Forum Journal

Forum Journal Masthead 1952-1953
Forum Journal Masthead 1952-1953

Forum Journal was an internal party journal of the Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) between 1952 and 1960
OCLC 942838693

Submitted by jondwhite on December 23, 2017

Forum Journal 1952-01 October

Submitted by jondwhite on June 1, 2019

1. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 1
OCTOBER 1952
1.1 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
1.1.1 I. INTRODUCTION
The Party is discussing questions which bear closely on its object and principles, questions it has not always deemed it necessary to discuss. We are busy criticising our own position. This healthy situation has developed, not, I think, as a perversion resulting from the world's indifference, nor as a mere clerkly desire for a half-century stock-taking; it registers, rather, the impact of actual history. It reflects (as does the whole field of science) the uncertainties of a revolution in process—from liberalism to communism—in contrast with the certainties of the nineteenth-century consolidation of revolution achieved (from Mercantilism to Industrialism).
We used to say that conditions were ripe for Socialism. We still take this view, with a pinch of salt. From this questioning of ripeness stems our controversies: why aren't the workers socialist; is there a transition stage; do men make history; can we hasten the ripening with mirrors to reflect light from the sun of Socialist society? In other words, ripe? how ripe? how to ripen? And this questioning is a social product. It is perhaps our acknowledgment (as yet unconscious, as always in the first place) that the Industrial Revolution which established " social production " is not immediately followed by the revolution for social ownership, but by the State Capitalist revolution which establishes the institutional technique (and thereby the ideological demand) for the classless administration of the common weal.
The proposition put forward have to be compressed within a page so that much more than is said must be left unsaid, and most of what is said must be left unexplained.
1.1.2 PHASES OF A SINGLE REVOLUTION
The Socialist Revolution, which is the aim of our movement, is the final phase of a single revolution from production for use at one level to production for use at another, in which the succession of intermediate revolutions and social systems (Patriarchal Communism, Chattel Slavery, Feudalism, Mercantilism, Capitalism 1, 2, 3) are pre-requisite phases. Whatever the political incidents which the Socialist Revolution culminates (what we call the "political act"), it is an historical and social process going on now and daily, and in which the dynamic element is capital. Whatever the form which the " political act " takes in the event (on which the Party wisely does not offer the precise prescription, which would be prophesy), it remains that it is the discussion of Socialism by Socialists which is the immediate Socialism-precipitating process ("What Socialism will be like" has its relevance here.) It remains also that this discussion of Socialism is conditioned, determined, by the social effects of the accumulation of capital. What, therefore, has just been called the " immediate precipitant " is still itself the end result of its social, capital-determined, antecendents. It registers the accumulation of event which is history, it records the noisy breath of capital like everything else which (under Capitalism) is capital breathing. To insist on the history-creating character of ideological elements which are themselves social end-results has no point unless it is to urge creation out of nothing, and all the " Ah, buts " to this are only the pull" of the animistic conception of history which the world (including the Party) has not yet outgrown. To insist that men make history is only to insist afresh, as of old, that man is God—an intractable habit not easily thought out of because it springs from the fact of thinking (the Word). To say that men's activities are always purposive, pre-conceived, makes sense; to say that man's being precedes his consciousness makes sense. Tell me that a necklace of alternate black and white beads-begins with a black, or a white, and I'll accept it without hesitation as the starting point of your point. Insist, as a principle, on the precedence or subsequence of either thought or action, and I can only await the further development of history which will compel you to conceive of their concurrence.
1.1.3 UNITY OF SOCIETY AND THOUGHT
History, which had hitherto been regarded as episodic, is accepted after Hegel as continuous. History, which had been regarded as created by the ideas of great men, is accepted after Marx as the product of human production. The current insistence that it is created by the: ideas, not of a.few great men, but of a lot of little ones, is only a bourgeois vulgarisation of the Feudal error. It is the proletarian revolutionary's version of God. History,. which appears as a succession of revolutions (because the human senses cannot perceive the daily accumulation of event until the bell rings up each hundred) is a continuing series of social integrations in which the new includes the old, not by arithmetic but by digestion— social integrations which compel (with which concur) new conceptual integrations. The Newtonian physics, which wrote the laws of the universe on a postcard, accommpanied the integration of the Nation State out of the separate Feudal baronies and dukedoms. Linneus and Darwin integrated living species, and Marx integrated social phenomena, in the Industrial Capitalism which integrated the former separate capitalist classes and working classes. Today, in the integrative Total State, with its concept of one world, Einstein integrates space with time, energy with matter, electro-magnetic waves with light, etc.
1.1.4 BEGINNINGS OF SOCIALIST EXPROPRIATION
The present revolution is dissolving industrial capitalist liberalism and digesting it into the new muscle and blood and thinking of Communism (Bad Thing). What is called the Welfare State is the combined effect of two revolutions which followed the Industrial Revolution: the revolution from the technique of absolute surplus value to the technique of relative S.V. (of which the nineteenth century legislation and social movements were the administrative apparatus), and the present State Capitalist revolution which is the permanent war economy. The State has become Welfare because it is a Warfare State. Whereas the nineteenth century abolished destitution poverty as a necessity of relative S.V., the twentieth century organises and equalises poverty as a necessity of war. Behind both is the accumulation of capital: because it both raises the " organic composition " of the worker, and intensifies international competition. Fiercer competition urges on the concentration of capital in the State; State control furthers the depersonalising of property: this depersonalisation begins the expropriation which is the Socialist aim.. It begins" to change power based on naked ownership to power based on functionjHt begins to change domination of class by class imo anonymous administration ol things. It nobbles the captains of industry and moguls of commerce, as Mercantilism nobbled the pirate Drakes and Raleighs who opened up the world market. In the industrially developed west, the new bosses are at first the old bosses: in the east, the industrial revolution starts already at the political boss stage. But in the west, too, the Commissioners hold power by appointment, not by inheritance, a revolution the reverse of that by which elective tribal leaders became hereditary lords. The Commissions are integrated and subordinated at Cabinet level, and the Commissioners do not themselves receive or determine the amount of disposal of the surplus value produced by the workers. Within an industry, profit begins to become less the aim and more a condition. The aim is to provide the service required by State policy, while to cover costs, replacements and extensions, remains the condition which limits the service. Within the State there begins the form of production for use, while between States there remain the classical commodity relationships, the hungry search for markets and the Bomb.
1.1.5 WARFARE-WELFARE STATE AND THE SOCIALIST ETHIC
Welfare is the counterpart, in the fields of distribution and administration, of what takes place in the field of production. Rationing, national health service, and direction of labour, are the hall marks of military capitalism. (Communism):
It is the common issue of rum and medicine and duty. It is not fantastic to conceive the extension of State control to all Insurance; nor of the addition of transport to the " free " services by compulsory weekly stamp; nor of the- unification of weekly stamp, quarterly rates and annual assessment into one PAYE, with Family Allowances, Pensions, Licences; nor of the increase in the centralised taxation to cover gas, electricity, refrigeration, laundry; nor of its extension to basic foods up to the standard ration fixed by the War Office—and the deduction at source of 90% of incomes instead of the 40% at present taken by the State. Is this more fantastic that a Socialist Revolution by workers conditioned to classical capitalism? . Does the removal of the stigma of public assistance by its universalisation, or the replacement of furtive out-relief by respectable ration book, or the equalisation of speech and dress and education and military service, play no part in fostering Hie feelings favourable to "distribution according to needs"? Do Legitimacy Acts, equal pay, psychiatry instead of flogging, make no contribution towards the Socialist ethic of "equality of consideration"? Do we accept the materialist determination of "ideologies"—or are we idealists converting by logic independent of history? Do we proclaim that money must go, and raise our hands in revolutionary horror at the suggestion that we are already seeing it off? ; Do we accept the "transformation of quantity into quality" and the "historical necessity for Socialism" as empty articles of religious faith? Do we hold that each society carries the next in its womb, and prudishly disown the misshapen foetus?
1.1.6 DO MEN MAKE HISTORY ?
Whatever we wish, we cannot escape the influence of the Warfare-Welfare revolution whose vast social integrative processes are reflected in every field of thought—we least of all whose aim is to restore the integrity of men (split by the short historical explosion which divided use from value) in an integrated society based on use. We may well, within this journal, reconcile the pro- and anti-election schools by recognising our function neither as education nor as politics but as politico-criticism. We may even resolve the dilemma of Marx, which Engels fumbled, and from which the Party still suffers, of historical determinism and political free will. "All too long have the philosophers been content to interpret history, the time has come to change it." Here is an insoluble problem, because it is a problem wrongly stated. The only way to make history is to interpret it. Marx made, history because, he interpreted it, in the most brilliant historical document ever written. The only sense in which men consciously make history is in becoming conscious of what is happening, which is (in our time) to make State Capitalist society conscious of its preparatory function. The genius of Marx lay in his talent for seeing so clearly what was going on under his nose. And it still remains to some extent our evil genius that we see so clearly what went on under Marx's nose.
1.1.7 THE POSITIVE CASE
That time is done. We in turn are shaken into thought by revolution. Willy nilly we are all both mother and midwife of the more positive case which will replace the propagandist's impossible task of telling people what they don't know by the historically creative one of the articulating for them what they do. We move from the negative attack on capitalist reform to the positive presentation of Socialism, in proportion as our propaganda stems from an integrated concept of history, which sees the succession of class societies as phases of a revolution from production for use at one level to production for use at another; in proportion as it is informed by a social philosophy which is shrewd enough to integrate the closing stages of one society with the emergent stages of the next, and by a political philosophy which is not afraid to proclaim the permanent needs of human nature instead of the historical relativity of human conduct.
This is the core of the positive case for Socialism, which emphasises less' the poverty of the means of life (which Welfare makes more meaningless)_ and moire the poverty of the mode of living (which Warfare makes more meaningful)". It is the core of the positive Socialist case which integrates the need for good material things to enjoy with the equally paramount need for self-respect; the need, therefore, to integrate work with art, art with craft, craft with play, play with education, education with living. It is a positive case, not dragged out of the Utopian blue, but construed sensibly from the sum of human need—the need by upright, thinking, social man for work, for creative work, and for the enjoyment of other people's enjoyment of his work—and the sum of human history, whieh in creating the apparatus and attitudes for organising common poverty prepares for its transmutation into the organisation of common weal.
F. EVANS.
1.2 THE BALLOT AND SOCIALISM
An open letter to all Members of the World Socialist Party
(We print below the substance of a dispute in which the W.S.P. Has been engaged for some time on the question of the ballot. Some aspects of the issues involved are, we believe, the subject of the referendum, and any decisions arrived at are of course the domestic concern of the W.S.P. Nevertherless there are matters and opinions involved in this controversy which go beyond the W.S.P. Controversy and members of the S.P.G.B. As well as members of the W.S.P. And the companion parties are unlikely to resist the stimulus of argument. It can be taken for granted however, that were principles or general propositions are questioned, they will be argued on merits, and not in relation to the dispute in the W.S.P. Incidentally, though it may come as a surprise to some who regard the S.P.G.B. As “formalised” or “rigid”. “FORUM” has been started on the assumption that no proposition is sacred and may be challenged.
Here follows an open letter from a group of members of the W.S.P. And a reply by Comrade Cantor of the W.S.P. – Editors)

Dear Comrades,
At the 1951 Conference of our party, held in Detroit, the question of the party's stand on the ballot was discussed at some lengths and the following "compromise" statement was drawn up for presentation to the membership in the coming referendum:
Under capitalism where the State machinery is in the hands of the capitalist class, the ballot can be used for the purpose of measuring the developing socialist consciousness of the working class. When this consciousness reaches a majority stage, the ballot can become the revolutionary weapon for the introduction of socialism.
If at the time the socialist majority is obtained, material conditions preclude the use of the ballot, then the majority will use whatever other means are at hand to introduce socialism.
If this statement is voted in as the party position on the ballot, the W.S.P. will be adopting a stand contrary to the one which it and its companion parties have had since the S.P.G.B. was first organised. These members who refuse to accept the party position that the ballot will be, not that it can (possibly) be the weapon of emancipation must answer the following question:
What other method than the ballot can a socialist majority use to show itself and the population as a whole that it is a majority to begin with? And Jlflw, other than by means of the ballot can it make its demands and wishes known?—unless these members actually reject the thesis that socialism must be brought about by a class-conscious majority.
The position of the companion parties on the question of the ballot has been set forth on numerous occasions in the S.P.G.B. pamphlets and in-, articles in the S.S. and W.S. over the years. To quote a few references :
This political machinery must be captured by the workers organizing themselves into a political party, having for its object the overthrow of the present social system and the establishment of a system of society based upon common ownership of the means of living. Thus organized they must wrest control of the political machinery from the ruling class by means of the ballot, and having achieved this control, must use it to strip the capitalist class of their possessions, and consequently of their privileges.
The vote is to be the weapon. Let us inquire, therefore, what is the real nature of the vote. (pp. 41 and 42 Socialism—Library No. 9.)
In a leaflet issued by the S.P. of C. entitled THE VALUE OF THE VOTE, reprinted from The Western Socialist for Feb., 1937, the following statements are made:
We contend that class society can be eliminated and Socialism introduced, when a majority of the workers, making use of the modern weapon placed in their hands in all bourgeois democracies —The Franchise.—take political power away from the capitalist class for the purpose of so doing.
and again:
We accept the use of the franchise as the proper method because, in the ultimate analysis, it appears to be the only sane, feasible road to working class emancipation. We realize with sorrow the slowness of the pace, and would gladly discard our weapon in favour of anything that would get us to our goal sooner. But, alas, these better ways are not in evidence. We must therefore continue to educate and organize as before, understanding that when the expression at the polls attains a satisfactory status both the workers and capitalists " will know what to do ". Their collective reactions to this social stimulus will mark the end of the old order, and the beginning of the new.
The workers will take possession of political power, and their opponents will either concede the victory or take the consequences.
In The Western Socialist for December, 1947, an article by J. A. McDonald entitled WORKERS AND THE VOTE sums up as follows:
"Given a working class that understands the nature of Capitalism and Socialism, and the revolutionary action that is essential to change one into the other, we need have no fear concerning the weapon of emancipation—the vote."
In all our literature there is but one instance where there is any equivocation on our position on the ballot. This is in a leaflet entitled: " Introducing the W.S.P.", which is being distributed. This article, written by comrade Cantor, appeared originally in the W.S. for Nov.-Dec, 1949, minus the equivocating statement. " However, as a minority party, the World Socialist Party does not, nor should not, lay down the exact steps by which the majority, once it becomes socialist, will introduce socialism," which was ruled out by the unanimous decision of the editorial committee when the article first came up for review. At a subsequent meeting of the NAC in Detroit, the statement was reinserted by that body without appeal to the membership and the article was ordered drawn up in leaflet form.
There will be a referendum on this item also. We urge the membership to vote against the distribution of a leaflet which contains a statement that implies a luke warm position on the efficacy of the ballot as the revolutionary weapon.
We can sum up our stand on the question of the ballot as follows:
We advocate the use of the ballot as the means by which the working class will emancipate itself and the rest of mankind from class society. We have examined and found unacceptable such means as armed insurrection, general strike, workers' councils and spontaneous, un-organized mass action.
Until such time as we are shown how a conscious majority of socialists can make itself known and wrest control of the state from the capitalist class in any other way than through the ballot, we refuse to waste our energies upon idle conjecture.
We, therefore; urge our fellow-workers to join with us in a political party that is organized for the sole purpose of abolishing the wages system by means of the only weapon that is at our disposal—the franchise.
Group of Boston Comrades W.S.P.
1.2.1 COMRADE CANTOR'S REPLY I.
The Open Letter issued by a group of Boston comrades has succeeded in doing one thing: it has elevated to a principle question whether or not socialism will come about through the ballot. The Open Letter categorically states that socialism will come about in one way only, through the ballot. If this position is adopted, then the line of demarcation between socialists and non-socialists will be the belief or non-belief in the ultimate efficacy of the ballot, and those who believe it may result from some other action by the conscious majority are repudiators of majority action, advocates of violence—in short, hold principles a socialist should not hold. Another reason for the unten-ability of the Open Letter position is that it violates the materialistic approach to history. Before even the material conditions—those of a conscious majority—are at hand, the Open Letter advocates know them in advance.
For this reason we cannot take seriously the charge that we, the supporters of the 1951 conference position do not believe in the action of the conscious majority. Rather it is the opposite. Were the material conditions at the time the conscious majority comes about to be such, as to obviate the ballot (and by the ballot we do not mean a vote, but the ballot as existing under the present economic system),
and were the majority to utilize some other method, then it would be the Open Letter advocates who would be rejecting the majority. They would say to the majority: See here, my good majority; you are not carrying out this revolution as some twenty-five or fifty or a hundred years ago we stated you had to carry it out. It is necessary to reject your methods, and use the ballot as the only weapon of emancipation.
No, it is these comrades who hold the 1951 conference position who are permitting the socialist revolution to be carried out by the conscious majority, and it is the Open Letter position which would have the majority reject itself.
1.2.2 II.
If indeed the socialist revolution must wait upon the development of a conscious majority, and the World Socialist Party contains only a relatively few members of the working class, why should the method of obtaining socialism —the ballot or not the ballot—-become of such importance at this stage? Are not those who uphold the 1951 conference position just as dogmatic as the Open Letter supporters in demanding today that their position be favoured as against the other? To answer this in the affirmative is to misunderstand the position of 1951 conference. We state the possibilities of the ballot as a weapon of emancipation, but we do not close the door to other possibilities, depending on the development of material conditions. Thus, those who believe it will be the ballot are acceptable in the Party under our position. The Open Letter declares the ballot to be the only weapon of emancipation. Those who are of the opinion that history may dictate other methods to the conscious majority would be excluded from the Party under this position.
As badly split as the socialist movement has been in this country and in many cases the schisms have resulted from this constant attempt—such as executed by the Open Letter in this instance—to narrow it down further, we should not make it more and more difficult to become a socialist by drawing closer and closer the lines of defining one.
We have our principles. We recognise the necessity of majority action, that the political state must be overcome, that the change must be a revolutionary one without any transition periods. Beyond this at this particular stage we cannot go. The growth of the movement itself will be a change in the material conditions, and new circumstances will alter the case. But the Open Letter position does not permit the growth of a movement of any sort, because it immediately excludes socialists. This is the importance of this ballot issue, that it stands in the way—as similar dogmatic positions have stood in the way on other occasions—of the uniting of the socialists into one organization.
It will not solve the problem to quote from S.P.G.B. pamphlets or articles which have appeared in the Western Socialist. These articles contain no analysis, and do not deal specifically with the conditions in the United States. They are mere ukase-like statements or outright rejections containing " must be ", and " must ", and the " workers will ", and the " vote is to be the weapon ", etc. The question we are dealing with here cannot be settled that easily. As a matter of fact, we shall demonstrate the lack of analysis on the part of the Open Letter advocates and their insistence on sheer dogma in the following section.
1.2.3 III
(We have taken out section 3 with the exception of one paragraph. Section 3 deals mainly with the peculiarities of the American Constitution and the deficiencies of the American balloting arrangements. As this section stands alone in its subject matter and the rest of the matter deals with general propositions it seemed the logical thing to arrange the two parts in this manner. Section three will appear next month. The one paragraph from section three we publish follows immediately and precedes section 4.—Editors.)
Of course, the above arguments do not apply to Great Britain where a Parliamentary system permits a change in government over night, so to speak, and where there is no Constitution to be protected and defended. The workers are better able in England to effect a revolutionary change through Parliament than the workers in the U.S. through Congress. However, the same arguments used in this paper—that if the State, remaining in the hands of the ruling class minority physically prevents
the majority from taking over, then the majority would have to decide on other action to assert itself—these arguments prevail not only in England but in any country in the world.
1.2.4 IV.
Socialists are continually pointing to history, and stating that we must learn the lessons which history has handed down. Can any deduction be drawn from such a study to indicate the precise manner in which the socialist revolution will be carried out, whether by the ballot, a congressional majority, or some other method? It is our contention that there has never been a successful socialist revolution, and therefore we have nothing to guide us. Even if there had been, the material conditions would be-so changed, as to necessitate a change in our attitudes.
Successful bourgeois revolutions have,, however, taken place, in the past. They were revolutions carried out by the leadership of a minority, fought by the majority, and .culminating in the victory of a new minority ruling class, with the latest form of exploitation over the majority. These bourgeois revolutions taught us what the socialist revolution must not be—a minority movement in the interests of minority, and what it must be—a movement of the conscious; majority in the interests of the majority.-
These are the only premises history has set forth for the socialist revolution, and they are general premises. History has given us nothing of details as to whether the ballot can, may or must be the way to bring about socialism.
One thing we do know, and that is as long as capitalism exists, the State will exist, and this state with all its forces will be employed to defend the interests of the ruling class. Thus, one might say that the minority cannot forever stand in the path of the majority, but what is there to guarantee that the socialists can have the opportunity In become the majority as long as the State exists? We have nothing on which to base our answer. In Germany and Italy, where social-democratic movements did not threaten the complete abolition of capitalism—but only its reform—the state acted swiftly and established a police dictatorship. In the United States, the most powerful capitalist nation in the world, and in which the brutality of the police in strikes has little parallel throughout the world, movements are already under way to outlaw "subversive" groups from the ballot. What use would the socialists be able to make of the ballot if they are not allowed even to appear on it? Our opponents might reply that nothing can stand in the way of a growing socialist movement, but how, from their viewpoint, is this growth to be recorded without the ballot? How will the socialist minority be able to get on the ballot? By demanding " civil rights"? The capitalists who control the State will see to it that these rights are not asserted.
If an outright dictatorship such as existed in Germany and Italy—and now exists in Russia—were to come about in the United States, the socialists, according to advocates of the Open Letter, would have to conduct a struggle for the ballot. Assume by some manner or another they force the dictatorship to place the socialists on the ballot—this is just for argument's sake because it can't happen this way—and then the socialists achieve a majority. The armed forces are still in control of the capitalist class. The socialists state: we have the majority, and demand the unconditional surrender of the capitalist class. The latter refuses to surrender. Then of what avail is the ballot? Our opponents will say that along with a developing socialist majority will come a sympathetic response from the armed forces. How do we know this? How do we know the forces may not be balanced?
The position adopted at the 1951 conference does not have to answer the foregoing in a dogmatic fashion, and herein lies its strength. This position states that the socialists will utilize the ballot to measure the socialist consciousness of the working class, but it does not bind itself (or the majority, which it cannot bind anyway, in spite of the Open Letter attempts to do so) by the ballot, so that if the ballot is denied to the majority, or if the ballot does not reflect the wishes of the majority, or if the minority blocks the majority in spite of a majority ballot, then the majority " will know what to do ".
The Open Letter states that "until such a time as we are shown how a conscious majority of socialists can make itself known and wrest control of the State from the capitalist class in any-other way than through the ballot, we refuse to waste our energies upon idle conjecture." But the question we would like to ask is, How can the.Open Letter comrades show that the ballot will be the method of wresting control of the State from the capitalist class? Would they issue a certificate of guarantee to every one who joins the World Socialist Party that it will be the ballot, and nothing but the ballot? Is it not just as much idle conjecture on the part of the Open Letter, as it is on ours? Of course, we may be proved wrong, and we openly admit we may be proved wrong, because no one can predict the future in a society as complicated as. ours. But the Open Letter refuses to admit it may be wrong. It knows, without equivocation, beyond a per-adventure of doubt that events are going to take place as they predict them. This is dogma at its highest point.
The Open Letter quotes that part of the I.W.S.P. pamphlet on the ballot which states, "However, as a minority party, the World Socialist Party does not, nor should not, lay down the exact steps by which the majority once it becomes' socialist, will introduce socialism." Yet it fails to quote the preceding statement that " the World Socialist Party holds that the ballot presents the most practical and possible way for the workers to obtain political power." No doubt this was an oversight. In any case we wish to point out that neither the 1951 conference position, inn that of the I.W.S.P. pamphlet rejects the ballot, as the Open Letter would seem to imply. What else is there to advocate today but the ballot? With the socialists as few as they are in the United States today, advocacy of any method to achieve socialism is practically meaningless, as the socialists are not in a position to do anything about this advocacy. Perhaps by the time they are a majority, they will have to advocate some other method.
One might say in opposition that the World Socialist Party, as a political party with the aim of capturing the State, must inform the workers how it is going to accomplish its political objective. But can the World Socialist Party guarantee that it will be the party which will carry out the socialist revolution without committing itself to a leadership ideology? How can the World Socialist Party assure the workers that the conditions at the time a majority is obtained will be identical with those prevailing today? Of course, it cannot guarantee any of the two.
The 1951 conference -position does not advocate violence. There is no specific virtue in the use of violence, nothing to commend it as a way to socialism. But history has taught that the violence always arises from the other side, from the side in power, and that the workers are forced to defend themselves physically.
Our position declares in advance that the majority will not be thwarted. If a majority sentiment exists for socialism, and the existing legalistic balloting system stands in the way, then the majority will be compelled to find another way to carry out its objective.
As socialists we must first of all advocate a revolutionary change in society. The method must be that of a conscious majority. The Open Letter comrades shy away from this .point, because they make the ballot or not the ballot the principle question, and not the revolutionary action of the conscious majority. Such a position as this can easily lead to the World Socialist Party taking an anti-revolutionary attitude, that is, opposing a conscious majority engaged in revolutionary activity—we will not say what type specifically—because it is not employing the existing ballot machinery.
A socialist party must be supple. Never swaying from its main objective, it must nevertheless be prepared to alter its attitudes with each new change of material conditons. This is our approach, and on this ground we take our stand.
1.3 TRADE UNIONISM
1.3.1 RESTRICTIVE PRACTISES
An ex-member of our Party once said that we had an attitude to things but not a policy. He was expressing a similar idea to those who say that we make comprehensive generalisations but stumble over details. There is much truth in that.
To reason from the particular to the general is faulty. To generalise and ignore the particular is worse. Those who see the wood but not the trees are just as handicapped as those who cannot see the wood for the trees.
On our broad generalisations—on our attitude to institutions and events—we are mostly agreed. It is when we come to define the limits and the details that we start to argue. It is simple to say to a fellow worker, " Along this path, brother, lies the way, and the only way to your emancipation." It is not so simple to explain to him how to overcome the many obstacles that lie in that path.
We can say quite boldly, and in concert, as we said in the July, 1952, issue of the S.S., " We support Trade Union activity that is genuinely in the interests of the working class." When we are called upon to define whether a certain line of activity is genuinely in the interest of the working class we get at loggerheads.
During the past few years we have heatedly debated such issues as, the closed shop; craft, trade, or industrial organisation; the political levy; breakaway unions; restrictive practices, and others. The 1951 London bus strike over the employment of women conductors gave impetus to the arguments over restrictive practices. It is still one of the best examples to use in these discussions.
Capitalism is a competitive system. Capitalist competes with capitalist to capture and to keep markets. Worker must compete with worker to get and to hold a job. No matter how comradely the workers may be, capitalism forces them to push and jostle one another in the struggle to get a living. The competition does not cease when the worker gets a job, he must still compete to keep it. He also needs to guard his wage rates and working conditions, which usually means that he must get into a Trade Union and continue the pushing and jostling in an organised manner. Out of this come the so-called restrictive practices that some members of the Party condemn as not being in the interest of the workers and claim, in consequence, that the workers should not indulge in them.
We recognise that the competitive struggle amongst workers for a limited number of jobs is a result of the capitalist system. To tell them to give up struggling amongst themselves is equivalent to telling some of them to resign themselves to hunger and unemployment. Capitalism will not be destroyed that way. As soon as a worker gets a job and takes competitive steps to keep it, it would seem that he is acting in a manner detrimental to his class interests.
I claim that if workers make no effort to resist dilution and if they allow employers to move other workers into jobs just as and when it suits the employers, they will not only sacrifice the wage levels and working conditions of the particular job concerned, but they will also help to reduce the general wage level of the working class as a whole. That certainly cannot be claimed to be in the interests of the working class.
It has always been our case that variations in supply and demand cause fluctuations in prices and we do not exempt the price of labour-power. Following from this we argue that it is invariably a bad time to make wage increase demands when there is considerable unemployment. The supply of labour-power exceeds the demand and the tendency is to press wages down. Workers in some jobs resist the easy importation of other workers because they know that the employers' object is to keep wage rates low or force them lower. No harm is caused to working class interests by this resistance. On the contrary, without some resistance the employers could, by astute manoeuvring of the reserve army of labourers between one job and another, even between one country and another, could depress the general level of workers living standards to the detriment of the whole class.
It is in that light that the 1951 bus strike must be regarded. We can dismiss the superficial idea that busmen opposed
the entrance of women into the passenger transport industry purely out: of an anti-feminist bias. London busmen, like all workers, but more so than most, were suffering a wage reduction, not by having their pay reduced, but by having their living costs increased without a corresponding increase in their pay. They were trying to resist this wage decrease. The London Transport Executive was short of staff and the bus men considered, having a mind to the supply and demand factor, that the time was favourable to, at least, maintain their real wage by seeking an increase in pay. If the L.T.E. had not wished to force wage rates down, it could have increased the weekly pay, thus attracting more workers to the industry land solving the staff shortage problem. But the L.T.E. chose to draw from the reserve army of female labourers at a real wage that was daily declining, with the obvious intention of keeping the level of money wages paid constant whilsl the cost of living soared higher and higher.
Once the L.T.E. was allowed to draw on this reserve army, the favourable position of demand exceeding supply was lost to the London busmen. So they said, in effect, to the L.T.E., Restore the wage decrease that we have suffered by paying us an additional £1 a week and then you can employ as many women as you please, but, if we do not get that £1 a week, we will resist the employment of any more women in the industry. That, we are told by some Party members, is a restrictive practice. I consider that it was a very sensible practice and one which, had it been successful in its object (it was sabotaged by the Busmen's Union), would have been in the interests of busmen, of the women who could eventually become, conductors of a higher rate of pay, and of the working class in general.
It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that female bus conductors will, in time, completely replace the men conductors, leaving the men to wander off in search of other employment, and, possibly, to be rounded up and used by some other employer in the same manner that the L.T.E. is using the women, to the detriment of other workers' pay and conditions. So the process can go on.
I know that if the working class was class-conscious it would not tolerate such things. But workers can only stop these things from happening by abolishing capitalism. Until they do that they must protect themselves from the the capitalist class even at the expense of shoving one another about. We shall not be assisting them by telling them not to compete with one another whilst they still accept wage labour, any more than the pacifists assist them by telling them to refuse to fight in war-time whilst they are still imbued with nationalist ideas.
I make no defence of any line of working class action that sets out purposely to harm or hinder some other section of the working class. But, any action aimed at resisting or opposing the capitalist class, even though it may result in a temporary disadvantage to some other section of the working class, that action I will invariably support. In a class war of this nature a sectional gain by one side can be considered a gain to the side as a whole. Nothing is lost if, in advancing one section, another section is kept at a standstill. It has been argued that the workers can strike in support of their demands instead of employing these restrictive practices. The strike is a double-edged weapon, both costly and dangerous. Very sensibly, workers only resort to it when other avenues have failed. Even where strike action is contemplated it would be foolish to welcome dilutees into an industry, under the conditions of the London busmen's example, immediately before the time of the proposed strike. Dilutees are usually non-union elements and it takes time to organise them. Once they are admitted to an industry, as the women were admitted to the passenger transport industry, they are a danger to any attempted strike action until they are organised and have the same outlook as the older workers in the industry. Having but recently obtained the job they are opposed to losing any working time and will usually vote against strike action. With that outlook they are, of course, potential blacklegs and a menace to strikers.
To generalise on restrictive practices and say that they are harmful to working class interests, then to stretch the generalisation to cover every issue that arises, gives rise to the claim that we have an attitude to things but not a policy. It makes us look a bit sheepish when we are called upon to define our position in relation to some particular issue and we can only reiterate our generalisation, frequently knowing, even though vaguely, that it does not suit the case in court.
There is one argument advanced against my point of view that I think is nonsensical. It is claimed that this competitive pushing, jostling and shoving amongst the workers prevents them from clearly seeing their common class interests. Workers do not compete with one another with anything like the same ferocity that capitalists do. But does the spiteful unscrupulous competition within the capitalist class prevent the capitalists from recognising their class interests? Class consciousness can grow amongst the workers out of a loathing for the system that makes them push one another around.
W. WATERS.
1.4 THOMSON DISPUTE
(The editorial in the June S.S. "A New Form of Censorship" evoked much controversy in the Party. At the request of the E.C. we publish some details of the matter. We reproduce part of the article below and the letter of protest from the Kingston Branch. Further criticisms of the article were submitted to the E.C. by some of its members and these are crowded out of this issue.)
1.4.1 CENSORSHIP?
The Manchester Guardian for the 9th May, printed a statement by the proprietors of the City Press, a London weekly newspaper, which contained the following paragraphs: —
" Alexander Publications, Ltd., proprietors of the ' City Press ' newspaper, regret to announce that the ' City Press ' is not available this week. The Trade Unions concerned with the printing of the paper have objected to the publication of an article giving the point of view of D. C. Thomson & Co., and giving support to that company in its dispute with the unions.
"The unions have informed the ' City Press ' that publication will be permitted if the article concerned is deleted, an important matter of principle involving the whole question of freedom of the press and freedom of expression being involved, Mr. W. S. Alexander and his associates refuse to concede to the requests of the unions."
If the position is as stated above, and we have reason to believe that it is accurate, then it is another example of the mistaken attitude of those who seek, not with any bad motives, to prevent the expression of ideas or criticisms that offend them.
We are not at the moment concerned with the merits or demerits of the dispute out of which this apparent attempt to silence criticism arose, but with the harmful principle which some workers in the printing trade appear to be pressing—that they shall have the final word in what shall or shall not be printed.
There are already considerable obstacles to free expression of opinion in the most allegedly democratic countries, particularly for those holding views contrary to the ruling ideas. Such obstacles include libel laws and the like, the extent of influence exercised by those who support the present capitalist regime, the lack of finance and other means to ventilate unpopular views and similar technical difficulties. If to these difficulties are added the right of workers in the printing trade to set themselves up as some kind sf censors of what shall or shall not be printed, then considerable strides will be made towards accepting the principle, beloved of dictatorships, that nothing is printed except what suits a ruling clique. In other words the struggles of centuries for freedom of opinion, and the achievements in that direction, will have been wasted.
To strike over wages and conditions of labour is part of the worker's fight for livable existance under capitalism, but to strike over the constitution of the product of labour is something entirely different. A little reflection should make this clear. Imagine the situation if action in harmony with the latter became a part of trade union practice. Vegetarian trade unionists would strike against handling meat; atheistic trade unionists would strike against handling Bibles; Christian trade unionists would strike against handling certain scientific matter; cycling trade unionists would strike against handling motor-cars; and so on. The net result of this would be bewildering confusion.
It may appear that we are taking too serious a view of a few isolated instances, but evil trends commence in a small way and, if left unchallenged, take root and unconsciously become part of established practice. As our readers will be aware, we have already been victims of this budding censorship and we can forsee the lengths to which it might be carried if left alone. Those who seek to suppress opinion that offends them are moved by intentions that, to themselves, appear to be in the best interests of humanity. As people hold conflicting views upon what is in the best interest of humanity, the acceptance of the censorship principle means, in effect, that those who have the power can determine what views shall or shall not be ventilated and, in the last analysis, will remain in power; thus, either social progress ceases or there is a weltering ferment of discontent which will eventually flare up into disorders that bring only confusion in their wake.
1.5 EDITORIAL
In the first issue of FORUM editorial comment is reduced to brevity by the amount of material submitted for publication. Maybe, that is as it should be. The articles, except for the Thomson dispute which the E.C. requested to be printed, have been solicited by the committee responsible for publication. The article by Frank Evans is introductory and it followed by five others amplifying his case. The material on the ballot from the W.S.P. illustrates the extent to which this controversy has developed. The article Restrictive Practices was planned before we received instructions to publish details of the Thomson dispute. Both these questions illustrate the contrast between agreement on general principles and the disagreement which can arise when those general principles are applied to particular events. The article by J. Trotman deals with a controversy which seemed to have been disposed of when we asked him to write it but which we were sure was only sleeping. Some opinions expressed at Delegate Meeting indicate we were right in assuming that no recent decision in the Party on this question can really satisfy anyone as to what the Party's view really is.
The one quality which stands out in these contributions is the implied loyalty to the principles and fundamentals of Socialism. May it—let it, remain that way, and FORUM could become the means of bringing Socialists in the parent and companion parties into a direct relationship with each other which will be to the benefit of all of us.
1.6 HEARD AT THE DELEGATE MEETING
"Forty years ago when I first joined the Party I earned ninepence an hour as an electrician. To-day, if I worked at my trade, I would earn three shillings and ninepence an hour. Forty years ago I paid twopence a week dues to the Party, today I pay threepence."

