Thursday, July 11, 2019

Black-Out (1940)

From the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The harassed householder knows too well the difficulty of obtaining a complete black-out; give it but the least excuse, and light will find a way.

The black-out of all thought not directed to “winning the war,” desired by Blimp & Co., falls, fortunately, far below their ideal, considerably below their expectation probably; it is hopeful that the working class generally has not forgotten 1914-18; the reflected light of those years alone helps to defeat the powers of darkness, squawking their hurdy-gurdy slogan, “God and King.”

It is hopeful that an increasing number of people are seeking a formula to justify sending Freddy Smith to well and truly find the bowels of Fritz Schmidt with the end of a bayonet. Priestly insincerities are availing less and less; the ambiguities and sheer contradictions of the alleged “Gospel of Peace” are becoming increasingly apparent.

Where, then, the “Inward Peace,” so plaintively demanded by a Matthew Arnold, a Peace born of Light and begetting Sweetness, a Peace lapped by the gem-like flame of Understanding —not, like the priest's “ Peace of God,” “passing” it.

Socialism alone has the answer. The Key was finally furnished for use by Marx and Engels. And it requires no learned treatises to master the handling of the Key; in fact, its straightness of outline, its very simplicity of form seems to preclude for many the beauty that should make us desire it.

The Socialist's reply to the decent, but be- muddled, religious C.O., to the sincere, the natively humane advocate of fighting Hitler, is: There can be no peace for you, "inward” or otherwise, while social inequality prevails. The fruit is bitter . . . delve for root; in short, look for causes.

Quinine was a potent foe to the effects of malaria—the dire disease can only be finally eliminated by drying up the homes of the malicious mosquito, which carries its own deadly injection needle; examples could be multiplied a hundred times.

Man is a social animal; individuals react to each other and to society generally on codes of conduct that have been created for them by ages of preceding thought and action. Such thought and action has been conditioned by material circumstances in the long run. “Vice” and ”Virtue” have pertinent content only in relation to a practically stable group; to seek “final sanctions” in some Divine Superman is to invite the worst injuries that witch-doctor, priest (and, finally, “ Leader ”) can inflict.

The leading "virtue” of the Arab was hospitality—the inhospitable desert demanded it. On the other hand, it is significant that “Punic faith” and Dutch “slimness” words of reproach separated by a thousand years and more, had a common explanation in the circumstances attached to two highly commercialised nations.

In the face of history, the chase after “eternal verities” in the field of human behaviour (“ethics") is sheer moonshine. The Egyptian priest blessed the union of royal brother and sister in “holy” matrimony—(Luther condoned a flagrant case of bigamy in his time and day); inquisition into the quite unreproved relations of the Ajaxes and Patrocluses of ancient Greece reveal startlingly divergent angles in “ethics" between the high civilisation of one day and those of another.  In short, history shows “vices” and "virtues” playing a rare old game of handy- dandy. Material circumstances pull the strings.

The greatest pull is exercised by economic conditions. Candid enquiry into the personal outlook of General Lee and Abe Lincoln will reveal in the former a charm that the latter was completely lacking in. Lee sincerely believed that slavery was a God-given institution (he really worshipped in the fane of "King Cotton"); Lincoln (who was prepared to condone slavery if the Union could thereby be preserved) was tied hand and foot by the interests of a highly commercialised North. Both appealed to God. It is interesting to recall that the Baptist North was anti-slavery, the Baptist South pro-slavery.

Let it be clearly stated that human effort (including thought) makes big contribution to material circumstances; only the very stupid or the blindly prejudiced will attribute to Socialist philosophy in this matter the nature of a kind of Economic Predestination.

In all ages there have been fine spirits profoundly disturbed by the evils attendant upon the social structure of their time. Jewish lore is full of noble aspirations. St. Augustine's ”City of God,” More's “Utopia” looked wistfully into a wish-fulfilled future of human happiness.

But it was reserved for capitalism to form the solid ground of harsh fact upon which could be based a scientific analysis of society, fraught with instruction as to future action for the utter and complete reconstruction of human relations which Socialism will entail.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain's warnings have been justified. The “Peace-loving” Russia of Communists and Labourites is now running true to ancient Muscovite tradition. Before this appears in The Socialist Standard, Hitler and Stalin may be definitely joining forces.

The S.P.G.B. respects any community that takes its stand against what it genuinely holds to be an abrogation of such personal liberty as may exist; it has no doubts as to the relative limited democracy of Finland and the ferocious tyranny of Stalin-land, but it keeps clearly in mind the fact that, short of Socialism, wars and rumours of war will persist; as a Party, its "advice” to the non-Socialist worker is that he should seek Socialist knowledge, and speed the day when the economic malarial parasites are dried up at the source.
Augustus Snellgrove

The Gods of The Rising Sun (1940)

From the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The general opinion amongst working men is that the present war will soon be over; they look at Germany’s plight in connection with the blockade; they see the increasing power of the Allies and arrive at an optimistic conclusion—“it won’t be long now.”

When one probes deeply, however, there are few signs of a cessation of the conflict, everything points to its extension; it does not need any great powers of observation to perceive that Britain is preparing to fight on two fronts; she is making a greater effort than she ever made at any time previously. Underneath the calm of methodical organisation there are fierce fires raging. Our ruling class know that for them everything is at stake; the die is cast for a struggle that may be long in its duration and terrible while it lasts. 

Men are arriving from the Dominions, others are being trained in parts of the Empire overseas, plans are made, or in course of preparation, for the production of the munitions of war on a gigantic scale, and on every hand those who run may read. We are now at the beginning; the end is nowhere in sight.

The invasion of Finland by Russia may lead to a situation that will cause Stalin to fear the defeat of Germany may have serious repercussions that will spell disaster for the clique who rule the land of the Soviets; already there are movements amongst his tools and agents indicating that these are secretly working for a victory for Hitler. 

