Monday, August 22, 2022

Wages by Cheque (1959)

From the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Government are to introduce legislation allowing the workers to be paid by cheque. This piffling proposal will probably produce a hurricane of opposition from certain windy quarters in the Trade Unions and Labour Party, and no doubt some Communists. The right of the worker to be paid, in ready cash will become part of the day-to-day struggles, a real cause celebre.

Tory backwoodsmen are saying that this will make the workers more thrifty. They will, they hopefully claim, put their cheques into bank accounts and not spend it all. Savings will increase, and with them, abstemiousness; sobriety, and all things beautiful. The ideal worker from the Capitalist point of view is the virtuous economic cabbage who can live on practically nothing and enjoy it. If he manages somehow to put a bit away so much the better. He won’t be a charge on the Rates or National Assistance later.

Confidence Tricks
This is the unspoken philosophy of Capitalist Governments. From time to time terrific confidence tricks are played by Governments on workers’ savings. Devaluation was introduced by the last Labour Government, and inflation has been the policy of both Conservative and Labour Governments.

Last Autumn the Government removed the credit restrictions on Bank lending. In a great splash of newspaper publicity the Banks announced a scheme for personal loans for such things as cars, houses, T.V. sets, refrigerators, etc. A few days after the announcement the Manchester Guardian reported the experience of about 50 Salford dockers who queued up outside the local branch of the Westminster Bank. It appeared that the dockers were naive enough to believe what they read. They told the Bank manager they wanted to borrow a few quid to tide them over a bad spell. The Bank manager, as Bank managers are wont to do, asked for some security. All the dockers produced their Union cards as a guarantee of their ability to repay the loan, that is, if they didn’t become unemployed or put on short time. The manager delicately informed them that the Bank could not take the risk, Union card or not. The less credulous of us are now asked to believe that if the dockers, and other workers, were paid by cheque they would have money in the Bank. The worker’s possession of a cheque-book is as meaningful as the verse in the Canadian folk song "Good morning Mum, I have a button here, can you sew a shirt on it?”

An interesting reaction to this proposal comes from the Bank Trade Unions. They apparently do not relish the the increased work this will entail for the same pay. Heaven knows what might happen if the workers start subbing in mid week.

Apart from claims about saving time on accountancy and wage clerks, there is the question of armed robbery being prevented. Snatching the payroll could, by present ethical standards, be considered more a transfer of property than a theft. The biter bitten would be an apt description. After all, the robbery has already taken place at the point of production. As always, the workers are the victims, not the Capitalists.
Jim D'Arcy

Editorial: The Printing 
Dispute (1959)

Editorial from the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard

From the ordinary trade union point of view of a struggle to enforce more pay and shorter hours, the printers' strike seems to have been well conceived and executed and well timed.

The claim was for a 10 per cent. increase of pay and a reduction of 3½ hours, from 43½ to 40. After lengthy negotiations the employers offered 2½ per cent. and 1 hour, but tied up the offer with a long list of demands for the reorganisation of the industry to increase production. The Unions rejected this offer and rejected also the employers manoeuvre of trying to get them to take the claim to arbitration. Having taken a ballot of their members the printing unions came out on strike on June 17th, over 100,000 men and women being involved. The dispute affected the Newspaper Society and the British Federation of Master Printers, but not the Newspaper Proprietors' Association or the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society, so while the Provincial newspapers, the magazines and periodicals and general printers were brought to a standstill the national and Sunday papers and London evening papers carried on, as did a certain number of firms which accepted the Unions' demands. A second dispute affecting printing ink threatened to stop the other papers, but this was avoided.

The timing was favourable for the workers because trade was recovering from the depression, unemployment was falling and the imminence of a general election made the employers, the Government and the big political parties worried lest a long-drawn out strike should hold up the very big volume of literature of various kinds needed for the election.

In the third week of the strike, discussions started under the chairmanship of Lord Birkett. Towards the end of July, at our time of going to press, the employers made an improved offer, of 3½ per cent. increase of pay, and a reduction of 1½ hours. The unions rejected this. They considered that the substantial concessions they were prepared to make to make to increase productivity justified more than 3½ per cent. on pay and at least an undertaking of a further reduction of hours at a later date. Settlement was then Expected at 4½ per cent. proposed by Lord Birkett.

The Sanctimonious “Guardian
The dispute produced several surprising, diverting and instructive incidents. As was to be expected the Manchester Guardian led the Press in its sanctimonious comment of June 13th, laying down the usual employers' line that everyone believes in the right of the workers to strike so long as they never exercise the right:
The right to strike is a fundamental human freedom, but its exercise ought to be justified by some great cause. There is no great cause in the printing dispute—it is a piece of market bargaining over money.
Can anyone remember the Manchester Guardian ever supporting a strike (except a strike of foreign workers)? The Guardian editor’s further remark was equally hypocritical.
In the nineteenth century, when Britain had few industrial rivals, and when the main domestic industries had well-hedged fields to themselves, a strike or lock-out did not matter much, except in terms of personal suffering.
If some diligent student were to study the Guardian’s attitude to strikes in the nineteenth century, we do not doubt that he would find that the Guardian always managed to find overwhelming reasons for condemning those strikers too.

Lord Sourgrapes
It might have been expected that the newspapers that continued to be published would have solidly defended the employers, though Labour Party supporters doubtless hoped that their two mouthpieces, the official Daily Herald and the unofficial Daily Mirror, would line up with the workers against the employers. It turned out otherwise and some of the liveliest abuse during the strike was to be found in a fierce battle between the Daily Express and the other two. Beaverbrook’s Daily Express roundly accused the big magazine combines of having precipitated an unnecessary strike by their "tough and unaccommodating attitude," and said (4th July) that the provincial newspapers were the “victims of the tycoons of the magazine trade. They are paying a heavy price for their association with these richer more powerful and more belligerent allies." The biggest printing union, NATSOPA, promptly endorsed the charge. The Mirror and. Odhams (the latter owns the People and the Herald) are the “magazine tycoons" referred to, and they angrily denied the accusation. The Mirror of July 6th, in a slashing leader headed “ Lord Sourgrapes—and the drop of poison," explained that Beaverbrook has no magazines except “a couple of inconspicuous comics," called it a “smear campaign,” and passed the buck to the smaller printing firms and smaller newspapers who feared that the Unions' demands would put them out of business. The People (July 5th) blamed the Unions for not having let the claim go to arbitration in the first place. The Herald itself tried to ride both horses. It held that the men have a good case for their original demands, but that the employers “think they have a good case for insisting on increased productivity as a condition of any wage rise" (June 19th). It tried to escape its dilemma by blaming the Government for not immediately setting up a court of inquiry, which, of course, the Unions did not want, anyway.

