Monday, June 15, 2020

"We Must Produce Cheaper". (1918)

From the November 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard

The New "Patriotic" Stunt.

To-day, the subject of greatest interest and importance to our masters, next to the successful prosecution of the war, is how to increase production—how to reach the maximum of wealth output with the smallest possible expenditure in wages.

Much has been done during the war, by dilution and the abolition of privileges, toward this end, but the capitalist looks forward to the piping times of peace, when the supply of labour-power will exceed the demand, for a fuller realisation of his avaricious dreams.

The question as to how it will affect the workers does not concern him ; first, because he is a capitalist and therefore only interested in profits, and secondly because he keeps an army of unscrupulous journalists whose business it is to persuade the workers that whatever is beneficial to the class that own the means of wealth production, must be beneficial to society as a whole, and therefore to the working class.

To prove, however, that an increase in production, side by side with a reduced wages bill, will improve conditions for the working class, would seem an impossible task; nevertheless, the economic quack, relying on the workers' ignorance of economics, proceeds to demonstrate it. One writer who advocates shorter hours of labour as a means to increased production says that after the war—
"We shall need the greatest possible output and the most economical production, consistent with health, to enable us to get the most trade and re-establish our position and profitably employ all our people."
Other writers lay even greater stress on the last suggestion, claiming that industry is run by the capitalists as much to give employment as to obtain profits. Hence we find an economic quack measuring a capitalist's usefulness to society by the number of "hands" he employs.

It is perfectly true that the capitalists of every concern have a keen desire to employ more and more workers, but there is a proviso—markets must be assured in order that the surplus-value produced by the additional workers can be realised in profits on the same scale. For that reason only, and only in that sense, is the capitalist interested in giving employment to the workers (ignoring, of course, for the moment, his inborn antipathy to work himself). He employs the workers when by doing so he obtains profits. In the past, when new machines and methods have enabled him to increase output while at the same time reducing the number of his workers, he has never objected on the score that unemployment would be intensified. Neither has he hesitated to advertise extensively among the nations of the earth for workers with which to flood the labour market, long before the wage-slaves who were "his own countrymen" were absorbed. In short, the record of the capitalist class speaks for itself. Ever since the days when our peasant forefathers were driven off the land in order that they might be available for the forerunners of the modern capitalists in the towns, up to the present day, it has been one of the chief concerns of our masters to have a substantial margin of unemployed, and for two reasons. First, to keep down wages, and second, to be called upon in case of a sudden expansion in trade.

There is another side to the question, however. The capitalists of every land want "the greatest possible output, the most economical production, and the most trade." They know that the world market is limited, that within a certain period, say one year, the world's population can only absorb a limited amount of wealth, and that goods or wealth produced beyond this amount will be left on the owners' hands. The same applies to those goods whose owners, for some reason, fail to place them on the market at the prices ruling there. Hence the need for the most economical production, in other words, for the maximum of labour-power in exchange for a minimum wage. "Consistent with health" is capitalist irony, because the workers' health is never studied except for the purpose of increasing their productive power.

The other side peeps out in the sentence "to enable us to get the most trade." The workers of each country must submit to 'the most economical production" in order to assure to their masters "the most trade." Thus they enter into a new form of warfare against the workers of other countries in the interests of their masters. And when the capitalists of one nation succeed in obtaining the "most trade," and their workers demand higher wages, because the masters can afford to pay them, these same masters reward them with the sack, and entice the workers of other lands to fill their jobs. Where, then, do the workers of the world come in, whether they win for their masters markets or wars?

The capitalist group of every nation will point to their own prosperity as evidence that employment is good, when they deem it necessary to gloss over the unemployed army—that instrument of coercion against their workers. They boast that there is no sentiment in business, and an unemployed army is necessary to their business. In the past they have—except in a few rare instances, chiefly occupational—always been blessed with a solid margin; the future is full of promise for them, and we can rely on them to make the most of their opportunities in order to coerce the workers into the economic war.

Already in the mad race for markets we are told that—
"The old slack methods have given way to something approaching American hustle. Supervision is more strict, rest times have been reduced, furnaces are bigger and hotter, machines run faster, tools and appliances are heavier and need more strength and nerve for their manipulation, shops are more noisy and crowded, dusty and hot, materials are harder to work, labour is more fatiguing and hazardous."
But, like everything parasitic, the capitalist is insatiable. The concerns in which his capital is invested must either beat their competitors in the race for cheaper production or go under. And concerns do go under almost daily, their share of the market being taken up by their competitors, while the workers they have employed swell the unemployed army until they can be "profitably employed" by other capitalists.

Capitalist governments have for years made promises to deal with unemployment—they have even made pretence of doing something—but the evil has grown. One government gave us Labour Exchange—to find jobs for the unemployed, they said —but all these institutions did was to save the capitalist time and money in his search for the workers he needed. The latest suggestion is that hours of labour should be reduced, but those who advance it claim that a reduction in hours would result in greater production. Coming from those who plead that the workers should be more fully employed, this suggestion is a curiosity in logic.

But the richest contribution to the whole discussion has been made by the "Committee on Adult Education." They say:
"Industry exists for man, and not man for industry. The world seems to have been carried on in the opposite principle, and it will be no easy task to alter it."
Rich in irony is this utterance when we get behind the camouflage of assumed innocence, for the committee know that industry is run for their class, that they, as a class, own the nature-given material of the earth, that the dispossessed workers of the world, owning nothing but their energy, are forced by hunger to sell even that as a commodity. They know that the factory with its raw material and machinery absorbs the commodity labour-power, and out of the union comes surplus-value to be realised in profits. To them the working-class is god-given—a class to work for them while they luxuriate in idleness.

Industry will only exist for man when man controls industry, To-day the workers cannot control industry because the means of wealth-production are owned by the capitalist class, and their ownership is defended, through their Parliament, by armed forces.

Until the working-class control industry, industry will exist for the capitalist class, as it exists to-day. And the working-class can only control industry when they own the means of wealth-production. Ownership of the means of wealth-production is the basis of capitalist domination; their ownership, however, is maintained politically, and until their political power is broken, or acquired by the working-class, the latter cannot take possession of the means of wealth-production. Before industry—or production and distribution—can exist for man, therefore, the working-class must organise as a Socialist Party; second, secure control of the political machine; third, take possession of the means of wealth-production; and fourth, establish society on a Socialist basis by arranging for the democratic control of production and distribution by the whole of the people.
F. Foan

By Request. (1918)

Editorial from the November 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard

We have received copies of letters that have passed between the Socialist Labour Press, of 50, Renfrew Street, Glasgow, and Mr. G. N. Barnes on the subject of the closing down of that press, and have been asked for some comment on the matter.

