Sunday, April 26, 2020

Jottings. (1921)

The Jottings Column from the March 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

Commenting on the ridiculous demands of the French and British plunderers in connection with the reparation clauses the "Hamburger Volkzeitung" (31.1.21) says: "Let those pay who can. Let the conscienceless bourgeoisie of all countries settle their accounts between them. It is their concern that is going bankrupt. The workers can renounce the inheritance. Their account is on another page." Very nicely put and very true. We have been saying this for years.

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Mr. Gilbert Frankau, a person addicted to writing novels, is, despite his name, a British patriot 100 per cent. pure. So much so that he gets quite frantic about it. Loving his country as he claims to do, he is bound to see a menace in almost everything. Writing week after week in the "Sunday Herald," he has covered almost every phase of human activity, and sees in each and every one a menace to the British Empire. But writing on politics and economics is not like writing novels Even his colleague, Robert Blatchford, has had to remonstrate with him as to the accuracy of his statements. But apparently he is not particular as to his facts so long as space is accorded him in which to let himself go. Of course he had to lash himself into a fury when dealing with Karl Marx and Lenin (who, for some strange reason, he couples together), but his knowledge of both must be very scanty indeed if what he has told the "Sunday Herald" readers is all that he knows. In the issue for Feb. 6th he deliberately states that Marx was a lunatic and that he died in a lunatic asylum. This absurd lie Marxists can, of course, afford to laugh at as emanating from an ignoramus, but for the fact that a great portion of the working class bases its whole philosophy of life on the contents of the Sunday papers. This being so, it often falls to the Socialist to correct the erroneous views disseminated by such papers. Karl Marx is accredited, even by capitalist historians, with having written a masterly analysis of capitalist society in which he laid bare the whole system by which the workers are robbed and kept in subjection. It is admitted that "Das Kapital" had the influence that Darwin's "Origin of Species" had, and this from a lunatic ! It is a scientific study of industrial conditions, and from these investigations the theory is maintained that materialist conceptions have guided the history of man. The theory of surplus value is also deduced, that the workers' wages tend to fall to the minimum of subsistence and that all profits, etc., are part of the value the worker has produced but hasn't got—are, in fact, surplus value.

Karl Marx died in 1883, at 8 Maitland Park Road, London, in full possession of his faculties, though he died in broken health, probably accentuated by the death of his wife, whom he loved dearly. Like others of his kind, he was persecuted to his dying day by the Frankaus of his time. But it says much for his teaching when, nearly forty years later, people can work themselves into a fury simply because what he taught has been verified over and over again.

"When the tool arose the tool-less men became the slaves of those who owned the tools." That was stated by Marx, and was never more applicable than at the present day in this glorious new England of ours—or rather, Frankau's—where men and women who fought and worked that the British Empire might be extended to accommodate a lot of gluttonous robbers, are waiting day after day in long queues for a dole of bread and soup from their masters who own the tools, and upon whose permission they must wait before they can use them. If these lines should be read by any of Frankau's readers they may perhaps stimulate them into enquiring a little further into the writings of Marx, when they will easily be able to distinguish which is the lunatic—Marx or Frankau.

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The impression that Liberalism and Labour possess identical aims seems to be a pretty general one. During the anxious times of a bye-election when Coalition meets Liberal there is a dread on the part of Labour that Coalition might win. If the candidate opposing the Coalition happens to be Labour similarly Liberals are agitated lest their favourite be beaten. Sir Hamar Greenwood couples Liberals and Labour in his denunciation of those who would besmirch "the fair name of England." Greenwood's opponent, Joseph Devlin, appeals to Liberals and Labour to arrive at some modus vivendi to clear the "fair name of England." Mr. George Lansbury, the spotless champion of the British proletariat, likewise appeals to Liberals and Labour to combine. "Let us all— Liberals as well as Labour men and women— work together to throw out this Government which is a disgrace not only to England (that fair name of England, how useful everybody finds the gag!) but to the world " (Albert Hall. 15.2.21). Finally an examination of the new economic and industrial policy issued recently by the Executive of the National Liberal Federation discloses hardly any point of difference from the policy of the Labour Party. Indeed, the "Manchester Guardian" claims that "the new Liberalism has stolen not a little of the Labour thunder, and has even taken some hints from the Guild Socialist" (28.1.21). Thus all bourgeois-loving Labourites can—and no doubt will—give the new Liberalism their full acquiescence and support without in any way endangering their status.

