Monday, July 30, 2018

Enthusiasm in Sheffield (1935)

Sheffield Wednesday captain Ronnie Starling with the FA Cup.
From the July 1935 issue of the Socialist Standard

Some four months ago the unemployed of Sheffield demonstrated against the new scales of relief introduced by the Unemployment Assistance Board. The protest, from righteous indignation, became a riotous proceeding. The police intervened and used their batons to gain control of the crowd. Many of the demonstrators were injured. Arrests were made and police court charges followed.

In the afternoon of Monday, April 29th, 1935, the centre of Sheffield was filled with an excited crowd of people. Workers from factories, shops and offices. Scores of thousands of them. Also workers with no work at all.

Coats and caps were bedecked with “colours.” Despite the crush, the utmost good humour prevailed; laughter greeted witty sallies; popular songs were sung.

As the appointed moment approached, the excitement became more intense. Everyone was tip-toe with expectancy. At last the waiting was over. The Heroes of the Hour were here. Sheffield almost rocked at the tremendous outburst of cheering.

Had the workers won a great concession? Had some new, far-reaching and hardly-fought-for reform been granted to them? Had the revolution come?

By no means. Sheffield Wednesday had returned from London with “The Cup.”

If one had a cynical mind one might suggest that football has uses other than to provide the players with exercise.
L. W.

Do Budget Leakages Matter? (1936)

Editorial from the July 1936 issue of the Socialist Standard

Those who measure events by the amount of space devoted to them in the daily newspapers will have supposed that the tribunal on the giving away of Budget secrets was of supreme importance. Day by day, spread over whole pages, were reports of how our industrious propertied class gamble on horses, and speculate on stocks, shares and commodity prices, to the tune of thousands of pounds, without anybody objecting. It is not for these luxurious parasites, but for the workers that the ruling class institute organisations with highly paid staffs preaching thrift, economy and sobriety. The Budget enquiry tribunal was not concerned with speculation itself, but with the complaint that Budget secrets, contrary to the law, were communicated to speculators so that they could profit by having information about income tax and tea duties before it was published.

We say that the whole affair did not matter one jot to nine-tenths of the population. They had no interest at stake, and would not be affected, directly or indirectly in any way at all. Not that it was of no importance to anyone, but that the only people affected were the ruling class, not the ruled. Any kind of organisation has to keep within bounds the extent to which an individual may be allowed to exploit his position for his own ends.

The S.P. G.B. provides no career for any individual, but some organisations, the capitalist political parties, for example, normally allow their political leaders to use the party machine as a means of carving out a career full of honours and wealth. Yet even they could not tolerate such an attitude beyond more or less clearly understood limits. Much more then must this be true of the Government, the executive committee of the ruling class. The Cabinet, representing the outlook of the capitalist majority in Parliament is the servant of a minority of the population, the minority which owns and controls die resources of the country to the exclusion of the mass of the population. This state of affairs will continue until the workers cease sending defenders of capitalism to Parliament.

The Government then represents the collective interests of the capitalist class. The principal part of its task is to keep the propertyless working class from challenging the position of the exploiting class. The workers must, in other words, be fobbed off with promises, bemused with fine-sounding, but empty, phrases, bought off with petty concessions, and—if everything else fails— beaten down by force in the name of the law. What, then, is the first qualification of the politician who wants to be useful to the ruling class? Obviously it is that he shall have the confidence of the workers or at least of a large number of them. He must be popular. Only so can he misdirect the sheep on behalf of the wolves, who are his paymasters. Like the quack doctor, he must have patter. He must speak the language of the factory and market-place. He must be able to dress up his capitalist nostrums in phraseology which makes them look like the real thing for the workers. That is why the ruling class all over the world has seen the necessity for employing ex-Labour leaders and others reputed (though falsely) to have been Socialists.

As with the man so with the institution. The politician and the Cabinet must be trusted and respected. No breath of suspicion of personal self-seeking must be allowed to blow on them. In order to serve most effectively as cover for the brutal methods of factory exploitation and the tortuous ways of finance, the political institutions must stand forth as beacons of purity and unselfishness.

That is all there is to it. The affair was of concern to the ruling class, and to them alone.

Which Way Russia? (1937)

From the July 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialists have always held that dictatorship, even though it is inaugurated by people who call themselves Socialists, cannot lead to Socialism. Russia is now showing us where it does lead. Hardly anybody but the editor of the Communist Daily Worker, can regard the latest wave of plots and executions as evidence of a healthy condition in the Soviet State. To him it is a simple story of treachery by men in high positions who wished “to place the people of the U.S.S.R. under the yoke of capitalist slavery” (Daily Worker editorial, June 12th, 1937). Happily, the ever-vigilant intelligence service unearthed their dastardly plot and crushed it in the nick of time. Otherwise “they would have wrought incalculable harm to the cause of peace, progress and Socialism.” This may satisfy the members of the Communist Party, but nobody else. How, for example, does it come to pass that highly-placed army generals with distinguished records, some with 20 years’ membership of the Communist Party, should have conceived the desire to turn their backs on what an admirer, Mr. G. B. Shaw, calls “the amazing success of the Soviet Government” in order to establish the capitalism they had spent a lifetime trying to destroy? How does it happen that men bred from their youth in the Communist tradition could have such aims? And how came they to believe that those aims could be welcomed by or forced upon the 160-million population of Russia? The Daily Worker does not give the answer because it is so mesmerised by Stalinist self-advertisement that it does not even know there is a problem.

Explanations—Plausible and Otherwise
Many explanations have been offered, some of them as unconvincing as the Daily Worker’s. One which fits at least some of the known facts and probabilities is that published by the News Chronicle (June 16th, 1937). It is based on statements made by Soviet circles in London. It is that the executed generals had decided to seize power and set up a military dictatorship in place of the present party dictatorship. They did not want Germany and Japan to profit by the temporary disturbance by declaring war, so they asked the military staffs of those countries for a pledge to lay off. In return those two countries were promised territorial concessions. Inside Russia the plotters relied on the support of the army to raise them to power and crush the opposition. That is the story told to the News Chronicle. It is by no means impossible, for dictatorships have a habit of breeding vaulting ambitions among the military leaders. And colour is lent to it by the known fact that the Russian and German general staffs secretly maintained close relationships for years before Hitler came to power. It was Russian policy to help Germany to rearm against their common enemy, the allied powers. It is now said that the dead Russian generals were some of those in active charge of these secret contacts and that when the Russian Government ordered their discontinuance, some time after Hitler took office, they maintained them without the knowledge of their own Government.

An explanation along these lines is at least a possibility, and it is not much different from the official version given out in Moscow, but it is credible only on two very significant assumptions. One is that the generals were so stupid as to be on the borderline of imbecility. The other is that there is something very much amiss with the Soviet system. The generals formed the idea of setting up a military dictatorship, but how could they form that idea unless they were confident that their movement would be actively supported by a large proportion of the military and civil rank and file? And how could they have that confidence unless they thought they could see convincing evidence of widespread discontent with the existing regime? We are forced, therefore, to choose between two conclusions. If the generals thought that they could establish a military dictatorship without having any popular support at all, and against the determination of army and civil population alike, then they must have been weak in the head and utterly incompetent to judge any kind of situation. But everyone agrees that they were clever and experienced men, many of them as much at home in Communist political circles as in military ones. The only alternative, and one we have to accept, is that they did not believe the Stalinist claim that all Russia, except a handful of Trotskyist plotters and foreign-paid agents, is behind the existing regime. On the contrary, they counted, evidently, on widespread discontent and disillusionment to give them the support without which they knew they could not possibly succeed.

“Everyone Suspect in Russia”
The most terrible indictment of the belief that party dictatorship is a means of achieving Socialism is to be found by comparing a current account of Russia, written by a correspondent who has hitherto shown himself sympathetic towards the Stalinist point of view, with a claim made a few years ago by the Government itself.

First, the claim made for Russia in preamble to the Constitution adopted in 1923: –
   “Here – in the camp of Socialism – are mutual confidence and peace, national freedom and equality, and dwelling together in peace and the brotherly collaboration of peoples.”
Now for statements about the present peaceful the and brotherly condition of Russia, by the correspondent in Moscow of the Daily Herald
EVERYONE SUSPECT IN RUSSIA.
   "Suspicion, denunciation, high and low hunts for alleged Trotskyists, spies and wreckers have reached such a pitch throughout Russia that it is safe to say that the past and future of everybody in the country is under review. Members and officials of trades unions, the Army and all political organisations are being sifted and sorted as though by a gigantic sieve. . . . Idols of the past become Trotskyists, wreckers or enemies overnight. So swift and vast are the changes in industry, from leadership down to the lowest grades, that it is impossible to keep track of them.” – (Daily Herald, June 5th, 1937.)
   
