No. 1392 Socialist Standard August 2020 Contents


Housing: A marketless future Imperialism: Leftist Humbug Charlottesville: Lessons in Stone Normal Wisdom: A Life Less Living Editorial: Why capitalism can't work for us Pathfinders: Dust to dust Cooking the Books 1: Big Deal Material World: War Drums in the China Sea Cookin the Books 2: Consumption not the driver Proper Gander: Turning the Page Book Reviews 50 Years Ago: Human Needs and World Resources Rear View Free Lunch: Cartoon by RIGG No. 1392 Socialist Standard August 2020 Index page


What happens when there is no housing market?

Decent, functional and even beautiful living accommodation is unarguably one of humanity’s prime needs. It is the one prime need in fact that, more than any other, save food and water, is vitally conducive to harmonious and pleasant living at all. Conversely, the lack of it is almost always a cause of misery, meanness and domestic strife. The question of housing allocation in a socialist society is therefore by no means a novel one, and has been discussed and debated for a very long time. That old Fabian fraud George Bernard Shaw, for example, once said that he was often asked who would live in the big house on the hill in this socialist society of his, and Bernard Shaw’s ever-ready response was ‘The same as now, whoever can afford to live there will’.  We beg to differ. More

Imperialism and the ‘Labour Aristocracy’

Given that many believe that those living in the ‘Global North’ are living off the backs of the people in the ‘Global South’, we begin a multi-part series of articles correcting this, starting with the origin of this mistaken view.

Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto was not just a scathing indictment of capitalism; it was also a paean to its material achievements which were seen as preparing the ground for communism.

Remarkably anticipating today’s globally interconnected world, it spoke of capitalism’s expansionist dynamic, propelling it to spread out across the world from its heartland in Western Europe:  More

Free Lunch by RIGG
The Lessons of Charlottesville

We are approaching the third anniversary of the Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, on 11 and 12 August 2017. These events are particularly noteworthy today as we are seeing something of a repetition. Several white supremacists, neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, Klansmen, self-proclaimed members of the alt-right, etc gathered, supposedly to protest against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. What might have been justified under ‘defending American history’ led to a racist and violent demonstration that resulted in the murder of a counter-protester, Heather Heyer. Today, following the Black Lives Matter movement, there is a continuation of the same discussion.  More

Normal wisdom

Reginald was fortunate to find gainful employment with the General Steam Navigation Company at Tower Hill, to which he bicycled the length of the Old Kent Road. In its way, it was a precursor of today’s call centre. Ranks of commuter captives processed bills of lading recording the movement of mysterious materials between unheard- of locations. More

Book Reviews

Click images for individual reviews.

Socialist Standard No. 1392 August 2020