Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Government by Labour. (1920)

From the February 1920 issue of the Socialist Standard

A question which has recently aroused considerable controversy is, "Can Labour Govern?"

Socialists are not so much concerned with the question of whether Labour can govern as whether it should, or, to put it in a better way, whether Labour need govern. And on examination of the facts the only possible conclusion we can arrive at is that it need not—and should not.

It is significant that neither of those who have hitherto contributed to the discussion have defined their terms. In this they are quite consistent with their past record. For when apologists of capitalism and their henchmen—the self-styled "labour leaders"—are discussing a given subject, they never attempt to define the terms which they use; the only apparent reason for this is that they know that to do so would be to remove the blinkers from the eyes of those to whom they are appealing.

However, I will rectify the omission.

The word "Govern" means (according to Blackie's "Concise English Dictionary"): "To direct and control; to regulate by authority; to keep within the limits prescribed by law or a sovereign will; to influence; to direct; to restrain; to keep in due subjection; GRAM., to cause to be in a particular case, or to require a particular case.—v.i. To exercise authority."

The italics are mine.

There is no need to worry over the question: "Who does Churchill (who started the controversy) and his gang want to govern?" We all know that. But seeing that the spokesmen of the Labour Party are all so greatly concerned to maintain their ability and their right to govern (when they get the chance) it is natural to ask "Who is it that the Labour Party wish to 'keep in subjection?'" Seeing that the Labour Party, both officially and in the utterances of its representatives, has no conception of politics other than the capitalist view, and seeing, further, that there is no class beneath the working class to be oppressed, obviously it can only be the workers themselves that the Labour Party desires to "keep in due subjection."

Now, in asserting that Labour need not govern it is necessary to submit an alternative. That alternative is Administration.

But before describing this let us state the facts referred to above. They have been already stated numberless times, but it is essential that they be restated, even to the point of weariness, until such time as the workers take the action shown to be necessary by these facts.
  1. Society is, broadly speaking, divided into two classes, the slave class and the slave-owning class.
  2. Between these two classes there is a conflict of interests—centred around the sale and purchase of labour-power—which can be ended only by the abolition of the slave-owners, i.e., the capitalist class.
  3. No one but the slaves themselves can abolish the capitalist class, and so doing achieve the freedom of the workers.
  4. As the slave class, i.e., the working class, is the last class to be emancipated, there is no other class to be exploited, hence the need for government automatically disappears. 
Now for our alternative proposal—Administration.

The same dictionary says that to administer is "to manage or conduct as chief agent . . . " and states that the word is derived from the Latin ministro, to serve.

The difference, then, between Administration and Government is that the first serves the people and the other represses them. A good example of Administration is to be found in the Constitution of the S.P.G.B.

The control of the affairs of the Party is vested entirely in the membership of the Party. We have certain officials who are responsible for the execution of the instructions given them by the Party. If they fail in this work, or do it to an unsatisfactory manner, they can be removed from office at any time the Party thinks fit.

Apply this principle to the affairs of society, and the point of this article is perceptible at once. While we do not dispute the ability of the master class to govern, we do affirm that they cannot administer, for such a function must necessarily be performed in the interests of the workers, and hence can only be carried out by the workers themselves.

It is self-evident—in view of the state of affairs in "pre-war" times, of the Sidney Street fiasco, of the innumerable war scandals, of the gambles of Mesopotamia and Gallipoli, and the post-war position in which society is plunged, that the real Administration can be born only when the proletariat, having seized political power, use it for the purpose of making the means of production the common property of the whole of society, and proceed to administer them for the common welfare of all. Then the need for the State, for government—"Labour" or otherwise—and the "keeping in due subjection," will vanish, and mankind will at last be free.

How much has British Capitalism changed? (1974)

From the June 1974 issue of the Socialist Standard

Outwardly capitalism in Britain looks very different from what it was seventy years ago. No longer the centre of an Empire with a population of 400 millions, it is now a junior partner in Europe. Its navy, its trade and its currency no longer rule the world.

Equally great changes inside Britain reflect technical developments that have taken place in all the industrialized countries. Agriculture has shrunk from over 2 million farmers and workers to about 400,000, coal-mining from nearly a million to 300,000, textiles from 1½ million to less than half that number. The army of over two million domestic servants has largely disappeared, only to a relatively small extent replaced by the 730,000 employed in hotels and catering.

