case. In many parts of Greater London, branches of such organisations as the Trade Unions and the Peace Pledge Union have been addressed by our representatives. In almost every case the response to our case has been good.

Mid-week outdoor propaganda continues successfully—especially among city workers at Finsbury Pavement, Tower Hill, etc. Excellent literature sales are the rule at these meetings. Our Sunday meetings at Hyde Park continue to attract thousands.

As is to be expected from this increasing interest in the Socialist Party, our membership is growing. Sympathisers of yesterday are the active members of to-day. The Party has thousands of sympathisers—YOU may be one of them. If you are, why not apply for membership? Perhaps you cannot get along to the meetings advertised? Then why not write to us for particulars of branches, or groups, in your locality? The Party has demonstrated its ability to arouse the interest of those workers whom its resources enable it to contact. Your active membership will strengthen our resources—strengthen them for the most vital task of the age—the propagation of Socialist ideas. 
                           Write immediately to: —
                                      The Central Organiser,
                                                     42, Great Dover Street, 
                                                                                            S.E.1.

Two Quotations About Marx (1941)

From the March 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Daily Express (November 30th) had an editorial blaming Marx for the prevailing “worship of the State": —
  This worship of the State as if it were something better than the individual is a foul delusion, a product of the Teutonic bogs and mists. It came from Germany in the form of class war out of Karl Marx. It came from Germany in the form of military tyranny out of Hitler. We can very well do without either Marx or Hitler.
  While we readily agree to State compulsion in time of war, we will remember that we do so to overthrow tyranny, not to enthrone it.
  We will therefore rejoice at every victory for good order and commonsense when it springs from the heart of the individual rather than from a State Order in Council.
There is nothing new in this line of attack on Marx, but error does not become truth because the Daily Express goes on repeating it. If the writer of the editorial and the editor who passed it would give a few hours to reading what Marx had to say about the State they would know that the charge of State-worship is the most absurd of all the charges that can be levelled against him. They would learn that Marx aimed at a system of society in which the State, having no longer the function of acting as the instrument of the ruling class against the ruled, would wither away. Some of the more ignorant journalists would of course say, in good faith, that Russia is Socialist and also a country given over to State-worship, and that therefore Marx can be held guilty. This, however, is not a plea that can be put in the Daily Express, for that newspaper has repeatedly recognised that Russia is organised on the basis of State capitalism.

It is particularly interesting to compare the Daily Express editorial with an article written by Mr. Michael Foot, who is a frequent contributor to Express newspapers. The article, “Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital,’ ” from which the following is an extract, appeared in the World Review (November, 1940). Perhaps the Express would like to reproduce it just to show that they mean what they say when they boast of the “ freedom of the Press.”
  "It requires a politician, an historian, an economist, a philosopher, a scientist, to pass final judgment on ‘Das Kapital.’ But those of us who are none or only one of these can grasp something of the terrific scale of his thought. It was no puny, miserable reduction of everything in life to economic terms, as some have suggested, which Marx gave to the world. It was a bold and spacious argument. He had learnt from many masters and defied them all. He quotes Shakespeare as often as Ricardo. He understood pity as well as force. He had wit to match his scorn. He lived only part of his life among books. He moved among men and stirred them as he himself was stirred.
Awe-Inspiring Prophecy  "He was the great prophet of catastrophe when the world believed in progress. He foretold clash when men still had some excuse for trusting in smooth amelioration. He understood the vast significance of the disease of unemployment when the disease was but a germ. He said capitalism would collapse before it had reached its heyday. He saw the State shrivelling to a gang, utterly ruthless, years before Fascism was ever dreamt of. He prophesied wars engulfing the globe.
  "At least do him the favour of judging him on his own works. Do not take it from his disciples. Most of them suffer from carbuncles in their later as well as their earlier chapters.”
Edgar Hardcastle


Death of an Alberta Comrade (1942)

Obituary from the March 1942 issue of the Socialist Standard

[Our Canadian comrades ask us to publish the following notice for the information of Canadian readers.]

