Friday, November 17, 2017

Party Notes (1912)

Party News from the March 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Eighth Annual Conference of the Party will be held on Friday, 5th and Saturday, 6th of April, 1912, commencing at 10 a.m , at the Fairfax Halls, Portland Gardens, London, N. Resolutions for the Agenda and nominations for the Executive Committee and the Party Officials should now be sent to the Head Office.

The Annual Social will be held on Good Friday evening, and will commence at 7.30 prompt. Same address.

*     *     *

Meetings in celebration of the Commune of Paris are being arranged in North and South London. The Tottenham Municipal Hall has been secured for the 18th March. and the Graveney Schools, Tooting, for the 23rd.

*     *     *

Our pamphlet, “Socialism and Religion,” continues its glorious career, and as we go to press (Feb. 28th) our comrade Vickers is meeting the Rev G. Poole. Vicar of Gravesend, in public debate on the merits of Socialism and Christianity. On March 26th Comrade Vickers will meet Mr. Moise, of the Christian Evidence League, at the Caledonian Road Baths, Holloway, N.

*     *     *

Propaganda work in Hyde Park is meeting with great success and all desirous of aiding in forming the Marylebone Branch of the Socialist Party should communicate at once with A. Kohn, 24, Carburton Street. W.


We have to announce the publication of the Fifth Edition of the Party Manifesto. Tbs Manifesto itself remains unchanged, but the preface has been brought up to date, necessitating the enlargement of the brochure to 24 pages. Tho price is still 1d., post free 1½d.

The Toilers' Inferno. (1912)

From the April 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Under the Southern Cross.

The iron heel of capitalist oppression treads alike on the toilers in old countries and new. The workers’ Mecca, we are told, is New Zealand. We hear of “benevolent Governments" and “wise labour laws” in the late Dick Seddon's El Dorado, but the facts filter through sooner or later to show how similar is the lot of the wage worker there to that of his fellow in misery here. Not content with binding the toilers with crafty arbitration laws, they recently inaugurated Compulsory Military Service. Then they talk about a free country!

We learn from the “Maoriland Worker" that a bitter battle is being waged against all workers who seek to evade service, and numbers of our fellow workers have been “jailed" for opposing the “Property Owners’ Charter.” In “Labour” governed Australia the same fight is being waged, and the toilers bitterly resent being driven miles after the day's work is done, in order to drill for a couple of hours that they may become efficient agents in subduing their striking fellows.

The Land of the Stars and Stripes.

Many weeks back there began, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S.A., a strike of cotton operatives. The strikers were seeking a little more than mere bread and substitute. They were met with all the bloodthirsty venom that King Capital invariably shows when you tap his pocket.

Failing to quell the strikers directly, the employers brought out company after company of militia, until now about eight companies are out.

The strikers are largely lads, girls, and women—suffering all the miseries of the mill-workers under millionairedom. This last week or two the soldiers have been ordered to “go for the strikers.” They did. With fixed bayonets they made attacks upon the bent backs and twisted limbs of the worn wage-workers of capitalism.

An American newspaper describes how a lad of eighteen tried to escape from the bloody brigade. He started to run. The soldiers overtook him. A bayonet was driven through his lung —they manage these little matters very much the same in America as in England. They took him to the hospital —after he died. That’s the toiler’s share in the land of the stars and stripes.

The “Golden West.”

Haven’t you heard of our Empire beyond the seas? Haven’t you listened to the Dominion Emigration Agent telling of the prospects for hardy toilers in Canada? They are here now telling the tale, ln to-day’s papers they are asking for labourers and domestic servants. But the Canadian papers are busy telling the woes of those already there.

The Vancouver toilers are suffering unemployment to an extent previously unknown. They have been trying to hold demonstrations. The “Vancouver World” reports the arrest of dozens of trade unionists for daring to demonstrate. The judge informed them the penalty was four years imprisonment!

Our fellow workers here sometimes wonder when we tell them that unemployment dogs the toilere’ footsteps the world over. But there is plenty of proof for those who seek it.

Unemployment is caused by the private ownership of the means of life, and no reform can end it. Vancouver is the pet illustration of the “Land Taxer.” The Single Tax idea of the "prophet of San Frisco ” has been more widely applied there than anywhere else. But in spite of it, unemployment pursues the worker.

Mr. Joseph Hyder, of the Land Nationalisation Society, wrote to the “Manchester Guardian" on October 9th last, pointing to the prosperity of Vancouver Yet even he admitted that “Land Taxation has not proved so deadly in practice as it sounds in theory. Nor has land speculation of the extremest kind been prevented.”
Adolph Kohn

Watford Activities. (1912)

Party News from the May 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Watford is known to persons interested in politics as the home of political frauds

We have just had another local election, and Watford has maintained its aforementioned reputation.

Every year as these elections come round, a new organisation (sic) is brought into being. This time it is the B.S.P., whose methods—on paper—are to educate the people in principles of Socialism, and to establish a militant Socialist Party in Parliament and on local bodies, independent of all parties which support Capitalism.

The first thing done by this party was to allow its secretary and another member to be run by an organisation that did not ask what political opinions any of the candidates held—the author of that statement being the secretary of the Trades and Labour Council, who is himself a Tory.

This organisation, consisting of Liberals, Tories, Labourites, and men of all other shades of political faith except Socialists, had a joint conference with the local B.S.P., to draw up the programme that was to educate the people of Watford in the principles of Socialism and form a militant, independent Socialist Party in the local council chamber. From such a mob the expected happened.

They advocated better roads (I suppose they would term that paving the road to Socialism); they waxed warm over the scavenging question; they clamoured for the speedy supply of dustbins and for all dust to be collected from the backs of houses. They also advocated an adequate water supply on the allotments, but many in Watford are not teetotalers, and did not see much in it.

However, I do not think they intended the people to drink it, but to nee it for watering their crops, so that the workers could live more cheaply by having cheap vegetables, and incidentally. to enable the employers to pay lower wages.

Other things were included. The housing question, municipal slaughter houses, and houses to live in were advocated. The difference between a house to live in and a house to die in as far as my knowledge of municipal dwellings goes, is one of degree only.

These things appearing on the addresses of the Independent Labour Party and Labour candidates which the B.S.P. supported made the capitalist class here tremble—with laughter. And they brought forward candidates and ran them on the same ticket, and beat this mob who would drag the cause of the workers in the mire.

Socialism was never mentioned in their addresses, never put forward at one of their meetings. Moreover, one of their speakers said : “I do not know what Socialism has to do 
with thees elections.”

No, advocating Socialism is the work of Socialists, and only those. That is why it was left to us to do.

