Friday, July 17, 2020

If You Work Harder—You "Want" Work Sooner. (1919)

From the October 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

As it was in the beginning.

Fellow Workers, during the months that followed August 1914 you were the objects of persistent appeals from your rulers. Posters everywhere proclaimed that your king and country needed you. ''Your country is in danger," "Every fit man wanted," was placarded from end to end of the country. You responded to the call in your thousands. The thought of invading armies desecrating the sacred soil of "your country"; the thoughtfulness of your employers, who agreed to "set you free"; and the jeers of your shopmates who were ''too old to go," were some of the reasons that constrained you.

As time passed and the danger that threatened "your country" increased, the call for more of you became more clamorous, and soon it ceased to be a call and you were peremptorily ordered to go. The passing of the Conscription Act proved to you that you were not "free citizens of a free country," but slaves to a master class who owned all the wealth you produced, and the land with all its wealth-producing resources and materials they called "your country."

"Millions of Bubbles Like You."

That class harnessed your wives and children to the wheels of industry, and used you as a "providential fire screen" to protect them and their possessions from the onslaught of the German workers, driven, like you, to fight out the quarrels of these two sections of the same master class.

It was their quarrel, but you made up the bulk of the fighting forces. You suffered the hardships, the terrors, the wounds, and saw the open graves filled with the battered corpses of men and boys of your class, when they were not left to rot on the desolate fields between you and those who had no quarrel with you.

The Workers are Defeated.

It was not your quarrel, neither is the victory yours. True, you have driven "the enemy" from allied territory. True, you have forced him to capitulate, and your masters have dictated terms of peace. But the victory is theirs, not only over the Germans, but over your class. Your class, that by its industry and intelligence has built the mighty fabric of civilisation, suffered the shame and ignominy of defeat when it surrendered to the call of a false patriotism, and shared with the master class the responsibility for the world war.

True, capitalism breeds wars, but you support capitalism; you build empires for your masters when you might take possession of the earth and build a commonwealth for yourselves — a Socialist commonwealth, where profits no longer would be the object of production, and markets would cease to be a bone of contention for snarling groups of profit-hungry capitalists, but a system wherein free men and women produce wealth according to their needs.

You Swallow It.

But you, fellow workers, have turned away your heads from Socialism, because your masters and their agents, fearing it, have lied to you about its meaning. They lie from the Press, the platform, and the pulpit. They encourage labour misleaders to misconstrue, defame, and slander. They dare not meet its exponents in your presence. Hence you give your lives to the support of capitalism, and capitalism breeds war with its awful destruction and waste of the wealth which you produce, but do not own. Whether you return as victors or vanquished it is your lot to replace the wasted wealth and restore the credit of your masters. In their candid moments they told you that it was a business war, waged for markets, and that victory would mean success over Germany. Now they have to confess that victory has not done the trick, that the markets still have to be won by your efforts and sacrifice on the industrial field.

In 1914 your masters appealed to you as "patriots" to save "your country" from the fury of their enemies. To-day in flaring posters on the same hoardings they beg you to save "your country" from bankruptcy. Greater production, they tell you, is necessary, and that is where you come in. They call on you to put your backs into it because you are the only producing class. Without an increase in the aggregate wealth your class, they say, must suffer deeper extremes of poverty. But is it an increase in the aggregate wealth your masters want ? No, for if it were they would set the unemployed to work instead of increasing their numbers by wholsale dismissals weekly. Prices are high, they tell you, because there is a real shortage of wealth —of the necessaries of life. If this is true why are there unemployed ? Because your masters are not concerned with increasing the total quantity of wealth; their desire is for more surplus-value, i.e., the difference between the wealth you produce and the wages you receive. All the wealth you produce belongs to your masters. Your wages are paid out of that wealth, and are determined by what it costs you to live. What they ask from you is more work from the individual worker, in order that the total wages bill can be reduced, the very conditions that have always made for increased unemployment. All the lying agents of the master class are denying this obvious truth day after day, hoping, by constant repetition, to make you believe what they have not yet advanced a scrap of evidence to support, or a single reason on which to base their denial.

The history of capitalism is a continuous record of increasing unemployment, due to the fact that you, by improved means and methods, and by greater effort and efficiency, have periodically produced more wealth than the world's markets could absorb. For the last hundred years industry has been made up of recurring periods of prosperity, crisis and stagnation. But even during the most prosperous times, from one period to another, the unemployed have steadily increased ; while each recurring period of crisis has brought the world nearer to an utter collapse of the system by reason of the wholesale bankruptcies and the enormous increase in unemployment.

During all that period your insecurity and poverty have increased, and the story of your wretchedness is plainly told in the struggles of you and your forebears to snatch from your oppressors the right to enjoy a little more of the wealth you produce. Why in the past have you suffered poverty and starvation while your masters have vainly tried to unload the wealth you have produced on a glutted market ? Why, to-day, do the prices of necessaries leave no margin to your wages in spite of the increases advertised by the lying capitalist Press ? These are questions you may well ask yourselves at the present moment, when your hypocritical masters tell you—the only wealth producers— that unless you work harder and faster there are hungry times ahead for you. Capitalism has never meant anything else for you.

Whether you work harder or try to slack your lot will be poverty in ever deeper shades. If you strike you bring down fresh hardships on your fellow workers, but if you do not strike your masters will reward your cowardice or patriotism, whichever you choose to call it—with reduced wages and a harsher tyranny of supervision, in their greed for more surplus-value. If you consent to be wooed by their profit-sharing and piecework promises, you will discover, too late, that their promises are the bait concealing a new bondage, more exacting and pitiless than any in the history of slave systems.

If you rely on the Government's schemes of reconstruction, in your simplicity believing in their fair promises, they will strengthen the position of their class, and correspondingly weaken the position of your class. If you support the Labour Party, they will sell your support for fat jobs. If you dream that nationalisation will save you you will, when you awake, find yourselves under the rule of the bureaucrat and expert—still wage slaves, exploited in the interest of all capitalists instead of that of a company or trust.

There is not a reform within your reach that can save you from worse degrees of exploitation. The unemployment dole is being reduced and the conditions for obtaining made more stringent. There is do need to pass conscription Acts to forcibly enlist you in the industrial army. You are already there by virtue of your poverty, and must sell your labour-power in order to live.

The means of wealth production are owned by the capitalist or master class, and you are only permitted to produce wealth for them while they can sell at a profit. With modern machinery and methods every nation can produce more wealth than it can dispose of within its own boundaries, and it must find markets for the surplus elsewhere. It was this need for markets that led to the war. But war could not solve the insoluble problem. The world's markets are for those who can sell the cheapest. In order that your masters may sell cheaply you must produce cheaply. The capitalists of other countries, realising this, are telling their workers the same fairy tales that your masters are telling you. They are inciting their workers—in the name of the Fatherland and the shades of the nation's heroes—to engage in a new war: the war of factories and markets, in which the cheapest workers will win for their masters commercial supremacy, for themselves increasing unemployment and falling wages.

And this is the fulfilment of their promises— the "land fit for heroes to live in." Your masters tell you that this must always be your lot, that your share of the wealth you produce can never be more than the slave's portion, and that you must work ever more strenuously even for that. They tell you that industry will not bear the burden of higher wages and improved conditions for you. There is only one answer you can return them: they take two thirds of the wealth you produce and perform no useful function in society; it is, therefore, they that are a burden on society—on you—and you have no further use for them or their system.

Capitalism fails to give you, who produce all wealth, a secure and comfortable existence, then capitalism must go. With modern means and methods of production wealth can be produced to satisfy the needs of all; but capitalism, with is class ownership of the means of life, and the merchandise character which it imposes upon our labour power, stands in the way.

You must first understand the nature of the obstacle, and then organise politically to remove it. The longer you delay the worse does your condition become. The sooner you commence the task—which can only be performed by you, because you are the class that suffers—the sooner will you enjoy the fruits of your labour under a system where the means of wealth production are the common property of all, used and controlled by all, in the interests of all.
F. Foan

Can You Solve This?

From the October 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The productiveness of labour has increased a thousandfold in the last 500 years, yet those who labour are in constant penury and want. Why is it?

By The Way. (1919)

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

In the early days of the European War there were quite a number of people who ascribed that horror to "secret diplomacy." Among this number were to be found members of the Labour Party. Now, one would therefore imagine that those who were aforesaid so great in their denunciation of this evil thing would shun like the plague contact with anything approaching secret diplomacy. Yet what do we find happens? During Mr. A. Henderson's election campaign at Widnes he let fall a most significant admission, and one that even up to the present moment has not been denied by those those in authority. I reproduce it here.
  "I will let you into another secret. When I went to Russia I went possessing the power to send the then Ambassador home at the end of the fortnight and take his job at £8,000 a year. I made up my mind that that decision was taken on altogether wrong grounds, and that it would be altogether unfair for me to ask the Ambassador to return home. I wired back to London to suggest that I should return and that he should remain at his post." —"Daily News," 25th August, 1919.
Strange, indeed, that this piece of secret diplomacy should have been carefully hidden for two years by one who is an alleged opponent of of such devices.


