Sunday, January 31, 2016

Towards three million again (1993)

Editorial from the May 1993 issue of the Socialist Standard

May Day 1993 and what is the main problem facing the organised Trade Union movement? Unemployment, job insecurity and their effect on wage levels. Just as it always has been on a regularly recurring basis.

Unemployment is now heading for 3 million again, as it did ten years ago. But this time we are not seeing marches and demonstrations demanding “the right to work”. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.

Most people know quite well that there is no such thing as a “right to work”, and so not much point in demanding it. If an employer can make a profit out of employing us (or thinks he can) then we can get a job. But if companies start making losses, they put us on short time or make us redundant, or even close down altogether. “Rights” don’t come into it for workers. The employers own the factory or the shop or the office. If they decide to close down, that is their right—the right of ownership.

Because we have no control over the work we do, most jobs are pretty unsatisfying, or even dirty or dangerous. It is not the work we want—it’s the money, the price our employers pay to hire us. Without money we can’t live. We can’t buy the things we need to keep ourselves and our families. Most people have to go to work to get money, whether they are shopfloor workers, office workers, teachers or managers. Some don’t have to—those who own the workplace. They live off the profits—unearned income.

The present economic system is based on capital being accumulated and invested for the purpose of making profits. Unemployment never falls to zero, but periodically it rises alarmingly. Slumps are inevitable and necessary every so often. Business booms until too much capital is chasing limited profit, and then collapses. Large firms make losses. Small firms go bankrupt. Governments are powerless to prevent it. Economists fail to explain it.

Economists are paid by governments to find cures for slumps—but they always fail. Just as governments always fail when they promise to cure poverty, bad housing, crime and unemployment. All these things are part of the essential nature of capitalism. They are a direct consequence of a small section of the population owning, or controlling through the state, all the land, mines, transport, factories, offices and other places of work, and employing the great majority of us only when there is profit to be made.

Capitalism has played its part in developing technology (at great cost in human life and misery). But it is now a barrier to progress and full production to meet needs. In fact it distorts technology, as in nuclear weapons—a threat that is still spreading as more and more states (the latest being North Korea and South Africa) join the nuclear club.

Unemployment occurs because the system of employment exists. Millions of us are tied up in it. We may feel powerless, but we are not. We do all the work in society, throughout the world. We run it from top to bottom—for the employers. When they say production must stop, it stops.

What we must do is take over and run industry for people, not profit—for welfare, not warfare. We must organise together to take democratic political action to dispossess the employers. Then booms and slumps will stop. Then their nation-states and frontiers and wars will fall into disuse. We shall run industry and agriculture and transport for everyone, democratically. This is socialism. It is the only future worth working for.

The Bourgeois role of Bolshevism (1970)

Book Review from the November 1970 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Insurrectionists, by W. J. Fishman. Methuen. 55s.

The theme of this book is one we ourselves have often advanced: that, as we put it in the April Socialist Standard, Lenin’s theory of the vanguard party can be traced back through Russian revolutionaries like Ogarev and Tkachev to French revolutionaries like Babeuf and Buonarroti.

Fishman writes as an obvious opponent of what he thinks is Socialism and so does not really know what Marxism is all about. Nevertheless he does describe well enough the evolution of insurrectionist ideas as they spread from 18th century France to 20th century Russia and he does make some useful points.

The original Jacobins under Robespierre ruled France for a brief period in 1793-4. Though not against private property, they were on the side of the poor against the rich and believed in the ruthless use of violence to crush any opposition to Equality, one of the supposed aims of the French Revolution.

The first to combine the idea of an armed uprising and then a temporary exercise of armed power with that of communism was Babeuf (1760-1797), who was executed for his part in an abortive such coup in 1796. One of his collaborators was Buonarroti, whose account of the uprising under the revealing title of Conspiration pour L'Égalité served as a handbook for the following generation of would-be insurrectionists. Buonarroti, who lived on as an active conspirator till his death in 1837. argued that, since the old order so degraded the masses that they were unable either to see where their interests lay or to act for themselves, it was only an active, conscious minority that could overthrow the old order. This minority should be organised as a secret society with the aim of seizing power in an insurrection.

Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881). who spent most of his life in prison, was the man who more than any other personified this kind of insurrectionism. He, too, stood for a vague communist society and again argued that the masses were so ignorant as a result of the old order that its overthrow would have to be the work of a minority. Marx had a great respect for Blanqui as a man of action, but their ideas of the social revolution was quite different. For Marx it was not a question of a minority insurrection followed by a minority rule leading to communism, but rather a question of a majority capture of power (perhaps by peaceful means) followed by democratic majority rule leading to communism (or Socialism—he gave the two words the same meaning). The emancipation of the working class, proclaimed Marx in a famous slogan, was the task of the working class itself. Although Fishman quotes Engels’ well-known repudiation of minority insurrection in 1895, he does not bring out the important difference between the theories of Marx and those of previous communist revolutionaries like Babeuf, Buonarroti and Blanqui. He stood for majority revolution; they stood for minority insurrection. What he learned from them was the need to win and use political power ("dictatorship" as it was then called) to carry through the social revolution.

French revolutionary ideas spread all over Europe, including Tsarist Russia where an attempted coup was made as early as 1825. Here the secret society was the only possible form of revolutionary organisation and it was strongly advocated by Ogarev (1814-1877), a collaborator of Alexander Herzen. Ogarev was well acquainted with Buonarroti’s book and it was through him that French ideas on how to organise an insurrection — including the secret “vanguard” party — were transmitted to the Russian opponents of Tsarism.

The view that because of their oppression the masses were so ignorant that a minority organised as a secret society would have to act for them was held by many well-known Russian revolutionaries, including Nechaev (1847-1882) (the man who made a fool of Bakunin) and Tkachev (1844-1886) and even by Bakunin himself.

Tkachev, who associated with the Blanquists while in exile, is particularly important in that he anticipated some of Lenin's views on how to overthrow the Tsar. He realised that by themselves the revolutionaries could not overthrow the Tsarist bureaucracy; they needed a mass basis. He suggested the peasants as the weapon the revolutionary leaders should wield. He even realised the possibilities of using the then developing urban working class as the main element in the mass struggle. In the insurrection, said Tkachev, the Tsarist bureaucratic State should be completely smashed but the victorious leaders should set up another State in its place — an idea Lenin later tried to foist on Marx with regard to the modern bourgeois State.

By Lenin's time the use which a revolutionary minority might be able to make of the urban working class was even more obvious. Lenin, sticking to the by now well-established Russian revolutionary idea of a vanguard party and the ignorance of the masses, suggested a new tactic: the anti-Tsarist revolutionaries should concentrate on using the working class as their main weapon.

It is here that Fishman’s lack of understanding of Marxism leads him astray. He thinks that Lenin advocated this tactic as a means of establishing Socialism in Russia (in fact he mistakenly thinks there is now Socialism there, but that’s another matter). But until 1917 Lenin’s aim was the traditional one of the Russian revolutionaries: the establishment of a democratic republic. From his study of Marxism, he knew that this was the task of the bourgeoisie and one they had carried out in some West European countries. Lenin saw that in Russia the bourgeoisie was too weak to do this and applied Marx’s analysis of the period of Jacobin rule in France to the Russia of his day. By their drastic actions against the old feudal order. Marx pointed out, the Jacobins though not themselves of the bourgeoisie had furthered the bourgeois revolution by taking measures the bourgeoisie was afraid to take itself, Lenin’s suggestion was that this was more or less what would have to happen in Russia: Russia’s bourgeois revolution (the establishment of a democratic republic) would have to be accomplished without the bourgeoisie by the vanguard party leading the workers and peasants.

Trotsky argued that if the working class were to gain power in the course of Russia's bourgeois revolution they would, and should, go on to take "socialist” measures. Fishman does not seem to realise that Lenin did not come round to this view till 1917, nor that Trotsky did not accept the vanguard party idea till 1917 either. He has them as collaborators from 1902 on, an elementary mistake.

Lenin’s switch in 1917 from aiming at a democratic republic to a "socialist” one took him even further away from Marxism, but it did not invalidate his previous analysis of how Russia’s bourgeois revolution would come. The role of the Bolsheviks in Russia’s bourgeois revolution did indeed turn out to be the same as that of the Jacobins in France’s, that is, to carry through measures against the old order the bourgeoisie themselves were incapable of. The great difference was that while the Jacobins' rule did not last, the Bolsheviks’ rule did and the Bolshevik rulers gradually evolved into a new bourgeoisie (or capitalist class) themselves. Lenin and Trotsky confirmed their own earlier prognosis: their seizure of power in 1917 and subsequent short rule paved the way for the further development of capitalism in Russia.
Adam Buick

The new US bogeyman (1995)

From the June 1995 issue of the Socialist Standard

Back in December 1992, Ronald Reagan gave a speech in which he announced that “the end of the communist tyranny has robbed much of the West of its uplifting common purpose”.

