Tuesday, July 31, 2018

"The Fourth Estate" (1921)

From the July 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

The value of the Press to the capitalist class as a bulwark is nowhere more evident, I should think, than in the Sunday newspapers. It is obvious that the average member of the working class finds that the seventh day of the week is the only day on which he can peruse the paper from front to back. On other days he has little leisure in the mornings save for a glance at the headlines and to-day’s nap on the sporting page as he sits in the 'wage slave' car.

But on Sundays it is different. He may lie abed and read to his heart's content— and incidentally to his brain’s confusion— all that the talent of Fleet Street and Withy Grove has to offer him. There is very little doubt, too, that this factor is counted for in the production of Sunday papers and is responsible for the matter they contain.

To a certain type of mind (the product of a rotten system, be it understood) the disgusting sordidness of the police court and the divorce court make appeal, and you will consequently find papers which make a feature of reports of the proceedings therein. But those with which we are most concerned are those which inculcate political notions favourable to the capitalist in the minds of the workers.

The impregnation of the unsuspicious brain of the worker is not done openly; it is disguised in clever journalese, catchy colloquialisms that he can understand and repeat to his mates on Monday morning, sensational headlines, and other things that go to make the stuff easily assimilated. .

A case in point is that of the “Sunday Chronicle” (29.5.21.)—a Hulton publication—a paper that affects a hearty, democratic, John’s-as-good-as-his-master air and serves out cheap clap-trap in large doses. The first article is one by that bitter enemy of the working class, Robert Blatchford. He is nothing if not topical, and he loves to shed a tear over the miseries of some sufferer or other. This time it is toil-worn horses.

Apparently, apart from the old gee-gees, there is nothing we need worry about this week. “God’s in his heaven,” the Kaiser’s at Doorn, and “all’s right with the world.” And with the implied hope that something will turn up next week R.B. makes our flesh creep for a couple of columns (with matter mostly culled from “Daily News” reports, by the way) and leaves us with the information that his stuff is “copyrighted in America and Canada.”

But we may spare a word about Blatchford, although he has been exposed and denounced in these columns more often, perhaps, than his importance deserves. One would guarantee that if he were to write a true article about the sufferings of old, toil-worn human animals thrown on the industrial scrap-heap because capitalism has no further use for them, and to tell the readers of the "Sunday Chronicle” that it is because one small section (the section that pays him for writing) of society owns the machinery of wealth production and distribution and can and does treat the remainder of society (the working class) worse than horses— if he were to do this, I repeat, then one could guarantee that R.B. would get the. sack, not only from the “Sunday Chronicle,” but from any other capitalist periodical.

But, as you must be aware, Bob has discovered long since that writing for the Capitalist Press pays so he is not likely to blow the gaff on them. 

On the same page we get a very usual type of journalese, the short, snappy type. It is remarkable, you workers, your masters don’t believe you have the intelligence to handle long paragraphs, so they jerk them to you in small doses! Jane Doe has been working in a mill (she didn’t wear the pretty frock she is posing in at the top, I think!) She thinks it is a jolly fine idea. And so do the mythical mill girls she quotes. They can go to sleep in the work time if they wish—and often do, mark you! And as one remarks over a dish of Irish stew and a jug of tea in the card room, “We’re not in a prison and we get plenty of fun.”

There’s a lot more like this I could quote did I “feel so dispoged,” but it will suffice if I just tell Jane Doe (although I hate to have to speak like this to a lady) she’s a liar. Still, to give credit where possible, I will admit that she has the excuse that she does it for her living.

The facts are nearly all contrary to Jane’s statements. I need only ask anyone who lives or works in a cotton mill environment whether I am right when I say in contradiction to Jane Doe that mill life is unhealthy; its victims are not, as a general rule, healthy, plump, and so on. Their teeth are not good (I think she says “splendid”); in fact they are far, far from it. The mills they work in are like prisons, and even worse. They do not sleep in their work time if they choose. And last, their homes are as a general role, not the little heavens of comfort and restfulness Jane Doe would have us believe.

If the verbose lady doubts this point the present writer will himself conduct her down dozens of streets in industrial Lancashire where .the “mill lasses” and their husbands prefer to sit outside on the pavement rather than endure the discomfort and foulness of their living rooms. And I can further assure her that if she is not squeamish she can be shown worse sights, and can hear worse sounds, than she dare ask her masters to publish or than her refined mind could contemplate without revulsion. But Janey is like Bobby, I suspect! Master pays better than truth!

On page 2 is an article in dialect written in praise of Jane and her boosting of the Lancashire cotton girls’ supposed idyllic existence, all written with the express purpose of counteracting the effect of propaganda that attempts to expose the vileness of the present industrial system.

It is on page 2 too that we strike a pathetic note. One who signs himself “Country Parson” is bewailing the vanishing of feudalism and the spirit that taught us— 
 “God bless the Squire and his relations,
And keep us in our proper stations.”
He tears our heart strings with the news that the Earl is forced by the crises-of to-day to sell his hunters, to reduce his staff of retainers, and to close a wing of the ancient baronial castle. But he relents in the last paragraph and wakes us to hope again with the happy declaration that the yeomen of England are proof against the virus of Communist propaganda and the tracts and pamphlets that are pushed under his doors, generally after dusk, which they know are written by drawing room intellectuals and are paid for by foreigners! And he prophesies in a confident peroration that “the staunchness and integrity of the yeomen which won for them the title “the backbone of England” may yet assert itself again.

Now one could go on from page to page, from paper to paper, quoting the virus of capitalism that our masters seek to infect us with. Just as in the Army they innoculated us to guard against the ravages of fever, so they innoculate us with the insidious propaganda we have instanced to guard against the ravages of clear and logical reasoning. For they know the mighty intelligence of the working class that enable it to produce the wealth of the world, can only be divorced from the intelligence of class-consciousness by the constant repetition by paid hucksters of fine words and maudlin sentiments each as are drivelled by our Robert Blatchfords, our Jane Does, and our “Country Parsons".

In conclusion, it is for the working class to read between the lines and search out the truth for themselves, and to throw to the ground the pillars of hypocritical "poppycock” which form the foundations on which capitalism stands, and to build upon the place where it stood a social edifice which has for its architect Intelligence and for its purpose the common weal.
S.



Quotes (1922)

Quotes from the July 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard
Early issues of the Socialist Standard would be peppered with brief quotes which would serve as inspirational, informative and, most importantly, as space fillers. Here are the quotes from the July 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard:
  “The work of the individual and that of the family, the work of the factory and that of the whole society, is an organism, each part of which contributes to the whole. The contribution of each organ cannot be mechanically weighed or measured. The Socialist is quite aware that the workers are organs of the work process. He has completely given up the idea of individualising and dividing up a Communistic product, and paying to each according to his deserts. Present society; with its misunderstood principle of suum cuique (each unto his own) and its grotesque justice, acts as unreasonably as the man who gives his eye an overweening care while utterly neglecting his leg. As the engineer is more careful about his smallest screws than about his big wheel, so do we desire that the product of social labour shall be divided according to the social needs, so that the strong and the weak, the swift and the clumsy, the mental and the physical labourer, in so far as they are human, shall work and enjoy in human community."
Joseph Dietzgen


“Historical Materialism"
  The term “historical materialism” describes that view of the course of history which seeks the ultimate cause and the great moving power of all important historic events in the economic development of Society; in the changes in the modes of production and exchange; in the consequent division of Society into distinct classes and in the struggle of these classes against one another.
Socialism—Utopian and Scientific.”
Frederick Engels


  “Systematization is the essence and the general expression of the aggregate of science. The practical result of all theory is to acquaint us with the system and method of its practice and thus to enable us to act in the world with a reasonable certainty of success.
Joseph Dietzgen


Why Work? (1923)

From the July 1923 issue of the Socialist Standard

'Tis said the Capitalists are grown miserly. They want to cut down wages still more. Some there are, of wicked intent, who would blame the Capitalist and accuse him of evil designs. But this is surely not true. Have they not pointed out to us again and again that they even employ us at a loss to themselves, so anxious are they that we should not suffer unnecessary want?

