Saturday, June 20, 2020

By The Way. (1919)

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

Our old friend (!) Lord Soapsuds has been busy of late advocating his pet scheme of a six hour day as the solution for industrial unrest. Writing recently in a journal called "system" he said that "what is called industrial unrest is, in my opinion. a healthy sign; it means that the worker is reaching out, is using the betterment of yesterday as a stepping-stone for something higher." I hope this "healthy sign" will develop, but not exactly along the lines laid down by the Soap King. He wants to run his machines and their attendants practically the whole 24 hours by a system of several shifts. No, we do not want to turn night into day in the factory hells of England. If Leverhulme and the class be represents will do night work we may later consider the other portions of the day.


However, this propagandist of the new order really surpassed himself later on. He is great on the subject of "kidding." Mark what follows :
  "There is no finer material than the British workman, and if he is treated properly there is no finer producer in the world. We must reduce his hours of labour and increase his rate of pay. He must have a good home—a piano if he desires it, houses with gardens, and, if he wants it, a motor car." —"Daily News," January 15th, 1919.
Now there you are, my fellow wage slave, doesn't that sound nice? No more will you be told that you are "too old at forty," for our soap magnate says that capital and labour are the Siamese Twins of productive enterprise. Of course it really would be interesting to learn what part of the productive process he is engaged in. For instance, whether he contributes the socially necessary labour in the soap-making or the margarine department. As most people know, he has just bought the island of Lewis, but the chronicler omitted to state what portion of the earth's surface fell to the lot of the twin brother. Doubtless his allowance is in France.


An example of our rulers' business ability was recently brought to light. Small wonder that there was an outcry about the shortage of ships. Let me quote:
Two stories of official ignorance or stupidity were related by Mr. W. H. Garrison on the occasion of the Royal Colonial Institute Christmas address to a juvenile audience at the Central Hall. By order of the War Office a ship wholly laden with sand was sent out during the war to Egypt ! The sand was there put into bags in order to bank up trenches. One could hardly imagine the disgust of the men told off to unload it." —"Daily News' January 4th, 1919.

On Tuesday, February 11th, the new Parliament was opened. A great portion of King Capital's speech was devoted to the C 3 homes of the C 3 population, and my Lords and Gentlemen were informed that "We must stop at no sacrifice of interest or prejudice to stamp out unmerited poverty, to diminish unemployment and mitigate its sufferings, to provide decent homes, to improve the nation's health, and to raise the standard of well-being throughout the community." After a passing reference "that the gifts of leisure and prosperity may be more generally shared throughout the community," I observe the following, which seems to be troubling our capitalist masters : "It is your duty, while firmly maintaining security for property and person, to spare no effort in healing the cause of the existing unrest." 


We have often been told that slavery cannot exist under the Union Jack, and the type of free and enlightened Britishers who wear anti-German badges and penny flags in their coats really believe it. But let us look at this picture taken from the sister isle :
Mr. Devlin regards the demand for a 44-hour week in the shipyards as a most hopeful sign, and he believes the movement will succeed, but it is to the shocking case of the sweated women workers in Belfast, the women out of whose misery and ruined health the great linen industry has been built up, that he intends to devote much of his energy during the coming year. These women, about 20,000 in number, work on an average 56 hours a week under the most trying conditions of moist heat. Many start work at 6.30 in the morning and do not finish till 6.30 at night. A large proportion, little better than children, are half-timers, doing three days at school and three in the mills for a wage that is insufficient to keep body and soul together. "The patience of these poor creatures and their dumb acceptance of a life that has little to offer but bitter drudgery are wonderful, and inspire one at the same time with anger and profound admiration," Mr. Devlin testified. —"Daily News," January 24th, 1919.
Doubtless the man who won the war made the world safe for democracy, and commenced to "cleanse the land of poverty and want" some ten years ago by speech-making, has been prevented from studying the conditions of the Belfast workers owing to his activities as strike-breaker.


The following advertisement appeared a little while ago in a Liverpool evening paper :
  "Discharged young soldier (one with foot off may suit), to assist in light trade; must be able to stand without crutches for an hour or two ; hours 9 to 7; wages 15s," — "Daily News," January 25th, 1919.
Needless to say, the appearance of the above led to a demonstration by some disabled soldiers, who went to interview the advertiser. After informing him that they had a suitable man they enquired as to whether he considered the money offered a living wage. The advertiser explained that it was a future partnership he had in mind, The crippled soldier was called in and was offered 30s. a week if he would take an interest and give all his time to the business, but the terms were refused.


