Friday, April 8, 2016

Pioneers and others (1978)

From the January 1978 issue of the Socialist Standard

If The Socialist Party of Great Britain did not already exist, there would be urgent need for it. Yet it is more than 70 years since the Party was formed with the uncompromising aim of “Socialism and Socialism alone”. It did not happen in a vacuum with the founding members inventing the definition of Socialism. The group of men and women who in 1904 formed the SPGB had been members of the Social Democratic Federation, but left because they objected to its programme of reforms and making alliances with capitalist parties. “For all purposes of effective propaganda they [the SDF] have ceased to exist, and are surely developing into a mere reform party, seeking to obtain the provision of Free Maintenance for school children.” (Socialist Standard, Sept. 1904.) It was their knowledge of Marxian economics and working-class history and their experience in the SDF that guided them when drawing up the Object and Declaration of Principles (see inside front cover) for the new Party. Today we find no reason to change the uncompromising attitude taken by our early comrades. To understand why, it is necessary to look at the growth of socialist ideas. Here we can only be brief.

Early utopian and co-operative ideas of land reform and self-help were a reaction to the changes as capitalism consolidated its victory over feudalism. They are easily understood in the context of the times. The answer to the terrible conditions imposed by capitalist farming and the rapidly developing factory system was seen in terms of maintaining small-scale production. The forerunners of socialist thought looked at conditions from a moral standpoint. They saw the suffering of workers who produced wealth but lived in poverty; their view can be expressed as “the right of the workers to the whole produce of labour”. In The Communist Manifesto (1848) Marx and Engels showed the solution to be political action by the proletariat based upon the class struggle. (At that time they pictured an immature working class taking political power before capitalism was fully developed.) Marx investigated from a scientific standpoint and disclosed the production of surplus-value as an economic fact.

Though the 1832 Reform Bill left working men outside political reform, their attention became focussed on political action to redress their grievances. They provided mass support for the Chartist movement. Following the collapse of the 1848 and Chartist movements there was a decline in working-class activities. Marx retired to his studies and his Critique of Political Economy appeared in 1859.

By the 1860s Benefit Societies were giving way to new unions prepared to use the strike as a weapon. More active trade-union leaders looked to parliamentary action to obtain reforms and put unions on a legal basis. A group of these leaders (“the Junta”) formed the London Trades Council, which sought contact with continental groups. In July 1864, at a meeting to protest about the suppression of a Polish nationalist revolt, some Parisian workers expressed the desire for an international union of workers. English TU leaders favoured the idea as they wished to restrict the import of foreign workers, who were used as strike-breakers. A fraternal address was sent to French workers; in September 1864, at a meeting arranged to welcome the French delegation with their fraternal reply, the International Working Men’s Association was born. It was agreed to have a Central Council (later named the General Council) in London and a provisional committee to work out details. Marx, who had been invited to the meeting, was appointed to both of these and also to the subcommittee formed to prepare an Address and Draft Rules.

The Address, written by Marx, gives a picture of conditions in England. The progressive accumulation of wealth by the propertied classes between 1848 and 1864 is contrasted with the poverty of the working class. It points out that the emancipation of labour is not a local or a national but a social problem; that the emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class themselves; and that they must conquer political power. However the Address had to be acceptable to people holding a wide range of views, and this is its weakness. In a letter to Engels dated 4th November 1864 Marx outlined the difficulty: “only I was obliged to insert two phrases about ‘duty’ and ‘right’ into the preamble to the statutes, ditto ‘truth, morality and justice’, but these are placed in such a way that they can do no harm”. And: “It was difficult to frame the thing so that our view should appear in a form acceptable from the present standpoint of the workers’ movement.”

Though a valuable experience in working-class co-operation, the IWMA was formed by people with different ends in view as well as different policies to reach them. English TU leaders were not interested in Communist ideas but took part only to promote their narrow TU interests. They left allegedly as a reaction to the Commune 1871, but its usefulness to them was at an end. The 1867 Reform Bill had introduced Household Suffrage (on a limited basis). Their own Congress began in 1868, and trade unions were made legal in 1871. What TU leaders saw as the purpose of the International was for Marx and Engels only the beginning. Their concern was the development of class-consciousness, which they expected to come from combined action and mutual discussion in the struggle against capital. They were optimistic about the imminence of the social revolution and thought the time was ripe for another uprising (“the re-awakened movement”).

Towards the end of the nineteenth century there was a new kind of union, organized on the basis of industry rather than special skill or craft, with relatively small contributions. Unskilled workers were becoming organized. These unions offered no benefits, concentrating instead on strike pay. They were concerned with wages and conditions of work and looked to the state to replace the welfare work formerly carried out by Benefit Societies.

This period saw the formation of social-democratic parties in England. In the ’eighties the Social Democratic Federation, the Fabian Society and the Socialist League; in the ’nineties the Independent Labour Party. The SDF and the Socialist League claimed their basis as Marxism, while the Fabians and the ILP spurned “imported ideas”. They saw the basis of Socialism as “reason” and “justice” mixed with religion. All took their starting-point as the class division in society, All had programmes of immediate demands. They fought one another but combined for celebrations and protests, and exchanged lecturers and writers. By 1890 the Socialist League had turned anarchist, opposing parliamentary action, and fallen to pieces. Union leaders were influenced by Socialist ideas. During the long periods of depression the unions could not defend workers against the erosion of gains made in better times. In 1900 the Labour Representation Committee was formed by leaders of the ILP and trade-union officials, to give unions an independent political voice. (In 1906 it became the Labour Party.)

The inspiration for the founding of the Second International was an International Exhibition to be held in Paris in July 1889, to mark the centenary of the French Revolution. French radicals saw it as a good time to express their antagonisms to Capitalism by rival demonstrations of international organizations of labour. The Provisional Agenda agreed for the Paris Congress included international labour legislation, regulation of the working day, inspection of factories, and means to obtain those demands. In other words, the International was founded with reformist aims. Reform policies were part of the programmes of all of the social-democratic parties: the part which gained them support. The German SDF polled a million and a half votes in the 1890 election. (Despite the Anti-Socialist Laws—which then came to an end!) The Erfurt Programme adopted by the German party in 1891 gave a correct analysis of existing society. It pointed out that the way to the emancipation of the proletariat and the entire human race was for “the conversion of capitalistic private property in the means for production into social property with socialistic production”, and recognized that this could “only be the work of the labouring class”. But the preamble to the rules concluded with the intention to struggle “in the present society, not only against exploitation and oppression of the wageworkers, but against every kind of exploitation and oppression, whether directed against class, party, sex, or race”.

