Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Socialism — the politics of reason (1978)

From the March 1978 issue of the Socialist Standard

A pessimistic view of man might see him as condemned to the pursuit of illusions. It might see him as preoccupied with meaningless objectives or otherwise held compulsively in the grip of self-destructive causes. Who could deny that there is some truth in such a view? For all man’s efforts, his best hopes remain constantly denied. The organisation of life about human needs evades us. In place of cohesion we have dislocation and violent conflict. The most disturbing feature of society is the unwillingness to recognise reality. The gap between understanding and experience is filled by false ideas which prevent us from solving problems.

This kind of pessimism is recent and can be contrasted with the optimism of the 18th and 19th centuries—the so-called age of enlightenment. Then it was thought that human progress followed inevitably from the new spirit of rationality and the development of the sciences. Physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, political economy and philosophy were all subjects of intense theoretical speculation. A new confidence grew out of expanded knowledge in every field of enquiry. Although the mood had its detractors it was felt that the new knowledge and its use in more efficient productive techniques and improved communications would improve the quality of life.

Now that confidence has been shattered, not only because man has been unable to solve his social problems; in this century, man’s inhumanity to man is unprecedented. The disillusion is particularly with science and its application in technology which many people see as worsening or even causing social problems. They point to pollution of the air, the spoiling of the environment, the depletion of resources, the development and use of nuclear weapons. They see the technical culture as being humanly sterile, resulting in consumerism and the alienation of man in the work process in vast industrial complexes. The application of science seems more frightening than reassuring, and the times are described as the age of anxiety.

Even rationality itself has come to be suspect, and the politics of irrationality are pursued by some as being more to the human point. In their attack on science, advocates of the counter culture argue that in striving for objectivity man separates himself from the most important human values. In his book The Making of a Counter Culture, Theodore Roszak writes,
  "Objective consciousness is alienated life elevated to its most honorific status as the scientific method. Under its auspices we subordinate nature to our command only by estranging ourselves from more and more of what we experience, until the reality about which objectivity tells us so much finally becomes a universe of congealed alienation.”
The disillusion with science could not be more -complete than this. He writes,
   “. . . the primary purpose of human existence is not to devise ways of piling up ever greater heaps of knowledge, but to discover ways to live from day to day that integrate the whole of our nature by way of yielding nobility of conduct, honest fellowship, and joy.”
The absurdity of Roszak’s attack on science is that in his systematic analysis of the problem he classifies three destructive mental characteristics of objectivity which if true must apply to his own objectivity thereby destroying his own argument.

To attribute the misuse of science to science itself is an idea which is not only false but dangerous. Human beings abandon rationality to their cost. One expression of political irrationality is fascism. In a published lecture, Professor Lipset of Harvard University has said
   “If one looks at the literature of the Nazi Student Movement and particularly of Nazi intellectuals, one finds an emphasis on a belief in romanticism. It condemned technology, the products of modern science, modern developments that came out of the university, and they saw the scientific method as undermining the truth which they thought men had to feel. They stressed the virtues of nature and what men felt—from their backgrounds, from their internal feelings—as overriding what their minds told them in any kind of scientific way.”
Professor Lipset argues that the Nazi movement was created or sustained by waves of discontent fed by inflation and depression. We would agree with this. It was an irrational response to conditions which were not clearly understood. The pervasive nostalgia of the fascist appeal to mythology, nationalism and race was a refuge of despair. The Nazi movement created the illusion of strength, solidarity and purpose. In fact it was an irrational retreat from reality, in which frustration and a deep feeling of powerlessness gave rise to hate, hostility and the persecution of political scapegoats.

Irrationality of Fascism
The irrationality of fascism cannot be dissociated from the total irrationality of the social structure which still persists. The situation where men do not understand how it is that their needs remain unsatisfied, and where the social experience is one of frustration and prolonged failure, is always dangerous. In seeking election, conventional reformist parties such as the Labour and Tory parties, help to create false expectations. In their interaction with the prevailing confusion they pretend that they can solve problems. Though they would disclaim it, and even actively oppose it, there is a connecting link between the failures of reformist governments and the rise of fascist attitudes. Once again we see the regrowth of fascism in a variety of forms. Once again the failure of reformist parties in worsening conditions of recession, unemployment and inflation is being expressed through the politics of hate.

The National Front is an obvious example. There are other groups who would disclaim any similarity with fascism and yet can be found to share many fascist attitudes'. There are so-called “leftist” groups who hold democratic procedures in contempt, are disposed to violence, who justify any means with illusory ends, who are elitist and orientated towards leadership and who fee! that out of the creation of chaos some kind of better order can grow.

Ill-Informed Frustration
The Baader Meinhof group is one such organisation which generates a romantic heroism and places a value on “action” against the apparent invulnerability of existing social structures. These are dangerous people who arrogate to themselves an absolute sense of right and who are mirror images of the authoritarianism they claim to oppose. They are born in the irrationality of ill-informed frustration.

The anti-science attitude in politics leads to social degeneracy, but the 19th century optimism about science was also unjustified. In general terms it cannot be doubted that in the expansion of knowledge man has a greater understanding of nature and can see his own existence as part of nature in a clear and more realistic perspective. More than that, man’s knowledge of his total environment has increased his ability to manipulate it to his advantage. But it also remains true that the free use of science for the benefit of man remains distorted and checked. The reasons why this is so penetrate directly to the contradictions of capitalist society.
We might ask, under what order of priorities does society use vast resources of labour and materials, including the work of brilliant physicists, for destructive purposes? Why do we produce spy satellites? In the face of human need why do we stockpile nuclear weapons and undistributed food side by side? How can we account for the grotesque paradox in which brilliant success is achieved in the technology of human destruction while men starve and the productive potential is not developed for human need?

Science does not operate in a social vacuum. The purposes for which science is used are the purposes of society in general. We can only understand the perverted priorities given to science and technology by understanding the overall political and economic motives of capitalism.

The negativism of the so-called counter culture, which deludes itself into thinking that positive results can be achieved by contracting out, and the vicious irrationality of fascism, are both signposts to further human disaster. Yet both these viewpoints are only exaggerated aspects of the confused thinking which in general shows little cognisance of the reality of life in capitalist society. This is the gap between experience and the way that experience is understood in political terms. This lack of understanding of the way capitalism functions is the main barrier against the solution of social problems. But this confusion has its own social explanation, it is a fact that irrational ideas serve the dominant economic interest. Men are socially organised about economic objectives which have no relevance to their real needs and which in fact are hostile to their needs and in this they remain politically unaware. This is the basis of the prevailing social insanity which is marked by a dislocation of thought, experience and need.

