Thursday, December 20, 2018

Corrupt America and Pure England. (1928)

From the December 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard

In our October issue we left Mr. Baker gravely pointing out to a sullen House of Commons that there were many right honourable gentlemen, whose conceptions of what was right and honourable were inadequate. Doubtless the right hon. gentlemen will endeavour to put other conceptions of those qualities before Mr. Baker, before the Wireless and Cable Merger question goes off the stage. He went on to speak of some of the big people, as he called them, in the business. There was Sir Robert Kindersley, mentioned before, who was managing director of Lazard Bros., and also one of the directors of the Bank of England. His firm, Lazard Bros., were represented on the board of the Newcastle-on-Tyne Electric Supply Co. Lazard Bros, and S. Pearson & Sons, Ltd., were associated with the Whitehall Securities Corporation, Ltd., which holds half the share capital of Messrs. Pearson & Dorman & Long, Ltd., whose electric power interests in the Kent coalfield interlock with the County of London Electric Supply Co. S. Pearson & Sons completely controlled Whitehall Electric Investment, Ltd., along with the Power and Traction Finance Co. Ltd., in the Hungarian Trans-Danubian' Electrical Co., Ltd. Messrs. S. Pearson & Sons are associated with Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Co., the G.E.P. of Berlin and Callenders Cable and Construction Co. Mr. Baker expressed himself as puzzled at the attitude of The Times newspaper, in view of his previous feeling that The Times at least is a national newspaper. And then he made the discovery that the Hon. R. H. Brand, one of the directors of The Times, was also a director of Lazard Bros. Another director is Sir Campbell Stuart, who is a member of the Imperial Wireless Conference, which is settling the whole thing. After briefly referring to the ramifications of Hambro’s Bank, he next referred to Mr. Szarvasy. So far as is known, he was a mere shareholder in this country in 1910, but from 1912, became substitute director for Baron Springer, of Vienna. To-day he is managing director and chairman of the British, Foreign and Colonial Corporation, and a director of the Dunlop Rubber Co. When Lord Rothermere formed the Daily Mail Trust, it was through Mr. Szarvasy that the British Foreign and Colonial Corporation issued a mortgage debenture for £9,000,000. Mr. Szarvasy is also a director of the Danube Navigation Co., the Guardian Assurance Co., and Martins Bank. With the late Alfred Lowenstein, and Albert Pam, of J. H. Schroeder & Co., he is on the directors’ committee of the Hydro-Electric Securities Corporation of Quebec. This last belongs to the group of interests which control the power used by the Canadian Marconi Co., Ltd. Mr. Szarvasy is also chairman (and Lord Derby, president) of the Anglo-French Banking Corporation.

Proceeding with the big people, as Mr. Baker put it, there is Sir Charles Coupar Barrie, who is linked with Mr. Szarvasy on the directorate of the Danube Navigation Co. Sir Coupar Barrie is a member of the Post Office Advisory Council. There is Mr. F. R. S. Balfour, associated with Mr. Szarvasy on the Guardian Assurance Co., is also a member of the Bank of Montreal. Both these gentlemen have recently been added to the board of the Marconi Company. A third addition is Sir Frederick Sykes, who has been appointed Governor of Bombay. He was a director of the Daily Mail Trust, the Marconi Telegraph Co., the Underground Railways of London, the London Express Newspaper, Ltd., the Sunday Sketch and the Sunday Herald. And to-day he is Governor of Bombay. Of course as a Governor, he should give up his other jobs as director. But still, it is interesting, isn’t it: yesterday a Daily Mail governor, to-day a Bombay Governor!

There are a few more columns of similar engaging facts, and it will be well worth the while of anyone interested to obtain a copy of Hansard, for Thursday, August 2nd. It should be carefully read over two or three times between now and the next General Election. Then, when you are passively listening to the fervid oratory of the sleek, oily, persuasive gentlemen who are anxious to serve their country once more, permit yourself to reflect on the vast and intricate network of interlocked capitalist interests, and to wonder just where the orator before you, fits in. At the moment, it may be useful to remember that the catchword for the next Election has not yet made its appearance. Doubtless behind closed doors, what they will call the plan of campaign is now being carefully sketched out, including possibly Another “Red Letter,” or some similar fooltrap. But this can safely be prophesied. Each of the capitalist parties will assure you by all they hold sacred, that never in the whole history of the planet was there such a set of moral, virtuous, upright, self-sacrificing patriots as those now seeking your suffrages as so-and-so candidates. Likewise, never hitherto, has this burdened earth been required to support on its suffering breast such a vile, scurrilous, inept rabble as is comprised in the other party. You will be emphatically assured that between the one party and the other, there is fixed a great gulf, a yawning abyss.

But then, if you have read your Hansard, and your Socialist Standard aright, you will perceive that interlocking directorates and international capital make light work of any gulf. You will see your Melchetts and your Derbys, your Szarvasvs and Lowensteins, your French Bankers and German Barons, your Hungarian financiers and Canadian company promoters, all without distinction of race, religion, sex or creed, joined in one happy family whose name is PROFIT. It is for you to see behind the trickery of Elections, the pomp of ceremonial, the intoxication of oratory, to the reality beyond, capital exploiting labour. You will notice, if you listen to one of our speakers, that we do not divide our political opponents into good men and bad men, clever men and numbskulls, upright men and tricky men, rich men and poor men. No! We go deeper than that. We see society divided into two distinct classes, those on the one side who own our means of existence, and on the other, those who have to work for them and who are in consequence the slaves of the first. This system is an excellent one—for the Melchetts, the Derbys and the rest of them. One does not expect them to favour an alteration of it. Therefore, when they, or their friends, appear before you at Election time, a vote for them however obtained and however given, is a vote that society shall remain divided as at present, with a few very rich and a vast number poor. But the system is not an excellent one for you, and for me. It is necessary, therefore, that we band our greatly superior number together, and appoint our own representatives to Parliament who will not spend their time in delivering marvellous, flowery speeches, to sullen, bitterly hostile opponents, but who, when in a majority shall use the whole powers of Parliament to take our means of life from the hands of private profit-makers and convert them into socially owned tools of production. As Mr. Baker’s speech has revealed and as we have tried to make clear frequently in our columns, day after day, at amazing speed, capital is actively engaged in linking up the civilised world’s life-units into closely knit monopolistic trusts. There is only one alternative, Socialism, and there is only one party fighting for it, the Socialist Party. Capital is moving, rapidly, ceaselessly, remorselessly. What are you doing?
W. T. Hopley

Letter: Need The Workers Understand Socialism? (1929)

Letter to the Editors from the December 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

A correspondent (whose name we unfortunately cannot make out) writes from Stepney, expressing his views on several points and asking for our comments and reply.

The first point relates to the struggle of the workers against wage reductions and for wage increases.

This was fully dealt with in the October “Socialist Standard," to which we would refer him.

Our correspondent is mistaken in thinking that we oppose such struggles.

