Saturday, January 6, 2018

Letter from Edinburgh (1962)

From the July 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

Edinburgh is a city with a population of about half a million. A few of these are very rich but. just like in all other cities in the Capitalist world, most of them are poor.

Edinburgh attracts many visitors from all over the world. They stroll along the mile-long Princes Street, staring at its famous buildings, gardens and floral clock. There, too, stands the Walter Scott monument. Looming over it all is the Castle, from which the visitor can admire the surrounding hills, can look over the Firth of Forth and can see the art galleries on the Mound which have given Edinburgh the name of the Modern Athens.

There is a great tradition of learning and letters in the city. In 1727 Alexander Munro was installed as Edinburgh's first professor of anatomy and laid the foundations for what is now a thriving university. Alan Ramsay the elder (1686-1758). whose monument overlooks the floral clock, was the pioneer of the revival of literature in Scotland. Ramsay was a wigmaker in the High Street; he joined the Jacobite Essay Club and became its Post Laureate about 1717. Desiring to render service to the inside of his customers' heads as well as the outside, he converted his wig-shop into a bookstall. Both Walter Scott and Robert Bums acknowledged the fact that they owed a lot to Ramsay, whom they had taken as their model.

But this is no take-off of a gaudy travel brochure. The Socialist Party of Great Britain is in Edinburgh too, making its voice heard in this centre of learning. Many visitors from abroad listen to our speakers on the Mound and are impressed by the Socialist's scientific case. Here are expounded the theories of historical materialism and scientific Socialism which Karl Marx and Frederich Engels first formulated over a century ago.

Before man can pursue the studies of politics, philosophy, science and art for which Edinburgh is famous, he must first of all eat and drink and have clothing and shelter; he must, therefore, first of all work. It is with this fact and others—that our Socialist speakers are illuminating the minds of their listeners in the Modern Athens north of the Border.
David Lamond

Crime in our Time (1962)

Book Review from the August 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

Crime in our Time, by Josephine Bell. (Nicholas Vane, 21s.)

Crime is a subject that never seems to lose its fascination; one wonders what some of the more sensational newspapers would do without it.

Always a major topic of interest, only a political upheaval or an outstanding sporting event can keep the latest wage snatch or a particularly nasty murder out of the headlines. Many of the Sunday newspapers, as well as certain periodicals, rely on recent crime, or on highly coloured articles which dramatise the crimes of the past. And as if reality were not enough, the cinema and the television screen are there to transport us to a dream world of crime, a dream world in which the criminal is caught with monotonous regularity. One can never understand why they don't pack it up in the first reel.

At the other end of the scale, in the local papers, we find the weekly cavalcade of petty crimes. Largely unnoticed amongst the local news items and the announcements are all the dreary, and sometimes tragic, little affairs that fill the magistrates' courts.

But underneath the sensationalism and the morbid curiosity lies a real and understandable concern with a problem that touches the lives of most people. Many workers such as nightwatchmen. bank workers or postmen are quite liable to be injured or even killed in some sort of raid. Other people may be the victims of gang fights, sexual assaults or other forms of violence. None of these people can be expected to view the subject with clinical detachment. Their fears and their demands for protection are understandable. Feelings run high and find expression in hysterical demands for more violent punishments for the criminal. This is the kind of demand that has become a regular feature of Conservative Party conferences; a demand for more flogging and hanging. These punishments will solve nothing and only serve to cloud the issue even further. Books and articles on the subject are endless, and they are read with avid interest.

The book under review, Crime In Our Time, by Josephine Bell, who is better known as a writer of detective novels, is an honest and unemotional attempt to review a complicated problem. Much painstaking research has gone into its preparation, and a lot of varied information is contained within its pages. This alone makes it of considerable use to people who are studying this subject. Beginning with an account of one day's crime in London-twenty-four hours selected at random—it covers crime over the last 60 years and then surveys the criminal scene today. A great part of the book is occupied with facts and figures concerning the nature of those offences which the law knows as crimes —the diseases both physical and mental that can lead to violence and sexual abnormality and the processes of the law itself.

