Friday, August 10, 2018

Not According to Plan (1941)

From the August 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

When German capitalism essayed the task of staging a come-back, it built up a machine calculated to fulfil its function according to plan; but plans go wrong. For the first twelve months Hitler’s time-table was rigidly adhered to. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and France—all fell like skittles. The mass attack with tanks and the supporting air armadas worked smoothly. Then the plan received its first check. The narrow channel could not be “tanked,” and for the first time millions of pounds worth of mechanism were useless and Germany could now only fight with one arm—the air armada. In this way Germany’s chance of victory was considerably reduced.

It now became possible for one country to hold out against Germany, who would have to fight without being able to smash through by using the heavy land weapons. The failure of this air war to destroy Britain put a spoke in the Nazi wheel and entirely upset the whole plan of world conquest. Having no Navy to replace the now useless tanks, Germany had to rely upon Italy to deal with the Mediterranean end of the plan. That was her undoing. The British Navy put paid to that and Musso. became one of the also rans. These material conditions reshaped the war, and the German war machine was pushed perilously into the one position its whole strategy had been planned to avoid; indeed, for which reason the German-Soviet pact was designed to help in avoiding—the war on two fronts: East and West. Here is a lesson in “dialectics.” The positive weapon becomes negative and Nazi race myths receive a nasty rejoinder. The Channel fails to respond to Aryan appeals. Now, had it been the Red Sea—

Germany thus has to revert to an eastern land campaign, and Roumania (oil), Yugo-Slavia and Greece go under. Germany planned for a short war and acted in line with her plan; but the very success of her military measures would be her undoing unless she could guarantee a short war. To achieve this end she unsparingly used up her oil and grain and the hoped-for short war failed. The resistance by Britain compelled her to accept a long war. Britain drew the German war machine further away until it reached the Middle East, and so increased the consumption of vital oil, grain and metal resources by that machine. Meanwhile, American material comes to Britain in ever-increasing quantities and leaves Germany exhausted. Nazi capitalism, having failed to win a short war, is compelled to prepare for a long war. This means huge reserves of oil and grain and metal. To be sure of this supply Germany must possess them, not merely buy them. Where are these to be found? RUSSIA! So Stalin’s pact in 1939 was but a postponement of the inevitable. Hitler and his capitalist gangsters can no more evade the social laws of capitalism than Canute could keep back the waves.
Lew Jones

Here and Now: Gone—But Not Forgotten (1942)

The Here and Now Column from the August 1942 issue of the Socialist Standard

Gone—But Not Forgotten
At the Labour Party Conference Mr. James Walker, M.P., replying for the Executive to the resolution urging the removal of the ban on the Daily Worker, said : —
  When our lads were standing on the beaches of Dunkirk, when they were wounded and bleeding on those beaches, had lost their equipment, and we called for the people of this country to rescue them, out came the ”Daily Worker” denouncing the war and telling the people that their sons and brothers were fighting a capitalists' war in the interests of the plutocracy of Britain.
 When Holland was being bombed and over-run by the Germans that paper was saying that Britain had spread the war to Holland. The “Daily Worker” has changed its attitude more than once since the war started, and how do we know if things change in the East they will not do the same thing again? (“Daily Telegraph," May 29th, 1942.)
Whatever future might be in store for the Communist Party of Great Britain, there is no doubt that it will never be allowed to forget its brazen, calculated and cynical changes of policy in relation to the present war. It is a curious thought that the inability of the Communist Party to get permission to republish the Daily Worker might in some way indicate the measure of respect held for British Communists by their Russian masters. British capitalism, in view of its debt to the Russian Government, would hardly ignore a hint from that quarter that the Daily Worker should be republished.

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Everything Will Be All Right
Everything is going to be quite all right—when this war is over. Everyone says so—except that very forthright defender of capitalist privileges, Sir Ernest Benn, and the Socialist. This is what Mr. J. C. Winant says about it:—
   Anti-Fascism is not a short-term, military job. Fascism was bred in poverty and unemployment. To crush Fascism at its roots we must crush depression democracy. We must solemnly resolve that in our future order we will not tolerate the economic evils which breed poverty and war. This is not something that we shelve “for the duration.” It is part of the war.
  We know there was something fundamentally wrong in the pre-war days when, on one side, workers were standing idle, and, on the other side, people were underfed, badly housed, short of clothes, and children were stinted on education and deprived of their heritage of good health and happiness
  What we want is not complicated. We have enough technical knowledge and organising ability to respond to this awakening of social conscience. We have enough courage. We must put it to use.
(“Daily Telegraph,” June 7th, 1942.) 
Let us prompt a line of thought for the American. Ambassador. Let us not dispute those qualities of “social conscience” and "courage” to which his Excellency draws attention. We put to him or any who think like him the question: How are the evils of capitalism to be abolished without abolishing capitalism, i.e., the private ownership of the means and instruments of production? Mr. Winant cannot answer that question. The evils of capitalism are bound up with private ownership and production for profit. Production of things for sale, the scramble for markets, unemployment, glut, a state of things where capitalists hope for the Colorado beetle to destroy crops because the markets are already full of goods which cannot be sold—these will be at least as intense problems after this war as at any time during the history of capitalism. It would be a safe bet to say that they will be more intensified. Whilst the workers are now asked to increase production to defeat Nazi capitalism, the situation is likely to arise, when that object is achieved, where they will be asked (as after the la«t war) to increase production and to accept lower wages in order to defeat the foreign competitors of British capitalists. And ponder, too, fellow worker, that among these competitors are to-day the allies of the British capitalists! Miners are likely to remember the stories that were told after the last war of the low wages paid to Polish miners which were used as an excuse by the British mineowners to press the British miner to accept lower wages. It will not—and cannot—be essentially different after the present war. If pious wishes would change it, if to will that workers should not suffer the evils of capitalism had any effect, then the workers’ social problems would have disappeared long ago. As it is, the efforts of hard-headed and well informed reformers from Shaftesbury to Rowntree and Booth, as well as the modern political reformist movements, have demonstrated that there can be only one solution for working class problems, the dispossession of the private owners and the institution of Socialism by the working class itself.