But lo! What is this I have before me? Why, the report of the impending ruin of J. Lyons & Co., Ltd.! It is contained in the following record of their business :
   “During the last six years the profits have expanded by 100 per cent., and since the war the aggregate profits have amounted to £3,881,279, while the dividends on the ordinary shares have totalled 370 per cent., allowing for the 100 per cent. share bonus distributed two years ago.”—(“Daily News,” June 7th, 1923.)
You thriftless worker! If you had only saved a paltry £1,000 out of your enormous wages, and invested it in Lyons’ shares six years ago, you need not have lost a bead of sweat working, and yet you would have drawn £3,700 out of the company and still have your £1,000 invested in Lyons’ shares. Marvellous! isn’t it? And you are the dupe who produces the marvel.
Gilmac

The Capitalist Housing Bill (1924)

From the July 1924 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. Wheatley, the Labour Minister of Health, speaking on his housing Bill in the House of Commons, said :—
   "Labour does not propose to interfere with private enterprise in the building of houses. Labour does not propose to interfere with private enterprise in the manufacturing of building material. Labour only touches private enterprise here at one point, and that is in the investment of private capital in the ownership of these rented houses. But what does Labour do in return for that interference? It says to the man with small capital: "Instead of putting your private capital into a risky investment, lend it to the local authorities at 4½ per cent. Without your having any trouble at all you will get a safe return for your money, with all the security behind it of a municipal investment.” The Labour party’s programme on housing is not a Socialist programme at all.”—(Parliamentary Debates, March 26th, p. 1470.)
They don’t "interfere with private enterprise” except at one point, he says. The point where they interfere is when they borrow money from bankers, etc., promising them a safe return ! Such is the "Red” from the Clyde.
Adolph Kohn


The Economics of Paying (1925)

From the July 1925 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is irritating to the majority of workers to be told that the enormous expenditure incurred in running the capitalist system in its various departments is a matter of no concern to them. Schooled by the masters and their decoys in false economics, they fall easy victims to the delusion that they "Pay for everything." Dimly conscious of the fact that it is the working class who alone engage in the various functions necessary to the production and distribution of wealth (including management and supervision), they allow a hazy class sentiment to warp their economic reasoning; producing everything by no means involves paying for everything. An instance of how the press plays upon the workers' lack of knowledge in order to hide the facts is contained an the following :—
   The man in work is becoming more and more restless at the constant strain upon his resources, having to carry not only his own burden of maintenance, but the burden of a million or more out-of-works as well (Democrat, 25/4/26).
Well might the worker ask why this concern, if the burdens are his and not those of the capitalist class? Beneath this superficial observation lies the true explanation. The workers are a slave class; they are as much slaves as their progenitors, the chattel and the serf, but in place of previous methods the worker receives his subsistence to-day through a money payment, he is a wage slave. To the chattel his whole labour appeared to be given gratis, to the wage worker his whole effort appears to be paid for. Behind this payment lurks the secret of modern methods of exploitation: ever since the dawn of slavery human energy has sustained a set of unproductive idlers out of the wealth produced beyond that required for the sustenance of the producers. As with the slave of ancient society so with the modern wage slaves, the wealth they produce is the property of the masters. Its proportionate increase is enormous owing to the increased powers of mankind over nature’s materials. This surplus over and above the value of the workers' wages is called by the Socialist “surplus value." Out of this surplus, whether its form be rent, interest, or profit, its owners have to meet the expenses of their profit-making system, i.e., wars, pauperism, crime, etc. Fellow-workers, heed not your masters' canting cry about “burdens," they are his, and in order to economise as far as possible he would have you think them yours. Whatever the total of the prices of the necessaries required to sustain your wealth-producing capacity must be given to you as a wage. Failing this, you will be driven to take measures to maintain your standard of living, or your labour power will deteriorate to your employers' disadvantage.

Why fritter your time away on matters that leave you bottom dog. Recognise the real and ultimate contest must be between masters and slaves. In numbers you are overwhelming, armed with the knowledge of your usefulness as a class, no power can withstand you.
Mac.

Capitalism in the Tropics (1926)

Pamphlet Review from the July 1926 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Labour Research Department (162, Buckingham Palace Road, S.W.1.) has recently published a sixty-four page pamphlet entitled, “British Imperialism in East Africa,” price 1s. Much of the information contained therein has appeared from time to time in these columns, the principal exception being a variety of statistics concerning capital investments, etc.

The pamphlet deals, necessarily briefly, with the expropriation of the native tribes of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Nyassaland; and their progressive conversion into wage-slaves, producing foodstuffs and raw materials for the European markets such as coffee, sisal, cotton, maize, hides, soda, etc. The authors also show how the developments in these countries open up markets for the products of European industry, particularly of the “heavy” variety.

The countries mentioned comprise (with Northern Rhodesia) an area of over a million square miles, the total population being roughly only twelve millions, over 99 per cent. of whom are natives. They have come under Imperial control in a somewhat similar manner to that by which India became “the brightest jewel in the British Crown.” Invaded in the first place by mercantile companies who maintained their own armed forces, they soon presented problems with which these companies were incompetent to deal. Africa produced in miniature the same revolts of the populace and mutinies among the native soldiery which led, in India, to the replacing of “John Company" by Victoria, Regina et Imperator. In other words, the forces of the State were sent to the rescue of private enterprise.

In the case of Africa, “philanthropy" and missionary effort formed a very convenient cloak for the hungry figure of capital seeking its constant quarry, profit. It had been, to some slight extent, forestalled by the Arab colonies which had existed for centuries on the East Coast, in perpetual conflict with the Portuguese adventurers. The Arab power was founded upon chattel-slavery, and its periodical incursions among the natives of the interior had for their prime object the recruiting of the slave-markets. To supplant the Arabs and establish the European method of exploitation, it was necessary to stamp out the slave trade.

The hypocrisy of the capitalist found full vent. Gunboats and railways drove the dhows and caravans of the votaries of Allah from the field of commerce, and the blessings of Jehovah were invoked upon the process. The conflict of material interests was disguised by the contest between Jesus and Mahomet.

The up-to-date resources of capitalism rapidly transformed the scene. The various isolated tribes of natives (some living by hunting on the plains and in the forests, some by pasturing cattle, and others by rude tillage) were roughly disillusioned as to the intentions of their “deliverers." The Arabs chastised them with whips, but the Europeans introduced economic scorpions in the shape of reserves, to which the natives were confined, coupled with taxation upon the hut or the head.

In order to find the money with which to pay the taxes, the natives slowly but surely find their way from the reserves to the plantations and townships, as these arise, there to labour for the profit of the invaders. The sudden raids of the chattel-hunters gave way to the permanent exploitation of the whole population. The fruits of this new dominion find expression in overcrowding, under-feeding and the consequent spread of epidemic diseases previously unknown in the country, with additional disadvantages in the shape of an occasional war. Of the 150,000 unarmed porters raised in Kenya during the campaign to acquire the neighbouring German Territory, over 40,000 were killed or died of disease (page 33). Habits of life which are relatively harmless under native conditions, naturally become the vehicle of pestilence under the conditions of city life, or those obtaining in the now overcrowded reserves.

Other interesting facts dealt with in the pamphlet are the methods by which the capitalist administrative powers corrupt the institutions of the natives. The chiefs become transformed from guardians of their people into the agents of the oppressors. The compulsory labour ordinances, which are found necessary as a supplement to taxation, are enforced by their aid. The result is the development of native organisations in opposition to the whole machinery of government, which the missionaries strive to bring into constitutional channels. Early in 1922, the arrest of the Secretary of one of these native bodies led to a mass protest in Nairobi, and the slaughter of about thirty natives by the police as a reply. (This occurrence was dealt with in more detail in these columns in the issue of July, 1922). In one detail, the pamphlet under review is, here, inaccurate. No attempt was made by the crowd to rush the “prison” where Thuku was detained. The approach of a detachment of troops created a stampede, during which the armed police in the lines lost their heads and fired without orders!

What relationship does this enslavement bear to that of the workers in Europe? Here the pamphlet is confusing. Apparently the authors consider that the workers pay the taxes by which interest on development loans is guaranteed. It should be obvious however that if the taxes were not raised for that purpose the workers would gain nothing. The “saving'' would simply benefit some other section of their exploiters.

The authors are on firmer ground when they contend that capitalist development abroad is based upon the extended exploitation of the workers at home. The profits on the commodities of all sorts poured into the tropics by European labour go to the employing-class. The workers have thus no interest in extending markets; but that is not all. Sooner or later the point must be reached at which this development will react upon home conditions. The creation of new proletariat in the tropics intensifies the competition between the workers of the world. It renders their standard of life still less secure, and adds to the ranks of the unemployed. Such are the fruits of imperialism for the wage-slaves. Thus they must eventually unite upon the basis of their common interest, emancipation, irrespective of race or colour !
Eric Boden

Marxism or Communism. (1927)

Book Review from the July 1927 issue of the Socialist Standard

"Communism," by Harold J. Laski. Home University Press.

