“We live in a highly complex industrial society.
We travel in cars, buses or trains, handle the elaborate machinery of production, operate computers, eat processed food and watch television, listen to radio, record-players and tapes. All this is comparatively new, the world produced by our technology is continuously changing. It does not resemble the world of our parents or grandparents; it will not resemble the world of our children.
Although everyone knows about these changes, we do not often stop to consider just how large they are, and how rapid they have been in industrialised societies compared with all previous times.
To understand our society therefore—and understanding it is a necessity, both to survive satisfactorily within it, and as a preparation for changing it, it is important to understand technology.”
So begins the first section of the Open University’s Foundation Science course. And yet having readily agreed that the facts are as stated, and that we live in a hectic, madly hysterical world of tearing haste—the question arises Yes! but what can I do about it all?
This must be a question asked themselves by many isolated readers of the Socialist Standard. It must be admitted that this is no easy option. All very well for those within easy distance of numbers of other members to see, and to talk to!
But for the lone reader, buried away in a sea of select suburbia, or the isolated Socialist in a northern “Labour stronghold” it is by no means easy to withstand the pressures of sheer weight of opposition numbers. After all, everyone (almost) wants to be friendly with the neighbours, popular at work, and accepted by the community. Who wants to be written off as “a nice enough bloke” (or dame) but a bit funny about politics!—You know?
What the hell can one do? Firstly nobody is expected to invest in a soapbox and rush to the local public square to harangue the citizenry. The first thing we would suggest that any isolated Socialist can do is read and think. You have taken the first step when you read the Socialist Standard.
Secondly there have never been so many excellent texts available for the Party supporter to get his teeth into. In thus training himself to deal with all the spurious nonsense of leftie reformers effectively, he will, at the same time, be transforming himself into an able exponent of Socialism.
Thirdly, telephone one of the numbers given in the Directory inside the front cover to put queries—ask advice—quote problems. We will advise about books, courses of study, sources of information. Never forget that ours is the method of peaceful persuasion. Not for us the strong-arm antics of disgruntled lefties, headstrong hooligans who without the knowledge which gives confidence seek hand-to-hand brawling and stupid fisticuffs as a substitute for arguments. In any case, after the meeting has been broken up—or the speaker beaten up—the discussion still has to take place. But to do this you do not need lessons in karate or unarmed combat but knowledge from books and advice from the party.
When discussing with workmates, neighbours or friends it is not necessary to constantly refer to the word Socialism or the name of the party. People are interested in the problems—start on these first, then lead naturally to parties and policies.
Write to the party and the Standard about events in your factory, office or constituency.
You will find in today’s rapidly changing world of impending disasters many more enquiring workers eager to listen to anybody who has the ability to expound an alternative to capitalism. For this you need knowledge. When you have it you cannot lack interested friends. We will help you all we can, but you must help other workers to learn Socialism.