The Soft Answer
[To the Editor]
Dear Sir,—I should be pleased if you would answer this question :
That political power, being always the prerogative of the possessors of economic power, the proletariat, in order to achieve their emancipation, must first capture the sources of economic revenue, when political sovereignty will follow as a matter of evolution. This can only be done by an organisation such as Industrial Unionism. Therefore the S P.G.B. principles are useless to the working class.
I hope the above is intelligible, and that the S.P.G.B. will answer in the same way, and not in that sarcastic, superior, you-are-a-liar style which is customary with them.
Yours, FRED BROWN.
As is so often the case with defenders of Industrial Unionism, our correspondent uses an incorrect phrase and then builds up a case on it.
So far from true is it that political power is “always the prerogative of the possessors of economic power,” that historical evidence shows that economic power has had little or no existence till those in possession of the means of production had conquered political power—the real power in every case.
Merchants and traders, producers and distributors, were for centuries under the control of those possessing political power, and remained slaves to the latter until they conquered the political machinery, and thus came into possession of power themselves. (See ” S.S.” for May, 1909.)
And then we have the reiteration of the old, exploded fallacy that Industrial Unionism can “capture the sources of economic revenue “
Numberless are the occasions upon which we have asked how the Industrial Union can do this, but up to the present no answer has been forthcoming.
While the capitalist class dominate the fighting forces through their control of political power, they can easily defeat any attempt of the Industrial Union to take possession of the means of production. Hence the principles of the S.P.G.B. are the only correct guide to working-class emancipation.