0

Journal

of

The

Socialist

Party

• Mi(ropolitia I ~olidority • ~oddam and the US • William MorrH

OCTOBER

1996

Vol. 92 No. 1106

Price 70p

From Jarrow to Jobseekers

poll

c yanda

c t I v I tie

s &p

rinclple
The

s

Who We Are

-

The Socialist Party is like no other political party in Britain. It is made up of pcoplcwho have joined together because we want to get rid of the profit system and establish real socialism. Our aim is to persuade others to become socialist and act for themselves. organising democratically and without leaders, to bring about the kind of society that we are advocating in this Sodalist Standard. We are solely concerned with buildinga movement of socialists for socialism. We are not a reformist party with a programme of policies to patch up capitalism.

Socialist Party
of

Great Britain

Obiect The- e'l1.lb11s;)\rT'N"nr ah ~ ... of Llr1ct'lLJa3lCd upon m I'1\c" rnmman a'ATUontup A Ck:mOCCatllt cur'-Jol or
rtw>

mt"..JM If'\c1 MtnuntOts (OCpr dOCll1.lC :md du mb'.... g W,..s.lfh by Anc1ln mt l"tCfc~l o( the ...hole n

commAanlty

I )~I

I of l'rindpl ...

WhatWe

Do

I,

"'ng

Sot

We use every possible opportunity to make new socialists. We publish literature (including this monthly journal): we hold meetings and debates throughout the country; we write to the press and state our case where possible on phone. in programmes and other parts of the media; we run week-end educational conferences; we sell tapes and pamphlets; we hand out leaflets at meetings and demonstrations run by other organis::ttions; we sci k up posters; we talk to our fellow workers wherever we can, including trade unions, tenants' associations and student bodies - and, of course, we contest elections in order to make ourselves known to an even broader number of people. As we say that socialism can only be established globally (to replace global capitalism), we are linked with like-minded socialists in other parts of the world. Socialist literature is available in Arabic, Bengali, Dutch, Esperanto, French, German, Italian. Polish, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish as well as English.

That society a st p,cs.ent cunstuuted I~ upon the ownership of the means of (I end, (acllme., r,>llw"Y.< etc) by lulis[ or master-class, and the: consen enslsveme nr of he ....orkmg class, by ur Dione w •• ]lh 1< produced t n ~el)'J theretore, there is an
tntcn~ts, rrUUllrC~lJng UKI!:a...~

&:l'..... "<m::>mof

ItIZk, between

ID05<' who possess

The Next Step
The more of you who join the Socialist Party the more we will be able to get our ideas across, the more experiences we will be able to draw on and greater will be the new ideas for building the movement which you will be able to bring to u . The Socialist Party is an organisation of equals. here is no leader and there are no followers. So. ifyou are goingto join we want you to be sure that you agree fu Ity with what we stand for and that we are satisfied that you understand the case for socialism. If you want to know more about the Socialist P::trty, its ideas and activities, please write to us using the cut-out form below.

r------------Please lend me (titk as appropriate)

--

---- ..

I I I I

Details of the nearest Socialist Party branch or group Details about how to join the Socialist Party Free three-month trial subscription to The Socialist Standard
Name Address .. .

I
ur, MnJ dun poverty rna)' romfon, prt\'lkl!e 10 equalitY. fr ee dom

I

I I
Thl.to portlLDt

dac:lartotl
o~

I. the boul. of our or.

It 10 IUOO aft I... •

t.h. Co

.._----

...........................................................

To: The Social;$( Party FREEPOST

~----------------~
london SW4 7M

Postcode

.

historiaal document <looti". from '0.. uf Lh P".r1C)' In 1\164, It. hae bocIl1l'"Otall1M •

I

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

C0
Harder

TENTS
Grovedigger October 1996 • Vol. 92 No. 1106

times for unemployed

This month sees the introduction oj the Jobseekers Allouiance, a scheme designed by the gouemment to, eoentually, force the unemployed to accept any Job whatever the wages and conduions •
The Jarrow

lessons. The Jarrow Crusade is certainly one of those euents tuhtch. 'creams o III jor just such a response 5
Clan, mtc.ropoUtlcs
&

1/ history is good for

Marc.h anything u

John Bissett

is to teach us

Punishing the unemployed
rom this month the unemployed arc to suffer another turn of the screw. The conditions for obtaining a measly subsistence allowance from the state have been made harsher. Many will see their poverty-line payments reduced (even further) and all will suffer increased harassment by state officials. Why! Why s ould people be punished just for being unemployed] Since tha 's what it amounts to. The simple answer is chat this is what the profit system requires at present. It's not a question of which party is In power. Some Tory Ministers may take an obvious sadistic delight in making the unemployed suffer. But Labour would be no different. Blair has recently announced that Labour is now a "party of business", even a better bet for business than the Tones. They too will put the interest of business profits. first. Just as all previous (Old) labour governments did. In fact, any government, even if not so openly pro-business as New Labour and the Tories, has to do this. It's part ofw at running the profit system involves. If you haven't got a job you arc a drain on profits. The system does have an interest in keeping some of the unemployed in a fit state to work, in case a boom develops and more workers are needed. But by no means all of them. Economists nowadays talk of a "natural rate" of unemployment of 6 percent as the minimum achievable. In Britain, this is one-and-a-half million people. Jobs are never going to exist for them. They are just chariey cases, to be paid the minimum amount the state feels it can getaway with without provoking riots in the streets or deaths from starva ion. With the financial crisis of the capitalist state showing no signs of easing, excuses have to be found to further reduce spending on the no-hope unemployed. The latest is to send them on a wild goose chase after jobs that don't exist and to cut their dole money lfehey don't try hard enough. What can the unemployed do? Under the profit system, not much. They can organise into claimants unions and the like and maybe get DSS officials not to cut their benefit by so much or even to pay particularly hard cases a little extra. But this is no way to live. Talk about runnlllg fast to stand still! The unemployed have every reason to struggle, also and in priority, for the end of the wages-profitmoney system which doesn't even claim to offer them any hope but only misery and more misery.

soUdarity Jonathon Ooy

A

oj uiorkers who knout oj the ocialist Parry and our opposition to reformism assume that this means we are (Orally opposed to reforms as such and that we hold those workers tnuolued in reformist aaioitines ill contempt. but this isn't the case 7
/01

P

Features
The Greasy Pole _ ~._ _.9 _0 ..
1I 14

Whyis Iraqsingledoutt..

Socialists stand in New Zealand The Scavenger
A Word in Your £ar

1S 24

sting

in the

TaiL

Others
Letters TV Rcview Book Reviews Theatre Review 16 IS 19 21

TIrE SOCIALIST PARTY
of Great Britain
2 .lapham nigh Srrcct, London SW41L.'N T.dephonc 0111 6223811 Fax 0171 7203665 e-mail: 1()6033.2732(a)compucrve.com Thp Execer. .e COlT'mrttl'e rneets at ~ abO'v ,ldcil"P<;'s on the Ii Saturdd)' of t·, , ntr.n 30m. Co poooence s'lould be sent to G~rai Secretary, All ... nr s. Ptte~ and not)( ~hOJld be scnt to the I:ditOfi.· C.o.-vnrtlu. 51 Gayford .ld lonoon WI2 98Y

Su bscription

rates

IKrrmaJ rate £ 12 • low/.nwl&!d £1 • Yolv~tvy SUpporttr'1 I b £2~. O.t~U (~rm~Q [uropt £IS • ~est of World £11. Clwquts and poml ordtrl madt payablt (0' "TIw ~aJist Patty of Gnat Sritli.· 12 Cl1ptwn H'Ch ilrtt~ London SW4 7U Ttllpllont 0171 l&llFu GI11720 3"~

m

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

onyourbike

Harder times
for the
There is nothing governments can do to solve

me capitalist prob-

lem oj unemployment. Indeed, there is liule talk these days about ~solving'it>the mpha is is simply on what to do with the 'culprits>
rom October nemployment Benefit-the Dole+-will .known a the "Job Seekers Allowance", Along with this will come targeting agreements, directives, responsibilities, jobplans, prescribed prograrnm 's,review and flexibility. Buried lind r rhe tarni hed gl S of this jargon he compul ion, regim ntation, sanctions and hardship for th e who challenge the myth of exploit alion by an ernpl yer as a "choice". 1t means that the Tory go ernm nt have Iina Ily re ogniscd that the ixercisc of continual~y massaging the joble . figures is a worn-out facade and that the use of coercion is the only alternative in an effort to reduce the cost of maintsinmg the j ibless wlutc at Lh'sam 'lime thi . will pr vide an opportunity for ernploj ers to take full advantage of short-term orders and low st ck: for which cheap casual labour is ideally sui ed billion. Whilst actual payments ha c decreased in relative lue the total number of claimants ha actual] increased a ong with fraud and the take-up rate f r different benefits. Yet fortunatel for the capitalists the ta c-up rate stil! falls far short of that estirm ted, res ulting in a -surplus of £3.2 billion returned to the Treasury in 1995196, the difference between expected claimants and actual payment " The government hope that the full cnf rcement of the sanctions contained within the J A will make substantial savings and reductions in the unemployment register. Firstly by deterring registration, and s ondl by placing the om . of findmg a Job on tile indi idual claimant irrespccti e of th . state of the labour market. ny ignoring the fact that lal ur mar et del and i: virtuall stagrlant and that the

unemployed reserve arc on hold until more production becomes profitable, it is a short step to asserting that the non-existent jobs arc really there and that it onl needs the unemployed 10 become "Jobseekers" to winkle them out or even to create them. Workers who disagree with their Job Agreement which is in fact a contractual obligation backed up by penally reductions in benefit if not carried out) and Its clauses of Job Plan, Jobscekers Directives, Review Procedure, regular attendance at Job Centres for "active signing" and arc unabl 10 prove the arc "actively .eekin work", can e pect a withdrawal ofhenefit for I to 26 week. , Of at least be fac d with the mi ery of appl iag for hardship payments {; r their dcp«.,onOants onl When these measures are combined with the changes that have already taken place in limiting Unemployment Benefit, II usin Benefit and Mortgage Interest pa ment nd the fiction taken to align accommodation with the circumstances of unemployment through a notional "Relevant RL'TIt" -take your choice, bedsit or doo ' -tl ey amount to increasing oppre .. Ion al d fru, tration for the uncrnployed.

Job Centre chaos
not only the claimants who are going the consequences of implemcnung the sancuons contained in the J 'A On the: er 'ide of'the counters are another group of w rker who have to deal WIth the short fuses generated by capitalist . I pani On them falls the burden ofbeing the paid enforcers when it
lIS (

10 suffer

Austerity measures he JS/\.I ould be viev ed in the context of a long list of austerit mcasures affecting _ ocial Security payments over many years. With the cost of Social Security a burden on the capitahst class all han es have been implemented with I VIC\ to reducing thi financial bill. Rut paradoxically government intenti nsha ve nol been matched bv tile ,eali r FOl d spite the ell' rts 10 deter claimants by increasing th . cornplcxit <and .ize of the benefit f rrns, along with tougher criteria 011 claimants' entitlement the working class under the prcssure of circumstances have 111 inereasmg numbers applied resourcefulness 10 lind loophol . in the D., minefield IIence, the total hill for running the DS ' has e .calatcd to L93

T

• Signing on - the unemployed are a ~nonciol burden on the capito fist state whether it is governed by the Conservative or labour Party

THE SOCIA

1ST STANDARD

OCTOBER

1996

Ie a rn ~n Sfromh ~5tO ry
"Tbe government hopes that the full enforcement of the sanctions contained within the jSA wjlf make substantial savings ....'
comes to appl nng the sanctions. To help them ill their endeavours th 'Y will be computer-linked with other Job Centres nation-wide and with the local Labour Market, 'y ,t 'm so they can ensure claimant. are t.u ted and domg thcrounds and that the Job Centres art: also expected 10 reach (he tm I demanded b Peter Lilley of 25 percent efficiency savin s over the ne rt three yeMs, On top of this UlI.:, will have received trainin in counselling skills to per. uade claimant that the various options (which they have no ch icc on), contained within their Job Pluu Ietra in109; cmp oyment placemeut, voluntary work; signing up with employment agerlcies etc. are all in the claimants' shortterm inter sts, provided that is that they are hiPPY to Ignore the low wages, parttim' fino casual one-hour contracts and advcrse workin conditi ns whrch are not even acceptable to the low standards of the Health and Safety Executive. In ord 'r to protect Job Centre staff from the expectcd fallout from the outraged claimants w 0 have, ussed th', have been classified as forced lal ur, the staff will be enclosed in booths protecte 1 bv hardened shatterproof Perspex with, ecuriry guard,' patrolhng the nOOI. Such a volatile snuation with workers blaming each other Instead of the system of wag . slaver), can onlybc expected fror capirali 'in Indeed us long as capitalism lasts the \i rkers relative misery, destitution and deprivation will continue to fluctuate With the sway of boom and l:ri 'is This continuing uncertainty will lind no relief by supporting the Labour Party, Thev have mad . it quite clear they agree with Peter Lilley that some form of sanction are neces 'ary for the unemployed 'J1ICLI total agreement with letting the IIIUtk.Ct tel Its own level of compulsion is .ufficieru testimony to the fact that they will end lip doing much thc same as the Tot) ,utllH&' arc now appl ring. In any event it is not which party is In go emment but the compulsion built-in (0 the wages s '.tem that is detrimental to hunan relationships and the obstacle to our SOCial well-being. • GRA VEDIGGER