The quotation given below appeared in the International Notes of the "Labour Leader,'' and emanates from Italy.
"When will Socialists learn that capitalism is by instinct predatory, that no true League of Peoples is therefore possible, except under Socialism, that Socialism will only be established by Socialists, and that Socialists must place the whole of their faith and reliance in themselves, and not in any capitalist or despot, however benevolent."
The above would have read better and been more precise had it appeared thus: "When will the pseudo Socialist," etc. However, I commend it to the Thornes, Lansburys, and others of that ilk who delight in labelling themselves Socialist, but spend their time bolstering up capitalism.


That inveterate gas-bag, Windy Churchill, is finding some of his chickens coming home to roost. There was a time when he blustered about digging the German Fleet "out like rats." But the British Fleet, for the maintenance of the efficiency of which Windy had been responsible previous to the war— at a good many thousands a year—had its chance, and Admiral Jellico has been compelled to issue a "defence" showing why he did not seize his opportunity. The Admiral compares the instrument which had been provided him by the windy braggart with that of the despised German, and the result must make many worshipper of the hero of Sidney Street wonder what he, as First Lord of the Admiralty, took his thousands for. The Admiral says that the British ships were out-classed in search-light power, inferior in range-finders, insufficiently provided with destroyers, not so well protected against dropping fire, and so on. In short, the egregrious failure of the war had proved such a failure preparing for war that the British Admiral dared not close with his enemy.

Yet this guy, who went on from blunder to blunder, from Antwerp to Gallipoli, till even his thick hide could not save him from the public's jeers, and who, in order to rehabilitate himself, had finally to resort to that magnificent piece of bluff—the melodramatic reminder to the military authority that "my regiment is in France"—this fellow who had to fly to the funk-hole for shelter from the derision brought down upon his head by his own clumsy incapacity, is one of the chosen few who alone can "carry the country through the difficult times ahead." "There is something rotten in the State of"—capitalism when such empty-headed noodles are the best the country can find to run the show. The "directive ability" superstition which our masters are so fond of talking about gets a nasty one on the snout here.
The Scout.

Who Pays? (1919)

Editorial from the March 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The “beautiful new world” so often, promised the workers by their masters’ oily-tongued hacks when it was thought that possibly the under dogs might develop some sort of doubt as to whether the ugly old hell that capitalism had made of the world was really worth any wage slave’s while sacrificing his life for, is now emerging. The old world, in the torture of her child-birth, makes such horribly wry faces that one cannot help laughing. The railwaymen think that the New World should provide them with time to eat, and the Old World is sure that if the child is to have such an unheard of excrescence it can never survive the parturition. The miners think that the New World should be able to afford those who keep it warm and snug a couple of hours a day more sunlight, a modest two hours respite from the gas, dust, and danger of the pits, the accoucheur says he really doesn't think the beautiful New World he is ushering into existence can stand it.

Mr. Lloyd George, like the true capitalist lackey that he is, answers the miners' demands for more money and shorter hours, with a rigmarole of capitalist economics. He plays the old dodge of declaring that anything which is conceded to the producer must be paid for by the consumer. He affects to believe that between the wage of the producer and the price of the consumer there stands only a negligible quantity, a mere nothing. In the case of coal, he tells us, this mere nothing —profit—averages a shilling a ton, and of course, if he can induce his hearers to believe that it will prevent the suggestion that any increase of the pitmen’s wages or shortening of their hours might come out of the masters profits.

And as was to be expected, among all the so-called representatives of labour who heard him speak, there was not one sufficiently the master of Marxian economics to get up and tell the Premier that he lied when he said that more money for the coal-getters meant an additional burden on every industry. They accepted it. One of them even confirmed it by whining, when Lld. George claimed that the miners’ demands meant 10 per cent, on steel, "ten per cent, would not be very much." They accepted it with all its implications, which do not stop short of the conclusion that a general advance of wages would be no good to the workers because it would be counterbalanced by a general advance of prices.

We have shown repeatedly that the masters, in ordinary competitive circumstances, cannot put up prices merely because they have to pay higher wages, if they have the power to do that they would have the power to put up prices independent of. wages movements, and they would never cease doing so.

No, it is not a struggle between producer and consumer, much as Lld. George desires to make it appear to be so. It is purely a struggle between the takers of wages and the takers of profits. The masters’ only way of recovering what they have to shell out in higher wages is to speed up either by improved organisation or adopting advanced machinery. They have got to get more coal per unit of labour or they have got to put up with a smaller rate of profit. It is just there where the shoe pinches.

The workers should study Marxian economics for themselves, they would then be proof against the yarn with which masters’ champions combat every demand for higher wages or shorter hours—that the consumer, and therefore the worker, will have to pay.

Some Receipts. (1919)

Party News from the March 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

Circumstances (which you may call bad business arrangements without being far out) have prevented the regular publication of our lists. This does not mean that the need for funds is any  less urgent. Every effort should now be made to provide funds for the final struggle, which is revealing itself all over the world as never before.