The disposal of army paraphernalia which has recently been taking place throws a little light on the extravagance indulged in by the master class and their agents. At the very time when the whole country has been exhorted to practice a rigid economy our rulers have been flitting about in luxurious motor cars, and wholesale waste has been the order of the day. We read, for instance, that the famous "Red Rolls"—the car used by Mr. Churchill, as Sec. of State for War, has recently been sold for £3,727 10s., and the announcement goes on to state how economy had been the paramount idea in its construction. Lest there might be a doubt about it let me quote—
 "The last word in luxury" was the description of the auctioneer. The silver plate flashed in the sunlight and the rich red panels were without a scratch. The interior is inlaid with silver in quartered mahogany. —"Daily Express," Sept. 11th, 1919.
This is how the government of economy campaigners harmonise precept with practice! 


I often wonder whether those heroes who went to the war to make the world safe for democracy and who were promised that on their return a new England would await them—that the old England of the past, with its squalor, anxiety, and wretchedness would have vanished for ever. I recall the poster — the beautiful production of the lithographer — where, in theory, the hard-headed son of toil has a house on the hillside, and he was asked the question : "Isn't this worth fighting for?"

That is the picture. The following, one of many such cases, portrays the facts :
 "I have spent my gratuity money in unsuccessful searches for another house, and now I am turned out of this cottage, and my wife and three children are without a home," complains the ex-service man.
This man, whose furniture was piled up in the roadway, was demobilised from the R.M.L.I. and had served in the Gallipoli campaign. In his possession is a document which states :
"It is owing to men like him that our country owes its safety after passing through the trials and hardships of the last four-and-a-half years of war unprecedented in the history of the world." — ''Daily News," August 25th, 1919.
This is the reward of faithful service rendered to the capitalist class.


At the British Association Conference at Bournemouth one of the speakers, Professor W. D. Haliburton, declared — "If we wish children to be rickety we should feed them on vegetable margarine. The Government have accumulated large quantities of lanoline, intended originally for lubricating purposes," he continued, "and they sent round to see whether it could be used for margarine. It is not poisonous, but it is absolutely indigestible." ("Daily Express," 11.9.19.)

This new "margarine" should prove a twofold blessing to the capitalist class, for in disposing it to their slaves the latter will be able to apply it internally or externally as occasion requires. It should prove a good speeder-up.


To those members of the working class who support capitalism the following should be of interest, and one would hope give them cause to halt and think. Mr. Basil Mathews, speaking at the International Conference on Religion and Labour in Browning Hall a short time since said —
  "In the cotton mills of Japan women worked on an indentured system of four years. Out of every hundred women who entered those mills only twenty got back to their homes. The large majority died because of the conditions in which they worked, or were living immoral lives in order to escape from the mills. The cotton goods thus produced were drenched in the blood of Japanese women." — "Daily News," Sept. 4th, 1919. 
In another journal the same gentleman writes of the conditions under which these women labour and he says :
" . . . few can stand the strain for more than one year; disease, especially consumption, is rife among them, and many seek escape from the miseries of factory life by becoming prostitutes or maids in dubious tea houses. -"Reynolds's," Sept. 14th, 1919.
The same old story of the capitalists' greed for profit the world over. Fellow worker, are you assisting the master class by supporting their system of slavery, which means hellish conditions for those of your class, or are you joining up with your fellows to abolish it ? Think it over.
The Scout

The "Futurist." (1919)

From the October 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The notorious Welsh prophet is again at work. Those he represents are crying out for increased production. as their palms are itching for increased profit. Now that the smashing of heads and disembowelment of bodies has slackened down, each section of the master class is eager to obtain the cream of the markets.

On behalf of the British section of the international capitalist class, Lloyd George, the example par excellence of the political dodgery brigade, steps forward to try and persuade the workers that their interests are identical with the interests of the masters—that we must "all pull together" to oust foreign competitors (including ''our'' late much-esteemed allies, America, France, and Japan !) and to usher in a wonderful new world.

In his touching anxiety to get his valuable (!) views before us Lloyd George has established a new paper called "The Future" which is being distributed free (he evidently fears we should not be sufficiently interested to buy it). The third page contains "The Prime Minister's Message to the People" in bold type as follows :
"Millions of gallant young men have fought for the new world. Hundreds of thousands died to establish it. If we fail to honour the promises given to them we dishonour ourselves."
If the returned soldiers were asked what the new world was going to be like they would doubtless reply "a world of unemployment," judging from the fact that thousands of them can't get jobs.Their position has become so acute that the Government, to save its face, has to publish an appeal on behalf of the King to employers to give discharged and demobilised soldiers the preference over others. This, of course, would not materially alter the case, as it would merely result in the "others" being unemployed, and of such would their new world consist.

How well Lloyd George's Government is treating the dependents of those who "died to establish" the new world may be judged from the following:
"The pathetic circumstances of a soldier's widow, with nine children, who had to apply for out relief in consequence of a refusal by the Ministry of Pensions to allow her more than 6s. 10d. a week was strongly commented on at the East Preston (Sussex) Guardians yesterday. :
It was stated that the husband was discharged from the Army in May, 1918, owing to shrapnel wounds. After being operated on nine times he returned to his home at Durrington last October, and died four days later from influenza and pneumonia." 
"Daily News," 3.9.19.
This is only one of numberless similar cases.

Such is Lloyd George's idea of rewarding the heroes and honouring the "promises given."

When he was speaking at Birmingham on Oct. 22nd, 1906, he said in effect that if the conditions that gave rise to the complaint of "slums, pauperism and great want in a land of plenty" were not removed within three years the party he belonged to would deserve to go, and a new movement would grow up to displace the "Liberal bunglers and rogues." Writing now of the period immediately proceeding the war (nearly eight years after he made the above-mentioned statement) while he was still the leading light of the Liberal party, he goes on to say in his "message" ;
"What does a new world mean ? What was the old world like ? It was a world where toil for myriads of' honest workers, men and women, purchased nothing better than squalor, penury, anxiety, and wretchedness—a world scarred by slums and disgraced by sweating, where unemployment thro' the vicissitudes of industry brought despair to multitudes of humble homes ; a world where, side by side with want, there was waste of the inexhaustible riches of the earth, partly through ignorance and want of forethought, partly through entrenched selfishness."
Out of his own mouth the humbug stands condemned. His delightful future world is always a world the workers will never reach, if he can prevent it.

But let me quote the remainder of his "message" :
"If we renew the lease of that world we shall betray the heroic dead. We shall be guilty of the basest perfidy that ever blackened a people's fame. Nay, we shall s:ore up retribution for ourselves and for our children. The old world must and will come to an end. No effort can shore it up much longer. If there be any who feel inclined to maintain it, let them beware lest it fall upon them and overwhelm them and their households in ruins.
It should be the sublime duty of all, without thought of partisanship, to help in building up the new world, where labour shall have its just reward and indolence alone shall suffer want."
What a string of delightful empty phrases. How like the man who sold his own party for place and pelf, who with a stroke of the pen undid the life-work of Samuel Plimsoll and sent hundreds of sailormen to the bottom of the sea. This mouther of fine phrases was the man who introduced an old age pensions Bill that was to cut "a path through fields of waving corn" down which the aged poor were to totter to the grave. But the Bill turned out to be a measure to save our masters the expense of keeping our old people in the workhouse. The "benefits" of the Bill may be gathered from the following:
"When an aged collier applied at Market Bosworth, Leicester, for an old age pension yesterday he was informed that the law would not allow the Committee to grant him a pension as he had an income of £34 per year. The old man replied that he wished those who made the laws had themselves to live on £34 a year. He had worked in a coal mine for 55 years."
"Daily News," 4.9.19.
Lloyd George is one of those who have lately engineered the stranglehold on Persia through the new Persian agreement. Curiously enough, this agreement has followed very closely on the acquisition and control of four large Scottish companies by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and their amalgamation under the title of Scottish Oils, Ltd., with a capital of four million pounds. (See "Daily News,", 13.9.19.) The wholesale exploitation of Persian working men is evidently going to find a place in the new world scheme.

