Friday, May 28, 2021

From the Branches (1960)

Party News from the May 1960 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialist Standard

It is good news indeed that the March issue of the Standard was sold out. The Comrades responsible for distribution and sales were able to plan ahead, noting various meetings and demonstrations being held and with good support from Comrades, successfully disposed of the whole issue. This is good news indeed and augers well for the summer outdoor propaganda season. The aim should be buy more from the printer and sell more to the people who need to learn about Socialism.

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Outdoor Propaganda commenced in April and should be in full swing by May and the remainder of the summer. Details of meeting spots are given on the meetings page and Comrades are urged to note the times and places and support all the meetings at all times.

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Islington Branch is holding a lecture—The Socialist Party—on Thursday, May 12th, at 7.45 p.m. Comrade C. Michael is the speaker and the meeting place, Co-op. Hall, 129, Seven Sisters Road, N.7 (near Finsbury Park Tube Station).

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North West Kent

Will any readers in the Bexleyheath, Crayford, Dartford, Erith, Gravesend and Welling areas of North West Kent interested in the formation of a discussion group, communicate with H, J. Wilson, 7 Cyril Road, Bexleyheath, Kent (phone Bexleyheath 19S0).


The Party platform will be on Durdham Downs every Sunday during the summer. First meeting, Sunday, May 1st. Comrades and sympathisers in the district are asked to support these meetings. The Downs are ideal for outdoor meetings and as proved in the past—very successful meetings have been held.
Phyllis Howard

The Passing Show: South African Revolution (1960)

The Passing Show Column from the May 1960 issue of the Socialist Standard

South African Revolution

The recent events in South Africa have made starkly clear the real nature of the conflict there. The entire capitalist world, Governments and press, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, has denounced the measures taken by the present ruling class in South Africa to bolster its position. The Nationalist newspaper Die Burger, the organ of the ruling landowners and farmers, admitted that staid Conservative British papers like The Times and the Daily Telegraph had been “practically hysterical in their vehemence.” The Times, indeed, went so far as to say in its leading article of April 6th, that it was sixteen days “since the revolution began in South Africa.” 

After the Sharpeville massacre it was announced that the pass laws would not be enforced for the time being. This was an astonishing concession for the ruling landowners' class to make to the capitalists. It showed how much the landowners had been shaken, for the pass laws are the cornerstone of the society built by the landed interests. The aim of these laws is to keep Africans in the country, where they must work on the white men's farms in order to live, and to prevent them coming to the towns, where they could obtain higher pay in the capitalists' factories. If despite the pass laws they come to the towns, they are arrested—in numbers running to hundreds of thousands each year—and sent back in convict gangs to labour on the farms for a mere pittance. The news that the pass laws had been suspended was a tonic to the South African capitalist class: the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, which had slumped at the news from Sharpeville, recovered some of its losses. Then came the announcement that the pass, laws would be reimposed: again share prices fell. And the South African Federated Chamber of Industries was reported to be seeking a meeting with Dr. Verwoerd to urge some modification in his policies.

The question now in South Africa is this: how long will the growing capitalist class allow the landed interests to continue ruling the country?


Christians are sometimes harder on their fellow-Christians than many materialists would be. For example, when on April 8th the House of Commons was discussing the open police brutality against Africans in the streets of South African cities, Sir Godfrey Nicholson (the Conservative member for Farnham) said the situation was partly due to the Afrikaners' “background of a rigid Calvinistic creed." This is a case of putting the cart before the horse. Many other peoples in the world share the Afrikaners' Calvinism, but not being in the same economic position, have no sympathy with the South African landowners’ apartheid. The Afrikaners' “Dutch Reformed Church” originated in Holland, whose inhabitants are also closely related to the Afrikaners. But far from sharing the Afrikaners’ beliefs, the Dutch leaders go out of their way to criticise apartheid. The Calvinist Scots Presbyterian Church has long attacked the white farmers’ policies in both South Africa and the Rhodesian Federation. No, religious beliefs do not determine political views. Both of them are, in the long run, expressions of the economic and material position in which a particular class finds itself.

