From the January 1975 issue of the Socialist Standard
I had thought of writing up Mrs. Margaret Thatcher and her hoard of processed peas and baked beans. But does she warrant room in our journal for what after all is only a “shadow”? Anyway, by the time this is in print it will be 1975. A New Year and the beginning of the fourth quarter of the twentieth Century.
Doubtless Old Moore’s Almanac will map out the year ahead. “Trouble for a Royal Family; the death of a prominent Statesman; floods; dissent in the Labour and Tory Parties.” Events that repeat themselves year after year, and apart from the first and the last, there’s not much you can do about it.
We can prophesy that despite the claims of Wilson’s government to be building a “Socialist society”, Capitalism will continue through 1975, and for ever and a day, unless you are prepared to do something about it.
It is a constant source of amazement to us that you are content to put up with a world of stark contradictions. Don’t you think it just a trifle odd (to put it mildly and not rouse your hackles) that you spend your life either working or worrying about a job, and then at the end of it all, you’ve nothing to show? Don’t you think it a little crazy (mutterings: “these Socialists are a funny lot”) that everything carried on in this world of capitalism is first of all subjected to a financial yardstick? Don’t you think it just bloody stupid (“I know these Socialists are prejudiced”) that people should starve in the midst of potential abundance?
Socialists claim that capitalism has gone on for far too long. And only because you are willing to support it, and help it along. You read the papers; listen to the radio and watch the box like us. Frankly, what is your reaction when you listen to all that old chat about recessions, inflation, deflation, Common Market etc? Don’t you feel like putting your foot through the screen and saying to “hell with it all”? This at least would be a, healthy, if expensive reaction, but it doesn’t go far enough.
We want a different type of world — a new way of life. We think this earth and its riches should be at the disposal of the whole of mankind. That it should be used to meet our needs and not wasted on a market economy. A way of life based upon co-operation for the common good.
But we can’t get it without your assistance. After all, you will be running the world of Socialism, so you’ve got to know something about it and what is involved. You’ll need to take an intelligent and active interest in politics before you take the eventual plunge to strip the capitalists of their ownership and herald a new society.
In short, it’s well past time that you cast aside your political blinkers and joined up with the SPGB in the only worth-while task. We can promise you hard work; a fulfilment not to be equalled, and the comradeship of a group of men and women who put principles before expediency.
During the next week or two, many people will wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year. They do it out of habit. They and you know that 1975 will be much like 1974 — if anything more harrowing. We can do nothing about your prosperity but we can offer you a Happy New Year in the ranks of the SPGB helping to make known the Socialist idea.
Of Mrs. Thatcher, I feel she has possibly lost her chance of leadership of the Tories for a mass of tinned foods. But then, she’s only a grocer’s daughter in a pretty hat.