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A Noble Lord on Democracy
News Review (June 18th, 1942) reports the following interview with the Marquess of Londonderry: —
  Facing his room in Park Lane’s Dorchester Hotel, the one-time pillar of the Anglo-German Fellowship talked like an old hand trained in the Vansittart school about the German instinct for domination, fertilised cunningly by Adolf Hitler. His only quarrel with Lord Vansittart is that, since he knew all along what the Germans were up to, he did not do more about it.
  "I firmly believe in the British Empire," said wealthy Lord Londonderry. There is only one Herrenvolk, in spite of Germany’s claims. We are the Herrenvolk. "The Almighty put us outside Europe so that we could rule better.”
  After the war, thinks Lord Londonderry, the world will be ruled by great influences—Britain, America, Russia, and the greatest of these is Britain. As for Lord Selborne’s idea of an Imperial Parliament, it appeals but little to him. It is "Democracy run wild. We have done enough of asking people what they want—we know what is best for them, and must tell them."
   Said he: "There is nothing totalitarian about this; it is just a case of guiding others on the lines of our convictions. It is real Democracy."
   Of course we must do away with slums and glaring inequalities, but that does not mean scrapping the system altogether. For expressing such views, continued his lordship, some of his friends had called him a Socialist.
  "The real Fascists or Nazis in this country are the T.U.C.,” added he surprisingly. "They want everything regimented.” All these thoughts the Marquess has put into a new book, which only awaits official approval and censorship before it is published.
A very nicely expressed attitude of ruling class mentality. News Review might have asked this erstwhile friend of the German Nazi leaders how he would describe the latter if the “T.U.C. are the true Nazis.”

As for the race superiority nonsense, “The Almighty put us outside Europe so that we could rule better,” we offer no prizes to the reader who guesses who is the famous person who says no more than this concerning the “inside” of Europe.

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Equality Under the American Constitution
After the noble lord on race and democracy it is depressing to read an account of racial prejudice and ignorance among workers, who should, and usually do, show better intelligence than their masters.
  Because 350 men protested against the arrival of negro employees, the Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge army-truck factory at Detroit shut down the plant for the day and sent all their 3.000 workers home.
   "Report hack to-morrow,” they were told.
   The men were told by their trade union leaders (says Reuter) that "they will have to accept the negroes. The union’s policy calls for equal treatment of negroes, and so does the American Constitution.”
("Evening Standard,” June 7th. 1942.)
Harry Waite

Work — the Only Hope (1943)

From the August 1943 issue of the Socialist Standard

The January, 1943, issue of Time (New York) divulges the contents of a hitherto secret Memorandum prepared by the Allied Governor of Tunisia, General Giraud, presented last Spring to Marshal Petain. After deploring the reduction of working hours in France, before the War, as the explanation of France's "failure," General Giraud speaks most enthusiastically of the German regime.
  Admittedly, he says, the Germans have not perhaps got liberty, but there is certainly neither disorder nor Anarchy. Everywhere it is work, the only hope for a people who wish to live and live happily. May France remember and profit by it.
How on earth the French worker can he expected to support General Giraud, who quite openly expresses his admiration for Hitler in Germany, is hard to understand—to be consistent—he might just as logically be expected to support Hitler himself.

But then, quite a number of other people have said almost the same thing in days gone by; among them Lord Beaverbrook, Lord Croft, Lord Londonderry—and Mr. Churchill.

So, incidentally, did Mr. Charles Bedaux, whom lots of British workers will remember as originator of the notorious "Bedaux" system of speed-up. He said : "I am an out-and-out-Fascist"—he has now been charged with trading with the enemy (in this case, Germany).

It is said that he tried to buy the North Africa orange crop for the Nazis. He was a friend of the Duke of Windsor. He now faces ten years’ imprisonment.

The correspondent of the New York Times, nevertheless, considers that "90 per cent. of Frenchmen here still believe democracy can work."

Chas. Bedaux—like General Giraud—is a self-appointed authority on the great subject of work. So is Sir William Beveridge and Ernest Bevin, and Harry Pollit, with his appeals to the miners. The Socialist Standard is not the first to notice that the one thing all these experts on work never dream of doing is a spot themselves, of the kind they urge on others,

Control: Remote or Direct? (1944)

From the August 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard

Five years of war have dragged by. Countries have been devastated. Food, machinery and lives lost. Millions of people have been moved about like cattle, cajoled or threatened into working long hours, and the products of their labours have gone up in smoke. In this country, we read, tuberculosis and neurosis are increasing. Little wonder, when the present state of affairs is taken into account. To add to all this, science, harnessed to the war machine, has ushered in a new and diabolical piece of machinery— the flying bomb.

From the stone hammers of the Stone Age we have now developed to the stage when it is possible to inflict destruction by remote control. The flying bomb is only a crude foretaste of what is in store for future civilian populations in wars to come.

