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Majority Understanding

Get Rid of Wages!

Over a hundred years ago, Karl Marx gave a talk to the general council of the International Working Men’s Association, a talk whose main point was to show that workers’ unions really could get wage rises — for already the silly idea was being put about that wage increases led to higher prices and therefore the workers didn’t gain. After proving his case up to the hilt, with his usual forceful logic, Marx naturally drew the conclusion that workers should fight for higher wages. But he added the following remarks, which deserve close attention:

  At the same time, and quite apart from the general servitude involved in the wages system, the working class ought not to exaggerate to themselves the ultimate working of these everyday struggles.

Letters: The Socialist Forum: Socialism By Dictatorship

 Mr. R. J. Freeman (Thornton Heath) writes, putting forward several points of criticism of our position. For convenience and in order to save space, these points have been extracted from the letter and numbered:—

    The S.P.G.B. proposes to do nothing to ameliorate the conditions of the working class, other than press the socialist doctrine wherever possible as the only remedy.
    This work of propaganda can still be carried on by the I.L.P. members outside of Parliament just as persistently as the S.P.G.B., and by their presence in the House of Commons as well, can attempt to resist encroachments on the workers' standard of living.
    I admit socialist knowledge is growing, but it is not due, as you would suggest, to the theory of the increasing poverty and economic pressure making them think . . .  but because capitalism breeds it.

Book Review: 'The Class Struggles in France'

'The Class Struggles in France', (1848-1850), by Karl Marx. (Published by the New York Labor News Co: $2.00.) Translated by Henry Kuhn

A melancholy significance attaches to this volume, as the long preface was the last thing Engels wrote for publication before his death in 1895.

The work consists of four articles, originally published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in 1850, or just after the events recorded had taken place. The masterly analysis of the course of those events, with the penetration into the causes of the defeat of the working class, are all in Marx’s best style. While he was the first to recognise this defeat and its causes, the wide area of the revolution occurring in the principal countries of Europe, misled both himself and Engels as to the period when the working class would march to victory.

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