The Western Socialist
Vol. 34 - No. 257
No. 3, 1967
MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPERS
As productivity, concentration and centralized control of industry develop, the contradictions that exist between socialized methods of production and minority ownership of its machinery increase. The consequent problems are often too portentous for private industry to handle. So the state, ever obedient to the dictates of the general national capital, must step in.
Here we find the leftists always eager to do their bit "for the common cause." It is not news that they have been the progenitors of most of the state charity palliatives, such as family allowances, pension plans, "social" assistance or "welfare" legislation that have taken over much of the field that was once the prerogative of private charities.
Modern technology and organization enable a much more efficient job of fleecing the workers than was the case in yesteryear; the resultant destitution has outgrown the old "aid" institutions. On guard against the drying up of any part of the scourge of his loot, King Capital did not have to ask the leftists for the obvious solution. Keeping an out-of-date system up-to-date is their long suit. They had been advocating this remedy for years.
A recent example can be seen in "swinging" England. Capitalism is now a very integrated and universal entity. Any change in the economic barometer of one part of the world immediately gives the shivers to the rulers of the rest of this plagued planet. This provides one clue why international capital hailed the electoral victory of the British Labor Party in 1966 as "heralding a strong government able to take firm measures on the economy and other problems."
Maybe they guessed right. The chancellor of the exchequer predicted a trade surplus for that country for 1967. An editorial in the conservative "Daily Colonist" of Victoria, Sept. 20, 1966, tells us that the leftist government is working by priorities, and the first of these "is expenditure which will build up the economic structure, and the second — social measures which will aid the neediest in the community,. In this way (emphasis ours), (Britain) has maintained her productivity on a balance with that shown by the U.S. and Canada."
There is no question about it. The idle rich cannot remain that way if the poor are unproductive too. Someone has to do the work, and the destitute must receive the minimum of food, shelter, clothing, training, comic books, beer and television to keep their minds quiet and their beings in action.
Any innovation that will enable the victims to struggle by on less with no loss of productivity is welcomed by leftists. "Decent low-income housing" (not indecent) has been one item in a long list too tedious to mention here. According to one "social" worker (first cousin to a leftist) in the Victoria area, a new organization of "welfare" recipients will have a "therapeutic effect on its members," because "they'll find out how other people manage to survive on $75.00 a month."
With idle factories in a competitive market being at least as unpopular to investors as diseased chickens to a poultry farmer, capitalists have always been interested in the low-wages-plus-absence-of-strikes blessings.
In that administrative section of world capitalism known as Sweden, " ...things have certainly been good... according to Dr. Bjorn Wahlstrom, vice-president of the profit-making institution known as Svenska Cellulose Akpiebolaget. He termed that country a "Garden of Eden" in "labor relations." At a seminar sponsored by the Industrial Relations Management Association of B.C., he said, "a lot of waste has been avoided by the system of bargaining developed" in Sweden. A leftist government is hard at work co-operating with the employing class there.
The low incidence of strikes in Sweden has drawn the admiring attention not only of Tommy Douglas, leader of the leftist New Democratic Party, but also that of the admittedly conservative Social Credit government of British Columbia.
Strikes have cut irritatingly into the profit pockets of B.C. entrepreneurs during 1966. So Labor Minister Peterson is going to send Supreme Court Justice Nathan Nemetz to Sweden this summer "to see how that country maintains industrial peace." He explained that his government intends to "do all in its power to keep the wheels of industry and commerce rolling without interruption," and that "industrial strife must be avoided if B.C. is to remain competitive, meet its trade commitments and. .. attract capital investment..." And who do the investors have to thank for such leads in the peaceful robbing of the working class? You guessed it, that rich man's unwitting friend, the leftist, of course.
A good leftist can out-conserve an admitted conservative any day. This is aside from the more apparent verities of maintaining respect for private property, "equality under the law," peoples' banks, exchange for human needs, or other attempts at freedom in slavery — like union leaders going to jail without handcuffs (newspaper pictures of one wearing cuffs are damaging to dignity and the relatives, etc.)
We are specifying the important changes in the superstructure that are needed to keep the foundation intact. "To reform is to conserve," said one old sage. A leftist is really a long-sighted conservative.
It is not necessary to look far for another example — capitalism produces an unending supply. A familiar and repetitive phenomenon on this continent, at least, has cropped up again in Victoria. Three teachers at the University were fired for being too "outspoken" unofficially. It seems their methods have been too "revolutionary." They have been training their pupils to think rather than memorize.
It is known the frightening complexities of capitalism are demanding more brain-power from the higher educated working class administrators who attempt to cope with them, and such teaching methods are now being required in the reaches of higher learning. One of the booted professors, himself a leftist, has received a scholarship from an eastern source much more cognizant of modern exploitative needs than the stodgy board of governors in Victoria.
There is little doubt that the new methods will later prevail, and the rest of the populace will continue to believe that capitalism and progress are two words meaning the same thing.
If all the reform chores had been left to the right-wing conservatives, who knows, the system might have been junked by this time. But not with leftists on the job. They have saved the day, and the workers remain in their political somnambulance, firm in the conviction that something is being done and they'll get by — somehow.
Leftists in Canada have recently helped to establish an "independent" bank in the west to aid business men in getting easier loans for profit expansion; they have helped rich taxpayers get more for their money in financing the armed forces; urged the establishment of small industries in B.C. to balance the economy and assisted in the development of state-run sources of hydro-electricity for cheap power for the owners of the big industries, to name a few instances that come to mind readily.
No task is too great, or too small, when it comes to supporting the political enemies of the working class. You name it and the leftists will try to oblige.
J.G.J., Victoria Local, SPC.