His second point is the following:—
  Seeing that the dominant class, the capitalists, control the Press, which moulds to a great extent opinion (especially in rural districts), the churches, also the cinema, an excellent propaganda weapon, besides other channels of influencing thought. That the workers, despite the rottenness of their conditions, cannot understand “scientific Socialism," will it not be that as capitalist crises occur—the workers—will eventually gravitate to a united organised resistance to their conditions?
   This only after bitter struggles, strikes, lockouts, brutality of the authorities, after such a process the climax will come. On one side will be the workers; on the other, the lackeys of capitalism, managers, high officials, ignorant police, and soldiers, who are kept in mental darkness, but for one thing, obedience. Nothing but violent struggle in my opinion.
What our correspondent overlooks is that while a politically ignorant working class may unite for some purposes they will not unite together and replace Capitalism by Socialism. They may unite to resist a wage reduction, but such resistance, whether successful or not does not bring Socialism. Quite apart from the question of the conquest of power, Socialism as a working system of society is impossible without a Socialist working class to carry it on. Resistance to some effects of Capitalism might temporarily result in reducing the Capitalist system to a greater or less degree of chaos (with consequent aggravated suffering for the working class), but the bringing of chaos is not the bringing of Socialism.

In any event, the outcome of such resistance depends always on the Capitalist class themselves. They have the choice either to give way to the particular demand which unites the workers, or to resist. The discontent of people who want only some reform of Capitalism, or any thing less than Socialism, can be bought off by granting what they want, and thus destroying the very platform on which this non-Socialist working class is united. The Capitalist class are not so blind or foolish that they will in the long run endanger their system by withholding the concessions necessary from time to time to bring off or side-track working class discontent.

Our correspondent also forgets one very important thing. Soldiers may be politically ignorant, but they are not ignorant of the science and art of organised coercion by violent means. After the politically ignorant workers have voted control of the machinery of government and the armed forces into the hands of the Capitalist class and their agents, it is nothing but madness to talk of waging a “violent struggle" against those who have a monopoly of the weapons and forces of violence.

Our correspondent’s third point concerns resistance to war :—
  If, as a result of national economic rivalry, war occurred in the course of which spontaneous opposition is given by the workers (though not intellectually understanding Socialism) and a change is desired by them, could not the situation culminate in the overthrow of the dominant class and the laying of the “ foundation for the sway of the proletariat,” if the mass feeling is correctly led?
This point is really a particular aspect of point Number two. Resistance to war is not resistance to Capitalism, and can always be removed in the last resort by stopping the war, leaving Capitalism intact. Furthermore, we suggest that instead of considering some hypothetical situation arising out of a hypothetical war, it would be more instructive to consider the war of 1914. In August, 1914, far from there being “spontaneous opposition," the working class in the overwhelming majority, owing to their political ignorance, were enthusiastic supporters of their respective sections of the Capitalist class, and if they had been otherwise there were Capitalist politicians (e.g., Lloyd George, Lord Morley, John Burns) ready and willing to lead the opposition to war. Our correspondent talks about “correctly leading" the "mass feeling” of the workers, but does not tell us how workers who still accept Capitalism and Capitalist leaders are to be induced to forsake them and follow people, whose general principles they reject, into a struggle for Socialism which they do not understand and do not want.

It is true that towards the end of the war the workers were becoming war-weary. But did they in fact do what our correspondent suggests? Did they overthrow Capitalism? On the contrary, in every country, not excepting Russia, the great majority of votes were cast at the first general elections not for Socialism, but for Capitalist parties of one kind or another. These are facts which show our correspondent’s hypothesis to be fantastic.

Finally, our correspondent writes about workers not “understanding Socialism,” but laying the “foundation for the sway of the proletariat.” Does he really believe that workers who still vote for Capitalism are capable of acting as a ruling class? You do not change the character of the workers by changing the labels of their leaders.

The fourth point concerns democratic methods. Our correspondent writes :—
  Is not democracy being superseded when capitalist crises occur—by capitalist force; witness events after the war. Hungary, Italy, etc. At present the threatening coup d'├ętat by the Weim-wehr in Austria.
Our correspondent asks, “Is not democracy being superseded . . . by Capitalist force?” His question shows that he has failed to understand what is the meaning of democracy, and what is the Socialist argument in favour of democratic methods. The use of force by the Capitalists who have been placed in power by the electors is not a supersession of democracy; it is as democratic as any other use of their power. It is not peculiar to the after-war period. Has our correspondent forgotten the brutal crushing of the Commune of Paris, in 1871, or the use of armed forces against the workers at Tonypandy and elsewhere?

The Socialist’s argument is that it is control of the machinery of Government which puts the Capitalist class in a position to compel obedience from any section of society. Those who control the political machinery, including the armed forces, are in a dominant position and literally their word is law, which they can enforce if need be by the methods of armed force. While the working class continue to be politically ignorant they will continue to vote into control of the political machinery parties which will use their power for the maintenance of Capitalism. The workers will not act differently until they become Socialists. Then they will use their votes to secure political control for themselves instead of handing it to the Capitalists and their agents. There is no other way under the conditions of modern Capitalism by which the workers can gain political control. Attempts to organise armed attacks on the Capitalist-controlled armed forces are foredoomed to failure. Therefore Socialists oppose them.

When our correspondent refers to Hungary, Italy, Austria, etc., he fails to see that these cases bear out our statement, that control of the political machinery is the deciding factor, enabling the Capitalists to coerce their opponents. For example, as has often been pointed out in these columns, Mussolini’s forces were financed, armed, and allowed to organise by successive Governments democratically elected to power by the votes of the Italian electorate. Far from crushing him, as they easily could have done, they deliberately chose to place him at the head of the State.

In Austria now the Heimwehr have no power or importance except to the extent that they are aided by the forces of the Government. If they are now placed in charge it will be by the deliberate act of the present Government, which owes its position to having been voted into political control. To repeat our main argument: those in control of the political machinery are able to impose their will and alter the constitution as they may think fit. That is why the workers must gain political control which they can only do in the advanced capitalist countries by means of the vote.
Editorial Committee

What The Socialist Party Stands For (1930)

From the December 1930 issue of the Socialist Standard

Many new readers of the Socialist Standard are puzzled when they find that the Socialist Party claims to be opposed to the Labour Party and I.L.P., not merely in matters of method, but also in respect of the object to be worked for. This puzzled state of mind is easy to understand. It arises from the use, by ourselves and by those other parties, of terms and phrases which appear to have a similar meaning. When a member of the Labour Party speaks of “Nationalisation, ” the newspapers will assume that he means Socialism, and the Labour Party leaders often have no interest in removing the false impression. It is the practice of many of the widely-read newspapers always to describe Labour M.P.s as Socialist M.P.s. Confusion has been increased in recent years by the use in the Labour Party’s official programme of a form of words which resembles a passage in our Object. Where we say, "The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interests of the whole community”; the Labour Party’s object, as set out in "Labour and the Nation,” is "to secure for the producers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry, and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible, upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

The phrasing of the Labour Party’s object tends to be vague, and is in one particular plainly inaccurate. It speaks of securing for the producers the "full fruits of their industry”; but if this were to be carried out the non-producers—among them the young, the infirm, and the old—would get nothing. The Labour Party here refer to common ownership, and it is very important to us that the apparent similarity with our aim should be challenged. We would rather be opposed for what we are and for what we aim at, than be supported, under a misapprehension, for what we are not. Let it, then, be clearly understood that the aims of the two parties are essentially different. The Labour Party stands for nationalisation, which is a form of capitalism embodying all of the chief features of the system of society which the Socialist Party works to abolish. When the Labour Party writes "common ownership” they have in mind such institutions as the Post Office and Mr. Morrison’s proposed London Traffic Corporation; but these are not "commonly owned.” The owners of the Post Office are the capitalist investors in Government Telegraph and Telephone loans and other Government stocks, and the capitalist class as a whole. Their tax burden is reduced by the Post Office profits.