We did it, and in doing it exposed these freaks and popularity seekers, much to their discomfort. We issued a manifesto showing the workers their position and the way out, and 5,000 copies were printed and distributed and no doubt well read, and it has, I am sure, put a curb on those people who would seek working-class support for such rubbish as appeared on the election addressee of the so-called Labour candidates.
Branch Reporter.

Pathfinders: Scenes Deleted From The Jungle Book (2016)

The Pathfinders Column from the November 2016 issue of the Socialist Standard
Did you know that cheetahs can't roar scarily like lions, they mostly purr prettily like kittens? Or that they are generally good-natured and easy to tame, unlike other big cats? You probably know that the cubs are incredibly cutesy-cute. What you probably don't know is that these reasons, taken together, are helping to drive the fastest animal on Earth to its extinction.
Why? Because as well has having to deal with low birth rates in the wild due to shrinking habitat combined with around 70 percent cub mortality thanks to lions and hyenas, the cheetah has to face a rather less natural form of predation. Humans want them as pets. But not pets to look after properly, of course. Trophy pets, costing up to $10,000 each on the black market, to dress up in stupid outfits so that their rich, narcissistic owners can impress their shallow and supercilious friends.  So poachers box up whole litters of wild cubs in packing crates, bundle them onto trucks and then container ships, and then lift out whatever has survived at the other end from the heap of starved and dehydrated corpses (BBC Online, 23 September: Most of the 15 percent of furry little cuties which survive transit rarely make it past their first year as pets anyway because their rich owners have no clue or care about diet or exercise, and are entirely unconcerned about keeping an animal indoors which normally has a 500 square mile backyard to run around in. And if by a miracle they do survive this domestic incarceration, they get too big to feed and the adoring owners promptly dump them in back alleys to starve.
To see who these pet owners are, here's a sample of the Daily Mail in all its fawning glory, gushing over a pair of South African owners and without a single word of criticism (actually, here's a link instead: - we don't want to make Socialist Standard readers feel sick by inserting Daily Mail text here). Here is the same paper simpering over Mr Ultra-Rich Humaid AlBuQaish ('it is not entirely clear what AlBuQaish does for a living') as he flaunts for his 850,000 Instagram followers his menagerie including a lion, a cheetah, a tiger, several chimps and some marmosets, together with an unidentified woman in a bikini and a Ferrari (Link.).
It's one thing, you might argue, to farm animals for their meat, though many would question whether even this is necessary. As humans we are inevitably going to put humans first, and socialists are no different. If animal testing of important medicines is deemed necessary, we are not going to argue that it should not be done, because that would unconscionably put the welfare of animals above that of humans. Indeed there is something rather peculiar about humans and their double-standards towards animals, on the one hand billing and cooing over chicks or lambs or bunny rabbits and then eating them in pies, or keeping pet moggies out of a 'love for animals' while overlooking the massacre of wildlife these same moggies cause on a daily basis. It's estimated, for example, that domestic cats kill around 14 billion small mammals and birds every year in the USA, while in Australia there is serious talk of imposing cat curfews and outdoor enclosed 'catios' to keep the destruction to within sustainable limits (New Scientist, 8 October).
Even so, it is surely beyond any reasonable person to defend the wholesale slaughter of African large animals for the ivory or bushmeat trade, or the exotic pet business, especially when this is a trade indulged in largely by and for the amusement of the rich alone. It's not as if we can really blame the individual poachers either. Faced with poverty themselves, what else are they going to do? And can you even blame individual states, if it comes to that? Swaziland caused a huge row recently at the Conference on International Trade in Endangered Species by arguing that, in order to finance anti-poaching measures, they needed to sell off some of their stock of rhino horn (New Scientist, 1 October). Rhino horn is hugely valuable in Asian markets for quack remedies, and as rhinos approach total extinction in the wild Asian buyers are keen to stock up in advance, thus driving the price further up. The naysayers are adamant that a legitimate market in rhino horn, however limited, will be a disaster for rhinos. They're probably right too. When a limited sale of stockpiled elephant tusks was restarted in 1997, elephant poaching went stratospheric.
Cynics talk about capitalism as 'the law of the jungle' but in fact it's much more vicious and destructive than any law of the jungle, for animals as well as humans. It's a mindless profit-machine, without care or conscience, that like some giant combine harvester rages across the world shredding everything in its path, whether human, animal or natural resource. Where it makes wealth, the rich use it as their plaything. Where it makes a desert, they call it good business practice.
But the rich ought to beware, because one of these days the overwhelming majority of helpless and enslaved workers are going to discover something very important. Whether they are mostly concerned for themselves or their fellows, or else for whales or cheetahs or the environment, or for ideas of justice and human dignity or their children's ultimate welfare, workers are going to discover that they have something uniquely in common, which is that they don't need to be slaves and that they are not helpless at all. And then, just like so those humiliated pets, dressed up in stupid clothes with stupid names in the service of an even greater stupidity, they are going to discover that they have claws too.
Paddy Shannon

Within the System (2004)

Book Review from the May 2004 issue of the Socialist Standard
Within the System. By Richard Montague. (Trafford Publishing, £9.75.)
Richard Montague is well known as a contributor to the Socialist Standard on both events in Ireland and the wider case against capitalism and for socialism. Now a collection of 24 of his short stories has been published. The author believes that the creative arts, including short story writing, have an important role in exposing the grim reality of global capitalism. Few socialists would disagree.
The star of the show, for this reviewer at any rate, is the longest and arguably the most imaginative story, ‘General Immunity Serum‘. GIS originates in a small drug research laboratory in London and is marketed as a fortifying agent to reinforce the body’s resistance to minor ailments. The makers produce leaflets, but the most effective promotion turns out to be local radio. Callers swear that GIS has solved their health problem: baldness, migraine, asthma, allergies, arthritis – even cancer and AIDS.
Soon the huge popularity and success of GIS around the world causes problems for the capitalist economy. Shares in drug and chemical companies plummet, followed by insurance shares. Hospitals close; doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff become unemployed. GIS’s conquest of human sickness and disease destroys millions of jobs in industries unconnected with medicine – the building trade, motor manufacture and marketing, and so on. Millions of home owners with mortgages are thrown into hopeless negative equity.
There is much unrest and civil strife on a world scale. The British government sets up a Royal Commission. Its majority report urges “bold initiatives to kick-start the economy”; its minority report wants GIS to be declared an illegal substance. At a rally in Hyde Park a speaker reveals the real problem and its solution. Because of the way society is organised, GIS can be regarded as a terrible catastrophe. The answer is a society based on co-operative production for needs and free access to the means of satisfying those needs.
The ‘Last Story’ concerns a newspaper editor about to retire who confronts his employer with a front-page story he knows won’t get published: “Economy murders 40,000 kids!... Yesterday 40,000 children died because economics, the way we order production and distribution in our world, could not afford £5,000 for food and medicines to keep them alive!”
‘Maggie’s Dream’ is an amusing tale about how Margaret Thatcher has a nightmare that she is in a strange new world without money and the market. Dennis complains that his money won’t buy him even a nip. A companion with an outsize briefcase containing ú15m in paper money finds that this won’t buy him a lump of bread. Maggie, shocked but undeterred, says “They’ll have to learn to appreciate the magic of the market.”
On a more sombre note, ‘Pieces of Paper’ is a moving account of how a war-damaged man (“not crazy, just a bit... peculiar”) copes with a life of poverty. George is employed, Saturdays only, as a cleaner and gardener for £10 a week. His far-from-rich employer has a wife who wants a second-hand car. So they can no longer afford to pay George the £10. On learning this his reaction is remarkable but not angry or self-pitying: “It’s all mad, isn’t it, sir?... There’s the world out there, a veritable fairyland of everything, far more for everybody that needs or wants more... And, y’know, few would really want more if everybody had enough.”
The last story, ‘Contrasts’, is the only one outside, rather than within the system. It describes a radio broadcast by a historian on 3 June 2077. The Revolution – free access democracy – had swept across the entire planet in 2046. Elections, one spurring the other, brought down the entire world capitalist political structures like a vast domino trail. The old system was considerably modified in the period preceding the Revolution. The capitalists themselves became frenetic reformers as they tried to hold off their own downfall. “The new way of life entailed a great ‘openness’ between people that was utterly alien within capitalism... What was a fragmented, vicious and secretive world of internecine greed and strife became a... a family, a human family of equals.”
Stan Parker