Briefly, the facts are as follows. Over three months ago the police raided the premises of the Socialist Labour Press, dismantled the machinery, confiscated necessary parts of it, and so effectually prevented the carrying on of the firm’s printing business, the chief part of which was the printing of the “Socialist.

After protests in certain official quarters, Mr. Barnes was written to. His two replies show first an ignorance of the case, and second, inaccurate information resulting from his inquiries. On these points the S.L.P. answers completely disprove Barnes’ assertions that the “identity had been concealed” of the persons responsible for certain publications printed by the Socialist Labour Press. Two out of the three men had been prosecuted, though in one case the prosecution was dropped, while the police had paid visits to the house and held interviews with the third person. Such inaccuracies and mis-statements are common with Ministers and officials, and simply show that Barnes is no exception to the rule.

There is, however, one assumption upon which both Mr. Barnes and the S.L.P. agree. This is the notion that government by a ruling class can be other than “despotic” in dealing with its slaves. Thus Mr. Barnes in his first letter says: —
  I must say that your statement as to a despotic Government preventing free expression of opinion on the part of working-class movements doesn't carry conviction.
And in the second letter he states:—
  There is no question of the Government preventing free expression of opinion on the part of working-class movements
  The Government merely took the only course open to it to check the activities of persons who were working against the interests of the Nation.
In the covering letter accompanying the copies of the correspondence, the secretary of the S.L.P. states:—
  Quite apart from the fact that we are at a great disadvantage, and suffering considerable loss . . . the Principle of a Free Press is at stake.
That Mr. Barnes should take up the attitude given above is quite understandable. He is a member of the working class who has been given a position and a salary to mislead and deceive the workers with the stale lies about “Freedom,” “Democracy,” “Liberty,” and the rest.

But the S.L.P. claims to be clear and sound in its knowledge of the slave position of the working class. Anyone armed with this knowledge would easily understand that the slaves of society are completely under the control of the master class, whose rule is only modified by the needs of the system as it develops and the benefit to be derived from a smooth working of production, often obtained by giving certain concessions to deluded workers. But the ruling class have the decision in their hands whenever they fancy their interests will be served by any particular action.

“Freedom of Speech,” “Free Press,” “Freedom of Assembly,” etc., are hypocritical phrases successfully used to muddle working-class minds. Under capitalism there is not, nor has there ever been, any of these things.

Before the war meetings could only beheld either by direct permission or on the sufferance of the police. Whenever the authorities, or even subordinate officials, wished, the meetings were stopped, and the Commissioner of Police could legally refuse to give any reason for his action. Printers’ offices could be, and were, raided and publications suppressed at the discretion of the authorities. After the raid other action—such as prosecution on some legal point—might be taken, but this was not necessary, and often was not done.

When the war started the passing of the Defence of the Realm Act brought these powers to a focus and enabled action to be taken rapidly and without the formalities that had been usual in certain cases. The so-called great English charter of personal liberty—the Habeas Corpus Act—is overridden by it, and scores of men and women have been arrested, thrown into jail and left there, without trial and even without any charge being preferred against them, and inquiries are met with the curt answer —when one is given—that it is under D.O.R.A. Often they will refuse to state under which regulation even the action is being taken.

This vast engine of power is at the disposal not only of the Government and Ministers, but also of a large number of lesser officials who can use it in any case they wish.

With this simple glaring fact before us, how shallow and foolish it sounds to claim that there is any “Principle of a Free Press” or “Freedom of Speech ” for the wage-slaves! They have them not and never have had. The S.L.P. claim to the contrary gives large support to the mouth-pieces of the master class—from G. N. Barnes and Sam Gompers to the “Daily Mail” and “Daily News”— that we are a “Free People” fighting to make the world “Safe for Democracy.”

The reasons for this misunderstanding is to be found in the ignorance and incorrect conception of the S.L.P. in the matters of political and economic power and organisation. They have glorified the latter and belittled the former in spite of the facts around them.

Never have, modern wage slaves been so favourably placed for fighting by economic methods as during this war. The demand for labour-power has for exceeded the available supply; the orders given firms have been extremely urgent, and in most cases prices have been whatever the capitalists liked to ask. With no unemployed army outside the factory gates, and therefore no blacklegs available, the “economic power” of the masters has been reduced to its lowest limits under the system, yet they have won every battle they decided to fight.

The Clyde engineers were beaten and their leaders deported. The Barrow engineers were defeated. The Coventry engineers and the air-craft workers lost their struggle. The more general strike of the engineers throughout the country was a failure. The Clyde shipwrights were driven back in about a week, and the London air-craft strike failed to save Rock, the shop-steward.

How came the masters to win so easily under conditions so vastly favourable to the workers? By their “economic power” or “organisation” ? No! It was by their control of POLITICAL POWER, and that alone, that they were able to dictate to their slaves the terms: “Either work on our conditions or face death in the firing line.” It was by their control of the political machinery that they extended and consolidated their power in the form of D.O.R.A.

While the masters have this control it is quite misleading to urge the workers to fight for the “Principle of a Free Press” or “Freedom of Speech.” No such principles exist under this system.

The only way to obtain these “Freedoms” is the Socialist way. That is by organising to take control of the political powers for the purpose of entering into possession of the means of life—the land and instruments for producing and distributing wealth.

In this greatest of all class struggles the workers are quite correct in seizing every vantage point and every opportunity for spreading their propaganda and organisation; but they will be utterly mistaken and will only add to their own confusion by confounding these necessary detail struggles with the central object of the battle, or raising them into “Principles” that have no existence in reality.

It is above all necessary to keep clear the great central fact that the workers are wage-slaves to the master class, that therefore they are existing in slave conditions, and that they will only obtain their freedom by capturing political power for the purpose of abolishing their slavery.

Society and Morals. (1918)

From the November 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard

Part XI. Morals and Socialism

The need for the efficient organisation of the Socialist movement has enforced, as a part of its moral principles, a stern "party discipline." Faced by innumerable obstacles, surrounded and attacked by every agency of the ruling class, the butt of misrepresentation, the hunting-ground of the would-be demagogue, self-seeking "leader" and agent provocateur, the revolutionary organisation can only maintain its integrity unsullied and its vitality unweakened by being democratic in constitution, definite in principles, self-critical, and by the rigorous exclusion of non-revolutionary elements. The Socialist must be loyal to his party organisation and vigorous in its defence. He holds as despicable traitors those who, while affirming their adherence to Socialist principles by mouth, deny those principles by acting in contradiction to their implications.

Owing to the cosmopolitan nature of capitalism, the economic and social status of the workers is fundamentally the same the world over. They have the same problems to face in every country, like interests to satisfy, and a common enemy to combat. Evidently, therefore, proletarian revolutionary morality is of international application.

