Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Love, Marriage and Divorce In Russia (1948)

From the May 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the radical movement of the last hundred years or so the “woman question” has loomed large. In fact, amongst the self-styled “intellectuals” the enthusiasm for the emancipation of love from property fetters appeared to rival the enthusiasm for the emancipation of labour. Consequently, after the revolution in Russia had been accomplished and groups of “advanced” people abroad had swallowed the delusion that Socialism had been achieved in one country, it was accepted that woman in Russia had been freed from the shackles property had fastened upon her, and free relations between the sexes had at last become the social custom. Early reports gave some colour to this view. The Soviet Union was held up to admiring gaze as a model of sanity in sex relationship and we were regaled with stories of the love life of bright young women, married and unmarried, who had enjoyed the felicity of numerous husbands to the satisfaction and happiness of all concerned. Knowledge of birth control methods was widespread, abortion was permitted and, at the worst, the State cared for children, so that women were relieved of their worst burdens. It may be noted in passing that the benevolence of the State sprang from motives that had nothing to do with helping women to engage in untrammelled love affairs. Labour was urgently needed for industrial operations and women who were free from the burden of children provided a part of this labour.

Inspired by the false dawn in Russia an American biologist decided that the appropriate time had come to give the world at large views that he had long restricted to a privileged few, which contained his vision of humanity freed from evolutionary influences that were leading the human race to disaster. The book he wrote on the subject was entitled “Out of the Night” (published by Gollancz in 1936) and the biologist was H. J. Muller. He was professor of Zoology, University of Texas; Member, National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.; and, finally, Foreign Member, Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. In his preface to the book Professor Muller writes, in connection with the views on eugenics he is putting forward:—
   “In the meantime, our airy imaginings concerning the future possibilities of co-operative activity on a grand scale are brought down to earth and given substance when we turn to the great and solid actualities of collective achievement which are becoming increasingly evident in that one section of the world—the Soviet Union—in which the fundamental changes in the economic basis have already been established. More intimate familiarity with these developments at the time of writing would have rendered available a mass of material pertinent to our subject. There the march of progress proceeds apace, while elsewhere discouragement and decadence admittedly deepen. This central fact of the present-day social world at once substantiates, and belittles our theorising. (P. 8.)
As we shall see, it is a pity that the learned professor did not leave his visions for a while and familiarise himself with the real foundations of Soviet Russia. However, let us first of all summarise the nature of his visions.

The professor advocates a form of eugenic procedure which, he claims, will ensure the improvement of the human race to such an extent that the next few centuries will concentrate within them biological improvement and terrestrial control equivalent to the progress achieved in the thousands of years between the amoeba and modern man. For example, he envisages a time when, on the basis of recent progress in biological investigation and experiment, the human egg-cell will be impregnated and germinate into the embryo and the child outside the human body; thus banishing from love relations the biological function of procreation. He looks forward to the time, now within the realms of possibility, when male cultures and female egg-cells will be stored and labelled, to be mixed later on principles that will ensure the procreation of only the best physical and mental types. This final fruition of biological genius he leaves, however, to the distant future. In the meantime he alleges that there are some things that can be done and he looks to Russia, the Mecca of his hopes, to initiate the first steps because, as he puts it, they can only be satisfactorily begun in a community from which private property has been banished. He argues that female insemination by artificial methods has now been advanced to a stage where woman can choose the father of her children without needing the intervention of sex relations. He argues that it is only a short biological step forward to be able to ensure the storage of male cultures for an indefinite period. The advantage of this would be that while it is impossible to determine during the lifetime of a prominent man whether or not he was of a superior type the lapse of, say, twenty-five years after his death should be sufficient to settle this problem and his culture would be available for insemination. Lest the reader has a vision of enormous storage spaces it is only fair to give the professor's estimate of what it might amount to. He assures us that if all the heritable characteristics (all that grows into legs, bodies, heart, lungs, eyes, brains, and so forth) of the whole of the next generation of mankind were gathered into a heap it would be about the size of an aspirin tablet. So that solves that worry! In a wild burst of ecstacy he asks:
   “How fortunate we should be had such a method been in existence in time to have enabled us to secure living cultures of some of our departed great! How many women, in an enlightened community devoid of superstitions, taboos and sex slavery, would be eager and proud to bear and rear a child of Lenin or Darwin! Is it not obvious that restraint, rather than compulsion, would be called for? " (P. 152.)
Well! the writer can imagine a lot of women that would not be enamoured with the project. After all it is they, and not the professor, who would have to undergo the pains of childbirth after insemination.