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We have been repeatedly told by those who profess to be our leaders in matters industrial and political, that we, the workers, and constituting the largest portion of the community, bear the largest share of the burden of taxation. If this be true, then obviously any reduction or relief in taxation should redound to our benefit. When Mr. Will Thorne asked the Minister of Transport who would reap the advantage of a reduction in railwayman's wages consequent on the fall in food prices Sir Eric Geddes answered the taxpayer would. He meant by this that the increases of wages to railwaymen—and presumably those of other industries where "control" has been exercised—have been borne by the taxpayers, and that therefore any reduction should revert to them. If we, as workers, are also taxpayers, we should expect to find the sum total of all these reductions, or nearly all of it, spread out over the whole of the working class. What I want to know is, if a reduction in wages is going to find its way back into our pockets, will any Labour leader now come forward and discourage any resistance on our part to wage reductions ?

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Even if the worker be not sanguine that he will experience a return of the suppressed portion of his wages indirectly there are yet many who believe that there is some justification for the complaint of the master class that high wages are responsible for high prices. At any rate the bluff appears to have done its work. At Roubaix and Tourcoing in France, where the same gag was tried, the workers in all the mills, including those whose wages were not immediately threatened, decided to cease work as a mark of their resistance to any reduction. If any protest is offered in this country the plan seems to be to stop the job for a week or two on some pretext or other, and then in the interval put up a notice inviting those who are prepared to start back at a reduced rate to give their names in. The real facts, of course, are that owing to the vast numbers of workers looking for jobs and the prospect of destitution staring them in the face, they are compelled to accept. Apart from the quick realisation of profits there is nothing more desirable to the master class than to have a decent-sized army of unemployed always on hand. This it is that tends to keep wages low.

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All the same, it is rather pathetic to find some workers anticipating the wishes of their boss and asking for a reduction ! It marks a very low stage indeed in the development of knowledge of the factors governing industry. One such case has been extensively advertised in the Press recently, presumably to encourage others in a like course. It occurred at a mill in Manchester, and the method of approach was something like this: "Your employers have decided to approach you with the suggestion that our wages be reduced by 10 per cent. We hope that this offer will be accepted, as it is felt that the present high cost of living exists primarily owing to the very high cost of production." Needless to say, their hopes were quickly realised, along with the satisfaction of knowing that a strike was not necessary in order to enforce their demands.

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Enforced leisure, as a rule, is not exactly pleasant to think about when applied to the case of the worker. But I often wonder if a thought is given any time to the way in which our "betters" spend their leisure time. Do they (the workers) ever read the reports of "our special correspondent in the Riviera," who appears to be having a posh time recording the doings and the latest fashions in vogue among the wealthy Britishers out there? Just now Nice, Monte Carlo. Mentone, and the other places are simply packed with people who have gone to escape the rigours of the English climate. Back here at home those who look after interests are busy trying to dope us with the tale that unless wages are reduced they will have to shut down because they simply cannot carry on!

Judging from the reports, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of money on the Riviera ; and all this, mind you, represents profits wrung out of the toil of the workers. Other things remaining equal, any increase of wages must come out of their profits. Consequently if they can get the workers to accept less wages, they will have more profits to spend in the Riviera and elsewhere. Whilst the workers here are walking the shoes off their feet looking for jobs and wondering how their children are going to be clothed, or even where the next meal is coming from, these parasites are promenading in straw hats or minx coats, or magnificent sables costing a thousand pounds apiece. One lady appeared at a ball in a dress made up of feathers of humming-birds obtained at "stupendous expense."

Think of this, you ex-warriors, when next you or your wife take up your position in the queue waiting for your dole of bread.

The latest report says that black is de rigueur—which means no class—probably because it is a colour affected mostly by the working class —when they can get it. They need it most. What are described as "wonderful" silk stockings at £4 a pair are very fashionable. It is wonderful—why it is allowed to go on.
Tom Sala

Bread Cast Upon The Waters. (1921)

From the March 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the midst of the terrible want, disease, and stark misery that the workers of to-day are getting inured to, that they are generally acquiescent in as being a condition of things utterly inseparable from the existence of their class, it is interesting to notice how much money is being spent on various forms of education, and by whom it is spent.

