Editorial: The Fallacies of the “Minority Movement.”
The very people who always shout “Be with the masses” and “Form a Mass Party” are now busy pushing forward a body called “The National Minority Movement.” The utter stupidity of the title should strike even the doubly-dense Communists who are promoting it.
The aims of the “movement” are in no sense revolutionary. A minimum wage of £4 per week and a 44-hour week is their modest slogan, and if carried out by the capitalists generally would create no real alteration in the system.
With the present cost of living and the growing intensity of labour demanded by employers, these “Minority” aims are just a stabilising of capitalist conditions. Demands like these have been adopted by capitalists who have increased their profits by so doing.
General practice has shown that Minimum Wage Laws and Trade Boards act generally to make the minimum wage the maximum. Our “four pound a week revolutionists” would be compelled to fight against their own aims as carried out by employers, just as miners were compelled to strike against the much-fought-for Eight Hour Law when it was put into action.
Forty-four hours a week is another ridiculous demand for a movement supposed to be militant. Modern highly-developed exploitation can skin the workers quite well at 44 hours, as is shown by employers like Ford and Leverhulme who boast of their rising profits from reduced hours of employees. In fact the exhausting effect of modern industrial methods and machinery is such that the employers are often compelled to shorten hours to avoid having reduced output from tired workers. The miners have long since found this out, and a 44-hour week for them is as reactionary a proposal as a Tory could invent. The miners have made continual protests against the League of Nations’ 8-hour statute being adopted.
Another demand is Nationalisation of Mines, Minerals, Banks, Land and Railways without compensation, and with workers’ control. With all the lessons of the effects of Government ownership upon the workers, these Communists are still busy with such anti-Socialist proposals. Workers’ control without worker ownership is an empty thing in practice. “Those who own control,” and unless the workers are in possession of the State power, and therefore the ruling class, their so-called control could never be made effective. When the workers are in possession of the State machine and are revolutionary, the time for nationalisation would be gone, for then common ownership would be in order and possible.
They further demand “An Adequate Housing Scheme” without telling the workers that such a thing is impossible under Capitalism, for even if houses are plentiful, sufficient and regular wages are not. The fact that plenty of rooms were available before the war did not make it any easier for poverty-stricken workers to rent them. The capitalists will give the workers barracks, huts and iron boxes to live in when it suits their purpose.
A curious demand is the “Repudiation of the Dawes Report.” Seeing that the party most of these minority men belong to is the Labour Party, it is rather sad that they have to demand the repudiation of the Report adopted by their own Party when in office : A very curious demand to make in view of the action of the leader of the Minority Movement during the General Election. Mr. Cook, the Secretary of the Miners, then came to the support of the Labour Party who were defending their action in carrying out the Dawes Report. Practically all of the Communists in the Minority Movement were then busy supporting the Labour Party which had adopted the infamous Dawes plan they are now demanding the repeal of.