Ownership to the capitalist no longer ordinarily involves the actual personal possession and control of plant, land, factories, etc. It is good enough for him that his stock or share certificates entitle him to a portion of the unearned property-income, which flows from ownership by the exploitation of the workers. The railway shareholder does not own any particular part of the railway system, nor does he wish to do so. If the Labour Party gives him shares in Government loans instead of his company shares he will not be a penny the worse. He will, on the contrary, have gained through the increased security of his holding.

The capitalist will not be a penny the worse and the workers will not be a penny the better for the change. The workers will still be wage-earners producing wealth for others and receiving back as wages and salary enough to enable them and their families to live. That is not Socialism or common ownership. The Socialist Party opposes it without qualification.

If there are Labour Party supporters who doubt the accuracy of the outline given above, we would refer them to the words of Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Snowden on the subject.

Mr. MacDonald, in his book, “Socialism: Critical and Constructive," first published in 1921, deals (Chapter VII) with the part which the capitalist will play in society moulded on Labour Party lines. On pages 302 and 303 (Cassell's pocket edition), he says that property becomes defensible “when Labour uses capital and pays it its market value." (“Urges" in the Cassell edition is a misprint for “uses.") Mr. MacDonald's wording is odd, but his meaning is not in doubt. He envisages a retention of capitalism with the capitalist shorn of some of his present privilege.

Mr. Philip Snowden, writing in the “Manchester Guardian Commercial Reconstruction Supplement," on 26th October, 1922, put the case in a nutshell:—
  The nationalisation of . . . public services does not carry the Labour Party further than many Radicals, who would vigorously disclaim being socialistic, are prepared to go. The nationalisation of mines has been recommended by a Royal Commission, not preponderantly Labour or Socialist. The Land Nationalisation Society has among its vice-presidents a large number of M.P.s who do not belong to the Labour Party.
Mr. Snowden wrote in the same issue:— 
  The British Labour Party is certainly not Socialist in the sense in which Socialism is understood upon the Continent. It is not based upon the recognition of the class struggle; it does not accept the teachings of Marx. . . .  The Socialism of the Labour Party is just a matter of fact, practical aim for the extension of the already widely accepted principle of the democratic ownership and control of the essential public services.
And that aim, as we have explained, is not Socialism at all. It is Slate capitalism. It is not “democratic ownership and control," but State control for the private owners.

It may be mentioned that Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Snowden were at that time active and influential members of the I.L.P., whose object is indistinguishable from that of the Labour Party, to which it is affiliated.

The Labour Party, in “Labour and the Nation," promises to “introduce the maximum possible publicity as to costs and profits." Our aim is quite different. We propose not to give publicity to profits but to abolish profits and all forms of living by owning property, a way of life which can continue only through the exploitation of the workers.

Under Socialism there will not be a class of property owners, and a class of non-owners compelled to sell their labour power to an employer in order to live. The wages system will have disappeared for ever. Men and women will produce the articles all need, not for sale and for profit-making, but for the use of all. If this appears to be a staggering proposal, just stop and ask what other remedy there can be for the colossal and permanent over-production and unemployment from which the workers suffer in a capitalist society. If it seems strange to suggest that people will easily fall into the habit of working without being driven by the threat of unemployment, remember that even under capitalism probably three-fifths of the population, men, women and children, get their living in some other way than by selling their labour power to an employer. We see the capitalist class living without any compulsion to work. We see children, invalids and the aged, more or less well cared for by relatives and friends. We see wives working for husbands and families, and rarely doing so on the job-and-cash basis which the economists like to pretend is so essential to civilisation. We even see millions of workers who have a greater or less degree of security against unemployment, working in much the same way as workers differently placed. Finally, we see a vast network of voluntary organisations carrying on every kind of activity outside, and without the stimulus of, the wages system. And who will venture to assert that the work of the genuine amateur is less conscientious, less thorough, and less fruitful than that of the paid employee?

There remains another question which interests many who have grasped the outlines of the case for Socialism. “What," we are asked by a reader, “will be done under Socialism to secure the distribution of luxuries like diamonds, pearl necklaces, fur coats, motor cars, etc. Would we all have these things if we desired them; only a few of us; or nobody at all?"

There are really two quite different questions raised here. There are people who want and will want jewellery, fur coats and motor cars, because they like these things; because they want to be adorned, want to be warm, and want to travel comfortably. Under Socialism society will have to weigh up the merits and demerits of producing a supply of such article's adequate for those who want them. Society will have to decide whether it is worth while trying to produce fur coats as well as, or in place of, cloth coats, if to do so will involve a considerable inroad into the powers of producing other things. Before the community as a whole will consent to give up all-round comfort in order to secure luxury in some one direction, it will have to be persuaded that the choice is a wise one. The advocates of diamonds and fur coats will have to get down to the task of converting their less luxuriously- minded fellow citizens.

The other aspect of our reader’s question is easily disposed of. At present diamonds are worn by the few only because they are beyond the reach of the many. The diamond companies get the Governments to intervene by force of arms to prevent outsiders from tapping new diamond areas, and thus flooding the market. Should Socialist society decide to provide diamonds for all, probably 99 out of a 100 of those who now have or who now hunger for diamonds would want diamonds no more.

Socialist society will not be able to provide the fantastic needs of every dreamer who craves for the moon, but it will plainly have to produce many articles not required at all by some of its members and required in unequal quantities by others.
Edgar Hardcastle

"The House of Industry" (1931)

Book Review from the December 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

The House of Industry by S. G. Hobson (Pub. P. S. King & Son, Ltd., price 1/-, 112 pages).

Mr. S. G. Hobson, who has in turn been a member of the I.L.P., a Fabian, and an advocate of Guild "Socialism" has written a book in which he advocates workers’ control. This is to become effective by superseding the House of Lords by a "House of Industry,” which will have full legal authority from the House of Commons to control "all industrial processes, including banking, finance, credit and insurance; and in which labour will have a permanent majority.” The members of the "House of Industry” are to be elected by economic groups and to be representative of all factors. Needless to say Mr. Hobson does not propose dispossessing the capitalist class. He proposes that shares should be changed into "some form of debentures” bearing a fixed rate of interest.

The problems of Capitalism are very simple matters to the "House of Industry.” Unemployment will be solved by "increasing wages, adjusting economic factors, by co-ordinating industry and controlling credit.” How it is going to be done or how the details will work themselves out we are not told. We are left to believe that the magical formulae, "Control of credit ” . . . "finance” . . . "co-ordination of industry,” etc., etc., which are repeated almost on every page, will perform the miracle.

The most interesting part of the book is perhaps the foreword contributed by two prominent Trades Council officials, A. M. Wall and A. A. Purcell. Concerned because the Labour Party has forsaken its policy of Nationalisation (see June S.S.) in favour of Public Utility Companies, they advocate support of Mr. Hobson’s proposals for "workers’ control” through a "House of Industry” as outlined in his book.