For some time past, prominence has been given in the columns of the "Daily Telegraph" to an appeal for funds, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, to effect general improvement in the organisation of the Boy Scout movement.

A casual glance down the lists of subscribers of sums of £5 and over, as published in the "Daily Telegraph" of Feb. 5th and 7th (to take two days at random) will reveal the fact that roughly three out of every four subscribers are large business firms.

Now this is rather startling, for it is a rare thing to find these "captains of industry" falling over each other to give money away, but astonishment evaporates when the inevitable reason for this "generosity" is disclosed.

Investigation shows that the various sums donated to this movement are, briefly, investments. They are expected to yield a profit.

No doubt a good many people would wonder how on earth a subscription to the Boy Scout movement can be called a profitable investment for these capitalists, but the words of the investors themselves, in fact the words of the Chief Scout, Baden-Powell, himself, will remove any doubts on that score.

Appealing for funds at a large gathering of business men at Manchester, "B.P." said: "We will find from experience that the boys who cultivate the ideas and habits of the Boy Scouts prove more useful to employers of labour." — ("Manchester Guardian," 1.7.14.)—A cogent and potent reason, which resulted in substantial subscriptions from those interested in increasing the "usefulness" of future workers.

To-day, nearly seven years after the meeting and speech referred to, we find the "educating" of embryonic workers through the medium of the Boy Scouts has proved so valuable to employers of labour that they "part up" with subscriptions with an alacrity positively staggering to those unacquainted with the reason for such "free-hearted" stunts.

Another kind-hearted man by the name of "The Lord Dewar" (what a smell of whisky !) delivers himself of this :
  Sir,—I have pleasure in enclosing cheque for £1,000 towards what I consider a national cause of first importance, believing, as I do, that the Boy Scout movement is a sure foundation upon which to build the best ideals of citizenship, and the best medium to inculcate into the minds of the rising generation courtesy, discipline, courage, and resource. The results of this movement will be of inestimable benefit to the British Empire in future generations.—("Daily Telegraph," 5.2.21.)
This is a letter which reads at first sight as though £1,000 was a very casual and common gift, but which is pregnant with meaning to those who care to find it.

The "best ideals of citizenship" from the point of view of this purveyor of lunatic broth combine in the worker a keen intelligence in making the wheels of production run smoothly and prolifically, an unquestioning acceptance of dire poverty when further production is stopped by the master class because it does not pay, and a deadly dull and apathetic lack of understanding of the worker's true position in society.

That Lord Dewar thoroughly appreciates the benefits that he and his class enjoy as a result of cheerful endurance and unquestioning obedience to authority on the part of the workers is shown by the magnitude of his "gift."

There is every reason to believe that the brutal plainness of expression contained in the following extract from a letter is the cause of the writer's desire to remain anonymous under the horribly suggestive and admissive pen-name of "Lone Wolf," who writes thus :
  There is only one class in the scout movement, the best. That is what makes it so enormously superior in its results to trade unions and middle-class unions and leagues of nations. And the underlying secret? It is, I honestly believe, practically the only great movement of the present time which has realised the practical necessity of subordinating the personal interests of its members to the needs of the community. . . Most people who do not want other people taught to think for themselves have some very good reason for it,—that it is easier to prey upon ignorance, for instance."—("Daily Telegraph," 5.2.21. Italics mine.)
Well, we know who the "community" is. Lliar George did his best to teach us at the times when the railwaymen and miners, besides several other combinations of workers, were doing their best to maintain the already poor standard they "enjoyed" by means of strikes. It was dinned into our ears incessantly that these men were fighting the "community."

Apparently this bare-fanged "Wolf" is one of the "community" and is desirous of having the thoughts of the rising generation trained in the way he indicates.

And yet we find that, through some tortuous and peculiarly kinked up process of "reasoning," the vast majority of workers fully believe that they are members of the "community" that the Welsh twister speaks of so glibly. The Georgian community is composed of people who matter in the present system of society, and the worker of to day who thinks that that includes him is indulging in a pretty but suicidal conceit.