Professor Laski's book is one of the most informative and interesting of the dozens of interpretations and criticisms of Marx which have appeared since the Russian upheaval. If, in addition to some minor inaccuracies, the book has one or two important failings, these are not due to the absence of ordinary care or to the class bias and lack of imagination which have marred so many of the works of scholastic critics. Professor Laski has succeeded in compressing a great deal of matter into small space, and has admirably summarised certain aspects of his subject. In a brief historical introduction, he covers adequately the development of Socialist theory, and in the other four chapters he deals with the Materialist interpretation of History, Marxian Economics, the Communist Theory of the State and the Strategy of Communism. Lastly, there is a brief statement of Professor Laski's own conclusions. While the approach to the subject is critical, the writer does not make the common mistake of imputing to Marx or to the Communists “bad" motives (using bad in the popular sense of a departure from conventional capitalist standards).

He does not make the easy assumption that Bolshevist theories are unsound merely because the Bolshevists repudiate capitalist standards of conduct, fight under strange flags and use unorthodox weapons. He is more than fair, he is generous to his opponents, but it is this very generosity which leads him astray. First he assumes that Bolshevist theory and the Marxian philosophy are identical. This is not entirely true and it is unfair to both Marx and to Lenin.

On the one hand it is the boast of many Communists that his practical revolutionary experience enabled Lenin to improve upon the teachings of Marx; and on the other hand, it is misleading to hold Marx responsible for some of the vagaries of Communist thought and action. Professor Laski's second and most serious failing is one which perhaps he copied from Professor A. D. Lindsay, who recently wrote a book entitled “Karl Marx's Capital."

In his preface, Mr. Laski acknowledges his debt to Professor Lindsay in the writing of the chapter dealing with Marxian Economics. On page 61 of Lindsay's book we read :—
   The Labour theory of value is misleading. .  .  . It is primarily interested in what a man ought to get in reward for his labour. .  .  .
On page 95 of the present work; Professor Laski, in explaining the Labour theory, writes:—
  Thus we can measure the amount of "labour-power” in each man’s effort, and so determine scientifically how he ought to be paid.
And on page 116 he says:
   It is clear, then, that at the root of Marx’s view there lies an ethical test of value. Commodities for him .  .  . have an inherent value which is what they would obtain in exchange where society was properly organised .  .  .
Professor Laski apparently picked this up from Professor Lindsay. From what source Professor Lindsay obtained it I do not know, but it is a fantasy so far removed from the Marxian method and purpose that it is impossible for one who sees Marx through these spectacles to grasp his theoretical system as a whole. Marx was not concerned with Utopian societies or with ethical values as a basis for economic theories. His economic doctrines sought to do no more than explain what exists within the capitalist system. For Marx there is no amount that the worker ought to receive, nor was the non-receipt of the full value produced, ever offered as a justification for restitution or for the struggle to rebuild society. Exploitation to the Marxist is not something “wrong,” and therefore to be condemned. Exploitation in various forms has been the necessary basis of different social systems. The need for it is passing, and only that fact calls for and justifies our efforts to establish Socialism. Marx’s economic theories must be judged on their merits, not as contributions to an ideal society of the future. Professor Laski does seriously attempt this, but fails through missing the precise meaning attached to the terms Marx uses. This is his answer to Marx :—
   It is clear that if we say (1) that the value of a commodity depends upon the amount of socially necessary labour-time it embodies, (2) that this amount is discovered in the process of exchange, and (3) that the exchange rate is fixed by the value of the commodity, we are really saying that value depends upon value. (Page 96.)
Professor Laski has not distinguished here between "price” and "value.” His statement (1) is correct, (2) is not correct, does not link (1) and (3) together, and therefore does not warrant the conclusion drawn. The amount of labour-time socially necessary is fixed by the conditions of production themselves. What happens in the process of exchange is that value expresses itself in its price form — price fluctuating about value with the varying conditions of the market. Statement (3) is correct only if it means that price is ultimately dependent upon value, the point about which it oscillates. If by "exchange rate” in (3) Professor Laski does not mean market price, then he must mean "value.” Then (3) would read “the value is the value,” which is true but not useful as a step towards drawing a further conclusion.

The second main defect is the assumption that the Bolshevists are orthodox Marxians. To show the lack of justification for this we need take only one illustration : the Commune of 1871. Professor Laski says (38): “The lesson of the Commune is the need for dictatorship. The capitalist class must be repressed.” But neither Lenin nor Professor Laski shows that this is the lesson which Marx drew from the Commune, and it is certainly not the method adopted by the Communards themselves. Lissagary (History of the Commune, p. 172) makes it quite clear that there were no repressive measures, no dictatorship, on the Russian model in Paris then.
   Sunday the 26th (March, 1871) was a day of joy and sunshine. Paris breathed again, happy like one just escaped from death or great peril. At Versailles the streets looked gloomy, gendarmes occupied the station, brutally demanded passports, confiscated all the journals of Paris, and at the slightest expression of sympathy for the town arrested you. At Paris everybody could enter freely. The streets swarmed with people, the cafés were noisy; the same lad cried out the Paris Journal and the Commune; the attacks against the Hotel de Ville, the protestations of a few malcontents, were posted on the walls by the side of the placards of the Central Committee. The people were without anger because without fear. The voting paper had replaced the Chasse-pot.
Professor Laski lightly dismisses the defence of democracy put forward by Kautsky in the controversy with Lenin, but Kautsky’s arguments in "The Dictatorship of the Proletariat” have still to be answered by the Bolshevists. We are not defenders of Kautsky's actions, either since or during the war (we had repudiated his claim to speak for Socialism before 1914, while Lenin, Trotsky and others were still worshipping Kautsky’s reputation and his past) but we claim that the Bolshevists have failed to prove him wrong when he says that a minority cannot impose a new social system from above on a hostile or apathetic majority satisfied with and used to a more backward economic organisation. In this, Kautsky expresses the Marxian viewpoint, as against the "Blanquism” of the Russians. (For a full discussion of this question, see "Socialist Standard,” July, October and November, 1920, and October, 1921)

Professor Laski misunderstands the Marxian doctrine of the increasing exploitation of the workers. Marx did not assume and build hrs theories upon the inevitability of increased poverty. The change he had in mind was the worsening position of the workers relative to the wealth and power of the capitalist class. What he argued was that the productivity of the workers' increases more rapidly than their real wages.

Thus, in "Capital” (Vol. 1, p. 631), he said :—
   .  .  . They can extend the circle of their enjoyments; .  .  .  and can lay by small reserve funds of money. But just as little as better clothing, food, and treatment, and larger peculium, do away with the exploitation of the slave, so little do they set aside that of the wage-worker.
On page 661 he elaborated the point that the workers' position gets worse, even although his real wages may not fall, but actually rise.

I do not, however, think that Professor Laski would care to contend that in fact the workers in this country have maintained during 30 years the standard of living of 1897.

He offers one or two of the stock criticisms of the Materialist Conception of History. It will not, he says (p. 79), explain "the loyalty of Catholic working-men to their religion.”

It does explain even this. Working-men are loyal to the Catholic religion while that religion continues to play a vital part in a social system which has need for religion. And when the economic development forces to the front the conflicting interests of classes, while at the same time the mechanical processes of industry thrust religious modes of thought into the background, working-men cease to be loyal to the Catholic religion. Can any other theory of history satisfactorily explain this? The Materialist Conception does not rule out or minimise the powerful hold of tradition on men’s minds, but it shows how and why material forces will in time undermine all traditions. For an account of the rapidly waning hold of Catholicism in Germany over the minds of the Catholic trade unionists, readers are referred to the report of an enquiry recently conducted by the Catholic Trade Union Federation ("Socialist Standard” February, 1927)..

