Friday, April 19, 2024

London County Council Elections (1958)

Party News from the April 1958 issue of the 
Socialist Standard

Party Manifesto
This is the first time that members of the Socialist Party of Great Britain have stood for election in East London. The candidates' names are unimportant; you will not see them on placards or in front-windows, because it is not the Socialist Party's practice to cry up individuals or promote slogans. What we have to put before you is a simple but reasoned case about the world in which we all live: the case for Socialism.

Perhaps first however, you will want to know something about the Socialist Party. It was founded in 1904: its Object and the Declaration of Principles on which it took its stand then, and still takes it now, are printed at the end of this Manifesto. The Socialist Party looks at the world from one viewpoint only—the viewpoint of working-class men and women, and what may best serve their interests.

Do not confuse the Socialist Party with the Labour Party. The Socialist aim is a revolutionary change in society. The world we know is the capitalist world, in which all the means of life are owned by a minority and the motive of sale and profit dominates all other things. From this basis—the capitalist organization of society— arise all the problems of today: wars, crises, insecurity, want and unhappiness in a hundred forms.

Other parties believe, and promise, that those problems can be solved by changes of government and legislation. The Socialist Party’s case is that while capitalism remains the problems which are its consequences will remain too. Indeed, it should hardly need the Socialist Party to point this out. Any man's lifetime today has seen several changes of government, allied with spectacular progress; how much nearer, however, is the solution of any of those problems?

You may object, at this stage, that these are not issues in this election. The voter in the L.C.C. Election has in mind not world problems, but the everyday questions of housing, schools, rent and roadways and public health services. That is true, but the more important truth is that they are not local questions at all. They are, in fact, aspects of the position of the working class the world over: a position in which the only differences are the depth of want and the degree of insecurity.

The housing problem, which will be spoken of a good deal in this election, has been with us for more than a hundred years. An efforts to solve it have been unsuccessful simply because it is a part of the working-class poverty problem. London’s forests of flats and prefabs are the attempts of administrators to. do the impossible—to house generation after generation of working people who cannot afford to house themselves.

A great deal of the illness and much of the crime and “vice” that are problems in every city in the world are direct consequences of people's poverty. And what are the problems of education, but the problems of how children shall be taught to be clerks, factory workers, mechanics and labourers—that is, educated for future poverty? The Socialist case is that within capitalism there can be no cure, and the whole history of modern times bears us out.

Ours is not a gloomy message, however. On the contrary, through our fifty-four years' existence we have steadily pointed to the obvious real remedy. If it is true that all these problems are the inevitable consequences of the capitalist organization of society, then we must end it and replace it with something better. And that is what the Socialist Party of Great Britain stands for: the abolition of capitalism and the establishment in its place of Socialism.

Socialism does not mean a different kind of government, or State administration of industry (nor has it anything to do with what goes on in Russia). It means a completely different social system, based on the ownership of an the means of life by everybody. On that basis, there could be no wars or crises, because those are results of trade and competition between capitalists. Nor could there be poverty and all its consequent problems, because all the resources of society would be directed not towards profit, but to satisfying the needs of all.

You may ask, as most people do, how the Socialist Party is going to effect all this. The answer is that it is not. YOU are going to. In our Declaration of Principles you will find one which says: “That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself." The Socialist Party does not present itself as a would-be ruler or a new leader. Another of our claims is that leaders will take working people nowhere good; in fact, that the world will not change for the working class until they themselves change it.

Thus, in this election we are promising nothing. What we are laying before you is the proposition briefly out-lined here, and what we ask is that you consider it and see if it does not fit the world as you know it. If you agree with it you will not need to be asked to vote for the Socialist candidates who alone in this election stand for the interests of the working class. If you disagree, we ask you to go on thinking about it—but not to vote for our candidates.

Your final question may be that, even though you listen favourably to what we have to say, you see no purpose in voting for a little group of candidates who, if elected, could change nothing. That is true, of course; three Socialists in the London County Council would be in a position only to state the Socialist case on every opportunity and little more. Have you thought, however, that those who support the candidates of the majority parties are also electing administrators who can do nothing to improve the position of the working class?

And, of course, there is a far more important aspect. The change to Socialism can only be brought about by a Socialist working class sending its representatives to take the powers of government, national and local, to make the all-important change in ownership. Somewhere a start has to be made. The presence of three Socialist Candidates in this election is a lengthening, slight though it may be, of the shadow over the reign of capitalism. Every fresh person who hears us and decides that he or she is with us adds substance to that shadow.

During the weeks leading up to this election, Socialists will be everywhere where they can find the opportunity to talk to you. Our speakers will be on the streets and in the halls as often as possible, and our canvassers will come to as many doors as they can—not to tout for your vote, but to talk to you about Socialism. The Socialist future is not so far away. Your understanding and wanting it will


The Catholic Church To-day (1958)

From the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Socialist attitude to religion must be clearly understood; it is, and has always been, unqualified opposition. That is not simply because all religion is mumbo-jumbo; if that were all, there would be nothing to add to the useful work of the Freethinkers in showing up the stupidity of it. The far more important reason is that religion is intensely anti-working-class. Not just the Bishops or the Thirty-Nine Articles, or any religious institution by itself, but the whole panoply of belief, ritual, salvation and miracle stands against the interests of all working people.

That is true not only of Christianity in Britain and the western world at large, but of all the world’s religions: “so many distinct and geographical insanities," Robert Owen called them. Their creeds work to keep the poor content with poverty, their teachings instil submissiveness to oppression and exploitation, their organization—usually subsidized for the purpose—aims to guard ruling interests in every country. There is no doubt, however, that of all the Christian religions the one most pernicious, most firmly staked in fear, ignorance and poverty, is the Roman  Catholic Church.
In the last few years the Catholic Church has conducted campaigns for converts with a good deal of  success in Britain and America. (At all times, it is much  more propagandist than other religions; every local church displays a big selection of pamphlets on Catholicism). Chiefly through newspaper advertising, the Church has  drawn attention to itself and increased Its membership,  and it claims today that there are more than two and three-quarter million Catholics in Britain. The trend this number represents, however, is far from what it seems.

The figure itself is misleading, in that it includes an unknown but considerable number who are Catholics in name only (nothing but formal declaration and, of  course, excommunication removes a name from the roll),  More important, however, is the leakage of another kind,  Conversion forms only a small part of the continuation of Catholic membership. The great bulk of it is by parentage: birth-control is forbidden to Catholics, and in theory the Catholic population should practically double in each generation. In practice, the Catholic reproduction rate has been falling for some time now, even in Ireland, and its biggest drop is among migrants to Britain where, for all the priestly exhortations, Catholic families are nearer the British than the Irish norm for size.