Readers in Alberta will regret to learn of the death of Comrade Dan Pollitt, which occurred in July of last year, though we have only now received word of it. Though Comrade Pollitt never took the platform, he was a valued and untiring member of the former Calgary Branch, a thoughtful reader, regular in attendance at classes and meetings, and no one could beat him at selling tickets for entertainments to increase the Party funds. . Speakers will recollect with gratitude his services at the open-air Sunday meetings in the Park. He arranged the rostrum and the benches, and his genial countenance radiated encouragement to the speakers. After an afternoon in the scorching Alberta sun the speakers appreciated the hospitality and shade of the Pollitts' pleasant bungalow, where they were welcomed by members of the family. Discussions were engaged in till a late hour and the less informed members received much enlightenment there. Mrs. Pollitt is still in Calgary, and we extend our sympathy to her.

Are The Workers Better Off During The War? (1942)

From the March 1942 issue of the Socialist Standard

As happened during the last war there is much exaggerated talk about the supposed high wages earned by workers in munition factories and the demand is frequently made that the Government should put a stop to all wage increases or even reduce the level of civilian pay to that of men in the armed Forces. The policy of the Government is, however, the more cautious one of deprecating all-round increases of wages while leaving the various arbitration and negotiating bodies free to sanction wage increases in certain cases, "particularly among comparatively low paid grades and categories of workers, or for adjustment owing to changes in the form, method or volume of production." This policy of trying to stabilise the general level of wages is linked with the policy of preventing the prices of a number of essential foodstuffs from rising above the present level. To do this large subsidies are paid to producers of such articles as wheat, milk, meat and bacon, and the retail prices are controlled.

As far as it is possible to describe what has taken place with regard to wages and prices, by means of figures, the position is fairly clear. It gives no support whatever to the claim that wages have outstripped the rise in the cost of living. The Ministry of Labour Cost of Living Index shows a rise from 155 in September, 1939, to 200 in February, 1942. This increase of 45 points represents a percentage rise of 29% above the level of September, 1939. As regards the level of wage rates for a normal week’s work, the Ministry of Labour Gazette (January, 1942) shows that the average increase due to wage increases and war bonuses since September, 1939, has been about 26% or 27%. It will be seen, therefore, that wages have barely kept pace with the rise of the cost of living index figure. If in some industries wages have risen by a larger percentage this is offset by the many industries in which the rise has been much smaller.

The critics who talk about high wages ignore the above official figures and either seize upon the few exceptional cases where the increase has been larger or else use a quite different set of figures which relate not to the standard wage for a normal week’s work but to earnings for the very long hours now being put in, earnings which include of course payment for overtime and Sunday work.

A typical case was a complaint in the House of Commons on January 20th, 1942, that youths under 21 were earning "excessive” wages. The figure mentioned was 50s. 5d. a week, but, as the Ministry of Labour pointed out, this happened to apply in only one out of many industries, and the average for all industries was only 40s. 7d.. Moreover, it made no allowance for the fact that owing to the scarcity of adult workers many of the youths in question are doing work formerly done by older men; ’incidentally without regard to the possible danger to their health through undue physical strain and long hours.

One critic of the earnings of juveniles, Lady Bonham-Carter, complained that production has suffered through the fact that a young munition maker may be receiving more than a Civil Defence worker or soldier. “It does not seem," she said, “to rest on justice" (News Chronicle, February 5th, 1942). Needless to say, she did not develop her case and apply it to the whole capitalist class who are much concerned with inequalities inside the ranks of the working class but turn a blind eye on the fact that they as a propertied class receive their incomes simply by virtue of ownership and without the need to work at all.

Another relevant factor in any comparison between the rise of prices and the rise of wage-rates is that the Cost of Living Index is at best a very defective measure of the extent to which the cost of the workers’ necessities has risen since September, 1939. Even the Ministry of Labour do not claim that it is an accurate guide, being based as it is on the kind of articles a working class family bought in 1914. It should be added that even if the index were more accurate it would not make any appreciable difference to the working class. Wage negotiations may be to some degree influenced by such figures, but the index does not lay down a minimum level below which wages should not fall. All it does it to show to what extent the cost of the articles bought by workers has risen over a period of time. If all wages were brought into line with an accurately measured rise of prices since September, 1939, that would still, leave millions of workers in the position they were in before the war of being unable to afford the food and clothing, etc., required to maintain them in health and efficiency, let alone comfort. If, under war conditions of long hours of work, some of them actually earn enough to buy more of the bare necessities, it is only at the expense of their leisure, and in the long run, of their health. Capitalism is still with us. The wages system is still the wages system, and the remedy is not the reformist one of regulating wages and prices but of abolishing capitalism and the wages system in their entirety.
Edgar Hardcastle


Russia's Transition (1944)

From the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

A few mouths ago we wrote that, with more detailed information of the internal economy of Russia, workers here and elsewhere would rid their minds of the idea that Socialism obtains in that country.

