Monday, September 11, 2017

Labour's not so new Britain (1964)

Book Review from the December 1964 issue of the Socialist Standard

The New Britain: Labour's Plan Outlined by Harold Wilson. Selected Speeches 1964 (Penguin Special, 3/6d. )

Shortage of all the good things of life is nothing new to a worker, circumscribed as his life is by the size of his wage packet. That’s something no politicians have been able to do anything about, but it certainly does not stop them from promising. In fact, there was certainly no shortage of promises during the recent general election.

Not that the capitalist parties necessarily wait until the election date is announced. The Labour Party had prepared its election programme months beforehand, and it was detailed in a series of speeches by Harold Wilson in the first four months of this year. Nine of these speeches have been reprinted in a Penguin Special: Wilson—Selected Speeches 1964 (3/6d), and after you have read them, there should not be much doubt in your mind whose influence was dominant in the Patty’s subsequent manifesto.

It would be as well to read both documents and then keep them safely preserved for future reference, because workers’ memories are notoriously short and now that Wilson is Prime Minister, we may expect the promise-breaking to start at any time. Let us take a look at some of the pledges in the Penguin Book. First of all (of course) the housing problem. Yes, it’s down for solving for the umpteenth time but what does Mr. Wilson mean by "solving?" Well, among other things there will be many more council houses built for letting—what a prospect; building land will be taken into public ownership and there will be no further rent de-control. Cheap (and nasty) houses for the workers! That is the measure of his “ solution."

Then there is education. A shrewd stroke this, because Mr. Wilson can point to the severe deficiencies of the present set up, the dreary Victorian buildings and oversized classes in which many working class children are forced to study and the fact that there are not nearly enough teachers to go round. Thirteen years of Tory rule can be blamed for this, thinks Wilson, forgetting that the Tories in their turn inherited the mess which six years of Labour Government had failed to clear up.

We are going to have full employment, too, under Labour. This apparently is going to be assured by expanding production and trade by at least four per cent per year. Exports will be stepped up and industry encouraged to produce many of the goods which are now imported. It will all be done by “ a national plan" — in an unplannable world. The little matter of the anarchy of the capitalist market is something which is cheerfully ignored, but we may be sure that this anarchy will be the excuse —phrased differently of course — which will be trotted out if a recession occurs and the unemployment figures rise.

Mr. Wilson is nothing if not a man of the people, the whole people. That is to say, there is something for everyone in this book. To the Commonwealth more trade and closer links. To the medical profession more doctors, better hospitals and training facilities. To the old age pensioners bigger pensions and free bus passes. To the industrialists an expanding market and reduced labour costs. Yes, he made no bones about wage restraint in his speech at Edinburgh on March 24th. This is one promise which doubtless will be kept:
  You can ask for this policy (wage restraint) if production and productivity are rising, you can ask for it if it is intended, if it is envisaged, against the background of a climate of true social justice.
The results of The New Britain under Labour will not be much different from those of the old Britain under the Tories, as far as workers are concerned. That Mr. Wilson is an astute politician is undeniable,. but it will be capitalism which will determine his actions in the months ahead, not his astuteness. It has happened many times before to politicians of all parties, which is why their policies show such remarkable similarity to each other. “Little Sir Echo" is the contemptuous expression which Wilson uses more than once in describing Tory imitations of Labour Policy. Apparently, he is not clever enough to realise just what a self-condemnation this really is.
Eddie Critichfield

Death of Another Old Comrade (1944)

Obituary from the September 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

We regret to announce the death of Comrade W. Howard, of Hackney Branch, at the age of 66. A docker by trade for the greater part of his life, he was formerly a member of the Social Democratic Federation. Realising the futility of the reformist policy which had overtaken the S.D.F., he left it to join the S.P.G.B. in June, 1912. For 32 years he gave his unstinted efforts to the work of the Party as lecturer and in the organisation of the Branch, and passed on the benefits of his experience to younger members. He rarely failed to attend Branch meetings even during the last four years when he suffered from a heart ailment. Comrade Howard will be greatly missed by all who knew him. We extend our sympathy to his relatives in their loss.