No one who reads the book can fail to be interested in the many issues which Professor Laski raises, but it is impossible even to mention here all the controversial points. It is, however, necessary to remind readers that the book necessarily contains many interpretations of events, theories and programmes which are likely to be questioned from one angle or another. It is not an authoritative statement either of Communist policy or of Marxian theory. On the first ground, the Communists question it, as we must on the second. This is, as I have said, necessarily so. Professor Laski is fair, and has no axe to grind, but no man can hope to state fully and with proper discrimination the views of an opponent. It is greatly to Professor Laski’s credit that, in addition to writing an interesting and thought-provoking book, he has so nearly fulfilled that impossible task.
Edgar Hardcastle

The Rt. Hon. Mr. Wheatley Joins The Alliance. (1928)

From the July 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard
It has been calculated that of the rich persons who joined the Labour Party recently 50 per cent. were already candidates and the others were signing the book daily at the “Parliamentary Employment Exchange.” ("Daily Herald,” 26/6/28.)
The above is from the speech of the Right Hon. John Wheatley, M.P., Minister of Health in the Labour Government of 1924 and supporter of the Holy Catholic Church.

The new alliance of Cook, Maxton and Wheatley has a programme described by Mr. Wheatley thus :
   Cook and Maxton declare that the workers should constitutionally seize the present surplus wealth of the idle rich and use it to give a decent standard of life here and now to the working classes.
So the party of rich candidates (the Labour Party) are going to seize—by taxation—some of the surplus and give it to the poor.

How that is going to affect the exploiting nature of Capitalism Mr. Wheatley doesn’t explain. It sounds as revolutionary as Lloyd George’s Insurance Act or Gladstone’s Death Duties. What this triple alliance want is pathetically put by Wheatley—“You should hit Capitalism oftener and harder.” How hard and how often, Mr. Wheatley? To stand for the overthrow of Capitalism, not often but all the time, is not their way. And it would not sound as well as Mr. Wheatley’s patriotic reformism as made plain in his evidence in his libel action.
Adolph Kohn

The Australian Censorship. (1929)

From the July 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the February issue we referred to the action of the Australian Government in drawing up a list of journals (including the “Socialist Standard”) whose import into Australia was prohibited. We have been informed that supplies of the February and March issues, addressed to distributors in Melbourne, have been held up by the Australian Customs authorities. We have written to the authorities responsible for this seizure, and await their reply.

Those who understand the part played by material conditions in moulding men’s ideas will derive considerable amusement from the spectacle of a ruling class stupidly and petulantly trying to suppress comment on the social problems which are the product of the capitalist system. They delude themselves into the belief that by suppressing discussion of a problem they have abolished the problem. They have the power to bar out our printed criticisms but they do not prove our views to be wrong in the only conclusive way, which is to abolish unemployment, poverty, etc. Rather less intelligent than the proverbial ostrich, which is said to bury its own head in order not to see approaching dangers, they act on the child-like assumption that the unemployed and poverty-stricken Australian workers will not know that they are unemployed and poverty-stricken, unless they first read about it in the “Socialist Standard.” Oh, these first-class brains!
Editorial Committee

The "New" Socialism (1930)

From the July 1930 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. G. D. H. Cole, who explains how to "deal” with unemployment in the I.L.P. paper, The New Leader, also contributes a series to the columns of Everyman Weekly. One article is called "Socialism, Old and New,” but his ”Socialism” is neither old nor new—it may be Coleism, but it isn’t Socialism. He explains that the old Socialist method was to nationalise industries. Not entirely nationalised, but some in State hands and others in private hands. Mr. Cole does not point out that Socialism means social or common ownership, and, therefore, does not mean Government or private ownership. But even Nationalisation is too strong for this I.L.P. contributor, who is now an economic advisor to the Labour Government! He explains the "New Socialism” thus:
   Meanwhile, on their side, the Socialists have not been standing still. There has been an' evolution of opinion among them fully as notable as that which has taken place among economists or employers. Broadly speaking, most Socialists (and nearly all the younger Socialists) have ceased to regard nationalisation in the old sense of the term, as something desirable in itself and inherent in Socialist policy, and have tended to transfer the emphasis of their argument from the need for national ownership of industry to the need for effective public control.
According to this, "Socialists” certainly haven’t been standing still—but standing on their heads. Ownership is the basis of control, and while the workers do not own they will not control. While another class owns, that class will always control the workers’ lives—by control of their means of living. Mr. Cole asks:
   Can we not have, instead of nationalised industries in the old sense, great recognised public utility corporations working under social control, and co-ordinated into an efficient whole by means of a State economic agency? It does not need great changes and it may need no change of ownership at all, to convert the railway service into a public corporation of this sort.
Public Utility Corporations, controlled publicly—owned privately! That is the new Socialism. But America contains plenty of these firms, and they are just as much capitalist as any other concerns with the added monopoly power of vast businesses in control of the entire field. Exploitation of the worker and the large profits of the capitalist continue. Public control, what is that? Where it is not ordinary Government regulation it may be State, employers and workers represented on a board. And as the State is the agent of the capitalist—as Labour Rule as well as Tory Rule shows— the workers’ voice is in a minority—especially when the so-called workers' representative is usually a Labour leader looking out for a "future” for himself.

Later in the article Mr. Cole confesses that his new "Socialism” is simply the old capitalism. For he instances two so-called publicly controlled businesses in this country in which "public” control was established by Tories and Liberals. He says:
   "Socialists are apt to forget that the railways and electricity Acts of late years were passed by anti-Socialist Governments.”
No, we do not forget—Socialists remember and know that Liberals and Tories and Labour tools of capital will establish Government regulation of large utilities in order to harmonise these services with the general interests of the capitalists who use these utilities.

The railways—Mr. Cole’s own illustration —are privately owned. And the real control lies in the owners of the largest shares who decide by the number of shares how the railways shall be run. In the interest of the Traders the Government regulates their charges, but does not stop them making profits out of their employees who do the work.

Labour misleaders, like Mr. Cole, will confuse the workers with false ideas of Socialism. The function of the Socialist is to explain the nature of Capitalism and Socialism. Capitalism under private or public control means a working class working for wages (when it pays the capitalist to employ them), it means a parasite class living on profits in the forms of dividends on shares, public loans, etc., which all come out of the results of the workers’ labours.

Government control or ownership does not alter that.

Socialism means common ownership by the workers of the means of producing wealth, and also of the product.

Many who don’t know, think that the object of the Labour Party is common ownership. Others think that it is only Government ownership of industries. The truth emerges that the object of these alleged Labourites is public control, thus leaving ownership as well as control safely in the hands of the owning class. Liberals, Tories and “Labour” can unite on this; and when this capitalist objective is achieved the working class will be where they are now—slaves of capitalism.
Adolph Kohn


The Socialist Party versus the New Party (1931)

Party News from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

An audience of over 500 listened to a public debate on Sunday evening, June 14th, at the Stratford Town Hall, between the New (Mosley) Party and the Socialist Party of Great Britain, on the question which of the two parties should be supported by the working class.

Mr. Stuart Barr (who spoke second) represented the New Party. He said it was not his business to defend the capitalist system or to enter into academic discussion on Socialism, capitalism, or any other "ism." He believed that affairs in this country and all over the world had reached a stage of crisis when it was the soundest realism to enter into the New Party's immediate policy to do something now to give the workers, not Socialism, which everyone admits they do not want, but work, wages, and economic security. Disaster could be avoided only by all classes sinking their immediate differences and pulling together to organise national resources in such a way that no one section had undue power over any other.

First, Parliament must be converted from a talkshop into a workshop, one section to deal with social and political matters, and the other exclusively with economic matters. This section would establish Import Boards to decide what tariffs were necessary to enable British industries to compete with all the other countries by tariff walls, to put the manufacturer on his feet, and so enable the workers' standard of living to be raised.

The workers should support the New Party because it has a policy which can be applied now, immediately. All sections must co-operate to control the economic forces of capitalism and to guide the ship of State away from imminent disaster.

The case for the Socialist Party, presented by Comrade E. Hardy, was based on the irreconcilable conflict of interests between the working class, who produce all wealth, and the capitalist class, who own the instruments of production and the wealth produced. It was shown in 1904 by Mr. Leo Money, M.P. (now Sir Leo Money) that nearly one-half of the national income was enjoyed by but one-ninth of the population. In other words, out of every £1 of wealth produced by the workers, one capitalist keeps nearly 10s., and 8 workers divide the remaining 10s. between them, receiving just about enough to maintain them as efficient workers. Professor Henry Clay in 1925 showed a like inequality still in being.

The problem of the capitalists was to sell their goods in limited markets. Competition among them led to the adoption of labour-saving machinery (and unemployment), to periodical over-production crises, and to recurrent danger of war.

