Sunday, June 30, 2019

Answers To Correspondents. (1931)

Letters to the Editors from the September 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. R. Hobsbaum (Tottenham). — We gather from your letters that you believe it to have been proved that a Socialist Party can be built up by emotional appeals. If you will us when and where this often-tried policy has been successful, we will consider the instance. —Editorial Committee.

Mr. J. Osborne. — A reply to your letter will be published next month.

What the I.L.P. Have Done for the Workers. (1931)

From the September 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

When we ask the I.L.P. why they support the Labour Party, in view of its non-Socialist programme and actions, we are always told, in reply, that the justification lies in the fact that the Labour Party helps the workers to obtain “something now.” In the New Leader for June 12th, 1931, is a statement issued by the National Administrative Council of the LL.P. concerning its relations with the Labour Party. It contains the following :—
 It must be noted as a remarkable fact that to wage a Socialist fight against the poverty of the working class is made more difficult when a Labour Government is in power than at other times, and that obstacles are put in the way of, and threats directed against, working-class organisations maintaining that fight.
If the I.L.P. believe this, why did their members in Parliament continue to keep the Government in office?

They cannot even pretend that they try to “wage a Socialist fight,” for Mr. John Beckett, M.P., one of their members, declared in an article in the New Leader (June 6th, 1930) that—
 Every fight put up has been for purely moderate and reformist measures,  strictly in  line with election  promises and  Party policy.
And even if the I.L.P. were to fight for what they regard (wrongly) as Socialist measures, nothing worth while would result for the workers. Mr. P. J. Dollan, a member of the National Administrative Council, writing in Forward on January 10th, 1931, stated :—
 There is nothing in the history of European democracy to equal the progress of evolutionary Socialism in this country within the last quarter of a century. Practically every reform urged by the I.L.P. in the ‘nineties, and many more not in the I.L.P. programme have been realised.
In other words, the present appalling’ condition of the working class is the result after the application of “practically every reform urged by the I.L.P. in the ’nineties.” We have never said anything half so damning of the I.L.P. as this. Yet Dollan, far from being ashamed, far from being prepared to drop reforms and take up Socialism, can actually think of nothing better than to waste a further 25 years on more I.L.P. reforms!
Edgar Hardcastle

Material World: Out of Africa (2019)

The Material World column from the June 2019 issue of the Socialist Standard

Emigration from Africa has increased dramatically in the last three decades, going from just 1 per cent in the 1990s to 31 per cent by the 2000s. Migration by people has been a fact of life throughout their evolution. At this point in history, we should look at the reasons for such numbers of migrants and the attempts to stop them by the destination countries. Tougher regulations, increasing the number of detention camps and prosecuting the people-traffickers are not solutions. Political ‘courage’ means having the will to dismantle the policies currently being applied against individuals desperate to relocate.

 Socialism is a vision of a world shared among us all, a world of common ownership with free movement for all. The majority of Africans who emigrate remain within Africa, yet as former Liberian president and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ellen Johnson Sirleaf notes, it is time to call for an end to the perception of migration as a ‘crisis’.

Land of the Diaspora by Francis Tondeur
Migration policies are often based on misperceptions, she says. Africans make up only 14 per cent of global migration flows and the vast majority stay within the African continent. About 65 per cent of the world’s migrants come from Europe and Asia. African migrants are mostly young and educated and almost half are women. The decline in fertility rates combined with increased life expectancy in most parts of the world means not only a slowing of population growth but also an older population. Many in the developed world have difficulty in understanding that the current state of welfare in numerous countries is unsustainable. They require young productive workers.

Between now and 2050, Africa will double its population. This will generate a much bigger flow of young Africans looking for opportunities in an ageing Europe and elsewhere. Africa is rich but its people have never enjoyed its wealth. Native and foreign exploiters have subjected its people to abject poverty and endemic misery for generation upon generation. Unchecked exploitation of the continent’s natural resources by global corporations has forced desperate choices upon the people.

