Friday, March 5, 2021
When the Conservative Party is in power, there is practically no House of Lords: it takes whatever the Conservative Government brings it from the House of Commons without question or dispute: but the moment a Liberal Government is formed, this harmless body assumes an active life. and its activity is entirely exercised in opposition to the Government . . .
Every year 30 million people die of hunger, more than half of them children under five.Every year 780 million people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.By the end of this decade these figures will have doubled.
- That world population in 1980 was estimated at being 4,430 million.
- That about a quarter of the world's population live in the developed countries, defined as being Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the USSR.
- That the number of deaths in the world in 1980 was estimated as being 50.5 million, about 40 million of which occurred among the three-quarters of the world's population living in the underdeveloped countries.
- That nearly 15 million children under ten years of age died in 1980, all but about 300,000 of them in the underdeveloped countries.
every day of this last year more than 40,000 young children have died from malnutrition and infection (The State of the World's Children 1982-3. UNICEF, quoted in Hunger Project Handout "The "Other" UN", p.5).
in the Third World 70 per cent of the people die of parasitic or infectious disease for which hunger provides the favourable terrain (Penguin edition, p.32).
If it takes you six hours to read this book, somewhere in the world 2.500 people will have died of starvation or of hunger-related illness by the time you finish.
welfare benefits increased by 30 per cent in real terms and the labour market rigidified under the influence of incomes policies and increasing union power.
- Cutting the tax on jobs. This is merely cosmetic and very old hat.
- Easing the Unemployment Trap. The unemployment trap means situations where the going rate is so low that the worker is nearly as well off on the dole. As the idea is to reduce real wages there are no prizes for guessing that the suggestion here is to cut "benefits". To a large extent this proposal is post-dated, as the authors themselves point out that benefits have been cut since 1979 so that the "trap" is much less common nowadays than in the 1950s or 1960s.
- No Penalties for Part-Time Work. Yet another way to shove wages down. The idea here is to encourage the jobless to take cut rate part-time work to the disadvantage of those who still have jobs.
- Reforming the Unions. This offers further ideas to back up those already embodied in actual or projected legislation with a view to weakening the unions' efforts to protect living standards.
- Training to the age of 18. An extension of the old idea of raising the school leaving age. coupled with complaints that young workers' wages are too high.
- Community Work. Another cheap labour scheme. In the 1930s a few swimming pools and similar projects were carried out at cut-price rates in this way.
- New Work Patterns. More of the same. Wage rates to be reduced by encouraging existing trends towards part-time and more flexible working arrangements generally.
- Profit Sharing. A hoary old chestnut. The idea this time is to cut employers' costs and make staff more profit-conscious. What will shareholders (the real ones) say about this, as there will be less profit for distribution among them.
Others preach peace, but steadfastly defend the property basis, which means war. Socialists preach the abolition of the private ownership of the means of life. That is the only way of ending the war of classes.
As it is at home, so it is abroad. Capitalism gives the ruling class the incentive to protect vested interests bound up in trade routes, sources of raw materials, and areas of foreign investment. Control of the machinery of Government gives them the power to wage war. The only sure road to peace is the road which leads to Socialism, conquest of the powers of the Government by a politically organised Socialist majority While Lords Beaverbrook and Rothermere. and the rest of the capitalist class, own and control the means of life, they are the enemies of the working class and a danger to the human race. Their pious oath that they are not interested financially in this or that armament, or aircraft. or any other particular company, is of no significance They have the supreme vested interest, a vested interest in the maintenance of capitalism. They can be expected, therefore, to sacrifice the interest of society to the interest of themselves and their class.
The Socialist who examines the Union's five questions has no difficulty in seeing their futility. The real position boils down to one question: "Are you in favour of depriving the capitalist class of their control over the machinery of Government, including the armed forces?" "Yes", says the Socialist. "No", says the capitalist and his avowed supporters. "Yes and no. but only gradually, and not unless the capitalist agrees". says the Labourite, with his muddled conceptions of capitalism and Socialism.
It will be seen, therefore, why the Socialist does not share the enthusiasm over the ballot expressed by the League of Nations Union.
(From an article "The Peace Ballot and the League of Nations' Socialist Standard, March 1935.)
The following is the text of our new introductory leaflet. which is available from Head Office on request.