Those capitalists who have not previously taken a long enough view of the enormous power that can be wielded through the Boy Scout organisation, in the manufacture of complaisant wage-slaves are shown where their interests lie in the following extract from an article published in the "Daily Telegraph" as part of the appeal for funds :
  No expression of approval is more welcome to those at the head of the Boy Scout movement than that which comes from business men (28.1.21).
Mr. Wilde, headmaster, Blakely Municipal School, Manchester—a gentleman not prone to making wild statements, writes, concerning the average Boy Scout:
  He subordinates his own desires to a sense of honour and of loyalty and obligation to authority. He perseveres, and does not slack off. . . Surely a movement that is worth developing (38.1.21).
Which is a strong recommendation—from the point of view of any exploiter of labour!

What a game !

In these days the close observer sees that no movement that is in the interest of the workers generally gets a free advertisement in the columns of the Press like this Boy Scout business does. It is not to be expected that the owners and controllers of the profit-seeking (yet "free") Press will allow any thing to appear in their columns that is in any way detrimental to the interests of themselves as a class. That things do happen, too great to be ignored, yet against the interest of the capitalist class, is true.

Then subtlety gets full play, sometimes taking the form of bare-faced distortion of truth, sometimes "damning with faint praise," again deliberately suppressing vital facts, and in ways scarcely discernible, the capitalist class guard their own interests all the time, even making their position stronger by spreading plausible misconceptions which ultimately take the aspect of absolute truth.

A worker who used his intelligence on his own behalf and has become class-conscious, that is, realises that the interests of the workers and the interests of the masters, or capitalists, are diametrically opposed, smells a rat as soon as ever he sees a thing boosted in the Press as this Boy Scout movement has been, and a short search soon discloses the object of the boost.

Penny-a-liners, journalistic place-hunters, religious and lunatic sufferers from "scribearrhoea," soon have the grim features of their works laid bare by the worker of normal mind who has used his intelligence in discovering his own true position in the present terribly cruel system of society.

Then does the Boy Scout movement, shorn of all its ribbons, badges, and sentimental trappings, stand out in its true light as a highly developed organisation for the production of wage slaves whose minds will have been moulded to such a degree of complaisant obedience to authority that the woes suffered by the capitalists of to-day (as a result of the workers trying to think for themselves in even the vague, groping, inadequate way that they do) will be entirely eliminated from their scheme of things, and labour troubles will be practically unknown.

We, as Socialists, know to our bitter chagrin what a hard task it is to dislodge ideas that have been grafted into people during their earlier years, and to day we are face to face with a most successful effort to still further influence the minds of the young against their true interests, a fact hidden from the children and their parents with unscrupulous subtlety.

The prosecution of the Boy Scout movement has in view the cultivation of all the "virtues" in the minds of the boys, but never a word is breathed to them about the abominable evil of a system that ensures the whole of their future being insecure until death.

Forward! (1921)

Editorial from the March 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are on the threshold of a new propaganda season. It has been a remarkable winter, with weather conditions that have permitted us to employ our scanty forces to the full in outdoor effort, and much valuable work has been accomplished ; but after all, winter is winter, and it is not only those of heroic minds and hardy constitutions that we have to deliver our message to. Hence with the coming of the season of longer days and warmer suns there is a quickening of life in field of Socialist endeavour, as in most other directions.

The opening season is likely to be one of exceptional importance. It is the first season in which the adverse economic backwash of a stupendous war comes flooding in upon the workers of this country. We have had bad years before and in plenty, but there is this factor about the present period of depression. It follows on years of terrible suffering from the ravages of war, and eloquently belies all the capitalist promises and assurances. Those who have suffered so much to make "a land fit for heroes to live in" will have the real meaning of such phrases borne in upon them with ample force, and will have to ask themselves who the world really belongs to.

In addition, the capitalist have now obtained just those conditions which are necessary to enable them to beat down wages—a clamouring unemployed army—and the next few months will undoubtedly see gigantic struggles over wage and hours issues. Let us strive to take full advantage of the opportunities thus offered.