Social pressures have more weight than Papal pronouncements. The current crop of conversions is merely going some of the way towards offsetting the real losses in coming generations caused by the decline of the big families which have been the backbone of Catholicism. The durability of the conversions, too, remains to be seen. The Catholic Church guards as far as possible by having a probationary "instruction” period, but the fact remains that no campaign for religious conversion in modern times has produced enduring results worth talking about.

The social doctrines of the Catholic Church are based on its religious teachings (which in turn, of course, are based on the requirements of a propertied, hierarchic society—feudal or capitalist). The starting point is the beginning of the Catechism: “ Who made me? God made me. What is God? God is a spirit," the supernatural dictum that each of us is one part body and nine parts soul divinely infused at the moment of conception. Given that, all the rest proceeds logically. The whole structure of Catholic dogma, indeed, is quite logical: once the first bit of nonsense is accepted, the rest follows from it. That is why it is wrong to suppose that X, who is only a bit religious, is somehow more enlightened than Y, who believes it all: the bit is the part that matters.

All Catholics are required from the age of seven to attend Mass on Sundays and certain other days, to have Holy Communion regularly; to confess their sins, and to pay for the support of their priests and churches. Their children may only go—except for “grave reasons"—to Catholic schools, and they may only marry—except for “grave reasons“—other Catholics. In practice, intermarriage is generally though grudgingly permitted in southern England, where the Catholic population is relatively sparse; in the north, things are different. The non-Catholic partner in a “ mixed” marriage has to sign a promise not to prevent any Papal practice and to have the children raised as Catholics.

How are these observances enforced? Overwhelmingly through fear and ignorance. A Catholic who fails in his duties or dies with sins unconfessed goes, they say, straight to hell; and though modern Catholic theology is evasive on the point, the hell which lay Catholics are taught to fear is the old-fashioned rip-roaring pit of fire. The limitations on Catholics' reading are well known, and it is forbidden for Catholics to listen to people or go to places where they may be tempted into thinking about things. The bald lies which are told to Catholics are numerous, too; for example, that contraceptives cause insanity. The Royal Commission on Population in Britain mentioned this and said simply that the view lacked “any firm support " (Report of Royal Commission, 1948, Para. 426), but it is given as gospel to Catholic married people.,.

It should not be thought, however, that the Catholic priesthood is a crowd of foxy schemers. Most of them are as ignorant as those they preach to, and believe it all themselves. Every good Catholic family hopes for one of the boys to become a priest The majority of parish priests are working-class boys who were attending on the altar when they should have been playing tag, who went to Catholic schools where they learned the Catholic view of history and the Catholic view of science (which, put briefly, is that most science does not exist), and finished off reading devotional works in a bachelor college full of others like themselves. They are not allowed to attend theatres lest the sight of opulence discontent them, and every day between chores they have to read the Holy Office, which is enough to keep anyone occupied.

The centrepiece of Catholic worship is the Mass, the impressive ritual which must be the fascination to many of the converts, and the centrepiece of the Mass is transubstantiation, the changing of biscuit and cheap wine into the flesh and blood of Christ in which Catholics implicitly believe. Other religions (even the imitative Anglican High Church) offers this only as a symbol, but to the Catholic it is actual transformation. Pure magic: the Catholic taking Holy Communion believes literally that he swallows divine flesh and blood, and specially devout people have it daily.

The wicked go to hell, and the good to heaven. Not right away, however. Before entering the celestial fold, each must spend a time in purgatory: maybe a hundred years, maybe ten thousand, working off payment for sins forgiven, but not expiated on earth. Credits (as it were) for this may be gamed in this world. Catholics crowd into church for a bishop's visit, for example, because the bishop's first pronouncement will be an indulgence—a remission of purgatory-time—for all those present. Special prayers give indulgences with each repetition, and there is what most people would consider a racket in indulgence-selling: “Two Hundred Days' Indulgence to Each Purchaser of This Book," etc. It is possible also to help departed souls through purgatory. An average Catholic parish church has perhaps sixteen Masses a week, and each one usually is chalked up to some interested parishioners; e.g.. Mrs. O'Malley for the repose of the soul of the late Mr. O'Malley, at a non-obligatory fee of five shillings.

There is, too, the matter of saints, who figure prominently in Catholicism. (A devout Catholic home is a minor religious museum, with holy-water fonts by the doorways, crucifixes on the walls, life-sized pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and as many statues of saints as the mantelpiece will bear.) The saints are supposed to intercede with God for those they favour, and the “miracle cure" shrines at Lourdes and elsewhere represent the special beneficence of particular saints in this direction. There has been no instance yet, however, of the really miraculous, such as (the writer is perfectly serious) a one-legged man growing a new limb overnight.

What are the social effects of all this? The Catholic hierarchy has unquestioned rule over the world's Catholic population, demanding supervision of their lives from the cradle to the grave. It is hardly necessary to labour the point that there are, therefore, between two and three millions in this country, twenty-six millions in America and a still greater number spread over the world who are to a lesser or greater degree held in ignorance by inculcated fear. Similarly—and consequently—there is the same legion committed to promoting the Catholic Church's interests above all things: told how to vote, supplied with tailored judgments on all political and social matters, drilled to shape family and communal life in the moulds of the ideal Catholic civilization.

The thoughts of the Catholic worker are directed to preoccupation with the next world: to escape the terrors of hell and minimize the rigours of purgatory are to be his paramount concerns. “Which is the more important, my body or my soul? ” asks the Cathechism, and the answer can hardly be in doubt. Indeed, the famous Rerum Novarum encyclical of Leo XIII—the “Workers' Charter"—while it mildly enjoined benevolence by employers and the State, made clear that working people must submit to hardship on this earth: “To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity . . . If there are any who pretend differently—who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment—they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is—and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as we have said, for the solace to its troubles."

The politics of the Catholic Church are those of an organization incessantly seeking power. Its thesis is, par excellence, the claim of every non-governing party: that it can run property society better than any of them. It seeks to govern not democratically but absolutely, less through direct participation than through government by its votaries, and it is prepared to support any policy and make any alliance which will further its own ends; What Catholic domination means in practice can be seen simply by looking at the almost proverbial poverty and degradation of people in Ireland and Italy and the dictatorships of Spain and Portugal.