  “News of arrests, suicides, plots, still pours into Moscow from all parts of the Soviet Union. In the city of Ordjonikidze, in the North Caucasus, 5,362 people have been expelled from the Communist Party, according to newspaper reports. More than 30 Party and Government officials have been arrested at Rostov. One prominent Communist had committed suicide. The “Pacific Ocean Star” reports that Krutov, President of the Executive Committee of the Far Eastern Region, has been denounced as a “Japanese and Trotskyist enemy.” In White Russia, wreckers are alleged to have maimed thoroughbred bulls sent there to improve local stocks.” – (Daily Herald, June 18th, 1937.)
  “Wholesale denunciations and arrests of officials for alleged shortcomings in their work are threatening to bring Soviet industry practically to a standstill. Demoralisation increases rather than diminishes because of the element of fear under which all are working – each one fears he may be the next to be denounced.” – (Daily Herald, June 19th, 1937.)
Mr. G. B. Shaw may go on thinking that the Russian Communist dictatorship is an amazing success, but Socialists remain of their first opinion: that dictatorship of a party does not lead to Socialism. Russia appears to be one more proof that it leads to a condition in which threatened chaos gives ambitious Napoleons their opportunity to plot for military dictatorship.
Edgar Hardcastle

The Popular Front Splits the French Labour Party (1938)

Editorial from the July 1938 issue of the Socialist Standard

Those who preach the Popular Front place in the forefront of their arguments the gain in unity and strength that would be achieved. They say, very plausibly, that as there is a common need for peace and democracy all parties which attach importance to these objects should get together, even if they associate only in a loose Popular Front electoral arrangement. One fallacy in this argument is the idea that adherents of political parties are so many pawns who can be moved here and there without a will of their own. Experience shows that this is not the case. Party Boss “A" may get together with Boss "B" of a rival party and calculate that 2,000,000 votes plus 1,000,000 votes makes a grand total of 3,000,000, but in practice electors refuse to be added up. Many supporters of the Labour Party, for example, are strongly opposed to the Communist Party and others are equally strongly opposed to the Liberal Party. If an electoral arrangement were to be entered into some of these would simply refuse to vote, or give their votes elsewhere. In other words, most people who attach themselves to a political party do so because they have confidence in that party’s programme, and many of them refuse to be enthusiastic about electoral bargains, at which their votes are bought and sold.

A second weakness, or, rather, a particular aspect of the first, is that unity of the Popular Front kind is a forced and very delicate plant. It will not stand up to the cold winds of failure. Blum, in France, entered office at the head of a Popular Front Government two years ago amid hysterical enthusiasm. After early activity, the first Blum Government and later a second Blum Government faded out. Now a Liberal Government is being kept in office by Labour and Communist votes, and the consequence has been that Blum and his Executive Committee are having difficulty in keeping their own party together. Blum's present policy of keeping the Liberal Government in office, in spite of his own declaration that members of it are very “reactionary," was approved by the Party Conference last month only by a comparatively small majority, and one large group have broken away and formed a rival party because they disapprove.

Beating the War Drums (1938)

Editorial from the July 1938 issue of the Socialist Standard

War-Fever is in the air again. A seamen's leader wants the British navy to bombard some city in rebel Spain as revenge for the bombing of British ships trading in Republican ports. British Chambers of Commerce ask the Government to take a drastic line against Germany for her repudiation of loans made by British investors to Austria. Labour leaders want us to be prepared to go to war to prevent the Germans in Czechoslovakia from following their desire to be incorporated in Hitler Germany. Others want us to go to war to prevent one bloodthirsty gang of dictators—the Chinese group round Chiang-Kai-Shek—from being thrown out by their Japanese prototypes. All very heroic—assuming, of course, that the mouth-fighters are not proposing to leave the real fighting to others—but all very silly, as if the last Great War had never happened to teach them that war is waged by rival capitalist groups about their interests, not ours. No matter how the warmongers try to gloss over the facts, the truth remains that all these wars and prospective wars are fought for capitalist purposes, not to secure the establishment of some ideal of democracy, nationalism or anything else.

The workers are asked to make the supreme sacrifice in the name of patriotism, but if the people who own this country were threatened with the sacrifice of their property they would rush into the arms of Franco, Hitler, Mussolini or any other destroyer of human liberties to safeguard their possessions.

The Armament Illusion (1939)

Editorial from the July 1939 issue of the Socialist Standard

One of the ironical aspects of a world given over to war preparations is the undying illusion of the Militarist that the country to which he belongs can secure immunity from attack by building armaments which will be so overwhelming as to frighten the enemy. Not only does each country enter the competition, thus upsetting the calculation, but nobody can possibly foretell with accuracy who “the enemy” is finally going to be, for it is no exaggeration to say that the eternal friends of international politics mistrust each other as much as they mistrust the nations in rival groups. Japan, bound to the Axis, nevertheless hopes to do a deal with Britain over China, but fears lest Russia may drift again into association with Germany. Italy, as in 1914, may at any moment desert one gang for the other, and Chamberlain’s Government is likely to come to terms with Germany should opportunity arise. France is the eternal ally now, but things were different ten years ago before the German revival. It has been said that British air strength was then based not on the possibility of air attack from Germany but from France.

In the armaments race itself the story is one of constant change in relative strength. No country for long holds a predominant position without provoking competitive building abroad or the formation of rival groupings. Not long ago it was the French Air Force which was the threatening “shadow over Europe,” now it is the German and Italian, but Britain and Russia are fast catching up—unless the Germans are equally rapidly expanding to keep their lead.

An air correspondent of the Daily Telegraph remarks that Germany’s present strength ”is more than double the number that Britain and France aspire to possess next year. What Germany will have then can only be conjectured.” (Daily Telegraph, June 12th, 1939.) So he says “we have . . . to consider whether the programme itself is sufficient in face of what is taking place abroad.”

The British Navy is being added to at the rate of more than one warship a week. In the matter of battleships Britain and France together are building nine new vessels. This ought to frighten the Axis? But no! according to the naval correspondent of the Daily Telegraph (May 11th, 1939) the Axis Powers are also in the game, with eight new battleships under construction.

As regards cruisers Germany is building five new 10,000-ton armoured vessels, with another five planned.’ (Daily Telegraph, May 30th, 1939.) The naval correspondent says that "on paper these ships correspond to our 13 County cruisers . . . but in fact the German ships are much more formidable. . . . It would seem, therefore, common prudence that we should lay down armoured cruisers at once of a type at least equal in all-round fighting power to the new German ship.”

By that time, of course, the Germans, Italians, Japs or some other Power will have produced something bigger and better, and "common prudence” will still be asking for more.

The "Socialist Standard" in War-Time (1940)

Editorial from the July 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The war has at last dealt our propaganda a hard blow. The recent drastic additions to the regulations on printing and publishing have forced us to the conclusion that it is impossible, in present circumstances, to explain our case adequately as we would wish. As we are not prepared to put our views forward in such an emasculated form that it would be bound to give rise to misunderstandings and a misconception of our attitude, we have decided to abandon the publication of propagandist matter, in the customary meaning of the term “propagandist."

While we deeply regret having to adopt this course, we cannot see any workable alternative to it.

We prefer to explain our position frankly, and hope our readers will understand and continue to support us.

Whatever the future may have in store for us we stand steadfastly by the pledge made in August, 1914, and again in September, 1939, that the principles and policy that have guided us throughout the whole of our history remain our unaltered attitude, and will continue to guide us and determine our actions until the war clouds pass away.

Who Will Do the Dirty Work Under Socialism? (1941)

Editorial from the July 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

There are still people who think that they have put a real poser in the question, "Who will do the dirty work under Socialism?” Their favourite example, thirty or forty years ago, was the crossing sweeper. Since then, with various mechanical developments, road-sweeping has ceased to be a useful example from their point of view, because nowadays road-sweeping can be done, and usually is done, in the larger towns by motor-sweepers. Now, owing to the calling-up of men for the Army, some London Local Authorities are employing women for road sweeping. Others are employing women to do the laborious work of clearing away air-raid debris. This is how capitalism answers the superficial questions of its defenders.

Under Socialism the task will not be that of deciding which individuals shall be compelled by economic or other pressure to do laborious and unpleasant work, but of finding ways and means of abolishing or lessening such work for all.

No Unemployment After the War (1941)

Editorial from the July 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

No Government can exist that leaves Britain with slums at the end of this war, declared Mr. Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour, recently.
   
”We have enough work to keep you going for 30 or 40 years,” he told the building trades at a big meeting in Leicester.—(Daily Herald, June 14th, 1941.)

Mr. Bevin knows, and has often said, that the fact that goods are needed will not itself solve the problem of unemployment. The fact that houses are needed will not prevent unemployment in the building trade if capitalism is left to run its usual course. But if there is anyone who still thinks that the replacement of the houses, factories, machines, etc., destroyed in war will automatically eliminate unemployment, they should remember that just after the last war, and just before the industrial depression of 1921, a former Cabinet Minister risked the forecast that it would take 12 years to make good the destruction and that unemployment, therefore, need not be feared. Under capitalism goods are not produced for use but for sale at a profit, and unless there is the prospect of profit being made production is slowed up and brought to a standstill.