Northern Ireland: Our first election campaign (2004)

From the June 2004 issue of the Socialist Standard

It was the early Sixties. Things were looking good in Northern Ireland. The province was as near to an economic boom as it ever gets; there had not been any serious sectarian rioting since 1935 and an IRA campaign that had commenced on the Border in 1956 was petering to an inglorious end with a statement from that organisation admitting the lack of support it had received from the Catholic nationalists of the north.

The World Socialist Party of Ireland had offices at Donegall Street in Belfast. There we spent a few late nights debating whether or not we should embark on our first electoral campaign. Money was an  important consideration: £25 deposit – which, of course, we expected to lose; election addresses, 10,000 with the equivalent of 4 pages in each, around £65; posters, say, £35. The estimates were a  headache for a small group. We probably needed over £200. And then there was the work: delivering the  Election address, putting up the posters, holding two or three open air meetings every night for some  sixteen nights.

There was the big consideration, too. The main core of our small membership lived in the widespread Belfast 15 area which constituted the constituency of Duncairn. It was the only constituency we were in a position to contest. Traditionally, it was a fiercely loyalist area, revered by Unionists because it was the  power base of Lord Carson who led the fight against Irish Home Rule with an illegal army (the UVF)  pledged to make war if necessary on Britain in order to stay British.

On the credit side there were all those meetings, those posters, the very comprehensive Election Address. Had to be worth it. We sat at our map of the constituency, marking out the sites for our meetings. Nowhere near pubs on Saturday evenings. First meeting of each evening at the hot spots, last meetings in the posher places where bigotry, like family skeletons, is usually well concealed.

The Loyalists would associate us with the Republicans because Republicans often showed their ignorance of socialism by claiming to be socialists. That could be dodgy. There were two small Catholic enclaves in the constituency and there would not be any Catholic candidate. The danger here was twofold: the priests might speak out about “atheistic communists” or we might earn support because the Catholics, like the Protestants, might associate us with Republicanism.

On the first evening of our campaign we left our offices, which were marginally outside the constituency. We had a minibus, festooned with posters and with the single speaker of our crackling public address system affixed to the top. Our first meeting was to be at Adam Street, in a hard-line loyalist area, but to get there we had to pass through part of the Dock constituency, a tough nationalist area represented by Mr Gerry Fitt (now Lord Something-or-Other) where a mob attacked our van in the mistaken belief that we  were bent on frustrating Mr Fitt’s anxious political ambitions.

The pitch we had selected at Adam Street was at a corner outside a Brethren Mission Hall. But there was a surprise or us there: the authorities had an audience-in-waiting for us. There was an open backed lorry  (they were called “tenders”) fitted to accommodate fourteen or fifteen armed policemen, as well as two police cars and a cop motorcyclist.

Hardly had our meeting started when an irate ‘Brethren’ came out of the hall and shouted up to the speaker about the noise of our loudspeaker. His aggressive manner gave the distinct impression that he’d prefer a ruction to an apology, indeed, he seemed nonplussed when our speaker apologised, made a reference to a clap of thunder and agreed to move our vehicle further down the street. People stood at their doors, obviously not best pleased but there was no active hostility and, when we dealt with the single question that was put to us, about “communism” in Russia, there was even a mild flurry of interest.

After our last meeting, we were packing up to start distributing our Election Address. As we were  removing our banners from the vehicle, the officer in charge of the police approached to confirm that the  meetings were finished for that evening. Laughingly, he referred to the incident at the Mission Hall and then told us that, within his experience of Northern Ireland elections, our behaviour was unique. We seemed, he thought, anxious to avoid trouble. We emphasised our educational role – and mentioned the integrity of our skulls.

Our revolutionary fervour might have been cooled the following evening for the armed force of the Crown was reduced to a single cop on a motorcycle. In the light of subsequent events, it would be wrong to mention this cop’s name, suffice to say that he seemed at pains to remain aloof and unfriendly towards us.

On the third or fourth evening of our campaign, we held a meeting in a housing estate called Mount Vernon – now a hotbed of militant loyalist paramilitarism where a dog with a Catholic name could become seriously dead. Even back in those more peaceful times, we were somewhat apprehensive, strategically planning our meeting place at a spot from which escape could most easily be facilitated.

In the event, we had no trouble. A few people came out of their houses and flats to listen and, when we came to questions, the meeting lapsed into a question and answer session between one man and our speaker. None of us read any significance into the fact that the persistent questioner was frequently exchanging words with the motorcycle cop who had a one hundred per cent enforced attendance record at all our previous election meetings.

That evening, after we had concluded the last of our meetings, the cop approached one of our members and asked him if we had any literature additional to our Election Address. Whether by virtue of his personality or the nature of his job, the policeman seemed a man of few words but he became quite animated as he told us that he and his wife had discussed the contents of our Election Address the previous night. He didn’t think we would ever get it – Socialism, that is – but, “Jasus! wouldn’t it be great if we did!”

“It was me, you know, who was getting that fella to ask the questions at Mount Vernon”, he instructed us. “You understand that I daren’t openly . . .” Indeed, we understood.

After that we had a very friendly cop accompanying us each evening. He wasn’t an especially garrulous individual but he did talk occasionally and seemed to include himself in our activities when he said “we” – he even got to appreciate our shared sense of raucous humour.

