Political Means to Economic Ends.
A. T. Rogers, of Turling (Essex), writes us a lengthy letter criticising our position. The essence of his objection is contained in the following two extracts :—
“The powers of government are of no use to the workers, their disabilities are not political but economic, and therefore their fight is not a political fight but an economic one.
The power of the ruling class is based on the wealth produced by the people which is appropriated by the said class. Consequently to free themselves from this domination the people must refuse to yield up the fruit of their toil to their masters.”
Our critic’s error results from confusing the means with the end. While the end in view must be an economic one, it does not follow that the means to that end is an economic one also. The ruling class do not rule the workers simply because they are owners, but they are able to continue their rule and domination because they control the political machinery which gives them the protection necessary to maintain their position. The working-class, therefore, must get control of this same political machinery in order to get access to economic possession. The mere refusal of the workers to give up the fruits of their toil is insufficient without the power to back up their refusal. Industrial action or striking does not bring the workers into possession, but leaves the owners in complete ownership of all the means of life. A general strike (which our friend supports in his letter) is a policy which brings the workers up against the full forces of government without in any way giving the workers any access to the means and instruments of production, or the wealth already produced.