Here is the important point. The Socialist Party of Great Britain argues that the only way in which we may abolish this fantastic state of affairs is to abolish the present system of society, and to establish Socialism in its place. We are being told that we can “take it" by people who have the best facilities for “taking it.” A cynical and hypocritical statement. Furthermore, whilst the working class is taking the brunt of the present war. their rulers are making flamboyant plans for the future.

If we think back a few years we can remember the times when the workers, striving for better conditions, were regarded as the lowest human types. They were often accused of being dirty and lazy when their accusers' system, capitalism, was responsible for withholding the means whereby they might earn their livelihood. Now, when the workers’ efforts are needed for the preservation of capitalist interests, concessions are very often eagerly considered.

No doubt an antidote will be found to the flying bomb, but the fact remains that it is a form of warfare come to stay. What then is to be done? Are we to go on perpetuating capitalism, with its wars, booms, slumps crises and general poverty for the workers, or are we to substitute a sane form of society?

It is for the working class to decide. Take no notice of the priests and politicians with their social reforms, housing schemes, and foolish ideas for a "new world."

We urge workers to study the case of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, that they may understand the economic causes of the phenomena already mentioned, and work for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism.

More Mechanisation (1945)

From the August 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard

Authors such as H. G. Wells and Jules Verne were at one time laughed at by their critics as cranks and eccentrics. Both Wells and Verne wrote prolifically of rocket propulsion, and Wells in particular wrote of robots doing the work of men. From the capitalist point of view this would be an ideal state of affairs. The workers now are troublesome fellows. They have to to fed and housed and this tends to draw upon the profits of the capitalist-class. They have to be educated too in order to do their complicated jobs and this has its disadvantages in that they do not stop, but go on learning. In order to counteract this millions of pounds have to be spent annually upon propaganda to keep them in order.

In the past when production has had to be speeded up, machinery has been introduced and human labour reduced. Sometimes the workers who are left go on strike and production is held up while tedious concessions are made. How much more convenient it would be if the work were done by robots. They would have no feelings and could be switched on and off at will, but these treacherous workers demand reductions in their hours of work; and there are some who even have the audacity to spend their leisure hours working for the overthrow of capitalism and the dispossession of their masters.

June 1944 was a month in which the Flying bomb made its debut. Later on we were threatened by rockets. The critics, bigoted as ever, pooh-poohed the idea. The following autumn the series of mysterious bangs were announced as the "impossible" rocket. Once more the critics and experts were confounded.

The war which has just reached its conclusion has greatly advanced all forms of rocket and jet propulsion, and in a press interview recently one of Britain's lending aircraft manufacturers, Sir Frederick Handley-Page, advanced some very interesting views. In answer to one question he stated that the rocket is the product of a nation short of manpower. He wont on to say : —
   “A man by the time he has reached the age of 21 and been trained as a soldier has expended 180,000 man-hours of his existence, and this is spread over 21 calendar years with no known way of shortening the time. At least 21 years are required if the shortage of man-power is to be made good."—Sunday Express, April 8th.
Here is a hint that future wars are expected and that men must be reared to fight. How fortunate for the capitalists that someone has thought of family-allowances and raising the birth-rate. Could it he that this is what our rulers have in mind?

One cannot fail to realise what Sir Frederick had in mind when he made his statement referring to the 180,000 hours of existence. He meant that with the present inaccuracies of the rocket adjusted it will he possible to have much bigger and more devastating wars in a shorter space of time. Modern production can turn out rockets in enormous profusion. There is no need to wait for men to grow up. In the meantime we can observe the intense international strife. The seeds which will germinate into the next war.

Instead of allowing ourselves to be the tools of the master-class; to be housed in hovels, bred, fed and buried cheaply, slaughtered on battle-fields, packed into factories or superseded by machines we must take control of the world's resources ourselves and use them for our own comfort and advantage.

Are Scientists Free? (1946)

From the August 1946 issue of the Socialist Standard

When the first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, it awakened many workers to a new interest in scientific discoveries. They have been forced to realise, as never before, how intimately these discoveries affect their daily lives. A a result of this, a spate of “Science for the Masses” articles has appeared in the popular press. Those written by John Langdon-Davies are a regular feature of the Daily Mail.

One of them, “Science Can’t Stay Chained” (6/5/46), reveals a state of mind in the writer that must be typical of many scientists to-day. It is becoming more and more evident that once a discovery has left the laboratory it enters the sphere of power politics and commercial interests. Such has been the fate of atomic energy and penicillin. Of course, there is nothing new about it. It has been going on ever since capitalism came into existence. To-day we are witnessing the culmination of that process, and the scientific worker has no more control over his product than any other member of the working class. This is true of the scientist who is not already employed by some private industrial concern, or by the State, an increasingly rare specimen nowadays.

Mr. Langdon-Davies is very worried about it all. "Scientific discovery is being mishandled,” he says. "The danger is not what the scientists are doing, but the use being put to their work by half-educated politicians.”

As an example of the scientists’ loss of freedom, he mentions the recent case of Dr. May, who was sentenced to ten years penal servitude for revealing secrets of the atomic bomb. Mr. Langdon-Davies is not aware that the degree of education attained by politicians, like the grammatical errors of scientific writers, is quite irrelevant to the issue. These men are the servants of the capitalist state machine. They must serve the interests of the class it represents; interests that have slight regard for human rights, including the ‘‘right” of the scientist to share the fruits of his research with his colleagues in other lands.; interests that must continue to dominate society, so long as it is based on private ownership of the means of life.