Having a programme of reforms inevitably means finding a way to implement it. The question of compromise was brought to a head when Millerand, a leader of the United French Socialist Party, was invited to join the French Liberal Cabinet. Some felt it was “not right”, but others like Jaurès argued that in office Millerand could ameliorate working-class conditions. He took office in 1899 as Minister of Commerce and Industry, and later became President of France. During his first period of office Millerand appealed for time to put reforms into operation, and for workers to exercise patience and respect “law and order”. When the workers lost patience, this “socialist” Minister used the forces of law and order against them.

At each Congress of the International theoretical assertions were made and practical reform programmes discussed. The subject of war came up at every Congress, and the attitudes expressed were in line with the compromising attitude to reform. Resolutions were regularly passed which in part recognised that war will only disappear with the abolition of capitalism and the triumph of Socialism. But the fraternal associates argued the necessity to resist aggression and defend national achievements against interference from without: views reminiscent of the pronouncements on “offensive and defensive wars” during the 1870 Franco-German war. Marx called attention to the fact that the German government was no longer fighting a “defensive war”—it had annexed Alsace-Lorraine.

The SPGB sent delegates to the 1904 Congress in Amsterdam but withdrew from the International when it was realized that the level of Socialist understanding in the Continental Social Democratic Parties was no better than in the English parties. Respect for the theoretical exponents of Socialism received a blow in 1906 when Bebel and Lafargue hailed the election of a Liberal government as a victory for International Socialism. When war came in 1914 the Second International collapsed. Ignoring the class struggle, the SDPS in each country gave patriotic support to their national governments. The SPGB immediately declared opposition to the “Business War”, and has opposed all subsequent wars. Since the working class has no country how can it be defended?

The SPGB case is based on Marxian economics and the materialist view of history, but takes into account that Marx and Engels were pioneers and early attempts at working-class organization are seen in the context of their times. Today we underline the vital lesson learned that the issue of Socialism must be kept clear.
Pat Deutz

Wages and their abolition (1977)

From the December 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

The average worker knows that the money he receives in wages from his employer has to be paid out in living expenses both for himself and his family. For the most part the money is paid out in food, articles of clothing, rent or mortgage payments, fares, and other numerous items of household and personal expenditure. The standard of living of the workers depends on the quantity and quality of these items they can afford to buy. If prices rise their living expenses will rise, and unless they are able to take steps to keep up the price of their own labour they will have to curtail their expenditure and suffer a reduction in their standard of living.

All this is so clearly obvious that most workers regard it as their natural condition in life; a condition to which they must adjust or sink into the abyss of the drop-out or the down-and-out. The workers live their lives for the purpose of serving capital, although they are not often aware of it. In a world of commodities their labour-power too is a commodity and is inseparable from their living selves. The capitalist buys labour-power, the worker sells it. Not only that, they have to keep on selling it as long as there appears to be no alternative way of getting a livelihood. All workers dream of happier times, of perhaps coming into a fortune, of becoming a capitalist and leaving behind the tedium and drudgery of wage-slavery. This dream rarely comes true, and most workers know it. However bleak the immediate prospects, there is a bright future; a future which is well within the grasp of the working class and is theirs for the taking.

Over the thousands of years men have spent in civilized society they have developed and perfected tremendous productive forces which can produce all the wealth that society requires. When we discuss productive forces we are not just referring to machinery and applied technology. The working class is the greatest productive force of all. This social organization carries in its social brain the accumulated knowledge born of centuries of experience of man’s struggle against nature in the act of production. How to grow things, how to breed animals, how to build, construct, educate, and investigate; how to divide its productive activity by the organization of the social division of labour. Men have created a new environment. They have extended their senses by the creation of the machine age, an age which seems to threaten the very existence of millions of its creators by removing them from the productive process through unemployment. To the average working man the social powers of production appear to be beyond his comprehension. In his mind they represent forces which are almost supernatural. To begin with, they are owned by the capitalists and he has no access to these forces except on the conditions dictated by capital, which means in effect that he produces not for himself but for his employer.

If workers looked at their class interests they would see that the means of production and distribution were developed by the working class, continually improved by the working class, and they only function because workers alone perform useful labour without which society could not survive. The workers think subjectively, they look for an escape-pattern or for some cushioning factor which will alleviate or help them adjust to life under capitalism. In the first place they will look for solutions in wage increases, and then social reform. Both of these are dead ends. However much it may be argued that increases in wages are in the interests of the working class, it is quite clear that the energy, time and effort spent in achieving wage increases have to be continually expended. This is the vicious circle which the socialist seeks to break out of. We advocate and propagate the abolition of the wages system. We do this because the social relation of wage-labour and capital restricts the productive process, because productive activity is limited to the needs of the market, and that the marketing of goods must be profitable to those who own and control the means of production and distribution.

The abolition of the wages system could only be accomplished if the means of production and distribution were taken away from their present owners, in other words, to remove the social capital from the ownership and control of the capitalist class and make them social property. There is no reason why this cannot be done, and there is also no reason why production cannot take place with the sole object of fulfilling social and individual needs.

It is not what the capitalists want that matters. Obviously they would want things to remain as they are. It’s what the working class wants that matters. Society is theirs for the taking. All that is necessary is a change of mind on their part. If workers stopped supporting capitalist candidates at the elections and supported socialist candidates they would achieve a peaceful revolution for Socialism.
Jim D'Arcy

Plymouth gets socialist sound (1977)

Party News from the November 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

On Tuesday 20th July a watery sun shone over Plymouth Hoe. Flags fluttered in the breeze; stands were being erected for the forthcoming visit of the Queen; there was a holiday atmosphere. Into this was thrown the SPGB. We had been invited to take part in a two-hour phone- in-debate programme on Plymouth Sound Radio: an opportunity we grabbed with both hands.

I had the pleasure of representing the Party; my opponent was Mike Robertson, local businessman. A flamboyant character. I cannot give replies we both made to all the questions. Best perhaps to give some of the points Mike Robertson made in his answers and in opposition to our case. "Things have improved and I hope that over the next 100 years things will get better" . . .  "I vote Liberal in the hope that they might balance the scales between the extremes of Left and Right" . . . “Human nature is doing the very best for yourself and your family; wanting to do better than the chap next door” . . . "I’m sorry for the starving people, but charity begins at home" . . . "Socialism is wrong, it is anti-christ and unrealistic” . . .  “Castrate all rapists" . . .  “I would applaud the husband who kills the lodger he finds in bed with his wife” . . . “Capitalism is not perfect—it needs change" . . . "If we all made 10 per cent more effort without 10 per cent more wages, our problems would largely be solved" . . . And so on.

