Friday, September 25, 2015

Police Brutality in Manchester (1911)

From the August 1911 issue of the Socialist Standard

The tranquility of the city of Manchester has recently been disturbed, owing to the somewhat militant attitude adopted by its carters, to obtain the outrageous wage of 25s. per week.

The capitalist Press, ever ready to paint in livid colours the vices and shortcomings of the proletariat, has enjoyed itself immensely; the strike has given the smooth-tongued, facile penned journalist data sufficient to fill a thirty-two page liar chock full. Proprietors have revelled in the abundance and quality of the matter contained, and, of course, there is the increase of circulation.

But while they have deprecated the gluttony and greed of members of the working class demanding 25s. a week, they have poured vials of eulogy upon those patient and long-suffering individuals, the police. We read of them "doing their work admirably," and "under such great provocation," too.

There is, however, another side to this picture, a side hidden by our pure, non-partizan (!) Press.

We (by "we" I mean two Socialists) wended our way to the city's centre, really to study the psychology of the mob, and seeing a body of police patrolling a narrow street, we stood and awaited developments.

No one seemed inclined to bloodshed, and had not the facts been known one would have thought here was a coronation crowd waiting for the appearance of the King.

But presently a banana-skin hurtled through the air and alighted on a constable's helmet. It was enough. The policemen's nerves, strained to breaking-point by the terrible ordeal of having to stand scowling at a half-starved, unarmed mob, could stand no more. Their long-suffering patience collapsed, and at the command of an officer to "charge!" on came the myrmidons of the Law like a blue fury.

Waving their batons they swept the crowd before them, hitting right and left, one burly "slop" missing by a inch the head of a seven-year old boy.

The crowd rushed past, and as we were stationed against the wall we thought it advisable to stay there. Presently an old man, bent and unable to hurry, shuffled across the road. He gained the centre of the street when he was struck two severe blows on his sides by a couple of "patient" policemen, and fell to the ground.

My comrade was unable to restrain his sympathy upon witnessing this cowardly brutality, and he hurried to the old man's side, and turning to the constables, protested against such inhuman methods. No sooner had he spoken than he was struck down from behind, and lay bleeding in the road.

The following morning the Press reported that an old man had been trampled on by the crowd, and lay in a critical condition.

Another instance, "Where are you off to?" said an officer to a man with a work basket. "Home," was the reply. Then the uniformed brute took the poor fellow by the coat-collar and threw him back.

"I'm going home, sir" the victim of this rough treatment said, and for that he was dragged off to the police station, and next morning was fined 10s. 6d for disorderly conduct.

"Police Entertained to Luncheon at the Exchange Cafe by Chief Constable," ran a heading in a Manchester paper.

"One knew that they would uphold the traditions of the police force, and one could not help but be delighted that no complaint whatever had reached the Chief Constable of any man amongst them." — Councillor T. Lewis (Manchester Chronicle, 10.7.11).

My comrade a letter to the Press explaining the circumstances under which he was injured and uttering his protest, but that letter was never published. No wonder there are no complaints.

Occurrences such as these show plainly that the capitalist Press, like Law and the armed forces, is merely an instrument in the hands of the capitalist class to maintain their ascendancy, and shows once again the urgent need for, and the value of, the SOCIALIST STANDARD.
J. H. Lamb

Correspondence: S.D.F. tactics in Lancashire. (1908)

Letter to the Editors from the January 1908 issue of the Socialist Standard


The branches of the S.D.F. in the Rossendale Valley have been sold by the Executive Council of that body.

These branches: Rawtenstall, Crawshawbooth, Bacup, Haslingden and Waterfoot, having been assured of sufficient money to bring out a Parliamentary candidate, adopted J. F. Green, and his candidature was sanctioned at the last Annual Conference of the S.D.F. Suddenly, and without consulting the Rossendale branches, it was announced that J. F. Green had been adopted as the candidate for South Bristol. The branches thereupon wrote to J. F. Green who did not reply, and also to the Executive Committee. The latter's reply was quite up to the "revolutionary" standard of S.D.F. action during recent years. They regretted they could not contest Rossendale because of the expense (the branches say they have half the amount ready) and because "they do not think it wise to put up a candidate against Mr. 'Lulu' Harcourt, as he is about the only member of the present Liberal Government who has added prestige to his name"!

