Saturday, June 8, 2019

A "Simple" Cure For Industrial Trouble. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Daily News of Wednesday, February 27th, 1929, reports : “That the General Council of the Trade Union Congress considered the draft interim report on Unemployment which has been prepared by the Mond-Turner Conference.”

The report was adopted with a few modifications. The news goes on to say: "That the report deals with more or less palliative measures for unemployment and that more preventive measures will be covered in the final report, assuming that the Conference continues its work. It discusses the practicability of the Organisation of National Works to supplement measures, such as credit facilities, to foster a general revival in trade." The question on providing pensions at 65 was also discussed.

This appeared on page 9. On page 11 we find another report. It is headed. Psychology Removes Worries in British Workshops. Six Girls Now Do the Work of 120. Increased Output and Greater Economy.

The report is a long one, but the following extracts will suffice:—
  "The phenomenal labour saving referred to above was achieved in the design and equipment of a new safety glass works. Radical changes have been achieved in production methods and labour-saving devices have been introduced which have led to a marked reduction of manufacturing costs. Thus in the case of two connected operations six girls will now do the work which formerly required 120. Waste of material has been reduced from 18 to 5 per cent, and the new factory will be able to produce in one shift almost double the output originally specified. The scope of the National Institutes of Industrial Psychology includes, the layout of factories, the sequence of processes, the elimination of waste of effort, material, and time in production, the selection of appropriate employees, and, lastly, the greater efficiency and contentment of the employees by improved working conditions.” 
The report finishes by quoting the World's Economic Conference's opinion: 
  "That the workers should be safeguarded from temporary unemployment, resulting from this rationalisation, otherwise the movement will encounter the same opposition as befell the first attempt to introduce Taylor’s system of scientific management.”
Viewing these reports together, the thing that suggests itself is the fact that here we have two organisations, both claiming to strive for the good of the workers and yet one nullifies the effects of the other. The trade unions struggle for shorter hours and more pay and confer with the masters in an endeavour to foster trade to bring about more employment and when they have succeeded the masters employ psychologists to find out how they can do without a great percentage of the workers, leaving those still in employment more efficient, turning out as much if not more work with less waste and yet being contented with their job, keeping at bay those elements of industrial unrest which are so disturbing to the capitalist. Thus the trade unions find themselves precisely where they were, but with probably a bigger army of unemployed to deal with. Being Socialists, we realise that psychology when used simply for the benefit of mankind can be a great aid to human happiness, but in the hands of the masters, being used as a means to further exploitation, it becomes yet another burden upon the backs of the workers. The watchword of industry to-day is produce more, yet all the time the competition for the world’s markets is becoming more fierce and the markets more limited, making the disposal of the commodities less and less certain with the result that the unemployment figures increase and the different countries, in spite of peace pacts, etc., are heading straight for war. It is a time for serious reflection, fellow-workers.

Do you not find all these social remedies simply cancel each other? It is a ceaseless following of blind alleyways in which the workers get bewildered and hopeless. Unless they understand the Socialist position, they are tempted to make useless angry demonstrations and riots which can only result in loss of life or injury to our class and give the Government a chance to demonstrate their power and make an example of a few of the workers. There is only one sound policy to pursue, and that is the constant preaching of Socialism. When we have sufficient knowledge as a class, we can obtain political power. Remembering that the salvation of the workers must be the work of the workers, we must neither put our faith in the Lord, nor leaders, nor psychologists. Given the knowledge, the rest, by comparison, will be simplicity itself. Join the S.P.G.B., fellow wage slaves, and help to spread that knowledge that Socialism may come in our time, and we enjoy the fruits of our labour.
May Otway