The “Principle” of Shorter Hours
A weakness of the trade union position (to be found in many other industries as well) is the ambiguous attitude to shorter hours. Mr. Willis, one of the Union leaders and Chairman of the T.U.C., declared at the conference of the Miners' Union that the printers were striking “in support of the principle for which every trade unionist would fight, the shorter week." (News Chronicle, July 8th.) But what are the facts? Though the standard hours are now about four less than in 1938 the actual hours worked in industry are no lower than they were then. The claims for shorter hours have turned into claims for more overtime pay. In 1946 printing hours were reduced by 1½ to 43½, but within a few years the actual average hours of male workers in the paper and printing trade were higher than they were before, and in 1957 were 47 a week.

Confusion about Arbitration and Impartiality
The trade unions are in a muddle about arbitration. The printing unions consistently opposed it on the ground that it would not be “impartial,” but later in the dispute they were asking that Lord Monckton be invited—though he declined the invitation—to preside over the negotiations “to advise, guide and control” the discussions, but not to have power to be final arbiter. Lord Monckton was for four years Tory Minister of Labour (described by the General Secretary of the railwaymen in 1955 as “a very able friend of the N.U.R.! ”) and is now chairman of the Midland Bank, which refuse; to recognise the union of bank employees! Arbitration is established by the Government to settle industrial disputes and it cannot be impartial in the sense of deciding the merits of a case on some abstract principle of humanity. No such principles are laid down for the present court or the one abolished last year. The job of the arbitrators is to find a basis on which the workers can be persuaded to carry on working and the employers can keep in business—with, as an inescapable background, the continuation of Capitalism.

To illustrate the general confusion in the trade union movement it has only to be recalled that last year the T.U.C. and many trade union leaders were deriding the Government for abolishing the arbitration tribunal, which other unions declare they will not have anyway. The Daily Herald then (October 24h, 1958) called it a move to help the employers by abolishing the “referee to see fair play.”

And in the present dispute Mr. Willis, in the matter of strike pickets, was calling on the Government to observe “strict impartiality” (Times, June 26th), as if a government committed to keeping Capitalism going (as all governments must be that take on the administration of Capitalism) could “impartially” stand aside and not defend the property rights of the propertied class.

The International Aspect
The fact is that the trade union movement still broadly accepts Capitalism though prepared to strike against the Capitalists. This was clearly shown by the attitude of the printing unions. They belong to the printing workers Trade Union International, the International Graphical Federation, and some at least of the continental unions acceded to the request that they should advise their members not to do “black” work sent abroad during the strike. But in the middle of the strike NATSOPA released a plan it had drawn up suggesting a deal between the British unions and the British employers. If the latter would concede the demands on hours and wages, in return the unions would cooperate on a joint productivity council: “ The essence of the plan is that the prosperous big groups with stable and profitable home markets will help the small and medium printers, and particularly the printing concerns working on export printing. The plan should make British printers highly competitive in markets abroad.” (News Chronicle, June 23rd, 1959.)

So the unions, while fighting the employers, are quite prepared to collaborate with them to capture foreign markets—where, of course, they will clash with foreign printers who. again with the collaboration of the workers, will be resisting the invasion and trying to counter attack. This, of course, makes nonsense of the object of the printers' trade union international: “To safeguard the economic, occupational and general interests of graphical workers in all countries and to promote their solidarity.” (Our italics.)

In the nineteenth century Socialist critics of the trade union movement used to ridicule the illogicality of workers fighting the employers in the industrial field and electing the same people to Parliament and supporting them nationally. The present outlook of the trade unions shows that they have still a long way to go before they realise that the workers’ interest demands real international working class solidarity against the employers—and for Socialism.

Living it large (1959)

From the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard

Classic Reprint: To a New Reader (1959)

From the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard

The journal which you are now reading is published each month. For many years it has appeared as surely as night has followed day. Just as surely, each month a copy drifts into the hands of many who have not read it before. This copy has drifted into your hands for the first time, maybe at a street-corner propaganda meeting, from one of the all-too-few newsagents who stock it, or from one of the enthusiastic workers who sell it in the streets and at railway stations. It would be fair to assume that you are an anti-Socialist or non-Socialist; that you bought the Socialist Standard because a particular article caught your eye, or because some question dealt with by a speaker interested you. Probably you did not buy it because you wanted to learn about Socialism. You “know” all there is to be known about that, don’t you? And yet, fellow-worker, you are reading a journal you have never seen before, describing itself as the official organ of the Socialist Party, which claims to be the only party in Great Britain organised for Socialism. Moreover, you will find in these columns the opinion implicitly and openly expressed that the reason for workers not supporting the Socialist Party is because they do not understand Socialism. Your reactions we can imagine. It is the first time you have read the Socialist Standard, and, after all, you did think you knew about Socialism. You think us arrogant? And our claim to be the only party organised for Socialism just advertising ballyhoo, as it were. To call attention to our wares. Fellow-worker, our claims are not arrogant; we are not engaged in ballyhoo. Workers organised in this party are THE Socialist Party of Great Britain and the only workers organised for Socialism.

What is Socialism?
You, fellow-worker, “know” all about Socialism, don’t you?

You “know” that Socialism means “share and share alike,” that is to say, that you should share your belongings with your neighbour. And knowing your neighbour, you decide against Socialism. You “know” that Socialism means some vague mush about “loving your neighbour,” and again looking at your neighbour you feel uninspired. You “know” that Socialism means the destruction of initiative and inventiveness, and being young (or not so old) and ambitious you feel that the present order of things should not be upset. You “know” that Socialism means that woman would occupy a degraded position in the social arrangement. For hasn’t the Morning Rail often turned your stomach in its description of the free love of the Socialists and the nationalisation of women. You ”know” that Socialism has been tried in different parts of the earth. After all, the self-styled “Socialists'' have said so.

Quite bluntly, fellow-worker, you know little or nothing about Socialism. In truth, if Socialism did mean the things which these mangled ideas try to express then the working men and women who are organised in the Socialist Party would turn to some other more intelligent pursuit.

