50 Years Ago: Socialism and Materialism

The politicians of all parties outside the Socialist Party trade upon the economic ignorance of the mass of the workers, but that does not prevent them from stimulating their blind greed. Every proposal which appears in their election addresses is calculated to obtain the support of those who do not realize the futility of such measures from the standpoint of working class interests. Free Trade, Land Taxation, Nationalization, the Capital Levy! What have these measures to do with ethics?, we may ask. They are merely the means by which sections of the master-class seek both to serve their own interests and hoodwink their slaves.

Some high-sounding phrase such as the “public interest” or the “welfare of the community” is used to camouflage their motives and blind the workers, who vainly look for some material gain from these measures.

The Socialist, therefore, has no need to apologise for appealing to the workers to use their intelligence in their own material interests. Our moralizing masters have looked after theirs long enough.

(From an article “Socialism and Materialism” by Eric Boden, published in the Socialist Standard April 1926.)