Dorothy Thompson, writing in The Times of Victoria, British Columbia, says: 
 "Of all the sublime impudences the greatest is Molotoff's statement that ‘an ideology cannot be destroyed by force.’ If it cannot be, one wonders how Stalin justifies his purges of the old Bolsheviks and of all other ‘deviationists’ inside Russia. One wonders what he has to say about the class struggle.
  “In a speech which is an apology for every  idea advanced by Hitler, including pan-Slavism as the parallel of pan-Germanism—the Russo-Poles are blood brothers—Molotoff denounces the French Government for persecuting French Communists. . . .  No word is spoken regarding the German Communists. . . .  No mention is made of the fact that until this war actually began, and until the German Russian Pact betrayed them, the French Communists had more freedom in France than anybody has in Russia.
  “And when it comes to the persecution of Communists the Soviet Union leads the world. Stalin has murdered more Communists than all ether countries combined, and among them the whole intelligentsia of the original Communist movement.”
She points out that the “protection” offered to the Baltic countries, and this now applies to Finland, is the same protection that Hitler offered Czechoslovakia.
  “The Soviet Union stands exposed before the world as the apologist of Nazism, a fellow-traveller of Nazi policy, and as a betrayer of its supporters throughout the world.”
Miss Thompson points out that Molotoff’s speech might well have been written by Ribbentrop or Hitler. "Had one of them written it not a word would have had to be changed. The Nazi and the Communists may have different imperialist aims. . . . This is only the struggle of two despots for unlimited naked power at the expense of the West.”

This is all very well, but we must never forget the real basis to be found in the strife inherent in the capitalist system; our own ruling class are still merciless exploiters, although Hitler and Stalin may be unscrupulous scoundrels.

The writer above referred to uses striking language. The article concludes: 
  "Treachery, mendacity and cynicism; the rationalisation of cheap opportunism—these are not the means by which the spirit of man will be awakened to the joyful acceptance of new responsibilities.”
She rightly says: 
  "They do not invite to adventure, but to adventurism; not to heroism, but to intrigue. They do not reveal the truth but hide it in the dirty rags of lies.
  "And because of this, whether they win or lose this war, they who have seized revolution as a personal (emphasis mine) weapon, will surely and certainly lose the revolution.
  "The great renewal and renovation which will come, in society, if not in this generation, then certainly in the next, will reject them as racketeers on the revolutionary spirit, as embezzlers and seducers of men’s faith and men’s hopes.”
The scene of operations will, in all probability, soon move eastward, and it is in this quarter of the globe that Russia will play a strong part, and so also will the Nipponese.

Mona Gardner, in her book, "The Menacing Sun," has much to say in this connection.
 "Singapore started out by being a swampy island, with a small fishing village on it. To-day something like 420,000,000 have turned its 220 square miles into one of the most formidable military and naval bases anywhere. More than one military expert has predicted that the history of the world will be decided at Singapore some day. A lot of people are wondering if that day is not getting uncomfortably close, especially when they stop to weigh recent events in China with the pronouncements of Japan's military clique about their inalienable right to dominate Asia."
Singapore is the great pivot about which trade between Asia and Europe revolves.. Referring to the preparations for the defence of the port, Mona Gardner points out: "These grimly expensive events are not gestures. They all mean business. They very definitely and explicitly say that Great Britain is not retiring from Asia. And there seems to be no question in anyone's mind but that this message is intended for Japan. It means that something like (if offices and men’s salaries are included) £50,000,000 have been spent to make this message forceful: to prove that Britain is ready to back up Hong Kong or Australia, and probably—though this is not openly declared—lend a hand to Holland if there is any threat of Japanese occupation of the East Indies."

Peace in Singapore, according to General Dobbie, Commander-in-Chief of the Singapore Defences, "means peace in all Southern Asia—and that includes the thousands of small islands in the eastern Pacific as well. People live in that area who depend upon peace for their livelihood. There are many people in Europe who earn their bread and butter because there is peace out here. . . . Well, we mean to keep that peace. . . . That's what we’ve got the big guns for, and all these planes and troops."

The war in China has caused the Japanese to lose caste in India and in the Straits; sympathy is everywhere felt for the Chinese and as the latter are good propagandists, the sons of Nippon are not likely to be welcomed by the civilian population should their imperialist rulers send them to these areas.

The invasion of Finland by Russia will not be altogether to the advantage of Stalin in the Far East. News travels quickly nowadays, and the agents of pan-Slavism in the Orient are now being viewed with suspicion by many who heretofore have supported them.

Japan, however, is so fixed that she must walk the plank of destiny; capitalism leaves her no choice. The spark that sets off the Eastern conflagration may be the result of friction at Sourabaya.
  “But there is nothing haphazard about the oil tankers that go in and out of Sourabaya’s long harbour, and the other low grey ones which keep up their steady procession in the blue roads beyond the harbour. They are from the wells in Borneo and New Guinea, freighted with a cargo that is vital to Holland’s economic balance. This cargo is also of crucial importance to England and Japan, and may well be the deadly fuse which will set off the firecrackers at Singapore. England doesn’t covet the oil. Trade relations and mutual friendliness with Holland are such that Singapore gets what it wants of this. As additional sources in that area, England has recently opened oil fields in British New Guinea and in Sarawak to draw upon. England’s only worry is whether Dutch possession of its present fields will be threatened, and if it is England will come into the picture with a short explosive sound. Japan’s interest in the fields is regulated by whether or not the United States continues to sell oil to Nippon’s army. If the Neutrality Act, or a modification of it should stop up the pipe-line across the Pacific Japan's most available oil supply will be the East Indies, and it is expected she will send her navy down to get it.”
This is very interesting, but doubly so when taken in conjunction with what appeared in the Victoria Times (British Columbia) of November 17th:—
  Tokio (AP).—Observers expressed belief to-day Japan might use potential friendship with Soviet Russia as a lever for straightening out her problems with Great Britain and the United States.
  This view was offered after a foreign office spokesman had described Japanese-Russian relations as more favourable than ever before for settlement of outstanding questions, such as the issues over Asiatic mainland frontiers and Japanese fishing rights in Soviet waters.
  Another interpretation was that Japan might be seeking assurances of a Russian source for oil and other war materials in the event of an embargo followed the United States' abrogation of her 1911 commerce and amity treaty with Japan.
(The United States announced July 26th the treaty would be terminated six months from that date.)
Ten years ago a Japanese mining company leased several thousand acres of jungle a few miles inland from the Trengganu coast, which it proposed to work as iron ore mines. It has brought good profits. The holdings are centred around deposits which are now estimated to contain 50,000,000 tons of iron ore. This runs 65 per cent. iron and is of excellent quality. It is from this area that Japan imports more than half the iron she uses.

The Japanese also take manganese and tungsten from other nearby holdings in Trengganu.

As a convenience in getting the ore to the coast the Japanese have built a railway twelve miles from the mines down to the nearest harbour of Dungua.

The port of Dungua opens out on the extreme southern stretch of the Gulf of Siam.

Stray bits of evidence build a curious story and seem to turn iron mines into a secret cache for arms and ammunition, which may be intended for some future campaign.

