50 Years Ago: Socialism everywhere
Years ago, socialist propagandists used to point out to the reformists that their work of popularising old-age pensions, unemployment insurance, etc., would only end up with the openly capitalist parties dishing them by adopting the proposals for themselves and getting the credit. To clinch the matter, socialists added that a time would come when capitalists would steal the word “socialism” itself and use it to gain a further lease of life for capitalism. Events have faithfully followed this anticipation. If what they say were really true, the workers’ difficulty today would be to find some spot where socialism isn’t. First, there are Russia’s 170 millions supposed to be living under socialism. Now Germany. with its “National Socialist Party” in the saddle, has just been officially declared to be socialist.
The Berlin correspondent of the Economist (February 1st) writes as follows: “. . . it is affirmed that Socialism is under way (indeed, this week it is officially stated to have already replaced capitalism).” Then the three Scandinavian countries, with their Labour Parties in power, are described as “socialist” in the English Labour Press, along with New Zealand and Western Australia. At home we have the old-fashioned section of the Labour Party still insisting that the Post Office is socialism, while the new gang (Mr Morrison) calls the Transport Board “socialisation.” and tells us that we have a socialist London County Council. Where the Government is not controlled by a Party calling itself socialist, it often has one or more leaders who were Labour Party stalwarts, e.g., MacDonald and Thomas, Mr Lyons the Australian Premier, and Mussolini and several of his colleagues.
Only knowledge of socialist principles will make the workers proof against being misled by capitalist and Labour Party misrepresentation.