50 Years Ago: Wise Martians?

Some few months back our astronomers directed their telescopes upon our beautiful celestial neighbour — the planet Mars. Several claimed to have discovered overwhelming proof of the existence thereon of sentient beings. Their difficulties were recognised even at a distance of hundreds of millions of miles, and they had overcome them in a highly ingenious way . . .

But one significant thing seemed to escape the reflections of our astronomers. All their observations implied that the Martians viewed their planet as a coherent whole, a common possession. None was guilty of the lunacy of suggesting that the Martians were divided into separate jealous, warring gangs, each gang sub-divided into toilers and parasites. It is not impossible, of course, but all our scientists’ suggestions tacitly recognised that works of such magnitude, directed to a common end, would naturally be the work of beings who had risen superior to the stupid divisions with which we are familiar. Then let us take a celestial leaf from their (possibly non-existent) book, and view our earth as a common heritage. Let all take part in the winning of wealth from Mother Nature’s storehouse. Then let all share in the result of a co-operative mutual effort. Let us banish slavery, poverty, ignorance and wretchedness to the limbo of forgotten things. You have nothing to lose but your chains: you have a world to win.

(From an article A Happy New Year by W. T. Hopley. Socialist Standard, January 1925.)