50 Years Ago: This Age of Discontent

The non-socialists see certain evils in the world, evils which grow more glaring as the years pass, and all they can do is to say in effect, “Let us destroy these abominable evils, and if in doing so, we at the same time, destroy associations of peoples, even if we thereby wipe out mankind itself; better chaos or annihilation, than the degradation and prostitution of life as it is today.”

The Socialist, however, has no desire for social chaos or atavism, or total annihilation; these visions of despair would drift into nothingness if people could only be brought to understand— to understand themselves and the social system under which they live and which makes them the unhappy beings that they are. We are endeavouring to give our non-Socialist fellow workers an exposition of life as it now is as it might soon be, and as, eventually it will be.

What we desire is a sane and healthy system of society, to be created on the dead ashes of the system which is passing, wherein no man shall be called upon to sacrifice his ability and no woman her body in order to obtain the wherewithal to live; wherein the workman, the artist, the scientist (possibly a trinity in one person) may unite with and dovetail into one another in the production of wealth, which would be the property of an appreciative and enlightened humanity; not, as now, the property of a few unworthy and unappreciative parasites.

(From an article “The Age of Discontent” by F. J. Webb in the Socialist Standard, March 1923.)