Sailing before the wind

The Readers' Digest, which claims a world circulation of over twenty million copies, is one of the most accurate indicators of the current policies of the American ruling class. During the war it was full of articles showing how bestial the Germans and—even more the Japanese were. As soon as the war was over, and it became clear that in the next war the United States' enemy might well be Russia, with West Germany and Japan lining up as America's allies, the content of the articles shifted abruptly. Now it was the bestiality of the Russians which was written about; references to Germany and Japan became friendly. The editors even went so far as to print articles about the heroic deeds of German and Japanese soldiers in the Second World War.


But besides Germany and Japan, the United States also fixed on the Catholic Church as a useful ally against Russia. References in the Readers Digest to Roman Catholicism therefore became friendly. The fact that the Catholic Church is hand in glove with Fascism in Franco Spain, and supports at least one South American state (Colombia) where Protestants are harried mercilessly, was ignored. In the March, 1960, issue there is an article on “Good Pope John,” in which the writer talks about the “warm humanity, irrepressible humour and amiable wisdom” of the Pope with all the starry-eyed enthusiasm of a twelve-year-old girl listening to Cliff Richard. Still, that’s not surprising. If America’s alleged “defence of democracy” can be stretched to include military and other assistance to the Fascist Franco, it can't be too much of a strain to take in Franco’s friend as well

The nearly royal family

The news (in the Daily Express, 31/3/60) that at the forthcoming royal wedding there may be present not only Mr. Armstrong-Jones’ father and mother, but also his mother's present husband, his father’s present wife, and his father's other previous wife—the five of them all coming roughly under the heading of “the bridegroom's parents"—reminds one of the extent to which the divorce courts are patronised by the ruling class. The American millionaire Tommy Manville, who has had ten wives (or is it eleven now?) is exceptional, but the difference is not a matter of principle: it's only a question of how often the principle has been applied. Cases of husbands with three or four successive wives, or wives with three or four successive husbands, are not uncommon, as anyone who glances through the gossip columns can testify. Monogamy, at least in the upper class, now appears to have been replaced by this successive polygamy, at it were. The whole subject is worth careful study by anyone who claims to understand the workings of modern society.
Alwyn Edgar

The Optimists. (1922)

From the October 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

It has been said that in Shakespeare’s works there can be found lines to describe any type of man. This may or may not be so, but many of his descriptions of man in the bulk or individually fit the types we observe to-day.

After reading Mr. Herbert Smith’s address to the Miners’ Conference delegates at Blackpool, the thought that occurred to the writer was the one expressed so satirically in “Twelfth night.”
  “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
Mr. Smith has not displayed much originality or acumen during his career as a trade union official, especially since he has been President of the M.F.G.B.

During the lock-out of last year he cut a very sorry figure, rushing into No. 10, Downing Street appealingly exclaiming to Lloyd George, “You have got to offer us something !”

Without a great stretch of imagination we could see the effect of these words and the cringing of the E.C. of the Miners in stiffening the attitude of Lloyd George and the coal owners behind him. Smith is not renowned for mental alertness, and cannot be considered an improvement on former presidents, so that we can only conclude his “greatness has been thrust upon him.” We need not go into the squabble between Smillie and Hodges over the job of leadership, but it might have some bearing on the fact that Smith is now President of the M.F.G.B.

As an example of what Shakespeare called “chop logic,” his speech will take some beating, for he says, “It will take years to wipe out the consequences of decontrolling the industry,” and immediately contradicts that by adding, “I am not a pessimist. I am certain we will come out of the present position within the next year.” He also told the Conference: “While we have private enterprise the prosperity of owners and workmen are linked up,” and later quotes : “He that owns the means whereby I live owns my life.”

Labour power is bought and sold on the market at a price which has for its basis the socially necessary labour required for its production. The price of labour power is arrived at by bargaining, and as the capitalist is in possession of the means of production, it is obvious that he is enabled to dictate, within limits, to the seller of labour-power.

But Smith, who says the prosperity of the workers is linked up with that of the capitalists, would have the workers give up the struggle, suggesting the fallacy that the employers would pay on a generous scale in accordance with their prosperity. Smith tries to make the best of a bad business, but not having the lawyerlike mentality of his colleague Hodges, his efforts are too apparent; he reminds one of the old man who had discussed everything from a doleful standpoint, explaining finally to his listener that “he was not a pessimist because he could not see anything to be optimistic about.”