The motor-car has ousted the horse-drawn vehicle, new sources of energy have diminished the importance of coal, air transport has cut into rail and shipping. Among the industries that have grown is the metals, machinery and vehicles group, up from 1½ to 3½ million workers. The technical developments have equally affected the work itself. Even in occupations which bear the same names many workers are using materials, tools, machines and processes which did not exist seventy years ago.

In the structure of industry the trend towards concentration, foretold by Marx, which was going on in the latter part of the nineteenth century has continued, and indeed speeded up since joining Europe became an issue. In a long list of industries, though the number of separate companies may still be considerable, more than half the total output is controlled by a mere handful of them.

In brewing there are still 87 separate companies but the industry is dominated by half-a-dozen very large groups. The 2700 building societies of 1883 have been reduced to 450 "but the top 33 account for nearly 86% of assets" (Times 11 April 1974). The 207 private banks of 1884 had become 40 in 1904 and now the scene is dominated by the 'big four" joint-stock banks.

One form taken by concentration has been the nationalization of several big industries, but nationalization has also changed its form. Up to the nineteen-thirties Labour Party policy was to apply the government-department system of control used by the Liberals and Tories when they nationalized telegraphs and telephones. This was then replaced in Labour Party plans by the Public Board form of administration (likewise borrowed from the Liberals). It was supported by the argument that it would free management from close government interference and free the government from involvement in disputes over wages, neither of which has happened. Now the Labour Party has moved towards the system of government shareholding and government directorships in private companies, based on the Liberal Government's shareholding in Anglo-Persian Oil (now British Petroleum) before the 1914 war.

The powerful trend towards concentration produced another reversal of Labour Party policy. Traditionally they were "anti-monopoly" and in the early nineteen-twenties it was possible for a Labour Party spokesman, J. R. Clynes, Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party and a minister in the first two Labour Governments, to declare that they preferred a large number of small capitalists to a small number of large ones, something quite outside the realm of practical politics today. (Ironically Clynes made this declaration in the preface to a booklet with the title The Failure of Karl Marx.)

While technical changes in industry have affected all countries there is one respect in which British capitalism has got out of line. This is in the rate of growth of production. After allowing for price changes, production per head of the population is about three times the level of 1904 in USA and only double in Britain. While the annual rate of growth has been increasing, from 1.3% a year at the beginning of the century to 2.4% a year in 1960-66, many other countries have shown much faster growth. Mr. Michael Forres, Research Fellow of the City University, in an article in Lloyds Bank Review (Jan. 1971) concluded that "Britain, the richest country in the world up until 1900 in per capita terms, can well be described now as being the poorest country in industrialized Western Europe, excluding Italy". Many reasons have been suggested, including low capital investment, but there is wide disagreement about it.

The rate of increase of production needs to be seen in a proper perspective in relation to both capitalism and Socialism. Even a sustained 2.4% a year would double production in under thirty years. But capitalism does not and cannot provide sustained growth. It depends on ability to sell the goods and therefore suffers from periodic depressions. And twice in this century world wars have taken half the workers out of producing means of life to producing means of destruction, not only of life but also of the means of production. And in peace time a large proportion of the workers are producing armaments, manning the armed forces or engaged in financial or other occupations necessary to capitalism but not to Socialism. If resources and human labour were redirected the output of useful goods and services could be doubled, and the rate of growth increased if society so desired.

The question to what extent inequality of income and ownership have changed since 1904 is difficult to answer because, as those who study the study still emphasize, reliable information is inadequate.

On the inequality of incomes Chiozza Money (Riches and Poverty, 1906) made a tentative estimate that in a population of 43 million in 1904 some 4 million persons received 48½% of the total national income and 38 million persons received the other 51½%. Figures published in Fabian Facts for Socialists (1944) indicated that by 1937 there had been a moderate lessening of inequality: "over two fifths of the personal income was appropriated by little more than one tenth of the total population." Since then larger shifts have been shown in other estimates. Roy Jenkins (New Fabian Essays 1970, p.73) claimed that there had been "a great advance towards equality . . . in the past twelve years", but another writer, R. J. Nicholson, in his examination of the available information concluded that the tendency towards greater equality ceased after 1957 (Wealth, Income, Inequality 1973, p.103). And C. A. R. Crosland, a Minister in the present Labour Government, has admitted that "even after six years of Labour rule Britain in the nineteen-seventies is conspicuous for its persistent and glaring inequalities" (Sunday Times, 10 March 1974).

