Not So Obvious
I am writing to ask if you have ever thought of participating in an alliance of left-wing parties to the left of the Labour Party. I am thinking of the Communist Party, the International Marxist Group, the Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Revolutionary Party. Such an alliance, based on areas of common agreement which I am sure can be found, could become a very strong force in British politics. Opposition to capitalism— both national and international—is obviously the most important common denominator between your various parties. It seems to me that the time has come to accentuate what you all have in common, and to put aside the differences until the struggle against capitalism is won.
Tom Rubens,

The object of the SPGB is the abolition of the wage labour and capital relationship and its replacement with socialism, a society of common ownership and free access. Such a revolution can only be brought about by the democratic political action of a majority of class conscious workers.

The end of private and state ownership of the means of production, and hence of production for the purpose of exchange and profit, is not part of the left’s programme. Far from envisaging a society in which classes, buying and selling, employment and politics itself are absent, the parties mentioned campaign for the capitalist Labour Party at election time. They also confuse nationalisation (state capitalism) with socialism, support the ‘Right to Work’ movement (there is no such right), dismiss our insistence upon the capture of the powers of government and the state machine and generally follow the anti-Marxist views of Lenin on questions such as leadership, nationalism and democracy. Needless to say, they have a wide variety of reforms on offer too.

For a socialist party, only one course is open: unceasing hostility to all parties that administer or lend their support to the capitalist system. This includes the left, whose militancy and spurious theory they cloak in the name of socialism, making our task that much more difficult. As to an alliance, the Pope will take up ballroom dancing first.

Shallow Reporting
Following a recent article in the Socialist Standard entitled “Media Harlots” another example of shallow reporting showing effect rather than cause could be seen on one of the Tonight programmes during the week.

A reporter from CBS showed us all the effect of drunkenness on the Indians of NW Canada. We had the typical view of drunken apathetic Indians reeling about the streets while their young children plundered the local schoolmistress’s house for food and bedding. Another man was interviewed in his meagre house where he tried to feed up to fourteen children before he too went “under the influence”.

After showing all these effects we were then given the cause of this wanton drunkenness amongst the Red population. Apparently research has shown that due to their diet, the red man’s blood does not withstand as much alcohol as the white man’s.

This report concluded the case by suggesting even by some of the Indians themselves that the only cure was to ban alcohol. Only one man came near to a more realistic conclusion when he suggested that perhaps the Indians were being unfairly treated as he stated that the Government subsidies only extended to alcoholic drinks and not to such “luxuries” as housing, food and transport.

Surely a community forced to abandon their own beliefs and live in an alien society i.e. the capitalist society, will be left to subsist on handouts the profiteers choose to pass on to them thus ensuing their second class way of life.

I would be interested to know how far the Socialist Party has become established in Canada and ‘free’ America and how it stands in regard to such minority groups as the Indians and Eskimos.
Dorothy Williams,
Mablethorpe, Lincs.

In a sense. Dorothy Williams has answered her own question. She points out that the alcoholism of the Indians in NW Canada is largely due to deficiencies in their diet, which in turn is an effect of the pressure of property society.

There are many such examples of the alienating and destructive effects of capitalism, beginning in the process of industrialising large areas and forcing people to abandon a rural way of life, only to be herded into the slums of the cities.

Socialists are not indifferent to such suffering; indeed as members of the working class we ourselves experience, day by day, the indignities and demoralising effects of capitalism. What distinguishes us from other political organisations is that we insist that it is futile to concentrate on just a part of capitalism’s problems— slums, poverty, war, the plight of the Eskimos and so on.

Since capitalism is responsible for all these problems—and many others—it follows that the only effective policy is to campaign exclusively for its abolition and replacement with socialism.

There is a Socialist Party of Canada, companion to the SPGB and other socialist parties in the world. But the difficulties of the struggle for socialism are even more formidable in Canada than in this country, and the SPC remains small. Its offices are in Victoria. British Columbia.

Do We Oppose NF?
Regarding On Banning the the National Front — Socialist Standard January issue.

Because the opportunity to discuss their racist policies with them, either at their meetings or otherwise, is not often possible can I ask whether you agree that your members and supporters should also assist to make the elector aware of those policies by the issue of anti-NF explanatory leaflets as issued constantly by the Anti-Nazi League?
Yours hopefully.
FD (Essex)

It is not only the National Front who are shy about discussing their policies. The Socialist Standard has recently written twice to the Anti-Nazi League, asking Peter Hain if he would agree to being interviewed by a socialist as part of an article we plan to publish on the ANL. Both letters were ignored.

As far as our resources in terms of membership and money permit we publish a great deal of literature analysing all aspects of capitalist society. Articles on racism appear regularly in the Socialist Standard and we have published two editions of our pamphlet on the Racial Problem.

What we don’t get involved in is a preoccupation with any one aspect of capitalism’s problems, be it racism, sexism, unemployment or whatever. We argue that anyone concerned with any of these problems should be concerned with the abolition of them all — by the abolition of capitalism.

We analyse and attack the ideas of racism just as we oppose all anti-working class theories, including the reformism of organisation like the Anti-Nazi League.

Berk of the Month
January’s “Berk of the Month Award” must go to the Sunday Mirror columnist Mr. Wardrobe Wyatt. From “Britain’s most influential columnist” comes this little gent “We have strikes because some people enjoy the excitement of them’’. Our friend Woodrow has obviously not experienced the “excitement” of standing in sub-zero temperatures, for hours on end with only the pittance of strike pay in their pockets, with about as much action as the Queen’s garden party.
Rob Bishop
Pudsey, Leeds, W. Yorks.

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