The German Elections (1919)

From the February 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

How they support our contentions

In the December 1918 Socialist Standard we stated that if a General Election were held in Germany the working class there, having the vast majority of the votes, could place a Socialist Government in power should they desire to work for the establishment of Socialism. An Election has now been held, and its results must be exceedingly disappointing to those who claim that the riots in Berlin and other towns showed that the German working class were ready – nay, eager – to see Socialism brought into existence.

The Press reports give the following as the result of the Election:
Majority Socialists                        164 seats
Independent Socialists                     24 seats
German Democratic Party               77 seats
National People’s Party                   34 seats
Christian People’s Party                  88 seats
German People’s Party                    23 seats
Other Parties                                    11 seats
                                          Total     421
The Daily News (24.1.19) divides the above parties into two groups, the first three forming what it calls the “Left”, and the remainder the “Right”. But this division conceals, rather than explains, the real position of the various parties.

The “Christian People’s Party” is the old Clerical Centre Party wearing a new name in the attempt to trim its sails to fit the new conditions. The “National People’s Party” is the old Conservative and Junker organisation with a new label to hide its old crimes.

The German People’s Party is composed of the large industrial and financial capitalists and has made a rather poor show, due, doubtless to the wages disputes raging throughout Germany.

The German Democratic Party is made up of Liberals and Republicans and corresponds approximately to the Asquithian Liberal Party here.

Despite the Daily News division all the above parties are supporters and defenders of the capitalist system and are utterly opposed to the abolition of wage slavery. Combined they hold 222 seats, and if we add the 11 seats of the other anti-working class parties there are 233 avowedly capitalist members against 188 so-called Socialist members. But still this does not complete the survey.

For years we have pointed out that the Social Democratic Party of Germany – now called the “Majority Socialists” – was not a Socialist party. Its persistent support of the capitalist parties at elections, coupled with its advocacy of capitalist reforms, marked it off as merely a reform party similar to the Labour Party in this country, though it carried a Socialist name. And there was another important fact connected with its growth.

The capitalist class in Germany has always been somewhat nervous of the working class there, having, as Engels points out, something to learn from the English capitalist class in this respect. This nervousness was shown in various repressive measures culminating in Bismarck’s Anti-Socialist laws. Repressive measures for the working class, however, also hit the small capitalists and traders in their operations. These latter, who usually form an active portion of the Liberal Party, found the main body of their organisation too timid to fight over these measures, and saw them slink behind the more determined Junker section when there were any signs of trouble ahead. Mr. Small Capitalist had to look for another organisation that was really prepared for the Liberal reforms, and it was at hand in the shape of the Social Democratic Party. Since the days of its famous “Gotha Programme”, so trenchantly trounced by Marx, it had even challenged Bismarck’s rulings. So the small capitalists joined this organisation in large numbers till the total votes ran into millions.

It is clear as noon-day that these votes were neither Socialist nor intended to help forward the cause of Socialism. The “acid test” came with the war. Then, as the Labour Party and Hyndman section here, the German Social Democratic Party supported this capitalist war on their side. Only a small number of the Left wing protested, and Karl Liebknecht was slimed with the praise of the capitalist Press of this country, which, since the signing of the Armistice, have used the foulest language at their command to blacken him in the eyes of the workers. Then came the split and the formation of the “Independent Socialist Party” by the Left wing referred to above.

With the fall of the Kaiser on the signing of the Armistice the Junkers went temporarily under a cloud, and the various sections of the Liberals joined with the Social Democrats to carry on in the interval.

Karl Liebknecht’s attempt to rouse the workers to seize power for themselves as a class met with considerable opposition even in his own stronghold, Berlin. This showed how small was the number of the German working class who were ready to assist in establishing Socialism. The number who understand it must, of course, be smaller still.

The German Election has shown, with the cold, relentless logic of figures, how much Socialist propaganda still must be done in Germany, as elsewhere, before the working class will be in a fit state, and ready, to establish Socialism.

While the old Clerical Party and the Junkers have tried to hide their disreputable pasts under new labels, the Liberals have come out with a party of their own: the German Democratic Party. In spite of this many Liberals have been reassured by the actions of the “Majority Socialists” during the interval, and have maintained their allegiance with them. Hence the “Majority Socialist” vote cannot be claimed to be more than a mixture of advanced Radical and ordinary Labour votes.

Due to their action in opposing the later war-credits the “Independent Socialist” vote is a much more reliable index to the number of Socialists in Germany. Even here, however, the breaking away of the Spartacus group adds to the difficulty of forming a sound judgement till more detailed information is available. Until then even the most optimistic who have any acquaintance with German conditions, cannot claim more than the 24 “Independent Socialist” members as an expression of the desire for Socialism on the part of the working class in Germany.