Still, we are not at the moment concerned with a discussion of the professor’s visions of the future. What we are concerned with is the false estimate that he, in common with others of his type, has made of the present shape of things in Russia.

Since Professor Muller’s book appeared a drastic change has been apparent in the attitude of Russia’s rulers to sex relations. This change has been bound up with the growth of Russia into a first-class industrial and military power based upon the following of methods previously adopted by Western powers to secure dominance. The wealth of Russian privileged groups has reached such a pitch that an English communist has had to write a pamphlet in defence of Russian millionaires. In this pamphlet (“Soviet Millionaires” by R. Bishop) mention is made of the change in the Soviet law of inheritance in 1945 aimed at securing priority to the children of the testator in the distribution of his property (page 11). The inference from this is obvious and partly explains the recent tightening up of divorce regulations. But there are other reasons as well, and of equal importance.

In the general tightening up of regulations concerning marriage and divorce the use of birth control methods has been restricted, abortion has become a crime, and divorce has been so hedged around by restrictions that it is almost impossible for any but the wealthy to obtain release from the marriage tie. In 1944 decorations were offered to women for the bearing of large families, but the limitations on divorce and the other methods aimed at increasing the birth-rate suggest that the answer of women to this empty flattery has not produced the desired result. Why does Russia so urgently need an increase in the birth-rate? To increase the measure of happiness of the people? No! The reasons are as sordid as those that inpired the Nazi regime and all modern states.. Russia needs children as exploitable material for her industries and as cannon fodder in future wars. Hence the sex relations are controlled and directed for these purposes and to secure the inheritance of property within a certain circle. Thus, in this sphere of human relationships the Russian regime is back behind its starting point. The accumulation of wealth in the hands of individuals has necessitated decrees securing the right of inheritance and this., in turn, demands that the parentage of children shall be put beyond the bounds of reasonable doubt. In other words, the property development that brought into existence the monogamic family is exerting its influence with increasing force in Russia to-day.

Thus the delusion that Russia was the Mecca of freedom in sex relations has vanished along with the immediate hopes of Professor Muller. But the imposition of restrictions has not yet finished.

The Manchester Guardian for April 9th contains the report of a lecture to a large audience in Russia on “Love, Marriage and the Family in Socialist Society ” by Professor Kolbanovsky. The lecture shows how drastically the Russian attitude has changed. The report is from Moscow and is by Alexander Werth. The following extracts need little comment:—
   “A special reason for this great interest in the lecture was that some drastic new marriage and family legislation is now being considered by a special Government committee . . .  The Soviet divorce laws were greatly stiffened in 1944, but he indicated that they would be stiffened still further. Without ‘prophecying' what the new laws would be, he spoke very harshly of the disastrous effect on a child's mind of his parent’s divorce, adding that 'for living parents to create semi-orphans is an act of criminal baseness.' "
     "In Soviet society to-day there were still many deplorable survivals of the capitalist way of thinking and acting. Also, some vulgar and unworthy ideas on 'free-love’ which flourished in the early days of the revolution—and which Lenin wholeheartedly condemned—had not yet been quite eradicated. Such revolting practices were unworthy of Soviet society.”
 .  .  .
“It was true, he said, that some marriages broke up owing to monotony and boredom. ‘Variety’ should, therefore, be provided by the wife herself. It was important, for instance, that the wife should develop and grow intellectually, that man and wife should have new interests, that these interests should be closely linked with those of the country and community; that they should also take a common interest in the upbringing of their children. . . .  As for the 'free-love' theories, the lecturer recalled that there were indeed some 'Marxist' theorists in the past who claimed that the family was a bourgeois institution, and that the State should take charge of the children. No! said the lecturer. Socialism rejected this 'stud farm' principle; nor was the family a 'property unit,' as in bourgeois society, but it was a vital 'social unit,' and, under Socialism, the monogamous family had a better chance than under any other system. Woman would be more and more freed of all drudgery and petty worries, her mental interest in her husband would increase, and that was a guarantee for a lasting association."
 .  .  .
   "Another peculiarity of Soviet society was, he said, that all conditions were being, and would continue to be, created for having an unlimited number of children ; the economic reasons for birth control would be eliminated.”
It will be noticed that it is the women who are to have the pains and the responsibilities and the subjection. They are to keep their husbands interested and to have large families. In other words, they are to be the slaves of the monogamic family. One is tempted to echo the phrase of the dustman in one of Shaw’s plays: "Bourgeois morality. Pah!"
Gilmac