1.7 Is the Time Opportune for Contesting Elections?
Should we Doff "The Big-Hat"?
The first issue of FORUM has come at an appropriate moment for a discussion on the question of contesting elections; 'not because of the possibility of a poll on the subject in the near future, but because the grave increase in the Party's debt will have settled the question of the next election for most members whatever their general attitude to the question, making possible a more objective approach to the whole problem than is possible when in the heat of an immediate issuer—except possibly for a few who seem to feel that they are carrying a banner for a pro- or anti-parliamentary faction.
Ths chief concern of the writer, therefore, will be to attempt to deal with some of the arguments which spring from a wrong approach and to establish what he considers to be' a correct perspective ; for the purpose of arriving at correct decisions in the future. It is also an endeavour to find a path between those two incorrect extremes of opinion which say on the one' hand that only one contest will be necessary, and on the other that every election must be contested without qualification.
We all of us want to see Socialists on the floor of'the House of Commons. When we contest elections we feel that at last we are on the road and we get a great kick out of doing all the necessary work. Consequently we all have a strong desire to indulge in the kind of activity which, if it is not consciously guarded against, 'may easily distort" the perspective which we are trying to establish. It is such a desire, intensified " to the point of passion, which can alone explain such peculiar and somewhat religious like arguments such as that of the. E.C. member who asserted at the 1950 Delegate Meeting contesting elections had something to do wilh a "Socialist Spirit ", whatever that may be. But in more serious considerations.
Firstly, what is the purpose of a General Election? It is to obtain representation in the House of Commons. No one will deny that this is impossible for us at the moment and nobody argues from this point of view, but, it is as well to keep this in mind as a first step towards seeing in perspective. Some, of course, use this as an argument for nol contesting elections and rule out all other considerations as irrelevant. Such an argument, however, is sheer nonsense as, if it can be shown that the Party gains some benefit from contesting an election which is not directly related to this main purpose, this must be taken into consideration when arriving at a decision; and it is in fact around these secondary considerations that most of the arguments turn.
The most important of the secondary considerations is the by-product of propaganda value which - is obtained by having a candidate in. the field. A number of extra indoor meetings in the constituency contested is possible; apart from this, it is difficult to see what can be done with a candidate which cannot be done without one. As to the propaganda value of the candidate himself, there is no doubt that he brings the name of the Party before the public through mention in the press, radio, etc., but this in itself is useless as the object of our propaganda is to publicise our ideas and' not our name. Any indirect effect this may have in creating ,a desire to explore our ideas must be very small if it exists at all. If literature sales are any. indication—and . they are the only indication we have— the effect was small indeed, sales for the first half of 1950 during which the election was held being only £49 up on those for the same period of the previous year, an inoreate only to be expected during the height of an election, candidate or not. It is interesting to note in this connection that whereas the Parliamentary Committee reported that no inquiries about the Party) could be traced to our election campaign, a small and inexpensive advertisement in an Esperanto journal produced numerous inquiries from all parts of the world, including England.
The foregoing observations should help us to put the propaganda value of a candidate in its true perspective.What remains now is to decide whether this is the most effective way in which to spend our resources, for even when we have something apart from debts left over after normal running expenses have been deducted, for a party such as ours these resources will always be meagre and not to use them in the most effective way possible is a hindrance to the Party and a disservice to the socialist movement.
It must be remembered that this dubious propaganda advantage of having candidates in the field at election times costs the Party anything from £800 upwards. The last campaign, it will be remembered, cost the Party £1,235 and it was proved conclusively in S.W. London's circular on the subject that a special parliamentary fund made no difference to our total income, ft must be .asked, then, whether such sums—when we have them—could not be spent more usefully in other channels, such as publishing more literature, or, for that matter giving it away, provincial propaganda work, full-time editors or other staff doing more directly useful work than providing a figure-head for about a month in every five yens. Finally it must be recognised thai socialist propaganda is essentially a long-term policy and electoral activity essentially a short-term method. It is unfortunate, but the most sensational methods which are useful to other organisations are not necessarily the best for one which bases its case on understanding.
One other kind of argument which has to be considered is that election campaigns provide a stimulus for the members and increase their activity. Unfortunately, however, all the evidence goes to show that the increased activity is confined to the electioneering itself and the stimulus lasts no longer than the actual campaign. This perversion of our function in order to contest elections for the sake of contesting them to provide an artificial stimulus for the membership is a kind of political masturbation which, whilst it may be fun, is extremely wasteful of our resources and is indicative of an adolescent organisation making a rather pathetic attempt to simulate adult activity.

Of a similar nature is the argument that a candidate is of value because it makes a show oi doing something. Quite apart from the possibility of attracting support merely because we are making a show, support which is therefore non-socialist and dangerous (remember the 200 non-socialists at the first contest), this argument springs from the "If you can't fight wear a big hat" principle. Compared with the giant stetsons of the major political parties our " big hat " is reduced to dimensions smaller than the button on a pimple cap. It frightens no one and impresses no one. To those who were stirred by the article in the S.S. which asserted in our first campaign that " a shadow has fallen across the capitalist world " and made the ruling class " tremble ", it is suggested that were a capitalist observed reading it he would not so much be trembling as shaking—with laughter. No, comrades, we cannot fool the working class with such devices and we must stop fooling ourselves.
A last word to the few who have made no decision on the present situation. Some shirk their responsibility by leaving the financial question to the E.C. Comrades, we are approximately £900 in debt, our expenditure is exceeding our income, the special appeal for funds has met with small response so far and there is a. pamphlet waiting to be published through lack of money. The E.C. is pushing ahead with preparations for the next elections, not because it is irresponsible but because it has been instructed by the Party. The responsibility is yours.
J. TROTMAN.
1.8 Reply Kingston Branch
15th July, 1952.
It is the opinion of the Kingston Branch that this leading article expresses a point of view unworthy of our Party. The article expresses a general opposition to censorship and applies that opposition to the action of the employees of Alexander Publications Ltd. who refused to print an article giving the point of view of, and support to, D. C. Thomson in his dispute with his employees.
We endorse the demand for freedom of the press and for freedom of speech, but we are not prepared to claim that the printers employed by Alexander Publications Ltd. acted in a manner detrimental to their class interests. The dispute in Thomsons is being fought over the workers' right to organise in Trade Unions. The defeat of Thomson's workers may encourage other employers to follow his lead. All workers are affected by this issue, and the printing trade workers are in the line of fire.
The action of Alexander Publications' workers was not so much a matter of assisting their fellow workers in the light against Thomson, as a refusal to assist Thomson in his fight against them. We admire them for it. Kingston Branch cannot identify itself with the condemnation of their action expressed in the June S.S.
There was no attempt at censorship; just a plain refusal to assist, a class enemy in his dispute with fellow workers. Thomson has the whole field of capitalist printing machinery at: his disposal. Let him and his supporters use it, but do not expect the workers to help him. THERE IS A VAST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GAGGING A MAN AND REFUSING TO BE HIS MOUTHPIECE.
If Alexander Publications' workers had downed tools and come out in a straightforward strike in support of Thomson's workers—if they had refused to print anything at all - that, we presume would have been applauded by us as an example of class solidarity. Because they threatened to stop work for a short time on one particular article, they are to be condemned for the opposite. It was a STRIKE, not a censorship. In refusing to print that article those men struck just as dockers do when they refuse to handle one particular type of objectionable goods. This action cannot be tied up with the examples quoted in the June S.S., such as cycling Trade Unionists striking against handling motor cars or atheistic Trade Unionists striking against handling Bibles. The suggestion that these situations are similar makes nonsense and holds us to ridicule
In this issue workers economic interests are at stake, and they have taken the simple and straightforward action of refusing to be the medium for expressing a capitalist point of view over a dispute in progress with fellow workers in the same trade. We hope that all class-conscious workers would do likewise. We should express pleasure that this action came from men who possibly are but vaguely class-conscious. We agree that the workers are not ignoramuses and that they can make up their own minds on all questions—IF they get all points of view. The capitalist is very loath to allow expression of working class points of view, so the workers usually gel a lop-sided view of most questions. Are we to add to the bias by urging workers to print their class enemies' propaganda whilst all sorts of obstacles are in the way of printing their own?
Let the capitalist put over his point of view. Let him print if, film it, broadcast it, televise it; let him put it over any way he can. But do not let the Socialist Party tell the workers to help him do so, under the guise that they will be defending the freedom of the press that their forefathers so bitterly fought for. Their forefathers got no help from their class enemies, nor did they expect it—that is why the struggle was so bitter. The capitalist class must not be encouraged to expect help from the workers in an issue such as this. They will never be shamed into relinquishing their system, or even part of their profits, by the Socialist Party adopting an " After you, Sir," attitude. We, in Kingston Branch, oppose censorship. But we say, " Strength to the Alexander Publications' workers for their STRIKE."
(There are also letters from E. Lake, C. Groves and J. Trotman on the above matter and which are all critical of the editorial in question. Owing to pressure in space these are held over until next month.—Editors. ).

Forum Journal 1952-02 November

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

2. Forum
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 2
NOVEMBER 1952
2.1 THE TRIALS OF COMRADE TROTMAN
" Electoral activity is essentially a short-term method."'
" The most sensational methods which are useful to other organisations are not necessarily the best for one which bases its case on under standing."
"-. . . providing a figure-head for about a month in every five years."
J. Trotman.
According to J. Trotman,
(1) Electoral activity is short-term: socialist propaganda is long-term. Therefore socialist propaganda and contesting elections are opposed.
(2) Electoral activity—that is, fighting elections—is sensational; good for anti-socialist organisations, but bad for a Socialist Party. It is a wrong method.
(3) Elections " provide a figure-head for one month in every five years". Therefore the Socialist Party, when contesting elections, has “ heads” (figure-heads), i.e., candidates. If it has " heads ", these must be leaders of the non-heads". Consequently, during elections the Socialist Party becomes non-democratic, i.e., ceases to be Socialist. In fact, the more candidates, the less Socialist.
If these statements are correct, it is self-evident that the S.P.G.B., so far, has been wrong. These statements are NOT consideration of immediate difficulties in Party work—they are a denial of its principles.
2.1.1 Question of Principles
Trotman states early in his article that " no one will deny that [parliamentary representation] is impossible for us at the moment and nobody argues from this point of view"; in the next sentence, however, " some use this as an argument. This is quite right—"some" is J. Trotman.
Friend T. is evidently not yet quite clear on the meaning of socialist principles. These principles have nothing whatever to do with £800, or £1500, or £49 worth of pamphlets, nor with increases in the Party's debts, or the size of its offices.
The principles of the Party were decided on the facts of Capitalism, out of which they arose, irrespective of practical expediency or immediate applicability. The people who founded it decided that the only way of implementing its policy was by parliamentary representation. That had to be decided first. They decided that without any money, loans or premises.
This Party principle will remain right whether the Party is rich or poor, small or large, gets many votes or none. The first thing, when organising a Party, is to decide what it stands for and how to get it. Then, starting out to do it, cross your bridges as you come to them. Trotman and his friends prefer to sit at home, frightening each other with ghost stories about the depth of the water.
There are practical difficulties—of course it will be expensive and arduous, but money will be raised, speakers trained, and members gained in the actual work of fighting elections.
The Party's aim, Socialism, determines its nature as an election-fighting organisation. Everything else is secondary to this fundamental thing. The Party can and should announce its desire to contest at every election. If practical considerations (lack of support) deter it, it should say so plainly, telling the worker the difficulties, but making its object and method clear. When members invent reasons for putting the Party's principles into cold storage they take the first step on the road to reformism.
2.1.2 The Main Purpose
Having dismissed Parliamentary representation because it is not immediately possible, friend J. T. then goes on to consider whether "the Party gains some benefit from contesting an election which is not directly related to this main purpose". Please tell us, Comrade Trotman, what other purpose the Party has which is not even related to its main one.
According to Trotman, among these unrelated secondary purposes are meetings and selling pamphlets. These are not the purposes of the Party, but merely means of making Socialists. Trotman implies that Parliamentary activity is abnormal, that is, irregular and exceptional. If this is true, it must be permanently wrong under any (normal) circumstances.
" Our resources will always be meagre" he says. By this, he evidently has funds (money) in mind. These are not, and never will be, the resources of the Party. Even if they were, to say that they will always be meagre can only mean that the Socialist Party will never have the support of many workers.
This is a denial of the meaning of Socialism, which organises class conscious workers politically. If the Party's resources will always be meagre, then the time will never be opportune to run candidates. Although his article is entitled " Is the Time Opportune for Contesting Elections?", Trotman does not spare one word in 1300 to give us his answer to his own question.
If the resources of the Socialist Party were money, then Capitalism would not be the possession of all surplus money by the capitalist class. The resources of the Party are the enthusiasm and energy of its members, which spring from a clear grasp of its principles.
2.1.3 Value of Contesting
Trotman's sole test of the value of contesting elections is:
1.The number of indoor meetings held in the constituencies
2.The amount of literature sold.
These meetings, he says, could be held without a candidate; and we "only" sold £49 worth of pamphlets more in the year the election took place—" an increase only to be expected during the height of an election", he writes.
Then friend Trotman, who "only" expects us to sell about 2000 pamphlets more during elections than we can when nothing is on, proposes, as his alternative, that this bankrupt Party, impoverished by reckless election spendthrifts, should print pamphlets and give them away for nothing when the workers don't want them—that is, when elections are OFF, not ON.
Comrade T. does not tell us why he expects more pamphlets to be sold during elections. Why, he snorts, there were no enquiries about the Party after the election, whereas "a small and inexpensive advertisement in an Esperanto journal, produced numerous enquiries from all parts of the world".
The enquiries were made only because we ran candidates. The only thing which divides us from the host of freaks and cranks of all kinds, organised in several thousand tin-pot outfits, and makes the S.P. a political party, is the running of candidates independently, in opposition to all other parties.
"When we contest elections . . . we get a great kick out of it," says Trotman. " We all have a strong desire to indulge in it. Election campaigns provide a stimulus for the members and increase their activity," but " the stimulus las's no longer than the actual campaign" so " it must be guarded against". In other words, it's a good thing so let's stop it.
Elections are a perversion of our function., says Trotman. Please tell us, Comrade T., what this function is which elections pervert. The first thing the S.W. London Branch has to leam is that the S.P.G.B. does not exist as a political party until it contests elections. Meetings at election time without a candidate do not count.
2.1.4 The Alternatives
Trotman's alternatives to electioneering are: 1) Giving pamphlets away free. 2) Provincial propaganda. 3) Full-time editors and other staff (unspecified)
But all these things will advance what Trotman abominates—the fighting of elections. If the Party had offices as big as the Dome of Discovery, and gave away enough stuff to fill every lavatory in S.W. London, it would not figure in politics until it contested elections.
Elections are the cheapest form of propaganda, not the dearest. The only unusual outlay is £150. For this we get:
(1) The Party name on the ballot paper. Every elector is forced to face up to our existence, which, otherwise, he does not even know. There is no other way of doing this.
(2) Free postage on about 30,000 election addresses, amounting to roughly £120.
(3) Press publication of announcements, interviews with candidate, reports of meetings which, at advertising rates, would cost many pounds.
4) Enumeration in books, reports and records of the Party's name and object in the libraries of the world (above all, a clear distinction between the S.P.G.B. and the Labour Party). The beneficial effect on socialists, throughout the world, is incalculable.
(5) Broadcast announcements throughout the world. It is the cheapest money's worth on tie market to-day. Even at that, we may have he sporting offer of getting one-eight of the votes and the return of the £150.
2.1.5 Deed Follows Word
But all this is relatively unimportant—the fundamental consideration is the implementation of the Party's principles and policy. That the Party maintains its word, that its declaration of intention to fight at the polls for Socialism is followed by its deed, the real action—this, above everything else, shows workers that the Socialist Party means business. That when we say Parliament is the road to socialism we mean it. That we carry out our intention to genuinely oppose all other parties in the only way possible—at elections..
Neither is Parliamentary election the only consideration; valuable work can be done in local and council elections. Perhaps Comrade T. will advise us whether we should contest these, if the cost is negligible,
A great deal of useful criticism can be levelled against the Party's first election battles, o Trotman's alleged "arguments" against electoral work are merely enumeration of obvious defects to be overcome, e.g., lack of activity before and after the actual nomination days, rash expenditure on leaflets and meetings of doubtful value, insufficient attack on the enemy due to inexperience. These are not reasons for boycotting , but for extending and improving Party election contests NOW. The alternative is extinction.
Horatio.