What has caused this change of front on the part of the S.D.F. Executive? It cannot be altogether a matter of branch funds, because, as stated above, the branches have promises of half the amount and, moreover, at the quarterly meeting of the Executive held on October 20th, a deputation from the Leigh branch was received and asked for a candidate to be put forward to contest the Leigh Division. This request was complied with. Is it that the S.D.F. Executive has come to a secret understanding with the Liberals? During the Municipal elections in Rossendale local Liberals stated that J. F. Green would not go to the poll, and that the S.D.F. were only "kidding." Did they know more than the members of the S.D.F.? I believe that Messrs. H. M. Hyndman, J. F. Green, and other prominent members of the S.D.F. are also members of the National Liberal Club. Has there been a bargain? and if so, what has been bought and what has been sold? When J. F. Green was withdrawn from Rossendale and announced for South Bristol prominent Liberals said, "The S.D.F. will run no candidate for Rossendale." What did they know?
Yours fraternally,
Moses Baritz.
Manchester, Dec. 16th, 1907.

Oil and Slaves (1913)

From the February 1913 issue of the Socialist Standard

The oil age is coming. Year books, financial journals, the sharks of Throgmorton Street, together with the rest of the interested, "far seeing" exploiters and worshippers of the golden calf, are eagerly discussing the possibilities of oil as a motive force, and how much more profit they can grab by its use.

It behoves the working class to consider the question also, because it is they who are going to suffer, as usual, from what would be a boon and a blessing to all were the toilers sufficiently enlightened and determined to make it such.

The "Diesel" engine has already proved itself capable of propelling ocean going steamers, and will doubtless be in general use in the near future. Look at this: "The engine room staff of the 'Selandia' consists of eight men and two boys. No firemen required. No boilers needed. No loading with bunker coal for the voyage."

How our masters must rub their hands with delight when they think of the saving of wages, extra cargo space, cheaper ships, and many other advantages. How the thoughtful fireman must curse when his job disappears, and the boilermaker when he reads: "No boilers required." How joyous the coal-porter must feel when, instead of fifty men engaged in coaling a ship, he see the engineer turn on the oil cock and fill his tank in a few hours! Oh! the unspeakable happiness of the lightermen and railwaymen at the thought of not having to transport any more dirty coal to the docks! What joy dwells in the heart of the miner as he thinks of the near future when oil competes fiercely with coal, and thousands of him are saved the trouble of squabbling over "abnormal places," having gained the displaced wage-slave's normal place—the gutter.

The "Selandia" saved on her first voyage to Bangkok a sum of £1,200 for fuel alone. She is only a small ship. The saving on great liners will be commensurably greater, as will the numbers of "hands" displaced. Great is oil!

A Royal Commission with Lord Fisher at its head was appointed in July last to enquire into the possibilities of oil-driven "Dreadnoughts" (many torpedo craft already use oil), and the remarks of "The Times" were significant when announcing its appointment. "If," said that paper, "oil as a fuel and oil-driven engines were adopted exclusively as the result of the Commission's enquiries, not only might great economy be effected, but fewer men would be required to attend the engines and there would be economy in space and weight." Yes! indeed. It will be splendid they sack half the "black squad" of the navy, and what an inspiring sight it will be when the enemy's shells drops into the oil tanks!

Already it is announced ("Lloyd's Newspaper," Jan. 12) that a large tract of oil land in New Brunswick has been acquired for the Admiralty at a cost of £2,000,000, to supply oil fuel for the Navy, and that a chain of storage depots is being built round the coasts. Mr. Keir Hardie will now be satisfied, I anticipate.