Production for use
Socialism does not mean sharing out either goods or income. Such a conception implies a fixed amount of social wealth, out of which each took an equal share. Socialism means something fundamentally different from that. It means the social ownership of the means for producing wealth. Consider for a moment the factory in which you work. Each worker, out of perhaps many thousands, has his particular job to do. Yet no one worker produces the finished article, which the factory, as a whole, produces. Each worker plays his part, but the product is the result of the indispensable work of all. Production is a co-operative process. As in the factory, so in society generally. The work and life of the community is carried on by the workers as a whole. No one worker or group of workers is independent of the rest. One worker can play his part in steering a ship, but the labour of many thousands is required to build it. The worker who steers the ship could not do so without the builders. Production is social.

Yet outside the productive process is the class who own the means of production. It takes no part in social production and is unnecessary to it. Socialism means the social ownership of the social means of production. This will eliminate the owning class. Quite a simple proposition to conceive, but profound and revolutionary in its implications. Far from Socialism meaning the sharing-out of some imaginary fixed quantity of wealth, social ownership will release the powers of production from the fetters of private ownership. It will bring into productive activity an enormous number of workers now engaged in unproductive labour. Production will expand to correspond to the people's needs. The people will take from the social store as they have need. Initiative and inventiveness will have the chance to thrive, instead, as now, of being dependent on the ability of the worker to sell his abilities to a capitalist. Cut-throat competition for jobs will no longer exist and the mushy sentiment of brotherly love will have an opportunity to acquire real meaning.

So we could go on, stating and answering the common objections to Socialism. But we want to do more than that. We want your interest. Whilst we tell you that you know nothing about Socialism your interest is perhaps not easy to obtain. But be patient. Ask yourself what time you have devoted to a study of the question. Is your conception of Socialism the result of independent thinking, or has it acquired shape from the influence of biased or coloured sources more interested in misrepresenting it? Think that out and be wary. Perhaps you have not had the time to study Socialism. However, you are reading the Socialist Standard and we assume that you want knowledge, and want to assist in removing the social evils of capitalism if you knew how. We know that only Socialism will solve these problems. We know that Socialism will come. Make up your mind about that. More, the time will come when there can be no ordered intelligent living, no progress, no harmony in social relations; national or international, without Socialism. The lessons of the Socialist message will be learned through the experience of bitter struggle. That struggle can be eased and shortened by the spread of Socialist understanding. That is our responsibility. Yours is surely to examine our case. And that is what we ask you to do.

Socialist Standard
In the course of years we have answered all known objections to Socialism in the Socialist Standard. We can let you have back numbers if you wish. Read the Socialist Standard for the next twelve months and you will be much nearer an understanding of our position than you are to-day. One issue may modify some popular misconception in your mind, but it would be insufficient to convince you of the soundness of our case. One prejudice we are certain will disappear—that working men and women cannot understand the meaning of the apparently complicated events around. They can. You can. We have. And we lay no claim to more than average brains. But we have devoted many years to the study of Socialism. We know something about it. You know little. Quite naturally; we should be in a similar position regarding a subject to which you had devoted long study. We are not of superior intelligence. We do claim, however, that we have found ourselves on the road to Socialism (perhaps, in the first place by accident) and that you would be with us with a little guidance. We are workers drawn from representative occupations, miners, mechanics, carpenters, busmen, clerical workers, artists, house-wives, and so forth. We have a case—the case for the social ownership of the means and instruments of production. Study our case and we are certain that you will soon be in the fight for Socialism.
Harry Waite

Reprinted from Socialist Standard, January 1938.

Truth will out! (1959)

From the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard
It must be well over twenty years since the Conservative press took to talking about the “Socialist party’’ and “Socialist members” instead of using the more accurate name Labour. The term “Socialist" was no doubt fostered to give me impression of a party of doctrinaire fanatics. The rose by some other name might smell less sweet. The oddity is that it should have persisted for so long, for it seems rarely to have upset Labour supporters any more than the term “Tory” upsets the Conservatives.

Now the first crack in the armour has appeared. Close readers of the Daily Telegraph will have noticed that in the last few days the term “Labour” has been substituted for “Socialist," and that is how the party is to be named in future reports. Perhaps the Daily Telegraph feels that on our sunlit Conservative upland the term “Labour” brings to mind cloth caps and smoky chimneys and will repel voters (and readers) even more than “Socialist.” Or maybe it is yet another sign that the Labour Party has become respectable. It will be interesting to see whether other “Tory” newspapers follow, the lead.
Manchester Guardian, 6th July. 1959.

Party Politics (1959)

From the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard

There is a well-known series of advertisements which advise any young man who has his eye on a girl looking like a model from Vogue that his chances are much improved by wearing a suit from a certain mass production tailor. When the competition is stiff, we are told, appearance counts. Political parties learned this lesson long ago; with a general election expected during the next few months they are all busily straightening their ties, smoothing their hair and adjusting their buttonholes.

Take-Over Bid
The Labour Party has been trying to make something over the recent spate of take-over bids, which forced up some share prices and yielded a nice profit to those shareholders who sold at the right time. In the House of Commons on 29th June, Mr. Harold Wilson moved a Labour motion which described takeover bids and excessive speculation as undesirable. He attacked the “golden handshake" which displaced directors receive and contrasted this with the compensation which a redundant miner or mule spinner could expect. A simple soul would conclude that the Labour Party really opposed the privileged access to wealth which is part and parcel of capitalism. Yet what effect did their last period of rule have on this problem? At a meeting in Leeds on 3rd May, 1953—two years after the fall of the Labour Government—Mr. Hugh Gaitskell stated that there were 9 million people with an annual income of less than £500—and two thousand who were getting at least £20,000 a year.

The H-Bomb
The Labour Party is also in something of a fix over the hydrogen bomb. Several large trade unions have decided in favour of Great Britain abandoning nuclear weapons and it seems safe to say that a lot of Labour Party members think likewise. But there are two big snags. Firstly, the Labour leaders probably feel that, if the unilateral and unconditional renunciation of the bomb were adopted into their programme, they would certainly lose the election.

Secondly, if they did decide to abandon the bomb and then won the election, the diplomatic emergencies of British capitalism could force them to break their promise. Mr. Bevan, who fancies himself as a Labour Foreign Secretary, has summed it up, by pleading that he did not want to be sent naked into the international conferences.

