Monday, February 8, 2021

News in Review: Significance of Tashkent (1966)

The News in Review column from the February 1966 issue of the Socialist Standard

Significance of Tashkent

The real significance of the talks at Tashkent had nothing to do with the dramatic death of Mr. Shastri, even though this did provide the press with copy for a lot of articles representing the man who had carried out India's warlike foreign policy as a veritable Dove of Peace.

We are used to such mush by now. What really mattered about Tashkent was that it was the Soviet Union which called the two sides together and which, when the talks looked like breaking down, spared no effort to get an agreement.

The final communique mentioned the two leaders “deep appreciation and gratitude" to the Russian negotiators, and well it might. But the Soviet too, should have given their thanks to somebody, because their intervention in the dispute was anything but coincidental and was inspired by anything but concern for the security of other countries.

It is clear that Russia’s interest in pacifying the Indian continent arises from its struggle with China. It would be disastrous for Moscow if the Indo/Pakistan conflict were to get out of hand; apart from anything else, the continuing clash between these two countries gives China an opportunity to sign "peace pacts" with one or the other, perhaps to send “volunteers" to fight there.

On the other hand, a stable India, friendly to Russia, forms a very important part of a defensive cordon around China. Who is to say that one day there will not be Russian missile bases in India, trained on Chinese cities?

Now the truly striking thing about all this is that Russia has been allowed to intervene, and to exert considerable influence, without any protest from, indeed with the encouragement of, the Western powers.

Only a few years ago this situation would have brought the two sides in the Cold War close to a shooting match. And only a little farther back the same situation was a persistent nightmare of British Foreign Secretaries, obsessed as they had to be with the priority of keeping Russia out of India, and so denying her an outlet to the rich markets, plantations and mines of the Far East.

Times, as they say, have changed. British Imperialism was once thought to be the greatest possible threat to the world's peace. There was certainly plenty of evidence of its ruthlessness, and of the deaths and troubles it caused. This led many people to assume that the end of the British Empire would mean a safer, happier world.

Yet now that this has happened, now that Britain calmly looks on while its old adversary walks into an area over which bitter wars were once fought, what has happened to the peace of the world?

We are threatened with greater and more terrifying wars than ever. There is as much, if not more, tension in the world than there ever was. There are still great power blocs, confronting each other over the markets and the raw materials of the world.

The reason for this is simple. The wars of capitalism are not caused by any particular line-up of powers, nor by the dominance of any one country. They are caused by the basic nature of capitalism itself, which cannot help but divide the world into competing units.

The dream of the old-time Indian nationalists may have been realised, and the nightmare of the old-time English Foreign Office have come true. But the black and fearsome reality of capitalism —which is neither a dream nor a nightmare — remains with us all the time. 

More murders

Ever since the abolition of the death penalty, a careful watch has been kept on the murder statistics by those people who think that the only fit and just fate for a murderer is to be hanged by the neck, alone and ignominiously, until he be dead.

The Home Office figure for crimes provisionally classed as murder during the first nine months of 1965 was 185; on this basis, and with a little statistical juggling, and with a little emotion roused by admittedly rousing cases such as the “Murder on the Moors" trial, some sections of the popular press have published the conclusion that since the Silverman Bill became law murderers are running riot.

In fact, the figures prove nothing of the kind. The provisional figure for murders need bear no relation to the figure of crimes which are finally recorded as such. (In 1959, for example the provisional and final figures were 192 and 141 — in 1960 217 and 135.)

So a higher provisional figure for 1965 does not necessarily mean that the final number of cases of murder will turn out higher. The provisional figure can be affected by all sorts of influences, not the least of which is a concern on the part of the police for public and parliamentary interest in the matter.

If the murder statistics—for this country and for others, and for any period— prove anything it is that the death penalty has no influence in the matter. Punishing a murderer does nothing to help his victim, neither does it safeguard the future victims of other killers.

This can be extended to other crimes. There is no call to be particularly sympathetic to the criminal, who after all is making the best of a particularly bad world for himself, much as any law-abiding bank clerk. But facts are facts.

Severe punishment—the cat, the birch, the hangman’s rope—has no effect on crime. A book published some time ago (The Courage of His Convictions, by Tony Parker and Robert Allerton) drove this point home.