One aspect that is of interest to the Socialist is the growth or decline of different types of anti-social behaviour as the conditions within society change. In crime, as in the capitalist society of which it is just a part, one problem disappear only to give rise to new ones. Agricultural societies may give way to industrial, large towns may replace small, family groupings and loyalties may decline or disappear, but the basic problems of poverty and insecurity remain. This is where we must probe, if we’re to find the basic cause of crime in our time.
Les Dale

A Tale of Two Simpletons: Good man gone wrong (1962)

From the September 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

Nothing so sharply divides the Socialist from the non-Socialist as the recognition that the world needs a different social structure—not just different men or different political parties to administer capitalism, but deliberate understanding action by the working class to replace the existing social system by a Socialist one. The extent to which this is appreciated is a measure of political maturity. Those who are politically quite immature believe the opposite. They believe that if they have “good” men to lead them these men can purify capitalism, solve its insoluble problems, rid it of unemployment, poverty and war. etc. Experience proves this to be unfounded. Politicians with no mandate to establish Socialism do not, when they become the government, have the power to impose their good intentions on capitalism. Instead, they are in its clutches; of necessity the Labour Government which had preached disarmament, peace and high wages in practice rearmed, supported war and tried to impose a wage-freeze. They end by being hardly distinguishable from the avowed. supporters of capitalism.

A curious by-product of this situation is the emergence of critics of the Labour Party, many of them claiming to be pacifists. who take a dim view of British capitalism and its supporters but fancy that foreign representatives of capitalism are somehow different; the Reverend Donald Soper, for example. He sees the world of politics, at least outside of this country, in terms of good men and bad men. and is blind to the fact that capitalism takes no notice of such distinctions. But time digs its pitfalls for the Sopers of this world: the “good" men turn out to be “bad” after all.

Soper in his weekly article in Tribune dealt on July. 27th with “Mosley, Nasser and the Jews." His argument was that anti-Jewish propaganda in this country is of little significance compared with the menace of Colonel Nasser, Egypt's dictator:
   What is much more threatening and unmanageable is the anti-Semitism contained in Nasser's speeches last week-end in Cairo—particularly as this outburst in words coincides with the launching of Egyptian rockets for the first time. I find the following quotations almost appalling. He pledged himself to liberate Palestine from Israel. This is frightening enough in all conscience, but at least he has been saying this all along. He went on to hint that Egypt's rocket arsenal was being built up for this express purpose.
Soper fears that Nasser is bent on a war of conquest with his new rockets, and Soper wants him to be stopped. It would be too much to expect Soper to see that only the abolition of capitalism will stop Egypt, Israel, America, Nasser, Britain and the rest of the capitalist powers from waging war; instead, he puts his trust in the farcical notion of “a system of international law which could restrain men like Nasser."

But to come back to the question of Soper's childish politics, why on earth should Soper want Nasser to be stopped, for we have it on the authority of Soper that Nasser is a “good” man, one who ought to be encouraged.

Speaking at Caxton Hall on August 14th, 1956, Soper had this to say:
   The third and last thing I want to say, because it is my purpose tonight rather to testify from the Christian standpoint, and to say something on behalf, I am sure, of thousands of Christian people who are inarticulate, whatever the other dignitaries of the church may or may not say—I want to say in the name of Christianity that this Nasser ought to be encouraged and not be repressed, because I believe the root of the matter in him is good and, because it is good, it is our business to evoke it by corresponding good and not to repress it by threats of violence.
This ought to cure Soper, but it probably won't, and readers who may take comfort in the belief that there cannot be more than one person with Soper's naive approach to the world have to learn that the same week produced another. While Soper is a pacifist who wanted to encourage the Egyptian warlord but has changed his mind and wants him restrained, another sometime supporter of the Labour Party, Ethel Mannin, who describes herself as an "unrepentant pacifist," thinks Nasser should still be encouraged. In a letter to the Daily Telegraph (July 26th), she said she was worried about some things, “notably the indoctrination of the children in a school I visited and which seemed to me Hitlerism,” but "for your information, Sir, my attitude to Nasser's Egypt is one of the utmost goodwill, tempered with anxiety. . . .  But whatever criticisms may be made of President Nasser’s interpretation of Socialism, and his methods of implementing his ideas and ideals, of his sincerity there can be no doubt."