The Jarrow
ac
EO

Criticising the Jarrow March of (he 1930s is considered almost a
crime amongst left-unngers yet th» facts are that working class men cramped hundreds of miles simply beg unth. the political representatives of the capitalist class that something be done about unemployment in a particular area (an impossibility anyway) only
LO

be treated wilh contempt by them
capitali: m's inabili to 'ol\'e it. '!1Je advice he gave the member from J arrow was later described h her as "sham sympathy":

he economic slump that plunged

Britain and many other countries
into depre . 'Ion in the 1930s was felt in fev places harder than in Jarrow, where unemploj ment soared above 80 percent, where people lived in OVCICTO\\d and vermin-infested howe' and wh e . \ m) was unimaginable. In 19 J 13 Pn nley, having 'visited Jarrow, wrote about the town in his book Engli. It Journey

"Ellen, why don '(you go and preach socialism. which is the only remedy for this? .. This repl fioma .upporter of capitalism was as cold unci smacked of the same indifference as a .imilar delegation received when they isired Walter Runciman, President ofthcBoard ofTradc, regarding the opening of 8 steelworks in Jarrow. Said Runciman: "Jarrow must work out its own probl ems". Jarrow, it seemed, was indeed left to sort out its own problems To a town whose ship industry had clo '~,:d down and whose much-anticipated . reel orks had failed 10 materialise, Runciman's words were received as icily as they had been utt ered find sent a shiver down the collective 'pine of the borough. Distressed area t a time>; hen the entire country /'"\.<;eemed to be taking part in hunger marches and protest rallies, Councillor Da id Rile's suggestion in July 1916 that the unemployed of Jarrow should march to London hardly seemed original or serious in light of the fact that many previous marches had be 'n dismissed as "communist dernonstrauons". However, the idea was discussed at length" I th the town' S MP a nd the Jarrow Labour Party executive Eventuall It was decided that any march. hould be the town', march, onl r to go ahead WIth the full support of the citizens. The town council sanctioned the march and above the signature of the rna or Went appeals

"Wherever we W II( (here were men hanging abOUI. not scores of (hem but hundreds and thou sands of them. The whole town looked as if II had entered a perp tual penniless bleak sabbath. The men wore the masks of prisoners of war, A stranger from a diSllJIII civlhsatton, observing the condition of the pla e and lis people, would have arriv d at once at the conclusion that Jarrow had deeply offended some celestial emperor of (he island COld was now being punish d. He would never believe us ifwe told him that ill theory this (OWII was (IS good as any other and (hal ;1' inhabttants were 1101 criminals. but cittzens wuh a vote, ., 01 long after th ' publication of English Journey, In January 19 4, a dele auon of300 people from Jarrow, l Iebburn
and l-clhng travelled to Seaham to a[gue their case with the town', MP and leader of a largely Conservative National overnment, Ramsay MacDonald. Leading thc delegation wa. "Red" Ellen Wilkinson, Labour MP for Jarrow, hoping to impress upon the PM the plight of the people along the Tync and their desperation for work. No doubt MacDonald was all too aware of the pathos of (he situation and the inevitability of the 1930s' slwnp and

A

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

II

OCTOBER 1996

for support. This was followed bv the sending-out of letters requesting the use of services and hall. ill towns along the propo .... route to Lond n. As the pHCC of ed even Is hotted up the organisation of the march was done from the town hall and under the supervision of the town clerk. At the same urnc, men were also marching 10 London from South Wales, Cumberland, Durham and Yorkshire, all bent on expressi ng thei r sri evances aga insr the means test and the Unemployment Assistance Board regulations, which was for the J.IITOW men "a welcome sign that other men felt the: sam . 1\' they did and were cicking, (00" (Wilkinson, The Town that W(l Murdered, 1939). So on a cold morning, Monda' 5 October 1916,200 marchers set out from Jarrow, a head ofthern representatives from the r .abour and Con ervative parties 10 arrange meet in . en 10UII: to London. Even the Inter-Hospital Socialist iocicty came 10 their assistance, sendin out rcla .c of helpers performing dentistry and r edical nccc .siucs. The marchers had hardly time to gel bhster d feet when their organisers WCTe ondemncd by a I .abour Party meeting in I·:dinburgh for "sending hungry anti i11clad I 1 'n across the country on a march to London". Incensed, Ellen Wilkmson left the marchers und travelled 10 the Confer ence in Edinburgh in an attempt to rally support. Her effort! were in vain lor the xmfcrcncc had more important matters to discus :, such as their attitude (0 the 'pani. h ql cstion and the re-armament issul.>-a tune-honoured and typica I rest nse from lit' Labour Party to request: for help from the working class. Neither W(lS support to be found with (he ., who SImilarly backed the Ill,IJ cit and advi sed trade counells against giving help. Wilkinson had this to &'1 .. "I went from the warm comradeship of the road 10 an atmosphere of official disapproval ... Had the Labour Party lit its power behind the marchers, sent out the call for solidarity with them, then by the time these men reached London, nol only from Ja110w. but from all parts ofthc COW1Uy, the support that would have been aroused \.... ould have been enough to shake the complacency of the Baldwin government" (The Town that wa Murdered, p. 204-5 . There was, however, no shortage of SUppOl1 for and workmg-class approval, of the march. Allcrall,47 percent of the industrial population OftbCCOUlltIYat that time resided in reas scheduled as ..di su C sed" or ill need

of being so scheduled. The hrainwa shed Trades and Labour Council at Chest l:il'fi ildrtught have obeyed the TUC circular denouncing the march, but this did not stop the local Conservative Part)' from rallying to the aid of the marchers, providing hot meals and a place to sleep. The T.abour Party raucnah ed their apathy by as. erting that if they gave support to one march, th m support would have been demanded of them all. This from an allegedly \... king -class party! ·01 Along the route to London members of lite working class, and indeed the capitalist clas " were all 100 ready to support the march B' the time the marchers reached T .eicester their boots were falling apart. In respon se, thc Co-operative Sociely's 0" n cobblers took it upon themselves to wor all through the night without pa , to repair the boou of the Jarrow men, the Co-op donating the necessary material free, One cobble almost anticipated socialism, saying:

'(be march continued and gained. upport and mpatby the entire 291 mile. of lis journey. Tl e men marched between 10 and 21 miles ever, cia 'ami held meetings every night. After three-and-a-half'wecks on the road, they reached Marble Arch tired and rain-soaked, perturbed that only !1 'mall crowd had braved the October weather to greet them The following day they were given permission 10 hold a meeting at Hyde Park. The Communist Party was already there, holding a mas. demonstration 10 protest against unemployment Realising the Jarrow men \... re in the area, they e suspended their rally for an hour and asked their audience to swell the Jarrow Crusade meeting. Humble petitioners hen Parliament re-assembled two da slater, thc men marched to the 1I0u'e' of Parliament and handed in two petitions, one containing 68,500 signalures from town' along the Tyne. The petition presented the ease for Jarrow in simple language, pomungout how Jarrow was experiencing a stage of industrial depres: ion unprecedented m the town's history Shipyards had clo. ed and the steelworks had been denied a lifeline. Once R,OOOworkers were in employment ow the figure stood at 100 with others on temporary schemes The petition COI1tinucd:

W

"It seems sort of queer. doing your own job just becou e .J/OII \ alit to do it, and for something you want to help, instead of doing it because YOLI 'd starve if you didn't" (p. 207).
Elsewhere, at Leeds, a new. paper proprie 01 laid on free food and beer (no doubt providing his own new. )'nIX'! with a . tory) and at Barnsley, Joe Jon •. , a mmcrs ' leader had the municipal baths speciall . opened and heated in time for the ani al of the marchers. A group of ioumalists. following the march, even clubbed together and purcl used a dozen mouth organs in an attempt to boost the morale of the marchers.

"The Town cannot be left derelict, and therefore your petitioners humbly pray that His Majesty's Government and flus honourable House will realise the urgent need that work should be provided without delay. "

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

po ••
Bunh '(I;\"a no debate.As Wilkinson points out: "A few questions were asked ... and the house pas cd on to consideration of other things." The march ers took ita II in their stride. Wilkinsondescnbes thema bein "rather sporting about it" and how they were afterwards entertained to tea in the House. Demoralis d to the point that thoj could not CHIC les: would have been a more fitting description of the marchers' sentimen' men pushed and crushed until they could only accept their lot. Whcn thc marchers arrived hom' the did so to a h 'ro's welcome Tens of thousands turned out to greet til mane! bonfires burned long into the night. Forman they had achieved something, even If It meant no change to their mcagre existence. Wilkinson writes of the marchers. .. -iany were politically educated men, who through the long, bitter struggles, knew who and what was the real enemy' BUl to be honest, and not to disparage . uch a monumental event ID workingclass history, did they? Wcre the ' '0 educated as to think marching could better their I t and did they really think it POSSIble that capitalism can be bargained with? Did they realise that, in truth, they were marching lor the nght to be exploited b ' a system that cared not a jot had th marchers perished to a man en route to London? Three years later, work did come to Jarrow (more would follow a the capitalist war machine revved up) in the form of I new rollin' mill. Walking through the He when th men were laying the concrete foundations, Wilkinson was greeted with: "This is wh It we marched to get." Wilkinson could 001 find a trange pathos in the statement She commented: "The grim thing is that the workers have no share in these nulls. When the vork: are built they i// sttll be subject to the roll of profit, the exigencies of a y. tent where they can be closed at the !i.·lfl j'peoplefar away to suit afinancial o policy. " . ccmingly, as with the cobbl r at ; eicester, the stark reality of the madnes " insane logic of capitahsm, had berne apparent to the future Labour Cabinet Minister, But dill rhe actually realise that the mternal mechanisms of capitalsm run on with a will of their own, IJ\1OUS of logic and men with Geordie ccents and sore fcct? •
I t

'*. ell.

activity

Class, icropo ·.·cs ..

Solidarity
Socialists recognise that workers who are inuolued in reform campaigns are, at lease, trying U) gain some control over their lives
hat do we find if we examine, quickly, the present state of class struggle in this little corncr of world capitalism mown a Britain? Looking first at what we might call the traditional areas of organised conflict, trade union acuvny, th rc ha . :II ·omething of u flurry of activity over the last couple of months with tube stnkcs and postal strikes particularly ID the news. This has fairly predictably led to thc government threatening more repression and further curbs on union powe ., to the point of considering an outright han n strikes in "ess ntial services", U10Ugh h a ban may be rendered impo .sible b UIC difficulty of defining what is or is not an essentia I service. These disputes drag on a management, more used these cia s to little overt resi uancefrom \ orkers, continue to try to impo e their will ou hostile workf rces. Simultaneously, the unions are tung to greater efforts of resis ince not onl r b management intransigence but also b_ the hostile interference on th the To government and the Labour so-called opposition. Of course, these remain relatively minor disputes and the reactions of the two major parties represent the efforts of the capitalist state to tamp out what it thinks arc the dying embers of .. 01 ers' resistance. It is possible that such efforts by the sta tc mi ght actua IIy causc sparks to ignite further flare-ups of open conflict; what's certainly the case ISthat they can ne cr succeed in entirel e ainguishing clas . struggle because the capitali: t system itself continually produces both fuel and Ignition. What of other manifestations of conniet? What of the so-called "micropolitical" struggles Newbury,
t

W

JOHN BISSETT

Wexports, the . land is ours" campaign and the Ii ce? As far as the major parties arc concerned, the future has been abandoned. Mainstream politics, with Labour and the Tories having drawn so close together, has nothing to oflcr but more of th . same, world without errd-c-unless of course things simply get worse. This political sclerosis and ideological entropy means that all the political energy has migrated else here out ofparliamentarianism and into either charities or loosely-organised protest actions, both areas being PnIrulrily defensive. There are many people includingrnany of those involved in such struggles, who will quee tion the relevance of class to thesc protests and actions. They are, alter all, specifically "rmcropohtical" • singleIssue campaigns, concerned it would seem, purely and simply with specific, very localised outcomes. Newbury bypass protesters, for exampic, would probably consider the notion that their campaign to stop a road from being built (and save a rare snail) had a clas a pect as absurd. Rut then, why should we as. ume that a struggle must necessarily be .elf-ccnscicus? TI,e class struggle is, in fact, an inevitahle feature of thc capitalist system, whether those involved are conscious of It or not, bcmg the reoult of irreducible conflicts of material interee t under capitalism. While the immediate aim of those at ewbury may be "sirnpl "to ·top the construction of a road for ecological reasons, It should be recognised that this docs not in itself mean that important issues of class are excluded from the entire structure of the conflict that is involved. There is a very important question of power at issue here, which is always a