The Faking of Reports by the Beaverbrook Press (1956)

Editorial from the January 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Beaverbrook newspapers the Sunday Express and Daily Express have a long record of faking certain kinds of reports. In reporting speeches they consider it legitimate to alter certain words and phrases and present their own doctored version as if it were the original. In our issue for January, 1945, we showed how the Daily Express of 2 December, 1944, took a speech made by Mr. Anthony Eden in the House of Commons, altered his specific references to “Labour Government” and to the “hon gentlemen opposite ” into “Socialist Government” and “Socialists” and presented this version as Mr. Eden’s actual words. Shortly afterwards the Manchester Guardian (10 April, 1945), caught the Sunday Express (and the Daily Telegraph) doing the same with a speech by Mr. Ernest Bevin. The Manchester Guardian in a leading article with the title of “Hard of Hearing ” doubted if the reporters could be blamed for this and wondered if the true explanation was not a “directive” that this doctoring should always be done. Unable to ignore the Guardian's rebuke the Daily Express (12 April, 1945), came to the defence of its stable companion, the Sunday Express, by explaining that the trouble was about “a mistake in one of the provincial editions” of that paper. But they craftily refrained from saying what the Guardian had charged against the Sunday Express, so their readers were left in the dark. Of course the explanation explained nothing and the practise of faking has gone on ever since. We are therefore presumably to believe that by strange coincidence Beaverbrook reporters then and since have been afflicted with a defect of hearing that causes them to go on making the same mistake.

It becomes more curious still when we find that a reporter can be not only deaf but blind. For on 14 June, 1945, the Daily Express published what purported to be an extract from an article by Mr. John Yarwood, official of the National Union of General and Municipal Workers, in the Union Journal far June, 1945. In that journal Mr. Yarwood wrote:—
    "I admit that we have union members who are professed Conservatives. I can't understand them. Further, there is reason to suspect that considerable numbers who pay lip service to Labour Party policy cast their votes for Conservatives in the secrecy of the ballot. 1 cannot understand them either."
In the doctored version of the Daily Express this became:—
   “We have members who are professed Conservatives and members who pay lip service to the Socialist Party and then vote Conservative. 1 can't understand either."
In 1945 we also took up with “Candidus” of the Daily Sketch (not one of the Beaverbrook group) his practice of referring to the Labour Party as the Socialist Party. He dealt with our protest in an article on 1 April, 1945 and gave what we considered the unsatisfactory explanation that he considered it to be a justifiable practice; but at least he gave space to our protest.

The recent attitude of the Evening Standard has been quite different. In their issue for 12 October, 1945, they published an article by Sir Beverley Baxter in which he reported the conference of the Labour Party as the conference of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Our letters to him and to the Editor of the Evening Standard brought curt replies which made no apology and offered no defence or explanation. We have therefore sent the correspondence to the National Press Council which is to consider the matter. There for the present it rests until we receive the further reply promised by the Council.

Are The Teachers Learning? (1956)

From the February 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard

At the time of writing the school teachers are claiming some measure of public interest over their attitude to the Government's Superannuation policy.

The general public have, of course, always known of the existence of teachers: all of them, to a greater or lesser degree have at some time come under their influence while many are hoping that their son or daughter will eventually step into the profession. Nevertheless, perhaps the vast majority of teachers are a “race apart" and when the subject of schools and schoolteachers comes up during a conversation at the “local" or at the factory it is generally held that teachers have nothing to grumble about, being well paid and having more leisure time than the average worker in industry.

Perhaps therefore we should enquire into the business of teachers and teaching more closely before coming to over hasty opinions.

The first thing we would discover would be that every form of society had its teachers; secondly, the pedagogue was invariably an important (perhaps the most important) servant of the ruling class in any given society. This is not at all difficult to realise when we follow the role of the teacher back through history. Without bothering to go abroad or even back to the pre-mediaeval times when the teacher included in his “bag of tools" such attributes as doctor, priest, musician and prophet, we can glean sufficient, merely from a study of teaching craft from the time of the Norman Conquest.

The early teachers were the monks of the church, the school buildings, the Monastic houses, the curriculum one that fitted its pupils to become wise in the affairs of State and Church and also to teach the peasantry the humility necessary for the preservation of their lords spiritually and earthly.