Now by a ukase of the Kremlin, the "Internationale” has ceased to be the "national" anthem of Russia, a logical step following the dissolution of the Third international.

This comes as an unpleasant surprise to many of the devotees of the “Socialist Russia" myth, especially when they read the words of the new anthem which supplants the other, and its emphasis on the nationalist spirit of Russia.

But a few more adherents lost for the notion that Russia is "Socialism in action" worries the statesmen of Russia much less than heretofore, for Russia is now standing on its own feet, and almost independent of outside “red” support to influence governments in its favour.

The S.P.G.B. had to contend with these “reds" from 1917 onwards, when it stated that it saw in Russia the rise of a working-class whose evolution would bring it face to face with its ultimate enemy—the employing class.

Has the subsequent history of events tended to prove us wrong?

The first world war revealed Russia as a country unable, in spite of its man power, to stand up to the better equipped armies of industrialised Germany. Tsardom had failed, and it had to go. it was hurried off the stage, and the Bolshevik party, having men in its ranks with European experience, had at least some idea of Russia's modern national needs.

On a general mandate of peace, land and bread, they won the peasantry by legalising the seizure of the large estates from the land-owning proprietors, although these same land-hungry peasants later felt the heavy hand of Moscow in its drive to increase production by "urgin" them into collective farms.

For the town-workers—a minority compared with the conservative peasants—the new rulers adopted the slogan of the “dictatorship of the proletariat" contending that only the property-less wage-workers could be the spearhead of the new Russia.

There was some truth in this assertion, for Russia then lacked a developed capitalist class, lacked technicians, and was without a large body of trained industrial workers. Russia, in fact, by the Act of Emancipation of 1861, had but lately emerged from serfdom, and at the risk of repeating the obvious, it should be borne in mind, by those who are dismayed by the arbitrary decrees of the Kremlin, that from Ivan the Great, who built those massive walls in 1600, to Nicholas in 1917, autocratic state rule has been the accepted mode of governing Russia.

The new occupants declared they were bent on world revolution, but the unfulfilled Leninist belief In a workers' revolution in Europe made more urgent the problem of the industrialisation of Russia, because of the not unnatural fear that danger lay in a Russia unready industrially and militarily to meet any enemy in modern war. This fear was implicit in Lenin's earlier slogans, such as “Down with the foreign bondholders" and "Russia shall not be a colony for the imperialists," strengthened by the struggle after 1917 to expel the Allies' intervention troops from Russian soil.

The industrialisation drive was carried out by the wholesale nationalisation of all existing industries by the Soviet State, coupled with a huge sloganised propaganda calculated to influence the minds of the mass of peasants turned wageworkers. The one-party set-up dealt ruthlessly with all elements that were deemed to impede the defence of the “socialist" fatherland, the accused being variously described as "wreckers" or Trotskyists.

In 1933 Stalin, entrenched as successor to Lenin, announced the second Five Year Plan, which, forsooth, was to usher in the class-less society, and, significantly enough, about the same time he made a pronouncement defending piece-work, individual responsibility, and inequality of income, thus making Lenin's equality of earnings—workmen's wages for officials—-a major heresy.

But all this is a far cry from to-day. Proof was needed in those days, before the "Chiska" or party purge commission, that the member holding down a party job was of proletarian origin, untainted by "bourgeois ideology," while the possession of a distant uncle; possibly a Tsarist policeman, could throw doubt on his orthodoxy. Now Soviet millionaires who become state bond-holders are lionised, old Tsarist heroes are recalled from the past for patriotic and military' decoration purposes, and there is set up again the Russian Orthodox Church in all its bejewelled ceremony. That the hard-faced capitalists have “discovered” Russia is portrayed by the film "Mission to Moscow," in which the wife of Davies, the American capitalist, meeting a Soviet official's wife, who runs au emporium says, over tea served by the Russian servant, "We have much in common, and also run a business back home."