Mr. Langdon-Davies reveals that penicillin is a monopoly of Britain and America. Referring to the recent fulminations of the Minister of Supply on the subject, he remarks: “He did not tell us that penicillin production is being kept a secret, just like the atomic bomb . . . if the French want to save babies from blindness, or the Russians to reduce the ravages of venereal disease, or the Norwegians to combat pneumonia, they must start their penicillin researches almost from scratch, or, of course, buy from us or the Americans.”

Again, "Penicillin is a joint concern between certain private firms and the Ministry of Supply ” and “will soon be sold to the taxpayer at a profit to somebody.”

Where stands our humanitarian scientist in relation to all this? However disinterested he may be in his efforts to alleviate human suffering, when the results of his research have become a commercial proposition he has no further say in the matter.

If we turn to the industrial field we find many examples of this. One of the earliest was the famous safety lamp, which, we are told, has been a great boon to the miners. Sir Humphry Davy refused to take out a patent for this invention; claiming that his sole object was to serve the cause of humanity. Did it make the pits safe for the miners when it was introduced? Quite the opposite. "Deeper and more dangerous seams were worked, and accidents actually increased in number.” (See "The Town Labourer,” by J. L. & B. Hammond, p. 25.) Nowadays, the introduction of safety devices in industry often results in a speed-up of machinery, thus forcing the operatives to work harder than they did before.

To return to Mr. Langdon-Davies, his solution to the scientists’ political problems is anything but scientific. He speaks vaguely of some form of public control, "or, at least, reference to public opinion,” whatever that may mean. Remove the secrecy and we shall all be happy. He doesn’t tell us how all this is to be done in the face of capitalist rivalries. He does not tell us because he cannot (and neither can anyone else).

The title of the article we have been discussing has greater significance than the writer intended. It is true that Science, or rather the immense productive forces that Science has released, cannot remain for ever chained and confined by the capitalist control of production. These forces, continually strive to break the capitalist fetters that bind them. Economic crises and war are the results of this strife, and it will one day force the scientists, along with the rest of the working class, to adopt the only possible solution, the abolition of private property and the establishment of a society where the needs of men and women will be the sole criterion for the production of goods and services. A society where scientists will be free to pursue their studies without restraint, secure in the knowledge that their discoveries can no longer bring disaster on mankind. In a word, the Socialist solution.

Mr. Strachey provides food for thought (1947)

From the August 1947 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Labour Party Government is made up of all types of people. Many of its members have been political opponents in the past but are now "united" in administering British capitalism in its decline.

Perhaps one of the most interesting examples of a Labour careerist is Mr. John Strachey—present Minister of Food; one time follower of Mosley in his pre-Fascist days and later still high priest of the Stalinist variety of Leninism.

Here we have a typical expensively-educated suave politician who has built himself a career and a good living, on the immaturity of the working class. After graduating from Eton and Magdalen, John Evelyn St. Loe Strachey—to give him his full name—entered the offices of the I.L.P. This started him off on his literary and political career.

Inside the Labour Party he fell under the influence of Sir Oswald Mosley. He later joined Mosley's New Party but left Mosley before the B.U.F. was formed.

Then Strachey began his advocacy of Leninism in order to combat Fascism. Much of what he wrote in those days could be to-day used as a criticism of the present Labour Government. In those days when he posed as a "revolutionary" he often exposed the futility of the Labour Party and its policy of administering capitalism in the interests of the working class.

This is what Mr. Strachey had to say of Social Democracy in his book, "The Coming Struggle for Power ”:—
   '‘In general, therefore, we may prophesy the social democratic system will, more and more, become the mechanism by which the capitalists control the workers." (“Coming Struggle for Power," p.337, Gollancz edition).
He went on further, to accuse Social Democracy of preparing the conditions which give rise to Fascism.
   "Social Democracy becomes in fact ‘Social Fascism'."
In those days he studied and criticised the majority of capitalist economists; especially did he hit out at those economists who supported the Labour Party like G. D. H. Cole and Barbara Wootton. He even went so far as to assert that the Labour Party’s propaganda was the greatest danger to the working class.
   "In particular the writers, thinkers and spokesmen of the British Labour Party, who chiefly influence the British masses, consistently hold out the illusion of a pleasant, easy and non-revolutionary issue from the present crises. We have already analysed the content of this illusion. We have seen that it is based, whether consciously or unconsciously upon the belief that a new and prolonged period of capitalist stabilization is at hand, a period which will offer the objective possibility of a steady, slow transition to a more socialistic basis of society. This counsel is the deadliest of all the poisons which can be administered to the workers." (“Nature of Capitalist Crises," p.370-371, published by Gollancz).
What a piece of self-condemnation!

But Mr. Strachey soon dropped all those ideas when the British Empire was threatened. Instead of advocating “revolutionary defeatism," as a true disciple of Lenin, with the outbreak of war he joined the A.R.P., and later the R.A.F. He abandoned the Communist Party which, at that time, was calling the war an “imperialist war." From that time up to the time of writing he has been a supporter and member of the Labour Party.

His actual job during the war has been very well described by the Observer (June 2nd, 1946).
   "A critical moment was reached in the development of our bombing policy. Heavy raids on German cities caused heavy civilian casualties among German women and children. These concentrated raids might rouse the British public to objection. His weekly broadcasts gently took the public mind off the receiving end of the bombing attacks, and fixed it on the courage of the crews and the master plans behind the attacks."
Indeed, a nice occupation for an avowed internationalist.

So we see that Mr. Strachey has changed from an enemy of Labourism to a member of the Labour Government.

This does not come as a surprise to Socialists. For members of the S.P.G.B. realise that so long as the workers are not Socialists, politicians are able to change their policy at will because they receive their support from workers who give them blind allegiance.