An Echo of the Past. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

“A denouncement of young women authors who write obscene books was made by Miss Christabel Pankhurst in a speech at the ├ćolian Hall, Bond Street, yesterday. She said that pagan novels were much in evidence to-day, and she was grateful to the Home Secretary for the step he had taken regarding books which were not decent to read. This is not the sort of freedom for which we women fought and got the vote” (Daily Chronicle, March 7th). We do not know by what standard Miss Christabel Pankhurst judges what is decent to read, nor do we remember any special protest being made during the war by either Miss Pankhurst or the present Home Secretary when reams of literature with plentiful detail of war-time atrocities were circulated among young people in order to fan the war fever. We gave it as our opinion at the time that under normal conditions such material would probably meet with the attention of the police. Evidently what is necessary to our masters at one time shocks them at another. In view of the recent extension of the franchise to women it may be interesting to recall that the “freedom” the Suffragettes fought for was only the freedom which would enable Capitalist ladies to vote on equal terms with their property-owning males. Before the Suffragette movement the Working Class had sufficient votes to out-number the Capitalists. To-day, with the extension of the franchise as a means to stabilise present-day Society, the preponderance of working-class votes is greater than ever. Without class-consciousness, however, votes merely enable the workers to continue their enslaved condition. For women, as for men, the only hope lies in the coming of Socialism, the triumph of emancipation, without distinction of race or sex.

Editorial: The Labour Party and Unemployment. (1929)

Editorial from the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

Writing in the Morning Post (February 18th), Mr. Tom Shaw, M.P., Minister of Labour in the Labour Government, gave a statement of his Party’s policy with regard to unemployment.

The first point to notice is that Mr. Shaw without hesitation accepts the view that unemployment in this country is a national problem to be solved on national lines. His criticism of the captains of industry here is that they have allowed their foreign competitors to out-distance them :—
 Rationalisation, standardisation, combination, and centralisation, have made relatively more progress in other countries than our own.
Mr. Shaw blandly assumes that more rationalisation will mean less unemployment, something the very reverse of the truth. These various processes are introduced with the set purpose of securing economy in production; a greater output with the employment of fewer workers; the continual addition of surplus workers to the army of the unemployed. If Mr. Shaw does not believe this, will he show us the capitalist countries where unemployment has been permanently lessened by any or all of the means he enumerates?

Then he goes on to say that it "makes his heartache" to go into country towns and villages and see the shops " full of Danish products.” He wants British tummies lined with British butter made by British hands from the milk of British cows, reared on British grass. He does not dislike the Danes. He has to be sure a profound admiration for their success as exporters of dairy produce. The whole secret of their success “is that Denmark's farmers have adopted co-operation and scientific methods." Mr. Shaw wants British farmers to adopt the same methods and secure the same success. Beautiful; but how will this solve the unemployment problem? Denmark suffers just as much from unemployment as any other capitalist country, and when the promised greater efficiency of British farmers threatens to ruin their Danish competitors, some Danish Mr. Shaw will be telling his compatriots to adopt still more efficient methods, with the object of still further under-cutting the prices of dairy products; and so on in the manner normal to the capitalist system.

Something rotten in the State of Denmark
Mr. Shaw is careful to say that he does not hate the Danes. It is then difficult to see why he discriminates between them and other peoples also unfortunate enough not to have been born British. For although the sight of Danish eggs makes his heart ache, he goes on in the next column to say that "every effort ought to be made to develop trade to a much larger degree" with "China, India, and Russia." Does Mr. Shaw really believe that trade with China, Russia and India, or with any other country, can be developed on a one-sided basis consisting only of the export of British manufactures without corresponding imports from those countries? Why do Danish eggs make his heart ache, but not Chinese eggs? and Danish butter, but not Russian butter? When Russia buys agricultural machinery, tractors and ploughs and other means of increasing the productivity of Russian agriculture, the effect will be to throw still cheaper Russian wheat on to the British market to undercut British farmers.

Mr. Shaw also wants to develop Empire trade, and says: “We want to see . . . Canadian fruits and Canadian grain far more widely sold in our markets." And what about British fruit growers and grain growers? Is it any nicer to be ruined by Canadian competitors than by Danes. And again how will this solve the unemployment problem?

Foreign Trade and Unemployment.
Mr. Shaw makes the usual assumption that unemployment can be reduced by the development of export trade and by the development of home manufactures. Let us remind him, therefore, that in 1928 exports were greater than in 1927, and imports were less than in 1927.