Smith goes one better. He tells the doleful tale, but tells it cheerfully, defying all logic and correct conclusions. He congratulates the Federation on its position, although there are more than one hundred thousand drawing unemployment pay, in addition to the large number wrong-fully disqualified from benefits. The disqualified are the victimised men whom the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain have not been able to get reinstated since the “settlement” by the precious “agreement” which the E.C. of the Miners’ Federation made for the miners.

Still looking for the bright side, Mr. Smith remarks, “Had it not been for the clause in the agreement which provides that a wage of 20 per cent. in excess ‘of wages paid in July, 1914, many of the districts would have been still worse off.” His optimism knows no limits, for though the 20 per cent. may be given, the cost of living is 80 per cent. above July, 1914.

That the coal owners refuse to recognise the clause in the agreement, as every district agent and the E.C. of the Miners’ Federation must know, for those men who ask for the “minimum wage” risk the sack; their places can be filled by others outside the gates. This deters many, as they, quite naturally, desire to handle some wages in preference to unemployment benefit or Poor Law relief.

That the owners dodge the clause is borne out by Hodges in the Daily News, June 9th, 1922
  “Many instances are occurring where employers, presumably (italics mine) unable to pay the district rates, are stopping the collieries and intimating to the workmen that they can resume employment if they accept lesser wages than their neighbours. “
Hodges is always ready to “presume” that the employers are unable to make their collieries pay, for during the lock-out of last year he was more concerned in devising schemes for the employers, and side-tracking the workers from the real issue, which was a question of wages.

The miners have spent money on giving Hodges an education which they thought would be useful to them in their struggles with their masters. It is money that has been badly spent if the only use of the knowledge he is credited with is to “presume” what the capitalist class want the workers to think, that is, employers are “unable to pay the district rates,” and the only way to employment is for the workers to “accept lesser wages than their neighbours.”

To return to Mr. Smith. He must know that the employers have treated every plea which as been made to them with contempt, for they knew that the miners were not able to contest another struggle for some time. They have refused to re-employ those they thought undesirable, and refused to make the men’s wages up to the minimum when asked by the workers. There seems to be but one object throughout the whole of his speech, that is to make it appear that the so-called agreement is working out favourably to the miners, but these know that, in the words of Hodges, “the British famine has begun,” for hundreds of thousands have felt its worst effects during the months after the “settlement.”

After some platitudes on the “great boon and blessing of the seven-hour day” (a boon and blessing which has not injured the coal owners, in so far as output is maintained). Smith urges the miners to greater efforts.
  “It is now known that providing we had the trade we could, with proper internal organisation and a more extensive use of scientific methods, not only maintain the pre-war output per man, but increase the aggregate output produced in 1913.”
Here we find him playing the role of all “leaders,” assuring the capitalists that they will get the workers to produce more so that the British capitalists will be able, more effectually, to compete in the scramble for trade. Their most formidable competitor, America, is now engaged in capturing the coal markets of the world. Dr. H. M. Payne, in the Colliery Guardian, December 2nd, 1921, stated that the productive capacity of the coal miners of the United States was 700,000,000 tons per year, and the normal consumption 500,000,000 tons per year; thus a well regulated market would provide an outlet for a surplus of 200,000,000. The Colliery Guardian, in reporting Dr. Payne’s address, says: “He spoke of a remarkable analogy between the position here and in America regarding railway rates and other factors,” and continuing : “They must above all concentrate on the labour factor both on the railways and in the mines.” The American capitalists are concentrating on the “labour factor,” as can be seen by the struggle now taking place between the miners and their employers; the latter with the help of the prototypes of Smith and Hodges will soon be in an even better position than before to compete for trade, for the intention is to bring lower still the cost of production of coal.

The Socialist is continually pointing out to the working class that the interests their leaders serve when they tell us to produce more are the capitalists interests, whether advocated in ignorance or with full knowledge of the effect does not matter, for as a rule the more the workers produce the sooner are they unemployed.

Apparently Smith is ignorant of this, but it is very difficult to believe that is the case, since he tells us : “The American miner has never been fully employed ; even last year they had to play 139 days out of a possible 308, owing to the output being in excess of the demand.”

Fellow miners, it can be seen that greater output is not for your benefit, and is not your problem, for in America the miners produce a surplus which is nearly as much as the total amount of coal produced in this country, and yet are out of work 139 days in the year.