But at the same time, it pointed out that the go-soft-on-the-criminal school was equally wrong. They merely disgusted the criminal, who preferred to know where he stood rather than be patronised and manipulated.

The effect to beat down the criminal by punishment, or to talk him round with kindness, has taken up a lot of society's time and energy. And in the result the crime figures go up or down quite unaffected by the methods which are used to deal with the problem.

In the process, a lot of favourite theories on both sides of the argument have been discredited. Most have been replaced by other, equally discreditable, theories.

The fact is that modern crime has its roots in modern capitalist society. Areas like Harlem, or the Gorbals, are a standing incentive to crime, because the best way to survive there is on your wits, and to strike first and talk afterwards.

Add to this the fact that capitalist society is one of privilege, where possession counts for everything, and you have the start of an explanation of, and therefore a cure for, the mass of crime which is such a problem all over the world today. 

Whatever conclusions the criminologists reach over the new murder figures, and whether the death penalty comes back or not, of one thing we can be .sure. Without an understanding of capitalism, and of the problems it causes, crime will continue to flourish unhealthily in our midst.

Labour waves the big stick

Mr. Ray Gunter, who has always prided himself on his affection for blunt speaking, opened the New Year in characteristic style.

Up and down the country he went, making speeches with but a single theme:
  We must find a means of making the country understand that we can spend only what we earn . . . (Blackburn, 5th January)
   We as a nation are living beyond our means (Ilford. 8th January)
The reason for Mr. Gunter's panic was, as we all know, that we are all living much too luxuriously, taking wages which are far too high, doing hardly any work in return, spending long holidays abroad and so on.

So Mr. Gunter and his colleagues speak up, treading a path well worn by previous Labour Ministers. But really, they have little to complain about. There is one thing they are forgetting.

It is now Labour Party policy to wave an enormous stick over workers' heads in the matter of wage increases; “If we cannot or will not match our productivity to our spending,” threatened Mr. Gunter, “Unemployment will arise.”

Now the Labour Party always claimed that it was the Tories who would have to use threats in wage negotiations, and that a Labour government would be able to use its close ties with the unions to keep wages in check without having a stand-up fight.

In fact, the opposite has happened; the Conservatives leaned only very lightly on the unions and Labour Ministers have used threats.

What the Labour Party's propaganda overlooked—not accidentally, of course— was that a Labour government would be committed to running capitalism, with all its conflicting interests—in this particular case the clash between workers and employers over wages, hours and so on.

In face of this clash, and in face of the conditions of labour shortage which generally favour the workers when it comes to a fight, the exhortations and the threats which come in so steady a stream from Labour Ministers are powerless.

There is no cause to offer them any sympathy. They asked for power to try to run British capitalism. And they got it.

After all, the big reason why the Labour Party got where it is today is that it has never encouraged the working class to face the facts of capitalism. There is an especial irony in the fact that those same workers who in their ignorance put the Labour Party into power are now themselves, unwittingly or no, forcing a Labour government to face some of the unpleasant facts of the capitalist social system.

Nationalisation — the turning point (1966)

From the February 1966 issue of the Socialist Standard

It is now clear that the Labour Party's attitude to nationalisation resembles that of a woman towards her husband after she has seen him for the first time without his false teeth and wig.

Labours’ love affair, and the subsequent honeymoon, lasted a long time. In a past which it would prefer to forget, it has declared for nationalisation of, among other things, banking and credit, water, agriculture, iron and steel, shipping and shipbuilding, chemicals and insurance. At their 1934 Conference Herbert Morrison advocated a programme of persistent nationalisation ". . . until within a reasonable time we are substantially masters of the economic fabric of the community and the means of production and distribution". And of course there is the famous Clause Four, still there in the Labour Party Constitution, which is a commitment to nationalise all British industry and commerce.

They were heady days, when Labour leaders often spoke with the delirium which comes from spending too much time out of power. Since then, their ardour has declined; the 1945 government pushed through nine major nationalisation Acts and the list of candidates for state control has now dwindled into almost nothing.

Those nine Acts of the Attlee government were the high spot for nationalisation. Labour Party propaganda during the 1945 election was clear about the intention to nationalise, although it put special emphasis on the coal mines—and with good reason. It was easy enough to prove that the miners had suffered under the private owners; the Labour Party drove the point home with plenty of pictures of idle mining villages and unemployed miners picking on slag heaps for scraps of coal. The implication behind this was that the way to solve unemployment in the coal industry was to nationalise the mines. (This was still Labour’s case in 1959, when their election manifestos claimed "The nationalised industries are one of the country’s main defences against unemployment.’’) Subsequent events have shown up this line of propaganda for what it is.