There were three other candidates in the field, representing the Unionist Party, the Labour Party and a Paisley sponsored ‘Protestant Action’ candidate. The counting of votes took place in the magnificence of Belfast City Hall. Worth recording were the words of the Labour candidate, a decent man called Bob Stewart. He enquired about how we thought we “had done” and when we said we had no expectations of retrieving our deposit, he said, “I dunno; your Election Address was the finest piece of socialist documentation I have ever read”. When asked why he had stood in public opposition to us he opinioned that “I don’t think it’s your time yet”. Not too clever perhaps but, as we said, a decent man.

Then there was the highpoint of the evening: we got 824 votes and saved our deposit. We exited the august portals of the City Hall as though we were walking on air – wondering what it would be like after that first fateful election.

But there was another surprise for us. As we approached our van, illegally parked in May Street, there was a motorcycle cop in attendance. “Well . . .?” It had nothing to do with parking and the cop was well off his beat. He was genuinely interested in how our vote had gone and he told us that our total included the votes of himself and his wife.

Sometime later, one of our members had taken his kids to a public park on a Sunday morning. There were very few people about and, of course, in Belfast at that time Authority deemed that their remorseless God would be gravely offended by children playing on Sunday so officialdom locked the swings in the playground. But religious ingenuity had not devised a means of locking the slides so the few children there were presented with an occasion for sin.

Anyway, the motorcycle cop, now in mufti, arrived with his two children and while the kids sinned together on the unapproved slides, their fathers talked. He’d been a cop for seventeen years . . . life was fashioned around the job, mortgage etc. had misgivings now but what could he do? Our member nodded sympathetically.

In the afterwards, some of us saw him from time to time; he remained a traffic cop until the early Seventies when he was shot dead by an IRA ‘freedom fighter’ who, presumably, had an aversion to traffic cops.

By then, of course, freedom fighting had created so much inter-community division and bitterness in Northern Ireland that there was no place within working class areas open to consideration of ideas outside the foul patterns of religious and political sectarianism.
Richard Montague

Labour Fakirs Under The Limelight. (1912)

From the June 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

While looking through the “Socialist, Year Book” for a few “ facts” I came across the following under the section headed "Labour Party.”
   "Although the Party has steadfastly declined at its Annual Conferences to make the Confession of Socialism on the part of Trade Unions a condition of affiliation, it has, nevertheless, by large majorities, affirmed its adhesion to Socialist principles. It should be clearly understood, however, that the basic principle of the Labour Party does not consist in the acceptance of Socialist theory, but in the recognition of the identity of the class and political interests of all the workers, and the necessity of the emancipation of labour from capitalist oppression." (Italics mine.)
Particular care is taken to point out that the Labour Party does not accept the principles of Socialism (not that I would make the mistake of accusing it of ever having done so). Yet it would be interesting to know by what process of reasoning do they “recognise the identity of the class and political interests of all the workers and the necessity of the emancipation of Labour from capitalist oppression,” without accepting the principles of Socialism.

We have continually pointed out both in the Socialist Standard and from our platform, that the Labour Party does not stand for working-class principles, and is, therefore, not the party of the workers. Nor does it recognise the identity of the “class and political interests of all the workers,” as is claimed by the editor of the “Socialist Year Book,Mr. J. Bruce Glasier.

As a matter of fact this same Bruce Glasier repudiated the very principles he now gives expression to years ago, and members of the Labour Party and the I.L.P. have steadfastly maintained that attitude all along.

Evidently they believe there is another way of emancipating the workers than through the institution of Socialism—through Liberalism, perhaps.

*     *     *     *

The Labour Party is a good asset to the Liberals, hence the latter’s desire to keep them under their wing, so to speak. Whilst the Liberal party may at times be anxious as to the durability of its own existence, yet it has no fear that the Labour Party will withhold its support in the hour of need. For has not the impeccable Philip Snowden said: “The official Labour Party is now indistinguishable from the official Liberals" ? ("Labour Leader.” 14.6.11.)

*     *     *     *

Only recently Mr. Snowden has been railing against Tariff Reform—and incidentally blowing the Free Trade trumpet—obviously for the gratification of the Liberals. By the strange irony of fate the title of his discourse was: “Some Economic Fallacies.” Here are a few of Mr. Snowden’s economics:
  " 'He was perfectly convinced,’ he said, ‘that the main object of the Tariff Reform agitation was to broaden the basis of taxation so that a larger share of the national revenue should be raised by indirect contributions from the working classes.”
Which altogether shows Mr. Snowden's ignorance of economics.

As was shown in an article dealing with the question of Rates and Taxes in a recent issue of this paper, neither under a Free Trade nor a Tariff Reform regime does Labour bear the burden of taxation, either directly or indirectly. Under the present system the only share of the wealth produced which the workers enjoy depends upon the law of wages, and is regulated by the cost of the production of labour power. Consequently “broadening the basis of taxation” will not affect the working-class seeing that they have already been robbed to the fullest extent, namely, of all but that which is essential to enable them to reproduce their efficiency.

*     *     *     *
“Free Trade advocacy would be strengthened if it was supported more often by a programme of constructive reform.”
Which would not be the fault of the Labour Party!
“The nationalisation of the railways would be an enormous relief to our manufacturers in their competition with foreigners."
In other words, as nationalisation will be an "enormous relief" to the Liberals (who represent the manufacturing section of the capitalist class) the Labour Party, as a matter of course, stands for it.

*     *     *     *
"The addition of indirect taxation upon food and other necessities would stimulate every useful industry by increasing the spending power of the people. A similar result would follow a reduction of the astounding and immoral expenditure upon armaments.”
As a matter of fact the spending power of the workers would be no greater. Lower the cost of commodities and the price of labour power (itself a commodity) would sink proportionately. Abolish taxation altogether and the fact would still remain that the worker would be forced to sell his commodity for what he could get, which is simply the cost of his subsistence, owing to the competition for jobs.

As for the expenditure upon armaments, according to Snowden's arguments the workers would be millions in pocket providing there had been no increased taxation imposed to meet the Navy estimates. If this is so why did not the Labour Party oppose the Navy estimates? On the authority of Mr. Keir Hardie (at Bradford, 12.3.11) “only one half of the Labour members voted against the Navy estimates. Two voted for them, and all the others stood out to oblige the Liberals ”!

One can for once agree with Mr. George Lansbury when he says ("Labour Leader” 24.3.11): “In the Labour Party a large number of the 42 members know nothing about Socialism. They have always thought about politics from the Liberal standpoint.”

That is exactly the position.