But what about the various questions? I made a short opening statement, laying down the broad policy of the Party; its opposition to other parties and the essence of Socialism—production to satisfy human needs. Questions ranged over a wide field, certain aspects cropping up time and time again. Leadership; the erosion of freedom and choice; unemployment and work; socialism and Russia. We have a tape of the whole programme and I quote a few questions, more or less in full.

Ruth: "I’ve been waiting a long time to put this point to your Socialist speaker. How, in what way, with what carrot will we encourage the lazy won’t-work to work in this utopia?” This provided a good opportunity to deal with unemployment and its cause (figures published that day were 1½ million). The incentive in a socialist society for people to give of their best.

John (obviously a young lad): “That socialist whatever his name, Cyril I think: can he make his position a bit clearer? I keep on getting him confused with Labour. His state-ownership things get me confused with Nationalization as well." Our opposition to the Labour Party was stressed in my reply. I dealt with nationalization in detail and its failure to solve any of the real problems.

John: "According to the press we have socialism in Russia, China and some African countries. Hitler said he was a socialist. Tory and Liberal parties say if we vote Labour we shall get socialism. What is the difference between what exists in these countries and what is advocated by the SPGB?” A question all speakers welcome. I made the point that our attitude to Russia was in print within months of the 1917 revolution. That the economic conditions did not exist for Socialism and neither did the Russians want it. Beware of bogus labels on bottles. When you understand what socialism is you can answer the Tory accusations. Socialism does not exist anywhere in the world—what we have is global capitalism.

David made some good points. "Nobody’s been listening to you. What Cyril is trying to talk about is world-wide socialism. No factory lines. A happier world. No nationalism. No wars.”

Perhaps the most difficult point to make was our attitude to leadership. Questioners thought leaders were essential to any society and failed to grasp the delegation of function. Bureaucrats were dismissed by another John "if we involve society as a whole”—a helpful contribution.

Some questioners visualised Socialism as a world of "giving orders”; where freedom of choice would be eliminated and we would be told what to do and when to do it. I hope I left them with sufficient ideas to have another look in the mirror of capitalism, and see if what they attribute to Socialism is but a reflex of the present system.

Crime came up. Pamela wanted to know what we would do to those who commit crimes against persons. The absence (rightly so) of the Party having a blueprint to deal with this and other problems did not satisfy the questioner. That society at the time will have to solve such problems seemed rather a lot to swallow at the first taste.

This propaganda is so different in many ways. You are on first-name terms with your questioners and yet you cannot see them. From their remarks you try and conjure up a picture of them. I’m sure Elizabeth, who said I made her sick in the stomach and she would willingly shoot the lot of us socialists is not really a violent person. New ideas that must seem outrageous in the first instance bring wild reactions.

David Bassett, the programme presenter, helped try and widen the issues. He wanted to know what part gold would play, if any, in a socialist society; the rôle of marriage; the greedy people, and our attitude to religion.

A member of Central Branch, living in the district, phoned HO that evening. He could not believe his ears. Never in his wildest dreams had he thought he would hear the Party on his radio. It gave him a new lease of life.

It was a most enjoyable experience and the constant reminder (in between commercials and news items) that we were the Socialist Party of Great Britain means that our name is known in that area by many people. I hope I did the Party justice.

In the afternoon I took a boat trip around the dockyard. There stood much of the might of British capitalism. Warships. Many were lined up for the scrap heap—one kind of waste followed by another.
Cyril May

The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1977)

From the October 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

The French Revolution of 1789 ended the rule of feudalism and severely curtailed the activities of its institutions, in particular the Catholic Church. The conditions for the advance of capitalism were established. These were free competition, development of industry, and the development and exploitation of the working class through wage-labour and capital. Ten years later, arising from the dissension between the various sections of the new ruling class, on 9th Nov. 1799 (18th Brumaire) Napoleon Bonaparte abolished the Legislative Assembly (parliament) and set up a military dictatorship.

Marx, in writing the contemporary account of the events set out in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte pointed out that Oliver Cromwell did almost the same thing in England, by dissolving the Long Parliament and declaring himself Lord Protector in 1653. Both these military dictators represented the interests of developing capitalism against the old royalist and feudal aristocracy, and were able to take over political power in the confused and often bitter struggles which took place between rival economic interests after the revolution had been achieved.

It is because capitalism is a class society with conflicting interests between capitalists that even when the fight against the old feudal regime has been successfully accomplished, time must elapse before the revolution can be consolidated and the various interests reconciled. The collective interests of the capitalist class are not necessarily the interests of its members separately. It was the historical task of both Cromwell and Napoleon to push forward the capitalist revolution, and do it quickly. If the representatives of the new order could not come to terms with each other through the parliamentary process, then a dictator would act arbitrarily. In the circumstances prevailing at those periods in history, both Napoleon and Cromwell emerged as the “great men” of the time.

Fifty-two years later, in December 1851, France found herself with another dictator; this time Napoleon’s nephew Louis Bonaparte, who tried to play the part of his uncle in an economic and political situation which was different. Marx said in the opening words of The 18th Brumaire: “Hegel remarked that all facts and personages in world history occur as it were twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

The first Napoleon has dissolved parliament in 1798, whereas parliament in 1851 literally handed over all its powers to Louis Bonaparte. The coup d’état, or the alleged seizure of power which had been forecast since 1849, took place with the support of all sections of the capitalist class, including the industrial bourgeoisie. Bonaparte had undertaken to iron out quarrels and stop the movement for the restoration of the monarchy. He promised tranquility. As it subsequently turned out, far from being the saviour of France and following in the footsteps of his uncle, he was a rogue of the first order who plundered state funds.

