Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Press Cuttings. (1940)

From the March 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Straight Issue at Southwark.

The Daily Worker (February 13th), writing of the by-election at Southwark: —
“Hitting out on Finland, he declared strongly against the sending of guns and men to Mannerheim.”
Thus the issues of the election were squarely placed. But did he, or does the Daily Worker, hit out strongly against the Russian Government sending armies, tanks and bombing planes into Finland?

The Chapels Seem to be Worse than the Churches.
“Accusations of profiteering by the churches at the expense of evacuees were made yesterday at a meeting of Brighton Education Committee, when the schedule of rentals of 80 church and other halls recommended for hiring for school purposes was disapproved.. It was stated that the rentals would total £10,000 a year.
Councillor Ingham said the council was asked to pay £9 a week for a church with hall and rooms rated at £68 per annum.
“I have never seen such highway robbery with violence in all my life,” he added, “and the chapels seem to be worse than the churches.”
Another member said it was the biggest scandal Brighton had ever heard of.”—(Daily Telegraph, February 14th, 1940.)

Certainly, General, and what are your further orders ?

Under the heading, “Spain Gives Hint to Britain,” the Daily Mail (February 12th, 1940) publishes the following extract from one of General Franco’s papers: —
“A message to-day points out that ‘the soundest section of the British Press praises France’s action in getting rid of the enemies of the State.
‘The Daily Mail is right in suggesting that Britain is not acting against Communism as honestly and energetically as France is doing.’”

But Does the Maid feel that she is like the Mistress ? Silly Stuff from the Rt. Hon. J. R. Clynes, M.P.
“Amazing improvements have taken place in the food, clothing and housing of the people.
The invention of cheap silk fabrics has made it almost impossible to distinguish the mistress from her maid.
The development of working-class flats, with electric equipment, refrigerators and bathrooms, is one of the greatest revolutions of the age; and it is only beginning.
The wireless and the motor-bus have enlarged the horizon of the workers from the parish pump to the ends of the earth. Why, when I started work, the fastest thing on the roads was the horse tram!”— (Supplement to Labour Party Press Service, December 13th, 1939.)

From Spain to Finland.
“The Swedish volunteer force in Finland includes many former soldiers of the International Brigade in Spain. The Labour delegation came across one group of four veterans of the Spanish war; three of them had fought for the Spanish Government and democracy, the fourth for Franco and against Bolshevism. In the Finnish war all four find that they can fight for their various causes on the same side.—(Manchester Guardian, February 10th, 1940.)

Fascism the Friend of the Small Shop-keeper.

A new decree has just been issued in Germany which says this—
“All small shops with less than £20 a week turnover are to be considered as incapable of providing their owners with a reasonable livelihood and must cease trading.—Exchange.”—(Evening News, January 15th, 1940.)

Workers, Be Thrifty.

Lord Mottistone, chairman of the National Savings Committee: —
“Never saved a penny in my life.”—(Speech at Southampton, January 27th. Daily Express, January 28th, 1940.)

Racialism and Classism. 

From a definition of the shoddy Nazi doctrine of superior and inferior races, by Dr. Ley, leader of the Nazi Labour Front: —
“An inferior race needs less space, less food and less culture than a superior race.”—(Daily Telegraph, February 6th, 1940.)

Your Gods, O Israel. (1940)

From the March 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

An Open Letter to the Rank and File of the Labour Party.

Believe me, you misunderstand the outlook of our Party; I know you have heard your leaders “slanged” from our soap-boxes from time to time. But I would ask you on this point to remember that the object in view is always to “point a moral.” Remember also, that criticism is often founded on pretty acid comments derived from Labour Party sources. I recollect on one occasion discussing some obvious careerists in the Labour Party with a late M.P. In richest Scots he finally wailed, “Yes. There are aching hear-r-ts within the Labour Party itself”—an admission that would hardly have been made other than in a private discussion.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has the utmost respect for the sincere, self-sacrificing rank-and-filers in your Party; its regret is only the deeper that a strong fund of Good Intentions should only be assisting to pave the way to an even worser Hell than Capitalism has hitherto prepared for our class.

The trouble with you and your fellows is twofold; first, you lack SOCIALIST knowledge; second, you are perpetually on the look-out for “leaders.”

As to the first point: You seldom grasp what Socialism involves (READ OUR “OBJECT” carefully); even those among you who have a fairly adequate conception allow your “leader ” to label their sorry mess of meagre Reforms as “Socialism” ; those among you who seek refuge in “Well, they will help to build up Socialism,” should seriously consider the case of Russia, where sweeping Reforms have resulted in a State Capitalism undistinguishable in essential features (more especially as regards personal liberty) from its unholy Nazi twin brother. And remember, for years the S.P.G.B. has clearly indicated the real nature of Russian developments, while your feeble leaders were crying aloud for close union with “Peace-loving Russia.”

Which brings me again to this question of leadership.