All the will-o'-the-wisp reforms of the other political parties tried out during the last 100 years were futile to deal with the evils rooted in a profit-making social system based on the exploitation of one class by another. The only remedy was for society to own and democratically control the means of production, to produce for use and not for profit.

The New Party's talk about the "national resources" and about improving trade does not touch the problems of the workers. The so-called "national resources" are the private property of the capitalist class. It would be the capitalists who would reap the benefit of any improvement of trade. In Germany, while trade was booming last year, wages were being reduced still further.

Nor was capitalism a "sinking ship." The figures given in the Economist showed that profits had not suffered appreciably during the "depression." Depressions and crises come and go, but capitalism will remain just so long as the workers continue to send back to Parliament the agents of the master class. Leaders of the New Party openly declared they did not oppose capitalism, but aimed to put the industrial capitalists "on their feet." This means opposing the interests of the working class.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain alone of all Parties had consistently maintained, amidst the confusion of capitalist parties old and "new," that the only hope of the workers is Socialism.

The collection of £3 12s. more than covered expenses, and literature to the value of 32s. was sold.
F. E.

The Position of the Workers. (1932)

From the July 1932 issue of the Socialist Standard

For many generations men’s minds have turned to the problem of human happiness. Human misery has been so obvious that it was bound to re-act on the more sensitive and sympathetic, and the result has been many fantastic and impracticable utopias, from Plato’s to Robert Owen’s.

That these visionary projections have been fantastic and impracticable has been due, not to wilful misleading or lack of intelligence, but to the absence of economic and historical knowledge of the social system.

It is only in quite recent times that social development and scientific research have given us the knowledge which was requisite to enable mankind to proceed with understanding to the establishment of a social system in which the, furtherance of human happiness and well-being will be the common object of all effort.

Armed with this knowledge, the founders of the Socialist Party of Great Britain set themselves to form an organisation which would serve the revolutionary purpose. The works of scientists like Marx and Engels, and Lewis Morgan, have shown them
1. That society evolves;
2. That society evolves by revolution (at all events, in historical times);
3. That these revolutions are always the conscious work of a revoluntionary class.
History shows that every class which has acquired ruling power has been revolutionary in its time, but no class has been revolutionary twice. The rising revolutionary class strives to wrest control from the ruling class, succeeds, and, in the nature of things, consolidates its position and strains every nerve to maintain the new social base which has given it power. Immediately it becomes reactionary.

In the course of time the means of production outgrow the conditions imposed by the existing social structure, a new revolutionary class arises whose interest is to set up a new social order. There is a class struggle terminating in another social revolution.

Capitalism was enabled to displace Feudalism because the latter was based on the control of the land, which was only part of the means of production—the most important part at one time, it is true. But there was another form of wealth outside the control of the feudal nobility—merchants’ wealth, and later manufacturers’ wealth. Those who possessed this wealth, the capitalists, achieved their revolution, and are now a reactionary class.

Up to the present, each class that has conquered power has brought with it the seeds of its own destruction, because each has depended for its existence upon the exploitation of another group within itself, that only became a separate and distinct class after the successful outcome of the revolution. 

But under capitalism productive property is controlled by the capitalist class. There is no other class of property owners to kick against their rule. It is impossible for the rulers to become the conscious agents of their own overthrow—and only conscious agents can establish the revolution, because, though a system can be destroyed without its destruction being consciously aimed at, the setting up of a new one—the other half of the revolutionary process—presupposes conscious effort. Who then are to be the agents of the revolution that will achieve Socialism? The only class that is left to carry out the revolution is the working class.

But in order to fit themselves for this task the workers must acquire the consciousness which can alone enable them to do so. This consciousness must comprise, first of all, a knowledge of their class position. They must realise that, while they produce all wealth, their share of it can never, under the present system, be more than sufficient to enable them to reproduce their efficiency as wealth producers; in other words, it can never exceed their cost of subsistence. They must realise also that, under the system, they will remain subject to all the misery of unemployment, the anxiety of the threat of unemployment, and the cares of poverty. They must understand next, the implications of their position —that the only hope of any real betterment of their condition lies in abolishing the social system which reduces them to being mere sellers of their labour-power, to be exploited by the capitalists.

They will see then that, since this involves dispossessing the master class of the means through which alone the exploitation of labour-power can be achieved, there must necessarily be a struggle between the two classes—the one to maintain the present system of private ownership of the means of living, and the other to wrest such ownership from them, and make these things the property of society as a whole. This is the struggle of a dominant class to maintain its position of exploitation on the one hand, and of an enslaved and exploited class to obtain its emancipation on the other. It is a class struggle.

A class which understands all this is class-conscious. It has only to find the means and the methods by which to proceed,  in order to become the fit instrument of the revolution.

In every social system the people who produce the wealth by which society lives have a very definite position in that society. Thus the chattel slave was a commodity—a mere piece of property, bought and sold. It was himself, and not his labour-power, which was sold. His position was that of, say, a horse.

The modern worker, on the other hand, is not property. It is not himself, but his labour-power, which is the commodity. He is the machine which produces the labour-power. Like all machines, he is subject to wear and tear; and like all machines nothing can be got out of him that is not put in.

On the other hand, just as every mechanism must justify its existence by being more economical than the next lower grade of appliance, so the human machine has to produce the greatest return for what is put into it, because it also has its competitors.

These competitors are machinery and methods. The dearer labour-power is, the more rapidly machinery and improved methods advance; and the more rapidly these advance, the greater is the number of unemployed serving to depress wages. The result of the operation of these conflicting forces is that labour-power sells for the cost of its production, or, as it is sometimes put, wages gravitate around the level of subsistence.

We now come to the point which presents the difficulty. To say that wages equal subsistence level by no means explains what determines that subsistence level, and we are well aware that the standard of living varies considerably in different capitalist countries, to say nothing of those which are not completely capitalistic. Why is not the level of subsistence lower or higher? Why is it just where it is?
All other commodities sell, on the average, after variations have cancelled one another, at prices which depend upon their value. The value of a commodity is the labour time necessary to its production. Hence commodities exchange in a ratio according to the labour time necessary to produce them.

This result is assured by the fluidity of capital. Capital is invested in the most profitable directions. Where prices are below a certain point, other things being equal, profits are lower. Capital is then transferred to the production of those classes of commodities whose prices are higher and which therefore show a larger profit. On this account the increased production of the high priced goods brings such an extra quantity of them on the market that their prices tend to fall. This corrects the production of both the high-priced and the low-priced goods, and through that corrects the prices.

But the wage worker cannot convert his means of production (food, etc.) into the production of some other commodity than labour-power. True, he will endeavour to scramble into those trades which pay best, but this does not get him far.

The truth is that capitalism itself sets the standard of living of its workers to meet its own requirements. Capitalists have been compelled to educate the workers because they need an educated working class. Education, in its turn, gives the workers other needs, and though it does not give the means of satisfying those needs, the needs themselves form an additional inducement to struggle for the means to satisfy them. To create needs is to add them to the standard of living, and therefore to increase the wage which must be struggled for.

On the other side, if wages rise above the normal standard (as they do in times of “trade boom”) there is a tendency to resort more to machinery and improved methods, which mean greater intensity of exploitation and more unemployed. Actually, many employers are discovering that a higher standard of living is necessary to enable the workers to stand the greater exhaustion of more intense exploitation.

It may be affirmed that every level of subsistence of the working class has its own intensity of exploitation, its own ratio of unemployment, and that, therefore, whether the standard of living is a little higher or a little lower, in the long run the quality of labour-power required by capital is produced at its lowest cost, and is sold for that cost. Hence the position of the workers is the hopeless one that they must always struggle to maintain their wages at subsistence level, but that they cannot do more. All the vast and wonderful improvements in the productive processes which mean such stupendous wealth for the owners, mean only more intensive conditions for the workers. They can have no share in it. All the reforms and all the philanthropy cannot touch this position. Remove the unemployed to-day, to-morrow machinery will have produced them again. Give the workers free houses or free bread—they must struggle just as hard for the remainder of their necessities.

Attempts at reform, therefore, are useless. They are defeated by the very operation of the economic laws of our competitive system.