The struggles which preceded the rise of Louis Napoleon were the expressions of the economic interests of the various sections of the capitalist class. France was a predominantly agricultural country, and firstly there was the recurring struggle between town and country property interests. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the monarchy had been restored and generally carried on a reaction against the revolution of 1789. In 1830 the upper tier of the capitalists (described by Marx as the aristocracy of finance, bankers, stock exchange operators, iron and coal mine owners, and landed proprietors) threw out the Bourbons and landed aristocracy, and appointed Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, as a bourgeois liberal monarch. This event was known as “the July monarchy”. In 1848 the lower tier of the capitalists, the industrial bourgeoisie, who formed part of the official opposition, revolted and threw out Louis Philippe in what was later described as the February revolution. (See Class Struggles in France by Marx.)

In these uprisings the working class supported one side or the other. Thousands of workers were slaughtered in the streets of Paris during the June revolution of 1848, when they sided with the small capitalists in a bid for political power. The revolt was defeated, but the big capitalists knew it was only a matter of time before their political supremacy was challenged again. This was one of the important factors which lay behind the transfer of political power to Louis Bonaparte. They chose him as a dictator who abrogated the constitution, introduced censorship of the press, replaced the civil courts by military tribunals, and ruled entirely by the brute force of state power. However, the suspension of the constitution affected the capitalists themselves. It was not in their interests that all their activities should be subjected to state interference, or that public finances and taxation and control of the armed forces should be outside the power of parliament, or to watch Louis Bonaparte and the parasites who surrounded him, drinking and guzzling at their expense.

Under the first Napoleon the French armies had swept across Europe to extend and further the economic interests of French capitalism. But military conquest is a means to an end, the end being the development of trade and industry. Fifty years after the 18th Brumaire of Napoleon I, industry and commerce had made tremendous strides. French capitalism no longer needed imperial generals, it needed business men, scientists and economists. “Its real military leaders sat behind the office desk. The hog headed Louis XVIII (Philippe) was its political chief.” It was no longer a question of whether the revolution of 1789 stood in danger of being overwhelmed by reactionary feudal elements through the disorganization and disagreement of the new ruling class. Capitalism had arrived and there was no putting the clock back.

Louis Bonaparte was out of his time, an anachronism. He was representing a dead epoch and was dominated by the traditions of the past. The revolution of 1789 used the slogans of the old Roman Republic; so did Louis Bonaparte. Once the crisis was over the purpose had gone, but the traditions and names of the past became implanted in the memory of the living. The first Napoleon, in line with the aims of the revolution, had divided up the old feudal lands and created millions of small-holding peasants. The amount of produce from the land is limited; peasant families were always in debt and had to mortgage their land. As Marx put it: “The feudal lords are replaced with the urban usurers.” However, the magic of the name Napoleon produced in the minds of the peasants the idea that he would redress their grievances, as did his uncle, and they supported him. It was this class, about 16 million people, which was represented by Louis Napoleon. From Marx’s point of view this representation was reactionary: peasant property had become an obsolete form. It is only through the development of the capitalist form of production that Socialism becomes a possibility.

The French capitalist political parties all had one thing in common: to keep the working class in their position as wage-slaves. That their own class interests were being represented in different ways by a variety of political spokesmen, and the differences over the disposal of the social wealth produced by workers were bound to arise, did not alter the basic unity amongst the exploiters.

With Louis Bonaparte the capitalists of France chose to impede their own development rather than risk a confrontation with the working class. By choosing the adventurer they did as their caretaker, and abdicating political power, they felt they had made themselves secure. It proved expensive, and in the end it took Bismarck and the Franco Prussian War of 1870 to finally remove him.
Jim D'Arcy

Which political philosophy? (1977)

From the September 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

The view held by the SPGB, that Socialism can only be established when a large majority of the working class understand it, is constantly being attacked. The attack comes not from capitalists but mainly from supporters of the Labour Party, the Communists, and the “left-wing” militants. All without exception question the ability of the working class to understand Socialism. Having satisfied themselves that the task is impossible, they then proceed to matters of the moment, which putting it in a nutshell really means how to create a social environment where the working class will live happy and content under capitalism. That is their objective, although they deny it, because they can have no other. If left-wing parties refuse to take up the revolutionary position which aims at the abolition of the wages system and the conversion of state and private property into common property, then they remain parties of capitalism not withstanding that they claim to oppose it.

We have often been told that the real problem is the lack of unity of the working-class movement. What we are not told is what basis there can be for unity. Are Socialists supposed to unite with those who want to reform and administer capitalism, like the Labour and Communist Parties? Or do we unite with those who claim Socialism can be established by a well-meaning leadership without a class-conscious working class? Do we unite with those who see Socialism as a system based on state control and state ownership of industry: and lastly, do we unite with those who refuse to recognize the parliamentary road to Socialism? If there is no common ground upon which agreement can be reached then there can be no unity. Socialists are always prepared to unite for socialism. The rest of the parties are like the King in Hamlet: “Their words fly up but their thoughts remain below, and words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

It is not the wish of the SPGB to be separate for the sake of being so. The position is that we cannot be a popular reform party attempting to mop up immediate problems, and revolutionary at the same time. We cannot have a half-way house; nor can we accommodate the more timid members of our class who abhor what they describe as “extreme” policies, and spend their time looking for compromises. The Socialist case is so fundamentally different, involving as it does the literal transformation of society, that we must expect mental resistance before Socialist ideas have finally become consolidated in the mind.

However, lying behind the propaganda of the Socialists are the social and economic conditions of a class society which weigh heavily on the working class. Unemployment, threats of war, insecurity and poverty are ever present. These are the incentive to Socialism. We are not dealing with the purely philosophical question of whether workers can take Socialism or leave it. If workers do not accept the need to establish a revolutionary system of production based on democratic control and common ownership, there is no other way open to them to achieve their release from capitalism. It is all or nothing.

The master-and-servant mentality is imbued in the worker. While he starts and finishes his active life as a wage slave, ideas are spoon-fed to him by the propaganda machine of the capitalist. Left Wing propaganda offering leadership adds to the impression that he is an inferior being who is incapable of thinking, organizing and acting.

The proposition that the workers, who undertake the entire responsibility for the running of the present vast complex social system from the productive to the administrative level, are incapable of understanding the simple facts of Socialism is untenable. It isn’t the capacity to understand which is lacking, but the comparative dearth of Socialist ideas and propaganda. Socialism depends on working-class understanding in the same way as capitalism depends on working-class acquiescence and support. It cannot be brought about through crises or the collapse theory, war, or other catastrophe. The capitalist class can do little to prevent the spread of Socialist ideas, regardless that they control organs of propaganda. They cannot stop or suspend the class struggle, or interrupt the general motion of history. The materialist conception of history has the same significance for society as the law of gravity has for physical science. It lays down that struggles on the political field are the expression of class conflicts which emerge in the final form between workers and capitalists, or between capital and labour.