"The politicians,” they say, "are actively engaged at this moment in legislating away their control over industry . . .  We need only instance the creation of the Electricity Commission and the proposed new authority for the passenger transport system of London as illustrations of this tendency on the part of Parliament to give away its control of economic affairs.”

They continue:—
   The indications are that a decade of legislation under Labour Governments will give us a whole group of independent corporations of this type, administering railway and road transport, electricity supply, the cotton textile industry, and probably others. These concerns will not be, as the Post Office organisation is, under Parliamentary control, administered by Government departments, and with responsible Ministers at their head. If the proposed new transport authority in London is to be taken as a model, questions of wages and conditions of employment will be handled by these new bodies in exactly the same way as any powerfully organised capitalist-controlled industry handles them now. Trade Unions will negotiate with these boards of Commissioners as they now negotiate with employers' organisations; and the policy of the board in dealing with the Unions cannot be any more effectively challenged in Parliament than the policy of any capitalist organisation of employers can be challenged to-day. Labour members who are returned to the House of Commons at the expense of the Unions by working-class votes as Members of Parliament, will be as powerless to protect the interest's of their organisations whose members are employed under these corporations, as the group of miners' M.P.s are to protect the workers in the coalfields under capitalist ownership. Our Labour members, in fact, who are consenting to the creation of these corporations, are not only voting away their usefulness as Union watchdogs : they are legislating against the workers' control of industry. And if anybody alleges that the principle of workers' control will be safeguarded by the inclusion of one or two prominent trade unionists among the commissioners we can only say we do not agree. We take leave to say further that anybody who thinks the appointment of a Trade Union representative on one of these boards is a step towards workers' control understands neither the meaning of workers' control nor the purpose of Trade Unionism.
It will be seen that Mr. A, M. Wall and Mr. A. A. Purcell both vigorously denounce Mr. Morrison’s and the late Labour Government’s London Passenger Transport Bill. They represent it—quite truly—as the abandonment of the Labour Party’s old policy of Nationalisation. But is there any fundamental difference between these proposals? The difference is merely one of form. In the case of Nationalisation control is vested in a State Department; in the case of the Public Utility Trust in a Committee of business men who are responsible to a State Department. In the case of "workers' control,” on the lines of Mr. Hobson’s proposals, control would nominally be in the hands of elected officials. In each case, however, the capitalists still retain ownership, and perhaps more securely than ever. Instead of their shares being liable to considerable fluctuations in the open market and to possible complete loss, they are to receive a fixed rate of interest on bonds having Government backing.

Public ownership in any of these forms is capitalism in a new garb. The defect about these schemes is that they do not so much as touch the fundamental problem of the workers. What is the problem? It is that we live in a world where the means of production and distribution are the private property of the capitalist class. The workers produce everything that is necessary for the sustenance and continuance of society; the capitalist class own it. The workers receive wages based roughly on what it costs them to live and be efficient, and bring up families. The capitalist class keep the remainder. It has been calculated by a Liberal economist, Professor Henry Clay, that one-twentieth of the population own between them five-sixths of the accumulated property, land, buildings, shares, etc., and retain every year nearly half of the total product of industry. That is the workers’ problem. That is why they are poor. There lies the cause of unemployment and wars. The solution is that the means of production and distribution should be made the common property of society as a whole. When that has been done there will no longer be a working class, producing wealth but not owning it, and a propertied class owning-wealth but not producing it. That will be Socialism. Nationalisation, Public Utility Companies, etc., do not solve that problem. They leave the property owners still in possession of their property rights, still able to live at the expense of the producers.

The only difference is that they exchange shares in a private company for shares in a public utility company, or for Government securities. The workers are more or less where they were before, getting just enough to exist on, and faced with all the harrowing problems of how to make ends meet. Changing the form of capitalism from private companies to State-controlled concerns is a problem of interest to the capitalist class, the form of whose property is being changed, but it is not a question that is worth the attention of the workers.
Harry Waite

The Coming New Prosperity in America (1932)

From the December 1932 issue of the Socialist Standard

Shorter Hours: More Work: Lower Pay
Uncouth indeed is the hurricane that blows nobody good! Out of the great depression, at last it looks as if a little breeze might cool the brows of our poor capitalists here in the U.S.A. Profits have been nowhere near what they ought to be, dividends falling off, taxes going up, prices going down; and you wouldn’t believe the amount of political grafting that has been going on at their expense! The tariff hasn’t been acting right, crops have been exasperatingly abundant, so that agricultural prices are, as Mr. Hoover says, “hideously low.” Even the Boll-Weevil proved disloyal by failing to destroy enough cotton, thus increasing unemployment among the brokers on the cotton exchange. Of course, wages did slip down a bit, here and there, pretty much all over; but still, you couldn't exactly say things were like they used to be in “normal” times. No, indeed!

But, maybe, happy days will come again. If our masters had to shell out to keep a lot of charities going, they also learned through these same charities just what a small amount the workers can be made to exist on, without in the least losing their love for the wage-system. The knowledge is to be applied in a manner to profit the owners of wealth and the means of production thereof.

We are to have the shorter working week, whose virtues have been sung so long by trade unions and reform bodies, amongst which may be mentioned the so-called Socialist Party of America, the Communist Party, and the Industrial Union groups. The chorus was that the five-day week and the six-hour day is the cure for unemployment. Much noise was made, and vast statistics gathered, to show the benefits to workers and to capitalists as well. At St. Louis, in May, 1927, the Order of Railroad Telegraphers put it to the bosses neatly in a resolution which started thus: —
  “Whereas, It is a demonstrable fact that a shorter work week is conducive to a more intensive production without an undue strain on the worker . . .” (Italics mine).
You see, after all, the capitalists have political power and own the industries. So it was very necessary to sell the idea to them. A thoughtful worker could see the point at once. The capitalists, having great minds, capable of pondering all these things, thought more slowly.

Now, the capitalists long ago resigned themselves to having a considerable number of jobless workers around, even in the busiest times. It helped them keep wages down somewhere near the food, clothing and shelter level. But when the number of out-of-works gets up around a dozen millions, as it is now, you can't blame even a capitalist for losing his patience. So much idle labour-power costs a lot of money, it is a nuisance, and a menace to private property. As Mr. Gibson says (Wall Street Journal, October 17th, 1932): —
   "Corporations and business firms which support unemployment relief funds may be insuring themselves against a semi-permanent government system of relief with resultant taxes over a long period of years, and also may be averting social unrest spelling business disaster . . "(italics mine).
The Interstate Commerce Commission refuses to allow the New York Telephone Co. to charge to operating expense $75,000 which they gave to the City's 1931 fund for the jobless, even though the Company pointed out that “in the absence of unemployment relief the general effect of the business depression might have been worse and riots or other disturbances might have injured the company's property " (Business Week, NY., October 12th).

Anyway, we are now in the midst of the "national share-the-work campaign," which is the new name of the shorter work-week movement. Directing the campaign are such sterling toilers for humanity as Walter C. Teagle, President, Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, who hopes to report, “before winter, if possible," "that several million unemployed have been put back to work." Mr. Teagle's company adopted the five-day week some time back, and now the Socony-Vacuum Corporation states that, as from November 1st, “operations of the company will be placed on a five-day week, with a corresponding reduction in pay " (italics mine). (See Wall Street Journal, October 10th.)