The fact is, however, that the Catholic Church will never again rule men's minds as in the past. Its present campaign is not a crusade, but a rearguard action against the progress of man: it is doubtful even if capitalism needs Catholicism when there are Sputnik and Zeta for sky-pie. Nevertheless, the Church must be recognized for what it is—the greatest of the Christian religions which, from their beginnings, have enslaved men’s minds so that property societies might continue. It has declared itself—in the encyclical already mentioned--an enemy of Socialism. More explicitly, it is an enemy of the working class.
Robert Barltrop

Socialism, Vote-Catching and the I.L.P. (1958)

From the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the Socialist Standard, March, 1958, in an article "The Same Old I.L.P.", we maintained, on the ground of the I.L.P., candidate's campaign at Kelvingrove and other current evidence, that the I.LP. is, as it has always been, a reformist organisation. In the I.LP. journal The Socialist Leader (15th March, 1958) "the political secretary of the I.L.P., Mr. Wilfred Wigham, wrote an angry denial.

What is Vote-catching?
Let us make clear what we mean by vote-catching. In essence it means the act of getting votes under false pretences. As the S.P.G.B. holds that the only solution of social problems is to revolutionise society from its present capitalist basis to a Socialist basis, and that only by the votes of Socialists can this aim be achieved, it would be blatant vote-catching if an S.P.G.B. candidate were to try to attract the votes of electors who accept capitalism and whose aim is to raise old age pensions, or introduce more nationalisation (State capitalism), or limit the horrors of war. But if a Labour Party candidate tried to attract such votes it would not be vote-catching if he genuinely believed that these reforms can be achieved, that they will be achieved by a Labour Government and that they would bring the benefits he says they will.

By the same test we really hold that the I.L.P. is not a vote-catching organisation when it seeks votes from non-Socialists and campaigns on reforms of capitalism, because its aim, as we shall show, is not Socialism. Nevertheless, the I.L.P. itself invites the charge of vote-catching when it tries to combine the two irreconcilable principles and claims, as it did at Kelvingrove, that “it will seek to convince the men and women of Kelvingrove that only by Socialism can the challenge of these stupendous times be met And it will not compromise its policy and programme to win votes ” (Socialist Leader, 1st February, 1958. (Our italics.)

The confusion arises because while the I.L.P. claims that Socialism is the only solution it really does not mean Socialism, but a reformed capitalism; and its “policy and programme*' referred to is one of reformism.

The “Socialism" of the I.L.P.
The I.L.P. claims that its aim is Socialism. It has consistently made that claim since its formation 65 years ago. But the meaning attached to the term by the LLP. is a gross misuse.

In the early days its efforts were concentrated on achieving Nationalisation or State capitalism. In the nineteen twenties it published a pamphlet under the title Socialism in Queensland. In 1932 its National Council passed a resolution describing Russia and the Russian Government as “Socialist," and affirming that “the fate of the workers is bound up with the maintenance of Russia’s freedom to pursue her Socialist development unhindered by capitalist attacks" (New Leader, 22nd April, 1932). In its issue, dated 12th February, 1932. the following declaration was made:—
"In Soviet Russia Socialism is not the music of the future. It is a reality of the present.

"During the past year the Soviet Union has completed the construction of the foundation of Socialism. By the end of the Second Five Year Plan it will have completed the construction of the Socialist Society."
In 1935 it fought the municipal elections on a reformist programme, one item of which was: "Socialised Local Services": “Abolition of restrictions on the development of public services (in conjunction, where possible, with Cooperative Societies) of bread, milk and coal. Workers control in every service” (New Leader, 25th October, 1935).

In 1954 the National Council of the I.L.P. passed a resolution calling for unity of “Socialists" and “Socialist organisations” to include the “well-meaning Socialists who are members of the political section of the Labour Party” and giving as evidence of the “Socialist” character of the latter the resolutions they moved at Labour Party Conferences (which were in fact, as we showed, resolutions solely for reforms of capitalism, including in particular nationalisation or State capitalism. See Socialist Standard, March 1954).

We ask the I.L.P. “Is Nationalisation Socialism? Was Queensland Socialist? Was Russia Socialist in 1932? Were the Local Labour Parties and their resolutions Socialist in 1954? ” The Socialist answer is “emphatically NO! ” but the I.L.P. believes that the answer is “yes.”

The I.L.P. and the Reform of Capitalism.
If the I.L.P.’s alleged adherence to Socialism is a gross misuse of the word, its attitude on the reform of capitalism is equally two-faced. On the one hand it lets it be thought that it agrees with the late James Maxton's admission (New Leader, 15th August, 1930) that reformism is futile because before the reforms gained “have been fully operative such advantages as they seemed on a superficial examination to offer were eaten up by the development of new evils or by a further extension of old ones” yet it has always devoted its efforts to securing reforms. Hence, for example, the long list of reforms on which the I.L.P. fought the Municipal Elections in 1935, including "Free baths for the unemployed,” a minimum of 20s. unemployed pay, abolition of large classes in schools, and "Freedom to hold meetings outside Labour Exchanges."

Hence also the Socialist Leader's anger at the charge made by the Labour Candidate at Kelvingrove that she was the only candidate who was opposed to the Rent Act. The editor says this was a lie, and affirms that the I.L.P. Candidate "made it clear from the beginning of the campaign that he opposed the Rent Act in all its clauses.” (Socialist Leader, 15th March, 1958.) Naturally, in conformity with the I.LP.’s reformist policy, their candidate considered that he had been fraudulently deprived of the votes of anti-Rent Act voters and that their votes ought fairly to have gone to him and not to the candidate of the Labour Party, which, he alleged "does not intend to repeal the Act if and when it is returned to power.”

And did the LLP. candidate inform the electors, as he would have done if fighting as a Socialist, that under Socialism there could be no Rent Control because there will be no rents? If not, why not?

The other main issue at Kelvingrove was the H Bomb. If the LLP. candidate had been a Socialist he would have concentrated on showing that capitalism is the cause of war and that Socialism is the only way to eliminate armaments and war from the world. Instead, he made the abolition of the H Bomb the centre of his campaign. Again, it was quite in keeping with the I.L.P.'s reformism that while nominally committed to opposing all war and all armaments the issue of the Socialist Leader for 1st March, 1958, contained an invitation to three opponents of the H Bomb who are also opponents of Socialism and present or recent supporters of war (Bertrand Russell, A. J. P. Taylor and J. B. Priestley), to go to Kelvingrove and speak on the I.L.P. candidate's platform!

