1950s >> 1959 >> no-656-april-1959

Editorial: Optimism—For Whom?

The Evening Standard reported on March 13th, on the front page: —

 “Mr. Derick Heathcoat-Amory, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said in London to-day: “I am absolutely convinced that our economy to-day is in better shape than it has been at any time since the end of the war.’
“I am sure that as a nation we can face the future with a steady confidence and faith in ourselves’.”

Another column on the same page is headed “African gangs smash shops,” and still another tells us that “Masked Gang Raid Town Strongroom.” The Daily Express of the day before, under the heading “Ike’s Berlin Shock,” makes this comment: —

  “President Eisenhower said to-day that America was not going to fight a ground war in Europe, where Russia could muster an overwhelming army of 175 divisions.
“The President spoke at his Press conference and left the impression that if the U.S. had to go to war over Berlin it would use nuclear weapons.”

An American reporter at the conference commented “I don’t know whether he has scared Kruschev, but he certainly frightens the pants off me.”

In Africa, the Middle East—and, in fact, all over the world—trouble is flaring up and the governments are apprehensive, like men walking on tightropes. Unemployment in this country has grown and housing conditions for the workers are still bad—but Mr. Amory, a leading Cabinet Minster, is optimistic.

Similar optimism was expressed by the executives of our capitalist rulers between the last two great wars, but first an “economic blizzard” and”then the last world war shattered the optimism for all except those who reaped a harvest out of the troubles.

The world is, and will remain, a mass of trouble as long as capitalism lasts, because capitalism with its privileged and unprivileged, its class cleavage, and its hunt for profit for the privileged contains the seeds of trouble. No sooner does one sore appear to be healed than another breaks out. Not all the journeyings of government spokesmen can find a path out of this morass as Macmillan’s recent Russian trip bears testimony.

There is only one solution to the misery and insecurity of the mass of the world’s population and that solution requires that its workers of the world realise that they perform all the functions necessary to feed, clothe and house everybody. That the reason so many go short is because the means of production are owned by a relatively small proportion of the population who reap the benefits of the worker’s toil without the need to work themselves. In other words, that the workers carry parasites on their shoulders. When the workers achieve this knowledge they will realise that the solution lies in making these means of production and distribution the common and equal possession of all mankind. When this awakening occurs then genuine optimism will supersede the fatuous and spurious optimism that occasionally appears today. and Amory and his like will find their occupations gone.