Letters: Every Point But The One At Issue
May I, as one who disagrees with your remarks in this month’s Socialist Standard with reference to the Socialist Labour Party and the fight for their Press, be permitted to say a few words on the subject?
You give as the reason for the Government being able to force strikers to accept their terms the fact that they, the Government, control the “armed forces of the nation.” This is certainly true, but it is important to remember that the “armed forces of the nation” are composed of workers who do not understand the fight that is being waged against their own class, so as to enable the masters to obtain a maximum return for a minimum expenditure. For one can hardly conceive class-conscious workers obeying the commands of the Government to shoot down their fellow-men who had come out on strike. So we find that the power of the Government rests upon the ignorance of the workers, and not upon the “armed forces of the nation” at their command. For it must be clear to all that once the workers realise their position, the “armed forces of the nation” cease to exist. Even the Government have realised this, and attempt to prevent the workers from obtaining the truth, by suppressing such papers and pamphlets from which they would be likely to obtain it.
Therefore it appears to me that what we have to do is not to work for the capture or control of the “armed forces,” but to educate the workers, and to do this one must at least have a free Press. It is because the Socialist Labour Party realise this that they are fighting so hard to recover their Press.
My friends and I would he much obliged if the Editor would allow the above to appear in next month’s “Standard.”
It is evident from the first sentence of his letter that our correspondent has failed to grasp the claim of the S.L.P.
Clearly it was not the fight for the S.L.P. Press that was in dispute, but their claim that this fight was one for “the Principle of a Free Press.” Here is the quotation from their own letter published in the November “Socialist Standard”:
Quite apart from the fact that we are at a great disadvantage and suffering considerable loss, . . . the Principle of a Free Press is at stake.
We showed quite conclusively that no such principle existed, or could exist under capitalism, therefore it could not be “at stake.” This was the essential point of our criticism, and as our correspondent carefully avoids this point, his letter calls for no further comment.