*     *     *     *

An interesting debate look place recently in Parliament, in which Liberals, Tories, and Labour members took part—albeit it was somewhat confused. The subject under discussion was the industrial unrest and the disappointing tone of the King's Speech. Mr. J. Ramsay Macdonald started the ball rolling by moving an amendment regretting “that having regard to the existing industrial unrest arising from a deplorable insufficiency of wages which has persisted notwithstanding a great expansion of national wealth, and a considerable increase in the cost of living, your Majesty’s gracious speech contains no specific mention of legislation securing a minimum living wage and for preventing a continuance of such unequal division of the fruits of industry by the nationalisation of the railways, mines and other monopolies.”

After various contributions to the discussion, such as profit-sharing, nationalisation. minimum wage, and all the resuscitated "remedies,” Lord Hugh Cecil (Tory) submitted the following comment: -
  “If the Opposition could not agree to the remedies proposed by Labour members it was not be cause they were indifferent to the sorrows and sufferings of the working people. Low wages were the result of competition, and the nationalisation of industries would not remove competition but merely shift the arena. People were paid not what they deserved, but they got what the rarity and desirability of what they had to sell would bring them.”
Mr. J. M. Robertson (Board of Trade) "questioned whether the nationalisation of railways would put an end to Labour unrest or would provide more adequate remuneration,” pointing out that in countries whose railways were nationalised there was considerable unrest.

Thus proving that at bottom the representatives of the master class understand the economic position of the workers, and that in certain circumstances they are betrayed into giving expression to that knowledge. If the working class only possessed the faculty of interpreting the operation of the economic laws that so vitally affect their existence, in the same degree as does the majority of the capitalist class, then the work of the Socialist Party would be much easier, and the advent of the revolutionary change to Socialism much nearer than at present.
Tom Sala

The I.L.P. in Conference (1912

From the July 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

The report of the I.L.P. Conference of 1912 is introduced with a triumphant leading article, in which we are informed that “not once was there wrangling or discussion. ” The reason, of course, is not far to seek. Those who would have raised dissension had taken themselves elsewhere. The successful “ Labour ” M.P.’s have, for the time, got rid of their discontented rivals, who have a long road to travel for Parliamentary jobs, in their new party, the B.S P. The Conference was free, as Mr. Keir Hardie put it, to “guide the wavering steps of the working class movement along the pathway that leads to freedom.” The stirring speeches, intense enthusiasm, fervid pleas for freedom, scorching denunciations of diplomats and financiers,” were vented ad lib.

Such things things tickle the ears of the idealists.

The message of the I.L.P. to the workers in 1912 was a re-hash of the old confusion. Mr. P. Snowden contributed his share. “He re-emphasised the revolutionary movement, though he ridiculed the fear of the wealthy classes.” “A revolution,” he explained, “ is a very common and ordinary thing. Every time a wheel turns round we have a revolution.” It would be interesting to know haw many I.L.P. revolutions will be necessary before we get Socialism.

Indignant protests were levelled at the Government over the Tom Mann and Malatesta affairs, while the Malecka business was deemed of sufficient importance to necessitate the “threat to break off diplomatic relations between Russia and Great Britain.”

Having passed a resolution to that effect, they followed it with another against “militarism in all its forms.” Sufficiently pugnacious to “ loose the dogs of war” because one woman had been imprisoned. they wore at the same time “ the strongest advocates of peace the world over.”

In the Socialist Standard evidence has been adduced lime and again of the compromising tactics of the I.L.P. Time and again have they themselves admitted that their members' subscriptions would not suffice to contest more than two constituencies. Suffragette capitalist gold and ''wise arrangements with the Liberals" we have always said, secures them seats in Parliament. It is well to remind the reader of our attitude toward them, and their own admission that “those who pay the piper call the tune.” Their discussion and vote on the Bradford resolution confirms all we have said of their sham independence.

That resolution is itself the strongest, possible indictment of the Party. It resuscitates the burning question of the “fourth clause," which by their votes they again repudiated. That they should ever discuss the advisability of “ignoring consequences and voting steadfastly on the merits of every question” is an admission that they have been afraid to do so. Their speeches show what they fear.

Lansbury said : “Every question that comes up for discussion in the House has to be discussed with its probable effect upon the fortune of the Government in mind.” Snowden’s “fighting instinct inclined him to support the resolution, but his common sense, judgment, and experience would induce him to vote for the amendment. . . . Politics meant compromise.” Keir Hardie tried to reconcile their oft asserted independence with the stern necessity of rejecting the resolution, and wound up with this transparent bluff: “The great test of a party's independence was not in the vote on some trumpery measure before the House, but in the amendments moved to the King’s Speech. On every occasion the Labour Party had pressed a Right to Work amendment to a division.”

Really, their audacity almost takes one’s breath away. This is the great test of their independence: moving amendments to the King’s Speech which have no chance of success and would not be moved if they had, and moreover would not improve the lot of the working class if they were successful.

The reforms that have done service so long were brought out once more, shown to be fallacies, and then seriously recommended to the Government, and adopted as planks in their platform. A minimum wage resolution, for instance, was passed, although it was clearly shown that its effect would be keener competition, the selection of the most efficient, the introduction of new machinery and increase of unemployed.

Bearing in mind the number of converts the I.L.P. gather from the professional and well-to-do “classes,” one naturally looks for resolutions on nationalisation, because it extends the Civil Service and finds jobs for would-be aristocrats of Labour and Fabian experts. Mr. Lloyd George quite recently declared nationalisation of mines to be a business proposal. He has the opportunity of “killing two birds with one stone”; giving satisfaction to his I.L.P. allies and at the same time doing a good stroke of business for the class he represents, by nationalising land, mines, and railways

Similar absurdities and contradictions could be traced in almost every paragraph of this report. It requires no deep or profound knowledge. The average man with an average supply of common sense and an inclination to think, could not be led into the Liberal left wing with such palpable rubbish. Any man with common sense would realise that none of the problems of life are to be solved with sentiment; that in the study of Socialism, as with all studies, we only accept what is self evident. The mesmeric influence exercised by I.L.P. leaders merely inflames and excites the minds of their followers. The way to lean Socialism is not by studying capitalist politics and trying to adapt them to working-class needs. To learn Socialism we study Socialism, not something else. Members of the working class have to commence with the elementary lessons the basic principles of Socialism, before they can understand capitalism and how to get rid of it. These basic principles the I.L.P. use their very utmost endeavours to obscure and hide from the working class. The reason and the moral are equally obvious.
F. Foan

The Need For Organisation. (1912)

From the August 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Outside the Socialist Party there are undoubtedly very many men and women who, while agreeing with the fundamental principles upon which the Party is based, yet, for one reason or another, cannot see their way to come inside and help within the organisation itself. Some, it may be, remain aloof owing to reasons of caution with regard to their position as as wage workers; although, for that matter the present writer does not see why any man or woman, however fearful he or she may be in this respect, should not be able using every discretion in word and deed in outside affairs—to join with us to help in the internal business so necessary in the strengthening and building up of the Party. Apart altogether from the joy of knowing that any assistance, however small, is invaluable in the great work in which we are engaged, there is also the question of the value to the individual of having a medium whereby the interchange of ideas on the problems of life now confronting the workers can be made, as well as the closer binding together of the working class by means of friendly discussion and debate, all of which, it is obvious, must have a great and far-reaching educational value.

