Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Socialist Forum: Do we need an emotional upsurge? (1931)

Letter to the Editors from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard
In the following letter a correspondent from Tottenham seeks to explain why Socialist propaganda does not make rapid headway :—
To the Editor.

Sir,—The teachings of Socialism seem to be making little headway among the workers. Although the solution to the economic evils which afflict them is pointed, they seem little interested and crowd the cinemas and football matches, responding at election times to the attractively dressed programmes of parliamentary parties.

Something in the Socialist estimate is lacking, and I think the deficiency is explained by the discoveries of modern psychology. Instead of man being a rational creature who, perceiving his interests, economic or otherwise, acts in accordance with them, his behaviour, his opinions and attitudes are the outcome, largely, of psychic needs and conflicts are adaptations of thwarted instinctive urges, and assume a far from rational character.

The researches of modern psychologists seem to unite in proclaiming the greater part played in man’s life by unconscious trends, and the study of psycho-neuroses have thrown into relief the tremendous power of seemingly trivial experiences to influence reaction in all sorts of situations.

A sense of inferiority arising from some physical defect, or unimpressiveness of appearance may lead one to join forces with, an organization which gives scope for venting hostility against an inconsiderate environment. Many speakers of the S.P.G.B. have impressed me as having found within its ranks a means of rescuing themselves from an oblivion to which their appearance and mental attributes would otherwise have doomed them. They gain a satisfying distinction by being “not as others.”

Experiences of a sexual character, dislike of certain individuals, jealousy, etc., are elements which find plenty of consolation in Socialism.

The class character of Society and the assumption of superiority which goes with wealth, so provoking and resented by Socialists, are accepted by the majority. The supporters of the Arsenal are feeling quite superior because “their” team has topped the League. Following the fortunes of teams, satisfying .a multiplicity of psychic needs at the theatre, they are not attracted by the rational programme of Socialism, for it holds, but for few, a means of meeting these psychic needs.

The working; class abounds in types, and it is a cardinal error to reduce it to an economic homogeneity. The critical, the cynical, the aggressive, the submissive (attitudes depending largely on previous experiences not necessarily of an economic nature), find satisfaction in exercise, whether it be in politics, sport or love.

Socialism must make an emotional appeal, in which all types can find expression ; purely intellectual approach, its appeal to rationality are barren. Revolutions are impossible without emotional upsurges.
Yours faithfully,
R. Hobsbaum.

Our correspondent does not tell us the date of the dividing line between what he calls “modern psychology” and its not so modern predecessor, hut we can assure him that his, “discovery” is not new. Members of the Socialist Party were hearing this, tale from members of the I.L.P. and the Labour Party twenty and more years ago. And that fact has its importance. These people were going to make their emotional appeal and get Socialism quickly, rather than follow the method we advocated, of informing the workers about Socialist principles. They and their successors and imitators, the Communists, have made their emotional appeals and suffered their emotional upsurges times without number, but our correspondent, curiously enough, omits to dwell upon the result of it all. May we, then, remind him of one spectacular success achieved by the emotionalists—the great war fever of 1914, aided by the Labour leaders and prepared for by the previous years of Labour Party and I.L.P. appeals to emotion?

Our correspondent is wrong in thinking that the workers do not act in accordance with what they believe to be their interests. The trouble is that they mistake the capitalists’ interests for their own. Only knowledge will alter that, and the emotional appealers do not give that knowledge and, in the main, do not themselves possess it.

We are asked to believe that the statement of Socialist principles fails to appeal to the mass of workers because they accept the capitalists’ assumption of superiority, and appeals only to those who do resent it and have a “sense of inferiority.” Why, then, does our correspondent himself find that not all the members of the S.P.G.B. are like that ? Why only some of them ? If the Socialist appeal does attract some of these workers who are without a “sense of inferiority,” why not others, and why not eventually large numbers? This we are not told.