This "Internationalism" of the Socialist movement is in direct antagonism to that national sentiment which is fostered by the bourgeoisie under the name of "patriotism." Despite cosmopolitan finance, the growth of world trade, and the fact that the capitalist class is internationally solid when faced with the opposition of the proletariat, the politics of the bourgeoisie have always been predominantly "national" in character. This has been so because, during the evolution of the bourgeoisie, their class power became consolidated into numerous national governments which could not expand in power territorially for the purpose of enabling the acquisition of further economic advantages and resources without sooner or later coming into conflict. With the rise of Imperialism this "national antagonism" became exceedingly acute and, as we have seen, "patriotism" received a still greater moral significance by reason of its being the prime mental agent in the satisfaction of the imperialist needs of the capitalist class.

But the class-conscious worker sees that "nationalism" is a snare in the path towards emancipation. Not only does it serve to cloud the class issue within the nation, but it also hinders the workers of the world from recognising and acting up to their unity of interest. To the Socialist, therefore, national pride, like racial aloofness, is a contemptible and pernicious prejudice which it is highly immoral for any Socialist to uphold or give way to.

What significance has the "fatherland" or the "glory of Empire" for the wage-slave whose only guarantee of livelihood rests on his ability to sell his labour-power ? None! save that it receives from political superstitions inculcated and carefully nurtured by agents of the dominant class. "Workers of all lands unite!" will inevitably be the watchword of the latter-day revolutionary.

For that organ of oppression and of capitalist protection and attack—militarism—together with closely-allied phenomenon—"war"'—through which are sacrificed millions of workers on the altar of Profit, the Socialist cannot possibly have anything but the liveliest hatred. He never fails to unveil their hideous reality to his fellow-workers. Nevertheless, being a stern realist, he does not allow himself to be led into the delusion, so fervently held to by idealistic pacifists, that the use of force itself is futile and unjustifiable. The use of force is never an end in itself but always a means to an end. History shows that, whilst force has frequently served as a means of subjection and a preserver of enslavement, it has also been indispensable to any movement of revolt on the part of the oppressed.

"Strife" is likewise considered by many so-called "advanced thinkers" to be in itself immoral, and by these the Socialist doctrine of the class-war is discredited and disliked. As we have seen, however, Socialist principles are not deductions from any "absolute ideals," but have been arrived at by a study of the actual evolution of human society ; and such a study shows that class-struggles have been, and that inevitably, the medium of social progress. The proletarian revolutionary movement, therefore, clearly recognises the necessity of a consciously organised struggle against the forces of opposition and reaction, together with the vital importance of acquiring that social and political power by the use of which alone it can institute social control of the means of life.

Conclusion and Summary.

With the emancipation of the workers achieved through economic socialisation human society will enter upon a new phase of its existence. With the forces of production democratically used by and for society, economic exploitation will become impossible and class distinctions a thing of the past. Then the prevailing ethical code will no longer represent, as it has done for so many centuries, the interests merely of a minority of the community. As in the far back savage and barbaric communism the social organism will be a harmonious structure in which the welfare of each and every member is conditional upon the well-being of the society as a whole.

But whereas the morality of tribal society was narrow because the groups were small and exclusive, the communism of the future will be embracing, and probably as wide as the human race itself. Thus the "brotherhood of man," often dreamt about but never achieved, will become a living reality. Grounded upon the world-wide inter-dependence of economic processes, such a ''world'' society will leave as little room for national and racial antagonisms as for those of class.

Moreover the elaborate political machinery which to-day is necessary to enforce the most vital tenets of the capitalistic code will be rendered functionless and obsolete, because the incentive to act in a manner menacing to the social system will have diminished to insignificance. Free from drudgery and emancipated from the miseries or even possibility of material poverty, having access to every avenue of knowledge and art, the men and women of the future will also witness the reconciliation between egoism and altruism, because through economic democracy the merging of the interests of the individual in that of the whole community will have been for the first time rendered completely possible.

The writer has in this series of essays attempted to give a brief account of the changes which have taken place in human society with especial emphasis upon the co-relative changes in the opinions of men as to which modes of conduct and principles of living were good and which were bad in the moral sense. In thus epitomising the results arrived at by the wide researches of many historians and sociologists, many points, even important ones, have necessarily been omitted. The outstanding features of each epoch have alone been dealt with. But as an introduction to an immense subject, rendered in simple language, to members of the working class, its purpose will have been served if it succeeds in dissipating, even in a slight degree, those superstitions prevalent in the minds of so many workers, that what is "right or wrong" always has been and always will be, and that social phenomena, such as the division into classes and the wages system are anything more than temporary and relatively short-lived products of changes in the material conditions under which men have lived.

This last point is important, for a wider appreciation of the truth of the "materialist conception of history" is a necessary factor in achieving that supreme aim towards which the writer has made this humble contribution —the emancipation of the proletariat.

Let us now, in conclusion, recall to the reader's mind some of the essential facts set forth in this rather disconnected series of essays. First, the nature of morality was discussed, and it was seen to consist of certain opinions regarding conduct and the principles which underlie it. These opinions are forced upon men by the social life which they lead. The impulse to moral activity was seen to be based upon certain instinctive sociable feelings which antedate the existence of man himself, and are to be found among all the higher animals which live in organised communities. Then it was shown that the evolution of the artificial appliances and processes which, among animals, man alone has been able to use in maintaining existence, is the root cause of the changes in the form of his social aggregations.

Following these changes in greater detail from the rudest organisations of savagery to the capitalist civilisation of our own day it was seen that, along with changing needs and interests, went a corresponding development in outlook, in men's notions of good and evil, right and wrong. Parricide, cannibalism, incest, and group-marriage, once normal and moral, through the pressure of economic change became immoral. Maternal "law" makes way for the dominance of the patriarch. Polygamy, then normal, is later superseded by monogamy. Chattel slavery becomes the basis of society, and its many horrors are upheld by the moral law until, at a later date, having become obsolete, it is declared anathema. Serfdom passes through the same phases.

Wage-labour and "free contract" become lauded to the skies, and along with the "rights of capital''' are declared the only just and moral basis of society. Competition is now the "life of industry," and free trade, according to the cant of Liberalism, the ''hope of humanity." Imperialism dashes this hope to the ground and substitutes the patriot's answer to the call of empire as the virtue par excellence. Only by the clear-eyed workers for the proletarian revolution is the veil torn from these hypocritical shibboleths revealing naked the profit-hunger of capital, of the bourgeois interests.

