Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Breakthrough (1977)

From the March 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

I once asked a Labour man,
"Are you a Socialist? Answer me if you can".
"I'm a Labour man", he answered.
"So it's obvious I am". 
"There's nowt obvious it", says I,
And he looked at me strangely before he said,
"Are you quite alright, mate,
Or are you goin' funny in the head?" 
"No", says I simply, saddened by his manner,
Reflecting that all Labour men
Say they wave the Socialist banner.
But you ask 'em what Socialism is
And they haven't got a clue.
They think it's Nationalisation
Or some other pathetic view. 
I say, "Do you think it's a world system
That has no need for money?"
And he looks at me again in that same old way
As though he thinks I really have gone funny. 
"Well that's Socialism", I say.
"No buying, no selling, no spending, no pay.
There'll be no need, you see,
Everything's readily available,
Everything's free". 
"What about work? he says.
"Who's goin' do it for nowt?"
"That's no problem", says I.
"That's not hard to figure out.
You'll work cos you want work
Not cos of what they pay ya.
If you had a choice of doin' summat
           or nowt all day,
I'm sure you'd choose summat, what say ya?" 
"Mm, reckon so," he says. "You might have summat after all."
"There's no reckon about it," says I, "it's a fact
Or my name ain't Paul".
"Well, when's this free world going to come about, then?
Tell me how long we've got?"
"As soon as folk like you come and join us
Instead of listening to that Labour rot". 
He nodded reflectively,
As though he'd just seen the light,
And I knew in my heart
He was going to say what was right.
"Are you a Labour man?" I asked again.
"Or cab you now see clearly through the mist?"
"Nay, lad," he replied smilingly,
            I'm no Labour man.
I'm a Socialist."
Paul Breeze

1 comment:

Imposs1904 said...

Phil B-C over at the All That Is Solid . . . blog brings the sad news that Paul Breeze has died at the prematurely young of age of 62.

The blog declares an interest because for a period in the mid seventies through to the early eighties, Paul Breeze was a member of the SPGB, and an occasional contributor to the Socialist Standard.

It was before my time but I understand that he left the SPGB not because he rejected our ultimate goal of socialism but because he wanted to jettison the terminology, the jargon and, frankly, the history, that he believed was a barrier to socialist ideas reaching a wider audience. In the spirit of this he was part of the World of Free Access group that produced interesting material in the early 80s.

From reading Phil's tribute, it's obvious that he had long since moved away from our politics and was, in more recent years, well-respected in the Stoke area as a community activist and independent councillor, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to dig out some of Paul Breeze's old Socialist Standard articles and poems and post them on the blog, for their eventual inclusion on the SPGB website.

Rest in peace, Paul.