2.2 Notice from the Education Committee
Come along to the classes at Head Office. Subjects covering a wide range are being dealt with almost every week night from October 6th to April 5th. Your branch has a copy of the timetable, which is also on the notice board at Head Office.
Important.—The Writers Class commences Monday, December 1, 8 p.m.. All interested are urged to attend.
2.3 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
2. HISTORICAL MATERIALISM
The mode of change from Capitalism to Socialism cannot be discussed without discussing both the nature of Socialism and the nature of Capitalism, and particular phases of society cannot be discussed without reference to a general theory of history. History in turn is the unique attribute of man. It is possible only because men are what they are, and takes the course it does because men are what they are. A theory of men, a theory of society and a theory of history are the same thing. A theory of history which is not a theory of men or a theory of men which is not a theory of society, is a meaningless abstraction. Society is not a contrivance discovered or agreed upon by men, which they could conceivably relinquish: it is the mode of human existence. But man is not uniquely social, only socially unique. Only human society evolves.
This is simple enough, yet its implications are not necessarily observed, or may even be repudiated, and a nominal subscribing to materialism may not preclude an actual metaphysical outlook. For instance, there are those for whom it is sufficient to say that human nature is the product of human history, and who regard with suspicion the view that history is the product of human nature. Ask how comes history, and they reply "economics"; ask how comes economics and they reply "food, clothing and shelter." But the need for food, etc., is common to all creatures. It accounts for their activity, but not for human history. What accounts for history is the peculiar cumulative character of the human economic activity, the special quality of human labour, which rests on the biological structure of men. This links historical with biological evolution, and rescues materialism from the metaphysic which arbitrarily breaks the chain of causal sequence, arbitrarily fixes its undetermined beginning—creation out of nothing, called materialism. This kind of economic determinism parodies historical materialism because its theory of history is not a theory of man but a theory of economics. It sees human nature as the product of history but not history as the product of human nature. The materialist who wants a theory of history without any truck with human nature may only be reacting against the idealist who discusses human nature abstracted from history. But the materialist who thus merely inverts the terms of the abstraction remains idealist—as the atheist who is merely anti-God is an inverted theist, and the Socialist who is merely anti-Capitalist an inverted bourgeois. Socialist theory requires the recognition that human nature determines the fact, and limits the possibilities, of history; while history determines the nature, and conditions the possibilities, of human conduct. To say that human nature is as human nature does (i.e., that human nature is human conduct) is like saying, with the capitalist economists, that "money is as money does" (i.e., that anything is money that serves as money—salt, tobacco, furs, fish, shells, gold, paper—which tells us something about salt, etc., but nothing about money).
The reluctance to distinguish between human nature as the fount of history, and human conduct which is conditioned by history, undermines a unified concept of human society, and shows itself in many ways. It underlies the insistence that language precedes thinking, thus ignoring the dependence of language on the prior capacity to conceive relationships. It leads to the view that since moral codes are laid down by exploiting classes for the guidance of the exploited, then classless Socialism will be amoral. It hinders any practical starting point to the discussion of what Socialism will like by ignoring what is permanent in specifically human nature over and above what is common to all creatures, the need for food, etc. It is a cataract which obscures the unity of history, the gravitational pull which holds history to its orbit, and gives " the historical necessity for Socialism " its necessity. The equating of human nature with human conduct—the view, that is ,that environment is the sole determinant of human capacities, is a political weapon of the Communist, not of the Socialist, It is the official cult of Russia, whose academicians teach that there are no natural boundaries to the behaviour of wheat, cows or men, that man is what the State enjoins.
The rich, genetically determined variation in innate individual abilities which is a factor in making human history possible—a myriad multiplication of opposable thumbs—cannot be dismissed without dismissing the basis of biological evolution—which is not the right answer to the false social deductions of some geneticists. The equating of human conduct with human nature merely inverts their error, and opens as many windows to idealism as it closes doors: either the moral nihilism which make Socialism look like the vacuumatic absence of Capitalism, or the moral utopism which reduces it to a rational idea. One makes it look like nothing, the other like nothing on earth.
F. Evans.

2.4 SIMPLE ENGLISH AND SOCIALISM
Those whose mother tongue is English can naturally be expected to comprehend it fairly well, though it is remarkable how incomplete is the knowedge of many English men and women, when confronted with words that
they are not in the habit of using every day.
In a country like South Africa, with two official languages, and numerous others, a good vocabulary in any one language is the exception rather than the rule. Even those who regard
English as their mother tongue seldom have sufficient words at their disposal to discuss intelligently anything but the most common everyday affairs; while those whose normal speech is Afrikaans or one of the native languages, might acquire considerable fluency in English, but not beyond the two or three thousand words of everyday speech.
Therefore, if socialism is to make headway in places where English is not the one and only language, some consideration must be given to the needs of those whose knowledge of it lacks depth, or who only regard it as a some-
what difficult secondary language.
Considering the Party's Object and D. of P. this view. one finds that the first word "object" has several meanings. English-speaking people have no difficulty in discovering what is meant, but is the same true of non-English speaking people? Would not a word like "purpose" be less ambiguous?
A simplified version of the Object and D. of P. is given below for the consideration of Party members. It will be noted that the appeal is international rather than national.
J. O. B. (S. Africa).
The Socialist Party of Great Britain
PURPOSE;—To assist in the organisation of the peoples of the entire world into an economic, political and social system, based on the common ownership and democratic control of the world and all its resources.
2.4.1 Statement of Facts and Method
1. That the people of all the advanced countries of the world live under the economic, political and social system known as Capitalism. That is, the land, factories, railways, etc., are owned by the Capitalist or Master Class. The rest of the people comprise the working class, by whose labour, on behalf of the capitalist class, wealth is produced.
2. That, arising from the private, class ownership of the means by which all must live, there is a conflict, or class struggle, between those who possess bur do not produce, and those who produce but do not possess.
3. That this conflict can only be ended when the working class decides to take the world and its resources from the master class, to operate by democratic means for the benefit of all, instead of for a privileged minority.
4. That, when the working class has achieved freedom from the domination of capitalism, class struggles will be at an end, since there is no class below the working class.
5. That the working class must achieve its freedom by itself.
6. That, as Governments everywhere exist only to safeguard the interests of the dominant section of the population, by their control of armed forces, police, etc., the working class of the world must organise politically, with full knowledge of what they are doing, to obtain control of all governments. Then, and only then, can they organise the world in their own interests, making an end of privilege and oppression.
7. That each political party represents only the interests of a class. Therefore, the political party of the working class has no common interest with any other party, and must oppose them all.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, affirms its opposition to all o her political parties, with the exception of those formed on similar lines in other parts of the world. It calls upon the workers of this country in particular, to withdraw their support from other parlies, whether they claim to represent their interests or not, and to work for a speedy termination of capitalism, which can only offer privilege for the few, and oppression for the many.
2.5 ON BACKWARD NATIONS
I submit the following propositions on the subject of "Backward Nations", which summarise the views I put forward at the recent Forums. In order not to take up space unnecessarily. I have refrained from including either argument or evidence for the different propositions as this can be done, where necessary, in reply to specific criticisms.
1. There are no groups of people anywhere on earth, regardless of their present culture, who are incapable of assimilating socialist ideas.
2. The so-called backwardness of groups of people has nothing to do with mental capacity or the capacity to assimilate modern ideas.
The culture of such people is complex but of a different kind from that of the West. These groups are coming into the orbit of Western technique at the level of Western understanding without being burdened with the weight of traditional ideas that helps to hold back the mass of people in the West. Coming in at the present level of Western technique, they borrow the ideas associated with it, including revolutionary ideas. Coming fresher into this maelstrom they progress rapidly, shedding primitive or customary ideas almost overnight.
3. Whilst older generations, who have become habited to old custom, may not be quick in grasping new culture, the young take to new culture easily. Custom has not the stifling grip that is often present.
4. Outside of Europe and the U.S.A., the mass of the world's population has already come directly into the Western orbit of culture and is being rapidly transformed—for example China, India, Indonesia, Japan, S. America and a large part of Africa. Where the impact of the West is strong, established customs are broken and the way becomes relatively easy to a new culture.
5. From the socialist point of view the mass of people in the West are still backward. The so-called backward groups borrow Western ideas but without the Western traditional background that helps to crab progress. This makes it easier for them to forge ahead. On the basis of progress in this century the "backward" will have reached a common outlook with the " advanced" by the time the latter have accepted the socialist outlook.
(6) All groups of people, regardless of present culture, can understand socialism if it is explained to them in language that is appropriate to their types of culture. Therefore, the attitude of a socialist is to preach Socialism and help to develop a movement for Socialism wherever he may be, regardless of the particular type of culture of the people to whom he is addressing his propaganda.
(7) Finally it is not essential for all groups of people to understand, experience or develop Capitalism (though they probably will; in order to take part in the establishment of Socialism in the world at large.
(8) The above propositions are based upon the fact that, after the long and chequered development of private property society, the modern idea of Socialism has eventually emerged—this idea can be transmitted everywhere.
The terms "East" and "West" that are used above have only been used as a convenient way of marking off highly industrialised areas from those that axe behind in this respect.
G. McClatchie.
2.5.1 Third Degree
An officer of the Malay Regiment, Captain William Dunlop, was fined £187 in Malaya yesterday for causing hurt to three Chinese to extract guerilla information. He was ordered to pay £20 compensation.
Edward Bunce, a rubber planter, was fined £12 10.S. for causing hurt to one of the Chinese. He will appeal.
The Chinese gave evidence that Dunlop stuck sharp sticks under their finger nails and cut off lumps of their hair.
The hair was given to Dyak trackers from Bornea to use as trophies in place of heads. Head-hunting is forbidden.
—A.P.

2.6 EDITORIAL
DESPITE the problems of launching this new venture, the October issue seems to have been well received by members. At the end of October, two weeks after publication, 900 copies had been distributed from Head Office, and there seems little doubt that very few if any of the 1,000 printed will remain unsold.
As a result of this encouraging start, we have been able to produce a better FORUM this month. Its eight pages and larger print make our work much easier and we are certain will be welcomed by members.
In addition to continuing controversies started last month, and introducing new ones, we include press cuttings, etc., as a regular feature, that were formerly issued as duplicated Speakers' Notes. These notes, even if reduced number, deserve a wider audience.
Now a word about our editorial task. From letters that we have received to date it would appear that there are some misunderstandings concerning the policy of FORUM. One correspondent had the impression that the Editors would choose the subjects and writers to the exclusion of voluntary contributors.
This, of course, is not the case. For the first issue it was necessary, in order to get started, to plan and arrange the features that appeared in October. But we cannot too strongly emphasise that ALL members should regard FORUM as their own, and we expect to receive articles and correspondence accordingly.
IF YOU WANT FORUM TO BE A GREATER SUCCESS -INTRODUCE AND RECOMMEND IT TO OTHER MEMBERS.
2.7 Letters on S.S. article on "Censorship" held over from October.
From E. Lake.
One objection to the article is that it fails to give a balanced view of the question. The attempt on the part of a few printers to prevent the publication of a statement by Thomson & Co., is condemned with a heavy hand, while the overwhelming censorship exercised by the capitalist class is mentioned only in passing and receives little or no condemnation.
The orthodox press has developed the suppression and distortion of news to a fine art, and yet their hypocritical treatment of the printers' feeble effort was not dealt with by us. However mistaken these men may have been in refusing to print Thomson's statement, we must recognise that they were acting, as they thought, in the interest of their fellow workers. This aspect of the case should at least be appreciated by Socialists.
Another objection to the article is the claim that Trade Unionises should not concern ihem-selves with the constitution of the product of labour. Four examples are given to uphold this claim.
(1) Vegetarian trade unionists would strike
against handling meat.
(2) Atheistic trade unionists would strike against handling Bibles.
(3) Christian trade unionists would strike against handling certain scientific matter.
(4) Cycling trade unionists would strike against handling motor cars.
These examples hardly call for serious discussion. Vegetarian trade unionist meat porters refusing to handle meat is a subject more suited to the pen of the late Mr. Gilbert than to that of our Gilmac.
No doubt these cases would call for our opposition, but other examples may support the opposite point of view.
Assume chemists were working on a certain substance they thought was to be used for medical purposes, and discover it was to be used to spread disease. Should we condemn their refusal to continue the production of this substance? Should we condemn transport workers for refusing to convey troops to a strike area? Should we condemn workers employed in the processing of food, who refused to undertake a method of adulteration which, while strictly legal, would be more than normally injurious to the consumers of the food?
And finally, in the event of some jingo press owner attempting to publish a statement with the object of inciting a frenzied mob to attack the offices of the Socialist Party, should we condemn printers who refused to print such a statement?
The answer is emphatically No!
It is self evident that we cannot lay down a general policy opposing trade union action in this matter. We must consider and decide on such cases as they arise.
2.8 From C. C. Groves.
6th July, 1952.
I am opposed to the Editorial for the following reasons:—
1. We are telling the workers that they should give every assistance to their employers in a dispute. I cannot object to Thomson being able to express his point of view, but I cannot ask that the workers involved in the dispute, and other workers, should assist him to do so.
2. In asking workers to assist in the printing of Thomson's article it is equivalent to urging soldiers in an army to load the rilies of their opponents.
3. I think it is to be regretted that such a condemnatory editorial, should have been published when not a word about the Thompson dispute had appeared in the S.S. It seems that we are going out of our way to condemn workers without taking the opportunity of supporting Thompson's employees in their struggle against this avowed anti-union, anti-working-class member of the
captialist class.
2.9 From J. Trotman.
I think that the article was correct in what it said. To condone any action directed towards limiting the free expression of opinion by anyone is contrary to the democratic principle of Socialism, and as such is very dangerous policy.
This does not mean that I view Democracy as an absolute or as one of the cardinal virtues of Socialism. It simply means that I recognise the possibility of workers making mistakes. If their ideas are correct they will be able to stand against the ideas of their opponents and there will be nothing to fear from opposition. In short, I argue that the democratic approach is a practical proposition here and now. It seems that some would deny this.
As to the argument that workers are prevented from expressing their ideas by lack of facilities, surely it follows that if they have the power to prevent an article being published they also have the power to demand that their point of view be printed with the opponent's argument; and, in point of fact, the City Press had already agreed to an arrangement of this character in the dispute in question. From the point of view of accuracy and the Party position I see no grounds for complaint.
It is, however, debatable whether such an article serves any useful purpose and certainly any attempt to deal with such a subject needs to be very carefully written, and, in my view, approached from a rather different angle.
As it is, the article could very easily create a false impression that we were taking up the cudgels on behalf of the employers, and that is not our job at any time. I think a much stronger sympathy for the workers and a greater understanding of their reactions should have been shown. It should also have been made perfectly clear from the start that our sole concern was the general interests of the working class, which of course includes the printing workers.
2.10 From America
THE BALLOT & SOCIALISM
(continued from October issue)
2.10.1 Will of Majority Thwarted ?
WHAT do the Open Letter advocates mean by the ballot as the only weapon of emancipation? In the United States to-day, a majority can be kept from political power for a long period of time. Presumably by a majority the Open Letter means a majority of those elected to Congress, since it constantly quotes the SPGB with its ideas of conquering a majority of Parliament. Now, with the system of representation which prevails in the House—forgetting the Senate for a moment— a political party can have a majority of representatives without having a majority of the population, For example, several states are not on the basis of population, entitled to even one representative, but the Constitution guarantees them one. In the Senate each state entitled to two members regardless of population. Thus, 13 and a half million people in New York have the same representation as 110.000 in Nevada (1940 census). The Open Letter advocates would suggest a change in this system of representation, but do they state how it must be done? Such a change would have to be a constitutional amendment, and the amendments are not carried by a majority. It takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress to offer an amendment (and under the system of proportion described this might mean a representation of 75 or 80 per cent, of the population), or upon application by three-fourths (75 per cent.) of the state legislatures, Congress must call a convention for the purpose of proposing amendments. Then, the amendments must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or conventions in three-fourths of the states, whichever congress may propose.
This constitutional amendment process was purposely introduced by the so-called Founding Fathers (the business and property interests) to thwart the will of the majority.
How then, we ask the Open Letter comrades, can the majority assert itself? How could the majority make any change in the present economic system? To advocate by-passing the constitution would be to bring the charges against the WSP of advocating " unconstitutional methods " and of being "subversive". The Socialist Labor Party does not miss the point. It openly advocates its change through article V of the Constitution, which is the one described above for making amendments.
2.10.2 How Majority Will Assert Itself
When the conscious majority come about, does one think for a moment that it will permit itself to be thwarted by such measures as required by the constitution? It will assert itself; perhaps to the extent of setting up a special convention representative of the people.
This will be a vote; it will be an expression of the majority. Would the Open Letter advocate such a method (incidentally a completely non-violent one, to answer their charge of our advocating violence) and will it come out and state the position of the WSP to be the assertion of the majority, regardless of what the Constitution demands of this score?
Further, under the present system of electing Representatives and Senators, there is a two year lag in the case of the former, and a six year lag in the case of the latter. Thus, it is possible for the majority of Congress not to represent a majority of the population because, immediately following an election, a change of sentiment may come about among the workers, and yet it could be six years before a new election for Senators could be held, or it could even be eighteen years before the majority would be able to assert itself. What would the Open Letter advocates do in a case like that? If they demanded a recall, a new election, this would be the ballot, but it would not be according to the ballot system as it exists to-day.
As a matter of fact, how could a socialist take a seat in Congress, if to do so he must swear to uphold the Constitution, which permits the use of armed forces to put down strikes, and defends private property at every turn? The case of Victor Berger being seated during the first World War, after he was rejected several times by Congress, is cited as an example of how the will of the majority (in his district) was finally asserted. But Berger was a social democrat, and social democrats not only do not oppose capitalism from a revolutionary basis, but it is not opposed to their principles to support a Constitution which guarantees the continuation of capitalism. It would be quite different for a socialist.
2.10.3 Majority Sentiment and Votes
It is demanded of the Open Letter comrades that they clarify what they mean by the ballot. Do they mean an expression of the majority will regardless of the present legalistic set-up, or do they mean adherence to the latter? Another question which the Open Letter leaves untouched is this: What is meant by a majority? Actually a majority means more than half, so that if there are 75 million qualified voters, it would take 37,501,000 voters to establish socialism. However, if 20 per cent, of the population did not vote, then it would take only one more than 30,000,000 to get a majority, but this 30,000,000 and One vote would not represent a majority of the population, but only 40 per cent. The socialists would not represent a majority of the population at all, yet they would have a majority of those voting.
It behoves Open Letter advocates to signify which majority they seek, a majority of those eligible to vote, or a majority of the actual voters.
Under the present voting system, many people are not eligible to vote; for example, those under 21 years of age, those who cannot pay a poll tax in certain southern states, those who have been convicted for a "crime", and migratory workers and other workers who do not establish the proper residential requirements. In order to obtain an expression from the majority of the population, the socialists will have to conduct a struggle to have these and other disqualified people declared eligible to vote. Are the Open Letter comrades advocating that the WSP initiate such a campaign?
How much simpler and more scientific the position of the 1951 conference. The main task of socialists is to spread socialist ideas among the population. It runs candidates when and where it can to measure the revolutionary consciousness of the workers. When this consciousness reaches a majority sentiment (not actual votes, necessarily), the majority will know what to do. This consciousness may reveal itself in the ballots cast under our present legal set-up, or it may find expression in the growth of the socialist party.
2.10.4 Conditions Will Determine
When the Open Letter comrades ask, what o.her method than the ballot can a socialist majority use to show itself and the population as a whole that is a majority to begin with, they should first of all explain what is meant by the ballot. If they mean an expression of sentiment, then a very absence of votes— through a boycott of an election—may constitute such an expression of sentiment. If they mean a demonstration of socialist consciousness, a political strike may constitute such a demonstration. If it be stated that there is no reason to engage in such activities as long as the ba"ot is open to the socialists, in reply we ask, what if the ballot is sea'ed to the socialists by the forces which controlthe State?
I. Canter.
2.11 NOTES TO WRITERS
Our main editorial concern is to produce a well-ordered, balanced and interesting journal. Contributors will help us if they observe the following: —
14. Send in matter typed, double spaced and with wide margins. If it is not possible to have the matter typed then write clearly in INK and on one side of the paper only. State the number of words on the back of the article.
15. Be brief, but not at the expense of making your meaning clear. Keep the main points of your argument in mind as you write and ruthlessly exclude irrelevant and minor points. You will find it useful to use sub-headings as s'ages in the development of your case. It will certainly help us. Visualise your main conclusions before you start. Paragraphs should be neither too long or too short.
16. Be careful to see that you are absolutely accurate when quoting. One of the purposes of FORUM is to clarify controversies. Do not be disappointed if your article or letter is not published immediately. There may be many reasons for this.