The total amount of wealth produced in this country was greater, yet at the end of 1928 the numbers unemployed were 200,000 or more above the level at the end of 1927. More wealth and more exports accompanied by more unemployment!

Lastly, Mr. Shaw speaks of remedying unemployment by reducing the expenditure on armaments. What is going to happen to the thousands of men now withdrawn from the labour market for service in the forces ? What of the ship workers engaged in naval construction and the engineers employed in the manufacture of rifles, ammunition, etc.?

And, lastly, does he not recall that in 1924 the Labour Government incurred some criticism because it laid down 5 new cruisers, and that one of the reasons given by authoritative Labour Ministers for that step was the need for making employment?

Editorial: What Lloyd-George Promised In 1906. (1929)

Editorial from the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

"Bungler or Rogue?"
Mr. Lloyd George has made a definite pledge that if returned to power his party will “reduce the terrible figures of the workless in the course of a single year to normal proportions.” (Lloyd George’s address to Liberal candidates on March 1st, 1929.) The unemployed are to be absorbed in road and bridge work, in land drainage, telephone development, house building and other schemes, financed by means of a big loan. By “normal proportions” is meant the pre-war 4.7 per cent., “representing something over half-a-million unemployed.” (See “We Can Conquer Unemployment,” p. 6.) It is, of course, not impossible for capitalist governments to put some or all of the unemployed on camouflaged relief works and call this the abolition of unemployment. We are, therefore, much more concerned with an earlier, comprehensive, and totally unfulfilled pledge, which was given by Mr. Lloyd George in 1906. Speaking at Birmingham on October 22nd of that year, Mr. Lloyd George referred to signs of widespread unrest among the workers, and said:—
  The new movement represented a real upheaval, due to the impatience of the people of the slow progress made by existing parties, in redressing wrongs. . . . No wonder the people asked “why all this tarrying and dallying?” They said to the old political parties, “If you are in earnest you are bunglers; if you are not in earnest you are rogues! ”

What the Liberals would do in three years.
Mr. Lloyd George confessed that past “reforms” had failed to cure the evils for which they were intended as a remedy.
  Here you have been tinkering for generations with reform, and the end of it all is slums, pauperism, and great want in a land of plenty.
He then gave his definite pledge that the Liberals would achieve something material in three years or forfeit their claim to the confidence of the electorate :—
  The answer rested with the Liberals during the next three years. . . . The people had said to them “We are going to give you your chance, but it is only a chance." The whole future of the Liberal Party depended upon the practical answer they gave to the expectations of the people.
The Pledge Broken.
So much for the pledge. Now for the performance.

Speaking at Park Hall, Cardiff, on December 29th, 1911, that is five years after the giving of the pledge, Mr. Lloyd George said
 To-day you have greater poverty in the aggregate in the land than you have ever had. You have oppression of the weak by the strong. You have a more severe economic bondage than you probably ever had; for grinding labour to-day does not always guarantee sustenance or security. At any rate that condition of things was foreign to the barbaric regime of the darker ages. (Supplement to Christian Commonwealth, January 17th, 1912.)
The Futility of Reforming Capitalism
More than 20 years have passed since then. Numerous “reforms” have in those years been placed on the statute book, By Liberals, by Tories, and by the Labour Party, yet the position has become so much worse in many respects that Mr. Lloyd George can actually dazzle the eyes of thousands of working-class voters by promising to reduce unemployment to its pre-war level, that is to take us back to the condition of "normal” poverty and insecurity depicted by him in 1911.

This is capitalist "progress”; the natural fruit of Tory, Liberal, and Labour reforms of capitalism. Only Socialism will remove the causes of working-class poverty by abolishing the private ownership of the means of producing and distributing wealth. You are poor, whether in work or out, whether trade is good or bad, and whether capitalism is organised in independent companies, in combines, or in the State capitalist or nationalised undertakings so beloved of the Labour Party.

You are poor because the capitalist class own and control your means of living (the land, factories, railways, etc.) and live on the wealth you produce. This is capitalism. Why not end it?