"The Case for Capitalism." (1921)

Book Review from the March 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

'The Case for Capitalism' by Hartley Withers (Eveleigh Nash company)

Socialists have been searching for years for a representative statement of the case for Capitalism, and at last it turns up. It is a champion mix-up of truth and error, misrepresentation, and all-round confusion.

To quote the items of interest to us in the book would mean practically repeating the whole work, however, we will deal with a few of the most important passages.

The parts which contain the truth are mere sentiment, and even then are condemnatory of Capitalism rather than favourable to it. Thus on p. 16 Mr. Withers tells us that "the test of an economic system is its success in providing us with a good world to live in "—a piece of daring whose very impudence, in view of the sort of world capitalism has provided for most of us since August 1914, compels admiration.

We are told on pp. 13-15 that under capitalism each one
  can choose what work he will try to do and what employer he will try to serve; if he does not like his job or his employer he can leave it or him and try to get another. He cannot earn unless he can do work that somebody wants to buy, and so he competes with all other workers in producing goods or services that others want or will pay for. . . Whatever money he earns in return for his labour he can spend as he chooses. . . . Whatever money he earns by labour or investment he can, after paying such taxes on it as the State demands, hand on to any heirs whom he may name. . . It is thus very stimulating and bracing, and might be expected to bring out the best effort of the individual to do good work that will be well paid so that he and his may prosper and multiply. IF ONLY EVERY ONE HAD A FAIR START and began life with an equal chance of turning his industry and powers to good account, it would be difficult to devise a scheme of economic life more likely to produce great results from human nature as it now is ; by stimulating its efforts for gain and rivalry to a great output of goods and services and by sharpening its faculties, not only for exercise in this purely material use, but also for solving the bigger problems of life and human intercourse that lie behind it.
Here we have a crushing indictment of Capitalism, mixed with a gross misrepresentation of the facts. True, the worker can leave his job— much more easily, generally, than he can retain it. True, he can leave one employer—much more easily, as a rule, than he can find another. True, he cannot earn unless he can do work that someone wants to buy—a million starving unemployed bear witness to the truth of this statement. And just as the worker can leave his job if he don't mind being out of work, and can leave one master if he cares to take his chance of getting another, so he can spend whatever he earns in whatever way he chooses (within the limits of the law, of course). He needn't buy food with it if he don't mind being hungry ; he needn't buy clothes with it if he can go naked and unashamed ; he needn't keep his wife and kids with it if he hasn't any. Oh, there is a wonderful foundation of truth in much that our author writes, but it is travesty all the same.

Mr. Withers says on p. 51 :
  Labour is frequently used in different senses . . Adam Smith apparently used it as covering all the activities of mind and body required for production. In this sense it covers, of course, the work of the unskilled labourer, and the organising capacity of the manager.
Well, what about it ? Adam Smith's definition is the true one, because it is the only scientific one. As a matter of fact Socialists have always stressed the fact that the labourer, "skilled" or "unskilled," the office boy, and the manager, are all members of the working class, that is to say, wage slaves.

On p. 54 Mr. Withers makes use of the old example of Robinson Crusoe on his desert island. He shows Crusoe while fishing with a hook on a line, meditating various methods of improving his economic position. We are told that if Crusoe takes action for this purpose he must run the risk of something happening to render such action useless; e.g., he makes a boat in order to enable him to fish further out, but his boat may be unseaworthy, or the fish further out at sea may be inedible, and so forth. Mr. Withers finds here an analogy to the capitalist investing money. But whether the capitalist runs a risk or not, in investing his money, the fact remains that under capitalism production is carried on for profit, that all profit is unpaid labour, and that therefore any profit the capitalist does get (and there is no doubt about him getting it in the long run) is wealth stolen from those who produce it.

Our author quotes (pp.65-71) G. B. Shaw's imaginary case of a pioneer cultivating a patch of land. Other "Adams" come along, and the first lets his land to a later arrival. The tenant tills his own land, and also his landlord's, but in his turn lets patches to other newcomers. Mr. Withers argues that the first "Adam" and the others who let the land are entitled to the rent they receive by virtue of the work they put into the land previous to letting it, and applies this argument to the capitalist class generally, ignoring the fact that they (the capitalists) have received the equivalent of their original many times over, yet their investment is still there, and so long as they let it remain they will continue to draw dividends for it, generally speaking.