There, as in all capitalist countries, the fight for the Social Revolution has yet to take place.
Jack Fitzgerald

Where We Stand. (1919)

Editorial from the February 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

If it was ever true that "all the world is a stage," it was never more true than it is to-day. In Russia and Germany tragedy; here, at home, comedy that may become tragedy of the first water if certain mad-caps have their way. That an attempt is being made to establish proletarian domination in Eastern Europe and Western Asia on a scale without parallel in the world's history seems to have turned the heads of a large number of proletarians in countries outside those in which the attempt is being made, and it is a matter upon which it is our duty to speak.

The January issue of the "Socialist," the official organ of the Socialist Labour Party, carries a "Manifesto" which may form a convenient introduction to our subject. This manifesto is put forward as "A Plea for the Reconsideration of Socialist Tactics and Organisation." In reality it is a proposal to imitate in this country the policy and tactics which, it is alleged, are being pursued in Russia, with, of course, such amendments and alterations as the "dead hand of the past," that is, the claims and policy which the S.L.P. has put forward and followed with such conspicuous failure for some years now, suggest. But, be it said, there are important abandonments of positions and tactics also, of which we shall have more to say later on.

The manifesto urges all Socialists to "re-examine our previous attitude and activities;" it pleads: "Let us decide whether this policy does not bring our movement into line with the revolutionary working class of Russia and elsewhere." And the leading article in the same paper, after much vapouring about the Bolshevik movement in Russia, and the revolutionary workers in Germany says: "Elsewhere in the 'Socialist' we publish a manifesto which seeks to outline a new basis for the revolutionary movement, and which will enable the masses to act." [Italics not ours.] And in another place says: "The revolutionary crisis is here now." What the manifesto lacks in definite pronouncement as to its ends and aims is supplied by these statements, but if something still more definite is needed, then it is to be found in the assertion in the early part of the same leader that: ''At this time last year we, in conjunction with the German workers, pledged ourselves to support the Bolshevists in Russia with all our power. The German workers have carried out their pledge, but we have not."

So, the moral is, that the Revolutionaries of this country are to copy the Spartacists, and the steps which certain prominent S.L.P. men are taking to organise meetings, and what transpires thereat, confirms the view that nothing less than the immediate challenging of the military might of the capitalist class in this country is the object the S.L.P. has in view in publishing this manifesto. Indeed, they say: "We are entering upon a year which is either going to make or unmake the immediate realisation of the International Socialist Republic." What could be plainer?

Now, what is the actual situation? Events which are within the knowledge of most people to-day, found Russia in a peculiar state of chaos. The capitalist class of that country at the moment that should have been their hour of emancipation, discovered themselves an ill-organised, or perhaps one might better say unorganised social class faced with a situation calling for the highest effort in order to cope with it. If ever the revolutionary workers, imbued with the idea of seizing power without the formality of creating a class-conscious proletariat, had the ghost of a chance, it was then. They determined to take the opportunity, and as far as we know, and, indeed, from such indications as can hardly be discredited, they appear to have carried on their effort so far with great skill and success.

But to claim that their battle is won, or that eventual success is within reach of the Bolsheviks, is to claim that which there is no evidence to support. On what do the Bolshevist leaders depend for their strength? Certainly not on a class-conscious working class. To talk about the millions of Socialist books and pamphlets printed in Russia is beside the question, since 70 per cent. of the people will need to be taught to read them. The peasantry—the backbone of the country, on whom the fate of the movement must ultimately rest—cannot understand Socialism, for in the first place they are generally illiterate and cannot have read Socialist literature; in the second place they are so isolated and have been so under guardianship, that it is altogether unlikely that socialist propaganda has been carried on among them. How is it likely, then, that they can conceive any advantage arising from common ownership of land ? How is it possible that they can see sound reasoning in the proposal that they shall grow food for the whole people and receive in return such few products of the factories as they have need of? Their wants end with their few simple tools and their boots. All else, practically, they produce for themselves, after the manner of people in their stage of development; and the idea that they are going to give allegiance to the proposal that they shall feed Russia for boots and tools is ridiculous. At present they are, so far as our information goes, enamoured of the idea that each peasant may have as much land as he can till without hired labour ; but the natural corollary of this is that each will till as little as he can keep himself and his family upon, and the few calls he makes on the outside world, and pays for with his products, will not be sufficient to maintain the townspeople and the revolutionary armies. When the Bolsheviks try to square this matter the peasants will in all probability be ready to listen to the cry of the first capitalist party that promises land without restriction and the exchange of the capitalist world instead of the lopsided exchange of goods produced in commonly-owned factories for food produced on privately owned land.