Events have proved that we were not mere formula repeaters when we cited Marx in support of the Socialist case, for he stated, "Even when a society has get upon the right track for the discovery of the natural laws of its movement, it can neither clear by bold leaps, nor remove by legal enactments, the obstacles offered by the successive phases of its normal development," which in application means that Russia, not having a full-scale capitalist system in 1917, could not in practice have abolished it.

In fact, behind the cloud of revolutionary slogans of its rulers, Russia has developed state capitalism, based upon wage-labour, and the break with internationalism, as personified by Trotsky and Co.—a fight which began as a polemic and ended in executions—was made by Stalin, the successful nationalist, on the more realistic case befitting Russia's real development, in that Russia could hardly evolve within the orbit of world capitalist economy and at the same time be the centre for promoting world revolution.

Russia's transition from backwardness to that of a great power has led many otherwise intelligent workers to imagine that it was all done by Socialism and leadership, especially when they have been conditioned by the "left" programmes of the various reformist parties, which almost without exception put nationalisation or “public ownership" in the forefront with never a word of abolishing the wages-system, which is the foundation of the profit motive, and the class society they say they wish to end.

These workers have yet to understand that the advent of a Socialist system will be the most intelligent act that society has yet achieved, and that it requires a majority of men and women conscious and willing to play their part in establishing it.

It has to be realised, painful as it is to some, that Russia's "Socialism" has about as much relation to reality as Marx thought the slogan, "Liberty, equality, fraternity," had to the real France of his time.
Frank Dawe

The Workers' Internationals (1945)

From the March 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard

Much has been written on the "lessons" to be learned from the efforts to set up an international organisation that would co-ordinate the national straggles of the workers against capitalism.

The first experiment arose out of a visit of Parisian workers to the London International Exhibition of 1862. when during the visitors' reception the London trades union officials, Odger and Applegarth, proposed that international congresses of workers be regularly held.

Thus was formed the International Working-Men's Association, whose committee invited Karl Marx to draft their "Inaugural Address," which was delivered at St. Martin's Hall, London, in September, 1864. While in the main dealing with the industrial struggles of Europe’s workers who became affiliated to it, the International essayed to shed light on the steps to be taken by the workers towards their emancipation. For instance, the second part of the Geneva resolution, dealing with the trade unions, might be written to-day. It states:
The trade unions hitherto concentrated their attention too exclusively to the local and direct struggle against capital. They ’have not completely realised their power to attack the very system of wage slavery and present-day methods of production. That is why they keep aloof from social and political movements. 
Born in the period of the turmoil of the bourgeois revolutions, feared and hated by European governments during its life, the International became the debating ground for the working-class thinkers of the day, the main cleavage being that of Marx and his supporters, who held that the workers must gain political power for Socialism, as against the Anarchist section led by Bakunin, which, while acknowledging the economic theories of Marx, argued that only by the forcible smashing of the state by direct action could the workers get their freedom.

Basically the division was that of the industrial workers whose mission is the remoulding of a complex capitalist society where the franchise can be the instrument to effect the economic change, as opposed to those who still had to fight against a despotic feudalistic state, as in Spain and Russia, where suppression led to assassination, insurrection and minority action.

Theoretically expressing these conditions, the anarchists, though hating capitalism, could only visualise a decentralised agrarian economy of individual owners relieved entirely of state interference.

Torn by these ideological differences, together with the reaction arising from the crushing of the workers of the Paris Commune, the General Council decided to remove to New York, where after some activity in workers' organisation, the I.W.A. died a quiet death in 1875.

The First International, though providing a valuable apprenticeship for the workers, and in spite of being guided by thinkers as brilliant as Marx and Engels, was premature in face of the political immaturity of the workers themselves. It nevertheless taught the world's workers how to "walk by themselves" tactically and theoretically in their struggles against capitalism.

With the growth in Europe of parties whose declared intention was the seeking of political power in the name of Socialism, a second International was set up at the Paris Congress in 1880, and by 1907 at Stuttgart 26 nationalities were represented: the British Labour Party joining in 1908.

While without doubt Marx’s Socialism meant the abolition of the wage system and the uncompromising class struggle, these parties very soon abandoned their "Marxism," or, like the Labour Party and Fabians, initially denied it altogether for reformism and revisionism. A brief survey of the principal parties will make this apparent.

