The Illusions of Sir Oswald Mosley
Sir Oswald Mosley has resigned from the Labour Ministry and made a great noise with his proposals to deal with unemployment. Though they are largely taken from the official Labour programme (Labour and the Nation) the Mosley plans are criticised and opposed by “official” Labour. An examination of his schemes shows that they are borrowed very largely from the Liberal Party programme, and hence Lloyd George sings their praise.
Raising the school age, pensioning some workers over 60, and making roads, bridges, etc. – these comprise the cream of Mosley’s programme.
Do they deal with the cause of unemployment? Will they absorb the unemployed? Will they stop industry adding to the army of out-of works? The answer is No! Like Lloyd George’s platform call, “We can conquer unemployment,” the Mosley schemes play with effects and merely carry on the ordinary repair work the capitalists need to make their industry more effective.
Take cheap wage slaves over 60 out of the factory. Does that mean younger and more expensive workers will be employed instead?
Past experience shows that women and machinery will be used to keep down costs whenever production expenses are raised by legislation or Union activity. Young boys and girls taken out of the factory will provide another inducement to rationalisation by means of machinery, etc., and so, instead of older workers being employed, cheaper methods of production will prevent the increased employment of older workers.
Mosley and Lloyd George schemes—like the Labour Party policy, official or otherwise—simply mean that the ordinary and normal work of making repairs to capitalism is boomed as special relief work. Where it is not that, it is like making new roads—an attempt to increase the efficiency of capitalist production and distribution of goods.
Thirty shillings per week as a retirement pension may sound inspiring to Mr. Mosley, the millionaire, but it simply means the most pressing poverty for a married couple after a lifetime of toil.
Lloyd George and the Liberal manufacturers are uniting with the Labour Party on a common capitalist programme, not to solve unemployment—but to capture votes and pretend they are helping the workers. Both Liberal, Labour and Tory pin their hopes on rationalisation, which increases unemployment faster than relief work provides work.
None of these parties of capitalism face the fact that modern industry constantly and continuously produces an unemployed army of workers. The only way to cure unemployment is to stop the cause—the class ownership of the means of production.