1970s >> 1971 >> no-805-september-1971

News

The Socialist Standard is never out of date! It is not intended to bring “hard” news but rather to examine the minutae of capitalism as governments, politicians, businessmen, trades unions, etc. contort in serious gestures of faith, hope and charity in an effort to alleviate — they seldom now say “eradicate” — some grosser feature of the constant factor in our social equation, capitalism itself.

As socialists we hold, and can demonstrate, that it is this constant factor, capitalism, with its reduction of the essentials of life to the status of mere commodities simply for sale and profit, that is at the basis of the problems with which the politicians, employers’ organisations, trades unions and others are concerned.

It is this constant factor which almost always forms the basis of “news” and, inevitably, lies beneath the surface of the political unrest, the street violence and localised wars which bring the world’s newsmen to this or that area of the earth to transmit their drama-packed headlines or pictures to the various news media.

The real news is history; it is the story of capitalism breaking out here or there — like a ghastly rash on the body social, yielding temporarily in one area to some political ointment but remaining unyielding In the political and economic bloodstream. Bursting through the skin of complaisance in Belfast while Aden is being treated … or Vietnam … or Jordan … or Pakistan or any of the other hundred areas of great or large conflict that made news since the last bout of world blood-letting that was to end the practice.

The political practitioners are always in attendance with their commanders of death in waiting and their priests praying for peace or victory — as the need dictates. These are the people who make “news” on the pages adjoining Andy Capp or Superman; the merchants of death and misery whose “abilities” could only find a meaningful outlet in a society where human beings live and die in hunger in the midst of potential abundance, where palaces are built for the gods of religion and commerce and hovels remain for people, where science deals in death and philosophy in hate.

These things are “news” despite the fact that only the scene of the action changes, or the accent of the voice of hypocrisy or the face before the unchanging minds of the leaders — minds sick on the foul values of capitalism.

This is the ghastly masquerade of capitalism; yesterday’s stale news in the trappings of today. France, Germany, Russia, Japan, the Near, Middle and Far East, Hungary, Poland, Algeria, Israel, Cuba, Cyprus. Ireland to mention a very few of the places where the political ointment of capitalism is drying or being applied. Mere labels on the news-hound’s bags that will travel again tomorrow for more of the same thing.

Only the places, the names, change; the constant factor, capitalism, remains!

This is why the SOCIALIST STANDARD is never dated True, we too. if somewhat belatedly, deal with the “news” but we are not concerned with the shadows, the new places for old deeds, the application of capitalism’s ointments. We are concerned with the real cause, with capitalism We are concerned with exposing the inefficiency of capitalism’s political quackery and winning our fellow-workers to a realisation of the need for political surgery in order to eliminate the constant factor and creating a society where “news” will be the continuing story of man’s progress from the pre-history of capitalism.

Richard Montague