We are told that we must not reduce the workers “to an economic homogeneity.” The answer is that we do not, but the capitalist system does. The worker may possess any or all of the characteristics enumerated in the letter, but, being without property, it will avail him nothing. He will remain a member of the subject class and will find himself up against the inevitable disabilities arising therefrom. Knowledge of Socialism is the necessary preliminary to emancipation. It is not our avoidance of emotional appeal that delays our progress; on the contrary, it is largely the confusion spread by the emotional upsurgers and the despair born of disappointed hopes that is responsible for the workers’ indifference to the Socialist message.
Editorial Committee.

Blogger's Note:
R. Hobsbaum replied to the Editorial Committee's reply to his letter in the August 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard.

The Socialist Forum: Some questions about Government. (1931)

Letter to the Editors from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

A correspondent put the following questions :—
  1. Do you believe in the coercion of the minority by the majority?
  2. Do you agree that the best governed are those governed with the least amount of laws?
  3. Do you favour voluntary or compulsory co-operation ?
  4. As man is unable to govern himself, how can you claim that he is capable of governing others ?
  5. As all human laws must be backed by force (otherwise ceasing to be operative), how can you claim the attainment of freedom under majority rule ?
Yours, etc.,
H. Anderton.

(1) In a conflict the stronger party prevails, irrespective of anybody’s “beliefs.” If, as is usually the case, it is the majority which is stronger, then the majority will prevail over the minority in the event of a clash.

(2) We are seeking to establish Socialism, not seeking to alter or improve the method by which one class governs or coerces another class. From the workers’ standpoint it matters little whether the ruling class apply the coercion through many laws or few. The essential thing is that the capitalists—having been voted into power by the workers—have the means to enforce their laws. When the means of production and distribution become socially owned, it will not be necessary to maintain a coercive State for the subjugation of one class by another. There will be no classes. Society will find it convenient and necessary to formulate rules for the guidance of the individual in social affairs, and will naturally aim at simplicity and brevity in the formulation of these rules.

(3) The meaning of the question is not clear, but where the choice exists of achieving an object either with compulsion or without compulsion, it is obvious that the latter method is to be preferred because it avoids provoking resistance.

(4) We have not said that: man is “unable to govern himself,” and we are not sure what our correspondent means by the phrase. As for the question of his ability to govern others, it is only necessary to consider the ability shown by the capitalist class to govern the working class. How, in face of that fact, can anyone deny so obvious a truth?

(5) All human laws do not have to be backed by force or cease to be operative. Custom is an important and, in some cases at least, as efficient a factor as force to secure observance. For thousands of years custom was the social rule without a coercive State behind it. When we talk about attaining freedom, we make it quite clear what we mean, viz., the abolition of private ownership and control of the means of life. Majority rule will obtain when society is based on social ownership, and is not in any way incompatible with social ownership. If by freedom our correspondent means the “freedom” of the individual or the minority to disregard the commonly agreed practices necessary to the existence and well-being of society, we do not claim that such an absurdity is possible under any form of society.
Editorial Committee.

The Socialist Forum: The Labour Party, Parliament and other matters. (1931)

Letter to the Editors from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

A correspondent, who signs himself “Ignoramus” (Wood Green), asks a series of questions : —

(1) I have my doubts about the advisability of damaging the Labour Party. I think you will agree they have done as much as they dare under the present system and to convince the public that they are not working for their interests, may result in the return of the Conservatives. Until you are in a position to put your ideas into practice, let us have the Labour Party.

(2) You have no representatives in Parliament. How, then, do you propose to bring these things to pass? Illegally? By revolutionary methods?

(3) Why not have a membership form handy at your meetings to enrol recruits?

(4) May I mention an idea of mine? This state which you aim at will be eventually reached by the aid of religion. When we have all become convinced of the reality of God . . . then will come in reality the brotherhood of man, which is to my untutored mind another name for Socialism.