This same political twister, who so lately was concerned about small nationalities, was a party to the following transaction :
"It was stated by Reuter's correspondent at Brussels that a portion of German E. Africa with a population of 3,000,000 natives has been banded over by this country to Belgium. The transaction is described as a free gift on the part of Great Britain."
"Daily News." 29.8.16.
Three million natives handed over "free," with the connivance of Lloyd George, to the tender mercies of the crew whose dastardly treatment of the natives in Belgian Congo was so notorious ! Where does the "small nationality" rights of the natives come in ? Did Lloyd George and Co. consult them as to their wishes ?

But to return to "The Future." The last page gives in more detail the new world ideas in an article entiled ''The Gospel of Work and Wages," signed "G.W.G.," from which we will take a few extracts :
  "You want to improve your position. You say that the day of the worker is at hand. It will dawn at once, improvement will come in a flood, when every worker in the land learns and obeys the true gospel of work and wages. Here it is :
 . . . . . . . . . . .
There are some unwise people who think that when they pocket wages which they know very well they have not earned they are doing a very clever thing. Nothing of the sort. They are pickling a rod for their own backs.
Look at as a question of morals, that is as a matter of fair-play between man and man. In the bargain with your employer you have exacted from him the last penny in wages. On the other hand, he must exact from you, and you must be willing that he should exact, every stroke of the work for which he is paying."
So this is what Lloyd George means by the phrase "Labour shall have its just reward." For the bare cost of subsistence (our just reward) we must work ourselves stiff the livelong day. Those he refers to as "those who are indolent" are evidently those who do not give the utmost for their wages. The suggestion in the above paragraph that the masters pay us for the work we do is obviously nonsense. They pay us for the time we work (even in the case of pieceworkers), an entirely different thing. The work we turn out in a day far exceeds our wages in value ; that is why an idle and parasitic class can live in luxury while we live in poverty.

Let me make another extract:
 "Never forget that the "boss" takes one very hard job off your shoulders. When work is done, the products which result from it have to be sold to customers, and he finds the customers. If a miner had to sell the coal when he had dug it out of the seam he would be wasting most of his time."
Oh, you wicked, immoral slaves, who would deny your masters their full pound of flesh ! Your harassed employers travel around the world in luxurious cars and yachts, basking in Southern suns, romping in Alpine snows, hunting in Indian jungles and African forests. They cloy their sensuous appetites at sumptuous banquets, revive their drooping spirits at grand balls, rejuvenate their interest in life at the races—at least, so it had always appeared to me. But now we know they they only do all this to "take one very heavy job off your shoulders," to find the customers for the products of your toil—while hundreds of thousands of your fellows are dying at your doors for want of those very products.

How innocent Lloyd George must think we are when he tries to force such rubbish and humbug into our heads. What finding of customers do the shareholders do who live hundreds of miles from the place where all the work (including the selling) is done ?

The working class contains the only people who produce commodities and distribute them to the consumers, and they are the people who, relatively speaking, consume the least. The working class includes all employees, whether they be managers or office boys, scientists or mechanics, travellers or salesmen.

The latest news from America furnishes some suggestive ideas as to the new world of actual fact, as witness the following extracts relating to the strikes against the Steel Trust:
"Preliminaiy disorders disturbed the peace of Sunday in two centres near Pittsburg, where troopers of the State Constabulary broke up meetings that had been prohibited by the local authorities. . . .
Witnesses asserted that a meeting at Clairtown was proceeding in an orderly manner when the police charged the crowd.
Armed guards are protecting the steel mills."
"Daily News," 23 9.19.
The following from the same paper is an interesting side light on the concentration of capital:
"The properties owned by the corporation are valued at £380,000,000 and its total assets at the beginning of the present year were nearly £514,000,000."
And Lloyd George tells us we must work hard or our bosses will go broke !

But enough of this canting hypocrite, whose political life has been the record of delightful promises and shameless betrayals. He is but another of the tools the master class pay to blind the workers as to their true position as wage slaves.

Study Socialism and his frothy phrases will fall on deaf ears.

Correspondence: Concerning Russia Again. (1919)

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

Sir,—My small letter in your May issue about the Russian Constituent Assembly called forth a three-column response from you (which I scarcely expected) touching on various points to which, of course, I am not really called upon to reply. However, in view of their interest, I shall endeavour to make clear my ideas with regard to them, but before doing so I would point out that they are not founded on anything that may have been written in various books published about the Russian Revolution by Litvitnov, Philips Price, Trotsky, Arthur Ransome, etc., for I make a point of not reading them.

At the commencement of your comments on p. 84 you say : "We did not say or imply that the Kerenskyites were in a majority in the Constituent Assembly." In the 3rd paragraph of p. 70 (April) you said "and the Bolsheviks it was who squashed the Kerensky crowd by suppressing the Constitutional Assembly." This surely implies that the Kerensky crowd were in "the majority in the Constituent Assembly," the fact being that, in so far as parliamentary "power" can suppress anything, the Kerenskyites (i.e., the Right Wing Social Revolutionaries, Kadets and others) were suppressed into a negligible minority by the actual results of the elections to the Constituent, i.e., by the followers of Tchernov's Centre.

As to who were the people that elected the "bourgeois noses" of Tchernov's Centre, this is another point entirely, and I believe has never adequately been dealt with and may perhaps still be a little obscure—I cannot say if it has been dealt with in the books mentioned above. In the first place it should be remembered that the lists of candidates had been prepared under arrangements made largely by Professor Grimm, a Kadet (as I pointed out in the "Cambridge Magazine" 26.10.18) during the period of Provisional Governments, and it does not require much imagination to discern that such arrangements under such auspices would scarcely favour really revolutionary candidatures, but would incline to the nomination of "eminently respectable" citizens. I believe the Bolsheviks allowed the elections to the Constituent to be held largely to show how utterly discredited all those elements were that had been ruling the country during the Provisional Government era, and in this they certainly succeeded, for the Kadets and Kerensky, Arksentier and Co., suffered a debacle unknown even in elections here—a result which could have been more generally anticipated in this country if Kerensky's "oppressive and repressive" activities had been honestly reported by the various newspaper correspondents in Russia. The Kerensky-Kornilov plot "put the lid on," so to speak, and probably very many of the "respectable" candidates arranged for on the lists as partizans of a more or less "Provisional Government" policy swung over from the Right to the Centre of Tchernov.

I must here digress to discuss the class-consciousness of the Russian masses, which the Socialist Standard seems to doubt the existence of. If you mean that the vast bulk of the Russian people cannot enter into learned dissertations as to how "Labour determines Price" [which it doesn't. Ed. "S.S."] or how "the magnitude of value expresses a relation of social production," I am with you. But I deny that ability to discuss the Marxian theory is essential to the acquisition of a feeling of "class-consciousness." Owing to the Government opposition to workers organisations for self protection the Russian industrial worker could feel his "oppressed" position better than most as his wages were scandalously low. As regards the peasant-labourer in Russia he saw his landlord, i.e., his immediate oppressor, so to speak, every day—landlords in Russia lived on their estates much more than is the custom with us (it must not be imagined, however, that all landlords were grasping and cruel). On State-lands and properties the peasant labourer was treated worse than dirt. Hence all the workers could easily realise as your "first principle" states, "that society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living by the master class and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced."

Doubtless very many of the workers voted for "respectable" candidates of Tchernov's Centre, but—with all due deference to the S.P.G.B.'s predilection for parliamentary power —thank goodness the Russian masses had not been educated in a tradition of the "benefits"' to be derived from voting somebody into a central assembly sitting hundreds of miles away and vast numbers refrained from doing so on this occasion. Nowhere, not even in Russian papers, have I seen any figures to show that even one-third of the electorate went to the polls for the Constituent Assembly. Millions did not, and these must have included numbers of thoroughly class-conscious workers. The Socialist Standard must be aware that many class-conscious workers abstain from elections here ; I know many myself.

The Russian masses found it difficult to raise enthusiasm for the Constituent Assembly. As I pointed out in the "Cambridge Magazine" of 26 Oct. 1918, the second All-Russia Peasant Congress, which met some three weeks after the Bolshevik Revolution, passed a vote in favour of the Constituent only by a small majority— 360 votes against 321. Another significant fact is that Maria Spiridonova, the "extremist," was elected chairman of this All-Russian Congress. The previous one, held in the Spring, was, if I remember rightly, presided over by Tchernov, and Spiridonova was an upholder of the Soviet idea—as was only natural, she being the great apostle of the communal system of land ownership, also favoured by Lenin, on the lines of the ancient Mir. Of course it is true that hundreds of thousands of peasants have during the Revolution acquired land in direct ownership and thus far cannot be considered as Communists, but in so far as they have abolished landlordism they can be regarded as Socialistic. Lenin being a practical statesman sees the danger of this system, for always present is the menace of usury, under which plot after plot can be acquired by a more "fortunate" peasant and thus peasant-holders may be transferred back to their old position of landless agricultural labourers. Lenin, of course, is fighting this by intense educational propaganda, whilst at the same time encouraging wherever possible the communal land system.

