Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Dirty Lie (1919)

From the February 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the “Daily Chronicle” of Jan. 24th appears the following, purporting to be sent by that paper’s “diplomatic correspondent.” It occurs in a pronouncement dealing with Wilson’s proposal to ask Russian representatives to a conference on one of Prince’s Islands.
The conditions of existence in Russia were shown to be appalling; the nationalisation of women and other facts of Bolshevik rule pointed to a species of organised depravity.
Whoever this “diplomatic correspondent” may be he is a filthy-minded liar. His statement that the Russian Revolutionaries have nationalised women is so ridiculous one would think only the mental and moral dregs of the bourgeoisie could swallow it. It bears the impress of the organised campaign of slander and villification which the parasitic ruling class invariably launch against any section of the working class which has the temerity to challenge its supremacy. Such stuff is written for working-class consumption. Our masters, arguing that a class which will for ages permit themselves to be plundered by another class must be fools indeed, never hesitate to show their contempt for working-class intelligence, and too often they are justified by results. But in this instance, surely, they have reached a little too deep into their mental cesspool in their eagerness for unnameable filth to throw at those they are at a loss to combat in any other way. The muck they have reached up reveals its source in its stench. It stinks of capitalism. It reeks of the system in which, as notorious cases at present before the Courts show, the young beautiful women—nay, children, for “suffer little children to come unto me” is no less the command of the capitalist ravishers than the capitalist Christ, and their victims often are dead and buried before they can be called women—of the working class are at the disposal of the “rich friend”—private monopoly, not nationalisation! Note the difference.

No, working class revolution has never yet failed to effect a moral cleansing. When the Commune of Paris was in being the prostitutes of Paris flocked to Versailles, to their bourgeois patrons. In Paris no woman had to sell herself for food under the Commune. Prostitution is a pillar of capitalism, a common foundation of starvation wages. That this feature of the system of private property should assume a “nationalised” form along with the “nationalisation" of all the other means by which they are enabled to plunder the workers easily enough suggests itself to the filthy minds of the capitalists, and it goes without saying that there will be some mugs in the workers’ ranks ready to swallow the noxious concoction. 

"What Will He Do With It?" (1919)

Editorial from the January 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Martial Law General Election has come and gone. As was generally expected, the “Coalition” gang got there. They polled, in the United Kingdom, 5,091,528 votes, against 4,589,486 polled by the non-coalitionists. Thus they had a majority of 52 per cent of the votes cast. This astounding majority, we are seriously informed, overwhelmed David Ll. G. But, as showing how minorities fare under capitalist “democracy,” it may be remarked that this five per cent. vote majority gives the Coalition (leaving Ireland out of it) a majority of some 317 seats.

For us, of course, the election was bound to provide consolation prizes. It is sweet to observe that Butcher Asquith has got left, and it is sweeter than saccharine tablets to note that J. R. Macdonald has bitten the dust. The Liberal henchmen have proved who their masters are, alike in the defeat of men like Henderson and Macdonald who have been unfortunate enough to lose their masters’ support, and in the victory of men like Thorne who, openly flouting their “labour” crutches, clung frantically to the hand that doles them out their £400 a year, and found, if we may mix the metaphor in a good cause, that they had backed the right horse.

And now Lloyd George goes on to juggle with his promises. Pledged up to the hilt to Home Rule for Ireland, he is going to carry it with a vast Unionist majority! He is going to make a “beautiful new world” with a majority of the stoutest defenders of the old sordid and bestial working-class environment. Well, we hope the workers are about to learn a few useful lessons—and we think they are.

Another Election Lie.
At the fag end of the election campaign Lloyd George made a bid for the soldiers’ votes by declaring for rapid demobilisation and no conscription after the war. As to the first, we shall see presently what he means by that, but as for the second, he has warned us beforehand that he was simply lying.

Earlier in the campaign the wily one said that the question of Conscription depended upon the terms of the peace settlement. He was opposed to Conscription, he said, but if other countries had large armies—why, of course, and so on. He at the same time declared that Britain must retain her navy, which he said is a defensive force.

Now it must be obvious that if Britain is to retain her gigantic navy other countries are going to provide themselves with instruments of defence. The American Naval Secretary soon showed this when he declared that “It was his firm conviction that if the Versailles Conference did not result in a general agreement to put an end to naval construction the United States must bend its energies to the creation of incomparably the greatest navy in the world.” (‘"Star,” 31.12.18.)

