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Editorial: Capitalism, War and Recession

A famine threatens in Sudan and Ethiopia. But has a mass airlift of food, tents and medicines been organised? Has the production of useful things been increased to meet this obvious need? Not at all. The only airlift that has been organised is one of troops and armaments to the neighbouring Arabian peninsula in order to wage a hi-tech war. And manufacturing output in countries like Britain and the US is actually falling as their economies enter the recession phase of the business cycle.

Editorial: Famine in Russia

To most of-those who know the history of India under English rule, and of China during the nineteenth century, the huge advertisement of the Russian Famine by the Capitalist Press of this country must seem singularly strange.

In 1918 there were 6,000,000 people carried off by the results of famine—camouflaged as Spanish “ ’flu ”—in India. Yet not one-tenth of the space was devoted to this appalling catastrophe that there has been to the Russian Famine, though the former was immensely more disastrous than the latter up to the present. Huge numbers of people have died of hunger in China during the latter portion of the nineteenth century without receiving more than a few lines notice in the Capitalist Press.

Why this sudden solicitude for starving people on the part of our masters? Have they become tender-hearted overnight, and full of desire to ease suffering wherever it may be found? One need go no further than the nearest street to find the answer.

Voice From the Back

The Future Is Bleak

One of the illusions beloved of supporters of capitalism is that although workers may suffer some social problems these are gradually lessening and the future will see them disappear. The following report seems to knock that notion on the head. "Struggling consumers spend the equivalent of one week a year worrying about money as personal debt soars, says a study. With families facing the toughest squeeze on living standards since the Twenties, it found the average person spends three hours and 15 minutes a week fretting over finances. The Which? Quarterly Consumer Report into how we are coping with the downturn says more are being forced to take on new forms of debt to make ends meet" (Daily Mail, 24 July).

Progressing Backwards

The Black Hole of Calcutta

What might be termed the sequel to the historical incident we know by the above term has been, and is being written in the blood of thousands of starving, pestilence-stricken Indian workers and peasants of Bengal. Daily references in the newspapers to the famine in India have provided grim evidence of the ghastly scenes enacted on the streets of Calcutta by actors unable to choose the part they wish to play. Stories have been related of children being sold for a handful of rice, and of skeletons of men and women feeding on jungle roots and leaves. Figures of the death rate show it to have increased to nearly four times the normal average. The whole tragedy is graphically epitomised by the Calcutta Statesman which said:-

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