All this, however, does not necessarily imply that the majority of the peasants are hostile of 
the Soviet Government, as is so frequently emphasised by "The New Statesman" and other 
journals. The bulk of the former landless peasants fully realise that but for the revolutions in the towns there would have been no revolution in the countryside. So many anti-Bolshevists and others speak of the Bolshevists as a minority. If they mean that the conscious Bolshevists as a party form a minority of the people, this is probably true, but it should be remembered that all the voters for a party do not necessarily belong to that or any other party. In Germany, for instance before the war, 
the Social-Democratic Party obtained over four million votes in the Reichstag ; yet the Social 
Democrats actually numbered only some 900,000 the others were sympathisers with their policy. 
Such, I believe, is the case in Russia. The Bolsheviks form the largest party, and still have the bulk of the people with them, and as I write this (22.7.19) will soon probably be in possession of large tracts of the magnificent black-earth, dairy-product belt between Tchebiabinsk and Omsk.
Yours, etc., 
A. P. L.

Our Reply.
Our critic is rather absurd in his first argument. The history of this discussion is that a correspondent criticised in our April issue our attitude toward the Bolshevist movement. As we clearly stated in May, that correspondent challenged us to explain how it was that (we use his own words) "the workers of Russia overthrew the Czarist and then the Kerensky Government if they were not class-conscious." In our reply we stated that "the Bolsheviks it was who squashed the Kerensky crowd by suppressing the Constitutional Assembly." This our latest critic affects to believe implies that the Kerensky crowd were in the majority in the Assembly. It does nothing of the sort, for both majority and minority were suppressed with the Assembly. We even studiously avoided using "Wage Slave's" term: "Kerensky Government." Not caring to commit ourselves, on the strength of capitalist information, even so far as that, we spoke only of the "Kerensky crowd." Our statement implied that there was a Kerensky crowd, but not that crowd was a majority.

Our present critic says that he believes that the Bolsheviks "allowed the elections to the Constituent to be held largely to show how utterly discredited all those elements were that had been ruling the country during the Provisional Government era . ." We would like something rather more solid than "A.P.L.'s" "belief" before accepting such a charge against the Bolsheviks, If they had at the time the power to prevent the elections taking place (as our correspondent implies that they had) they surely must have had power to see that those elections took place under such conditions as gave the people the opportunity of voting for Bolshevist nominees. If their idea was to show ''how utterly discredited all those elements were that had been ruling the country during the Provisional Government era," that could have been shown just as successfully by a sweeping Bolshevist majority as by a sweeping majority for the "followers of Tchernov s Centre."

All our critic's arguments as to who were the people who elected the '"bourgeois noses' of Tchernov's Centre" are beside the point. The question is, were Bolshevist candidates before the public ? If they were not why were they not ? If they were why were they not returned ? Our correspondent says that it does not require much imagination to discern that under the stated conditions the inclination would be to secure the nomination of "'eminently respectable' citizens" rather than "really revolutionary candidatures." If this were true there is only one explanation of it, and that is that the Bolshevists were aware, or at all events afraid, that the result of offering Bolshevist candidates throughout the whole field would have been to "show how utterly discredited" the Bolsheviks were, also.

But the whole supposition is silly, as are the arguments which are intended to support it. An electoral victory would have been of immense value to the Bolsheviks, and whatever "A.P.L." may "believe," we give the leaders of that remarkably conducted movement credit for being able to realise the fact.

To return again to the original matter, our critic would appear to claim that the Kerenskyites were suppressed by the ballotting for the Constituent Assembly, and therefore not by the Bolsheviks. Even in that case, however (which was a rather different point to that which we understood our first critic to be referring to) our main contention in regard to this point — that the Kerensky crowd was not overthrown by a class-conscious working class —is obviously correct, for class consciousness certainly was not demonstrated by the workers rejecting capitalist Kerensky and accepting capitalist Tchernov.

Owing to the great length of our correspondent's letter and the number of points he touches on, and also to an unexpected demand upon our space for more urgent matters, we are compelled to hold over a portion of our reply for our next issue.
Editorial Committee

The Masters' Victory. (1919)

Editorial from the October 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

Once more the Government, through its control of the trade unions officials, and the ignorance of the rank and file, has scored a victory over a section of the working class in the settlement of the railway strike on Sunday, 5th October. In 1914 the railwaymen were agitating for a raising of their whole standard of life, but the outbreak of war compelled them to postpone their scheme. After the Armistice the agitation began again and included a demand that the war bonuses should be incorporated in the regular wage and an additional sum added thereto.

Last March the officials of the railway unions accepted the Government offer of an "equalisation" or ''standardisation" wage with a basis of an average of 100 per cent. on pre-war wages. This was so little to the liking of the men that the officials had great difficulty in keeping them at work, and in South Wales the men came out on strike. That cunning agent of the master class—Mr. J. H. Thomas—was sent down post haste to drive the men back to work, by his influence and his threats, and he succeeded in his mission.

Negotiations on the details of this scheme went on until August, when a settlement was reached in the case of Engine-drivers, Firemen, and Cleaners. Mr. Bonar Law had promised that the "equalisation should be upwards," and the railwaymen's officials claimed that the wages of the highest-paid worker in each grade should be taken for the purpose of calculating the "standard" wage of the whole grade. This was done in the case of the Engine-drivers and Firemen, but all the other grades were reckoned in such a way that every one of them suffered reductions on their present total wage varying from 4s. to 14s. These are the figures given on the Government poster issued on Friday, 3rd October,

Suddenly, while negotiations are still going on, the Government issue the above scheme as a "definitive" or final set of proposals. The constitution of the National Union of Railwaymen gives the Executive Committee full power to call—or close—a national strike without consulting the members. Using this power the Executive called the men out on the 26th September.

There are some curious and even sinister features about this business. If the matter was worth the expense and suffering that a strike entails why was not the strike called when the scheme was first formulated? It is no worse now than then. Again, when it was known that the Government had issued a "final" set of proposals, many people condemned it for its "overbearing" and "autocratic" action. But in the official report of Friday's interview it was stated that Mr. Thomas had asked for final proposals to be sent sent ! Why ? Mr. Thomas has not told us, nor is it likely that he will. After allowing the Government six months in which to prepare for such an event the N.U.R. officials take drastic action ! Although affiliated to the Miners and Transport Workers in the Triple Alliance Mr. Thomas deprecates any "sympathetic" action being taken by these bodies. Then the Transport Workers officials call a conference at which not only the officials of the affiliated unions attend, like the notorious strike breaker, Mr. J. Sexton, the r-r revolutionary R. Williams, who fought against the 'bus conductresses receiving the 5s. war bonus granted to the men, Mr. H. Gosling, the faithful friend of the Government, but also such agents of the employers as Mr. Brownlie of the A.S.E., and Mr. J. O'Grady of the Furniture Trades.

A gathering of this character made assurance doubly sure that the interests of the master class would be strenuously protected, and the settlement reached was merely the expression of their success.

As the master class do not wish to show their own game too clearly a little window dressing had to be done to save the faces of these officials before the men. So while the government scheme so loudly advertised as the cause of the strike is accepted as a whole, its application is deferred till September 1920, and the "standard" wage fixed for the lowest paid section, is raised 2s. per week.

And the men gathered at the Albert Hall on the Sunday evening cheered this as a "great victory." So it was—for the Government. And it will not be the last of their victories. While the working class are willing to put faith and power in "leaders" they will continue to be mislead and sold out at critical moments. Giving these men power to settle fights with the masters means giving them something they can sell to these masters whenever the latter wish to bargain.

Not until the workers acquire faith in themselves will they escape from this danger. Once they reach that stage in their mental development and understanding the days of "moderate," "wise," and "statesmanlike" leaders will be gone, and the workers will organise to take control of the means of life by retaining in their own hands the power to decide the issues before them. Then, instead of trying to find out how long they can live on shortened rations, while the masters roll in luxury, they will march to capture the power of control—the political machinery—and end the struggle over wages by abolishing the wages system and establishing Socialism.

Lewis Henry Morgan. An Account and Appreciation of his Life Work. (1919)

From the October 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Discovery of the Gens.
The second part of "Ancient Society" contains the fruits of those researches of Morgan's which it is generally recognised constitute his greatest contribution to sociology. Prior to its appearance there existed little or no exact knowledge of the tribal organisations of primitive peoples.