Ethel Mannin describes herself in her letter as “an old campaigner": she. like Soper, appears to be as simple as when she started.
Edgar Hardcastle

The Common Market and the old Corn Laws (1962)

The Finance and Industry column from the October 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Economist in a recent article on the difficulty Macmillan will face in trying to get Parliamentary approval for entry into the Common Market, described it as potentially “the most explosive internal situation since the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846.” The writer was warning of the possibility that the Tory Party might split and the Government suffer defeat by an alliance between “Tory reactionaries seeking disentanglement from Europe," and the Labour Party seeking to win an election on anti-Common Market votes.

It is an interesting parallel. The repeal of the Corn Laws (duties on imported corn), and the removal of the import duties on a wide range of other goods and the earlier abolition of duties on exports, marked the great changeover of British trading policy from high protection to free trade. Among other consequences it was expected to bring speedy ruin to farmers and landlords as floods of cheap imported food started coming in. These agricultural interests were influential in the Conservative Party which was then in power with Sir Robert Peel as Prime Minister. He however favoured Repeal, both on general grounds and because of the disastrous potato famine that occurred in Ireland in 1845, but his fellow ministers in the Cabinet would not agree. He thereupon resigned, but the Liberal leader. Sir John Russell, was unable to get enough support in Parliament for a Liberal government and Peel was soon back in office. He then forced the Repeal of the Corn Laws through the House of Commons against the will of his own Party. He was able to do this because the Liberal opposition M.P.'s who voted for it were joined by over a hundred Conservative “free-traders," many of whom later joined the Liberal Party. Peel had got his way, but it cost him his Premiership, and the Government for the next six years was Liberal.

The British industrial and commercial capitalists had truly come into their own. British manufacturers and British-owned ships dominated the markets and shipping lanes of the world. The Free-trader, Dr. Bowring, might declare “Jesus Christ is Free Trade and Free Trade is Jesus Christ." But what the manufacturers were aiming at was low-priced raw material and food imports so that wages could be reduced, selling prices of manufacturers kept down and profits raised. They hid their real aim under promises of benefits for everybody — for the worker, cheap food and high wages; and for the whole human race, the dawn of an era of brotherhood and peace. They were, however, not able to convince the farmers and landowners that it would be good for them also, but as things turned out the repeal of the import duties on food did not have the feared disastrous effects at once. For one thing the duties on imported corn were not abolished at one stroke, but by stages over a period of years. Secondly, it took time to organise the import of food from abroad and it was not till many years later that the floods of cheap food started coming in from across the Atlantic. Also the big discoveries of easily-mined gold in California and Australia had the effect of raising the general price level,

The enthusiasts for Free Trade convinced themselves that it was a doctrine for universal application and were surprised to find that it was not everywhere accepted. Free Trade suited the triumphant British exporters of manufactured goods, but not their less successful rivals on the Continent.
  On the Continent—the backbone of the Protectionist Party was formed by the manufacturers who feared the English imports; the Free-Trade Party were the agriculturalists who wanted cheap manufactures. Thus in Germany the Agrarians or Junkers were Free-Trade, so were the great landowners of Russia, the wine-producers of France and the cotton growers of the South in the United States. They were all exporters and wanted markets abroad and were willing to take manufactures in return.
(Knowles, Industrial and Commercial Revolutions in Great Britain during the 19th Century. P.I32).
Later on when British capitalists ceased to determine the world market for manufactured goods and had to face thrusting competitors from overseas, many of them abandoned Free Trade.

In 1923 the Baldwin Tory Government and its big business backers had decided to go over to Protection. They fought an election on the issue, but were defeated and it was not until nine years later under the Import Duties Act, 1932. that a general ten per cent. import duty was imposed on all imported goods except raw materials and foodstuffs.

Baldwin's failure to carry the electors with him in 1923 (his policy was opposed by both Liberals and Labour) is a reminder of the different political situation in 1846. At that time the workers had no votes and the electorate was well under a million in a population of 18 million; now it is about 36 million in a population of 52 million.