James Brindley and the Duke of Bridgewater (1942)

From the July 1942 issue of the Socialist Standard

A Sidelight on Our Old Nobility 
James Brindley was the man who planned and carried out the building of the canals that revolutionised transport in 18th century England. This is the brief comment on Brindley and his patron, the Duke of Bridgewater, made in “A Social and Industrial History of England" (F. W. Tickner, page 525) : —
  The first important English canal was due to the enterprise of the Duke of Bridgewater, who found the output of his coal-mine at Worsley greatly hampered by the difficulty of transporting the coal to Manchester, seven miles away. The engineer he employed was a millwright named James Brindley, a man of little education, but of great shrewdness and practical ability.
Now for the other side of the picture, provided by Howard Spring in a review of Bernard Falk’s "The Bridgewater Millions" (Daily Mail, June 20th, 1942) : —
   He has been called the Father of Inland Navigation, but he was only its financier. The prouder title belongs to James Brindley, the illiterate Derbyshire man who did all the work and solved all the problems.
  What the duke did was to risk his fortune in the venture. That was his one act of courage, and it brought him rich rewards. He spent £220,000. His income out of this was £80,000 a year, apart from enormous profits on the sale of his coal.
   What did Brindley get out of it—Brindley, whose solutions of some of the problems were pure flashes of engineering genius? Well, when things were bad he and the duke pigged along together, living in pubs on bread and cheese and beer, neither of them having money because there was none.
   For seven years Brindley’s salary was not paid, while the duke, prosperous now, was paying off everyone else who had lent him money—rich bankers who could enforce their , claims, and such like.
   Poor awkward rustic Brindley could enforce nothing. He died with the salary unpaid. Two years later his widow was given £100. As Mr. Falk says: "The amount probably represented his Grace's modest estimate of what was due to his brilliant coadjutor.”
G. M. Trevelyan (“British History in the 19th Century,’’ page 154) classes Bridgewater among the “great noblemen who were also great coal owners, working their own mines, and thereby becoming in due course still greater noblemen.”

The moral of which appears to be, heaven help the moneyless man of genius who falls into the grasping hands of our old nobility! Bridgewater, to quote Howard Spring, “was a great curmudgeon, a great boor, a great robber of better men’s resources.” He wasn’t even redeemed by the idiot sense of humour of his own illustrious kinsman who "will be remembered for nothing more than his habit of having his dogs at table with him, dressed in* neat little coats, with a flunkey behind the chair of each.”
Edgar Hardcastle

Unity or Disunity? (1943)

From the July 1943 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the course of our contact with fellow members of the working-class we find a continued inability on the part of many of them to understand why we do not attempt to unite or affiliate with other political parties.

Naturally unity with other parties does not of itself solve the social problems which face the working-class. Only the establishment of Socialism will solve these problems. Consequently, we always ask the question, "Unity for what?” Unity for Socialism is one thing, but if it is unity for some other purpose it cannot help to further the Socialist cause, and, in fact, is quite likely to do grievous harm to it.

In our experience we have found that where some "practical" step (or series of steps) is advocated as necessary at any particular moment, in place of the insistence that Socialism is the only practical step, there has been but one result. If anything becomes a reality it is the "practical” step, and it is Socialism that comes to be regarded as “impracticable.” Concentration on “practical” steps deemed to be necessary before Socialism can be established, has the result that Socialism itself must be thrust further into the background.

If any reader will study the history of the Social-Democratic Federation, the I.L.P. and the Labour Party they will find our case to be proven—that it is the "immediate steps,” the “practical reforms" which have seduced the working-class from the attainment of Socialism.

Members of other organisations that come to us and say, “Look here—we are all members of the working class, we are therefore hostile to the capitalist class, why cannot we all get together?” do not understand that fundamentally the Socialist Party of Great Britain is poles apart from the non-Socialist political parties. Obviously they do not understand the principles and policy of our Party, and, what is more, do not always understand the policy of the organisation to which they belong.

Time and time again we are faced with the question by obviously sincere members of the working class who are attempting to find a solution to the social problems of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, and war. They say, “We cannot understand your hostile attitude to the Communist Party. You say you stand for Socialism. They say they stand for Communism. Is there a difference between the two—if not, why all this disagreement?”

The difference between the two parties is that the Socialist Party of Great Britain has always had for its object the establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of wealth production—i.e.. Socialism. The Communist Party does not stand for this—despite its claims. The Communist Party is, in relation to British politics, a reformist party which in peace time advocated that the working class should support that “third capitalist party” (C.P. definition!), the Labour Party, and in war time that the British working class should subordinate their actions to the will and direction of Russian State Capitalism.

The I.L.P. is another party, some of whose members appear to think that we should unite with their party. They on their part are very anxious to re-affiliate with the Labour Party. Quite apart from our disagreement with both these parties on the grounds that they are reformist and do not stand for the abolition of capitalism, what would this unity between the I.L.P. and the Labour Party amount to? The I.L.P. at their Easter Conference expressed a desire to re-affiliate providing the Labour Party broke away from its coalition in the Government, and that the I.L.P. was allowed to retain and express its opinions on the war. On all other grounds they were willing to toe the line to Labour Party policy.

In short, the I.L.P. say that they would like to be back in the Labour Party so long as they are allowed to retain their identity as the I.L.P. on the points on which they differ from the Labour Party.

Here lies the crux of the whole matter of unity. If there are differences of opinion in the working class as to the ways and means of solving their problems, then with the growth of organisation there arise organisations expressing these differences of opinion. If all these organisations get together in a "United Front" without settling their differences, then the “United Front" will have a very “divided back." The history of the Popular Fronts has shown this to be true, particularly in the time of the Spanish Popular Front during the Spanish Civil War, when the different sections eventually set about each other.

Once again, let us impress upon the working class that it makes no difference to them if there are half-a-dozen parties each expressing their own viewpoint, or one party expressing half-a-dozen viewpoints. They still must ask themselves what is the viewpoint which will lead to the solution of their economic and social problems, and release them from the bonds of wage-slavery once and for all.

There is only one viewpoint which gives adequate expression to this aspiration—that is “Unite for Socialism!" or, as expressed by Karl Marx one hundred years ago, "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains—you have a world to win!"
N. S.

An Urgent Appeal (1944)

Party News from the July 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

Up to the first week in June a total of £368 had been subscribed to the Provincial Organiser's Fund. Although this is quite a good total, for which we thank all who have so generously supported the Fund, it is at the same time a little disappointing.

We hoped (and at one time it seemed possible) to reach the £500 mark by the end of the first year of the Fund — that is to say. by the beginning of August—but unless some wealthy sympathisers can be found and induced to dip deep into their pockets (an unlikely event), it appears that we shall have to admit failure. Perhaps we are pessimistic, and you will confound us by hitting the target and setting out on the second £500 before the end of the month! We are eager to be so confounded.

At the Party’s Annual Conference held at Easter, the assembled delegates overwhelmingly voted in favour of the appointment of a provincial propagandist/organiser, whose job would be the important one of assisting our provincial members to organise their propaganda in the most effective way, and to build strong units of the party able to stand on their own feet in the large industrial areas outside London. This appointment will be made an soon as possible, which means that at some time in the very near future it will be necessary to start drawing on the fund inaugurated for this specific purpose.

In view of this, reluctant as we are to ask you for money, we have no hesitation in making this appeal, and would particularly ask those of our readers who have not yet sent along a donation to make a real effort to do so without delay.

We are convinced that all who can help will readily respond if they realise the urgency of the matter. We assure you that it is an urgent matter, and a quick and ready response will enable us to go forward with the work we are determined to carry out, unfettered by financial handicaps.

£132 is still needed for the first £500. It's up to you.

Donations should be sent to J. Butler, 298 Halley Road, Manor Park, E12, and marked 'Provincial Organiser's Fund.' P.O.s, cheques, etc., must he crossed and made payable to the S.P.G.B.
A. Price,
Party Funds Organiser

Our Election Manifesto (1945)

From the July 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard
We are reprinting below our Manifesto on the General Election which, with the necessary addition of a direct reference to North Paddington and our Declaration of Principles, was issued as the address of our prospective candidate, Clifford Groves, in North Paddington.
1st June. 1945.

Fellow Workers,

Once again you are called upon to register your vote in a General Election. Before you vote this time think very seriously about what you are doing. Pay no attention to glib promises or airy phrases about a New World built out of the same sordid material as the old. The well intentioned, the knave and the fool can all give you promises. You must look behind promises to facts.