2.12 INNOCENTS ABROAD
THE days of the Continental grand tour have long passed. The only way that the Continent can be seen by people (workers) from this country to-day, is by an ability to lower one's standard of living, so that the travel allowance lasts out. It was on this assumption that sixteen of us set out from Dover this summer, on a two month lorry tour of Central Europe.
The distance involved (Zagreb, Yugoslavia was the turning point) precluded any possibility of making a real study of any of the countries we passed through, yet it was possible to gain general impressions, usually confirming our prejudices, though whether this was due to our finding what we wanted to find is difficult to say.
The most striking thing about Belgium was the number of houses built since the war. Outside the towns rows of small villas have been built, all of them ferociously individualist in facade. Holland was a pleasant relief by comparison, with its almost total absence of private building. In Belgium wages are higher but so were prices. In Holland prices were nearly all below "English levels but since the the average wage appeared to be about four pounds a week it amounted very much to six of one and half a dozen of the other.
It was raining and cold the afternoon we :rossed into Germany. Frontier guards and customs men seemed a very melancholy lot. Despite frenzied building activity most of the great cities of the Rhine still have acres of rubble in what were once their centres.
The appearance of the population was Harding. Cripples and maimed were everywhere. Men in their thirties on crutches, daggering around on artificial legs, waggling artificial arms around like sea's' flippers or regarding one in what appears to be a quizzical manner but is in reality a straight look dis-jrted by the plastic surgery pulling their faces. Apart from this depressing side of the picture we got an impression of tremendous industrial activity in the country.
We found the Germans kind and friendly--with the exception of the natives of Frankfurt. This city is the headquarters of the American occupation, and, rather in the manner of Earl's Court landladies, suffers from an ambivalence of emotions towards its guests. The Americans form a very large linguistic and cultural minority among the Germans, and their uniforms and strident nasal accents mark them out as much in Frankfurt as the negroes in the United States are marked out by their colour. But they have money and the local tradespeople boast a large repertoire of tricks—short change, measure, etc., to which the wretched American soldier, who wants to be loved for himself and not for his money, submits. In Munich we met a muscular lady, a trainer of what looked like tame wolves as guide dogs for the blind, who after screaming delight at having met some English people—"You always muddle through"—told us that the Americans were tolerated simply to discourage the Russians from aggression and that otherwise they were extremely unpopular in the city because they were boorish, uncivilised, etc.
Austria seemed surprisingly different from Germany. Whether from history, geography, or any oaier factors, the people seemed more vivacious. Wc were warned before leaving Munich—-"The Austrians are a very poor people "—but to judge by appearance the workers were as well if not better off than the Germans we met. The remark probably arose out of a mild xenophobia. We found this everywhere. The Belgians warned us against the Dutch and the Dutch against the Belgians. Everybody warned us against the Germans and the Austrians warned us against the Yugoslavs.
The first town we came to in Yugoslavia, an industrial centre (by Yugoslav standards) called Jesenice, had poor quality suits in its shop windows priced at twenty pounds and more. The price of manufactured goods was high, for other things the country is undoubtedly the cheapest in Europe to people with sterling. It has other attractions, the glacial lake at Bled, which is heated by sulphur springs, is worth a considerable sacrifice in iravel money on its own.
But it was the people that most impressed us in Jugoslavia. Their sociability and generosity was such that one had a sense of " belonging" after being five minutes in a place. A garage proprietor whom we fetched from his house at bedtime opened up his workshop and cheerfully did our repairs and refused payment, saying: " I am an old motorist myself," as if we were members of a secret brotherhood. This was almost true. The number of vehicles in even the big towns was very small. Everywhere long lines of small carts drawn by two horses and each holding about a cubic yard of stones were leading like ant columns out to where the foundations of a new road were probing into the fields.
The first burst of enthusiasm generated by Jugoslavia's bourgeois revolution showed little signs of flagging yet. The sensation of energy and optimism was inescapable. The standard and quantity of published matter in Slovene, a linguistic minority of a few millions, would do credit to many European countries and the shops were well stocked with food and other goods. A native of Zagreb who had spent twenty-six years in Canada and had returned to Jugoslavia after the war, thinking the millenium had arrived, told us that conditions had been desperate two years before with nothing but pictures of Tito and Stalin in the shops. An important factor in subsequent improvements of living conditions is probably the easier attitude toward the peasants who seemed to be bringing their produce to market and receiving good prices for it. They, the peasants, of course, dominate the scene. Women, aged thirty and looking more like fifty would occasionally be standing at the roadside, motionless as if they had been there for the last thousand years—which culturally speaking they had.
The political situation is very fluid at the present. There is not even the illusion of political liberty in the country.
If Jugoslavia provided the example of least conspicuous consumption we encountered, then Italy certainly provided that of the most. Venice was thronged with opulently dressed men escorting their beautiful and fashionable women out of big cars into gondolas and launches; ordering meals with an assurance that only money can give, in the superb restaurants of the city. It was all like something out of the past to us from a country where such things are done more discreetly, and where such display has become almost synonymous with vulgarity. Anyone who doubts the change in peoples' attitude towards riches and poverty would do well to visit Italy. Here is a bourgeoisie on the way up.
Switzerland was very much the same. The country is alleged to have the highest living standards in Europe, but we saw more down and outs there than we saw in Jugoslavia which has probably the lowest outside Spain.
We were glad to get into France. In a country like Switzerland, geared to the luxury tourist trade, there was not much room for a party of workers trying to get a cheap holiday. Although prices in France were much the same we were always welcome to sleep in a barn when the weather was bad, and our diet was made more interesting by fruit picked at the roadsides.
Although we had enioved the experience we were not sorry to be back. The difference in social conditions between the workers in one country and another is never very great, but that is not to deny any difference, and we were surprised to find how important to us were the little embellishments we enjoy.
K. Smith.
2.13 OOMBALA!!!
ONE of our late rulers went to Africa during the recent Parliamentary recess to lecture to the natives about the benefits of our Welfare State. He had a tribe gathered at his feet and sang the praises of the National Health Service.
" Our people are helped to get glasses, wigs and teeth," he cried.
" Oombala!" chanted the natives with feeling,
" We have decreased working hours and put
up wages
" Oombala! Oombala!" " And we have nationalised our railways!" Again came the chorus, " Oombala!" Afrer the ta'k the head man of the tribe came up to congratulate him and offered to show him the Temple of the Bull up on a nearby hill.
The M.P. was delighted at this chance to add a little local colour to the story he was preparing to tell his constituents, so off they went.
They passed dozens of Sacred Bulls and not a few Sacred Cows on the way up, and the M.P. was about to enter the Temple, when the head man pulled him back suddenly, " Be cireful how you go!" he said, " It's knee deep in Oombala!"
Burnt island Shipyard Journal.
2.14 A Plea for Clarity
Reply to " The Nature of the Socialist Revolution.
COMRADE EVANS may be the author of a very original thesis on the coming Socialist-Revolution. But how are we to know? If obscurity be the hallmark of a brilliant thinker, the comrade would have achieved more, by with invisible ink. We would be as wise in either case. Enumeration of eight points from the article, indicate the high standard of obscurity coupled with the low standard of political accuracy.
(A) ". . . We are busy discussing our own position. This healthy situation . . . reflects the uncertainties of a revolution in process … in contrast with the certainties of the nineteenth century consolidation of revolution achieved."
Reply—We are always discussing our position. This healthy situation reflects the fact that socialists claiming to have accurate knowledge of society must always discuss the
position. What were the "certainties" of the nineteenth century, and what does the phrase consolidation of revolution achieve" mean? What was achieved? Who achieved it?
(B) "... The Industrial Revolution … established social production ... is not immediately followed by the revolution for social ownership, but by the State Capitalist revolution which establishes the institutional technique and thereby the idealogical demand) for the classless administration of the commonweal
Reply—The Industrial Revolution established Capitalist production. State capitalism is but a refinement of Capitalism, and does not amount to a revolution, the word revolution means complete change, fundamental reconstruction or overthrow of a system. Where is the evidence that an idealogical demand, exists for the classless administration of the common weal?
(C) ". . . The propositions here put forward have to be compressed . . . much more than is said must be left unsaid, and, much more of what is said must be left unexplained."
Reply—If FORUM has been so ardently desired by Party members for expressing ideas, why in the very first issue do we meet with compression? If what I want to say, cannot be said, and, if more important, cannot be explained, what are we paying for? Or can it be that Comrade Evans knows not what to say nor what to leave unsaid?
(D) ".. . State control furthers the depersonalising of property, this depersonalising begins the expropriation which is the Socialist aim."
Reply—There is a famous phrase which goes as Capitalism develops it becomes concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, in what sense is that depersonalising? The opposite tendency appears very much in evidence. Can any sort or degree of expropriation compatible with the socialist idea be named at the present day?
(E) " Within the State there begins the form of production for use . . ."
Reply—All production, or most, has use as an aim, since the secondary function of commodities is use, but the primary aim remains extraction of profit. Where will you find production of a single button or tooth brush for the love of the thing?
(G) " The genius of Marx lay in his talent for seeing so clearly what was going on under his nose. And it still remains to some extent our evil genius that we see so clearly what went on under Marx's nose."
Reply—The second part makes the whole of this piece meaningless. Would it be unkind at this point to jibe, that the genius of Evans is in his talent for not seeing clearly what is going on under Evans' nose?
(H) ". . . replace the propagandists' impossible task of telling people what they don't know by the historically creative one of the articulating for them what they do."
Reply—Are we to understand that the spread—slight as it has been—of socialist ideas is not the work of propagandists? Explanation please! As to historical creativeness, surely that is in work done not words said. Changes in history are effected by actions, not by descriptions of actions.
To sum up. If ideas are expressed vaguely then they are open to distortion and misunderstanding, the fault being with the writer not the reader. If you want a child to know raspberry jam is bad for the sewing machine, you say so simply.
Please Comrade Evans treat us as children —but as intelligent ones!
M. Brown.
2.15 OUR PREMISES
At the present time the Party has no cash balance in hand, and it has been suggested that our premises could either be sold or mortgaged, and the proceeds used to replenish our sadly depleted banking account and provide funds for an extension of our socialist propaganda. Having had the premises in use for about eighteen months, we have now had some additional experience on which to draw.
In view of the fact that the decision to go through with the purchase of these premises was bitterly contested by a portion of the membership, views expressed here may be subject to controversy. How does our experience of the past year measure up against our early hopes? What of the future?
Only very few, if any, of our members would consider the proposition of buying premises if they could be leased or rented. Last year, had we not bought premises we would have been able to afford only a few basement rooms or other unsuitable accommodation on rent.
Should we sell? If we did, although we would probably get back more than was paid out we should then be in the same unpleasant dilemma over premises previously stated.
Should we mortgage? Our organisation could use the money, so obtained to spread more propaganda – a necessary preliminary, no doubt to the attaining of our object. Although we should retain the use of our premises, obtaining money on mortgage has disadvantages
We can only spend the money once. If we do not repay the mortgage we must pay the interest. A simple calculation will show that such interest payments will eventually exceed the principal—and, don't forget, the original amount of loan will still be owing. If. on the other hand, we club together to repay the loan, there doesn't seem a lot of point in getting a mortgage.
It might be a sounder scheme to consider methods of getting Party expenditure to equal income, and thus stop the financial rot that seems to have set in on our affairs.
For instance, the cost of stationery, speakers' fares, etc., have risen during the last few years, but the dues have not been increased. Then there is a loss on the sale of the S.S. These are two leakages that could well be stopped.
Some Comrades, recognising that the acquisition of our present H.Q. has got us out of the trouble we were previously in, are content to leave the matter rest. Others of us have greater hopes regarding the development in the use of No. 52. We visualise it being built up as a centre of the socialist movement. The attainment of such an aim would have the effect of revitalising the Party generally through the consequent spread of enthusiasm, as well as by the addition of new blood, i.e., of more workers for our cause.
More activity at No. 52 incidentally means more income from sales of literature; collections and canteen, and money can be made good use of. Producing political plays opens up another field of propaganda previously unexploited by the Parry. Here als No. 52 could be used. Incidentally, this type of training would be helpful for young speakers.
When the Party decides to fight a parliamentary constituency in London, Clapham might be worth considering. There would be no extra cost of election premises, and the interest aroused might help to make the place better known as a Socialist centre.
Once our Premises at No. 52 have proved as useful as many of us believe is possible, then we can confidently anticipate the demand for establishment of premises for other Branches of the Party.
F. Offord.
2.15.1 REPLY
LET us agree at once that unless we can acquire suitable premises to lease or rent, it would be foolish to dispose of our present Head Office.
There is, however, no reason at all why we should not make every effort to find alternative accommodation. For, on the basis of the figures available, if we could rent premises for anything up to £9 per week (our present approximate running expenses at 52 Clapham High Street) we could dispose of our present-premises and utilise the proceeds of the sale for propaganda purposes.
Let us then, not accept the position that we are committed for all time to staying at 52 Clapham High Street, but rather regard it as a temporary freezing of our funds until such time as they can be released for our real work of socialist propaganda.
It is of course., not true to say that the Party had do alternative to purchasing the Clapham High Street premises. There were alternatives, e.g. the basement at Rugby Chambers for storage; the hiring of a small hall for E.C. meetings, but the majority of the members who crowded into the Holborn Hall on 18th February, 1951, were either unaware of them or had already made up their minds to have 52 Clapham High Street. It will be remembered that one of the reasons for the position to the scheme was that it was being thrust upon the Party without adequate information being available, and because no alternative schemes were considered. Another reason was that the scheme would place too great a strain on the financial resources of the Party and this, unfortunately, has proved to be correct. So much so that we are now considering all kinds of desperate remedies for what is virtually our financial ruin. The cost of purchasing the premises, of carrying out repairs and alterations, and the day to day running expenses involved, have played a large part in bringing us to our present financial difficulties. Moreover, a considerable amount must be spent on the premises before they can be fully utilised.
Let us turn to the "hopes regarding the development in the use of No. 52", to quote the writer to whose article we are replying. He visualises No. 52 being built up as a centre of the socialist movement". How is this to be done? Why, by urging the South West London Branch to organise Sunday evening —meetings for the local workers and by producing political plays. It is perhaps unfair to complain of the poverty of the writer's suggestions for what other activities could he suggest, apart from those which have nothing to do with socialist propaganda? Instead of finding premises suitable for our activities some comrades are busily seeking activities suitable far our premises. And so, we get attempts to start activities for which there is no demand, and no enthusiasm in the Party. The realisation that there is insufficient Party activity, i.e., propaganda, education and organisation, fully to utilise the premises leads to suggestions for all kinds of social activity. It may be all very well to have a club in Clapham for the benefit of those living nearby, and those who find it easy to reach, but it is a luxury for which the -whole of the Party must pay and it can be maintained only at the expense of socialist propaganda.
It was argued by those in favour of purchasing the premises that the possession of them would lead to greater activities and enthusiasm.
But it is over eighteen months since we moved in and apart from Tuesday evenings there is seldom more than a handful of members on the premises.
The energies being put into the organisation of socials. jumble sales, canteen management and the energies required for the production of plays and so on, could surely be better spent on socialist propaganda.
The Party does not exist to provide a social life for its members. The fact that some members may derive a social life from their membership of the Party is incidental. The only reason for the Party's existence is the necessity of organising propaganda for socialism
A. P.
2.16 NEWSPOINTS
2.16.1 What We Have We Hold
" This is a rake's progress. If there is one thing we are not prepared to do it is to give up our peacetime markets to our competitors in return for temporary war-time markets."
Mr. Bevan at Labour Party Conference, 29/9/52. News Chronicle, 30/9/52.
2.16.2 ' Peace Could Bring Biggest Slump'
Speaking at Louth yesterday, Mr. Cyril Osborne, M.P., said that if Marshal Stalin were to accept an invitation to the Coronation, or if the Korean war were to end, there would be a dreadful fall in commodity prices. Unless we make plans in conjunction with America to deal with the problems that must arise when the fighting ended, there would be the greatest slump the capitalist system had ever known.
"What, for example, is to happen to the stockpiles of strategic raw materials?" asked Mr. Osborne. " Will they be marketed in an orderly way and on a long-term plan? What about the men who will be demobilised? Are plans being made to find them civilian jobs How long will it take to convert the engineering industry from war to peace production? What is to happen when the rearmament orders fall off?"
Observer, 26/10/52.
2.16.3 E. German ' Socialism '
The time is now ripe for building Socialism in the German Democratic Republic, Walter Ulbricht, Deputy Prime Minister and General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party, announced.
He stressed that the construction of Socialism would not entail the confiscation of small businesses.
" The creation of the economic basis of Socialism demands in the first place the increase of Socialist property through the further development of the nationally owned sector of the economy, which has assumed a Socialist character. Contrary to the claims of our opponents we have no intention of confiscating small businesses, since we do not wish to impose upon the state the unnecessary burden of carrying out the functions which they at present carry out in the production."
The armed forces which will be raised in East Germany will be trained in a spirit of internationalism, in a spirit of respect for other nations and of love for the workers of all lands, stated President Wilhelm Pieck in a speech to the Party Conference of the Socialist Unity Party.
Democratic German Report, 18/7/52.
2.16.4 Canada Hit By British Competition
British competition had plunged Canada's wool textile industry into severe depression, Mr. Ryland Daniels, president of the Paton Manufacturing Company, said at the firm's annual meeting in Montreal.
He said that 87 per cent, of wool and worsteds imported into Canada in 1951 came from the United Kingdom. He called on the Government to set up tariff barriers to slow the flood of imports. The Canadian tariff on imported woollens was among the lowest in the world and was hopelessly' inadequate in the face of present international conditions.
The situation was aggravated by low British wages, which were about 43 per cent, of those paid in Canada, and the apparent willingness of the British to sell at sacrifice prices.
"As a result," said Mr. Daniels, "British worsteds are being landed here at prices much below the cost of production in Canada based on replacement value of wool tops."
British competition might force his and other companies to reduce employment still further before the turning point was reached.—British United Press.
Yorkshire Post, 12/7/52.
2.16.5 Food Scarcity in Madras
Delhi, October 8. Mr. Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, addressing a public meeting yesterday during his tour of the famine threatened areas of Madras state, said the demand for the application of the famine code would not solve the problem of food scarcity in the Rayalaseema area. He said he disliked such an approach to the problem because the idea implied doling out charity to impoverished people. Although there were many poor people in the country, they should not be treated as beggars waiting for charity.
In Madras state nearly four million people live in areas which are officially regarded as " scarcity affected," and therefore threatened by famine (a word which Government officials seem reluctant to use).
According to Government officials, the present food problem in Madras is primarily one of cost and of the inability of the impoverished peasant to buy the food which successive monsoon failures have prevented him from growing himself. To the solution of this problem the Madras Government has contributed nothing by its decision earlier this summer to remove many of the controls on food. Now the State Government is trying to meet the situation by deploying large numbers of kitchens dispensing free gruel to the destitute, and by organising relief works to enable others to earn sufficient to buy such supplies of food as are available.
Times, 9/10/52.
2.16.6 Worth Remembering
The causes of the economic storm which hit Britain last year were not within the Labour Government's control and are not within the control of the Tory Government to-day, Mr. Hugh Gaitskell told a Labour Party Rally at Rhyl.'
Daily Herald, 22/9/52.
2.16.7 They Queue To Learn
..." classes full " notices went up all over London at Women's Institutes, Technical Colleges and Polytechnics within a few hours of the doors opening. . , . Throughout England and Wales 350,000 class entries were received for handicraft classes last year compared with 336,000 for the clerical courses.
Few students give up less than three nights a week to classes—some go five nights—and on nights off there is always homework and reading . . .
The modern question—Lazy? Pleasure Loving? Don't believe it unless you think the profitable pleasure so many derive from a pursuit of knowledge is wrong.
News Chronicle, 22/9/52.
2.16.8 Cyprus Plan
Mr. Antony Head, the War Minister, arriving back in London to-day after a 6,000-mile tour in the Middle East, said that there was no base which could take the place of Egypt.
"We are not looking at Cyprus or any o'hrr place as an alternative base," he said. " There is nowhere that can be compared with Egypt as a base in the Middle East."
To have a base in the Middle East was absolutely vital strategically.
" The base in Egypt is an immense installation," said Mr. Head. " To move it would be a massive project and would take a number of years.
" There is not another place a quarter as good. It was vital to the defence of the West. Cyprus Plan
" If we did not have the base there, we should not have anywhere in the Middle East to concentrate, equip and maintain troops."
Evening Standard, 24/9/52.

Forum Journal 1952-03 December

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

3. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 3
DECEMBER 1952

3.1 WILL THERE BE MASS PRODUCTION
" It took both time and experience before the workers could learn to distinguish between machinery itself and its employment by capital, and to direct their attacks, not against the material instruments of production, but against the particular social form in which these instruments are used."—Capital, Vol. I, p. 468.
WHEN I was at the stage of thinking that the D. of P. contained the potted wisdom of the ages, I remember speculating on the implications of some of its phrases. " Privilege to equality and slavery to freedom "—well, equality and freedom are not very precise words, but the ideas behind them have been thoroughly thrashed out and there is general agreement about what they imply. But can we say the same about the comfort that is to replace poverty?
I must confess that I have always supposed that, even if our material standard of comfort -would not, under Socialism, be very-much higher than now, at least it would not be appreciably lower. Our old No. 9 pamphlet confirms this impression by using the phrase p 13) "in order that plenty and leisure may be the portion of all . . ." But now an idea has developed in the Party that causes me to doubt whether this portion is still on the menu. It seems that some of us have been taking it for granted that some goods will continue to be mass-produced—and this apparently harmless assumption is challenged by the opposition of some comrades to mass production on principle.
3.1.1 What is Mass Production- ?
As is inevitable in discussing such questions, there is a certain amount of confusion over meanings attached to terms used. We are told what Ford says mass production is, and can read other statements about it by various authors. For the purpose of this article, however, I shall take the more recent usages given . Chambers's Encyclopaedia: — Standardisation of machine processes . . . with the aid of semi-skilled machine-minders in place of skilled craftsmen working in smaller groups. 1 Specialisation of factories to a narrow range of processes, or even to a single process, on a basis of intensive mechanisation. : Standardisation of products so as to ... . allow long runs of standard components to be produced and to be assembled by such methods as the ' assembly line '. What, then is the row all about ? Opponents of mass production hold that : it involves excessive division of labour, monotonous, repetitive work, and that its prime object is to save time—obviously these are cogent points. Further, however, it is argued that mass production necessarily involves pacemaking, is exclusive to Capitalism, and is inseparable from the existence of large towns. These are more controversial statements with which I, for one, beg to differ.
First, the question of division of labour. Marx had a lot to say about its harmful effects, and many of his criticisms are still valid, though more attention is now paid (for economic reasons) to the problem of wear and tear on the worker than a century ago. A more modern condemnation of excessive specialisation appeared in the Sunday Chronicle, 24.2.52. " A recent analysis of workers in a Sheffield factory revealed that in the course of their work, 91% of them used only a small part of their nervous system. To stave off the monotony, their off-duty hours were given solely to such feverish pleasures as speedway and jive-dancing, and their nervous systems were suffering accordingly." This is the sort of thing that the opponents of mass production are concerned about-—and I am 100% with them. Of course, society must devise some way of overcoming this problem, but let us be careful about what it is we are opposing. Division of labour is harmful when excessive, but it is not necessarily harmful in itself. Suppose we do make a principle of opposing specialisation on the grounds that it fragments labour. Where does fragmentation end and wholeness begin?
I know very little about farm machinery, but am to'd about a threshing machine that requires about a dozen workers each doing a certain job. After an hour or so on one part of the machine, they can change places and so avoid boredom. There seems no reason why it should not be possible, in a society in which people control their own conditions of work, for a machine to relieve arduous toil and yet not entail boredom.
3.1.2 Saving Time
Another point is that mass production is said to involve monotonous, repetitive work. So it does. But so does a great deal of non-mass production. I wouldn't like to argue that writing figures in a ledger all day is much less repetitive than operating an automatic machine. A ease can even be made out that it is more disconcerting to have a slight difference in the details of a job than to have a completely repetitive one, since in the first it is not possible to allow your mind to wander on to other topics while working. But, at any rate, it is obvious that mass production cannot be equated with monotonous work.
Now we come to the question of saving time. Opponents of mass production say its only object is to save time. I accept that. Time is worth saving on any job, under any system, because it enables us to undertake other jobs or to enjoy leisure. There is no greater condemnation of Capitalism than the preva'ence of (he feeling of not knowing what to do with leisure.
Those who repeat the jibe " so you save time on one job in order to save time on another " reveal a prejudice that most workers cannot conceivably know what to do with themselves when they are not working. It is often said that under Socialism the line between work and leisare will blur—but it won't vanish. People will still want to save time from productive work in order to have more time to enjoy as many as possible of the myriad experiences that this world has to offer.
3.1.3 Making More Work
It is curious that those who argue in favour of abandoning mass production imagine that this will result in people doing more things. Let us take an example (with arbitrary figures) to see how this would work out. Suppose one in every 100 now spends his working day baking bread or making machinery to bake bread. Smaller bread-baking units might mean that many as one in 5 (or 20 times more people) should have to put in a minimum of 2 hours it. But there are many other jobs that need to be done. At present there is, broadly speaking, one person to one daily job. If only half these jobs were done, but there were, on average, 10 times as many people doing each one, isn't it obvious that we should have to spend longer than now in achieving even to-day's s-working-class standard of comfort? Instead of spending several lots of 2 hours producing a small group, why should. not some of do one 2-hour shift producing for a large group ?
Then the opponents of mass production say its essence is pacemaking. That is certainly a feature under Capitalism, but remember it is not the machine that sets the pace, but the boss. Excessive speed is the enemy, cries the curse-of-civilisation school. Of course we shall be able to take things easier under Socialism, but that won't be because we shall objectivise speed. Those who say speed is bad in itself are in the foolish position of having, as their ideal, the concept of standing still. Mass production is exclusive to Capitalism, we are told. Preface this statement with ' capitalist' and I have no quarrel with it. There are many ways in which mass production will be different under socialist conditions, but we make it harder to get our ideas across to others if we persist in indescriminately negating features of Capitalism. We hear it stated that the motive of the airplane and ocean liner is commerce, yet the train and sailing-boat somehow escape similar condemnation.-Is it not conceivable that some airplanes would be useful in a society without commerce?
3.1.4 Needs and Plenty
To go fully into the question of mass production necessitating large towns would take us too far from our main subject, and deserves separate treatment.
We must, however, touch upon the satisfaction of needs, if only because we have been so accustomed to talking in terms of plenty and superabundance. What we mean, surely, is that we shall know what society is capable, of producing, and shall want to participate accordingly. I cannot imagine, the possibility of society knowing how to produce something in an efficient and unobjectionable way and yet deliberately choosing the roundabout method.
It seems likely that many more people will want to have products that are morefit for their purpose than are able to afford them to-day. Let us go one step further and suggest that society will virtually abandon mass production of individual things like suits and fruits pies. But why extend this to impersonal objects like pins and bricks ? The quality of mass-produced goods is not necessarily lower than that of others, and in some cases it is higher. Quite often a combination of mass production and handcraft produces the best results.
When I say that I find it difficult to see how society could meet all its need without some mass production, I get the feeble reply, " how did people manage before?" Any historian will tell you how they managed. In medieval times, household appliances were regarded as at luxury. A bed, table, couch, and possibly a chair satisfied the needs of people. I don't accuse the opponents of mass production of wanting to go back to those conditions. I merely suggest that their ideas are not so very far out of line with those conditions. If carpentry, is your hobby, by all means make your own chairs and tables—but don't expect society to abandon social production of most chairs and tables.
S.R.P.
3.2 THE FUTURE OF OUR PROPAGANDA
(Condensed from the letter originally sent sent by A. Turner to the E.C. 5.5.52, and subsequently circulated to branches.)
In its early days, the Party was largely concerned with hammering out an object and declaration of principles, and then proving them correct against rival theories. Our opponents no longer have theories to prove their abject—they can only apologise or try to justify tbeir actions when in power.
The S.P.G.B. alone has an object—Socialism —with theory and analysis to prove its validity. In the past, members were compelled to know and expound socialist theory and economic analysis in order to refute rival theories. These ere: Labour—Inevitability of gradualism ; Communist—Dictatorship of the proletariat, intellectual minority action, etc. ; Anarchist— The state and minority action and the futility of democracy.
These theories are now virtually finished. You seldom meet a Labour or Communist Party member with whom you can argue economic and political theory. In the 1920's and 30's our speakers had to know working class industrial history, Marxian economics and literature, about which they were constantly challenged by opponents.
Today these arguments have gone, and case against them has been proved.
3.2.1 New Motive for Analysis
But we are still challenging all comers to the
battlefield of theory. None are forthcoming, so our young members cannot improve their theory by meeting opposition. Some members, recognising this, see the need to take our proven theory into the wider fields of human society. The relative importance of these fields may be measured by their relevance to most people, e.g., marriage and the family.
Now the Party can turn its attention to what Socialism will be like, which historical conditions compelled it to deviate from. In this, the new motive for analysis and theory will be found. Immediately we describe Socialism in terms of human institutions and functions, we meet opposition. Also, the wider the description of Socialism, the greater the opportunity of making contact with people generally.
Most people are not interested in "Political politics". Repeated economic theory becomes dogma to them and merely irritates them. Most members feel safe when attacking, but scared when defending. When asked about the future, we are on the defensive and say we can't know or give a blueprint of the future.
But people will not be put off by evasions. The hesitancy and discomfiture of the speaker increases as such questions increase, and this may be why new speakers don't continue. Older speakers continue by habit, and unconsciously preclude questions of the future by creating the impression that conditions have grown worse and will continue to do so. This does not fit the facts of experience, so people are unimpressed.
3.2.2 Unexplored Fields
It is nonsense to say there is a general wave of apathy, reflected in the Party. Plenty of literature is being written on subjects closely allied with people's lives. Unfortunately the S.P.G.B. will not venture into them. Members say they are not interested in art, sex, morals, etc.—but this is politics without a purpose.
We tend to concentrate on attacking ideas that are on the way out. When a member does venture into hitherto almost unexplored fields, the hall is full, questions many and discussion lively. Such members are discouraged by talk of hobby horses, bees in bonnets, pretty pictures, etc.
Yet it is these things that make our propaganda listened to and questioned sympathetically. It breaks down prejudice whilst the old propaganda erects more.
Immediately our propaganda changes from just attacking Capitalism to describing Socialism, it will meet arguments and discussion about work, sex, morals, administration, etc. This means members will have to sharpen their knowledge of economic theory and also enter the field of social anthropology. Speakers will keep at it because their duty will become a pleasure, and the audience, from fearing you, will come to understand, admire and respect you.

