Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Russian Imperialism (1948)

From the April 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

If, in 1918, the words and deeds of the Bolsheviks inside Russia stirred the imaginations of workers everywhere, so also did their abrupt reversal of foreign policy. They preached “no annexations, no indemnities," called on all workers to repudiate the aggressive policies of their governments, and demanded the ending of the war. They published the sordid treaties in which the Allied Governments had secretly agreed to dismember Turkey and divide up the rest of the spoils of war. They renounced Czarist Russia's century-old aim of controlling the Dardanelles, and voluntarily gave up the Russian “spheres of interest” in China and Persia extorted by force from governments too weak to resist. They proclaimed the right of "self-determination" and allowed Finns, Poles, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians to secede and become independent states. They denounced the annexations of territory and demands for reparations imposed on the defeated countries under the Versailles Treaty, and vigorously attacked the whole idea of backward peoples being exploited as colonies and protectorates by the imperialist powers. They preached internationalism, opposed militarism, and encouraged their followers in all countries to seek the reduction or abolition of armies, navies and air forces.

All of that was 30 years ago. Now Russia stands forth as a great imperialist power, armed to the teeth, trying to overtake America in atom bomb production, glorifying nationalism and militarism, and entering into the competitive struggle with the same plundering aim as the other imperialist powers.

How far Soviet Russia has departed from the earlier anti-imperialist proclamations of the Bolshevik party can be seen by comparing its present actions and attitude in foreign affairs with the views of Lenin in his work “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism," written in 1916. (See Selected Works of Lenin, Vol. 5, Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1936.) Lenin condemned the imperialism of all the powers, but because of the Russian censorship he had to illustrate his case by avoiding reference to Russia and mentioning only Japan. Writing a year later in the 1917 Preface Lenin explained this:—"I was forced to quote as an example—Japan! The careful reader will easily substitute Russia for Japan, and Finland, Poland, Courland, the Ukraine, Khiva, Bokhara, Esthonia and other regions peopled by non-great Russians, for Korea." (1917 Preface, Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 6.) He instanced Japanese imperialism in Korea. Now by an ironical turn of events Northern Korea is occupied, not by the Chinese from whom Japan annexed it, but by Russian troops (while Americans hold the southern half). Now also Russia has a base on Finnish territory; has annexed about a third of Poland (while Poland has compensated itself by taking territory formerly in Germany); and has incorporated the Ukraine as a Republic in the Soviet Union. Esthonia has been annexed—the vote endorsing this being taken with Russian troops in occupation; likewise Courland, part of what, between the wars, was independent Latvia. Khiva and Bokhara, conquered by Czarist Russia and reduced to vassal states in 1873 are now republics in the Soviet Union.

Lenin's statement that "the war of 1914-18 was imperialistic (that is, an annexationist, predatory, plunderous war) on the part of both sides; it was a war for the division of the world, for the partition and repartition of colonies, ‘spheres of influence' of finance—capita), etc." (1920 Preface) can as truly be applied to World War II, Russia again being one of the predatory powers, but this time with greater success than then fell to the lot of the Czarist regime. Examples in great number could be quoted showing the many regions in which the Russian expansionist drive is operating, by methods reminiscent of Russia's Czarist past and of British, Japanese and German imperialisms in their heyday.

At the Yalta Conference in 1945 and again in August, 1946 (see Daily Telegraph, August 13th, 1946, and Daily Worker, August 14th, 1946), the Russian Government revived the old Czarist demand to have a base on Turkish territory from which to control the Dardanelles. This had been preceded some months earlier by a campaign in the Russian Press for the annexation of large areas of Northern Turkey. Part of this territory had been ceded by Russia to Turkey in 1921 after a plebiscite had been taken. No one can reasonably quarrel with the Communist argument (Daily Worker, January 12th, 1946) that the vote was a farce because taken whilst Turkish troops were in occupation, but exactly the same can be said of Russia's annexation of the three Baltic Republics in 1940.