One other difference is that nowadays hardly anyone can be found in this country crusading for Free Trade in the way the old Corn Law abolitionists did. The supporters of the European Common Market (including the formerly Free Trade Liberals) want Free Trade inside the Market, but a quite high tariff wall against imports from outside; and their opponents who want to keep out of the Market and develop Commonwealth trade are likewise supporters of Protective Tariffs.

Where some big backing for Free Trade can be found now is in the United States, and the reason is the same as that which operated in Britain in 1846. The Kennedy Administration has been trying to move towards freer trade; naturally against the opposition of those groups that favour high tariff protection for their own products. A correspondent writing in the Financial Times (11/9/62) says:
  In fighting for freer trade the President has enjoyed the support of the most progressive section of American industry—capital goods—which have been chiefly responsible for expanding the U.S. export surplus in recent years. While the U.S. is now a net importer of finished consumer goods, exports of capital equipment- construction machinery, rolling machinery, and the like—are some 6,000 million dollars larger than imports.
One factor does not change. All of the industrial and commercial groups whose financial interest leans this way or that over free trade, protection, common market and the like will go on proclaiming that all they are concerned with is the well-being of the workers—just as it was in 1846.
Edgar Hardcastle

Forerunner of Common Market (1962)

From the November 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

The continental politicians, business men and lawyers who have spent years discussing, negotiating and drafting the Treaty of Rome and its accompanying agreements for the establishment of the European Economic Community must often have been reminded of a half century of work on the German Customs Union (Zollverein) that reached its culmination in 1871 in Bismark's German Empire. What happened then in Germany may not, at first sight, appear to bear comparison with the formation of a European Common Market by six separate governments, but the earlier event was in fact an even more complicated business.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century what was later to become a united Germany consisted of 289 separate states, each with its own government and frontiers, as well as 61 cities which were almost self-governing. These states were separated from each other by toll charges and tariffs, by different coinages, weights and measures and different legal systems, not to mention the frequently almost impassable roads.

In the conflict between the rulers of Prussia and Austria as to which was to dominate central Europe, the Customs Union was to prove a powerful weapon in the hands of Prussia though at the outset its possibilities were so little realized that the Prussian government actually had Austrian approval. It started in 1819 as a Free Trade area for Prussia's own scattered territories, behind a Customs barrier. As Prussia completely surrounded some of the smaller states and controlled the main trade routes into Central Germany, it was possible for the Prussian authorities to impose heavy transit charges on goods crossing Prussian territory and to put pressure on other states to induce them to join the Union.

It was not until the eighteen thirties that the Union expanded among the more important of the other German states with the accession of Bavaria, Wurtenberg, Saxony, Baden and the city of Frankfurt. An attempt by Hanover (under the British Crown until 1837) to form a rival union of North German states was a failure and the question of admitting Austria produced some of the kind of difficulties that now arise for the British Government through its links with the Commonwealth countries. Austria at that time controlled Hungary, Lombardy and Venice as well as being influential in the policies of the other governments in what is now Italy. The issue was whether Austria should enter the Customs Union bringing Hungary and Italy along too, and whether the latter were to be excluded from what purported to be a Union of German Peoples. In the long run it was settled by military means with the crushing defeat of the Austrian Army in the "seven weeks war” at Sadowa in 1866. From then onwards Austria was no longer in a position to challenge or hinder the achievement of German unity under Prussian leadership.

What the Customs Union gained for German capitalism was that after the eighteen thirties the major part of Germany formed an economic entity. Communications were improved, an identical system of weights, measures and currency introduced, and prices fell and became uniform. At first the trading and economic changes brought no corresponding political changes, and as the Encyclopaedia Britannica has it: “it was not until later that Bismark was able to utilize the Union for the furtherance of his schemes for National unity."

Among the internal industries that thrived behind the tariff protection of the Customs Union were German wine production, sugar beet growing and processing, and tobacco growing, with the corresponding decline of imports from abroad and loss of trade in what had been the ports of entry. There had been no question of Britain and France being allowed to join the German Customs Union, which was of course intended to operate as a protection for home industries against cheap imports from those two countries among others.