Party News Briefs (1948)

Party News from the June 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

May Day in London was a battle of endurance in which members won a victory over atrocious weather. We had members along the route of the procession selling literature, and they all got a drenching. In Hyde Park we had a decorated cart for our meeting and our banner with the party’s name on it could not be missed. Prior to May Day we had been disputing with the Ministry of Works their refusal to permit us to use amplifying apparatus in the park, and the permission given by them to the London Trades Council. We told them that while we did not advocate the use of this apparatus in Hyde Park, we had no other means of defence when others used it. It would seem reasonable that its use should be permitted to all responsible organisations or none. In the event, the amplifiers used at the Trades Council meeting were pitched quietly, possibly as a result of the stand we had taken, and while they interfered with our meeting to some extent, we nevertheless kept the attention of a very large audience. On Sunday we had another large meeting in the Park, followed by our mass rally in the Conway Hall. This we very nearly filled and our speakers, Cash, Young, Groves and Turner were listened to attentively and applauded with enthusiasm by the audience who donated about £40 to our funds. Party members in good numbers played an active part in making the May Day celebrations in London a success in spite of the conditions; Glasgow also report a good day up there on the Sunday. They sold 20 doz. Socialist Standards along the procession, and widely advertised the evening meeting in the Cosmo Cinema by street-chalking, billposting, etc. We were not permitted to hold outdoor meetings in Queens Park as this was reserved entirely for Labour Party meetings. F. Duncan and C. May spoke in the Cosmo Cinema to an audience of about 300 and the branch were well satisfied with the meeting. The collection was approximately £7 10s. C. Lestor went to Bristol for a May Day meeting on Durdham Downs. We have a few members down there who keep pegging away in conditions that are not too easy. Lestor spoke for three hours to about 200 people and the effort stimulated the local comrades. So far we have not received Manchester’s May Day report, but will give it in this column when received. From the U.S.A. also comes news of a successful May Day week-end in Boston by the W.S.P. of U.S.A. A feature of these meetings (on Boston Common and at their headquarters) was the exceptionally heavy literature sales.

The Head Office Librarians require copies of early party pamphlets, as they wish to prepare bound sets for the library. Have a look at your library and send along what you can spare. Also old pamphlets of the S.D.F., I.L.P.. etc., and copies of Justice.

Kingston Branch’s outdoor meetings at Castle Street are as successful as was anticipated. Cold and damp weather has not stopped us getting a good audience every Saturday evening. On one Saturday evening A. Turner held an audience of over 300 for two hours. The branch is confident of producing two speakers from its strength in the very near future

Leyton Branch have how opened a new outdoor station at the “Elms,” Leytonstone, on Wednesday evenings and the first meetings have been very encouraging to members.

