Party News: Debate with a “Douglas Credit Association” (New Zealand)

A debate was held in St. Andrew’s Hall, New Lynn, on August 14th, on the question, “Which should the Workers support, Socialism of the Douglas Credit Proposals? ”
Comrade Philips, for the Socialist Party of New Zealand, pointed out the inequalities of the present social system of capitalism and the urgent need for a change. He explained that the present depression merely accentuated the misery amongst the working class and that even in so-called prosperous times there is a large army of unemployed.
He traced machine development in industry and the evils caused, by the private ownership of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth, and the need for the overthrow of capitalism and the emancipation of the workers through the introduction of Socialism.
He stressed the fact that the trouble to-day was not shortage of purchasing power; as claimed by the Douglas advocates, but the concentration of wealth in the hands of the master class; not that the banks controlled credit, but that the capitalists, through ownership of the forces of production, controlled the means of mankind’s subsistence.
Colonel Closey, for the Douglas Credit Association, stated that he agreed that Socialism would come some day, but his conception of Socialism was purely Nationalisation of industry, and he claimed that the present system had proved itself capable of producing sufficient for the needs of the people, so it did not need abolition, but that amendment of the monetary system was imperative. He claimed that the depression was caused by the curtailment of credit by the banks, and stated that immediately their proposals were adopted relief would be obtained and the depression vanish.
Comrade Philips agreed that the present system meets present requirements in the field of production, but stated that our quarrel was with the appropriation of the products. He showed that under Socialism, when production was according to a plan and for the use of the people as a whole, the volume would increase, with, on the other hand, more leisure for all. He pointed out that Nationalisation was not Socialism, but a form of capitalism.
He then dealt with the Douglas proposals and, showed the fallacy of the claim that banks are able to . create credit, and instanced the failure of numerous American banks which could not ”create” sufficient credit to meet their own obligations and thus avoid collapse. He pointed out that the movement was not in the interests of the workers, but in the interests of a section of the master class, who were trying to capture the workers’ support by the promise of higher wages and steady employment, and stressed, the point that the proposals, if adopted would not be a solution to the bondage which holds the workers, and that only by the. total overthrow of the present order and the institution of Socialism would they be freed.
Colonel Closey admitted that if that was Socialism he had not previously understood Socialism—a remark which was confirmed by many present. He appealed for the aged, and solicited their support on the plea that Douglas Credit Proposals would give them something before they died. He asked for a trial of their plan, and, if it was not suitable, Socialism could then be striven for.
A large number of questions were put to our representative which were satisfactorily answered and brought more light on the futility of Douglas proposals and the necessity for the workers to unite to achieve Socialism.
A. Humphrey,
For National Executive, 
Socialist Party of New Zealand