Equality of Access
Socialism describes an alternative society based on equality of access and co-operation, but also it is a study of man in all the consequences of his productive relationships as an historical process. The socialist analysis establishes knowledge which brings into consciousness the reality of social experience and in doing so makes possible a society where man controls his social life to satisfy his needs.

The Socialist Party is not a Marxist party in the sense that it upholds all the political attitudes of Karl Marx. Our attitudes are developed independently and are only attributable to ourselves. We do take the Marxian method, the labour theory of value and the materialist conception of history, as being the most useful theoretical means for clarifying man’s social problems and how man arrived where he is.

These theories are elaborated in socialist literature but reference can be made to the way in which some basic propositions meet the reality of everyday experience. It is everyday experience that wealth is produced in the form of commodities which are sold on markets with a view to profit. Stockpiles of food remain undistributed to prop up the market. Where there is no market, and no profit in view, production does not take place and workers are unemployed. Who can doubt the reality of the fact that human needs are sacrificed on the altar of the profit motive?

The socialist analysis shows that these contradictions stem directly from the economic relationships of class divided society. The means of producing wealth have been developed by man’s social labour throughout the ages. Under capitalism the means of production and the earth’s resources are monopolised by a privileged minority—the capitalist class. The working class, in their work activity, are forced by their separation from the means of production to be the objects of economic exploitation. This is the basis on which our society is erected, and the reason why the insanities of profit and class privilege predominate over the needs of man.

The dominating interests of capital hold all man’s skills and talents in the grip of its anti-human objectives. Where it does not channel them into destructiveness, it squanders them in waste or exploits them for profit, while the urgent need to improve the quality of life is ignored. This includes science and technology. Technical development is conditional upon the overall possibility of exploiting labour and the realisation of profit. This is the barrier against the free use of science and technology in the human interest.

The establishment of a society where social organisation fulfills the needs of man must begin with an understanding of existing problems. The socialist analysis achieves this. The first condition of a sane society, in which science and technology can serve human needs, must be the dispossession of the capitalist class of the means of production. The whole apparatus of production must be owned in common by the whole of mankind and used freely in relationships of equality and co-operation to serve human need. The ideology of capitalism can now only fight a rearguard action against further social development. This fight is essentially against the recognition of reality; to this end it will foster any confusion, exploit any prejudice, and use any distortion of human possibilities to make the task appear more difficult than it really is.

Those who suffer most from the inequalities of capitalism—the working class—must do their own thinking. The responsibility for creating a better world rests with them. They must consider the socialist argument in the reality of their everyday experience. Time and again they have shown that they can cooperate together in causes other than the solution of their own problems.
Pieter Lawrence

Trade Unions—the Birth of a Policy (1979)

From the January 1979 issue of the Socialist Standard

There is much irony in comparing the history of trade unions with their present status. Whereas formerly Governments and employers hounded and persecuted workers for forming unions their modern counterparts now welcome their co-operation. The stage has even been reached where capitalist employers and government departments are compelling unwilling workers to join a trade union under the threat of dismissal if they do not comply. This patronage gives the mistaken impression that all previous differences can be sorted out so long as all are united in the common aim — the prosperity of British capitalism. Unfortunately for employers and politicians, it takes more than the willing co-operation of the trade union leader to avoid strike action by their members when economic pressures become too great to be alleviated by the trade union leader’s oratory.

Friendships and alliances tend to collapse when the forces of the class struggle assert themselves. The conflict between capital and wage labour forms the basis of all social antagonisms. We agree with Mr. Callaghan, the Prime Minister, that strikes are a wasteful and obsolete means of conducting industrial relations. However we go further and state that the capitalist relations of production in their entirety are themselves wasteful, harmful and obsolete; that they are a positive hindrance to economic and cultural development. Employers, wage labour and trade unions represent a social system which has outlived its usefulness.

The class struggle is both political and economic in character. It is political because workers to gain control of the world’s economic resources, that is, the means of production and distribution must first capture the machinery of government. It is economic because workers must resist the power of capital, in day to day struggles over wages and conditions. Trade unions cannot progress towards any goal because there is no goal for them. They are born out of the conditions of the class struggle, and can only exist in a class divided society.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain laid down its attitude to trade unions in our first manifesto in 1905, re-printed in 1909.
  The basis of the action of the trade unions must be a clear recognition of the position of workers under capitalism and the class struggle necessarily resulting therefrom. All action of the unions in support of capitalism, or tending to sidetrack the workers from the only path that can lead to their emancipation, should be strongly opposed; but on the other hand, any action on their part on sound lines should be strongly supported.
We did not, and do not, take the view that trade unions should push their interests, to gain favourable legislation through the Labour Party, and we condemn any action by trade unions which is reformist and consequently non-Socialist.

A few years later in the May Socialist Standard of 1912, a correspondent asked the question “I should like to know what you would call ‘sound lines’ ”. The following reply was published:
   Sound lines means that while fighting the daily battle, the toilers must adopt a policy of no compromise. They must have no regard for their masters’ interests or property. Conciliation and arbitration schemes and long notices must be strenuously opposed. They have got to teach their members that the interests of workers and employers are in direct opposition. Above all, trade unions must use all their powers to increase the solidarity of the revolting working class, and show the need for the toilers acting as a class. There must be no blacklegging of one section upon another, and the grievance of one part must become the interests of all. Thus only can the unions be moulded into a body capable of assisting in the revolutionary change.
Again, we did not believe that trade unions should be free to carry out their activities without regard to the overall interests of the working class. The employers had to be attacked on both economic and political fields. In Britain at that time there were about 1¾ million workers in trade unions, that is about 4½ per cent of the population. Today there are about 11¾ million workers in trade unions, approx. 50 per cent of the total labour force. The whole approach of the SPGB was that workers in trade unions should learn to control their own organisation, and get rid of the so-called trade union leader who, for the most part, was more interested in the politics of the Labour Party than in trade union affairs. This anti-leadership view lies at the core of our whole approach to trade unions and other political parties.