It is ridiculous to try and imagine Socialist productive conditions in the towns and the productive conditions of feudal communism in the country. The first is the child of highly fertile labour due to technical advance. The second is the result, and its reaction the cause, of low productive capacity. The first gives men leisure through social effort and the conquest of nature, the second fixes on them the toil of individual labour and poor technical resources. The first responds to social needs; the second only to private. The first has no idea of any other value than that of utility in satisfying social needs ; the second none but that of satisfying private needs. There can be, therefore, no satisfactory basis for exchange. The incongruous property conditions divides society two classes, of whom the vast majority are peasants "each owning as much land as he can till without hired assistance," and interested in producing as little as possible beyond his own requirements, and demanding the utmost return for what he has to sell. In the absence of the appraisement of values through competition as under capitalism the rate of exchange between the communal products of the towns and the individual products of the country must the subject of arrangement. It hence is removed to the realm of politics. A class struggle, therefore, arises, expressing itself as a political struggle for supremacy in the adjustment of antagonistic interests.

Yet the Bolsheviks are powerless to place the land on any more satisfactory footing. The wants of the Russian peasantry are not sufficiently great, nor their agricultural means and methods sufficiently fertile, to enable them to carry the Socialist Revolution on their backs. Just as Socialism must be international because the world is necessary to Socialism, so no section of Society can be ripe for Socialism until its needs extend beyond its own confines—until the whole world is necessary to it. Nor, while the average corn yield is only four times the amount of grain sown can Socialism offer a peasantry the equality it must afford to all. Only when they need more of the amenities of life, and their means of culture have been brought to such a level as will leave them leisure after producing the social food, will they be in a position to welcome Socialism—and even then they must understand it.

That the Bolshevists realise this is quite possible. But as long as they are faced with this difficulty it is madness for the revolutionary element in other countries to talk as though the Russian rebels had established Socialism, or even overthrown capitalism, in Russia. As a matter of fact it appears that the Russian capitalists have their nucleii in many districts, gathered under the protection of the internationalist capitalists. The result of the recent German elections will give these reactionaries a further opportunity of safeguarding the capitalist institutions in those places where they are threatened. Therefore it is madness to proceed as though Bolshevism had established the foundation of the International Socialist Commonwealth.

But even had they succeeded in establishing a Socialist Republic (and there is no evidence that they have even attempted to do so yet) there is still to be considered the different conditions prevailing in other countries. In England the workers do not find the capitalist class disorganised, nor in France, or America, or any of the Allied countries. Even in Germany, with all the odium of military failure upon them, there is no sign that the capitalists have not a grip upon the situation that will pull them through. To say in the face of this that ''We are entering upon a year which is either going to make or unmake the immediate realisation of the International Socialist Republic" is to utter balderdash.

Four short years after even "The Socialist" was advocating the prosecution of the capitalist war, the madcaps of the S.L.P. think that British soldiers, with four years of iron discipline upon them, flushed with victory and the flattery that is showered on victors, would fail to support against a mob of rioters, that system they have fought so valiantly for. "We need a movement of active men and women who are not afraid to live dangerously," they cry, who so late as 1915 were urging men and women of the working class to "live dangerously" in their masters' war service. If they think that, four years of war having brought them round to OUR view of the purely capitalist nature of the war, the rest of the working class have made a like mental advance, they have their answer in the last General Election.

The "Manifesto," in imitation of a prominent capitalist politician, lays down a programme of ''14 points," the third of which runs :
  The defence of the National Socialist Republic may be necessary to prevent any Imperialist Capitalist State attempting to crush the freedom of the workers in any land, consequently the Army and Navy shall be democratically controlled.
This presupposes that when "men and women who are not afraid to live dangerously" have established the "National Socialist Republic" in this country, there may be existing "Imperialist Capitalist States" in other countries. Here enters a factor which knocks the bottom clean out of the S.L.P.'s "Plea for the Reconsideration of Socialist Tactics and Organisation." For, granted that the fullest possible success attended the efforts of the rebels, they would then be up against the fact that, under conditions which must even then prevail, the country cannot feed itself. No army or navy could avail. The "Imperialist Capitalist States" could simply starve the "National Socialist Republic" into surrender. Even Germany, with a few paltry U boats, nearly accomplished this trick against capitalist Britain and the mighty navies of the world.

No, England, of all countries, is not the one to lead the way in the matter of overthrowing capitalist domination. At the quickest a year must elapse before the home-grown food supply could be increased sufficiently to support the nation. It is hardly conceivable that it could be accomplished in that time, but long before that time every man, woman, and child in the "National Socialist Republic" would have "lived hungrily" and died of starvation.

