1960s >> 1968 >> no-764-april-1968

50 Years Ago: The Passing of Individualism

Imperialism, especially under the impulse of its exacting offspring, the war, has revolutionised the capitalist mind. The old “individualism” is dead as a working philosophy. Whilst in the “Liberal” period, the capitalist class largely achieved its prosperity through each capitalist seeking independently his own welfare without much regard for, or heed of, the support of his class, now that competition between its national sections has become intense, class solidarity within the nation has become imperative. The great expense of militarism and the need for efficiency demand concessions and sacrifices from the individual members of the bourgeoisie.


Organisation for war having become an economic necessity, military service is now considered an imperative obligation. The military spirit is glorified, military traditions are revived. The State it no longer regarded, as in the individualist period, a necessary nuisance, useful to keep the workers down (maintaining “order” as it is called) but otherwise the less in evidence the better. Now, on the contrary it has become the “saviour of society” (i.e. of the bourgeoisie). Only by its powerful aid can the needs of the capitalist class be satisfied. The State, in addition to securing military efficiency, now organises and provides over the industries of the Nation, striving to co-ordinate National production, eliminate waste, and otherwise promote the efficiency required for the intense competition in the world market.
From an article by R. W. Housely, Socialist Standard April 1918.