To overcome these problems, the Labour Party have revised an idea which they rejected some seven months ago; they will try to get an agreement with countries which have no bomb, or are about to test one, not to test, manufacture or possess nuclear weapons. Nothing in the history of disarmament conferences encourages us to think that this scheme would solve the problem of nuclear warfare. Indeed, the Labour Party recognise that France and China want a bomb of their own and “we can hardly deny these nations the right to follow our example." Apart from this, Russia and America would keep their nuclear weapons and American bases—presumably armed with hydrogen bombs and missiles—would still be allowed in this country. In straightforward, human terms the problem of the hydrogen bomb is simple—to destroy ourselves or to live. But organisations like the Labour Party, which have the responsibility of running British capitalism, cannot judge things in human terms. That is why their statement ends with “. . . we realise the importance of not tying the hands of a future Labour Government or committing them to any precise or detailed diplomatic plan.” If British capitalism needs it, Mr. Bevan will have his nuclear clothing, even if a lot of human beings lose their skin as a result.

Lest we forget, the Tories have also been putting on the style. Apart from having their laugh at the Labour Party's difficulties, they have been throwing some meaty blows of their own. Replying to Mr. Wilson on 29th June, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the numbers of registered unemployed had fallen to 413,000. This was harsh medicine to the Labour Party, for they once gave a lot of heavy warnings about the Tories deliberately provoking unemployment. But most workers, whatever other problems capitalism may dump on them, are happy in their work; the decrease probably meant a lot to them. The Chancellor did not mention that 413,000 unemployed is still about 150,000 more than when the Tories took over; to have done so would have been out of keeping with the joy of the occasion. And the Tories are joyful; even confident, as the days go by and the statistics come in and Labour squabbles with itself and Mr. Macmillan seems more and more in control of things, more and more elegant and, but for the grey hairs, almost like the young man who gets the girl in the tailor's advertisement.

At the next election, the working class will decide which party's appearance is the most appealing and we shall have a Labour or a Conservative government and capitalism will stay with us. Some voters think that only certain politicians make a mess of things; in fact, the whole of the capitalist system is a mess. It is working class ignorance and apathy which keeps that mess there; and, ironically, it is the working class who are left to pick the bones out of it.

Voice From The Back: Business as usual (2000)

The Voice From The Back Column from the October 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard

Business as usual

The International Monetary Fund calculates that up to £1,000 billion made from drugs, prostitution, fraud and extortion is sloshing around the world’s 15 offshore tax havens. The secret BND (German intelligence service) report, The Money Laundering Community in Liechtenstein, reveals that billions of pounds of assets have been placed in secret trust funds by the American Mafia, the notorious Colombian Medellin cocaine cartel and the Juarez drug cartel of Mexico . . . One secret service source said: “Liechtenstein is at the epicentre of money-laundering in the world. Tough news laws in Switzerland mean that the Swiss are moving all their dirty deals to Liechtenstein. They can pass all the laws they want there, but as long as the same bank experts and lawyers are in charge there will not be any change.” Financial Mail on Sunday, 16 July.

Cruel Britannia

One of the claims made by Blairite supporters is that we now live in “Cool Britannia”, a land where artists, film-makers and trendy “in” people thrive. A recent Unicef report paints a different picture: “The Observer (11 June) has obtained a report by Unicef, the children’s arm of the UN, which says that Britain has one of the worst records on childhood poverty in the industrialised world. Nearly 20 percent of young people live in families which are below the official poverty line—judged as a household income below half median earnings.” Behind the statistics lies real misery of almost Dickensian proportions: “Children are eating main meals which consist of little more than toast and beans, and rice pudding. Many live in terrible surroundings with damp running down the walls and inadequate heating. Parents often cannot afford to buy new clothes as the little money they have is spent on food. Some lone parents have less than £100 a week with which to bring up their children and pay the bills.”

Student letter
“I go to university all day, come home and do my projects and homework then work part time at the weekends. It’s exhausting. The final straw came when I applied for free prescriptions and was told that my wages (£30 per week) and my student loan, which is classed as earnings, is over the government threshold. According to ‘New Labour’, students can live on £46 a week. So I would like to ask our politicians: how can a loan be classed as earnings when it has to be repaid and how can a student live on less money than a pensioner?” Evening Mail, 29 July.

Greenpeace futility

The latest Greenpeace leaflet appealing for funds paints a gruesome picture of capitalist society in the future: “A flailing dolphin gasps madly for air. Where once there was living forest, now silence reigns. More and more of our children are choked by invisible poisons. Fields of genetically modified crops dominate the countryside, bereft of song and life . . . This is not science fiction. It is a realistic vision of a world without Greenpeace.”

So what do Greenpeace propose to do about pollution? They claim they have succeeded in getting Unilever to remove GM ingredients from their products; that they have forced the president of a G7 country to stop a nuclear test and have designed a “green” fudge. They hope to “keep the North Atlantic alive” and are striving to protect the Amazon rainforest from illegal logging”. All of these are doomed to failure because the cause of all environmental problems is the way wealth is produced. The whole purpose of production is to make a profit, and if it is necessary to pollute the planet in order to realise that profit then that is what capitalism will do. Persuading presidents and petitioning multi-nationals are pathetic operations. The need is for a new society based on production solely for use.

Profits first and last

A British company, Premier oil, went ahead with a £500m project to pipe gas through Burma despite warnings that its partner, the Burmese military, was using slave labour—including children—on the pipeline . . . Premier’s American partner, Texaco, has since pulled out of Burma. But despite the British government taking the unprecedented step in April of asking Premier to leave, the oil company has refused. Guardian, 27 July.

Editorial: The Fuel Tax Dispute (2000)

Editorial from the October 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard

The fuel blockades last month—which threaten to return unless Gordon Brown cuts excise duty in the next few weeks—brought the operation of capitalism in Britain to its greatest point of crisis since the 1970s. Everyday life and the functioning of the emergency services were threatened in a way not seen since the dark days of the Winter of Discontent during the last Labour government.

This time it was not the organised working class in the trade unions that was battling the government. Instead, it was a tiny group of small businessmen and farmers who, without ballots and for the most part acting unlawfully, decided to try and hold the government and then other sections of the owning class—such as the oil companies—to ransom. Through receiving majority public support for their stand against fuel prices they were able to bring the country to a near standstill.