More than 100,000 miners are unemployed in England. “A more extensive use of scientific methods” will increase their numbers, and those employed will be worn out more quickly, all in order that our masters may reap trade and profits.

Is it not time you looked into the condition under which you live? Only when you do so, will you be on the way towards understanding your present function in society, and the outcome of such knowledge will be a revolutionary attitude towards your exploiters and their system. You will no longer look to leaders; it will be clear that your interests and the capitalist’s can never be reconciled.

Under capitalism every improvement in the methods of production tends to worsen the workers conditions ; the tools producing wealth in abundance become a menace and a terror to them.

Within capitalism there is no remedy. When the workers understand the position they will capture the political machine and use it as an agent of their emancipation, and make all the means whereby society has to live the property of the whole of society.

The machines that to-day are a menace to the happiness of countless millions will then be the means by which all shall attain leisure and happiness.
J. M. D.

Jottings. (1922)

The Jottings Column from the October 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

Quite recently an application was made on behalf of the Secretary for War, at Lambeth County Court, for an ejectment order against James Leach, an ex-soldier, from rooms occupied by him and his family in married men’s quarters.

The following interesting conversation took place in Court :—
Judge Parry asked “Can the court eject a man from barracks?”

Mr. C. Davies (for the application) : “It has always been done.”

Judge Parry : “Are the authorities not capable of turning this man out?”

Mr. C. Davie : “The Secretary for War does not want to use Prussian methods.”

Judge Parry : “He brings to this Court a nasty job which he can do himself.”
Judge Parry made an order by consent for possession in a month, and gave judgement for £6 18s. rent, with costs.—Daily Mail, April 26th, 1922.

What a piece of hypocrisy ! A puzzle !

What is the difference between the “Prussian” methods of ejectment by the Secretary for War and the ejectment order of Judge Parry?

Any reader correctly answering same will be asked to contribute to the £1,000 Fund.

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The first week in September a postal strike was declared in Ireland against a proposed reduction in wages.

The Irish Government showed themselves to be the same as all other capitalist governments when their interests are threatened.

The following was culled from the Evening News, September 11th, 1922 :—
  "Free State troops to-day dispersed strike pickets outside postal offices in Dublin by firing over their heads. This is in accordance with the Government’s announcement that the postal strike, which began at 6 yesterday evening, is illegal and that picketing will be suppressed. The strike is against a proposed ‘cut ‘ in wages.”
The workers in Ireland have the same lesson to learn as the workers of all countries, i.e. : That not until they recognise there is a class-struggle in Society born of the private ownership of the means of life, and that Socialism is their hope, can there be any improvement in their wretched conditions.

* * *
  “Our bitter experience has proved that it is not Germany that is paying. It is the British working man who is paying at this moment. “
This statement, made by J. H. Thomas, M.P., was loudly cheered at the Trade Union Congress at Southport to-day.—Evening News, September 5th, 1922.

How often have readers of the S.S. heard the above statement made from the platforms of the pseudo-socialist parties and met it in their press? By a mere superficial examination of the above, it undoubtedly appears to be correct. But when a thinking worker analyses the assertion, he will quite easily see how unsound J.H.T.’s economics really are. Doubtless, Thomas, like many thousands of workers, think that because the workers are the wealth producers of the world, they must of necessity pay for everything. That only shows “loose” thinking, a failure to understand correctly capitalist wealth production.

* * *

One statement in the election address of the “revolutionary” Mayor of Bethnal Green during the last L.C.C. election was as follows :—
  “We maintain that unemployment is a NATIONAL, and not a local problem, and if returned to the L.C.C. will do all in our power to force the Government to provide work or accept financial responsibility for unemployment. Further, we pledge ourselves to do all in our power to push forward the L.C.C.’s own schemes of. work so as to absorb the unemployed. If you want the opportunity to work : Vote for Valentine and Vaughan.”
Could anyone but a place-hunter spread broadcast such rubbish and still claim to be a Socialist? Sorry, Mr. Printer, he’s a Communist ! Every line in the above statement is sheer bunkum. Quite apart from the fact that unemployment is not a national problem, even if Vaughan and his clique were in the majority on the L.C.C. it would not be possible for them to provide schemes to absorb the unemployed.