At the German Erfurt Congress of 1891, which ratified the merging of the Marxists and Lassallians, William Liebknecht, who had effected this fusion, held the following view :—
The possessor of the means of production expropriates the man who has none, and must work for him for a wage; he pays in the wage only a part of the work performed; the surplus value, the unpaid performance, becomes in his hand (the hand of the possessor of the means of work) capital, and enables him to draw tighter and firmer the worker's chains. . . .  Nothing in the process can be altered by pious wishes. . . . All attempts to remove the "excrescences" of capitalism, while maintaining its basis, are Utopian. These “excrescences" are the logical results, the inevitable consequence of the capitalistic system; whoever wants to remove them must remove it, their cause. By this demand the social democracy distinguishes itself from all other parties, and stamps itself a revolutionary party, while all other parties, without exception, take their stand upon the private ownership of the means of production. ("Modern Socialism," A. C. K. Ensor, 1904, p. 7.)
This stand gave place later to the "revisionism" of Bernstein, within the party, and though countered by Kautsky, Germany's foremost Marxist, opened the door to a huge membership of elements which made it a shade paler than the British Labour Party. It had gathered numbers and votes at the expense of its former concept of Socialism.

While forming a Republican Government after the last war, its ministers Ebert and Noske were responsible for the murder by Government troops of such Marxists as Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxembourg.

M. Beer, in "Fifty Years of International Socialism," says: "Ebert and Noske saved Germany for the Nazis by exterminating all determined men and women of the Socialist movement! Thousands were killed by their mercenaries, thousands maimed and driven into exile." (p. 192.)

Britain's Social Democratic Federation, like the German, began with a display of "Marxism" by its founder, H. M. Hyndman. in 1881. The movement suffered several splits, William Morris breaking away and forming the Socialist League, an anti-parliamentary sect which was finally captured by the anarchists.

Max Beer, in his "History of British Socialism," makes clear how the S.D.F. tried to ride two horses, one the advocacy of "Marxism," the other the more popular one of vote-catching reforms and arrangements with capitalist candidates.

It was on this issue that Scottish members split away and formed the S.L.P., leaning towards syndicalism, while the London secessionists formed the Socialist Party of Great Britain to advocate Socialism in 1904.

The I.L P.. Labour Party and Fabian Societv had all by then been formed with the “practical" policy of reforming capitalism, thus leaving the S.P.G.B. the only party in the field advocating straight Socialism.

The German and British Labour Parties held the largest representation at the Copenhagen Congress of 1910, which confirmed an oft-repeated pledge in a resolution which ran: "If war threatens to break out, it is the duty of the working class to use every effort to prevent war by all means that seem to them appropriate. Should, nevertheless, the war break out, it is their duty to intervene to bring it promptly to an end, and use the political and economic crisis to rouse the masses from their slumbers and hasten the downfall of capitalist domination." ("Everybody's Book of Politics," Odhams Press, Ltd.)

Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik section of the Russian Social Democratic Party, declared that this resolution had been betrayed, and in his "War and the Second International’’ wrote a scathing indictment describing how the "Socialists” had placed themselves behind their capitalist governments, voted for war credits, and made a patriotic case for doing so.

This onslaught on the Second International virtually declared dead by Lenin, together with the apparent success of Bolshevik methods in bringing "Socialism" to Russia, heralded the formation of the Third "Communist" International in 1919. The Leninists built up their organisation on the basis of an elite of professional revolutionaries who were to lead the slow-witted masses to revolution.

Disdaining democratic parliamentary methods as "bourgeois," and only to be used as a "platform," their main urge was to civil war, through which in a crisis such as a war the government would be thrust aside, the "Communists" assume the state power and establish the "dictatorship of the proletariat," as in Russia.

For years the respective national sections disciplined by the "Comintern" talked civil war or supported the Tories in turn, according to the needs of the foreign policy of Russia, even dissolving . completely, as in America. Eventually with Russia's state capitalistic development and its arrival as a “great power," the need for international "reds" fell away and was even an embarrassment to Russia's diplomatic concert with her allies in World War 2, whereby the Third International was formally dissolved by Stalin. Russia's national leader, in February, 1944.

History had played a cruel trick on Lenin's international, for it was killed by a capitalist war, as surely as the Second which he himself declared dead—a war which it declared to be imperialistic, only to change to one for freedom when Russia itself was attacked.