Other work spreaders who are urging the idea on their fellow-capitalists are Alfred P. Sloan, President of General Motors; Fred. H. Ecker, President of the Metropolitan Life Insurance .Co.; Paul W. Litchfield, of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.; L. C. Walker, President of the Shaw-Walker Co.; J. H. Rand, Chairman of Remington-Rand; and the whole manoeuvre is sponsored officially by our great engineering President, Herbert Hoover.

Of course, somebody would bring up some difficulties in the way of the plan. The National Industrial Conference Board made public a survey of 1,500 employers, with the discouraging remark:
  “While, of course, the figures here given are averages that do not exclude individual cases with longer hours, it is none the less a striking fact that only four of the industries named provide an average of more than forty hours per week. By contrast, as many as eight industries have reached so low an ebb of activity that they cannot provide so much as thirty hours a week." (Times, N.Y., October 14th, 1932.)
They gave further figures, which are here arranged for convenience of the reader (same source): —



Foundries and machine shops were working only 27.4 hours, and—

“Other principal industries ranged between 30 and 40 hours."

The above was the state of affairs in August. Ordinary persons, like workers, might wonder how the five-day week and the six-hour day can be introduced in industries which aren't working even that long, and how this can put the unemployed back to work. But, shucks! this will simply make the job-spreading more interesting. It will be no puzzle at all for the great men. Maybe, we will get a three-day week out of it—"with corresponding reductions in pay"! The masters are not going to forget the lessons learned from their charity organisations. What they hope to achieve by this proposal is as follows: —
  1. They would save millions in charity donations. The amount they had to tear themselves loose from last winter was agonizing, and already the (N.Y.) State Temporary Relief Administration estimates that $10,000,000 monthly will be needed for relief of unemployed the coming winter (in New York alone) and— “The estimate did not include funds to be raised privately . . ." (New York Times, October 18th, 1932).
  2. The dole system would be staved off. (Voluntary giving has staved off permanent government relief, which would raise taxes. See above quote from Wall Street Journal.)
  3. The workers will be more rested, therefore able to carry on “more intensive production" while working. This conclusion is amply supported by data compiled by the National Industrial Conference Board. Rival crews, or shifts, could be made up, and the friendly (!) rivalry between them will surely bring out some new high points in productivity.
  4. We are assured that workers do not have to eat such large amounts as was formerly thought necessary; if they will only adopt the "scientific" menus being compiled for them by our dieticians, they can yield more energy with much less food. In Fayette County, Pennsylvania, it has been shown that a family of five can survive on one dollar per week! A working-class family, of course; a capitalist family needs a bit more. Another thing: the doctors have for years pooh-poohed the advocates of fasting and dieting as a disease cure, but in the present emergency even the medicine men are going to face their duty and lay bare the facts. It seems they have been fooling us all the time about fasting. Dr. W. A. Evans, who conducts a daily column in the Daily Nexus (U.S.A.), assures us (October 20th) that: —"A normal man should be able to go without food for nearly two months.”
This is not the first or only statement of the kind from orthodox sources, and more can be expected in the struggle to keep hungry workers from worrying about pork chops. Very useful when wages are about to be reduced.

To be sure, the sharpened competition which will be the life of trade with the coming of shorter weeks and days, will make necessary the introduction of more improved methods and machinery. The Wall Street Journal (October 14th) quotes "Iron Age"; —
   "The substitution of more efficient machine tools will eventually take place on a large scale.” 
The same issue quotes Walter P. Chrysler: —
  "Our Plymouth plant has been completely reorganised to take full advantage of the tremendous advances that have been made in machine tool design and manufacturing methods during the past few years.”
If the process is going on already, just wait till it gets going in earnest! The outcome, of course, will be the more rapid glutting of markets, with even worse unemployment than before; meanwhile, terrific increase of exploitation of those in work.

This will be the "New Prosperity.” The next depression will surely be a humdinger! Would it be out of place, fellow-workers, to remind you that this is the wages-system, capitalism; and that Socialism is a practicable alternative ?
Scott Frampton,
Workers' Socialist Party of U.S.A. 

The opposite of binary oppositions (2018)

The Pathfinders Column from the June 2018 issue of the Socialist Standard

What are you ‘worth’ as a human being? How much does an emotion cost? What is the quantised value of a sunset? What is the binary code for love?

What these apparently silly questions illustrate is a binary opposition – itself an illustration of the phenomenon – that lies at the heart of human culture and observable nature, the incongruity yet universality of the analogue and digital modes of existence.

Look around you and the world is quite obviously analogue in every sense, in the wind you feel on your face, the sounds that you hear, the colours you see, the emotions you feel, the memories you treasure. The analogue world is a world of smooth continuity and variation, error-tolerant, dynamically energetic and weak, a fuzzy world of imprecision and ball-park thinking. The digital world takes reality and cuts up or quantises it into separate, discrete blocks, like drawing a grid onto a piece of paper, so that its smooth continuous flow becomes a series of discontinuous granular steps. If the steps are small enough, the quantisation effect is not obvious and may even be invisible. Watch a modern TV screen and you do not notice the individual pixels in it. Listen to a CD and you think of the music as analogue. Zoom far enough out of any digital system and it looks analogue. But, paradoxically, zoom in close enough on any analogue system and it starts to look digital. A famous dispute in evolutionary theory, between so-called continuous evolution and punctuated, or step-like evolution, was arguably nothing but a difference in zoom-level perception. Beneath the organic stuff of life is the particulate discreteness of the atomic. In the quantum physical world there is a theory called digital physics which argues that all reality is digital, and that even space-time itself is quantised.

Perhaps not surprisingly, therefore, there is an ongoing debate among scientists about whether reality is truly digital or analogue. Legendary physics luminaries like Freeman Dyson, Lawrence Krauss and others have continued to battle each other for decades over the question (see LINK).

What is the point of this in the real world? The digitisation of existence, driven by the exponential Moore’s Law increase in computing power, has given humans a technological capability unimaginable just fifty years ago. Yet there is a political and economic analogue to this process that has been in operation for around two hundred years or so, and it is called capitalism.

What capitalism does is digitise reality as part of its process of commodification. When it turns a physical or abstract property or activity into a commodity, it quantises it into a unitary composite called value. The unit of value is expressed as money. Capitalism must do this because it cannot account for any phenomenon except by its monetary value. Beauty is meaningless. Love is meaningless. Everything is meaningless unless it can be quantised into money. So capitalism is a digital system where everything is reduced to numbers. Indeed, whatever aspects of reality not so-far digitised in this way have been virtually ‘medicalised’ as problem areas which need urgent attention. Take for instance the very obvious case of pollution. Because the accounting books of industries traditionally only included costs that the industry itself was required to bear, pollution output was never quantified or accounted for, leading to a ‘tragedy of the commons’ scenario where every industry polluted but nobody was held liable, and society and the environment suffered accordingly.

Once accepting the digital mode of capitalism, the logic insists that everything must be equally digitised. So now we bandy about terms like ‘natural capital’, which attempts to enter environmental features like trees, rivers, mountains and so on as quantised numbers into the capitalist accounting sheet. Equally, ‘social capital’ is your attempt to digitise your own soft skills, for example interpersonal skills or winning personality, into a number system that capitalism can understand and compute. A recent article in New Scientist (12 May) enthuses about ‘Treeconomics’ which is, you guessed it, a way to view trees in dollars and cents in order to incorporate them into the capitalist accounting landscape.
Perhaps a question arises at this point. Are we suffering from runaway ‘digital brain syndrome’? Have we become so obsessed with capitalism’s granular, monetary view of reality that we have started to see this world view as the only one of any real meaning? In turning even our own bodies and minds into forms of computable capital, have we become the very definition of those cynics who know the price of everything and the value of nothing?