As has been mentioned it was the Bolsheviks who exposed the secret treaties of the first world war. In the second world war it was the Russian Government which had its imperialist claims embodied in a secret agreement signed by America and Britain at the Yalta Conference in 1945. As a condition of entering the war against Japan Russia was to be allowed annexations and spheres of influence at the expense not only of Japan but also of China, Russia’s ally! Under the agreement, which was made without the knowledge of the Chinese Government and was not published until a year later, Russia not only received the strategically important Kurile Islands and Southern Sakhalin, rich in timber, minerals and oil, but also received recognition of Manchuria as a Russian sphere of influence though it was Chinese territory until annexed by Japan in 1931.

The agreement was subsequently published by the British Government (Command Paper 6735, 1946). The relevant clauses read as follows: —
1. The status quo in Outer Mongolia—the Mongolian People’s Republic—shall be preserved.
2. The former rights of Russia violated by the treacherous attack of Japan in 1904 shall be restored —namely,
   (a) The southern part of Sakhalin as well as all the islands adjacent to it shall he returned to the Soviet Union.
   (b) The commercial port of Dairen shall be internationalised, the pre-eminent interests of the Soviet Union in this port be safeguarded, and the lease of Port Arthur as a naval base of the Soviet Union restored.
   (c) The Chinese Eastern railway and the South Manchurian railway, which provide an outlet to Dairen, shall be jointly operated by the establishment of a joint Soviet-Chinese company, it being understood that the pre-eminent interests of the Soviet Union shall be safeguarded and that China shall retain full sovereignty in Manchuria.
3. The Kuriles shall be handed over to the Soviet Union.
Clause 1, referring to Outer Mongolia, meant that the Government of China would be expected to confirm recognition of the independence of this formerly Chinese territory. The required recognition was given in January, 1946. Outer Mongolia, nominally independent, is now in close military and economic dependence on Russia.

The Kuriles and Sakhalin had been objects of the rival Japanese and Russian imperialists since 1875, Russia being forced to leave the former and the southern half of the latter after her defeat by Japan in 1904-5.

The granting of the Russian claim to Port Arthur is described as a “restoration"—so it was, but not to the original owners. After the Chino-Japanese war, 1894-5. Japan annexed it from China but was expelled by Russia, France and Germany on the plea that the occupation threatened the independence of Peking; in spite of which China was then forced to lease it to Russia. Dairen likewise was, under pressure, leased by China to Japan in 1915.

Members of the Chinese Government were quick to protest against the Yalta secret agreement as being “contrary to the Atlantic Charter." (Times, February 25th. 1946). and the following news, item indicates that some of the Chinese are still not prepared to accept it: —
“The Chinese People’s Political Council yesterday adopted a resolution urging the Chinese Government to demand the return to China of Port Arthur and Dairen, which have been occupied by Soviet forces since the collapse of Japan.’’ (Sunday Despatch, March 14th, 1948.)
The fact that the Yalta Agreement contained the face-saving clause about China retaining “ full sovereignty in iManchuria” deceived nobody, least of all the Chinese Government, and the following shamefaced comment was made by the London Observer (February 17th, 1946); —
“The surrender at Yalta of China’s rights in Manchuria to Russia as the price of the latter’s entry into the war on Japan was no matter for pride, whatever the gain in speeding victory . . . . the fact remains that China’s rights in a region more important to her than any disappeared. Dr. T. V. Soong obtained some modifications of the Yalta terms in the subsequent Russo-Chinese Treaty. But since then Russia has stripped Manchurian factories of machinery and still fails to withdraw her troops. Urgent diplomatic pressure in Moscow is our immediate due to China.’’
On coming to power in 1917 the Bolsheviks relinquished all the Czarist claims and rights to spheres of influence and oil concessions in Northern Iran (then known as Persia). In 1946, with Russian troops in occupation, the Iran Government was forced to agree to the re-imposition of much the same Russian privileges. The form taken by this new Bolshevik imperialism was the setting up of a joint Russian-Iran company to exploit the oilfields for 50 years, the important point being, however, that majority control would be in Russian hands for 25 years. For the next 25 years the control would nominally be equal but not until the expiry of 50 years would the Iran Government have the right to buy out the Russian half of the shares. The text of the clause relating to the first period reads: “In the course of the first 25 years of the activity of the company 49 per cent. of the shares will belong to the Iranian side, and 51 per cent. to the Soviet side . . . " (Published in “Soviet Weekly,’’ September 18th, 1947.) When Russian troops left (after complaint had been made to the United Nations) the Iran Government, backed by the American and British interests, which have their own oil concessions in other parts of Iran, repudiated the agreement with Russia. Doubtless Russia’s claim will be revived when the Russian Government considers the moment opportune.