In 1907 the SPGB opposed the action of the Executive of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants and its secretary Richard Bell, in accepting an arbitration award against the decision of the membership. The Socialist Standard carried the headline: “Found out — Labour leaders sell the union members and their apologist gets a warm reception’’. On this flimsy ground Bell sued the Party for libel, and was awarded £2 damages by Mr. Justice Darling. Anderson and Fitzgerald, the then editors of the Socialist Standard represented the SPGB, as we were unable to afford Counsel. Both were unemployed. Needless to say, no order was made for costs as it soon became obvious that we had nothing. In reporting the case, the August 1907 Socialist Standard said “This is our first libel action, but it may not be our last. We will take that risk and others that may arise”.

For several years we criticised the leaders of the Railway Union. In the Railway strike of 1911, which we supported, Asquith’s Liberal government used troops and backed the railway directors. Several railway workers were imprisoned. The dispute was over wages and hours of work, and for recognition by the employers of the union’s right to negotiate. The Socialist Party stated that the railway workers should have formulated substantial demands: First, the release of all imprisoned strikers as a preliminary, then improved hours and wages, and lastly recognition. The workers put recognition first, thus allowing the leaders to negotiate on that issue. The Socialist Standard commented that recognition was unnecessary, for a union which can win a strike for shorter hours and increased wages is sure to be recognised. It added that the union, which appeared to consist of officials, should recognise the members.

In the November 1910 Socialist Standard the question of the political levy first arose out of the Osborne judgement. Briefly, the Osborne judgement declared that political action to be outside the scope of legitimate trade union activity, and that consequently the members may not be levied for such a purpose. Then, as now, the political levy was being paid to the Labour Party, and was helping pay the expenses of Labour MPS, the cost of elections, and also salaries at that time. The General Federation of Trade Unions, with the enthusiastic support of Ramsay MacDonald, and the Labour Party, were endeavouring to overturn the judgement. The Socialist Party referred to them as “Labour ghouls” and a “gang of place hunting tricksters who have now fastened their hungry jaws on the vitals of the Labour movement”.

We welcomed the judgement, and said that those responsible for it had done no harm to the working class or to Socialism, because without compulsion Labour MPS salaries could not be raised, and this was no bad thing.

These outspoken criticisms of the shortcomings of the Labour leaders did not endear us to these individuals. In 1913 the Socialist Standard was blacklisted by the London Society of Compositors on the spurious ground that it was not set up in a Fair house, that is, works where the employer pays the wages and fulfills the conditions approved by the London Society of Compositors. Our Executive Committee met Mr. Davies, the union organising secretary, who admitted that the LSC did not know where or how our journal was produced, and it would have been better had they found this out before blacklisting us. It was pointed out that the LSC Fair house definition could not apply to the Socialist Standard. Mr. Davies was asked to publish a retraction and an apology. He declined to do this, and said he would use his influence with the editor of the London Typographical Journal to publish a letter, the text of which was agreed between him and our Executive. The letter appeared, but with a dishonest comment by T. E. Naylor, LSC Executive member, that while the party had not deliberately used an unFair house, negotiations were under way to resolve the matter, in the meantime we must remain on the blacklist. Naylor, and many of his fellow Executive members, were Labourites and the Socialist Party accused them of deliberately trying to damage the sale of our journal:
  Although our organ is not set up in a non Society office, and although it is actually printed in an office that has for years appeared on the Fair List of the LSC, we wish it to be clearly understood that we do not worship at the shrine of trade unionism, most certainly not at that of such a perversion of trade unionism as is typified by the LSC.
The article went on to expose the practices of the LSC in allowing their members to pose, during hard times, as non unionists and obtain work in non union shops below union rates, and by restricting membership of the union. By keeping out strangers they were condemning them to perpetual unemployment, or making them blacklegs. The article concluded:
   They put us on the objection list, we return the compliment. We put the LSC and the Typographical Journal on our objection list. In view of the above, we object to Messrs. Naylor & Co interfering with us. To the rank and file of the LSC we say ‘read the Socialist Standard and think for yourselves’. Soon you will arise and sweep out the Augean stables of St. Bride’s Street—the sooner the better, if you wish to save your society for trade unionism. (Socialist Standard, August 1913)
Not to worship at the shrine of trade unionism is only logical to an independent revolutionary socialist organisation. The tremendous development of the trade union movement in the last 70 years has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in class consciousness. If anything there is more muddle and confusion as rival political groups fight for control of the unions. The utterances of most of the leaders on the economics and politics of capitalism are as stupid as they are ignorant. Witness the unending drivel about inflation, and the futile “cures” for unemployment. Yet trade unions, with all their bureaucracy and pigheadedness, are still the only effective organisations workers can use to fight the employers over wages and working conditions. Our regret is that they are not more class conscious.

The working class both inside and outside trade unions are ignorant of the Socialist case, and trade union militancy is not going to alter that. There can be no Socialism without majority understanding. Isn’t it about time the trade unions made some contribution towards this?
Jim D'Arcy

Wages and Profits under Thatcher (1982)

Cartoon by George Meddemmen.
From the June 1982 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is the prospect of making a profit that promotes the activities of companies and nationalised industries. Except for comparatively short periods, companies which make losses go out of business or close down unprofitable branches, and get rid of workers. Nationalised industries can extend their period of loss-making to the extent that they can get subsidies from the government. It is one of the features of Thatcher government policy that it is much less willing than were Labour governments to give continuing subsidies. Employers, generally, have an interest in this. They want government expenditure, and therefore taxes affecting their profits, to be kept to a minimum. So they support government efforts to hold down pay levels in the Civil Service, local government, health service and so on and its attempts to reduce the numbers employed in these services.

With the same end in view, that of reducing expenditure and taxes, the government is making unemployment pay taxable (after reducing it by 5 percent in 1980) and has introduced the rule which assumes, for the purpose of the eligibility of a striker’s dependants to receive social security payments, that the striker is receiving £13 a week strike pay from the union whether or not this is so. Most employers have also supported the changes in trade union law (with more to follow) to reduce the effectiveness of trade unions in striking for pay increases.

While Labour governments have not passed legislation to curb the unions, and the Labour Party is pledged to repeal the Tory legislation, the attitude of Labour governments towards wage increases has been much the same as that of the Thatcher government. It will be recalled that in the “winter of discontent” at the end of its term of office, the Callaghan government was trying to restrict the wage increases of local government and other workers to five per cent, against a rise of prices of about twice as much.