With the growth of trade, through colonization, the teacher was again necessary to instill sufficient skill into the heads of those who served in the business houses and later the factories which were the new forms of wealth production for the ruling class. The “Industrial Revolution" gave a boost to the spread of so-called popular, universal education. So much so that one, Robert Lowe., expressed on behalf of many of his friends, that there was a danger that they may be “educating their future masters!" This, of course, has not materialized.

Now-a-days, education is more important than ever; in a world with its science and pseudo-science, a world wherein newspapers count their copies in millions; in which bureaucracy requires the filling-in of forms and documents by the tens of millions, the worker must be provided with at least the minimum education. Educationists, of course, have not wholly agreed on the purpose and aim of education. Some claim that it should be vocational, others that it is the creation of the aesthetic, others that its aim is to instill a sense of citizenship and to create “harmonious development."

The teacher has to serve as ever. His job is to turn out the product required whether as hewers of wood and drawers of water or nuclear physicists. Both are vitally necessary to the profit system.

At the moment teachers, a long suffering rather servile group, are stirring. Their present living standards are threatened. They, like most others, see this as an injustice and so it is. When will they learn from history the plain fact that in serving their lords and masters as they have for centuries, they have always been servile! Perhaps more so, since they have been more blind than many to the true nature of their position. They have traditionally thought of themselves as being members of a mythical Middle Class; a kind of √©lite and have tended to weave a cocoon of academic aloofness around themselves. They are still monastic-minded. When they realise that there as just two classes in society, an owning class and a class that lives by the sale of its labour power, and that they belong to the latter, then perhaps they will draw closer to the broader working class. They may, in time, reach the stage when they will attain the education that Squire Brown spoke of—"that which is learned after you have forgotten what you learned at school.” They may begin to realise that Socialism which can only come about by the joint effort of all sections of the working class, is the only way out of wars and crises. Those who have so dutifully, so well, and for so long, taught others, will have educated themselves.
W. Brain

Party News Briefs (1956)

Party News from the March 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard

There are several items of interest to report and it would be as well to note these in diaries. The Annual Conference Friday, Saturday and Sunday. March 30th. 31st and April 1st. at Conway Hall, is of great interest to all Party members. The proceedings open each day at 11 a.m, Should any Provincial delegates require accommodation or information please write direct (or through branch secretaries) to the General Secretary or Party Organiser. Particularly in cases where delegates require accommodation, it is essential that arrangements are not left to the last moment as it may cause inconvenience to themselves and to members who would prefer to be prepared rather than make hurried arrangements during Conference time.

On the Saturday the Annual Dance and Social will be held in the same hall, and on the Sunday evening a Propaganda Rally will be held, this also at Conway Hall. It is hoped that these three functions will be well attended and members are asked to make every effort to come along.

*    *    *    *

Monday, March 12th, at 7.30 p.m., also at Conway Hall, a meeting is being held—speakers Comrades Bryan and May. The subject “ Britain’s Departing Empire—the Socialist Attitude.” As the Party has not held any large Central London meetings this season, it is hoped that this one will be really successful and the Propaganda Committee urges members to advertise the meeting as widely as possible, the Subject is an interesting one and should attract a good audience.

*    *    *    *

Debate with I.L.P., held at the Central Library, Bermondsey, on Monday, 6th February, was very successful, the debate was well attended and although no hard words were bandied (Comrade Wilmott said he was in a very good mood!) both Comrade Wilmott and Frank Maitland (I.L.P.) provided food for thought and made the evening an interesting one. Joe Thomas (Worker's League) was an able Chairman.

*    *    *    *

Ealing Branch.—Ealing Branch are already making active preparations for their May Sales Drive to dispose of 1,000 Socialist Standards. In an effort to extend the idea throughout the Party, it has circularised all Branches (and Central Branch members) with a view to getting them to accept certain basic commitments. These are (1) to guarantee to carry out a minimum of eight canvasses; (2) to double their usual order of S.S. (this means also committing themselves to twice their usual financial outgoings); and (3) to insert announcements of their canvassing programmes in the May S.S. Several branches have already responded to this appeal and many others are expected to do so. It is intended to set up a committee, composed of members from the various branches taking part in the drive, to co-ordinate and direct activities. We ask all branches and individual members to co-operate with us to the utmost to make the drive a success.
Phyllis Howard

The Complex Loaf of Bread (1956)

From the April 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard

Bread is in the news again. Britain has increased the price of the loaf. Meantime here is an item of news from America. 