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

vitall important clement of class relations. Class and capitali mare incvitabl in olved, so these issues arc not reall "micro" at all but actually hav global, social and economic implications. Whatc ....r else may be involved, the conflict over the Newbury bypas is one in which working lass people are struggling for some degree of democratic control over their environment, , hich incvitably brin s them into onflict with the slate and with capitalist big business. Of coui e, it needs to be recognised that most struggles such liS these arc doomed to failure in the 10118 term, and that even where they arc successful they WIll lead onlv to further struggles ad infinitum, a . Ion as the capitalist ")'stem Its 'If continues to exist: a . long as.that IS, working people don't actually have real democratic control over our own lives. These struggles are (as 10 trade-unionism defen sive, a. they react to imposilions an I the dictats passed down from th capitalists and their pubhc lieutenants in the s1111e, even though the' al 0 express a de 'ire f I omethin 1 more, mething better than what there already is. Part of the problem is that thi. desire is left vague, ethereal, relatively inarticulate, and the eners. ' relea, ..ed by it is frittered away in specific. short-term, defensive strug I . often without even recognising connections between them, or with apparent I ' different but ultimately related and OVCTlapping sh u gles s ch as thOSI:involving union: or tenants group'. Solidarity recent example of an inspired, but ultimarel doomed (as those involvcd will have no doubt realised all along), "rrucropolitical" action involved four women entering a British Aerospace facto in order to disarm military aircraft bound for Indonesia. Th •.. women, from the anti-war group Ploughshare " undertook this action as a protest against Indonesran nate rerrori: min Ea u Timor, where It IS assumed the planes were to be ed against th . ci ilian population (ora ainst East Timor ese rebels-e-although. if ICports arc: to be believed, that d . ill fact mean piet much the entire population). What is particularly mtcre uing, and hcs rt ming, about this event i the strong

• Solid&rity

-prot~slors against th~ regime in East Timor celebrated the a<:quittal of the

A

• emeut of: olidarity invol

ed.Fu

r of'all,

and most obviously. there is the sohdarit ' of the women With th East Timorese le a ainst the (Indonesian) nate and bic busines (and not iust Bnush Aero-

space Indonesian aggrcsslOn, and AlL'>tralian SIIPPOrt for it, is dnvcn, surpri e surprise, bv economics, specifically bv the existence of oil in the Timor ea) Presumably the action was undertaken in order to publicise the situation in Ea. t Timor and therefore the women were expectmg to be arre ted and convicted of "criminal damage"; to that extent the, will consider their action to hav been relatively successful. What \ ill have made It still more su ccssful for them is the fact that they were actually acquitted h t a jury on 30 July, despite having admitted their actions, simply arguwg that they were cthically justified. This 11 ings us to th second example of sclidarity-e-that of the working people on the jury ~ ho decided that the women were ind :cd jU! tified in their actions. B r the letter of the law, it seems apparent that th 'e four women should surcl have been convicted; the r had broken the law. But, while we should hold no Illusions concerrung the ]W}'" motives in acquirting them, i.c., there 'C'1I1 no rearon to think that it vv as specificall r done with thi: in mind, their act of olidarity threw the whole notion of legality into question. Working-clas olidarity can go beyond legality; there i little enough such solidarity around at the moment, and It IS understandable, if, for example, threats by the slate again '1 union rights make th • union movement . rnev hat nervous, b t it must also be recognised that the union leaders sc nn to have forgotten that such a thmg as .ohdar it is even possible. But II is absolute! ' vital; hatevcr the lav say', class solidum, can make that lav unworkable anyway. The laws of the stale ale made workable only by the active consent of its "subject r", the working class, and can thereforcbcmadcun orkablebythcwuh-

~::...:... -=::::::================:J __

Plough~hares

women in

liverpool drawal of that consent This is an absolutely basic Ie 'son to be drawn from the history of the trad s-union movement; if the relatively class-conscious workers hadn t been wilhng to break the law, and back each other up, in the first place, there would be no unions today. This is a lesson that trade uruorust '. even more than tho' • involved 10 "rmcropolitic s" (who seem to have at least some con. ciousness of It) have to re-learn tuday so that thcy can regroup, grov ... once more as an effective force withm capnali ·111, and defend themselves and the immediate interests of working people more effectively, 111at. aid, therc is an au of expectancy arnon the unions at the moment, an expectancy that Ihc - III the face of all the evidence, that Labour will somehow "put thmgs right" if it wins the next election, that UII': will ": et things straight" for the union movement and the working cla s. Bt t the Labour Party feels little or no solidarity with workmg people in trugglc, lind things will anyway alv a s be twisted for workers under capitalism. As socialists have reiterated time and time again, WOI kers need to stop pulling their faith UI reformism; capitalism will never, can never, be reformed in our interest. 'file leal interest of the working cla: . \ ill only he served by the abolition of class altogether, along with capitali: m in all its fonns and WIth all its iniquitous effects. Rut also, until the majority of people come to see this and do it. those workers who are drawn into struggle should al. 0 realise that reformist appeals to the laws of the capnah ·t 'tate arc irrclevant and solidarity IS .upremely important And who knows" Ma he such rccogmtion of a baSIC commonality of interest could lead morc people to realise that those interests are absolutelj oPPO ed to the interests of capitalism itself •

JONATHAN

CLAY

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

yarnSp~nn~ng
as the First ady for no hing because she is very powerful person who knows how to mix it politically. The Republicans have seized on this to promote the s spkion that Hililry Clinton is really the President, the per on who actually decides all sorts of Important issues like whether to press the button and blow the world to pieces. In making this propaganda he Republicans are obvlo s hoping t at the AmeriCiin voters have forgotten all about Nancy Reagan and how she interfered in her husband's presidency. The wives of British prime ministers are not supposed to behave like Hikary Clinton (I d ~ncy Reagan: their profile is supposed to be kept much lower. They can be their husband's long-s (f erlng and openly disapproving chauffeur, like Attlee's wife. They can be background supports like Clemen ine Churchill and Dorothy acmillan. hey can write in omnia urlng poe rylike aryWdson.Theycancelialito the women's magazines about t e prime minister's ietary preferences. hat is as far as they ave been exp to go. But none of hat fie in wit Cherie Blair, who overcame whatever problems may have temmed from a wayward father who was famously the liverpudlian butt of Alf Garnett's abuse in Till Deoth Us Do Part to become a highly-paid barrlsrer anda QC. Now she is starting to practice as a judge, overpowering the lives of people who transgress against capitalism's laws. She once had ambitJons to be a parliamentary candidate.
(I

the Image of Major's wife, orma, who so far has been shoved into the background as an e\lcryday housewife and mother who just happens to be married to the man in NumberTen and who may even have been happier if he had not failed, long ago, that ten to be a bu conductor, We have been allowed to know such fascinating dctall about Norma as to make any discerning voter de perare to get OUt and vote for her husband. She gOt A-levels In English and needlework. She prudently grates and freezes odd bits of cheese and uses lea bags more than once. She wears clothes that are comfy, perhaps bccau e she does not think of herself as att ctive. Anyonewho thinks this i boring eno gh to be voter unfriendly Is missing the point. Norma's" ... very ordinariness", said the Daily Telegraph, "makes hera huge electoral asset",

pare a tho gtn, if you will, for the spin doctors. These hadowy figures Labour wit out pau c, hov Iling up their plati ud s, e\l3sions and lies to divert our attention from the truth about the pollticians they spin for. On one side hey tell s tha John Major is doing a marvellous job of running British capitalism a d lTl~kingus all healthler. richer and happi r, Those who ar e enough in touch with eallty to doubt that this is true may be unimpressed by the spin doctors on the other side. who want to convlnce us that Tony Blair is th man we can trust to clean up the mess w ich John Major is makingexcept that anyon who b Ii ves that is obviously no ;IS much in touch with reality as they should be. But are a thought for the spin docors. whose work IS so often exposed and despised. For ex mplc, at th moment the Tories' campaign to onvince us that Tony air, who was on c derided as Bambi, is nota wimpish fawn but an evil-eyed devil, is not having the c f Ct they hoped. abour's spin doctors are struggling with t c confusion over the party's plans fordevol tion in Scotland. These things, they may reflect, are sent to try them. It never seem to occur to them to give it all up and b gin ealing in facts and the real experience of an i human social system, Instead they go on shovelling, In the hope that they will throw p a po itive nugget of deception.

S

Cherie

anu

Norma

Wives

_

A

n example of this may be the current co ntest over onna MajorandCherie ir,and its connection with Hilary C~nton. eAmerican President's wife is not known

he ort of woman, in other words. to make her parents proud. And it may have stayed like that had the man she rn rrled not had ambition to be prime minister. A clever and ruthless electlonwlnnlngmachine like the Conservative Party could not have overlooked the obvious comparison wit ilary Clinton, What if, their spin doctors asked thernse es. the voters of both sex were uneasy about poweriul women! What Ifthey had doubts about a female with Cherie Blair's abilities and qualifications being so near the seat of pcwer? Of course a campaign to undermine Cherie Blair would rely on the voters forgettingallabout Margaret Thatcher, who wa al 0 a barrister and a lawyer as well as female, but no self-respecting spin doctor would allow so minor a detail co put them off. $Q the work began-like the appeal by a Doily fxp~ss jo rnalist for details of any embarrassingly radical political stances in Cherie Blair's past. At the same time there has been an effort to PUt a little colour into

T

e don't know what Cherie Blair tninks about all thi except that she has rna de ~ome sort of an effort at imitaion. While Nonna has been completing a book on Chequers, which may nor may not include chapters on frozen cheese and second-hand tea bags, Cherie has been invited to the more glamorous job of guest editor for an edition of the rnagazfne P 'mo. She took this opportunity to, apart (rom anything else, reassure us that she Is almost as ordinary as Norma, whose A-Ie\lel in needlework she c n match by being keen on knitting. Nanna and her tea bags! Ch rie concerns herself with the techniques of producing interesting and n tritious meals in a short time. Fatuous guff though this is it should be ta eo seriously because it reveals how the political parties regard the people who vote them into power. It illustrates the parties' contemptuous confidence that no matter how badly capitalism treats us, no matter how obvious their failure to control the system, they will be supported by millions of people on election day, with votes ba ed on nothing more considerablc than Norma Major's tea bags and Cherie Blair's knitting. That kind of propaganda may be sickening but it i no more fatuous and meaningless than the other klnd, w ich is supposed to be weightier. Ike Tony Blair, spouting his platitudes in Southwark Cathedral last January: 'To recover national purpo~ ~ M~d to stort thinking ond ocUnl as one nation, OM communityag(]jn ... Above all, ~ must create a society based on 0 notion of mutual rights and responsibilities. " And so on. And so on. • IVAN

Fatuous

W

..

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

II

OCTOBER 1996

i llu si on n

n d reality

IDDLE EAST

hy is Iraq singled out?
(When you abuse your peopfe and threaten your neighbours you must pay the price"
his pearl of wisdom was uttered by President Bill Clinton after the US had fired 27 Cruise missiles during the first of two attacks on Iraq by US B-52 bombers in early September. You don't need to be an expert In international affain to realise how pathetic and hypocridcal his statement is. Clinton was. atrempting to justify the US attack on Iraq becaus e Saddam Hussel n had ordered his troops into Kurdish-held northern Iraq. He seemed to4lJiy unaware that Turkey, a NATO al y. has been bombing the Kurds in northern Turkey on a regular basis for years - Kurds, like those in lrbil, attacked by Saddam, who demand autonomy - and from the same air base used by the US to attack the Iraqi army. We might well ask why such logic is not used as a pretext to bomb indonesia. whose governm en t ruth Iessly supp resses the people there and has murdered '200.000 since the invasion of East Timor some twenty years ago. Or why the US is not currently intervening in the present 25 ongOing conflicts in which people are "abused" and neighbours "threatened". One would think, judging by the number of separate occasions on which the US has bombed Iraq, that It would be easier for the US to oust Sad dam, as they have done to countless otherworld leaders in the past. Bombing raids are. after all, expensive. The Cruise missiles alone thatwerefired at Iraq In early September cost $42 million. However. what should have become apparent by now is [hat the US does not want Sad dam toppled. He is, in fact. inluable to the furtherance of US interests for a number of reasons. Firstly, and most obviously, Saddam,

desert island or in a coma these past few months. you will know that the US presidentiaJ elections take place this November-s-elections already dr:tgged down to gutter level by sex scandals and the like. The atclck on Iraq can also be seen as a piece of electioneering aimed at a gullible and f goistic electorate. Indeed, an ABC ews poll, carried out after the first on Iraq, found that 81 percent of se questioned were in favour of it. 8'2 Game emaps most importantly the US attxk on Iraq should be seen as part of &er game plan, with Saddam's aggresnot me issue at all. y fM the biggest threat to US interthe Middle East is Iran. a country of ruled by Islamic fundamentaldetest the US; a country with a army and arsenal to match and a '~'lIInhie nuclear capability. US has for years made every to castig;tte the "mad mullahs" of and wmworld opinion againstthem, - g them for every explosion from Arabia to the downing ofan airliner 8 mi es east of New York two months ago. August had in fact brought muc h pressure on the US government to bomb Iran. "US prepares air strikesagalnrtlran' ran a headline in the Sunday Telegraph (.. August) while a day later the Times reported: "Pressure grows for US raids on Iran" (5 August). ~lowever, the Pentagon is fully aware that any attack on Iran would result in a far greater response than anything elicited from Iraq. Most certainly the bombing of the Amencan heartland by Iranian terrori sts. With this in mind the attack on Iraq was also a message intended for Iran "mess with our interests and this is what you'll gec"-a message far less costlier than any attack on Iran would be. Again, with the US still looking for its hegemonic raison d'etre, the and-Communist passport now expired, the Middle East is still as good a place as any for the US to assert its presence on the world stage, and Saddarn is as good a target as any to bully and to showanyonewatching you're sdll policeman of the world.