Our author on p. 80 quotes Mr. J. Ramsay Macdonald (''The Socialistic Movement") as saying : "A man can go into the forest and tear boughs off trees with his hands for his fires, but he cannot fell trees without an axe of some kind, which is capital." An old saying runs : " One fool makes many." Capitalists like Lord Leverhulme, and their henchmen like Ramsay Macdonald and Mr. Withers, are very fond of this yarn that the primitive woodman's axe (Macdonald), the savage's first stick (Leverhulme), the allotment-holder's spade (Robert Blatchford), are capital. They all have the one object—to lead the workers to believe that there is no class division in present-day society, that all who own any simple tool are by virtue of that capitalists. What none of them will face is, what is the distinctive character of the means of production which leave the product of the workers' toil not in the possession of those who produce them, but of those who own the instruments of labour ? That is the rocky point the Artful Dodgers anxiously try to steer their boat clear of.

Another pseudo-Socialist, Mr. Philip Snowden, is dragged forward to bear false witness on p. 93. Mr. Withers quotes from "Socialism and Syndicalism" :
   But to admit the truth of the doctrine of surplus value does not involve an acceptance of the doctrine in the crude form in which it is expounded in the "Communist Manifesto," where the idea is conveyed that manual labour is the sole producer of wealth. In his later writings Marx seems to express that view at times, . .
This is a deliberate lie, and we challenge Mr. Snowden or any other capitalist hack to find any such statement in any part of the "Communist Manifesto," or in any writing of Marx, Engels, or any other exponent of Socialism.

Our author defines capital as "stored up work," and argues that without "stored up work" the product of labour would be a ''miserable subsistence." Whose work is it that is "stored up" ? And for whose benefit is it so stored ? These are the questions that matter. And if it is true that without this "stored up" labour the product of labour would be a miserable subsistence, that would chiefly affect those who stole the "labour" of others and stored it up, for a "miserable subsistence " is already the lot of those others, and without the "stored up labour" by means of which they are exploited they could not produce a margin for capitalists to lob them of.

Mr. Withers devotes a chapter to the "Achievements of Capitalism." On p. 129 he says :
  It is true enough that Militarism could not have achieved a fraction of its destructive power if Capitalism had not provided the machinery and weapons. 'What d'ye lack ?' is Capitalism's cry, and when humanity said 'Weapons for killing one another, and see that they kill by heaps,' Capitalism delivered the goods with a vengeance.
He might have produced a fine dramatic effect by following that statement with a repetition of his previous assertion that "the test of an economic system is its success in providing us with a good world to live in."

There is an enormous amount of wild statement in the book, travestying the actual facts of life as we find them under capitalism, but limitations of space prevent it being further dealt with here. For the most part the veriest schoolboy would see the absurdities which bristle in our author's pages, for there is no thing subtle in the "arguments" put forward. Nor is there anything new in them either. They are the old familiar regiment which have been on duty so long, and have been roughly handled so often. They want a rest, and it is significant that Mr. Withers brings up no new
 forces to their relief. The truth, of course, is revealed in every fresh effort of Capitalism's 
apologists to put "The Case for Capitalism." They have no reserves, and their case must
stand or fall by these.

Letter: The "Daily Herald" Finds Another Defender. (1921)

Letter to the Editors from the March 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

To the Editors.

Dear Sirs, —As one of the rank [and] file of the Labour movement, and believing as firmly in the principles of Socialism as any of those who produce the Socialist Standard, I must confess to a feeling of despair when reading such articles as the one of attack upon the "Daily Herald" in your November issue. One wonders when we shall cease giving the reactionary forces the cue for attack upon the forces of Socialism. All the more pitiful is it on account of the bitter personal animosity that seems to prevail amongst those who are all at one when it comes to the desire for the dismissal of the capitalist system.

It seems to me it is about time we faced the facts and dealt with things as they are and not so much with what we would desire them to be. We are living in a state of society under which most of us are oppressed ; but even the most extreme Socialist would have to admit that we have progressed during the last decade, and it is also true that those who have been violent in their attack upon the more moderate section of the movement have been willing enough to reap the benefit of any of the stages of progress.