"If you loaded America’s surplus wheat on to a train it would stretch for 4,200 miles—from San Francisco to New York and back again to Kansas City.” (South Wales News, February, 1956.). This fact concerning the most basic food stuff in the world is a sure testimony to the productive ability of Capitalist society.

Wheat is going to be costlier in Britain whilst there is a tremendous surplus in America. Unfortunately America’s surplus wheat is not really available to the world’s people, vast numbers of whom are starving.

Of the many crimes one may level at the insane system known as Capitalism, this capacity to deny man the fruits of his labour is one that even the least class-conscious worker knows to be wrong. Mankind appears to be faced with a complex situation. Such complexities as seem to demand complex plans for alleviation; complex conferences—and occasionally—complex wars to try and rectify things. Such is the situation today and “worthy” bodies from U.N.E.S.C.O. to the Salvation Army, are busy tackling the intriguing problem of how to shift surplus wheat into waiting bellies. All the while they fail to do so or do it inadequately.

Here at home things are not quite as bad as they are in some parts of the world. There is full employment; people, in the main, get what bread they need and other things besides. The workers, according to our political and Trade Union leaders, have a lot to be thankful for. What, may we ask, is this “prosperity” dependent upon? Your masters give you your answer every day— upon production—which to you simply means that your day to day living standards depend upon whether your masters can sell the commodities you produce in this or other countries, at the “right” price. 

The production and selling costs are enormous; they include price of raw materials, machinery, wages and marketing costs, which include transport, together with the huge expense involved in maintaining spheres of influence and world sources of marketing and supply, by means of military power in terms of men and armaments. Quite a complex bit of organization again, you see, but unfortunately necessary under their system.

An unknown author once put it this way:—“Man can circle the earth without touching the ground; kill each other when miles apart; weigh the stars; print a million newspapers in an hour; breed the seeds out of an orange; persuade dogs to smoke pipes and cats to play guitars. Man, is indeed, an ingenious animal. But when confronted with one problem, he retires defeated. Show him six men without money and six loaves of bread and ask him “how the six hungry men can obtain the six loaves.”" It is possible that you, the reader, can provide the answer. The Capitalist system cannot.

It is precisely because money is the fulcrum on which Capitalism pivots and to which all things are subject, that we are in our present predicament. Everything created is made to be sold at a profit. If you can pay the price, then brother you can eat ’till you die. When you die, someone—your relatives, friends, or the State—must pay the expense for ridding society of your carcass.

To go back to our six men and the loaves. Mankind looks at the problem—then retires “leaving in the shivering twilight, the tableaux of six hungry men and the six unapproachable loaves.”

Socialists want to bring the men and the loaves together. The problem, once understood, is not at all a complex one. By studying the case for Socialism, you, reader, may feel desirous to help.

It is plain enough to see, no one is going to give you your daily bread; they can only sell it to you when conditions are right. When the machine breaks down they cannot sell or give it away. You can, however, take it as a natural right, but first we must have Socialism.
W. Brain

Workers' Paradise (1956)

From the May 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard


Dressed Up—For What? (1956)

Cartoon accompanying the original article.
From the June 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard

It was a pleasant evening in early summer, still quite light, warm and balmy, the air laden with the scent of flowers from the park across the way. For what was normally a busy London suburb, there was surprisingly little traffic and this lent an atmosphere of tranquility—something all too rare nowadays.

Then I saw him. He was standing in a shop doorway, a well built young man of about 23, handsome in a coarse way, and one who obviously took great care of his appearance. From his thick, brushed hair to his gleaming shoes, he was a picture of smartness, reminding one of the photographs appearing in male fashion magazines—but without the usual smile.

For he was not smiling. He stared moodily out at passers by, and when I passed the same spot an hour and a half later, on my way home, he was still there, talking to no-one, the same chap—the same expression of unrelieved boredom.