As a matter of fact, capitalism is always being reformed. Reforms are the red-herring by which the capitalists keep the workers on the wrong scent. Reforms and palliatives keep the wage-slaves running from Tweedledum to Tweedledee and from Tweedledee to Tweedledum. And when, after much fighting, each reform or palliative is gained, it is only such as is necessary to keep capitalism safe for capitalists.
A. E. Jacomb

Lloyd George Has a Brain Wave (1933)

From the July 1933 issue of the Socialist Standard

Lloyd George’s vitality remains unabated. On March 11th he addressed a meeting in the Cattle Market at Ashford in connection with the by-election there. A. J. Cummings, reporting it in the News-Chronicle, says that the most impressive part of his speech was “his appeal to bring together the vast sums of idle money and the vast army of the unemployed.” In case any of our unemployed readers might take this in a literal sense, we hasten to reassure them on the point. Here is the crucial sentence: —
    "The Government was spending £130 millions every year in keeping workers in enforced idleness. While there were 3 millions out of work and thousands of slums to be cleared and millions of acres of waterlogged land to be drained, £2,000 millions was lying practically idle at the banks."
So, after all, they are not going to give us the money; oh dear no, but they will give us a little bit of it provided we do some work for them— provided that we build houses of which we cannot afford to pay the rent when we are back on the "dole” after having built them, and provided that we drain waterlogged land. Why should we drain waterlogged land, presumably for grain growing, when the granaries of the world are bursting with the wheat which its capitalistic proprietors cannot sell? But the answer is plain. The workers must WORK. That a worker, when he has produced enough foodstuffs and other commodities to last another three years, should sit back and smoke a pipe, is unthinkable—a thought too terrible to contemplate. He would become DEMORALISED.

How peculiar that the effect of idleness upon a worker is to make him “demoralised,” whilst it has no such effect upon a member of the capitalist class. But perhaps that is because, having appropriated such a large portion of the surplus value produced by the worker, he is able to enjoy himself, and get about the world, winter in Egypt, and so on, whilst the idle worker has to satisfy his peripatetic instincts by hiking about between his slum dwelling, the labour exchange, and the relief office. Is it any wonder that Lloyd George called the workers into the Cattle Market to address them?

Verily, the capitalist thinketh in the terms of the god of Genesis, who said: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground.” In the face of this god-given command it would be rank heresy to suggest that something other than a bare subsistence should be given for nothing, and Lloyd George does not err on that score.

However, until the workers realise that their troubles are due to the class ownership of the means of production, all these nostrums will continue to be preached unto them, and they will, as their masters recommend them to do, continually be seeking the ever-elusive WORK.

There is only one cure for unemployment, and that is a social system based on the common ownership of the means of production, where each shall do his share according to his ability, and each shall have according to his need.
Ramo.


Another "Life" of Marx (1934)

Book Review from the July 1934 issue of the Socialist Standard

Karl Marx: A Study in Fanaticism by E. H. Carr (Dent)

It has generally been accepted when quoting from a book—or books—containing a considerable number of letters, to give the date, number of the letter, the page and volume from which it or they are taken. This facilitates verification. The author of any book, provided he has faith in his ability to present an accurate survey of his subject, would disdain to make assertions unsupported by evidence. When an author undertakes to write a “life” of a man like Karl Marx, he should at least pay a tribute to the well-known sincerity of Marx, who always gave the source of his information, and was punctilious to the extreme. His painstaking sincerity is patent. It is well known that Eleanor Marx, in verifying the quotations in the first volume of “Capital,” was unable in only one single instance to discover the origin. Marx’s assertions were rightly always backed up by evidence. These preliminary observations are necessary because a Mr. E. H. Carr has recently written a “ life ” of Marx, published by Dent’s (“Karl Marx: A Study in Fanaticism.” 327 pages. 12/6). In this book innumerable quotations are made and attributed to Marx and others, but in no instance has Mr. Carr given page, date or volume, to indicate the origin of the quotation. No documentation whatsoever is provided to guide the reader to the source of the information. This is procedure of an ignoble character, because in the progress of the book Mr. Carr has misinterpreted not only the words of Marx, but the sense, too. He has been disingenuous and has violated the principles of good taste. His interpretations are derived—so says the writer—from the volumes recently issued and sponsored by the Marx-Engels Institute, of Moscow. These four volumes contain the original letters that passed between Marx and Engels. Most of the letters are in German, but there are numerous digressions into French, English and Italian. These volumes form the basis of Mr. Carr’s “life” of Marx.

In the book there is an unending series of quotations, but whatever the nature of these quotations, on no occasion is the specific source given to allow an opportunity for verification. In my view there can only be one reason for this policy. It is that Mr. Carr has not read the four volumes: or if he has, is totally unfamiliar with the contents. Even before one reads a word of the preface, one is confronted with a piece of false information. Opposite the title page a photograph of Marx is inset, under which appears the following note: —
From an unpublished photograph.
Actually the same photograph was published in an official work issued some time ago by the Marx- Engels Institute, of Moscow. On page 304 of his book, Mr. Carr informs the reader, when dealing with the volumes issued by the Marx-Engels Institute, that—
  The first version, the so-called Gesamtausgabe, prints the works in the languages in which they were written, and was, until March, 1933, in course of publication at Berlin. The second version is a Russian translation published at Moscow.
On page 305, Mr. Carr adds—
    In a few passages originally written in English, I have been compelled by the inaccessibility of the English originals to re-translate from German or Russian versions.
But had Mr. Carr read the Gesamtausgabe, the German original version, he would know that there was no necessity to retranslate into English, because an English passage written by either Marx or Engels—or anyone else—is retained in its original form, therefore needing no retranslation. Thus, for example, a passage of 11 words taken from a letter from Marx to Engels (line 33, letter 143, dated January 20th, 1852, on page 308 of Vol. I) appears as follows, written in German, English and French!—
   Louis kann den Louis Philippe by no means nachmachen. Et alors ?
In some letters there are additional phrases from other languages. The statement re “inaccessibility” is mere bluff and pretence, for though Mr. Carr later informs us of letters which are written in English, three of which will be specified later, in no instance has Mr. Carr given an accurate reproduction of these letters, though in the Gesamtausgabe they are printed in English..

One essential factor for a clear insight into, and an appreciation of, the correspondence between Marx and Engels, is a knowledge of its chronology and history. One must know that there have been two versions of this series of correspondence. The' previous issue was—
   Der Briefwechsel zwischen Friedrich Engels und Karl Marx. Herausgegeben von A. Bebel und Ed. Bernstein. Bd. I-IV Stuttgart, J. H. W. Dietz, 1913.
Engels made Edward Bernstein his literary executor, on whom devolved the responsibility for issuing the works of both Marx and Engels. (Engels had long begun to arrange and edit the literary works of Marx.)

Bernstein manipulated the correspondence, expunging passages at his discretion, and leaving letters entirely unmentioned. Many of the passages are momentous in the history of Marxism, as we shall see later.

That Mr. Carr makes no reference to the early version is surprising, for it appears to indicate his ignorance of its existence, and, what is more interesting, that he has not read the four volumes issued by the Marx-Engels Institute, of Moscow. All Mr. Carr's protestations are unavailing, for there are scores of instances that prove his ignorance of the letters he is supposed to have read, and upon which he has written this “biography” of Marx. Mr. Carr’s sublime silence about the two versions is interesting. If his “life” of Marx is based upon the correspondence issued by the Marx-Engels Institute, what are we to make of the mysterious fact that there are no less than 110 pages of valuable introductory material in the correspondence—yet Mr. Carr has not made the slightest reference to it!

Moreover, it is difficult to accept assurance from a "biographer" who gives neither page, date, letter, nor volume, when writing of correspondence between Marx and Engels—dating from October 8th—10th, 1844, to January 10th, 1883— in which there are no less than 1,569 letters.

Mr. Carr gives words incorrectly and inserts others not in the original version. Take page 97 of his book, for example. On this page Mr. Carr refers to the letter written by Engels to Marx announcing the death of his sweetheart, Mary Burns. Mr. Carr does not inform the reader that Engels wrote the letter on January 7th, 1863. If he had read it he would have discovered that Engels forgot the turn of the year, and inserted 1862.

Marx replied on the following day (letter 814, page 117, of Vol. 3) in a curt manner. Engels was rather upset, and, on January 13th, sent Marx a severe letter, the ONLY one of its kind that ever passed between the two friends. Let us read Mr. Carr's account. He says:—
   This “frosty” letter, received before Mary was in her grave, struck Engels dumb for four days.
   All my friends (he wrote at length), including bourgeois acquaintances. . . .
Mr. Carr puts the word "bourgeois" in italics. The word "bourgeois" is NOT in italics in the correspondence. The words are in letter 816, second paragraph, page 118, of Vol 3. They begin on line 21, and are as follows: —
   Alle meine Freunde, einschliesslich Philisterbekannte. . . .
In the Marx-Engels Institute version the words are as above. If italics had been used by Engels (or Marx), this is the way it would have been printed—P h i 1 i s t e rbekannte. 