The remedy is for the workers to do a little thinking for themselves. For when the majority of workers have become Socialists it will mean doom for the professional politician. For then the working class will have established a society which will no longer need Labour leaders or politicians of any sort.
G. W. Clark

Holiday Meditation (1948)

A Short Story from the August 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

He lay stretched out on the beach, and felt the warm glow of the sun and the faint sea breeze on his skin. To his left he could hear the murmur of conversation, and in the distance the delighted shrieks of children playing on the sand and in the sea. The sea mirrored the cobalt blue sky, and the foam was white where the waves broke. An occasional gull dipped on the waves, and flew off with a morsel of food. He felt that he was beginning to live. He looked searchingly at the scene before him, and sank back, closing his eyes, his thoughts lost in meditation . . . 

People seemed different on holiday: for a week or a fortnight in the year they were carefree. He contrasted in his mind the worn and worried faces that he saw in the tube trains every morning and evening going to and from work. Those dead pans were the same people who on holiday were happy. Of course he was no different. He would have to spend a lifetime at a monotonous job, with an occasional glimpse of what life could be like. Yet no doubt a life of leisure could also be monotonous, but there were such long stretches of work ahead, and at the end of it, what?

Work seemed to crush out any creative inspirations. He smiled grimly as he recalled having escaped to Epping Forest on Saturdays with his brushes and paints in order to attempt to catch on paper the changing shades of the green foliage. Yes, it was an attempt; that is all he could say, but the effort was worth while, because it prevented him from getting into a rut—of becoming a work beast. Of having no interest in life except work.

Why was. it that he hated work? He recalled that when he was young, life seemed like an adventure. Then he was fired with ambition. “Work hard, my boy, and you will reach the top of the tree,” was the advice of his father. Well, he had always worked hard . . .  He had long ago learned that efficiency did not increase his earning capacity. It is true that he had been grudgingly given a rise when he had married, but he still had only enough to eke out week by week, and this applied to the other chaps on the job. Did he hate work because a lifetime was expended doing the same routine, and of being denied the right to enjoy and have the good things of life. Or was it because of the mental conflict of holding a job he disliked, in order that he could exist. He had noticed of late that he had become more irritable. To him his future seemed hopeless. Yet there were thousands in a similar position to him. What did they think and feel? Or had they become part of the machines they tended? This was the machine age and the machines had left their mark. This was the age of despair, and the future seemed grim and dark.

He shuddered slightly. Overhead a seagull circled and dipped and gave its strident call as if to mock him.
S. W. C.

General Election, 1950 (1949)

From the August 1949 issue of the Socialist Standard

Preparations for next year’s general election are under way. Unless some unforeseen incident precipitates the event, it can be expected before or during next summer. The two main protagonists, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, have been having some preliminary slaps at one another for a few months past. The Labour Party tells us that it is planning for the future and is going to contest the election on the programme contained in its pamphlet, “Labour Believes in Britain.” The Conservatives have plastered the hoardings with posters telling us that with wise “national housekeeping” they will reduce the cost of living and that Nationalisation has cost “Us" £75,000,000, a drain on “OUR” income that they will stop. They have also completed their series of “Charters,” which will, no doubt, form their main election platform. Both parties are now adepts in the game of vote catching, although they will find it an increasingly difficult proposition in the future.

For members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain this forthcoming election has especial interest. We have, in previous elections, put one candidate in the field, but at the next election we shall contest two constituencies, Paddington North and East Ham South. That may not seem to be a matter for enthusiasm to some of our readers, but it is to us, and particularly to those of us who reside in the constituencies selected.

When we enter an arena with our candidate, it is not just a matter of another party muscling in on the time honoured game of fooling the workers. We do not treat the business as a sport, wishing our opponents good luck and congratulating the one who succeeds in collecting the most votes and a £1,000 a year job. We do not indulge in hypocritical handshaking with our opponents or in the “good-luck-old-man, the-best-man-has-won” bunkum. We are in deadly earnest. Our opponents represent our class enemies and there can be no truce in the class struggle. We do not even canvass votes as do our opponents. In fact we urge workers to refrain from voting for us unless they understand our object and are prepared to work with us for its achievement. An election campaign, for us, is a means of propagating our ideas amongst the workers at a time when political interest is rife and it is a means of gauging the development of Socialist ideas in the constituency contested. Further to that, of course, is the fact that, in contesting every possible election we are working towards the achievement of our object. Election campaigns that are successful in bringing more and more workers to an understanding and a desire for Socialism are preparing the ground for an increasing number of campaigns in the future.

It is not our object to look too far ahead at the moment. We are not focussing our attention beyond the forthcoming general election and our two campaigns. We arc getting ready. Our election agents are appointed and our candidates selected. Most of the work that is to be done at the moment will be done by our Parliamentary Committee and appointed members from the Paddington and West Ham branches. As the election date becomes nearer there will be loads of work for every comrade and sympathiser who has an hour or two to spare. The main task of the moment is to find the funds to pay the preliminary expenses. We must find suitable campaign premises in the constituencies NOW. We must consider and prepare certain printing matter NOW. We must have the necessary deposit NOW. Especially as the election date may be sprung on us earlier than we anticipate. We have estimated that the two contests will cost us about £900 and we need to get our hands on the major portion of that sum, right NOW.

