By the Way

Whither are We Drifting ?
In using the above heading do not let it be for one moment supposed that the word “we” in any sense refers to the Socialist Party of Great Britain. On this occasion I am referring to the employing class. As has already been pointed out in the columns of the “S.S.,” one result of the war has been that our masters have had to somewhat overhaul their system of exploitation and modify their operations. In the early days of the war anti-Socialist journals—that had previously devoted much time and space to the question of State capitalism, which they deemed to be identical with Socialism, and also, be it noted, they further declared would lead to the end of all things—were loud in their praise of the action of the Government in taking over the railways, and even clamoured for an extension of this phase of State capitalism. Only recently in another capitalist paper they were demanding the taking over of the mines as a means of re­medying the agitation which is still smouldering in the mine areas. Again, more recently still “our representatives” in the House of Commons had a discussion on the subject of Trade after the War and curiously enough I find that even there speakers were advocating the same thing. Let me quote:

“Amongst those who are inclined to agree to some system of tariff after the war, but who were not protectionist before, there are two classes. First, there are those who are actuated by a genuine desire to make our trade inde­pendent of Germany. They point to supplies of dyes, zinc, potash, in which we have been very dependent upon Germany. If anything is to be done in that direction I should say, as a Free Trader, that a tariff would have nothing to do with it, and in those cases it would, I think, be a question of establishing, either under direct state control or by subsidy, means which would make us independent in those respects.”—Official Report, Mar. 9, Col. 1747.

From the foregoing it is quite obvious that our bosses will do any and every thing to main­tain their supremacy and it serves to show the futility of the action of the “advanced Labour Leaders” who likewise espouse the same cause, “kidding” themselves and their dupes that it will assist them in emancipating themselves from the, thraldom of capitalism. Nothing short of class-conscious action will avail, and the only organisation in the field to-day which points the way is the S.P.G.B. Study our aims and object ! Think for yourself ; if you agree with us then come and join in the only real fight that matters and help to speed the day when peace and plenty shall abound for all.

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The New Phraseology
During the recent months we have been afforded an opportunity of noting in connection with the war the method our bosses have of expressing themselves on the subject of slaugh­ter and the details relating thereto.

In the early days of November last the world was informed with a great flourish of trumpets, that the Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill was resign­ing his position of “well-paid inactivity ” (Chan­cellor of the Duchy of Lancaster) and about to take up military duties. Later he made a personal statement in the House of Commons, briefly referring to the events at Antwerp and the expedition to the Dardanelles. Referring to the latter, he said :

“I recommended it to the War Council, and to the French Government, not as a certainty, but as a legitimate war gamble with stakes that we could afford to lose for a prize of inestimable value.”
—Official Reports, Nov. 15, No. 115, Col. 1510.

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During the passage of the Military Service Bill—a Bill to assist “us” (the British capitalist class) in crushing Prussian militarism—speaker after speaker stated that, this measure was neces­sary in order that we might obtain the necessary crop of recruits to make good the wastage brought about as the result of placing men in trenches and arming them with weapons of destruction.

On the occasion of the Debate on Peace Pro­posals, initiated by Mr. P. Snowden, there was, of course, the official reply delivered by Mr. Asquith. This gentleman, who is so concerned about the rights and liberties of small nations (?) informed the House that “he should not like it to go forth to the world that the two hon. gentle­men, to whom we have listened with well-deserved consideration, are the spokesmen of any substantial body of opinion in this country.” Doubtless it would come almost as a shock to this type of official ignorance to learn that, though at present they are in a minority, yet there is a growing body of opinion which takes a much stronger view against war than those who introduced the Debate.

The point I desire to call attention to here is the language used by the right hon. gent., who is evidently more concerned about the Allies obtaining a complete military success than the wholesale slaughter of the international working class. He says :

“We cannot apparently either way, whether we are stalemated or whether we checkmate the enemy, win the game.”— Official Report, Feb. 23, Vol. 80, No. 6, Col, 725. Italics mine.

While millions of the world’s workers are engaged in deadly combat our masters are talk­ing flippantly about “war gambles” and win­ning the “game.”’ The total disregard of this waste of human life is a matter of no moment to our bosses in their desire to maintain their vile system of society. What matters who dies so long as capitalism lives !

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Peace, Perfect Peace
One cannot help returning to the before-mentioned debate to note the attitude taken up by the member who introduced the discussion (P. Snowden). In some circles he is being ex­alted because of his supposed desire for peace. But what peace can there be while the present basis of society lasts ? All the germs of war remain an integral part of the present constitu­tion of society. The struggle of nations for a “place in the sun” is the hot-bed of dissention. The struggle to gain and hold the markets of the world must inevitably lead to commercial rivalry and war. But what does the gentleman of “drink-sodden democracy” fame say:

“In no former war has the nation given such practical and overwhelming testimony of its belief in the righteousness and justice of our national cause, It is an unanswerable proof of the determination of the nation to continue this war to a successful conclusion that . . . 6,000,000 should voluntarily have enlisted for a cause which is nearest to our dearest and most permanent interests . . .”

This identification with and support of the war by one who claims at times to be identified with the Socialist movement clearly shows his lip service to the Socialist cause. Has Mr. Snowden ever voted against the various Votes of Credit for carrying on the war ? Consequently there is no need for surprise at the remarks of Mr. Asquith when he delivered himself of the following:

“He [Suowden] said that in this country we were at one, first of all, in acknowledging the disinterested motives with which we here en­tered into and are carrying on the war, and next—this is more important—that we were at one, and should remain at one, in demanding that the conditions of peace should be such that our ends should be permanently and honourably attained,
“I am very glad to take note of those state­ments on the part of my hon. friend and to put on record, not only for the benefit of this coun­try, but of countries outside, that there is absolute unity in the whole of this kingdom in regard, to those two supreme points.”—Col. 724.

No, sir, the only way to an enduring peace lies in the workers understanding the economic cause of war, in their abolition of capitalism and its national antagonisms and growing struggle for markets to dispose of the ever-increasing surplus wealth. Therefore, the remedy is for the working class to take over the means of production and distribution, in order that what they produce may belong to them. And then with the abolition of a wage-slave and a robber class at last shall come “Peace on earth and good will among men.”


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