(1) Whether the Labour Government have or have not done as much as capitalism would permit them to do, is not an important question, although, incidentally, they have not been conspicuously successful even as a party aiming at the smooth administration of capitalism. The important point is that neither the Labour Government nor any other Government can both retain capitalism and serve the interests of the working class. The Socialist Party would be committing suicide if it refrained from telling the workers that this is so. But it is not true that Socialist propaganda is directed solely against the Labour Party, or that it helps the Conservatives to gain power. Socialist propaganda is aimed at making Socialists, and Labour Party members who become Socialist do not leave the Labour Party for the purpose of voting Conservative, but in order to join the Socialist Party. Our correspondent is himself an illustration of our point. He has listened to Socialist speakers, but does not indicate that this has led him to vote Conservative. Nor does Socialist propaganda lead any other workers to vote Conservative, any more than it leads them to vote Labour, Liberal or Communist.

(2) There are no Socialist representatives in Parliament because there are not yet sufficient Socialists outside of Parliament to make possible the election of a Socialist on a Socialist programme. In due course there will be sufficient Socialists in the constituencies to secure Socialist representatives in Parliament.

(3) There is no difficulty in a Socialist obtaining membership of the Socialist Party either through head office or a local branch. We do not, however, enrol members in the careless manner of other parties, because, whereas their object is to make members, our object is to make Socialists. We do not want non-Socialists in our organisation.

(4) Christianity has had nearly 2,000 years in which to justify the hopes entertained by our correspondent. There were centuries in which the whole of Christendom, to all appearances, accepted the illusion of “the reality of God”—but there was no Socialism. The chances of religion ever again having so wide and deep a hold are so remote as to be not worth considering.

The “brotherhood of man” is a phrase which means anything and everything, according to the wishes of the untutored minds which accept it. It is not a name for Socialism, but a very useful tool in the hands of the possessing class and their agents when they wish to deceive the workers into the belief that there is community of interests between the exploiters and the exploited.

If, too, our correspondent really believes that religion alone will solve our problems, why does he support a political party, the Labour Party ?

We suggest that he read our pamphlet, Socialism and Religion.”
Editorial Committee.

The Socialist Forum: By Parliament or Strikes? (1931)

Letter to the Editors from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

C. Foster (W.8) asks whether we propose to use Parliament or to organise strikes as a means of obtaining power and introducing Socialism, both of which methods “seem to have failed so far.”

The Socialist Party aims at dispossessing the propertied class of their ownership and control over society’s means of living. This cannot be done while they control the armed forces and the machinery of administration. When the workers gain control of Parliament and the local councils (by means of the vote), they will have disarmed the capitalist class, and can then set about organising society on a different basis. It is true that Parliament has failed to do this in the past, for the simple reason that Parliament has never yet been controlled by a party with a mandate to work for Socialism. The Labour M.P.s, without a single exception, asked and received a mandate from the electors to reform capitalism. The electors are getting what they asked for. That they do not like it is our reason for anticipating that they will, sooner or later, decide to try Socialism instead.

Strikes are in a different category. The usefulness of Trade Unions lies in the direction of resisting encroachments by the capitalist class on the workers’ standard of living. In this they have been partly successful. They might, with greater knowledge, be more useful, but their potential usefulness has limits. The employers, being wealthy, can, if they deem it worth while, afford to prolong disputes to a point which means starvation for the workers. They can do this because they own the instruments of production and the accumulated products, and have the forces of the State to back them up. Trade Unions can serve as more or less useful instruments of resistance, but they cannot, in their nature, serve as means by which the workers can obtain control of the machinery of government. This must be done by Socialists organised in the Socialist Party.
Editorial Committee.

Donations to Party Funds. (1931)

 Party News from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialism v. Co-operation. (1931)

From the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

A correspondent writes, asking what is our attitude towards the Co-operative movement.