It is sheer rubbish to talk of the Navy as being a defensive weapon. Lloyd George’s persistent claim that without the British Navy the Allies had never won the war proves that it was an offensive instrument of the first order. If it were merely a defensive weapon then it might be extinguished in a general disarmament. But Lloyd George says no, it must be retained. And Secretary Daniels, knowing that it is the factor in the control of trade routes, and therefore of.the world market, declares that America does not intend to be shut out of the world market.

And so there we are. The game is about to begin all over again—and nobody knows it better than Lloyd George. So when he says that he is in favour of no-conscription he is only lying to catch votes. He tells us the truth when he says Conscription in this country depends upon what obtains on the Continent, for that means that he is already preparing to institute it as an integral part of the “beautiful new world.”

“If Germany had waited a single generation she would have had a commercial empire of the world.”

Thus spake President Wilson in Rome on Jan. 3rd. Strange, is it not, how our opponents and apologists for the war prove the correctness of our statements regarding the root cause of the conflict and belie their own beatitudes concerning the high ideals which have actuated the Allies. Can it possibly be that they find, when the bill is finally presented, and shows ten million naval and military deaths alone, to say nothing of the millions of other deaths for which the war is responsible, that the old shallow bunkum of honour and the like is really too absurdly inadequate, and that is better to rely on the truth—that it was an economic war?

Obituaries: Tommy Jones and Willie Stewart (1992)

Obituaries from the July 1992 issue of the Socialist Standard

From his daughter we have learned of the death of Tommy Jones at the age of 84. He was active in the old Hamilton branch and was its secretary during its ten-year existence.

Tommy had a hard life: he worked down the pit and in foundries for many years and struggled to bring up a large family, but he always did what he could for the party in the Hamilton area.

We also learned at the same time that Willie Stewart, another old Hamilton stalwart, had passed away. Although disabled from an early age Willie never missed an opportunity to forcefully put over the socialist case. He was 86.

Tommy and Willie were lifelong friends as well as comrades and they never wavered in their commitment to the party. We extend our condolences to their families.

Much Ado About Nothing (1951)

From the February 1951 issue of the Socialist Standard

Listeners tuning in late to the Light programme at 8 p.m. on 11th January probably thought they were hearing a knockabout cross talk act by the Crazy Gang. A perusal of the “Radio Times” however would inform them that it was an "argument between two controversialists from opposite sides of the House of Commons.” Dr. Chas. Hill, erstwhile Radio Doctor and Lib.-Cons. members for Luton and Beds., and Douglas Houghton, Labour member, Sowerby, Yorks. The Doctor kicked off by expressing his ardent desire for a stronger Government. After he had reiterated this several times we begin to feel that his proposed ideal government would be so strong it would positively stink. Sounding very much like an irate and peppery Colonel about to throw an apoplectic fit or burst a bloodvessel, he ranted of the Fuel Crises, Housing shortages. Rising Costs and Government expenditure. His opponent tried to keep his end up, questioning if Conservatives had in the past or would in the future do any better. He hadn’t the Doctor’s booming volume or bulldozer approach and was bogged down like a centipede in wet sand. The "argument” more or less developed into a slanging match, at times both speakers "hogged” the air simultaneously, the Chairman endeavouring to maintain some semblance of order and guide the course, not very successfully. Houghton got in a dirty crack about the Drs. "bedside manner,” the point of it we lost in the general melee. He also called attention to the Labour Government’s “achievements” since 1945. But spluttering like a damp squib on firework night the Doctor once again asserted that a stronger government was needed and called passionately for an early General Election. Again he poured his wrath on the Fuel Crisis, the Chairman headed him off but he dived back again later like a homing rabbit or a dog to its juiciest bone. Towards the end Houghton recovered his wind a bit and made a brave try. (The Daily Graphic of 12th January, referred to the whole thing as a “Hot talk with a tepid reception.")

The Chairman then spoke a few soothing words and said they are not really cross, they’re grinning at one another. Possibly because each flattered himself he had put up a good show—in raucous cacophony they certainly had, but reasoned or intelligent argument, definitely no. In future when we read in our daily papers that “pandemonium reigned in the House” we shall visualise this exhibition multiplied and magnified, a veritable Tower of Babel.