Your chance of having better economic prospects than your parents has been relatively low in Africa. If your father is a peasant farmer, and your grandfather was too, what are the chances that you’ll make something different of your life? Because of human misery, because of despair, people have little option but to move even if conditions awaiting them are just as difficult as those they fled. African migration is predominately within the continent, particularly between neighbouring countries. In 2013, 65 per cent of the 20 million sub-Saharan African migrants, who had left their countries, were still living in the region.

However, Africa’s loss of skilled and educated people remains a major negative consequence of migration. ‘Brain drain is particularly acute in sub-Saharan Africa,’ says the World Economic Outlook (October 2016). While all refugees are migrants, not all migrants are refugees. Whether or not they meet the official definition of a refugee, many desperate people are escaping dire conditions that pose a threat to their survival and already we have a growing number of climate change ‘refugees’.

We are all members of the world working class and have a common interest in working together to establish a world without frontiers in which the resources of the globe will have become the common heritage of all the people of the world and used for the benefit of all.

Innocent men women and children, making impossible choices with few alternatives, are not the villains in this ongoing human tragedy, they are the victims. Migration has been an essential mechanism for survival for as long as people have lived. Today, more of the poor and disadvantaged can now see with their own eyes the wide disparity between their level of living and that of the more advantaged people in the world. They want to share in the wealth. To feed oneself, to provide for one’s family, men and women will always seek other lands, and as long as the grass appears greener on the other side then men and women will endeavour to reach it. The fortunate few may strike it lucky. But for most, it is only a temporary respite before the new conditions and the new exploitation begin to wear them down once again. In capitalism, there is no real escape. Only when it is possible to maintain an adequate living standard at home, will our fellow-workers wish to stay put. That is something capitalism will never be able to offer many people throughout Africa.

Labour's 'social justice' (1969)

From the September 1969 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Labour Party has recently published an interim report of a study group on discrimination against women. It is called, Towards Equality—Women and Social Security.

They use the word ‘Socialism' in at least one of these documents (unusual for the Labour Party these days), but make no attempt to define or explain what it means. Misrepresentation of the Labour Party as a party standing for Socialism has over many years caused untold confusion. The term they more often use and have been peddling for some time is ‘social justice.’ They do not attempt to define this either, which is just as well, as there is no such thing.

Under capitalism, a class divided society resting upon the exploitation of wage-labour, social justice is a contradiction in terms, a vague platitude, a mere piece of political phrasemongering. So-called justice and injustice co-exist within the framework of the private-property relationship of capitalism and are conditioned by the class interest of the people involved. Justice from the standpoint of the capitalist class must equate to the legal recognition and enforcement of their minority monopoly of the means of production. Since this leaves the working dais without means of production, a socially inferior class compelled to sell their physical and mental energies in order to live, the whole edifice of capitalism rests upon built-in privilege and inequality. 'Towards Equality . . .' therefore can only mean making further attempts to distribute poverty more evenly among the working class (in this case, between men and women) and has nothing to do with removing the fundamental inequality between the capitalist class and the working class.

What is really happening of course is that the Labour Party is making advanced preparations for the next election. Having got hopelessly bogged down in the dirty business of running capitalism, they know an election could happen at any time, so they have to dust off all the high sounding phrases and try to refurbish their badly tarnished image.

The Tory Party will, no doubt, study the various proposals made and lift anything they think to be a likely vote-catcher. The reforms and promises of capitalist parties are virtually interchangeable and none of them has patent rights. Also it should be noted that none of the proposals commits the Labour government to anything; they are merely suggestions put forward by a study group.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has always maintained that even if all the promises and reform proposals of the Labour Party (and all other reformist parties) were carried out the poverty and insecurity of workers would remain. In fact it is the continuing poverty and insecurity of the working class despite all past reforms and legislation that repeatedly prompts further reform demands to try to keep the worst excesses of the situation under control.