Mr. Wigham’s Defence of the I.LP.
In his article in the Socialist Leader (15th March, 1958), Mr. Wigham tries to confuse the issue with a number of silly innuendoes about the S.P.G.B., in the usual dishonest form adopted by the controversialist without a case. He writes: "The S.P.G.B. . . . may advocate that Britain should continue to spend more than a thousand million pounds a year on armaments and the armed forces . . . it may advocate Britain's continued share in the cumulative production of radio-active dust from H Bomb tests . . . Or the S.P.G.B. may think those issues unimportant"; and again, "Is the S.P.G.B. in favour of Britain continuing to manufacture the H Bomb. Or is it afraid to declare itself either way?” Then, with a pathetic show of phoney indignation, "I challenge the Socialist Standard to answer.”

Of course, Mr. Wigham is being completely dishonest. He knows quite well that the SP.G.B. is not, and never has been, in favour of capitalism or capitalism's war-making or its H Bombs, or any of its armaments: unlike the I.L.P. M.P's. who did not vote against war supplies in the 1914-1918 war and the 1924 Labour Government, declared by the I.L.P. to be "To an overwhelming extent an I.L.P. Government," which carried out a programme of naval re-armament. The I.L.P. has now changed its line on that issue and pretends to think that the S.P.G.B. has abandoned its opposition to war.

How dishonest Mr. Wigham's questions are can be seen from the attitude he adopts elsewhere towards the S.P.G.B. Repeatedly (and as recently as last year) the I.L.P. has begged the S.P.GB. to unite with the I.LP. for the purpose, among others, of opposing war: now he pretends not to know the S.P.G.B.’s attitude to capitalism and war!

Continuing his pretended desire for the S.P.G.B. to declare its attitude (as if he didn't know), he asks if the SP.G.B. is “in favour of the continued use of British airfields by American bombing planes and the prospective use of British Land for NATO missile bases?"

By this piece of slickness Mr. Wigham slides away from the issue of the fatuousness of I.L.P. pleas to the British capitalist class to at once disband the armed forces, and the LLP. resolution to "deny” British bases to all other countries. He did not tell his readers what we wrote about this, in particular our question, “How do unarmed civilians deny bases to the armies occupying them? ”, and our example of the Hungarian workers who tried to turn Russian capitalism out of Hungarian bases.

By implication, however, he admits our case on the issue of disbanding the armed forces, for he now writes: “We do not think it likely that capitalist Britain will disarm.” But he goes on to justify the formulation of such demands on the plea that it is an attempt "to show up, in the eyes of the workers, militaristic, predatory Capitalist Imperialism for what it is.”

On the same propaganda plea of asking the capitalist class to do something you know they won't do, why not just ask them to introduce Socialism? And while we are on the subject, is the I.LP's, plea to capitalism to disband its armed forces at once, also directed to capitalist Russia? or is Russia still, in the view of the I.LP., the “Socialist” Society they said it was in 1932?

Keir Hardie and Maxton.
Mr. Wigham puts up another Aunt Sally in order not to deal with the point we raised about the futility of Keir Hardie's and Maxton's reformism. He says he was not surprised at us “dragging in the usual S.P.G.B. criticism of I.LP. industrial ‘reformism'—in fact, I.LP. identification with the day to day struggles of the workers. And, sure enough, it does so instancing James Keir Hardie and James Maxton as suitable forerunners of the I.L.P.” Since it was Mr. Wigham who claimed that the present I.L.P. is “the party of Keir Hardie and James Maxton,” he has no ground on which to object to us following up his lead and dealing with them. But why does Mr. Wigham not fell his readers what we wrote about those two? His readers, on the basis of what Mr. Wigham writes, will be astonished to learn that the one issue about which we said nothing at all was the struggles of the workers on the industrial field. What we did write, and which Mr. Wigham pretends was a reference to industrial action for higher wages was a bill introduced into Parliament by Maxton in 1930 for the setting up of a Government Committee to fix a minimum “living wage," after taking into account the “replacement and extension of capital ”

One I.L.P. M.P. disclaimed any intention of excluding employers from the committee which was to fix the workers' minimum wage. Another gave an assurance that the wage would not include enough for children— they were to be separately provided for. This was to meet the views of an anti-Socialist M.P. who did not want people without children to get more than their due. The I.L.P. Prime Minister would not give government backing for the Bill.

This was not industrial action, but an I.L.P. political sell-out

The I.L.P. in favour of Profit and Rent.
Mr. Wigham challenges us to say whether the S.P.G.B. is “against raising wages and reducing profits and rents: is it against a living wage for all workers? ” If Mr. Wigham were a Socialist he would know that the S.P.G.B., being Socialist, is not in favour of wages, profits and rents, but is in favour of Socialism, which involves the abolition of the wages system, and the abolition of property incomes, including all profits and rents (not, as Mr. Wigham says he is, in favour of reduced profits and rents).

On the issue of workers' action (strikes) on the industrial field, every government administering capitalism opposes strikes for higher wages, necessarily so because unless the State places a ceiling on strike demands, capitalism, depending as it does on profit, becomes unworkable. The S.P.G.B. is in favour of the workers using every effort on the industrial field to press for higher wages and to resist reductions. It is also in favour of telling the workers the truth about the limitations that capitalism places on this action and the necessity of abolishing capitalism (and with it the wages system). The S.P.G.B. also attacks the reformist I.L.P. belief that having capitalism with minimum wage legislation (as in Australia) alters the situation. In particular it reminds the workers that an I.L.P. government, saddled with the responsibility of running capitalism, behaves like any other government in opposing strikes. It was the 1924 I.L.P. dominated government which made preparations to use emergency powers against strikers on the underground railways (Daily Herald, 1st April, 1924.)

Before we leave Mr. Wigham’s reference to Keir Hardie we note that he makes no comment on Hardie's advocacy of coal nationalisation for the sake of fuelling fire Navy. Does this, too, fit into the I.L.P. conception of Socialism?

Abstract Theory and Real life.
Mr. Wigham concludes with a jibe at the alleged “abstract reasoning" of the S.P.G.B., contrasted with the I.L.P., which, he says, “continues to base its political activities on real life," and which knows "something about history."

We are not averse to accepting the term “abstract reasoning" as a description of the need for workers to study capitalism and the history of reformism in order to understand the futility of trying to reform capitalism into something different.

And we are content to leave to the reformist I.L.P., in the Keir Hardie-Maxton tradition, the task of ignoring Socialism and concentrating on the "real life" activity of a reformist organisation, of pursuing the winning of votes and members on a programme of reforms.
Editorial Committee.