Before leaving the "Manifesto" it may be noted that the S.L.P. have abandoned the old I.W,W. position of organisation by industries. Locality, now, is the very keystone to the arch of social organisation. They say:
 In order to find the social needs, some machinery is required that reflects the social side of life as apart from the time spent in production. . . In the present geographical allocation of wards, there exists a basis upon which such machinery could be erected. . . Each ward would also be entitled to have a delegate upon the local Federal Council of the district, which latter body would be composed of one delegate from each ward and one delegate from each shop, yard, or similar area of production. [Italics ours,]
How long it does take some people to discover the absurdity of their sophistries ! We pointed out the idiocy of organisation by industries years ago.

There are many other points in the ''Plea'' calling for criticism, but we have only space for this last. We are told that
  Given the necessary desires and social requirements of the people, our duty is to propagate and establish the means of their fulfilment. . . all factories and plants of production should be organised in such a way that each would have its complete committees of delegates drawn directly from the various departments, each separately delegated to carry out the instructions of the workers engaged therein . . .
So it is not the workers as a whole who are to control production, but the industrial groups. This necessarily means that the social requirements are subservient to the industrial side of the system, which is absurd. It is hardly for us here and now to concern ourselves deeply with the details of a| social system which is still some distance ahead. But it is obvious that the body responsible for the social liabilities must control production. The responsible body is the community, not the workshop groups. Supervisors must carry out the instructions of the community, as expressed through their elected administrators. It is easy to see why the S.L P. take the opposite view. They are, and always have been, opportunists of the first water. At the moment they are anxious to exploit the Shop Steward movement. So they commit themselves to the statement that the new society must be built up within the old, "using the existing organisations for the same end." They thus find a useful function for the Shop Steward movement —they to whom well within living memory anything savouring of the "pure and simple" trade union was anathema !

In an attack no doubt directed against us, though no names are mentioned, the "Socialist" says:.,
  Historic and political development is an ever-changing process, and no political organisation, particularly a revolutionary organisation, can draw up a code of tactics which will last, "not for an age, but for all time." The hide-bound, inactive, and intolerant doctrinaire can always be detected by the claim that he devotedly and unswervingly follows the tactics which he embraced 15 years ago.
Well, strangely enough, 15 years ago WE drew up declaration of Principles, and "embraced" a line of policy and tactics based thereon. We had followed that line for 11 years when the war broke out. It was a testing time for all. The S.L.P. went into the test, as we did. How did the ramping, flexible, "damn-the-rudder-trim-the-sails" party and the "hide-bound, inactive, and intolerant doctrinaire" respectively emerge from the ordeal? We give here extracts from the official organs of both parties:
  . . no interests are at stake justifying the shedding of a single drop of working-class blood. . . Having no quarrel with the working class of any country, we extend to our fellow workers of all lands the expression of our goodwill and Socialist fraternity, . . —("The War and the Socialist Position." "Socialist Standard," Sept. 1914.)
   I cannot say definitely what the official attitude of the Party is.—(The Editor, "The Socialist," Nov. 1914.)
I cannot understand the stand being taken by some Socialists of refusing to kill. . . I do not regard this question as a test of one's sincerity as a Socialist. . . So long as the other fellow remains armed and sets out to make mincemeat of me I reserve the right to retaliate. —(The Editor, "The Socialist," Dec. 1914.)
As now, the S.L.P. organ wanted men and women to "live dangerously," but then it was to be in butchering their German fellow workers. For months the columns of "The Socialist" presented every capitalist argument in support of the war, and the Party which speak with such authority on the details of the future society were lost in face of a simple situation that had long threatened them. The "hide-bound doctrinaires" can still reiterate the words with which they met the outbreak of the great butchery—can the S.L.P. ? We can stand unashamed before those Russian revolutionaries who reproached the "International" and charged it with treachery—can the S.L.P. ?

It is not at all remarkable that the S L.P., which have pretty well boxed the political compass in their 17 years or so of life, ever finding themselves on the wrong track, should desire to reconsider their position. As for us, we are satisfied to go on in the direction we have always followed, more convinced than ever that the emancipation of the working class can only be the work of a class-conscious proletariat organised for their task, and that therefore our mission is first to educate, then to organise.

The workers must make rebels of the masters before resorting to armed force.

The Capitalist New World. (1919)

From the January 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

By this Sign.
The "War that will end War" is over, and on the strength of this an immense explosive trust, called Explosives Trades Ltd., has been formed with an authorised capital of £18,000,000 (vide "Daily Chronicle," 2.12.18). If all wars are to end the combination of the 29 firms forming this company for the production of explosives is somewhat perplexing. If munitions of war are still to be manufactured on a large scale although, there are to be no more wars, then the only conclusion one can come to is that they are to be produced for the keeping of the peace—that eternal "order" the capitalist cries for when working men attempt to interfere with his profit-making career. 

On a superficial examination we are driven to the conclusion that those who raised the cry that this war would end war were liars—that in reality it was only the commencement of war on the grand scale.