Time and again I have listened to Socialist speakers deploring the apathy and lethargy of the workers; time and again listened to the urge for educating the workers up to the realisation of the power they do really possess. Assuming that the writer of the article "To Heel" believes this, the attitude is surely inconsistent, for it is certain if you cannot get the masses to support a paper that even the writer admits tells a little more of the truth than the ordinary capitalist paper, you are not going to get them to support a paper that believes in more drastic measures for bringing its aims into being.

Again, some of the left wing Socialists that I know and have spoken to believe quite definitely that holding that the Materialist outlook is the only logical one, one must work for the material well-being whilst in the flesh and reject the idea that there is something to follow the physical life that shall be a reward for labours that have been put forth here. Following these statements there come others to the effect that much as we may work and strive we cannot hope to see much if any of the ideals of a Socialist State during our time. Those statements surely suggest that it is essential that we all enjoy to the fullest what there is to enjoy whilst we are in the flesh. My contention is, then, that much as we may deplore the shortcomings of the "Daily Herald"—and I am aware she has many—it is a weapon that all of us who have the Cause at heart should support. I do not need to go over the many things the paper has done to bring to light the intrigues and deceptions of the governing class: they should be well known to all readers of the "S.S." Neither am I or many other readers of the "Daily Herald" concerned so much about whether the directorate knew about the intention of Mr. Meynell's wanderings in Russia. What I am certain about is that the thing was put quite democratically before its readers and turned down on their disapproval. Neither am I concerned so much about the paper's lack of criticism of Smillie during the recent strike—that is a concern of the miners themselves. What I am concerned about is the fact that in a movement such as ours there should be such a lack of human co-operation.

I suggest it is time such writers as "D.W.F." realises that whilst he spends his efforts attacking Lansbury and the "Herald" there are hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children lacking the necessities of life, and it is no use going to those thousands with a handful of Socialist Ideals and the capitalist class firmly rooted in the departments of Whitehall. Men need bread to-day, and much as we all desire the incoming of a Socialist State, we only retard its incoming by such wanton attacks. Will D.W.F., I wonder, openly advocate that Socialists should buy the "Daily Mail," etc., rather than the "Herald," or would he advocate that Socialists hold aloof from the purchase of any dailies that keep one in touch with the affairs of the world, because there is no paper that is no paper that is clean cut Socialist ?

In conclusion, I appeal to those Socialists who believe that you cannot have a true Socialist State until you have made men and women realise to the full the corruption of the present system, that to do this we need a live Press, and since the "Herald" is a thing in being, let us work for its perfection.—Yours faithfully,
M. H. Barton.

Impersonally I must confess to my sorrow that any member of the working class should be moved to a "feeling of despair" by such criticism as were offered by me—it provides yet another instance of clinging to the shadow in mistake for the substance. Why my critic accuses me of "giving the reactionary forces the cue" passes my comprehension, as I certainly had no intention of giving the cue to the "Herald," and did my best to make it clear that that journal is one of the units of the reactionary Press, and, as such, was engaged at every conceivable opportunity upon anti-Socialist propaganda.

That Socialists are "all at one when it comes to the desire for the demise of the capitalist system" is admitted ; but that does not admit that all who mouth that desire, or who call themselves Socialists, are such—in fact, a great part of the Socialist Party propaganda has to be directed to clearing from the minds of the workers the effects of the work of all varieties of political imposters and frauds.

One can be in complete agreement with Mr. Barton when he says "it is about time we faced the facts"; but it is to be assumed that he was speaking for himself and those who think like him, and the question naturally arises—why do not he and they for whom he speaks do this ? That is the whole trouble—they will not face the facts. And when we of the Socialist Party endeavour to make them do so they do not like it and deluge us with sentimental clap-trap about "personal animosity" and the like. We are not concerned with individuals, whether they are worshipped by the "poor in spirit" or not. We are concerned with the working class and its straggle for emancipation and we shall continue to expose all the political mountebanks and time-servers that come before our notice to the best of our power.