According to English and American men who have been at the mines at one time or another, there are several immense warehouses there piled high with crates and boxes, which are referred to as food supplies. I understand these visitors were a little puzzled trying to account for the kind of food which would be put in the same compact boxes that usually hold a case of ammunition. Nor could they understand the reason tinned salmon should come in the larger and oddly shaped crates which are made to hold 37 mm. guns.

Shipment of food supplies, it seems, have fallen off considerably this last year, and still, somehow, the oddly shaped boxed supplies in the warehouses do not diminish or show any signs of being consumed.

All this tends to show that the great struggle is going to have the Pacific as the major scene of operations. Workers of all colours, red, white, yellow and brown, are about to be intermingled as never before. Let us, amid the spectacular conflict caused by the rivalries and ambitions of the ruling class, not forget our battle-cry, " Workers of all countries, unite."
Charles Lestor

Whither America? (1940)

From the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

In an article, “Whither Britain?", in The Socialist Standard, July, 1939, it was pointed out that the problems confronting the ruling class in Germany are in the last analysis the problems that face the capitalist class of the rest of the world. Facts were given showing that the British State, "instead of being capitalism's sleeping partner, is becoming, as in Germany, the active and directing agent for mobilising industry and dragooning and drilling the population along the lines suitable for its purpose."

Against this form of "Democratic Capitalism," against this capitalism organised on a war-time basis, it is more than ever necessary, as was stressed in the article referred to, for workers to think and act along lines of their own class interests.

The only solution, Socialism, is thrown into higher relief by the more complete identification of capitalism with the capitalist state. Socialism is the only solution worthy of the struggles of the working class. How far the same process that is being revealed to the British workers day by day has gone on in secret in the United States of America, may not be known to the workers either in this country or in the United States themselves.

A magazine, called the "Readers' Digest," August, 1939, contained an article entitled " M  — Day and After," condensed from "The American Legion Magazine," by Cabell Phillips and J. D. Ratcliff, who gave details of the sinister preparations for dragooning of the American workers in time of war under a triumvirate of conscription organisations, the joint Army and Navy selection service administration, the War Resources Board, and the Public Relations Board. If the war is to be labelled for their purpose, " A War against Fascism," the American workers will soon know the enemy, for they will find Fascism, or something like it, firmly entrenched at home.

The following short summary of the aforementioned article may be useful. In the files of a group of men at Washington is an already unwritten law, under which they could conscript ten million men. They are ready for " M — Day " —the day of mobilisation. Sample registration cards for the mobilisation draft are placed in every State capital, ready to go to the printers on a moment's notice. The American worker, intent on living his own life in comradeship with his fellow-workers and neighbours, is unaware of how quickly and profoundly his life will be changed by the laws and propaganda stunts which are already being prepared for him.

Registration for military service is to be fixed for 12 million men between the ages of 21 and 36 to take place on a date to be broadcast by the President during the week following the war. Of these 12 million it is estimated 3 million will be enrolled, and there will be penal provisions in the law governing registration. Questionnaires are already prepared, devised to extract a maximum amount of information. The conscription organisation extends from a central authority of a six-man board downward to every county and hamlet in the United States. Adjutant Generals, normally responsible to the Governor of each State, bridge the gap between the War Department and the States themselves.

Special maps and hosts of men for the local Selections Service Boards are ready for M—Day. Chosen men attend regional conferences each year, to prepare the details for getting civilians quickly into uniforms.

The widespread anti-war feeling among the workers will be countered by the Public Relations Board by means of a nation-wide and intensive storm of patriotic propaganda over the radio, in the Press, and in the movie programme. This will be directed not only to making men unwilling to defy registration and conscription, but also “to make men think that they have a responsibility to put other men into recruiting offices. ”

In the aggregate, according to already prepared “yield” figures, the machinery is geared to produce 330,000 men every 30 days, or 4 million men every 12 months.

Behind these cold figures may be imagined the personal experience of millions of individual American “Democrats,” who will be so carried away by the speed of the mobilisation and the blare of publicity that they will hardly pause to wonder what has happened to their democracy.

This abbreviated summary suggests that there is great similarity between the international bandits who, having robbed their workers of the greater part of the wealth they have produced, expect them to shed their blood to protect their masters' profits.

We are anti-capitalist and pro-working class. War and Fascism, poverty amidst plenty, and other evils too numerous to mention, are the products of capitalism; therefore, capitalism must give place to Socialism, wherein real harmony, peace and concord will reign because, then, each one’s interest will be the same as the others.

Speed the day.
J. E. Roe.

Nazism and Bolshevism: Historical Development Explained (1940)

Party News from the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Conway Hall (Large Hall) was crowded on Friday, December 8th, to hear Comrades S. Goldstein and S. Rubin deal with the above subject.

The interest of the big audience was maintained throughout. This was exceptionally gratifying, in view of the difficult nature of the subject, which necessitated closely reasoned statements from both speakers.

Many questions followed the two speeches and further evidence of the stimulating effect the meeting had upon the audience was the sale of literature to the value of £8.

Comrade Turner’s appeal from the chair brought a collection of nearly £12 and set the seal on a very successful meeting.

Socialists and the War (1940)

Party News from the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

On Sunday, December 17th, Conway Hall was again crowded to hear two rousing speeches from Comrades C. Lestor and R. Robertus on Socialist opposition to the war. The temper of the audience showed itself by the frequent bursts of applause which greeted the many salient points made by both speakers.

During the meeting a Trotskyist was given an opportunity to state his case from the platform for 10 minutes. Comrade R. Robertus replied effectively. The end of the meeting came with many of the numerous written questions on the Chairman's table.

The Chairman, Comrade R. Ambridge, announced that a further meeting would be held on this subject in the same Hall during January, when further opposition and questions would be invited.

Collection amounted to over £12 and literature sales again were high.

Letter: The Socialist Attitude Towards War in General (1940)

Letter to the Editors from the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

A correspondent (J. M. W., Dennistoun, Glasgow) asks the following question:—
  “What is the attitude of the S.P.G.B., to all war, not to the last war or this war, but all war?”
We can say of a particular war that nothing can come out of it for Socialism or democracy, or for the workers, justifying the suffering and other consequences of war, but our correspondent here wants us to go further than that. To do so involves taking into account the nature of modern war and its widespread consequences, and trying to envisage situations that are likely to arise. Our general answer would be that, as we do not hold that the political backwardness of a large part of the population can be removed, or the consequences of that backwardness avoided, by war (including civil war), we cannot envisage circumstances arising which would justify Socialist support for war. To avoid misunderstanding we would add that this does not affect the question of suppressing a possible minority rebellion when Socialists have democratically gained control of the machinery of Government, including the armed forces. As such control will not take place until the great mass of the workers are no longer supporters of capitalism, it follows that any such rebellion could only be that of a small minority.
Ed. Comm.