Not all the schemes, plans and efforts of all the reformers can remove the canker, of unemployment and its concomitant evils; not until the workers are fully conscious of the fact that the private property basis of society must be swept aside, to make way for the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living.
 'The Settler'

The Way of Peace. (1922)

From the October 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

Such was the alluring title of an article published in the Daily News, dated July 31st, 1922, in which the writer showed a subtle ability of propounding views which help to keep the workers from grasping the real significance of hero worship. To contend that they who demonstrated at the Cenotaph in Whitehall by dipping their banners as they passed, or laid flowers at the base of the monument, were actuated by the desire to pay homage to the fallen in war; and to describe it as a ”silent and impressive pledge to the dead,” is but sentimental humbug ; for those to whom the pledge is stated to have been made, care nothing for such promises, and certainly will in nowise be offended if they are not carried into effect. The eyes of the dead are closed for ever, and weary not for the hypocritical promises made in their name. However easy it is to escape the responsibility of a promise to the dead, you cannot deceive them; but it is possible to deceive the living by lugubrious protestations over the dead and impress them that some benefit may be derived from their mournful pretensions.

Sorrow for departed friends will always persist, and people will continue to demonstrate their regret in various ways long after their friends decease. Those who went to the Cenotaph with honest motives were of this kind, and relieved their emotions publicly because ”knowing not where they have laid him” they cannot do so privately as they would if death had been the result of disease and been followed by an ordinary funeral, and the remains deposited in a place easy of access. Others were there who totally lacked that spirit of thoroughness which we call principle, indifferent to all else except spectacular effect, who would sooner see a man dive to death from the top of St. Paul’s, than go to the poll and vote their slavery away.

But a more sinister motive lies behind these officially organised demonstrations of pretended reverence for those who fell in the war; and that is to inculcate and keep alive the thought that they died in a glorious struggle to ensure eternal peace to posterity and willingly made the supreme sacrifice. Once get that idea into the noddles of those who are maturing unto military age, how much easier it will be to recruit the forces required by the capitalists for the next last great war to end war.

Already on to-night’s placards I find they are calling ’em up.

It may be useful to remember that during the great war of 1914-1918, the workers who were drawn into that bloody orgie wanted nothing more than to be allowed to remain in their native land, and to be provided with a constant means of obtaining a living by the sale of their labour power to the masterclass. That is the high watermark of their intelligence, which socialists so much deplore; but to say nations are torn with suspicions of each other, or secretly preparing war-like plans of self-aggrandisement, etc., is a travesty of facts, or the result of lamentable ignorance. It is not the nations, but the greedy capitalist class whose sectional interests compel them to regard each other suspiciously and who are secretly preparing to commit another terrible crime against humanity.

The great mass of the world’s workers know nothing of these plans, and instead of suspicion there is an ever-growing sympathy springing up between them : a sympathy born of the knowledge that there is only one enemy they have to face the wide world over :—the capitalist class who alone are responsible for the present economic chaos, and the sum of human misery and suffering entailed thereby.

Many workers of all nationalities who have passed through worse than death, now realise that the cult of nationalism is indeed a tragic futility so far as the working-class are concerned ; and the spirit of international co-operation and solidarity, though slowly, is surely growing up amongst them, born of the knowledge that they are poor because the greater part of the wealth they bring into existence is robbed from them by the capitalist-class.

To his everlasting credit, Karl Marx made this clear, and explained the process of the robbery in Capital, in which the true nature of capitalism is revealed as resting upon the exploitation of the working-class through individual or private ownership of the means of producing the necessaries of life.
This divides society into two distinct classes whose interests are as widely opposed as the two poles of – the earth : one a propertyless class having nothing to sell but its power to labour; the other a wealthy class owning the means of wealth production.

Amongst the latter there is continual friction arising out of the competition for markets for the sale of commodifies, each section trying to oust the other. World-wide territories are examined, trade routes determined, and all the machinery put into operation to secure a profitable sale; and a very watchful eye is kept by their respective governments upon the interests of those whom they represent. When these interests are threatened by trade rivalry of another state, bombing machines, gun-boats and troops are hurried to Tom Tiddler’s ground to administer a gentle admonition to the offending party. All of which goes to prove there can be no peace, in either a military or economic sense, while goods are made for profit instead of use, and exploitation of the working-class forms the basis of society.