Our Class Position.
Why are you voting? Because you want an improvement in your conditions of life. You and your forbears have been voting for this purpose for a hundred years and how much better off are you? Apart from some niggardly and hard won reforms you are still as your fathers were, forced to work for a wage that at best does little more than keep you and your families on a poor standard of living. And all the time you are worried by the possibility of unemployment and a descent into the depths of misery. For many of you unemployment has been a constant feature of your lives since the end of the last war, which was also going to bring you a bright new world. When you are old most of you are forced to depend upon your children to keep you out of their meagre earnings as old age pensions don’t go far, when you get them.

The Hopelessness of Reforms.
Your grandfather can tell you the same story, and yet all the time politicians have come forward with the same threadbare promises and long lists of reforms. A leader of the Conservative Party gives support to this view. In the Evening Standard (11th May, 1945), Mr. Peter Thorneycroft, chairman of the Tory Reform Committee, wrote an article under the heading “My Creed for a Tory," In this he writes:
  “Social security is the chief bastion against misfortune in our homes. Great though his contribution to the problem, it is not the private preserve of Sir William Beveridge. One hundred and fifty years ago William Pitt was urging social reforms not dissimilar to those we discuss to-day.
  Other Tories—Disraeli, Shaftesbury and Lord Randolph Churchill—have led the struggle to improve the conditions of the people."
After a hundred and fifty years during which the Tories have exercised most of the governmental power you are still waiting for a real improvement in your conditions. Now they have given the bottle a new label, “Social Security/' but it still contains the same dirty water.

Tory, Liberal and “Labour” candidates have come and gone, each have had their turn as the government with all the opportunities that government gives, and still you remain where you were. Since the last war the Communist Party has bobbed up but they also have the old familiar list of reforms, no different in essentials from those of the other Parties. They also continually change and twist their party line to the needs of the tortuous foreign policy of Russia. In the course of the war the Communist Party changed its attitude towards the war four times.

The Commonwealth Party is a new arrival in politics but it also asks for votes on a policy of reform. If reforms could have helped you then you would not be where you are, because you have been deluged with reforms of all kinds.

The Fundamental Wrong.
There must be something fundamentally wrong somewhere. What is it? Let us examine a little closer your position in present day life.

In order to get your living you must get a job. It does not matter what work you do, whether you have to wear dungarees, a uniform, or a black coat and striped trousers, you must still get a job in order to live. To whom do you generally apply for a job? To a company, or a state concern. In working for companies and state concerns you are doing the work needed to feed, clothe and house the population. You are doing all this work as miners, mechanics, railwaymen, bakers, or anything else, including the relatively better paid jobs directing industry. That is why you are called the working class. You are the class that works, that depends for a living upon selling mental and physical energies for wages or salaries.

These are the facts. You know they are because you experience them. Let us go further.

All the time you are at work you are haunted by the fear that you may lose your job and maybe not get another for a long time, or even be thrown on the scrap heap of those whose working days are finished. On account of this you struggle with each other for jobs, try to beat the other man even though you think that he is a decent chap and has a wife and family dependent upon him. You humble yourself in ways that make you squirm and are respectful and subservient to those above you, and to the wealthy class in general, because you want to get or keep a job. You hurry to work in packed buses, trams and tubes fearful lest the hooter go or the line be drawn before you get there. What a Life for a “Free Born Briton” !

This is all true. You know it is however you may try to pretend to yourself that you belong to a higher type of worker. Now let us look at another part of the picture.

What are the companies and the state concerns to whom you apply for jobs? They are the owners of practically all the land, the factories, the machinery, the transport and everything else necessary to produce and distribute the things we need. But who in fact really owns these organisations? The people who invest money in them and direct their policies. That is to say they are owned by The Capitalists who invest money with a view to making a profit out of their investments. Very few of you ever have any money to spare with which to buy shares, and those who do can only buy so few that it is not worth talking about. But just as you live by selling your working power so the capitalist lives by the dividends he receives from the capital he has invested. This also applies to Municipal Undertakings which provide investors with interest on municipal stock they purchase.

How You Are Robbed.
From whence come the dividends upon which the capitalists live? From the results of the work you do. Let us illustrate this point by taking a particular instance. You and some of your fellow workers are employed by a certain company and that company pays you wages and salaries. Now if the company makes a profit they must make it out of employing you because your class does all the work of producing for the company. In other words you and your fellows produce a quantity of goods that sell at a value which is greater than the value of your wages plus all other expenses. There is a surplus and it is out of this surplus that the capitalists of this country, and the rest of the world, live luxuriously and amass fortunes.

The capitalists pay you as little as they possibly can and urge you to increase the amount of your production, because the more you produce and the less you take the more there is for them. They are helped in this process by the fact that you compete with each other for jobs and those who work most efficiently for the wages they get stand the best chance of getting and keeping a job. Efficiency does not necessarily mean doing the best job. You may be constructing jerry-built houses or doing similar shoddy work. Efficiency under capitalism means producing the greatest possible amount of profit for the capitalist which also involves working at high speeds. Sometimes, as in America, they pay higher wages because they have found they can get more out of you by doing so; that is by exploiting you more efficiently. But such higher paid workers are more rapidly exhausted, and, in the long run, are no better off than those on lower pay.

Another method adopted by the capitalists to increase what they can get out of you is the introduction of new Labour Saving Machinery and methods of production. This increases the amount of wealth each worker produces and reduces the number the capitalists need to employ—Puts many of you out of a job to swell the unemployed army. You will shortly feel the pressure of this more heavily than ever when the new machinery and methods developed during the war are applied to peace-time production.

The Class Struggle
From what we have said you will realise that present day society is made up of two distinct and opposing classes—the capitalist class who, by their shareholding, own the means of production and the products, and the working class, who own only their power to work and must sell this working power to the capitalists in order to live. The capitalist aims at getting as much out of your labour as possible by getting you to work as hard as you can for as little payment as you can live upon, according to the standard of living in your particular kind of work. You aim at easier working conditions and as much pay as you can get for the work you do. The unemployed army is essential to capitalism otherwise you could demand a wage that would cut out the capitalists' profit. It is the fear of unemployment that limits your wage demands and your demands for better working conditions.

It is this class ownership of the means of production that is the root of your troubles. This is what is wrong with society to-day. This is why you suffer poverty and insecurity and all the misery associated with poverty and insecurity. No reforms put forward by any political party touch this class ownership of the means of production; at best they only aim at easing some of the worst evils. Even in this they are generally unsuccessful as you know from your own experience. No sooner is one evil eased than another, maybe worse, appears in its place. While you remain dependent on the capitalists giving you a job, in order that you may live, reforms cannot relieve you of poverty and insecurity. The capitalists dare not give you unemployment pay on which you could live adequately because, if they did, many of you would prefer remaining unemployed and at peace rather than slaving at arduous jobs which return you little more. You will find this out once again when new unemployment schemes are put into operation.

Small shopkeepers and the like are inclined to believe that their interests are the same as those of the capitalists, but they are mistaken. In the main small traders are just glorified salesmen for large capitalist concerns and they generally work harder and for longer hours than the higher paid sections of the working class. They are dogged by the perpetual fear of ruin, so often realised, and if they lose in the struggle to keep going they have, for various reasons, a poorer prospect of getting a job than the average worker.

When you organise into Trade Unions you do so to fight for better wages and better working conditions. This is good as far as it goes because you are trying to resist the pressure of capitalism upon you, but in the long run you can do little while the capitalists remain the owners of the means of production. Even when you strike they have vast resources that can outlast your meagre resources, as strikes of the past have shown. But why content yourselves with fighting the capitalists for higher wages? Why not abolish the wage system altogether?

Well, we have pointed out to you what your position is now and if you will give it a little thought you will find that we have done so accurately. What we have stated are the facts of your position as a member of the working class. Can you get out of this position? Yes, you can.

The Capitalists Are An Unnecessary Evil?
To-day you do all the work of society yourselves. The capitalist does nothing except draw his dividends. He tells you that you cannot get on without him because, according to him, nothing can be done without money and he has the money with which to pay your wages. But money does not make anything and people have made things where money was unknown. Even your ordinary history books tell you about people who made the things they needed without having to use money. It is only because goods are bought and sold that money is needed. If buying and selling were abolished money would lose its function. If you distributed to your, selves the goods you produce you would not need wages.

What is Socialism?
Just as you produce and distribute goods now at the behest of the capitalist, in return for wages, which only enable you to buy a portion of them back, you could distribute them freely to the whole of the Community, including yourselves, to-morrow, without the need for wages. If all the people who make up society take over the means of production and distribution and own them in common, the work of production would still go on. But instead of an idle class taking for their own enjoyment a large portion of the wealth produced, they would take part in the production of it, and it would be distributed according to the needs of each member of the Community. That is Socialism.

There are people who will tell you there will not be enough wealth to go round. The answer to that is simple. For six years of war workers on the whole have lived no worse than in peace times and the capitalists have lived well, they have had plenty of wine to drink and plenty of money to spare for other luxuries. Yet huge armies, navies and air forces have been fed, clothed and housed; an enormous amount of labour has been wasted on armaments of all kinds; and hosts of officials have been kept on jobs that have no influence on wealth production. If all these people were engaged in useful occupation under a system of production for use only and not for profit there would be far more than enough to fulfil the requirements of the whole population, and no one would go hungry, poorly clothed, or badly housed.

