In a lengthy article in the News Chronicle
on June 9th last, Morrison’s
ten new points for Socialists were enumerated. The point system for rationing has nearly been abolished, but now Socialism is going on the points, special points of the Morrison variety, the first ten of which have already been issued.
As most readers of this journal will be interested in Socialism, they will doubtless want to know if they can learn anything about it from Morrison.
The article above referred to starts with a definition, which is as well, especially when discussing Socialism. Morrison defines Socialism as “The assertion of social responsibility for matters which are properly of social concern.” This elastic definition permits Tories, Liberals, Labourites, and even Communist Party supporters, to be socialists. In fact everybody in the country could endorse it. The only snag is “what is properly of social concern?” Morrison of course makes no effort to tell us. Perhaps this is one of the things for which he is paid £10,000 a year to know and understand. He was careful enough to inform us that he has coined this definition of socialism “in the light of experience in Labour Government since 1945, and in relation to the facts of mid-twentieth-century life and economic experience” So Morrison might have quite another definition for Socialism five years hence, especially if he is interested in “social responsibility for matters of social concern”
Speaking on Socialism to-day at Perth, the Lord President (to give Erb Morrison his “socialist title ”), said that “Socialist principles must be adapted to changes in conditions, facts and experience, if they were to survive and prosper” This looks as if Socialism is one thing at one time, and another thing at another time, and that anything was or is capable of becoming socialism! It is all things to all men, and not part of the time, but all of the time. Dialectics isn’t in it, it is diabolical.
So much for the definition, which we agree is very important, especially when dealing with one who makes his own definitions, with or without the endorsement of his party. Now let us come to his ten points, here they are. .
1. Public ownership in suitable form.
2. Town and country planning.
3. Municipal housing for rental, aided by the Government—“essentially socialistic” (Morrison’s words).
4. Social services including social insurance and health services.
5. Economic planning and the wise exercise of economic controls for social ends and full employment.
6. Assisting and stimulating private enterprise to be enterprising and expansive.
7. Development councils for appropriate industries in research, expansion, progress and enterprise.
8. The assertion and provision for ventilation of consumers’ rights and the protection of their interests whether as against public or private industry.
9. Co-operation between farmers, farm workers, and the community for healthy and vigorous development of agriculture production with fairness to all.
10. The U.K. playing its full part in economic political and social co-operation between the nations for the purpose of evolving a peaceful and happy world.
The first five points are too well known to merit discussion here, and they have long been the backbone of Labour Party programmes.
Point 6 is a little strange, and should please those who are alarmed that socialism means the end of private enterprise. We suggest that it is given to soften some of their antagonism.
Point 7 is a hang over from Mosley’s
“Commodity Boards” in the good old days of the New Party
, which incidentally was good enough for Cabinet Minister Strachey
Mosley got it from Mussolini, and it is the dream of all democratic capitalist organisers to bring workers and management together (with no class struggle and strike nonsense).
Point 8 was also capitalised by Mosley. Who are these consumers anyway? Presumably anybody who consumes anything. In this case everybody is a consumer. Capitalist, worker or unemployed are going to be given an opportunity to ventilate their rights.
Point 9 means the end of the class struggle between farmer and farm worker, and perhaps less dung heaps, or scented ones for all.
Point 10 is probably added to make double figures, or because of a cherished belief which Morrison has for decimalisation. There is still another suggestion, and that is that the opposition might claim that Labour has no foreign policy. However, nobody could object to peace (except those who make profits from war). The one thing which we have noticed in this respect, is that whenever the Labour Party has had to face some international affair, it acts as the Tories and Liberals did previously.
We in the Socialist Party do not have such a loose definition of Socialism, and 10 points which include everything and everybody and mean nothing to anybody. We laid down our definition and principles, based on our understanding of capitalism, which is fundamentally the same to-day as it was in 1904. We don’t want new definitions which will please all comers and principles which won’t offend those who believe in expanding private enterprise. Our case against Morrison is that he does not understand Socialism, or he deliberately falsifies it. Socialism is to him the above ten points, at least that is to-day, for to-morrow he may want to formulate another ten points.