H. de B. Gibbins in his Economic and Industrial Progress of the Century had this to say about the British and French reactions to the Customs Union:
  One effect of it was seen at once in the imposition of severely protective duties on all foreign manufacturers, though the raw materials for home manufactures were wisely admitted free. The result was that England and France did not regard the Zollverein with much favour. . . .
One of the tasks the Prussian ruling class had to carry out in Germany was to break down very strong local "patriotisms” of the' multiplicity of German states, and replace them with an all-German patriotism.

It took time, but long before the end of the nineteenth century, German patriotism could compete in stupidity and fervour with anything the other empires and republics could boast. Nowadays we hear supporters of the European Common Market who argue that getting into a group of countries, since it means giving up some of the independence of each country, is a step towards internationalism. The argument is fallacious because in a capitalist world the only difference between the isolated country and the group of countries is that the later is industrially and militarily more powerful—it does not diminish the international antagonisms. Association with the European Common Market is no more a step towards internationalism than is association with the British Commonwealth or membership of United Nations.

It is to the point to recall that when the German Customs Union was absorbing economically the separate German states as a prelude to unifying them politically, there were people who fancied they could see that, too, as a step towards international brotherhood. Gustav Schmoller, the German professor of political science wrote his book, The Mercantile System round the theme that “ historical progress has consisted mainly in the establishment of ever larger and larger communities as the controllers of economic policy in place of small.” It was illustrated chiefly from Prussian history. Writing in 1884 when Europe was already conscious of growing European tensions over trade and colonies and the consequent threat of war, Schmoller was nevertheless able to deceive himself about the part played by the formation of the larger economic group he wrote about. He admitted that in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the conduct of the separate nations had been "characterised by a selfish national commercial policy of a harsh and rude kind," and pointed to the way England had reached commercial supremacy by 1800 “by means of its tariff and naval wars, frequently with extraordinary violence," but he could imagine that capitalism had later changed and that “the struggle . . .  had a tendency, with the progress of civilisation, to assume a higher character and to abandon its coarsest and most brutal weapons.”

Schmoller thought he could see the capitalist jungle being tamed or civilised by the formation of leagues of states, by alliances for customs and trade questions, and by the growth of international law which was bringing into existence “ the moral and legal community of all civilised states.”

How wrong he was; but no more blind to the realities of capitalism than are most of those who now argue for and against the European Common Market.
Edgar Hardcastle

This Money Business (1962)

From the December 1962 issue of the Socialist Standard

Some of the many people who don't think that Socialism is a good idea declare that our objective—a world commonwealth in which money and a lot of other things would not be required—is impractical because some sort of money is a necessary part of all human societies, even the primitive ones. Without it. they say, no society could hope to work.

They are wrong.

Even today there are races and tribes who conduct their affairs quite satisfactorily without money. In any case, to try to draw a parallel in this argument with past societies is impossible, because capitalism has given money a distinct function.

Primitive peoples used a variety of objects, some of practical use, some ornamental, which through a loose definition of terms have sometimes been described as money. In Fiji, for example, they used sperm whale teeth; in Eastern New Guinea shell armlets and large stone axe blades. The Abyssinians used rock salt. The natives of the Melanesian Islands consider that strings of shell discs are their most important item of wealth and a lot of labour power is used up in producing them. The purchasing power of these discs varies with their length and colour. Red ones arc worth the most because of the scarcity of the shells from which they are made. These strings are sometimes used in settlement of social obligations. But none of these objects perform the true function of money.

In any society an article is money only when it acts as a medium of exchange and as a measure of value and when it contains within itself the social embodiment of human labour power. It must also be able to measure and to equate all and any commodity against any other. This, of course, eliminates the shell discs which, although they are a form of wealth to the Fijian native who will use them to pay for a canoe or trade them against each other, do not express the market value of all other goods. Such an object—modern, developed, defined, all powerful money—is a typical product of capitalism.