world'vieu

P

T

as has been the case in the past, acts as a buffer to the spread of militant I from Iran. which itSelf regards the US as the "Great Satan" and is feared by pro-US regimes in Saudi Arabia and wait. Secondly, if Sad dam ,s toppled is a strong chance that Iraq wi b into w:lrring factions that further regional instability. Till rdly, so longas Sad number one "monster", power, he remains unpr thus frightens his nelprvXXlnL_ only too willing to buy w defence systems. s.nce I coo tries bordering lraq ha e spent $75 billion on such hardware, Furthermore, S. pro ides the USPresident,lOd his coborcs Wlth a timely vote-catcher. U ess 00' e been on a

Hate and War
• King Fahd of Saudi Arabia· his concerns abour Iraq art! seen by western orms companies os a nice little earner or a bigoted white American, the avo erage Middle Easterner is an idea! target of hate and one that confirms the

F

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

Ijftyyearsa
A plan to allow Iraq to sell $2 millions-worth of oil to buy food and medical supplies (as if this is sufficient for a population of 17 million) was supposed to come into operation at the end of September. This has currently been suspended. One thing is certain, the fuwre looks bleak for the average Iraqi. All of this is not to say that Saddam deserves a break and sho utd not incur the wrath of the world, even though, he argued, he had been invited into Kurdishheld terntory by Kurdish leaders. And neither do we care to imply that the US were wrong insofar as they "misinterpreted" Resolution 688 of 5 April 1991, which made no mention of justifiable attacks on Iraq or of no-fly zones. The entire episode should reveal the desperate lengths the world's rullngcapitalist elite will go to secure their own interesrsand tharall conflicts. when properly analysed, are the result of the desire of a minority to make a profit a he expense of the maJonty hcther through trade routes, areas of influence, foreign marlcets or mmera.l wealth. The crisis in the Middle E.n ;;actuallyfits all these criteria. • JOHN BISSETT

SO

... the US does not uiant Saddam toppled. He is, in fact, invaluable to the further-

ance of

number of reasons '

us interests for a

average prejudice. They are generally of a different hue. They have strange curwres and customs. They have a dilf rent religion and speak a funny language and are always staging wars. Whal ocher motives do you need to convince an already brainwashed audience (Clinton fans) chat they (the Iraqis) have no place in the civilised world and that itis okay to bomb them! It can well be argued that the Iraqi working class has more than paid the price for Iraq's brief incursion into Kuwait back in August of 1989. Six years of sanctions have not only crippled the economy, but have also, the World Health Organisation argues, resulted in 500,000 deaths from want of decent food and medicine. The sewage system has collapsed, disease is everywhere and there are 5,000 new cases of malnutrition every month.

1\'IR TlIURTLE 1\'11SFIRES
.lvffi.ERNE T TJIURTI.E,l.abour M.P. for horeditch, sometime mcmberofthc Fabian ·ocietylL.P., and sometime belligerent war-supporter turned pacifist turned war supporter, writes a weekly column of pontifi al political comment and behind-the-scenes ch.it -chat for Beaverbrook's Sunday Express under the title "Labour Point of View". 011 S unday , September I st, he wrote the followin :"Sympathy for the littlc fellow stmggling against the big one is natural, but in the present dispute between the little and big unions of the transport WOI ker common sense appears to be on the side ofthe big battalion Mr. I'rank Snelling, the national organiscr ofthc little union, which is fighting so spiritedly, is whal is nown in Labour circles as an . P G.R. 'cr. decoded, this means a member of the Socialist Party of Great Bri ain, a strict Marxist sect of microscopic membership. Because the little part, had so few members, who oozed Socialist sclf-nghtcousncss, the largerrnovemerit as wont to refer to them deri. ivcly as the Small Party of Good Boy". That IS all Mr. Thunle has to say. He gives no fael s about the dispute and no reasons why he believes that all the common sense i on one Side. Hc docs 110t mention that the .P.G.R. has members in the T. & G.W.U. as well as in the N.U.P.W.. and il is evident that his sole object in referring to the dispute was to provide a peg on which tohang the unoriginal remarks about the S.P G R. (From SOCialist Standard, October 1946)

NEW ZEALAND ---------------Socialist stands in election
for the first lime the World Socialist Pany (New Zealand} is starldinga candjdate in the Wairarapa Electorate in the New Zealand general election on 12 October. Thesearethefirstelection$oobchddundertheMMP (Mixed MMlber Propo rtional) system where you have two votes, one for the party and the other for the electorate (vote for the person in your electorate). Two referendums were held on the electoral system in September 1991, first to decide on whether to retain the existing first-past-the-post electoral system or to change to a form of proportional representation, and secondly on which such system they preferred. An overwhelming number ofvot~rs wanted change. having become disillusioned and tired of broken promises by Nation"" and Labour governments. The type of electoral system was finally decided In conjunction wirh the 1993 election. The WSP (NZ) Willbe putting forward a candidate for the electorate vote. We are excluded from standing for the party vote as you must have 500 . members to be eligible (0 stand for this, The campaign to date has consisted of a leaflet drop; SOMepublicity on Wellington Access Radio, Involvement in a political forum in a community newspaper where the public send in questions for the parties to answer and participation in a coming spring festival. Our chief aim is to heighten awareness of the need for sociali$l11 the only as alternative to capitalism and increase our membership through the political campaign. Further details: Chris Fackney," Vivian Street, Masterton, NZ
(e-malk

ck@actrix.gen.nz)

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

III

OCTOBER 1996

arta

n d socialism

William Morris:
A recent article in the Sunday Times bearing the heading "Left or Right, all have designs on Morris» gave a good description of hma all and sundry are claiming Morris as their mentor. In face, ;[1 a matter of historical record that, in all essentials, Morris's ideas mirrored those of the Socialist Party more than a1t)lother political organisation
t the present tlIDC" iocialism" is a dirty word. It is omething that is supposed to have failed in j{IIS ia and Fast Europe and iomething that the Labour Party i. said to have rejected as archaic. The word has become a turn-aft-associated with bureaucratic control, [ gimentation and lack of freedom. Some po: itive associations remain, however, and one or them is William MorTis who died a hundred years ago this month. Moms's positive images .rns from the fact that he was .omeone concerned about the u lincss of capitalismand about arts and crafts, which arc two theme' tho t people are concerned With today Revolutionary socialist oms was indeed a . ocialist, but not Just some mod :rate or milk-andwater iocial r '1'oml~. TIc was a rcvoluuonary socialist who got manyoflus ideas from Karl Marx. TIe was also someone: who stood for .omerhing quite d ffercnt from the thmgs which the word "socialism"hasc mcto bcassociared with thanks to the activities of the Labour Party and Russia. Things such it tate conlrol and lack of freedom. As a mattcr of fact Morris stood for a socie in which there would be no coercive state machine, and in which people would work voluntanly to produce what as needed and would then have free access to it without having to hand 0 er rnonev or an 'other means of exchange.In her words, he stood for what we in the ialist Party have alwa 'S meant by so. li Indeed what, at the cud of the

eer soc_al·s.

of the kind advocated by most anarchists in that it was to be based on COmmon ownership and democratic control rather than on rampant individualism. So by "socialism" Morris meant a mone .lcss, wageless, stateless society bas xl on common ownership, II clas less society of free and equal men and women where socia I affairs arc conducted through voluntary cooperation. What about the lazy manl h()~e who advocate such II iociery are faced with objections which occur again and aguin. It', against Human Nature". "What about the Lazy Man", "What would be the inc ntive to work?", •.What a bout the Greed .Man?", "If things were free wouldn't people take too much?", "How would you deal with violent behaviour?" All of these que 'lion: -which Morris encountered II . all outdoor speaker and indoor lecturer during his period of intense socialist activit flOrn 1&84 to 1890-- arc dealt with in News from Nowhere either in the narrative or in question-and-answ orsessions with an old socialist. Morris" un: wers didn't differ from those we ow .elves would give. Namely that human behaviour was not something fi ed hy our biological make-up but somethin that depends on the kind of society we live in. Furthermore why .hould people take more than they need when they would know that the acres would always be stocked with what they needed lor them to take as and when t11~y wanted them? But Monis 's major contribution here la in hi . , nswer to the Lazy Man obje tion. A whole chapter (XV) is devoted to this entitled "On the Lack of Incentive to Labour in CI Communi. t Society". In fact all his socialist talle. and writings revolve around this theme. orris regarded work -Iho: e rerci: e of a person's physica I and mental fa cu 1tic '-a . a ba. ic, natural human need. IIi . maincriticis mofcapitalrsm-e-whatmade him become a socialist, in faet- WIIS that it denied the vast majority of humans satisfying and enjoyable work. Under capitalism work, instead of being the enjoyahle activity of creating or doing something useful, became a boring and often unhealthy and dangerous burden imposed on those who were forced to get a living by selling their mental and ph rsical energies for a wagt: or salary. This criticism of capitalism followed

T

A

ist literature is undoubtedl r his "utopian romance" (a he called it) Vew.I'from l·... owhere, though he was also the author of a number of socialist pamphlets such as

Useful Work versus Useful To//,110w We
Live and How We Might are still worth reading. I,!VI! and JUo-

nopoly, or How Labour is Robbed which News from Nowhere describes social relationships in a .ociet of "pure Communism" from which private property, buying and 'clling, money, government over people, armies, prj ons and police forces have disappeared, This is the exact opposite of the state capitali- m which the Labour Party and Russia used to stand for and would be de cribed hy them as some form of anarchism. In so far as an anarchist society is a society without a coercive central government that can impose its will on the population, this is true. But th m this is v hat. ocialism always meant to people like Marx and Engels too. For them socialism was necessarily an anarchist, i.c. a non- state society, though not

M

mtury, the va: t majority of those emselves sociali t meant hy it. orris's main contribution to social-

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

- m M rri 's concept of "art", which he fined, not as some specialised activity aged in by some fringe group of "art1 u ", hut as "the express ion of'a person's JO, in their work"; people who cnjo red tbeirworkwould produce beauriful things. Hc had inherited tlu definition which is that of John Ruskin from his pre- .ocialist J.;I And wh in he realised that the naIIn~ of capital! un meant that mO'1 producers wercdcrued any enjoyment ill their work- or, put another way, that it meant thc "death ofart"he became a iocialist. No hope under capitalism is theory or what capitalism did to work. hapcd his idea of what tactics socialists - indeed anyone concerned about the fate of "art"- should pursue. For in saying that capitalism, as a compeuuve sy tern of production for sale on l:I market with a view to profit, necessarilj meant the death of art because it had to put the pi rsuit of'profit . before theenjo 'ID~t of the produ CI S, he was saying that nothmg could he done to rev ive "art" until capitalism h, d been overthrown. Tn other \ 'ords, that v hilt \ as called for was footand-branch change not pieccm II reform,

OBITllARIES
CampbelJ McEwen
Members throughout Britain will be saddened by the death at 65 of Campbell McEwen. Many will remember him for his forthright contributions at our conferences during the last

H

30yeliN. Campbell became interested in working class pnlit,cs when in his teens, and his first serious political act was to register as II conscienuous objector. l le appeared before the tribunal and, without any as.~stanc .argued his case so con vincingly tilllt he won a rare full exemption [HIm military service, ot bad for an 18.year-<>1d' A spell in the Communist Partysoon brought disillusion, and Campbell's courage/or foolhardiness: he had both aplenty} W3 shown when he and hi lifelong pal Eric Darroch chose to leave the CI', not by simply dropping out, but by going along to their branch to present their reIL-;OIl for resigning, and therc they were denounced in the standard CP phraseology ol'the period. SOO1l3!lerthIS, Campbell encountered the Socialist Partyst the old Glasgow Workers Open Forum and he Joined the party in 19 3. His job record resembl d those. often attributed to adventure-story writers by their publisher. but his loathing of wsge-sl very ensured that he never settled al anything. J Ic was a railway porter, tram drivel, salesman, clerk. tally-man, trade union organiscr, telephone operator, etc. and had 8 fund of hilarious and sometimes sobering stories to tell about all of them. Abollt 15 years ago Csmpbetl had a serious illness Wid life-saving surgery was necessary. Towards Ihe end of'last yeti r cancer WQS diagnosed but this time not even prompt surgery could s vc our comrade, At the cremation a large turn-out of members heard comrades Donnelly and Darroch deliver valedictory addresses befitting a staunch materiah&l

This point has been lost by most ofhi .
successors and admirers in the "arts and crafts' movement. Morris as involved 1!1 this, but WHS under no illusions as to what he was fC}J II t doing: training thers to provide ,. utiful things for the "swinish rich" a. he dcscnbed the work onus furniture-rna .ing and wallpaper firm. Art, being e cxpre .siou of the producers' enjoyment in their work, could never be revi ved under capita IiSill. This could COTTle only after a '0 'lal revolution hut! alloli. hed the tyranny f seeking ever che: per and quicker wa _ s of production impo .cd b_ the profit system. Morris , radical cnticism of capitalism also led him to tak s the side of Revolution in the "Reform or Revolution?" controversy within the socialist movement When hcbecame a sociahst ill 18 4

Campbell Mcliwen's contribution to the party was a gcnerou: one, and he spoke III his own uncornprormsing style at outdoor and indoor meetings for many years He was It larger-than-life character and we will miss him We extend our deepest condolences to his famIly.