50 Years Ago: Rival Paradises (1958)

The 50 Years Ago column from the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

Rival Paradises (From the Socialist Standard, April, 1908), General Booth says: “The Socialists want to make the world a paradise without having a paradise people." Is the General fearful of the competition of a paradise here below with his problematic paradise to come? Or does he expect hell to breed angels?

The Socialist knows that a paradise people could only be born of paradise conditions; but Christians expect figs to grow on thistles.

And does not this reveal a fundamental cleavage between Socialism and Christianity? The Christian looks on man as the creator of his circumstances; the Socialist looks on man as the product without, of course, ignoring the reflex action of past environment through the. individual.

The environment is almost all-powerful, and the secret of the promise of man’s future mastery lies in his growing knowledge of the laws of material development and his consequent greater adaptability to those laws. 

To the Christian, evolution is man-made; to the Socialist, evolution has made man.

Well does the General serve his masters by directing the gaze of the poor from the material conditions to mansions in the sky; but his chief merit must be, in the eyes of the masters, to have organized the greatest "free labour" association in existence.

Notes by the Way: £3 10s. 5½d. a week (1958)

The Notes by the Way Column from the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

£3 10s. 5½d. a week

Miss Schulz, of the Oxford Institute of Statistics, worked out that it would be possible to feed a family of five on £3 10s. 5½d. a week on a diet corresponding to the pre-war “Rowntree” diet which in 1936 cost 21s. 7d. Readers of newspapers who heard about it were for the most part very indignant and blamed Miss Schulz.

Miss Schulz, like the late Seebohn Rowntree, was dealing with the cost of a “minimum" diet for a “working class” family.

The angry critics should be aiming at a larger target. They should be asking themselves what justification there is for a system of society which accepts the double standard of "working class" as distinct from human beings, and which concerns itself with calculating a minimum diet at a time when half the world is slipping into depression because it cannot sell its excess supplies of foodstuffs. They should ask why there should be people who can afford only £3 10s. 5½d. (or less) while other people can toss this away on a little dinner party for two or three.

Donald's Good Man Goes Wrong

From time to time the long-suffering workers have to put up with a special brand of confusion spreaders, the "progressive" clergy. One of them is the Reverend Donald Soper, idol of non-conformity, supporter of the Labour Party, regular contributor to the Tribune, self-styled Socialist and professed pacifist. His idea of Socialism is State capitalism. Hence, for example, his declared objective of “the preservation and extension of the Welfare State, so that those who are unavoidably out of work, will still belong to the community and will not be left to rot in the 'freedom and flexibility' of idleness" (Tribune, 7th March, 1958).

He spends much of his time criticising the aims and activities of his own party and clearly sees no inconsistency in supporting the war-making, capitalism supporting Labour Party while preaching pacifism and, in words, denouncing capitalism and supporting Socialism.

In line with his professional preoccupation with "sin" one of his contributions to confusion is to see the different capitalist national groups in terms of good and bad men. He evidently sees the “older and fatter" bandits of capitalism as “bad” and the up and coming, but as yet leaner bandits as “good.” It was inevitable therefore that his heart should go out to dictator Nasser and the other representatives of the exploiting class in Egypt. When the British and French governments started war over Suez he addressed a protest meeting at Caxton Hall (14th August 1956). He claimed to speak as a Socialist and pacifist and progressive Christian. But instead of putting the Socialist case against capitalism as the cause of war and as an exploiting system, all he could do was to condemn the aggressor capitalist groups and praise the defending capitalist group. Instead of calling on the workers to oppose capitalism (and its wars) he called for encouragement of the Egyptian capitalist figure-head, Nasser.
“I wanted to say in the name of Christianity that this Nasser ought to be encouraged and not be repressed, because I believe the root of the matter in him is good, and because it is good it is our business to evoke it by corresponding good and not to repress it by threats of violence."
But those who take sides between “good” and "bad” representatives of capitalism are asking for trouble. Just lately the good Colonel has been putting the imperialist squeeze on Sudan. Here was a chance for Soper to make an indignant protest. But we looked in Tribune in vain. Instead of loud protests there was a deafening silence.

Tribune had been rallying round Bourguiba of Tunisia, another “good" man, under attack from the “bad” French. Now Bourguiba threatens to break off diplomatic relations with Nasser, because, so he alleges, Nasser’s government has been conniving at a plot to assassinate him (Manchester Guardian, 7th March, 1958).

Apart from praying, what is Soper going to do about it?

Blood is not as thick as oil

While we are on the subject of assassination plots we should not overlook the fact that Nasser is said to be on the receiving end as well as being an instigator, for the Syrian partners in the newly united Egypt-Syria claim to have evidence that Saudi Arabia’s ruler paid £2 million to have Nasser bumped off (or was it only £1 million?). This should be a lesson to those who, rejecting the Socialist explanation of international groupings and rivalries, interpreted the evolution of Middle-East capitalism in terms of the blood bond and Moslem faith of Arab peoples. We now have Egypt and Syria facing Iraq and Jordan, with Saudi Arabia maintaining hostile aloofness. Oil and pipe-lines are the key to the situation, not race and religion or a supposed common hostility to imperialism.

The centre of interest is now moving westwards along the North African coast owing to the first developments of reportedly enormous quantities of oil under the French Sahara; with the Algerian armed rebels standing across the outlets to the Mediterranean. That is what keeps a French army of hundreds of thousands desperately trying to make the oil safe for French capitalism and for the British and other oil interests that have a hand in it.

Attitudes to the H-Bomb

As the gradations of opposition, half-opposition, half support and full support to the H bomb come to expression in the multiplicity of new organisations and declarations, it becomes a major task to know where they all stand. At one end there are the ”rely on the H bomb” lunatics; then the make but don't use or test, the make but don't test, the test, but don't use, the have but not in American planes, the keep but suspend work on, the do this now and the do it after Summit talks, the rely on good old conventional weapons, etc., etc.