Then, again, the railway companies are going in for oil from sheer necessity, having been badly hit by the motor lorries. Sir Sam Fay, manager of the Great Central Railway, declares that "we shall soon see oil-driven cars running on all the railways and supplanting the steam engines." Of course, he says nothing about the supplanted firemen—doesn't interest him a great deal.

Altogether, the advent of oil as a fuel will have a far-reaching effect upon the working class, and its moral effect for them is obvious. Every great labour-saving invention or discovery—and the use of oil as a propelling agent has been made possible by the invention of Dr. Diesel—spells unemployment for thousands while capitalism lasts. Many are flung "out" to accentuate the competition of those "in". When the workers will it the work will be flung out instead, lessening the labours and adding to the leisure and pleasure of all.

We call it Socialism, this condition of affairs wherein every invention will contribute only to the comfort and happiness of the whole people. Work for it, for there is no hope for the slave class in any other direction.

Labour and the reform of capitalism (2004)

From the May 2004 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Labour Government of 1945-51 was the highwater mark of one strand of activity within capitalism, the triumph (much of it temporary, as we now know) of one school of thought on the question of how capitalism should be run. Its significance cannot be understood without knowing the background from which it sprang.
The population of each separate capitalist country is divided into two classes: the minority, who own the means of production, distribution, and exchange, and the majority, who operate all those means – factories, mines, offices, transport systems, banks, media and so on - but do not own them. This minority of owners constitutes the ruling class, and the rest of us constitute the working class.
The owners, however, are not a monolithic block, all having exactly the same opinions. Naturally, they all believe that the capitalist system is divinely ordained, and will last for ever. But they do not all have the same ideas as to the best way of running the system from day to day, or year to year. Many factors can cause disagreements within the ruling class. Some are internal, some are external.
Internally, there are always two main schools of thought. All capitalists want to get the most out of their workers, obviously. But what is the best way of doing that? Some think they should rule largely by fear. Toe the line, accept long hours, low wages, and poor conditions, they say to their workers, or out you go. And if you can’t get a job, you can join the unemployed – who, this school of thought believes, should be treated as harshly as possible.
Alongside the “treat-’em-rough” school is the “pretend-to-be-nice” school. One basic reason for this school is the desire to avoid the harmful consequences of the alternative - disease spreading across class boundaries, and decrepit recruits for industry or the armed services. But apart from that, some capitalists think that more humane methods are more profitable in the long run. Less primitive conditions in the workplace, a bit better treatment of families, somewhat less harsh handling of the unemployed, will all pay dividends, they think: be nice to your workers, and they will be nice to you, says this philosophy.
External factors also cause differences of view within the ruling class. When capitalism’s continuous conflicts lead to open warfare, with its clashing armies and bombing raids, its heartless slaughter of civilian populations and its massive destruction of towns and cities, the capitalists within each country often draw closer together, and feel they must strengthen their state as a bulwark against the threatening dangers from foreign capitalists which have now been made so obvious. For instance, when there is danger from abroad, and armies may have to be transported quickly round the country for the benefit of the country’s capitalists as a whole, then ruling class opinion tends to believe that the country’s transport systems should be in the hands of the state – the executive committee of the capitalist class.
The General Election of July 1945 came at a time when war, and its dangers, was in the forefront of public debate. There had of course been an enormously destructive war across Europe (and elsewhere) in 1914-18. When that ended, there was a huge feeling of relief: it must have been a fit of madness, people thought, and could never happen again. It was, in fact, “the war to end wars”. But then, only a score of years later, a second even more destructive global conflict erupted – so close to the first that some men actually had to fight in both, and certainly many families suffered in both. The electorate after the first war, in November 1918, returned the victorious wartime premier, Lloyd George, with a large majority committed to a return to the status quo; but in July 1945 the wartime premier, Winston Churchill, was defeated, and the Labour Party gained 393 MPs, compared with 213 Conservative and 12 Liberals. Labour formed a Government, and Clement Attlee became Prime Minister.
Stronger state
After two catastrophic world wars within only thirty-one years (1914-45), the preponderance of opinion within the capitalist class moved over to the support of a stronger state. The state had already been dictating much of the country’s economic activity during the war, under the direction of the Conservative-majority Coalition Government. A series of Acts of Parliament after 1945 took much fuel and transport into state ownership, and in many ways gave a formal framework to what had already been happening (owing to military necessity) throughout the six years of the Second World War. The Government took over what it regarded as essential services to support the other industries, which of course continued in private capitalist hands. It nationalized the Bank of England, coal, and civil aviation in 1946, electricity and transport in 1947, gas in 1948, and iron and steel in 1949.