Mr. Hugh Dalton served in a Labour Government. A year ago, writing in “your” official Organ, Dalton had the effrontery to declare that (through Arthur Henderson’s “policy”) “Labour had wiped War off the map.” Dalton in any case is not lacking in historical knowledge. He must have known that in 1935 a letter was addressed to George Lansbury “by 37 Indians resident in London, drawing attention to the fact that during the period of the last Labour Party Government, of which he was a member, approximately 4,000 lives of unarmed people were destroyed by the armed action of the British authorities in India.” . . .” Aching hear-r-ts!”

Incidentally this same George Lansbury has his heroes too. “I think history will record HERR HITLER as one of the GREAT MEN of our time.” His book, “My Quest for Peace,” must have fallen pretty flat for this not to have been more commented upon. Still, the one-time leader of His Majesty’s Opposition had given his rank and file a tip for hurling the dart right near the bull’s-eye of GREATNESS.

My dear young friend, I do not deny that Arthur Henderson knew his way about the political world and was an excellent father. I would not question that Hugh Dalton was a first-rate lecturer in a mildly “Left” College, that “good old George” has a Big ‘Eart, but I ask you to carefully consider whether these qualities entitle them to your often pathetic, dog-like, wistful cry for guidance.

Yes. Plainly and plumply, the S.P.G.B. repudiates Leadership.

Ponder for a moment the following, culled from the Bristol Evening Post: —
“Young lady typists were extra keen to secure some memento of the King’s visit. One obtained the serviette he used, while the King’s cigarette-end and the match he used to light his cigarette were secured by another. One girl, not to be outdone, poured the remains of the King’s teacup into a bottle, which she took home.”
Pretty disgusting, most of you, I feel sure, will say. But can’t you see that this particular piece of reaction to Royalty is only an extreme outcome of submission to leadership; these typists are rotten ripe for a Heil Churchill, Heil Pollitt regime. Then there is Mr. Dollan, who wrote in Forward:—”No scarcity of commodities; Plenty for all. . . . If that is the economic doctrine of King Edward, he will have plenty of assistance from Socialists in carrying it into effect.”

Lansbury holds that “The King is as good a Socialist as Bernard Shaw.” (As a matter of fact he is, but George didn’t mean it like that.)

Ponder carefully the two following statements : “We all love great men; love, venerate, and bow down submissive.” (Carlyle). “The human race is gradually learning the simple lesson that the people as a whole are wiser for the public good than any privileged race of men, however refined and cultivated they have ever been, or by any possibility can ever become” (Lewis Morgan, in “Ancient Society”).

In the first lies embedded the real creed of your “leaders,” however they may protest otherwise to you when the election job is on hand. In that creed, slick Labour leaders are helping to prepare new horrors for their misguided followers.

Lewis Morgan (first among ethnologists) proclaimed a creed which pervades and informs with Life the stern political frame of Socialist doctrine as laid down in our “eight points.”

Which will you choose? Never was a time when choice was more incumbent upon you.

Yours in the Galling Chains of the Working Class Fraternity,
Augustus Snellgrove

Obituary: Comrade W. Veal (1940)

Obituary from the March 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

With deep regret we announce the death of Comrade W. Veal, of the Paddington Branch, at the early age of forty-nine. He was a familiar figure to the thousands who frequent our Hyde Park meetings, for he was our most consistent literature seller outside the Hyde Park gates.

For years—whatever the weather—he stood at his post for hours on end every Saturday and Sunday and so helped by his reliability and cheerful willingness to build up the very large literature sales we now command at that Propaganda station. We can ill afford to lose such a splendid worker for the Socialist Cause.

We extend our deepest sympathy to his bereaved wife and family.

For the Propaganda Committee, 
A. Turner.

Party News. (1940)

Party News from the March 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

Our Sixpenny Stunt.

Our “sixpenny stunt” is still in operation. All you have to do is to send a sixpenny postal order to the Literature Secretary, 42, Great Dover Street, together with the address of an interested sympathiser, and we will send him or her the Socialist Standard for three consecutive months. A brief note will accompany the first month’s copy. At the expiration of the three months we shall write again, inviting the new reader to become a subscriber and to read our other published literature.

Appeal for Donations.

Elsewhere in this issue is an article which records the Party’s intensive propaganda campaign since the outbreak of war. This effort must not only be continued, but must be extended in the coming months. Up to the time of writing London meetings have not had to be financed out of the Party’s general funds. This, of course, is due to the splendid response of audiences, who have given generously.

We are certain that the success achieved in London can be repeated in the Provinces. Our Provincial branches and groups are clamouring for speakers, and if we are to meet their wishes, money must be forthcoming to finance a scheme for sending out propagandists.

Members and sympathisers will render the Party a great service by sending us a practical token of their sympathy—a donation !

Please do not delay.
Party Funds Organiser.

Urgent - Reader in Oxford.

Will the comrade who wrote to H Waite from Oxford, please his name and address.