As capitalism moves in on the primitive tribes, building its factories and establishing its other features, a fully fledged monetary system will came into being there. The native will find that he is living under the same conditions as wage workers elsewhere. In order to live he will be compelled to sell his working ability to an employer for a wage which will be based upon what it costs to keep him in a state of working efficiency.

It will make no difference to him whether or not he is skilled, whether he is paid a weekly wage or a monthly salary, whether his employer is the state or some private company. He will be a member of a class which has no economic security and which is cruelly subject to all the anomalies and contradictions of capitalism.

The change from private to common ownership—from Capitalism to Socialism —will mean that as trade and markets cease to exist so also will the need for a multitude of currencies, indeed, for any currency at all. Money could not be of any use in such a commonwealth, unless perhaps as museum relics of a past inglorious chapter in man’s history.
Dick Jacobs

What Newspapers Did Not Tell (1937)

From the January 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

And what French Soldiers Thought of War
In the French Army in 1917 “Camps were placarded with notices declaring the intention of the soldiers to refuse to go back again to the trenches. . . .  A battalion ordered to the front refused. . . . Soldiers coming home on leave sang the Internationale and demanded peace. Mutinies occurred in 16 different Army Corps, the mutineers alleging that they had been sacrificed by treacherous or inefficient Generals. A force of 15,000 Russians which had been sent to France, openly revolted and had to be bombarded by artillery fire into surrender. A number of young infantrymen marched through the streets 'baa-ing’ like sheep, to indicate that they were being driven like lambs to the slaughter. The ominous symptoms which preceded the Russian Revolution, and later on the German, appeared in the French Army in 1917.”—Lloyd George, War Memoirs, p. 2132.

Where the Generals Sent Them Last Time
“The whole surface of the ground consisted of nothing but a series of overlapping shell craters, half full of yellow, slimy water. Through falling into these ponds hundreds upon hundreds of unwounded men lost their lives by drowning.

“Hundreds of thousands of British troops fought through the slough . . . slept in mud-holes. When they squelched along, they were shot down into the slush; if wounded they were drowned in the slime; but the survivors still crept and dragged onward for 4 months, with their rifles choked with Flemish ooze. . . . A tragedy of heroic endurance enacted in mud, and the British Press rang with praises of . . . the Commander-in-Chief!”

A “highly placed officer from H.Q.” on his first visit to the battle front burst into tears and cried: “Good God, did we really send men to fight in that?”—Lloyd George, War Memoirs, pp. 2208-11.

Is It War? (1937)

From the February 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

The international situation becomes each month more tense and dangerous, and early war is on all sides spoken of as a possibility. The German ruling class, strongly armed for war, along with what allies they can find in Italy, Japan and elsewhere, are bent on carving out territorial gains in Europe and the colonial lands. Against them on the present line-up are the Governments of France, Russia, Britain and other countries, anxious to keep what they have. The spokesmen of the British ruling class, themselves frantically hastening war preparations, declare that this country will only go to war for its own “vital interests”—a truly admirable-sounding doctrine. We, too, are of opinion that the working class should only fight for its own vital interests. But what are the vital interests of the world working class on the one side and the national sections of the ruling class on the other? The British ruling class find their vital propertied interests scattered over the seven seas and across the surrounding continents: in India, China, South America, Africa and the Mediterranean lands. It even appears, according to The Times (January 20th, 1937) that it is a vital British interest, “that the political independence and the territorial integrity of Spain should be preserved." But what matters to the workers is not where the ruling class have an interest, but what that interest is. All the time the defenders of capitalism pretend that capitalist and worker have a mutual interest. Let us test it by seeing what the capitalist Governments do about the urgent problem of working class poverty. President Roosevelt can admit, in a speech at Washington on January 20th, 1937 (see Daily Telegraph, January 21st), that one-third of the American nation are “ill-housed, ill-clad and ill-nourished.” The same can be said of Great Britain, Germany, and most countries. All the Governments, past and present, have promised to deal with it, but none of them have done so or will do so. They do not consider it a vital problem. If they did they would have acted with the promptness and decision they all show about armaments and war for the defence of the propertied interests of the capitalist class. The British ruling class may have a vital interest in Spain, but it is not concerned with helping the Spanish workers to escape from the miseries of oppression and exploitation at the hands of the landowners, the military and the Catholic Church. To this the politicians hasten to reply that their concern is with British workers, not with Spaniards. Professor Haldane recently gave the most crushing answer to this, when he pointed out that the workers in besieged Madrid are probably better fed than those in our depressed areas like Merthyr. What have the British ruling class to say to that?