The issue, whether we contest these two constituencies or not, does not depend on the amount of donations that we receive, but the success that attends our efforts most certainly does. Those readers of the Socialist Standard, whether they be members, sympathisers or just mildly interested, who want to help in the struggle to achieve Socialism should do so without delay. Those who would like to do a job of some sort, but have not the time or opportunity, can render us most timely assistance if they send along a few shillings. Our coffers are shallow, our need is deep.

In the struggle for Socialism we are emerging from the pioneer phase. Days of enthusiasm are ahead. Join with us in the only war worth fighting, in the only struggle worthy of working class effort, the struggle to end the system that deprives the workers of the fruits of their labour, the struggle so that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom. Don’t wait until the election date is announced and then roll up your sleeves and stride in to help. Roll up your sleeves and help by all means, but do not leave it too late, or the necessary preliminary work may not have been done through lack of funds. Even if it means going without a pint or packet of fags, dip into your packet and send a donation NOW. Emphasis on the NOW. Nothing you send will be too little and certainly nothing you can send will be too much. Cross your postal orders and make them payable to the S.P.G.B., then address your letter to E. Lake, S.P.G.B., Rugby Chambers, 2 Rugby Street, London, W. C. 1. And don't forget. DO IT NOW.

More Light On The Stalin-Tito Quarrel (1950)

From the August 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard

A recent broadcast by Konni Zilliacus, reported in the Listener” of May 11th, throws some interesting light on the dispute between Russia and Yugoslavia. It is also revealing in the matter of Zilliacus’ own position as a fellow-traveller of late, and as the broadcast was certainly sympathetic to the Tito regime he must be in grave danger of being branded as a Trotskyist-Titoist-Fascist.

The theme of the broadcast was that if the conflict between these two “Communist” countries could be settled then it might even be possible to “discover the answer to the most important question in the world— that is how to end the arms race and turn the cold war into at least tepid peace between the capitalist and communist world.” (Conclusion of his article.)

Ignoring this somewhat naive assumption regarding the problem of maintaining even a “tepid peace” in the present state of Capitalist Society, having given in his broadcast only a few examples of Soviet methods and duplicity when confronted with a recalcitrant satellite, it is incredible that Zilliacus could believe that Stalin would even come to regard an independent Yugoslavia as anything but a menace to an internally troubled Russia.

Zilliacus says for instance
  “While I was in Belgrade Moshe Pijade, a leading member of the Politburo of the Yugoslav Communist Party, published an account of the relations between Yugoslav Partisans and the Soviet Government during the war. It was backed by the actual text of telegrams and messages. It showed quite clearly that the Russians refused all help for a long time, on the ground that it was technically impossible, but really because they were trying to bring about some kind of arrangement between Draža Mihailović, representing the émigré Royalist Government in London supported by the Western Allies, and Tito’s Partisans. Moshe Pijade also related how, when he was in Moscow during the conference between the Russians and their Western Allies in 1944, Molotov in reply to his question patted him on the shoulder and said: 'The position as regards Yugoslavia is excellent.' It was only later that the Yugoslavs discovered, according to their account, that what was really discussed was dividing their country into Russian and British spheres of influence on a fifty-fifty basis.”
Further, after the breaking point between the two countries had been reached when the Soviet military and civilian advisers were withdrawn, the dispute went beyond a mere exchange of letters and an economic boycott was applied by Russia which was accompanied by “notes couched in threatening language, troop movements and frontier incidents, and a tornado of propaganda inciting the people to rebellion.”

The attempt to wreck Yugoslavia failed however, and now according to Zilliacus, “The people and the government are united and on their mettle.” He goes on to list the great changes which he claims are taking place, including the freeing of literature, science and art from political controls; economic decentralization and a vigorous campaign against bureaucracy; experiments in workers’ control. The sting however is in the tail: —
   “At the same time Yugoslav leaders are candid about how much remains to be done. One of the chief of them said to me, ‘We must admit that in the Socialist States we have not yet solved the problem of freedom.’"
One finds it difficult to reconcile “a united government and people” with the unsolved “problem of freedom.” The latter expression is reminiscent of the problem of maintaining law and order which so frequently occurs in bourgeois society.
J. L.

Party News Briefs (1951)

Party News from the August 1951 issue of the Socialist Standard

Delegate Meeting Venue. A reminder to all Comrades and sympathisers that the Annual Delegate Meeting will be held at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, W.C.1, on Saturday and Sunday, September 1st and 2nd. Commencing each day at 11 a.m. A social and dance will be held on the Saturday evening.

Provincial Branches and Groups have some very encouraging reports on outdoor propaganda. In Yorkshire the two London Comrades are having good meetings. York, Bradford and Leeds have been visited and Leeds has proved a very good spot, large audiences attending our meetings on the Town Hall Steps. Two Meetings were held in Nottingham on June 5th, one with an audience of 350 and literature sales 8/- and later in the day another meeting with an average audience of 800 and literature sales 22/-. The speaker reports that the audience was eager to hear the Party case and very little opposition was shown.

Swansea Group is arranging a debate in the near future with a local minister who will be defending, and the Party representative opposing, the ideas of Christianity. Brighton Group is holding excellent meetings each Sunday afternoon and evening. The seaside meeting spot was the centre of a visit for several London members on Sunday, July 8th. One meeting commenced at 3 p.m. and a most interested audience, varying between 500 and 700 people listened attentively. A member of the Labour Party took the platform in opposition during the afternoon. The meeting reluctantly dispersed at 5.15 for a tea break. At 6 p.m. the meeting again resumed and continued until 9.15, many of the previous audience were present. Good questions were put from an audience of 400 which hardly changed throughout the evening. Here again an opponent, this time a Communist, took the platform in opposition. Literature sales during the two meetings amounted to thirty shillings.