On the ownership of wealth Chiozza Money estimated that in 1904 one-seventieth of the population owned far more than half the total and that "probably" nearly the whole was owned by 4,400,000 persons. A figure used in the Labour Party's Election Programme 1918 was that 10% of the population owned 90% of the wealth.

Current figures are presented by the Inland Revenue Department, but they are not in a form clearly comparable with the earliest ones. In the House of Commons (5 July 1973) a question to the Chancellor of the Exchequer produced figures showing that 10% of the population owned 77% in 1960 and 72% in 1970, but this is not shown as a continuous trend.The figure was down to 73% in 1966 and up again to 75% in 1968. Also it is maintained by Professor Harbury of the City University that changes in ownership are "likely to have taken the form of the rearrangement of wealth within families rather than a switch from rich to poor" and that "the basic situation has not changed much since the 1920's" (Financial Times, 28 Feb. 1974).

But all such figures have to be taken in relation to the Socialist case. While it is the declared aim of the Labour Party to bring about a more egalitarian capitalism this is not the aim of Socialists, and even if achieved it would not solve the problems of the working class. Capitalism is not more "capitalist" in Germany and France because income inequality is greater than in Britain, nor less "capitalist" in America because, as regards ownership of wealth, "it is the British distribution which is more unequal than the American — and quite substantially so" (Wealth, Income, Inequality, p.159).

The means of production and distribution are owned by the capitalist class not by the workers. The class relationship is not materially altered because many workers now own their own homes and the houses are better furnished. The class struggle has not disappeared and the need for Socialism is urgent, as it was seventy years ago.
Edgar Hardcastle

Bernard Shaw and Socialism (1927)

From the September 1927 issue of the Socialist Standard

A few days ago I picked up an old copy of "Bernard Shaw," by Holbrook Jackson, and in it I came across a quotation from a lecture given by Shaw in 1896, which it struck me was worth quoting again before I forgot it, owing to the bearing it has upon Shaw's conception of what Socialism would be like. The need to publish this statement again is the more urgent as there is a tendency, even among many who claim to accept the Marxian outlook, to regard Shaw as the arch-socialist.

In December, 1896, Shaw lectured at Kelmscott House, Hammersmith, on "What Socialism will be like," and his opening remarks, which I am quoting, are taken from the report published in the "Labour Leader" of December 19th, 1896:
My lecture will be very short. It consists of three words—I don't know. Having delivered it, by way of opening a discussion, I will proceed to make a few remarks. The first thing that strikes one in discussing the matter with a Socialist—if you have a critical habit of mind, as I have, professionally—is the superstitious resemblance of the notion your ordinary Socialist has of what Socialism will be like to the good old idea of what heaven will be like! If you suggest that under Socialism anybody will pay rent or receive wages your ideal Socialist jumps on you. If I venture to suggest that such questions as who shall be allowed to live on Richmond Hill under Socialism, it will have to be settled much as it is to-day, by seeing who will will pay most to live there, such an eminent and enlightened Socialist as Mr. Hyndman immediately loses his temper, and retorts that that is a disgusting middle-class idea.
Here you have a view entirely different from that which sees in Socialism a state of society in which the means of production will have ceased to be the private monopoly of a small class of wealthy people, and will have become the common property of all—socially owned. Where there is wages and rent there cannot be social ownership, though there there may be those highly developed forms of capitalism—Nationalisation and Municipalisation.

Green writings from Wall (1995)

Book Review from the January 1995 issue of the Socialist Standard

Green History -  a reader in environmental literature, philosophy and politics by Derek Wall (Routledge, 1994)

Ninety-six extracts from a wide selection of writers of many periods have been assembled into nineteen groups, each with an introduction by Derek Wall.

The topics of the groups range from "Ecology and early urban civilization" to "Philosophical holism". They are intended to cover the full spectrum of "Green" attitudes and beliefs and, as such, they offer a valuable insight into the thinking of those people who have decided to associate themselves with the broad ecology movement.

What is clearly demonstrated, however, is that concern for the earth, for nature, is nothing new. Pre-civilized peoples knew—and still know—the extent to which it is was necessary to live in harmony with the flora and other fauna of their area of the planet. But ancient civilisations, although they made many mistakes with their cities, agriculture and irrigation programmes, had their "Green" spokesmen too, such as Plato, Lucretius and Ovid.

