From the December 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard
"There must be a change of heart, if Peace is to become something better than an uneasy interval between wars."
The above is a quotation from a speech by the Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, before the T.U.C. Conference at Blackpool, as reported in the Star (September 12th, 1945).
We have heard it all before somewhere, and it is in fact a political-cum-religious gramophone record which apparently still has plenty of life in it.
Whenever working class conditions under capitalism are aggravated by particular crises within the system, such as wars and depressions, then the master class or their representatives bring the full force of their propaganda machine into play to befog the minds of workers and to distract them from the real causes of their problems. As we see from the above, the Labour leader is no exception; in fact we find that he develops the hypocrisy still further by stating that, “however perfect a machinery we may devise, it cannot be worked without the power of the spirit. A new world order cannot be made by Governments."
This is particularly interesting when we recall the eloquence of Mr. Attlee and his associates in claiming, prior to the election, that a Labour Government could and would cure everything from poverty to war.
Continuing his speech, Mr. Attlee said: “There is only one principle that can save the world, the principle you practise in your great movements, the Christian principle that all men are brothers one of another.” Strange words indeed from the man who actually participated in the direction of the war in which 30,000,000 workers were slaughtered, strange words indeed from the man who presided over the meeting which launched upon the world the indiscriminate destruction of the atomic bomb.
All history has been full of such “fine words.” Plato used them over 2,000 years ago to keep down the murmurings of the chattel slave community at Athens; in 1945 Mr. Attlee uses them to keep down the murmurings of the wage slave community in this country.
Just as the “fine words" of Plato were a means to an end, the end being the perpetuation of the City State and the domination by the aristocratic class of all other classes, so Mr. Attlee's “fine words” have a similar end, namely, the safeguarding of the private property institution and the maintenance of the master class as the dominating class in modern society; and this domination and privilege of the master class can only be maintained by the exploitation and oppression of the only useful section in society, the working class.
So the message of Socialists to their fellow members of the working class is, “Beware, 'fine words' "; the history of class domination is full of them.
Ronald L. Griffin