Harry Walters
Harry Walter», a Ion time member of tile old Paddington branch and its successors, died in Jul 'aftcr a long illness, at the agc of82. It was not until 1946 when he was aged 2 that Harry joined the Party. Characteristically, in registering II. con 'ien6aus objector during the wnr without holding II Party card he had made the task of f cing the tribunal thst much harder but he had been loath for it to be thought that becoming Ii member was in any way motivated by it being to facilitate his avoidance of joining the killing machine, His rime in jail in this context substantiated the fact that he truly was man of principle. Contrary to the popular sentiment about COs, Harr was no namby-pamby weaklingIndeed, there WIL'l a famous occasion when a midweek Hyde Parle meeting arranged by I'addington branch u being broken-up by thuggish opponents And his still remembered pugilistic skills saved the day. Harry WItS II painter by trade and worked mall)' years at the Elstrce Studios, painting scenery for films where he built up a formidable reputation as II UCATT shop steward, never compromi ing the interests of his workrnates out of political considerations as Was often the case with his Labou and Communist Pan}, opposite numbers. HaTJ)' had a remarkable flair for handhng nd conveying screntific ideas lind became very well read in anthropology and kindred fields. Sound as rock on Socialist essentials, he ne er lapsed intoan .kind of'dogm tism and was prepared fearlessly to get into the thick of debate at all levels. I shall never forget when he went along to one of the New Left meetings at their Oxford Street venue wilh its audience of 500 chaired by the shamefully biased Ralph Samuel.It is true that Harry's ar ument was going to require hiRfull quota oftime plus a bit. When, afler about only two minutes the:chair signalled time Harry, who had only got as far as the ice-age, WIlS thrown offhis stride and said surely he had not gone over tile limit. Mr Chairman, he appealed, how long have I been speaking? A voice fmm the back ofthe hall answered, ten thousand yearsl And brought the houscdown in laughter. Party members attended the funeral at Guiders Green Crematorium at which Comrade Grant sa ve the address and Comrade Easton played IWVl songs on the organ.
ESG

he joined the Social Democratic

Fodera-

lion, the first 01 alii. ation in Britain to puhlicisc Marx' . ideas. But hc '0<)1) left, in large part OVCI the issue of whether or not a sociah .( (llgiJlli. ation should seck reforms wuhuicapitalisrn. Morris thought it. houldn't and the new organisation he

helped found, the SOCialist League, pursued a policy of "Education for Revolution" and" Ma king Socia Iists" rather then advocating reforms. • ADAM BUICK

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

lEI

OCTOBER 1996

mak.nSyoumad

Socialist pamphlets
D From
Capitalism to Socialism how we live & how we could live. &sic nO"Oduedon to soc list kleu 6Sp

These Foolish hings ....
They call it efficiency
Railuack, the owner ofthe track the country's trams run on, is busily getting into the pnvatised spirit by closing 62 . ignal boxes and axing 217 jobs. The jobs will go through natural wastage.as if that does n t really count. Natura y the company is anxious to assure travellers that the cuts will not aO(;(:1 safety implying that the surplus bo es were merel ornaments among the trackside furniture. Having fewer Signal boxes, we arc told, will give signalmen 'a broaderpicturc of the traffic on their lmc'. Financral Mail on Sunday, 4 August.

day, 4 Au ust

o Socialism

as a Practical Altemative. How a world society of eommon ownerfor use eould ..._ ... ..._..7S p

ReaJ education!
'uch is the importance of taking rcspon. ihility for one's own financial future that the [Weinberg Cornmitteej report i asking the government to consider making personal finance a cole subject on the National Curriculum. Besides the stockmarket, Sir Mark envisages leachir g in the use of credit cards, handling debt and wing a bank account. This, the committee ar es, is the onl tI of educating oungster to cope with the steadywhittling awa ofthe welfare stale.

ship and produetion func:tion_._ .... .__ • .__

o o

Ecology and Socialism. How the profit $ystem plunders the planet and causes pollution 70p

Racism ln-depth lookat the his tot')' and dangers 01 doctrines o(race and racial superior· ity and inferiority lI and SociaJi.smHowwomen mve be.,., oppressed incbsssoci ti and how women's libention can only be achieved in a socialist society .._.__ ._. ._.__ ._.... ....__ 5 5 p Irel nd - Past, Pres nt and Futu re A socialist amlysis of Irish
_

D Women

o

We call it murder
The collision on Thursday killed one woman pas. enger and injured 6 others .. Despite concerns among senior staff, neither BR nor the network's current owner, Railuack, attempted to deal WIth the risk (It the track junction on the line between London and Milton Keynes ... Despite: concan', the potential risk was inerea. ed when the si ullin was upda ed to a more sophisticated computercontrolled. '. tern 11 ur ears ago . The enquiry into the Clapham rail disaster in Decellllxr 19 8 which killed 35, recornmended the IA I tomatic Train Protection J device he in. tailed all train'. But the cheme a' .hel ed on cost grounds.

Lacking education?
Jailing fine defaulters: • Unpaid fines Iin Britain] total £200 million; i31 million is written off each year. ·'n 1994, 22,469 men and 1,454 women were jailed for non-payment-s-the highest number for ten year and acco nting for more than a quarter of all new pri: on receptions. Each was inside for an average of ' even cia S. • 11m: . quarters arc unemployed and half had other outs tanding debts, usua lIy electncity, gas, telephoneorcouncil, tax. Two thirds had been in prison before. • Most men had been convicted of motormg offences s. A third of the women had been convicted of pro. titution, Guardian, I I July.

hl1tory

Sp

o Socialism
usefulness unions ._

and Trade Unions The

and the IImiuDOn5 01 the O'ade _ _ _._ _._._..__ ._-4 5 P

The Fall of the Kremlin Empire
Celleenen of conternponry artides from the Socialist Sb.ndard on me collapse of Slue c;apitalism in Russia & eastern Europe lI Special Offer - all above pamphlets for £5

o

Also Available

Marxian Economics Explains the la· bour meory 01 V2lue and dlseusses such Is ue a thebllongnteof profit. mc:reasingmoseryand why caprtalism will not colla ps 1I _ -40p how we might
LI

o How we live and

Mail on Sunday, II August.

live. Cia sOcsocialls t pamphl t by Willi;am
Horm with;a modern <l5sessment._

o

That's
ic In eight buses and coaches examined by the Vehicle Inspectorate in roadside checks over the past year were defective. Some were so dangerous the were impounded, while in other cases the operators were given deadlines for repairs. Fi ures released by the Vehicl Inspectorate reve ..l an increa .. of600 faulty buses and coach 0\ r the ear, bringing the annual nation-wide total to 4,338. Mail on Still ..
"""''''' ~"".~OA.'

the spi ...tl i
.~ •••••
u •• · •• '," '." ••.••••• \.A ... I...

Pour le socialisrnc mondial. 50 page p. mphletser:ttng out d1c can for sooalism in rrcnc ._._ _ _._._ .._ _._._.80p cos'c' il sociali mo. 8 p2ge
_ _
20p

• ItA

••...

N.AA ....-I~<.v..;..;"

.....

D Che

"A managing director at Tarmac during the 1980' 1 used to dream about doing my
e rnpetitors in. And as MD of British Telecom 1 dreamed of doing Bryan ar lsbe ~ in I \ ill not describe the methods used," Graemc Odgers, Chairman of Monopolies and Mer Cl Commission,

socalis t le2fle tin IIIIIi1 n.._

Please tick as required. Cheques & POs
to

"The Socialist Party of

Great Britain". Send, with your arne and address, to Head Office,
o
52

Clapham

High

Street,

on SW4 7U

MEETINGS PAGE 23
OCTOBER 1996

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

this way
is amusing about arcades. Rename them Depression Arcades. Distraction Arcades. Escape Rctreat for the desperate. Losers' loitering place . Onl this mad system can assume that there is amusement in pushing coins into a slot and hoping that more will come out than YOI1 put in. There is nothing amusing about money. Only when we don't need to pay to become happj will there be true amusement. There is a smell tackiness about thesearcadcs whcrc Ilashing neon lights ill IIIninat ing pound signs and ceaseless bleeps and pings contaminate alrcadj dingy streets. Boys who might just be men push and pull on the lever of the machine' with the ferocity of warriors fighting not for gold but bra s 111ey fight for their coins with the deranged rage of people who have a repressed awareness that they arc competing for the loser's medaJ. Anyone who needs to bet with small change has lost before they sta rt M cnacmg -looking lou ts who look like the failed the audition for a home in Albert Square patrol the aisles of amusement and stare at the losers with the look of prison guard attending serial killers. Rent boys mingle with dribbling old drunk and prernaturely old women who drag on fags, not sure whether their purses will be empty before their stomachs arc. Nobody looks remotcl amused. The, look so unamused that they could be in church.
amusement

Losers,
othing

And in a sense they arc. They are in the Temple of Mammon, pursuing the ultimate amusement of t he jingle-jangle money ':i .tcm. Rules of the game: no mon y and you're out own and out. Sitting in one of these stinking places the smell is either urine or wcat, but not a sniff of happiness-it is temptin • to defy the rules and insist on amusing yourself. Take out a good novel and read it; pull outa whistle and playa tunc; tell a joke. "You trying to take the piss?", the menacing oafs would ask. "1 thought this W'dS an amusement arcade," you say, "and I'm amusing my. If. Yes. 1 must say Tfeel decided! amused." The amusement guard turns out 10 be a black belt in random street VIolence. Of course, in the good old 11'1)'s workers used to sit round the old piano and sing songs. Whar a load of old tripe people come out with; the fooli sh illusions of nostalgia. ost wage-slaves never had pianos-and those who did tormented themselves wi lh hymr about Jesus and damnation and sill ditties about being happy. "Pack up your trouble. in our old kit bag and smile, smile, smile!" Hard! a prophetic overture for being sent down a trench to kill other poor stuck-inthe-mud mugs si ngi ng German songs of distraction. The past was much like the pre ent, onl they were I s sophist icatcd at building the amusement machines. ot that man years ago fruit machines were straightforward. You put in your i pence, pulled the handle, waited for three plums to appear, they didn 'land you either put inanother ixpence or wcnt awa feeling miserable. Two cherries meant you got your sixpence backonly to lose it with the next pull of the handle. At lea t ou knev where you tood.

These da s losing money is an elaborate busine s. The game sereens are like modem battlefields and the wouldbe loser is faced with an array of buttons requiring at least three hands to operate with any skill. My father used to lose ha 'penni pus hing marbles into one another. I was a child of the one-pull fruit machine. Kids today watch their eoins orbit the galaxies and commune with other life forms before thcy final I sec them disappear into the magical sphere of the arcade owner's bank account. The thieving coin-collector-state-licensed gaming operator, no lc s-i. well amused. As ever, our loss is their gain. The poor man in his amusement arcade the rich man (or his errand boy) in the Stock E change. We're urged to gamble for pound coins. The 'rc gambling on the wealth which we produce. Their jackpot is announced in small print on the share pages of the newspapers every day. The compensation prizes arc in the £3-an-hour Job 'Vacant column. Which mightjust leave a fe quid over at the weekend for a trip to feed the amusement meter. •

Soc.re-h1, pal, whel1
'lOlA

('// fa',! a SOcia li~r
lYIin~te /

've ~oc

Q

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

III

OCTOBER 1996


TT
and services allowing workers to negotiate more (or their own consumption. This is the source of the increased living standards to which you refer. But you ignore the fact that goods and services are only produced by labou r: when workers get more it is stili only part of the extra wealth which they alone have produced. The rest is taken by the capitalists in line with their class role as economicparasites. Yourfetter also Ignores the condition of millions of families who suffer the insccu rlttcs.anxleties. problems and stress of life under the modern market system. You could ask one of the families which has been kicked out of their home under re-possession if they feel they (Ire "living like lords". None of this is necessary. The increased powers of production which have been developed has widened th e gap between what could be produced for needs and what is actually produced (or profit under the money-grubbing, cb s-riven system of capitalism. It now operates as a barrier against the use of productive powers for the benefit or all people. Thl is one of the reasons why' is now an obsolete sy tem. You ask when did it become obsolete! Rather than argue about a precise dale it would be more useful to say w at the conditions for the establishment of socialism should be. Becau e wage workers are the only clas with an interest in establishing socialism nd because thl must be democratic, it follows that they should be in the majority. Applyingthisto Marx's time, certainly workers were in the majority in England but it is doubtful, if they were in Europe as a whole. not in France or Germany and certainly not in the world. B t that situation is longgon e and now, overwhelmingly, the world's population is new dominated by capitalism. Also, the powers 0 production should be sufficiently developed to provide a material basis for socialism. We now have available fantastic powers of production which are distorted by waste and militarism, and crippled by the :lrtificlal scarcities of the market. In addition wehave aworldwide administration and communications which at pres nt serve a world divided by rival OIpitalist states. All th e conditions are ripe for sweeping way capitalism and replacing it by a system organised solely for the benefit of ali people. You mak e the obviou s point that we do not at present have a class-conscious working class to overthrow capltalism. This Is disappointing but the arguments in favour of socialism do not relate to any such disappointments nor to any time factor. They should be judged solely from Whether or not they represent a true analysis of working-class problems and whether they include a policy of change which could solve them. • 'Living like lords' - l1eolth workers only demonstrate for fUn

'Worlzers ,--living like ~ lords today'
Dear Editors, ictcrlawrence in hisarticle "Capltallsm Is Obsolete" (August Sociarist Standard) tells us that it would be foolish to deny that at one time the capitalist system was a progressive development of society. Buthe does nouell us when it ceased to be it progressive development of society, that is. when it became obsolete. For instance, does he beneve that the capitalist system was obsolete at the time Marx wrote the Communist Manqesto, an . therefore, ripe for being replaced by 3 socialist y5 em! If 0, he must be extremely narve, because capitalism at that time was only in its early stages of progressive development. And that was 148 years ago when Marx thought capital! m wa no longer progressive, and advocated its overthrow. But what was missing was his class-conscious proletariat to do that. Why! Because capitalistic economic conditions did not produce it, that's why. And capitalism is still with us today without any class-concious proletariat to overthrow
it.