Looked at in the round, there are a number of points to be noted about this action:
  • The protestors were only able to make headway because they received the tacit support of the bulk of the working class—including (for the most part) the oil tanker drivers
  • The police did not immediately move against the protestors (who were guilty of secondary picketing, obstruction, a variety of road traffic offences, and periodic intimidation) until ordered to do so by the government, in sharp distinction to disputes like Grunwick, Wapping, and the Miners’ Strike. While at Wapping, thousands of pickets didn’t manage to stop a single Murdoch rag leaving the compound, a few hundred small businessmen from the shires were allowed to act with impunity in this dispute until Blair was forced to get tough with the police and oil companies so that the tankers could get rolling again
  • That the government, with its control of the repressive agencies of the state machine, would ultimately have won out in the name of upholding “democracy” and “law and order”, even if the short-term damage was severe
  • That the government has been hoisted by its own petard in being forced to blame high petrol prices at the pumps on the operation of the world oil market and the spiralling price of a barrel of crude—in other words the normal operation of the market economy, whose infallibility they previously lectured everyone else about whenever possible
  • That the fuel protestors were not acting in the interests of the working class as they claimed, but in their own narrow economic and political interests. Many have been part of the so-called Countryside Alliance and many more have been bitter opponents of the working class movement at every turn (e.g. the haulage companies that crossed picket line after picket line during the Miners’ Strike).
None of the parties to this dispute have come out of it with any credit, and it has not been a dispute for the working class to get involved in. The real determinant of working class livings standards is not the operation, or precise level, of any one particular tax (and the government are always most likely to pay for reductions in one tax by raising others anyway) it is the overall level of economic activity and the ability of the organised working class to increase its living standards on the wages front. While oil companies try to pass fuel taxes on to the general population through higher prices, the workers tend to pass them on to the capitalist class as a whole through increased pay claims and subsistence payments made by the state, which is why taxation generally is ultimately a burden on the owners of capital rather than the non-owners.

If there is to be a battle against the government within capitalism for a better standard of living the wages front is the arena to fight it and where intervention by the organised working class can pay real dividends. And this is the arena where the workers, democratically organised, are most likely to come into conflict with all sides in this current dispute – the government, the multinationals and the whingeing petty capitalists too.

The Great US Presidential Election Show (2000)

From the October 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard
US workers, who are getting poorer and working longer, settle in for another edition of the great US presidential election show
Like an over-extended series of sequels that have long outlived the originality and vitality of the original blockbuster, so comes the current edition of the US Presidential Election. When looking at the scripted positions of the extended cast of four candidates (yes four, count ’em) registering in national popularity polls an apt title for this sequel would be “Mission Impossible 2000”.

But first the plot as hyped by the current administration and fully supported by the media. It goes something like this. The United States of America is on a roll of the longest uninterrupted period of prosperity in its entire history. This unforeseen and unprecedented prosperity has positioned the United States in the prime spot to be the economic and political dynamo for the entire new century. The question is who is best to maintain this phenomenal convergence of conditions which America has carefully crafted and is benefiting from.

It sounds like an old story and it is. Like any tired sequel the plot gets weaker, more porous the closer one watches and actually thinks about the drama unfolding before one’s eyes.

The web site on August 29 2000 featured a story based upon a Justice Department study that showed nearly 1.5 million children in America had a parent in prison in 1999. That is an increase of over 500,000 to be added to this unfortunate class from 1991. Children with mothers incarcerated rose a startling 98 percent over the past eight years. The prison population as a whole grew by 62 percent from 1991-1999. A rather peculiar trend to parallel the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth, one would think. President Clinton himself unwittingly let a cat out of the bag at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. He announced the findings of a study he commissioned on as to why voter participation was steadily declining. The finding was “Lack of time. People just don’t have enough time now to go and vote.”

We the audience can logically conclude that both of these trends are due to the population’s effort to make ends meet. Thus crimes are committed and jobs worked at for longer hours so increasing the extent of not being able to care for one’s own children or participate in the political process. A most flimsy and inconsistent plot indeed. When one looks at the stars and their dialogue this sequel takes a real nosedive.

Bore and Gush
Vice President Al Gore of the Democratic Party plays the role of the dashing lead actor. “I will fight for you!” is his signature line in this year’s political drama. With his book Earth in the Balance and anticipation of the elimination of the internal combustion petroleum engine in his lifetime, he brings a depth and insight not usually found in such a role.

At the 1988 Democratic Convention he gave a heart-wrenching speech about his sister dying of lung cancer after years of smoking cigarettes. It was later revealed that Al Gore himself was a generous recipient of blood money from the same evil interest that he railed against at that convention. His most infamous line, in a typicaly ridiculous hammy fashion of an overgrandiose actor on the political stage, is: “I took the initiative to invent the internet”.

He opposes the Republican Party plan of a $250 billion tax cut saying it would “benefit the rich”. He instead proposes to use the money for paying for prescription pills for the elderly. Now after the elderly have purchased $250 billion worth of prescription medicine guess who will pocket the money? Yep, the rich pharmacutical companies. The same with food stamps, subsidised housing, whatever, they are all about subsidies to the rich. His signature line should be: “I will fight for you to hand over all the money you created to the rich!” Then again this is political theater, not reality, so you will never hear an actor utter such a line in capitalist politics.

It is interesting to note that both lead actors represent a clash between contemporary political oligarchies. Al Gore picked up the mantel of political power from the same political district that his father held in the State of Tennessee. His arch-rival George W. Bush is the son of the recent American President of Gulf War fame.

As the Republican Party arch-rival in the cast, George W. Bush’s signature line is: “I am a uniter not a divider”. This has to be one of the most laughable and politically naive lines ever uttered by a capitalist politician, particularly coming from an actor who as Governor of the State of Texas, has presided over 300 executions in his state and has vigously defended each one of them, including the execution of a retired grandmother. The cold reality is we live in a class-divided society and, like his father, George W. Bush’s means of “uniting” involves being prepared to slaughter people who pose a “problem” for it, whether they be an Iraqi soldier or an American citizen. The Bush family oligarchy has shown a most sinister means of “uniting” people.

In college he was noted for cocaine use and once dancing nude atop a table at a frat party. That alone tells you what an absurd sequel this election has become. His signature line should be: “I am a death presider and class divider”. But alas, such real life preformaces will not be found in the theater of American politics.

Peculiar populist
It is significant that for the first time ever four different candidates are registering in a national poll on the eve of a US Presidential election. This is because two other parties are starting to gain national support, another indicative trend amidst eight years of so-called unprecedented, uninterrupted prosperity. The American voter is starting to look beyond the two major parties for political solutions.
“The two-party system has become a delusion. On foreign and trade policy, open-borders immigration and corporate influence, Republicans and Democrats are carbon copies of one another. Neither offers voters a real choice. Both parties backed the illegal war in Kosovo. ”
No, the above quote did not come from the World Socialist Party of the United States but was from an internet release by the Reform Party. What was once considered off-the-wall assertions are now gaining currency in the commonsense of American political thinking.