A General Election Fight in North Paddington has been decided upon by the Executive Committee as a minimum General Election programme. The Executive Committee have not excluded the possibility of fighting other constituencies as well. This decision must be backed up by members and sympathisers immediately. Money will be the main limiting factor in our forthcoming election campaigns. We have members able and anxious to do the work, and an organisation fitted to deal with the tasks involved. The membership is in support of the fight on the electoral field in the immediate future, but we must build up the funds. Do whatever you can as quickly as you can!

The Overseas Secretary reports that the W.S.P. of of U.S.A. is holding its Annual Conference at Boston at the end of May. Representatives of the Canadian party will attend. They are trying to make a big effort of it with a series of outdoor meetings and possibly a debate. The Dublin socialist group is planning to extend its activities with regular propaganda meetings both outdoors and indoors, and also is trying to form an educational class. The group now has its own headquarters at the Boilermakers’ Hall, 33, Lower Gardiner Street. It meets there on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings, having lectures on Sundays, a business meeting on Tuesdays, and plans in progress for an economics class on Thursdays. The hall was packed for the first lecture on May 2nd.

We have been asked by the Overseas Secretary to make a special request for members to assist him. He wants his correspondence with contacts in various parts of the world taken over by a member or members. Workers in other countries are now frequently asking for information from us. and trying to maintain correspondence with someone in Great Britain. The correspondence can be, if necessary, in English, but anyone who can correspond in a foreign language can be put in direct touch with a contact abroad.

Lewisham Branch are following in the footsteps of some other branches in running a Socialist Standard canvass every Sunday, and have already doubled their usual sales.

Bristol Group aims to run fortnightly outdoor propaganda meetings on Durdham Downs this summer and have already booked a series of speakers up to the end of August.

Islington Branch have at last nailed down the Communist Party to a debate. The arrangements are that Geo. Jones (late parliamentary candidate for Hornsey) for the Communist Party will be faced by A. Turner for the S.P.G.B. at Hornsey Town Hall on Tuesday, June 1st. A report of the debate will appear in our next issue.

The New PamphletRussia since 1917,” due soon, will be sold at 1s. per copy. It is another lengthy pamphlet and there’s plenty for the money.

The New E.C. Member is G. Kerr (West Ham branch) and the new Central Organiser, J. D’Arcy Bloomsbury branch), both election results having been recently declared.
C. C. Groves,
General Secretary.

Mr. Shaw and the Dictators (1948)

From the July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

After Mr. G. B. Shaw’s article in the Daily Herald on 13th May and the attack on him by Mr. Michael Foot in the Tribune, Shaw wrote to the Tribune on 28th May and again on 11th June. Some of his points deserve comment. He admits his support of the dictators in the following terms:
   “I may remind Mr. Foot that we all very properly stood by Hitler and Mussolini until they went wrong, exactly as we stood by Ramsay MacDonald. The first years of a dictator are always to his credit. Power corrupts, but not in five minutes.” (Tribune, 28/5/48.)
The last sentence raises a nice point. The other dictator, Stalin, has been in power for nearly a quarter of a century and must therefore have had time to be corrupted by power but Shaw has not withdrawn his approval as far as we know. In the later letter (11/6/48) Shaw tells us why the early years of a dictator are good. He tells us that Hitler put an end to unemployment and tore up the Versailles Treaty, and Mussolini drained the Pontine Marshes, started rebuilding Rome and made a Concordat with the Pope. It is, of course, the silliest of arguments for it justifies support of every kind of government, past present and future. They have all claimed credit for other peoples’ work and lent their names to monumental projects and the making or breaking of Treaties. Are we to give blind support to Roosevelt for the Tennessee Valley Scheme, to Napoleon and to those who destroyed him, to the Pharoahs under whom the Nile waters were used for irrigation and the Pyramids built, to all the rulers of the slave and feudal and capitalist regimes? Incidentally, if the tearing up of the Versailles Treaty shows how good dictators are, what about Stalin’s part in the agreements for the plunder of the defeated at the end of the second world war. Does Shaw now execrate him for lunacies worse than Versailles, and get ready to hail the new German dictator who will tear it all up?