He expresses his inability to understand what Co-operators mean when they refer to the “Co-operative Commonwealth,” and asks : (1) If he is correct in assuming that what is meant is “a state of society under which Co-operatism would own the means of production and distribution, and would therefore be a rival (or sort of rival) to the Socialist Commonwealth that is to be?” and (2) If the Co-operative movement is capable of producing or evolving a state of Socialism or something akin thereto? ”

First, let us state that we share our correspondent’s difficulty of not being able to understand what Co-operators mean by the “Co-operative Commonwealth.”

To answer the first question. Socialism being a system of society in which the means of production and distribution will be the common property of society, there will be neither need nor room for the production of goods for sale and profit. Society, i.e., its members, would not buy from nor sell to themselves the things produced and owned by them. Co-operative Societies, therefore, will die with the capitalist system, of which they are a part, and from which, they cannot be separated.

If by the second question our correspondent means that the Co-operative Societies might gradually displace their capitalist competitors, a few figures might be interesting.

It is estimated that the total capitalised wealth of property owners in England is approximately £25,000 millions (which is twice the amount of 40 years ago and four times that of 80 years ago); of this, the capital invested in Co-operative Societies amounts to £140 millions (People’s Year Book, 1928), or about one one-hundred-and-eightieth part of the whole ! And this is the position after nearly 90 years of Co-operation ! The “evolving to a state of Socialism or something akin thereto” seems likely to prove a protracted business. But this is not all. The Co-operative Societies are largely retail distributors of goods which are supplied to them and produced by “private” capitalist interests. In the year 1926 the total Co-op. sales amounted to £294,302,814. Of this amount, only £5,700,241 represented goods which were actually produced by the Cooperative Societies (People’s Year Book, 1928). In actual fact, then, 98 per cent. of the goods sold by the Co-ops, are supplied by their capitalist “rivals.” While this is so, there is no danger to “private” capitalist interests from the Co-ops. If the Co-ops, ever could, and did, assume forms dangerous to competitive capitalist interests, then the full blast of the competitive power of the huge trusts and combines, with their tremendous resources and thousands of millions of capital, would soon .make itself felt. That they do not do so is because the Co-ops, are not dangerous to capitalist interests, nor to the capitalist system of society.

Let us assume that the Co-ops, might some day secure the trade in working-class necessaries of life to the full limit of the working-class income. There is then the fact that the wages of the workers represent only one-third of the total national income. There is still the remaining two-thirds untouched.

Further, if by economic methods the Co-operative movement could eat into capitalism, why was a Co-operative political party formed? In this connection our correspondent might learn how much importance is to be attached to the use of the phrase, “Co-operative Commonwealth,” from the fact that the Co-op. Party is the political ally of the Labour Party. Its members run as Labour candidates on the Labour Party’s programme and are returned bv Labour votes.

Production for sale and profit is capitalism, and means wage slavery, with its consequent evils for the workers (including workers employed bv the Co-operative Societies). The Socialist Party, being organised for the abolition of capitalism, is therefore opposed to the Co-operative movement.
Harry Waite

S.P.G.B. Propaganda Meetings. (1931)

Party News from the July 1931 issue of the Socialist Standard

Letter: "Does the Socialist Party applaud the Scottish postal workers? . . . (2001)"

Letter to the Editors from the July 2001 issue of the Socialist Standard

Dear Editors,

Considering myself a socialist postal worker, I wish to direct your readers’ attention to an aspect of a recent mail strike.

Re-acting to the Post Office’s “slap across the wrist” disciplining of a manager, guilty of sexually harassing a 16-year-old postwoman, the entire Glasgow mail ground to a halt as postal workers came out on wildcat strikes.