Conscription into the armed forces, and compulsory direction into “essential industries”, e.g. munitions, during the war, had revealed that the working class were neither as well educated nor as healthy as they should ideally have been if they were going to supply the maximum of rent, interest, and profit to the owning class. A soldier who is not physically fit enough to join an attack on an “enemy” army, or skilled enough to read the instructions about how to operate a heavy machine gun or a tank, is not much use to the high command. The peace-time worker, too, has to be active and knowledgeable in order to operate modern machinery. So reforms were pushed through in health, creating the National Health Service, which (as the Labour Government boasted at the time) cut down the number of days lost to industry through illness. In education, the school-leaving age was raised to fifteen in 1947, and the Labour Government implemented Butler’s Education Act (passed by the Conservative Parliament in 1944), which created a tripartite system of grammar schools, technical schools, and secondary moderns, all of them free, with entry based on the so-called “eleven-plus” exam. These schools in effect aimed respectively at supplying office-workers, skilled manual workers, and the rank-and-file of the labouring population, to service capitalist industries. (The capitalists themselves continued to send their offspring to “public schools”, that is private schools outside the state system.)
Measures were taken to give a degree of social security to the whole population, “from the cradle to the grave”: a policy which put into effect the 1942 Beveridge Report, written by a Liberal. This social security, plus the free Health Service, meant that the great majority of the population, the workers, were kept in reasonably good condition, able to operate the industries of the country, and not likely to catch infectious diseases which could spread to the owning class. (Germs do not believe Mrs Thatcher’s assertion that there is no such thing as society.)

A very large part of Labour’s reforms was accepted by the Conservative governments which followed the Labour Government after 1951. This is not to say that all opinion within the ruling class supported nationalization; some voices still spoke out in opposition, and decades later nearly all of this carefully-constructed apparatus of state capitalism was dismantled and returned to the ownership of private capitalists. The capitalist organization of industry, of course, was undisturbed. The whole of the great nationalization debate had been simply about whether to have particular capitalist industries owned by the state, acting on behalf of the whole capitalist class, or by particular individual capitalists.
Much of the so-called Welfare State, however, has been preserved throughout the following half-century by Governments of whatever complexion. It has been recognized as benefiting the operation of British capitalism, and therefore it is still here.
The Labour Party claimed that their reforms were Socialist. The Labour Party fought the 1945 General Election on the programme outlined in its manifesto Let Us Face the Future, which declared that the Labour Party “is a Socialist Party, and proud of it. Its ultimate purpose at home is the establishment of the Socialist Commonwealth of Great Britain” and so on: hardly language which Labour’s leaders would use today. Though this was the “ultimate purpose”, the measures which it actually proposed (and, to do it justice, the measures which it actually carried out) were those described above. Its ringing declaration was one thing; its immediate objectives - the nationalizing of half a dozen fuel and transport industries, and health and education reforms - were another. Despite its fine-sounding claims about its “ultimate purpose”, the Labour Government of 1945-51, like every other Government, in practice merely tried its hand at running capitalism.
Why did that Government claim to be Socialist? The over-riding reason is that no ruling class can ever tell the truth about its own system. No owning class is ever going to say to the people at large, “You go on working and producing, and we’ll go on taking off you what you produce”. Instead, every ruling class seizes on whatever philosophy, or religion, or system of belief is currently popular or persuasive, and claims it for itself. When the British bourgeoisie made its first attempt to grab power, it claimed to be merely promoting Christianity (Cromwell called one battle “a crowning mercy” from Heaven). Many European countries, two or three centuries ago, proclaimed that Catholicism, or alternatively Protestantism, was their guiding light. When the French bourgeoisie took power, it claimed to be bringing in Liberty Equality, and Fraternity. The twentieth century saw a number of state-capitalist revolutions in Eastern Europe, Russia, and China, during which the revolutionaries claimed that they were introducing Communism, and Democracy (in some cases to the extent of putting Democratic in the official name of the country). In the Middle East, the ruling class of many countries claim that they are marching under the banner of Islam. In the same way, the Labour Government of 1945-51 claimed (as we saw) that they were going to introduce a “Socialist Commonwealth”.
Anyone who wishes to find out what is really happening in the world must first learn to distinguish between talk and action.
Alwyn Edgar