3.3 A CASE FOR CONCENTRATION

With the publication of FORUM, the opportunity is afforded of re-examining some of the views that seem to nave become almost traditional in the Party, in this article I shall be particularly concerned with those that centre around its organisation in branches. It is my belief that just as the Party is always prepared to give reasons for its principles and policy to others, so it must be prepared to explain to itself why it holds the views it does on organisation and administration.
Whenever a branch has flourished in the past it always s»ms to have been taken for granted that it should try to split up, presumably with the object of forming two branches that would separately achieve more than the single one. But things seldom worked out that way. What usually happened was that some of the active members of one branch left it to form another i an adjoining area. For a time the total activity was increased, since a lot of work was put into building up the new branch. The paper membership was probably increased in -.his process, but there is no evidence that the mere act of splitting up increased the number of active members.
What we have to examine is whether, in the long run, the Party gains more benefit from aiming at concentration of members in branches, or at diffusing them in as many branches as possible. Of course no such question arises in the cases of isolated branches like Bradford and Brighton. Our main concern must be with the 16 branches in the London area, and even of these, several are so distant from their nearest neighbour that my remarks do not concern them.
3.3.1 Reasons for Splitting
First, why is it considered desirable that a branch containing more than about 50 members should try to form another one in an adjoining area? One argument is that some of its members live in that area and the new branch room rould be more convenient for them; the implication is that they would be able to put in more work. Another point is that sympathisers living in the area might be encouraged to become members by reason of the proximity of branch. These two I shall take to be the arguments, on the question of members living close to their branch meeting-places—is this really an important factor when only a couple of miles involved ? How many members can honestly that such a distance make a difference to amount of support they can give their branch? Active members certainly travel—so most be the not-so-active ones that are affected. But, at the risk of giving offence to some of these, I suggest that the causes of their --participation in branch activity are other than the distance of their branch meeting-place. The other argument is easy enough to explode-When we put a notice in the S.S. those who are interested in forming a branch in a certain area to write in, how many do we get from non-members? None—and the reason is simple. People don't join the Party because there is a branch in their area. The impact that the Party case has on them has nothing to do with the distance of its local branch. Of course, the conduct of this branch has an effect, but that is another matter.
3.3.2 Branch Progress
Having examined some of the arguments in favour of larger numbers of branches, we can now turn to those in favour of larger numbers of members in branches. There are two main considerations here—increasing the amount and effectiveness of members' work for the Party, and creating a more inviting atmosphere into which sympathisers can enter.
We must beware of comparing large branches as such with small branches as such. There is no question of the principle of the one being better than the other. What we must consider is whether the act of making one branch into two is necessarily progress, that is, making for the more efficient functioning of the Party. And, as a corollary, are we not justified, in some cases, in advocating the amalgamation of two or more branches ?
Taking a purely short-term view, it appears that members are more active in newly-formed branches. They get a kick out of building up the branch, but—most of the work is official. There has to be a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Literature Secretary, an Organiser. The filling of these posts practically exhausts the active membership of many branches, and leaves precious few to take part in propaganda activity.
One obvious advantage in having larger branches is the reduction of official work, since correspondence, reports, circulars, etc., are no more for a branch of 60 members than for one of 30. Money is saved on the rent of branch rooms.
Another advantage is in the better attendances at branch meetings. A more representative selection of views may be heard at larger meetings; a greater sense of responsibility is felt, and it is less possible for branches to be " carried" by a determined individual or a minority. A much higher standard of discussion is obtained and more members are encouraged to attend when meetings are lively, than when they are merely minute-reading circles.
Tasks that a branch of 60 might undertake and make a success are beyond the capabilities of one of 30. In some cases, of several branches fairly close to each other, not one is now capable of running successful outdoor meetings —but one large branch would probably be able to do so. It is no solution to suggest that two or more branches should come together for certain purposes. A meeting or campaign must always be organised from one centre, and the helping branches will inevitably find that propaganda, like charity, begins at home.
Lastly, the question of getting non-members to attend branch meetings. The invitation is an open one, but few accept it, and few members feel happy about bringing along friends. When they do, they are careful to pick " discussion nights", when routine business and the atmosphere of the inner circle are at a minimum. What obstructs the further growth of the Party organisation may be summed up, not as the smallness of branches, but as the existence of small-branch ideas.
Leo.
3.4 EDITORIAL
WITH the publication of the third issue of FORUM, we confess to feelings akin to a hurdle runner, who, while having successfully deared the third hurdle, has not quite recovered his surprise at having cleared the first, and is a little less apprehensive about those still in front of him. The chances are that we ill quickly cease to think ef hurdles at all. As the purpose and scope of FORUM becomes sore apparent, there is no doubt that the demand on space will become heavy. To date, we have published views on several subjects. There are many questions in the Party about which there are decided and strong divergent Tiews, and which under scrutiny in these pages nould not fail to gain considerably in clarity. The writer in FORUM may represent himself, branch, a committee, the E.C, or a common organisation; the subject matter may include any aspect of theory, administration, policy and principles. Now that FORUM is going ahead, we hope that it will be taken for granted by all that there is no matter which is excluded from its pages.
January FORUM will include . . .
A reply to the critics of the article on 'censorship' which appeared in the July S.S.
A reply to the criticism of the article ' The Nature of The Socialist Revolution.
A criticism of the articles on The Ballot and Socialism'.
3.5 MORE ON PREMISES AND FINANCES
The articles in October FORUM by Frank Offord and A. P. about premises and Party finances, make depressing reading. , On the one hand, Offord implies that because of the expense of running No. 52, we must scheme to increase our income by social activity, cut speakers' expenses, and increase the price of S.S. On the other hand, A.P. makes the rejoinder that we should seek more modest premises and not engage in activities to raise money for premises we cannot afford. In both cases, there is an underlying assumption that the presnt financial difficulties are due to the expense of running Head Office. It is possible that both are wrong. It is possible that both are unnecessarily pessimistic.
When the Party raised funds to purchase premises, the amount of money raised by donations fell short of the purchase by £1,500. This deficiency was met by a loan from a member and by using £500 from the Party's General Fund. The Autumn Delegate Meeting report showed that £400 of the £1,000 loan had been repaid. It is the case, therefore, that had the Party been able to raise the whole of the money by donations it would now have in its General Fund (unless spent on other activities) the £500 absorbed in buying premises plus the £400 it has found to repay part of the loan. The fact that the Party has little balance in its funds is not necessarily due to the Party's income falling (though this could be true for other reasons) or because income has been sucked up by expenses on premises, but because the Party has invested its funds. If this is the case, it is not so depressing. The ability in the first year to repay a substantial part of the £1,000 loan indicates a healthy financial situation and could mean that within little more than a year the who!e of the loan might be paid off and the income become available for other Party activities. Having in mind the bad state of repair of No. 52 when we first took over, it is obvious that in the first year at the new premises considerable money must have been spent on decorations and structural alterations. If the money for this was found from income, there seems little cause for pessimism about the " financial state of the Party ". This sort of expenditure is likely to be heavy in the first year anyway.
Is No. 52 more than the Party can afford? If we could find something cheaper, would it give us the facilities that we needs?
It is said that our premises cost £10 weekly to run, and it might well be the case, The rather vague statement which was before the Autumn Delegate Meeting certainly indicated a cost something like this. Though, of course, against this, an income from social and other activities must be taken into account in any assessment of the cost of the premises. Is the cost high or, like so many other things these days, is it that it merely seems to be high? On reflection, it seems that the latter is the case. If the Party had its pre-war premises today at a rent which allowed for the post-war
increase in prices, there seems little doubt that the cost of running them would be as much, if not more than our present premises, and our pre-war accommodation was much less adequate than what we have to-day. Also, had we remained at Rugby Chambers on the revised terms dictated by the landlords, it is reasonably certain that the comparable costs there would have been no less than they are in our present circumstances. If we cannot afford our present premises, then obviously we cannot afford the modest sort of accommodation we had before the war and before we went to Clapham. It would take a lot to convince the Party that this is the case, in view of the larger membership (and full employment). Before A.P.'s suggestion that we should rent a basement as an office is acted upon, Party members would have a full and clear statement of the finances of the Party. The position at the moment is obscure, and whilst this is so, Party members cannot be blamed for the opinion (sincerely held by some) that donations to the Party which are given for Party work are sucked up by the expenses on premises we cannot afford. If opinions like this exist, then it must adversely affect contributions to funds, and something should be done to correct them if they are false. If they are not false, then the Party should know where it stands so that appropriate action be taken.
What seems certain is that the overwhelming majority of the membership like and want the sort of facilities offered by the present, (or similar) premises and would make efforts to retain them. When a clear statement of the financial position is before the Party it may reveal that our present difficulties are due to more than one cause. It may be that there is a combination of causes, perhaps S.W. London is right in its ease that whilst costs to the Party have increased, Party members get their membership on the cheap in relation to present-day prices.
Is it possible for those responsible to produce a detailed report for the next Conference in a form which does not assume that we are all professional accountants? Better still, perhaps a statement could appear in FORUM before the next Conference.
N.E.
3.6 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
2 Historical Materialism
(Continued)
THE core of Socialist theory is a unified concept of history, society and man, centred around the recognition that the spring of history is the peculiar dynamic character of human production, which begets needs in the course of satisfying needs—of the social labour which is not simply reproductive but cumulative, not simply self-perpetuating but self-changing.
When men learn to produce com they also produce the need for store-houses and vessels, the need also for sentinels against rodents and robbers, for wise men to tell the time of sowing and reaping, for tithe and tribute, for exchange and property and class, all held together with the thongs of mind called habit, necessity, right and wrong, and all—seed or sentinel or sentiment—active elements in the organisation of the labour process. Historical materialism is the recognition that history is the evolution, and society the organisation of human labour, and that mind and society are not separate things related, but inner and outer sides of the same reality: social labour.
3.6.1 A False Separation
Because a philosophy of history is the core of Socialist theory, differences between us are rroted in different interpretations of historical materialism, and these differences are actually invited by our having taken over, ready-made an inadequate statement of it from Marx and Engels. I refer to the Manifesto (" In every historical epoch the mode of economic production and exchange form the base . . '.") and to Engels' letters explaining what they meant by adding that ideas react upon the base), and I am here criticising the form of expression, while recognising the historical and practical factors which conditioned that form. Historical materialism is fully expressed by Marx, but nowhere is it fully expressed in a single comprehensive statement, and nowhere does he explicitly define " mode of production ". As a political party, popularising Socialist theory, we have naturally taken the Manifesto statement; and the analogies of base, superstructure and reflections, of action and reaction, have become second nature by familiarity, with the result that the metaphorical tends to become literal truth, and any amplification suspected of revisionism".
What we still have to bear in mind is that Marx did not demolish the dualism of Hegel by inverting it, he only perpetuated it right side up. And it is dualism, the false separation (of ideas and action, mind and matter etc.) which underwrites idealism. The fallacy of idealism is not its order of precedence, but its false separation of things distinguished. The answer to the "supremacy of mind over matter " is not its inversion to the supremacy matter over mind, which merely perpetuates the separation, but the mental reintegration of the things mentally separated, the recognition that the separation is merely classificatory.
3.6.2 Progressive Man
Of necessity we distinguish between men and society, production and administration, institutions and outlook, thought and action, subject and object-—mental (verbal) separations valid for their purposes, but all finally deceiving unless finally integrated in the single phenomenon of human social labour. Within its limits it is commonsense enough to say that man's being determines his consciousness and then to add that consciousness reacts on being. but because, in form, this still implies the separation, upright or inverted, it still permits idealism to creep back with its " Ah, but it is this reaction which constitutes the dynamic, it is ideas, purposes, which make the activity what it is ". And there you have the irresolvable shuttlecock argument: "Yes, but the ideas are determined by the activities which give rise to them "—" Ah, but those activities were themselves purposive "—" Yes, but those purposes were activity-created ". This is indeed the true dialectic!
Thinking accompanies the effort, is part of the effort, to achieve the purpose, the need, already given by a given situation, and the achievement of the aim (or the failure—in any case the activity) creates a new situation, that is, new needs, new activity, new needs . . . Cut this -much man shares with animals: it does not account for history. The cycle of need, activity, changed need, changed activity is common to the world of living things. Nor does purposiveness, consciousness, begin with man—it is shared by other animals in varying degrees. The history-creating character of the human mode of existence lies in the fact that men create and accumulate means of production. With other animals, the cycle of need, activity, changed need, changed activity, is circular; the cire'es may be big or small, but in the'end—repetitive. With man the process is not circular but progressive, for the continuous accumulation of means continuously creates unprecedented situations, containing unprecedented needs and purposes.
3.6.3 Organic Unity
"Ah, but it is the peculiarly sharp focus of human consciousness, the special conceptual quality of human thinking, which makes possible the creation of means. Capacity to think is still the history-creating dynamic". Good enough. But don't let us confuse capacity to think with ideas! Ideas are not created by capacity to think, they are compelled by needs commanded by situations created by activities determined by situations. It is because men's mode of existence creates means of production that production produces history, and that men's conduct and men's ideas are the product of their products. The analogy we take over from Marx, which, in inverting Hegel, still opposes base and superstructure (production and institutions), does not err in the mere fact of distinguishing between them, but it conspires at error. For in distinguishing between things intimately connected (labour activity and social relations) we are led into describing the intimacy of the connection as a causal relationship, thus converting distinction into separation and obscuring the organic unity of production, institutions and outlook.
3.6.4 Continuity of History
Under Capitalism, a tractor crawling over a field is obviously different from a religious tract or the law of contract. Yet the wheels of capitalist machinery could not turn without the sanctions and certainties provided by the law, nor without the prevailing sentiments of men, the general and predictable patterns of men's minds which, because they organise behaviour into regular and self-regulating forms, ensure the continuity of the productive processes, and are thus themselves a productive force.
Under Feudalism, the institutions of Church and State are distinguishable both from the productive operations of peasants and gildsmea and from the ideals carried in their heads. Yet Pope and peasant are only terminal points in a series of social productive relationships between serf and baron, revolving round fief and tribute, and requiring for their daily perpetuation a continuum of sentiments—chivalry, submissive-ness, ordained status.
In primitive communities, labour is permeated by ritual, and ritual is embodied belief. Their religion is magic, and magic is the art science of production. With a digging , a dozen tribesmen stand in a circle, a circles in a row; they raise their sticks, pluge, turn the soil between them, prance forward, raise, plunge; they sing and whoop, with chant and tom-tom to guide the economical rhythm of their actions, they lift up their knees as they prance, to make the crops grow tall. What is this song and dance but art, science, magic, religion—and production? Countless ages pass by before the productive operations, the social institutions and the sentiments of men appear to have separate locus and separable existence, yet however far the differentiation is carried in the course of history they retain their organic integrity—in social labour—as the spokes of a wheel, however long, are only extensions of the hub. The unity of history is contained in the fact that its substance is labour. The continuity of history is contained in the fact that the mode of projection contains within itself the necessity of its own development, by accumulation of means.
3.6.5 Labour Produces Needs
When Marx says ("German Ideology") that "the first historical act is the production of the means to satisfy human needs " (my italics) and that " this historical act is the fundamental condition of all history ", he clearly does not mean by " first" any such nonsense as that production precedes social organisation or that i en must eat before they can think. " First " here is not a chronological category, but is used to announce the essential and paramount quality of history—labour. For he goes on to show that labour produces not merely products, but new needs. " And it is this production of new needs which is the first historical act".
It is because human labour processively generates new means that it progressively modifies the labour process, produces new needs, new purposes, new habits, new men. History runs because human labour is continually trying to catch up with its own feet. Human labour creates history because the wheel of production is eccentric, its centre of gravity continuously shifting between the " factors " distinguished by Marx (as a necessity of analysis)—continuously shifting from "means" to " process ", from " relations between men and nature" (biological) to " relations between men" (social), from "means provided by nature " (geographical) to " instruments produced by men" (technical). The biological " factor" dominates primordial labour; geography dominates savage labour; the social relations of kinship and custom dominate barbarian labour, and occupational siatus dominates feudal labour (" Undermining ", as Engels says, in The Family, " the communism of production and consumpion") ; the instruments of production dominate capitalist labour.
3.6.6 Evolution and Production
This concept of history is a product of capitalist production; in the flesh and blood we salute Marx and Engels. The salute is a little formal if we put Marx before Marxism. Marx was compelled more than once to do less than justice to himself, and Engels did less than justice to both of them when he tried to rescue Marxism from the awkward analogy of " base and superstructure " by means of " action and reaction " in which " cause and effect perpetually change place".
The deficiencies of form were historically conditioned, by the need to grapple with Feudal idealism and by the mechanical idiom of water-clocks and puffing-billies. In an age of biology our only plea for perpetuating them is laziriess. Analogies must be recognised for what they are: devices for explaining the less concrete or familiar in terms of the more concrete of familiar: stepping stones, not shrines —and language for what it is: a good servant and a bad master. Whether we use buildings or biology to explain it, it remains that society is organisation of men's labour. It remains that the " parts " and " factors ", means and process and institutions and sentiments, are active and operative elements in the associated labour which is men's mode of existence. It remains that nowhere does Marx explicitly define " mode of prodution " because with him it is implicitly society itself.
Society " begins " in proportion as men organise their labour force, and emerges imperceptibly from the primordial condition of mere association, consanguine and instinctive. History " begins " with the act of production, because human production produces means. Society evolves, has momentum, because accretion of means shifts the centre of gravity, In our time, capital is the centre of gravity, the growing point of history, supercharged with the dynamic of accumulation. And the Labour Theory of Value is only a special case of the Labour Theory of History, for with Marx surplus value is not simply the tally ©f exploitation but the spring of capital's continual transformations (from "quantity into quality") by which it is compelled to generate the socialist mode of production. (To be continued.)
F. Evans.
3.7 YOU CAN'T BUY SOCIALIST PROPAGANDA
IT is well known that the capitalist class buy propaganda. They pay journalists to write, they own the means of distribution, and pay speakers and lecturers. The hiring of a hall for a meeting and large-scale advertising are also easily done by a political party with good financial resources.
No Socialist Party can hope to be in this position; a larger membership would not necessarily ease matters, as there would be lore meetings required to cover the wider irea of an increased number of branches.
Some members tend to judge our activity by the amount of money the Party spends each year. They assume that the more the Party spends on propaganda the more actual propaganda is done. This is not necessarily the case.
When the Party is in financial difficulties, as at the present time, if anyone suggests cuts in expenditure, many members immediately assume that we will have to make cuts in our propaganda, To avoid this, there is a constant beggin by the Treasurer and the E.C. for nore funds.
It is time the Party recognised the fact that you can't buy socialist propaganda. What is needed is more work put in by the membership. Donating money is all very well, but it can easily be spent on all kinds of schemes which, but for members' lack of activity, would not be required.
There are good forms of socialist propaganda which do not cost a penny—but they do require work, and it is the desire to work for Socialism that is lacking in the Party. It is well known that the membership of the S.P.G.B. is to a considerable extent a paper membership. How to end this and how to put an end to the idea that more money will increase our propaganda is something the Party should consider.
THE SALE OF THE S.S. is a useful form of socialist propaganda. The sales of the official journal of the Party are deplorable. I doubt whether any political organisation in this country has such a low circulation of its official journal relative to its membership.
Why not try a method to increase sales used by some other organisations?
(1)Each branch should be set a target to aim at in its monthly sales of the S.S.
(2)Monthly sales by each branch should be published in FORUM.
(3)Branches who greatly exceed their target should receive special praise, and the branch with the lowest sales in relation to its membership should be named.
I feel certain that this would increase the sales of the S.S No branch would wish to be in the unenviable position of being bottom of the table. A competition between branches would result and more members be brought into activity.
Comrades, get rid of this idea that you can buy socialist propaganda—you have to work for it. Let us try cheaper methods of propaganda and put an end to these begging letters for money.
D. W. Lock
(Lewisham Branch)