The “common purpose” he had in mind was the US’s old claim to be defenders of democracy and global peace that “communism” had threatened for so long. In a nutshell, Reagan was mourning the end of the Cold War, which had taken away every pretension the US had to play globocop, using its hegemonic passport to interfere everywhere from Grenada to Korea.

For five years the US has tried to sell its old image to the world, looking for bogeymen to defend us from under every rock. First came Saddam, then the warlords of Somalia and later on Kim II Sung in North Korea. Now Iran is being held up as a threat to the interests of “the international community”, and once again the US is inviting the world to listen to its prophecies of impending doom and to swallow its rhetoric of possible salvation beneath the stars and stripes.

Current US hype stems from Russia’s recent agreement to build a nuclear power station for Iran at the Gulf port of Bushehr at the cost of $1 billion (supposedly capable of producing material to equip 23 atomic warheads) and is strengthened by Iran’s annual $2.5 billion spending spree on Chinese and Russian military hardware (inclusive, lately, of two Russian submarines) and the recent Iranian deployment of 6,000 troops on the Gulf islands of Queshm, Sirri and Abu Musa.

More recent US-lsraeli rumours state that Iran, with the help of Libya, has acquired a hefty arsenal of Rodnong ballistic missiles from North Korea, and that the two states are jointly working on a project to increase their range and destructive power. All of which must be set against the backcloth of Iran’s attempt to stop the indefinite and unconditional extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as favoured by the US, Britain, Russia and France.

What commentators found a little more than coincidental was the fact that the cant regarding Iran’s threat to world peace coincided with the Index International Arms Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates in March, at which the US, Britain, France and Germany would compete hard for business.

Dr Rosemary Hallis of the Royal Institute of International Affairs said as much, pointing out that “it has been used as a justification to sell more defence equipment to the Arab peninsular”. Middle East expert Heine Kopietz agreed that it was all “hype” and that “the Pentagon is not at all convinced that Iran is aggressive” (Guardian, 24 April).

Weeks earlier, the Speaker of the Iranian parliament was trying to calm the fears of neighbouring countries, scared silly by US rumours, declaring them that “Iran guarantees your security and stability ... [that neighbouring countries] . .. should not, therefore, provide the excuse for aliens to come to the region and create a market for the sale of their weapons by creating an adverse climate” (Independent, 6 April).

In an attempt to get other nations to fall in line with its get-tough-on-lran policy, the Clinton administration set an example by halting all commerce with Iran, blocking the contracts that Exxon, Texaco, Mobil and Caltex had with Iran, involving up to 650,000 barrels of oil per day, a deal worth $4.25 billion to the Iranian economy.

US attempts to isolate Iran economically were even evident in Azerbaijan where pressure was put on the Azeri government to halt a deal giving Tehran a five-percent share in a $7.4 billion contract to develop three oilfields in the Caspian Sea.

Russia too has been threatened with a withdrawal of nuclear co-operation with the US unless they cancel their $1 billion deal with Iran—a threat that brought a swift response from the Russian ambassador to Iran, who announced that “Moscow will not accept any advice from America about its relations with other countries, in particular with the Islamic Republic of Iran” (Guardian, 18 April).

For once, few countries seem to be taking the US seriously, least of all those in Europe. The Pentagon and the Commerce Department were warning in early March that abandoned US business would only be picked up by other countries.

Indeed, the Times (2 May) would go on to report that “British industry is ready to pick up the Iranian orders made available by the ban”. British capitalists, after all, are Iran’s fifth biggest trading partner, with exports of £289 million and imports of £133 million.

Economic catastrophe
The US would have us believe that they are simply aiming to frustrate Iran’s nuclear ambitions by direct economic action. Iran, however, as the US government is well aware, is facing economic catastrophe already, as well as political crisis. By the end of 1994, Iran had foreign debts totalling $16 billion. The rial is steadily being devalued and January saw the price of foodstuffs rocket by 30 percent and rioting in Tehran.

Iranian street culture, reported the Observer (12 February), “is dominated by petty crime, prostitution and drugs. Police turn a blind eye to most offences”. Such is the situation that government employees are accepting bribes just to supplement their wages and Iranians are reported as having to offer a bribe to get a hospital bed.