The Educational Cuts (1952)

From the April 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Educational cuts suggested by Mr. R. A. Butler, and put into effect by the Minister of Education, Miss Florence Horsbrough, have raised a great outcry from many quarters. Perhaps the most vociferous sections have been the teaching profession and supporters of the Labour Party.

We look at the matter from the point of view—what fundamental effect will it have on the workers' position? But this is not the reformers' attitude. This prompts a further question—why in fact are we educated at all?

"Teacher's World" of 16th January, 1952, can perhaps throw a little light on these questions. An editorial article headed "Freedom" shows us the extent to which freedom can be practised. It is quite clearly stated that "this is the true freedom of the teacher to teach how he thinks best. But what he teaches is not, and never has been, left solely at the choice of the teacher." Who, then, decides what the teacher has to teach? Let us return to the article—"Curriculum, inevitably, must conform with the law, with public policy and with convention."

The last statement is further elaborated by being applied to three aspects, namely religion, politics and language.
"It would be wrong to leave teachers in maintained schools, or even Eton, free to play the tunes of atheism, paganism or gnosticism. For this is a Christian country. It is the policy of the State that the generality of its people should be Christian."
"Nor is it possible to give teachers the utmost political freedom. The tunes of communism, fascism, nihilism and anarchy are not to be played by teachers in county schools. It is public policy that the young of this country shall be educated as democrats."
Even the language of education is decided by public policy. Children must be brought up to speak English—or Welsh with English."
To sum up, then, the law, public policy and convention intervene in the educational system through the state. Since the state is the expression of the capitalist class, it must pursue an educational policy in their interests; it must ensure that there are at all times sufficient replacements for that vast army of wage-workers so necessary for the profit-motive system. In other words, the children of to-day are educated with a view to their being being the workers of to-morrow.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain does not seek to reform the education of the workers; it seeks to abolish the present system of society, Capitalism, and with it the educational policy which it creates. In its place we would establish a system of society where the education for our children will not be determined by the interests of a ruling class, but will be in harmony with an administration which satisfies the needs of all mankind.
Margaret Hopwood 

Greasy Pole: Catching a Crabb? (2015)

