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Class struggle

The Materialist Conception of History

 When Karl Marx formulated the Materialist Conception of History he gave us a key to unlock the door to a chamber of horrors—the sordid basis of high-flown sentiments. He showed that, since the passing of tribal society, history had been a record of the struggles of different classes to control the social wealth; that the grouping into classes originated out of the way wealth was produced and distributed in each period; that the shape of the main ideas of a period can only be explained by the economic conditions of the time. Further, that class struggles will only disappear when clashing interests have been reduced to one interest; that is when all forms of private ownership in the means of production have been replaced by the common ownership of the means of production.

Notes on Party History: The Trade Union Question

 The Trade Union question was a very thorny one in the early years of the Party. Some of those who founded the Party had a leaning towards industrial unionism, whilst others were inclined to regard the trade unions as only another facet of Capitalism. These conflicting views were reflected in disagreements over policy that were brought to a head in 1906 when a number of meetings were arranged to discuss the Party’s attitude to Trade Unionism..

 Before reaching this discussion we will relate some of the events that led up to it.

Is There a Class War?

 Many Labour Party leaders and Tory counterparts would agree with “The Economist” that, “today, the class war description of trade union activity is out of date; its spirit is kept alive by the Communists because it is part of the Soviet war on social democracy, by others only because their thought ossified years ago.” (September 6th, 1952.)

 “The Economist” could mean that society itself had changed and the class war description no longer applied or else it could mean that the analysis of capitalism as a society based on class conflict had been proved wrong; that today, the working class, through their trade unions, must work hand in hand with their employers to increase production if they want to further their interests.

 Whichever meaning is taken the result remains the same. Either view will find many adherents among the apologists for the present system in the avowedly capitalist and allegedly labour parties.

No Half-Way House to Socialism

 The war is still going strong, although we are informed by our musters’ press that this year may see the finish of the conflict in Europe.

 The wage slave views the cessation of hostilities with some misgiving, especially if he was living on the dole when the struggle commenced. Many never knew what a steady job was, and some had never been employed in any capacity until the war came along.

 The wage slave who starts life on the dole, and who, after experiencing the horrors of war, finds himself back on the dole, may view life somewhat differently to the worker who has been on the treadmill of regular employment: the former should provide material for a psychological study; he can’t function on the job or in a trade union, and the question is how will he react to the conditions that prevail in the aftermath of the war?

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