Shaw is angry with Mr. Foot for reminding him that Mussolini had Matteoti assassinated, and says that he (Shaw) was not a party to it. If the Labourites are in the absurd position of deluding themselves with the notion how nice capitalism would be if only it were freed from the evils that necessarily accompany it, Mr. Shaw is in the same silly position about dictators. He says in effect, how nice dictators would be if only they didn’t do the brutal things to their opponents that all dictators have to do.

Of course, when it is a question of flooring Mr. Foot, Shaw is on an easy thing. Arguing for industrial conscription (”compulsory civil service ”) he asks Mr. Foot what a Labour Government has to offer to make the workers work, in place of the whip of starvation. What he ignores is the fact that we still have capitalism, and as Socialists have always said, you can’t have an exploiting system without some bludgeon to drive the exploited to work. But what has this to do with Socialism?

Mr. Shaw gives his own version of events when he. tells us that “the careers of Mussolini and Hitler were produced solely by the disgust and disillusion of the proletariat with party parliaments . . . ” This is a gross misinterpretation, What made the workers disillusioned in Germany was not Parliament as such but the inability of the Social Democrats, alone and in coalition, to make capitalism function in the interests of the working class; but every Socialist knows that this is always impossible. If Mr. Shaw had added Lenin and Stalin to his list of dictators his argument would have exposed itself, for the Russians never had any experience of parliament and therefore could not be disillusioned with it.

On Shaw’s general argument that Parliament is too slow and faulty, and dictators speedy and efficient, do any of his dictators give proof? Hitler and Stalin were just as helpless as any Parliamentary government to prevent capitalism engulfing their countries in war. If dictatorship is swift why is it that 30 years after Lenin said that they must immediately introduce virtual equality of wages from top to bottom, we find Russia not only not doing so but producing greater and greater inequality between the privileged rich and the poverty-stricken masses? If dictatorship is sure and efficient how comes it that Russia, after spending years developing co-education, ease of divorce, and legalised abortion, then discovers its “errors” and sets about reversing all those trends in greater or less degree?

Mr. Shaw's defence of capitalism run by dictators is as weak as his opponents’ defence of capitalism run by Labour Governments.
P. S.

Must There Be A Transition Period? (1948)

From the August 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

The word “Socialism” has been used by so many people to mean so many different things that, to most workers, it has no clear meaning. We have heard of “National Socialism,” "Christian Socialism,” "Guild Socialism,” "State Socialism,” and a number of other varieties. The fact is, of course, that none of these things are Socialism at all. They are all conditions of Capitalism, or experiments within Capitalism, to which the name Socialism, with a suitable adjective, has been applied. The result has been to sow confusion. Hence, the Socialist finds that he must devote much of his time to explaining what Socialism is not, before he can make clear what it really is.

Not all of those who have. contributed to this confusion have done so with malice aforethought. Many are quite convinced that Nationalisation is Socialism or that the sermon on the mount was a Socialist lecture. Others will claim with conviction that the condition that prevails in Russia is Socialism or that workers’ control of industry is another variety.

One thing is common to all these confusion mongers. Without exception they do not understand the operation of Capitalism and, in consequence, they do not appreciate what Socialism implies. They do not agree that it is necessary for the majority of workers to understand and desire Socialism before it can be established. They consider that it is only necessary for a sufficient number of people to support the political party that advocates their particular brand of so-called Socialism to put that party into power. The party can then start serving out Socialism slice by slice. From the time that the party takes power until the last slice is handed out is a period that they consistently refer to as the “transition period.”

We are told that we cannot have Socialism overnight. There must he a period between Capitalism and Socialism is the argument. Then, the problems created by Capitalism are paraded and we are informed that this transition period is necessary in order to solve these problems before we can have "Complete Socialism.”

The Communists have been driven to substitute the word Communism for Socialism and then to explain away the present stage of Capitalist development in Russia as Socialism, this being, they claim, the transition period between Capitalism and Communism.