Derek Wall intends to give Greens the authority of a respectable history, but he also warns them to be aware that many others before them, including socialists and anarchists, have drawn attention to the impact of human civilisation upon the rest of nature.

He mentions the expansionism of capitalism as the current cause of mushrooming ecological impact but, quoting Jonathan Porritt, entirely evades the explanation of why the majority have no choice but to continue abusing the planet's resources and amenities.

Nowhere is there a mention of the subjection and exploitation of the majority of the industrial world's population—the working class—by the capitalist class. Environmental degradation is therefore held up as the fault of us all. And this, of course, is the lameness which has been the cause of repeated disappointment for the political aspirations of Greens. They have no answer to capitalism. They have no agreed understanding of why capitalism plunders and pollutes as it does: and therefore they have no appreciation of what it will take to stop the rape of the world. They act as though they think indignation will be enough - and it won't.

Green History is an interesting book to dip into or, because of its good index, look up topics and writers. But socialists must be prepared for considerable irritation. For example, Bellamy's military-industrial society in Looking Backward is described as "socialist" although Bellamy had expressly rejected the label, preferring to call his scheme "Nationalism". Morris's News from Nowhere, written as a counterblast to Bellamy by an avowed Marxian socialist is, on the other hand, called "eco-utopian" by Wall. Perhaps these really are the terms in which most people today have been encouraged to think. But, for a book which claims to be providing a guide through the history of ideas to reinforce such prejudices betrays a lack of care and precision, eroding confidence in the other comments and conclusions the editor makes.

The Evolution of W. Gallacher (1923)

From the February 1923 issue of the Socialist Standard

Once upon a time the Communists were furious in denunciation of the treachery and reformism of the Labour Party and the I.L.P. No abuse was too violent, and they translated their hostility into deeds by opposing J. R. MacDonald when he fought the Woolwich Bye-election as a Labour Party nominee in 1921.

W. Gallacher wrote in the "Workers' Dreadnought" (Feb., 1920), for the Scottish Workers' Committee, as follows: -
"This Committee is definitely anti-Parliamentarian . . . We represent the revolutionary movement in Scotland . . . For a considerable time time we have been sparring with the official Parliamentarians . . . But this state of affairs cannot continue long. We are winning all along the line. The rank and file of the I.L.P. in Scotland is becoming more and more disgusted with the idea of Parliament, and the Soviets or Workers' Councils are being supported by almost every branch. This is very serious, of course, for the gentlemen who took to politics for a profession, and they are using any and every means to persuade their members to come back into the Parliamentary fold. Revolutionary comrades must not give any support to this gang. Our fight here is going to be a most difficult one. One of the worst features of it will be the treachery of those whose personal ambition is a more compelling force than their regard for the revolution. . . . The official I.L.P. is bitterly opposed to the Third International, the rank and file is for it. Any support of the Parliamentary opportunists is simply playing into the hands of the former."
Later the C.P.G.B. wanted to get into the Labour Party and they began to drop their aggressive tone. Their application was refused, but they persevered with a demand for the "united front." They decided that it was necessary and desirable that the Labour Party should gain a Parliamentary majority as soon as possible. Any person with the least knowledge of the political situation would have realised at once that the greatest service the Communists could do the Labour Party was to declare open war upon it. This would have enabled the Labour Party to repudiate entirely the untrue but damaging charge of coquetting with Socialism and Revolution. As it was, the Communists insisted on supporting Labour men and must have lost them thousands of votes. W. Gallacher (the same W. Gallacher) ran as Communist Parliamentary candidate at Dundee. It was a double-membered  constituency, and the only official Labour man was E. D. Morel, an ex-Liberal strongly critical of the Government's foreign policy, and equally strongly anti-Socialist. Although Morel hotly repudiated Gallacher, Gallacher advised all his supporters to vote for Morel. Morel writes on this in the "Labour Magazine" (Dec., 1922): - 
"Another factor in his (Scrymgeour's) favour was the appearance of Mr. Gallacher, the Communist, who never had the ghost of a chance, but who insisted on every occasion in trying to couple himself up with me, despite my emphatic declaration (and the local Labour Party's official disclaimer) that I was unalterably opposed to Communism. For his own purposes, Mr. Churchill also used the same tactics from the beginning. The result was, that Mr. Gallacher played into Mr. Churchill's hands; that many working women electors, who have no use for Communism, were alarmed, when they got to the booths, to find Mr. Gallacher's representatives coupling my name with his, and "plumped" for Scrymgeour instead of voting  Scrymgeour-Morel; and that lost a number of "silent" voters who, but for the Gallacher-Churchill tactic, would probably have voted for me." 
In spite, however, of the unwelcome Communist "support," Morel got in.