3.8 WHAT CAUSES SOCIETY TO DEVELOP?
An abridged report of the discussion at the Head Office Forum on November 8th Panel: W. Read, J. Trotman, A. Turner, E. Wilmott
Turner: Why wasn't Socialism possible 500 years ago ? Some argue that it was because there were not the means of production present to make it possible.
I am concerned with Marx's statement: " a social system never perishes before all the productive forces have developed for which it is wide enough." What was in Marx's mind is not so clear in others—there has come to be a separation between the mode of production and ideas. These are one and the same; ideas are made objective in the means of production. Machines in themselves contain no spur to further development.
The concrete expression of what makes man develop is that he is a tool-making animal— he has to think first. Organic evolution reached its peak with the development of the human brain and conceptual thinking. The dynamic is not in the tools of production, but in rational thinking, that is, being faithful to a correct idea. There are two ways of breaking down barriers to this: contact with ideas, and machines. The object is to bring man into harmony with his environment. "' The 'phrase : means of production are the key to development ' implies a mechanical attitude.
Trotman: According to Turner, then, men's ideas are the social prime mover.
Read: But other animals besides man are capable of using tools. If so, we can imagine some form of organisation and use of implements for accomplishment of ends. Turner infers a rational faculty in man which other animals don't have.
In fact, man often made mistakes—he found the end in view never came out the way he thought; The act, experience, is part of thought, as shown by the ability to memorise past events. The fact is that different group organisations have different ideologies and thought processes. The general ideas of primitive communism would have been incongruous in any other form of society.
How does transition take place? The socialist argues that the techniques of production develop until the social relations can no longer contain them. Then the idea of change arises —and some section of society acts to change the social relations.
The basis of Marxism is that in different epochs different laws are at work. The laws of Capitalism are the accumulation of capital in fewer hands, competition, and individual property.
3.8.1 Economic Basis
Turner: When does the technique of Capitalism develop to the point when Socialism is possible?
Read: So long as there is the possibility of further accumulation of capital and demand for labour, then Socialism is not a practical possibility. It only becomes so when the accumulation of capital cannot be satisfied by any further development of Capitalism—when crises become perpetual and concentration on means of destruction becomes general.
Wilmott:. What is meant by the material conditions of history? We are seeking a universal key and Turner's simplified statement is not satisfactory. Does he accept the economic basis of society and what does he mean by it?
Turner: It is the relation that people stand to other, people about the means of production. Wilmott: I don't agree. That tells us nothing about the means of production. Do you include ideas in the economic basis, and do you distinguish between the two?
Turner: The economic basis is more than just the mode of prodution—it includes the productive relations.
Wilmott: The economic basis, then, is that which something else rests upon. I say this basis does not equal the productive relations.
Turner: Read says it is the techniques of production and certain adverse conditions. But what makes these techniques develop?
Read: Certain sections of society find themselves in adverse conditions, which they try to improve, whilst others try to reverse the course of history. Since different epochs have different laws, the answer depends on the sort of society.
Wilmott: Does Turner consider that the techniques of production are part of the social factors at work?
Turner: Yes. When you speak of the techniques, you postulate the existence of human society. Between techniques and ideas there is an obvious mental difference. Technique is the outcome of ideas, and ideas come out of conditions. In the process of classification you separate them, but unfortunately some see ideas as the reflection of the mode of production. But a reflection never changes. The techniques of production have never stopped changing, though the mode has remained the same.
3.8.2 Rationality
Wilmott: What does Turner mean by rationality? Surely, conditions largely determine the nature of ideas. Marx rejected the theory of pure interaction—he was out to find the underlying principle. Can Turner explain why the rationality of one age becomes the irrationality of another?
Society is not dependent on rationality as its driving force. Why do men act concretely? We are not concerned with some shadowy cause and effect. The wide term ' rationality' does not help us. To say (as Turner does) that all thinking is rational, presupposes irrationality.
The techniques of production played a powerful part in the 19th century until the conditions of the working class were insufficient basis for large-scale production. The techniques played a temporary part, but they changed the character of ideas.
Turner: Why is Wilmott concerned with saying that techniques determine ideas? Also, from what Read said earlier, I imagine he had collapse of Capitalism in mind. Your ideas are catacylismic.
Read: All the thinking of Aristotle could never have arrived at the idea of Value. What, then was the bar to his rationality? It was because free labour didn't exist, therefore the idea of value couldn't have arisen. If rationality is consequential, it would seem that all man's activities could be thought out beforehand.
You can't leave out of account the use of certain tools dependent on the form of society and which must have the sanction of custom. The tools are only modified when there are adverse conditions (which may be social, or some calamity like war). Then there is the necessity of reorganising. People don't think out of the ideas that prevail – it is not a question of rationality.
Turner: So is it a custom that holds ideas static? But there is a struggle between the ideas of custom and those that eschew custom. Both have come out of the conditions of both sections who hold them. One set sees a new re-shaping of ideas that the others haven't seen. It is ideas that precede action.
Wilmott: The motive power behind men's ideas is men's needs and material interests. Ideas don't come from the blue. What makes certain ideas accepted, and what are the other components of ideas?
3.8.3 What is the dynamic
Turner: The motive power can't be in men's needs, because the motive is true of all organisms. But only man has made an artificial world. If you want to trace the dynamic of man's evolution, you must remember that man hasn't anatomically changed. There is a real world, there are real factors-- but ideas brought in relations, conditions, and acts.
Men think rationally or logically from the knowledge they possess. It is a mistake to think that because people may come to wrong conclusions, they are irrational or illogical. The correct ideas are those that have changed the world – the others bring people at variance with it. The only object of thinking is to place men in correspondence with conditions.
Socialism wasn't possible 500 years ago because man could never have had the idea of universality. The whole development of ideas came out of conditions-- but there are still inadequate actions. The development of man in society is approaching universality.
Wilmott: The problem is not an intellectual one. It is: how are men going to live? That is the dynamic. Material conditions stamp ideas and give them their character. You cannot explain ideas in terms of other ideas.
Trotman: The materialist doesn't discount ideas, though to put them first is an over-simplification. Turner says the means of production are concretised ideas, but it is not merely that. All sorts of things are concretised in them.
He says the dynamic is the ability of man to form concepts. But equally if man had no head or hands, society would never have developed. Why pick out the ability to form concepts? The ability of society to expand and develop depends on all biological factors not on any one. It is not true that thinking is immediately prior to acting. To say so, doesn't tell us anything. Why do we think? The ability to form concepts doesn't explain this – it is a constant. You must explain social development in some other way. Society is, in fact, an organisation for production. The idea of universality is only half the picture. With a shrinking of the world, it makes Socialism a practical possiblity. But remember that the idea of a round world wasn't accepted until there was need for a new trade route.
Turner: True, but there could not have been the need until some people had the idea. It was the idea of a round world that gave rise to the need.
Read: But there was knowledge of a round world in the Ptolemaic system and by the ancient Greeks. The reason people went round the world was that there developed in Europe the need for spices, etc., only obtainable from the East. Only then was the necessary action taken—when the need had already developed Turner: It wasn't just the idea of a round world that led to development, but the concretising of other ideas coming out of conditions. If ideas and action are not in conformity they bring about a contradiction; it is not a question of ideas in themselves.
To Trotman—man has always had hands, but he hasn't always had the same society. As ideas came in, he changed his world; as he develops, he throws over prejudices. But still there is a margin or error, still his ideas are not in conformity with the real world. Wilmott: Why are these ideas not in conformity with the real world?
Turner: Because the actions based upon them come into conflict with the real world.
Wilmott: So the real world is distinct from ideas – what, then, is it?
Turner: In the totality of the world including man. Advancement has been where ideas were in line with the real world. One barrier was that some people thought others were biologically inferior.
Wilmott: In slave America is was thought that the Negro was inferior – that was the 'real world'. How did rationality affect that?
Turner: Nobody says that the world is rational. People are rational. The world exists whether people think rightly or wrongly about it. The reason for Socialism not being possible earlier wasn't that the means of production weren't in plenty – it was that people's ideas were not in conformity with it.
3.9 NEWSPOINTS
3.9.1 Prices 1% Ahead of Wages
Retail food prices went up 6 per cent, between January and September, non-food retail prices remained stationary, but wholesale prices for basic (non-food) materials went down 15 per cent. Taken to together retail prices went up 3 per cent.
Between January and August and wage rates went up 2 per cent.
Between September last year and September this year unemployment in the metal, engineering, and vehicles trades increased from 29,000 to 52,000; in textiles and clothing from 17,000 to 76,000, having stood at 158,000 in June; in other manufactures from 26,000 to 49,000, the June figure having been 54,000; and in all other industries and services from 145,000 to 213,000.
Times, 31/10/52.
3.9.2 But This Profit 100% Up
Sir John Reeves Eilerman the Second is Britain's richest man. He is also the shyest of millionaires.
Equally shy is the £36,000,000 Ellerman Lines from which all Sir John's riches stem. For Ellermans does not send its annual report generally to the Press. Yet it is a fabulous document, showing profits last year more than doubled at £5,113,000, a jump of £2,605,000. The cream of the Korea boom for the line's 90 ships.
Daily Express, 11/11/52.
3.9.3 Too Much
The surpluses of wheat, cattle, fruit, and dairy products have faced the Canadian Government with a rare problem in the post-war world—the problem of too much food.
Unexpectedly heavy harvests and increased cattle, milk and cheese production has left Canada with surplus food for which, at present, there are no buyers. So extensive is the over-production that nearly every agricultural area in Canada is affected.
In the past, such surpluses have been reduced sending food abroad as a free gift with Candian Government footing the bill, or by extensive foreign credits to enable would-be customers to buy Canadian food products. Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. St. Laurent, said recently, that he does not intend to resort to either methods to meet the present crisis.
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 2/10/52.
3.9.4 And Too Long
Britain's 35,000 cobblers are worried by a new rubberised plastic sole material, shown yesterday at the Earls Court Shoe and Leather Fair.
The new plastic, highly popular in the U.S., is likely to have a serious effect on the leather market for shoes. It is said to last twice as long as leather, but manufacturers have found it sometimes lasts ten times as long.
Daily Mail, 18/11/52.
3.9.5 American Visa Policy
Professor Einstein writes, in part: "The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. In my opinion there can be no doubt that the intervention of the political authorities in this country in the free exchange of knowledge between individuals has already had a significantly damaging effect. Interference with the freedom of the oral and written communication of scientific results, the widespread attitude of political distrust which is supported by an immense police organization, the timidity and anxiety of individuals to avoid everything which might cause suspicion and could threaten their economic positions—all these are symptoms, even though they reveal more clearly the threatening character of the illness.
3.9.6 "Japanese " Safety Force "
Japanese progress towards rearmament took another step forward when the 110,000 strong National Police Reserve became the " National Safety Force" under a recently enacted law and Mr. Yoshida, the Prime Minister, took the salute at a public parade of 3,500 troops who later marched through the streets of Tokyo.
The National Safety Force, which wears American-style uniforms and is trained by an American military mission, has more than 650 officers of field rank who were formerly officers in the Imperial Japanese Army, and many of its men—all volunteers—were formerly conscripts in the Japanese Army. The force has all infantry weapons, as well as field artillery and light tanks. The latter have been lent indefinitely by the American Army.
Mr. Yoshida, addressing the parade, said that the National Safety Force was not an army, but a force with the power to maintain peace and order in Japan. It would be used under public control to repel outside attack and to suppress civil strife.
Times, 16/10/52.
3.9.7 Output Cuts Urged
"To prevent a further drop in prices," the Federation of Cotton and Staple Fibre Dealers Association declares, " die Ministry of Trade should reduce the present output limit of 165,000 bales of cotton yarn a month to 145,000 bales in November and December."
Financial Times, 21/10/52.
3.9.8 Theory and Practice
" It is our great good fortune that our Party, our people, who are building communism, are being continuously enriched and equipped with the masterly theoretical works of great Stalin (tumultuous and prolonged applause).
"In Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., Comrade Stalin has raised and solved the fundamental questions of the character of economic laws under socialism, of commodity production under socialism, of the law of value under socialism, of the measures for elevating collective farm property to the level of public property, of the basic economic laws of modern captialism and socialism, of the three basic preliminary conditions for the transition from socialism to communism, of the elimination of the essential distinctions between town and country, between mental labour and physical labour, of the disintegration of the single world market and the deepening of the crisis of the world capitalist system, of the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries." L. M. Kaganavich,
at the Communist Party Congress, 13/10/52. Soviet News, 15/11/52.
But starry-eyed comrades who think that Russia has abolished class distinctions had better not book on the passenger-cargo liner Tobolsk. She carries eighty passengers in the FIRST CLASS and 266 in the THIRD CLASS.
The same class distinction operates among the Tobolsk's crew. Like the first-class passengers the officers usually have two-berth cabins with private showers. All furnishings are in decorative hardwoods.
Third-class comrades and the crew are less comfortable. They have metal berths, and some third-class passengers travel twelve to a cabin.
Daily Mirror, 22/11/52.

Forum Journal 1953-04 January

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

3. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 3
DECEMBER 1952

3.1 WILL THERE BE MASS PRODUCTION
" It took both time and experience before the workers could learn to distinguish between machinery itself and its employment by capital, and to direct their attacks, not against the material instruments of production, but against the particular social form in which these instruments are used."—Capital, Vol. I, p. 468.
WHEN I was at the stage of thinking that the D. of P. contained the potted wisdom of the ages, I remember speculating on the implications of some of its phrases. " Privilege to equality and slavery to freedom "—well, equality and freedom are not very precise words, but the ideas behind them have been thoroughly thrashed out and there is general agreement about what they imply. But can we say the same about the comfort that is to replace poverty?
I must confess that I have always supposed that, even if our material standard of comfort -would not, under Socialism, be very-much higher than now, at least it would not be appreciably lower. Our old No. 9 pamphlet confirms this impression by using the phrase p 13) "in order that plenty and leisure may be the portion of all . . ." But now an idea has developed in the Party that causes me to doubt whether this portion is still on the menu. It seems that some of us have been taking it for granted that some goods will continue to be mass-produced—and this apparently harmless assumption is challenged by the opposition of some comrades to mass production on principle.
3.1.1 What is Mass Production- ?
As is inevitable in discussing such questions, there is a certain amount of confusion over meanings attached to terms used. We are told what Ford says mass production is, and can read other statements about it by various authors. For the purpose of this article, however, I shall take the more recent usages given . Chambers's Encyclopaedia: — Standardisation of machine processes . . . with the aid of semi-skilled machine-minders in place of skilled craftsmen working in smaller groups. 1 Specialisation of factories to a narrow range of processes, or even to a single process, on a basis of intensive mechanisation. : Standardisation of products so as to ... . allow long runs of standard components to be produced and to be assembled by such methods as the ' assembly line '. What, then is the row all about ? Opponents of mass production hold that : it involves excessive division of labour, monotonous, repetitive work, and that its prime object is to save time—obviously these are cogent points. Further, however, it is argued that mass production necessarily involves pacemaking, is exclusive to Capitalism, and is inseparable from the existence of large towns. These are more controversial statements with which I, for one, beg to differ.
First, the question of division of labour. Marx had a lot to say about its harmful effects, and many of his criticisms are still valid, though more attention is now paid (for economic reasons) to the problem of wear and tear on the worker than a century ago. A more modern condemnation of excessive specialisation appeared in the Sunday Chronicle, 24.2.52. " A recent analysis of workers in a Sheffield factory revealed that in the course of their work, 91% of them used only a small part of their nervous system. To stave off the monotony, their off-duty hours were given solely to such feverish pleasures as speedway and jive-dancing, and their nervous systems were suffering accordingly." This is the sort of thing that the opponents of mass production are concerned about-—and I am 100% with them. Of course, society must devise some way of overcoming this problem, but let us be careful about what it is we are opposing. Division of labour is harmful when excessive, but it is not necessarily harmful in itself. Suppose we do make a principle of opposing specialisation on the grounds that it fragments labour. Where does fragmentation end and wholeness begin?
I know very little about farm machinery, but am to'd about a threshing machine that requires about a dozen workers each doing a certain job. After an hour or so on one part of the machine, they can change places and so avoid boredom. There seems no reason why it should not be possible, in a society in which people control their own conditions of work, for a machine to relieve arduous toil and yet not entail boredom.
3.1.2 Saving Time
Another point is that mass production is said to involve monotonous, repetitive work. So it does. But so does a great deal of non-mass production. I wouldn't like to argue that writing figures in a ledger all day is much less repetitive than operating an automatic machine. A ease can even be made out that it is more disconcerting to have a slight difference in the details of a job than to have a completely repetitive one, since in the first it is not possible to allow your mind to wander on to other topics while working. But, at any rate, it is obvious that mass production cannot be equated with monotonous work.
Now we come to the question of saving time. Opponents of mass production say its only object is to save time. I accept that. Time is worth saving on any job, under any system, because it enables us to undertake other jobs or to enjoy leisure. There is no greater condemnation of Capitalism than the preva'ence of (he feeling of not knowing what to do with leisure.
Those who repeat the jibe " so you save time on one job in order to save time on another " reveal a prejudice that most workers cannot conceivably know what to do with themselves when they are not working. It is often said that under Socialism the line between work and leisare will blur—but it won't vanish. People will still want to save time from productive work in order to have more time to enjoy as many as possible of the myriad experiences that this world has to offer.
3.1.3 Making More Work
It is curious that those who argue in favour of abandoning mass production imagine that this will result in people doing more things. Let us take an example (with arbitrary figures) to see how this would work out. Suppose one in every 100 now spends his working day baking bread or making machinery to bake bread. Smaller bread-baking units might mean that many as one in 5 (or 20 times more people) should have to put in a minimum of 2 hours it. But there are many other jobs that need to be done. At present there is, broadly speaking, one person to one daily job. If only half these jobs were done, but there were, on average, 10 times as many people doing each one, isn't it obvious that we should have to spend longer than now in achieving even to-day's s-working-class standard of comfort? Instead of spending several lots of 2 hours producing a small group, why should. not some of do one 2-hour shift producing for a large group ?
Then the opponents of mass production say its essence is pacemaking. That is certainly a feature under Capitalism, but remember it is not the machine that sets the pace, but the boss. Excessive speed is the enemy, cries the curse-of-civilisation school. Of course we shall be able to take things easier under Socialism, but that won't be because we shall objectivise speed. Those who say speed is bad in itself are in the foolish position of having, as their ideal, the concept of standing still. Mass production is exclusive to Capitalism, we are told. Preface this statement with ' capitalist' and I have no quarrel with it. There are many ways in which mass production will be different under socialist conditions, but we make it harder to get our ideas across to others if we persist in indescriminately negating features of Capitalism. We hear it stated that the motive of the airplane and ocean liner is commerce, yet the train and sailing-boat somehow escape similar condemnation.-Is it not conceivable that some airplanes would be useful in a society without commerce?
3.1.4 Needs and Plenty
To go fully into the question of mass production necessitating large towns would take us too far from our main subject, and deserves separate treatment.
We must, however, touch upon the satisfaction of needs, if only because we have been so accustomed to talking in terms of plenty and superabundance. What we mean, surely, is that we shall know what society is capable, of producing, and shall want to participate accordingly. I cannot imagine, the possibility of society knowing how to produce something in an efficient and unobjectionable way and yet deliberately choosing the roundabout method.
It seems likely that many more people will want to have products that are morefit for their purpose than are able to afford them to-day. Let us go one step further and suggest that society will virtually abandon mass production of individual things like suits and fruits pies. But why extend this to impersonal objects like pins and bricks ? The quality of mass-produced goods is not necessarily lower than that of others, and in some cases it is higher. Quite often a combination of mass production and handcraft produces the best results.
When I say that I find it difficult to see how society could meet all its need without some mass production, I get the feeble reply, " how did people manage before?" Any historian will tell you how they managed. In medieval times, household appliances were regarded as at luxury. A bed, table, couch, and possibly a chair satisfied the needs of people. I don't accuse the opponents of mass production of wanting to go back to those conditions. I merely suggest that their ideas are not so very far out of line with those conditions. If carpentry, is your hobby, by all means make your own chairs and tables—but don't expect society to abandon social production of most chairs and tables.
S.R.P.
3.2 THE FUTURE OF OUR PROPAGANDA
(Condensed from the letter originally sent sent by A. Turner to the E.C. 5.5.52, and subsequently circulated to branches.)
In its early days, the Party was largely concerned with hammering out an object and declaration of principles, and then proving them correct against rival theories. Our opponents no longer have theories to prove their abject—they can only apologise or try to justify tbeir actions when in power.
The S.P.G.B. alone has an object—Socialism —with theory and analysis to prove its validity. In the past, members were compelled to know and expound socialist theory and economic analysis in order to refute rival theories. These ere: Labour—Inevitability of gradualism ; Communist—Dictatorship of the proletariat, intellectual minority action, etc. ; Anarchist— The state and minority action and the futility of democracy.
These theories are now virtually finished. You seldom meet a Labour or Communist Party member with whom you can argue economic and political theory. In the 1920's and 30's our speakers had to know working class industrial history, Marxian economics and literature, about which they were constantly challenged by opponents.
Today these arguments have gone, and case against them has been proved.
3.2.1 New Motive for Analysis
But we are still challenging all comers to the
battlefield of theory. None are forthcoming, so our young members cannot improve their theory by meeting opposition. Some members, recognising this, see the need to take our proven theory into the wider fields of human society. The relative importance of these fields may be measured by their relevance to most people, e.g., marriage and the family.
Now the Party can turn its attention to what Socialism will be like, which historical conditions compelled it to deviate from. In this, the new motive for analysis and theory will be found. Immediately we describe Socialism in terms of human institutions and functions, we meet opposition. Also, the wider the description of Socialism, the greater the opportunity of making contact with people generally.
Most people are not interested in "Political politics". Repeated economic theory becomes dogma to them and merely irritates them. Most members feel safe when attacking, but scared when defending. When asked about the future, we are on the defensive and say we can't know or give a blueprint of the future.
But people will not be put off by evasions. The hesitancy and discomfiture of the speaker increases as such questions increase, and this may be why new speakers don't continue. Older speakers continue by habit, and unconsciously preclude questions of the future by creating the impression that conditions have grown worse and will continue to do so. This does not fit the facts of experience, so people are unimpressed.
3.2.2 Unexplored Fields
It is nonsense to say there is a general wave of apathy, reflected in the Party. Plenty of literature is being written on subjects closely allied with people's lives. Unfortunately the S.P.G.B. will not venture into them. Members say they are not interested in art, sex, morals, etc.—but this is politics without a purpose.
We tend to concentrate on attacking ideas that are on the way out. When a member does venture into hitherto almost unexplored fields, the hall is full, questions many and discussion lively. Such members are discouraged by talk of hobby horses, bees in bonnets, pretty pictures, etc.
Yet it is these things that make our propaganda listened to and questioned sympathetically. It breaks down prejudice whilst the old propaganda erects more.
Immediately our propaganda changes from just attacking Capitalism to describing Socialism, it will meet arguments and discussion about work, sex, morals, administration, etc. This means members will have to sharpen their knowledge of economic theory and also enter the field of social anthropology. Speakers will keep at it because their duty will become a pleasure, and the audience, from fearing you, will come to understand, admire and respect you.