The Labour Party claims that “during the past 50 years an economic and social revolution has taken place. People are infinitely better off, and the darkest stains of severe poverty which disfigured our national life has been removed". This talk about social revolution is just so much bunk. Now, just as 50 years ago, about 10 per cent of the population own 90 per cent of the wealth. The working class still have to sell their physical and mental energies to the capitalist class in order to live, and profit remains the motive force behind production. The only meaningful use of the term ‘social revolution’ is in the context of abolishing this set-up. The Labour Party are in a more contradictory position than usual here; are they arguing that capitalism has been abolished, or that a social revolution has taken place which has left capitalism intact? Words lose all their meaning. To make matters worse for themselves they go on to claim that the Labour Party “was mainly instrumental in bringing about this transformation”. Since over the last 50 years they have only been in power for 15 years the mind boggles. Are we to believe that between periods of Labour government the Tories are in power running Socialism? At what point during the last 50 years did this ‘transformation’ start; was it during the 1929-31 Labour Government while they were presiding over nearly 3 million unemployed? Was it during the war while they were in coalition with the Tories participating in the slaughter of tens of millions of workers? Or perhaps during the post war Labour Government while they were using troops to break strikes, carrying on their wage squeeze and developing nuclear bombs?

Kiss of death
A line-by-line review of Labour Party literature would produce an epic of cynicism and hypocrisy. In their cheap appeal for membership for example, they say “Labour’s belief in the dignity of human life knows no frontiers. It embraces all mankind”. This ‘belief’ was not permitted to stand in the way of their support for two world wars, including the atom-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Their ‘embrace’ is like the kiss of death in places like Korea and Vietnam.

It is vital, in order to learn the futility of reformism, to remember that nearly a quarter of a century ago the National Health Service was heralded as a great new dawn. Poverty would disappear and a free health service with pension benefits would be available to all. Quite apart from the overcrowding and chaos in hospitals, the appalling indignities suffered by nurses, repeated increases in contributions and prescription charges, it must be emphasised that all the Labour Party now proposes is a series of modifications along essentially the same lines. Reforms beget reforms. While claiming that the Beveridge Plan was designed to abolish poverty and insecurity, they envisaged another 20 years or more with the pattern of social ‘security’ set by their earnings-related scheme. We could give several quotes from their own report admitting continued poverty, but for space reasons one will have to do:
  "That the present social security position of the unsupported mother can be summed up by saying that more often than not she is condemned to poverty without dignity . . ."
They give examples of many other groups in the same position and give figures in the appendix showing that in 1965, over 1 million women were on National Assistance. So much for the abolition of poverty, generations of reformism and their purported belief in “the true dignity of human beings”.

All this tinkering with effects leads nowhere. After all the wasted years with workers deluded into thinking that capitalism can be made to work in their interest, and the manifest failure for it to do so, the Labour Party seeks to waste more years in the futile pursuit will-o’the-wisps. It still remains for the workers of the world to understand and establish Socialism.
Harry Baldwin

Do it yourself (1969)

From the August 1969 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialism can be practised only when a majority of the world’s population want it and are determined to make it work; in other words, when they are prepared to take equal shares of the responsibilities involved in running it. And working-class responsibility is something the capitalist class, consciously or not, does its very best to discourage.

It does this in various ways. One form of discouragement is the myth of the 'politician'—a specialist in rhetoric, wit, parliamentary procedure, and vote-catching, who is obliged to play ‘a dirty game’, who has no choice but to sacrifice his principles now and then to his party’s interests or to pragmatism, and whose ‘political career' is capable of being ‘ruined’ when his Cabinet colleagues or an ungrateful electorate stab him in the back. “I leave that to the politicians’* is a common phrase.

But unfortunately for the pure-minded who are ‘above such things’ there is no escape that way. An Ancient Greek would have scoffed at this Renaissance myth, which suited the wealthy merchant families of the Italian city-states, and still suits the class whose interests are served by the Westminster and Washington pantomimes of ‘political differences’ which consist of minor issues or differences of degree only. No, in running society each one of us has an equal liability. It is a pity that the political disillusionment so often talked about at present is in most cases an excuse for cynical inaction or incoherent protest rather than a spur to seeking a lasting cure.