P

capitalism. Sotheworkers donotthink capitalism is obsolete, and they have no desire to get rid of it. They never ever had, and probably they never ever will. R. SMITH, Dundee Reply: hank you for your letter, for which we feeltheword complacent might well have been Invented. You <lppe."lrto agree that the emergence of capitalism was a progressive development of society. Though it was s'II based on exploitation, the escape from serfdom and other forms of feudal bondage brought greater freedom for the producers. This Included the abiliry to sell their labour in the labour markets, and within limits this gave workers more <ly in their conditions of life. This became stronger when eventually workers were able to form trade unions. Then as caprtalisrn developed workers were able to win the vote and other democratic rights. This was of vital Importance because it became possible for workers to get control of the state and change society. None of this was possible under feudall m. Also, capitalism is a more dy amic system because it brought about technical advance, communications of every kind and rapid development of the means of production. Through higher productivity it increased the amount of goods

T

And the workers arc living I e lords today compared to the workers at Marx's tirne, Theyhavemotor cars. bathrooms in their houses.Tv, holidays with pay, income support employed, a longer span of e an in the past, home helps, rna yore goodies under

T E SOCIALIST STANDARD

III

OCTOBER 1996

l~TT~R~
Whilst we take linle comfort from our few numbers there is no doubt that our ~rgumentshavebeen vindicated time and again throughout this century. We argue from a body of knowledge which has proven power~ of prediction and which can say with aCClJr~cy what ls possible and what is lrnpossible through politica action. Against all he unfortunate experiments with r formism. and all the time wasted through the support of pseudo-socialtsts and so-called revolutionaries of every kind. the 0 c incontrovertible fact to emerge fro this experience of discontent, struggle. failure and dr illusion. is that nothing short of a world-wide char gc from capitalism to socialism can solve the problems of society. • Editors. cialist Party because I sincerely believe in the abolition of the capitalist system. The other views I expressed in my letter are quite clear, that I think some Socialists appear to make a fetish out of not demonstrating or showing solidarity with other workers. Socialists are people, indIViduals, not so many p~as out of the same pod. • HEATHER BALL, Norwich

Hauling in the

net
• Intervention - but there was little theAmericans could toach the Vietcong about {he cruel methods of guerrilla warfare been a major irr itant in Leninist circles ,!",here to be reminded of what their orlgln<ll aim W3S supposed to be was very uncomfortable indeed. Stalin sent people to Siberia for less! • EDDIE GRANT, London NW4 Dear Editol"$,

Calling the Pot black
Dear Editors,

J

ohn Bissett's article in the August Sociclin Standard was excellent. There WaS a curious parallel betwee.n the Ceausescu and the Pol Pot dictatorships at the time they were being givCl'l Western aid and t.1C· approval. ot only did the Queen dub the Rumani~n ruler. Sir Nicolai but the British press was encouraged to spell his country as omania so as to emp ashe its hisrorlc link with Rome. Similarly ewspapers began to pell Cambodia as Kampuchea as a sop to Pol POL his policy W:lS qUietly dropped when the scale of the Khmer Rouge massacres became more widely known. owever, the public abhorrence of the Pol Pot regime has ceen insidiously used by de-enders of the oppressive system op erating in Vietnam oonded by Ho Chi Minh. These people are loud in their consnnauon of the Khmer Rouge ~ have maintained a fifty-yearg silence with regard to Ho's

initial cask on behalf of his masters in the Kremlin. That was 0 murder the entire leadership of Indo-China's substantial Tr otskyi t movement in the interregnum between the collapse of the WWII Japanese occupation and the re-estab lishmentofFrench colonial rule. later, when the French were finally defeated at Dien Bien Phu, the Vietcong beg;1n their slow but sure mastery over th e independen t $U res th at came into being in the wake of France losing her South-East Asian territories. American ntervention in th Indo-Chinese civil war certainly introduced a rna ssive increase in the technology of destruction but there was little they could teach the Vietcong by way of the cruel and treacherous methods of guerrilla warfare in which they eventually proved victorious. Riv~lry between Vietnamese and Cambodian nationalism goes back a long way. But a bone of contention which has been little commented upon by Western specialists on Asian affairs is the way Pol Pot claimed that his savage treatment of the population under his control was laying down the pre-conditions for a moneyless Communist society With no private property whatsoever. In my opinion these claims must have

Not peas in a pod
Dear Editol"$, am very disappointed with Graham Taylor's interpretation (August etters) of my Jetter to the July issue. Not once i my letter did I say that I supported the Newbury rallies. and I do not believe it is very comradely either to suggest that I might hold Trotskyite or SWP views. I am a member of the So-

I

Scav~nger seems to view the £2 million investment by BT and MCI in a new internet network as signalling the end of the "global mutual help" that the internet has encouraged. As socialists, we should indeed be questioning how far such new technology is being used in the interests of the working class. However, the arrival of a new network, however large and profit-orientated, does not exclude organisatJonssuch as ours from using the internet to our advantage. facilitating co-operation and the sharing of information. We arc soon to expand our site on the World Wide Web which will represent us as a global movemen It is already possible for anyone with an internet connection to access information that we provide free of charge. While a majority of the world's working class are

I

n "Capital

hauls

in th e

internet" (August 1996) The

Letters. Reviews & Articles are always welcome. Please keep letters to a reasonable length. We regret that we do not publish unsigned letters so a contact name and address is needed though not necessarily for publication. Send to: The Socialist Standard. 52 Clapham High Street, london SW4 7UN or Fax them on: 0171 720 3665. e-mail: 106033.2732@compuserve.com

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

III

OCTOBER 1996

coot
denied access to this techno!01:/. It is stili an important oj>portunlty for us. (For example. around 70 percent of the US population have ace ss to an internet connection.) We should leave to others {he task of worrying how the net might posslb Iy be reg lated.
DANIEL GREENWOOD,

The road to Nowhere
TV
you are unlucky enough f to be reading tills in the middle of the British party conference season, spare a thought for those who stayed up into th middle of the night a few weeks back to watch the Republica and Democrat conventions in the US choose their Pr esidential candidates, Ignoring wiser counsels. this reviewer stayed up till four in the morning in an attempt to understand the alleged significance 01 it all, but to little ava il. In one sense it was an education - it certainly taught me a le sson. But in virtually every other sense it Was at best a badly acted pantomime. The purpose of the BSC's Rood To Th e Whitehouse coverage (BBC I, I a.m .. various nights) appeared to be to co vince British viewers that mainstream politics oyer here does really have a purpose and is really about issues, in obvious distinction to its American counterpar Ifso, it almost su cceededbut not quite, for the obvious sirnilari ics between the two served to override any su perr ... cial differences. Most notably there was an un shamed party of the Right opposed by a party heading at a rate of knots to meet it from the other direction, t3kjng all the I' erals a d reformists with it. Then there was the gliu. choreogr~phy, leader-adulation and even much of the phraseology that was used whim could so easily have graced Blackpool or Brighton J (as it graced San Diego and Chicago. And tothe extent that any issues were addressedhowever fleetingly-they were the same too: jobs, mortgages.

e~

e to boost Clinton's c:hancCl with a haltleo fO(' more compassion cor and disabled.

review

Coventry

SLP backs
down
our members of our Colchester Branc attended a meeting 0 the Socialist Labour Party in lpswlch on 25 April at which Arthur Scargill declared that he "Would debate with a y. one". We publish below the excha ge of correspondence which followed: "Dear Mr Scargill, At a SociaJi.stlabou I' Pa rty meeting in lpswic • in early May, you offered to debate with any organisation. Colchester Branch m emb ers of this Party wh a were at the meeting would like to (a e yo up on that offer. The Socialist Party would welcome such a debate and could arrange for it to be held i the! Ea t Anglian area or in Ceotral Londo. We hope to hear of your acceptance In the near future when a date and ven e can be arranged. Janet Carter, General Secretary. The Socialist Party. 16 June 1996." ..Dear Ms Carter, k you for your letter regarding 3 debate between yourselves an d the SLP. Ou r policy at thi time does not include s ch a meeting. P. Sikorski, Ceneral Secretary, SLP. I 3 August 1996."
Tha

I

F

crime, ed cation. health cue, war and the other problems that flo rish un del' the rna rket economy. The "solutions" offered were little different -taxbrea sand s b idles, the restoration of "fumily values", and economic growth as a panacea without the first idea where it was going to come from. Deep doo-doo was all as bad as it was farnlllar. But there was worse-much worse - and it would be possible to fill a whole edition of this magazine with examples of it. For those of you who missed It, there are just three samples of the political excrement served up at the conVen ions, and which will no doubt be manifesting itself here in some form or oth er shortly as the General Election earnpaign gets underway. t , The p<lthedc sight of former Superman Christopher Reeve, pa ra lysed from the neckdown and barely able to speak, wheeled on stage at the Democratic co vention during TV ~is

.1.

Party. . a pearance was exploited to e i by the Democrats' sp' doctors and even made the head - es on British TV news bulletins. Hasn't anybody told him ttl e 0 emocrats+like the Republicans-aim to crack down on welfare expend iture not increase it! Or that Clinton has in this very policy field just signed one of the most anti-working class pieces of legisbtion to be passed through Congress' rece t years! 2. Bob Dole during his acceptance speech for th~ Republican nomination doclaring that anyone in his party with racist views "knows were to find the door marked Exit". This of a party supported and funded by people who think the United Nations is run by an international Jewish cabal. whose candidates for office ave included form er (and un repentant) leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. and half of whose membership believes that anyone without faith in the Chri$tian god will burn i ell for all eternity (quite literally). Oh, and Dole's party supports tougher immigration controls against tile Mexicans. courting the So hem Redn eckvote with all the subtlety and aplomb of an old-fashioned lynch mob. 3. Vicc--President AI Gore. bringing tears to th e eyes of th e

• 'Now then folks,let's hear it once more for me'

We will keep r eaders informed of future developments. •

THE SOCIALIST STA DARD

oc

996

R~VI~WS
would normally have been expected to be in :l catatonic trance during one of his mindbogglingly tedious speeches. The rea on for this unexpected bout of audience par iciparioni The Veep's s omach-churning display of ham acting over his sl ter's death from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes. This was so wooden and contrived that it would have been sufficient grounds to have him removed form v n the most mediocre of amateur rep companies. If you are tempted to think this assessment is just a touch harsh, remember that Gore's wealthy dynasty of a family made much of its fortune through Its ownership of ennessce tobacco farms ... a fact which he didn't mention once. There W3 a lot else besides worthy of comment from Pat Buchanan's sinister appearance on the f\epublican platform to the sickening parade of ratbag Kennedy's for the Democrats, each one feted like royalty. But BBC pundlts Charles Wheeler and Gavin Esler summed it all up quite nicely in their comments that the conventions really are too long these days, with viewers tuming off in their millions. The nfty percent-plus of Arncrican voters who refuse LO go to the polls in November will be demonstrating a similar contempt for a political process which increasingly relies on ignorance. trickery and blind acquiescence to sustain it. One day JUStone day-they might turn their passive resistance to this nonsense Into something more en crgctlc an d vlbrant. an d leave the political tricksters to play with their placards and balloons to their heart's content, just like a baby shakes Its rattle whi egrinninginanelyatpassersby. They and the rest of the world who have seen through these fakers can men get on with doing someth ing really useful--shaping a world truly fit for intelligent human beings to lwe in. •

Real socialist journalism
Journalism. Contributions to Commonweal 1885·1890
by William Morrit Thoemmes c 18.75. s I~ now well nown William orris was a SOCialist. From 18851890 he spoke at indoor and outdoor mee 'ngs throughout Britain for the Socialist League. He wa~ also the editor of the League's official journal Commonweal. In this capacity, he not only contributed regular articles but also wrote a weekly column commenng on current events from a socialist point of vi w. Until now these comments have onty been ~vailable to those With access to the bound volumes of Commonweal. His articles have already been published separately in a companion volume. What makes these comments p:trticularly interesting is that they reflect the basic position of the Socialist League. shared by Morris. that as capitalism could not be reformed to benefit me working class soctalists should not waste their time campaigning either (or reforms or to get people elected to parliament to press for them; they hould rather concentrate exclusively on campaigning for socialism, with a view to building up a majority movement for it as rapidly as possible. Morris's name has often been hi-jacked by Labour MPs but in fact he was opposed to the whole idea of a parllarnentary Labour Party. He thought

Book

A

DAP

that such a party would have to resort to unprincipled votecatching to get into parliament and that once there it wouldn't be able to do much for the workers and could end up he pIng the governing classes to govern. Someone writing from this perspective is bound to throw a different light on the politics of the period 1885·1890 than can be found both in conventional history books and in the works of "Labour historians". It is this that makes this 670page collection of short articles so fascrnating. The issue which dominated politics for most of this period was the Irish Question. When it opened Gladstone was the Prime Minister but he was twice defeated when he tried to get a Billgiving Home Rule to Ireland through Parliament. His Liberal Party in fact spilt over the issue with a sectron going over to the Tories. The Tories and their Liberal Unionists allies won the