But there are many workers who, while theoretically agreeing with the aims and methods of the Socialist Party, yet refuse—even when they have no reason to fear economic disaster by so doing—to take a practical interest in, or to enroll themselves within the ranks of, organised Socialism. Often there seems to be an idea—an entirely erroneous idea in the writer's estimation —that as capitalism (or at least the present phase of capitalism) appears to be drawing to a close, the next step must inevitably be the establishment of Socialism in its stead. There is, therefore, no need, so it is considered, to do anything more than sit with folded hands, waiting for the downfall of capitalist society and the springing up, full-armed, of this new system of society.

The outcome of this fatalistic attitude, if adopted in all spheres of life, would be the stultification of life itself. Why not wait for manna and quails to come down from heaven instead of going out every day—as at present—to work for a wage ?

It does not actually follow that Socialism will be the outcome of present-day capitalist society. If you have a discontented people, poverty-stricken, degraded by continual toil and suffering into mere human machines, ripe for any change from their present existence of physical and mental penury, you have within that people all the possibilities, not so much of an elevation to a higher type, but rather toward an atavism even more degrading physically, more destructive intellectually, than at present.

The essential thing is, of Course, that there should be implanted in the minds of the workers knowledge of the fact that their position as workers must be altered from the present state of slavery to a state wherein they shall he free to order their lives as they may best determine. But this knowledge once having been attained, it then becomes quite as necessary to know how to live. After all, life is not only the eating of good food, the wearing of good clothes, the sheltering in good houses, with a minimum of work and a maximum of leisure. All these things are, or should be, simply the means to an end in themselves.

At the present day the power possessed by members of the working class to express their individuality in art, or science, or literature, or even in the matter of everyday affairs, is almost nil. The scholastic education now given is one that has for its object simply the development of the faculties necessary in a wage-slave. To teach docility and obedience, to impress the capitalist slave-morality upon the rising generation of working class men and women : these are the aims of the scholastic and religious teachers. Something is wanted to counteract this. The working class requires, perhaps more than anything else, self-confidence, self-knowledge, self control. From this point of view the close binding together of the workers in a specific organisation is of the utmost importance. Meeting as they would on common ground, all dominated by the fundamental idea of economic freedom, it would be possible to tackle every problem of life in the light of the Socialist philosophy. Each individual, necessarily differing in temperament and taste from his fellows, and also to an extent as a social unit, would be able to contribute whatever knowledge he might possess on any question, whether of economics, politics or science, or on such subjects as art and literature. There should be then developed a degree of intellectuality which, it must be admitted, is largely lacking among the working class to-day.

There is a danger of our developing into beings whose sole idea is how to lessen hours of labour, how to obtain better conditions of life, and not much more. Something more than this, however, is needed. We have to keep in mind that we are to be the dominant—indeed, the only—force in the next stage of society. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we should cultivate such faculties as will enable us, when Socialism does arrive, not only to organise the necessary work of society (i.e., the production and distribution of the necessaries and comforts of life) but also to give to our own generation at the time, as well as to leave behind us for the coming generations, at least an advance on whatever culture the past generations have given us, however small that amount of culture may be.

But if we are to be in a position to do this we must even now not fail to develop within our ranks as high an intellectuality as is conceivably possible. It is useless, as we know, to expect any help from capitalism in such a task, so it follows that this intellectual emancipation—as well as the economic emancipation—must be the work of the working class itself.

So it can be seen that the necessity of organisation becomes doubly imperative Firstly, in order to build up a body of men and women whose main idea shall be the ending of capitalism and the establishment of the Socialist Commonweals. Secondly, that the men and women thus organised may have the opportunity of keeping themselves in touch with every phase of life, thus forming, indeed, an educational centre in the real meaning of the word education.

This economic and intellectual emancipation can only become possible through the driving force possessed by men and women bound together by the fundamental principles that lie at toe root of the Socialist philosophy.

Individually, no two human beings will have exactly toe same outlook on life. But the basic idea underlying all individual differences must be the knowledge that only through the harmonious relation of every social unit to every other social unit can the human race advance beyond what it is today.

In conclusion, the writer would appeal to all men and women in sympathy with the aims and methods of the Socialist Party to join in the fight against the powers of inertion and decadence and in our equally strenuous fight for Socialism and the upward movement of life, remembering that a little active help is worth a great deal of passive sympathy.
F. J. Webb

The International - Part 1 (1928)

Book Review from the June 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard

History of the First International by G. M. Stekloff. (Martin Lawrence. 12/6. Trans, by Eden & Cedar Paul.).

The author of this work has written a very interesting and informing account of the International Working Men’s Association, now described as the First International.

He starts out by investigating the earlier bodies such as the Communist League, which had an international character, and proceeds to show that they were the forerunners of the International. Like most of the Bolshevik writers, Stekloff paints too highly the English organisations that existed in the earner part of the nineteenth century.

Of the Chartists he says :—
  “In the middle thirties of the nineteenth century began the Chartist movement, the first attempt to create a mass party of revolutionary workers.” 
Now this is not correct, for neither in membership nor in their objects were the Chartist's revolutionary.

The conditions of the early sixties, industrially and politically, led to discussion of the need for international action among the workers, but the immediate occasion of the inauguration of the First International was the bloody suppression of the Polish rising by Russia. The first meeting took place at St. Martin's Hall on September 28th, 1864. Karl Marx was elected a member of the Committee to draft the rules and constitution, and the draft presented by Major Wolff, Mazzini's secretary, was rejected as well as that of Weston, the Chartist.

After a long and animated discussion, the draft drawn up by Marx himself was accepted. This address insists upon the importance of political action in these words: “To conquer political power has, therefore, become the great duty of the working class.”

The author of this history shows the very mixed outlook of a large part of the active members of the International. Many of them had distorted ideas of the meaning of the organisation and did not appreciate the truth Marx set out in the Preamble to the Rules stating that the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.

In the Latin countries the followers of Proudhon advocated peasant holdings and petty enterprise assisted by mutual credit banks. They repudiated political action. The followers of Bakunin (whose numbers were large) held that political activity was treachery. All these schools of Anarchist reform reflected the backward state of capitalism in the countries where their policy was popular. Their individual outlook and objection to State interference was shown at the Geneva Congress in 1866, where the French delegates opposed an eight-hour law on the ground that it was improper to interfere in the relations between employers and employed.
Adolph Kohn

The History of the International - Part 2 (1928)

Book Review from the July 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard

(Continued from last issue.)
History of First International by G. M. Stekloff. (Martin Lawrence. 12/6.)