Labour's 1945 election machine faced obvious difficulties in putting a similar case for taking over other industries. There were, for example, no authentic old photographs of starving clerks from the Bank of England raking with their umbrellas among the dustbins of City restaurants, it was very hard to stir anyone’s emotions over nationalising the Bank and in any case as the late Lord Pethwick Lawrence, who was a member of the Labour government, put it, it was ". . . already very largely a department of the Treasury and its nationalisation will not make a pennyworth of difference to the bulk of the people . . .”

But however little the difference it made, the Attlee government pushed on and by 1951 the State had taken control of the Bank of England and of Civil Aviation, Coal, Cable and Wireless. Transport, Land Development Rights, Electricity, Gas and Iron and Steel. The programme had been fulfilled. We had, apparently, at last reached the Promised Land which Labour pioneers had sung and worked and sulfered for.

In all the excitement, it was inevitable that certain facts should escape popular attention. In the first place, the Labour Party had no patent on nationalisation. Even in 1945, there were plenty of State-run concerns to testify to this fact. Some were like the Post Office, the public houses and the brewery in Carlisle, and the B.O.A.C., which were all examples of complete nationalisation carried out by a Conservative government. Others were cases where the State had a powerful influence, as in the British investments (again the work of Conservative and Liberal governments) in the Suez Canal and the (then) Anglo-lranian Oil Company. As the Industrial Editor of The Guardian once put it. ". . . public control in 1947 was nothing new.”

Secondly, the real motive for nationalising certain industries had nothing to do with the conditions of the people who worked in them. The Reid Report on the mines, published in 1945, pointed to British industry’s dependence on coal, and to the poor state of the mines under private companies. It also showed how the separate control of many collieries prevented valuable coal seams from being worked to the full, and how the old coal masters could not hope to invest the massive amounts of money the mines needed to put them on their feet.

What this amounted to was the industrialists of Britain in 1945 needed coal desperately and, whether it was by nationalisation under a Labour government or by State control from the Conservatives, they were going to get it. After nationalisation, enormous amounts of money were pumped into the State industries. A National Coal Board publication — The Root of It All — of 1950 said that it was then proposed to invest some £520 millions in the mines. In other spheres it has been the same story: in 1964 the nationalised electricity industry was investing enough money in its equipment to build the Channel funnel every ten weeks. By 1967 it plans to he using up £2 millions every day.

The hunger of the massive, basic industries for capital is still one of the arguments used to justify State control, the While Paper on the steel industry published last May said:
  The iron and steel industry occupies a focal and dominating position in the British economy . . . A single new large integrated works may cost £ 150 million . . . There are difficulties in raising private funds for projects of this sort which lake many years to complete and which, when completed, have to go through a long commissioning period before they can earn a return on capital sufficient to attract private enterprise.
The gratitude which the capitalist class feel for all that the state concerns are doing for them was expressed by Lord Chandos, who was once a Minister in a Conservative government, when he spoke up on 8th January, 1962:
  Nationalisation of a fairly substantial sector of industry has come to stay . . . As an industrialist I want cheap fuel and reliable supplies and I believe that with a little more working together that is what (the National Coal Board) will secure for us.
Now it is reasonable to say that, if the nationalisation which the 1945 Labour government introduced had had the effects which they promised (perhaps expected, even), if it had indeed opened the road to the Promised Land, then the Labour Party would have had every reason to make it a larger and larger part of their election programme, for it would be one of the greatest vote-catchers ever.

But the opposite has happened. Nationalisation of the land has gone forever; it is not even discussed any more at Labour Conferences. At one election after another, the nationalises’ shopping list has grown shorter. In 1955 it covered only steel, road haulage and sections of the chemical and machine tools industries. By 1964 this had shrunk to steel and water supply. And now it is clear that, despite the government's hand-on-heart declarations, steel nationalisation is all hut forgotten, there was no mention of it in the last Queens' Speech; as James Margach wrote in the Sunday Times of 9th January last, “. . . the Steel Nationalisation Bill is further away than ever.’