You may wonder at the conditions which drive a young person to take such trouble with his dress and appearance, all to no apparent purpose, and yet he is no exception. The story could be repeated many times over. Just take a look at the Broadways of any large town or suburb and see the boys and girls attempting to express their individuality via the medium of dress, hair style, etc., only to achieve, at best, a variation of a very narrow theme.

A friend of the writer once pointed out a mutual acquaintance with the words “Guess how much that suit cost?—£40!”—which can tell us quite a lot about the standard of values in the modern world. The clothes made the man as far as this youngster was concerned. No one of course denies that good clothes are a pleasure to wear, and it is a rarity nowadays to see young men walking around with the seats of their trousers tattered and worn—as was the lot of many before the war. (Although even the smartness of our doorway friend pales a little when one considers what is available to those with : real money). But Capitalism never gives with one hand without taking away with the other.

“Full employment” we may have. We also have the frustration on the faces of the gum-chewing girls and boys, which sooner or later expresses itself in violence. The Broadways mentioned earlier will provide ample evidence of this on any Saturday night around midnight when the local dance halls turn out—and so does the local police van.

Areas which were considered “respectable” before the war are no longer so. The “Teddy Boy" problem has pushed its way into the least expected places and stubbornly resists orthodox attempts to solve it. And who can wonder? It is, after all, part of the price we pay for modern life with its feverish nightmare existence and its failure to give deep and lasting satisfaction. The obvious bad effects on the minds and bodies of so many are typified in the pathetic young man in the shop door-way and the Saturday night sorties of the "Bobbies.”

“Relaxation is all important,” says Dr. W. Clunie Harvey, M.D., D.P.H., writing in the journal Better Health (April 1955), but it becomes increasingly difficult in a world where, to quote Dr. Clunie again, “We are very often born in a hurry, we tear through childhood, before we know we’re grown up we are getting on towards middle age. . . .  Our lives seem to be made up of a series of crises. No sooner do we get out of one than we find ourselves in another. . . . ”

Which just about sums it up. Capitalism can offer us very little else but a “series of crises” of one sort or another. It has been said, no doubt with some truth, that the dress style and the nonchalant air of the street corner boys and their made-up girl friends is but an effort to assert themselves against a future which they subconsciously dread. We can only work for the day when this is replaced, with a conscious appreciation of the cause of their fears, and the realisation that only Socialism can give them the security they crave.
Eddie Critchfield

Correspondence (1956)

Letter to the Editors from the July 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard
The following letter of criticism of the S.P.G.B, has been received from a South Wales reader of the “Socialist Standard”
A little while ago I came across a copy of the Socialist Standard. As I perused its pages, a surge of thought carried me back some 30 odd years to the days of my boyhood. I could see once again, the street corner where a group of derelict men listened to the speaker on the platform. I moved forward and there painted in front of the platform were the words “Socialist Party Gt. Britain.” I recalled the mental agility of the speaker; the art of vective when the occasion arose and the good humoured banter with which he raised a laugh—in days when there was little to laugh about. When I looked at the “Socialist Standard” recently I shook my head sorrowfully and asked “ What has the S.P.G.B. accomplished during those years?”

To the general public, the words “Socialist” and “Labour” are synonymous and any attempt to tell them that there is an organization known as the S.P.G.B., whose policy is different from Labour, would meet with wide eyed amazement. Has, therefore, the philosophy of my street comer orator of long ago been of no avail?

The basis of any true Socialist society must include the principles of your party. But is your party likely to achieve its aim when, with half the century gone, it has yet to gain a seat in Parliament? I take it that you desire to gain that distinction, for it would seem that without Parliamentary representation and ultimate majority, the S.P.G.B. is just a wasted effort.

I have no doubt the party contains many able men but while other parties strive to gain control of the country the S.P.G.B. do nothing and its propaganda makes about as much noise as a weathercock on a steeple.

Regarding the Labour Party. Although there is a divergency of views within it which weakens it, it is, however, a party of the people and commands the support of those for whom there is no other party to which they can turn in an effort to oust capitalism. Can we, as members of the public be expected to support a party which has no voice in the affairs of the country? For such as myself. Labour gives a glimmer of hope that there is a chance that from it may yet evolve a Socialist Government

It is possible that one may have to sacrifice one's Socialist Principles to gain one's Socialist Ideal.

