Capitalism 1956

he political parties which seek election on a programme of reforms, i.e., the Conservative, Labour, Communist and the now disappearing Liberal parties, all claim though some of them would deny it, that there is nothing basically wrong with capitalism; nothing that cannot be remedied without abolishing the wages system and establishing a classless society. Thus all that it is necessary for workers to do is to follow the right “leaders,” put their trust in promises and, given time, all would be well.

All of these parties have said and continue to say that the hardships and problems with which workers are plagued throughout their lives can be solved given the right leadership and the right policy.

The so-called Communist Party with its changing “cults” of worship is particularly hypocritical in this respect because its members are Communists in name only; obviously no party which believes that COMMUNISM (the abolition of the wages system, common ownership of the means of production and free access to wealth) is the ONLY answer to poverty, housing problems, wars and unemployment would advocate reforms and try to solve these problems within capitalism.

By the time this article is read, another series of Borough Council elections will have been held and workers will tragically once again have voted for the politicians who run the system that robs them.

Once again all the afore-mentioned parties have all promised the same things and childishly blamed one another for past failures in bringing the same “houses for the homeless,” “food for the hungry,” “pensions galore” and “better roads,” etc., as have been promised for many elections past.

One thing that should be glaringly obvious by now is that if any of them had ever redeemed their past promises there would be no need to keep coming back for re-election to do the same thing. This should clearly show to any thinking worker the utter futility of voting for any of them unless you want more in the future of what you have had in the past and if you do, then one could hardly call that thinking

We wish here to pin-point just two of the problems of capitalism, and we have taken, for purposes of illustration, examples of each problem, one at home and one abroad. The idea is to show the worldwide nature of capitalism and its problems and also the world-wide nature of the only solution, SOCIALISM.

First let us look at the housing problem. It is quite obvious from the start that the whole approach of the Socialist Party of Great Britain is very different from and opposed to that of the afore-mentioned parties of capitalism.

We recognise that Prince Rainier and his bride, along with the rest of the class of parasites to which they belong, will not be found in Battersea flat hunting. Shortage of proper housing accommodation is essentially a working class problem and the reason that workers go without adequate housing is the same reason why they go without a great deal of the other things THEY produce; NOT because there is a shortage but because they cannot afford them—they have only very limited access to goods and services of all kinds because they do not own the fruits of their labour they only get WAGES—part payment.

In this wondrous era of H-power, automation and universal “plenty” we read in the South London Press (April 27th, 1956) that “Battersea’s 3,000 housing applicants have no earthly chance of ever getting housed by the Borough.” This sad information comes from a London County Councillor, Douglas Rayment, who, as a Conservative Party politician, has the impudence to say “Too many people sit back and wait for us to do something for them, instead of stirring themselves;”

Was it not the Conservative Party whose Election Platform was based upon, among other things, the assertion that they could solve the housing problem?.

Does not the Conservative Party at ALL elections issue reform programmes of what they are going to do for people who, having voted Conservative, can “sit back” and have the world brought to them on a platter?

The despairing and apathetic attitude of workers is part of the fruits of their having blindly voted for people who promise them things.

The Councillor and some of his colleagues go on to explain that “nearly all new housing in the Borough would go to people moved from slums,” and, of the paltry 246 homes to be built in the “next five years” in “Winstanly Ward, only three go to housing applicants.”

We are told of course that the L.C.C. is not to blame, nor is the Borough Council; it is the fault “of the central planning authority in not allowing sufficient density.” It seems from this that the only thing which stops the L.C.C. and the Borough Council from packing dwellings (as they are aptly called) closer together and piling MORE people into file SAME space, is the central planning authority.

The point which all of these lamentable runners of capitalism miss, when trying to pardon their failure to run capitalism in the interests of the exploited majority, is that in their lying programmes they never say : “We will house you if slum dwellers do not move in from outside,” or “We will solve the housing problem if materials are cheap enough for workers to afford the rents,” “ or “We will bring peace unless war comes, prosperity, unless a slump comes and full employment unless unemployment sets in.” Could it be that to tell workers the truth before polling would be dangerous to their chances of election?

The second problem at which we will glance has had a great deal said and written about it, namely that of RACE. We have ourselves published a 78 page pamphlet on this matter which explodes the false theories of biological superiorities and other such prejudices. It analyses the whole problem from the Socialist point of view and goes into the subject with much greater detail than space permits here. We need only mention one incident as an illustration.

In what is boasted as the most “advanced” country in the world where a lot of shouting is done about “constitutions,” “citizens’ rights,” “freedom” and so on, a case is reported in the Daily Express (April 25th, 1956) of backward and ignorant conduct. The case being that of the segregation of negroes on ’buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

The facts as reported by the above newspaper indicate some “13 states with tough segregation laws” and a Police Commissioner, Sellers, who is a member of the so-called “White Citizens Council.” The Supreme Court having ruled that segregation on ’buses must end. this man said: “As far as I am concerned this damn thing applies to South Carolina only.” He threatened “to arrest any passenger who mixes with the opposite race.”

Of course to carry this threat out would be impossible if the “advanced” individual in question had to define the terms “opposite race” and give evidence that would hold water before he went any further.

It is of particular interest to note that although this threat was made by the chief of police, the ’bus company, despite the fact that the threat also applied to ’bus “drivers who permitted racial mixing on their ’buses,” sided with the Supreme Court ruling and told their employees they need no longer “give front seats to whites and rear seats to negroes.”’

We can understand the tenderheartedness of the *bus company; they were merely responding in the way Capitalists normally do when their gold coffers have been hit. The 50,000 negroes of Montgomery have boycotted the ’buses since last December and this has lost the company “over £1,000 daily.” The negroes, however, are keeping up their boycott “ until the confusion is ended.”

As Socialists we would say the action of the negroes in resisting this callous inequality is the only dignified and praiseworthy thing in the whole sordid and degrading affair.

The most tragic observation of all is not only that members of the working class should behave one to another in such a way, resenting skin colours of fellow members of their own exploited class while their common enemies, the exploiting Capitalist class, live on their backs, but that the move away from segregation came from outside and not from within the states concerned. Unfortunately, the ignorance of the economic forces at work within capitalism, from which this conduct springs, cannot be banished merely by the Supreme Court making rulings although to whatever degree events turn against segregation it is a healthier sign than its unchallenged continuation.

It will finally only be when workers turn to SOCIALISM that they will cease to be a prey to nationalist or racial prejudice of one variety or another, because only then will they no longer see themselves as one with their respective NATIONAL ruling class, but will see that their real oneness lies in union with the wage slaves all over the world, geography, sex and so-called race making no difference. We would conclude by saying that the “education” machine of capitalism whose function it is to turn out obedient, efficient wage slaves will never direct its efforts towards Socialism, but the hard facts of life and the common problems which universally smite all workers will direct their interest our way.

Meanwhile the politicians will go on with their “better world” promises and we for our part will go on vigorously advocating the abolition of the nightmare, which these hirelings seek to preserve, and its replacement by Socialism—the world of the social equality of all men and women of the world, of one community of interest based on holding the means of living in common, and production entirely and literally for use.

H. B.

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