Then only three weeks after he had been telling Dundee workers to vote for Morel, Gallacher expresses the opinion that "It is expected on all sides that there will be a split sooner or later, and that the Morel-Wedgewood crowd would go back to Liberalism" ("The Worker," 9th Dec., 1922). Not only that, but while himself a member of the Party (C.P.G.B.) which has defended its support of reactionary Labourites by the gag about the necessity for "unity," he adds: -
"This is a sort of 'hangman's whip' that will be held over the heads of the Glasgow team (I.L.P men, by the way!). 'Don't split the Party' will be the rallying cry of the moderates, and it will be used to the fullest to keep the others in check."
It is always difficult to understand why some alleged revolutionaries will go to an infinite amount of trouble to avoid recognising an unpalatable truth. Although they cannot wait to  propagate Socialism, they are prepared to go on for ever, alternately denouncing known enemies of the working class and supporting them for "tactical" reasons. They will discard every principle and make themselves personally ridiculous and contemptible by perpetual shuffling, all in order to gain something by manoeuvre which they cannot gain in open fight. They never do get anything worth having, and the working class have to pay the price of failure in the despair of the disappointed followers of these blind leaders. The cause of this lies simply in their refusal to recognise the fact that Socialism cannot be won without Socialists. They shelter behind the excuse that the workers are too ignorant and foolish ever to understand their own interests, but, as Voltaire very shrewdly remarked, "He who dreams that he can lead a great crowd of fools without a great store of knavery is a fool himself."
Edgar Hardcastle 

At the coalface (2005)

Book Review from the May 2005 issue of the Socialist Standard

GB84 by David Peace (Faber and Faber £7.99.)

The author describes this novel as 'a fiction based upon a fact', the fact being the 1984 miners' strike (on which see the Socialist Standard for March 2004). 'In a brutally honest style, told from the viewpoints of several different characters, and interspersed with excerpts from the fictional diaries of two striking miners, Peace paints a vivid portrait of the strike and its eventual defeat. A great deal of research underlies the book, and Peace brings out the extent of the ruling class’ preparations for the strike and their determination to beat the miners into submission.

Government fixers and corrupt undercover police are shown doing their dirty work. The divisions and hostilities within mining communities are displayed, and even some working miners are shown in an almost sympathetic light - one says he'd have been on strike had there been a  ballot in favour of strike action. As the strike continues, the NUM become increasingly desperate in attempting to hide their financial assets overseas and out of reach of the government's stooges, while the Coal Board and the Tories seek to undermine the strike by getting almost all activity in support of it declared illegal and subsidising the back-to-work movement.

There are suggestions that the police ranks are being boosted by soldiers, and the extent of police brutality is made plain. The NUM leaders are depicted as pretty paranoid (though possibly with reason) about being bugged and being infiltrated. 'The President' comes over as an increasingly pathetic figure, harking back to his supposed defeat of the Heath government in 1974, and repeating the mantra that support from the wider trade union movement would ensure success. But as the numbers of working miners gradually increase and NUM funds are gradually leached away, he is unable to accept that defeat is ahead, nor that the failure to call a ballot was in any way responsible.

 The true heroes and victims, however, are the striking miners and their families. In the face of dreadful financial hardship, media lies, state violence, the threat of blacklisting and the inevitable petty quarrels of people under stress, they struggle to maintain solidarity and to keep the fight going. As families and friendships fall apart, they still remain committed.

David Peace's novel gives an unforgettable account of a major working class struggle, and, despite the complexity of its structure, is well worth reading.
Paul Bennett

Chains link (1983)

From the September 1983 issue of the Socialist Standard

What do most people associate with the name William Wilberforce? Probably if they had been fed on the usual diet of school history books, it is the abolition of slavery. We are told by one common text, for instance, that "Wilberforce sacrificed the prospect of a great political career to devote his whole life to humanitarian causes" (Modern Britain 1783-1964, D. Richards, J. W. Hunt). In fact, when it came to the majority, the working class—also known as the Rabble—Wilberforce's attitude was less than philanthropic. From the close of the eighteenth century until his death in 1833, as the MP for Yorkshire and a prominent politician, he fought a constant crusade to keep the workers in their place. Along with Dr. John Bowdler he founded the Society for the Suppression of Vice and Encouragement of Religion. The message this type of organisation gave to the poor was summarised by Edmund Burke: "Patience, labour, sobriety, frugality and religion should be recommended to them; all the rest is downright fraud".

