50 Years Ago: Industrial Peace

Once again we are being regaled in the Press and from the platform with unctuous rubbish concerning the desirability of “peace” in industry. The overwhelming fascination which the topic appears to possess for capitalist representatives and labour leaders alike only speaks for their mental bankruptcy and the fatal readiness of the workers to be deceived by promises.

The subject of the industrial conflict is the exact amount of blood, nerve and sinew that shall be sucked dry of energy in order that a small class of idlers may feast and frolic. The cause of the conflict is the fact that the idlers own the means by which alone the blood, nerve and sinews of the workers can be re-energised. Every increase in the blood, nerve and sinew, every corresponding increase in its output, only heaps higher the wealth that the idlers waste.

Never has any capitalist, never has any labour leader, produced a shred of evidence to conflict with this simple, obvious fact. Similarly, not one of them dare deal with the only remedy. If the workers are to enjoy the fruits of their labours, they must own and control the means by which they produce them. The land, factories, railways etc. must be made the common property of all to meet the needs of all. That is what we mean by socialism.

From an article by Eric Boden, Socialist Standard Feb 1928.