1920s >> 1923 >> no-223-march-1923

Anti-dotes for doped notes

“I am perfectly certain that there is a good deal of unnecessary unemployment. People won’t work at a wage that makes it remunerative for anyone to employ them.”—(Judge Crawford, Edmonton County Court), “Evening News,” January 22nd, 1923.)

Yea ! learned judge, but you are so vague and ambiguous, and in your brevity you omit any evidence for the above statements, a shortcoming with all enemies of the working class. They invariably make assertions as if they were undisputed facts which required no proof to support them. What, in your wisdom, fixes the limits of necessary and unnecessary unemployment? And in what category might we include those who “employ them,” and for whom you whine? Undoubtedly in the former, in order to provide “them,” the workers, with plenty of wor-r-rk, when profitable of course. How nice ! How kind ! And yet ! despite such philanthropic sacrifice there are ungrateful wretches whose exorbitant demands make it unremunerative to employ them. At least, that is what you would have us believe. But console yourself. An enormous surplus of wealth awaits a market without the “increased production” of the unemployed. There is another section of workless, however, the master class, whose wealth increases despite their idleness and their riotous dissipation in every luxurious form possible. Hearken !

“We are supposed to be crushed with taxation, and to be labouring in the trough of a great trade depression, yet all accounts agree that there has never been such a winter holiday season as during the last six weeks. The Riviera has been thronged with English visitors, there has been a positive rush to the Alpine resorts ; at one moment the Continental trains were running in five parts, and it needed nearly a fortnight’s notice to get a sleeping berth on any of the through trains to Switzerland or to the south of France . . . money is spent lavishly, and whether at Cannes, Monte Carlo, or St. Moritz, the cheerful crowd of winter holiday-seekers seems to stint itself for nothing.”—(“World’s Work,” p. 213, February.)

Only an isolated illustration, but everywhere it is the same story, an ever-increasing abundance of wealth and a panorama of pleasure made passible by the workers, who, through ignorance, fail to see that the cause of their want, insecurity, and monotony of life, is the capitalist ownership of society’s means of living. The capitalists only allow these means of living to be operated when profitable to themselves, at best only returning on the average sufficient for a bare existence to the wealth producers. Nevertheless, whilst through lack of understanding the workers sanction their own enslavement, the knowledge they exhibit in carrying on the work of society, extended to their material interests as a class, will win them through to freedom.

* * * *

“It is our duty to make people fit to live in the world, and not to try to make the world fit for people to live in.”—(Mr. H. Pike Pease, “Reynolds,” February 4th, 1923.)

But the world is fit to live in, and a place of splendour and gaiety, for those who can “live” in it, for the small privileged few whose ownership of it renders the “existence” of the large majority such a joyless and precarious one. “Our” duty forsooth ! duty between the conflicting interests of the robber and the robbed ! Rubbish ! While the workers look to their exploiters, with their agents, to alter the conditions under which they exist, they remain mentally in a condition to be deluded at every turn. But when a majority of them understand that society is not merely a jumble of unrelated incidents wherein a set of benevolent God ordained rulers permit them to exist, but an historically evolved stage in human enslavement that will pass like other stages have done, then, and then only can society be organised upon a co-operative basis that will allow the full and free opportunity for all to live. To talk of making people fit to live whilst retaining conditions that render life a hideous “struggle for millions from the cradle to the cemetery, is to put the cart before the horse, in other words, to talk rot.

* * * *

“The more you try to get down to the idea of a Socialist State, the sooner you will get down to the idea of a first-class lunatic asylum.”—(Dr. Macnamara, “Reynolds,” February 4th, 1923.)

There now! the mighty hath spoken, just a bald meaningless string of words, the^ outcome of woeful ignorance or slimy hypocrisy. The State, like other social institutions, has not existed from all eternity, the long era of primitive man’s existence knew it not, only the advent of property with consequent class subjections makes the State a necessity.

“The modern State is but an executive committee for administering the affairs of the whole bourgeois class.”—(Communist Manifesto.)

With the establishment of Socialism and the consequent abolition of classes and class oppression, the function of the State ceases, its need is ended. Socialism and the State are therefore incompatible. Dr. Macnamara is a supporter of capitalism, so he assumes the role of Nelson, failing to see the obvious, the chaos of the system he defends, and by a sinister inference, imputes to Socialism “the first-class lunatic asylum” he pretends not to see around him. Let us quote one capitalist statistician.

“The great fact emerges that the enormous annual income of the United Kingdom is so badly distributed amongst us that, out of a population of 43,000,000, as many as 38,000,000 are poor.”— (C. Money, ” Riches and Poverty,” p. 43.)

But the Socialist offers evidence that wherever the present system prevails, it is productive of increasing poverty, perpetual war, prostitution, and liars who serve the ruling class by the dissemination of written and verbal matter calculated to stifle working class discontent. The toilers, not understanding the ease with which they could live under Socialism, and inclined to believe that which comes from “great” men, too often swallow such trash. Potential comrades, ”The great only appear great because you are kneeling. Arise!”

* * * *

“As things are, nobody knows what is the real cost of unemployment, and in what proportions that cost is borne by different classes of the community. . . . Not only are the workers taxed for the maintenance of their unemployed fellows, but also the incomes out of which they must meet the charge are themselves heavily reduced by the very fact of unemployment.”—(“The Cost of Unemployment,” by Barbara Wooton, “Labour Magazine,” February.)

Well, if “nobody” knows, there appears to be a spontaneous generation of knowledge on the writer’s part within the confines of the same article, for the latter quotation contains a positive assertion as to whom she considers does pay. If by “different classes” is meant other than the working class and the non-working class, the capitalists, the only classes that can be discovered to-day, then her confusion is easily understood. Repeatedly in these columns we have pointed out, and demonstrated the fact, that the working class, being without property in the means of life, must sell their physical and mental energies for a subsistence wage, to those that own those means (the master class). They cannot pay for anything beyond what they have received their wages for, the food, clothing, shelter, and small pleasures necessary for the re-production of their labour powers. Even in regular employment, December 31st finds them as wealthy as January 1st, wages presuppose a bare living. If this were not so, wage adjustments, cost-of-living charts, sliding scales, would all be inexplicable. It is only in form that the slavery of the wage worker differs from the chattel slave, and that is the money or wage form; both receive their “keep,” and as with the slave owner, so with the capitalist, the wealth the workers produce is his. Despite the enormous proportionate increase of that wealth, the worker still continues his slave existence, and the expense of war, unemployment, pauperism and crime must be met by the owners of wealth, which is itself the proceeds of the robbery of the working class. Nobody who understands his or her position as a worker cares a damn about the cost of unemployment, it is the master’s cost, and only concerns him and the labour frauds who bleat for their paymasters in company with simpletons lacking understanding. Both assist in fogging the issue—the conflict between masters and slaves, the class war, only the full recognition of which can herald the coming of the day of working class triumph and the Social Revolution.


(Socialist Standard, March 1923)

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