There is left to mention the “Trotskyists," who have declared a Fourth International based on the tactics and doctrines of Lenin. Believing that Socialism would have been established in Russia but for its betrayal by the Stalinists, they perpetuate the illusion that Socialism can yet be won by Bolshevik methods. With a logic all their own, they have demanded “Immediate despatch of arms and material to the Soviet Union," while at the same time stating the war to be imperialistic. The Trotskyists are but the faint echo of the Third International in its Lenin's heyday, and while they think that slogans and leadership can take the place of a majority of convinced Socialist workers in ending capitalism, they are on the same road as their predecessors.

The ruins of the "Internationals" testify to the workers’ urge to put into effect Marx’s injunction, “Workers of all lands, unite." But for what? The S.P.G.B., with its companion parties in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America, have stood outside the "Internationals" on the grounds that they were non-Socialist bodies, and the failure of Labourism, Fabianism and Sovietism to achieve Socialism is proof of the correctness of our position. We state this in no sectarian spirit, but as a part of the workers' movement struggling for emancipation. Meanwhile capitalism is still here, with its wage system, its national struggles for trade, armed or “peaceful," and the workers have but mentally reached the stage of thinking that state control of capitalism by “labour” is Socialism in practice.

That the workers must challenge the basis of capitalism and end this vicious circle is apparent to many, and we make no apologies to the organised workers in asking them to examine our record and fitness to form the nucleus of a true Socialist Workers’ International.
Frank Dawe

By The Way: The “Jolly Old Empire" (1946)

The By The Way column from the March 1946 issue of the Socialist Standard

The “Jolly Old Empire"
The Monarchy is a great institution and the Labour Government is not going to “preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,” Mr. Herbert Morrison told a group of journalists to-day, soon after his arrival here from Canada.

Mr. Morrison was replying to a newspaperman who asked whether the Labour Government would take the same stand as Mr. Churchill, regarding the preservation of the Empire.

"As a matter of fact, we are great friends of the jolly old Empire,” Mr. Morrison said. This feeling, he added, had been greatly strengthened by his trip to Canada, where he found deep loyalty to the Crown. —Associated Press.
—Mr. Herbert Morrison, M.P., interviewed in New York. Manchester Guardian, 12 Jan., 1946.


Production for Profit Not Use 
Mr. Herbert Morrison
"It is,” he said, “sound common sense. Some of those industries, such as coal, iron and steel, and transport are in bad shape.
"They are definitely a drag on other industries and hamper the efficiency and enterprise of trades and industries to which we look for rapid, bold and private development. They were not even making a sound margin of profit. Whether an industry is run publicly or privately one measure of its efficiency is its solvency; another measure is its service.”
—Speech in Montreal. Daily Herald, 8 Jan., 1946.


Labour Government for Bankers!
Net profit of Barclay’s Bank for 1945 was £1,740,594, highest since 1939, and comparing with £1,673,351 in 1944.

Dividend on the "B” and “C” stock is maintained at 14 per cent. Reserve for contingencies gets £250,000 (same), premises reserve account £350,000 against £250,000. Balance forward is £714,052 against £656,577.

North of Scotland Bank profits, £238,275 against £234,921; dividend 16 per cent. (same). Union Discount dividend 10 per cent, (same); net profit £245,671 against £235,004. 
Dally Herald, 4 Jan., 1946.


More Then Before!
"Fighting to regain her place as the leading maritime nation, with the smartest and fastest ships in the world, Britain now has the tremendous total of nearly 3,000,000 tons gross of merchant shipping on order at yards throughout the country.
In the design of all ships the lesson of 1939 has not been forgotten. They will be more readily convertible to war purposes than ever before.
News Chronicle, 4 Jan., 19i6.


"They are Damp but We Like Them"
"Life has moved on at The Bungalows, Poynders Road, Clapham, since Mrs. Hiscock, Mrs. Shea, Mrs. Ashford, and their neighbours moved into their new 'pre-fabs.'

"A year ago they were ‘just getting straight. The News Chronicle called to ask how they liked their bungalows then, after being bombed out of their flats into two-room attics. They liked them pretty well. I called yesterday to see if they liked them still.

"They are damp. 'I’m told it’s condensation,’ said Mrs. Hiscock, 'but I call it damp.’