In a childishly unrealistic policy document adopted by the Labour Party Conference in 1944, they held out the prospect that Labour governments would double or treble the workers’ standard of living. But within four years the Attlee government had introduced its “wage-freeze” policy—an example followed by every government, Labour and Tory, up to 1979. The present government, while formally disclaiming any intention to do that again, is trying to achieve the same result by exhortation and other means.

For civil servants, and workers in the health service and education, government policy is to hold pay increases this year down to about half the current annual rate of price increases of 10 per cent. Civil Servants claimed 13 per cent and were offered an overall increase of four per cent, but which included no increase for some, and up to 5½ per cent for others. The government argument was that in some areas of the Civil Service there was no case for any increase at all because, at current rates of pay, there are more applicants than vacancies, and it is the intention to let “market forces” have full play. The government agreed to let the claim go to arbitration and the Tribunal awarded some increase to all, ranging from 4½ per cent to 6¼ per cent. For the police and armed forces the government recognised “a special case” and gave substantially higher increases.

In their own field the employers are always trying to keep wages as low as possible and (which has the same effect on profits) trying to intensify work and get a given volume of output produced by a smaller number of workers. For a considerable period after the war, because unemployment was very low (usually under 2 per cent), trade union resistance was too strong and the employers could make little headway, so that the workers’ standard of living rose considerably.

Now there is a deep depression and the case is altered. In many undertakings including coal, railways, steel and the rest of the nationalised industries “productivity” schemes have been imposed, raising output per worker and reducing the number required for a given total output. Though some of the 3 million unemployed have lost their jobs because the depression has reduced sales, a considerable proportion have been squeezed out through greater “productivity”.

The reaction of some unions to employers who have attempted to keep wage increases below the rise of prices has been naive. Though they no longer claim and expect (as they did in the early post-war years) that wages should all continuously move ahead of the cost of living, they have fallen back on the argument that it is “unacceptable” that real wages should ever go through periods of decline. Capitalism never has given, and indeed could not give, any such guarantee. With declining sales and falling profits (in some cases losses) there has been in every sizeable depression in the past a temporary fall in the living standards of most workers. In the present depression workers in some industries have been compelled to accept wage increases which fall short of price rises. In some, like the airlines, they have had to accept wage cuts.

But experience has been far from uniform and the official index of average weekly earnings of all workers (manual and non-manual) has continued to keep ahead of inflation. In this respect the present depression is unlike those in the past. In the 19th century far fewer workers were organised in unions and there was no state unemployment or social security scheme. Workers on strike or thrown out of work had to rely on the limited trade union or Friendly Society funds financed out of their own contributions, or on charity, with the consequence that in times of bad trade most workers were quickly forced to accept wage reductions. In the present depression this has so far happened to only some workers.

The government statistical service also publishes figures showing total payments by employers as wages and salaries to all employees, and the total profits of companies and nationalised industries. They show that from 1977 onwards there has been a continuous and sharp fall of profits in relation to wages and salaries.

In 1977 profits were 33 per cent of wages and salaries. They fell in 1978 and 1979 to 32 per cent then to 25 per cent in 1980 and to 23 per cent in the first three quarters of 1981. (The latest published figures.) There is indication now that the trend has been reversed. Profits are rising again and it is likely that in coming months average weekly earnings of all workers will fall behind the rise of prices.

In addition to the depression. British capitalism has a long-standing problem of its own. It is that a lot of plant, machinery and processes is out of date by the standards of competing countries. This was spelled out during the Attlee Labour government, 1945-51, by Sir Stafford Cripps and Aneurin Bevan. Urgently needed modernisation, they said, requires a vast investment of capital, which can be provided only by holding down consumption, including wages, and this, for political reasons, is extremely difficult.

Consistently since World War II the expansion of production in Britain has been far below that in most other countries. The Financial Times (19 April 1982) published a table showing the annual rates of growth in fifteen countries, mostly European but including Japan and USA. It shows the annual rate of growth in the years 1975-1980 was in Britain by far the lowest of the fifteen. It stood at 1.6 per cent compared with 3.9 percent in USA and 5.1 percent in Japan. This low productivity means inability to produce at competitive prices and helps to explain why unemployment in Britain is higher than in most industrial countries. The British unemployment rate of 12.6 per cent compares with 2.2 per cent in Japan and under 1 per cent in Switzerland.

The many “productivity” schemes in British industry are designed to make it more competitive and doubtless will have had some effect in that direction. All the problems of the Thatcher government are concerned with this problem of British capitalism. The Labour Party is equally concerned with it. In a debate in the House of Commons Shadow Chancellor Peter Shore said:
   The major concern must be to restore the competitiveness of British industry in relation to its overseas rivals. Despite the government’s boasting, competitiveness has suffered dreadfully. There must be a major attack on the unnecessarily high cost of British industry. (The Times, 29 January 1982.)
Among Shore’s policies to bring this about is a revival of some form of “incomes” policy to hold wages down.
Edgar Hardcastle

Robert Owen turns in his grave (1996)

From the January 1996 issue of the Socialist Standard

Readers who feel that the socialist message tends to be swamped by a sea of frenzied capitalist merchandising may have felt a little more optimistic about the situation when the Co-operative Bank announced the arrival of the Robert Owen Visa Credit Card, which was to be “Free for Life”.

“Free for Life” because, the Co-operative Bank explained in their introductory leaflet: “We do, after all have a reputation for innovation.”

This was exciting news; something “Free”, and “for Life”, hardly believable in a capitalist economy.

Did this herald the arrival of a new era in the banking industry? Was some fundamental feature of the current UK banking and credit industry about to be swept away by a credit card which operated in accordance with some innovative idea that the socialist pioneer Robert Owen had advocated in the early 19th century'?

Well, hardly, because a study of the accompanying literature tells us that, although this “innovative” credit card may be “Free for Life”, it attracts a staggering interest rate of 32.5 percent on all cash advances under £100, and a rate of 29.8 percent on over-the-counter purchases.

However, as if to justify this the Cooperative Bank application form informs us that Robert Owen “attempted to create a New Social System among the people This was an attempt that the Co-operative Bank doesn’t take too seriously, as they state on the form that applicants for this new card must be: “Over 25, own their own home, and earn more than £15,000 a year.”

Disenchanted readers who feel that they may now be disqualified from the pleasures to be derived from the possession of a Robert Owen credit card, may be beginning to wonder just what Robert Owen’s New Social System was really all about.