The Labour Party idea is that, with political power they can reform Capitalism, step at a time, until it is such a benevolent system to all members of society that it is nothing short of Socialism. On the strength of this they call themselves Socialists.. The step by step process is, for them, the transition period.

The Trotskyites. and others who would set themselves up as the revolutionary vanguard of the Working Class, attempt to so popularise themselves that the workers will, sooner or later, at the ‘‘psychological moment,” put them in a position of power. They will then establish the rule of the Working Class, more popularly known as The Dictatorship of the Proletariat. During this period of dictatorship (which would in reality be the dictatorship of their party) all the transitional problems would he ironed out.

These are the main points that lie behind the arguments, and the drawn-up plans for a transitional period. Not one of them is tenable if we recognise the fundamentals of Capitalism and Socialism.

Capitalist society is based upon private ownership of the means and instruments of production and distribution of the amenities of life. From this ownership comes the relationship of wage-labour and capital. Those who own, invest their wealth with a view to making profit. That is capital. Those who do not own must sell their ability to work for a wage—wage-labour. And from this condition of affairs flow poverty, unemployment, overwork, wars and all the subsidiary problems. Whilst the private ownership remains, these problems will follow naturally from it. There is no means of abolishing the effects whilst the cause remains. Attempts to do so are like trying to bail out an overflowing bath with a spoon whilst the tap is still running. The first necessity is to turn off the tap—remove the cause.

The first essential, then, is to abolish private ownership of the means of production. This is a legal ownership. The law guarantees both the ownership and the privileges that are derived from it. To trespass on another’s property, to damage another’s property, to steal another’s property, to in any way infringe on another’s property rights, will bring the law on to the trespasser, the thief or the infringer. Government, national and local, passes the laws, and the police force, the judges and the jailors, the soldiers, the airmen and the sailors, these all attend to the enforcement. Ownership of property is legal. The majority of the Working Class accepts and upholds this legality. It respects property rights.

Whilst the majority of the workers are prepared to support a system based on private property we shall have capitalism in some form or another. Whatever trimmings may be used to decorate it, whatever bluff may be used to hide it, whatever name may be used to disguise it, it will still he Capitalism. Industry can be Nationalised and it can be called “State Socialism,” poverty can be levelled out and it can he called Christian Democracy, the state can control almost every aspect of living and it can he called the transition to Communism, but if the ownership of the means of life is in the hands of a section of the community, the remainder will he a subject and exploited class.

How to change this? Parliament is the institution that attends to the law-making and controls the law- enforcing machinery. Political parties are organisations forgiving expression to class interests by striving to gain control of the law-making and enforcing machinery in order that the laws may be favourable to the class that is represented by the particular party. When the workers recognise the need to abolish this system of class ownership they must organise in a political party for this purpose. When they thus gain control of the governmental machinery they can, at a stroke, wipe out legal ownership. The claiming of property rights in the means of production and distribution can be rendered illegal. It will not require a transition period to do that.

With the machinery that was used to enforce recognition of lawful ownership taken out of the hands of the capitalist class by a working class that understands and wants Socialism, the Capitalist system is finished. There are then no longer owners of the means of. production to employ workers for wages. The relationship of wage-labour and capital is ended. Capitalism is dead. Socialism is established.

Organisations, such as Trade Unions, Stock Exchanges and Banks, which arose essentially to serve the needs of Capitalist society will dissolve immediately. New forms of organisation for the administration of society will be substituted. Other social institutions will also be adapted to the new economic basis.

All barriers to the solution of such problems as housing, unemployment, malnutrition, poverty and a host of others, will have been removed. Socialist society can then tackle the job unfettered by the claims of property, of profit and of class interest.

The technical process of production will continue to evolve, freed from the retarding forces of reactionary, Capitalist interests. Industry will continue but without wage-labour, without capital and without employers and employed.