Another way of ensuring that the working class lacks responsibility is to deny it opportunities for participation in controlling the means of living. Of course, ‘participation’ is another of those well-worn words in universities, industry, city planning, and all levels of government. But it consists merely of offering suggestions, giving specialist advice, lobbying on behalf of particular groups, or voting for one of a few alternatives —those alternatives which conflict with ruling-class interests having been carefully sifted out beforehand.

True participation means being given all the facts to consider (and Cabinet documents released 30 years after the event show how many vital facts and opinions are concealed) taking into account proportionately the interests of all the people who will he affected by the decision, and helping to work out and vote on all the alternatives.

When people are denied these opportunities it isn’t surprising that they become apathetic, irresponsible, and selfish and that there is political disillusion. We are told that the huge salaries paid to heads of giant companies and nationalised concerns are due to the enormous responsibilities involved, implying that responsibility is for the few, and that the rest are lucky to be able to escape it. their good fortune being expressed in the fact that their pay is a small fraction of that of their bosses.

Not their fight
Responsibility is inseparable from control, and control is in turn inseparable from ownership. "Why should I worry—it’s not my firm" is a common attitude, and not really a surprising one within the context of employment. One usually looks after one’s own property with great care, but to look after someone else's demands too great an effort: one goes easy with one's own car but punishes a hired one; landlords fail (surprisingly) to understand why their houses are neglected by tenants. There is an old Norse saying that "Few among bondsmen have heart for the fight". . .  which is understandable, since it wasn't their fight.

There is nothing unnatural in looking after one’s own. In Socialism there will be common ownership, and therefore everything will be looked after.

No direct voice
Many people will howl with protest at this statement, and point to the neglect of council houses, the dumping of rubbish and car wrecks on common land, and the fact that vandals attack bus shelters, phone boxes, woodlands, and street-lamps rather than objects that are privately owned. The myth that 'human nature’ is not fitted for common ownership rears its head again. But these are not examples of common ownership, rather of state or municipal ownership —a very different animal. Individuals under existing allegedly ‘socialist' regimes or municipalities can (in some, at least) express blanket approval or disapproval of this or that faction of the political, oligarchic, or professional elite who control (= own) ‘their' property. But they have no more than the most indirect say in what is done with that property. Johnny Miner in D. G. Bridson's poem celebrating nationalisation who urges his mates to
Gan in-bye an' cut the Cooal that’s your oawn !
The pit is oors at lasst, man. — oors forivver . . .!
had a nasty shock coming. State and municipal property are vandalised more than most because their owners (=controllers) are 'faceless' and nebulous, or because the vandals think that society has cheated them (which it usually has). True examples of common ownership are rare indeed in our society; the Icelanders, however, who pool their sheep, are not reputed to neglect them; nor did the medieval monks deface the cloisters.

Trivial protests
Socialists do not pretend that the transition from capitalism to Socialism will be easy. It will be difficult. Millions of people must be persuaded to accept an equal sense of responsibility for the world—its people, its resources, its ecological balance, and so on—while they are still prevented from expressing it! Only when the number of socialists reaches a majority will the expression of this responsibility in the form of common ownership and control become possible. There are encouraging signs, of course, that many people are beginning to feel a sense of responsibility to the victims of war and starvation in distant places. But to insist on expressing concern in vague and even trivial ways, instead of attacking the root cause of such evils, is political masturbation. Socialists prefer to work calmly (though not quietly) towards the real thing.