The problem and the flaw at the heart of all this is that we are using subjective means – our own concepts of aesthetics, of emotional and functional worth, and so on – to convert these properties into monetary form, and these subjective means are analogue. We are analogue beings pretending to be digital, and pretending to see the world and enumerate it as digital, just so that we can fit in with our incongruous accounting system which doesn’t see the world the way we do. The treeconomics article offers two, mutually-exclusive algorithms for computing the value of a tree, so tree experts tend to use both, but in reality, any such algorithm is based on arbitrary, analogue assumptions. In quantising our world for the bean-counters, we are doing nothing but deluding ourselves.

A classic example of digital brain syndrome is a time-honoured objection to socialist theory known as the economic calculation argument (ECA). In this view, socialism can’t work because you need money to evaluate everything for accounting purposes. This is a recursive argument which assumes what it sets out to prove. There are two possible refutations to this, one accepting the digital assumption and the other ignoring it. In the former, resource-allocation systems after the manner of Zeitgeist could indeed quantise all labour and resources in discrete units for internal computation purposes, but that by no means implies that society would then be obliged to use those units as a form of money exchange. When you look at a Monet or Van Gogh you don’t need to know the numerical pixel values contained in its digitised form. The other approach is to revert to an analogue mode of operation and not worry too much about calculation to the nth decimal place. If a town needs a new bridge to be built, what does the population care about the need to calculate the marginal utility of building a new bus depot instead? If an old and well-loved tree is in the way of a proposed new road, does it matter what the tree is worth in computational units? Isn’t it more important that locals express their preference in a democratic vote?

Nobody can say, today, how exactly socialism will make its local, regional or global decisions, or by what process the information is collected and formulated to make those decisions. But it may well decide that turning everything into quantised data is not the way to go. After all, humans cannot live by numbers alone.
Paddy Shannon

Capitalism’s Bond Villains (2018)

The Pathfinders Column from the April 2018 issue of the Socialist Standard

Political theatre turned to Hollywood farce last month as PM Theresa “Mousey” May squared off against Vlad ‘The Impaler’ Putin over the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury. Called upon by the media to flex her non-existent muscles over Russia’s blatant attempts to murder one of the entries on its oversees shit-list, she immediately pressed the Maximum Response button by expelling a few token diplomats. Putin predictably expelled the same number of Brit Dips in retaliation, leaving the two leaders looking like kindergarten kids having a spat. Such was the damage to the Russian pin-up’s political reputation that he went straight on to win a fourth term as president by a landslide, helped no doubt by the fact that he’d banned his chief rival from contesting. May’s international standing didn’t suffer either, as it was already non-existent.

Russia’s overseas assassination programme has used increasingly baroque methods to supposedly hide its state involvement over the years, in marked contrast to its prosaic internal policy of shooting regime critics in the head in lifts (Anna Politkovskaya, 2006) or in drive-bys (former deputy prime minister Nemtsov, 2015). From ricin in the 1978 Markov hit they progressed to sarin for the 2002 take-down of Chechen leader Khattab, then a failed 2004 dioxin attack on pro-western Ukrainian lead Yushchenko, to polonium in the 2006 Litvinenko murder. Mercury was implicated in an attack on human rights lawyer Karinna Moskalenko in 2008, while in 2012 exiled Russian businessman and police informant Alexander Perepilichny dropped dead in London with a dose of the rare toxic flower gelsemium. 2013 must have been an off-year, as Putin-critic Boris Berezovsky was found merely hanged in Berkshire.

So no big surprise that they’re at it again, but using a nerve agent invented and produced only in Russia seems like a downright giveaway, notwithstanding the Russian ambassador’s chutzpah in accusing the UK of trying to bump off its own spy by pointing out that ‘Porton Down is only 8 miles down the road’ from the crime scene. For once Boris ‘Ballsack’ Johnson seemed to have the measure of the situation: ‘The obvious Russian-ness of the weapon was designed to send a signal to anyone pondering dissent amid the intensifying repression of Mr Putin’s Russia. The message is clear: we will hunt you down, we will find you and we will kill you – and though we will scornfully deny our guilt, the world will know that Russia did it.’

The world seems increasingly controlled by cartoon Bond villains, as witness the toxic poisoning of already-unhealthy democratic systems by the manipulation and exploitation of big data to influence and perhaps swing popular votes. In the frame lately has been the British firm Cambridge Analytica, implicated in the shock Trump and Brexit votes. Perhaps more credence has been put on behind-the-scenes skulduggery because both these votes returned shock and unexpected results, but even so there’s little doubt that skulduggery is at work, and not just by Cambridge Analytica. Unless you live completely off-grid with no computer, phone or any other digital device, deal only in cash and wear a facemask when you go out, the capitalist data machine is constantly hoovering up information about you which private firms can then use to target you with profiled advertising or political messaging. Such brainwashing, as it’s also known, is likely most effective with right-wing voters and others whose brains probably don’t require that much detergent, however it’s an alarming sign for state regimes when the power of manipulation they used to call their own can now be hired out to the highest bidder. In an astounding display of vapid bravado the UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham demonstrated her complete failure to ‘get it’ by announcing to Channel 4 News she intended to seek a warrant to access Cambridge Analytica’s data files, a statement which has no doubt alerted the company to the need to delete anything incriminating. Or maybe it was a deliberate move to give them the heads-up today, prior to employing them tomorrow for the hapless May’s next desperate electoral attempt to stay in power.

North Korea / Trump talks not hot air, just gas
Mysteriously absent from most media reports about the surprise talks mooted between North Korea and the USA is the proposed Sakhalin gas pipeline running from Russia’s gas fields to South Korea and Japan via… North Korea. The pipeline has been on the drawing board for years, but the changing Asian energy market, with coal and nuclear out and gas in, has given the project a new lease of life. Russia is also keen to use South Korea’s shipbuilding capabilities to create a huge commercial fleet that can ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) and exploit the opening Arctic sea lanes. Russia has lately sweetened the deal by cancelling 90 percent of North Korea’s huge Cold War debts. But what’s in all this for Trump? Maybe nothing but face-saving. The US failed despite sanctions to stop Europe from buying Russian gas, so it has little chance of stopping a deal involving Russia, China, Japan and the two Koreas. No daylight between South Korea and the US? Think again!

Thinking Outside the Boss
Prominently displayed on the Letters page of New Scientist recently (3 March) was an epistle, the authorship of which may be divined by regular readers of this column, which challenged the magazine to ask the following question: ‘has the capitalist system finally passed its sell-by date?’ This was in response to the magazine’s somewhat self-righteous justification of its own frequent forays into the world of political commentary, on the grounds that science doesn’t live in a political vacuum. Quite so, the letter pointed out, and politics doesn’t live in a science vacuum either, therefore since the evidence of capitalism’s many iniquities is overwhelming, shouldn’t the search for an evidence-based alternative social model be a legitimate line of scientific enquiry?

