1920s >> 1921 >> no-197-january-1921

Editorial: The Masters’ New Offensive

It is symptomatic of the pressure which the gradual awakening of the workers is putting on the master class that the latter is adopting a policy of systematic anti-Socialist propaganda and education in political economy among the workers. For generations the capitalists have been content to leave the doping of their slaves to the parson, the novelist, and the prostitute of the Press, all of whom worked by the general distortion of the vision, and generally left economics alone. But to-day we find all and sundry among capitalist agents developing into professors of social science for the benefit of the working class, and, more significant than all the rest put together, the great capitalists are making it a personal matter, and, probably counting upon the glamour of their names to cover the weakness of their arguments, have essayed to teach the workers the kind of economics they would like them to know.

The late Andrew Carnegie was a notable case in point; later Lord Leverhulme addresses working class audiences all over the country, and tries to tell the proletarians “What is Capital” in a ludicrous pamphlet of that title, and so we could go on.

Well, we welcome these pamphleteers and platform pounders with open arms. If you pitch a roped ring and put one human fighting cock in it no one takes much notice; but directly you put a second man in the ring the town flocks to see. We have been the lonely figure in the ring years enough—is it possible that at last our enemy is coming out to fight ?

A few days ago the editorial in the “Daily Chronicle” tried to show the workers that low production means high prices, high prices mean smaller purchasing power, smaller purchasing power means lessened demand, which completes the circle with increased unemployment—a plausible enough tale if one forgets that, in spite of all arguments, and regardless of high prices or low, it is the surplus-value, the difference between what the workers are paid (and therefore are able to consume) and what they produce, that causes unemployment, a fundamental fact that the capitalist sophists have never been able to dispose of and never will.

In “Lloyd’s Sunday News” of Jan. 9,1921, the Right Hon. C. A. McCurdy, K.C., M.P., Food Controller, tries to do his little bit toward the general bamboozling of the workers in an article entitled: “Your Food Prices in 1921.” He strikes the right note at the commencement when he says “The people of Great Britain, I think, deserve some word of recognition, if not of thanks, for the progress which has been made in this country towards restoration of commercial prosperity . . .”

“Commercial prosperity,” mark you, in the face of a million hungry unemployed! One would have thought this touched the limit, but the [editor] of the same paper, in the same issue, goes one better. “Our money is going to be worth more this year than last, and it is going to be easier to make ends meet,” he says. It is pretty evident that the writer of that optimistic passage is not unduly oppressed by the flood of unemployment which, even his own leaders recognise, is about to sweep down upon the working class of this country.

Mr. McCurdy, of course, takes up the old cry beloved of capitalist papers, capitalist statesmen, and those capitalist henchmen, the labour leaders (who are strangely quiet upon the point now that the inevitable result we prophesied has been arrived at). He declares, “The price the British housewife will be called upon to pay in 1921 for many commodities will depend in part, of course, upon the continued progress of our own people in increasing production . . .” A little later he says: “Europe wants the goods, we want the wages; why is it, then, that an exchange cannot be made which would be so profitable to both ? The answer is that the war . . . has also dislocated and choked the rivers and channels through which international trade flowed freely in time of peace.”

With channels and rivers dislocated and choked the way to avoid floods is not to clear the channels, but to pray Gord to increase the output of rain !

We hope to have an article shortly dealing at length with this subject.