Well, unfortunately for the Co-operative Bank the “New Social System” that Robert Owen hoped to establish not only had no plans for interest rates of 32.5 percent, or banks for that matter, but money itself would in his words, “become useless, unsought for, and will be forever abandoned” (New Moral World, 1842, Part 5).

He goes on to emphasise his hostility towards the use of money, stating that in his new social system “there will, be no money, the cause now of so much oppression and injustice"; and continues his attack on money saying “it is an artificial medium which enables some few to become enormously rich, at the expense of the many, dooming masses of them to the lowest stages of poverty, and degradation, those who produce the real wealth suffering the latter, while those who make the artificial wealth, or money from paper, gold, silver, or copper, enjoy all the advantages at present desirable for real wealth, which they obtain for their artificial wealth”.

In a rational society, "Robert Owen continues, “money will be abandoned, and full justice will be done to everyone, and everyone will act justly to everyone else ” (Part 5, The New Moral World).

As well as his dislike for the money system Robert Owen held strong views about private property. Again, in the Book of the New Moral World, he states that private property “is now the sole cause of poverty, and its endless crimes, and miseries, over the world, and in principal it is, as unjust as it is unwise in practice”, and “will never exist in a future society”. He goes on to add in his 12th Law for a future “Rational System of Society” that when people are living in harmony together “there shall be no useless private property”.

Robert Owen wrote The Book of The New Moral World in the 1830s, and his other books and speeches played an influential part in the development of socialist thought in the 19th century. He died in 1858 and is buried in Newtown, in Powys, Wales. Quite what he would have felt about a credit card being named in his memory when he made his views on money perfectly clear is not hard to imagine, but unfortunately when you are dead there is not a lot you can do about it.
Stuart Schofield

Capitalism in Zimbabwe (1982)

From the April 1982 issue of the Socialist Standard
  The following article was first published on 4 October 1981 under the title “Capitalism Stands in the Way of Social Advance” in the “Talking Point” column of the Sunday Mail of Salisbury, Zimbabwe, where the Prime Minister Mugabe has just announced that his Party will rule for ever. Ian Smith was more modest; he merely spoke of ruling for a thousand years. It is up to the working class, armed with the ideas expressed in this article, to bring Mugabe’s ambitions to nought.
* * *
Important changes are taking place now in this part of Africa we live in, changes in human attitudes and the material conditions by which production continues, briefly, in how human beings spend their time. We must try to understand the society we live in.

The dominant society, worldwide, is capitalism. It is international and it is existing now in Zimbabwe, in a less developed form than in, say, Europe or America or Russia. Capitalism is only a name for a type of society characterised by the way people living together under it have certain dealings or relations with each other in the everyday affairs of life.

It is called by this name, capitalism, because the means of production and distribution of commodities under it, the land, factories, railways, etc., are owned by capitalists, that is, by people possessing large amounts of money that they have invested so as to acquire ownership of these means of production and distribution.

They may be landlords with their money invested in land and buildings, and draw their income in the form of rent. They may be owners of factories or trading concerns, or they may have shares in a large number of companies and receive their income in the form of profits.

Lastly, they may have invested their money by making loans to manufacturing or trading capitalists, or by lending it to the Government or councils. They then received “interest” on the loan. All these groups are alike in that they live by receiving income from their investments, a private property income.

The working class, by applying their energies to nature-given material, produce all of the necessities and luxuries which the whole of the population consume; but as employees they receive a wage or salary which provides them only with the means of subsistence for their maintenance and their families.

The workers in, say, three days’ work a week, produce an amount equal to what they receive as wages: the rest of the week their work produces a “surplus value" out of which are derived the rent, interest and profit of the propertied class, their private property.

Here is the root cause of working class poverty. The workers are carrying the propertied class on their backs, the workers are an exploited class under capitalism.

It has been necessary to describe briefly capitalism to begin understanding in what direction Zimbabwe is going.

The old regime was restraining capitalism under the banner of privilege. So for capitalism to develop, it had to be removed. The capitalist knows that black workers can be trained to be as skilled as any white worker, so racial privilege had to go; and further sees in the black workers a vast, expanding market for commodities.

Also, it is essential for the development of capitalism that the small-scale production and natural economy of the self-sufficient peasant be ended, and so steps are being taken to draw the producers in communal lands into the “money economy”.

Town or city workers who lay claim to rural land will be denied this land in the interest of developing capitalism, since workers to be trained for capitalism must be “stable” and compelled to work for wages only.

The growth of the market, the accumulation of capital, the modification of the social position of the classes, a large number of persons being deprived of alternative sources of income other than wages—all these are historical pre-conditions for the expansion of capitalism.

It is against this reality that capitalists and their sycophants issue their appeal to the workers to “forget class”, “forget exploitation”, “work harder” and enter into harmonious co-operation with their employer in the interest of the company, or with the Government in the interest of “the nation”.

However, there can be no sound basis for reconciliation between exploited and exploiting classes.

Exploitation will cease only when the means of production and distribution cease to be owned by a small class of capitalists and become the common property of society as a whole.

Production will be democratically controlled solely and directly for the use of the whole population with no buying and selling, no price system. Rent, interest and profit, and the wages system will be abolished. Production and distribution will be on the socialist principle: “From each according to ability: to each according to need”. All will have free access to society’s products.

There will be no class division, no working class or owning class and no trade unions; there can be no trade unions because there will be no wages to bargain over and no employers to bargain with. Socialist society can only be worldwide, humanity will not be segregated behind national frontiers or coerced by the armed forces of governments.

The question that needs to be put to all political parties is, therefore, whether or not they stand for the immediate abolition of capitalism, substituting socialism. If they do not, then they are standing in the way of social advance, even though, without any justification, they choose to call their policies socialism.

Sting in the Tail: The C of E and reality (1996)

The Sting in the Tail column from the February 1996 issue of the Socialist Standard

The C of E and reality

A Church of England vicar in Hertfordshire caused uproar by telling children “that neither Santa Claus nor the Tooth Fairy was real” (Independent, 18 December).

The Rev’s job is safe, though, because his flock has forgiven him.
  “And there was support for him from the Right Rev David Jenkins, the controversial former Bishop of Durham who, writing in today’s Independent, agrees that the teachings of Christianity would benefit from the separation of fairytale from reality.”
Would it really? If all the fairytales about life after death, heaven and hell, virgin births, devils, angels, holy ghosts, etc. were separated from the teachings of Christianity what would be left?

AWL backs a loser

Like fleas on a dog, would-be Bolsheviks have for over fifty years been hanging onto the Labour Party.