When men become conscious of the need to change from capitalist society to Socialism we will move forward into a higher social era. The conditions are ripe and the revolutionary route well signposted. The job of the Socialist is to speed the process, and not the impossible task of trying to make wage- slavery more palatable. The reformers have had their day and there is nothing to show for it. The prospect of Socialism is the only progressive philosophy, because men will adjust for the first time in history, to a new social environment which they will have created for themselves. Only then will we see the spread of social culture emerging from a society which produces for use instead of profit.
Jim D'Arcy

Infantile Disorders (1977)

Book Review from the August 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

Why You Should be a Socialist by John Strachey. Gollancz, 2d. 1938.
Why You Should be a Socialist by Paul Foot. Socialist Worker, 35p. 1977.

Strachey's pamphlet sold over 300,000 copies before the war. It is not difficult to see why. It was simply-written and readable, and the early chapters gave some enlightenment about the class division in society, wages and capitalist production.

According to Strachey’s biographer Hugh Thomas, he was assisted in his bigger works by Palme Dutt and Emile Burns of the Communist Party, and it shows in curious ways in this pamphlet. Its easy, popular and slightly condescending style derives from Robert Blatchford’s Merrie England, from which Strachey quotes. When it comes to the more detailed explanations, it wobbles between theories of various kinds. Crises occur because the workers cannot buy back what they produce; consuming power could be increased by higher wages, but that would eat into the rate of profit and stop the system working. Therefore the capitalists export their capital, and this leads to the “collision of empires” which causes wars . . .  help! One imagines Strachey mopping his brow after a session with the pundits two, wishing he really understood it, and going home reading the Blatchford he’d kept hidden in his pocket.

But what was it you had to believe in to Be a Socialist? Russia, of course. Strachey introduces it stealthily. Socialism means, he says, state ownership, public corporations and regulated wages. Then phrases creep in: not what will or would happen, but what does happen in “socialist society”, changing at last to “the existing socialist country, the Soviet Union”. After that it is all clear for a chapter in praise of Russia (opened by quoting “a great American writer”, Lincoln Steffens—“I have seen the future, and it works”).

Paul Foot’s pamphlet cost forty-two times as much as Strachey’s did. It is well produced, illustrated with cartoons, vigorously written, but not as instantly readable; whereas Strachey wrote as a teacher anxious for simple things to sink in, Foot writes as a talker who is hard to stop. Like Strachey, when he is slating the existing state of capitalism he has some good material, and his pamphlet provides plenty of facts and quotations.

However, the fundamental difference between the two is the clarity of their messages. Strachey’s message was naive, but it came over clearly to the reader who got to the end: state management as they have in Russia is the answer, so support Russia and try to get their system here. No such plain conclusion emerges from Foot’s pamphlet. The reader may have his sympathy engaged by parts of it; he is told he must get into “every little battle”; but what is the object of the campaign? Nobody seems to be able to say coherently.

Socialism is said to have three principles—the social ownership of the means of production, equality, and “a workers’ democracy”. The first two can mean everything or nothing, depending on how they are conceived, but the third is incomprehensible. “Workers” exist as a category only when there is some other category, by implication employers. There are also to be tenants (implying landlords) and consumers (i.e. buyers, implying sellers), and a government which guarantees social welfare and imposes a maximum income. In the armed forces the officers will be elected instead of appointed, likewise judges; and the jury system will be extended so that “laying down punishment” is done more democratically.

Not only has none of this anything to do with Socialism—it implies an almost frightening lack of vision of what Marx’s “human society” should be like. The muddled details could come from a nineteen-twenties Labour Party pamphlet attempting to show a benevolent, regulated capitalism. Incidentally, if democracy is “indispensable”, as Foot says, he may care to explain in a future exposition why members of his Socialist Workers’ Party disrupt other people’s meetings.

The most revealing touch is where Foot refers to Strachey as “one of the finest socialist intellectuals”. Yet Strachey was wrong and abandoned his views; Foot, who rejects Russia, agrees that Strachey was wrong. So in another forty years a third Why You Should be a Socialist may sing Foot’s praises while quashing what he says now. But there is a justification for the title of these two pamphlets. Both demonstrate why you should be a Socialist and ignore all this twaddle.
Robert Barltrop

From America: Those “Neutral” Agencies of Capitalism (1977)

From the July 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

Perhaps the number one source of confusion on the economics of capitalism, among capitalists and workers alike, is the fact that we live in a class society and that the needs of the capitalist class — as a class — are paramount. Since those needs are indissolubly wrapped up in the process by which labour is legally stripped of the enormous quantity of wealth it creates over and above what it gets in wages, for the perpetuation of capitalism as a system of society, any Government agency that purports to arbitrate the separate and distinct rights of labor and “management” can be neutral only within the framework of the capitalist philosophy, itself.

On the one hand, it must regulate and restrict labor in its attempts to organize while, on the other, it dictates to individual business the scope of its resistance and/or cooperation in such efforts. But the overall emphasis must be to keep capitalism operating as smoothly as is humanly possible. If, in the process, the agency tramps on the bunions of businesses by making decisions favorable to workers in labor disputes — or vice versa — what the hell! It’s all for the greater glory of capitalism. In the skirmishes between the owning and working class, each side wins some and loses some but the system, itself, always emerges the winner.

In the USA we have the National Labor Relations Board established as an “independent agency” of the Government by the National Labor Relations Act of July 5, 1935 (labor’s supposed “Bill of Rights”) during the first term of that widely recognized “champion of workers’ rights”, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and amended at various intervals since. The stated purpose:
The act affirms the right of employees to self organization and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing or to refrain from any or all such activities. To effectuate this policy, the act prohibits certain unfair labor practices and authorizes the Board to designate appropriate units for collective bargaining and to conduct secret ballots to determine the exclusive representative of employees. (United States Government Organization MANUAL 1967-68).
The assumption is, of course, that the interests of labor and those of capital are one: to maintain full production and, on the face of it, this would seem to be self-evident. Can there be any doubt that workers must, generally, have employment in order to survive? On the other hand, is it not plain that full production provides the greatest opportunity for a healthy economy? So why, then, is a “neutral” Government agency required to administer such obvious “apparentness?” To referee, so to speak, what is a continual slugfest between those “partners” in US capitalism? And is this not a strange sort of partnership, an odd common interest, when in the month of April, 1977:
Some 308,000 workers were involved in S50 strikes . . . when idleness attributed to labor turmoil rose for the third straight month. The Labor Department said 3 million work days were lost to strikes during April, about 1 million days more than the previous month.
(Boston Globe, 28th May 1977.)
No. Governments and their agencies can never represent the real interests of the working class because their very existence implies a master-slave relationship and the consequent need to hide it with a facade of “freedom” and “neutrality.” But there is more to this proposition than meets the eye of most, including the typical militant and left-wing champion of workers’ “rights.” The emphasis is not one of a simple struggle between individual (or even collective) capitalist industries and their particular working people but, rather, a determination on the part both of capital and labor-union hierarchies to maintain the present mode of production — class ownership of the means and instruments of wealth production and the wages, prices, profits system that goes with it. And any “victories” won by workers are pyrrhic victories because slaves cannot win anything of significance in a slave society.

