Monday, October 8, 2018

Mr. Long says our heroes died for German Colonies. (1918)

From the November 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard

We have been frequently told by those in authority over us that this war is not a war of conquest, but a war of right against might in order to make the world safe for democracy. This being so one is at a loss to understand why Mr. Walter Long, when addressing the Colonial Pressmen on the subject of the German Colonies, should have delivered himself of these words:
  I am here to-night to say that if these territories are returned to Germany the sacrifice of our heroes will have been made in vain. The spirits of those men will come from their graves and rebuke you if the Pen is so cowardly as to give back what the Sword has won.— “Daily News,” Sept. 27th, 1918.
After all is said and done it would appear to be a case of ‘‘Let him take who has the power and let him keep who can.” In other words, the endorsement of the gospel of might.
S. T.

Military Preparations for the Great War (1922)

Book Review from the December 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

"Military Preparations for the Great War," by E. D. Morel. Price 6d. Labour Publishing Co., Ltd.

This is a useful restatement of the facts and figures relating to amounts of money spent by the Great Powers on preparation for war from 1905 onwards.

Most of these figures and criticisms were published in a previous pamphlet entitled Truth and the War, but it is well to put those facts forward again on account of the bearing they will have on the formation of opinion on the Reparations question. One quotation will be sufficient to show the kind of material Mr. Morel handles. On page 21 he states :—
  But the most astounding fact which French publications reveal is that when the war broke out the French Army alone was numerically as strong as the German ! (Italics in original.)
It is a pity that so useful a collection of facts and figures, not easily accessible to the workers, could not be published at a cheaper price. Sixpence for a 30 page pamphlet looks a lot to the wage worker.

Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power? (1922)

Book Review from the December 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power?’. By N. Lenin. Price 1s 6d. Labour Publishing Co., Ltd.

The above is an article written by Lenin in October, 1917, in answer to the claim of the opponents of Bolshevism that the Bolsheviks “would not attempt to take complete power on their own initiative.”

Though written so long ago, this appears to be its first publication in English. Lenin’s reply rebuts the claims of his opponents, in his usual vigorous fashion, and the fact that five years later the Bolsheviks are still ruling in Russia justifies the position he then took up.

In this article, Lenin makes the claim, often repeated afterwards, but now definitely refuted by the publication of the Russian Soviet Constitution, that the Soviet system is superior to the political system in the Western world:–
 “In comparison with bourgeois parliamentarism it is a step forward in  the development of democracy which has a historical world significance” – P. 43 (Italics ours.)
The absurdity of this claim has been fully exposed in the Socialist Standard, July, 1920; while deference to democracy is now treated by the Bolsheviks and their supporters as “an out-of-date shibboleth”, “a bourgeois notion”, etc.

Another piece of evidence supplied by the article is on the view held by Lenin and his party at the time of the Revolution, that the workers of the Western world were practically ready for the social Revolution. On page 101 he says:–
 “It [the Russian Revolution] will conquer the whole world, for in all countries the Socialist transformation is ripening.”
It is our great regret that even now, let alone then, the mass of the workers are so far from the mental development necessary for the Socialist Revolution.

Letter: Have We Socialisation? (1922)

Letter to the Editors from the December 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

To the Editorial Committee of the
 Socialist Standard.


An article appearing in this month’s Socialist Standard over the initials J. D., entitled “Remedies,” needs your careful attention; an otherwise admirable article is marred in its conclusion by the astounding statement that the remedy for unemployment, poverty and overwork suffered by the working class is the socialisation of the means of production and distribution. Since how long has the socialisation of those means been the one remedy for the above mentioned social evils, poverty, etc. ? Seeing that capitalism and its mode of production has long since achieved the aforesaid socialisation of the means of production and distribution, what is there to trouble about; and why, like other journals still working for this end, such as Justice, Labour Leader, Socialist, continue to agitate and advocate and waste time over bringing about what is already accomplished? It is better to be exact than misleading in our teaching, and if J. D. and yourselves will show in our next or some succeeding number of the Socialist Standard that the only remedy for poverty, unemployment and overwork lays in the direction of social ownership and democratic control of the means of producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community, you will have done what is necessary so far as the article needs correction; and in the interest of truth, and of the hitherto good name of the Socialist Standard, I trust you will see the necessity of giving the correction as prominent a place as the statement that caused me to write you.
Yours fraternally,
Hy. Martin.

P.S.—The exactness I mean is not in the metaphysical sense.

Mr. Martin has discovered a mare’s nest. The means of production are socially operated because the laws, methods of management, and the interaction of the various members of society who take part in wealth production, are all adapted to serve the present economic system.

But both the means of production and the products are privately owned. Hence there does not exist the Socialisation—or the making into a social system—of the means of production and distribution. This can only exist when social operations are combined with social ownership of both means and results of production. In other words, when Socialism is established.
Editorial Committee.

A "Royal" Solution of Unemployment. (1922)

From the December 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard
  The Prince, like many other people, is seriously concerned at the unemployment question and the distinctly gloomy outlook for the winter, and has studied recent official statistics on this closely during the past few weeks.—Daily News, 15/9/22.
   Economies are being made at the Royal Mews. The team of black horses which draws the King’s coach on State occasions, and was substituted for the famous but expensive cream horses, is to be dispensed with. A number of men will go at the same time.—Daily News, same page, same date.
We wonder if this “number” was included in the “recent statistics” studied by the Prince, or will they be the subject of future study—say about two years after the discharged men have starved to death?

Letter: Socialism and Religion (2002)

Letter to the Editors from the August 2002 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors

Having subscribed to the Socialist Standard for a while and having read several letters about the party’s attitude to religion would you kindly confirm, or deny, if I am eligible for membership.

As a humanist I believe that mankind’s salvation comes about through his own efforts and not through a deity or a life hereafter. As a Buddhist I believe that everything comes about through cause and effect, which precludes a god or a life hereafter. I believe that the mind is not material and is not subject to the laws of physics. It does not die when the body dies nor does it continue as a soul.

As a Marxist I believe in “each according to his ability and each according to his need” which denies a system based on profits and suggest a system based on co-operation.

I feel that Mohammed, Buddha and Christ were socialists and that it is the followers of the religions they founded that have debased them. I do not think you should deny people who profess to follow a particular religion unless they deny the basic precept of socialism.
Paul Pettit, 
Maidens Green, 

Obviously we can’t deal with a membership application through the columns of the Socialist Standard. You’ll have to go along to a branch and take your chance. We can, however, already identify a couple of snags.

1. The mind is not the subject to the laws of physics any more than are society or hipster. But, as the mind is real, statements and claims about it are subject to the same rules for admitting and judging evidence as in any other field of scientific research. Your claim that the mind “does not die when the body dies” does not satisfy these standards as all the evidence leads to the conclusion that when the brain ceases to function then the mind ceases to exist.

2. You feel that Mohammed, Buddha and Christ stood for the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production with production for directly for use and not for sale or profit? You can’t be serious. Buddha wouldn’t even have understood the idea (he’d be too busy contemplating his next re-incarnation). Christ (if he really existed) would have been some sort of Jehovah’s Witness preaching non-engagement with the real world while awaiting the coming of the Kingdom of God the day after tomorrow. Mohammed was a merchant and war lord who certainly had no interest in the abolition of private property, buying and selling and money —Editors.