The arguments between them are particularly sterile because of the tacit acceptance by all the contestants of the capitalist system of society. They can all knock the other man’s case to pieces, but none of them put up a Socialist alternative. Mr. J. B. Priestley is a case in point. In an article “H-Bomb Hotchpotch ” in the Daily Herald (5th March, 1958) he makes mincemeat of his opponents, but comes down to this in the end:—
“If this country walked out of the nuclear arms race and declared that it would defend itself if necessary with anything a man could lay his hands on, from shot-guns to bombs made out of corned beef tins, it would be a safer place than it is to-day; and certainly safer than Mr. Sandys and friends—who are gambling everything on the belief that nothing can happen . —can make it to-morrow."
Brave words, but it is a safe bet that if it happened, Mr. Priestley would be calling on us to die gloriously with our shot-guns against all the modern armoury of weapons (and probably denouncing the government of the day for not having provided better armaments) with never a thought that war because of capitalism is just as senseless whatever the arms and whichever capitalist group came out victorious.

If Priestley were a Socialist, adding his voice to the international Socialist stand against capitalism everywhere, in opposition to every capitalist government and party, he would be doing something really useful on behalf of humanity.

Labour Government and Strikes

Workers who support the Labour Party and have expectations that the next Labour Government will be different from the last should take note of the speech by Mr. Alfred Robens, who is tipped off to be their Minister of Labour. The following report appeared in the Daily Herald (21st February, 1958):—
"Originally, when private ownership of industry was widespread, a strike was intended to damage the profitability of a company and the private pocket of the owner.

“But times have changed.” Mr. Robens told a London meeting of the Industrial Co-partnership Association.

“We have moved into a managerial society in which shareholders are quite remote from actual management.

“Therefore the strike today does not affect the individuals who are managing in the way which it may have affected those individuals 50 years ago. The managing director’s salary goes on as before.”

"But it did hold up orders and caused people to be chary of investing in an industry with a black record of stoppages.

“The result is that the strike has a long-term boomerang effect of holding up investment in an industry, and so not enabling it to become more modern and reducing its profitability,” added Mr. Robens.

“It. disturbs the confidence of the customer, and it can have nothing but a harmful effect not only on the company, but on all those employed by it.”

Capitalist Culture comes to Florida

In the Manchester Guardian (1st March, 1958) Mr. Alistair Cooke told the sad story of American “progress.” 
"Until the great prosperity came along many of the smaller keys were ravishing; quiet tropical refuges of hardwood and limes and wild flowers and herons, brief reminders of the natural luxury that limestone and warm winds can breed in the middle of an aquamarine ocean. But the "developers” have been here as everywhere, and here, too—on the once lovely Marathon Key, for example—suburban Los Angeles seems to set the universal pattern : trailer camps, hot-dog stands, Joe’s Miracle Bargains in second-hand cars flaunting their strings of bulbs against the indigo night sky.

The harbour at Key West is much the same, and a town that once looked like the perfect setting for a romance by Tennessee Williams or a small domestic tragedy by William March is now the garish frowzy camp of souvenir pedlars and chrome motels and neon-lit saloons. Sometimes the sky darkens over and God pours out a deluge of punishing rain. The streets swirl and the sewers gurgle for a while in running floods. Then, after lunch, the sky is cloudless again. It is 80 degrees, and either by sea or sky the horizon is the gate of Paradise. But the aeroplane coach service and the real estate men together have converted one of the last and beautiful relics of the Spanish Empire into a Coney Island. There is no hiding place down here.”
Edgar Hardcastle

Politics in Canada (1958)

From the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation
We have often been reproached because we criticise the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. It is even said that we spend more time criticising the C.C.F. than we spend on all other groups combined. There may be some truth in this, but it must be pointed out that any group that professes, as the C.C.F. sometimes does, to stand for the same thing we stand for, is bound to find itself the object of more than ordinary attention  from us. After all, if the aim of the C.C.F. is the same as ours, why are we in the field as a separate organization, or, more appropriately, why did the original C.C.F. membership form a separate political organization when the Socialist Party was already in the field? These are questions that cannot be directed towards the Liberals and Conservatives. They are quite happy about capitalism and they don’t mind telling people about it.

The C.C.F., like the Social Credit movement, had its origin during the Hungry Thirties. The statement of its views was adopted at a gathering in Regina in 1933, which afterwards became known as the Regina Manifesto. This manifesto was highly regarded in C.C.F. circles for many years, being described frequently by one prominent C.C.F. member, the late John Queen, as a historical document. It is now almost forgotten, having been replaced by a new document identified as the Winnipeg Declaration of Principles. This declaration was said by many of the C.C.Fs. opponents to have scrapped the Party’s adherence to Socialism. In reality, it scrapped or partly scrapped what some C.C.F. members thought was Socialism, an act that brought some relief and some indignation amongst different groups within the Party—but no exodus towards the Socialist Party. The C.C.F. could not adhere to something it never understood and it could not scrap something it never accepted. C.C.F. ideas have always, even in the Regina Manifesto, been linked with those of the Social Democratic Parties of Europe, particularly the British Labour Party. The British Labour Party was formed in 1906. One of its founders and first leader was Keir Haidie, who expressed himself as bang favourable to Labourism, not Socialism. The second Labour Party leader was Ramsay MacDonald, who was prime minister of two Labour governments and completed his political career as prime minister of a national government made up mainly of Conservatives. The third Labour Party leader was Clement Attlee, who was prime minister of the post-war Labour government and who retired not long ago from active politics to become a peer of the British realm, a status so elevating that on his visit to Canada a year ago he avoided questions on political subjects and declared to press reporters that he was a statesman, not a politician. The C.C.F. has never been critical of this sort of thing. It evidently sees nothing in this to be critical about.

Like the British Labour Party, the C.C.F. has never advocated Socialism. It has sponsored and supported numerous schemes for public or government ownership and it has at times referred to these collectively as Socialism and individually as steps towards Socialism. To the C.C.F. the city-owned Winnipeg Hydro, the government-owned Canadian National Railways and all such concerns are Socialist in character. If there are certain evils attached to these establishments, that is because of Liberal or Conservative administration. Under C.C.F. administration they would lose these evils. This, of course, is foolishness, but it is the kind of thing the C.CJ7. has been putting forward for many years under the heading of advanced and responsible politics. Perhaps the acme of foolishness was reached recently when some of its official representatives declared that the pressing need of today was for the government ownership of the natural gas pipe line that is at present stretching in all directions from Alberta. That this is not a pressing need at all is something the C.C.F. will probably never find out

So much for the larger aims of the C.C.F. It gains much of its support, indeed, most of its support, not because it advocates government ownership. This just serves to give it a serious and learned appearance, so providing a credible base for other things, and it is these other things that are the main attraction to the average C.C.F. supporter. High wages, low prices (except to farmers), larger pensions and unemployment benefits, low taxes (except to “big shots”)—in brief, legislation to improve (or convey the impression that they will improve) the living conditions of the “common man.” These things usually come under the heading of reforms, and reforms are the main stock in trade of the C.C.F.