In his "League of the Iroquois" and even later works, Morgan himself had adhered to the commonly accepted view that the Mohawks, Senecas, etc., were each nations in many ways equivalent to modern national communities. The smaller groups within these "nations," each of which was called after a certain animal which was its totem, Morgan had designated "tribes." Subsequent investigation, however, convinced him that the larger groups, the Senecas, etc., were the true tribes, and that they were different from the nation which only came into existence after the coalescence of several such tribes, and fundamentally so from the modern territorial nation, in which kinship as a social tie is eliminated.

But the most important fact was that the basic and unitary organisation of the Indians was the smaller group, that which he had earlier called the "tribe." This "clan" or "totem group" he soon recognised, as his researches expanded, to be an all but universal institution among savage and barbarian peoples. Everywhere it consisted of a group of blood relatives descended, or claiming descent, from a common ancestor. Its members were strictly bound not to intermarry, but to mate outside the group ; they elected and deposed their own chiefs, and met together in common council.

Then Morgan made a remarkable discovery. Even the most learned and acute historians up to his time had been greatly puzzled over an institution which existed among the ancient Greeks and was known to the classical Latin writers by the name of "Gens." Being unable to understand its structure or function, Grote and other historians erroneously considered the gens to be an extension and outgrowth, of the monogamous family. Morgan, however, showed convincingly in his "Ancient Society'' that the Greek and Roman gens is identical in all essentials with the Indian "totem group," the only important difference between them being that among the Indians, except where European influence had crept in, the common ancestor of the group was a woman, female descent prevailed and children always remained in the same totem group as their mother, whereas among the early Greeks and Romans the recognised ancestor was a male, paternal descent was the rule, and children belonged to the gens of their father.

Morgan considered the former an archaic or primitive, and the latter the derived and modified, form of the same organisation, which he decided out of consistency to henceforth refer to by its Latin name of "gens." He believed that the change from the maternal to the paternal gens was an outcome of the growth of private property, possession of which instilled into the fathers a desire that this wealth should be enjoyed, after the death of themselves, by their own children.

Under the law of the gens the property of a member had to remain within the group, and as the maternal system placed a man's children in their mother's gens, never in his own, they were disinherited as regards their father's property. By introducing male descent and thus keeping children in their father’s gens they were enabled to inherit his property. Morgan clinched his argument by showing this change to have actually taken place in recent years with the growth of private property among several Indian tribes as a result of foreign influences.

Having thus placed ancient history upon a sound basis Morgan endeavours to show the stages by which, in Greece and in Rome, the social organisation of the gens and the tribe passed away and was supplanted by a form of society based upon possession of property and territorial residence. In a series of brilliant chapters he shows how increasing population, intermixture of tribes, growing division of social functions, and above all, the increase in private property and its concentration into the hands of a few, all results of the "enlargement of the sources of subsistence," gradually undermined the institutions founded on kinship and prepared the way for and made necessary the rise of the political State.

Morgan's analysis still holds good, but it may be usefully supplemented by Engels' "Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State," which shows that class-oppression is the function of the State-power. Morgan did not deal with the feudal form of political society which developed from gentile society in a somewhat different fashion, but Engels outlined its beginning among the Germans and it has been adequately if briefly treated in a generalised manner by Edward Jenks in his "Short History of Politics."

One of the most instructive and important chapters in "Ancient Society" treats of the native culture of Mexico prior to the Spanish Conquest. Investigation had convinced Morgan that the records of the Spaniards, together with the historic works which, like Prescott's, were built upon them, were very unreliable wherever they dealt with the social institutions of either the Aztecs or the Incas of Peru. The Spaniards, accustomed only to the social relations of a feudal monarchy, completely misunderstood what little they did observe of Mexican and Peruvian society. They interpreted the league of tribes as an empire and the war-chief of the Aztec federation as an Emperor.

Morgan did valuable pioneer work in unravelling the mystery of "Aztec civilisation," and had already criticised the prevailing misconceptions in some of the articles we have referred to. Moreover, in this field he had the assistance of his friend, Adolph H. Bandelier (1840-1914) a Swiss who had gone to America, and the leading authority at that time on the archeology of Mexico, Arizona, and New Mexico

In "Ancient Society" Morgan's conclusions were fully stated and the evidence massed which showed that the Aztecs were, at the time of their discovery by Europeans, in the Middle Status of Barbarism, intermediate between the Iroquois and the Greeks of the Homeric period, and that they lived in village communities based upon the gens.

By revealing the inner structure of tribal society Morgan performed a signal service to sociology. Incidentally he showed and was one of the first to appreciate the fact, now generally recognised, that the barbarian is not a bloodthirsty monster of ferocity, and that his society, far from being a despotism ruled over by a brutal, tyrannical chieftain, is usually a well-organised, democratic body.
  "All the members of an Iroquois gens were personally free, and they were bound to defend each other's freedom; they were equal in privileges and in personal rights, the sachems and chiefs claiming no superiority ; and they were a brotherhood bound together by ties of kin. Liberty, equality, and fraternity, though never formulated, were cardinal principles of the gens." ("Ancient Society", p. 85.)
The Family and Property.
In the third part of "Ancient Society," which describes the evolution of the family, Morgan not only re-stated his theory (which we have already outlined) in a revised, more complete, and widely generalised form, but he devoted a special section to a refutation of the criticisms of McLennan, the author of "Primitive Marriage." He was now in a position to show that McLennan's position was, in the light of the fresh discoveries, completely untenable, his theory of tribal Endogamy and Exogamy being due to the common confusion of the gens with the tribe.

Morgan's theory of the family is generally accepted to-day in its main outlines. His most important error lay in considering the patriarchal family to be an exceptional form instead of, as has been since shown by the Russian student, Maxim Kovalevsky, and others, to be a widespread institution characteristic of the Middle and Upper stages of Barbarism, and as the intermediary almost everywhere manifest between the matriarchal family and monogamy.

In his concluding part Morgan outlines his view of the development of property. He shows how, feebly developed and largely communal during Savagery, it achieves more definite recognition and power during the pastoral stage in the period of Barbarism and reaches almost complete dominance in social life with the greatly increased productivity of the epoch of Civilisation.

He defines three successive systems of property inheritance, the first two of which correspond with the two stages of female and male descent in the gens among the members of which the property of a deceased member was divided ; the third system harmonising with the monogamous family in which the father's property is inherited exclusively by his own family.

Morgan's observations on the social significance of private property are very acute and approximate very closely to the Marxian position. He says:
  "It is impossible to overestimate the influence of property in the civilisation of mankind. It was the power that brought the Aryan and Semitic nations out of barbarism into civilisation. The growth of the idea of property in the human mind commenced in feebleness and ended in becoming its master passion. Governments and laws are institute with primary reference to its creation, protection, and enjoyment. It introduced human slavery as an instrument in its production ; and after the experience of several thousand years, it caused the abolition of slavery upon the discovery that a freeman was a better property-making machine." (Pp. 511-512.)
"The time will come, nevertheless, when human intelligence will rise to the mastery over  property . . . The interests of society are paramount to individual interests, and the two must be brought into just and harmonious relations. A mere property career is not the final destiny of mankind, if progress is to be the law of the future as it has been of the past. The time which has passed away since civilisation began is but a fragment of the past duration of man's existence ; and but a fragment of the ages yet to come. The dissolution of society bids fair to become the termination of a career of which property is the end and aim ; because such a career contains the elements of self-destruction." (P. 561.)
Final Work.
With the publication of his principal literary work, the real culmination of his long enquiry into the evolution of human culture, Morgan did not by any means rest from his scientific labours. A true scientist, he continued to investigate and to generalise from the facts so observed, ever searching for fresh truths, ever seeking further to contribute to the totality of human knowledge.

In 1876 he visited the ancient and the modern pueblos, or native villages of Colorado and New Mexico. An early result was his essay on "Communal Living Among the Village Indians."

He devoted his attentions especially to the architecture and domestic life of the Indians, and his final conclusions on this phase of their life were embodied in his last great book, "Houses and House-life of the American Aborigines," which appeared in 1881. This work contains abundant information on the property relations of the Indians and shows in great detail the communistic habits and modes of thought which pervaded their life. Commenting upon the brotherhood and hospitality of the Redskins Morgan, says in a striking passage :
  "If a man entered an Indian house in any of their villages, whether a villager or a stranger, it was the duty of the women therein to set food before him. . . . This characteristic of barbarous society, wherein food was the principal concern of life, is a remarkable fact. The law of hospitality, as administered by the American aborigines, tended to the final equalisation of subsistence. Hunger and destitution could not exist at one end of an Indian village or in one section of an encampment while plenty prevailed elsewhere in the same village or encampment. "
We have now completed our survey of Morgan's scientific and literary achievements. His important and original work earned for him the name of "the father of American Anthropology." In 1873 he had received the degree of Doctor of Laws from Union College, and in 1880 he was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

At first sight it appears strange that although his vital discoveries were appropriated for their own use by the English anthropologists, to their great discredit they did their utmost to belittle Morgan, and as far as possible ignored, and were silent regarding, his meritorious achievements. No doubt this, in part, was due to the severe blow which Morgan had dealt to the prestige of the English School by causing the collapse of their pet theory—that of McLennan. But, worse still, Morgan had criticised the social power of property, and such criticism could not be tolerated by the intellectuals of the hothouse of industrial capitalism, the birth-place of Laisser-Faire "political economy." (*)

Morgan's home was a rendezvous for the leading American scholars and scientists of the day. In his own library Morgan would often gather with a number of young students for the systematic study of ethnology and also of the works of Herbert Spencer, whom he greatly admired.