Whatever this retreat proves about the Labour Party's readiness to abandon what it once called its cherished principles, there should be no regret at the passing of nationalisation. It had little to offer the people who get their living in the State industries; “. . . the Postmaster General,” wrote a postman's wife to the Manchester Guardian (6.5.54). “Gets the most important work done by almost slave pay and labour." At the time that letter was published, the National Coal Board was also doing its best to dispel any delusions about the Promised Land by claiming damages of over £60,000 from some miners who had been on unofficial strike.

The Labour Party's claim that nationalisation is a defence against unemployment has been defeated by the widespread cuts by British Rail, and by the National Coal Board’s programme of closing pits and sacking workers. Only half as many pits are working today as there were when the National Coal Board look over; since 1957 the number of miners has been cut from 700,000 to 450,000 and the number of clerical and administrative staff has been reduced by ten thousand. More cuts are planned.

Many workers in the mines and the railways have been sand-bagged by the cuts, as well they might be. In 1956 the National Coal Board was planning to employ 672,000 miners by 1965 and to be producing 250 million tons of coal by 1970. But the rapid contraction of the market for coal, under pressure from other fuels, has left the industry lighting desperately for a 1970 production quota of 170/180 million tons under the National Plan and has forced it to cut its work force.

The reason for this is that nationalisation does nothing to solve the economic and social problems of capitalism. State industries have to employ workers, and to dispute with them over their pay and conditions. They also have to sell their products, often in competition with other industries in this country or with those abroad. They are, in other words, just as dependent on the anarchies of capitalisms’ markets as private industry. The class division of society remains unaffected by nationalisation; indeed. Labour spokesmen continue to make propaganda out cf the fact that, in the words of one of them, "One per cent. of the population stills owns about 50 per cent. of the nation's wealth," — as if this was not one of the problems nationalisation was supposed to solve.

It would be foolish to pretend that the decline in support for nationalisation is due to a widespread appreciation of these facts. Many workers passionately believe that the highest form of industry is a profitable one and, equally misguidedly, think that State industries fail to make profits. In fact, these industries often make large profits from the exploitation of their workers but their obligation to provide for fixed interest payments also often turns a working surplus into an accounting deficit. In 1962, for example, when the National Coal Board declared a deficit of over £13 million, Lord Robens pointed out that had they been a “normal commercial company" the mines would have declared a dividend of 2½ per cent.

The result of all this is that nationalisation has become something of an embarrassment to the Labour Party, connecting it in the voters' minds with trains which are dirty and late, or coal which is scarce or electricity which is dear. A Colin Hurry poll in 1959 claimed that 63.5 per cent. of the electorate was opposed to more nationalisation, and that 30.7 per cent, of Labour voters also thought that way. An Aims of Industry poll in 1964 concluded that 49.7 per cent. of the electorate, and 23 per cent. of Labour voters, were against nationalisation in principle.

The present seems, then, to be something of a turning point. The British capitalist class are now clear that nationalisation has gone far enough and that there must be no more of it for political reasons. At the same time, they recognise that it is in their interests for the State to have a say in important industries like iron and steel. Future state intervention will probably be in the form recommended by the Plowden Committee for the aircraft industry, with the government acquiring large or majority shareholdings, bringing off mergers—or perhaps break-ups—and generally having a say in the policies of industries which affect the fortunes of British capitalism as a whole.

Nationalisation was once offered as a cure-all, as the road to prosperity. Since then it has been replaced as speechwriter’s favourite by Science and Technology. How long will it take before this, too, is exposed as another sham designed to cover up the fact that there is no way of solving our problems short of changing society?

Nationalisation’s problem child (1966)

From the February 1966 issue of the Socialist Standard

The British Post Office, oldest of the Nationalised industries and at one time the favourite child of the enthusiasts for Nationalisation, is now under heavy fire. Its critics can find nothing good to say about it: the charges are too high; postal, telegraph, telephone and counter services are all said to be bad and getting worse. Correspondence to the Press and questions in Parliament are full of complaints of delayed transmission of letters, too few collections and deliveries, telephone waiting lists, wrong numbers and overloaded lines, parcels held up or strayed and so on.