3.3 A CASE FOR CONCENTRATION

With the publication of FORUM, the opportunity is afforded of re-examining some of the views that seem to nave become almost traditional in the Party, in this article I shall be particularly concerned with those that centre around its organisation in branches. It is my belief that just as the Party is always prepared to give reasons for its principles and policy to others, so it must be prepared to explain to itself why it holds the views it does on organisation and administration.
Whenever a branch has flourished in the past it always s»ms to have been taken for granted that it should try to split up, presumably with the object of forming two branches that would separately achieve more than the single one. But things seldom worked out that way. What usually happened was that some of the active members of one branch left it to form another i an adjoining area. For a time the total activity was increased, since a lot of work was put into building up the new branch. The paper membership was probably increased in -.his process, but there is no evidence that the mere act of splitting up increased the number of active members.
What we have to examine is whether, in the long run, the Party gains more benefit from aiming at concentration of members in branches, or at diffusing them in as many branches as possible. Of course no such question arises in the cases of isolated branches like Bradford and Brighton. Our main concern must be with the 16 branches in the London area, and even of these, several are so distant from their nearest neighbour that my remarks do not concern them.
3.3.1 Reasons for Splitting
First, why is it considered desirable that a branch containing more than about 50 members should try to form another one in an adjoining area? One argument is that some of its members live in that area and the new branch room rould be more convenient for them; the implication is that they would be able to put in more work. Another point is that sympathisers living in the area might be encouraged to become members by reason of the proximity of branch. These two I shall take to be the arguments, on the question of members living close to their branch meeting-places—is this really an important factor when only a couple of miles involved ? How many members can honestly that such a distance make a difference to amount of support they can give their branch? Active members certainly travel—so most be the not-so-active ones that are affected. But, at the risk of giving offence to some of these, I suggest that the causes of their --participation in branch activity are other than the distance of their branch meeting-place. The other argument is easy enough to explode-When we put a notice in the S.S. those who are interested in forming a branch in a certain area to write in, how many do we get from non-members? None—and the reason is simple. People don't join the Party because there is a branch in their area. The impact that the Party case has on them has nothing to do with the distance of its local branch. Of course, the conduct of this branch has an effect, but that is another matter.
3.3.2 Branch Progress
Having examined some of the arguments in favour of larger numbers of branches, we can now turn to those in favour of larger numbers of members in branches. There are two main considerations here—increasing the amount and effectiveness of members' work for the Party, and creating a more inviting atmosphere into which sympathisers can enter.
We must beware of comparing large branches as such with small branches as such. There is no question of the principle of the one being better than the other. What we must consider is whether the act of making one branch into two is necessarily progress, that is, making for the more efficient functioning of the Party. And, as a corollary, are we not justified, in some cases, in advocating the amalgamation of two or more branches ?
Taking a purely short-term view, it appears that members are more active in newly-formed branches. They get a kick out of building up the branch, but—most of the work is official. There has to be a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Literature Secretary, an Organiser. The filling of these posts practically exhausts the active membership of many branches, and leaves precious few to take part in propaganda activity.
One obvious advantage in having larger branches is the reduction of official work, since correspondence, reports, circulars, etc., are no more for a branch of 60 members than for one of 30. Money is saved on the rent of branch rooms.
Another advantage is in the better attendances at branch meetings. A more representative selection of views may be heard at larger meetings; a greater sense of responsibility is felt, and it is less possible for branches to be " carried" by a determined individual or a minority. A much higher standard of discussion is obtained and more members are encouraged to attend when meetings are lively, than when they are merely minute-reading circles.
Tasks that a branch of 60 might undertake and make a success are beyond the capabilities of one of 30. In some cases, of several branches fairly close to each other, not one is now capable of running successful outdoor meetings —but one large branch would probably be able to do so. It is no solution to suggest that two or more branches should come together for certain purposes. A meeting or campaign must always be organised from one centre, and the helping branches will inevitably find that propaganda, like charity, begins at home.
Lastly, the question of getting non-members to attend branch meetings. The invitation is an open one, but few accept it, and few members feel happy about bringing along friends. When they do, they are careful to pick " discussion nights", when routine business and the atmosphere of the inner circle are at a minimum. What obstructs the further growth of the Party organisation may be summed up, not as the smallness of branches, but as the existence of small-branch ideas.
Leo.
3.4 EDITORIAL
WITH the publication of the third issue of FORUM, we confess to feelings akin to a hurdle runner, who, while having successfully deared the third hurdle, has not quite recovered his surprise at having cleared the first, and is a little less apprehensive about those still in front of him. The chances are that we ill quickly cease to think ef hurdles at all. As the purpose and scope of FORUM becomes sore apparent, there is no doubt that the demand on space will become heavy. To date, we have published views on several subjects. There are many questions in the Party about which there are decided and strong divergent Tiews, and which under scrutiny in these pages nould not fail to gain considerably in clarity. The writer in FORUM may represent himself, branch, a committee, the E.C, or a common organisation; the subject matter may include any aspect of theory, administration, policy and principles. Now that FORUM is going ahead, we hope that it will be taken for granted by all that there is no matter which is excluded from its pages.
January FORUM will include . . .
A reply to the critics of the article on 'censorship' which appeared in the July S.S.
A reply to the criticism of the article ' The Nature of The Socialist Revolution.
A criticism of the articles on The Ballot and Socialism'.
3.5 MORE ON PREMISES AND FINANCES
The articles in October FORUM by Frank Offord and A. P. about premises and Party finances, make depressing reading. , On the one hand, Offord implies that because of the expense of running No. 52, we must scheme to increase our income by social activity, cut speakers' expenses, and increase the price of S.S. On the other hand, A.P. makes the rejoinder that we should seek more modest premises and not engage in activities to raise money for premises we cannot afford. In both cases, there is an underlying assumption that the presnt financial difficulties are due to the expense of running Head Office. It is possible that both are wrong. It is possible that both are unnecessarily pessimistic.
When the Party raised funds to purchase premises, the amount of money raised by donations fell short of the purchase by £1,500. This deficiency was met by a loan from a member and by using £500 from the Party's General Fund. The Autumn Delegate Meeting report showed that £400 of the £1,000 loan had been repaid. It is the case, therefore, that had the Party been able to raise the whole of the money by donations it would now have in its General Fund (unless spent on other activities) the £500 absorbed in buying premises plus the £400 it has found to repay part of the loan. The fact that the Party has little balance in its funds is not necessarily due to the Party's income falling (though this could be true for other reasons) or because income has been sucked up by expenses on premises, but because the Party has invested its funds. If this is the case, it is not so depressing. The ability in the first year to repay a substantial part of the £1,000 loan indicates a healthy financial situation and could mean that within little more than a year the who!e of the loan might be paid off and the income become available for other Party activities. Having in mind the bad state of repair of No. 52 when we first took over, it is obvious that in the first year at the new premises considerable money must have been spent on decorations and structural alterations. If the money for this was found from income, there seems little cause for pessimism about the " financial state of the Party ". This sort of expenditure is likely to be heavy in the first year anyway.
Is No. 52 more than the Party can afford? If we could find something cheaper, would it give us the facilities that we needs?
It is said that our premises cost £10 weekly to run, and it might well be the case, The rather vague statement which was before the Autumn Delegate Meeting certainly indicated a cost something like this. Though, of course, against this, an income from social and other activities must be taken into account in any assessment of the cost of the premises. Is the cost high or, like so many other things these days, is it that it merely seems to be high? On reflection, it seems that the latter is the case. If the Party had its pre-war premises today at a rent which allowed for the post-war
increase in prices, there seems little doubt that the cost of running them would be as much, if not more than our present premises, and our pre-war accommodation was much less adequate than what we have to-day. Also, had we remained at Rugby Chambers on the revised terms dictated by the landlords, it is reasonably certain that the comparable costs there would have been no less than they are in our present circumstances. If we cannot afford our present premises, then obviously we cannot afford the modest sort of accommodation we had before the war and before we went to Clapham. It would take a lot to convince the Party that this is the case, in view of the larger membership (and full employment). Before A.P.'s suggestion that we should rent a basement as an office is acted upon, Party members would have a full and clear statement of the finances of the Party. The position at the moment is obscure, and whilst this is so, Party members cannot be blamed for the opinion (sincerely held by some) that donations to the Party which are given for Party work are sucked up by the expenses on premises we cannot afford. If opinions like this exist, then it must adversely affect contributions to funds, and something should be done to correct them if they are false. If they are not false, then the Party should know where it stands so that appropriate action be taken.
What seems certain is that the overwhelming majority of the membership like and want the sort of facilities offered by the present, (or similar) premises and would make efforts to retain them. When a clear statement of the financial position is before the Party it may reveal that our present difficulties are due to more than one cause. It may be that there is a combination of causes, perhaps S.W. London is right in its ease that whilst costs to the Party have increased, Party members get their membership on the cheap in relation to present-day prices.
Is it possible for those responsible to produce a detailed report for the next Conference in a form which does not assume that we are all professional accountants? Better still, perhaps a statement could appear in FORUM before the next Conference.
N.E.
3.6 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
2 Historical Materialism
(Continued)
THE core of Socialist theory is a unified concept of history, society and man, centred around the recognition that the spring of history is the peculiar dynamic character of human production, which begets needs in the course of satisfying needs—of the social labour which is not simply reproductive but cumulative, not simply self-perpetuating but self-changing.
When men learn to produce com they also produce the need for store-houses and vessels, the need also for sentinels against rodents and robbers, for wise men to tell the time of sowing and reaping, for tithe and tribute, for exchange and property and class, all held together with the thongs of mind called habit, necessity, right and wrong, and all—seed or sentinel or sentiment—active elements in the organisation of the labour process. Historical materialism is the recognition that history is the evolution, and society the organisation of human labour, and that mind and society are not separate things related, but inner and outer sides of the same reality: social labour.
3.6.1 A False Separation
Because a philosophy of history is the core of Socialist theory, differences between us are rroted in different interpretations of historical materialism, and these differences are actually invited by our having taken over, ready-made an inadequate statement of it from Marx and Engels. I refer to the Manifesto (" In every historical epoch the mode of economic production and exchange form the base . . '.") and to Engels' letters explaining what they meant by adding that ideas react upon the base), and I am here criticising the form of expression, while recognising the historical and practical factors which conditioned that form. Historical materialism is fully expressed by Marx, but nowhere is it fully expressed in a single comprehensive statement, and nowhere does he explicitly define " mode of production ". As a political party, popularising Socialist theory, we have naturally taken the Manifesto statement; and the analogies of base, superstructure and reflections, of action and reaction, have become second nature by familiarity, with the result that the metaphorical tends to become literal truth, and any amplification suspected of revisionism".
What we still have to bear in mind is that Marx did not demolish the dualism of Hegel by inverting it, he only perpetuated it right side up. And it is dualism, the false separation (of ideas and action, mind and matter etc.) which underwrites idealism. The fallacy of idealism is not its order of precedence, but its false separation of things distinguished. The answer to the "supremacy of mind over matter " is not its inversion to the supremacy matter over mind, which merely perpetuates the separation, but the mental reintegration of the things mentally separated, the recognition that the separation is merely classificatory.
3.6.2 Progressive Man
Of necessity we distinguish between men and society, production and administration, institutions and outlook, thought and action, subject and object-—mental (verbal) separations valid for their purposes, but all finally deceiving unless finally integrated in the single phenomenon of human social labour. Within its limits it is commonsense enough to say that man's being determines his consciousness and then to add that consciousness reacts on being. but because, in form, this still implies the separation, upright or inverted, it still permits idealism to creep back with its " Ah, but it is this reaction which constitutes the dynamic, it is ideas, purposes, which make the activity what it is ". And there you have the irresolvable shuttlecock argument: "Yes, but the ideas are determined by the activities which give rise to them "—" Ah, but those activities were themselves purposive "—" Yes, but those purposes were activity-created ". This is indeed the true dialectic!
Thinking accompanies the effort, is part of the effort, to achieve the purpose, the need, already given by a given situation, and the achievement of the aim (or the failure—in any case the activity) creates a new situation, that is, new needs, new activity, new needs . . . Cut this -much man shares with animals: it does not account for history. The cycle of need, activity, changed need, changed activity is common to the world of living things. Nor does purposiveness, consciousness, begin with man—it is shared by other animals in varying degrees. The history-creating character of the human mode of existence lies in the fact that men create and accumulate means of production. With other animals, the cycle of need, activity, changed need, changed activity, is circular; the cire'es may be big or small, but in the'end—repetitive. With man the process is not circular but progressive, for the continuous accumulation of means continuously creates unprecedented situations, containing unprecedented needs and purposes.
3.6.3 Organic Unity
"Ah, but it is the peculiarly sharp focus of human consciousness, the special conceptual quality of human thinking, which makes possible the creation of means. Capacity to think is still the history-creating dynamic". Good enough. But don't let us confuse capacity to think with ideas! Ideas are not created by capacity to think, they are compelled by needs commanded by situations created by activities determined by situations. It is because men's mode of existence creates means of production that production produces history, and that men's conduct and men's ideas are the product of their products. The analogy we take over from Marx, which, in inverting Hegel, still opposes base and superstructure (production and institutions), does not err in the mere fact of distinguishing between them, but it conspires at error. For in distinguishing between things intimately connected (labour activity and social relations) we are led into describing the intimacy of the connection as a causal relationship, thus converting distinction into separation and obscuring the organic unity of production, institutions and outlook.
3.6.4 Continuity of History
Under Capitalism, a tractor crawling over a field is obviously different from a religious tract or the law of contract. Yet the wheels of capitalist machinery could not turn without the sanctions and certainties provided by the law, nor without the prevailing sentiments of men, the general and predictable patterns of men's minds which, because they organise behaviour into regular and self-regulating forms, ensure the continuity of the productive processes, and are thus themselves a productive force.
Under Feudalism, the institutions of Church and State are distinguishable both from the productive operations of peasants and gildsmea and from the ideals carried in their heads. Yet Pope and peasant are only terminal points in a series of social productive relationships between serf and baron, revolving round fief and tribute, and requiring for their daily perpetuation a continuum of sentiments—chivalry, submissive-ness, ordained status.
In primitive communities, labour is permeated by ritual, and ritual is embodied belief. Their religion is magic, and magic is the art science of production. With a digging , a dozen tribesmen stand in a circle, a circles in a row; they raise their sticks, pluge, turn the soil between them, prance forward, raise, plunge; they sing and whoop, with chant and tom-tom to guide the economical rhythm of their actions, they lift up their knees as they prance, to make the crops grow tall. What is this song and dance but art, science, magic, religion—and production? Countless ages pass by before the productive operations, the social institutions and the sentiments of men appear to have separate locus and separable existence, yet however far the differentiation is carried in the course of history they retain their organic integrity—in social labour—as the spokes of a wheel, however long, are only extensions of the hub. The unity of history is contained in the fact that its substance is labour. The continuity of history is contained in the fact that the mode of projection contains within itself the necessity of its own development, by accumulation of means.
3.6.5 Labour Produces Needs
When Marx says ("German Ideology") that "the first historical act is the production of the means to satisfy human needs " (my italics) and that " this historical act is the fundamental condition of all history ", he clearly does not mean by " first" any such nonsense as that production precedes social organisation or that i en must eat before they can think. " First " here is not a chronological category, but is used to announce the essential and paramount quality of history—labour. For he goes on to show that labour produces not merely products, but new needs. " And it is this production of new needs which is the first historical act".
It is because human labour processively generates new means that it progressively modifies the labour process, produces new needs, new purposes, new habits, new men. History runs because human labour is continually trying to catch up with its own feet. Human labour creates history because the wheel of production is eccentric, its centre of gravity continuously shifting between the " factors " distinguished by Marx (as a necessity of analysis)—continuously shifting from "means" to " process ", from " relations between men and nature" (biological) to " relations between men" (social), from "means provided by nature " (geographical) to " instruments produced by men" (technical). The biological " factor" dominates primordial labour; geography dominates savage labour; the social relations of kinship and custom dominate barbarian labour, and occupational siatus dominates feudal labour (" Undermining ", as Engels says, in The Family, " the communism of production and consumpion") ; the instruments of production dominate capitalist labour.
3.6.6 Evolution and Production
This concept of history is a product of capitalist production; in the flesh and blood we salute Marx and Engels. The salute is a little formal if we put Marx before Marxism. Marx was compelled more than once to do less than justice to himself, and Engels did less than justice to both of them when he tried to rescue Marxism from the awkward analogy of " base and superstructure " by means of " action and reaction " in which " cause and effect perpetually change place".
The deficiencies of form were historically conditioned, by the need to grapple with Feudal idealism and by the mechanical idiom of water-clocks and puffing-billies. In an age of biology our only plea for perpetuating them is laziriess. Analogies must be recognised for what they are: devices for explaining the less concrete or familiar in terms of the more concrete of familiar: stepping stones, not shrines —and language for what it is: a good servant and a bad master. Whether we use buildings or biology to explain it, it remains that society is organisation of men's labour. It remains that the " parts " and " factors ", means and process and institutions and sentiments, are active and operative elements in the associated labour which is men's mode of existence. It remains that nowhere does Marx explicitly define " mode of prodution " because with him it is implicitly society itself.
Society " begins " in proportion as men organise their labour force, and emerges imperceptibly from the primordial condition of mere association, consanguine and instinctive. History " begins " with the act of production, because human production produces means. Society evolves, has momentum, because accretion of means shifts the centre of gravity, In our time, capital is the centre of gravity, the growing point of history, supercharged with the dynamic of accumulation. And the Labour Theory of Value is only a special case of the Labour Theory of History, for with Marx surplus value is not simply the tally ©f exploitation but the spring of capital's continual transformations (from "quantity into quality") by which it is compelled to generate the socialist mode of production. (To be continued.)
F. Evans.
3.7 YOU CAN'T BUY SOCIALIST PROPAGANDA
IT is well known that the capitalist class buy propaganda. They pay journalists to write, they own the means of distribution, and pay speakers and lecturers. The hiring of a hall for a meeting and large-scale advertising are also easily done by a political party with good financial resources.
No Socialist Party can hope to be in this position; a larger membership would not necessarily ease matters, as there would be lore meetings required to cover the wider irea of an increased number of branches.
Some members tend to judge our activity by the amount of money the Party spends each year. They assume that the more the Party spends on propaganda the more actual propaganda is done. This is not necessarily the case.
When the Party is in financial difficulties, as at the present time, if anyone suggests cuts in expenditure, many members immediately assume that we will have to make cuts in our propaganda, To avoid this, there is a constant beggin by the Treasurer and the E.C. for nore funds.
It is time the Party recognised the fact that you can't buy socialist propaganda. What is needed is more work put in by the membership. Donating money is all very well, but it can easily be spent on all kinds of schemes which, but for members' lack of activity, would not be required.
There are good forms of socialist propaganda which do not cost a penny—but they do require work, and it is the desire to work for Socialism that is lacking in the Party. It is well known that the membership of the S.P.G.B. is to a considerable extent a paper membership. How to end this and how to put an end to the idea that more money will increase our propaganda is something the Party should consider.
THE SALE OF THE S.S. is a useful form of socialist propaganda. The sales of the official journal of the Party are deplorable. I doubt whether any political organisation in this country has such a low circulation of its official journal relative to its membership.
Why not try a method to increase sales used by some other organisations?
(1)Each branch should be set a target to aim at in its monthly sales of the S.S.
(2)Monthly sales by each branch should be published in FORUM.
(3)Branches who greatly exceed their target should receive special praise, and the branch with the lowest sales in relation to its membership should be named.
I feel certain that this would increase the sales of the S.S No branch would wish to be in the unenviable position of being bottom of the table. A competition between branches would result and more members be brought into activity.
Comrades, get rid of this idea that you can buy socialist propaganda—you have to work for it. Let us try cheaper methods of propaganda and put an end to these begging letters for money.
D. W. Lock
(Lewisham Branch)

3.8 WHAT CAUSES SOCIETY TO DEVELOP?
An abridged report of the discussion at the Head Office Forum on November 8th Panel: W. Read, J. Trotman, A. Turner, E. Wilmott
Turner: Why wasn't Socialism possible 500 years ago ? Some argue that it was because there were not the means of production present to make it possible.
I am concerned with Marx's statement: " a social system never perishes before all the productive forces have developed for which it is wide enough." What was in Marx's mind is not so clear in others—there has come to be a separation between the mode of production and ideas. These are one and the same; ideas are made objective in the means of production. Machines in themselves contain no spur to further development.
The concrete expression of what makes man develop is that he is a tool-making animal— he has to think first. Organic evolution reached its peak with the development of the human brain and conceptual thinking. The dynamic is not in the tools of production, but in rational thinking, that is, being faithful to a correct idea. There are two ways of breaking down barriers to this: contact with ideas, and machines. The object is to bring man into harmony with his environment. "' The 'phrase : means of production are the key to development ' implies a mechanical attitude.
Trotman: According to Turner, then, men's ideas are the social prime mover.
Read: But other animals besides man are capable of using tools. If so, we can imagine some form of organisation and use of implements for accomplishment of ends. Turner infers a rational faculty in man which other animals don't have.
In fact, man often made mistakes—he found the end in view never came out the way he thought; The act, experience, is part of thought, as shown by the ability to memorise past events. The fact is that different group organisations have different ideologies and thought processes. The general ideas of primitive communism would have been incongruous in any other form of society.
How does transition take place? The socialist argues that the techniques of production develop until the social relations can no longer contain them. Then the idea of change arises —and some section of society acts to change the social relations.
The basis of Marxism is that in different epochs different laws are at work. The laws of Capitalism are the accumulation of capital in fewer hands, competition, and individual property.
3.8.1 Economic Basis
Turner: When does the technique of Capitalism develop to the point when Socialism is possible?
Read: So long as there is the possibility of further accumulation of capital and demand for labour, then Socialism is not a practical possibility. It only becomes so when the accumulation of capital cannot be satisfied by any further development of Capitalism—when crises become perpetual and concentration on means of destruction becomes general.
Wilmott:. What is meant by the material conditions of history? We are seeking a universal key and Turner's simplified statement is not satisfactory. Does he accept the economic basis of society and what does he mean by it?
Turner: It is the relation that people stand to other, people about the means of production. Wilmott: I don't agree. That tells us nothing about the means of production. Do you include ideas in the economic basis, and do you distinguish between the two?
Turner: The economic basis is more than just the mode of prodution—it includes the productive relations.
Wilmott: The economic basis, then, is that which something else rests upon. I say this basis does not equal the productive relations.
Turner: Read says it is the techniques of production and certain adverse conditions. But what makes these techniques develop?
Read: Certain sections of society find themselves in adverse conditions, which they try to improve, whilst others try to reverse the course of history. Since different epochs have different laws, the answer depends on the sort of society.
Wilmott: Does Turner consider that the techniques of production are part of the social factors at work?
Turner: Yes. When you speak of the techniques, you postulate the existence of human society. Between techniques and ideas there is an obvious mental difference. Technique is the outcome of ideas, and ideas come out of conditions. In the process of classification you separate them, but unfortunately some see ideas as the reflection of the mode of production. But a reflection never changes. The techniques of production have never stopped changing, though the mode has remained the same.
3.8.2 Rationality
Wilmott: What does Turner mean by rationality? Surely, conditions largely determine the nature of ideas. Marx rejected the theory of pure interaction—he was out to find the underlying principle. Can Turner explain why the rationality of one age becomes the irrationality of another?
Society is not dependent on rationality as its driving force. Why do men act concretely? We are not concerned with some shadowy cause and effect. The wide term ' rationality' does not help us. To say (as Turner does) that all thinking is rational, presupposes irrationality.
The techniques of production played a powerful part in the 19th century until the conditions of the working class were insufficient basis for large-scale production. The techniques played a temporary part, but they changed the character of ideas.
Turner: Why is Wilmott concerned with saying that techniques determine ideas? Also, from what Read said earlier, I imagine he had collapse of Capitalism in mind. Your ideas are catacylismic.
Read: All the thinking of Aristotle could never have arrived at the idea of Value. What, then was the bar to his rationality? It was because free labour didn't exist, therefore the idea of value couldn't have arisen. If rationality is consequential, it would seem that all man's activities could be thought out beforehand.
You can't leave out of account the use of certain tools dependent on the form of society and which must have the sanction of custom. The tools are only modified when there are adverse conditions (which may be social, or some calamity like war). Then there is the necessity of reorganising. People don't think out of the ideas that prevail – it is not a question of rationality.
Turner: So is it a custom that holds ideas static? But there is a struggle between the ideas of custom and those that eschew custom. Both have come out of the conditions of both sections who hold them. One set sees a new re-shaping of ideas that the others haven't seen. It is ideas that precede action.
Wilmott: The motive power behind men's ideas is men's needs and material interests. Ideas don't come from the blue. What makes certain ideas accepted, and what are the other components of ideas?
3.8.3 What is the dynamic
Turner: The motive power can't be in men's needs, because the motive is true of all organisms. But only man has made an artificial world. If you want to trace the dynamic of man's evolution, you must remember that man hasn't anatomically changed. There is a real world, there are real factors-- but ideas brought in relations, conditions, and acts.
Men think rationally or logically from the knowledge they possess. It is a mistake to think that because people may come to wrong conclusions, they are irrational or illogical. The correct ideas are those that have changed the world – the others bring people at variance with it. The only object of thinking is to place men in correspondence with conditions.
Socialism wasn't possible 500 years ago because man could never have had the idea of universality. The whole development of ideas came out of conditions-- but there are still inadequate actions. The development of man in society is approaching universality.
Wilmott: The problem is not an intellectual one. It is: how are men going to live? That is the dynamic. Material conditions stamp ideas and give them their character. You cannot explain ideas in terms of other ideas.
Trotman: The materialist doesn't discount ideas, though to put them first is an over-simplification. Turner says the means of production are concretised ideas, but it is not merely that. All sorts of things are concretised in them.
He says the dynamic is the ability of man to form concepts. But equally if man had no head or hands, society would never have developed. Why pick out the ability to form concepts? The ability of society to expand and develop depends on all biological factors not on any one. It is not true that thinking is immediately prior to acting. To say so, doesn't tell us anything. Why do we think? The ability to form concepts doesn't explain this – it is a constant. You must explain social development in some other way. Society is, in fact, an organisation for production. The idea of universality is only half the picture. With a shrinking of the world, it makes Socialism a practical possiblity. But remember that the idea of a round world wasn't accepted until there was need for a new trade route.
Turner: True, but there could not have been the need until some people had the idea. It was the idea of a round world that gave rise to the need.
Read: But there was knowledge of a round world in the Ptolemaic system and by the ancient Greeks. The reason people went round the world was that there developed in Europe the need for spices, etc., only obtainable from the East. Only then was the necessary action taken—when the need had already developed Turner: It wasn't just the idea of a round world that led to development, but the concretising of other ideas coming out of conditions. If ideas and action are not in conformity they bring about a contradiction; it is not a question of ideas in themselves.
To Trotman—man has always had hands, but he hasn't always had the same society. As ideas came in, he changed his world; as he develops, he throws over prejudices. But still there is a margin or error, still his ideas are not in conformity with the real world. Wilmott: Why are these ideas not in conformity with the real world?
Turner: Because the actions based upon them come into conflict with the real world.
Wilmott: So the real world is distinct from ideas – what, then, is it?
Turner: In the totality of the world including man. Advancement has been where ideas were in line with the real world. One barrier was that some people thought others were biologically inferior.
Wilmott: In slave America is was thought that the Negro was inferior – that was the 'real world'. How did rationality affect that?
Turner: Nobody says that the world is rational. People are rational. The world exists whether people think rightly or wrongly about it. The reason for Socialism not being possible earlier wasn't that the means of production weren't in plenty – it was that people's ideas were not in conformity with it.
3.9 NEWSPOINTS
3.9.1 Prices 1% Ahead of Wages
Retail food prices went up 6 per cent, between January and September, non-food retail prices remained stationary, but wholesale prices for basic (non-food) materials went down 15 per cent. Taken to together retail prices went up 3 per cent.
Between January and August and wage rates went up 2 per cent.
Between September last year and September this year unemployment in the metal, engineering, and vehicles trades increased from 29,000 to 52,000; in textiles and clothing from 17,000 to 76,000, having stood at 158,000 in June; in other manufactures from 26,000 to 49,000, the June figure having been 54,000; and in all other industries and services from 145,000 to 213,000.
Times, 31/10/52.
3.9.2 But This Profit 100% Up
Sir John Reeves Eilerman the Second is Britain's richest man. He is also the shyest of millionaires.
Equally shy is the £36,000,000 Ellerman Lines from which all Sir John's riches stem. For Ellermans does not send its annual report generally to the Press. Yet it is a fabulous document, showing profits last year more than doubled at £5,113,000, a jump of £2,605,000. The cream of the Korea boom for the line's 90 ships.
Daily Express, 11/11/52.
3.9.3 Too Much
The surpluses of wheat, cattle, fruit, and dairy products have faced the Canadian Government with a rare problem in the post-war world—the problem of too much food.
Unexpectedly heavy harvests and increased cattle, milk and cheese production has left Canada with surplus food for which, at present, there are no buyers. So extensive is the over-production that nearly every agricultural area in Canada is affected.
In the past, such surpluses have been reduced sending food abroad as a free gift with Candian Government footing the bill, or by extensive foreign credits to enable would-be customers to buy Canadian food products. Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. St. Laurent, said recently, that he does not intend to resort to either methods to meet the present crisis.
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 2/10/52.
3.9.4 And Too Long
Britain's 35,000 cobblers are worried by a new rubberised plastic sole material, shown yesterday at the Earls Court Shoe and Leather Fair.
The new plastic, highly popular in the U.S., is likely to have a serious effect on the leather market for shoes. It is said to last twice as long as leather, but manufacturers have found it sometimes lasts ten times as long.
Daily Mail, 18/11/52.
3.9.5 American Visa Policy
Professor Einstein writes, in part: "The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. In my opinion there can be no doubt that the intervention of the political authorities in this country in the free exchange of knowledge between individuals has already had a significantly damaging effect. Interference with the freedom of the oral and written communication of scientific results, the widespread attitude of political distrust which is supported by an immense police organization, the timidity and anxiety of individuals to avoid everything which might cause suspicion and could threaten their economic positions—all these are symptoms, even though they reveal more clearly the threatening character of the illness.
3.9.6 "Japanese " Safety Force "
Japanese progress towards rearmament took another step forward when the 110,000 strong National Police Reserve became the " National Safety Force" under a recently enacted law and Mr. Yoshida, the Prime Minister, took the salute at a public parade of 3,500 troops who later marched through the streets of Tokyo.
The National Safety Force, which wears American-style uniforms and is trained by an American military mission, has more than 650 officers of field rank who were formerly officers in the Imperial Japanese Army, and many of its men—all volunteers—were formerly conscripts in the Japanese Army. The force has all infantry weapons, as well as field artillery and light tanks. The latter have been lent indefinitely by the American Army.
Mr. Yoshida, addressing the parade, said that the National Safety Force was not an army, but a force with the power to maintain peace and order in Japan. It would be used under public control to repel outside attack and to suppress civil strife.
Times, 16/10/52.
3.9.7 Output Cuts Urged
"To prevent a further drop in prices," the Federation of Cotton and Staple Fibre Dealers Association declares, " die Ministry of Trade should reduce the present output limit of 165,000 bales of cotton yarn a month to 145,000 bales in November and December."
Financial Times, 21/10/52.
3.9.8 Theory and Practice
" It is our great good fortune that our Party, our people, who are building communism, are being continuously enriched and equipped with the masterly theoretical works of great Stalin (tumultuous and prolonged applause).
"In Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., Comrade Stalin has raised and solved the fundamental questions of the character of economic laws under socialism, of commodity production under socialism, of the law of value under socialism, of the measures for elevating collective farm property to the level of public property, of the basic economic laws of modern captialism and socialism, of the three basic preliminary conditions for the transition from socialism to communism, of the elimination of the essential distinctions between town and country, between mental labour and physical labour, of the disintegration of the single world market and the deepening of the crisis of the world capitalist system, of the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries." L. M. Kaganavich,
at the Communist Party Congress, 13/10/52. Soviet News, 15/11/52.
But starry-eyed comrades who think that Russia has abolished class distinctions had better not book on the passenger-cargo liner Tobolsk. She carries eighty passengers in the FIRST CLASS and 266 in the THIRD CLASS.
The same class distinction operates among the Tobolsk's crew. Like the first-class passengers the officers usually have two-berth cabins with private showers. All furnishings are in decorative hardwoods.
Third-class comrades and the crew are less comfortable. They have metal berths, and some third-class passengers travel twelve to a cabin.
Daily Mirror, 22/11/52.

