1940s >> 1947 >> no-519-november-1947

One of the Carrots

In a trolley-bus passing through Hampstead the other day, an elderly woman, in the course of conversation, remarked that “it is the foreigners who are to blame.” Judging by her shabby clothes and care-worn expression, a lifetime of being exploited had given her little or nothing for which to thank her own nationals; but it has long been a firmly held opinion of the uninformed majority in the working class that the foreigner is responsible for our economic troubles, is for ever trying to throttle us, and simply refuses to play the game—the cad.

However, if the woman who is our subject of discussion went, for example, to Egypt, she would be astonished to find that her aggrieved cry has its echo in the Arabic tongue. The fellaheen, ignorant and exploited slaves of the great land capitalists there, look upon the luxury stores and houses owned by the French, Greeks and Jews with envy and hatred, frequently fanned into open rioting by the propaganda of the ruling class. Our worker, if of enquiring and analytical turn of mind, disturbed perhaps after visiting other lands, to find the same mistrust of the foreigner in existence, might start to wonder why States do not try to remedy this. Why do they not try to “bring the people together”?

The reason is very obvious to the socialist, but the non-socialist worker finds it hard to accept. It is that all States are run by and for capitalism, and this social system can only continue to function whilst the workers are unconscious of the class-struggle. As long as the exploited donkey class continues to he misled by the bunch of carrots (one carrot being this anti-foreigner complex) dangling before its nose, so long will the capitalist class ride comfortably on its hack.

When the donkey realises that it is never allowed to get near enough to the carrots to test their desirability, the time will be appreciably nearer when the rider is hacked off. Until then the ruling class will do all in its power to foster the idea that people act according to the dictates of some mysterious characteristic inherent in their nationality and not, as is the real fact, according to their class function. The function of the capitalist, regardless of nationality is to use the worker for his own ends. The task of the worker is to understand this and achieve his freedom, which necessarily carries with it the freedom of all mankind.