So much for Mr. Carr's literary rectitude!!

Perhaps the survey of another episode may help in elucidating the mysteries of Mr. Carr's qualifications to write as an “authority" on Marx. On page 67, Mr. Carr indulges speculatively anent the activities of Marx in Paris, and the decision to go to England. As usual, he displays his ignorance of the correspondence, and makes statements that are the reverse of fact. In the last paragraph Mr. Carr states that the decision to emigrate was "the most important landmark in Marx's career."

If this decision is the most important landmark in Marx's career, such observation, interpretation, and justification should be sustained by evidence. But Mr. Carr tenders nothing to prove the great landmark. There are reasons for the serious omission—for Mr. Carr again evidently knows little or nothing of the correspondence of this period. His review on page 67 is deficient in that the exact relations between Marx and the French police are not clearly detailed, and Mr. Carr's "disclosures" are inadequate. In letter No. 40, dated June 7th, 1849 (page 107, Vol. 1), Marx wrote to Engels that his [Marx's] correspondence was being tampered with, and advised Engels to write to him under the pseudonym of Monsieur Ramboz, 45, Rue de Lille. In the letter No. 43, pp. 111-2, Vol. 1, dated August 17th, Marx again refers to the pseudonym.

In the next letter, No. 44, dated August 23rd 1849, p. 113, Vol. 1, Marx makes the vital and final decision concerning his future, which Mr. Carr calls the “most important landmark of Marx's career." But once more we discover that Mr. Carr is ignorant of the full contents of these letters. Actually, Marx's decision did not involve him, alone, for it changed the whole course of Engel's life, too.. “The most important landmark" referred to by Mr. Carr, depended entirely upon the letters referred to above. In the August 23rd letter (No. 44), Marx writes to Engels in Lausanne to inform him that he will not submit to the surveillance of the French police, who desire him to take up residence in the isolated Department of Mobihan (Brittany).

In his fulsome ignorance, Mr. Carr states that "Marx thought of joining Engels in Switzerland." This is a piece of invincible ignorance on the part of Mr. Carr for had he read Marx's letter, he would have found that Marx says (line 14, paragraph 2): —
   Nach der Schweiz gibt man mir keinen Pass. (I can get no passport for Switzerland.)
Marx impresses upon Engels to leave Lausanne and go right through to London, where he will join him. Marx is certain of being able to start a literary journal, for which one portion of the money is already available. He tells Engels it seems impossible for him to remain in Switzerland any longer.
    Du kannst nicht in der Schweiz bleiben. In London werden wir Geschäfte maen. . (You cannot remain in Switzerland. We will do business in London.)
This last sentence is of the utmost importance, for, along with the letter No. 43, dated August 17th, 1849, it showed that Marx was certain that the starting of a journal would provide a living for both Marx and Engels. But the sting is in the tail. Marx appends a footnote to the letter, showing that he had no thought of going to Switzerland. He writes—
   Lupus ist bei Dr. Lüning, Zürich. Schreib ihm auch von meinem Plan. (Lupus is with Dr. Lüning in Zurich. Write him also about my plan.)
   (Lupus was the famous Wilhelm Wolff to whom Marx dedicated the first volume of “Capital.”)
Not one word of this is tendered, explained, or referred to by Mr. Carr on page 67 of his book. Obviously, Mr. Carr does not know of its existence. But there is more than that to it. It suggests the source of Mr. Carr's information, too, i.e., the 1913 edition. In his preface, on page VIII, Mr. Carr tenders thanks “to a friend who desires to remain anonymous, but who, while differing from many of my conclusions, has generously placed at my disposal a rich stock of Marxist lore.” It was in the 1913 edition of the letters that the passage in letter 43, and the sentence from letter 44, “In London werden wir Geschäfte machen,” were deliberately omitted. Specific attention is called thereto in the 50-page introduction to Vol 1 of the correspondence issued by the Marx-Engels Institute.

If Mr. Carr had regard for the truth, nothing could have deterred him from giving the page, date, number, and volume from which he was quoting. Let us test Mr. Carr's credentials once more. It concerns an episode of which he writes with exceeding enthusiasm, for which he tenders Marx a surprising encomium. The very instance arouses suspicion. It provides more evidence of Mr. Carr's patent superficiality, and invincible shallowness. On page 109 he refers to Marx's “Eighteenth Brumaire," and says that it
   demands quotations not so much for its political importance as for its literary merits. The contorted antithetical style of Marx’s early period has been left behind. The “Eighteenth Brumaire” contains some of the simplest and raciest of Marx’s writing; and the fierceness of the invective (for Marx always shines at invective) gives it a high place among political broadsides. It may be heartily recommended to anyone who thinks Marx is a dull writer.
Then follows the opening section of the first paragraph of the “Brumaire.” Once again his bluff is exposed. For had Mr. Carr read letter No. 134, which Engels wrote to Marx from Manchester on December 3rd, 1851, he would have seen the origin of the passage which was afterwards incorporated into the “Brumaire" by Marx. It is on page 292 of Vol 1. Let any reader examine the opening of the “Brumaire,” and he can easily follow the quotation.
   alles sich zweimal anspinnen liesse, einmal als grosse Tragödie, und das zweite Mai als lausige Farce, Caussidiere für Danton, L. Blanc für Robespierre, Barthelemy für Saint-Just, Flocon für Carnot, . . etc. (these things occur twice, first as great tragedy and secondly as paltry farce . . . etc.)
Now, Engels wrote that note to Marx within 24 hours of the coup d'état, and yet later accorded the credit to Marx for the analysis. Knowing the miserable proclivities of Mr. Carr in traducing and reviling Marx on the slightest provocation, he missed here his greatest opportunity of calling Marx a plagiarist, etc. But his lost opportunity is entirely due to Mr. Carr not having read the correspondence; an opportunity he surely would have used to bolster his case against Marx; if he had known of it.

The International.
The importance of the “International” is recognised by Mr. Carr, who uses about a quarter of the space of his book to expatiate upon this interesting aspect of Marx’s activities.

On page 184 he bursts forth with this serious diatribe: —
   The origin of the momentous decision to invite Marx—a decision which determined the whole course of the International from its inception to its death— is wrapped in strange obscurity. It is a depressing commentary on the nature of the evidence on which history is based that, in this comparatively straightforward matter, the historian has before him two mutually contradictory accounts from persons who participated, or purport to have participated, in the transaction. Each of these accounts is demonstrably, or almost demonstrably, false: and each has clearly been distorted by the desire of the narrator to exaggerate the importance of his own role.
If it is demonstrably false, why does Mr. Carr use the curious qualification “almost.” If it is “almost” demonstrably false, it isn't quite false. And if it isn't quite false, why worry? The fact is, Mr. Carr has not quite relished his job, and he was in a position of mental suspense in dealing with the matter. Besides, it is clear that he did not appreciate the whole story attributed to Marx. Had Mr. Carr quoted from Marx's letter (No. 876) he might have understood the matter. Had he read the correspondence, he might have quoted the facts, for, in this case, opposite page 196 of Vol 3, Marx's letter is produced in facsimile. Marx tells Engels that a young Frenchman, Le Lubez, about 30 years of age, brought up in Jersey and London, asked Marx if he would care to represent the German workers at the first meeting of the International. Mr. Carr suggests that this story is “demonstrably, or almost demonstrably, false.”

If it is demonstrably false, where is the evidence? Mr. Carr produces none. He produces the other version, this time by Marx's old friend, Frederick Lessner.

We will leave it to our readers as to whether there are contradictions. Mr. Carr quotes Lessner, but from what book or pamphlet, he declines to say. Let us, however, quote from Lessner's “Sixty Years of the Social Democratic Movement" (p. 33):
  The English committee invited also the “Communistische Arbeiterbildungsverein” to this meeting, and at the same time expressed a wish that Marx should attend this international fraternisation of the working men. The “Communistische Arbeiterbildungsverein” sent me to Marx. I informed him of the wish of the English workmen, and after some inquiries as to the conveners and the object of the meeting, Marx consented to come.
Is that contradictory? What authority Le Lubez had to approach Marx is not discussed by Mr. Carr. Mr. Carr's method of presenting material which cannot be immediately identified from its source, ill-befits him to accuse any person, and then submit no evidence to substantiate the accusations.

