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50 Years Ago: Memorable happenings in 1958

The falling off of production and decline of sales have hit privately owned textiles just as hard as the State-owned railways and mines, and the textile industry presents us with a harsh example of another illusion that ran parallel with the nationalisation campaign and was held by the same people. This was the illusion, prominent after World War II, that things were not going to be as they had been in the depressed 'thirties. No more would there be unemployment and the dole queue; for those "in the know" had learned how to plan for full employment.
( . . .)
Unemployment for all industries is now on the way to 600,000, a figure that does not take account of the many who have lost their jobs but do not register as unemployed, and though the government professes to be sure that things will get better "in the Spring" they have yet to explain the whys and wherefores of what has already happened. What has happened to their supposed control of the employment situation and their readiness to step in at short notice to head off depression?

The Labour Party and the Tory Party, the latter with its belief in managing "full employment" and the former believing as well in nationalisation, can look back at 1958 as a year in which their theories were demonstrated to be unsound and useless to the workers. The S.P.G.B. alone can justifiably claim that it predicted both failures.

(from editorial, Socialist Standard, January 1959)