Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rubber Bullets (1960)

From the April 1960 issue of the Socialist Standard
  Indian police are experimenting with rubber bullets instead of lead ones. These do far less damage and are just as effective in controlling crowds. The investigation was prompted by the large number of deaths through shooting by the police during agitations in various parts of the country, which it is understood has aroused some adverse comment.
  Ballistics experts are now working on the problem at the Ishapore Gun and Shell Factory near Calcutta.
Rubber Developments, Vol. 12, No. 4.

The Missing Link (1960)

Book Review from the April 1960 issue of the Socialist Standard

Adventures With the Missing Link By Raymond Dart (Hamish Hamilton)

This book can be confidently recommended to readers of the Socialist Standard and all those interested in human evolution. Couched in a readable narrative style, partly because the story is largely autobiographical, it recounts thirty years' research in South Africa.

It starts with the accidental discovery in 1924, of an ape-like skull, more human than any living ape or ape fossil known. Professor Dart considered his discovery fundamental—a real missing link between ape and man—and he named it Southern Ape. As is usual, this conflicted with established ideas, and twenty years elapsed before confirmation came from fresh finds in another South African mine.

Perhaps the most interesting parts of the book are Dart’s theoretical conclusions. Basing his views on knowledge of the terrain he has proved that Australopethecus killed his prey with bone weapons made into knives and clubs, antelope jaw bones, and giraffe leg bones. Skulls of powerful and large animals were smashed in by deadly blows, sometimes from the front, and no ape can do this. Also, quite unlike apes, on occasions they killed and ate each other.

He therefore presents a powerful case for the Bone culture age of Ape Man, thus filling in many of the gaps previously existing in known human history.

The story of human descent will probably never be really complete—certainly never complete enough to convince those who can’t do without a Creator—but Professor Dart’s contribution has permanently enriched it.

A powerful book.

Lib-Labs or Lab-Libs (1960)

From the April 1960 issue of the Socialist Standard

On the “left” of the Labour Party are a bunch of wordy, windy warriors who claim to be “convinced and dedicated Socialists.” They are the “Tribune tribe.”

You would, of course, be justified if you thought that “convinced and dedicated Socialists" meant men and women concerned with explaining to their fellow workers their class position in society. That this system with its class robbery, exploitation of wage-labour, and all that goes with them, gives rise to the predominant problems of today; and that the only solution is a society based on the holding in common, of all the world's wealth, by all the people of the earth— that is social equality. In one word, Socialism.

But how wrong you would be. For nothing is further from the truth. These windy wights are concerned with everything, but Socialism. Although they claim to be Socialists, their very words and actions give the lie to their claim. Any issue of Tribune will bear this out, but the issue of February 26th is a case in point.

Apart from the current squabble on clause 4 of the Labour Party's constitution—as if public ownership ever had anything to do with Socialism—one article in particular bears out the statements made above.

This article, by Mr. David Boulton, “who came into politics through the Liberal Party, but has since joined the Labour Party. . .” is in essence a plea for the two parties—Liberal and Labour —to get together. However, in the course of his article he makes some revealing statements which show how non-Socialist he and his party are. The following are two examples:
  The Liberal Party, like Labour, is less a compact body of like-minded political activists than a coalition of a number of different bodies of opinion with a startling deficiency of common denominators. Within its framework are the single-taxers, the extreme laissez-faire school, the unilateral free-traders, the incurable “lost causers” and "I’m-for-the-under- dog”-ers, “conservatism-without-tears,” preachers and the genuine radicals.
  The Labour and Liberal Parties each pay lip-service to the idea of redressing, in some way, the absurd ill-balance of national wealth in which the vast bulk of industrial property is held by a tiny proportion of the population.
There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. Having delivered himself of these home truths, our ex-Liberal cum-Labourite then considers that “Liberal Socialism and social Liberalism”—read Labour and Liberal Parties —have much to learn from each other.

One would have doubted this as they have both been at the game for a long time, but Mr. Boulton is nothing if not naive. He goes on to make the most astonishing statement about the aforesaid parties. He says: “Both work toward a society in which wage slavery will be abolished. . . ."

Where and when Mr. Boulton? We have been in existence for 56 years just for this very purpose, and it is the first time that we have heard that this is what the Labour and Liberal parties stand for.
Jon Keys