Capitalism does not encourage its workers to be Cincinnatuses. Nor does it encourage the attitude familiar to ancient Greece, where a man might be a general in charge of one expedition and willingly serve as a common hoplite in the ranks on the next, without shame. Capitalism encourages its workers not to think too hard, but to get on with their TV and football pools instead. (In some countries, where people have become lazy and disinclined to think, dictators have been only too glad to deprive them of the necessity—and the right —to do so.) True democracy is hard work for everybody . . . but infinitely rewarding.
A. Barr

NI Labour's sad saga (1969)

From the August 1969 issue of the Socialist Standard

Perhaps more than any other political organisation, the Northern Ireland Labour Party is a casualty of the civil rights campaign and there can be little doubt that, when the mundane activities of everyday political life emerge again from the cauldron of present events, there will be much recrimination in the Labour Party — indeed, the first salvoes of protest have already been fired within the party and the shaping of events augurs little comfort for the Labour leaden. These leaders have one ally in the conflict emerging in the party; experience. For the puny vote-catching reform policies of Labour have given them trouble in the past, as they will in the future.

More than any other political organisation, the NI Labour Party has never spared either dignity or principle in the search for popular support. Until 1948 the party's parliamentary representation owed its seats largely to Catholic, anti-partitionist support despite the fact that the Labour Party officially ‘sat-on-the- fence' on the Irish Partition issue.

In the early flush of Labour's victory in Britain, in 1945, the local Labourites found hope. They imported a British Labour Party professional organiser, took a decision in favour of Partition, and generally began an attempt to out-Unionise the official Unionist Party in protestations of loyalty to the British monarchy and 'the flag'.

The year 1948 found the Party rent asunder by internal conflict. Catholics and anti-Partitionists—including Labour's parliamentary representatives and most of their local council members—left the party. Some of these formed an Irish Labour Association which was later swallowed up by a Northern Area Council of the southern Irish Labour Party. Which council itself later passed away in the wranglings and disputes of the Labour politicians.

Then followed the period when the NI Labour Party, in a feverish effort to win support in traditionally Unionist areas, jettisoned what little principle it had ever had. Bible-thumping candidates preached bread-and-butter Unionism from Union-Jack-bedecked platforms The King and constitution were safe with Labour!

As a second line of local Unionism Labour finally got four MPs elected. Quite undemocratically they pressed for and accepted the title 'Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition’, thus helping the official Unionist Party to establish the fiction that normal parliamentary democracy existed in Northern Ireland.

It is interesting to observe that the Labour Party, which now tries vainly to get a piece of the civil rights cake, was then accepting the Civil Authorities Special Powers Act, one of the leading targets of the present civil rights agitation. One Labour MP of the period declared that his party, if faced with the same circumstances as the Unionists then faced, would use the Act. The same spokesman tried to circumvent parliamentary discussion of the conditions of imprisonment of political internees by an Amendment expressing concern for the poor gaolers! When a correspondent in the Belfast Telegraph expressed concern at the party’s attitude to the Special Powers Act, and tried to elicit a categorical statement from Labour on their attitude to the Act, the present general secretary of the party replied to the effect that the correspondent was obviously trying to ‘embarrass’ his party. Neither he nor any other party spokesman replied to any of the half-dozen letters to the Telegraph from people denouncing Labour’s support of the Act.

But even as Unionists the Labour Party failed to improve their parliamentary position and a subsequent election sliced the ‘loyal opposition' in half. In the elections of February of this year they maintained their position, losing a seat in Pottinger and winning one in Falls. But even the two seats they now hold are not held on anything like traditionally accepted Labour policies — they are a reward for the ‘ward-healing’ concessions to local ignorance made by the candidates concerned.

Now it is the civil rights movement that is making the running in the anti-government camp. Labour leaders mumble support for the more ‘respectable’ ploys in the campaign for civil rights but they must be aware that the success of the various ‘rights’ bodies puts them again in a political no-man’s-land, distrusted by most and respected by few; trying to stave off the conflict that must inevitably arise in their ranks.

Already, Labour’s storm clouds are gathering. A resolution calling on the party’s executive to resign was defeated by the Newtownabbey branch, but a subsequent meeting of representatives of a number of constituency parties adopted a resolution deploring the party’s failure to pursue ‘socialist ideals’ and blaming this failure for the public rejection of the Labour Party. Some members are demanding a special meeting to discuss the problem and a few are even daring to suggest that the definition of Socialism which they learnt from the World Socialist Party should be accepted by the Labour Party!

