Slings and Arrows

“Qui s’ecuse, s’accuse”
The return of the Dean of Canterbury from his recent visit to Peking has aroused an outburst of fury from the Press. Enormous quantities of newsprint have been devoted to the publication and denial of the germ warfare charges made against the Allied forces in Korea. While we have no doubt that both the Allies and the Chinese or any other warring power in the capitalist world would not hesitate to use germ warfare if it suited their interests, we would say that the Dean has not made out his case on sound evidence. We are not, however, concerned with taking up the cudgels on behalf of the Allied powers. They have quite enough apologists without our joining their ranks. What does interest us is the fact that those who drop atom bombs, and Napalm bombs, and indulge in the most fiendish forms of mass destruction, hold up their hands in such pious horror and appear in the white sheet of innocence. Is burning a Korean peasant by a bomb which is so speedy in its action that he retains in death the last postures of his life any better than dropping bacteria on him? Why does the Chinese Government and their supporters make such vehement protests against the use of infected missiles? Is it because they have been outsmarted in their search for effective weapons? Note that neither side has anything to say, other than the usual pious platitudes, about war itself, and note also that though the Chinese Government are alleged to have established Socialism, or, to use the latest fashionable term, “people’s democracy,” they say nothing about the causes of war. Of course, the allies talk about the “rule of law” and “freedom and democracy,” in order to justify themselves. In the welter of charges and countercharges we may be sure of one thing. Both sides are concerned with maintaining or improving their position in the world of Capitalism.

No Room at the Inn
When Marx wrote that “the Church of England would sooner give up 38 of its 39 principles than one thirty-ninth of its income,” he was not indulging in mere rhetoric. The Daily Express (15.7.52), reporting a case of eviction relates how the family spent the night in a church, and although they refused to leave when asked to do so, church officials took no action. It appears that the householder had been the church sexton and occupied a house that went with the job. When he was unable through ill health to continue working he was asked to vacate his house. Having nowhere to go he did not comply and the Vicar applied for possession in the Courts. This was granted and with all the ruthlessness of a profit-making capitalist, he called in the bailiffs, evicted the family, and in his desire to show Christian Charity allowed them to sleep unmolested in the church. Non-socialists may be surprised that the Church should behave in such a callous manner. We are not. Acquainted as we are with the Church’s defence of Capitalism and its constant affirmation of the “sacred rights” of private property, this behaviour neither shocks nor amazes us. In spite of the high-sounding platitudes with which Bishops and their ilk sermonise, the Church has ever been in the forefront in defence of the prevailing system. It imitates with faithful accuracy the actions of those in whose interests it functions. And so, when they say to an ex-employee, “You are unable to work for us. so on to the streets with you,” they are being quite consistent, and behaving as all capitalist institutions do.

Who Supports Who?
In a debate in the House of Lords on the Housing Bill, Lord Silkin, former member of the Labour Government, observed that he was alarmed at the growth in the amount of subsidies and then went on to say that the position would arise where “90 per cent. of the people would be housed at other’s expense.” (Manchester Guardian, 15.7.52.) Why should Lord Silkin be disturbed at this prospect? Was it not part of his Party’s policy to “redistribute” income. As it has been established by indisputable figures that a small minority of people own the lion’s share of the national wealth, surely here was Lord Silkin’s opportunity to see in this housing subsidy a means of carrying out Labour’s policy. But he does not see things in this light. He says that it is a “National and not a Party problem.” Thus does he betray the fact that the Labour Party is merely another political organisation pledged to the efficient running of Capitalism. If he knew anything at all about Socialism he would realise that at the moment a small minority of people are being kept and subsidised at “other’s expense.” If he knew anything at all about economics he would know that subsidies whether for housing or for food are devices introduced to help Capitalism run more smoothly, for the capitalists. It is not by subsidies, great or small, nor by the substitution of government for private ownership that present-day problems will be solved. And this situation where “90 per cent. of the people would be housed at the expense of others ” is hardly likely to arise since those who produce the wealth from which these subsidies are drawn are the very people who are allegedly subsidised.


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