When we come to look below the surface, however, we see that there is just a possibility that the war crowd were not quite such liars as we thought. Perhaps, after all, it is the end of wars as understood by the capitalist mind—a struggle among the robbers for the largest share of the spoil. Perhaps they think that the end of this war will enable them to settle their local differences and thus be left free to pursue their policy of exploitation to the uttermost parts of the earth, with only one barrier—the growing class-consciousness and revolutionary tendency of the world's working class.

Bullets Still Needed.
This being so their old enemy the workers, now growing to formidable proportions, neither so docile nor so pliable as of yore, having eaten to the full of capitalist bullets and capitalist gratitude, must be suppressed and kept within a certain prescribed relation to their masters. Hence the wheels of the munitions of war machine, the instrument of suppression, must continue to whiz merrily round, and "pile up the war material" continue to be one of the watchwords and orders of the day.

Hands Off Profits.
Proof that there is at least a grain of truth in the above forecast is shown at every turn. Sir Charles Macara, writing in the "Daily Chronicle" (18.12.18) bears witness to the intended great trade revival, and also reflects the deadly fear of his class that their profits may fall through a too rapid fall in prices. While workers are finding it difficult to obtain necessaries in the shape of food and clothing this cotton magnate writes:
  "These raw materials, which contribute so largely to the production of clothing for the inhabitants of the globe, have been raised owing to the vicissitudes of war to almost unprecedented prices, and I hope the Allies will act together in controlling these commodities and distributing them equitably.
  Further, it is in the interest of all just as important to prevent a too rapid depreciation in the price of these raw materials as it is to prevent a further undue inflation."
Workingmen have lost homes, limbs, and lives as a result of the war, but for God's sake don't let the capitalist lose a penny piece of profit !

Poor Sir Charles groans at the fact that wages were increased instead of bonuses being given, as the latter are more easily knocked off. He hopes :
  "The nations of the world would only fully realise their interdependence and organise capital and labour, work together in developing the undeveloped resources of the world."
Ready to Sweat.
Sir Charles need have no fear : the devil looks after his own. The process of organising capital and labour has already begun. The war has splendidly shown the capitalists how maximum of output can be obtained with the minimum of labour.

Contests have been held among workers for turning out work at the greatest possible speed. Women, have been introduced into numerous employments previously banned. "Unskilled" labour has been diffused among "skilled" in a way hitherto untried. Undertakings of all sorts are being fused, bringing further economies in the cost of production. Small firms have been wiped out by the thousand.

An Industrial Fatigue Research Board has been set up to determine the most economical ways of applying labour.
 "The Board's Investigations will be directed towards finding the most favourable hours of labour, spells of work, and rest pauses, and they hope to receive help from both employers and workers in their enquiries." "Daily Express," 20.12.18. 
  "The nation that secures the most efficient production will be dominant in the new world on whose threshold we stand. That nation will be the one whose workers are the most contented, the best nourished, and the most physically fit. Keen, eager work—with the real heart and the real joy in it—judiciously blended with healthy exercise and sane recreation, gives the secret, the "open Sesame," to success. Our final word to the professional fatigue victim —there will be a terribly long rest in the next world." —"Daily Express," 20.12.18. 
  "Appointed by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Medical Research Committee jointly, it will consider hours and conditions of labour and methods, and how they cause fatigue, having regard to industrial efficiency and the health of the workers.
 The Board will investigate, organise and promote by research, grants or otherwise, investigations in different industries, to find the most favourable hours of labour, spells of work, rest pauses, and other conditions applicable to the various processes, according to the nature of the work and its demands on the worker." "Daily Chronicle," 20.12.18.
The meaning of all this is to transplant the military system into the industrial world still more completely, to develop as efficient an industrial army as our masters can so that the greatest possible amount of wealth can be produced and the smallest possible part of it returned to the workers in the shape of wages.

Our kind and loving masters, having laid their plans for a production of wealth (and profit) previously unheard of, standing as they do on the threshold of a new world of untold treasure, find one bar to the realisation of their ideal. This bar is the growing discontent and revolutionary tendency of the workers everywhere. They therefore must strengthen their military power and hold secure their political supremacy.

The situation in Russia fills them with anguish, and they are sending soldiers from all quarters to quell the revolution as quickly as possible. Classing themselves as the "Saviours nf Society" and the champions of democracy, they pour vituperations upon the Bolsheviks and invite all comers to assist in saving Russia from destruction. The destruction they fear, however, is the destruction of the debts owed by Russia to European and other capitalists and the spreading of the revolution to other countries with the consequent break-up of the capitalist regime. They therefore fall over each other in their anxiety to smash up and discredit the Bolsheviks.

