1990s >> 1999 >> no-1137-may-1999



    * Not my war
    * We have a dream
    * Labour no good
    * Become a socialist

Not my war

Dear Editors,
Like you I am opposed to dropping bombs on my fellow human beings. My “side” is opposed to the “sides” of Milosovic, the KLF and the NATO powers, including “our” government. My “side” is for peace and live and let live against power politics, territorial urges and militaristic posturing.

Having no shares or property to defend, I give all Tommies permission to take it easy and stay at home with their wives and bairns. The airmen and soldiers are victims too of a cynical, greedy two-faced hypocritical bunch of warmongers.

If war is ever “necessary” this should proceed by the politicians heading the column into battle.

ROBERT J. TAYLOR, South Shields 


We have a dream

Dear Editors,
We have a dream, it’s a big one too. Our dream embraces the whole of humanity and they don’t come much bigger than that. In our dream we see every person on the face of the Earth having the same value, priceless! In our dream gone will be the days where one person’s life will be considered more valuable or less valuable than any other. Gone will be the days when someone will be paid as much for reading the News for a day as a nurse will receive for a whole year of looking after the sick. Gone also will be the days when some have a life of untold luxury, wealth and privilege just because they happen to be born in a certain bed.

We have a dream . . . in a socialist world buildings will be built to the highest possible specification (just like banks are now) to be inhabited by people and not to house lumps of gold, bits of coloured glass and pretty pieces of paper. We don’t know how long it might be before our dream becomes a reality, it might take quite a while. We realise that there are plenty of people who have a vested interest in retaining the demeaning values upon which society is based . . . for the time being they are doing alright thank you, Jack.

Capitalism is a reality, but the dream that once was, for too many, has now become a soul-destroying nightmare. One million people in this country alone take a daily dose of Prozac (anti-depressant) to help them get through each day. This is a legal drug, just imagine how many more are getting away from it all by “fixing” on anything that they can lay their shaking hands on.

The fact is of course that capitalism has and continues to fail people in their millions, they see no hope, they have no hope, worse still they don’t even have a dream.

JOHN PHAZEY, Sutton Coldfield


Labour no good

Dear Editors,
Re your article “What’s New about New Labour?” (March, Socialist Standard), it is of course, perfectly true that (so-called) “New” Labour is no different from Old Labour. The Labour Party never was a socialist party. Over the years it has had many far left hot-heads in it; one of the most notable being Aneurin Bevan (although, towards the end of his life, he mellowed considerably). The Labour Party in its policies was only really a left-wing conservative party. That is why, in my opinion, it has spent most of the years of its existence in opposition.

When in government, it has introduced means testing for the for the very poor, cut dole money, introduced a compulsory two years’ national service for all young men on attaining the age of 18, banned strikes making them illegal, operated wage freezes, limited wage increases. True, they introduced child benefit after the war; but, in old money, Hugh Dalton, then Chancellor, put a shilling on 20 fags and sixpence on 10 fags to pay for it. The aforementioned policies seem more like the policies of a far right Thatcherite party than a so-called Labour Party.

One of the first assertions in the Labour Constitution was: “The Labour Party is a Socialist Party”. It wasn’t and never has been. But the one that always amuses me sadly is the old Clause 4: “To secure for the workers by hand and by brain, the full fruits of their labour and the most equitable distribution thereof.” Jolly decent of them eh! Who was anyone to deny the workers by hand or brain the full fruits of their labour?

I always remember in the long ago, November 1956 to be exact, as a young engineering apprentice in the Ford Motor company, I was invited to join the AEU. I had to fill in a form and attend the branch I had chosen with my seconder who had joined me. The new recruits stood out at the front of the meeting and the Branch Chairman read a text out to them (I suppose they still have it). The first part of the text had in it: “Our ancestors and predecessors were vilified and persecuted and, what prosperity we have now, is the fruits of their labour.”

Most of the text, however, has faded from my memory. The part I do remember is the end part: “May you live to see the day when we have ended the system that causes unemployment, that causes poverty in the midst of plenty, and replace it with a just and equitable one.” In the intervening years, particularly during the Thatcher years, my thoughts have often gone back to that far-off night. Would I ever live to see that day?

STUART P. KING, Romford, Essex 


Become a socialist

Dear Editors,
I think that most folks have heard of Socialism but I doubt very much that their definition coincides with mine—a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community—a world-wide community of 5½ billion of us humans.

We Socialists are quite satisfied that the only way to achieve this goal is by political action. Use your vote to bring about an end to the present system, capitalism, which deprives the worker of the wealth they alone produce.

The solution to most of the ills of the world is a simple one, establish Socialism. However it cannot be done without a majority of Socialists. Our socialist candidates will flat-out tell you that they don’t want your vote unless you want socialism. Reforming capitalism is not on the agenda. Our political opponents have been doing that for over 200 years.

The socialist can point the way but they will not adopt the role of “leader”. Have you heard this before? “Where there are leaders there are led, where there are led there are bled.”

We must first cast off the role of being a follower. You may think you cannot be hoodwinked. That you are extremely intelligent. That you are too wise in the ways of the world. The facts prove otherwise. You have voted for the Whigs and Tories, the Democrats and Republicans, the Liberals and Conservatives for the past 200 years. These are facts. Let us face it: you have been misled year after year. Your “leaders”, with their smooth talk and promises, have proven that followers are made to be bled. Become a Socialist and learn how this capitalist system operates and why it cannot function in the workers’ interests.

BILL HEWITSON, Santa Monica, California


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