I once heard the House of Commons described as the Thieves’ Kitchen, and in my opinion that term is not less applicable to the League of Nations to which the Daily News pins its faith ; for what else is it, but a consultative body of capitalists which meets for the purpose of determining the most economical way of appropriating the results of working-class effort and apportioning shares of the spoil to the various capitalist sections whom they represent.

It follows then, as the day follows night, that if we would do away with war, we must destroy the conditions from which it arisen. Not patch up or reform the old structure, but change the system entirely by doing away with wagedom and capitalism, and substitute a system of society in which the whole of the means of social production is commonly owned and democratically controlled in the interest of all. Then it will be impossible for anyone to deprive another of existence by withholding the means of satisfying his requirements.

In this way alone lies the path to peace. After all it is not in the power of statesmen to end war as they belong to the class to whom war is necessary and inevitable, and cannot but desire a continuance of a system that gives them such ease and enjoyment.

The workers alone can alter the circumstances that bring such untold misery and ruin to their homes, by organising for the complete overthrow of the wage system. Then only can there be Peace throughout the world. How this is to be done will be found in our Declaration of Principles on the back of this paper. Read, mark and inwardly digest them.
W. W. F.

Blogger's Note:
There is a strong chance that the author of this article, W. W. F., was the longstanding SPGB member, Walter Ford. He is the only member that I am aware of from that period who had the initials, W.W.F.

Walter Ford died a party member at the age of 94 in November 1957. His obituary appeared in the January 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard.

Letter: The Rate of Exchange. (1922)

Letter to the Editors from the October 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Comrade,

How many who read the daily paper understand the financial column ?

For instance:—Paris, 54.30, Aug. 4th; 54.37, Aug. 5th; Madrid, 28.67, Aug. 4th, and so on. Do you think it could be printed in the Socialist Standard so as to make it clear to the average man.
G. F. Hart

Answer to Hart.
The basis of the figures—known as the rate of exchange—given by Mr. Hart may be stated as follows :—When two countries enter into commercial relations and exchange goods, the prices of these goods are balanced against each other, mainly through the medium of Bills of Exchange. In practice over any financial period, such as three or six months, it will usually be found that one country has sent goods whose prices total more than the prices of the goods it has received. Under ordinary circumstances this difference is settled by the other country sending gold equal to the amount of the debt. The costs of transporting this gold, including insurance, etc., will be the basic cause of the difference in the rate of exchange.

If, for example, a balance were due to England from France, and assuming that 50 francs were equal to a sovereign; that a sovereign equalled 1/4 oz. of gold; and that the cost of transporting gold, including insurance, etc., were 20 centimes (roughly a 1d.) per oz., then the rate of exchange for that day would be, approximately, 50.05 francs to the pound. The number of bills available, the state of credit between the various merchants, the manner in which a particular government has honoured—or otherwise—its debts, would all have an influence on these figures, which often vary from day to day, and sometimes during the same day, but the basic factor would be as outlined above.
Editorial Committee

Correspondence: Answer to J. Blundell. (1922)

From the Editors from the October 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

In regard to their general results “Inflation” and ”Debasing” of the currency are the same, though the terms are generally used with reference to two different kinds of currency. “Inflation” is used in connection with a paper currency, and “Debasing” in connection with a metallic one. When first established the coins of a metallic currency were worth—or were of the value—of their face denomination— Pound, penny, etc. Some of the old rulers tried to rob their subjects by using inferior metal in the manufacture of the coins, or by issuing coins under the legally fixed weight. In either case the difference in value between the original coins and the altered or “Debased” ones, would form a margin for the rulers’ benefit until the debasement was discovered and new higher prices established in line with the lower real value of the new coins.

In the case of a country with an inconvertible paper currency—inflation, of course, cannot take place where the paper is convertible into gold upon demand—the purchasing point at which the paper will circulate depends upon how much “foreign” trade is carried on by the country in question, and the amount of notes issued compared with the estimate, made by the trading community, of the power and willingness of the Government to meet its liabilities, or, in other words, upon the “credit” of that particular government.

