Progress and Poverty
Reformers and revolutionists have from time immemorial been the recipients of that deep antagonism inherent in the brain of man towards any form whatsoever of ideas or actions detrimental to those at the time prevailing. History tells us that the advance of man from the savage state to the degree of intelligence of man to-day has been a gradual evolution from one stage to another. The germs of the actions which will govern the future state of mankind always being found in the previous state, make themselves felt among the people concerned, until at last conditions are ripe for a process of discarding the old and establishing the new. The Socialist, having studied these facts, recognises that no waving of red flags, plotting against governments, or such futilities, can bring about the coming advancement from Capitalism to Socialism, his object being to disseminate amongst his fellow men ideas regarding the position in which they are to-day relative to that which they could attain were they only to concentrate their minds on matters which affect their welfare and overcome that primitive opposition to ideas which aim at changing the present system of society.
By virtue of the present system itself society is unsocial in every aspect of the word. With regard to the methods of production, so long as the worker is maintained on a scale of living which is consistent with his efficiency as a worker no consideration is given to his social life. He is not considered as a member of society privileged to enjoy its pleasures, but rather just as a “hand,” a mere tool to be used how, when, and where the master requires.
For example, with regard to the recent report in the papers anent a mid-week football match, the promoters were asked to discontinue mid-week football, not because watching football was detrimental to the eyesight of the spectators or society at large, but because “profits” were being lost to shareholders.
The Socialist does not desire to impose any rules or conditions on society. All he asks is that society will consciously apply principles for the benefit of society as a whole, entirely eliminating any question of class distinction, thereby directly being the means of man recognising that he has no reason to humble himself to anyone. Servility and humility are but the primitive acts of religious superstition, fostered by Press and pulpit in an endeavour to blind the workers to the stern reality that while capitalism continues its course the poverty of the workers must become continually greater.
No reforms or palliatives can possibly improve the condition of the working class for any period, it is the wages system that is the cause of all the ills which are rampant to-day, and until that system is abolished the Socialist can confidently prophesy that the condition of the working class will gradually become worse. Speeding up production in an effort to secure greater profits, choke the warehouses with the goods produced by the workers ; unemployment becomes more intense, and, in the struggle for markets, war becomes a necessity of the system. And the cycle goes on only with greater intensity.
Socialism is the only system yet advanced which claims to ofier humanity a world devoid of poverty. The only party in Great Britain, advocating Socialism is the S.P.G,B., and while various freak parties glitter in the light of publicity only to fade away, the Socialist Party steadily gains ground.
A. J. S.
(Socialist Standard, August 1920)