Another example of Russian imperialism was the treaty imposed on Finland which ceded to Russia the province of Petsamo and leased “territory and waters for the establishment of a Soviet naval base in the area of Porkkala-Udd.” (News Chronicle, July 23rd, 1946.) In March, 1948, further demands were being made.

During the lifetime of the League of Nations the Russian Government never failed to point out that the so-called League of Nation's mandates were only another name for the old avowed annexations of colonial territory. When the United Nations replaced the League, and the Italian colonies came up for disposal, the Russian Government promptly made a proposal “for international control of two parts of Libya, with a Russian administrator in Tripolitania and a British or U.S. one in Cyrenaica." (Daily Worker, April 30th, 1946.) The claim was, however, not favoured by the other powers and was withdrawn.

Forgetting the early Bolshevik arguments against the stupidities and dangers of reparations, the Russian Government pressed its claim for 10,000 million dollars as reparations from Germany.

Another aspect of Russian imperialism has been the setting up of subservient governments in the countries on Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe. This was defended by Premier Stalin in a statement to the Moscow “Pravda’’ in 1946 (reproduced in the Manchester Guardian, March 14th, 1946). Speaking of the East European countries through which Germany had attacked Russia he said: “Is it to be wondered that the Soviet Union, in its desire to safeguard itself in future, is making an effort to secure in these countries governments loyal to the Soviet Union? How can one, unless one is mad, qualify these steps and aspirations of the Soviet Union as expansionist tendencies in our State? ”

It may seem a plausible argument, but it is precisely the one used by every expanding Empire as an excuse for “protecting its frontiers”; as for example by British imperialism in India and Egypt, by Japan, mid by Czarist Russia itself.

A last illustration of Russian imperialism strikingly shows the gulf that separates the outlook of the present regime from its own early proclamations. In January, 1948, the American Government published German documents, captured in 1945, which purported to disclose the secret agreements between Russia and Germany after the Pact of 1939 was signed by the two Governments. According to the Daily Herald (January 22nd, 1948) these secret agreements “ divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence, gave the Baltic Republics to Russia and provided for the partition of Poland . . . Russia's claim to naval and military bases on the Dardanelles as part of the ‘carve up ’ . is recorded."

In 1918 in a somewhat similar situation the Bolshevik Government was able to make the most devastating of all answers, it answered the secret treaties of the Czar’s Government by renouncing them. It showed the sincerity of its protestations against imperialism by giving up all claims and by evacuating all territories seized against the wishes of the inhabitants. The Bolshevik regime was held in high esteem by workers in all countries because it could show clean hands to contrast with the loot-laden talons of all the governments powerful enough to enforce their claim to spoils.

Not so in 1948! Now the Russian protests against the imperialism of other governments have a hollow ring because the Russian Government is itself gorged with loot. Instead it had to combat the secret documents published in U.S.A. by producing a parallel volume purporting to expose the secret negotiations between the British and German Governments in 1939. “These negotiations were designed to secure a broad political agreement with Hitler, Including the division of spheres of influence throughout the world. Germany was to be given the predominant influence in South-East Europe.” (Daily Worker, February 16th, 1948.)

Unable to show by deeds that their hands are clean the Bolsheviks have perforce to fall back on the cynical plea—for that is what it means—that they are no worse than the other brigands of predatory capitalism.

And that will be the verdict of history on the melancholy decline from the idealist principles of 1918 to the sordid practice of thirty years after. 
Edgar Hardcastle

Work, You Workers, Work (1948)

From the April 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Bonus systems, payment by results, co-partnerships, piece work, profit sharing, all these and other schemes we have known. Each and every one has the same objective—to get a little more effort out of the workers, to encourage them to expend their utmost on the job.