The Reform Party though trots out a most peculiar populist in former Republican lesser player Patrick Buchanan. He is a former speech writer for Presidents Richard Nixion and Ronald Reagan and now fancies himself a wannabe “Peoples President”. True, in the 1996 Republican primary he referred to Senator Bob Dole as “a bell hop for the business round table”. What with those dark suits Dole wore, it was an apt description.

Buchanan decries the loss of jobs in America to overseas factories, giving rise to his “America First” slogan. But, as a vigorous defender to this day of the Nixon administration, he seems to forget about a trade agreement signed under it that dumped cheap China cotton on the American market forcing the closing of dozens of textile factories in the south-eastern United States. But then those commercial interest were prone to donate money to the Democratic Party. And one can also suspect such motives in Al Gore’s crusade against the tobacco industry closely associated with key Republicans. Using state power to wreck the financial backers of one’s opposition party is an accepted scorched earth tactic in American politics. Thus one can see why such a man as Buchanan would strike fear in the two major parties should he attain the White House.

It is only in this context could he be seen as anything remotely resembling a “populist”. Otherwise, he has perfected divisiveness to an art form and generally strikes fear into most everyone else’s hearts as well. This odd populist opposes a woman’s right to an abortion and homosexuals in general. He is also an ardent defender of the 1950s racially-segregated Washington, DC, that he grew up in. To top it off, Patrick Buchanan has raised the alarm that America itself is becoming “balkanized”.

One can plainly see that, far from an alternative to the two major parties, he himself is just another supporter of capitalism having his doubts.

Saving capitalism
This brings us to another doubting supporter of capitalism, Ralph Nader and his Green Party. Unlike Buchanan who relies on cultural observations to express his doubts, Nader in his acceptance speech of his party’s’ nomination has facts to support his doubts. And plenty of them come from this professional “consumer advocate”:
  • Consumer debt is at an all time high, totalling over $6 trillion.
  • American workers are working an average of 163 more hours per year than 20 years ago.
  • Over 20 percent of children were growing up in poverty over the last decade.
  • A majority of workers are making less now, inflation adjusted, than in 1979.
  • The top one percent of the wealthiest people have more financial wealth than the bottom 90 percent of Americans combined.
Nader correctly proclaims “we can have a democratic society or we can have great concentrated wealth in the hands of the few. We cannot have both“.

And what is his scheme to defend democracy?
“Pluralistic democracy has enlarged markets and created the middle class. Yet the short term, monetized, minds of corporatists are bent on weakening, defeating, diluting, diminishing, circumventing, coopting, or corrupting all traditional countervailing forces that have saved American corporate capitalism from itself.”
Ah! To save American corporate capitalism from itself! Why has not anyone else thought of that? Or is he really that naive as to the other parties political agendas?

Well, at least he knows his role in this madcap, absurd sequel. Ralph Nader, in his quest to save corporate America from itself, is himself the nadir of struggling actors in “Mission Impossible 2000”.

Hopefully this silly series will soon end to give way to another blockbuster like . . . World Socialist President. If the World Socialist Party of the United States at some point in the future were to run a candidate for President and won, their mission would be to abolish the very office they were elected to. A socialist society would have no need for the United States of America or any other nation for that matter. Much less of a head of state. Such an episode would be a sequel to the real hit watched all across America and the world: WORLD SOCIALIST REVOLUTION IN THE FORMER USA!
Wesley J Lawrimore
(World Socialist Party of the US)

Party News: Edinburgh Branch (2000)

Party News from the October 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard

We have had a pretty busy year since last year’s branch news update for the EC. Since last year most of the branch acquired computers and are using the web frequently for socialist matters. West Lothian Discussion Group, which Edinburgh Branch members regularly attend, now has two web sites (actually the same site in two different places) which we hope to develop further in the foreseeable future. They are being visited regularly by surfers.

The discussion group has now been up and running for a year with a steady weekly membership. Some of the topics covered are included in their web site.

The summer has seen branch activity at the Mound, in Edinburgh, addressing the public every Sunday. And we have also had a stall at the Alternative Book Festival, with a follow-up meeting.

Currently we are planning what our next election activities are going to be. The branch is probably more enthusiastic and energetic than ever before, despite being a small branch, and is looking at all kinds of ideas to expand activities.

Open letter to students (2000)

From the October 2000 issue of the Socialist Standard
Welcome to higher education: just another few years before you have to put yourselves up for sale on the labour market
When you finish your university studies, the time will come to put yourself up for sale on the labour market. This means becoming a wage slave (or, if you’re a snob, a salary slave), working for other human beings who happen to own or control enough wealth to be able to be an employer of labour.

A not very dignified position, but something all those whose fathers who are not millionaires (whether great landowners or City crooks) have to do at some stage. Most people have to try to sell themselves at a much earlier age—at 16 or 17—and many fail to find a buyer.

Some, like yourselves, put off the evil day for another five or so years while acquiring additional skills that will, hopefully, enable you to command a higher price on the labour market. In fact, what you will be doing over the next three years is enhancing the value of what you will be selling—your mental and intellectual skills.

Some of you, too, won’t find a buyer, at least not for a few years. But then that’s the lot of the wage slave: to be dependent on finding an employer in order to have anything other than a miserable standard of living on some hand-out from the State.

The best-paid jobs available to university graduates—lawyers, accountants, advertisers—tend to be those which are the most useless from the point of view of serving human needs. Even those of you who will have useful skills—such as scientists and computer experts—will find that the best-paid jobs are doing research connected with military or commercial ends. But that’s the fault of the system and nothing can be done about it till the whole money-wages-profit set-up is done away with.

The Socialist Searchlight. (1928)

From the September 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard



What the Labour Party calls Socialisation can easily be gathered from the famous speech on “Gradualism” made by the “brains” of the Labour Party—Mr. Sidney Webb—who plainly showed that his conception of Socialism was the ordinary legislation of Liberals and Tories. He said:
“The process of Socialisation has been going on for a whole generation in National and Local Government without our realising it.”
If the I.L.P. thinks that Mr. Webb is not advanced enough what about their own Tom Johnson, M.P., who as Editor of “Forward,” continually describes Glasgow “City Owned” Tramcars as Socialism? This same I.L.P. leading Member of Parliament, in his debate with Mr. J. M. Keynes, said :

“That he regarded many of the proposals in the Liberal Yellow Book as proposals for which Socialists could vote with both hands (“Forward,” 11/8/28).