Spurning the ideals, the threadbare theories and canting morality of decadent capitalism, the Socialist formulates his own code of morality upon those principles and ideals which flow from the logic of Marxism. Socialist morality is revolutionary because its ideal is the overthrow of bourgeois society and the institution of communism; it is critical because it ruthlessly analyses all the manifold institutions, opinions and motives supported by and themselves in turn supporting existing society ; it is scientific because based upon the findings of sociology ; it is a fighting morality because it promotes the class-war and provides the discipline and fervour necessary for the revolutionary struggle; it is proletarian because the Socialist movement draws its vitality and strength from the working class who, alone in modern society, are fitted by their mode and condition of life to accept the Socialist Ideal.
R. W. Housley

The End.

Mr. Hughes Day By Day. (1918)

From the November 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard

At Glasgow on Wednesday. In Britain, before the war, conditions were sordid and depressing — millions on the verge of starvation, living on the brink of a dreadful abyss.

At Aberdeen on Thursday. In Britain, before the war, the spark of divine fire had been choked by the ashes of prosperity.
"Daily News," 2.9.1918.

Blogger's Note:
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the Mr. Hughes quoted above was the Australian Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, who was in Britain at the time this issue of the Standard was produced. There was no comparable British politician (or military figure, for that matter) with the surname  of Hughes in this period who could have been quoted in the Socialist Standard , with the understanding that the readership would know who it was simply by mentioning him by his surname. And what with him speaking in Glasgow and in Aberdeen on consecutive nights it suggests that Mr. Hughes was undertaking a national speaking tour. Socialist Standard readers would have had a particular interest in Hughes because he was an Australian variant of the 'Labour Fakir', though, by 1918, he was no longer faking it.

The Little Tambourine. (1918)

Party News from the November 1918 issue of the Socialist Standard

We publish below our fourth list of subscribers to our £1,000 Fund. Did we start off with too much of a sprint, or how is it that we have got winded before a quarter of the distance has been covered. When some four months ago the mantle of Old Moore dropped upon our shoulders, we showed that certain events looming in the distance made very urgent a fighting fund. Our prophecy seems now nearer fulfilment than even we expected then, yet our fund falls a long way short of what we asked for. We earnestly and hopefully appeal to all the comrades and readers of/ this paper to do all that is required to reach the total we have aimed at, and even to double it, while there is yet time.

Self-Convicted Thieves. (1919)

From the January 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

Though the great Business War is over the sun is still shining for the "profiteer," and he is sedulously "making hay" while opportunity offers. His stereotyped reply to all expostulation is that material is scarce and wages high. Both these statements may be correct, but how any combination of them within present experience works out to the effect that two-and-half lbs of galvanised iron, wrought to the form of a common housewife's pail, at one time hanging fire at 6½d., should cost the present scribe 4s. 9d., wants a bit of understanding. But here is a little example which shows whether inflated prices are due to greater costs or to downright thieving.

During the recent election Parliamentary candidates had released to them paper, envelopes, cards ard so on. They got their permits, took them to their printers, and the latter, upon presenting them to the paper merchants, were supplied with the stuff.

But the galling part is this: the paper and other materials were released to the candidates at prices which were less than half those asked of the printer in the ordinary way. Thus paper known in the trade as "news," was released at 5½d. a lb, while the printer has to pay 11d. to 1s. 3d. for an inferior quality. (The pre-war price was about l½d. a lb.) Envelopes were released at 5s. 6d. per thousand which the printer for his ordinary business would have to pay 12s. to 17s. for.

Are the paper merchants losing on this deal? Are they themselves bearing the "great advance in the cost of materials and labour" out of gratitude to the politicians who allow them to carry on their shameless thievery with impudent impunity? They might well do so, but it is hardly likely that they are. No, nobody is losing on this reduction of prices to election candidates. That it has been done is simply a confession that the magnates of the paper trade are seizing the opportunity provided by the war to plunder on a scale they could never have dreamed of before August 1914. They boasted quite early on, when they were deliberately holding up supplies for higher prices, that they would have the price up to 1s. a lb before the war was finished. But they have long since surpassed this, and in some cases have more than doubled it. Down with the thieves ! Down with the canting humbugs who urge the workers on to butchery in the name of patriotism while they scheme in their palatial offices to wax fat on the reek of the shambles and wring loot out of the agonised needs of their war-striken victims ! The agents of these ghouls are shouting "Germany begins to pay !" It is time that we had a squaring up of accounts with the thieves nearer home.

Two Basic Ideas. (1919)

From the June 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The ruling idea in society to-day is accumulation. Production for the sake of further production.

Everything is subordinated to this great end. New machines are invented, new methods devised and introduced so that wealth may be produced in still greater abundance. Brains, muscles, lives and honours (!) are all thrown into the melting-pot in the feverish rush to produce and accumulate.

The scientist spends his life enquiring into and systematising the laws of nature, and the fruits of his industry is applied to the stimulation of commercial development. All discoveries of the laws of nature become levers to increase wealth production.

With the introduction of the machine came the almost complete extinction of a workman's pride in his work. The machine did everything and man became only the feeder, the slave, that jumped here and there according to the requirements of the colossus.

Instead of lightening the labour of the worker, machinery has intensified his toil. It has brought him to work at all hours, and kept him working at full pressure all the time. For it has provided the unemployed.

In times gone by men produced the vast bulk of the wealth, but the coming of the machine harnessed the whole family—men, wives, and children—in the process of wealth production. The oft-repeated phrase, "the sanctity of the family hearth," is a myth circulated by the scribblers and henchmen of our masters.

At all costs the rush and hurry of production must be kept up. A breakdown in machinery is the only thing that permits a suspension of the process, from the point of view of our employers. When an accident occurs in a mill or factory, involving the injury or death of workmen, do the works close down temporarily for consideration of the catastrophe that extinguished for ever the trials and troubles of certain workpeople? The injured are (sometimes!) taken away to the infirmary, but the work goes ahead as before — machinery must not be idle for a single moment longer than is absolutely essential, as idle machines lessen the amount of wealth produced, and hence the amount of profit. In modern production workers' lives are of no account. The death of one workman but leaves a vacancy for another to fill, and there are always plenty at the factory gate to fill any vacancy that occurs.

Now what is the reason for this fever to produce and accumulate? What is the reason at the bottom that gives the stimulus to the industrial rush ?

The answer is given in the reports in the Press relating to dividends. Here you find so much per cent. dividend distributed by various concerns. These dividends are titles to certain proportions of the wealth produced. These dividends go into the pockets of a certain class. Broadly speaking, the greater the amount of wealth produced, the greater is the quantity available for distribution to the dividend holders.

The people entitled to dividends are those who invest money in a concern. Do the workers invest ? Of course not. The worker receives in the form of wages only what will keep him in varying degrees of comfort—or poverty, to enable him to continue working and reproduce his kind.

The people who draw the dividends are those who by ownership and control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth reap the fruit of the workers' toil, viz., the capitalists.