Now, what struck me, as a socialist, was the sense of solidarity that has developed, after many years’ experience of industrial action, amongst postal workers. As is the custom, regardless of whether official or unofficial, all mail from Glasgow was blacked, a tactic to foil any Royal Mail attempt to move mail around the country to isolate and defeat a strike-bound office. It is illegal secondary action under the statutes, but the Post Office rarely challenges the refusal to handle blacked mail. On this occasion, however, and no doubt, as a result of their success in forcing through the “way forward” productivity deal, Royal Mail tried to divert letters to Edinburgh who subsequently went out on strike too.

Once again, postal workers have demonstrated the strength of industrial solidarity and expressed a spirit, nobly cited by Anton Pannekoek in Workers’ Councils:
“Direct action means action of the workers themselves without the intermediary of trade union officers…The first and most important task is to propaganda to expand the strike…Capitalists know or feel this quite well and so the only inducement to concessions is the fear that the strike might spread universally…”
Also in his “Ethics And Socialism” article:
“The workers could not be made to understand what wrong they had committed by stopping work for a day in support of a group of workers at war with their employers. The bourgeois journalists argued along these lines:…to go on strike for others through solidarity! (sheer madness, indeed…).”
Does the Socialist Party applaud the Scottish postal workers, as I do?
Alan Johnstone, 

Yes, even if we don’t share Pannekoek’s view that unofficial, wildcat strikes are always best. As far as we are concerned, any strike to improve conditions or stop them getting worse, official or unofficial, legal or illegal, is all right as long as it is democratically decided and run by those involved. Full-time trade union officials should be the servants of their members, not their bosses as is so often the case today – Editors.

Ending child slavery (2001)

From the July 2001 issue of the Socialist Standard

Today’s world is fraught with deliberate distortions. This is why it is not unusual for NGOs, governments and the powers-that-be to, once in a while, pick on a banal issue and carefully weave a web of heart-breaking propaganda around it. This is done with the aim of covering up the reality and at the same time to arouse the fellow-feeling instincts of candid individuals to donate money. Last May the world was treated to such an episodic storm-in-a-teacup by an NGO-based in the Republic of Benin in West Africa.

This time around it was a big noise about an ageing ship which was not seaworthy carrying, according to the NGO, about 450 underage children to be sold into slavery in Gabon. These kids were allegedly bought in Togo and Benin. When about a week or two later the ship was tracked down, it was found out that there were actually about 40 youth in it. Only a few were underage, and many were accompanied by their relatives. I do not deny that human trafficking exists nor do I dispute the fact that the Benin slave ship incident was a case of child slavery. However, as will be explained presently there was gross exaggeration involved and, more importantly, virtually nothing was said about the nature, causes and remedies, to such a hideous phenomenon.

The nature of child slavery
Child slavery (and also adult slavery) is not a new phenomenon in the world (not only in Africa). The incidence of this cruel activity takes place in two main forms. In the first place there is the crude aspect of it where the child becomes the property of the rich owner. This is mostly found in Sudan, Mauritania and other North African countries. It is also practised in Ghana among the Ewe tribe (of former President Jerry Rawlings). It is called the “Trokosi”. However unlike the Trokosi system is based on culture and tradition, in North Africa mainly blacks are forcibly ceased and turned into slaves. The case of the victims of the Benin slave ship of those children who were being sent from Ghana to Gambia to work in the fishing industry (that controlled by some Ghanaian fishermen living in Gambia or even those children providing slave labour in cocoa or coffee plantations in West Africa are usually “sold” out by parents and relatives and mostly not for good. (See Daily Observer, Gambia, 10 May.)

The second, mild, type appears in the shape of such euphemistic terms as “maid”, “babysitter” etc. This category involves mostly females. These are children from impoverished homes who are supposedly employed by the more affluent families. But it is the conditions under which they work that betray the slavery relations – they find themselves in: they are mercilessly underpaid; they work throughout the day. Those who are made to sleep with the family they work for do not have “working hours”. As long as there is something to be done, they have to do no matter the time. But what is more pathetic is that they are often targets of sexual abuse either by the man or his sons. They are also subjected to verbal and physical assaults. This system is very widespread in the Senegambia region and among the Arabs.