What the workers may expect in the future is illustrated by the following which is reported from Amsterdam : 
  "Serious rioting has occurred in Bottrop as a result of the Westphalian miners' strike. A large crowd of demonstrators proceeded to the Gladbeck pits with a view, it is supposed, of wrecking the works, but the military intervened and fired machine guns among the strikers, killing some and injuring others." —"Daily Express," 20.12.18. (Italics mine.)
Now more than ever the need to get behind the guns should be obvious to all workers. The masters still control the military machine, and so long as this is so they can, in the last analysis, defeat all attempts of the workers to alter the basis of society. Working men and women must therefore organise politically to obtain control of the political machinery from which all power emanates. They will then be able to render the capitalists' dream of a new world but the stuff that dreams are made of.

Letter: Mr. Rock says we err. (1919)

Letter to the Editors from the January 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

We have received the following letter from Mr. J. Rock annent a statement which appeared in our November issue:
19 Grange Rd., N.W.1 
Nov. 17, 1918. 
Sirs,—I beg to acquaint you of an inaccurate statement in the November issue of your paper, The Socialist Standard, under the heading "By Request." You state in dealing with the London Aircraft Strike that that dispute failed to save Rock, the shop steward. 
  On the contrary, as a result of the further negotiations following the enquiry when the dismissal of Rock was confirmed resulted in Rock being reinstated. I was re-instated on Monday 12th, started on the same bench, and still am chairman of the Shop Committee. I  have continued working at Warings and Gillows to date. 
  Therefore the findings of the Committee of Enquiry set up in the first place by the Ministry of Munitions were quashed as a result of the M. of M. agreeing to the terms of the final settlement,
—yours fraternally, J. B. Rock.

Mr. Rock's "correction" reads rather curiously. We said : "The London Air-craft Strike failed to save Rock, the shop-steward." This statement our correspondent denies by referring to the "result of further negotiations," but forgets to mention who carried on these "negotiations" and where the findings may be found.

To make the matter quite clear we place the following facts before our readers :

Mr. Rock was dismissed from the Alliance Aeroplane Works, Hammersmith (an offshoot of Waring & Gillows, Ltd.) on June 26th last for blowing a whistle to call a meeting of the employees during working hours. This dismissal was the chief and immediate cause of the air-craft strike, though other subsidiary matters were mixed up with the affair. On the 11th July it was announced in the Press that the strike had been settled on the following terms: 

"That we, the National Woodworkers' Air-craft Committee, the London District Air-craft Committee, and other representatives of the workers (both metal and wood) hereby pledge the whole of the men and women now in dispute to loyally abide by the decision of the proposed inquiry if Mr. Rock be allowed to start work as soon as the Ministry of Munitions has assumed the effective control of the factory, and that if Rock be acquitted he shall receive compensation from the date of his dismissal from the Alliance Aeroplane Co. Further we hereby recommend an immediate resumption of work at all shops now on dispute." —("Daily News," July 11, 1918. Italics ours.)

Note the pledge that we have italicised, to abide by the decision of the proposed inquiry. What was that decision ? According to the Official Report, dated 15th July, 1918, of Mr. Alfred Hopkinson, who was appointed by the Ministry of Labour to hold the inquiry, it was as follows : 
"15. The calling of this meeting in manner above mentioned was the direct cause of Rock's dismissal, and I feel bound to report that Rock's action in the matter was such misconduct as to warrant the immediate termination of the contract of service between him and the company, and that his dismissal was justified."
Acting on this report the Minister of Munitions issued the following statement to the Press:
"In view of the finding that Mr. Rock's action in the matter was such misconduct as to warrant the immediate termination of the contract of service between him and company, and that his dismissal was justified, the Minister considers it his duty, in accordance with the with the agreement entered into with the responsible trade union officials by which the dispute was settled, to confirm the dismissal of Mr. Rock." —("Daily News," July 23, 1918.)
The above decisions completely prove the correctness of our statement. The strikers returned to |work on the pledge of their officials that they would accept the decision of the inquiry. That decision was that the dismissal was justified. On that finding the Minister of Munitions confirmed the dismissal of Rock. Hence the strike failed to save Rock from dismissal.

Mr. Rock says he was reinstated on Monday 12, but he does not say of what month. We may suppose he means the 12th of August. The Inquiry Report is dated 15th July, and the Minister's decision to confirm the dismianal is announced in the Press on 22nd July. We may presume that Mr. Rock received the Minister's decision somewhere between the two dates. What was his action on receiving this decision ? To accept his dismissal as an accomplished fact and to seek other employment. We are informed that the first firm he applied to refused to let him start, after promising him a job, when they found out who he was. Later he obtained employment in the South-Western district of London. Thus he not only accepted the dismissal, but actually started work with another firm, thereby adding further confirmation to the truth of our statement.
Editorial Committee