This brief report is of one of several meetings that have been held in Brighton this season and the Group members would appreciate the help of London Comrades. The meeting spot is at the Fishmarket, immediately off the beach, and if Members are thinking of a day at the sea, here is the place to enjoy the sea air and help along the Party’s work. Ealing Branch Comrades organised another trip to Southsea on Sunday, July 15th. An excellent meeting was held on the sea front during the afternoon, four or five London speakers addressed the meeting. Literature sales were good and at the termination of the meeting, two large groups of the audience continued to discuss points raised during the meeting.

This spot is well worth continuing, and the Branch is organising another trip on August 18th. Information regarding this can be obtained from the Organiser of Ealing Branch.

The telephone has now been installed at Head Office—MAC 3811—will members please note.
Phyllis Howard

Horses and Men (1952)

A Short Story from the August 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard
  The Manchester Guardian, in a series of articles dealing with the transport of horses for slaughter, to France and other parts of the Continent, excited a good deal of horrified attention from humanitarians and animal lovers who protested in letters to the Press and by questions in Parliament The articles described the pitiful journey of these animals in overcrowded railway trucks, and told how they were led to their death along halls filled with the smell and groans of their dying fellows. Impelled by a deep sense of gratitude at the altruistic nobility of the human beings who had espoused his cause we have received a request from a horse to publish the result of an investigation he has conducted into the lives of mankind. We do so gladly.
Altruism Unlimited
I began my investigations early one morning when, seeing huge crowds making for some stairs which seemed to lead to the bowels of the earth, I decided to follow and find out what I could. When I reached the bottom of the stairs I saw these men and women jostling each other to get to some monsters with strangely small mouths and illuminated eyes. Everyone was trying to put some pieces of metal into the monsters’ mouths and those who succeeded received what looked to be a square piece of leaf. I thought at first that 1 had stumbled across some strange religious rite, and seeing the printing on the leaf I thought it was some motto whereby the people who propitiated these monsters received absolution. After getting the pieces of leaf they made their way towards a small gate where a man in uniform whom I at first took to be an acolyte, cut pieces of leaf out with a pair of horse clippers. “Ah,” I thought, “ they are going into an inner temple.” I tried to follow but when I reached the gate the man in uniform refused to let me through. I had no pieces of metal with which to propitiate the monsters so I jumped over the barrier and found myself on a platform marked “Inner Circle.” It appeared that I had penetrated into the very holy of holies. But I found by eavesdropping that these people were all going on a journey. The train arrived and pandemonium broke loose. Pushing, shoving and wrestling, every man and woman on the platform tried their best to enter the train (I did this successfully as my four legs proved an asset.) It was so jammed that it was barely possible to move or breathe. The train started with such a jerk that we should have fallen had it not been for the fact that so crowded was it that there was no room to topple over. After a few minutes the train stopped and again pandemonium reigned. People pushed and fought to alight. Suddenly a frightening thought froze my blood. Was it possible that we were being taken to the slaughter and that that was why there was this panic. Using my four legs I made my escape and dashed furiously up into the street. I made some enquiries about these strange phenomena. What I learned filled me with wonderment. These people were not going to the slaughter but to their work.

My investigations into transport being as I thought completed I walked along the street alert for any phenomena which needed investigation. I came to a place called Victoria. In the forecourt were hundreds of men all dressed alike and being shouted at by other men with stripes on their sleeves. At the first shout the men arranged themselves briskly into long rows. Each carried a pack on his back (just like a horse) and held a long metal tube attached to a carved piece of wood, firmly against his shoulder. At another shout the men marched off and I followed. Again I found myself on a platform and again I was almost carried off my feet as the men rushed to get into the train standing alongside. Soon the train was packed with the men who were singing and whistling all sorts of tunes. The train moved off and after several hours we arrived at a quayside where we were all embarked on to a ship. It was a very rough journey and I was glad when it was over. Had I but known what was to face me my gladness might have been tempered. We were all loaded—this is a strange word which is used to describe goods being put on vehicles for transport and is also used for human beings in the same context—into huge carts drawn by mechanical monsters. The men were by this time tired and did not sing as much as when they left Victoria. After some hours of travel we heard from the distance peals of heavy thunder and saw lightning and flames leaping into the sky. We were soon in the thick of it and all the men jumped off the carts and began running for cover while huge birds dropped eggs which exploded as they fell. Men collapsed to the ground all around me with great bleeding holes in their bodies and the air was filled with the stench of blood and the groans of the dying. Terrified I hid under one of the carts. Had I been able to I would have run away. I lay there waiting for the butcher to come with his knife and carve the choicest joints from the bodies that were lying about. 1 felt sure that we had been transported for slaughter so that the meat could be sold for the benefit and profit of their masters. 1 waited for some hours but no butcher arrived. Only men carrying litters on to which they loaded the bodies and moved them into white trucks with red crosses painted on them. I was told afterwards that these trucks should never be molested out of respect for the dead and dying. It appears that among human beings the living get no respect or consideration.

By the intervention of providence I made my escape and found myself back in England. For days thereafter I could not speak of my adventures so stunned was I by what I had seen. Human beings were protesting vigorously at the treatment meted out to horses and here were human beings treated almost in the same way.