The interest of the workers everywhere is not in helping their rulers to grab or hold, but in the speedy overthrow of capitalism everywhere, the ending of the exploitation of one class by another. Let the workers of all countries apply that touchstone to the policies of their respective Governments. If the British ruling class—from Rothermere, the near-Fascist, to Beaverbrook, the “isolationist"—want the worker to take armed action in any quarter of the globe, ask what working class interest is at stake. Make no mistake, the armed forces of the capitalist State are not set in motion by the capitalists who control the machinery of Government for any purpose but their own class interest. Whether they call their wars offensive or defensive, struggles for colonies or to protect trade routes, for democracy or for Fascism, for religion or against it, the true purpose will be to hold or increase the wealth of the various sections of the ruling class. Workers, have none of it! Accept their advice and think only of the vital interest of your class, against capitalist wars and for Socialism.
Edgar Hardcastle

The Freedom of the Press! (1937)

Party News from the March 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

Our lectures have been advertised for some time past in the Daily Worker but that is now over. The “Communists” daily has returned our advertisements and money with the statement that they cannot accept our advertisements. No doubt if we agreed to no longer criticise the Communist policy they would open their columns again to us. These “anti fascist” freedom lovers of the Daily Worker were very bitter about the tyranny of the Press recently, when the Observer refused the publishers advertisement of Langdon Davies’s book on Spain. Now they follow the Observer and won't advertise meetings where their policy is criticised.

In future only Football Pools, Popular Front Parsons, Christian Socialists, the Duchess of Atholl, Lord Allen of Hurtwood, Labour Parties, Liberal United-Fronters, and their own yes-men may be advertised in the Daily Worker.

We therefore ask our readers to make our lectures known. Come yourselves, bring a friend, and help us to advertise in non-Communist journals which have a little of bourgeois democracy left.

For Students of Socialism (1937)

From the April 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are always being asked by readers of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD how, after having become interested in Socialism, they can gain knowledge of its principles and thus fit themselves to be propagandists. Which out of the many books and pamphlets should they read and to what sources should they go to discover the way in which Socialist principles can be applied to everyday problems. It is to meet this need that the S.P.G.B., so far as its resources will allow, publishes pamphlets dealing with important theoretical and practical questions. There is, however, another source of information which is far too little used by students of Socialism, that is the bound volumes of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD for past years. When advised to read these the student thinks of the short-lived interest of articles in most periodicals and concludes that THE SOCIALIST STANDARD suffers from the same defect and that articles published five or ten years ago can have little bearing on current problems. This is a mistake. The principles of Socialism have not changed and the situations to which they have to be applied are likewise constantly recurring. It will be found, in fact, that the supposedly new situations and problems and proposals facing us to-day have all happened before; and THE SOCIALIST STANDARD has had something to say about them. Is it the question of war ? Then read our war issues, 1914-1918, consistently proclaiming the Socialist message in face of all the treachery of the pseudo-Socialists. Is it the ever-recurring proposal of working-class unity? Then our back numbers will tell you why all the earlier efforts failed.

In short, our bound volumes are indispensable to those who want to understand the reason why the working class have failed to emancipate themselves in spite of heroic and untiring efforts, and who want to understand how to avoid past mistakes.

Death Of An American Comrade (1937)

Obituary from the May 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

Local Boston of the Workers’ Socialist Party is sorry to announce the death of Comrade Doris Ober, of influenza, on February 17th.

The Socialist movement has suffered a great loss by her death. As a result of her constant activity she succeeded in attracting many other young girls to the movement.

The inspiration of a class-conscious girl rebel at the present stage was a real stimulus, and, realising the accuracy of her oft-repeated statement that “Socialism is the only thing worth living for,” we are determined to close ranks and carry on.