Of the co-partnership and profit sharing schemes we hear little these days. Some years ago they were quite popular propositions. Probably one of the largest and most widely publicised of these schemes was the one introduced by Lever Bros, at Port Sunlight. The idea was to share a portion of the profits produced in the industry amongst the workers. This should give them an interest in the business and encourage them to serve it more zealously.

The American journal “Fortune,” which, by any stretch of the imagination, cannot be considered a working class magazine, in its December, 1947, issue, deals with this Lever profit sharing scheme and its failure. On page 204:
“But he (W. H. Lever) seemed obsessed with sharing profits. He concluded that profit sharing was fine provided it resulted in better production . . .” 
and on page 207:
“The idea of direct profit sharing continued to obsess him even after Port Sunlight was built, and he decided to make qualified employees 'co-partners' with whom he shared some of the amount available for ordinary (common) dividends. For a while his scheme worked. The dividends, however, amounted to so little per capita that their effect on production and efficiency over a long time was debatable, and the practice was discontinued after Lever died.”
For the employer it was a matter of an additional investment. The workers were induced to consider that they had an identity of interest with him. The greater the increase in profits resulting from their better production and increased efficiency, the greater would be their dividend—and the dividend of the employers. Unless the amount of increased profit to the employer was greater than the amount he paid out in dividends to his employees, then it was a bad investment for him. Also to be taken into account, of course, was the fact that the “identity of interest” idea is a fine deterrent to strikes and is a means of persuading workers to soft pedal their wage demands. Labour disputes and high wages would tend to affect profits and the co-partner would fear that he might not get a good ”divi.” In practise, the amount received by the worker was so infinitesimal, that the scheme failed in its object At least, the Lever one did.

As we have said, not much is heard of these profit sharing schemes these days and in the collapse of the Lever scheme we see the reason. But a new method has arisen to encourage the workers to foster this idea of an identity of interest with their exploiters. A cheaper method, too. It does not even require that the employer shall disgorge the small amount of wealth that the profit sharing proposition necessitated.

Listen-in at Trade Union branch meetings, Trades Council meetings and other places where workers gather to talk about their wages and conditions. You will hear some one get on his feet and trot out this kind of thing: “ Now that it is 'OUR' industry, we must moderate our demands. We must work to get it on its feet. We must increase our production and efficiency. We are all share-holders now, we must work to make the industry pay. We must not ask for too much . . .” And so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

That is how it is put over today. Old man Lever allotted a portion of his dividends to get the utmost out of his workers. Today we find working class supporters and defenders of the Labour Party (they are all on the defensive now) falling over themselves to give of their damnedest without even the meagre dividend that Port Sunlight workers collected as an inducement.

If nationalised industry were engaged in producing goods or services for use, this point of view would be understandable. Then, better production and increased efficiency would result in more goods and better services for the workers themselves. But nationalised industry, as with all forms of capitalist industry, is engaged in the production of goods and services for sale with a view to a profit being made in the process. This fact is not disguised, not even by the advocates of nationalisation. The workers produce a quantity of wealth in excess of the amount they receive in the form of wages, salaries, etc. This surplus goes into State coffers and forms the fund out of which is shared the dividends to the investors in Government bonds.

True, an increase in production and efficiency in State industries does not mean an increase in the amount paid out as interests to bondholders. Neither does it mean an increase in wages. It may possibly result in an increase in the salary of the chairman of the “Board” or the “Executive," or in a fine, fat, five-figure pension to these "high” officials when they retire. It may also, by increasing the amount flowing into the State coffers, be a means of defraying national expenditure, and so help to alleviate the burden of taxation borne by the exploiting class. We know that finally it will result in an excess of commodities over and above the amount that the markets can absorb. Then we shall get from the Labour Party the same nauseating idea trotted out in slightly different words. “Sorry, fellows—an economic blizzard—tighten your belts and pull 'YOUR’ industry through.” Probably the blame will be put on to the Russians or maybe, the “Yanks,” It will be difficult for them to apportion the blame to the bankers as has been done in the past. It would sound rather puerile to tell us that it was “OUR” nationalised Bank of England that is holding up credit, or doing something or other to cause a financial and economic crisis. Anyway, it will be the workers who will be cajoled to make sacrifices to help "THEIR" industry through the difficult times. The rate of interest to the investor is guaranteed. He will not be worried. It is no longer his headache. He is the holder of “gilt edged.”