In spite of the profusion of wealth resulting from the application of machinery to production, there is, as a notorious Welshman once said, "a greater poverty in the aggregate in the land to-day than there has ever been." The rich grow richer and the poor poorer. The greater the wealth the greater and more widespread the poverty. The poor are the wealth-producers— the working class. The rich are the wealth owners and idlers—the capitalist class. The workers are poor because the capitalists own the wealth produced.

We read in reports of the business at the Coal Enquiry that certain individuals draw hundreds of thousands a year in Royalties—for what? For working? No ! They haven't soiled their hands in that vulgar pursuit all their lives. They drew the royalties because they chanced to be the offspring of certain landowners. In other words, because they were born into the charmed circle of the capitalist class.

As wealth is privately owned to-day, then the greater the accumulation of wealth the more luxury and splendour there will be for the private owners—the capitalists. This is the cause of the ceaseless whirr of the machine; this is the reason accumulation is the prevailing idea or aim throughout Capitalism.

The ruling idea of the system advocated by the Socialist is production for the sake of consumptiou; production organised to satisfy the requirements of all the members of society. Instead of aiming at "an immense accumulation of commodities," the Socialist aims at an immense accumulation of comfort and happiness distributed over the whole of society.

In the existing state of things there is social production but individual appropriation. The Socialist would abolish this contradiction and substitute Social appropriation of the Social products.

Under Capitalism the laws of nature have been harnessed to industry. Steam, gas, and electricity have shown their capacities as prime movers. The transmitting mechanism and the tool have been developed to a marvellous pitch of perfection. The development in the co-operation and division of labour have reached a point where each need only perform a simple function in the vast and complicated mechanism of production.

Capitalism has shown us that wealth can be produced in abundance with a comparatively small expenditure of time and energy on the part of each of us. It has, therefore, performed its historic mission and signed its death warrant. It remains for us to profit by the lesson it has taught.

An organism must adapt itself to its environment or perish; the same is true of a given state of Society. Capitalism cannot control the forces it has brought into being, therefore it must perish, and a new society will arise out of its ruins. The various commercial crises that occur at intervals due to the breakdown of the gigantic system of credit; the increasing vastness of each succeeding war; the multitude of varying devices that fail to assuage the seething mass of (largely blind) discontent; and the many other incidents of common knowledge, all show that Capitalism is steadily staggering to the breaking-point.

So long as the vast capacities of modern production are under the control of one class, and are used for the aggrandisement of that class alone, we will have the strange spectacle of poverty ia the midst of plenty—a society of wealthy idlers and poverty-stricken workers.

We must, therefore, take advantage of the lesson Capitalism teaches, organise for its overthrow and the introduction of Socialism if we would abolish poverty for ever. The means lie ready to our hand provided by the capitalists themselves — the capture of the political machinery which sustains the capitalists in their privileged position.

By The Way. (1919)

The By The Way column from the June 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

But a short while ago the agents of the master class were busily engaged informing the inhabitants of this isle of the "perilous" condition of "our" troops in Russia.

Now it would appear from what one sees and hears that the average man at that time was somewhat disinterested about the internal condition of Russia. It seemed to him a scrap between the Bolsheviks and those who would restore the monarchy ; and consequently he did not rush to embark for Russia to preserve law and order and, incidentally, of course, allied interests. Consequently a good "stunt" was the desideratum to act as a fillip for recruiting. What better idea could the wily ones hit upon than that "our" troops were in peril? This, together with special engagement fees, it was hoped would secure the men. And so it came to pass that whilst trade unionists and other bodies were "protesting" against British intervention in Russia, the authorities were quietly shipping the men away. The plea of the masters for men to extricate their "comrades" was successful. We must now adopt the Asquithian policy of "wait and see" whether "our" troops will be withdrawn when rescued from the ''perilous" condition, or, having whetted the appetite for another campaign, like Oliver Twist, they will ask for more.


How beautifully staged was the departure of these troops who were so nobly setting sail to act as rescuers of those in "peril," including in a special sense, British and French bondholders! Picture papers gave us a glimpse of the stirring send-off accorded to the men, and the penny-a-liners also entered into the spirit of the thing. Let me quote a passage-—
  "A magnificent public send off was given at Southampton last evening to a contingent of troops bound for North Russia. It was the first occasion during the war on which civilians were permitted to witness the departure. The Mayor addressed the men just before they sailed, bidding them God-speed and good luck.
The transport was named the Tzar. . . A band played "Auld Lang Syne" as the transport cast off.
Nearly 2,090 men embarked at Newcastle yesterday on the troopship Czaritza.
Many of the men carried miniature flags in the muzzles of their rifles, and on |the carriages bringing them to Newcastle were chalked waggish inscriptions, such as 'The Trotsky Stormers," First Stop Russia," "The Old Red Army," and" Who fears the Bolshies?" —"Daily News," May I3th, 1919.
I remember reading somewhat similar vapourings nearly five years ago. Then it was "Non-Stop-Berlin" chalked on the army paraphernalia. In those days the Russians were gallant fighters, fighting with "us" for truth and righteousness, and the "Times" military correspondent told us daily of the mighty movement of the "Russian steam roller," and how it would be in Berlin by Xmas, 1914.


I should have thought that those people who possessed the directive ability and large business brains which are peculiar to the Lloyd Georgian Government would not have permitted so incongruous a thing to happen as the jollification afforded by the departure of troops for a new campaign and a statement in the House on the same day regarding the peace celebrations. It is decidedly a rotten joke. In the self-same paper that records the previous extract appears the following:
"Mr. Bonar Law told the House of Commons yesterday that the Government proposed shortly to make a statement of their views on the whole question of the peace celebrations. Whether it would be possible to hold them at Whitsuntide depended on the events of the next few days.
  Asked whether it was proposed to celebrate peace while half Europe was still fighting, he replied that, personally, if a treaty were concluded with our chief enemy, he thought it would be a subject for rejoicing. The Government were considering the suggestion that Marshal Foch should be invited to be present."


An interesting item: "Mr. C. B. Stanton the Labour member, hoped for the resumption of the pre-war Royal garden parties, where their Majesties met members of the House of Commons and leading men and women from all classes—"Daily News," May 16th, 1919.


After the "horrors" of the "Germ-Hun" and the "Bolsheviks" come the_massacres of the Jews by the Poles. An item of news from a New York correspondent stated that one hundred thousand Jews participated in a protest last night in Madison Square Garden and neighbouring streets against the Polish pogroms.
"Mr. Charles E. Hughes, who was the principal speaker, declared that he had verified the reports of Jewish massacres by the Poles and found them true. His denunciation of the anti-Semitic attacks by the new nation, which owes its being to the benevolence of the Great Powers, created a profound impression." —"Daily Express," May 2yd, 1919.
What will the self-righteous "Big Four" say now?