When Thieves Fall Out (1940)

From the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard
"Captains of industry indeed! I should like to know what ships they navigate! They are stupid fools, who cannot see beyond the wares they peddle! The better one gets to know them, the less one respects them.”—Hitler, quoted by H. Rauschning, "Hitler Speaks” (page 30).

50 Years Ago: On getting with the workers (1976)

The 50 Years Ago column from the March 1976 issue of the Socialist Standard

The continual claim of the Communists and others is that we must be with the great masses of the working class. If the masses want “immediate demands” and reform agitations then we must go with them in this policy. Shout 44 hours and £4 a week or nationalisation of coal mines or any other plank the masses take up. Sometimes this leads to quarrels about which reform should be supported. MacDonald, Mitchell & Co. shout Weir houses whilst the other section wants a different kind of steel house or brick one. Mitchell accuses George Hicks of the Builders of signing a report in favour of the weird houses and Hicks tells Forward readers he is sorry he ever did such a thing. So the reformers, with their crowds of supporters, unite the workers by fighting about the kind of plaster to apply to capitalism.

#    #    #    #

Our work is not to pander to the prejudices of the ignorant but to win the workers’ minds for Socialism, not by agreeing with their unsound ideas but by replacing these wrong notions with sound knowledge.
(From an unsigned article “Party or Mass” in the Socialist Standard, March 1926.)

Capitalism or socialism (1986)

From the February 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

A society is a group of human beings gathered together for the common purpose of survival; in the modem age we can speak of the world as our society because the interdependence of human beings across the globe has made localised survival outdated. Our world society operates in accordance with the capitalist system. A system is a network of relationships to the means of wealth production and distribution. Under the capitalist system most people are either possessors of the means of living (factories, farms, transport, media, offices, mines) or producers of goods and services. These two classes stand in different relationships to the powers of production: the capitalist class owns and controls these powers; the working class does not possess the means of survival. So, society exists for the purpose of humans collectively providing for their needs, but the means of so providing are not owned and controlled by all the people who make up society, but by the capitalist minority. Under capitalism the working class is alienated from the principal social power.

Buying and selling
Under capitalism most of what is produced by people is not for their own personal consumption. but is made to be sold. Goods produced for sale are commodities and under capitalism wealth "presents itself as an immense accumulation of commodities" (Marx, Capital, Vol I. p.l).

A commodity must possess two features. Firstly, it must be of use to someone. There would be no point in producing goods which people do not need, so commodities must possess use value. In order to define the use value of a commodity we appeal to common experience: the use value of a book is that it can be read; the use value of a vest is that it keeps you warm. But commodities are not produced solely for use: if they are to be sold they must possess a second kind of value called exchange value. Obviously, it makes no sense to say that books are of more or less use value than vests; use value is not a measured quantity. When it comes to exchange value we must establish why the book is costlier than the vest or the vest dearer than the book. How is exchange value determined? It is discovered by comparing the one common factor which unites books and vests, and all other commodities: the amount of labour required for their production. The exchange value of a commodity is determined by the amount of human labour expended in its production.

This explanation of how value is determined is known as the labour theory of value. Producing gold, which is hard to find and difficult to extract from the earth, requires more labour than the production of paper. A Ford car embodies less congealed labour than a Rolls Royce. so it has a lower exchange value. Sometimes exchange values change: for example when increased productivity means that the same amount of commodities can be produced by fewer workers (or more commodities by the same number of workers). Most commodities which we use today are not produced in one place, but are the product of a global division of labour. So, in calculating the exchange value of a commodity we must look at the labour input at all stages in the productive process. All workers in the modern world are part of the immense system of commodity production and all labour is socially dominated by the law of value.

We have stated that the labour embodied in its production determines the value of a commodity. This is open to the criticism: "If value is determined by labour, why would it not be more beneficial for producers to be lazy and slow so that the commodities they produce have greater value?" Marx answered this point by stating that we are not talking about labour as a purely individual process, but the labour which is "necessary for . . . production in a given state of society." This is referred to as socially necessary labour time and we can now refine our economic analysis by stating that the value of a commodity is determined by the amount of socially necessary labour required for its production. We must also note that labour time is not simply measured in terms of how long it takes to produce a commodity at the point of production, but also how much time is socially necessary in producing the required quality of labour. For example, it might take more labour to produce a brick wall than it takes to sit in an office and make out people's wills, but the time required to produce the trained labour of the lawyer is greater than that needed to produce a bricklayer's labour.

Stated simply, price is the monetary expression of exchange value. The price of a commodity is the manifestation of its exchange value in the market. Commodities sell at around their value, although the struggle which is constantly going on between buyers and sellers (supply and demand) causes prices to fluctuate around the point of value. Money is the universal symbol of value against which commodities can be compared. In the early days of commodity production one commodity was exchanged for another. As social production has become more complicated commodities have ceased to be measured against the value of other specific commodities. but are measured in terms of money. In itself money is not of any use value: you can't eat a five pound note. Its function is as an accepted measure of value and as an intermediate factor in the process of the exchange of commodities. But commodity exchange is not planned and nor can it be, so capitalism has a tendency to enter a period of crisis whenever it becomes more beneficial for capitalists to store money than to invest it in the production of new commodities.

The legalised robbery of labour
Commodity production existed before capitalism came into being. What is new about capitalism is that human labour power (the mental and physical energies of people) has become a commodity, an item to be sold. Why do workers sell labour power to capitalists? Quite simply, because a worker has no choice: he or she does not own the means of living and the wealth which s/he requires and therefore, in order to buy these commodities, s/he must sell labour power. The working class possesses no property upon which it can survive except its labour power — that is the one commodity which the worker can take to the market and sell. This sale is called employment.

We have already pointed out that the value of a commodity is determined by the socially necessary time required for its production. That also applies to the value of labour power. That is why a doctor is paid more than a butcher. We have also stated that commodity values appear in the market as prices; in the case of labour power the term we use instead of price is wage or salary, but it means the same thing. Workers sell labour power for a price. Like other commodities which generally sell at their value, labour power is sold at a price which fluctuates about its value.