When Rafsanjani came to power, the West saw in him a “pragmatist” who would at least restore the US-lran relationship they had enjoyed before the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. After two terms in office, Western hopes have been dashed chiefly because all moves to stabilise relations with the West have been blocked by radical mullahs unable to conceive of coexistence and compromise.

Some commentators believe that Iran’s political and economic situation, aggravated by the US attempt to cast them in the mould of international pariah, together with next year’s contentious parliamentary elections, might foster a regression to a more radical foreign policy and bring about a military showdown with the US.

The US over years has become quite adept at profit-oriented long-term scenarios. So it would come as no surprise to Socialists if, under the guise of wishing to save the world from nuclear terrorism, the US is wittingly sowing the seeds for an Iranian civil war or, worse, a second Gulf War.

By intimidating Iran, manipulating their religious and secular sensitivities, they may force the mullahs to go on the offensive, if only to deflect Iranian attention from domestic ills. Bordering states are even nurturing ideas that they can now challenge Iran over disputed territory, lulled into a false sense of security because of the huge arsenals they have amassed, and more importantly, because a precedent has been set for the West to come to the aid of threatened Gulf states should things get out of hand.

March found Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd in Abu Dhabi openly siding with the United Arab Emirates in its dispute with Iran over strategic Gulf islands. Such shit-stirring is what the Gulf region needs least of all at the moment. It is enough that the people living here have to put up with reactionary regimes without living with the additional threat of war sparked by the hype churned out by the agents of Western capitalism. But, in a world ruled by the laws of capitalism, such is the price that has to be paid for living on a coast along which flows 40 percent of the world’s oil.
John Bissett

Political Notes: Farewell, Harold! (1981)

The Political Notes column from the April 1981 issue of the Socialist Standard

Farewell, Harold!

Ah, how Harold Wilson will be missed! Who can rival that calm defusing of the difficult TV question, lighting his pipe and losing the interviewer in a literal and metaphorical smokescreen so that he could get away without answering the question, or with answering one which hadn’t been asked!

Is there another such master of the facile, memorably headline-catching phrase, Like the “white hot technological revolution” which, in the early sixties, was going to bring in the age of boundless prosperity for us all. Like “a week in politics is a long time”, which meant that workers’ memories are peculiarly stunted about capitalism—a defect which its leaders exploit for all it is worth.

Will there be an equal in the art of the bland assurance that all things could be planned into docility by the magic Wilson touch? For nothing, if we are to believe Wilson, ever surprised him; his resignation as Prime Minister had, apparently, nothing to do with the mess of British capitalism under Labour but had been planned years before. Even the announcement of his impending retirement from Parliament has, he says, no bearing on the present split in the Labour Party.

Shall we ever see again such unshakeable audacity? Whenever the breath of scandal passed across him —which happened more often than a politician might hope—Wilson dealt with it by a simple denial. So it was that he wriggled out of a threatened exposure of Labour’s condoning Rhodesian sanctions busting. It was unlucky for him that the recipients of his infamous Resignation Honours exposed themselves so soon as crooks—or at least as the sort of crooks capitalism is liable to punish. But by then it had gone too far.

Yes he will be missed for he was a master politician—which means that he is the master of all the arts of manipulation, cynicism and plain deceit which capitalism’s politics require. And no doubt capitalism will reward him generously for his service.


In the 1945 election Tory newspapers often published the famous photograph of Clement Attlee giving the clenched fist salute at a Republican parade in the Spanish Civil War. This salute, the Tories warned us, meant that Attlee was really a Communist and if he ever became Prime Minister the way would be open for a full blooded revolution which would obliterate the monarchy, the House of Lords, cricket, tea on the lawn and everything else which is dear in the British Way of Life.

Well immediately on their taking power Attlee’s ministers were seen to be visiting the various royal homes and nervous defenders of the British Way of Life might have assumed that they were doing so in order to give the ruling class notice to quit.

Such paranoia would have been blind to the evidence, of which there was plenty, that the position of the British ruling class was being stoutly defended by that Labour government and that ruling class figureheads like the royal family were going about their business in complete assurance of their continued existence.

And now we have been given a glimpse of what actually went on during those visits. True, this glimpse (and it is secondhand at that) comes from the jealous, vindictive pen of Richard Crossman, whose contempt for his fellow politician was palpable (what must he have thought of the workers who voted for them?) but who did not tell lies all the time.