There are all sorts of things in store for the working class whilst Capitalism remains. There are no end to the reasons why they should work harder, more efficiently and be patient. Another war will make it necessary for the workers to make sacrifices to pull "THEIR” country through. After a war or after a trade depression there will be the need to produce more to recapture the foreign markets. It will always be possible to concoct some excuse for cracking the whip.

It is interesting to watch how this increased efficiency idea works out. For example, London’s nationalised transport. An agreement has recently been signed by the London Transport Executive and the Transport and General Workers Union adjusting the rates of pay of drivers and conductors of buses, coaches and trolley buses. At the same time, these contracting parties have agreed upon a letter to the effect that they will jointly recommend to the Minister of Transport that the existing rule shall be relaxed to enable eight standing passengers to be carried, instead of five as at present. This, so the letter says, is with the object of increasing the efficiency of the service to the public.

London Transport’s new 70-seat, eight feet wide trolley bus is now in operation in areas on the west Side of London. The Surrey Comet, reporting on the inaugural run of the first of these new vehicles, says (21/2/48):
"The extra width of six inches on the new buses is taken up by having the gangways four inches wider with an additional inch on each seat This should give greater comfort to the standing passenger . . .”
So better production and increased efficiency in this nationalised industry will mean that, (1) Drivers will drive bigger buses; (2) Conductors will pack in a few more passengers; (3) Passenger will be able to enjoy the increased standing comfort, or should we say more passengers will be able to enjoy the decreased discomfort, and (4) last, but by no means least, all passengers will pay their fares, thus increasing the takings per bus when the additional standing passengers are carried.

There is no advantage here that would make it advisable for the workers to moderate their demands for increased wages or better working conditions. We suggest to all workers that they should regard the State in the same way as they should regard any other employer, as an opponent who is out to get as much energy from his employees for the price that he pays, as is possible. The workers, in turn, should endeavour to get the highest price (wage) and best conditions of sale for the energy that they sell, as they possibly can. All increased efficiency should be directed to this end, and to the struggle to abolish the system of Capitalist exploitation.

To paraphrase Prime Minister Attlee :
"This year, let us all put into our struggle that spirit that will make our class free.”
W. Waters

More Funds Needed (1948)

From the April 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

Shortage of funds is placing us in a difficulty. We have published two new pamphlets and there are more to come. Our immediate difficulty concerns the "Socialist Standard.” At present Head Office receipts are not sufficient to cover the cost of the "S.S.” We are unable to put this right by printing more copies because the paper allocation limits the number we are allowed to print. We are therefore left with only two courses of action: either to reduce the size of the "S.S.” or increase its price. We do not want to be forced to take either of these steps, but the only way this can be avoided is by an increase in the donations to the publication fund. We are not asking for any favours. The "Socialist Standard” is the only journal that genuinely represents the interests of the working class in this country, and it is therefore the duty of workers, both to themselves and to their class, to see that it is as large as the paper quota will permit and as cheap as possible. When the paper situation is easier we will add—and as widely distribute as possible.

All the money that can be spared could not be-used in a better way than making the Socialist message as adequate and as widely distributed as it can be.

We therefore urge our sympathisers to send us donations periodically and as large as they can make them to enable us to keep the "Socialist Standard” at its present size and price. If they also bring our pamphlets to the notice of their friends it will help us to recoup the cost of production of the pamphlets already printed and enable us to publish fresh ones.

We are a working-class party and therefore shortage of funds is an evil we will always have with us. It is different with our wealthy masters. The Conservative Party recently boasted that they had raised a million pounds in six months: if we could raise a thousand pounds in that time our difficulties, would vanish. They represent the present with its oppression, its laborious days, its pinching and contriving and the shadow of fresh wars; we represent the future with its promise of security, comfort and peace upon earth at last. Our work is worth all the funds the workers can supply us with.

The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself; funds are a part of the means necessary to accomplish this emancipation and they also must be provided by the working class itself.

Send us what you can as soon as you can. We are on the move; help us to keep going at the same pace.