Does the word “Socialist” appeal to the public? I don't think so. The S.P.G.B. can never become a popular party by retaining its present title. During the war, Richard Acland's Commonwealth Party rapidly gained new friends. I’m sure the secret lay in the name.

These remarks are intended to be constructive. They may be wide of the mark with regard to the aims of your party but the sympathies of the writer are with Socialism.
J. Willock.
Llanelly


REPLY.
Someone once said “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” Mr. Willock, like many more at the present time stands bewildered amidst the chaos of capitalism hoping that the Labour Party will justify its existence. The fact that, despite the control of Parliament, and a multitude of reformist schemes, Mr. Willock still looks for a “ glimmer of hope ” that the Labour Party will one day become Socialist, is indeed significant. Perhaps our correspondent agrees that the Labour Party has never been Socialist, is not Socialist, and shows no hope of becoming Socialist (we have no way of knowing how much hope Mr. Willock finds in a “glimmer.”)

Having apologised for the Labour Party Mr. Willock then goes on to criticise the S.P.G.B.—a Socialist organization. He says that “Socialism” and “Labour” are synonymous to the general public. Quite true; it is something we too deplore. For Mr. Willock’s “glimmer of hope” to become somewhat brighter one would suggest that the Labour Party begins now to advocate Socialism. Unfortunately such a thing would be quite impossible for that organization short of disbanding itself. Its members who become Socialists could with very little trouble join the Socialist organization already existing—namely the S.P.G.B.

Our correspondent goes on to say that without Parliamentary representation the S.P.G.B. is a wasted effort. He also says we do nothing to propagate our views. Really Mr. Willock? The $P.G.B. certainly does propagate the view that it is of prime importance to capture Parliament (see our Declaration of Principles), but surely in order to capture Parliament for Socialism the majority must understand and want Socialism. Mr. Willock unconsciously condemns himself when he criticises us for not having captured Parliament. It is only Mr. Willock and the rest of the working class who can capture Pariiament, the S.P.G.B. can be their instrument for doing so—if they desire it.

Mr. Willock, having admitted that Socialism must include the Principles of our Party, still doggedly tries to find another excuse for the lack of support he and others show towards Socialism. He points out the “need” for a change of title, and uses the Commonwealth Party as his unfortunate illustration. Since he has a sneaking regard for the S.P.G.B. one wonders why in the name of common sense does he still cling to his “glimmering hope” the Labour Party. Seriously, does our correspondent think any gain would be forthcoming by trying to “sell” Socialism by any other name, does he think it would work: Is he ashamed of Socialism?

He asks what have we accomplished? . What, may we ask, does he expect us to accomplish? The real point to remember is that the small band of Socialists accomplishes little itself but the working class can accomplish what it wills when it wills it. It is up to our correspondent and others to bring Socialism about, not by doling out wise advice but rather by setting an example.

Finally, now that our correspondent has once again contacted the S.P.G.B. (an example of the S.P.G.B. propagating Socialism) he should continue to read and criticise. His view that one should sacrifice Socialist principles in order to foster Socialist Ideals is quite illogical. Not to hold Socialist principles in a Capitalist society is to support capitalism.
W. Brain

Nationalism, the Enemy of Socialism (1956)

From the August 1956 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialists have a simple solution for the problems of nationalism. It is that all people shall be enabled to live happily wherever they are or wherever they want to go. It is the only solution and it can only be applied when the world has become a Socialist world. It cannot be applied in a Capitalist world though all the non-Socialists, including the Labour and Communist parties, claim that they have a solution that can be applied now. They pay lip-service to various forms of the principle of "self-determination," the principle that nationalist groups should be free to decide for themselves. It sounds fine but it cannot solve the problem even though, if the group is powerful enough with or without military aid from outside, it may succeed in breaking away and setting up its own government or joining another country. It cannot solve the problem because the material on which Nationalism feeds—differences of colour, religion, language and tradition—exist everywhere in every country and because the economic conflicts which capitalism constantly produces at home and internationally will always inflame this material; as fast as one conflagration is put out others spring up. And the economic conflicts taking on the nationalist disguise, with its fever and hatreds, go on between independent nations just as much as when a national group is struggling against alien rule.