It does seem paradoxical that it should be necessary for the men who have been fighting the "country's" battles (I prefer to call them the capitalists' battles) to have to range themselves inside various organisations, all purporting to be in existence for the purpose of assisting discharged and demobilised soldiers to obtain what is due to them from a grateful country.

Likewise almost every capitalist rag has its bureau, or correspondence column, to explain to the unwary who have been enmashed in things military how to obtain some grant, or gratuity, or pension, etc., which seems to have been overlooked or diverted to the wrong channel, and also to explain when a pledge is not a pledge, and for other kindred Purposes.

I frequently read these agonising questions and answers, and am compelled to agree that the gentleman seeking Parliamentary honours was correct when he addressed his audience as "hard-headed sons of toil." Hard-headed they must be to tolerate the insults hurled at them and the miserable treatment meted out to them ty those whose vile interests they have been defending.

The following, by a "Service correspondent," is typical of many of the items tbat appear from time to time:
It is a crying shame and disgrace to see the huge number of crippled, maimed, and smashed men lined up any day outside the Labour Exchanges. Many of these unfortunates are obviously unfit for labour of any sort, but owing to their ridiculously inadequate pensions they are forced to hunt the streets looking for jobs. Those men have come back broken in the country's wars and are the first claim to be met by the State. Employers who were among the first to wave the flag and induce their staffs to enlist now seem among the last to play the game to the returned crocks. The right to live or work must be demanded and secured, and if the disabled man is unfitted for the labour market then adequate pension has got to be made without delay to see that he shall spend the rest of his career in comfort and decency."
—"Daily Herald," May 22nd 1919.
The pitiful lack of understanding displayed by these folk of each and every phase of capitalist activity is amazing. Through apathy and indifference to the things that really matter—working-class education and the way out of the wages system—they were easy prey five years ago to the tricksters who were leading them to the shambles. So, used to looking at things through capitalist spectacles, they turned and vilified other workers who presented a different point of view. Now, at long last, they are learning the bitter truth by experience. The songs and sayings of nearly five years ago—"We don't want to lose you, but we think you ought to go." "What do you lack, Sonny?" and similar piffle—have now been relegated to the limbo of forgotten things. The bald facts now stand out clear and plain for all to see: they have served the masters' purpose and, like the orange that has been sucked dry, they are flung out into the highways as of no further use.

Perhaps ere long these maimed and physically wrecked members of the working class will see the need for studying their place in society and join with us in the attempt to usher in the dawn of a better day.


I am glad to observe that the War Office is not devoid of humour. How's this?—"Some conscientious objectors are informed on their discharge papers that if they attempt to join the Army again they will be liable to two year's hard labour."—"Daily News," May 20th, 1919.


A dinner took place a short while ago in connection with the Industrial League, when a number of employers met a gathering of labour leaders and shop stewards and evidently discussed low they could more efficiently exploit the workers. On this occasion Mr. Clynes delivered himself of the following gem :
  "Trade unionism is now twice as strong in numbers as when the war began, and several times stronger in point of authority and power of insistence on its demands. They did not recede one inch from the right of the organised worker to use his organised power: but they had no right as poor people to rob the rich of what was theirs, as the rich had no right to rob the poor of what belonged to them. Changes sought must be through democratic institutions."
—"Daily News," April 26th, 1919.
Exactly, Mr. Clynes. We seek a change from the private ownership in the means of living to common ownership by democratic action, that is, by a majority of the workers first understanding the need for a change, and, secondly, organising with the Socialist Party to effect it. But with regard to "poor people robbing the rich," well, sir, it is a physical impossibility. The poor are poor simply because they are robbed of what they produce by the class you, sir, so ably defend.


The discussion on the "peace terms" makes interesting reading. The following titbit from a special correspondent is distinctly good. He says :
"There is a good deal here to provide food for reflection. What was once called annexation is now termed "acceptance of a mandate under the League of Nations." The two things may be practically identical, or they may be—as they should be—poles apart." —" Daily News," May 20th, 1919. 
As the Allies all desire some plums the arrangement for "mandates" seems to be an eminently suitable one.


In the early days of the war we were constantly being told that "we" (the capitalist class of this country) were unprepared for war. To use the vulgar vernacular, the Germans done the dirty on us. To those who were not mentally asleep this sort of thing had little effect. They knew it was not true. Plenty of evidence has since come to light to prove this point. But more especially do I notice the following from Lord French's book on the war, published in the "Daily Telegraph" (April 29th) :

"The British and French General Staffs had for some years been in close secret consultation with one another on this subject. (The point of concentration for the British forces on their arrival in France.) The area of concentration for the British forces had been fixed on the left flank of the French, and the actual detraining stations of the various units were all laid down in terrain lying between Maubeuge and Le Cateau. The headquarters of the Army were fixed at the latter place."
The Scout.

Capitalism's Saviours. (1919)

Pamphlet Review from the June 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

"The Drift To Revolution." Issued for the Cities Committee of the Sociological Society by Headley Bros., Oxford St.

Coming from a committee within a society advertising itself in such dignined and ambitious terms, we naturally expect to find in "The Drift to Revolution" a work of at least some little scientific pretension. But those who read it in this expectation will be disappointed. For throughout its fifty pages of discussion and lofty idealism there is not one scientific or essential fact worth recording. The authors view the drama of life as spectators, free from bias, and only concerned with their science. Nevertheless this does not prevent them, after emphasising the "drift to revolution," from offering advice to the ruling class on the best means to stem or turn it.

This action at once places them in their true category. Their title implies that they are out for scientific research ; their conclusions prove them to be just one more instrument to falsify a science that in its development and progress threatens the social order in which the capitalist class have wealth and power.

The real interest of the working class is the possession of that knowledge in sociology, economics, and politics that will enable them to apply the revolutionary principle and establish society on a basis of production for use. All such knowledge points to this as the conclusion of the class struggle. But this involves the elimination from society of the class that lives by exploitation ; hence sociological societies that interpret the science on their behalf.

Sociology was revolutionised by Karl Marx. His twin discoveries, the ''Materialistic Conception of History" and the surplus value contained in commodities, gave to the working class the basis of a critical analysis of the capitalist system. He developed this basis till the system was laid bare and exposed to the full as a ruthless system of intensive slavery and exploitation. His chief works, together with those of Engels and L. H. Morgan, are the highest expression of sociological knowledge, and because of their conclusions, that point to the necessity for the working-class to triumph over capitalism, should have been made the target of every defender of the capitalist system. But the champions of capitalism, although possessing the will and the wish, have yet failed to discover anything that is not in accordance with science.

