1970s >> 1974 >> no-844-december-1974

The Mask of Opportunity

In society today: split as it is into two opposing social classes of buyers and sellers of labour-power the word “opportunity” looms large in the everyday vocabulary; implying an advantage over one’s fellows.

The national and provincial press display an endless array of advertisements hammering home the opportunity theme to a labour force who have so far, failed to see the surplus-value con trick hidden behind this mask of opportunism. Here the Armed Forces, large company or international concern encircling the globe: all compete as they fish in the vacancies columns for the human labour-power from which alone flows the coveted profit margins that make capitalism tick.

Tory, Labour and Trade Union leaders all join in a chant of “equal opportunities”, to get to the top of a pile of white- or blue-collared wage stiffs! completely ignoring the Marxian fact that all labour power is homogeneous!

But behind these alluring adverts are some “opportunities” discreetly UN-mentioned; including having one’s legs blown off in the army, being shot down in the air force or torpedoed in the navy. All in the day’s work maybe, according to the ethics of a sick society. A society which has nothing better to offer large numbers of the flower of youth than to dress them up in “smart” uniforms to bolster their morale as they are sent about their murderous tasks by a ruling class bereft of any social conscience.

A recent advertisement in The Guardian of 16th September 1974, seeks suitable sellers of labour-power to participate in the production, maintenance and flight of an Anglo-French fighter plane which boasts, in their terminology of death and destruction, that it can “Deliver 4,000Kg. of free fall, retarded or cluster bombs”: which leaves old-time merchants of death like Basil Zarahoff among the also-rans. But has the Guardian any scruples about accepting such deadly adverts? Apparently not. After all they are staunch supporters of capitalism with its wars, slums and “equal opportunities”.

Now the Socialist Party of Great Britain contends that the working class is certainly capable of a more dignified destiny than that of a hired assassin or mere commodity with a price tag on his carcase denoting the ingredient labour-power in the exploiting process of capitalist society. And although at the moment, the key note of opportunism is the ruling ethic of “every man for himself”: this alien philosophy is being slowly unmasked by Socialists the world over and all men and women who put their shoulders to the wheel of the Socialist Revolution have risen above the otherwise empty, frustrating, money-grubbing existence of mediocrity, matching in inanity that of the capitalist as a machine for accumulation!

Finally, Socialism offers no advantage, no promotion. No stripes, no medals, no gory glory, no guns, and no enemies, no pensions and no governments: but plain social ownership of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interests of the genus homo. Then only will the world be our country and mankind our brethren and the cacophony of “opportunism” will be but a faint echo in the corridors of time.

G. R. Russell