Not a bad question, you may agree, but questions of methodology aside, the likely answer running through the minds of any scientist or journalist reading the question will be: ‘Yes, but my boss won’t let me.’ This probably explains the loud silence that has ensued since the letter was published.
Paddy Shannon

Hitler and Marx (1933)

Editorial from the December 1933 issue of the Socialist Standard

Hitler knows well how to use the demagogic arts to attract and inflame his audiences. He is the typical “hero as gasbag" which is what the majority of electors at present require of their political leaders. Yet in the mass of chaff, there are grains of sound criticism of the existing economic system and its institutions. He is contemptuous of the snobbish and limited outlook of many University professors and Government officials, and rightly despises much of the useless learning with which their heads are stuffed at schools and colleges. As he says, the high school system is largely organised to insert mechanically just that kind of book learning which will enable the pupils to pass civil service and other examinations, and most of it is of little use afterwards. He also derides the cash basis of personal estimates: “In these days whole hosts of people have no other standard of measurement for each other than their salary scales.”


One cannot help being struck by the fact that although Hitler constantly denounces Marx and Marxists, his criticisms of the school system are very much like those to be found in Marx’s writings. It is an amusing thought that Hitler’s diatribes are probably based on what he picked up from Marx’s works, and as in his youth Hitler was associated in Vienna with an Austro-Marxist group, it is quite possible.

On the other hand, nothing demonstrates more clearly the ignorance or dishonesty of the Nazi leaders than their description of the German Social Democrats and Liberals as “Marxists.” Anyone who knows what the Social Democrats thought and did, knows that knowledge of Marxism played very little part in the practical aims, policy and organisation of their movement. They repeated Marxist phrases and professed adherence to Marxist principles, but this had little more influence on their conduct than the profession of Christianity has on the policies of the governments of Christian Europe and America.
How ill-informed or ignorant the Nazis are can be seen in Dr. Eismann. He is a learned writer’ on political affairs, and “proves,” in an article in a journal of public administration (“Beamten Jalirbuch,” Berlin, October, 1933) that the British Labour Party is Marxist. His proof takes the form of the assertion that Marxism has been instilled into the Labour Party by the Social Democratic Federation, the Socialist Labour Party and the I.L.P.! He evidently does not know that the S.L.P. is dead except for one or two moribund groups, and that it was opposed to the Labour Party and was never affiliated to it, and had little or no influence on it, and that its Marxism was always tainted. He does not know that the I.L.P. was born, and in turn helped to give birth to the Labour Party, not as a Marxist, but as an anti-Marxist party, and that it has never been anything but a radical-reformist organisation, occasionally flirting with Marxism without ever understanding it. The S.D.F. was an active party before the Labour Party was born, but has never exercised any great influence, still less any great Marxist influence. It also is now nearly dead, and its Marxism was even more tainted than that of the S.L.P.

Dr. Eismann may be forgiven for not knowing these facts, for he may have been misled by the rubbishy histories Written by muddle-headed Labourites in this country. That excuse cannot, however, apply to his belief that the Labour Party is going Marxist. If he knows anything about Marxism, he must know that the Labour Party is no more a Marxist party than the National Government Party now led by MacDonald, the former leader of the Labour Party.

Bradlaugh’s Slanders 
on Marx (1934)

From the December 1934 issue of the Socialist Standard

Secularists Condone Murder of the Communards
In his superficial and prejudiced life of Marx (“ Karl Marx : A Study in Fanaticism," reviewed in our July issue), Mr. E. H. Carr attempted to escape responsibility for his inadequate knowledge and preparation by pleading the inaccessibility of documents. He complained of his inability to get hold of periodicals containing “Marx's letters and lesser-known writings," and wrote: —
  To quote one example, I have been completely unable to trace in this country any copy of a short-lived journal called the “Eastern Post," which contained in 1871 a spirited controversy between Marx and Bradlaugh on the Paris Commune.
Why Mr. Carr was “completely unable to trace" the “Eastern Post" is hard to explain, except on the assumption that he did not seriously try. So far from being short-lived, the “Eastern Post" is still in existence, and has been since its first issue on October 18th, 1868. Mr. Carr could have found this out with surpassing ease, and at the British Museum he could have gleaned all the information he required instantly. However, we can be grateful to Mr. Carr's negligence since it has led the present writer to look up the interesting controversy referred to. Here we see Marx, the mental giant, at grips with Bradlaugh and others of the individualists, who, while asserting their loyalty to the cause of “freedom," were enemies of the working-class movement. These men, Bradlaugh, G. J. Holyoake, and G. W. Foote were the personification of bourgeois reaction.

Marx’s “Civil War in France.”
The cause of the dispute between Bradlaugh and Marx was Marx's “Address on the Civil War in France." After the suppression of the Commune in 1871, “Republicans" and “Secularists” fell over one another to express their sympathy for the victims of the cold-blooded slaughter, carried out by the French Government, but while G. W. Foote, for example (“National Reformer," June 11th, 1871, page 378) was condemning the Communards for having endeavoured “forcibly to organise a regular Government in the name of a new social order," it was in reality the idea of the new social order itself—the idea of Socialism, to which they were opposed.

Marx delivered his address, and it was ordered to be published by the General Council of the International Working Men's Association. It described the terror; the slaughter of defenceless women and children in their thousands, so horrifying, in fact, that the correspondents of the English Press exposed the actions of the “government" of France. “The Times," “Daily News,” and other papers, were condemnatory in every way against the butchers of the workers. Marx, in his address, singled out—one of several instances— the bloody guilt of Jules Favre, the Foreign Minister in the Thiers Government—which was, by the way, sanctioned by Bismarck. The Government left Paris, but due to an oversight, some of the private correspondence that passed between the Ministers was overlooked. Favre, in a private letter to Gambetta, admitted that they were NOT defending Paris from the Prussian soldiers, but against the working class, this after his public assertion that we “will not cede an inch of your territory, nor a stone of your fortresses." As a consequence of the seizure of these letters, M. Milliere published a series of legal documents proving that Jules Favre, “living in concubinage with the wife of a drunkard resident in Algiers, had, by a most daring concoction of forgeries, spread over many years, contrived to grasp in the name of the children of his adultery, a large succession, which made him a rich man, and that, in a lawsuit undertaken by the legitimate heirs, he only escaped exposure by the connivance of the Bonapartist tribunals." When Favre returned to Paris after the suppression of the Commune, Milliere was shot!

On July 9th, 1871, on page 1 of the “National Reformer," Charles Bradlaugh, in a review of Marx*s address,
  Deeply regretted that a strong case had been weakened, as we believe it to be, by the introduction into the address of coarse and useless personalities. Surely the reference to Jules Favre’s domestic relations can have but. . ., etc.
In the following issue of the “National Reformer" a reply appeared from George Harris, Joint Secretary of the “ International," in which Harris said: —
  Now, sir, I hold ... it was of the highest importance and imperatively necessary to refer to Jules Favre’s domestic relations, because without such reference his forgery and crime could not have been exposed. Therefore, instead of repeating the real burden of Dr. Marx’s charge, Mr. Bradlaugh simply misleads his readers by speaking only of “reference to Jules Favre’s domestic relations.” Is “forgery,” I would ask, a domestic relation?
This attack produced neither apology nor reply from Bradlaugh. Nothing else was to be expected from him, for his attitude throughout the Commune—and after—was that of a steady supporter of the vile and treacherous Jules Favre. Bradlaugh tried to get out of this mess by saying it was a terrible thing, and asked for pity for the murderer, Favre. He attempted, under the guise of being a "lover of freedom," to protect Favre, who, apart from arranging the cold-blooded murder of Milliere, betrayed the Parisians to Bismarck, carried out Bismarck's instructions, and was also responsible for the massacre of thousands of women and children. This was Favre's friend! No wonder Bradlaugh—after the Franco-Prussian War —hated Marx. Marx had exposed his (Bradlaugh's) friends.

