Monday, July 2, 2018

Reflections for the New Year (1935)

Editorial from the January 1935 issue of the Socialist Standard

A new year has come round again, and brings to mind the annual question, “How long, oh, Lord, how long," must we work, and hunger, and squirm under oppressive social conditions? Outside the ranks of our Party there are thousands and thousands of workers who feel the pressure of servile conditions and bitterly complain, yet they are deaf to our message. To such our view is the “long view,” but they want “something now." For over a century workers have been struggling for “something now," and how has it left them? Bound tightly to the wheel of capital, faced with the poverty and insecurity, that is their common lot to-day.

As we have so often pointed out the problem is a simple one. The insecurity and bondage that is the lot of the working class arises from the private ownership of the means of living. The conversion of these means of living into the common property of society will enable the product of industry to flow wherever needed, instead of only to those who have the money to buy. As the working class performs the work of producing and distributing the wealth to-day nothing can be lost by the changeover, except the privileges of an idle and parasitic class.

The simplicity of the Socialist position is a guarantee that if it is sufficiently pressed to the attention of workers it must ultimately convince them, and gain their support. But it is the pressing that is the trouble. The small amount of leisure available to those who are advocating Socialism makes the spreading of our views a long job until our membership has reached dimensions which will enable our view to be put everywhere and at all times.

Yet, slow though our growth is, we are growing, and every year shows increase in activity, new forms of activity, and the wider spread of our views. In particular, there has been, in recent years, a gratifying increase in the number of, and attendance at, indoor meetings. We are gradually building up a large staff of competent speakers which will have fruitful results in the near future.

There is always the central fact that is both a spur to our efforts and a solace, and it is that the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and the establishment of Socialism is the only solution to the economic evils of to-day, and further, that this can be accomplished when the workers understand it and want it.

Those who wish to make New Year resolutions of an unusual kind—resolutions to be kept—have an excellent opportunity. Let them make up their mind to study Socialism, and work for its achievement in the way that is open to them: By joining us and helping with voice, pen, funds, and other ways to speed the birth of a new and much-needed social order.

That is our New Year message to all workers.

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