1940s >> 1948 >> no-523-march-1948

Socialism or Chaos

  The members of the Socialist Party of Australia are fewer in numbers than the members of the S.P.G.B. and they have a whole continent to operate upon. Truly a stupendous task. Our Australian comrades often reside so far away from one another that they are unable to meet and are only known to one another by written communication. To maintain an organisation under difficulties such as these is indeed a great task. To publish a monthly journal and other Socialist literature is a feat worthy of commendation.

 Their new pamphlet “Socialism or Chaos” is now to hand and we must compliment them on the production. It is a useful addition to a Socialist’s library.

 To the worker who is seeking an understanding of Socialism it is full of information. It is a plain and straightforward statement of the Socialist case and even to the fully-fledged Socialist it is interesting to read the explanations in the words and phrases of our Australian comrades.

 The opening chapters deal with an explanation and indictment of Capitalism and an exposition of the case for Socialism. The remainder of the pamphlet deals with a number of questions and some objections to Socialism. A studious and successful effort has been made to avoid covering the same ground as is covered in the S.P.G.B. pamphlet “Questions of the Day.”

 The chapter titles and sub-titles are intriguing. Such headings as “What is the difference between Socialism and Communism?”, Why are there so many different ‘Socialists’?” and “Are we armchair philosophers?” invite the reader to continue from chapter to chapter in search of the answers.

 Workers in this country who have been lured to speculate on the prospects of emigration to the colonies should read this small book. Addressed, as it is, to Australian workers by fellow Australians, it shows workers in Great Britain that capitalism differs little no matter on which side of the equator it operates. Those who think to escape the effects of capitalism here by “making a fresh start” in some other part of the capitalist world should stop and think when they read in the preface to this pamphlet (page 4)

      “The future for the workers looks black indeed. A slump is inevitable, and once more we shall see the tragic spectacle of the grey army of unemployed queuing up at the labour exchange.”

 Supporters of the Labour Party can read the case for Socialism written by Socialists in a land where a Labour Government is no longer a novelty. Here is the answer to those who claim that the Labour Party in this country will lead us to Socialism if only we have patience and give it time. Australia has known Labour Governments for many years. A Labour government was elected in Queensland as long ago as 1922 and remained in power for 15 years. In all that time all that it had done for the workers of Australia was to treat them just as any other capitalist government would have treated them.

This, also from the preface of the pamphlet (page 3)

      “Your experience, as a worker under various ‘Labour’ governments ought to show you that the Labour Party does not represent the interests of the working class. When in office, it behaves like any other Capitalist party—it runs Capitalism; when you go on strike, you are branded as ‘trouble makers,’ you are told that you are ‘harming the nation.’ ”
       “Have you forgotten the wage cuts under Scullin? The shooting and imprisonment of strikers under the Hogan State Government? The fines and threats of military impressment used against strikers under Curtin? The conscription of labour? The constant appeals for ‘national unity and increased production ’ under Chifley?”

 It would appear that our fellow workers in the antipodes have little to thank Labour Governments for.
And that last part of the quotation about appeals for “national unity and increased production” has a familiar ring. It makes us stop and speculate on the position of the workers in all parts of the world when they have “united nationally” and increased production to the point where the goods that they have produced can no longer be sold because there is too many of them. Will Labour Governments then find that we are in another sort of crisis and urge us to “unite as a nation” to get out of the mess or attempt to get us to unite with some other nations to make war on yet other nations in order to dispose of the surplus goods and clear some competitors out of the market? There are many possibilities but they all lead to the same answer as far as the workers, are concerned. War, crises and all the rest of the evils are the products of Capitalism and will remain aa long as Capitalism remains.

In the words of Australian comrades ” . . .  it is up to you what the future will be: Socialism or Chaos?”

 Limited supplies of this pamphlet are now available from the Literature Secretary at Head Office and from our branches. More are on the way. It costs 6d (plus postage) and should be in the pocket of every propagandist and on the bookshelf of every worker.

W. Waters

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