Nothing short of socialism can alter your condition of life for the better.

The Cause of War.
Not only does capitalism doom you to a life of poverty and insecurity but it also causes wars, like the one you have just passed through with all its suffering and horror.

As long as goods are privately produced for sale at a profit, markets have to be found in which to sell them. The fight for markets helps to cause war. Capitalists with money invested in armaments stir up trouble to help sell their engines of war. This also helps to cause war. Sections of the capitalists struggle with each other for sources of supply of raw materials, like oil, and for Trade Routes. You are already witnessing this struggle commencing over air lines and shipping. These struggles help to cause war. In fact it is the profit seeking nature of capitalism that is the sole cause of Modern Wars. Let us hear Mr. Thorneycroft on the subject m the article from which we have already quoted.

This is what he says:
    “Security against want is in the long run less important than security against war. No man could lay his hand upon his heart and swear that he could give the latter.
   “Let us tell the British people bluntly that if they want security in any form they must remain a nation in arms. Whether the United Nations succeed or fail in establishing an international organisation, arms are needed. Our foreign commitments must be balanced with our military power."
There you have the admission of a prominent member of the Tory Party that the same old source of military conflict will remain, in spite of all the soothing promises about the end of all wars. And he is quite right. As long as capitalism exists war is always on the horizon. The only way to abolish war is to abolish its cause—capitalism.

Socialism The Only Solution.
If you will give the facts we have put before you careful consideration you must agree with us that Socialism is the only solution to your problems. We Socialists are neither dreamers nor good natured idealists. We are working men and women like you are. We are faced with the same Problems as you are; our interests are the same as yours. We have found the only solution to our troubles and we want you to join us in helping to overthrow capitalism and establish Socialism.

The Road To Socialism.
How can this be accomplished? Here is the answer. Society is controlled through Parliament. Parliament makes and administers the laws. It does so at present on behalf of the capitalist. That is to say laws are made and administered on the basis of the private ownership of the means of production. The laws are made to protect this private ownership. But you and your fellow workers are the people who have voted the nominees of the capitalists, and others who support the continuation of the wages system, into power at each election. Therefore if you want to abolish capitalism you must vote into Parliament delegates whose sole business will be to abolish capitalism and introduce socialism. This they can do as soon as a majority of workers like yourselves become convinced that Socialism is the only remedy for social ills and vote a majority to Parliament to introduce it

This Election Your Opportunity.
In this election you in North Paddington will have an opportunity for the first time of putting into Parliament a delegate for the purpose of helping on the work of establishing Socialism. The Socialist Party of Great Britain are putting me forward as a candidate with this object and your vote will show how far you have progressed in understanding your position as wage slaves tied to the wheel of capital.
We Are Workers.
The position we have outlined above we have been propagating for many years, but like you we belong to the working class and consequently we are poor. Our poverty has limited the amount of propaganda we could do. Our Literature will show you how steadfastly we have adhered to the same position since we first formed our party. Our Funds come out of our own pockets and those of our sympathisers. We have not, and we do not want, any rich benefactors, who might try to influence our policy. Our party is ours and it can also be yours. Now at last we have gathered sufficient funds to begin the attack on the foundations of capitalism through Parliament and it rests with you how soon we will be successful.

Remember we are not going to do anything for you, and no "leader” can get you out of wage slavery. It is you who must do the job yourselves. It is the working class itself that must take charge of its own destiny and Build a new society worth living in.

Do you want to live under a free social system, owning your own means of production and using them for the equal benefit of all, or are you content to remain a human beast of burden, fettered to the insecurity of life as a wage worker?

The choice is before you and your vote will register it.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain
Clifford Groves is the officially appointed representative of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.

Here are some facts about the Socialist Party of Great Britain

The S.P.G.B. is an entirely independent party.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is an organization which was formed in 1904 because of dissatisfaction with existing organizations. It is an entirely independent organization, and only by recognizing this fact, and appreciating the reasons for it, will the party's case be understood. The S.P.G.B. is not affiliated to, or associated with, the Labour Party or any other organization in this country. Its only association is with identical parties in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S.A.

It follows therefore that the S.P.G.B is not in any way responsible for the actions or policies of the Labour Party or any other party in this country.

The reason for this principle of independence is that the S.P.G.B. takes a fundamentally different view of economic and political questions from that taken by various parties in this country which claim to be interested in Socialism. In our view the Labour Party and other organizations are not following a path which will lead to Socialism.

Victory Parade (1946)

From the July 1946 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the midst of a world where the spectre of famine is stalking, and where daily it becomes more obvious that newly-won peace is only an armistice, the Labour Government saw fit to stage a victory celebration.

Their decision was not greeted with universal acclaim. The die-hard section of the capitalist class did not wish to celebrate victory after the defeat of their Party at the polls, and attacked the event as involving needless expense and being in bad taste. Many workers saw in the great show a tragic encore of the 1919 parade and were not enthusiastic. And on the eve of V-day thousands of miserable housewives, queuing for hours for bread and potatoes., cursed a thoughtless Government for making the celebrations coincide with the Whitsun Bank Holiday. But the Labour Party advocates of planning had planned things quite well, so that the holiday would interfere as little as possible with the production drive. And the L.P.T.B., too, had tilings well under control. The issue of workmen’s tickets was curtailed; the cheering multitudes of workers' hud to pay full fare.

But in spite of the dismal background of world politics and the grey prospects at home the parade was a roaring success, though rain spoiled the other celebrations. Millions of workers, huddled together on hard pavements, cramped and uncomfortable, tired and under-nourished, yet happy to escape for a few hours from the hard realities of a humdrum existence under capitalism, cheered themselves hoarse while the colourful procession glorifying the doubtful victory of British capitalism marched by.

The Royal Family, whose professional duty it is to be present at these circuses, were out in full force; Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, representatives of the two chief parties of capitalism, travelled in one carriage so as not to split the cheers; Monty and the other big brass-hats were there; fighters and bombers circled overhead; nobody dropped an atom bomb by mistake and everything passed off quite smoothly. But the main body of the procession was made up of working men and women from all over the world who for five long years faced untold dangers and hardships to safeguard the markets of the world for British, American and Russian capitalism. For a few short hours they enjoyed the tribute of cheers from their fellow workers, and then returned to the dreary future which all workers share, at best a degrading lifetime of exploitation known as a “steady job,” and at worst the dole queue or the bread line.

There were some notable absentees from the procession. Marshal Stalin sent no representatives and the Poles were absent. After less than a year of peace the victors are so disunited that they are not prepared to march together to celebrate the defeat of their common enemy. And what has been the fate of “poor little Poland,” on whose behalf our masters told us that this war was fought? She has merely passed from subjection under one great power, Germany, to the domination of another great power, Russia.

Socialists took no part in the hollow cheering. They are no kill-joys, but they cannot cheer an empty victory. When their fellow workers all over the world think as they do, there will he something worth shouting about. No hysterical press propaganda, no military parades, no jingoistic music, no blood bespattered national emblems, no cynical politicians or saluting puppet monarchs will have a place in the day of victory of the working class. Spontaneous, rejoicings will ring out throughout the world, and men and women will at long last be able to build a world, where they can be useful, humane, comfortable and happy.
John Moore

Dialectical Materialism (1947)

From the July 1947 issue of the Socialist Standard

A correspondent has asked us to define our attitude to Dialectical Materialism. This phrase has become the stock-in-trade of those who try to defend the tortuous policy of that clay-footed giant of the East—Russia—and it has had wished upon it the mystical characteristics of a solvent of all points of view, even the most glaringly contradictory, such as a “socialist’’ country in which wages exist and a privileged few enjoy luxury at the expense of the great majority.

Dialectical Materialism made its appearance in socialist propaganda when Marx borrowed from Hegel the dialectical (evolutionary) method of examining man's history and works, but he reversed Hegel's method of approach to the world. To Hegel the world was a reflection of the thought process in man's head, he was an idealist; to Marx the thought process was a reflection of an actual world process, he was a materialist. Hegel was building his philosophical system at a time when the old static world of Feudalism was being rent by the birth of Capitalism, and accepted ways and ideas were being hurled into a tormented melting pot. The old world was passing, the new world was problematical and struggling into shape; nothing was settled, all was change. Hegel, a product of the times, was impregnated with this idea of universal change and his philosophy expressed it—even though upside down. The confused, contradictory and changing policy of Soviet Russia bewilders its adherents and drives them back to a bastardised Hegelianism with leadership as the absolute concept. Is there a contradiction between principles and policy? No matter, an understanding of dialectics will show that everything is all right in this best of all possible Russian worlds. If the Russian workers are free to control their own destiny but must obey the dictates of the Stalin oligarchy, if the capitalist class is the enemy and yet Russia concludes alliances of love with them, if imperialism is a capitalist method of fleecing and yet the “workers’ republic” fights for world markets and spheres of influence, don’t worry, dialectics explains and solves these contradictions. The more incomprehensible dialectics appears to the ordinary worker the firmer the bonds of leadership are riveted upon them and the higher its self-appointed interpreters climb.