Capitalism is a competitive world in which national groups survive by armed force. No government, whatever its professed principles, will voluntarily see its armed strength undermined by granting the right of secession to all who demand it. The Northern States of U.S.A. fought a bloody civil war to prevent the Southern States from seceding in the eighteen sixties; and the nominal right of secession embodied in the Russian Constitution is not worth the paper it is written on unless circumstances arise in which the would-be secessionists do make their demand effective with force. British capitalism gave up India because it lacked the means to hold it, but now Nehru's government acts in accordance with exactly the same "what we have we hold " principle as he denounced during the struggles against the British Government. On May 4, Mr. Nehru announced in the Indian Parliament that "Indian forces attempting to put down the revolt of Naga tribesmen in the hill area of North-Eastern Assam have killed more than 100 rebels and wounded many more since mid-April." (Manchester Guardian, 5 May, 1956). The Manchester Guardian later, on (21 June), described the Naga demand for independence as "absurd," but then of course all such demands appear absurd to the government resisting them. And when Mr. Nehru informed rioting crowds in Bombay that whether they like it or not they are going to be governed from Delhi for the next five years his words might have come from the lips of Sir John Harding in Cyprus. He told them that Bombay "could not be allowed to decide its own future in its present disturbed mood” (Daily Mail, 4 June, 1956). The Scottish Forward (14 July) quotes him as saying that because of their recent behaviour the citizens of Bombay have "disqualified themselves from deciding their own future." This report adds the following description, distinctly reminiscent of the old campaign against British rule:—.
   “As Mr. Nehru was saying this to 200,000 Bombay citizens at a seashore meeting, parts of bis public address were obscured by the whine of tear-gas shells, the sporadic rattle of musketry, the tinkle of broken glass from nearby street lamps, and the slogans of an angry, stone-slinging citizenry."
Everywhere the countries that have won their "freedom" show conflict with their own opposition group, the Karens in Burma, the negroes in U.S.A. and South Africa, the Israelites and Arabs in the Middle East, the Somalis in Ethiopia, the Southern Sudanese in the Sudan, the Tamils in Ceylon; not to mention the Nationalist movements in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. And already the short-time and unemployment in the Midlands have inspired a newspaper to publish an article asking that further immigration of Jamaicans and Irishmen be stopped. (Sunday Graphic, 15 July, 1956).

As all these examples show, the word "self-determination" is a misnomer, for none of the nationalist movements accepts that individuals shall be free to choose. Cyprus, is a case in point. British capitalism holds it— for strategic reasons; Greek capitalism wants it—for strategic reasons; and the Turkish Government says that if the British leave they will take it—for strategic reasons. But the Greeks and Turks both add a plea based on "self-determination," the Greeks on the ground that the majority of inhabitants are Greek-speaking and the Turks on the ground that the minority are Turkish and are strongly opposed to bring ruled by Greece. And the best known of the Cypriot independence movements, E.O.K.A., makes no pretence of letting Greek-speaking Cypriots individually voice their preference for remaining as they are, or becoming independent or joining Greece. Many of their victims are Cypriot-Greeks and a leaflet issued by E.O.K.A. justifies these shootings with the same kind argument as is used by all governments and all nationalist movements:—
   "Some people seem to think that killing people within hospitals is unmanly and immoral. We point out that our holy struggle overrides all such thoughts. Those who are not with us are against us. Those who forget their patriotism will be punished."
(Manchester Guardian, 20th April, 1956).
Nationalism and the struggle "for the bloody rags called flags of civilised savages," is not a holy struggle but an exhibition of human ignorance utterly without justification for the workers in the modern world. In the primitive society of past ages patriotism or tribal solidarity was a necessity of survival. In a future, socialist world, freed from the exploitation of man by man, there will be no economic conflicts to masquerade under and take advantage of language, colour and other differences. In the present class-divided and frontier-divided Capitalist world nationalist frictions will continue to serve ruling class ends until they are overcome by the growth of Socialist understanding and Socialist international unity.
Edgar Hardcastle