In fact many of those making noises about child slavery keep maids. This abuse of children’s rights as regards their exploitation by the owners of wealth can also be seen in the so-called civilised world. Notice for instance the case of over half-a-million schoolchildren working illegally with many playing truant to do for just a pittance. (See “Voice from the back”, Socialist Standard, May.)

Many people may not be able to figure out how in this modern age people can indulge in slavery or, worse still, willingly offer their loved ones for sale. These people are so sympathetically touched that they cannot imagine the cause of such inhumanity. On the other hand those rabble-rousing on child slavery fail to highlight the causes, most of the time for obvious reasons.

But one thing very certain is that almost all those engaged in slavery (in all its forms) are Christians, muslims or believers for that matter. Under normal circumstances these slavers would not do any harm to fellow human beings especially innocent children. So if these people irreligiously defy the holy books and perpetrate such wickedness, then it is obviously for a reason more important than religion. And that is money, profit. The system in operation throughout the world today is based on money. Without money one cannot live. Consequently anything that one can do to have money is “normal”. Even religious leaders (Christian, Muslim, etc) will use every underhand tactic to extort money from their mostly impoverished followers, and without any pity; businessmen and women will tell every lie just to make profits, etc.

This world, as it is now, is controlled by those who own big money and the means of living. They use their wealth to form political parties which, when in power, rule on behalf of the owners. Since the rich make their money by exploiting the masses through their (the rich) control of the means of production and distribution of wealth, the ruling parties or governments act in the interest of the party owners. In the process, the masses are neglected since social wealth is appropriated by the few and rich party owners. Left with nothing to eat, a starving man or woman can easily (out of dire necessity) give out a child in exchange for food (reflected as money). This is what pertains not only in Africa but also in especially Asia and Latin America.

In the same vein, others knowing what such possibilities exist will take advantage of the situation and get involved as agents just to enhance their access to a continuous flow of money and thus food. Thus child slavery is real business (money – commodity – money) which is capitalism in practice.

In mid-May, in the wake of the Benin slave ship saga, government officials from Ghana and La Côte d’Ivoire flew to England to discuss the problems in the cocoa and coffee industries. The issue was apparently sparked off by the news of the Benin slave ship. The discussions highlighted among other things the fact that chocolate industries in Europe and America reaped all the profits whilst the poor cocoa farmers experienced lower and lower incomes. Such a phenomenon, they said, naturally leads to the search for cost-effective methods of production. This is a euphemism for the use of child slave labour in cocoa and coffee plantations. Thus the whole issue is making money, profit.

What is to be done?
In extolling their usefulness to society, NGOs and their ilk often claim that they sensitise the world community on problems or that they expose the problem to the whole world. This, to an extent may be true. But invariably it is done more to attract funds for their organisations than to seek solutions to the problems. A clear case of making money out of other’s misery. And that is exactly why most of the time they exaggerate or blow issues out of proportion.

However experience has proved that attempts to correct “injustice” in the world can never be attained by pursuing single-issue matters like talking to people about child slavery. Child slavery is only one of the symptoms of the disease confronting mankind. Call it the profit system or the rule of money or capitalism. Tackling child slavery is thus like trying to treat the symptom of a disease and leaving the disease intact. So the NGO and those agencies and governments who keep crying foul constitute in the main a dubious business entity. They solicit for funds from the two antagonistic sections of society: they are spawned by the rich to enhance exploitation by soothing the pains of the poor; and they also take from the poor (especially through contributions from taxes levied by states) to keep them (the poor) immersed in poverty.