At the time when Marx was preparing and writing his analyses of history and Capitalism the word evolution was not current as an expression covering the process of world development, because, although many thinkers recognised that certain changes occurred in nature and history they had not yet grasped the fact that the process was universal, complementary, and unified. They used the expression “development hypothesis” to describe the growth of one form into another within one particular species; the change from one species into another had not yet been recognised, and was to become part of a larger outlook—the evolutionary one. It is significant from this point of view that the word evolution does not appear anywhere in the Communist Manifesto, the outlook of which is now recognised as evolutionary. Evolution as the expression covering the comprehensive developmental point of view became current with the appearance of Darwin’s “Origin of Species," in which was proclaimed the theory of organic evolution. This book appeared in 1859, the same year in which Marx’s “Critique of Political Economy" appeared, and by that time Marx had written most of the manuscript that eventually appeared under the title "Capital." In fact, as far as the writer can remember at the moment, the word evolution does not appear in "Capital,” which was published in 1867, apart from a reference in the preface. Thus most of Marx's important works were already either published or in manuscript form before the word evolution had become current as the expression of all that is bound up with the process of universal, progressive, and unending change, including the mechanism that accomplishes the changes.

To the advanced thinkers of Marx’s day "dialectical’’ signified the science of the process by which change occurred. Since then "dialectical'’ has been replaced by "evolutionary," and the older word is largely forgotten by all expect the out-of-date philosophers living among cobwebs, and the advocates of that modern monstrosity, "Russian Communism." An adroit use of dialectics enables the latter to clothe their conflicting policies with a semblance of conformity to Marxism, which is not even the Lenin brand. Under their influence we have witnessed an attempt, that has become stronger as Bolshevik claims and practice have become more contradictory and confusing, to define dialectical materialism as something more comprehensive than evolution.

Attention must be drawn to the fact that each scientist is, and must be, an evolutionist in his own field of research, and is therefore, to that extent, a materialist. It is only when he leaves this field, particularly when he looks at society and religion, that he is likely to abandon science and enter the realms of phantasy. The reason for this is that in these particular directions the weight of society and tradition is heavier than in others because here a scientific outlook is a danger to the persistence of the existing social arrangements.

What Marx and Engels meant by dialectics was made clear in the latter’s book, "Anti-Duhring,’’ written with the assistance of Marx. In this book Engels says, towards the end of the chapter on dialectics, when referring to the negation of the negation: —
   "If I say that all these processes [growth of a grain of barley to a crop-bearing plant, etc.] constitute negation of the negation, I embrace them all under this one law of progress, and leave the distinctive features of each special process without particular notice. The dialectic is, as a matter of fact, nothing but the science of the universal laws of motion, and evolution in nature, human society and thought."
He further says of modem materialism:
   "It is in a special sense no philosophy but a single concept of the universe which has to prove and realise itself not in a science of sciences apart, but in actual science.’’
To understand the process of change in any particular department of knowledge you must discover the laws, the uniformity in the apparently haphazard, and this is just what scientists do; they discover the laws in that particular department by applying the evolutionary concept. Evolution does not merely signify that there is perpetual change; that was an old view dating back to antiquity; but that the changes are an unfolding and further development of forces within that which is changing, the direction of the change being determined by the alignment of internal constituents and the impact of external.

Everything is part of an unending world process, no section of which can be isolated except in thought; and even when isolating anything in thought it must still be studied in its connection with other things. World change consists of a combination, dissolution and re-combination of elements in an ascending series; that is to say, an ever, more complicated arrangement of elements. Existence is only a temporary equilibrium of opposing elements, always in motion, that at a certain stage bursts apart and forms a new combination when one element becomes present in greater abundance than another, or the relation between internal quantities changes. In analysing these progressive combinations scientists discover the numerous laws that govern such progressive movement enabling them to foretell, with varying degrees of accuracy, future developments. Absolute accuracy is impossible because the knowledge to foretell is limited by the fact that all the items that go to make up the changing world process are so vast that they are outside the capacity of any individual, group, class or nation. Absolute accuracy would demand the sum of the experience of the human race, past and present, as well as the knowledge of things that have not yet swum into the human orbit But the limited accuracy is sufficient to enable humanity to build ships, aeroplanes, factories, rockets and atom bombs, and the rest.

Now let us glance at two or three interpretations of the laws of Dialectical Materialism by two writers who published short books on the subject—David Guest and Edward Conze.

Guest (“Dialectical Materialism," Lawrence & Wishart, 1941; edited by T. A. Jackson) quotes the second law of dialectics as follows, and later quotes Lenin's blessing of the same wording: “The law of unity (interpenetration, identity) of opposites." Note the word “identity." Opposites cannot be identical as long as they are opposites, and to say that one cannot exist without the other is not very illuminating because a thing cannot be opposite to nothing; it must be opposite to something that is opposite to it! Marx did not mix unity with identity. Writing of the two poles of the expression of value in the first chapter of “Capital" he says :—
    “The relative form and the equivalent form are two intimately connected, mutually dependent and inseparable elements of the expression of value; but, at the same time, are mutually exclusive, antagonistic extremes—i.e., poles of the same expression."
That is the essence of the matter; mutually dependent, inseparable, but mutually exclusive. Identity of opposites is just nonsense.

Referring to the inner contradictions and opposite sides in society, Guest makes the following remarks :— 
    “Marx found the basis of the class struggle to lie in a contradiction between the methods of production . . . and the existing social relationships. It is this contradiction which during a certain historic period gets expressed in an external antagonism of classes. When this is so . . . one class . . . represents the forces of production seeking to expand, and another class . . . represents those social relations which are hemming in the productive forces.
    “But the basic contradiction will continue to exist in classless society, and will cause the progressive development of social relationships as the productive forces themselves develop." (Page 54.) 
The reader may perhaps glimpse in the last few lines the creeping paralysis of Russia! The basic contradiction is the contradiction between the method of production and the existing social relationships and, according to Guest, it will continue to exist under Communism. In his breathless pursuit of contradictions he makes the mistake of thinking that they must always be of the same kind and he has missed the basic contradiction which will be solved for good and all; the contradiction between social production and private ownership which originated in primitive society, developed during succeeding centuries and will be finally solved by Socialism. We will consider this at greater length later and in the meantime see what Engels has to say upon Guest’s point; we quote from “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific":—
    “But with the taking over by society of the productive forces, the social character of the means of production and of the products will be utilised by the producers with a perfect understanding of its nature . . .      “Active social forces work exactly like natural forces: blindly, forcibly, destructively, so long as we do not understand, and reckon with them. But when once we grasp their action, their direction, their effects, it depends only upon ourselves to subject them more and more to our own will, and by means of them to reach our own ends. And this holds quite especially of the mighty productive forces of to-day." (Page 78.)
    "The whole sphere of the conditions of life which environ man, and which have hitherto ruled man, now comes under the dominion and control of man, who for the first time becomes the real, conscious lord of nature, because he has now become master of his own social organisation. The laws of his own social action, hitherto standing face to face with man as laws of nature foreign to, and dominating him, will then be used with full understanding, and so mastered by him. Man’s own social organisation, hitherto confronting him as a necessity imposed by nature and history, now becomes the result of his own free action. . . .  It is the ascent of man from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom." (Page 82.)
Thus, according to Engels, the basic contradiction will not have the indefinite life attributed to it by Guest.

Now let us take two examples of Conze’s interpretation of Dialectical Materialism (“An Introduction to Dialectical Materialism," Edward Conze, N.C.L.C., 1936). He is also in a jam over the question of opposites and we refer back to what we have already said on the subject Here is his gem:
   “I know no general reason why opposites always must be united. The study of scientific method is not yet advanced enough to give us proof of this kind." (Page 35.)
Conze has evidently walked up the wrong street. The human race, in its wisdom, has decided that when two things turn up in a certain relationship to each other they will be called opposites. As long as the human race sticks to this then we can’t have one opposite on its own. Conze is apparently prepared to concede that all the black door handles that have so far turned up have been black, but he does not rule out the possibility that some day a black door handle may appear that is not black!