Given that labour power sells at its value, how can we say that workers are exploited? The answer is that labour power is a unique commodity in that, unlike all others, it can be used to create values greater than itself. The capitalist who buys labour power from a worker does so on the assumption that the employee will produce wealth which will provide more value for the capitalist than is represented by the price paid for the labour power. This extra value which workers are employed to create is called surplus value and it is the source of the unearned income of the capitalist. For example, a capitalist who buys a worker s labour power for one week at a price of £200 will not expect the worker to turn up on the Thursday and say "Well. I've reproduced the money which you have invested in me, by producing wealth which you can sell, so now I'm going home". The capitalist does not employ the worker so that the worker can receive a wage, but in order to obtain surplus value. If one capitalist employs hundreds of workers, then once their wages (as low as possible, of course) have been paid and they have reproduced the cost of the resources invested in production, a huge fortune can be accumulated out of the surplus value created by the employees. If there is no expectation of the employees producing an unearned income for the employer because the cost of production will be greater than the fruits of the workers' toil, then the capitalist will dismiss the workers, forcing them into the army of the unemployed. So much for the capitalist lie that employment is a gift from the bosses to the workers! On the contrary, workers are wage slaves and are forced to put their energies on sale to the capitalists to present a gift to the capitalist class in the form of surplus value. The involuntary presentation of surplus value by the producing majority to the parasitical minority is the most extensive charity yet known to society. The capitalists, who have no compulsion to work, live in luxury thanks to the exploitation of the unpaid labour of the workers. For what the capitalist calls a surplus (getting more than is put in) the worker may rightly call stolen time (getting less than he or she puts in).

The wages system necessarily entails the legalised robbery of those who produce by those who possess. The worker receives a wage and the capitalist receives a profit, but the worker has had to work hard and the capitalist has done nothing except take advantage of the fact that the worker is compelled to submit to wage (or salary) slavery. It may appear superficially that the worker is entering into a fair or free contract with the capitalist — that wage labour is not exploited or robbed, but an agent in a mutually beneficial deal — but the reality is that the worker's free choice is between the poverty of making ends meet on a wage or salary or the greater poverty of being a wageless wage slave. As Marx points out.
  The Roman slave was held by fetters; the wage labourer is bound to his owner by invisible threads. The appearance of independence is kept up by means of a constant change of employers, and by the fictio juris of a contract (Capital, Vol 1)
The worker may be free to change employers and be exploited by someone else, but not to reject employment and the compulsion to create surplus value. In this sense we can state that profits are produced as a result of the legalised robbery of the working class.

Production — for profit or use?
Capitalism, as a social system, is defined by the existence of commodity production (the buying and selling of goods and services) and by the fact that labour power takes the form of a commodity. But some countries in the modern world claim to have transcended capitalism and to have established socialism. In the so-called socialist countries is there buying and selling? Of course there is. But why should a socialist society in which everything is owned by everyone require exchange value? Common ownership logically means that nobody in society possesses wealth which non-owners need to buy: there are no commodities, but goods and services produced for use. In the bogus socialist countries the state takes the role of the grand capitalist, attempting to regulate the sale of commodities. In such countries does labour power take the form of a commodity? The most elementary investigation of life in Russia or China or Cuba shows that wage labour is still the lot of the majority of people. We have shown that wages are the price of labour power and that where wages exist the produce of the employee is not his or her own. but is bought by an employer (in this case, the state) whose function is to exploit wage labour. In any society where there is buying and selling, money, wages and profits there is capitalism, however falsely its defenders might wish to label it.

In a socialist society we shall not produce commodities to sell to anyone. What belongs to us all we shall all have free access to, and concepts of price and value will give way to those of need and comfort. In a moneyless society all the wasteful and in efficient factors which make capitalist commerce so difficult for most people to comprehend and impossible for the so-called experts to regulate, will make way for a system of deliberate, democratic organisation of production and distribution of goods and services in which the satisfaction of human needs will be the sole concern of society. In a socialist society we shall no longer be dominated by an imposing and anarchic system; society will become a real community. If we remember that humans organise ourselves into society for the purpose of common survival there can be no doubting the fact that the capitalist system of organising for survival and human comfort is an utter failure from the point of view of the working class. For that reason, the task facing our class is to organise, politically and democratically, for the revolutionary purpose of taking the world away from the robber class — in Marx's words, we must "expropriate the expropriators".
Steve Coleman

Letter: Submission (1986)

Letter to the Editors from the February 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors.

I would like to complain about the article The Waiting Game" in the otherwise excellent December Socialist Standard. It stated that "Religion has always preached submission in one form or another". This is dearly rubbish, as anyone who knows of Islamic "holy jihads" will realise. I would have thought Christ's crucifixion as a "subversive" by the Romans was hardly a likely punishment for submissiveness either.

I have no religious belief myself and was in full agreement with the way established religion was shown to prop up capitalism. However, to allow this analysis to degenerate into a series of insults, albeit witty ones, does nothing to further your cause and is a poor substitute for an objective historical analysis.
C S Hedges 
Milton Keynes

The submission which religion involves does not always take an obvious or simple form. The list of examples of religion being apparently rebellious or aggressive could be added to. There are also, for example, the Latin American priests who have been active in opposing many of the regimes there in recent years.

All religious thought, however, assumes there is an outside force or power which we can never control or even comprehend. It makes human beings the tools rather than the makers of history, and therefore condemns us to a perpetual repetition of the suffering of the past.

The jihads or “holy wars" are as much an example of human submission to authoritarian dogma as were the Christian crusades of the Middle Ages. The Koran, like the Bible, destroys human dignity by commanding servile worship of a non-existent "power". The name "Allah" derives from Al-llah, which means "the one God, the strong, the mighty one" and failure to offer absolute obedience is said to result in everlasting punishment. The Koran justifies the jihad against unbelievers, who often were given the choice of accepting the Moslem religion or death. This doctrine may not be pacifist: but it is certainly submissive in human terms. Religion is at loggerheads with working class emancipation.

As for our treatment of the subject having been somewhat light-hearted, most of the rival religions which are fighting over our non-existent "souls" take themselves quite seriously enough without us fuelling their self-righteousness for them.