Morgan took a practical interest in political activity and in 1861 was elected to the N.Y. Assembly, later, in 1868, becoming a Senator. He used all his influence in the endeavour to improve the conditions of life and the treatment meted out to his life-long friends, the Red-men—dying remnants of a splendid race, broken and bespoiled by the fateful finger that writes the story of economic evolution.

Morgan reached through his studies the very verge of the Socialist conception of society. Had his investigations carried him further into the epoch of civilisation he would probably have realised more completely than he did the vast importance of the struggle of classes arising from those property developments the early stages of which he himself so ably described.

But if his sphere was too narrow to permit of this, it was even less fitted to give Morgan an understanding of the present capitalistic stage of society. It required a man of equal intellect working, observing, analysing, generalising at the very hub-centre of the capitalist world market —London, and this role was played by Marx, in whom Capitalism as well as Socialism found its Morgan.

The works of Marx and Morgan are in a very real sense interrelated and complementary. Together they laid secure foundations for a genuine natural science of social life. This Marx clearly recognised and intended to show in a work upon the evolution of society based upon his own researches and those of Morgan. Unfortunately this, which might possibly have been Marx's master work, was never accomplished—ill health and death intervened. But Marx's great co-worker, Frederick Engels, seeing the urgent necessity of such a work, himself undertook the task and produced that classic of Marxian sociology, "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State," which first appeared in Germany in 1884.

This little book of Engels' was the first real appreciation, outside of America, of the pioneer work done by Morgan. Passing through several editions and translated into numerous languages, it has been the means of spreading a knowledge of Morgan's work amongst members of the working class the world over. To this day, in fact, "Ancient Society" is read and discussed wherever class conscious working-men gather together, while, on the other hand, the average bourgeois student is ignorant, often enough, of Morgan's very name and position in science, let alone being conversant with his writings.

In the estimation of the proletarian student Lewis H. Morgan, by the originality and vast importance of his scientific achievements, occupies a place in that imperishable trinity of nineteenth century science —Marx, Darwin, Morgan.
R. W. Housley.

(*) Of late years there has been a change of attitude, and in addition to the praise of Edward Jenks, we have Dr. Haddon in his "History of Anthropology'' referring to Morgan as the greatest sociologist of the nineteenth century.


It's your money we want. (1919)

From the October 1919 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are planning the production of a number of publications in the near future, for which it will be necessary to find funds. We trust that friends will rise to the occasion—through the £1000 fund.

Readers who find it difficult or impossible to obtain the Socialist Standard through the usual channels should communicate with the Head Office, 17 Mount Pleasant, W. C.1., when regular delivery will be arranged.

The Communists and Palestine (1948)

Editorial from the July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Just as the capitalist declines to allow sentiment or humanity to interfere with the purpose for which he is in business—-the making of profit, so capitalist governments decline to be guided by sentiment in deciding their international policies. If the British Government holds that the oil of the Middle East and the need to protect Empire communications call for a policy of friendship with the Arab States, not all the past resolutions of Labour Conferences nor all the heckling by many Labour M.Ps. would move Mr. Mayhew, Under Secretary to the Foreign Office, when on 11th June of this year he refused to recognise the new State of Israel. But many workers who perceive that this is true of the British and other Governments, believe that it is not true of Russia. When, therefore, they see the Communist Party attacking Labour Government policy on Palestine they conclude that the Communist Party is more trustworthy than Mr. Bevin. A little delving into the Communists' record on this question will show, however, that there is not a ha’porth of difference, either in principle or in practice.

The cynical principle was laid down by Mr. Litvinov, who in 1933 was Russian Foreign Minister. The occasion was the relations between Russia and Germany, at a time when Hitler’s Government was busy persecuting Communists and other opponents of the regime. In a speech in Moscow on December 29th, 1933, Mr. Litvinov excused Russian friendship with Fascist Germany:
  “We, of course, have our own opinion of the German regime. We, of course, are sensitive to the sufferings of our German comrades, but we Marxists can be reproached least of all for permitting our feelings to dominate our policy. The whole world knows that we can maintain and are maintaining good relations with capitalist States under any regime, including also a Fascist regime. But that is not the point. We do not interfere in the internal affairs of Germany, just as in those of other countries, and our relations with her are determined not by her internal, but her foreign policy. We want to have the best relations with Germany, as with other States.” (Moscow News, 6/1/1934.)
As the reader will perceive this might be Mr. Bevin or his Under Secretary explaining that oil and Empire are thicker than sympathy for Jewish refugees. It might also be the present Russian Foreign Minister and Mr. Gallacher explaining that all the tears they used to shed for the Arabs were just a mistake and it is now necessary to shed tears for the Jews instead.

Up to 1941 Russia and the Communists backed the Arabs, opposed Jewish immigration into Palestine, and denounced Zionism as an instrument of British Imperialism. Now Russian foreign policy demands a change of front and Mr. Gallacher changes front likewise.

In the Daily Worker (29th May, 1948) Mr. Gallacher, M.P., and other Communists contributed articles explaining their policy of the moment and criticising the policy of the Labour Government. Mr. Gallacher accused Bevin of going directly against the declared policy of Labour Party Conferences. He wrote:
  “For the Labour leaders were all individually pledged to the support of Zionism and they were parties to the many resolutions passed at different Labour Party-Conferences.”
What Mr. Gallacher did not say was that when, before the war, Labour Party Conferences backed Zionism he and his Party condemned them for doing so, for at that time Russia and therefore the British Communists were backing the Arabs.

Mr. Gallacher now quotes from a poem written by a Zionist, Mr. Jabotinsky, in which the latter proclaims in romanic terms the aim of a Zionist State to control both banks of “Holy Jordan,” But, says Mr. Gallacher, “Jabotinsky didn’t know Mr. Bevin or the cunning, clever gentlemen in the Foreign Office.” These gentlemen have, it seems, tricked Mr. Bevin into backing the Arab States and thus double-crossing Mr. Jabotinsky. Readers of the Daily Worker would be astonished to learn what Mr. Gallacher used to say about Mr. Jabotinsky. They will find it in the Reports of Parliamentary proceedings. Back in 1936 the Arabs had staged an armed revolt against Zionism, against the attempt to set up a Jewish State and against Jewish immigration and Mr.. Gallacher was making a stirring plea on behalf of the Arabs. In the course of one of his speeches he replied to Colonel Wedgwood, a supporter of Zionism, with the following remark:
   ". . . if it is a question of ruffians, I would recommend the right hon. and gallant gentleman, the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, to give his attention to Mr. Jabotinsky and his Fascist organisation, who are deliberately' carrying on provocation.” (Hansard, 22nd February, 1937. Col. 1,732.)
Here are some other passages from Mr. Gallacher's speeches. Now he loyally backs up Russian policy of partition in Palestine, then, in his own words, "I rise as an absolute opponent of partition.” (Hansard, 21st July, 1937, Col 2,358). In his speech of that date Mr. Gallacher said that the Zionists “are not representing the interests of the Jewish people but . . . a particular political trend,” and he went on to explain that there would never be agreement between Jews and Arabs unless the Jews would give up their claim to become a majority in Palestine. He warned the Jews against partition and the setting up of a Jewish State:
  "I want to direct the attention of Members, particularly my Jewish friends, to the fact that partition is the greatest menace that can face the Jewish people at the moment. When the whole of Europe is being stirred up in the most criminal, dastardly and vicious manner against these people . . . are we to have a situation where the people with whom they have lived in amity for centuries are to be stirred up against them? It is going to encourage all the Jew-baiting and all the anti-Semitism that is being developed in Europe. Immediately they go over there, these people who for centuries have never known anti-Semitism will begin to develop it.” (Hansard, 21et July, 1937, Col. 2,358.)
In his warning Mr. Gallaclier was indeed prophetic, for on the day after the State of Israel was proclaimed the British section of the World's Jewish Congress in an appeal to the British Government stated “that Jews are being persecuted in Arab and Moslem countries following the proclamation of a Jewish State.” (Evening News, 19/5/48.)