The International Working Men's Association was dominated numerically by the followers of Proudhon, who appealed to the petty bourgeois outlook of the lands where petty enterprise still held the field.

One of Proudhon’s supporters, “Fribourg,” writing a history of the International, brings out the Proudhonists’ opposition to strikes and their belief in petty credit reforms as the road to prosperity. He says:
  The question of strikes, so inopportunely raised by the Blanquists at this epoch (the time of the first bureau), had no more determined opponents than the members of the International. Their advice was sometimes listened to, and to the International belongs the honour of having frustrated all attempts at a strike in the building trade during the years 1865, 1866 and 1867. Consumption, production, credit, solidarity, building societies, penny banks, mutual credit, societies —such were for years the questions discussed every evening by this little comity of workers. (Page 74.)
There we have an indication of the tremendous difficulties under which Marx and his supporters worked. On the one side, English Labour leaders, like George Odger, George Howell and Randall Cremer, who | were really Liberals (masquerading as Labour men), and, on the other side, the anarchist and reformist supporters of Proudhon and Bakunin.

The latter, with his high-sounding fury and anti-political policy, was able to win a good deal of support.

From the time the International was organised, in 1862, till its last Congress took place at the Hague in 1872, its history was a struggle between these elements with a widely-diverging policy. Marx struggled to teach the necessity of organisation and of independent political action to promote the victory of the International Working Class.

Writing of Bakunin, the author of this history gives a good summary of the background of his ideas. He says:
   Bourgeois society was breaking the chains imposed on it by the pre-capitalist system, and was undermining the foundations of the old order; but it was itself still unstable, and had not yet been able to organise its strength for a fight on two fronts, with the feudalists, on the one hand, and with the developing forces of the working class on the other. The titanic figure of Bakunin seems to have been a natural outgrowth of this critical period when the pre-bourgeois order was giving place to the bourgeois order. His figure was an appropriate one in such an epoch, when social ties, political institutions, and ideas were all in a state of flux. It was appropriate to days when the old governing class had been defeated, and when the new governing class was still weak but was inspired with vague but grandiose hopes—hopes begotten of the chaotic ferment that characterised this transition period. Naturally, people’s heads were easily turned, especially when the people were hot-heads like Bakunin. Thus, although this historic convulsion was nothing more than that caused by the efforts of bourgeois society to throw off its swaddling-clothes, Bakunin fancied that the final collapse of capitalism was imminent. What had really arrived was the end of the first phase in the development of capitalist society; but he, taking the beginning for the end, believed that the prologue of the social revolution was being played. This mistake arose from the fact that, substantially, he was not the ideological expression of the industrial proletariat, now undergoing consolidation, and developing concurrently with the development of the bourgeoisie. What Bakunin represented, ideologically speaking, was the economically backward countries like Russia and Italy. In these, and especially in Russia, capitalism was still in the period of what is known as "primitive accumulation,” and capitalist exploitation of the workers and the semi-proletarian sections of the peasantry was only in its initial stages. In actual fact, the aspirations, instincts, and elemental protests of those among the peasants who were being ruined by capitalist developments, played a considerable part in Bakunin's philosophy. They were the cause of his hostility to Communism; and of his still greater hostility to Social Democracy; they accounted for his antagonism to the State in all its forms, and for his anarchist activities; to a great extent, they determined both the form and the content of his insurrectionist philosophy. (Pages 151-152.)
The Bolsheviks of the Marx-Engels Institute at Moscow, who publish this work, can draw many lessons from paragraphs such as that just quoted.

It seems applicable in a large degree to the rise of Bolshevism in Russia to-day, and the direct action and insurrection policy of modern Communists seems to be largely borrowed from Bakunin.

Bakunin formed many secret societies in opposition to the International itself, and the programme of one of the Bakunist “Alliances” is quoted by the author:
  Atheism, the complete negation of all authority, the annulment of law, the denial of civil obligations, the substitution of free humanity for the State, collective ownership; labour was in this programme represented to be the foundation of social organisation, manifesting itself in the form of a great federation from below upwards. (Page 153.)
Marx was so much occupied by his writings and his work on the General Council in London that he was only able to attend the last Congress. But the history under review shows the advice and suggestions constantly made by him to endeavour to defeat the enemies of the International who turned up at the various Congresses.

The keen efforts of Marx and the part he played in the International is shown in the Manifestoes written for the International before and after the Commune of Paris, when such a crushing blow was made against the International.

The efforts made to unite the world’s workers from 1864 to 1872 suffered from the lack of development of the workers, due to their social environment and the mixture of reactionary notions to which they succumbed. The International, however, was worth while as a pioneer step in bringing home to all the need for international solidarity. Its weaknesses belonged to its time. Many of the causes of its decline explain to-day the decline of the Third International, which endeavoured to bring together a collection of mutually warring policies and hammer them into a movement with a programme adopted from the most backward country economically—Russia.

In the course of narrating the history of the International, the author frequently attempts to oppose Anarchist policies by policies equally absurd. On the question of reform, he ignores the fact that the workers’ struggles for reforms may be justified in the early days of the system, but that such efforts are now out of date.

One such optimistic statement may be quoted. He says:
  Reforms that are wrested by the workers from their class antagonists are blows that shake the bourgeois State, and when frequently repeated they may shake it to its foundations. Whereas to the bourgeoisie partial reforms seem buttresses that are needed to strengthen the capitalist building, in the hands of the working class these same reforms may become levers used to shake the stability of the edifice—provided always that those who are to utilise the reforms in this way have a true understanding of the general course of the historical struggle of the proletariat. (Page 171.)
But a little later he makes another statement, which shows the dangers of reform agitation. He says:
  Of course, from time to time, an unsuccessful struggle for reform may end in the destruction of the working class organisations which that struggle has called into existence. Such was the fate of the Chartist Movement. Nevertheless the usual effect of the struggle for reforms is to promote the growth of working class organisations. We must not generalise unduly. Sometimes the realisation of reforms for which a struggle halt been in progress, will take the fire out of large sections of the working class, and may even lead to the temporary arrest of the whole working class movement. That is what happened in Britain, for instance, during the late 'sixties, and the early ’seventies of the nineteenth century (see below). In other cases, the impossibility of achieving the reforms that are desired by the proletariat has the same result. (Page 173.)
In a short article we cannot do justice to this book, which is a mine of information and would well repay a worker’s study. In closing, we will quote the farewell speech of Marx after the last Congress (1872), which was held at the Hague. Addressing the meeting (at Amsterdam), Marx said:
   Fellow-citizens! Let us think of the fundamental principle of the International—Solidarity. We shall attain our great goal if we can establish this life-giving principle firmly among all the workers of all lands. The revolution must be the work of solidarised efforts. We can learn this from the great example of the Commune of Paris. Why did the Commune fall? It fell because there did not simultaneously occur in all the capitals—in Berlin, in Madrid and the rest—a great revolutionary movement linked with the mighty upheaval of the Parisian proletariat.
  For my own part, I shall continue to work at my chief task, at promoting the solidarity of the workers, which I regard as so momentous for the future. Rest assured that I shall not cease to work for the International; and that the years that remain to me, like the years I have already lived, will be consecrated to the triumph of the Socialist idea, which we doubt not, will one day lead to the dominion of the proletariat. (Page 242.)
Adolph Kohn