July 1886 General Election. Lord Salisbury took over as Prime Minister. The new government, which had already "played the Orange card" to get elected. proceeded to pursue a policy of "coercion" (the official word for it) in Ireland. A iI socialist Morris was naturally on the side of the exploited (in this case the Irish peasantry) against their exploiters and oppressors (the AngloIrish landlords and their protectors. the British governmen ). but that did not mean that he supported the Irish Nationalists. Far from It. Morris realised tha t th c Irish atlonallsts represented Irish capitalism and that. if successful. they would merely impose a "new tyranny" on the peasantry by turning them into "a fresh [fISh pro/etariot [0 be robbed for Ih e benefit nationoi capitalists ", Morris was not opposed to "home rule" as such since the term could be used to describe the high d~ree of decentralised decision-making and selfadministrarloo that people living in a particular area would enjoy in socialism. Home Rule under capitalism. however. he regarded as something quite different; it would merely be a chang~ of masters: "Undoubtedly when tl1ere i$ 0 parliament in Dublin !he $l(u~g'e of tl1e Irish pe{)ple for freedom will have to be begun again". In his view. the most that could be said for It was that it would provide a framework within which the oppressed people in Ireland could come to see more quickly that the real conflict was not between "the Irish" and "the English" but between workers (of whatever natlcnallry] and capitalists (of whatever nationality). It was for this reason (which tumed out to be wrong) that Morris and the Socialist League were nevertheless prepared to go along with the proposal for Home f\ule for Ireland. Morriswriteshere on much else besides Ireland and the

or

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

OCTOBER 1996

books cant

RIVIIWS
is the conmct between interests open of who rulsupporters of the the British capitalist fancy themselves ing elite presiding of stale-run ous radical l.cnlnlsts ish Left). The accounts ment trade cu rity services union of the involvein the British are fasof the British and US semovement class [from

HANDSOFF

Bevin to Blair) and those as a new

over a system (thevariand poseurs

capitaltsrn

who ma e up rhe Brit-

cinating and Ramsay lifts the lid on a whole used detail range of techn iques genuine trade set
0 shackle

un ion milita ncy an d dem ocracy, g the organisations and

• How Ihe CPCB porttayrd rile moch;. notions of British COPffcll 0jl0iMt t/w, Do;rWo~r
more concerned dence enough. There is a small slip on page one trade union milias being Party that "an of anti-Stalinist Socialist memwith hardfacts the eviis worryng

• Match girl's strike of 1888 • Morris dealt with litis and other issues as a socialist in the tradition of the SPGB
manoeuvrings in connection the period stratlons Tr;\f~lg~r hold out ar being at Westminster with it. This was of the first demonof the unemployed meetings in torture). Morris in the wrote as a Socialist Those rcad the no SPGB tradition.

p by British

US capital than speculation-e-and he uncovers

with theaim of com bating work. g-crus selr-activity. The ways . which the capitalist noeuvres and sure on both class maa national level to enand economic difficult the

international
its political is

who might be inclined to doubt our claim here should book. other They conclusion will find that

16, where
tant ber Great acuve and of the

Square, the fight to
withby the (by the obstructed now"

hegemony to approach secretive organisations.

a

s

bject highly

is described

outdoor

given

is possible .• ALB

nature

of many of its ever giving posed theories. an eduof outfits p and is by

police. the declaration "that we all Socialists politlclan, in August of the In Chicago, Liberal Harcourt. execution Martyrs strike Sir William

but R.1mSOlY does

Britain".

This could well there Party,

a

good job without conspiracy

be taken member

to mean

1887). the
Haymarket the Bryant strike, the tanner, on all of unlonmoveS'ngle

& May matchglrts
and Jack the Ripper. Morris these ism. ment. the comments co-operative

Secret history of secrecy
Lobster special issue The Clandestine Caucu5
by

in to the temptations fur-flung cated It is possible guess clandestine to develop bourgeois

could be such a th ing asa Sta linlst of the Socialist our politics which--given to vanguard lorsh'p course opposition and dictaIs of •

at the agendas Gro

in all its forms ridiculous.

for the dockers'

like the Bilderberg the Pi ay Circle,

as well as on trade Ilenry George's

Robin Ramsay

Tax P" acea, women's rights ("As long as men ore slaves, woman con be no beuer. Let the women's rights societies adopt then lost sentence
act

T
into and war".

£5.
his is an interesting and cd pam ph let c.;mpaigns in the British the camconC3pital since

r-----------------~ Wait?Why

but Ramsay

DAP

w ell- research

Subscribe
One

NOW!

"anti-socialist Movement

operation

Don't be fooled by worthless imitations ...
year year
subscription (normal One

os

0

motto--<lnd

Labour

on i!'). war ("the interests of the workmen are t11e some in a/I counlrics and they con never really be enemies of each other').
vegetarianism course, eval banquets}, (he wasn't (he wasn't Sunday one of closing either being being more mto rnedi-

Having said this, the exto is minimal. as are the manceuof the LaBritlabour socialist But by this

tent of the "ann-socialist" paigns referred what cerned vres bour with Rams.1y is primarily of US and Party British

rate) !12
subscription

(Iow/unwaged) Voluntary

£7

supporters

~gainst the left-wing Communist of Britain's movement ous and what conflict

subscription

£10

a teetotaller

and the misnamed Party or Great union is one and

and was all for workers

able to drink on Sundays as Icng as it was real ale and not the lop (which nounces that was afford). he all they and could prisons deplaces of normally

a·n. He claims that "the history of continuwings". meant

Cheq IC$ pa~ble to: ~ Soda/'lSt POtTy of Gre-oc &xoinRerum to:

52 Oophom High

Sme(.

London SW4

]UN

between

repeatedly

anti-socialist is generally

as barbaric

I I L

Notne.: .._. _ _. Address _

-------.-

~.

THE SOCIALIST STA DARD

Ell

-----------_ ..
.__._._._._._._....

OCTOBER 1996

Publish and be damned
Blinded By The Sun by Srephen Poliakoff
ntlonal Theatre

~

~j
Theatre
revleW

:lny people have very nrange ideas about the nature of science and the behaviour of cillntists. -clevision adverts. or exampl • tend to perpetuat e the myth of scientists as e k er s after "the truth"; dressed in spankingly-cl an white ccats, wearing regulation hom- rimm ed glasses th ey strid e the noors of massive laboratories piled to he roof with comp ex pieces of gl~ apparatu from which emerge ominous gurgling noises. More generally scientists are still seen as essentially i partial, rational. dispassionate individual, engaged in uncertain laboratory experirr cnts. The reality, however, is very different. True some scientist. are involved In fundamental research, an activity seemingly both intensely romantic and intellectually mysrerlous, but one which commonly involves little more than "crawling along on the fror t.ers of knowledg with a hand lens". as Sir Eric A~ by famo ~Iy had it. Most scientists are employee and, as the insatiable demands of capitalism lor more profit take th eir remorse less hold, th ey are lncrea ngly employed to solve mundane problems. As an onetime industrial chemist I can

M

remember the quest to reduce the amount of mineral oil in a proprietary hair cream (from "S to H percent as I recall). a subject which detained some of the ben minds in the "research" department for several months; and later being Involved In a similar attempt to save money by mllking the hair cream at lower temperatures. Scientists. like the rest of the labour force are under pressure to produce more research papers, books and consukancics in universities; more savings on routine analysis and safety control in public service laboratories; and more economically (i.e. profitable) outcomes in the brave new world of., du stry. Sam etlrncs th e pressures become too great and some scientists cheat. They produce fraudulent res:.rlts. Blinded By The Sun, a new play by Stephen Poliakoff at the National Theatre is about scientific fraud. Or Is It? Pollakoff tells the tale as a detective Story, but It Is a story with an inconclu ivc endi g. Did Chrisropher fake his results or was he simply the victim of pressures to publish! Certainly in contravention of the usual conventions he an ounces hb spectacular trio umph to he press-he has s ccecded in producing hydrcgeo, a clean fuel. by irradiating water With sunlight-rather than describing his work In scientific literature and allowing his peers to repeat his experiments. But

is his subsequent failure to confirm his results evidence offraud or simply a quirk of fate! His high.nying colleague, Elinor, IS in no doubt; he is entirely innocent. The laboratoryrnanager-ca pushy a ministrator underpressure to ave a failing department.-is suspicious. We are left to make up our own minds. But if we arc unclear about what happened, we are left in no doubt about the pressures which might have pushed Christopher towards faking his results Problem-solving of the kind which underpins Christopher's work is rather like solving a puzzle. The initial iIlsight may seem conclusive: a solution is at hand and further work points to all the major difficulties being overcome. Ninety percent of the punic has apparently been solved, but the rest seems elusive Perhaps time to announce your triumph to the world--before someone else gets there first and manage the rest of the work later! Writing in the programme David Jones draws parallels betw ell the events of the pl~y and a "recent scientific scandal which carne close to fraud". He

notes that "Scientific frauds are not common. but they occur, indeed they are probably increasing. This perhaps reflects the growing pressure on scientists. Scientific research is no longer a hobby for a distinguished gentleman. but 3 career. Its motive is not only the search for understanding, but a quest for advancernent and recognition in an overcrowded profession, Its rewardsgrants. promotion. tenu reoprestigious jobs. titles and other goodies, a re fiercely contested." So, far from being di passionate seekers after truth. contemporary sclcn ists, wherever theyareemployed,arecxposed to the same pressures as other workers. If they arc not effective if their work is n at associated with profitable outcomes-they will be seen as unacceptable failures. and they may be dismissed. Blinded By The Sun makes for a wonderful evening in the theatre. Poliakoff unfolds his talc with an effervescent elan which is entirely appropriate to a tale set in a science laboratory; a spirit matched by the performances of :In excellent cast in a quicksilver production, Highly recommended. MICHAEL GILL

NEXT MONTH'S
THEATRE REVIEW
In next month's Socialist Standard Micha -J Gill will review the play WaJ[paperwhich will be running from the 8th October to the 2nd November (except MondllY. ) at the Bridewell 'Theatre, Bride Lane) London EC4 (0171 9363456). The play is described as 'A Shavian melodrama portraying the adventures of Mr William Morris, Mi~s Elcllnor MIlI'X and Miss Eliza Doolittle' and an intriguing cast has Freddie Demuth (Karl Marx's son by Helen' Demuth) down 8: an 'East End Tough'.
\Xfc IIr'

giving notice of the coming review of this

piny as we have been notified by the Theatre that those bringing along a copy of thi i ue of the

Socialist Standard will gain a concession on the ad-

rni ion price.

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

II

OCTOBER 1996

b

r

a
The

n

c

h

e

s

a

n

d

g

r
GrOUPi •

o

u

p

s

World Socialist
Movement The World Socialist Party of Australia: cJo Rod Miller. 8
Graelee Court. Tasmania. Kingston 7050.

• SodoUn Porty BrandleJ I
•• br nen In & ]nl Wt:d in ,"onu.. London CAMOEN" CLAPHAMCorr •• · c/o H >od Office. 52 Cbpham 2nd Thun .. HARINGEY

Spill. M.,v,mon~Communtty 52 C h

C~nln, H~

62 t-brchmont

x..eet. WCI

Hi!;h Stn.e .. London SW4 1UN T.~ Clift'. 0171 2786676 Stn.el, London SW4 7UN. Corres.: Rd. N 18. CO,",$; 17 OO~t

in month., 7.4 ~ p.rn H~>odOffi

Ganou, Thomu.
ENFIELD ISLINCTON bph~m SOUTH WEST KINGSTON SE7. CO'Y6: CourtRd)W4 Midl .... ds BIRMINGHAM No 16l. NORTH (oppo<ltll 489025] SUNDERLAND: North.weR BOl TON Moorbnd Rood. N22 4

185c Noru.eotA'

Rd, London SW I I 6QF T "L 0 171 S85 1856 Centre, Royntwn

• Thu,"" 8pm. At!,,1 Community

Bund Oemokratischer Sozialistcn: Gussriegelstrasse 50.
1100 Vienna. Austria.

" Flnl & u.ird Hon

in mono.. 8.00 p m C.,. Pride. 28 ~60

lMt" EC I. COH es.: c/o ~2 MIddx TW II ODH HOOk, CI.ulw" Road.

ligh Scnet.london EAS T LONDON· LONDON·

SW4 7UN. Tel: 01814717206 l st. &] rei Tuesday in month., Elprn DutCh Room. Chlliloo Hiv.h Stn.et London SW4 7UN I hircl Honday

OeM' Derek Burow. 25 H rewdene G.sdens. T oddin~
C. E.... ,~ c/o 52 C,"",h~

The Socialist Party of Great Britain: 52 ClaphamHigh Street,
London SW4 7UN

First

8.00p.m Chlswk.kTown

H

H.,.,u,fdd Tern,c:., (comcrSuw>n

om!$,SI

Goy{ rdR.o>.d,WI298Y Sc:(off Coj, ~ Row). Co cr ",. R.

The Socialist Party of Canada:
PO Box 4280. Station A, Victoria BC.V8X3X8.

• beh n.und y In mono.. Bprn. Old Roy>l pub. Church 1171 4Sf. 0121·553 C nrnl H. '712.