John Wheatley's Friends. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

Under the Labour Government, Mr. Wheatley, as Minister of Health, was responsible for a Housing Act. When he introduced the Bill in the House, Mr. Wheatley pointed out to some Conservative critics that "The proposals which I am submitting are real capitalism—an attempt to patch up, in the interests of humanity, a capitalist ordered society ” (Parliamentary Debates, June 3rd, 1924).

Mr. Wheatley’s consideration for his capitalist friends has not gone unappreciated among them. A public meeting was called by the Property Owners’ Protection Association at the Cannon Street Hotel on March 1st to protest against Section 46 of the Housing Act, 1925, passed by the Conservative Government. At the meeting an attack was made on Mr. Chamberlain, present Minister of Health, and Mr. E. T. Campbell, M.P., rose to protest. "I ask you,” said Mr. Campbell, "whether you prefer Mr. Chamberlain as Minister or Mr. Wheatley? ” This question, according to the Daily Telegraph (March 2nd), was greeted with cries of "Mr. Wheatley.”

A Letter From An Australian Reader. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Comrades,

As we have just recently got over an election, it would be interesting to you to have a few words in connection with this important event in the lives of the Free Australian Workers.

The employing class won again or, rather, the workers here handed the political machinery over to the representatives of their masters to do with as they may. The Bruce Nationalist Government got a majority, but only with the aid of the Country Party, and although the so-called Labour Party is the largest individual party in the House, they have to take a back seat owing to the pact between the Country Party and the Nats.

As usual, during the campaign we had the old cries trotted out. The most emphasised was that of "Law and order,” which was trumpeted through all the agencies of the master class. The Nationalists accused the Labourites of wanting to subvert the constitution of the country to the "Communist-revolutionary-disloyal-bolshevik-moscovian-red” policy of the extremists, and the Labourites just as emphatically denied the charge. Just how revolutionary the Labour proposals were can be gauged by the fact that the Federal Treasurer accused the Labour Party of stealing the Nationalist’s Party’s policy, and the Labour leader, Mr. Scullin, threw the charge back in his teeth with the accusation that the Nats, had stolen Labour’s programme.

Comparing the two policies, one is hard put to it to find a great deal of difference. Of course, both are straight out for Capitalism, but each have certain little peculiarities which are probably inserted for the purpose of making a noticeable distinction for the benefit of the electors. Both parties contained the following proposals in their programmes:—
  • Retention of the White Australian Policy.
  • Loyalty to the British Empire.
  • Industrial Peace.
  • Law and Order.
  • Interests of the Community.

While they are prating about the White Australian Policy, the Nationalist Federal Government is allowing Coolie Labour to discharge ships on which White Australians refused to work for reduced pay which a constitutional Arbitration Court has forced upon them. And the Coolie Labour is being protected by State Police under a Labour Government. This is the same State Government (Queensland) which dismissed 11,000 railway men because they refused to blackleg last year on the sugar workers. They also stopped the unemployment dole during the strike on the excuse that there was plenty of work on the wharves.

As far as the British Empire goes, when Bruce (Nat.) accused Scullin (Lab.) of not being loyal because he never mentioned the Empire in his political speech, Scullin replied that as he thought that everybody knew how unswerving his loyalty was, he did not think it necessary to stress the point.

As for industrial peace, what they are going to do in this regard is almost beyond comprehension. Mond will be jealous. Havelock Wilson will jump with joy when he hears how his gospel of Industrial Peace is permeating the intellectual pates of our Capitalist apologists. The Labour Party say that Bruce (Nat.) has had his chance for six years to bring about Industrial Peace but he has failed. Consequently, they ought to be given an opportunity to show just how they can do the job. All the Labour politicians gave it out that “Labour” is the only party that can usher in this Peaceful Industrial Era. And they are right, too. If they cannot quieten the workers, then nobody can. Has not Premier McCormack fought against the workers on every opportunity? He has allowed seamen to be jailed for refusing to sail in ships loaded by blacklegs. He has allowed the police to be used to protect Italian workers who, owing to their ignorance of local affairs, have been used to break strikes, and to reduce the standard of living.

During the recent water-front strike, the Victorian State so-called Labour Government allowed the police to shoot down wharf-labourers (dockers) who were kicking against reductions in wages and worsening of conditions.

Just prior to the dissolution of the last Parliament, the Nationalist Government passed an Amended Arbitration Bill. All the Labour Pollies designated the Bill as a Union-smashing medium, attacked the Government for introducing it, and held public meetings telling the workers not to submit to this dastardly piece of iniquitous legislation, etc., etc., and yet when the Waterside Workers repudiated an award given under this very Bill, they were told to get back to work by the most loud-mouthed denunciators of the Bill. But then, it is not expedient for the workers to strike at election times, as it reacts on the Labour Party or, at least, the Labourites say it does. The most flagrant betrayals of the workers of this country have taken place during election times when the slaves are told that if they do anything “It will jeopardise the Labour Party at the elections.” To this political dirge the conditions of the workers are allowed to be broken down almost without protest in many cases.

Another sop the Labour Party dished up for the workers was the Leg-puller for the Ladies, namely, Child-Endowment. This has been a great election cry for Labour for a long time now. But a few years ago the Labour Party got into Power in New South Wales, and Mr. Lang introduced this wonderful “humane” legislation. This is what their own supporters said about it in the “Australian Worker” (Sydney, 28/10/27):—
  . . . . As a matter of fact, the Family Endowment Act—for which, in its present form, the Nationalist Members in the N.S.W. Upper House are entirely responsible—is “manna from Heaven" for the employers.
  It is now common knowledge that if the N.S.W. basic wage had been increased, in accordance with the increase in the cost of living, the increase would have been 12s. per week, or approximately an addition to the wages bill of the State of something like £13,000,000. Under the Family Endowment Act the employers' contributions amount to £3,000,000 per annum—equal, as Industrial Commissioner Piddington pointed out, to an increase of 3s. per week in the basic wage.
  It is plain that, because of the adoption of Child Endowment, the employers in New South Wales have been made a present of something like £10,000,000 per annum, which they would have had to pay if the basic wage had been computed on the old basis. Industry in New South Wales can hardly be said to be unduly penalised when, as a matter of fact, the employers are actually saving £10,000,000 per annum because of the change in the method of computing wages . . .
The excuse that the Nationalist Members of the Upper House are responsible for the Bill “in its present form" is a sly get out. Prior to this, Labour Premier Lang had flooded the Upper House with Labour Members with a view to abolishing that Chamber. Unfortunately, the appointed ones were so true to Labour that they could not forsake its old policy of twist and turn, with the result that when they were appointed, they ratted on the Party and the Chamber is still in existence.

The election result has rather a "Gilbertian" touch about it. Although the Nationalists lost several seats, and Labour did not get the Governmental Benches, both parties expressed the greatest of pleasure when the number went up.

Several commercial papers were counting on Labour getting in; in fact, were hoping that Labour would do the trick with a view to getting Theodore, ex-Premier of Queensland, in a position where he would be able to use his “administrative ability" in the interests of the Australian manufacturers. Knowing his record in Queensland, they had the greatest faith in him to look after the welfare of the “community." However, they slipped, and they will have to wait another three years for Ted unless he goes the way of all (Labour) flesh, that is, into the ranks of the Nationalists.

Communist Party Contortion. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Communist Party at its formation opposed the Labour Party. Then for a time they supported and opposed Labour candidates in different places at the same time. Finally they gave them unqualified support everywhere. They now propose a new line of action which involves opposition to the Labour Party once again. Though claiming to oppose, they still desire to affiliate with them, but “the fight for affiliation, however, must be converted into an offensive fight against the treacherous leadership of the Labour Party ” (The Communist, April, 1928).