50 Years Ago: Population and Poverty (1986)

The 50 Years Ago column from the February 1986 issue of the Socialist Standard

We have long been familiar with the argument that poverty is due to over-population, and that if the workers would only decrease the size of their families they would all be better off. Now we are introduced to the opposite argument, from a catholic, Father Woodlock. In a statement to the Evening Standard (January 15th) he pointed out that a falling population means fewer soldiers to defend the Empire, and that in addition it means greater poverty for the workers.
 Only short-sighted economists fail to notice that fall in the birth rate will not help the condition of the working classes, but accompanied by the noticeably increased longevity of our people, will put a much heavier burden on the workers.
 They will be fewer, but in the future they will have to support a much increased number of aged and unemployable dependants. Propagandists of the spread of the birth-control movement never seem to aver this.
We can agree with Father Woodlock that those who preach birth control as a cure for poverty and unemployment are completely in the wrong, but in rejecting that fallacy Father Woodlock embraces another. It is true that a population containing a large proportion of people unable to work may be at a disadvantage compared with one containing a higher proportion of able-bodied men and women in the prime of life, but we are not living in a system of society in which the problem of wealth production is as simple as that. Under capitalism large numbers of people — the propertied class — are not engaged in wealth production and have no desire or necessity to be so engaged. Consequently the burden resting on the shoulders of the workers is not that of keeping only themselves and their own dependants, but, in addition, of keeping the propertied class in luxury and idleness or non-productive activity. and of keeping all the military and civil hangers-on of the capitalist system. The wealth producers are not engaged in producing for themselves, but of producing wealth for the capitalist class alone to own and control.
(From an editorial Quins, Quads and Poverty, Socialist Standard, February 1936.)

Here and There: Colonel Blimps (1937)

The Here and There column from the February 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

Colonel Blimps
J. B. Firth, reviewing the sixth volume of Mr. Lloyd George's War memoirs in the Daily Telegraph (October 26th, 1936), quotes from Mr. Lloyd George as follows:— 
 In the grand army that fought the World War the ablest brains did not climb to the top of the stairs, and they did not reach a height where politicians could even see them. Seniority and society were the dominant factors in army promotion. Deportment counted a good deal. Brains came a bad fourth.
It is a fitting commentary on the traditional snobbery of our ruling class when engaged in a life and death struggle that promotion depended upon social standing and deportment (!) before brains.

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On Property
“If you should see a flock of pigeons in a field, and if (instead of each picking where and what it liked, taking as much as it wanted and no more) you should see 99 of them gathering all they got in one heap, reserving for themselves nothing but the chaff and refuse, keeping this heap for one, and that the weakest, perhaps the worst, pigeon of the flock, sitting round . . . and devouring and wasting it, and if one pigeon more hardy or hungry than the rest touched a grain of the hoard, all others instantly flying upon it and tearing it to pieces; if you should see this you would see nothing more than what is every day practised and established among men."—From Moral and Political Philosophy, by Archdeacon W. Paley.

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Misleading Housing Statistics
The Housing Act of 1935 lays it down that an excess of 2½ occupants per room to a house constitutes overcrowding—children counting as ½. The Manchester City Council (Manchester Guardian, December 9th) considered this standard too narrow, which is not surprising. They therefore adopted a standard of their own for statistical purposes (for argument’s sake, so to speak). The Manchester standard assumed a house to be overcrowded when it had more than 2½ persons to a bedroom. Even this standard, which allows for a living-room, does not err in being a too-palatial conception for working-class houses. Slight though the difference is in the basis of calculation in the Manchester standard and that of the Housing Act, it was found that under the Manchester standard overcrowding in Manchester was five times greater than under the Housing Act. Even under the Manchester standard nine persons, including three children, could occupy three small bedrooms, providing there was a kitchen or a scullery which could be described as a living-room, and still not be classed as overcrowded. The real housing conditions of the workers are obscured rather than brought out by the figures used as the standard by Government statistics.

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American Contrast
In an article on the depression in America, the Daily Telegraph (January 19th, 1937) New York correspondent estimates unemployment in America as being between 8,000,000 and 9,000,000. He also quotes a statement by a prominent Chicago administrator who believes that there will still be 7,000,000 unemployed in America if the peak production figures of 1929 are reached and a minimum of 4,000,000 unemployed even if the production figures of 1929 are “materially exceeded.” The unemployed are provided for by an inadequate relief system which leaves the unemployed and their many millions of dependants in a state of intense poverty and privation. Despite this, however, things are brightening for the American capitalists. Production is expanding, profits and Stock Exchange prices are rising. “Confidence” is being restored and money is being spent more freely.

And how ?

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The Amusements of the Ruling Class
The Daily Mirror (January 18th, 1937) shows us how by condescendingly giving us a peep at the refined pastimes of our superiors. It gives a report of a party given by Miss Elsa Maxwell “in honour" of Mrs. Laura Corrigan and Mrs. Randolph Hearst at a New York luxury hotel. There were present prominent members of English and American society. The hotel was transformed into a country farmyard: "Squealing pigs, mooing cows, chickens and a donkey wandered over the floor. There were goats, too—but before the party began they were sprayed with scent. A model cow that yielded champagne instead of milk and a well containing frothy beer were two more novelties.” Just another novelty was a large pair of lady's Victorian bloomers which hung across the ballroom. The animals were apparently scented to obliterate smells. The climax of the party was reached when the scented animals were released and chased the “horrified” (scented) ladies. It is just possible that the animals scented a natural and mental affinity.

Another report (Daily Express) tells us that Mrs. Peter Widener gave a party for her 17-year-old daughter. It occupied three floors and 1,500 rooms of a luxury hotel; cost £20,000 and £2,000 for music. The same newspaper announced another party to be given by Mrs. Evelyn Maclean, "owner of the famous Hope diamond." This, however, was to cost a mere £10,000 or thereabouts.

If evidence were needed that the capitalist class do not owe their privileged position to intellectual superiority, that idleness and wealth is often the breeding ground for debauchery, mental stagnation and crass stupidity, then the capitalist Press provides it.

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Magic Words by Roosevelt
  I see millions of families trying to live on incomes so meagre that the pall of family disaster hangs over them day by day.
 We are beginning to abandon our tolerance of abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life.
And here is one comment on that piece of eloquence by the Evening News (January 21st, 1937)
   Probably no inaugural address by a President of the United States has made so great a sensation as that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In Wall Street, the nerve centre of a nation, traders bent over the tape machines scanning the speech as it appeared in instalments.
  What was it that sent stocks sky-rocketing as the President’s words became known? Just this— that first impressions among the men of money in Broadway’s canyon were that the speech consisted solely of high-sounding and harmless generalities.
  In other words, the market soared because Roosevelt said nothing.
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Hero Worship in Russia
The wives of Russian army officers attended a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, at which Stalin was presented with an address from them. It read : —
  Dear and beloved Comrade Stalin, with immense excitement we have come to Moscow to gaze upon our well-beloved friend, teacher and leader. . . .
 We come to you carrying in our hearts the fullest and warmest gratitude any human heart can contain, for your tender care of us, for the life which now so brightly blooms on Soviet soil. . . .
  Wherever we may be—on the Pacific Ocean, in the frozen North, on the sands of Central Asia, on our Western frontier—everywhere we feel the majestic breath of your Government, the powerful rhythm and the never-equalled genius of your leadership.—(Daily Telegraph, December 22nd, 1936.)
The adoration in that address resembles a prayer to a deity. The imagination staggers at the thought of the extent to which the teachings of Marx have been emasculated by the Russians to permit of religious fervour of this kind side by side with the claim that they are Marxians.