The "Cities Committee" provides a good illustration of the usual methods of Marx's critics. After describing the manner in which they imagined he worked out and arrived at his conclusions (which, by the way, they never once pass under review), they first eulogise him as a German prophet of the Bolshevik regime. Next they picture him as a contemporary and compatriot of Bismarck, remarking, without producing a shred of evidence, that both, Marx and Bismarck, had a common faith in the cult of the State. They conclude by relegating him to a position somewhere beneath themselves in the realms of understanding. "He saw, but not with complete understanding," they say. "His mind was too severely handicapped. The embitterment of poverty does not conduce to clarity of insight. . . . The abstractions of Richardo and the metaphysics of Hegel, reared in the British Museum library . . . ensures a progeny of fallacies." Not one of which fallacies, again by the way, do the committee place on record.

This bumptious committee with the fraudulent name does not approach a single question scientifically or even seriously. There are whole pages devoted to what they term sabotage. Because the bricklayer proclaims 500 bricks a day's work in opposition to the master's demand for 1,000, that is sabotage; and the bricklayer is in the same galley with the trusts that restrict output in a falling market to keep up prices, or buy and suppress inventions and processes that would scrap their plants.

Whether he is or not matters nothing. The essential fact is ignored. The worker sells his labour power. The capitalist buys it and claims the right to work it to its fullest capacity. The question for the worker is, what is the extent of his power to do so ?

The committee failed to detect the antagonism between the buyer and the seller of labour power, and consequently failed to see the impossibility of reconciliation. Instead, they followed up the reasoning of the bricklayer to the point where this attempt to put a limit to the extent of exploitation resulted in a reduction of the work per day by one half, and a rise in wages of 100 per cent.

Had they taken the trouble to investigate the facts they would have found that their theorising never reached that far, and could not have ended there if it had. They would have discovered, if they had investigated, that the bricklayer never even reached the first stage in their journey, that of successfully limiting the output for a working day. Long before they reached that far the masters showed that they had full control of the situation. Bricklayers were made in shoals: American methods of building were introduced that simplified and cheapened, and in a few years the bricklayers were forced to submit to a bondage more tyrannical and exacting than anything in the annals of the trade. The war gave them a brief respite because they were in demand for the building of munition factories and aerodromes. But that work having ceased, they are once more at the mercy of the masters, who demand everywhere, as they do in all trades, that the day's output shall only be limited by the physical powers of the worker.

The committee reach the climax of absurdity when they describe "bearing" or "selling short" on the Stock Exchange as sabotage. It surely needs but little knowledge in economics to see that all such operations are merely gambling moves, whereby wealth changes hands. They have no effect whatever on actual production—or even on prices, when the average of a cycle of fluctuations is taken.

On the war their logic is a curiosity. On page 35 they say that "sabotage practised covertly by men of business, advocated openly by extremists of labour, applied deliberately by suffragettes, was one the major forces that made for war," and that "The popular verdict fixes the guilt on tbe Central Empires for the preparation and proximate causes." On page 37 we are told that "the hell's broth on which the world has lately been supping had many cooks to prepare it. . . . The culprits are the conventional parties and their insurgent counter-parties. These are the Liberals, Imperialists and Financiers on the one side, and the Radicals, Socialists and Anarchists on the other." And on page 42 they say, "On one side the party of order sees a way of escape through a 'good' war, capable of uniting the whole nation against the common foe."

It is scarcely necessary to point out the disparity between these statements. First of all it is sabotage and the Central Powers ; next it is the conflict between the so-called progressive forces and the party of Order; and lastly it (the war) was the only means of escape from revolution open to the party of Order, i.e., the capitalist class.

But with all their talk of sabotage they are totally blind to the fact that it is a natural fruit of the capitalist system. Profit being the motive for production, restriction of output to force up prices, and the excessive waste entailed in extensive advertising are explained. The wholesale destruction of wealth in the world war is explained likewise, as a conflict between capitalist groups over markets in which to realise their profits.

Having expressed their detestation of pre-war conditions and postulated the futility of social reform, the committee proceed to outline the remedy, or alternatives with which society-—or, to speak more correctly, the capitalist class— were, and are still, faced.
"To escape alike the Scylla of War and the Charybdis of Revolution by boldly steering for a peace which contains within itself the 'moral equivalents of war.' We have to find the formula of a peace that is not the negative thing, the mere war-peace of the Victorian era, but is, something positive, charged to complete the process of conversion begun in war, by carrying the ferment of idealism on into a peace war, a 'holy' war, constructive, evocatory, militant, yet also campaigning ruthlessly against diseases, poverties, ignorances, follies, vices, crimes."
The "process of conversion," etc., refers to the co-ordination of Liberals, Imperialists, and Financiers for the purpose of "organising the nation for war," who, the committee claim, "given the opportunity of high public endeavour, compose into a workman-like trio of real political efficiency." Then high purpose must be carried over to win the peace, says the committee, and further :
"During the war there was an impulse to place the energies of the warring societies at the disposal of their chemists, physicists, engineers, and chartered accountants. These, together with rural and town planners, educationists, economists, experts in health, intellectuals and administrators, should be entrusted with the conduct of the campaign against poverty. While poets, singers, musicians, artists and writers should work up the necessary enthusiasm."
Briefly, the Liberals, Imperialists, and Financiers, i.e.. the active section of the ruling class, will hand over to, and assist the sociological experts in a holy war against poverty. The aesthetics, intellectuals, and the clergy will work up the enthusiasm and "evoke a spiritual activity," and the result is to be Eutopia— which is the opposite of Utopia because it is "here and now."

These are the new materials and forces in the scheme that is seriously put forward as an alternative to "another 'good' war" on the one hand, or revolution the other.

The committee's observations and reasoning are false from the very outset. The various sections of the ruling class in all the belligerent countries, it is now apparent, far from co-ordinating in the common interest, only entered the war to safeguard or extend their commerce and territory, and only pooled their energies and resources because their class—or group— interests were assailed. They placed their class interests, for the time being, above individual interests, as they invariably do when those interests are threatened, either by rival groups of capitalists or by the workers,

As the working class have no share or interest in commerce or territory, whatever happened, they stood neither to gain or lose, but remained wage-slaves as before. All that the ruling class did toward winning the war—and the chief thing they did was to force the workers into the conflict—they did with the sole object of achieving and consolidating their position as the dominant group among the capitalists of the world. They acted during the war as they acted during the peace, in their class interest, but, if possible, with the exercise of greater brutality and hypocrisy.

The three groups, Liberals, Imperialists, and Financiers, constitute the old gang we knew in pre-war days. They still have the power— through the control of the political machinery —and still rely on poverty to drive the workers into their workshops. Consequently to abolish poverty would be to undermine their own position as a dominant class.

The committee have already shown how the "aesthetics, educationists," etc., are dependent on and under the control of the ruling class, either by convention or through the State. We may, therefore, leave them out of consideration. All the professions are too busy—like the rest of the workers—earning salaries and fees to start an independent movement of their own, unless it is in their own interest along the lines suggested by Bernard Shaw.