And that is why the “executive committee of the capitalist class” and its agencies could not care less if it maims individual capitalists — regardless of their size — in the process of serving the total national interests. In US history, especially since the creation of the NLRB, there have been many instances of individual and collective working-class “victories.” Yet the American working class remains — with its brothers and sisters everywhere — sunk in wage slavery. A general recognition of this truth will be the first step toward freedom.
Harry Morrison, WSP, Boston.

The mad hatter on inflation (1977)

From the June 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

“Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The Hatter’s remark seemed to have no meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. ‘I don’t quite understand’, she said, as politely as she could.‘Have you guessed the riddle yet?’ the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.‘No, I give it up’, Alice replied: ‘Whats the answer?’ ‘I haven’t the slightest idea’, said the Hatter.”
(From the Hatter’s Tea Party, Alice in Wonderland)
Mr. Hattersley, Minister of State for Prices and Consumer Protection, tells us from time to time what he is doing and what he hopes the result will be. One such talk was on TV on 18th April (reported next day in The Times and Financial Times).

His overall job is “to protect consumers” against rising prices and for this purpose he was putting through a Prices Bill “much tougher than anything done in the past”. Some simple-minded people thought that this meant that prices would actually be prevented from rising. Not so, said the Hatter:
If we just froze prices, the outcome for many companies would be certain bankruptcy, for others inability to invest, and therefore a reduction in the number of people employed.
He added, however, that his government hoped to get the annual rate of increase of prices down to 13 per cent, by Christmas. This depended, he said, on a continuation of the Social Contract to control wage increases. If not, prices by the end of the year might be rising at an annual rate of 21 per cent.

“I am dreadfully puzzled”, said Alice. “Wasn’t the Social Contract supposed to reduce the rate of price increase; but all you now' hope is to get the rate of increase down to 13 per cent., which happens to be the same rate at which prices were rising in February 1974 when your government entered office?”

“What is more”, said Alice, gaining confidence as she saw the dazed look on the Hatter’s face, “I am told that prices rise because of an excess issue of paper money, and under your government the note issue has gone up from £4587 million to £7062 million”.

“Nobody told me about that”, said the Hatter, “and I don’t believe it. Besides, I am sure that if we didn’t do this we would have a lot of unemployment”.

“But you have a lot of unemployment”, said Alice. “It happens whether you have inflation or not. It is just the way capitalism works”.

“Nobody told me about capitalism either”, said the Hatter. “I am however sure that there must be some answer to the riddle, otherwise what am I doing in my job?”

“Very well”, said Alice. “What’s the answer?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea”, said the Hatter.
Edgar Hardcastle

Some aspects of Socialism (1977)

From the May 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

At the present stage of the development of the Socialist movement, the propaganda of the SPGB must necessarily be more one of attack against capitalism than that of stressing the positive aspects of Socialism. Whilst we do not know precisely what Socialism will be like, we do know what is holding us back.

In trying to project our views on what future Socialist society will be like we can only make what we deem to be intelligent guesses. No-one can predict the future accurately and consistently other than in a general way. Critics of the SPGB who ask all sorts of details about Socialist society are asking the impossible, and are really dodging the important question; can anything be done to solve the problems of capitalism apart from the establishment of Socialism? What we can say, in line with our materialist outlook, is that the economic basis of Socialism, i.e. common ownership, will inevitably give rise to democratic control of society. The two go hand in hand, you cannot have one without the other.

All political parties claim to be democratic in one way, or another, but only the SPGB and its companion parties are thoroughly democratic, both in internal affairs and policy decisions. We are not democratic for its own sake, or to catch a few votes, but because we recognize the democratic method as the only way to establish and maintain Socialist society. For us it is a tool, not an end in itself. Democracy in Socialist society will take on a far broader and more meaningful significance than is commonly attached to it today.

Having said that Socialism will be democratic it must also be said that it will be an organized and integrated society. Anarchists often claim that they are striving for the same kind of society, but their views on society soon dispel this. The anarchist sees society as the individual extended definitely, but we would argue that society is far more than this: it is the sum total of all the relations between individuals.

The anarchist principle of the individual “doing his own thing” to the exclusion of everyone else completely negates the concept of organization in production and distribution. No society can depend upon the whims of individuals in the production of the necessities of life. Production in Socialist society will be of a social character and democratically controlled (which is not the same thing as “workers’ control”). Members of society will be social equals regardless of their skills, training or ability. They will have equal rights in social matters, although obviously unequal in all sorts of other ways. There will be no special rewards for special work; each member of society will be able to take what he requires from society and he will be expected to contribute according to his ability.

One thing that must be borne in mind in talking of Socialist production is that the whole ideological climate will have changed from what it is now. Things will be produced because they are needed by people and they will be of the highest feasible standard. Unlike today, things will be built to last and not to pack up after a few years. There will not be the same idiotic fever in production experienced today. The most urgent problem of the newly established society will be to clear up the mess left by capitalism and greatly expand the production of wealth to satisfy human needs. This will obviously have to be highly organized and co-ordinated, and doubtless there will be problems. However they will be slight compared with the quagmire of bureaucracy, financial crises, shortages etc, that beset capitalist production now. Socialist production will be highly organized, yet simple compared with capitalism.