In furtherance of such objectives governments, NGOs and other such groups facilitating exploitation of man by man, easily come up with farcical and indeed nonsensical solutions to such issues. Consider for example the suspension by a German football team of the owner of the Nigerian-registered vessel involved in the shipping of the child slaves from Benin to Gabon. The owner, a Nigerian professional footballer in Germany may rather use as a pretext his suspension or even total expulsion to get more deeply involved in child trafficking (if he personally did take part in the matter at all). Such solutions are hypocritical and complete non-starters.

Again, just around the time the Benin slave ship episode was unfolding, the BBC’s Focus On Africa programme carried a news item on a proposed trip to Sudan by the world-famous musician Michael Jackson to assess the issue of child slavery there. Paradoxically Jackson himself was alleged to have been accused before a law court of sexually abusing a little boy. The case was however settled out of court. Such is the double standards of this money-infested system that the rich who are seen to be solving problems are actually those causing them.

Child slavery like poverty, illiteracy, disease, war, hunger, corruption and all the misery afflicting the human race have one thing in common – they result from (the use of) money. Before I explain the relationship between these tribulations and money, one point will have to be noted. That is that a wrong notion is preached by the ideologues of the present system (who of course formulate and control public opinion) that human needs are unlimited whilst resources are limited. Therefore only those who have money can meet their needs. This kind of misinformation is wicked and malicious. On the contrary money is the root cause of all the woes we live with. A few examples will suffice here.

The most important human need is food. Available records indicate that world food production is far higher than the quantity required to go round all mankind. However because of money food is locked away in huge quantities just to make super profits in the form of money from those who have it. In fact sometimes they callously dump food into the sea or even refuse to cultivate arable land. This, just to maintain high prices.

Another problem facing mankind is sickness. The pharmaceutical industry is so advanced that enough drugs and medicines can be produced to prevent and cure most illnesses. Yet this will never be done and people will continue to die because they cannot afford medicines as these are manufactured and locked up in drug-stores reserved only for the few who can pay. The recent lawsuit brought by the South African government against some western pharmaceutical companies on the issue of HIV/AIDS medicines is a typical example of inhumanity of money. The owners of the companies may publicly declare that they help mankind, yet when it comes to their money and profit they refuse to allow cheap drugs to be produced for sick people who cannot afford the expensive ones they produce for the rich. One could go on and on.

Thus until the money factor is eliminated and in its place, a system based on free access is practised, child slavery; child soldiers, mass murders; war; want and deprivation, etc will continue to live with us.

The question now is: how can mankind attain this money-free society of free and equal access to goods and services? Part of the wealth bequeathed to us by those who preceded us in this world is written records of how society came about, underwent changes and how we can improve upon our life today. Marx, Engels, William Morris, etc are some of such thinkers. People who agree that there is something wrong with our society will have to acquaint themselves with the literature that these precursors have put down and lots more by others who think on the same lines. Once people understand these theories of change then they may want them implemented for the benefit of mankind and together we can make a change.

The Uxbridge by-election: The Green Party (2023)

From the SPGB Discussion Forum

More leaflets were distributed on Friday. And more discarded leaflets from other parties collected. This time the manifesto of the Green Party candidate (who, appropriately enough, is actually called Green). She confirms that the Green Party wants to return to the small-scale capitalism (from which present-day corporate capitalism evolved):
“Vote Green Party for a Well Being Economy.
Public Money to be spent on Public Good not profits for the few.
The economy is not working for most people (. . .)
Society needs to transition to a sustainable economy urgently.
Introduce universal basic income to reduce dependency on economic growth. Revive and support the local economy, home based enterprises, local food production and reskilling.”
She is right that the economy is not working for most people, but that’s the nature of the capitalist economy. It cannot be made to work for most people, not even by the reforms proposed by the Green Party. It is a profit-making economy that can work only in the interest of the profit-takers.

Just how universal basic income will “reduce dependency on economic growth” is not explained. You would have thought, rather, that it would be the other way round — that economic growth would be needed to sustain UBI. But we shouldn’t expect clear thinking on economic matters from the Green Party which believes that banks can and do create money from thin air.