Wilberforce was himself a member of the owning class and took the view that a religious worker is a meek and docile profit-creator, acquiescent in poverty. If you could teach them, he thought, to forget about their hardships in life and to look forward to a better state of affairs once they were dead, workers would carry on in poverty producing the wealth and handing it over to the capitalists. Meanwhile the rich people would spend the occasional hour in church intoning hypocrisies and wondering whether they could purchase any sufficiently large needles for camels to pass through. Perhaps he was considering the state of his own mind and the sort of company he kept when he wrote: "Remember that we are all fallen creatures, born in sin and naturally depraved. Christianity recognises no innocence or goodness of heart" (A Practical View of Christianity).

Wilberforce's comprehension of human nature (or more accurately human behaviour) was not particularly well-informed. When we are born we have a brain but no mind. We learn a certain language and code of behaviour depending on where and when we enter society. A baby has no innate notions of sin. Sin and all the mental injury and inhibitions that go with it have to be instilled into the child by warning and punishment. In fact some societies today, existing outside the commercial system of wages and capital, have no concept of this sort of superstitious guilt. One such community is the Panare Indian settlement around the Orinoco basin in Venezuela. They organise their production and consumption on the basis of the principle "from each according to ability, to each according to need". They have no leaders or bosses. They have refused to be employed by anyone. They have no inequality of class, sex or age. Ironically they are being evangelised by a civilised horde of American missionaries (The New Tribes Mission) who want to force them, with fear of hellfire, to stop drinking alcohol and enjoying themselves, to work in the local mines for wages and desist from Sin. The trouble was that in the Panare language there was no word for "sin" or "guilt". The idea was not within their social experience. What were the missionaries to do? The method they chose to manufacture guilt among the Panare—upon which repentance and salvation depended—was to re-edit that Middle Eastern book of fables, the Scriptures, so as to implicate the Panare in Christ's death. To avoid divine retribution for this murder the Indians would have to become as mentally lame as the missionaries. Wilberforce's contention that human beings are born with Sin is contradicted everywhere by simple evidence.

In any event, he did have some interest in children. He was in favour of child labour and had small children working for himself. He was a firm opponent of legislation to outlaw such exploitation. His main concern seems to have been that capitalism should be permitted to function without any stroppiness or backchat from those who produce the wealth. In 1797 he expounded the "great law of subordination" and laid down his "articles for the management of the poor" in which he said
that their more lowly path has been allotted to them by the hand of God; that it is their part faithfully to discharge its duties and contentedly to bear its inconveniences; that the present state of things is very short; that the objects about which worldly men conflict so eagerly are not worth the contest. (A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians)
Even his campaigns against the slave trade were not quite as simple as they are often made out to be. A factor not entirely out of Wilberforce's consideration when opposing the importation of slaves to Britain was the fact that many industrial capitalists were having their goods undercut in the market by goods which had been produced with slave (unpaid) labour owned by capitalists who had easy access (mostly near the ports) to this workforce. The abolition of the slave trade would put rival capitalists on a more equal footing.

Wilberforce was energetically opposed to Trade Unionism in a fashion which would inspire Norman Tebbit, General Jaruzelski and Andropov. He devised the 1799 Workmen's Combination Bill which completely prohibited the formation of any association which was, or could be possibly construed as, a combination of workers. This year is the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of his death. At a commemorative service in Westminster Abbey held in July, Margaret Thatcher read the lesson. Like the sanctimonious Wilberforce, Thatcher had some disapproval for shackle slavery, while advocating that in the servitude of wage-slavery the workers are milked for as much as the wage-slave-owning bosses can get. We are tethered to a life of working for the boss or living off the dole; of boring routines and consuming, if we are fortunate, bland, second-rate goods and services; of being screwed up by the dehumanising effects of relating to each other so often on the basis of buying and selling. We are only really tethered to this social system because of the mentality of wage-slavery. The consent of the majority which the minority needs to keep its system going. We must unite to change society. We have nothing to lose . . .
Gary Jay