The latest group is the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) which is totally obsessed with Labour which it sees, despite that party’s anti-working class history, as being worthy of support because they can “win significant support for socialist ideas inside the party”. What they mean by “socialist ideas” may be gauged from their approval of the misnamed Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MP’s.

At election times the AWL actively works for Labour to the farcical extent of delivering into working-class homes literature full of ideas and policies which they themselves condemn!

Of course, Tony Blair is their arch-villain and is denounced as a “grinning idiot”. Perhaps he is grinning because he is thinking “How can I lose when even opponents will be working and voting for me? With enemies like these, who needs friends?”

Shouldn’t each AWL member be asking themselves just who is the idiot there?

Circumstances alter attitudes

Francis Lee and Alan Ball, chairman and manager of Manchester City FC, have been complaining about “over-paid”, under-talented stars” (Manchester Evening News, 16 December).

Said Lee, “We are talking about people with Frank Sinatra’s tastes and Frank Spencer’s voice”, while Ball yearned for the days when managers could “hit players in the pocket” by dropping them.

So top players, and it is only those at the top, are taking advantage of a favourable market, but Lee and Ball must know that British football’s biggest stars were paid a pittance until the abolition of the maximum wage, and they should remember how short players’ careers can be, so why shouldn’t they cash in while they can?

Anyway, football’s chairmen and managers were saying much the same about players when Lee and Ball were in their prime in the 60s and 70s, but did that stop the pair going for the best possible deals they could get?

“Dearer” means “cheaper”

For years the package holiday industry has been increasing and then decreasing the prices and the number of holidays in its brochures in futile attempts to anticipate the market.

Last summer’s heatwave helped make 1995 a disaster, and the industry engaged in a ruinous price-war which sent profits into a tailspin. To avoid a repeat of this, the industry’s giants, Thomson’s, Airtours and First Choice, have cut summer ’96 holidays by 10 percent and upped brochure prices by around 17 percent.

First Choice’s chief executive Francis Baron claimed that this means the industry is “set for a bumper year”, but advance bookings are 30 percent down on 12 months ago, and in a desperate move to drum up business the big three have announced discounts bigger than the price increases!

Yet another price-war is underway, and the package holiday industry remains a prime example of the anarchy of the market in action.

A ducal visit

Those sanctimonious old Tories who prate on about “Victorian values” must have been touched by the Duke of Westminster’s proposed Xmas visit to the Liverpool as reported in the Observer (24 December).

The Duke, reported to have a £2 billion fortune, will take his wife and two eldest daughters from his Eaton Hall estate near Chester to visit drug addicts on the streets of Liverpool.

It is not only backwoods Tories who are impressed by this. Dr Sue Ruben of Liverpool’s Drug Service also applauds the visit:
“Many of my clients have very low self-esteem and anything that gives them a sense of worth, even a short visit by a Duke, is worthwhile.”
How a visit by one of the richest men in Britain will give a “sense of worth” to desperate workers living in hostels is beyond our comprehension. A “sense of rage” should be nearer the mark.

Causes of war

Socialists are forever pointing out that all modern wars are fought over markets, trade routes, military bases and other economic concerns. Defenders of capitalism, on the other hand, like to imagine that wars are fought over ideologies like, freedom, democracy, self-determination and other high-sounding ideals.

Radovan Karadzic, leader of the Bosnian Serbs, commenting on the recent “peace” deal is quoted in the Independent on Sunday (31 December) as saying:
  “I can say we achieved half our goal— we have half of Bosnia, more than 40 cities and some good land.”
Well, who has got it right? The socialists or the defenders of capitalism? And how much of a “peace” deal is it, when half of Bosnia is only half of Karadzic’s goal?

There Now ! (1911)

From the October 1911 issue of the Socialist Standard

In a recent issue we pointed out that our capitalist masters would not neglect their bulldogs, the police. We have not had to wait long for verification. The exceeding dexterity with which the police in various parts of the country have handled their staves during the recent troublous times is already meeting with its due reward. The Metropolitan constables have received a rise of 1s. 6d. per week, sargeants 2s., station-sargeants 2s. 6d., and other officers in proportion.

The particularly noisome work the police have been called upon to do of late was worth an extra price, and no doubt this will suffice to prevent the strike fever reaching “buttons.”

The Only Way To Win. (1911)

Editorial from the October 1911 issue of the Socialist Standard

The war on the world's workers has been far fiercer and more prolonged recently than for many years past. From the Norwegian fiords to the sunny shores of Spain it has affected capitalism in all its climes. The railwaymen of John Bull’s other island”; the miners of Wales; the cultivators of the grape in “Fair France”; these are but a few of those who have been driven to strike.

From all over the civilised world, too, comes the bitter cry of the toilers against the ever-rising prices of commodities, more particularly of the essential necessaries of life, the items of the working-class fare.

France has abolished the Monarchy, separated Church from State, and parted with her House of Nobles. Portugal has dethroned and exiled her king and installed a capitalist Republic. Germany has Tariff Reform and working class “salvation” in State Insurance. The United States of America have Protection, no conscript army, State Church or House of Peers. Ireland has the “lavish” Land Acts of the Liberal party, and both Eighty Club and ugly Ulster unite in protesting that "Ireland is prosperous.” Yet despite these things ; despite the fact that all the reforms lustily shouted for by the workers here are in operation in one country or another, there is war, bitter, bloody, and brutal, between the toilers and their masters.

The workers, asking for higher wages on account of the famine prices in France, Austria and Belgium are being shot down and massacred by the Gendarmerie. In America the “Trust busters” and the trustifiers have entered into a conspiracy to smash the unions, the latest act being the imprisonment of the union secretary. McNamara, on the trumped-up charge of blowing up the office of the “Los Angeles Times.” In modern Mexico ex-President Diaz finds a worthy successor in the Liberal, Madero, who, true to Liberal traditions everywhere, is drowning every aspiration of the toilers in a torrent of blood.

In England, too, the masters are rallying for a smashing blow at the workers. A new force of mercenaries—a permanent body of special constables with a retaining fee of £5 per annum and a wage when they are actually called upon to do their filthy, black hundred's, work—is being raised. Signs of what the capitalist ghouls contemplate manifest themselves in their persistent demands that picketing shall cease, and perhaps still more definitely in the working-class enslavement Bill recently introduced by that capitalist henchman, Will Crooks. Soldiers and police are being drafted to all parts of Ireland as in Gladstone's “golden” days. The united force of man and gun is being used to conquer the slaves of Erin.