Stephen Crabb MP
The Greasy Pole Column from the September 2015 issue of the Socialist Standard
Although he was out of step with his own declared standards of order – which included training ex-soldiers as teachers to impose stricter discipline in the schools – the former Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove in March 2014 gave voice to his opinion that David Cameron's inner cabinet included such a concentration of Old Etonians as to be 'ridiculous' and comparable to that of Robert Gascoyne – Cecil, Lord Salisbury, whose cabinet at the beginning of the twentieth century '... was known as Hotel Cecil. 'The phrase “Bob's your uncle” came about and all the rest of it. It is preposterous'. It was shortly after this outburst that Gove was moved from Education to become the Tory Chief Whip and then, after the 2010 election, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice so that his attendance at certain traditional events requires him to appear in robes that an outsider might consider to be as preposterous as those of any ceremonial Old Etonian.
But among Gove's colleagues on the Tory benches there is Stephen Crabb the MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire and Secretary of State for Wales, whose background and ready smile clearly place him outside the ranks of the blue-blooded but preposterous. For Crabb was brought up by a single mother – his father's violence in the family led to the parents splitting up – on a council estate in Pembrokeshire; as a student he spent his holidays working on building sites. He was first elected in 2005, winning the seat from Labour in what had been a 'Tory-free zone' and went on to increase his majority in 2010 and 2015. He was promoted to Secretary of State after his predecessor David Jones was sacked – a result of Jones' persistently combustible contacts with the Welsh Administration. There is another Tory MP in Pembrokeshire but he is Simon Hart who, in contrast to Crabb, went to public school and agricultural college and was for ten years Master of the local Hunt (the less respectful locals are inclined to lump the two MPs together as Crap and Fart). Another way in which Crabb distinguishes himself is that he has a beard; he is in fact the first Conservative Cabinet minister to be so adorned since the Fourth Earl of Onslow, an Old Etonian who in 1903 was President of the Board of Agriculture. But Onslow's beard, with his handlebar moustache, was bushy and abundant while Crabb's is cropped and trained; during Prime Minister's Questions he sits on the Front Bench inviting one of the cameras to swing towards him and he smiles – or rather the beard smiles. Its message is that he is contented with his record so far and expects it to see him into an exultant future.
In the beginning Crabb was a youth worker in London, going on to apply what that experience taught him as a marketing consultant at the London Chamber of Commerce. His first taste of the Commons was as a parliamentary intern – which then, as now, was a demanding but unpaid job - for an organisation called Christian Action Research and Education or CARE. There are now some 20 MPs using this service, supplied by CARE free of charge for work such as research and organisation. Crabb has one on his staff but there is no mention of it in his current biography website. CARE describes itself as a 'Mainstream Christian charity bringing Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy' but others prefer a term more in tune with its association with the 'mission' of the American pressure group Focus on the Family of 'defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide'. These 'truths' involve a theory that homosexuality is a disorder which all-right thinking people would strive to 'cure'; opposition to equal rights, including marriage, for same sex couples, to the processes of assisted dying and to the repeal of the infamous Section 28. There are five MPs who have broken their contact with CARE, one of them describing its policies as 'deeply offensive'.
Food Banks
As part of his avowed intention to alleviate poverty, even as a staunchly ambitious MP, Crabb became a trustee of the Pembrokeshire Action To Combat Hardship. One of the starkest and most debilitating symptoms of hardship right now is evident in the growing dependence on food banks. Foremost of the charities in this field – the Trussell Trust – states the problem clearly and without doubt: between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015 they distributed three days' food on 1,084,604 occasions, feeding some half a million people, which represented a year-on-year increase of 19 per cent. Of the people they helped some 44 per cent were in emergency through delays in, or cessation of, their benefit payments. Crabb's response to this crisis of need was to vote to reduce the benefits of social tenants subjected to the infamous bedroom tax. And to vote against raising welfare benefits in line with price rises. These votes were a part of the government policy to inflict even worse damage on the people already suffering extreme poverty. At the same time they improved Crabb's chances of working his way up the Greasy Pole.
And then there is the matter of his expenses. He claimed over £8,000 on a second home to refurbish a flat which he then sold at a considerable profit; then he 'flipped' a claim for a house which he was buying in Pembrokeshire and a room in another flat was classed as his second home. His justification of all this was that he had not '...claimed for things like plasma TVs, even though the rules allow it' and then that an official in the fees office had encouraged him in the manipulation: 'Steve I'm looking at your allowances and you've spent hardly anything... you'd get more for your allowances if you switched'. In all during four years he claimed £67,633 in second home expenses. These details must have been of some interest to anyone struggling to survive on what are called welfare 'benefits' and food bank 'charity'.  And to anyone interested in the flexibility of what Crabb presents as his 'Christian honesty'. To be recalled along with the 'honesty' of the others like Michael Gove, Simon Hart, David Jones . . .