And Crossman has it that Labour ministers—including the austere, foreboding, one-time darling of the left wing Stafford Cripps—made fools of themselves in order to please the royals. Queen Elizabeth, for example, was always liable to be amused by the sight of ministers of the crown goose-stepping in line into a room.

So Attlee’s ministers goose-stepped. And the Queen laughed and perhaps commented on what nice, reassuring, unthreatening ministers she had in this supposedly revolutionary government. When the fun was over, the ministers returned to their labours of trying to control British capitalism while telling the working class that they were building socialism.

These people might well have felt contempt for the workers who with their votes acquiesced in such obscenities. When the workers express their contempt at it all—that is when we shall be making discernible progress.

Turning Thatcher

Come back Ted Heath, all is forgiven. Only by ignoring everyday facts can the Tories pretend that their policy is not in tatters. Thatcher’s defiant assurance to her party’s conference last autumn that “this lady’s not for turning” is becoming ever more embarrassing.

At the 1979 election the Tories claimed that solving the problems of British capitalism was really a simple matter; it had just escaped the attention of former governments, including Tory ones under Prime Ministers like Heath. One essential of the cure was that the governments should not interfere in wage disputes or to save unprofitable businesses. Left to themselves, to sink or swim in capitalism’s market economy, if they survived they would have proved their worth. If they went under well that would also be healthy because it would get rid of an industrial and commercial liability. So in the end we would all be more secure, richer.

Heath’s version of the same policy was that his government would not bale out “lame duck” firms and he too promised that his programme was a blindingly simple and effective remedy. Well it did not work out like that and Heath had to abandon his theories, with firms like Rolls Royce marking his retreat like tombstones.

In fact, the days are long gone when a capitalist class will allow basic industries to expire simply because their books don’t balance. Some industries have to be run at a loss in the overall interests of a national capitalism; thus most advanced industrial states subsidise their railways and their airlines — which means they pay to keep them going because they can’t afford to let them collapse.

Thatcher’s government is now openly recognising the force of this; they are pouring vast sums of money into British Leyland, British Steel and part of their climb down to the miners was a huge financial injection into the National Coal Board. Heath could not have been more generous.

With better luck in capitalism’s affairs, Thatcher’s rule might have coincided with a boom, which would have allowed her to claim that “monetarism” works. As it is, Saatchi and Saatchi have a big job on their hands for they must not only try to prove that “monetarism” is working but that it has even been tried.

A typical mess of deceit.

Marx on Force (1935)

From the February 1935 issue of the Socialist Standard

“ Force is the mid-wife of progress!” How completely this expression is misunderstood by many who use it! What Socialist Party speaker has not been confronted at some time or other by a callow youth or a bewhiskered old fogey who has either indignantly demanded to know why the S.P.G.B. has thrown the teaching of Marx overboard, or has condescendingly, not to say pityingly, “explained” that nothing can be done through Parliament. To most of our critics, “force” means almost anything but action for the capture and control of the State machine. It may mean the “general strike” or, as Daniel de Leon preferred to call it, the “general lock-out of the capitalist class." It may mean the blind, spontaneous upheaval of an unorganised mass or the deliberate insurrection of an armed minority. It may mean a combination of all these reactions to capitalist pressure; but nowhere does Marx indicate that it is to action on these lines that we must look for deliverance from our fetters.

Let us take a glance at the context of the pregnant phrase as Marx uses it. It occurs in the fifth paragraph of Chap. 31 of “Capital” (p. 776, Swan Sonnenschein edition), which reads as follows: —
The different momenta of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain. Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England, at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part upon brute force, e.g., the colonial system; but they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.
The chapter is entitled “The genesis of the industrial capitalist,” and is packed with examples of how the State, in the hands of the capitalist class, wiped out the old classes of feudal society at home (including the peasants and handicraftsmen) and also destroyed the social organisation of more primitive peoples in other parts of the world, in the quest for markets, raw materials and labour power. This was done partly by military and partly by economic measures; for the State, being “the concentrated and organised force of society,” can use either, as the need arises. It is itself an economic power, appropriating and expropriating by taxation, direct and otherwise, the incomes and means of livelihood of the small property owners whose existence stands in the way of capitalist development. At the same time it converts itself into a channel of investment by the huge loans it floats. The holder of State-bonds escapes the risks accompanying the various non-State forms of commercial, industrial or financial enterprise.

There need, therefore, be no confusion as to what Marx and Engels meant when they wrote of “the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions” at the end of the “Communist Manifesto.”