Without political vindictiveness, we say that the predicament of the Labour Party brings us no sadness. Indeed, on the contrary, its demise from the political scene would bring us considerable joy. Like its counterparts elsewhere throughout the world, its hope is to improve capitalism; to patch it up with palliatives and win working-class support for the same old rotten product in new political wrapping. But worse: Labour labels the new wrapping ‘Socialism’ and when the stench of the old muck comes through the new wrapping the name on the label is discredited.

Old, failed schemes
To members of the Labour Party we again state the obvious: you cannot have Socialism without socialists and you know as well as we do that your party is not interested in spreading socialist knowledge. It is too busy playing politics with the other parties of capitalism; too preoccupied with all the old, failed schemes of political reform. Only the WSP in Ireland proclaims the case for Socialism and we will certainly welcome you in the struggle for its achievement.
Richard Montague

50 Years Ago: Peace - Competition
 - War (1969)

The 50 Years Ago column from the August 1969 issue of the Socialist Standard

On the day the Press was gushing and frothing over the spectacular peace-signing business (June 30, 1919) the Daily News published an editorial on the matter:
 And is there anyone who looks to Japan and the Far East without large and vague apprehensions? Or Westward across the Atlantic without wondering what the future has in store there and realising, however dimly, that if the United States is compelled to forsake its historic pacifism for militarism it is sea power which will be its capital concern?
The idea of setting up America with her gigantic naval programme as a pacifist nation is truly comical. In the last 25 years America has been at war with Spain, the Phillipines, China and Germany, to say nothing of the murderous slaughter of American working men in the various strikes.

As the Socialist Party has all along pointed out, the wars of civilised countries, since the birth of the capitalist system, have been caused through the struggle between sections of the world’s capitalist class for the trade routes, raw materials, markets and the like. As long as there is commodity production, buying and selling, with the consequent competition among buyers and sellers and the enslavement of the producing class, wars are of the very essence of things. Lasting peace can only arrive when the private ownership of the means of living has been abolished and common ownership has emerged from the ruins.

(From an article by G. McClatchie in the Socialist Standard, August 1919.)

Reading for profit (1969)

Book Review from the August 1969 issue of the Socialist Standard

Literacy and Development in the West by Carlo M. Cipolla Pelican Original, 1969

In this short book the author traces the development of literacy from a state of affairs in which it was “the sacred monopoly of small elites” to that in which it is thought of as being an essential skill of industrial society. He points out that “by 1750 at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, almost 5,000 years had elapsed since the first rudimentary appearance of the art of writing, yet more than 90 per cent of the world’s population had no access to the art” and that “historically it appears that the art of writing is strictly and almost inevitably connected with the condition of urbanisation and commercial intercourse. It is not surprising that by AD 1750 the West was vastly more literate than any other part of the world. In the following 150 years the gap grew larger”. In fact industrial capitalism requires workers able to read, write, and calculate. As industrial processes and social organisation become more complex, so the working class have to be trained to think logically and tackle problems scientifically. This led to a situation where spending on education has grown to match that spent on armaments.

More emphasis is placed on statistics than on social theory relating to literacy and the many tables in the book are a goldmine of information for anyone wanting figures for “Illiteracy by age group; in selected European Countries” or “Illiterate brides per 100 illiterate bridegrooms in selected countries between 1880 and 1900” and so on. It comes down to a study in the growth of literacy with the advance of industrialisation. The author ends on a note of concern about the use to which knowledge is put. “Wherever we teach techniques we ought to teach also the ethical implications of their possible alternative uses and misuses.”

What the author and his fellow workers have yet to learn is that capitalism, which developed modern industry, has a set of priorities that allows no discussion, ethical or otherwise, of alternative uses or misuses of techniques. They will only be used if they are profitable to the minority who own the means of production. So that at present life becomes more and more subject to the anarchy of the profit motive. If it is to become more and more a function of human understanding, then a knowledge of how society organises its affairs is more important than techniques. It would be seen that those techniques that are beneficial to mankind would be used and there could be no misuse. 
Joe Carter

Lights of Other Days. (1920)

Book Review from the April 1920 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Pioneers of Land Reform, with an introduction by M. Beer, author of "A History of British Socialism." London: Bell & Sons, Ltd. Bohn's Popular Library. Social Economic Section.