"In some of the bungalows the water runs off the walls and gathers in little pools on the floor.”
News Chronicle, 4 Jan., 1946.


Food, Health and the Death-Rate
"Reporting an increased death rate, Dr. Oscar Holden, medical officer of health, in his annual report to Croydon Corporation, says: ‘There seems to be evidence that the restrictions and rationing of foodstuffs may be having some adverse effect.’

"Dr. Holden says: 'It would be an exaggeration to say there is a general state of sub-nutrition, but it is not unlikely that the restriction of such articles as milk, butter and meat is not helping to maintain high nutritional standards among all sections of the population.
" 'You do not find it reflected in death-rate statistics; it is something you cannot put into figures.

" 'Doctors who see large numbers of the population are finding that people go down much more easily than they used to. They may look fairly well nourished, but their inherent resistance to illness is not as good as before.

" 'They are more likely to succumb to infection, they suffer more from lassitude, irritability, weariness and are more susceptible to ailments like colds than they were six or seven years ago.’

" 'If there is a virulent flu epidemic similar to the one after the last war, we might get 1918 all over again.’

‘‘The antidote? Better variety in our diet, more fresh fruit, milk, butter and fats. ‘Ask any general practitioner,’ said Dr Holden. 'He will agree.’ ” 
- Sunday Express, 30 Dec., 1945.


Cripps on Compensating the Capitalists
"If we are really going out for a planned Socialist State we have definitely to take up the point of view that the capital value of industries has been created by the workers of this country, and they are not going to pay for them when they take them back into their own ownership.”
—Sir Stafford Cripps (Labour Party Conference Report, Southport, 1934, p. 194).
"Mellor is a politician as well as I am. But he is in principle a confiscationist, and he finished up upon that note. I agree he is willing to give annuities for a period of years as a matter of expediency. The whole blessed thing a matter of expediency and not much else ”
—Herbert Morrison (Ibid, p. 198).


Cripps on the Fate of Labour Governments
"It was mentioned yesterday that when we started on the next Labour Government we should proceed with a number of measures of social reform. It is impossible for the capitalist system to give to the workers the rewards that are promised under a policy of social reform. It is impossible, and if we attempt again, as we did in 1929-31, to carry out a policy of getting as much as we can out of capitalism, it will lead to a fresh crisis in capitalism as arose in 1931 itself, and we shall find that the force, of economic power still residing in the hands of the capitalists will again he called in to defeat the workers’ Government.” 
- Stafford Cripps (Southport L.P. Con., 1934, p. 159).
Horatio.

Work Harder? (1947)

From the March 1947 issue of the Socialist Standard

The working class, that long-suffering section of humanity, are being beseeched by the Labour Government and powerful organs of capitalist propaganda, to work harder in order that “greater effort now” may mean “better living sooner.”

However, an interesting sidelight on what really is in store for the workers comes from an article in the “Star” (February 1st, 1947) under the heading "Plans to Avoid Post-War Disaster.”

A report issued as a White Paper by the Preparatory Commission on World Food Proposals, tells us that “production capacity has been expanded in many countries outside the combat areas.”

Now from this simple statement of fact, the average worker might deduce that the good time so long promised him cannot be very far off.

However, our capitalists have decidedly different views on the matter, for we read on: "If nothing is done to absorb the infinitely greater production that our efforts in World War II have stimulated, the result may he millions out of work, an unparalleled business recession and social and economic unrest.”

Could anything further demonstrate the futility and bankruptcy of capitalism to solve the world's economic problem? 

Here we see the most gigantic forces of production the world has ever known, where the potentialities exist for satisfying all the material requirements of mankind, yet we are promised nothing more than “social and economic unrest.’’

The cause is not difficult to understand. Socialists have pointed out incessantly that so long as a privileged class in society, the capitalists, own and control the means of production, so long will the motive for producing be one of procuring a profit

If no profit can be realised then production will either be restricted or closed down altogether, to the detriment of the rest of the population, the working class.

Only under Socialism, when the whole of society will own and democratically control its means of production, will the forces of production, unfettered, be harnessed for the common good, the needs and desires of the world’s population being the sole consideration.

The question of overstocked markets, unsaleable surpluses and starving workers, would then belong to a dead and forgotten era.

Fellow workers, wake up !
J. Pizer