Some of the criticisms are reasonable; most are wrongly directed; and some are simply dishonest, like the tongue-in-the-cheek Editorials about the discontinuance of Christmas Day deliveries, in newspapers which in England this year missed publication for three days on end. The same newspapers, most of which were sold at a Penny in 1939 and now cost fourpence for a smaller issue, think they are entitled to condemn the letter rate although at fourpence it is less than three times the pre-war penny halfpenny. The critics have their suggested remedies, including straight denationalisation, splitting the posts from the telegraphs and telephones, and handing both over to boards like those operating the railways and mines. In the meantime the Post Office itself has its organisation under independent critical examination, and the Parliamentary Committee on Nationalised industries also has the Post Office on its agenda.

All of which must make sad reading for the older enthusiasts for Nationalisation in the Labour Party and ILP, who campaigned for years on behalf of the Post Office as the best of all possible organisations, as the guiding light for all-round State ownership and indeed as the example of Socialism itself. Only the SPGB is not, and never has been, in these struggles over issues totally irrelevant from the Socialist standpoint. The Nationalisers were wrong at the start, and the developments of capitalism have overwhelmed them, made nonsense of their prophesies and reduced them to their present state of confusion. '

Some Nationalisers never imagined that Nationalisation had anything to do with the Socialist aim of getting rid of capitalism and inaugurating a Socialist system in which the means of production would be the common property of society and in which goods would be produced and services operated solely for use, without rent, interest and profit, without buying and selling: for them Nationalisation was merely a way, a supposedly better way, of running capitalism. They thought it would be so efficient and profitable that it would compete private enterprise out of existence and be universally accepted as the normal form.

The late A. Emil Davies. Chairman of the Railway Nationalisation Society was one of these. In his The State in Business, first published in 1914 and issued in a second edition in 1920, he thought his battle was well on the way to victory. One of his beliefs was that "it is apparently only a question of a year or two” before the American Government would take over the American telephone companies. Not only have the American telephones not been Nationalised (well over half the world’s telephones are still operated by private companies) but the battle-cry of the de-Nationalisers in Britain is "Why can’t we have a telephone service as widely developed and efficient as the American?” But it really has little to do with the sterile controversy about the supposed merits and de-merits of State versus private capitalism. Much more important is whether, as in America, investors’ money has been readily available for telephone development, or whether, as in Britain successive governments, until quite recent years, were not able or willing to provide it. Russia, for the same reason, is even further down the scale of telephone development but in Brazil the opposite is true. The private company has not been able to raise money from investors and the Brazilian government, as reported in the Times (23.12.65), is nationalising the telephones precisely in order to speed up expansion.

What nearly all the critics of the British Post Office forget is that in a quarter century of inflation and rising prices, Nationalised industries were no more able to operate profitably without raising charges than were private companies. They also overlook the fact that in a period of low unemployment, and of absolute shortage of labour in some areas, the Post Office, like other services requiring Saturday and Sunday work and awkward attendances, cannot well compete with five-day jobs, often better paid, in factories: the Post Office had no such problems when unemployment ranged up above the million level.
Some of the early campaigners for Nationalisation, unlike the “non-political” Emil Davies, thought they were striking a blow for Socialism. Because they could not see early success in winning over the working class for Socialism, they supported State enterprise because they thought it would provide a simple centralised organisation easy for eventual incorporation into Socialist society. Their error was in forgetting that the work of gaining a Socialist majority was not helped but made more difficult by the confusion they created.

They were driven into one contradiction after another. Having claimed that Nationalisation is Socialist and that the Post Office form of it is the proper one they had to explain away how it was that Tory and Liberal Government nationalised the telegraphs and telephones and that it was Gladstone (at that time Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer) who in 1844 got Parliament to pass the first Act giving the Government power to nationalise the railways.

They failed to understand the role Nationalisation played in capitalism, and that it is one of the ways in which the general body of capitalists protects their interests against sections of their own class who, through monopoly or through concentration in the most profitable areas and neglect of the others, hold the general body to ransom. Gladstone in 1844 understood this quite well. The railways, as the most efficient means of transport, were indispensible to manufacturers and traders, and Gladstone’s Act was meant as a threat to them that unless they refrained from exploiting their monopoly the Government would take them over. Posts, telegraphs and telephones presented a special aspect of the same problem. Private organisations were quite willing to operate in the profitable urban areas but had no interest in providing the nation-wide service which industry and commerce needed. Churchill had the same idea in mind in 1943 when he spoke of ‘‘a broadening field for State ownership and enterprise, especially in relation to monopolies of all kinds” (Times 5.4.43).