Mr. Aitken Ferguson, adopted as Communist Party Candidate for North Aberdeen, shows that he is a Communist in name only. The National Left Wing Committee asked him if he accepted their programme and he replied (Sunday Worker, August 12) :
“The whole programme is unreservedly accepted. I am enclosing a copy of my election address, and you will notice that it differs in no essential points from the programme of your national committee.”
This programme includes Nationalisation of Banks, Mines and Basic Industries, 44-hour week and £4 minimum wage Law, Nationalisation of Land (with due regard for Co-ops, and small holders !), Capital Levy, Unemployment Relief on a National Scale, Pensions at 55, Abolition of House of Lords.

This policy is not Communism nor is it one which alters the slave position of the workers under Capitalism. The programme can be carried out and still leave the Capitalists richer than ever, because nothing in such a series of reforms stops the normal development of industry benefiting the Capitalist at the expense of the worker. The last item—abolition of House of Lords—shows how “vote catching” has reduced for election purposes the Communist demand of “smashing the State” to the gentle liberal political reform of “No Second Chamber.”

“Apparently the increased seriousness of accidents during the last few years has been the direct result of the increased intensity of industrial activity during that period. There are, however, forces inherent in mechanisation itself and in the consequent speeding up of industry which have a direct tendency to increase the seriousness of accidents.”
(From “A Study of Safety and Production,” by The American Engineering Council.)

“The fact that during the past 20 years the number of factories has increased by 40 per cent., while workshops have fallen by 26 per cent., is regarded as an indication that “the small employer tends to drop out of existence, and that mass production in highly organised establishments is steadily replacing the village and rural workshop.” 
The “Daily News,” July 31st, quoting report of Chief Inspector of Factories, 1928.


Since the theses of the Third (Moscow) International advocating violence and armed insurrection (1921) were suppressed by the authorities, many workers think that policy has been abandoned by the Communists.

We print below two quotations from the new draft programme of the 3rd International now being discussed by the Congress in Moscow, where a large number of paid officials of Communist Parties are meeting.

These quotations prove that phrases and slogans borrowed from Russian experiences are still being advocated for countries with a much different situation than Russia. The net result of such a programme is simply to get the minorities who act on these lines smashed by the powers of the governments. Steady organisation and education in Socialist ideas are neglected entirely by such schemes of sensational uprising.

“When the revolutionary tide is flowing, when the dominant classes are disorganised, the masses are in a state of revolutionary ferment, the intermediary strata are inclining towards the proletariat and the masses are prepared for action and for sacrifice; the task of the party of the proletariat is to lead the masses into the direct attack upon the bourgeois state. This is to be achieved by propaganda in favour of all transitional slogans (Soviet’s, workers’ control of industry, the slogan of peasant committees for the seizure of the landlords’ land, etc.), and the organisation of mass actions, to which all other branches of party work, agitation and propaganda, including parliamentary work, must be subordinated. This includes strikes, strikes combined with demonstrations, the combination of armed demonstrations and strikes, and finally the general strike conjointly with the armed uprising against the political power of the bourgeoisie. The struggle must be subjected to the rules of military art; it must be conducted according to a plan of war and in the form of a military offensive. It calls for the devoted loyalty and heroism of the proletariat. Such actions must be preceded by the organisation of the broad masses in military units which by their very form attract and set into action the maximum number of toilers (councils of workers’ and peasants’ deputies, soldiers’ councils, etc.), and by intensified work in the army and navy. 
(Daily Worker, New York, July 16th, 1928).

“Countries of highly developed capitalism (United States, Great Britain, Germany, etc.) with powerful productive forces, a high degree of centralisation of production, relatively small significance of small production and with a long-established bourgeois, democratic political system. In these countries, the fundamental political demand of the programme is direct transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the sphere of economics the most characteristic are : The expropriation of the whole of large-scale production ; the organisation of a large number of State Soviet farms, only a small share of the land to be transferred to the peasantry ; unorganised market relationships to be permitted only on a small scale. Socialist development generally and the collectivisation of peasant farming in particular to proceed at a rapid rate.” 
(Daily Worker, New York, July 13th, 1928).


Bucharin was the official Bolshevik speaker in favour of the new Draft Programme on July 19th at the Moscow Congress (1928). His remarks, which we quote below, ask the workers to resort to anarchist street fightings and state smashing and such hopeless and out-of-date methods of struggle. Modern conditions make all such policies obsolete in view of the development of the mighty political machine and its forces, as Engels well showed in reviewing the class struggles in France from 1848 to 1850.

Here is the quotation from Bucharin as printed in the official “International Press Correspondence ” (July 30th, 1928).
“Mass actions must be regarded as one of the best means in our struggle. Our tactics must be to mobilise the masses, to become masters of the streets, to attack again and again the law and order of the bourgeoise State and to smash it, to capture the street by revolutionary means, in the strict sense of the word, and then to go further. Only on the basis of a whole series of such events and on the basis of the development of these events—mass actions, etc.—only through such a process can we prepare ourselves for fiercer and more stubborn mass struggles on a larger scale.”


If they could show that any of the above methods had led to Socialism in Russia they might have a plausible argument. But as we have shown in these columns the Russian Bolshevik Policy is neither applicable here with a different stage of working class development, nor is it able to give Russia Socialism.

How backward Russia is we can regretfully read in this quotation from the Bolshevik Workers’ Life of July 20th, 1928 :
“Russia is a country of small peasant farms, like those parts of Ireland, where landlords do not flourish. In general, the methods of tilling used by the peasants are very primitive, and little attempt is made to sort out good seeds or to study the characteristics of the soil.

But scattered throughout the Soviet Union now there are a number of Soviet farms, larger in size than the peasant holdings, and very much more efficient.

In the R.S.F.S.R. there are over 3,000 such farms, and in the Ukraine there were 633 last year.

Large though these numbers seem, Soviet farms are only “a drop in the ocean” in the vast expanse of Russia. Their production is a very small proportion of Russia’s total output. For instance, they have about 200,000 head of livestock on these farms (cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, etc.), but the total number of such animals in Russia is nearly 20,000,000 !”

Letter: Socialist Definitions—A Critic corrected. (1928)

Letter to the Editors from the September 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard

Theydon Bois, Essex.