Bradlaugh, no doubt, realised the growing power of the International in European affairs, and the increasing importance of Marx. Bradlaugh had lived on his reputation as a reformer, and saw how his “Republican" propaganda was fizzling out. He therefore began attacking the International and Marx.

Hales, who was Corresponding Secretary of the International, also replied to Bradlaugh. A week later the latter notified his friends through the “National Reformer" (September 30th, 1871), that he was not a member of the International, and that the organisation had few members, and had little influence.

During the second week in December Bradlaugh again attacked the Communards. He protested against class government; he wanted an aristocracy of intellect! On December 16th, 1871, in the “Eastern Post," Bradlaugh, replying to a charge of poking his nose into the private domestic circumstances of a lady refugee from Paris, sought to obscure the issue by ending his letter as follows: —
  I feel indebted to Karl Marx for his enmity. If I were one of his own countrymen he might betray me to his government, here he can only calumniate.
As this letter has never been issued in any work on Marx we take pleasure in giving it the necessary publicity. (Perhaps the Director of Marx/Engels/Lenin/Stalin Institute will note and see to it that the index of the "Karl Marx; Chronik Seines Lebens" is altered accordingly?) Marx replied as follows: —
   Sir,—In his last epistle to you, Mr. Charles Bradlaugh makes the report of the sitting of the General Council of December 12th—a sitting from which I was absent in consequence of illness—the pretext for discharging on me his ruffianism. He says, “I feel indebted to Karl Marx for his enmity.” My enmity to Mr. Charles Bradlaugh! Ever since the publication of the “Address on the Civil War in France” Mr. Bradlaugh’s voice has chimed in with world-wide chorus of slander against the “International” and myself. I treated him like the other revilers, with contemptuous silence. This was more than the grotesque vanity of that huge self-idolator could stand. I “calumniated” him because I took no notice of his calumnies. My silence drove him mad; in a public meeting he denounced me as a Bonapartist because in the “Address on the Civil War” I had forsooth laid bare the historic circumstances that gave birth to the Second Empire. He now goes a step further and transforms me into a police agent of Bismarck. Poor man! He must needs show that the lessons he has recently received at Paris from the infamous Emile de Gerardin and his clique are not lost upon him. For the present, I shall “betray him” to the German public by giving the greatest possible circulation to his epistle. If he is kind enough to clothe his libels in a more tangible shape I shall “betray him” to an English law court.
I am, Sir,
Yours obediently,
Karl Marx.
John Hales, Secretary of the International, supplemented this letter with another: —
  With reference to Mr. Bradlaugh’s insinuation against Dr. Marx, I say that it is as lying as it is malicious, and with that I leave the matter, knowing that Dr. Marx needs no vindicator. But I would make one remark about Mr. Bradlaugh, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Mr. Bradlaugh has been on one or two missions to Paris lately. I know of no workmen’s organisations which employ secret emissaries, and as Mr. Bradlaugh has not a reputation for working for nothing, I would ask whether there was any connection between his visits and the recent Bonapartist intrigues. Dirty tools are usually employed to do dirty work, and it is well known that the Bonapartists are not particular as to what instruments they use.
Bradlaugh’s Hostility towards Socialism.
A few days later, on December 19th, Marx was present at a meeting of the International, and called attention to these facts, and also the fact that Bradlaugh, to “prove” a case against Marx, had stripped a quotation from its context. This falsification, said Marx, “was deliberate and intentional.” Marx pointed out that when in Paris, Bradlaugh resorted and dined with the most infamous men in France. Referring to Bradlaugh’s political attitude, Marx said: —
   He could understand the secret of the man’s malignity; he was opposed to a labour movement; he only wished to see a little shuffling of the cards, a little re-distribution of political power, just sufficient to enable him to rise to a higher position, and that he knew he (Marx) represented the labour struggle, a struggle that would effect the emancipation of the people by abolishing classes and class distinctions; that was not what Bradlaugh wanted; hence his opposition.
Following this, "Le Soir,” the reactionary Parisian paper, deemed it necessary to aid Bradlaugh, and circulated a feeble apology for him, as he was a contributor to its columns. The attitude of Bradlaugh’s friends in Paris might be understood when the reader is reminded that when Victor Hugo stood as candidate he demanded a political amnesty for the Communards. Victor Hugo polled 93,423 votes. Bradlaugh’s paper, “Le Soir," opposed Hugo solely on the grounds that he favoured the amnesty. The voters were called “brigands and assassins” by “Le Soir.” 

Marx, on January 20th, 1872, enters the lists once more, and writes to the Editor of the “Eastern Post” : —
   Sir,—In the- “National Reformer” of January 10th, Mr. Bradlaugh says : “We only meant to allege that Dr. Marx had, in former times, given information to his own Government.”
    I simply declare that is calumny as ridiculous as it is infamous. I call upon Mr. Bradlaugh to publish any fact that could afford him even the slightest pretext for his statement. For his personal tranquillity I add that he shall not be challenged 
                                                                                                                Yours, etc.,
January 16th, 1872.                                                                                 Karl Marx.
Bradlaugh realised the trouncing he had received and was anxious to call off the hostilities, and on January 22nd, 1872, was desirous of “submitting the whole question between myself on the one hand and Dr. Marx and the International on the other to a Council of Honour. . . .”

Marx’s final word after the request of Bradlaugh was as follows : —
To the Editor of the “Eastern Post,” February 3rd, 1872.
Sir,
   [Owing to printing errors the opening is omitted.] . . . lous as it is infamous. I did so in order not to justify myself, but to expose him. With the low cunning of a solicitor’s clerk he tries to escape this liability by inviting me to a “ Court of Honour.” Does he really fancy that a Bradlaugh or the editors of the Paris demi-monde Press, or those of the Bismarckian papers at Berlin, or the “Tages Presse” at Vienna, or the “ Kriminal Zeitung” at New York, or the “ Moscow Gazette,” have only to slander me, in order to make me amenable to clear my public character, and even do so before a “Council of Honour ” of which the friends of these “ honourable ” gentlemen must form part.
  I have done with Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, and leave him to all the comforts he may derive from the quite contemplation of his own self.
I am,
Yours obediently,
Karl Marx.
So ended the heroics of the “great” Bradlaugh. We need only add in conclusion a word about one of his supporters, another trickster—George Jacob Holyoake, who, because of Marx’s address, repudiated and attacked the International in a letter to “The Daily News.” This was after Holyoake had tried to enter the organisation, but the General Council refused him membership. This Holyoake denied, but the minutes proved the truth. Weston, who moved the acceptance of Holyoake’s membership, was compelled to withdraw it, and Holyoake was so informed by Weston himself.
Moses Baritz