Cook. II 0-'&1:'" La"e, We.llln>mwich un Irel:ll1d ~inl W~ EAST". Hewonfl luI
in

The World Socialist Party (India): GPO Box 2594 Calcutta 700
001

BELFAST·

monrh,llpm

Ro elflar), Sc:.STI

108. C0f'T'6: 15 I CnehiH Rd. !II I ~ room), Sundc:rtLnd Road, HpWQrth I yIN!'"

Tues ~ montl. 7.]0 p.rn., TIM<Swan (u".aJn

H ITO). COfl'U. J. 86 ......l, I0 s...,,'bo"'~h Brian &try. 86 Edgnond
&
t,

P>nd.", IIebbum. SID DDY

w ...r Nfl

I 2AL 0 I 91

The World Socialist Party (Ireland): Corres. I S I Cavellill Road, Belfast BT I5 I BL. The World Socialist Party (New Zealand): PO Box 1929.
Auckland NI.

RyhOfM'.Sundrrhnd 8>.1..

• ~c""d

4th

r ~ In

monrh, 8 lOpI

pub. Br -a d.h.""~te.

COrTe>: Ken Aldred.

I~

,re:"". All ~R.X. H"gh He ugh 0120181458'J. LANCASTER· P. ShlJU>Ort. 10 G,"~n Slr«ll>..KUler IAI 11')/ . 01 SH lRllJ~
MANCHESTER M"'C~ler SOUTH
M]

·Hon.8pm.s"e I /I B. 0161-860 MANCHESTER·

WI 11119

l·.Onpor,e.

ol'T'6:P.1

.nn"n.6f'1c,rit-igh M<'..... H>rely LlM4'.CI>oriton, Street. 011

The World Socialist Party of the United States: PO Box
+10247. Botton Ma 02144.""

EAST

FlI"$t" Ust Thu sd y •• IIltIfItlL 8pnL The Wltite Swan. ~n

HoufdNh Rmd, l.dywm. (@fH129PH Rochdale. CUMBRIA: Scotw.d Ol61·H7745a ~ Ch.\dwl(

F.llowf",Id, 8.00 p.rn. Carre..: Bbndoe PnosLOn, 68 , oun ...... Rd. Sc... no.-d. Hln<h •• Tel 01706 51236S n Sc:. HiIk>m, Cwnbri> lAIR 4BG ~m.Holyfood Ro>od.COf'6.c/052 Centno. C,"",h.un HitI;h

Brert<bn Cumrnin&>, 19

OVERSEAS CONTACTS Bermuda: PauI Azzario, 17 Horseshoe Road. Southampton WKO I Denmark: Graham C. Taylor. Spobjergvey 145. 1+2. DK·8200 Brabrand. South Africa: Alex Hart. 904 St. Anthony. 64 Wolmarans St., Johannesburg 200 I. South Africa. (011720·6116)

EDINBURCH

- Fru Thurinmonth,8.DOp~UoIyroodT.

Stn.el, london SW4 IUN

WEST LO~IAN
IUTctdf • 16 ~Ave. Cbtlr Sc:. Kirkaldy CLASGOW·I Ayshlre: South Ild lut. Briihton:

Thrd Thun
C~ WoonWt. KYI 2
tnt &

MOIllh u C Wv,l ewport

is>

nnn Convnunily 8PX.01J82 Centnl

I hO<'l'f"Son., NonflfleJd ~

Calder. W""l Lou.ion f' I~S on Tay 006

an

Livln,ttst.one. COfT'ItS. I.,., I D. Davidson, 10 X.

'"I: 0 I ~06 811 600 Dund.« IU,~~dy:

4164),

n"reI Wed In month. Sp.tn.. Community

H>ll)()4

t-bryhill R.d COIn s. Rol>t!'l

R... sdl, 10 S<on~fleld Ave_ GI2 OJF.0141 ]570223 O. Tnin e r, 41 D1Iry Rd. Arelro.s.,n KAn & South ElU! 7L8 01294169991. ....,. A,...".Sparu II< Le~ure Club.Ci. O1J16l3 n()4 Sc:u... Gnlnger. lS Lemu, k.k

COLCHESTER· CANTERBURY Co ..... Drive. Chrrry 0170274265 South W ~t

Second
Robert

lut Tu ....d.y in nlO.lh, Bprn. The M/BP1. Cox. II

ulu

CClO'''' Ho<hul GUl 1~9 Lond,,,, Rd. IInilltnoe c/o S2 Cbph

"nrury W ..lk, Dnl CT 14 6AL High x."" .. London SW4 7UN. Cambridie:
Bennett,

Sweden: DagNiisson. Bergs-brunna villavag 3B. S - 752 S6 Uppsala.
E·mail Address The Socialist Party in Britain can now be communicated with via the following E-mail address: 106033.2732@Compuserve.com In addition. the Socialist Party of Canada has a world wide web site on which information about socialism and the World Socialist Movement can be obtained at: http://www.tcel.com/-sp

HintOn, C61 4XZ

E<ut Anglill.: H.

48 A>hley Rd. II:uw>rh COl2

White. 59 H~ood

D,Ne. LU2 7LP. SouU,.,nd:

H. C()I'r... 19 Konpood

Chase,

"is"

4AW Luton:
011

Sea SS'J ]88. Tel:

BOURNEMOUTH. B..com~ BH5

]as.

'Of'

d ["lis of ~t.i~

lI.O .ot:t1viUe> contact Ray

<:...rr.

FIa, 1. l~ f">ricwood R.o>od. 27 Tnd~

ST. IVES. Fif'ot M • In mono.. Bprn. W,,"""' Lloe, Sc:. Ertll, Co rn "" R.druth: Wales SWANSEA· Cardiff 211/89 YorkolJi ... WEST 7UN. Doncut~r: OI7~6/~j6i1 F. Edw.rcb 01 ]01 S3()4 4 Wetherby: D.Un YORKSHIRE· hird t in month. TR276jS.

Holel Roy.1 Sq (n~xtro Savoy) Coo es. RocJ~
f"()$.

H>.rry Sowden, ~ Cbrenc~

VIIIu, H, An

Red,

Ih, Com ....... TRI 5 IPS. 01209 2192B/. "
,.. High Sc:reet (nut lO 6~aOI/92 64J624.

Sec:00<l & Fourth Hon in montl •• 7.)o.,rn. Unonrun Churd1, ~r
oll"'yWillWno" I~ R>pT .. tWdSc:, W un W"n.Swan~SAI

ArxosSupenlore)Col"I"H:

• Info..On "",,,tin&>-BrUnJohnson.

I f'k-.aunrVlpw. BeddAu.Pol\typndd.MidGbmCF]820TTel:01+4J

1.3Opm In Leed,. COOH.. c/o 52 Cfapham Hish R Cooper, I ClXtOCl GattI ••

St. LondOCl SW4
5EZ.

Skipton:

Th,,,,hr,,,ld.

Sl<iplon 8023

Ie by 01 I] 289239-4.

THE SOCIALIST STA DARD

OCTOBER 1996

whatrson

SOC

i a lis t a c t i v i t y

M~~TI
Visitors are welcome at all meetings • Admission is free ·Contributions from visitors aJways encouraged
• Eating
Wednesday Monday 28 October 8.00 p.m. "Is human nature a barrier to socialism?"
Speaker: Pau I Bennett Venue: Town Hall Tavern Tib Lane

• Camden

16 October 8.00 "Old Socialism versus New Labour"
Speaker. Steve Coleman

Thursday 31 October 8,00 "The case/or a rnoneyless society>'
Richard Headicar of the Socialist Party speaks to Ealing Humanists

Venue: Marchmont Community 62 Marchmont Street

Centre WC I

• Chiswick
Monday 21 October 8.00 "The rise and fall 0/ capitalism"
Speaker:
Dave Perrin

Venue: Friends Meeting House 17 Woodville Road (Corner Ashton Road) W5 (5 minutes from Ealing Broadway tube and BR Station)

S cot
• Glasgow
Saturday 26 October

and

• Islington
Monday 14 October 8.00

SEMINAR
1.30 p.m.
"William Morris and the early Socialist J'W" oventen t}J 3.00 p.m.

"Is Britain worth dying for?"
Speaker: Richard Headicar
Venue: City Pride Pub 28 Farringdon lane EC I minutes from Farringdon tube)

Venue: Chiswick Town Hall Hearhfield Terrace W4
( ear est tube Chiswidc Park)

"Beyond the end of history:
the age of cynicisrn and

• Edmonton
Thursday 3 I October 8.00 p.m. ffWhat can you do to help?"
Readers Invited

(S

William Morris's socialist vision"
Speaker: Steve Coleman
Venue: Hillhe.ad Public library

NorthWest
• Bolton
Tuesday 22 October 8.30

Venue: Angel Community Centre Raynham Road NI8

"The failure of
reforrnu s~m»
Venue:
The Balmoral Bradshawgate Bolton

• Greenwich
Tuesday 15 October 8.00

Autumn Delegate

"The Death of the Welfare State»
Speaker: Cyrif Evans Venue: Charlton House Charlton Village SE7 (Nearest BR Station, Charlton)

Meeting
The Socialist Party will be holding its Autumn Delegate Meeting on Saturday 19 October and Sunday 20 October at Head Office from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. each day

"The failure of

reformism "
Speaker: Carl Pinel Venue; Town Hall Tavern Tib Lane

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

II

OCTOBER 1996

endgame
nent left-win er

For c ample, '11.1 ist r her Hill, the cornmun ist hi stor ia n, claimed that Orwell', writing was always amhiguou: , and added that "Ammal Farm was precisely all attack on communism. '.' How I "ambiguous" writer could write "pre. cisely" Hill didn't say, hut presumably he still defends the "communism" which -ell so brilliantly attacked, i nd Tony Bcnn curiously excused rell': on the grounds that "the big~ ter -. u in the world are stales", poss -bly fo etting that he had been part of'th Briti 'blate when he" a. a J .abour

Money-grubbing

Olympics

, oTTIepeople who \ at ehcd tile recent Olympic Games were interested lcs . in the prowess of the athletes them in their potcnual Ior adverusing cndoi '1:111 lit . Advertisers are lookin • fill athletes

rivals gathered pace esterday when the new chatrman oj Aerospatiale called on his fellow industrialists 10 "regroup" their intere. ts" Guardian, 9 Au st).
For any industry to SUf\ ve in today's capitalism it must «regroup' into bigger but fewer economic umt '-witness what's happening in banki g, insurance, car manufacturing brewing, r stailing, etc., and Europe's fragmented aerospace and defence industry is belated] ' catchmg on,

with sa lcs-appca I-no chari

III

a , no con-

Big-time con-artists
General " nod 's running of th ' nbcd the lottery II .
t

tract, and on 'ad-ITIHII pr edicted that Carl Lev i·" ninth I!,old medal \ v ouldn't help him because "He won be/ore and 110 one Irked him "(New York Post, :,I I Jul ,), And athletes should know when lind when not to shed 11 lear:

s

Hard Times Down-Under
a pile of newspaper cuttings fr m a sympathi cr ill New Zealand which lell some Iarruhar stones. Th y tell of strikes mvolvmg teachers, telecom workers, air-traffic controllers, and many others, the health service is collapsing. one-filth of the population lives below the poverty line, pay and benctits have ccn 'ut, etc. A less farmliar story cone ms an employer who has ordered his wor ccrs lo have their 'bowel movements" III their OWII time only
We have received

"Punters are b mg s ale,"
Colli which has [0 . thut aliel

"Tiley 'reallowed to cryfor joy when II1t?Ywm, but aIT)' athlete whr crte because they've lost can /()rgt'l about f'/ldar ements."
Rut patriotic tears could be more rcwarding than mere tears ofjoy:

"The guy who wall the high Jump came close 10 crying during tilt' Nauonal Anthem, but he held hark. nile tear could have berm worth tens of thousand. of dollars .. Maybe the next Olvrupic \ 111
medals for those athletes who land the most lucrative advertising contracts ..

o

c etc eceiving punters Camelot has gOL

Naive Greens
All one w till """.,11_.: cal of the "Gr followin
\e are so criti-

Marriage of convenience
The decision by Boeing, the world's big gest maker of civilian aircraft, to buy Rock rell, the aerospace and "defence" company., for three bilhon dollars, IS m rc bad n 'W for America's European competitors, J\ spate of similar take-overs in America has produced a handful or indui uy iants and pm European rivals at I competitive disadvantage because they ha e remained independent-and rela-

"lt : a completely reo .onable request it '. a per .onal di .ciplin "(Sunday 'lar Times, 7 Jul '). Presumably, this SUf1C nun has disciplined himself'to crap on cue, but for mere mortals it a case of"Wllen yo I've oua go, you've gotta go!" Workers III 'e~ Zealand arc clearly ha \-10 a tough time, but for some the .crcw has be 'n lum 'd J sl that little bit tighter

ld consider the

mrru .ioned a SIOUP of intern I nomists to advise on the best \ a~ of achieving a sharp reduction of w-e gas emissions (Rig L. ue, Aubr ') teyer, II Green activist, di: covered that the econ rru sts an: workin only on the che pest \\,1 'of tackling globa I \\ urrrunl!,

Orwell's "Le

er Evil"

"Their ((IS l4as to workout the slowe t rate of increase in emis. ions that the world could afford. II was putting economics before lives. " And 'et Greens remain convinced that this problem can be olved within the
capuahst system \\ hich creates

tively

:111,

II.

"Rut this altitude may he changing £jJorLI' 10 create a pan-European aero-

space industry capable

of matching

Thc tevelation tha reor e Ot ell named "CI 'pI -coinmunists" and' fell \ traveller .., to the British secret 'en cc drew noteworthy comment s form some promi-

US

it.

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD

m

OCTOBER 1996

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful