1950s >> 1958 >> no-642-february-1958

Where Are You Going

By this time, you the reader, will once again have embarked on another year’s effort, which like all previous efforts, is a two-fold one—to maintain some kind of a living, the best you can get under the circumstances, whilst continuing to be the wealth producing agent for the minority who control your destiny; not a very dignified position to be in you will agree but one that you have accepted far too long.
You had your Christmas respite and indulged in the traditional manner. Throughout the holiday you strove to foster the spirit of good will; the “live and let live” idea. Now, it is once again all over and you must face up to the stern reality of life under Capitalism without the cap and bells. In fact you are expected, those of you who have one, to get back on “the job.”
It is at this juncture that we in the Socialist Party without wishing to be impertinent, ask the question “Where are you going this year?” Naturally we arc not referring to the spate of advertisements already filling the press, extolling the joys of wintering in the Bahamas, and other exotic places. We mean “What are your plans for improving your lot in 1958 ?” You will agree that 1957 took more out of you than you received in return. This situation is what industrialists would call “bad business.” and bad business indeed it was for the working class. This was true also for your fellow workers in the U.S.A., Russia and everywhere else. Everywhere, the sum total of dividends accruing to the world’s workers in 1957 after payment of “overhead expenses” (food, clothes, shelter and an occasional “ break ”) was merely an increase in strain and stress; an increase in genuine, all-round fear. 1958 it now appears is already given over to an increase in the scientific armament race with all the above-mentioned evils attached and perhaps more.
The writer, has, for some time past, been in the habit of reading (in the same way as many renew the acquaintance with Dickens’ Christmas Carol) at the commencement of the New Year, some of the curious reasons and antidotes for the phenomena of poverty. He finds that the reasons are extremely varied and in most cases amusing. Economists and philanthropists together with our old friends the politicians and clergy offer all kinds of excuses including “sun-spots” which affect the weather and crops, mysterious psychological brain disturbances which affect the business acumen of industrial magnates and so on not forgetting the theory of the inherent wickedness of Man’s heart.
So you see, we are told to be patient, virtuous and hard working in the hope that, Micawber like, somehow, things will turn out all right.
In the light of all this, you may of course decide to run for the nearest hatchet, believing that humanity will not free itself “till the last Capitalist is hanged by the entrails of the last priest.” We don’t think, however, that you are so foolishly energetic. Rather, you are more likely to put away your bells and lanterns, place the frost fairy back into her cardboard box and live in hope that you will be in a position to reverse the process next Christmas.
Readers of the Socialist Standard will know that it is not our custom to mouth empty platitudes and perhaps the phrase “Happy New Year” has fallen into nothing more than a platitude these days but what we do urge is that you take upon yourselves the business of seeing this year—1958 as the year in which you commenced to do something about putting things right You can best do this by supporting the Socialist movement which in your case is the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Better still send us a real New Year’s card—an application for membership.
W. Brain

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