The above work comprises three essays; the first, "The Real Rights of Man," by Thomas Spence, published in 1793; the second, "An Essay on the Right of Property in Land," by William Ogilvie, 1789; the third: "Agrarian Justice," Thomas Paine, 1795-6.

Messrs Bell are to be complimented on the tasteful manner in which they have presented these three essays to the public interested in social studies. The volume is a handy size, artistically bound, with clear type on a good paper, and is sold at a reasonable price—a combination not often achieved in the publishing world to-day.

The essays themselves are well worth preserving if only because they exhibit the social problem as it appeared to men of intelligence and sincerity before modern Socialism exposed the real nature of capitalism and revealed the futility of reform.

It was natural that men should see injustice in the extensive ownership of land before they observed the same injustice in the ownership of machines, mills, and other instruments of production. On page 6 Spence says : "It is plain that the land or earth, in any country or neighbourhood, with everything in or on the same, or pertaining thereto, belongs at all times to the living inhabitants of the said country or neighbourhood in an equal manner."

In his day capitalist industry had already reached the stage where, through division of labour, there were nearly always more workers on the labour market than were required in manufacture, the result being, as now, competition for jobs, which kept wages low. In addition, however, the assizes had the power to fix wages, so that, even when there was a demand for workers, wages could not rise above subsistence level.

These early fruits of the capitalist system— unemployment, low wages, and a general wretchedness of condition of the working class —were viewed by the "pioneers" from the standpoint of the prevailing notions of private property. Private property in land, or the means of wealth production, had, up till that time, not been questioned or challenged. The scientific age had only just begun. The stage where men analyse and sift the symptoms from the essentials, and discovering the cause of abnormal conditions to be fundamental, prescribe fundamental changes, had not been reached. Science was in its teens, feeling its way toward maturity. And social science was the most backward of all, because men do not begin to investigate the basis of their relations with one another until scientific methods in other spheres have demonstrated the necessity for its application.

Spence and Ogilvie wrote when men still living could remember the later enclosures of land that followed the break-up of the Feudal system. They actually lived in the period often described as that of the industrial revolution— the second half of the eighteenth century— when machine industry had its birth. Thus their ideas naturally reverted to the conditions that had so recently been swept away. They asserted that only by laws which would give to every man the right to occupy land sufficient for his requirements could poverty be abolished. Ogilvie's essay on "The Rights of Property in Land" is an exhaustive and detailed plan for giving every man this privilege. Subsequent history has shown that such a plan would have been futile. large capital outlay is just as necessary in agriculture to-day as in manufacture. The man who can neither buy nor hire machinery is a slave to the soil. The first bad harvest flings him into the grip of the moneylenders; and if he is lucky, after long days of drudgery and nights of anxiety he may be able to -pay the interest and live as well as the artisan.

In most European countries a far greater proportion of the workers have been peasant-proprietors than in England, but it has not saved them from the poverty and wretchedness incidental to capitalism everywhere. The small holder cannot hope to compete with the big capitalists ; their position becomes more precarious and their condition more wretched with every advance in machinery and large-scale production.

Tom Paine and Thomas Spence were something more than "pioneers of land reform." Paine is much better known for his splendid efforts against dogma and superstition. Spence was a leader in all working-class movements of his day against capitalist oppression. ''He took part in all revolutionary movements, and was twice imprisoned, for altogether seventeen months," says Mr. Beer. In their day private ownership of land appeared to be the cause of poverty, because the worker had no means of living except by submitting to the manufacturers' conditions, In our day agriculture is not to be distinguished from any other subject of capitalist enterprise. Every industry has been capitalised, and is under the control of capitalists. The next step is the socialisation of industries and their control by the people.
F. Foan