Blogger's Note:
The two new pamphlets mentioned in the appeal were The Racial Problem: A Socialist Analysis and The Communist Manifesto and the Last 100 Years. Later in 1948 the pamphlet, Russia Since 1917, was published.

Notes by the Way: The Progress of Mr. Middleton Murry (1948)

The Notes by the Way Column from the April 1948 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Progress of Mr. Middleton Murry

Mr. Middleton Murry, who at one time claimed to be a Marxist, though his understanding of it was obviously limited, and who was in the I.L.P. before throwing himself whole-heartedly into Pacifism, has moved forward (or backward). The following is an extract from a review by Mr. Charles Davy of Murry’s “The Free Society” (Observer, March 7th, 1948):—
Many people dislike Mr. Murry’s way of displaying his inner struggles by hastening into print whenever he loses or finds a faith, and certainly this has happened rather often. But it is fair to add that his struggles are about live issues, and one reason why he embarrasses readers is that he stirs up their own doubts and conflicts.

In his new book the issue concerns democracy, Communism and war. He declares himself no longer a Pacifist, for he now believes that the “free society” will not survive unless, an international Atomic Authority is set up, and Russia must be somehow compelled, if necessary by war—the "one just war”—to accept this and come in. Otherwise an ordinary war between Russia and the free societies is sooner or later inevitable.

The Russian Workers' Standard of Living

Comparisons of the workers’ standards of living in different countries are difficult to make, particularly when, as now, the prices of some articles are controlled while other prices (in the black market or the Russian "free market”) are very high indeed. It is therefore interesting to observe that Mr. K. Zilliacus, M.P., who is certainly not prejudiced against the Russian regime, shares the view of a Times correspondent that the Russian standard is lower than that in the West. In a letter to "Forward” (March 13th, 1948) he refers to the Times article and says:—
The article goes on to point out that the Soviet leaders are fully aware that they have not yet succeeded in raising standards of living of the Soviet population to a level comparable with that of the West; that the achievements of the Soviet Union cannot be made the basis for any really European-wide "revolutionary offensive” ; and that neither a war nor an economic depression would be of advantage to the Soviet Union—on the contrary.

Having spent most of my life in studying Soviet conditions, first as Intelligence Officer with the British Military Mission in Siberia for the two years, of intervention in Russia and then as a member of the Information Section of the League of Nations Secretariat for nineteen years, charged with keeping in touch with Soviet conditions and developments, I say the Times is right.

Lord Wavell on Political Education
"The ideal is that the people shall have reached such a standard of education that it will he useless and unprofitable to lie to them at elections. We have still a long way to go to reach this ideal.”
("The Triangle of Forces in Civil Leadership.” By Field-Marshal Earl Wavell.)


Mr. Herbert Morrison on the New War for Democracy

In a speech at Birmingham on March 13th Mr. Herbert Morrison announced the opening of a further struggle for democracy, this time against the Russian Government and its followers: —
"Jan Masaryk’s name will live in history as the inspiration of a new resistance movement against the enslavers. Do not doubt that this movement will in time sweep across Europe.”

"I hope that as resistance develops, with the same resources and initiative and sacrifice as in the war against Hitler, a new resistance will rise against tyranny, whatever the colour of its shirt may be.”

"On top of all our economic troubles we find ourselves back in the same sort of nightmare of aggression we thought we had banished by disposing of Hitler.” (Observer, March 14th, 1948.)
It is all very well for Mr. Morrison just to make a passing reference to what he mistakenly thought would be the result of the second world war, but as he was so utterly wrong he surely ought to re-examine the notions that led him to his error. After World War I (which he opposed) he declared he would never in any circumstances support war and rejected the idea that democracy could be safeguarded by war. Has the thought never crossed his mind that perhaps he was nearer the truth then than he has been since?

He was certainly on sounder lines in his speech when he went on to say that "if we can, here in Britain, demonstrate a working model of a healthy democracy based on a healthy economic, social, and political system, the overwhelming majority of mankind will do their utmost to imitate us,” but what hope has he of achieving that result while retaining capitalism? The Labour Government will never succeed in making capitalism healthy for the workers.

