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Working Class "Education": Plebs Leaguer Puts Marx Right


 Winifred Horrabin i
s Honorary Secretary of the Plebs League. She reviewed in the “Sunday Worker” (15 Nov., 1925) "A Worker Looks at Economics," written by Mark Starr, a fellow member of the League. After warning the workers to beware of Capitalist explanations of economic facts and figures she writes:—

       “Don’t let us expect that when our employers pay us 5s. for 10s. worth of our labour power that their explanation of that odd 5s. is going to be the same as ours.”

 Now, although it will be news to Mrs. Horrabin, Marx based his explanation of profits on the assumption that employers do pay 10s. for 10s. worth of our labour power. The value of labour-power in the long run is determined by the cost of maintaining the labourer, educating him and so forth. The profit arises from the simple fact that the working class produce a mass of values greater than those they consume. Profit is made by buying labour power at its value—according to Marx, but not according to this “Marxian” educator of the workers.

 She may reply that to worry about the theories of Marx is mere pedantry—but if so, why does she pose as a Marxian?

 We can understand, even while we reject the view of those who say that there is no time to educate the workers, that action and action alone is what counts. We can equally understand Capitalist propagandists who seek deliberately to mis-educate the victims of Capitalism. But we really cannot understand those who, wanting to overthrow Capitalism, have no time to learn and teach the truth, but time enough and cheek enough to offer as knowledge the bewildering half-truths which satisfy mentally indolent superior persons.

Edgar Hardcastle