The advance of technology (1965)

From the October 1965 issue of the Socialist Standard

The last decade is noted for its achievements in science and technology. Our age is one of continuous discovery, yet the problems of humanity seem to be intractable. Technical advances are relative. The used of flaked flint tools by primitive man is no less spectacular than the building of nuclear reactors by present-day man. The beginning of language is no less momentous than communication by telstar satellite. Primitive man's innovations took tens of thousands of years to become perfected, today the momentum of technological and scientific advance is staggering.

Our age is dominated by savage contradictions. America and Russia may be on the brink of sending men to the moon, yet two-thirds of the world's inhabitants have not enough to eat. Scientists have the skill to dissect living cells 6/10,000ths of an inch in diameter, but disease is still a major human affliction. Despite international communication men are divided by nationalism and race prejudice. Illiteracy and ignorance abound; violence, competition and privilege are the keynotes of the age. Workers fulfill economic functions that have no personal meaning, for them society is a prison house of economic servitude where hopes remain denied.

This then is the contradiction of today: In the field of science and technology men have asserted their genius more often than not towards anti-human ends; in the field of human relationships they have abysmally failed. Why?

Science serves the ends of the capitalist system. It serves the military might of nations. It serves industrial efficiency not by satisfying community' needs, but by intensifying the exploitation of the working class. In dealing with today's problems so-called social service is fettered by the prejudices of private property. It refuses to recognise that the cause of these problems is capitalism itself. Under socialism science will serve the whole community.

Capitalism has almost engulfed the whole world. Every nation is involved in world trade and cannot escape the influence of international power politics, with its alliances and war preparations. Technical innovation goes on apace, augmenting military might, intensifying the labour process and maximising the exploitation of the worker. This drive for greater technical efficiency is basic to capitalism's insatiable thirst for profits; humanity's real needs are not considered. 

As commodity production spreads it diffuses its own ideology and culture. Industrialisation destroys the village communities with their rich cultural traditions. People are concentrated into towns and are set to work in factories, clocking on, clocking off. TV, the cinema, pop music, suburbia and the "Jones", slums and overcrowding, are all features of what is becoming a universal way of life. And with all these go the so-called welfare and public services; "free" medicine, education, national assistance, etc.

Fifty years ago the British worker, the Chinese peasant and primitive African were living in different worlds. Today they live very similar lives. The same social problems are increasingly conditioning them. They are all cogs in the machinery of capitalism, and are exploited in the same way. Their diet and their language may be different, but the workers day-to-day material problems are essentially the same.

On the other hand, the tremendous development of the means of mass communication have made the world smaller. The worker is forced to widen his perspective. For the first time it becomes possible for him to communicate intelligibly with workers throughout the world. The Socialist demand for "one world, one people" becomes supported by the development of the productive forces of capitalism itself.

One may lament the break-up of the old local traditions, but capitalism has no time for sentiment when it devours technically backward communities, brutally converting them into commodity producers and reducing all values to money ones.

Seemingly, apart from Socialism, nothing can stop the further expansion of capitalism. It subjugates great numbers of people to wage slavery, but then it also destroys the worker's insularity, forcing upon him experiences and problems shared universally by the whole working class.

Our propaganda must show that these problems can be resolved by the working class uniting and working for Socialism. Under capitalism science and technology have flowered mainly to serve the interest of capitalist profit making. This is the great contradiction. Mankind has the know how, yet poverty, misery and the threat of war remain.

The barrier of private ownership must be destroyed, and the means of living (aided by science and technology) be used to satisfy the needs of mankind.
Pieter Lawrence