50 Years Ago: The Great Radio Drive
The Labour Party, pledged to make capitalism work and pave the way for socialism at the same time, have forgotten the second in face of the obstacles that have frustrated their efforts in pursuit of the first. Without a huge unemployed army they cannot drive, they can only stimulate by persuasion and utter warnings of either increased austerity or widespread unemployment. Two Labour governments have failed to make capitalism work. In 1930 because of the depression; in 1948 because there is no depression, and, therefore, no unemployed millions exercising pressure on those at work.
The Economist in May, 1947, had stated bluntly that the system could not be made to work efficiently unless there was five or six per cent of unemployment. The Labour Party had promised full employment. The demand for labour, under the exceptional circumstances created by the war, favoured the workers if they chose to push their claims for higher wages and better conditions. They had to be side-tracked. Hence their appeals for loyalty to the Labour movement, their attempt to freeze wages, and their promise of profits-limitations they were afraid to enforce (. . .)
To the average worker the propaganda of the Labour Party has, no doubt, been confusing in the past. Today we see the Labour Party in power, and in combination with the Federation of British Industries and the Trade Union Congress engaged in the biggest drive that has ever been organised against the industrial workers of this country. Surely this is sufficient to give every serious-minded worker cause to reflect on the possibility of dispensing with all kinds of leaders and studying the cause of his incessant toil and poverty in the light of Socialist knowledge.
(From an article by “F.F.”, Socialist Standard, July 1948)