From the December 1936 issue of the Socialist Standard
During the past few years the world situation has become more chaotic. From the end of 1929 to about the middle of 1934 capitalism was passing through possibly the greatest economic crisis of its history. With recovery has come a more intensified scramble for the world’s markets and raw materials. Imperialism is the order of the day. The large empires of France and Great Britain are threatened by the Imperial aspirations of highly-developed countries, such as Germany, Italy and Japan.
England’s need for a larger armed force to protect the economic interests of British capitalism is more imperative to-day than ever. But England’s great recruiting sergeant, Unemployment, has been very unsuccessful of late in raking in the number of recruits required. Large numbers of unemployed youths are quite unwilling to be led like lambs to the slaughter in a future war, and unemployment benefit helps them to ignore the call to “join up and see the world.’’ On the other hand, owing to the extremely poor quality and quantity of the food, clothing and shelter allowed the workers, even when in employment, a large proportion of those offering themselves for service in the armed forces do not pass the test for physical fitness.
British capitalism finds itself in a dilemma. If unemployment benefits are raised, so as to keep the workless well-fed, clothed and housed, they are not likely to join the Army or Navy. Alternatively, if the unemployed are not given sufficient means of subsistence they become physically unfit for military service. What’s to do about it? We are informed by the Daily Herald (July 4th, 1936) that:—
The War Office is considering a system of making unfit recruits fit. The scheme is simply to fatten them up.
After six months of reasonably adequate diet, special exercises and careful attention, the recruits are expected to be up to normal standards.
An official said yesterday that the majority of the rejections were caused by under-nourishment.
If the working class, in the face of such an indictment of the present social order, are still prepared to allow themselves to be led to the shambles in the interests of the social parasites who control our very lives, then they have themselves to blame for neglecting to find the solution to their poverty-stricken existence.
Our advice to the workers is to study the Socialist case. Come to our meetings, read our literature. Join up in the only army in Great Britain worthy of the working class, the Socialist Party of Great Britain, with the object of wiping parasites and poverty and the danger of war from the face of the earth for ever.
H. G. Holt