Editorial: Going it alone? (2004)

Editorial from the July 2004 issue of the Socialist Standard
If the results of June’s European elections are anything to go by, more people in Britain like the approach of the “United Kingdom Independence Party” than they do that of the Liberal-Democrats.
UKIP is basically a know-nothing, anti-foreigner party. It is a sad sign of the currently low level of working class political understanding that 16 percent of those who voted in these elections (even if only about 6 percent of the electorate) should have given their votes to such a party, with another 5.7 percent (2 percent of the electorate) going to the even more explicitly anti-foreigner BNP. Not that that means that those who voted for the other parties showed much political intelligence either. No party of capitalism can solve the problems faced by the wage and salary working class and so none of them are worth voting for.
Independence in the sense UKIP means is just not possible within the context of globalized capitalism. Certainly, formal political independence, or sovereignty, is possible, where states have the full power to make decisions without reference to any supra-national rules or decision-making procedures. But there’s a difference between the mere legal power to do something and what can be done in practice. In practice all states, when exercising their sovereign power to make decisions, have to take into account the economic reality that there exists a single world market economy on which they are dependent.
A state can exercise some degree of influence on how the world market operates in relation to it - it erect tariff walls, subsidise exports, devalue its currency - but this depends on its economic clout (such as the productivity and size of its industry and the extent of its internal market). Nearly fifty years ago the leading states of continental Europe calculated that they could better face the world market if they formed a single economic unit. They realised that this meant giving up some of their sovereignty to a supra-national body into whose decisions, however, they would have some input, but anticipated that what they were giving up in terms of national political sovereignty would be more than compensated by the gains brought about by being part of a wider economic unit, exercising collective political sovereignty on trade matters. Thus was born what is now the EU.
Twenty-five years later the dominant section of the British capitalist class made the same calculation as had Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries, and, from 1973, joined the economic union they had formed. The advantages of this, for British capitalism, were access to a wider internal market and a greater, even if shared, economic clout on the world market than they would have had on their own.
UKIP tacitly admits, in the small print, that Britain couldn’t go it alone economically when they argue that, after withdrawal from the EU, Britain should still form part of a free trade area with the rest of Europe. But this is how the EU started, and it still involves a sacrifice of sovereignty in the form of a surrender of the right to erect tariff walls against goods coming from the EU or to subsidise exports to it. And there would still need to be negotiations over the rules, their interpretation and on whether or not they had been infringed, negotiations in which the British capitalist class would be weakened by having to face on its own a bigger unit with a common position.
This of course is where the mainstream parties, which better reflect the current interest of the capitalist class, will be able to fault UKIP if ever things got serious, by arguing that if British capitalism is going to form part of some European economic unit then its interests would be better served by being a full member, with full rights to have a say in determining the unit’s common policies.
But this is to assume that UKIP’s case is a rational one whereas it isn‘t. It is based on xenophobia, with its slogans “No to the EU” and “Keep the Pound for Ever” meaning “No to foreigners” and “Britain über Alles”. It is based on the irrational view that “foreigners” of one sort or another represent a threat to the supposed community with a common interest made up of the “native” population of the UK. But there is no such community, no such common interest. Britain, like every other country in the world, is a class-divided country where the two classes - those who own and class and those who work and produce - have diametrically opposed interests.
The view that all who live in the same country have a common interest against all those who live in other states is part of a political ideology that seeks to mobilise the producing class to line up behind the owning class in its contest with the owning classes of other countries. But the interest of the wage and salary working class in all countries is to reject all nationalism, to reject in fact the very idea of “foreigner”, and to recognise that they have a common interest with people in other countries in the same economic situation of being obliged to sell their mental and physical energies in order to get a living. That interest lies in working together to establish a world-wide society of common ownership, democratic control and production for use not profit.

Women and the Socialist Party. (1912)

From the September 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard

Why should the women workers join the S.P.G.B.? This is a question often asked by those outside any particular organisation, whose general idea re woman is, that “her place is at home.”

Socialism, it must be remembered, is not the name of a political party, but a term applied to a certain state of society. It is not a “measure” to be placed on the Statute Book in bits (as our Labour representatives would have us believe), but an economic development. It is not a movement exclusively for the “ bettering of the conditions of the working man,”but a transformation of society—which transformation will mean the abolition of all classes, and must be the work of the working class itself.

Under the present regime of capitalist production, woman finds herself in the labour market, as a seller of labour-power, upon the sale of which her livelihood depends. She, therefore, is a wage-slave, and because of this ought to be with those who are fighting for the abolition of such slavery, and the establishment of Socialism. That is the predominant reason why women should join the Socialist Party—Socialism is their only hope, and for Socialism should be their only fight.

The adherents to the Christian religion would have women believe that their position in society has been considerably elevated through the influence of that religious teaching. But if women will read the religious history of this or any other country they will discover that religion has always been on the side of their repression, and has been, in fact, one of the greatest agents in their subjection.

Today, in Christian England, thousands of our women are sweated and bled for the satisfaction of the greed of the capitalist. The existence of a certain class of women who live by means repulsive even to themselves, is a living indictment of capitalism. Prostitution is intensely aggravated by the present regime of industry, and is, in fact, a sine qua non of capitalist production.

Woman under capitalism is not what the poets so glibly tell us. She is a poor, sweated wage-slave. Her maternal instincts are suppressed, her nature is cramped, her mind is warped, her lot is the lot of the slave from birth to death.

Socialism is the only system of society under which equality of sex will obtain. It is the only system where woman will be able to fulfil her true destiny; in which her life will be able to blend and harmonise with the life of the community; in which her faculties will find full expression and her nature real manifestation.

We appeal to the women of our class to shun the calls and the traps of the capitalist profit-mongers, to refute the false optimistic gabble of the parson, to realise their true class position in society, and to augment the band of wage-slaves who have realised that they “have nothing to lose but their chains, and a world to win.”
J. H. Lamb