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Workers’ Conditions in India
According to the Daily Telegraph (December 22nd, 1936), 208 workers were killed in a mining disaster at the Poidih Colliery, Bengal, on December 18th, 1936. Among the victims were 63 women. The disaster was reported without dramatic headlines, appeals for funds, or unctuous leading articles deploring the employment of women in mines. As it happened in India, the disaster aroused no exceptional interest. Industrial development in India is a century behind England. Its growth will result in the development of the working class and struggles for a better standard of living. Meanwhile, the conditions of the Indian workers are characteristic of those of the English workers in the days of early capitalism here: long hours, low wages, and the vicious exploitation of women and children. The Daily Telegraph gave a strong hint that the regulations governing the employment of women in the Indian mines had callously been ignored by the employers. One is reminded of the English capitalists of the early nineteenth century, who, under the pretence of apprenticeship, bought workhouse children for exploitation in the factories.

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Costly Peace
The Daily Telegraph (January 6th) quotes from a report issued by the German Institute for Business Research, which gives the figures spent on armaments by the various capitalist countries to-day in comparison to 1914.
The figures are : —
1913: £833,000,000.
1928/9:    £1,250,000,000.
1936 : £2,500,000,000 to £2,900,000,000.
Another comparison is given: In 1913 the outlay for armaments accounted for 4 per cent. of the world’s net industrial production. In 1936 the figure was at least 11 per cent.

The more armament production grows the louder is the protest that it is for the maintenance of “peace.” Whether war is averted or not, the constant increasing use of their surplus wealth in production of armaments, which bring no return, is likely to create more problems for the capitalist class in future.

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Purpose of Kingship
Writing in the Evening Standard (December 28th, 1936), Mr. Winston Churchill, commenting on the recent abdication, and Mr. Baldwin’s handling of it, says:—
  It is now clearly his duty, whatever his inclination, to watch over the inauguration of the new reign and the Coronation of a King and Queen, upon whose success British hopes are centred, and British fortunes in no small measure depend. (Italics ours.)
There it is. British fortunes are the measure of the British capitalists’ interest in the Crown. “For King and Country” is obviously a much better slogan than “For Capitalists’ Markets and Profits,” when gullible wage-slaves need persuading to give their lives in their masters’ interests. So also do the capitalists use the Crown as a soporific in all parts of the earth where they require obedience and fear in their wage-slaves.

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Poverty and Profits
The following quotation is taken from The Times' Literary Supplement (November 28th, 1936), who quote it in reviewing “A Short History of the Future,” by J. Langdon Davies
  Natural causes have again improved the wheat position, when schemes for the artificial raising of prices failed. In 1934 the drought in the United States assisted producers to obtain more remunerative prices, and in 1935 adverse weather conditions in Argentina resulted in a further improvement in the world wheat situation.
The statement originally appeared in The Times’ Annual Financial and Commercial Review for February 11th, 1936. The reviewer in the Supplement takes Mr. Davies to task for reproducing it several times in his book as an ironic comment upon capitalism. He himself sees no contradiction in the fact that scarcity is considered an “improvement” by capitalist economists—and that in a world where millions are in need.

It's a mad world.

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Fascist Bread and Circuses
There is food shortage in Germany. In order to discourage the German people from buying certain foods, shopkeepers have been ordered, under penalty, not to display cooking fats and other foods. According to The Times (December 22nd, 1936), “three million poor children were entertained by the National Socialists at Christmas parties throughout the Reich.” They were given presents (doubtless having propaganda value) and an address on the joys of Nazism by Dr. Goebbeb, who represented Hitler to be some kind of semi-divinity.

In Italy, developments follow similar lines. In order that the poor can attend the theatre and enjoy operas, plays and musical comedies, “Theatrical Saturdays” are to be inaugurated throughout Italy (Times, January 5th, 1937). The prices of admission will be from 1½d. to 6d. Ten per cent. of the total number of seats are to be distributed free by the relief committees to those who cannot afford even 1½d.

Just a few examples of Fascist window-dressing to offset the intense poverty of German and Italian workers.
Harry Waite

Our Parliamentary Fund (1937)

Party News from the February 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard

Our Parliamentary Fund is growing but it is not growing fast enough. The Party has decided to contest the East Ham North constituency at the next general election and a candidate has now been appointed. It is essential that our Socialist message should be spread as widely as possible in the constituency and the Party is determined to spare no effort in a propaganda push.

In order to make the most of the opportunity we sadly need finance. We want to hire halls and publish Socialist literature, and for this a good deal of money is required.

After all the Party is composed of working men and women and we put our hands as deeply into our pockets as we are able, but the depths of our pockets are not great. We therefore urge all who are in sympathy with our principles and our policy to spare what they can for our Parliamentary Fund so that our candidate can go to the poll with the knowledge that all those in the particular constituency understand who we are and for what we stand.

There has never yet been a candidate for Parliament in this country representative of nothing but Socialism. Surely it is worth while sparing a little cash to get the best result from the opportunity now offered.

What is Patriotism? (1937)

From the February 1937 issue of the Socialist Standard
(Reprinted from "The Socialist Standard," December 1915)
The answer depends largely upon the point of view. From one standpoint patriotism appears as the actual religion of the modern State. From another it is the decadence and perversion of a noble and deep-rooted impulse of loyalty to the social unit, acquired by mankind during the earliest stages of social life. From yet another viewpoint, that of capitalist interests, patriotism is nothing more or less than a convenient and potent instrument of domination.

Its Origin
The word itself, both etymologically and historically, has its root in paternity. In tribal days the feeling of social solidarity, which has now become debased into patriotism, was completely bound up with the religion of ancestor worship. In tribal religion, as in the tribe itself, all were united by ties of blood. The gods and their rights and ceremonies were exclusive to the tribesmen. All strangers were rigidly debarred from worship. The gods themselves were usually dead warriors. Every war was a holy war. Among the ancient Israelites, for instance, the holy Ark of Jehovah of Hosts accompanied the tribes to battle. It was this abode or movable tomb of the ancestral deity that went with the Jews in their march through the desert, and even to Jericho, playing an important part in the fall of that remarkable city. All the traditions of the Jewish religion, in fact, were identified with great national triumphs.