On another page Conze, with the backing of Freud, gives us this information:—
   “Freud has shown that we can have no feeling of love towards anyone without simultaneously having a more or lees feeling of hatred of the same person, and vice versa. . . . No hatred can exist without containing some love. Love is the regular companion of hatred, even if the quantity of love is sometimes microscopic." (Page 38.)
This is a peculiar way of looking at the unity of opposites, on the basis of which we can prove anything and get nowhere. Let us see if we can translate it into something more obvious. A wooden stick has two ends; they are the names we give to two opposite parts of the stick, and while the stick exists as a stick the ends exist as separate, antagonistic, mutually dependent parts of it. As long as we remain outside a lunatic asylum the ends will appear to us as two different parts of this piece of wood, and we can’t have even a microscopic bit of one end existing alongside, let alone inside, the other. Of course we can throw the stick in the fire and put the same end to both, but then this is a different end altogether! Let us use language reasonably and for its purpose. Love and hate are two opposite expressions of a common human emotion; they cannot both exist at the same time for the same object but they can alternate, or they can both dwindle down with the dwindling of emotion. Now let us look at love and hatred from the point of view of the development of these two poles of the expression of emotion, and not their temporary equilibrium in an individual who both loves and hates. Human emotion develops until it becomes differentiated into what we call love and hatred; in its early development the distinction is blurred but in the course of time it becomes clearly defined, and it is love and hatred as such and as opposites that Conze is writing about. Love is love and not hate, and in a given situation they are mutually exclusive. Mixing interpenetration with identity seems to be the cause of the confusion. If we pass our finger along the stick we come to a point where it is neither one end nor the other but we never have our finger on a little bit of one end and a large part of the other. What happens is that one end passes into the other.

There is much dross in both of the books to which we have referred but we have not space to discuss them further.

There is a progressive change in nature and thought; an evolution. What does this mean? It means nothing more than a movement from the simple to the complex; an ever more complicated mixture of a comparatively few elements. An example may make this clearer. A modern piece of highly developed mechanism, such as an aeroplane engine, is a mystifying sight to the uninitiated, and yet it is made up of a multitude of simple movements that, taken by themselves, would mystify nobody. The human mind thrives by learning and contriving and thus craves for an ever more complicated life; it is more satisfying, and therefore progressive, to the majority in the long run.

Let us now complete the picture by an illustration of the operation of the laws Marx borrowed from Hegel and applied in his investigations. We will take an example from the evolution of society, as that is our particular concern.

In prehistoric times man lived in small communities, beset by forces of nature he was not yet able to control or adjust himself to, but the simple means of production were commonly owned. These means of production were barely sufficient to enable each member of the community to sustain life and reproduce his kind. In the course of time man multiplied but the means of production multiplied at a greater rate until what was produced was more than sufficient to supply each with the necessaries of life. When this expansion had reached a certain point the idea was born into the mind of men that it was possible for some to live without working if they could persuade or force others to work for them. In order to accomplish this a portion of the means of production that belonged to the community had to be converted into the private possession of some members of the community. An internal struggle then began that ended in the establishment of private ownership in the means of production. Since then a constant struggle has been carried on during which the whole of the earth has become populated and private property has run a course from the ownership of a few acres of land, a small herd of animals, and a few tools until it has reached dimensions that can no longer he controlled by one individual or a family. Property ownership has undergone a development and transformation until private property in the means of production has reached a point where it has become uncontrollable and threatens society with disaster. But the development of this private ownership also engendered the development of those who used the means of production; this development has now reached a point where the producers monopolise all the positions in the production and distribution of the means of living to the exclusion of the owners; the latter have been relegated to the position of simple consumers of wealth in the production of which they, as a class, take no part. The result of this development is that the idea has grown in the minds of the producers that the owners are no longer a necessary evil; the revolt against the owners has also grown in volume and will soon reach a point where the producers will set about abolishing the private ownership of the means of production and substituting for it common ownership. But this common ownership will not be the small community ownership of primitive society; it will be a common ownership that welds the whole of mankind into one universal society, and each member will be able to live a secure and full life as a consequence of the achievements accomplished since the advent of private property.

Let us apply the dialectical materialism of Marx to the development we have described. First the statement that an increase in quantity beyond a certain point results in a change in quality. The increase in the means of production and the product changed the social form from communist society to private property society and will change the latter into a higher form of communist society. Communist society was negated by private property society and this will in turn be negated by a higher form of communist society—-the negation of the negation. The entire process is accomplished by the growth of antagonism and the solving of antagonism; the elements that have changed the form of society were contained within the original communal communities. The unity in the whole progress is social man; the contradictions are the contrary outlooks arising out of the growth of the means of production; the solution is the reduction of these outlooks to one common outlook.

What we have described is the evolution of society, but only in a broad sweep. Social science describes this process in detail, but only a few of the social scientists are free from the influence of private property ideas upon thought, and consequently the nearer they come to the present the less scientific are their conclusions. It is one thing to learn the laws of scientific thinking but quite another to apply those laws to social life. One of these fundamental laws is that there is nothing absolute, static; all is relative, changing. But in the course of these changes the relation of one thing to another is a state of temporary equilibrium. The capitalist and the worker are a unity as portions of mankind and portions of human society; they are in contradiction as opposing elements in the capitalist system of wealth production. This contradiction will only be solved by the abolition of capitalist society. But this abolition can only lead to harmony by the substitution of a higher form of society for capitalism. This in turn can only be achieved by the working class waging the class struggle single-mindedly and relentlessly until they obtain the victory. In other words, the international capitalist class is always the enemy until Socialism has been achieved.

Thus the answer to the question we have been asked is that as the dialectical materialism of Marx is simply “the science of the universal laws of motion, and evolution in nature, human society and thought,” we accept it, but we do not accept the distortion of this view by supporters of Russian “Communism” or others who misuse the means to serve their particular ends.
Gilmac.

Notes by the Way: Mr. Churchill won't commit himself (1948)

The Notes by the Way Column from the July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. Churchill won't commit himself.
Conservatives, like the other opponents of Socialism, are fond of asking us for detailed plans of what will be done under Socialism. We reply that it is impossible to give more than the broad outlines of Socialist society. The next time a Conservative scoffs at this he should have his attention drawn to Mr. Churchill’s statement in a speech on 12th June at the Albert Hall when he declined to give details of what his Party will do if it comes to power at the next election, although the latter is only two years ahead.
   “We are asked what we should do. It is a great mistake for a party in Opposition and without executive power to try to furnish precise, elaborate programmes of what they would do at some unspecified future date and in circumstances which no one can yet foretell.
   “By so doing we should only fall into the trap that is set us by our political opponents.
   "But it is only right that we should give in broad outline what we believe to be some of the right and necessary steps.” (Sunday Express, 13/6/48.)
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The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
In order to get the workers to accept the policy of ‘‘wage-freezing” the Government associated with it a request to companies not to pay a bigger dividend than they paid for 1946, to reduce their prices and profits and thus help keep down the cost of living. Most companies have observed the request not to pay higher dividends but many of them have been showing a vast increase of profits. The record is held by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. which made a profit for the year 1947 of £18,564,000, nearly double the profit made in 1946. the chief reason for the increase was that they have been selling their oil at very much higher prices, the result of the world shortage of oil in relation to a rapidly-growing demand. Although the Company did not increase its dividend, the rate paid on the ordinary shares is 30 per cent.

The interesting thing is that the Government has a big investment in the Company, holding just over half the ordinary shares and a small amount of the Preference shares. The Daily Express (2/6/48) credits Mr. Winston Churchill with having induced the Government to invest £2,000,000 in the Company in 1914 in order to ensure a supply of oil for the Navy. The Government’s shares are now shown in the accounts at the price they cost, £5,001,000 (“Finance Accounts, 1946-7, p.59), but according to the Daily Express “today the State holding is worth £102,000,000 in the markets.” The Government’s income on the ordinary shares for the year 1947 was £3,375,000.

With such fat profits to be made out of Iranian oil no wonder the Russian government has been trying to force Iran to let Russia join in the scramble.

What the Iran government and ruling class think of the arrangements under which foreign capitalists draw off much of the proceeds of the exploitation of the Iranian workers is another question.

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High Profits under Labour Government.
Quoting from the Economist records of profits Labour Research (June, 1948) shows that some 500 companies publishing their trading results in the first quarter of 1948 earned an average of 27.2 per cent. on their ordinary capital and paid an average of 15½ per cent. During the later years of the war the average paid was about 13½ per cent. In the first quarter of 1947 it was 22.9 per cent.

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The Increase of the Cost of Living.
According to the hopelessly inaccurate official cost of living index published by the Ministry of Labour the increase of the cost of living between 1939 and June, 1947, was 31 per cent. At that date the old index was discontinued and a new one started, which, however, only shows the increase since June, 1947, and not the increase since 1939. This latter index shows an increase of 8 per cent, between June, 1947, and April, 1948.

The Oxford University Institute of Statistics (Bulletin, May, 1948), after examining all the available material, estimates that the real increase since 1937-8 is probably more than 80 per cent.

Putting this another way, it means that it costs about £6 6s. to buy what could be bought with a wage of £3 10s. before the war.