To the Editor, Socialist Standard.

Many Socialists are probably hoping fervently that the stupid, bourgeois, definitions, which crept into the report of the Maxton v. Fitzgerald debate; definitions alleged to have been proffered by Mr. Fitzgerald, were misprints or lapsus linguoe.

He is reported to have said :—
  1. “By the working class is meant those who depend upon the sale of their services for their living.”
  2. “By the capitalist class is meant those persons who buy the services of the workers.”
  3. “Capital does not mean merely wealth used for the production of further wealth, but wealth invested for the purpose of obtaining a nett surplus, called interest.”
  4. "Wealth is the product of the application of human energies to nature given material.”
These are the kind of “soppy” definitions which Marx hated and with which Maxton could easily agree because three of them were entirely wrong and the fourth was only half-true. Both 1 and 2 are quite suitable definitions to the Capitalist class simply because they hide the true nature of the labour-capital relations. “Services” are things done. The capitalists do not buy our services, they buy our power to do service—quite a different thing. This is no more pedantry or hair-splitting on my part than it was when Marx showed the difference between labour, the thing done, and labour-power, the ability to do things.
If capitalists buy service and we get paid fairly for those services we have nothing to grumble about; moreover the value of our services could only be assessed in terms of the actual things produced.

Service is work or labour done. The capitalist cannot make profit by buying labour done, and then by selling that labour, no ! he makes his profit by buying labour power or power to do service, and, by consuming that power, in the production of commodities containing embodied service or labour which he sells more or less at value. The value of the embodied service, i.e., the amount of socially necessary labour, measured in hours, in much greater than the value of the labour-power consumed, or the power to do service. The difference constitutes surplus value, from which is derived rent, interest and profit.

Definition 3 is obviously absurd because interest is only one part of the net surplus. The other parts are rent and profit. 3 implies that to abolish interest is to abolish capital, since by the definition the net surplus is interest, and capital cannot exist without its function. In volume three of “Das Kapital,” chapters 21, 22, 23 show that interest is that proportion of surplus value which an industrial capitalist pays to a money capitalist for the use of his money. The industrial capitalist borrows money, converts it into means of production and labour power, makes his surplus value and reproduces his original capital. This he converts back into money which he returns to the money lender, plus a proportion of his surplus value in the form of interest. What surplus is left is rent and profit. The rate of profit is determined by the inner laws of capitalist production, while “there is no such thing as a natural rate of interest in the sense in which the economists speak of a natural rate of profit, and a natural rate of wages” (“Das Kapital,” vol. 3), because interest is only a part of profit.

Definition 4 is self-evidently only half-true. Sweat is the “product of the application of human energies to nature given material,” but sweat is not wealth because it has no use. Similarly smoke from a factory chimney fulfils the conditions of deflation 4, but it is waste, not wealth.

Thus the definitions should run : —
  1. By the working class is meant those who depend upon the sale of their labour power for their living.
  2. By the capitalist class is meant those persons who buy the labour power of the workers.
  3. Capital does not mean merely wealth used for the production of further wealth, but wealth invested for the purpose of obtaining a surplus, called rent, interest and profit, according to the distribution of that surplus.
  4. Wealth is the useful product of human activities applied to nature given material.
Just as when the I.L.P. misleads the working class by misusing words, he cannot “get away” with the plea that the workers are not pedants nor interested in the exact knowledge of terms, so the S.P.G.B. cannot defend the first set of definitions on similar grounds.

I, personally, cannot believe that so experienced a war-horse in the class-struggle as J. Fitzgerald is, could have stumbled as these definitions suggest, as badly as any callow in the throes of debate.

I look forward to the publication of this letter, and a justification or renunciation of the exceedingly anti-Communist definitions imputed to J. Fitzgerald in the Socialist Standard.

As for Maxton’s phrase “narrowed to vanishing point” it was particularly unhappy in that it is a mathematical phrase which actually means “narrowed down to as small as we like though not out of existence.” It is the essence of Gradualism, and in consequence quite anti-Socialist.

As I see it, your principles must force you to deny the definitions published in the June Socialist Standard, on page 1.
Yours for Socialism,
J. Woltz.

Reply to J. Woltz.
The condensed report of the Debate between Maxton and Fitzgerald was taken down during the debate for the purpose of appearing in the June Socialist Standard, which was already in the printer’s hands.

Under these circumstances it had to be rushed off to the printers that night and there was no time for the reporter to read the proofs before the paper appeared. This explains the appearance of one slip—not four—that Mr. Woltz has found.

To take Mr. Woltz’s four points :—

(1) Mr. Woltz says ” ‘services’ are things done.” Indeed ! By what reasoning does he reach this conclusion? The simple fact is that the word “service,” like many other words, will have a meaning depending upon its context and tense. Mr. Maxton is exceedingly fond of referring to the “manual worker.”

To meet this unscientific statement Fitzgerald pointed out its absurdity in the following words :—
“There is a good deal of cant in describing workers as “mental” and “manual” workers. The definitions are quite unsound from a scientific point of view. No manual work can take place without a mental organisation. And no mental effort can be known until it has expressed itself through some physical channel. Therefore all those who depend for their existence upon the sale of their services are members of the working class.”
Clearly the sale of one’s services means the sale of the power to perform certain operations. This may be illustrated by the common phrase “offered their services” that is their power to do certain things. The phrase as used was quite correct.

(2) The above answer disposes of Mr. Woltz’s objection to the second definition.

(3) This is the one slip made by the reporter that Mr. Woltz has found. In the debate Fitzgerald read out a definition from a celebrated capitalist economist, and then gave the following paraphrase of Marx’s statement :—
“He (Marx) points out that the process is that the capitalist uses money to purchase commodities, including labour-power, and sells the finished product and, as a result, has money at the end. But there would be no sense in simply putting money into business to draw out the same amount at the end of the process. The formula therefore becomes — money — commodities and money plus an increment. And it is this increment that distinguishes capital. Capital therefore is wealth used for the purpose of obtaining this surplus which includes profit.”
(4) Here Mr. Woltz has discovered a “mare’s-nest.” The report in the Socialist Standard, even though condensed from the statement given in the debate, is still correct. If wealth is not the product of the application of human energy to Nature-given material, will Mr. Woltz explain what it is? His own definition merely adds a word—that begs the question and itself requires explanation—to our own statement.

In conclusion, we may point out that we are not concerned to give “communist” definitions, but “Socialist” ones, and this is what was done in the debate.
Editorial Committee.