Today production is social but distribution is not. It is necessary to harmonise production and distribution by making the wealth produced available freely to society as a whole. Standing in the way of this are the reactionary interests of the Capitalist class. The revolutionary act of dispossessing the capitalists and placing the means of production in the hands, and under the democratic control of society, will allow of this harmonising and social evolution to go forward at an accelerated pace.

The act of severing the bonds that keep the working class in subjection as an exploited, wage-earning class is practically instantaneous. When it is accomplished new productive processes that are stifled by capitalism, will be freed. Labour saving machinery that today serves to intensify the labours of the workers, will really be labour saving. Poverty will disappear. Housing schemes will no longer be subject to the dictates of capital. Social services will not have to be adjusted to the cost that a ruling class is prepared to pay. The solution to all will be real and permanent.

No clique of intellectuals will ever be able to shepherd the working class, via a transition period, to Socialism. A working class that knows its class status, that understands and desires Socialism, knows that “The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.”

A warning to fellow workers. Those who talk to you of transition periods do not credit you with sufficient ability to understand and act in your own class interest. They seek to lead you. They want your un-class-conscious support in order that they may gain political power. Whether they know it or not, if they get that power they will have to use it to operate Capitalism. That is what their transition period will turn out to be; Capitalism, with them in the saddle. You will have exchanged one bunch of exploiters for another. And it will be a case of “out of the frying pan into the fire.”
W. Waters

The Wreckers: How our fair name is exploited. (1915)

From the August 1915 issue of the Socialist Standard

That Evergreen Travesty
The ‘‘Daily News and Leader" in a recent leading article asks:
"What would be gained by ‘mobilising’ labour as it is called—that is, putting it under military law—if the organising faculty at the top is not present? We should  have destroyed the best asset of this country, the free, willing service of the people, in order to set up the machine of Prussianism without its driving power. The corollary of military law for the worker would be the abolition of capitalism in the workshop, for it would be manifestly impossible to hare forced labour to earn private dividends. Are our compulsionists prepared for such a vast experiment in Socialism?"
The portion of the above which has been italicised should be carefully noted. It is one of the commonest and most absurd of all the errors that are purposely advertised by the agents of the capitalist class that Socialism means the State ownership and government control of any or all of the means of wealth production. Those who advocate the State ownership of mines or railways or any other industry are dubbed Socialists and accept the name.

Mr. Lloyd George was evidently — or seemingly, at all events— under the impression that this was the meaning of Socialism when he said in one of his munition slanders:
   "They have great trade unions in France ; as the matter of fact they have a Socialist Government, and the gentleman who is organising the munitions supply in France is a young Socialist.”
The Bishop of Oxford writing to his sheep said:
   "It is strange to find 'The Times and the 'Spectator' advocating Socialism—for the period of the war— that is, that the State should take over the industries which go to supply munitions, and that all alike — employers and employed, should henceforth be employed by the State till the war is over."
The Straw Men.
When the true definition of Socialism, which is the Object of the Socialist Forty of Great Britain (the establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community) is quoted to any of these "State Socialists" they have two replies. First that it is impossible, which, of course, only means that it would not suit them, because it involves the abolition of capitalism the world over, and not merely the substitution of State for private control in the workshop; and secondly— the reply which is met with more frequently— that there are recognised authorities on the subject who say otherwise. But recognised by whom?

Fortunately, Socialism does not depend upon the utterances of any individual or number of individuals, however illustrious or prominent they may be. No man can be an authority on Socialism unless his statements are backed by evidence and his deductions and opinions will stand the test of common sense. It is mere bombast for men like Mr. George Bernard Shaw to construct elaborate theories, laying stress and emphasis upon them and dressing them up to look like essentials, when an intelligent examination shows them to tie unimportant and unsound—as he does with his theory of rent, which has no bearing whatever on the problems that face the working class— or as he does with his theory that the exchange-value of a commodity is fixed by supply and demand, an error that was exposed by Marx before Shaw espoused it. (The latter, apparently, is still unacquainted with Marx's suggestive and searching question, "What fixes the price when supply and demand are equal? ")

There are many writers of this type whose works receive friendly notice in the columns of the capitalist Press. The leader-writer and the politician accept them as standard works, refer to them and quote them as authorities on Socialism. But that does not make them such. On the contrary, the very fact that a so-called Socialist work has been received by the capitalist Press even in a spirit of friendly criticism should be sufficient to awaken the suspicion of those workers to whose notice it is brought.