A vast amount of sincerity rests behind most of the activities of the C.C.F. But sometimes one feels that this term can only be used with the greatest charity. More than 23 years ago a convention of the C.C.F. was held in Winnipeg and a resolution was brought before the delegates calling for old age pensions of $40 a month. This resolution created a lot of discussion, but hardly any of it concerned itself about the needs of the old people. Mostly it centred around the response the $40 proposal would receive from the electorate. To some, it was pointed out, this figure would seem sufficient; to others, it might seem miserly; while a third group might regard it as extravagant. The C.C.F. hoped to gain support from all sections of the people, so it was desirable to frame the resolution in such a way that it would have wide appeal. The delegates saw the logic of this position and the amended resolution dropped the $40 proposal and called instead for an adequate pension. Over the years since this time the word “adequate” has relieved the C.C.F. of many a potentially embarrassing situation.

It might also be mentioned in passing that the $40 pension which the CC.F. found too hot to handle in 1934 has been in effect now for many years, introduced by a Liberal government The Liberals also increased the amount not long ago by $6, and the Conservatives more recently have increased it by an additional $9.

Time and circumstance very often nullify the effects of reform. Capitalism has a bad habit of throwing up new evils or new twists to old evils, and it can manage to do this with as much rapidity as the reformers can cope with. No sooner is a patch applied here than the need arises for a patch elsewhere, and while this is being attended to the old patch breaks out again. And while reformers often point with pride to the reforms they have enacted or helped to enact, they are less frequent in pointing with pride to the wholesome, healthy and happy living conditions of those who have benefited by these reforms. It is doubtful if a reformer can be found anywhere so foolhardy as to declare that the country with the greatest number of reforms is the country with the highest standard of living.

A great deal more could be said about the C.C.F., its policies and activities, but space will hardly permit. It must be added, however, that there is no good reason for the existence of the C.C.F. Its existence is actually harmful to the best interests of the workers, for it spreads wrong ideas about Socialism and helps to preserve the belief that the present system can be improved in such a way as to make life really worth while for the mass of people.

The Communist Party
Of the various other groups that seek the support of the Canadian electorate it is possible here to comment only, and briefly, on the Communist Party. This organization has been clamouring for the support of the workers ever since the early 1920s. It has existed under various names: the Workers' Party, the Communist Party, the Workers Unity League, the Labour-Progressive Party (its present name) and others. At election times it sometimes refers to itself as the Labour Election Committee. The reason for all this is partly to fool the authorities (who have sometimes been troublesome) and partly to fool the workers. That it has succeeded at any time in fooling the authorities is doubtful; but it has had some success in fooling workers.

The Communist Party has always claimed to represent the workers, but it has never at any time concerned itself about the interests of the workers. It began as a section of the so-called Third or Communist International, which was organized and controlled by the Russian government, and it has at all times since then been completely subservient to that government. Whatever ideas and policies have been considered to be in line with the interests of Russia's rulers at any given time, these have been the ideas and policies of the Communist Party. There has never been a time when the C.P. has opposed a position taken by the Russian 'government, even when, as has frequently occurred, that position has been at variance with the interests of the workers. To show the unwholesome nature of this party one needs only to note that Stalin, who is so roundly condemned today, was worshipped and fawned upon by Communists during all the years he was dictator of Russia, praised in the most revolting way even in the midst of his greatest villainies, and is criticised today only because he is criticised by the Russian government

The record of the C.P. is almost unbelievable in a group professing to represent the working class. During its earlier years it sought to control movements of workers and tried to destroy those it could not control. For many years it carried on mudslinging campaigns and violent attacks against other groups. On various occasions it sponsored strike breaking activities. And during the second world war it supported both sides at different times, in line with Moscow's changing fortunes. At no time has it taken an independent working class stand on any issue. At all times it has been an enemy of the workers.

The Socialist Party
The Socialist Party of Canada is different from the parties named above in various ways, but it is different in one very important respect: it advocates Socialism. This is something none of the others do or have ever done. Often have spokesmen for the C.C.F. complained about “old line" parties (Liberal and Conservative) stealing planks from their platform. It would be impossible to imagine a Socialist complaining about any part of the Socialist platform being stolen. We have only one plank; it is not necessary for anyone to steal it; we urge everyone to accept it. It calls for the establishment of a system of society in which the means of life will be owned, controlled and operated by and for the whole of the members of society. This plank forms the objective of the S.P.C. It is the one tiling we ask people to accept and support, and we ask people to support it because it is the one thing that can bring about an effective treatment to the major problems of today. Poverty, wars, depressions, all the evils that loom large in the lives of people, have a common origin in the nature of existing society. They can be ended only with the ending of capitalism. The Socialists have been carrying this message to the workers continuously over the years. Today, at what may be the closing of another of capitalism's booms, with the world standing on the brink either of war or depression, the message becomes more urgent. How much longer will the workers disregard it and continue to place their trust in the system that is bringing them ever closer to destruction?
Jim Milne
(Socialist Party of Canada.)


Letter: Truths and Facts (1958)

Letter to the Editors from the April 1958 issue of the 
Socialist Standard

Truths and Facts

If the writer of the article “Get it Straight in 1958” did not imply what I stated in my letter, would the Editorial Committee please explain to me the purpose of the writer using a geometrical proposition in his article at all, as I cannot see any sense of the writer stating a self-evident geometrical truth in his article, which no one would care to challenge, if it were not related to the whole essence of his argument. For he writes quite clearly, this: “Everyone knows the shortest distance between two points is a straight line: a simple, unanswerable, self-evident proposition. Who, then, could fail to think and act on it? Now this statement would be meaningless if it were not related to the cardinal point in the writer's argument, as I claimed it was. And this point was the analogy between a geometrical truth, and an historical fact. For in relation to the given geometrical proposition he adds this: “Well in the manner of getting Socialism almost everybody acted otherwise." I take the statement to mean, that the intention of the writer was to make crystal clear the stupidity of people who don't fail to accept and act upon the stated geometrical proposition, but fail to accept and act upon the stated historical proposition of a straight line to Socialism. However, if the cardinal point of the writer was that of dealing with people who already accepted the essence of the Socialist idea, but thought that the reformist way would lead to Socialism, I would certainly not have challenged the article, nor, I'm sure, would have the writer brought forward, a geometrical proposition into his article just for to let us know about this simple truth. I claim that the geometrical proposition was related to the essence of his argument, from the simple fact that he begins his article by stating this proposition, and also ends his article by stating it. The Editorial Committee claim that it was pointless for me to state that the passions and actions of men in history has nothing in common with the abstract truths of mathematics, and they would have been to some extent correct in saying this, if my statement had not been related to the writer of the article who made this false analogy. Therefore, my point is this: What is true and clear in the realm of thought is only abstract truths, and that these truths have in general nothing to do with history, for the simple reason being that history is not moved by them. If it were, there would be no history. The facts of history are the passions of men in action, had it been otherwise there would have been no problems to solve in history.
R. Smith (Dundee).