Does our correspondent really imagine that the progress made during the last decade is due to such propaganda as he feels called upon to champion, because if be does he must be unable to comprehend the rudimentary law of capitalist development, and as for being "willing enough to reap the benefit," even were there any benefit, the capitalist class would see to it that we reaped it, otherwise they would not waste time and money putting the "benefits" on the Statute Book.

What my critic does not appear to understand is that under capitalism what suits the capitalist goes, and the activities of all self-styled Socialist societies, publications and individuals are quite to his liking and merit and receive his support.

The whole point, which Mr. Barton misses is that the "Daily Herald," like "John Bull," tells the truth on occasion, as do all the other organs of the Press. The rest of the time they are all contributing to the chloroforming of the working class and making it more difficult to propagate Socialism, which is the only concern of the Socialist as such. As for the ''Herald" being "a thing in being," so is the "Daily Mail" and the Socialist Standard, and the last being the only Socialist periodical published in this country, calls for and should receive the support of all Socialists, and no Socialist should concern himself with upholding the "Daily Herald," but would merely regard it as a daily newspaper from which he would gather some idea of what is happening from day to day.
D.W. F.

The Slump. (1921)

From the March 1921 issue of the Socialist Standard

Most newspapers are advocating the cutting down of Governmental administrative expenditure and continually criticise Government schemes at home and abroad. These papers say the Government must economise so as to relieve the taxes upon the merchants, landlords, and so on. Mr. Lloyd George has soon taken the hint and delivered his cheese-paring speech to the Chambers of Commerce. It does not require a Solomon to see that the world's markets are glutted—the "produce more" stunt has come to fruition. The next step to producing more is to consume less—and that is quite logical in a system of wealth production which belongs to the few in society. The capitalists could do with a few of the millions who have been slain in the trade war now to buy back what has been produced.

What a vicious circle ! Terrible war, awful armistice, horrible peace ! Whatever is claimed to be the solution—whether it is producing more, consuming less, economising, going dry, being wet, praying long or short, tariff on goods, tariff off goods, dumping goods, profit-sharing, nationalisation—all, all lead to poverty in the midst of plenty.

We think that the only solution is the common ownership of the means of life, and that all this misery and poverty on the one hand, and affluence on the other, will punish the working class until they see the road to their economic emancipation.

A while ago a datum line was fixed for the miners, and our bosses made out that it was imperative that at least the miners should turn out so much coal, so that industry generally may flourish and make for good trade. But in spite of the miners producing more than the desired quantity, the discharging of workers has been continuous, and it has been computed that there are 1,500,000 workers unemployed. Really, if the situation were not so serious it would be comical to note the "directive ability" of those who strive to maintain capitalist conditions. "Produce more," was the cry; "the workers are not producing enough."—and then thousands are discharged so that they can produce nothing.

In this connection the Labour Party has done dirty work. Most people must have seen the placards with the portraits of five Labour leaders, with the urge to produce more thereon. It would be quite in keeping with their trickery to advise the workers to work short time.

What hope can the working class have of a party that has not the common ownership of the means and instruments of wealth production as its main political objective ?

The problem now before the rulers of this chaotic system is to keep a vast army of unemployed as cheaply as possible—until the time trade revives.

Think of it ! The workers, according to capitalist ethics and economics, are entitled to wages while they are producing. That implies that they have no further claim than what their wages will buy. A regiment of soldiers, a squad of police, should make us know who owns and controls our lives and destinies.

All that follows is charity—and we must not forget the pride of those who have learnt a trade, and the proud boast that they are free.

The slump is come, and now millions of the workers have a miserable time to drag through —a Slough of Despond—with the knowledge that plenty has been produced, but the markets are too poor to buy.

What a madhouse it is! The newspapers are yelling to the unemployed and others: "Are Dreadnoughts out of date ? Stop waste; support the Anti-Waste candidates and so make the Government economise." The Dover election was a good test of whether or not the workers have learnt anything by war experience and poverty in the midst of plenty. Two gentlemen, labelling themselves respectively Coalition Unionist and Independent Anti-Waster, have had a fine game with the electors, and it is remarkable how the old stunts bamboozle the workers time and time again—and the result: over 24,000 votes for capitalism to carry on.

No slump there, but just a vigorous support of the system that causes such horrors as we see around us.
S. W.