They Deny the Class Struggle.
The main characteristic of all such works is that they deny the existence of the class war — possibly because the mass of the workers have not yet consciously engaged in the struggle. But they never attempt to disprove the fundamental antagonism that exists, nor can they deny that the capitalist class consciously enlist all the available forces, knowledge, and ability at their command in a continuous effort to keep the workers a slave class.

The fight put up by the workers is limited because of their lack of knowledge. Trade union organisation, strikes, demonstrations, and enrolment in pseudo-Socialist parties, together with a growing antagonism and suspicion against the ruling class constitute the sum total of their activities, but limited as these activities are they testify to the deep-seated causes that are bound to produce, and increasingly develop, hostility.

The growing suspicion of large sections of the workers is, perhaps, the most significant of all the factors, and is recognised as such by members of the Government. Mr. Lloyd George, in particular, had to admit, with sorrow, that the munition workers would have nothing to do with Government guarantees, preferring to hold fast to the trifling privileges they have gained by a policy of ca'canny, though they risked being charged with want of patriotism.

A Very Genteel Illustration.
Working-class resistance takes these particular forms because the nature of the struggle is not yet understood by the workers. To deny the existence of the class struggle because one side fights with full knowledge and up-to-date methods and the other side merely kicks and yells is paralleled by saying that there is no antagonism between the tramp and the insects that feed on him. because he is too tired to actively combat them, or is unable to afford the luxury of a bath with the necessary disinfectants.

When Mr. J. Ramsay Macdonald jeers at the ‘‘class war dogma," and Mr. G. B. Shaw denies the class war's existence, they range themselves on the side of the master class, whose wish that there should be no class war is father to the thought that there is none. Every labour hack inside and outside the House of Commons respects that wish and proclaims that the interests of the only two classes in society are, in the main, identical. For that reason they are pro-capitalist. because the emancipation of the working class depends upon their recognition of the antagonism of classes and the fact that they are enslaved for enslavement is in itself a calculated. pronounced, and continuous act of hostility. Consequently, Socialism can only be established as a result of the antagonism of classes and the successful prosecution of the class war by an enlightened working class.

For all the confusion that exists as to the cause of poverty and the meaning of Socialism we have to thank those who pose as the friends of the workers, and in many cases describe themselves as Socialists. These wolves in sheep's clothing propound their heresies and absurdities in sentimental and plausible language, to be taken up by the ignoramus and the trickster and scattered over the pages the workers read ; hence their confusion and ignorance.

Blatchford's Bally Balderdash.
It is the business of capitalism to produce commodities for the world's market. It is a characteristic of the system that scarcely any of these commodities are what they seem or what they are guaranteed to be. How, then, can we accept the capitalist's statement that periodicals like the "Clarion” and the “Labour Leader," for instance, are Socialistic? Periodicals such as these are the organs of confusion produced by professional confusionists. countenanced, and often assisted by, the master class.

The latest issue of the “Clarion" which is no exception to every number that has preceded it, by the way—contains a rehash of the old lies that have done service for the capitalist class for so long. “If the Government were to take over the mines that would be an act of pure Socialism,” says Robert Blatchford, and again, “Socialism means the collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.”

Whether Blatchford and the rest of his kidney publish those errors through ignorance or as acts of enmity against the working class I, not being conversant with their "inner consciousness," am unable to say, nor have I time to waste in so vain a speculation. They are errors, and Socialists can only denounce the authors of them, pointing out at the same time to the workers where they are false, and inviting them to use their intelligence that they may speedily understand Socialism for themselves— when the confusionist will disappear because there will be no market for his adulterated, distorted, and injurious commodity.
F. Foan