Our correspondent, in his first letter (March, Socialist Standard) criticised the article on the assumption that it had been directed to the position of non-Socialists. We pointed out that this was not so. Our correspondent returns to this point and we repeat that he is mistaken. The evidence is to be found in the article itself. In the first paragraph was the key reference, which was to “the matter of getting Socialism.” It should be obvious that non-Socialists could not be concerned with the method of achieving Socialism. But that was not all. The article went on to specify the people with which it was concerned, i.e., “men and women who had the Socialist idea"; and again, “They really did aim at Socialism.” Consequently, all of our correspondent's remarks, based on his wrong assumption, are irrelevant.

As regards history being the outcome of men's passions and actions we would point out that those who “had the Socialist idea” and who rejected the direct road to Socialism did not do so because of their own “passions.” but because they thought about the matter and decided in favour of the roundabout reformist way because of their view about the political ignorance of the mass of the workers.

The point that is important, and that the article dealt with, was whether they were right or wrong in thinking that progress to Socialism could be made that way. We contend that experience has shown them to be wrong, thus confirming the view of the S.P.G.B. at the time.
Editorial Committee.

Letter: Has the S.P.G.B. a Policy? (1958)

Letter to the Editors from the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

Has the S.P.G.B. a Policy?

“Dear Sir,

If you have a constructive policy, and presumably you have one, it does not seem to come through in your columns; at least, I have not been able to find.

“You are excellent at attacking the other parties. In fact, your whole paper seems to me to be largely destructive.

‘‘If you have a policy I should very much like to know what it is. 1 regret I have been unable to find it

“I am not interested in mere platitudes. What are your constructive proposals for Britain and how are you going to put them into effect when you are in power?
Yours truly,
K. Hoyle.

This complaint is one we often hear, and one with which we have every sympathy. But it simply is not true that our correspondent and others like him do not know what our “constructive proposals" are. They read our Declaration of Principles, which briefly states our objective —a Socialist system of society—and read, for example, the opening chapter of the pamphlet, “Questions of the Day,” a chapter headed “What Socialism Is,” but they just do not believe us when we say that this is our objective and our only objective. They are the victims of the “double talk” that has become the accepted propaganda of the Labour Party and similar bodies. The Labour Party has a double line of talk—on the one hand it says that its aim is Socialism, though it never defines it; on the other hand it has a set of ever-changing proposals that are claimed to be constructive, but which all boil down to trying to devise ways of enabling this country so to administer capitalism as to be able to survive in a capitalist world. Necessarily the main items in the proposals of any party aiming to do this consist of trying to capture markets for British goods and to gain and hold sources of materials (oil is one that at present holds a prominent place), and at the same time to achieve military security in a world that is driven to conflict and war by that same search for markets, etc.

When therefore readers ask us what are our “constructive” proposals for Britain, what they really want us to do is to say in what respect our proposals in these capitalist, economic and military fields differ from the Labour Party’s. To which our reply is that we have none. We are Socialists and our aim is world Socialism, not the futile and suicidal search for ways of making capitalism work to the benefit of Britain. Our only constructive proposal is Socialism; a new and different social system for the people of the world. The method of putting this aim into effect is that a Socialist majority must gain control of the machinery of government for the purpose of refashioning the social system. It is a quite simple aim though hard to achieve. One of the greatest difficulties we have is with people like our correspondent, who do not believe that the aim of Socialists is to achieve Socialism— though what other aim should Socialists have? The proposition is, however, so staggering to non-Socialists. including the membership of the Labour Party, that they cannot easily bring themselves to consider it.
Editorial Committee.

Pioneers of Science (1958)

From the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard
Wherever Galileo turned his telescope new stars appeared. The Milky Way, which had so puzzled the ancients, was found to be composed of stars. Stars that appeared single to the eye were some of them found to be double; and at intervals were found hazy nebulous wisps, some of which seemed to be star clusters, while others seemed only a fleecy cloud.

Now we come to his most sensational discovery. Examining Jupiter minutely on January 7th, 1610, he noticed three tittle stars near it. . . Jupiter had moons like the earth.

News of the discovery soon spread and excited the greatest interest and astonishment. Many, of course, refused to believe it. Some there were who, having been shown them, refused to believe their eyes, and asserted that, although the telescope acted well enough for terrestrial objects, it was altogether false and illusory when applied to the heavens. Others took the safer ground of refusing to look through the glass. One of those who would not look at the satellites happened to die soon afterwards.

“I hope," says Galileo, "that he saw them on his way to heaven.”
Pioneers of Science: Oliver Lodge (Macmillan, 1928).

We measure our needs by society (1958)

From the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard
"A noticeable increase of wages presupposes a rapid growth of productive capital. The rapid growth of productive capital brings about an equally rapid growth of wealth, luxury, social needs, social enjoyment.

Thus, although the enjoyments of the worker have risen, the social satisfaction they give has fallen in comparison with the increased enjoyments of the capitalists, which are inaccessible to the worker, in comparison with the state of development of society in general.

Our needs and enjoyment spring from society, we measure them, therefore by society and NOT by the objects of their satisfaction.

Because they are of a social nature, they are of a relative nature.

Intolerance in Malta (1958)

From the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard

While the Chinese are in process of adopting a Latin alphabet, it is interesting, if not heartbreaking, to note how slow is the progress in the backwaters of civilisation. A recent article in the Times discloses that in Malta only Roman Catholics are permitted to have religious processions; other religions may practise but not demonstrate. “Vilification of the Roman Catholic religion may be punished by up to six months' imprisonment, but for vilification of other religions by up to only three months' imprisonment. One is led to wonder if there is any punishment for the vilification of atheism, Which some mental perverts hold to be a form of religion. Still, progress cannot be held back, and one of these days there will be Socialists even in Malta.
R. M.

SPGB Meetings (1958)

Party News from the April 1958 issue of the Socialist Standard