This “argument” was the 2nd of a series of three. The writer missed the first by accident and will miss the third by design.
F. M. Robins

UFOs identified (2011)

From the May 2011 issue of the Socialist Standard

Saddam Hussein did not have any Weapons of Mass Destruction. But America has. Many. And stored all over the world, including in England. And, of course, in the United States itself, including the Nevada nuclear test site southwest of the Nellis Air Force Range, also known as Area 51 shown on old maps. Up to 1994, the Pentagon denied the existence of the so-called Dreamland base, although later that year the US Air Force (USAF) finally admitted to its existence. Even now, much of what goes on at “Area 51” is officially secret.

Area 51 was founded in 1954 as a secret base in which the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation could develop spy-planes, and other aircraft, for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Lockheed first developed, and constructed, the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft there. More than 55, in various versions, are known to have been built, according to Jeffrey Richelson in his The U.S. Intelligence Community (p.157).

On November 24, 1954, at a meeting with CIA chief Allen Dulles and other top officials, President Eisenhower gave approval for a programme to build 30 special high performance aircraft at a cost of $35 million. Richard Bissell, CIA Director of Plans, was given responsibility for the project. On August 8, the following year, the first plane, designated Utility-2 (or just U-2) made its official flight from the secret CIA facility at Groom Lake, Area 51, in Nevada. By 1956 the CIA deployed the first two U-2s from the RAF airbase at Lakenheath (American Espionage and the Soviet Target, Jeffrey Richelson, pp.140-142).

On October 29, 1956 the US Air Force awarded Lockheed a further contract to develop Weapons System 117L, later known as Pied Piper; and in 1958, Dulles and Bissell obtained Eisenhower’s approval to develop a follow-on aircraft to the U-2, the SR-71, also developed by Lockheed. By then Lockheed were well-established in Nevada, at Area 51.

UFOs and Aliens from Mars?
For decades, maps of a vast area beginning about 100 miles north of Las Vegas merely showed nothing more than barren desert. Yet there are roads, building, bunkers and a massive runway. And much more besides. There are within Area 51.

Public access to the area is strictly forbidden. One notice states: “Photography of this area is prohibited. 18 U.S.C. 795.” Another, ominously, says: “WARNING. Restricted Area. It is unlawful to enter this area without permission of the Installation Commander. See 21, Internal Security Act of 1950, U.S.C. 795. While on this Installation all personnel and the property under their control are subject to search. Use of deadly force authorized.” Indeed, trespassers have been arrested, put in leg-irons, strip-searched, heavily fined and even jailed for ignoring the warning signs.

Not surprisingly, ever since the Area 51 base was established, people reported seeing odd-looking objects in the sky. Rumours of alien spacecraft, and little grey or green men from Mars, abounded. At first, such claims were rubbished. There were no UFOs, they asserted. No little men.

In 1997, however, the CIA admitted that it had lied about alleged UFOs, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s. They weren’t from Mars or outer space but they did, and do, exist. To some extent, it probably suited the authorities for observers to imagine they had seen flying saucers from outer space.

The CIA Comes Clean
In a report, “The CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90”, published on the 3rd August 1997, the Agency admitted it had lied to the public about the real nature of UFOs, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s to preserve secrecy during the Cold War.

It admitted the validity of reports of hundreds of sightings from the public, aviation experts and pilots. Initially, they were supersonic spy planes such as the U-2 and Blackbird.

Said the report:

“More than half of all UFO reports from the late 1950s through the 1960s were accounted for by manned reconnaissance flights…
This led the Air Force to make misleading and deceptive statements to the public in order to allay public fears, and to protect an extraordinarily sensitive national security project.”

Commenting on the CIA report, the Guardian (4 August 1997) says:

“The planes were built at Area 51, or Dreamland base, in Nevada, whose existence the Pentagon still denies. The U-2s flew to more than 60,000 ft and the Blackbird to 80,000 ft.”

The CIA report added that the decision to paint the aircraft black, as well as with the Stealth bombers was, not just to camouflage them militarily, but to reduce UFO sightings. The report noted that, originally, the U-2s’ silver bodies “reflected the rays of the sun,” encouraging the sightings of “fiery objects.” At the time, and for years after, UFO fever became a huge obsession in the United States, notes the Guardian.

More recently UFOs were reported over Afghanistan and Pakistan. These, in fact, are unmanned drones. Although the CIA, or any other US government agency, is unlikely to admit it, it is more than likely that these pilotless aircraft, which have caused havoc, and killed and injured many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, were also developed at the Area 51 site.

What a useless and destructive waste of natural resources!
Peter E. Newell

Reading . . . (1924)

From the June 1924 issue of the Socialist Standard
“Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man and writing- an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had ' need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning to seem to know what he doth not.”
Francis Bacon