Now the Communists demand armed action against the Arab States to enforce Zionism and partition. On 19th June, 1936, (Hansard, Cols. 1,367-1,368) Mr. Gallacher declared “Palestine can never be a home for the Jews.” He demanded of the British Government that they cease using military force against the Arabs. "Have the Arabs a case? Yes, they have a case. They have had a rotten deal. I ask the Government to stop the beastly, brutal murder that is going on . . . I say stop using brutal force against the Arabs.” He declared that the Zionist leaders had fooled the Jewish refugees and that those leaders “are the agents for British Imperialism against the Arab masses"; and that the Arab revolt against Jewish immigration was “a thoroughly justifiable revolt.” (Col, 1,369). He read out a cable he had received from the Arab Women Committee congratulating him on his “noble stand” defending the Arab cause. He called on the Government to recognise “the rights of the Arabs and the justice of their claim.” (Col. 1,371.)

Then, in Mr. Gallacher’s eyes, it was some of the Zionist leaders who were ruffians and Fascists, now,
of course, it is the Arab leaders. At that time Mr. Gallacher indignantly repudiated charges brought against his Arab friends:
  "I wish to take the greatest possible exception to the general accusations which have been made and which have suggested that this fine body of people, the Arabs, are murderers and blackguards . . . It has been said that they are ruffians and murderers, and I object to that.” (Col. 1,731.) 
On 19th June, 1936. he answered the charge that the Arab movement was a capitalist movement:
  "Many Arab leaders have been arrested. It has been stated that the leaders are wealthy capitalists. I challenge the Minister to give us the name of any wealthy capitalist among the leaders. They include doctors, teachers, and various others. (Hansard, Col. 1,369.)
To an interjector who said the Arab leaders in the fight against the Jews were Communists, he said: “Yes, Communists. Wherever there is an oppressed people, or wherever there is exploitation of the working classes, there you will find Communists.”

The tragedy of all this is the fact that there are workers, British, Jewish, Arab and others, who fall for the pleas of a man like Gallacher. They have not yet realised that whenever any Government wants to gain support for some foreign policy dictated by trade or strategy there are always muddle-headed men like Gallacher and the equally muddled sentimentalists of the Labour Party who will provide the impassioned speeches, the tears and the appeals to humanitarian feelings. Mr. Gallacher may be as sincere in his present policy as when he was rousing up emotions in support of the opposite policy but in effect his weathercock antics just serve the Russian Government. They certainly do not serve the Jewish and Arab workers.

Abolish the exploiting mechanism (1948)

From the July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

The mechanism of Capitalist production is a slave exploiting mechanism. It was not designed primarily to enable more wealth to be produced but to enable more profit to be made

The question is—can this mechanism, in its present form, be used to advantage under a system of production for use? Engels did not think so.
   “Just as far as society obtains the domination of the social means of production in order to organize them socially, it abolishes the existing servitude of man to the own means of production. Society cannot be free without every member of society being free. The old methods of production must be completely revolutionised, and the old form of the division of labour must be done away with above all. In its place an organisation of production will have to be made in which, on the one hand, no single individual will be able to shift his share in productive labour, in providing the essentials of human existence upon another, and on the other hand productive labour instead of being a means of slavery will be a means towards human freedom, in that it offers an opportunity to everyone to develop his full powers physical and intellectual in every direction, and to exercise them so that it makes a pleasure out of a burden." (P.240, “Landmarks of Scientific Socialism.")
This appears to indicate that it is not possible to form the new society or even its basis within the shell of the old as our I.W.W. friends proclaim. There is also another factor which does not seem to be generally realised and that is there will be in the new system no difference or separation between town and country. This is an essential condition for the success of a socialist form of society. I quote from Engels again.
  “Civilisation has left us a number of large cities as an inheritance, which it will take much time and trouble to abolish. But they must and will be done away with however much time and trouble it may take." (P.244, "Landmarks of Scientific Socialism.")
This clearly shows that the founders of scientific socialism did not contemplate the continuation of gigantic factories, they could never have conceived any such thing as the belt system existing under Socialism. They held the view that all machinery that dominates man in the sense that, when operated, he is an appendage to it, would be ruthlessly scrapped.

The machinery that we have today is for the express purpose of enabling surplus value to be obtained, and realised upon. For this the market is an essential factor. Under a system of production for use, will not a vast portion of the mechanism designed for a profit-making purpose be not only useless, but a hindrance to general well-being?

Judging from what one hears at public meetings and reads in the so-called "left" press, many so-called socialists appear to be under the impression that the mode of production is O.K. All that is required is an equitable distribution of the products of industry, and the problem is solved. Unfortunately Capitalism is a system of production for profit only; there has never been produced at any time under Capitalism sufficient to satisfy the needs of all. The object of Capitalist production is not the production of wealth; the mechanism was not designed for that purpose; where profit is not visualized Capital does not go; in other words, no profit—no production.

The mechanism, built expressly to exploit wage slaves, is becoming ever more efficient from that standpoint but this makes the situation ever worse for the exploited. The wage slave knows this instinctively, but cannot understand why it is so; there is a developing dissatisfaction and a desire to kick, but not understanding that the system is at fault, in the main workers act blindly.

When the proletarians perform their historic task it will be as a result of the fact that they are compelled to revolt against the exploiting mechanism, not because they desire to possess it, but partly because of the workers' disinclination to operate it under the then prevailing conditions. They, the workers, will be driven to take control of the State machine and register the fact that the means of production are from then on to be operated exclusively for use. As a means of ending chaos the tools of industry will be made common property. The dismantling process can then begin. Socialism entails the abolition of the wages system, and also the scrapping of the harness buckled on the limbs of the slave. It may be difficult for some to believe they can dispense with it; they have got so used to it they cannot conceive of life without it, and so-called socialists often go out of their way to perpetuate the false idea that man is free from exploitation when he is firmly rivetted to the mechanism of capitalism, in other words they want him to make it his own permanently in its present form.

The time is getting short, we are in for a period of incessant conflict; the workers must more clearly understand what they are called upon to do. All that is involved in the revolutionary act must be made plain. To make the machinery of production common property is not the whole of it. To establish a system of production for use through the operation of the present day machinery designed for exploitation is impossible. Many wage slaves vaguely realise this and once they comprehend that socialism means doing away with the tread mill that they now find themselves tied to, they will the better understand our message. Man will be so circumstanced that he may go from one machine to another producing things he enjoys producing because of their use to mankind and also because they are, to a considerable extent, the expression of his own personality. The desire to produce what one personally wants will be intensified.

In the earlier forms of society every member of the tribe could do practically what every other tribesman could do. We are returning to the communal life of our ancestors, but on a higher plane. A careful study of the life and institutions, of the old barbarian gens should enable us to form some idea of what is coming. Socialism means freedom. To be free man must control his means of life, and not only that, he must be at liberty to so develop himself that he is able to make the mechanism that he operates in order to live, subordinate to his will. In other words he must be a man. To be a cog in a machine is to be a slave no matter how well greased the mechanism is.

Nothing is destroyed until it is replaced. What is required is ever-increasing knowledge of constructive socialism. A study of what is inferred by the above may enable us to discern that is the root cause of the peculiar actions of Russia, and the Kremlin's will to power. From the period of the introduction of the modern machine the Russian workers found themselves cribbed, cabined and confined to an extent never previously known. When they resisted they were forced into the mould shaped by the economic conditions which the introduction of the profit machine brought into being. The rulers of Russia, once the thing started, had no option; they were determined to make their system run. They eventually succeeded in grinding slaves for profit more rapidly than their competitors, and to make good the loss they have not hesitated even to kidnap some skilled workers from other lands. Their suffering dupes must be stimulated; when they flag or show restlessness an appeal is made to “National pride”; they are deceived by cunning propaganda, soothed by lies and tricked in various ways as workers here are, and for what? To retain and extend the power of the ruling clique and increase the wealth of its members. Everything that can be utilized is ruthlessly applied towards the end the government of Russia has in view, and woe betide those workers who venture to oppose what is decreed by the group in authority.

Wage slaves in all countries are groaning under this soul-destroying power, the mechanism of Capitalism. Everything around them, together with themselves, is geared to it. Speed, speed and more speed is the slogan. It does not slow up, it cannot. Sometimes a stoppage occurs here and there, but when it restarts it goes quicker than before; faster and ever faster it must move, and so must those who attend it. Its slaves are killed and maimed in countless numbers when at work, and even when travelling to the places of exploitation. They contract diseases where they slave from which they prematurely die; periodically they are lined up to slaughter one another, and in various ways brutalized and butchered, to serve capitalism’s ends.
Charles Lestor

The Great Radio Drive (1948)

From the July 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

When an employer buys labour power the right to direct it goes with the sale. He has the last word in fixing the price, and he, or his overseers, supervise delivery of the commodity. Why, then, are the workers being subjected to a never-ending spate of propaganda for more production?