Should the Government issue notes in excess of this “credit” the notes would circulate at a point below their face denomination in the proportion of the “over-issue.” The “over-issue” would be termed “inflation,” as the notes would have been issued in numbers beyond their legitimate sphere. Poland and Austria are extreme examples of such “inflation.”
Editorial Committee.

Editorial: The Call of the Graveyard. (1922)

Editorial from the October 1922 issue of the Socialist Standard

The “war to end wars” is still going strong. Eight years ago this peculiar brand of wars was going to finish in a few weeks. Four years later we were told that the fearful enemy that had been menacing the peace of Europe had been whacked. There was great jubilation in the tents of the mighty. A short time after, however, the whackers discovered that it was they who had been whacked. Much talk there was about the wheels of industry that would not move; much mystery and puzzlement over the movements of foreign exchanges; and finally weird and wonderful theories of currency. Tearfully the capitalists’ leader writers complained of the black outlook after all the treasure spent, and all the property destroyed. The allies had gleefully arranged how the war indemnity was to be split up amongst them, and afterwards discovered that they had so successfully busted the enemy that he could not pay. Then there was a wild scramble to raise up the fallen enemy (put their competitor back where he was before they started the busting process !) as he appeared to have fallen on the victors. In the meantime forty or fifty other minor wars were going on in different parts of the world to fill up the interval. 

A little later still the different members of the victorious time discovered that each was pulling a different way, each trying to carve a bumper share out of the alleged spoils on the sly.

There were many portentous conferences, much trumpet blowing and raising of smoke screens. So avaricious were the “peace­ makers” that the period of conferences bid fair to be infinite. While this hubbub was going on one that was so lately a fallen enemy rose up again, and while the “faithful” allies, without even the staunchness generally attributed to thieves, were following each his own course in backing this fallen enemy or his opponent a new apparition has appeared to haunt Europe in the person of the “victorious Turk.” So the wheels of the “war to end wars” are kept merrily turning.

With unconscious humour the Daily News (19th September, 1922), exhibits on its front page a picture to stiffen the backs of future war heroes. It is a pleasant picture; the picture of a portion of the Anzac cemetery at Ari Burnu, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, where, they state, 20,000 British and Australian soldiers are lying ! Are they offering a solution of the unemployed problem ? Or are they offering the Anzacs a “home from home?” How anxious our masters must think we are to enter the eternal silence of the tomb ! Funny, isn’t it ?

In the editorial column of the same paper, same date, there are some other funny things. For example, we read : “Which is the better way of preventing a war—to keep Kemal’s army on the Asiatic side and call a conference to consider his claims, or to give it free passage and leave it to stake out its own claims by force?”

Here we have a capitalist definition of “preventing a war”—to prevent war go for the other chap first; it isn’t a war then it’s a defensive action ! Quite obvious, isn’t it?

In the meantime what has become of the wonderful “League of Nations” that was floated with such a flourish of trumpets? It appears to have quietly stepped off the stage (referred the matter to a committee!) its services being no longer required now that arrangements have been made to refloat the war enterprise on the grand scale.

To work up our feelings over “small nationalities” and similar sacred matters we are kept informed of the alleged atrocities of the Turks some hundreds of miles away. In the meantime, however, there has been a mining disaster in the North of England not many days ago, and many workmen lost their lives; further, we read daily of men, women and children being run over and killed by the motor cars that hurry the wealthy from pleasure to pleasure. Atroci­ties are not confined exclusively to wars; they also flourish abundantly where peace is supposed to reign.

This brings us to the main point. What does it matter to the world’s workers what group of capitalists control the sources of wealth? An exchange of masters is of no practical account to the world’s workers. The point is they are all members of the capitalist class.

Therefore the fresh stir up in Europe should not concern working men at all ex­cept as another instance of the cupidity and trickery of their masters.

On the page of the Daily News that contains the invigorating picture of the graveyard we read that Lloyd George sent a telegram to the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand containing the following :
  “Your prompt response to our inquiry regarding troops to resist any threat against freedom of Straits and sanctity of Gallipoli Peninsula received here with enthusiasm.”
Who were the enthusiasts? Those who were going to direct the war evidently, as they were the only ones who knew anything about it. Anyhow, it wasn’t the prospective candidates for the vacancies in the cemetery; they are too busy discussing the wage cuts—the reward for their so recently suspended activities in the shambles.