From the May 1957 issue of the Socialist Standard
When are people going to fully realise that the old ruling class stunt of “Divide and Rule” is operating today—much more fully than it ever did in years gone by?
The train driver gets his mean and petty one, five, or perhaps ten shillings more than his fireman; and for this he sells his peace of mind. They can hardly be comrades, under these conditions.
According to the News Chronicle of March 21st, 1957, the “Queen Mary” sailed at 1.35 a.m. She was permitted to do this, ONLY BY THE HELP OF ONE SECTION OF THE WORKING CLASS whilst another section said: “No. She must not sail.”
Why, oh why do not workers realise that, while they back a profit, or money system, this sort of action is, and will be in order? The men operating the tugs will doubtless be “sent to Coventry” or “blacked” in one way or another. The whole business is utterly stupid, when the answer is so clear, if workers would only accept clear-cut thinking, by themselves, for themselves.
The miners gain a temporary advantage over the transport operators, or dock workers, so temporary that, by the end of a year, the whole business of strikes starts again. Money, more Money, and still more Money, is needed, to try to keep up with the cost of living.
Money. Some workers are now being paid with £5 notes; pay envelopes have to be made larger and larger. We may soon require a sack to take the wages home to the wife—and still she will look at it, and wonder if there is enough to buy little Johnny a new coat.
One thing is abundantly clear, when you study the world around you—your wages, salaries, fees, commissions, or whatever you call them, are the price of your labour power. Though you must struggle to increase them, they will never represent more than a meagre standard of living, compared with what will be possible when we decide to run the world by civilised standards.
Your masters will struggle with you over a few shillings more or less per week. Then, when you have gained your point, they may let the purchasing power of the £ fall, or devalue it deliberately, as they did by 40 per cent. in September, 1949. They know that, whilst you are struggling to make ends meet, and to gain a “victory” of a few more shillings, you will not be devoting your attention to a study of Capitalism itself—the economic system that keeps you poor in a world of potential plenty.
When are you going to change your approach to this international social scandal? It is no use leaving it to your masters, or to those members of the Labour, Liberal, Tory, or Communist Parties, who are committed to the maintenance of Capitalism, in one form or another. (Whatever form it takes, it will still keep you—the majority, poor).
We, the working class, now run the world for the benefit of the Capitalist class. Why not run it for ourselves? The leaders who are constantly exhorting or cajoling you, are not beings with superior brains. One comes to quite the opposite conclusion when one studies their words and actions’ carefully. It soon becomes obvious, however, that they are merely performing actions, and saying things that reflect the needs of the Capitalist class.
We, the working class, with our wages, salaries, fees, and commissions, are really quite clever. We run a complicated, world-wide economic system, from top to bottom. But then we cease to be clever. We give the bulk of the wealth we create and distribute to the small minority who own the means of wealth production—the land, factories, railways, etc.
Friends, let us be really clever, and make a study of the social system under which we live. Let us all discover what a pleasant world to live in this can be, if we give leaders of all types the sack, and start producing wealth for the benefit of all mankind, instead of the profit of a few.
Contact your local Socialist Party Branch, and join their Discussion Group. Knowledge is the answer— knowledge of our present economic system. Then, and then only, can we change it, to the advantage of all.
When we say “Socialist Party” we mean just that. The Labour Party and Communist Party will use pseudo-Socialist language, but they do not stand for Socialism— merely the reform, or adjustment, in some way or another, of the Capitalist system. You cannot reform a bad egg —you throw it in the dustbin. The same applies to Capitalism—it will never be of any use to you.
E. L. McKone