The lesson conveyed by all these cold, staring facts is not a very subtle or elusive one--in fact it is as blatantly, obtrusively plain as the facts themselves. It is this: The only way for the toilers to triumph is by fighting for Revolution, not reform. Social reform is powerless to affect materially the conditions of toil. Social Revolution alone is the remedy. The recent railway strike in Ireland sufficiently proves this contention. Those strikers support the Home Rulers. But under Home Rule they will be sweated and robbed, even as they are now, because they will still be, what they are under the Saxon heel, proletarians—property less.

Home Rule is a question for rulers, not for the ruled—for priests and landlords and capitalists, not for working men and women. How little the Home Rulers help the workers was shown by their eloquent silence during the Belfast massacre in 1907. None of the sturdy independence they boast of was seen upon that occasion, and they showed plainly enough that the Home Rulers’ wind and fury centres around the question of who shall suck the Irish working class orange—that the Irish working class shall be an orange, to be sucked dry by somebody, is an article of faith of Home Ruler and Unionist alike.

Remember, too, that the Irish party’s chief whip. Sir T. G. Esmonde, is a director of the Great Southern and Western Railway—the most bitter against the men. Mr. Willie Redmond also urges the men to go back to work (“Daily Chronicle,” Sept. 26th.)

No, Home Rule, like the other reforms, has proved powerless to help the workers, wherever it has been tried.

Revolution alone is the hope of the toiling masses, and not Reform. For Reform—whether political or social —does not affect the cause of the workers’ troubles. Change the entire conditions of social life and labour by the capture of the political machine by au educated and organised working class, and use it to abolish wage-slavery for ever, and to establish society upon a basis of common ownership in the means and instruments of production and distribution. Thus only can, then only will, the ills and anxieties of the wealth producers cease.

Rally to the ranks of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, for it has one Object—Socialism ;one method—Revolution.

Intelligent machines, enough for an intelligent society? (2018)

From the July 2018 issue of the Socialist Standard

 Artificial Intelligence seems now more than ever a concrete reality. Machines can now learn in a similar way as humans and adapt to new problems and situations, solving problems which may have some degree of unpredictability. Quite some media coverage was dedicated to the victory of Google’s AlphaGo, artificial intelligence system, over the best Go human player (Ke Jie). This is because unlike chess, Go is not only matter of logic, there is a degree of 'gut' feeling to it. 

Artificial intelligence is founded in machine learning. This is a fascinating field of computer science which has experienced recent advances that have revived the concept of artificial intelligence. For the first time artificial intelligence seems more realistic than just a Sci-Fi story.

Machine learning boils down to an algorithm (a set of rules) being able to draw from a pool of data what the expected output is and rerun this process over and over until it gets it right. These training and iteration abilities are what makes the machine able to learn good old trial and error, but done by machines at mind-boggling speed. For example, given 10 images (e.g. human faces), the algorithm learns to recognise them using a limited number of features pre-selected by the human operator (e.g. face size, colour, shape, nose size, etc). It will then condense these features to the minimum required to recognise the images. The algorithm will not guess the images completely right at first, but, because it can compare its output (guess) to the real images manually labelled by a human operator, it will adjust its settings and try again and again until there is a perfect match. Moreover, when a new image is provided the machine is now trained to recognise it. This is what we humans learn to do at a very young age, when we are less than 2 years old.

An artificial neural network is a branch of machine learning. Here the algorithm pretends to work like the neurons of a brain. Given some inputs, let’s say the features characterising an image, as with the human face in the previous example, several hidden layers will compute all possible combinations, which will lead to the most likely output. It is the typical black box approach, which means that no-one really knows what is going on inside it. Essentially, the machine is able to recognise images, sounds, or other things only because human labour has told them exactly what they were. All inputs (e.g. images) need to be labelled. Nothing amazing so far, and lots of human labour involved. 

The story becomes more interesting when these algorithms become able to learn in an unsupervised way (without labels). These are multi-layered algorithms, also known as deep learning algorithms. Let’s say that I apply an algorithm that has learned to recognise types of dogs to now recognise types of cats, but in the latter case I do not have labels or features which will tell the algorithm which is what. The algorithm will extract features itself based on patterns inherited in the data itself, and will use the prior 'knowledge' acquired when learning to recognise dogs. Deep learning is the first credible, though rudimentary, concretisation of artificial intelligence. The step of self-learning is an important breakthrough in technology. Some even dare to say that this is the new industrial revolution. Yet, deep learning requires a huge amount of data (Big Data), high processing power and of course the capacity to store this data. All these do not come out of nowhere, but require a huge amount of human labour. 

Open-source services, or platforms like Google and Android, or open-application programming interfaces in general, have facilitated the advances in deep learning through being able to produce big data and in some cases build on each other’s work. Data becomes so valuable that the privacy of those who have provided it is often neglected (see Facebook and others alike), requiring the intervention of governments to set new boundaries (see the recent General Data Production Regulations). 

For the first time, some 'skilled' jobs risk being substituted by intelligent machines. Is this a problem? Some trade unions are starting to talk about a robot-tax, in order to compensate for the jobs robots are going to take away from humans. Some others question whether Marx’s labour theory of value still makes sense when human labour is no longer involved in the production process. 

The whole point of a system not based on exploitation of human labour is to have machines that would do most or possibly all of the work for us. Within the logic of the labour theory of value it is clear that if no humans are involved in the production of goods and services, the organic composition of capital (fixed capital / variable capital) would be affected, meaning there is fixed capital only, and so the rate of profit would be affected too (surplus value/fixed capital + variable capital), potentially becoming zero. In other words, if no human works, no human will receive a salary, thus most will not be able to afford to buy the very commodities being produced. 

Because of time factors and the interconnection of productive sectors, this depletion in exchange value would not happen overnight. In fact, as long as there are workers with enough salary, and capitalists with enough profits, to close the productive cycle with a successful sale, profit for the fully automated companies would not be zero. Additionally, the abstract value crystallised in the making of the robots and their intelligent self-learning algorithms originally come from humans. Yet, the more productive cycles are conducted in full automation the less the profit generated.