The committee's alternative, consequently, resolves itself into a flimsy idealism with no substance. It simply camouflages the fact that the old gang retains supreme power over the working class, and the basis of the system is left untouched.

If the Sociological Society were what they pretend to be—coldly analytical and unprejudiced—instead of collecting all the confusing details and non-essentials that appear on the surface, to fling in the eyes of the workers as dust to blind them, they would have brushed them aside, and laying bare the fundamental basis of existing society, the class ownership of the means of wealth production and the merchandise nature of human labour power, would have discovered in that basis the real cause of poverty. The remedy, to establish society on a basis of common ownership and democratic control, would then be apparent.
F. Foan

What The Labour Party Stands For. (1919)

From the June 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Socialist Party is often accused by members of the Labour Party of being dogmatic, and to this charge we invariably reply that the truth cannot be dogmatic. It is, therefore, up to them to show wherein our principles and the propaganda founded on those principles, are false or inaccurate.

But we do not stop there by any means. The utterances of the Labour Party are everywhere and at all times loose, confusing, and utterly false or unscientific. They violently detest being pinned down to exact definitions: it either reveals their ignorance or exposes the fraudulent character of their general propaganda. Hence their hatred of the party which give facts, figures, and evidence for all the principles and opinions they hold, and define accurately every economic and political term they use.

The official organ of the Independent Labour Party, the "Labour Leader," is chiefly concerned in interesting the workers in capitalist politics from a supposedly labour standpoint. Its leading articles criticise or offer advice to the Government on questions of taxation, trade, unemployment, and so forth. Claiming, as the membership do, to understand Socialism, it should be quite obvious to them that these questions are but parts of the entire capitalist machinery of exploitation, and as such should claim their attention not as things to be modified, or palliated, or suffered in any form or degree, but as things to be abolished together with the iniquitous social system to which they belong.

On the question of taxation the Labour Party do no more than help the Liberals — who, generally speaking, represent the manufacturing interests—in their efforts to shift the burden of taxation on to the shoulders of the landowning section of the master class—whose interests, generally speaking, are looked after by the Tory Party. The Labour Party protest against taxes on food, and as the manufacturer knows very well that cheap food for the working class means the payment of lower wages by him, and knows also that taxes on food are paid by him through higher wages, he blesses the Labour Party, and out of sheer gratitude for services rendered, and with an eye to securing similar services in the future, helps its leading lights to seats in the House of Commons. Not understanding, or not daring to show, where and how the robbery of the working class takes place—i.e., in the mines, mills, factories, workshops and the like by the expropriation of the product of their toil—the Labour Party uses the question of the taxes as a stunt to gain their political ambitions.

The same with trade. The British Labour Party, loyal to the British capitalist, stands valiantly up for British trade, and offers advice to the Government on the best means of securing advantages over other nations for the capture of a larger slice of the world's market. How does this affect the working class? Not at all, because their real interests are not connected with the nationality of their masters, or even the country in which they are enslaved. The workers go where work is—they have to—and emigration goes on continuously during periods of good and bad trade.

True, when trade is prosperous more workers are employed and wages may rule slightly higher, but as no policy adopted by the master class can maintain trade at a high level of prosperity, both capitalists and workers have to submit to the fluctuations in trade that recur periodically.

Whether the balance of trade swing from East to West or from North to South, all that the worker gets from the process, after all the higgling and shuffling, after all the treaties, tariffs, and wars fought for commerce, is a bare living wage.

On the question of unemployment the Labour Party adopts an attitude of protest against the donation scheme, calling upon the Government to provide useful work for the unemployed, even if they have to establish national workshops. They are moved not so much because of the needs of the workers (some of whom Mr. Clynes says are malingering) but because it would be bettes to produce at a loss than to have "this dead weight of expenditure." Their concern is all for the taxpayer—the capitalist—and their only thought for the worker is that he should be kept profitably employed, i.e., exploited to his full capacity.

What the Labour Party never tell the workers is that the wealth of society—produced by them alone as far as the human factor is concerned— is appropriated by the capitalist class, and that the wages the workers receive are the price of their labour-power, determined by its cost of production. Competition for jobs prevents wages rising above the cost of living, and all the wealth the workers produce above their total wages is stolen from them by the master class.

The Labour Party never proclaim this robbery of the working class, nor the vital need for Socialism as the only way to stop the robbery. Sometimes they call themselves Socialists and sometimes they publish pamphlets professing to make Socialism clear, but which, purposely or inadvertently, only add to the confusion already existing on this most vital of all questions affecting the welfare of the working class.

The "Labour Leader" for the 8th of May last contained within its pages an article which professed to answer the questions—"What is Socialism? How and when is it coming ?" In reply we are first informed that "Socialism means the public ownership of the means of life," next we told that "Socialism insists that the community shall own and control the means of life," then again they tell us that "Socialists only insist on the public ownership of capital in order to effect a fairer and juster private ownership of wealth," next "Socialism means complete adult suffrage for all men and women, free from any property qualifications," etc., then "Socialism stands for the great moral principle of "each for all and all for each," and finally, there is the Object of the party as stated in the Constitution:
  "To secure for the producers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry, and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry and service."
Let the average worker, after his day's grind in the factory, workshop, or office, try to build up or sort out a tangible meaning or definition of Socialism out of this jig-saw puzzle of conflicting statements. It is but one instance of many. The propaganda of the Labour Party is everywhere just as unscientific, confusing, and contradictory. On topical subjects its attitude is Liberal; on Socialism non-committal or misleading.

Let the reader comnare the above quotations with the Object and Principles of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, and he should at once perceive why we oppose the Labour Party.
F. Foan

Small Mercies. (1919)

Party News from the June 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

We present below our ninth list of donations to our Thousand Pound Fund, and candidly we are ashamed of it. Any of the bosses agents who may happen to have his eye glued to that acknowledgment list may very truly report to his bosses that they need have no fear of Socialism and the Socialists yet. An "ism" that is only six pounds a month strong has got to do a lot of growing before it can overthrow the capitalist system. Anyway, the great falling-off of the subscriptions to the fund brings us up against a very serious situation, and those to whom our propaganda means anything may just as well understand the facts.

The fact is, of course, we really must have a better response to our appeal. It must be remembered that the war has been ripening a magnificent harvest for us. Are we to gather it, or is it to run to waste? We cannot garner it without means. We must have books and leaflets printed, and we must send our missionaries out into the highways and byeways. We ask you to find the money.

And you can also, if you like, come along and help to spend it. We shall be very glad to share the work with you. Now, you who do so much for your masters, can't you do a little for yourselves?