The same purpose, that of protecting the interests of the general body of capitalists, is aimed at in America by the anti-trust laws and by the Government’s control over telephone and other charges through the Federal Communications Commission, and in Britain by the anti-monopoly laws and laws against re-sale price maintenance.

But capitalist interests are divided and the sections adversely affected by anti-monopoly laws or by Nationalisation fight back. The manufacturers of telephone equipment have long campaigned to get the telephones freed from direct government control. They believe that the desire of governments to use the Post Office as a means of raising revenue has been a cause of starving the telephones of money needed for expansion and that if this control were removed a big new demand would open up for their products: they look with envy at the much greater telephone developments in USA and elsewhere.

In the Nineteen-thirties they found allies in the leaders of the Labour Party who also turned away from Government department Nationalisation. So then we had Lord -- then Mr. Attlee, a former Postmaster General and later to be Labour Prime Minister, discovering that the “socialist” Post Office was “the outstanding) example of collective capitalism” (New Statesman 7.11.31). The campaign was led by the late Lord Morrison who advocated a form of organisation like that in the Port of London Authority though he had himself in 1923 described the same PLA as "a capitalist Soviet . . . the constitution of which is thoroughly objectionable from the Labour and Socialist point of view.” The late Mr. Lees-Smith who had been Postmaster General in a Labour Government, also, in 1931, wanted “the Post Office, or at least the telephones under a public corporation like the Port of London Authority.” He, like Attlee, had discovered that this was “the latest development in socialist theory.”

Post Office Act, 1961
The Post Office survived that campaign to get it away from direct governmental and parliamentary control but in recent years, following the setting-up of the Boards for railways, mines, gas and electricity, steps have been taken in the same direction for the Post Office.

The Post Office Act 1961 was intended to make the Post Office into a “commercial undertaking,” and free it to a large extent from the direct financial and other control by the Exchequer. Now further changes are likely, thus completing, a series of adaptations of the Post Office to the needs of capitalism; from the earliest phase when it was an organisation for conveying “the King’s Posts,” and the period when it was simply a means of raising revenue for the Government; and the era after the Penny Post of 1840 in which the purpose was both to raise revenue and to be a communications service for industry and commerce.

It is at present required to aim at an 8 per cent. profit on invested capital, but always some profit has been expected. As a Select Committee ruled in 1888 “it is most likely to continue to be conducted satisfactorily if it should also continue to be conducted with a view to profit, as one of the Revenue yielding Departments of the State.” (Which has its echo in Russia to-day where the economist Leontiev, wrote in Pravda of “the commonly accepted necessity of a sharp increase in the role of profit as the most general indicator of the effectiveness of a factory’s work”—(quoted in the Observer 4.4.65).

It was one of the illusions of the early Labour Party and ILP advocates of Nationalisation that when the government took over an industry they would have access to enormous profits and could benefit the workers by paying above average wages to their own employees and by reducing charges and running the industry purely as a “public service” without profit.

The idea was encouraged by the original intention to take over the industries without compensation and as late as 1925 this was still being debated at an ILP conference where it was opposed by, among others, Attlee and by Dalton who was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer. The dilemma they were in was that the Government which confiscates one lot of investments will immediately find that capitalists will cease to invest in any other security liable to confiscation, and a government administering capitalism constantly needs to raise money from investors. Having then decided that they must compensate the former shareholders they ran into the next dilemma—that when they have a declining industry on their hands they still have to meet the compensation payments. In private hands the investor in, say, a coal mine simply loses his money if the mine goes bankrupt, but the government’s liability to meet interest payments on the Government stocks given to former mine owners continues even if all the mines are closed.

As regards the supposed possibility of helping the workers through lower prices (even if the lower prices had been practicable) the Labour leaders overlooked the fact that wage levels themselves largely follow price movements. And the idea of paying Government employees more than other workers was equally remote from reality.

In short their understanding of the only means of achieving Socialism — by the conscious act of a Socialist majority displacing the capitalist social system was as lacking as their real understanding of how capitalism works. So it took over forty years of experience to land them in the present position, of having abandoned all their early ideals and misconceptions only to accept instead all the traditional rules about how capitalism has to be run.

As far as they are concerned the idea of there being a real alternative to capitalism, a Socialist social system, is gone and forgotten.