Apparently all would be considered well if the Communists could only become the new leaders of the old politically ignorant followers. The way these would-be revolutionaries propose to "come out" as an independent political party is to change their attitude towards the Labour Party and Labour Government, by replacing the slogan of “Labour Government” by the slogan of “Revolutionary Workers’ Government.” This drastic change need not alarm their vote-catching competitors, the Labour Party, because "in some districts active support to Labourites, who pledge themselves to vote for the elementary demands of the Working Class and accepting the Communist Party into the Labour Party is admissible.” (Ibid.)

Needless to say, these pledges, and more if necessary, will be given to such political simpletons if the votes are forthcoming. The Labourites know how to outdo even the Liberals at that game, because the Daily Herald (March 4th) tells us that the Lloyd George gamble for votes "is a good programme as far as it goes. There is not an item in it to which the next Labour Government is not committed.” Add to that some of the Communists’ very elementary demands, which include Land Nationalisation and the Abolition of the Monarchy, and we get some idea of what “revolutionary” means to a Communist. Those who do seek to revolutionise society, and not to reform and patch it, will not be misled by Communist clamour. Such aspirants to Leadership must, like their Labour brethren, trim their sails in order to cater for the muddle-headed discontents who are looking around for a party that appears to them to offer most in exchange for their votes. Only voters with Socialist knowledge know that it is not Parliament as such that can achieve their objective, but a Parliament that contains representatives of an organised working class outside it. We do not expect the capitalists to surrender unless faced with an organised working class in control of political machinery, nor do we imagine for a moment that such an experienced class will be disturbed by any intellectual (!) minority with a following fed on silly slogans and chatter about “disarming the Bourgeoise."

The political control that the working class will acquire as a result of Socialist knowledge, including control of the armed forces, will be acquired only when they gain such knowledge, and, therefore, cease to support capitalist agents. There will then be no power available for use by the master class that could prevent an organised majority of workers from using the present political machinery to establish Socialism.

A Curious "Class" War. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

As an insight into the minds of the people to whom it is necessary to direct propaganda, surely there has been nothing better for some time than a little incident just lately reported in the Daily News and which they describe as a cruel hoax upon 10,000 hungry ex-Service men.

In the issue of that paper dated January 9th the report is made of a rumour which was spread in regard to the proposed Ford factory at Dagenham and, according to which, a contingent of 400 miners were being brought to Romford with the object of work associated with this factory being given to them. The report continued that the unemployed ex-Service men in the district accepted the rumour as true and that in consequence 500 of them went to the neighbourhood of the proposed factory to offer resistance, by force if necessary, to what they regarded as an unfair measure and so as to obtain for themselves all such temporary jobs as there might be available.

The point to be noted is that one section of the working class was prepared, if necessary, to use violent methods in order to coerce a number of other workers suffering from the direst poverty—possibly in a sorrier plight than they themselves were in —to take no advantage from this possibility of a job. An intention by one section of workers, we may say, to fight another section in order to get a job—the only thing all workers now live for.

What a sad reflection it induces as to the state of their minds. Or, rather, what a reflection upon the means used to produce that state of mind.

Communists imagine that, by some method that they alone understand but which they are entirely incapable of explaining, that they are going to lead such a divided rabble against all the powerful, devastating and horror-producing means of destruction that the capitalists know so well how to use, in an attempt to overthrow the capitalist class.

Just imagine the case of these ex-Service men. Having been willing to make every possible sacrifice for "their” country and that glorious Empire upon which the sun never rises, they come home to this country of “theirs” and in which their permission to live is conceded by the luxurious provision of a dole or a pension, and are willing to fight men by whose side they fought in the War in an attempt to secure a job which it is certain would only be temporary from a firm owned by those “hated foreigners" who have brought the art of exploitation to the highest pitch of efficiency.

The Press and capitalist parties, the school histories, religion, etc., we know, are responsible, as we also know who foster the "education" supplied through these agencies.

There is only one conclusion: the nature of capitalism and the remorseless and ruthlessly brutal nature of the pirates who exploit them will have to be brought home in a very clear manner to a very large number of workers before a Socialist society becomes a nearer possibility.

Miners, ex-Service men and others: Wake up!
G. M. A.