Not only is there no contradiction, but there is overwhelming evidence that shows how much Marx's presence was desired and required at the first meeting of the International. Both the Marx version and that of Lessner suggest that steps were being taken by various parties to have Marx’s assistance. It is clear there is no mystery at all about Marx’s presence. There is no “strange obscurity” regarding the decision to invite him. True, it is obscure and mysterious to Mr. Carr. Despite all his own trumpetings regarding his firsthand information, in this respect he succeeds in displaying his woeful ignorance and utter unfamiliarity with the accurate sources of information. Mr. Carr does not know that Marx received an official invitation to the first meeting. It proves once more that he has no great knowledge of the literature issued by the Marx-Engels Institute of Moscow, for on page 146 of “Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,” by D. Riazanov, the story is given officially. There it is asked:—
   How did he [Marx] happen to be there? A little note found among Marx’s miscellaneous papers supplies the answer. It reads:—
    Mr. Marx,
    Dear Sir,
      The committee who have organised the meeting as announced in the enclosed bill respectfully request the favour of your attendance. The production of this will admit you to the Committee Room where the Committee will meet at half past 7.
                                                                                         Yours respectfully,
(Signed) W. R. CREMER. 
W. R. Cremer was the Organising Secretary for the first meeting of the International. He invited Marx. So the statement on page 184 of Carr’s book is only “wrapped in strange obscurity” because of the inadequate qualifications possessed by Mr. Carr. In matters historical, Mr. Carr is woefully and abysmally ignorant. Take for example the statement he makes on page 185, concerning Lessner, of whom he writes: —
Lessner had lived in London since the early fifties. . . .
What has Mr. Carr read of the activities of Lessner? He pretends to have quoted from a book of Lessner, but Mr. Carr is as ignorant as an unborn babe of the life of Lessner. Let us deal with this “early fifties” rubbish.

Lessner left London in July, 1848, for Cologne to carry on propaganda in association with Marx and Engels in the Rhineland. After the failure of the insurrectionary movement, Lessner was expelled from Wiesbaden on June 18th, 1850, whereafter he proceeded to Mainz to organise the few revolutionary elements left in the League of Communists. For this same purpose he went to Nuremberg. In June, 1851, he was arrested in Mainz, and detained in custody until a bill of indictment was entered against him 15 months later. His trial commenced on October 4th, 1852. The verdict was given on November 12th, and Lessner was condemned to imprisonment in a fortress for three years. On January 27th, 1856, he was released, making his way to London, where he arrived in May, 1856.

THAT, dear Mr. Carr,.was how Lessner spent the ”early fifties” in London!

Another elementary example of Mr. Carr's “authority” is the reference to Disraeli, in the first paragraph on page 201. He writes : —
   Disraeli, when he dished the Whigs, had gone a long way towards dishing the International—a body of which he had probably never heard.
That is a priceless gem from Mr. Carr, who pretends to possess something akin to universal knowledge of the working-class movement.

Mr. Carr’s assertion means that Disraeli did NOT read the “Times,” or other daily papers. But may we deal with the “Times”?

When the International Congress was held at Lausanne, Marx was able to push his friend, Eccarius, into receiving the sum of 2½ guineas per column for reporting the Congress. On Friday, September 6th, 1867, “The Times” had this head-line:—
    International Working Men’s Congress.
(From a correspondent.) Lausanne, Sept. 2nd. 
Then followed the article. To suggest that Disraeli would not read this is absurd.

Because of the reports that had percolated through Lausanne, “The Times,” on September 12th, published a leading article, dealing with the International Working Men’s Association (page 6, columns 5 and 6). A year later, Wednesday, September 9th, 1868, “The Times,” in its leading article, delivered an attack upon the International (page 6, columns 3 and 4).

Disraeli, who was always pretending to be on the side of the working class, knew all about the International, and aided the organisation to deal a nasty blow at the French Government. Had Mr. Carr read the correspondence between Marx and Engels, he would have known of this, for it is to be found in Vol. 3, page 372 (Letter 1011), December 21st, 1866. In that letter Marx wrote to Engels,. pointing out that the French authorities had confiscated some letters and documents belonging to the I.W.M.A., after the Geneva Congress. These papers were obtained at the border. Many demands were made in Paris for their return, without any success. Thereupon Marx claimed them through the British Foreign Office (Lord Stanley was Minister for Foreign Affairs), as the documents were “British Property.” As Marx says in the letter, poor Napoleon, through the Foreign Office, is to return all. When action by the Cabinet is necessary it means that at least SOME of England’s greatest politicians were aware of the organisations important enough to instigate such action.

There are other cases to show Mr. Carr’s ignorance. On page 201, he refers to the Fenian activity during 1867, and that the International held two meetings., “The Dublin papers were well represented,” says Mr. Carr. What does that mean? Were the newspaper representatives at both meetings? Mr. Carr does not make it clear at all. There is a reason. Mr. Carr has obviously not read the letters that passed between Marx and Engels.

Only TWO Dublin papers were present at the FIRST meeting, i.e., “The Irishman" and the “Nation." At the second meeting none of the Irish reporters turned up at all. At least, so Marx says, in letter 1079, dated November 30th, 1867, page 456, Vol. 3.

We had better not dismiss this Irish business without a further reference to Mr. Carr and the bluff about his translations from Marx’s works(?). On page 305 of his book, we are given an insight into the fine linguistic abilities of Mr. Carr. Says this oracle: —
   . . . In quoting from Marx’s other writings I have made my own translations. In a few passages originally written in English, I have been compelled by the inaccessibility of the English originals to re-translate from German or Russian versions.
So that’s it, is it? On page 202, when dealing with the Fenian movement, Mr. Carr writes of Jenny Marx—as usual he gives no source of origin: —
   Young Jenny Marx in the emotional enthusiasm of the early twenties “went in black since the Manchester execution and wore her Polish cross on a green ribbon.”
Mr. Carr’s quotation is clearly a “translation,” for he uses the words “went” and “wore.” The reader’s attention should be given to this important fact. The changed words predicate the “inaccessibility of the English originals.” Once more Mr. Carr proves his unfamiliarity with the Marx-Engels letters. There would have been no difficulty in printing the correct words, for the whole of the passage which Mr. Carr has had to “translate” is—and was—written by Marx in English. This can be found as a footnote to letter 1075, and is on page 453 of Vol. 3, dated November 28th, 1867. These are the words in the footnote: —
    My compliments to Mrs. Burns. Jenny goes in black since the Manchester execution, and wears her Polish cross on a green ribbon.
Had Mr. Carr seen the letter, would he have made the blunder of introducing inaccurate words?

We have noted many instances wherein he has falsified quotations. We have had abundant evidence of the meagre and deficient qualifications he possesses to adventure upon a “life” of Marx.

Mr. Carr not only persists in misquoting Marx, but, as might be expected, demonstrates that he does not understand Marxism. Space prevents dealing with other aspects of his book in detail. It may, however, be recorded that' he misinterprets the Materialist Conception of History. In one case he expounds it in the very maimer to which both Marx and Engels took objection, and warned their “followers’’ that if their interpretation was Marxism, they (Marx and Engels) were no Marxists. Like most Marx-critics, Mr. Carr dispenses with the knowledge, efforts and abilities of those preceding him, suggesting that his work is, at last! the only correct estimate of Marx and his life. The presumptuousness of Mr. Carr is amazing. Marx’s system of political economy is brushed aside by asserting that Bohm-Bawerk’sMarx and the Close of his System” is the “classical exposure.” (I wonder if Mr. Carr has ever heard of Hilferding’s reply?) Mr. Carr shows himself incapable of understanding the purpose of Marx’s “Capital,” by stating that Marx wanted to
   demonstrate that the class-hatred of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie is explained and justified by the “exploitation” of the former by the latter.
In conclusion, it ought to be brought to the notice of the reader that not a single one of the large number of reviews of Mr. Carr’s book seen by the writer has shown any evidence of a critical faculty. Not one of these individuals has made the slightest endeavour to examine the book thoroughly. They have accepted Mr. Carr’s errors, misquotations and mistranslations without challenge. This is deplorable for one or two of the reviewers profess “to be” advocates of the proletariat, and ”advanced” thinkers! It is hard indeed to distinguish between the ignorance of the reviewers and that of Mr. Carr.
Moses Baritz