Knock, Knock

In the same speech Mr. Morrison gave some advice to the workers. "The modern worker is, or should be, a responsible partner in industry and he should be knocking at the manager’s door with ideas and suggestions It is management’s job to manage and to manage better every day. But every worker as his own responsibility for pushing up production.”

The workers have already been knocking at the door, but they get only a negative reply. They want the wage increases the Labour Party led them to expect under Labour Government; but the management and Mr. Morrison say no. They say that wages must be stabilized at their present level unless there is some special reason for an increase in certain industries. Workers receiving wages far too low to enable them to live decently (like the boiler stokers, liftmen and others employed in the Houses of Parliament who had to strike to get increases in their pay which is 97/- or 91/-) are apt to be cynical when they observe the standard of living the rich shareholders, enjoy, not to mention the fat salaries paid to members of the new nationalisation boards. In the House of Commons on February 17th the Prime Minister gave a list of these. Among the receivers of £8,500, £5,000, £3,500, etc., salaries are numbers of ex-trade union officials. The issue of Hansard for that day is well worth studying. Labour Party supporters must find it hard to square with the past propaganda of their Party against inequality, and with the Government’s frenzied statements about the crisis and the need to avoid increasing personal incomes.

Nationalised Industries and Profit Making

In the Daily Mail (February 18th, 1948) Sir Eustace Missenden, the new £7,000 a year chairman of The Railway Executive, had a word to say about the running of the railways under nationalisation: —
“We intend to show that we are not going to take money out of the taxpayers' pockets. We intend to run at a profit."
It should be remembered that in order to pay their way the State railways have to make a surplus of £30 million a year to pay the 3 per cent. on the £1,000 million of Transport Stock paid to the bought-out railway stockholders.

In the same issue of the Daily Mail (February 18th, 1948) was a report that the National Coal Board was closing down the Maindy Colliery because
“it would be failing in its duty if it did not close the colliery. In December there was a loss of £1 4s. 8d. a ton."

Communist Election Tactics

After losing their deposit at Wigan, where they ran against the Labour Party candidate, the Communists hurried down to North Croydon to tell the workers they should vote for the Labour candidate. The News Chronicle (March 9th, 1948) reported the following:— 
The funniest incident so far in the North Croydon by-election was the visit of Mr. Gallacher, one of the two Communist M.P.s, in order to give a back-handed blessing to the Labour cause and instruct the local Communists (if there are any) to vote for Mr. Harold Nicolson, whom he nevertheless described with characteristic politeness as "a sap."

For political ineptitude combined with political hypocrisy this would be hard to beat. No wonder the Labour agent told Mr. Gallacher to get off the bus. Nothing could do Nioolson greater harm than the crude attentions on the spot of a few vocal Communists and “cryptos.”
It recalls their antics during the war when they supported Tory candidates, as at Lancaster in October, 1941.
“War makes strange bedfellows. A Communist deputation visited the Conservative campaign headquarters in Lancaster this afternoon and offered to work for the return of Mr. MacLean, the National Government candidate." (Daily Telegraph, October 14th, 1941.)
On that occassion they opposed the I.L.P. candidate, Mr. Fenner Brockway.

It must give the Communists great satisfaction to know that their Tory candidate, now Brigadier F. H. R. MacLean, still holds the seat!

Nationalisation in Bulgaria

While the Communist Party of Great Britain has on some occasions demanded nationalisation without compensation, Communist controlled Bulgaria, under a recent nationalisation decree, affecting all industry, is providing for some compensation. According to the Times (January 26th, 1948) "compensation is to be paid in interest-bearing State bonds, the rate of compensation diminishing as the value of the assets taken over rises."

The Roast Beef of Old England

For a long time the bulk of meat eaten in Britain has been imported. Now a new development has taken place, for the Argentine Government has entered the business of distribution here.

According to the Evening Standard (February 10th, 1948) the majority of shares of the Smithfield and Argentine Meat Co. were recently bought by the Government-controlled Buenos Aires firm, C.A.P. (Corporation Argentina de Productores de Came).

The Standard adds;—
“Since the Smithfield and Argentine organisation in this country will carry on trading in Argentine meat as before, we shall have the piquant spectacle of the Argentines drawing profits from trading in Britain— from distributing your rations, in fact."
Edgar Hardcastle