A Bond of Union
Thus tribal religion was completely interwoven with tribal aspirations and integrity. Tribal “patriotism" and religion were identical. Indeed, without the strongest possible social bond, without a kind of “patriotism" that implied the unhesitating self-sacrifice of the individual for the communal existence, it would have been utterly impossible for tribal man to have won through to civilisation. Natural selection insured that only those social groups which developed this supreme instinct of mutual aid could survive; the rest were crushed out in the struggle for existence. Is it a matter for wonder if it be found that such a magnificent social impulse, so vital to the struggling groups of tribal man, received periodical consecration in the willing human sacrifices so common in primitive religious ceremonial? Bound up with the deliberate manufacture of gods for the protection of the tribe and its works, there is indicated a social recognition of the need for, and value of, the sacrifice of the individual for the common weal.

A Bond of Another Kind
This noble impulse of social solidarity is the common inheritance of all mankind. But being a powerful social force it has lent itself to exploitation. Therefore, with the development of class rule this great impulse is made subordinate to the class interests of the rulers. It becomes debased and perverted to definite anti-social ends. As soon as the people become a slave class “the land of their fathers” is theirs no more. Patriotism to them becomes a fraudulent thing. The “country” is that of their masters alone. Nevertheless, the instinct of loyalty to the community is too deep-seated to be eradicated so easily, and it becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of the rulers against the people themselves.

Patriotism and Religion Part Company
With the decay of society based on kinship, religion changed also, and from being tribal and exclusive it became universal and propagandist. “Patriotism” at the same time began to distinguish itself from religion. The instinctive tribal loyalty became transformed, by the aid of religion and the fiction of kinship, into political loyalty. In a number of instances in political society, as in Tudor England, the struggle for priority between religion and patriotism became so acute as to help in the introduction of a more subservient form of religion. Thus patriotism became emancipated from religion, and the latter became a mere accessory to patriotism as handmaiden of class rule.

Patriotism Always Obliges
Though universal religion did not split up at the same time as the great empire that gave it birth, patriotism did so. The latter has, in fact, always adapted, enlarged, or contracted itself to fit the existing political unit, whether feudal estate, village, township, county, kingdom, republic or empire. No political form has been too absurd for it to fill with its loyalty. No discordance of race, colour or language has been universally effective against it.

What, then, is patriotism in essence to-day? It is usually defined as being devotion to the land of our fathers. But which is the land of our fathers? Our fathers came from many different parts of the world. The political division of the world in which we live is an artificial entity. The land has been wrested from other races. The nation they call “ours” is the result of a conquest over original inhabitants, and over ourselves, by successive ruling classes. Unlike the free tribesmen we are hirelings; we possess no country.

The One Common Bond To-day
Nationality, of which patriotism is the superstition, covers no real entity other than that of a common oppression, a unified government. It does not comprise any unity of race, for in no nation is there one pure race, or anything like it. It does not cover a unity of language, for scarcely a nation exists in which several distinct languages are not indigenous. Nor is it any fixity of territory, for this changes from decade to decade, while the inhabitants of the transferred territory have to transfer their allegiance, their patriotism, to the new nation.

The only universal bond of nationality or patriotism that exists for us to-day is, then, that of subjection to a single government. Patriotism in the worker is pride in the common yoke imposed by a politically unified ruling class. Yet it is this artificial entity that we are called upon to honour before life itself. This badge of political servitude is called an object worthy of supreme sacrifice. The workers are expected to abandon all vital interests and sacrifice all they hold dear for the preservation of an artificial nationality that is little more than a manufactured unit of discord: a mere focus of economic and political strife.

Ignoble Exploitation
Thus one of the noblest fruits of man’s social evolution—the impulse of sacrifice for the social existence—is being prostituted by the capitalist class to maintain a system of exploitation, to obtain a commercial supremacy, and preserve or extend the boundaries of a superfluous political entity. The workers are duped by the ruling class into sacrificing themselves for the preservation of a politico-economic yoke of a particular form and colour. Many so-called Socialists have fallen headlong into this trap.

Had social solidarity developed in equal measure with the broadening of men’s real interests, it would now be universal in character instead of national. The wholesale mixture of races, and the economic interdependence of the whole world, show that nationalism is now a barrier, and patriotism, as we know it, a curse. Only the whole world can now be rightly called the land of our fathers. Only in the service of the people of the whole world, and not against those of any part of it, can the instinct of social service find its highest and complete expression. The great Socialist has pointed the way. He did not call upon the workers of Germany alone to unite. He appealed to the toilers of the whole world to join hands; to a whole world of labour whose only loss could be its parti-coloured chains. And in this alone lies the consummation of that tribal instinct of social solidarity of which patriotism is the perverted descendant.

Capitalism the Barrier
Capitalism, therefore, stands as the barrier the destruction of which will not only set free the productive forces of society for the good of all, but will also liberate human solidarity and brotherhood from the narrow confines of nationality and patriotism. Only victorious labour can make true the simple but pregnant statement: “Mankind are my brethren, the world is my country.” Patriotism and nationalism as we know them will then be remembered only as artificial restrictions of men’s sympathy and mutual help; as obstacles to the expansion of the human mind; as impediments to the needful and helpful development of human unity and co-operation; as bonds that bound men to slavery; as incentives that set brothers at each other's throats.

Despite its shameless perversion by a robber class the great impulse to human solidarity is by no means dead. Economic factors give it an ever firmer basis, and in the Socialist movement it develops apace. Even the hellish system of individualism, with its doctrine of every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, has been unable to kill it. And in the great class struggle of the workers against the drones, of the socially useful against the socially pernicious, in this last great struggle for the liberation of humanity from; wage-slavery, the great principle of human solidarity, based upon the necessities of to-day and impelled by the deep-seated instincts of the race, will come to full fruition and win its supreme historical battle.

A Vile Use of a Noble Sentiment
That is our hope and aspiration. For the present, however, we are surrounded by the horrors of war added to the horrors of exploitation, and subjected to the operation of open repression as well as to the arts of hypocrisy and fraud. With the weakening power of religion to keep the workers obedient, the false cult of nationality and patriotism is being exploited to the full. Like religion, patriotism has its vestments, its ceremonies, its sacred emblems, its sacred hymns and inspired music; all of which are called in aid of the class interests of our masters, and utilised desperately to lure millions to the shambles for their benefit. Thus is an heroic and glorious social impulse perverted and debased to the support of a régime of wage-slavery, and to the furtherance of the damnable policy of the slave-holding class: to divide and rule.
F. C. Watts