The administration of Socialist society will also be completely democratic. The modern state machine has grown up because of the growth of private property, and it is essentially a coercive body to protect the rights of property-owners. With the introduction of common property this body becomes defunct and only its administrative functions need be kept. The government of persons becomes the administration of things. Delegates elected to the administrative bodies in Socialist society will be mandated to carry out the wishes of those who elected them. In the event that they do not carry out the democratic wishes of society then they will be replaced. How different from today this would be! Between elections MPs are responsible to no-one except the Party Whip; when it cracks they all go running to the sound of the division bells. The recent “deal” between the Labour and Liberal parties in the House of Commons shows just how unscrupulous and unprincipled the capitalist politicians are when it comes to hanging on to power. In Socialist society because there will be no longer private property in the means of production there will be no special power or status in being an administrator; it will just be another necessary function to fulfil society’s needs.

The time for the change to Socialism is long overdue and we urge you to work to that end. It is no longer utopian or unreasonable to expect that society should be able to provide the basic needs of people; it is now eminently possible, depending only on the consciousness of the working class.
Tony D'Arcy

Obituary: Rose Weaver (1977)

Obituary from the April 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

When the news was received that Rose Weaver had died suddenly on a brief visit to Spain, comrades were stunned. Few realized that she was sixty-four and seriously ailing. To the last she was enquiring and youthful in her approach to the world.

Rose grew up in Germany between the wars and it is not hard to imagine the difficulties she had in pursuing her studies, being Jewish and a member of the Communist Party. Her husband Howard, though he too had grown up in Germany, was entitled to a British passport, and this enabled them to get into England by the outbreak of war. Prior to that they lived a while in Paris; earlier, Rose had studied medicine in Prague but had to flee from Czechoslovakia before qualifying.

How the Weavers encountered the SPGB is a story in itself. With all their uprootings they had managed to retain a few treasured books. The copy of Das Kapital on their bookshelf caught the eye of a member who was their window-cleaner. His exposition of Socialism was balm to their wounded ideals, and they were soon playing a full part in Party life and work.

For many years Rose did translations and taught German (she was a victim of the recent education cuts). She returned to Germany as an interpreter at the Nuremberg Tribunal and in 1969 when she and Howard jointly represented the Party at a conference of the Augsburg Group, where they circulated a statement putting the Socialist case printed in German.

The Weavers were active in the Kingston and West London Branches, and from 1962 to 1965 Rose served ably as our General Secretary. Howard’s ill-health led to early retirement and their taking up residence in the warmer climate of southern Spain. After his death she returned home and began to re-shape her life, in which regard the Party both helped and benefitted. For a stop-gap period she acted as General Secretary again, and subsequently played a full part as a member of the Executive Committee. All of us who were enriched by her comradeship extend our sympathy to her daughter and son-in-law and her beloved grandchildren. The next generation too carries on the work for a Socialist future.

Marx and the abolition of the wages system (1977)

From the March 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

At any time in the history of capitalism there have been lots of people and organisations occupied in trying to solve wages problems, the difference between now and the past being that the problems multiply and become more complex and the armies of “solvers”, politicians, business men, academics, trade union officials and so on become larger and larger. There is not the slightest prospect that these people will solve the problems.

A century ago Karl Marx urged the trade unions to give up struggling for “fair” wages and go for the abolition of the wages system; not, of course, as a tactic that could be operated in a capitalist social system but as an integral part of the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by Socialism. Marx was being logical. The Socialism he envisaged involved “abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production” (Communist Manifesto) and it would obviously not be possible to abolish buying and selling generally and yet retain it in the form of the employer buying the worker’s labour-power and paying him wages for it.

In the late nineteenth century the idea of abolishing the wages system appeared to have become widely accepted in organizations making some claim to be socialist. In 1890 the Social Democratic Federation and the Fabian Society both signed “The Manifesto of English Socialists” which contained the pledge: ‘We look forward to an end forever to the wages system”.

Among the individuals who signed on behalf of their organizations were Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb, but before long most of the signatories forgot all about it and were busy joining the Labour Party which devoted itself to the attempt to solve social problems, including wages problems, within capitalism. That attempt has of course been fruitless.

Marx foresaw that it would fail and explained why this was bound to happen. In one of his early writings he said: “What errors are committed by the advocates of piecemeal reform, who either want to raise wages and thereby improve the conditions of the working class, or (like Proudhon) regard equality of wages as the aim of social revolution”. Quoted in McLellan’s Marx Before Marxism, Pelican, p.214.)

And he pinpointed the basic error of their approach to the problem in their belief that it is possible to retain the capitalist mode of production and superimpose on it a socialist principle of distribution. One place in which he explained his was in his notes on the 1875 constitution of the German Social-Democratic Party, published as Critique of the Gotha Programme.
Vulgar socialism has accepted as gospel from the bourgeois economists (and a part even of the democracy has taken over the doctrine from the unreflecting socialists) that the problem of distribution can be considered and treated independently of the mode of production, from which it is inferred that socialism turns mainly upon the question of distribution.
Written long before the British Labour Party was formed, this might be a description of the muddled thinking that has always governed the actions of Labour governments.

They were to be the “high wage” party, constantly pushing wages up through minimum wage legislation, through encouragement of trade unions in their claims, and by abolishing unemployment. Now, in the eighth British Labour government, the forefront of their policy is “the social contract”, an agreement with the TUC to dissuade the unions from making wage claims they would otherwise be making — with “real” wages, after discounting the rise of prices, falling for several years running and with unemployment at a post-1945 record level.

As social reformers they wanted to raise wages generally, and particularly for the lowest paid; but as a government trying in vain to control and direct capitalism they find themselves doing all the things for which they denounced the openly capitalist parties. One of their dilemmas is that capitalism requires that the workers shall be forced to work on terms that accept exploitation, that is, terms which enable the capitalists to make profit. But the fallacious theory on which the Labour Party wants to operate required that the Government go on raising social security benefits to the unemployed and others in need. The necessities of capitalism prevail over the “good intentions” of the reformers.
Edgar Hardcastle

A dog's life (1977)

A Short Story from the February 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

This man who had a dog was a working-class man and and went out to work each day. He left home at seven o’clock in the morning and arrived back at seven in the evening. He was a responsible type. He didn’t think it right that his dog should run loose in the streets all day. He left it shut up in the house instead. Was this cruel?

He himself was all right. He wasn’t shut up —exactly — all day long. He got a lunch break from half-past twelve to half-past one. He could go where he liked and do what he liked then, for a whole hour. The poor dog was stuck in that same place day after day with nothing to do. Is it good enough? Those who work in offices, factories and shops can break the monotony by looking round, or thinking, or dreaming, or something. In a plant there is plenty of noise and activity; anyway we shouldn’t be bored because we have jobs to do. But alas, this dog . . . it could only walk round, sit down, lie down or go to sleep. It must have been murder. A day must have seemed like a year.