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The “Purge” of Fascist and Communist Civil Servants.
The action taken by the Government to weed out Fascists and Communists from certain government jobs is due, no doubt, to the apprehensions caused by the military power and expansionist policy of the Russian government, though an additional reason, that of conciliating the U.S. government, is suggested by the similar action now being taken in Japan. According to the Observer (13/6/48) the Japanese Prime Minister is considering the exclusion of Communists from government employment, and the Observer's correspondent who sends the report adds: ‘‘These and similar steps are to be expected, since Dr. Ashida’s whole policy is built on the hope of securing American capital investment.”

The British government’s intention is to remove Fascists and Communists from work “the nature of which is vital to the security of the State.” It covers not only members of the Communist Party and Fascist organisations but also any civil servant who, though not a member, is associated with one of these organisations "in such a way as to raise legitimate doubts about his reliability.” The civil servant who is removed from his job will ordinarily be found other government employment but if this is impossible because of the specialist nature of his qualifications he may be dismissed.

The Civil Service Unions that have seen in this the possibility of individuals being victimised for trade union activities, either under the present or under some future government, are only following ordinary trade union practice in trying to get safeguards, including the right of an individual who is charged to know precisely what are the grounds of the charge, the setting up of some form of appeal, and the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative when the appeal is heard. The government refuses to concede what the Civil Service unions wanted, in particular the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative when the Advisory Board is deciding on the facts.

Not content with this, however, the Civil Service National Whitley Council Staff Side included in its resolution a clause noting with satisfaction that the government intends taking action to safeguard State secrets. Socialists, of course, are not concerned with selling the secrets of one government to another government but here we have an illustration of the backwardness of the trade union movement and the gulf that separates the present state of organisation and outlook from the often proclaimed, but little understood, belief in Socialism and Internationalism.

If the workers of the world clearly understood the need to base their organisation on a recognition of the class struggle they would be internationalist in outlook. They would understand that their loyalty is not to any national capitalist states but to the international working class. Their aim would not be to help one capitalist State (even if administered by a “Labour” government) against the others, but to overthrow capitalism everywhere and replace it by Socialism. The Labour Party’s supporters, faced with a division of loyalty, have decided the question by lining up behind the Labour government on the supposition that their interests as British workers are tied up with British capitalism. As they are not Socialists that decision was inevitable. It is not so much that the British workers considered and rejected Socialist internationalism but that they have not yet understood what the latter means. What they or the majority of them have rejected is the alternative which they feel is associated with the Communist Party, that of supporting the Russian government against the British Labour government; which brings us to the hypocritical indignation voiced by the Communists and their defenders.

The social system in Russia is not Socialism but a form of State Capitalism and there is no case whatever for the workers anywhere to give allegiance to that regime or to the Communist Parties which exist to support it. And in view of the dictatorship imposed on Russian workers by their rulers it is the height of impudence for the associates of the Communists to protest against the activities of other governments. Among these individuals is Mr. L. C. White, General Secretary of the Civil Service Clerical Association and also a member of the Editorial Board of the Daily Worker. In his latter capacity Mr. White condones in Russia the worst form of tyranny while in his trade union capacity he protests against a less objectionable form of it in this country. As General Secretary of the C.S.C.A. he has been demanding of the government an assurance “that a civil servant could hold any lawful political opinion and belong to any party.” Is Mr. White so woefully ignorant that he imagines the Russian government would for a moment give such an assurance? And if he knows the facts has he ever protested? In Russia no worker, whether a civil servant or not, may belong to any political party at all except the Communist Party. All other political parties are suppressed. We leave it to Mr. White to explain his curious position.

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Russia’s Industrial Progress.
It is not always easy to get information on the extent to which Russian industry is catching up with the output of such countries as U.S.A. and Britain but interesting figures that have just been released about the Russian automobile industry can be compared with similar figures published here and in U.S.A.

Soviet News (27/5/48) states that by 1950 the annual output of the Russian motor industry will be 65,000 passenger cars and 428,000 trucks and 6,400 buses and that this will be a 50 per cent. increase on 1947 output.

In Great Britain production during the first four months of this year is at the annual rate of 320,000 passenger cars and 156,000 commercial vehicles. It will be noticed that while Russian production of commercial vehicles greatly exceeds their production of passenger cars, in Britain, where production of cars is at present largely for export, the passenger cars are double the number of commercial vehicles. If for purpose of comparison we reckon one commercial vehicle as equal to two passenger cars (a relationship that is borne out by official value figures in the “Monthly Digest of Statistics,” May, 1948), and if we allow for the fact that the Russian figures are what is planned for 1950 after a 50 per cent. increase on 1947, the figures indicate that at present Russian motor production is about equal to that of Great Britain.

When we come to comparison with U.S.A., Russia and Britain are both dwarfed. According to figures in “The Motor Industry of Great Britain” the production of automobiles in U.S.A. in 1946 was 2,148,677 cars and 940,830 commercial vehicles. This total output is about six times as great as present output in Russia or Britain.

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Another Russian Line on Religion.
The Manchester Guardian (16/6/48) reports another change in Russian government policy towards religion:
   "During the war anti-religious propaganda almost disappeared and the Orthodox Church was given a new privileged position in the State . . . Now, though the Orthodox Church is still given certain privileges—largely, one suspects, to impress believers in East Europe—there is a sudden renewal of anti-religious propaganda in the Moscow broadcasts.”
Possibly the Russian government fears that its handmaiden, the Russian Church, is making too many converts; in a country where the mass of the population are unaccustomed to think for themselves the mysticism and symbolism of religion may be proving too attractive by comparison with the State religion of patriotic-militarism. The Ikon and the worship of Christ may be ousting the Hammer and Sickle and the mummified body of Lenin.

Only last month the head of the Russian Church informed Reuter’s correspondent (Manchester Guardian, 13/5/48) that "Church communities . . . are increasing, as are equally the number of Churches’’ and that it is planned “to extend the printing of Church books and literature needed for Church consumption and for believers.”

Nowadays nobody ought to be surprised at shifts in Russian policy but it looks as if the British Communists have once more been caught on the hop. Just when it seems that anti-religion is the new Party line they announce (Daily Worker, 17/6/48) a new pamphlet, "Catholics and Communism,” in which Mr. Gallacher, M.P., "discusses the Vatican policies and shows that there is every reason why Catholics should be members of the Communist Party.”

Or can it be that the Russian Pope has given the British Communists a special dispensation to hold that "Religion is the opium of the people” but not in Great Britain?

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Democracy In U.S.A.
Under cover of the alleged fear of Russian infiltration the authorities in U.S.A. are busy learning from Russia some of the arts of suppression of minority opinion. Mr. Alan Moorhead, writing in the Observer (16th May, 1948), writes:
  ‘‘One hears constantly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation checking up on people who are probably no more than mild Liberals. The arrest of Mme. Joliot-Curie recently was no accident. To be 'screened’ by the F.B.I. is apparently nothing remarkable. Nor is it regarded as particularly strange that the F.B.I. should tap the telephone calls and open the private mail of a suspect—or even seek information from his banker or doctor or employer.
   "Even in the far south-west I found patrols on the roads picking up tramps and out-of-work men who were suspected of being the wrong political colour, possible agitators. And this censorship has been taken up spontaneously as well by many employers, and by the committees of the many social clubs. It would not be wise for a clerk in some business houses to wear a Wallace button if he wished to keep his job.”

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The Fabians In Difficulties.
The Evening Standard (2/6/48) quotes from the Annual Report of the Fabian Society about their financial difficulties and stagnation of membership. A drive for members produced 123 recruits in the year 1947-8, but “the total net gain was only 13 members.” In 1947 the Fabian Society’s membership as shown in the Labour Party's Annual Report was 3,367.

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Tobacco Workers Drop Nationalisation.
Two years ago the Tobacco Workers’ Union voted in favour of the nationalisation of the tobacco industry. At their Conference at Bristol, early in June, they reversed the decision. The Daily Mail (11/6/48) reports the General Secretary, Mr. Percy Belcher, as saying: 
   "The 1946 decision was made in good faith, but in the light of experience now before us we feel it wise and good to rescind it" 

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A Queer Defence of Russian Imperialism.
Writing in Forward (5/6/48) Mr. W. P. Coates of the Anglo-Russian Parliamentary Committee pleads for Russia to have control of the Dardanelles. His plea rests on three main points. The first is that the Czarist governments tried for centuries to get it. The second is that it was promised to Russia in the Secret Treaty made by Britain, France and the Czar’s government in 1915—a sordid bargain that the Communists loudly denounced and repudiated in 1918. Thirdly, he argues that it should be done because it is no longer true, if it ever was, that Russian control of the Dardanelles “would cut across the throat of the British Empire lifelines.”

He pleads for a "friendship policy” on the basis of "a joint British-Soviet naval collaboration" in that area, but does not tell us against whom this proposed pact of the two Imperialisms is to be directed.

Communists nowadays are indeed reduced to some curious arguments in their support of the Imperialism of their choice. There was a time when Lenin denounced all Imperialisms.
Edgar Hardcastle