The Western Socialist
Vol. 27 - No. 214
No. 3, 1960
Canada's chief reform party, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, is still in there pitching for the winning team. Whenever a battle shapes up between two aggregates of capital within the national borders, the CCF is ready and willing to enter the fray on the side of the biggest and the best. And because as is so often the case, the best exploiters are the biggest and the biggest the best, to assert one is to assume the other. But the CCF is also on the side of the most.
We are reminded of all this again by British Columbia CCF leader Robert Strachan in the legislature on Feb. 2, 1960. In speaking of the Wen-Gren Peace River electrical power project he said it will be "nothing more than another Trans-Canada pipeline deal, a promotional scheme from which a few select individuals will make millions, tax-free in stock deals and the consumer will foot the bills."
The fact that it is the workers who "foot the bill" in the final analysis, since they produce all of the wealth, doesn't seem to interest Mr. Strachan. What concerns this champion of the downtrodden is the robbery of a gang of outside investors by a few promoters who were on the "inside," by increasing the price of their stock at the expense of stock contributed by the "public." Such was the case with Trans-Canada Pipeline. As Mr. M. J. Coldwell put it
"One investor, an insider in the company ... had purchased 155,000 shares at five cents each while the same stock was being offered to the public at $5.00 per share. These (shares) cost him about $7,700 and for that he acquired an equity of over $4,000,000...a fantastic and amazing figure." Daily Colonist, Dec. 7, 1957.
The CCF apparently thinks there ought to be honor among thieves. The legal expropriation of the wealth produced by the workers does not upset these "socialists" but the fact that members of the useless section of society perpetrate bunco games on one another is shocking.
And to illustrate further that the CCF concept of a sane society can only lead to better things for the greatest number of the bourgeoisie, we need only follow their leader further in the legislature, when he says :
"...The duty of this party is to make clear what action it will take if it assumes the government — especially in order to be fair to prospective investors in the private development of the Peace." (Victoria Daily Times. Feb. 1, 1960.)
In other words, Mr. Strachan warns private investors that they should look for more lucrative fields now rather than risk their capital in a utility firm which might subsequently lose its rights to operate privately. The yen of CCF legislative members to protect private investors is so great that they are willing, to see a few "suffer" in the interests of the many.
According to the CCF's British Columbia leader, the president of the private hydro company declared the project to be a "gold mine." And the CCF's Randolf Harding, in the same session of the legislature stated : "We want that gold mine for ourselves and we want to pay dividends to all the citizens of the province." In a sense, of course, all businesses whether public or private are gold mines — the workers get mined. But who are the citizens of the province who are to receive the dividends ? In case you haven't guessed, Mr. Harding tells us in the same session, same day : "Private enterprise needs cheap public power to develop and attract industry." (Daily Colonist, Feb. 11, 1960.)
In this respect the CCF doesn't differ from the "old-line" parties which favor private enterprise and government enterprise, too, whichever happens to be better for the profit-making propensities of the majority of the parasites. As far as the present squabble over private versus state hydro development is concerned, the Tory government in Ottawa is in favor of the government development of the Columbia River, in conjunction with the United States, as the cheapest source of electrical power for the capitalists of British Columbia. The state, as ever, works for those who OWN, not for the producers.
INTEREST VERSUS DIVIDENDS
Whatever it is that prompts the CCF to believe interest not to be a part of unearned income and derived from the same source as dividends, is as mysterious as is their idea that the state can be made to operate in the interests of the workers. To give one small instance of the way CCF propaganda fits owning class needs all we need do is recall the almost universal belief that "government is the voice of the people," a belief prevalent from here to Uzbekistan. The evidence shows that, everywhere, the government is the voice only of the people who own the means of production and distribution, and has been ever since the state first came into existence.
In Russia, the cash value of almost all net unpaid labor is dumped into the laps of the parasite class in the form of interest on bonds, by the government, by courtesy of the Russian workers. In the Union of Soviet CAPITALIST Republics the workers produce enough to expand industry at a rapid rate, support a huge arms industry and a parasite class as well, with very little in the way of dividends entering the picture.
Interest charges on Dominion government debt amount to 774 million dollars this year, all unearned income received by those who do not have to work for a living. This interest is borrowed by a private enterprise government to help administer all the bureaucratic paraphernalia that is necessary to keep private enterprise going. We don't hear much about this from the CCF corner of the ring. Although the CCF had a great deal to say, in the past, against private enterprise, the entrepreneurs could not rely on a better friend today than on Canada's patchwork party. In addition to voicing their support for the "private" type of exploitation in their Winnipeg Declaration, they show it in various other open and disguised ways right from anti-inflation to loosening of "tight" money.
For example, in the House of Commons at Ottawa, CCF House leader Hazen Argue declared : "Our economic system, yes, our way of life—is being challenged today as it has never been before." Can Mr. Argue deny that "our way of life" includes an increasing per capita rate of crime, mental disease, drug addiction and alcoholism, not to mention the misery of millions who haven't done anything so drastic as yet ? Does he not know that "our way of life" also includes unemployment, slum living, wars and the threat of wars ? He must certainly be aware of this but why he and his party should be afraid of a "challenge" to this sort of thing we don't know, unless the gentleman didn't mean his statement to sound that way. Like other reactionary parties, the CCF has yet to learn that we can't eliminate the evil effects while retaining the evil system — capitalism.
In the same vein, Mr. Argue referred to a Soviet economic offensive as "an economic threat to the welfare of Canada." Already Soviet exports are eating away at Canadian markets in the key industries of lumber and wheat, he said. But the workers don't export lumber and wheat, nor any other commodity. Aside from labor power they possess no commodities for sale either at "home" or abroad. It is the owning class, in Canada principally "private enterprisers" who are the exporters. For a party that professes to be Socialist, the CCF spends a lot of time trying to solve the problems of those on the propertied side of the fence. In fact these reformers have no time whatsoever for the only problem that should concern a genuine socialist organization, the problem of abolishing capitalism in all of its ramifications. Rather than this, Mr. Argue advocates that the ocean be calm on a windy day, and calls for "economic and social planning" within the framework of this chaotic social set-up of wage-labor vs capital, and production for sale, with all of its inevitable planlessness and hopelessness. A true spokesman of capitalism.
J. G. JENKINS