The man — I was going to say owner: he didn’t own much besides the dog — got to thinking. “If only I had a large lawn with a high wall or fence. I could make a flap in the bottom panel of the back door, then the poor brute could go in and out at will and have a romp round” ... oh! mustn’t let the manager catch him daydreaming about such things: like the dog, he would be through the door.

Let’s be fair, it has nothing to do with the firm. If you are caught slacking and get the sack, it serves you right. Still, not to worry: humans can cope. Not like poor dumb creatures. They depend on having their biscuits, water and scraps provided for them; they can’t even open tins of Chunky Dog Food for themselves.

People should not keep animals if they cannot look after them properly. It is easy for us. If we work, get on with the job, do as we’re told, play the game, etc. Especially if we don’t spend all our wages foolishly, and make sure we use our brains to the fullest — there’s no saying where you could finish up. Putting all the bright possibilities of our lives against the poor, patient, loyal, devoted, begging lives of our pets should make us thankful we are alive and well and able to work for our employers.

When you think about it, dogs, cats, budgies and goldfish don’t even have the simple pleasure of knowing what class they belong to.
Joe McGuinness

Abortion in Demand (1977)

Book Review from the February 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

Abortion in Demand by Victoria Greenwood and Jock Young. Pluto Press, £1.65.

This book gives an account of the attitudes and aims of both supporters and opponents of the 1967 Abortion Act and the James White Amendment Bill 1975. There is The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUCC) which is opposed to abortion except in a tiny minority of medical cases. In contrast the National Abortion Campaign (NAC) stands for abortion on demand. Less clear cut is the attitude of those who are in general agreement with the spirit of the 1967 Act. These, termed by Greenwood and Young the “reformers”, are divided into progressives who feel the Act only needs some administrative adjustments, and others like James White who consider the spirit of he Act to have been violated and want it severely amended.

The chapters which deal with the history of abortion law reform in Britain are informative. The same cannot be said of the confused views of V. Greenwood and J. Young. They are in favour of women having control over their own fertility and recognize the need for a fundamental transformation in society to make real freedom possible. That they do not define the transformation is significant. Anything beyond making the kind of strategic demand likely to have mass appeal is dismissed as utopian. The Abortion Law Reform Association is rebuked for concentrating on a single issue and for “pressure group politics” — seeking change through legislation. To prevent the dwindling of support that can happen when an issue is no longer topical they suggest that the campaign or abortion should be linked with other demands thus giving a wider perspective. The Working Women’s Charter — 1976 — is approved as giving a suitably broad basis from which to work. (11 points of the charter include “right of women to work”, “national minimum wage”, "free state-financed community-controlled child care facilities”, “child benefits . . .  £5 per child”; p. 137). This series of linked demands “provides a basis for women to make a real choice whether to have a child or not. We are not told how most of these aims are to be realised — if not through Parliament.

The issue of abortion law reform illustrates the dilemma facing all reformists including NAC supporters. There is the need for legislation which is precise enough to solve the problem in the manner intended. Most of those women who benefited from the 1967 Act were single, or married with fewer than 3 children. “As it turned out abortion was not the solution to problems of poverty, overcrowding and deprivation; it was more frequently a choice available to ‘normal’ women with whom the Act was not concerned” (p.34). In a postscript (on the first Report of Select Committee on Abortion) the authors point out that only abortion on demand will cater for the “most exploited group of women”. But as they are also aware, gaining the right to choose abortion would give “merely a freedom in a situation of limited alternatives” (p.127).

Socialists are frequently told of social ills which "cannot wait” for Socialism, by opponents who are prepared to spend decades on their campaigns. “The 1967 Act was the end result of thirty years’ concerted reformist politics", p.15. V. Greenwood and J. Young recognize the limitations of reforms yet still urge the support of reformist campaigns. Demands, even wider based demands, made by those who know that a fundamental change in the social system is the only solution are still reformist. And they effectively delay that solution.
Pat Deutz

The Cloak and Dagger Brigade (1977)

From the January 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard

The knives are out. Sir Harold Wilson and a large section of the Labour Party are gunning for those who claim to be trying to “re-establish its socialist principles”. For a party who has never had any, their task is a hopeless one. Going for “Trots” and other so-called left-wingers is unproductive, and two members of the Labour Party National Executive have tabled a resolution asking the Party to cool it. The two members, MPs Eric Heffer and Joan Lestor, are considered by many to be “revolutionaries” in their own right. Their resolution contains the following:
Attacks which add nothing to solving the serious economic and social problems which confront this country.
Whilst we agree that attacks add nothing to solving the problems which confront this country, the solutions put forward by the Labour Government do not seem to be meeting with much success. Indeed, we might say that these solutions have added nothing at all to the old solutions that have been tried in the past, and failed.

We wonder if Heffer and Lestor are among those Labour MPs whose favourite reading today is, apparently, the works of Karl Marx? If so, we suggest they don’t just read Marx but study what he had to say, and see if it adds up to the world which they are trying to better. If they don’t read Marx, here is a glorious opportunity not only to find out how capitalism works, and the solution, Socialism; but a knowledge of Marxism will enable them to deal with the spurious “left-wingers” who are masquerading under the cloak of Marxism within the Labour Party. They could tell these quacks exactly what Marx was after.
In the present circumstances, we reiterate the idea that the principle (of tolerance must be one of the basic concepts of democratic socialism.
Is it only when the Labour Government are in a tight spot that the principle of tolerance must be one of the concepts of “democratic socialism”? If the Government had a thumping majority in the House, would such tolerance be so basic? Whilst tolerance might be a virtue (and we can well understand Labour politicians desiring it, particularly from the electors, who see their promises unfulfilled), it has nothing to do with democratic Socialism. How can a Socialist be tolerant of a man such as Callaghan who calls for the system to be more profitable and for the capitalist class to invest more in industry? Profit and investment have nothing to do with Socialism. Are we to be tolerant of a man who mouths such rubbish (in the name of Socialism), and tolerant of the Heffers and Lestors who will support him when the chips are down?

Mr. Heffer in the House of Commons, April 9th, 1975, said: “We determine the future of our country”. He and the others in the Labour Party have a lot to answer for.
Cyril May