The question is, would this type of development be the natural end of capitalism? No, it wouldn’t. It would influence economic crises for sure and mass poverty as it always did. Capitalism won’t collapse by itself, though, it will adapt. Not all jobs will be in any case replaceable. Soft skills jobs will still be conducted by humans. Capitalism will carry on with its contradictions and sharp inequality. Automation in a capitalist society will mean changes in the patterns of employment and unemployment, whereas in a socialist society, it can liberate humans from manual labour aimed at producing goods and services. It will allow humans to acquire skills and improve society. Yet we are nowhere near that degree of automation yet.

The Hoary Illusions of Youth (1933)

From the December 1933 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. Jack Edwards, Chairman of the League of Youth Advisory Committee, in an article in the Daily Herald of September 21st, 1933, states the case, as he sees it, for youth.

He says: “Modern youth is in fact better, brainier and more inquisitive.” He ascribes the terrible effects of war upon the mothers of that period as being due to “The blunderings of a generation tied to antiquated traditions.” He goes on to say that youth now is different, opposes war and, instead of marching off to the next war, will pause and ask why!

He says: “The more whys we ask, the more unsatisfactory becomes the answer.”

“We do not believe that there is no work amidst such want. Given the opportunity now we would free the world from the misery, want and suffering caused by uneconomic management and bolstered up by armed force. Peace is our object.” 

He suggests a world parliament, where “Men of heart and will, men and women of knowledge, doctors, teachers and mothers,” could all come together and thrash out the world’s problems. Then as to practical measures for settling these problems, he suggests that if youth had the power, it would do the following:—
   “A drastic cut in working hours, without reduction in pay; wider and greater opportunities in education; a new and adequate pension scheme; compulsory retirement from industry for those on pensions; directions to local authorities to speed up housing and public works, with public finance to aid them; Government control of the banks and the closing of the Stock Exchange, the establishment of a national investment board to direct money into the channels most advantageous 1o the community.”
This seems a tall enough order, but Mr. Edwards then airily says: “These are but some of youth’s plans to grapple with poverty at home.” To plan seems the only indulgence which the L.L.Y. is allowed. It is not allowed representation on the E.C. of the Labour Party at the moment, and much as its members resent this, their “plans” certainly prove that they will need to ask more whys and get a sounder understanding of the position before they can be given serious consideration.

From the point of view of soundness, however, the parent body can certainly not teach its child anything worth knowing.

The rest of the article is devoted to obvious facts of the capitalist system which need not be repeated, but it is rather amusing to hear Mr. Edwards cite the civil servants as being those who work for OUR common good, and deploring the fact that THESE should be subject to wage attacks.

Why these any more than any other worker, and if they are workers for the “common good,” how about all the rest of us, who are producing all the necessaries of life, not for use, but for the profit of our masters ? Mr. Edwards evidently has not asked enough whys yet.

It is now time for us to ask a few whys of Mr. Edwards.

First of all, then: Why does he give us a rigmarole about antiquated traditions being the cause of war?
Economic conditions are not antiquated traditions. They are the natural workings and outcome of the existing system of society. The economic conditions of capitalist society are such that production for profit, which is commodity productions, demands an outlet for the goods produced. When a market cannot be obtained through ordinary trade treaties, etc., then the capitalists have to engage in war in order to put their rivals out of action on the productive field, and so that the agreements after the war can be arranged advantageously for the victor; which, of course, they hope to be themselves.

Disarmament Conferences, to which Labour politicians can be invited, are the scratching grounds upon which the capitalists can sort out the tit-bits. The Labour politicians give the assemblies an air of realism and serve to keep the workers quiet. When war occurs during a Conference, such as the Chino-Japanese affray recently, the family gathering breaks up to allow the fight to continue; when it is over, the naughty children are scolded and the happy family is once more reunited. No, we are not dealing with antiquated traditions, but the very much up-to-date methods of modern capitalism.

Why is it that there isn’t employment for some workers under capitalism? Mr. Edwards proves clearly why, later in his article, when he says “Youth bids its elders no longer to tolerate a world in which people cannot buy bread because there is too much wheat; where crops from the tea plantations must be restricted, while people cannot buy tea ”; etc., etc.

We Socialists do not cry out for more work. Many workers do far too much, and needlessly unpleasant work; become, in fact, merely beasts of burden, knowing nothing of the delights of living. Art, music and literature are only fine-sounding words to them.

Mr. Edwards only states a half-truth in the previously quoted passage.

It is not only because there is too much tea, wheat, etc., but because the goods produced are privately owned. Unless they can be sold at a profit, further production is stopped or restricted; hence unemployment. This is the necessary outcome of capitalist society, and neither Mr. Edwards, with his youthful demands, nor the Labour Party can abolish it without first of all abolishing capitalism, which is the cause of it.

But this Mr. Edwards does not want to do. Otherwise there is only need for him to advocate one policy instead of the many plans laid down by him and previously quoted. That policy is Socialism.

Let us examine his plans.

First of all, then, who pays the wages? The capitalist, obviously.

Higher wages with less hours means a reduction in capitalist profit, unless output per head can be increased. This gives the capitalists an added inducement to speed up production, and instal labour-saving machinery.

Who advances the money for the State to take over or nationalise the essential services? The capitalists. In other words, people with money to invest, would-be bond holders. Who is it who runs the Stock Exchange? The same people. We see, then, in order to do any of the things which Mr. Edwards suggests the first thing to do is to dispossess those who now own and control the wealth. This is the only measure that needs enforcing. It is, in fact, the key to the situation. Although Mr. Edwards gives lip service to this idea, he goes on to deal with all the ramifications of capitalist society. Why, when the workers are in control and the capitalists dispossessed, Mr. Edwards still wants a National Investment Board is beyond us.

If Mr. Edwards thinks that the workers and the capitalists can work together advantageously to both, then there is no need to render lip service to Socialism. He is quite in order in trying to get support for his plans to rejuvenate capitalism, but he and other confusionists do the cause of Socialism incalculable harm by tacking its name upon their projects.

The point which stands out clearest in the whole article is Mr. Edwards' lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of Socialism. The end of the workers' troubles must and will come with the dawn of Socialism.

Socialism means the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production and distribution that goes with investment boards, public finance, Government control, money, in fact, everything which Mr. Edwards has taken such pains to impress upon his Daily Herald readers that they must build up under youth's guidance.

As Socialists, we know that our job is to teach Socialism in every possible place and way we can. We can only do that when we understand it ourselves, and we can only get it when the majority of the workers understand it and are prepared to work for it.

Mr. Edwards is either a very muddled thinker or a deliberate confusionist.
May Otway