In normal times the supply of labour exceeds the demand; and the worker is always being squeezed by the overseers for that last ounce of energy. But since the war, times have not been normal. The nation’s factory gates have not been besieged by a million or two unemployed. Hence the drive for increased production along different lines.

The drive has consisted largely of appeals and straight talks over the air for individual effort. Leaflets, posters and pamphlets have been printed and distributed in millions. Few countries in the world have ever seen such a colossal effort to persuade people to work, and work harder.

The radio was used to its limit to the point of utter boredom. Economists—of the make capitalism work type—were brought to the microphone several times a week. Ministers’ appeals were reported in the news, and several hours of radio time were monopolised daily to put over the dreary propaganda of a government that had obtained power by making promises they were unable to implement.

It was obvious from the start that the main purpose was to exert pressure on the workers to increase production per man-hour. Some of the speakers emphasised the need for improved machinery and methods. In one series of broadcasts, “Management and Men,” stress was laid on the need for closer contact between managers and the lower grades. Production committees were advocated, and meetings arranged of all grades, where the firm’s plans could be explained, and their difficulties freely discussed, presumably, among other things, the need to keep costs, especially wages, low.

Sir George Schuster, who wound up the series, wanted managers, foremen and men to work as a team, as they did during the war. He entirely deprecated the notion that there were two sides in industry.

The idea of taking the workers into their confidence and seeking their co-operation is sure to meet with some response. Many would regard the move with suspicion. Others might look on it as an opportunity to ingratiate themselves with the boss. Such motives are quite common under the system. On that point read what Dr. John Murphy was reported as saying in the Sunday Express (6/6/48). His full title, by the way, is Dr. John Murphy, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion, Manchester University. He writes on gambling, but what he says explains the reason for much that seems incomprehensible in the relations of wage-workers. He says:
  “Gambling is the natural blossoming, true to type, of a competitive and acquisitive system of society, in which the poorer classes are struggling with each other for the means of life, and the richer are competing with each other for security and greater and greater wealth.”
Sir George may deprecate, but he cannot deny that there are two sides in industry. Otherwise to speak of capitalists and workers, as we all do, would be nonsense. Consciously, or unconsciously, he leaves out the capitalist and calls for team work between managers, foremen and men. Managers and foremen are just as much wage-workers as men. To call them salaried is no more than an appeal to vanity. What they sell to the capitalist is their ability to direct and stimulate the actual producers. Their place in the team is one of authority. They represent the owner. Their responsibility is over the production of surplus value; the reservoir of profits.

Sir George’s advice to managers, foremen and men to team up is, therefore, given on behalf of the capitalists. Managers, foremen and men are all subject to pressure from someone above them. All are liable to the sack for circumstances over which they often have no control. The capitalist has the last word in fixing their wages or salaries, and he dictates the terms.

The capitalist is no respecter of persons when buying labour-power. He naturally expects the brain worker to be more costly than the manual worker, but he takes advantage of either when the market is in his favour. The Daily Graphic (1/10/47) said: “The scientific mind, trained largely at private expense, through years at university, is today worth little more than the muscle of a stoker or the tongue of a shop- steward.” They instanced dock labourers, trawler men, garment cutters, miners, factory hands and truck drivers earning up to £15 per week; and compared them with doctors, dentists, physicists, metallurgists, chemists, designers and other technicians who, they say, "enter the labour market at five or six pounds per week after an education costing between £1,500 and £3,000.”

For those who aspire to these good jobs, so-called, the low salary is not the only snag. A paragraph in the Sunday Pictorial (6/6/48) throws some light on other business methods.
  "High premiums demanded from prospective employees are worrying the Ministry of Labour. Guarantees up to £500 are being asked from ex-officers directed to promising jobs through the Labour Exchange."
It does not follow that employers who ask for such guarantees are indulging in sharp practice. It may only be a form of barrier to protect themselves from an influx of ex-officers the government is unable to place. Ministers have been lavish in their promises, or prophecies, of the good jobs waiting for capable men of all ranks.

One speaker on the Third Programme (7/6/48) describing himself as a social statistician, argued that the pay of the black-coated workers had remained almost stationary since 1938. Taxation had hit them harder than either capitalists or manual workers, and they were almost helpless in voicing their resentment. It was they, he said, who constituted the floating vote for which Tory and Labour competed at elections. If that is true it is added proof of John Murphy's indictment of the capitalist system, and, what is perhaps still worse for the workers the readiness to vote sectionally for alleged sectional benefits as against working-class interests as a whole.

In one radio discussion (3/6/48) on the relative efficiency of British and American business methods the American speaker wound up by saying: “You point the finger at the worker all the time, but it is the management that is at fault." He charged British industry with an excessive number of directors with high salaries. Of their reluctance to instal up-to-date machinery, and their emphasis on increased production per man hour, instead of increasing the number of men on the job, with greater inducement in the shape of higher wages,

This question of increased number of workers as against increased production per man-hour is, to say the least, distasteful to big business. They object to paying four men to do the work of three, or even twenty to do the work of nineteen. If it were only a question of man-power to satisfy the needs of the people, and not one of profits, there are enough workers available in the field of commerce and finance, together with the armed forces, munition workers and a host of others engaged in tasks that add nothing to production, without mentioning the idlers who take the lion's share. There is enough man-power serving the capitalists which, if utilised in actual production would reduce by half the working time necessary for each.

Production comes first. Before men could trade, someone had to produce. All the vast machinery of exchange has been built up on production. Yet the object of production, the satisfaction of human need, takes second place in modern society. Today, the emphasis is on production per man-hour because, with the payment of less wages per unit of production, greater profits are available to each national group of capitalists to utilise in the international scramble for power.

In the past, trade has encouraged production, and the producers have responded to new demands. The two things have given us the enormous possibilities of the fuller life, that for the workers, is always just round the comer. The obstacle to that fuller life is big business—capitalism. Trade and commerce no longer contribute towards the well-being of the producers. It hampers and stops production directly profits are threatened. It has become a hard shell of class interests and privilege that constrict the social organism and prevent its emergence into that fuller life that its past struggles have made possible.

The Labour Party, pledged to make capitalism work and pave the way for socialism at the same time, have forgotten the second in face of the obstacles that have frustrated their efforts in pursuit of the first. Without a huge unemployed army they cannot drive, they can only stimulate by persuasion and utter warnings of either increased austerity or widespread unemployment. Two Labour governments have failed to make capitalism work. In 1930 because of the depression; in 1948 because there is no depression, and, therefore, no unemployed millions exercising pressure on those at work.

The Economist in May, 1947, had stated bluntly that the system could not be made to work efficiently unless there was five or six per cent, of unemployment. The Labour Party had promised full employment. The demand for labour, under the exceptional circumstances created by the war, favoured the workers if they chose to push their claims for higher wages and better conditions. They had to be side-tracked. Hence their appeals for loyalty to the Labour movement, their attempt to freeze wages, and their promise of profits-limitations they were afraid to enforce.

The government in its efforts to ginger up the workers was supported by all the big leaders in the Labour and trade union camps. They issued a monthly news sheet called "Target" which the Daily Herald (2/6/48) described as follows:
  “ 'Target,' which is backed by the T.U.C. and the F.B.I., as well as by the government, expounds in concentrated form today's supreme truth—that everything depends on production; that production depends on individual effort; and that individual effort can be greatly stimulated if every worker is given full and regular information about his task." 
Even before this the T.U.C. had already been busy in the drive. The Daily Herald (31/5/48) reported on a leaflet they had issued, in which they asked the question, “ How far do you walk after you get to work?” They discovered that quite a lot of time was wasted in fetching and carrying, which might have been to their credit if the savings had gone to wages instead of profits.

Labour M.Ps. and trade union leaders have vied with each other to get press notices about their participation in the F.B.I. and T.U.C. drive. One of the most naive was reported in the Daily Herald (10/6/48), Mr. Jack Jones:
  “Asking workers not to think of extra production as benefiting the profits of the ‘boss,' Sir . Stafford Cripps will look after that."
To the average worker the propaganda of the Labour Party has, no doubt, been confusing in the past. Today we see the Labour Party in power, and in combination with the Federation of British Industries and the Trade Union Congress engaged in the biggest drive that has ever been organised against the industrial workers of this country. Surely this is sufficient to give every serious-minded worker cause to reflect on the possibility of dispensing with all kinds of leaders and studying the cause of his incessant toil and poverty in the light of Socialist knowledge.
F. Foan