A Foggy Knight on Socialism. (1929)

From the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

Through a twenty-four page article in a 3/6 monthly (“Fortnightly Review,” February and March issues), Sir Reginald Mitchell-Banks, M.P, asserts, warns, and re-asserts regarding what he terms ”The shifting sands of Socialism.” The amount of Socialist criticism his contribution contains may be estimated by the fact that he merely concerns himself with the vague definitions given by such enemies of Socialism as Philip Snowden, Sydney Webb and Bernard Shaw.

By this method he avoids the task of having to meet scientific generalisations and provable theories. By assuming that Nationalisation, Municipalisation and other forms of Capitalist development are Socialism, Sir Mitchell reaches the conclusions he wishes to arrive at. This question-begging method makes it easy then to attribute Capitalistically-produced evils to Socialism. It can then be shown that where Socialism has been ”experimented with” that ”not one success has been recorded.”

In fairness to our critic, we will allow that he states: ”All I can do is to indicate what I believe to be the essential points in the Socialist case.” We then see how convenient is such a proviso. Sir Mitchell claims that: "Socialism is based on the ground that Capitalism has failed to provide a decent standard of life for the mass of the people.” What is "decent” we are not told, but we may add that Capitalism is the Capitalists’ own system, and presupposes a working-class who are content to provide their masters with luxury and comfort while accepting a slave’s portion themselves. That Capitalism has failed to provide a "decent standard” for the mass, our critic says is "demonstrably contrary to facts.”

On the very next page we are told that this same Capitalism has "found colossal annual sums for assistance of children, the aged, the sick and the unemployed,” and a few lines further on that there is no evidence to prove that Socialism will abolish the evils which he now tells us "admittedly still exist.” Of course, Russia has to be touched on because "there you may see Socialism of the Marxian type in being, and it is beyond doubt a failure.” Same method of unsupported assertion, same want of evidence that it is Socialism. Instead, we get another contradiction, for we learn that: "Wherever you discern a ray of light it is produced by a resumption of Capitalist methods.” This is a novel method of making your case good, for we are to believe that there are two social systems in existence in Russia. Where Sir Mitchell sees in Russia what he terms failure, it is labelled "Marxism in being," and where he sees "rays of light" (presumably wages, trade, profit) they are produced by Capitalist methods. Very convenient ! We claim, and have supplied evidence in the past, that Capitalism is the system in vogue in Russia at present. Social systems cannot be tried one day and abandoned the next in the fantastic manner inferred. All the material, economic and intellectual, for the establishment of a new system of society is generated in the system that precedes it. Advanced Capitalist countries have developed the necessary industrial technique, but the intellectual material for the establishment of Socialism, a Socialist majority of workers, has yet to be generated in these countries. This is more so in economically and politically backward Russia, where the majority are peasants and large scale social production, the basis for Socialism, has still to be developed.

Sir Mitchell’s article is a wind-beating onslaught upon a "Socialism" of his own making. His attempted criticism makes one wonder why members of the Capitalist class are not wise enough to leave such tasks to their hired journalists. They, at least, would hardly exhibit such mental poverty as is contained in the following statement, made without a scrap of evidence to support it: "Nothing worth mentioning is left of Marx as an economist or as a prophet. It seems his speciality was being wrong.” The best answer to this is to advise readers to study for themselves the correctness of an analysis of Capitalist conditions and tendencies that has stood the onslaughts of the paid professors of the Universities for over half-a-century. Sir Reginald Mitchell Banks, M.P., may be considered a great man in Capitalist circles, but his entry into the field as a critic of Socialism reminds us that pygmies remain pygmies, even though perched on stilts.

Our First Prospective Candidate For Parliament. (1929)

Party News from the April 1929 issue of the Socialist Standard

At a member of the Battersea Branch, Comrade Barker, of the Tooting Branch, was adopted as prospective candidate of the Socialist Party of Great Britain for Battersea.

It now remains for those who desire to see our candidate go to the polls to give practical effect to their wishes by swelling the Parliamentary Fund to the required dimensions.

As we pointed out originally, our candidate will go to the poll if we are provided with sufficient funds to carry the business through.