I recovered my composure and by dint of much enquiry discovered that what I had seen was an almost regular occurrence in some part or other of the Globe. Men called it war. The dead bodies were not eaten, for this, I was told, would be immoral and cannibalistic. They were either buried or left to rot

My horse friends with whom I discussed this would not believe me. One suggested, and this seemed the most popular belief, that I had mistaken jackasses for human beings. But my oldest friend agreed with me when I insisted I was not mistaken. “You can’t be wrong,” he neighed, “it couldn’t have been jackasses. Only human beings could invent such things."

With this I concluded my investigation into the life of human beings, and I am more than ever convinced that Man is the “noblest work of God.” For who other than noble unselfish creatures would concern themselves with the sufferings of others when they themselves were subjected to the same treatment. There are many other facets of human life I would like to investigate and perhaps at some later date you will give me the courtesy of your columns in which I could publish the results of my enquiries.
A. Sarna.

Capital's Coronation (1953)

From the August 1953 issue of the Socialist Standard

Since we may not, without dire consequences to the life of the Socialist Standard, record our view on what has been called “the greatest show ever,” we may at least refer readers to what our late and lamented comrade Jacomb wrote on the occasion of the crowning of George Wettin as King George V. (See Socialist Standard for June 1911.)

Those to whom it may seem remarkable that in spite of 10 years of devastating war there should be such a tremendous increase of wealth as illustrated by the present show, should bear in mind that with production and consumption of war material at top scale, and speed profits and fortunes for factory owners and shareholders who formed this vast congregation of titled gentlemen and bejewelled ladies, were correspondingly big and easily capable of defraying whatever cost participation in the show involved.

And what have those who produced this vast wealth and fought for king and country in the past great and glorious wars to end war, what improvement in their material position have they to show in these 30 years of peace and 10 years of war?

If in writing on the show in June, 1911, our late comrade Jacomb referred among other things to
   ". . . the bestowing of a meal upon thousands of little children whom hunger makes glad to accept even such a trifle from hands so heavy-laden with wealth that they cannot feel the weight of the charitable grains they scatter . . ."
here is what a London daily paper reported in connection with the 1953 show:—
   "At East Grinstead the children who go to the Coronation party will, after they have had their tea, be stamped on the wrist with indelible ink. This will prevent them from getting more than their share of the refreshments."

Private Enterprise in Russia (1954)

From the August 1954 issue of the Socialist Standard

When all the arguments for the existence of Socialism in Russia have been exhausted by Communist Party members and their sympathisers, they usually conclude with the idea that "At least Russia has, in abolishing private enterprise, taken a great step towards Socialism." Even if Russia had nationalised everything, this would not mean that they have got Socialism but only State capitalism. Avowedly capitalist countries have never hesitated to nationalise industries when it suited them. But has Russia abolished private enterprise? 

Readers Digest for May, 1954, condenses an article from the Wall Street Journal by Tom Whitney who has recently returned to the United States after nine years in Russia, first as chief of the economic section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and later as correspondent for the Associated Press. He wrote “If you dial a certain telephone number in Moscow you can arrange to buy a TV set within 24 hours—instead of the two or three months it takes to get one from the State run electrical appliance store. Calls to other Moscow numbers will summon such people as washing machine salesmen, doctors, repair-men, and house builders—all private enterprise ready to provide speedier or higher quality service than the Soviet Government offers."

Many traders, asserts Whitney, wait (or more likely get the tip) of a new delivery of goods arriving at a store where there has been a shortage for a long time, and buy a huge quantity and resell them for a handsome profit to those not willing to wait or stand for hours in queues. Rosa Martynova, a member of the Moscow branch of the Komsomol (Communist national youth organisation), is now serving five years for this practice. Another eminent party member, M. Kogan, obtained several thousands of watch movements from the government, assembled them and netted £89,000 profit before the government woke up! There were two brothers who sold leeches to the government (they are still widely used there and were applied to Stalin before he died), made 400,000 roubles profit a year on the sales.

Everywhere in Russia, and in every branch of activity, according to Whitney, there is some private enterprise and it can successfully compete with the inefficient state enterprises. Of course if the goods are just stolen, as they frequently are, or if the raw material has been wangled from a government store, then competition should not be too difficult. Whitney claims that even landlords can get rents above controlled prices, and he witnessed that a friend of his in Moscow signed a lease for a room priced at 265 roubles a month; but on top of that the landlord demanded extra cash to boost the total rent 450 per cent, claiming that he would go bankrupt if he only charged the official rent!

How can the police prevent the buyer of a television set from selling it to a "friend” for a profit? Whitney claims that only 100,000 TV sets are at present coming on to the market annually, yet the demand is for at least ten times that quantity.

He points out that not all private enterprise is illegal in the U.S.S.R. Soviet law permits individuals to work privately under licence at any of about 20 trades and professions, including medicine, hair-dressing, book-binding, house-repairing, etc. Russians can work full time at such jobs and part-time at many others. House repair must cover a multitude of occupations, and with a few friends (or business partners in state warehouses) can be very lucrative. Taxes on private incomes are levied as a recognised thing.

Stealing from government factories keeps private enterprise going very profitably according to Whitney. In most of the large towns medical, dental and even teaching is done privately. State-run clinics are inefficient and always overcrowded. One Russian doctor maintains a private practice in Moscow as a homeopath and earns over 16,000 roubles a month. His income from official work could never approach that mark.

Whitney concludes his article by saying that "You can get private help in practically any service field in Moscow—if you can pay the price.”

Private enterprise is hard to stamp out, even with secret police, who are sometimes as corrupt as the private traders. So long as the workers don't understand or want anything else, the profit motives of society will survive. There is no socialism in Russia. State capitalism is the dominate form, with private enterprise, according to Whitney, as a flourishing subsidiary.
Horace Jarvis