The authors state that, “The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class.”

The State, in the eyes of Marx and Engels, is the supreme expression of force in society. In the hands of the master-class it checkmates every move on the part of the workers which might endanger the property rights of the masters. Let some of the workers seize what few arms they can and it meets their puny force with greater force. Let them indulge in a widespread strike, whether of the stop-in or the stay-out variety, and it mobilises this same force to ensure to the capitalist class the control of the food supplies and essential services.

Throughout the struggle between the workers and their masters the control of the State power decides upon which side victory lies. The capture of this power by the workers, consciously organised as a class for the purpose, is the essential first step towards their emancipation. To choose any other line is, in the words of Marx to the First International at the Hague, in 1872, “To renounce the things of this world.”
Eric Boden

What is the function of the Capitalist? (1906)

From the August 1906 issue of the Socialist Standard

THE amazing assertion is sometimes heard that under Socialism the community will assume the function of the capitalist! This, too, from the lips of men popularly supposed to be Socialists. It would at first glance appear that the worst accusations of the enemy are supported by this, and that the robbery of the workers which is now done by the capitalist will become the function of the “nation," and that Socialism is but state capitalism.

When, however, these alleged Socialists are taken to task upon this question, it is found that their grave error has its foundation in their ignorance of the real function of the capitalist: for it is by them asserted that his function is the organisation of industry! In the face of the gluts and crises, the unemployed and the overworked in capitalist society, it is difficult to take this last assertion seriously; whilst it is, at best, only remotely excusable by the fact that capitalism, in spite of itself, leads up to the organisation of industry, which is Socialism.

Under capitalism, in the race for profits, it is a fact that the production of wealth in the individual factory becomes better organised, and that these organised units of production grow in size until they reach the ‘'trust” stage. But although the community must seize these instruments which have matured in capitalist society in order that production and distribution may be organised; although, in fact, Socialism must stand on the economic foundations laid during capitalism, it is nevertheless no more true that the function of the capitalist is the organisation of industry than it is that the function of the criminal is to create houses of correction and a system of judicature because these follow from his presence.

Just as capital is that part of wealth which is used to obtain a profit, so the function of the capitalist, as such, is the obtaining of profit from the labour of others, in short, the robbery of the workers. This is quite obvious because the capitalist seeks his profit as readily in the disorganisation as in the organisation of production. Nevertheless, because the largest profits, on the whole, come from the better organised units of production; because in the evolution of industry “natural selection” in most cases favours organisation on a large scale, organised production has become a feature of modern industry; a feature that must be controlled, perfected and socially co-ordinated with distribution before industry can really be organised, and the terrible antagonisms of growing poverty against growing wealth, and of increasing unemployed against more intense toil for those in work, can at last be ended.

In another way, equally, the assertion that the organisation of industry is the function of the capitalist can be seen to be nonsense. What comprises the “activities" of a typical modern capitalist? He will be found most of his time on the shores of the Mediterranean or at some other equally desirable place—organising industry? Not a bit of it; he is enjoying himself with his profits. Occasionally, it is true, he glances at the quotations on 'Change with an eye to the purchase or sale of stock, and at certain intervals he receives his dividend warrants, which he sends to the banker and is credited with the dividends. He knows practically nothing but the names and share tallies of the various companies from which he draws his revenue. The whole of the organisation (or disorganisation as the case may be) is done by hired workers, and he, by the ownership of wealth, by the monopoly of the means whereby wealth is produced, is enabled to exact toll from those whose labour-power is their only property. He is master of the situation and all are eager to serve him; his manager in consideration of a promised increase in pay will endeavour to screw more profit for him from those beneath, and so soon through the whole gamut of his slaves.

The ownership of the mine, land, railway, factory or machinery thus enables the capitalist to exert an economic tyranny over the non-possessors of wealth, robbing them of the fruits of their labour. It is those who work who are organising industry, and they, in broadcloth or fustian, are distinct from the capitalist; his peculiar function it is to obtain profit somehow, for only while he ran obtain it is he a capitalist.

Notwithstanding, then, the asseverations of alleged Socialists, whose deficient knowledge makes the task of the scientific Socialist so much more difficult, it is obvious that the function of the capitalist is not the organisation of industry, but the robbery of the workers. It is also obvious that the community under Socialism will not assume the function of the capitalist, but will abolish both the capitalist, as such, and his function; whilst the organisation of industry will at last become an accomplished fact with his disappearance.
F. C. Watts