1920s >> 1927 >> no-272-april-1927

Three pamphlets

Published by the Labour Research Department, 162, Buckingham Palace Road.

“RIVALS OF THE CO-OPERATIVES” (price 1d.) contains figures of the large profits made by the Maypole Dairy Co., Ltd., and various other big grocery concerns. Apart from these figures, the leaflet is grossly misleading. It assumes (without a shadow of proof) that working-class poverty is due to high prices, with the implication that low prices and working-class prosperity go hand in hand. Secondly, it admits that the Co-operative Societies have made profits of £220 million between 1913 and 1925, but does not attempt to explain in what respect Co-operative profits—drawn from the exploitation of Co-operative employees—differ from Maypole’s or Peark’s profits drawn from a similar source.

The Co-operative movement is part and parcel of the capitalist economic system, and as such is opposed by Socialists and should be exposed, not defended, by the L.R.D.

“CO-PARTNERSHIP AND PROFIT-SHARING” (price 1d.) is a handy little summary of the progress of profit-sharing and co-partnership devices intended to obscure the class struggle. It presents a table showing how little of the income of certain well-known firms actually reaches the workers under the guise of a “share in profits.”

“THE REFORM (!) OF THE POOR LAW” (price 1d.), by John Scurr, is a denunciation of Conservative proposals to hand over the functions of Boards of Guardians to County Councils and County Boroughs, although he has to admit that “Labour policy has been directed in the same pathway” (page 12). The whole discussion reveals the barrenness of Labour Party reforms and the unsoundness of their theories. Does it really matter the least little bit to the working class whether property owners pay certain sums locally as rates or nationally as taxes? And is it not time to recognise that it is not the form of administrative machinery which counts, but the class interests of those who control it? While the capitalist class are in political control, no amount of words or parish council debating ability shown by Mr. Scurr and his party will prevent the capitalist class from using their administrative machinery to carry out their policies as they think fit. Mr. Scurr ends with the very revolutionary slogan. “Let our cry be, No further starvation of the poorest of the poor.” It is a pity he does not explain what degree of starvation is permissible, and why the rest of the poor are to be thrown to the lions. Will it ever dawn on these professed Socialists that Socialism really is the only remedy?


(Socialist Standard, April 1927)

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