50 Years Ago – Down Your Way

What’s happening down your way? What are you talking about in the office? Football Pools? T.V.? The cost of living? Marilyn Monroe? Probably. Workers are apathetic about most social questions; and the political parties are finding it increasingly difficult to attract audiences to their meetings.
But are the workers really satisfied with present-day conditions? Are you satisfied? Surely not. You’re fed-up with hydrogen bombs, the talk of war, the cost of living, the Labour Party – and the Tories. They both promised to solve your housing problems, rising prices. They promised you peace – whilst preparing for war. Is it surprising that you are cynical and apathetic? That you are fed-up with “politics?” Most people think there can be no solution to all these evils that beset us; and that the present order – or “disorder” of society will always be with us.
Yes, you are quite right. “Politics,” that is the politics of running this present system, is a “dirty game.” And we, as Socialists are not interested in playing the game. We know that the various political parties that promise to solve your problems for you are incapable of doing so. We know that the present system of society – capitalism – cannot be run in your interest. That is why we propose that you change it. That is why we want to get you interested, not so much in “politics,” but in society as it is; and in society as it could be, as it must be, in the future. We want you to desire and work for an entirely new way of life (. . .)
We socialists are ordinary people. We have studied our society and have come to the conclusion that whilst the present profit-making system remains we will never get rid of the evils of war, insecurity and the rest. We think that only by changing the whole structure of society will we get rid of these problems. Only by making the means of life – the factories, offices, railways, etc. – the common possession of all people, and producing the things necessary to satisfy people’s needs and desires solely for use and not for profit will we eradicate these evils.
This, briefly, is our alternative to “politics,” football pools, the “dogs” – and apathy.
Think it over.

(From an article by Peter E. Newell,

Socialist Standard, December 1954)

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