Forum Journal 1953-05 February

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

5. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
FEBRUARY 1953

5.1 From America
THE BALLOT v. COMRADE CANTER
In a lengthy letter , published in FORUM, October and November, 1952, Comrade Cantor presents his thesis, an answer (as he calls it) to a " group of Boston comrades " who have elevated to a principle question whether or not socialism will come about through the ballot” As a member of the " group of the Boston comrades " in question, I have news for Comrade Cantor. The position on the Ballot as set forth in the original Open Letter was not discovered nor "elevated to a principle question" by a group in Boston. What Comrade Canter refuses to recognise, despite all our literature on the subject is the fact that this is and has been the position of the Companion Parties since the S.P.G.B. was first organised. Despite length of the comrade's " reply ", he did not find occasion to mention even once the fact that the position of the 1951 Conference, which helped to draw up and which he defended so nobly in his treatise, was defeated in the subsequent Party Referendum, even if by a fairly close margin. True it is that due to past laxity in membership requirements and/or laxity in a study of Party literature, there is a minority in the W.S.P. who do not accept the Party position on the socialist revolution. This is bad enough,and in the opinion of this writer should not be toleratedBut when a member who rejects our position on such a vital principle, attempts to square his unsound views with those of the Party— attempts to make his views those of the party and brush off the original Party stand as the views of a small " group of Boston Comrades”—that is still worse. The arguments of Comrade Canter have, of course all been presented to us before by representatives of most of the radical organisations in this country and they have all been answered by our speakers and writers. It seems though that we must go into it once again and so we request space in FORUM necessary to cover the subject. We shall try to be brief and to the point.
5.1.1 Premises upon which we base our case.
Is the “line of demarcation between socialists and non-socialists . . . the belief or non-belief in the ultimate efficacy of the ballot?" In a sense, yes. although this is putting it rather crudely. The only reason the socialist must take the position that socialism will be brought about by the ballot and by no other way is that the only other conceivable alternatives that have been offered involve means which, when analysed, fall too short of fulfilling the objective. Let us begin from the following premises:
(1)the revolution requires a majority of class-conscious socialists in society ;
(2)this majority must take organised steps to achieve its aim ;
(3) the first of such steps must be to wrest control of the capitalist state from the capitalist class.
Flowing from these simple premises we have some equally simple reasoning:
(3)the most logical way that a majority can make sure it is a majority and know just what it agrees upon is through elections.
(4)We cannot conceive of any organised manner in which a majority can act in its own interests other than through a political party which places its candidates in the field in open opposition to all other parties.
(5)If the object is the wresting of control of the State from the capitalists, then obviously this can only be accomplished by gaining a majority in the organ or organs of State power such as will exist at the time, not by creating " its own " bodies or conventions and attempting to arrange " its own " elections.
Simple as this reasoning is, however, it seems to be incomprehensible to Comrade Canter and those who agree with him.
5.1.2 The " reasoning " of Comrade Canter
Running through the comrade's statement' we find the following main arguments:
1. The advocacy of the ballot is all very fine, we all advocate it, but we must leave loopholes for other means because the ballot may be taken away from us;
2. the capitalists will never allow us to become a ballot majority;
3. history has taught us that the capitalists will use violent means to keep us from becoming a majority ; and
4. anyway, the whole idea is worthless because the American political system (unlike the British!) prevents the overthrow of the American capitalist class because of its involved systems of "checks and balances" and because the socialists, even if elected would not be permitted to take their seats.
All this, mind you, from a man who, with tongue in cheek, claims to advocate the Ballot, even if not as the only way.
5.1.3 Similarity between Canter and S.W.P. (Trotzkyite) position
Be this as it may, we should like to point out that Comrade Canter's arguments re the desirability but improbability of revolution at the polls and his analysis of the American political system are not original. He may or may not be aware of the fact that Mr. Albert Goldman, a Trotzkyite defendant at the Socialist Workers Party " treason" trial in Minneapolis in 1941, used the same arguments. Comrade Cantor states:
" There is no specific virtue in the use of violence, nothing to commend it as a way to socialism. But history has taught that the violence always arises from the other side, from the side in power, and that the workers are forced to defend themselves physically." (Forum, Oct./52.) Comrade Goldman states:
" The question, however, is not whether it is desirable, but whether it is possible . . . History knows no example of the peaceful surrender of an exploiting minority to an oppressed majority. The actual conduct of the capitalist class at the present time, the violence which it uses against the workers when they strike for an improvement in their conditions, confirm the historical lesson, and justify the prediction that they, who will lose their wealth and power will utilise all forms of violence against the overwhelming majority." (In Defence of Socialism, Pioneer Publishers, p.41, 42.)
Again in FORUM for November, 1952, Comrade Canter points out the difficulties of overcoming the U.S. Constitution. He shows us that it " takes a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress to offer an amendment and under the system of proportion described above, this might mean a representation of 75 or 80% of the population ", etc.
Mr. Goldman points out:
" The form of government in the United States practically guarantees the ruling class its domination against the will of the majority of the people. To introduce socialism by law would require an amendment to the Constitution and for that, a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress and a majority in three-fourths of the State legislatures are required, etc." (In Defence of Socialism, p.42.)
So far, there is not much difference, if any, in the presentations. But it turns out that there is a difference, and in Mr. Goldman's favour at that. He goes on to say:
" If there is any one thing that will prevent the capitalists from using violence, it will be the strong organisations of the working class. The greater the strength of the working class organisations, the less violence will there be. ibid, p.42.)
Were Mr. Goldman to have emphasised that these working-class organisations must be socialist to be really effective in preventing the use of violence, he would just about have the
W.S.P. position.
5.1.4 Revolutionary Majority Will Not Be Constitutionalists
The reasoning by Comrade Canter and Mr. Goldman, however, re the obstacles that the US. system of government places in the path of a revolutionary working class is, of course, baseless. Let us point out that the capitalist class have never allowed constitutional bottlenecks nor respect for their hoary document to stymie them when quick decisions were necessary. The U.S., for example, entered the war in Korea without so much as a consultation of Congress, but if such a step were taken, the comrade can rest assured that the troops would have been despatched with as little loss of time.
Does Comrade Canter actually believe that we think a revolutionary working class will have any more respect for the capitalist's Constitution than they have themselves? No, a victorious working class is not going to wait four years or two years or even two days to take over. This will be a revolution brought about by workers who have voted for socialism —not by abstaining from the vote or by picketing the capitalist class, as Comrade Canter would have it, or by voting with their feet, as the Leninists delight in putting it. Socialists use their heads, not their feet, when it comes to a serious thing like the franchise. They will never permit such a thing as a Constitution,
a Senate, or a Supreme Court to stand in their way. These " checks" will simply not be recognised.
Will elected socialists be denied their seats by the capitalist politicians ? We think this may very well happen in the early stages. Like true love, the course of socialist revolution does not run smooth. With such an obstacle confronting it, the issue could very well be forced in the same manner in which the Victor Berger case was forced. The fact that Berger was not a socialist is beside the point. He was still openly in opposition to their war and was seated despite their opposition. Unfortunately, such trials will have to be met with as they arise. Were Comrade Canter to offer any new and constructive method of speeding up the process, we should be very happy to consider it.
5.1.5 Do We Dictate to History ?
According to our critic, we, the authors of the Open Letter, are attempting to dictate to history. Even if, as he puts it, the revolution were to take place in some other way than the ballot, we would declare that it was not according to Hoyle and would have to be made all over again by the ballot. This sort of argument is pure poppy-cock. Were we to point out to the comrade that he would reject a revolution as non-socialist unless the gutters were to run with blood and thousands, nay millions, of erstwhile capitalists were to hang by their unmentionables from lamp-posts he would become indignant, or would he? We deny that we are dictating to history when we say that socialism will come about through the ballot and through no other means that our mid-twentieth century skulls can envisage. For it is incomparably easier for a majority of socialists in society to gain control of the State by means of elections than it would be to use any other conceivable means. Can we expect workers to pit their strength, unarmed, and win, against the armed might of the modern state ?
Can we expect even a vast majority to gain control of the capitalist state by means of a general strike? Even though the majority of the strikers might be socialists, they would starve just as fast as the non-socialist strikers and a whole lot faster than the capitalists. Does it make sense in a highly industrialised countn like the U.S.A. to expect workers to organise Soviets or workers' councils, to ignore the centralised political machine and build one nl their own? Only to the Canter type of reasoning would such a thing be easier or ever. possible. But this is not reasoning, this is madness. In short, we say that a class-conscious majority must use the ballot simply because there is no other possible means they can use.
5.1.6 Could Ballot Rights Be Suddenly Withdrawn ?
Can it be conceivable to socialists that the capitalists can suddenly take away the ballot or otherwise make it impossible for the socialists to win an election; that they can do all this or that they would attempt to do all this against a mass of public opinion? Is it not more likely that they will attempt to fight a growth of socialist opinion by selling their system even more vigorously than they are to-day ? The crushing of working class movements has always been made simple, because the majority of the workers could be propagandised into the " proper " frame of mind.
Regardless of this point, however, just what does Comrade Canter think a socialist minority or even a socialist majority could do about it if such a miracle could transpire? If a minority were powerful enough to prevent even a majority from voting, doesn't it seem likely that they would be powerful enough to prevent the majority from getting rid of them in any other way? And conversely, if he thinks the socialist majority in such a case could force the capitalists out through some other means than by the ballot, then why would they be so powerless that they could not do the same tiling by the ballot?
The point is that a socialist majority cannot be deprived of the ballot. Nor can a majority of non-socialists who insist on having the ballot. The case in a nutshell is simply this: Comrade Canter represents a type of thinking that is in direct contradiction to that of the Party. That this is so is bad enough; what is worse, however, is that he refuses to recognise this fact.
H. Morrison.
5.2 PRODUCTION FOR USE—or Mass Production?
What is Mass Production? It is that method of production where society is split up into more or less exclusive occupational groups and the work each group performs is broken down into its simplest process and each person becomes a detail worker.
To give an example—where most families made their own bread, there was still division of labour. But this simple division of labour is not mass production. Mass production methods are bread-making are only possible when the vast majority of families, including the mothers and daughters no longer bake bread.
Prior to mass production, thousands of mothers and daughters were making tens of thousands of loaves of bread, in fact plenty of bread—but it was not mass production of bread. Once the mothers and daughters were taken into factories, offices, etc., other methods were required to produce the tens of thousands of loaves. A relatively few professional bakers and assistants were necessary.
In order that these relatively few people can turn out the bread formerly made by thousands of people, vast masses of machinery have to be made, machinery enabling the process of bread-making to be split up into its simplest operations and the labourers divided, classified and grouped according to these functions. These methods demand the centralising of the activity, such as is to be seen at Lyons' Cadby Hall, ' Hovis ", and " Wonderloaf " model bakeries.
Mass production methods demand a hierarchy of labour, from the labourer at the working-tool to the organising manager. It must be remembered that this splitting of the functions demands speed and authority in production and transportation.
5.2.1 Division of Labour
Comrade Parker, in his article " Will there be Mass Production?", writes, "division of labour is only harmful when excessive ". When he says this, he has granted me my whole case.
What are mass production methods but excessive division of labour?
Parker then says: " Further, however, it is argued that mass production necessarily involves pace-making, is exclusive to capitalism, and is inseparable from large towns. These are more controversial statements with which I for one, disagree."
Seeing that Marx has been quoted, may I be permitted some references?
" The foundation of every division of labour that is well-developed, and brought about by the exchange of commodities, is the separation between town and country." (K. Marx, Capital Vol. 1, p.345, Sonnenschein Edition.)
In case members doubt the wisdom of stating that the future will be regarding the manner and methods of production within Socialist society—that it is not "scientific" but merely utopian:
" The abolition of the separation between town and country is no Utopia, it is an essential condition of the proportionate distribution of the greater industry throughout the country. Civilisation has left us a number of large cities, as an inheritance, which it will take much time and trouble to abolish. But they must and will be done away with, however much time, and trouble it may take." (F. Engels, " Landmarks of Scientific Socialism, p.244, Kerr Edition.)
" In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of individuals under division of labour and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labour has vanished, after labour has become not merely a means to live but has become itself the primary necessity of life, after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flows more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be fully left behind and society inscribe on its banner from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." (" Critique of the Gotha Programme." K. Marx Selected Works, p.566, Vol. II.)
Whilst quoting Marx and Engels, I am prepared to agree that supporters of mass production may find other quotations that might appear to bear a different interpretation. This shows the futility of relying on any one person m expecting to find the 100% correct position in any one book. But what it does show is the childishness of the accusation that it is Utopian if one states that under socialism the excessive fivision of labour will not exist, and that town and country will be abolished.
I sincerely hope that, now it is shown that the "masters" of scientific socialism advocated all these things, members will not dismiss the arguments by merely labelling them utopian. Of course, I am fully aware that "because Marx and Engels advocated these propositions” it does not make them correct.
5.2.2 Production for Use
In his article, Parker says: " There seems no reason why it should not be possible in a society in which people control their own conditions of work, for a machine to relieve arduous toil and yet not entail boredom." It would appear from this, that he thinks that machinery and mass production are the same thing and, consequently, thinks that members who state that there will be no mass production methods under socialism are saying that all machinery will be abolished. This, of course, is nonsense.
In closing, he says, " but don't expect society to abandon social production of most chairs and tables." Here, again, it would appear that he equates social production with mass production—presumably there was no " social production" until mass production methods were employed!
I agree with Comrade Parker when he says he sees no reason why it should not be possible in a society in which people control their own conditions of work, for machines to relieye arduous toil and yet not entail boredom. But mass production methods preclude the operative from control of their work, compelling them to:
(1)Standardise the machine processes.
(2)Operate a single process.
(3)Standardise the products.
All three points of Parker's description of mass production, as contained in the encyclopedia to which he refers us, demand that people must submit absolutely to a central directing authority. To standardise the machine processes must produce the excessive division, of labour which Parker himself agrees is harmful.
To operate a single process produces boredom, and I certainly question whether it relieves arduous toil. Parker certainly gives us no evidence of this.
To standardise the product must mean dictation to the consumers as to what they must have. This is in opposition to a basic socialist principle—Production for Use. Production for use does not mean merely the absence of exchange; it also means that the needs of people will determine production.
Again, all these descriptions of mass production methods demand the development of mono-culture and the division of society into large towns and rural communities, which must prevent the all-round development of the individual.
Parker again shows that he does not know mass production methods when he sees them. When dealing with monotonous and repetitive work, he says, " Mass production is said to involve monotonous and repetitive work. So it docs. But so does a great deal of non-mass production. I wouldn't like to argue that writing figures In a ledger all day is much less repetitive than operating an automatic machine."
Surely the clerk who is writing figures in a ledger all day is just as much engaged in mass production methods as the operator of an automatic machine.
5.2.3 Time Saving
Parker says, " Time is worth saving on any job under any system, because it enables us to undertake other jobs or to enjoy leisure."
Time saving does not mean the opposite of wasting time—it means doing everything in the shortest possible time. In fact, the people concerned with saving time are usually found trying to kill time. - Why does everybody want to do things in the shortest possible time? Because of the dictates of market production. It would be interesting to hear what Parker has in mind when he writes of leisure. Also, why should people within socialism want to " Save time from productive work in order to enjoy other experiences "?
The terms "productive work" and "leisure" can only exist when people are engaged in " getting of living ", i.e. productive work, and when a person is doing something for his own pleasure, hobby or recreation, called leisure. The terms have no reference to what is being done, but why it is being done.
Under socialism there will not be the condition* nor the idea of "getting a living". Socialism means to me a way of life in which people will have recognised that " the primary necessity of life is WORK." (Marx).
Then Parker tries his hand at speed. He says " Pace-making is certainly a feature under capitalism, but remember it is not the machine that sets the pace, it is the boss." Of course, it is the machine that sets the pace. Certainly it is the employer who agrees to the installation of the belt system, but once installed, the pace is set.
Mass production machinery and methods are a product of property society in which things and services are produced for a market. In society where there is no property, there can be no place for the whip as used in past society, nor its modern counterpart —• whipping-up machinery, and methods. People will work because they want to and will need no whips, no threats, no promises, no punishment, ho reward.
It is easy to write " There are many ways in which mass-production will be different: under socialist conditions," but nowhere in the article, or in discussions, have I been told anything about these differences which will make mass- production methods attractive within socialism. I do hope we shall hear from members about these differences.
From my point of view, mass production methods are even less attractive than the cartoon illustrating Parker's article. Some of us, however, can find solace in the fact that neither of these abominations will exist within society where ALL work is useful.
A. Turner.

5.3 SUPER-OPTIMISTS
The members of S.W. London Branch must be super-optimists if they reallv seriously think that by raising the dues to 6d. per week the Party will have an income of £1,300 p.a.
During the last ten years, including 1952, the income dues has averaged just over £300 per annum, and during that time (or most of it) the Party has had 1,000 members, so I fail to see how the income from dues is going to be quadrupled by doubling them.
Let us be realists and face the facts,
W.T.A.
5.4 Reply to H. G. Hayden (below) ALL CAN ASSIMILATE ANY IDEAS

Hayden's criticism consists of five paragraphs which I will discuss in the order in which they appear.
(1) He quotes two phrases of mine and then adds that I am treading "the very shaky soil of utopism ". I am not sure what he means by this, but it is possible that there is a misunderstanding. When I used the phrase socialist ideas" I meant ideas about Socialism —a world in which people would live in communal association free of all the barriers that split them apart to-day, and have split them apart in the past. As I pointed out in proposition this idea, or these ideas, had emerged as a result of past development, and once ing emerged can be passed on to all human beings regardless of their present culture. In similar way, capitalist ideas are at present being passed on to people in different phases of culture, Even the people of Australia, the so-called aborigines, are absorbing capitalist culture without passing through the cultural stages that people of the West have passed through.
(2) When Hayden refers to " modern socialist theory' he evidently has in mind the Marxian analysis of Capitalism and theory of history. It is only necessary for people soaked in Capitalism to grasp these theories in order to understand the system under which they are living and to be able to refute the claim that Capitalism is the best of all possible social systems-the final fruition of social development. Further it is not necessary to have a literary education to know that you are poor, insecure, suffering the horrors of war, and that Socialism is a system in which these things will have no place. It cannot be true that the problems of Capitalism and their solution arise because capitalist society needs a literate working class: both the problems and the solution were there before there was a literate working class—in the middle of the last century when the Communist Manifesto was written. In fact, Marx himself pointed out that the problems only arise when the solution is present:
" The problem and the means of solution arise simultaneously." (Capital, p.60.)
" Therefore, mankind always takes up only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation." (Critique of Political Economy, p.13.)
(3) I have covered the point in this paragraph. People in all forms of society are already grasping capitalist ideas. This is a fact that must be apparent to everybody and is evidence of the fundamental mental similarity of all mankind. Capitalist ideas are more complicated than socialist ideas. If people all over the earth can understand these, then it is reasonable to assume that they will have no greater difficulty in grasping socialist ideas. What does complicate the question now is that people are becoming bemused by capitalist ideas before socialist ideas come their way free from adulteration.
When using the expression " higher culture of Capitalism " it is necessary, for the present discussion, to define the standard of judgment. If the standard is the variety of directions in which human effort can be applied in comparison with other cultures, then Capitalism stands high; if the standard is the security, comfort and freedom from fear for those living under it, then Capitalism stands low in relation. to other cultures.
To explain Socialism to people who have absorbed Capitalist ideas, it is necessary to do so in relation to the Capitalist ideas they hold. To explain Socialism to people who have not yet absorbed capitalist ideas, or only partly absorbed them, it is necessary to do so in relation to the tribal or other ideas they hold. Of course it would be absurd to talk of surplus value, crises, etc., to a Central
Australian native, but that does not mean that he is incapable of understanding the culture that we put under the heading of socialist society—working together in harmonious cooperation to produce the things we need, in profusion and for our mutual satisfaction. The first reaction of the Australian native would probably be the same as that of people living under Capitalism—" impossible you will have to change human nature!" It has already been demonstrated that there is no group of people incapable, for example, of learning to handle the most complicated modern machinery. On the fringes of civilised territory, native people are now doing the work connected with servicing aeroplanes on the different world routes. When given the opportunity to learn to read and write, they show themselves to be as competent students as are to be found anywhere in the West.
The following quotations indicate that the views expressed above on the mental similarity of all groups of people are also held by anthropologists and allied investigators:
" We have the same brain, perpetuated by reproduction, which worked in the skulls of barbarians and savages in by-gone ages."
(p.61 Morgan Ancient Society, 1877)
" Over and above the sheer intellectual fun of surveying humanity at large, there is unlimited moral gain to be got in the enlarged consciousness of the fact that man is of one kind—that as a species we are near enough to each other in our type of mind to share all the thoughts and feelings most worth having." (R. R. Marett, Head, Heart and Hands in Human Evolution, 1935).
"As far as is known, all peoples are able to share creatively in all known cultures and to transmit them through education to their offspring." (p.65, Jacobs and Stern, Outline of Anthropology, 1948).
" That all populations to-day have the same complexity of structure of brain and central nervous system is decisive evidence in favour of the judgment that all races are potentially equal and that there are no genetically superior or inferior races." (p.39, Jacobs and Stern Outline)
" Babies have the same central nervous systems in all populations, but what they do, think and become, seems to depend entirely on custom and on familial or social environment."
(p.60, Jacobs and Stern Outline.)
" According to present knowledge, there is no proof that the groups of mankind differ in their innate mental characteristics, whether in respect of intelligence or temperament. The scientific evidence indicates that the range of mental capacities in all ethnic groups is much the same."
"All normal human beings are capable of learning to share in a common life, to understand the nature of mutual service and reciprocity, and to respect social obligations and contracts. Such biological differences as exist between members of different ethnic groups have no relevance to problems of social and political organisation, moral life and communication between human beinsrs." (p.9, The Race Question, U.N.E.S.C.O. Publication 791.)
The above statement is backed by, among others, Ashlev-Montague, Hadley Cantril, E. G. Conklin, Gunnar Dahlberg, J. S. Huxley, Otto Klineberg, H. J. Muller, Joseph Needham, Morris Ginsberg, L. C. Dunn, Levi Strauss, Franklin Frazer and Costa Pintot.
" The powers of observation and reasoning of the aborigines are identical with our own."
"After all, Professor Franz Boas would be the last to disagree with me in the contention that any racial theory which would make the human mind different as from one type of humanity to another, is not scientific." (p.xxxiii, Malinowski, Foreword to Coming into Being Among the Australian Aborigines, by Ashley-Montague.
'" This is not to say that the Australian Aboriginal is a being mentally inferior to ourselves that he is incapable of our particular kind of reasoning, or that he has a pre-logical mentality, ot what not. The facts point clearly in the opposite direction, namely, that the Australian aboriginal native endowment is quite as good as my European's if not better. In support of the latter statement, there exists a certain amount of evidence of the weightiest kind, such, for example, as the opinions of observers who have lived among
them for many years and who are not by any means inclined to be prejudiced in their favour. Then there is the more direct evidence . of the effects of schooling, the rapidity with which the native learns, and, what is more important, the consistency with which he generally maintains thai learning, as is abundantly borne out by such a fact as the recent achievement of a school whose : scholars were composed entirely of aborigines, and which for three successive years was ranked as the highest standing school, from the point of view of scholarship, in Australia. The ease with wiich natives acquire good English when it is ;spoken to them as compared with the difficulty wish which the white man acquires the native language has often been remarked upon by white observers.' (p.11, Ashley-Montague, Coming into Being Among the Australian Aborigines, 1937.
(4) It is not helpful just to state that people must become solely dependent upon wages before they can understand Socialism. It is necessary to explain what there is about this dependency without which mankind is incapable of assimilating ideas about mutual co- co-operation, Capitalism grew out of Feudalism and Feudalism out of a chattel slave-based system in the order of Western development. Are we, therefore, to assume that all cultures go through these three forms? If not, _ why is Capitalism the elected system? then it is necessary to experience Capitalism because it precedes Socialism, then surely it is equally necessary to experience Feudalism because it preceded Capitalism. In fact, groups that have never known either chattel slavery or Feudalism are jumping straight into Capitalism — system that has emerged as a result of past development and the ideas of which are being explained to, and assimilated by, people of different kinds of culture. What Hayden overlooks is that once an idea has emerged, it can be passed on. People are not born into Capitalism with capitalist brains. They are born without ideas and are taught them—in tribal society, tribal ideas; in feudal society, feudal ideas; in capitalist society, capitalist ideas. All children can be taught any ideas, and all grown-ups can assimiliate any ideas, ver advanced, if sufficient effort is put into the process, because humanity at large is fundamentally curious and reasonable.
(5) In the last paragraph, Hayden is unwittigly committing himself to a view that he does not hold. If all people have to be rooted in the culture of Capitalism before they can understand the meaning of Socialism, then all our efforts should be directed towards spreading capitalist culture as widely and as rapidly as possible in order to prepare the way for socialism.
G. McClatchie.

5.5 ON BACKWARD NATIONS (?)
When McClatchie states " there are no groups of people anywhere on earth, regardless of their present culture, who are incapable of assimilating socialist ideas " and " so-called backwardness . . . has nothing to do with mental capacity " he treads the very shaky soil of utopism. Modern socialist theory was born of the problems of capitalist society, viz., the poverty associated with wage-labour, economic crises (trade slumps) and international war. As these problems can only be understood by people who have received some literary education, and as capitalist society needs a working class that is literate, then therein are born both problems and the conditions for their solution—a working class capable of understanding them. People who live in a social environment in which peasant proprietorship or the tribal still survives and all or nearly all are can have no conception of, let alone in, socialist ideas. The problems that them are only those of peasants and tribesmen. To talk of explaining Socialism in language appropriate to their culture " is the fact that, language and culture being interrelated, then Socialism, which belongs to the higher culture of Capitalism, be " explained " to those in a lower culture. This is because (a) it is a theory that is not associated with the problems of primitive and feudal societies, and (b) of the illiteracy of the people in question. Man only takes up such problems as he meets. The spread of capitalist economy over the face of the earth and its permeation into lives of the backward peoples will prepare the ground for their reception of socialist ideas "only to the extent that the mass of them become literate and solely dependent upon wages.
In short, they will have to be rooted in the culture of capitalism before they can understand the meaning of Socialism.
H. G. Hayden.
5.6 A BLIND EYE TO ELECTORIAL SNAGS
The Errors of Horatio
"... this bankrupt party, impoverished by reckless election spendthrifts ..."
"A great deal of useful criticism can be levelled against the party's first election battles."
"... rash expenditure on leaflets' and meetings ..."
—Horatio. DID Horatio say that? He most certainly did—and the quotes (unlike some of his own) are word perfect. A few well-chosen quotes ripped from their context and suitably juxtaposed and you can make anyone say almost anything. Then it may be necessary to fill in some of the carefully omitted parts in your own words before you have a crack at an answer.
Such was the technique used by Horatio in his reply to my article in the first issue of FORUM. It can be highly successful if the reader is unable to refer back to the original article or if, wanting Horatio to be right, he does not bother to check.
5.6.1 Strained Misinterpretation
For example, from my statement that activity is a short term method, whereas propaganda is essentially a long term policy, he draws the illogical conclusion that " therefore socialist propaganda and contesting elections are opposed "—and attributes it to me. The actual inference was, of course, merely that electioneering was therefore an inferior method of propaganda.
Again, my assertion that the most sensational methods which are useful to other organisations are not necessarily the best for ours is for some unknown reason taken to indicate an opposition to elections as such.
This applies also to his third point, in which his misinterpretation is so strained that he takes three sentences to alter " figureheads" to " leaders " and to infer from this that I think the Party is undemocratic. He does not, however, tell us what other function a candidate has from a propaganda standpoint. It must be remembered that these three statements referred specifically to candidates considered as a propaganda venture, and have nothing to do with their value as delegates to the House of Commons, which Horatio cleverly assumes in order to charge me with denying the Party's principles.
5.6.2 Clutching at Straws
After mentioning the main purpose for contesting election, i.e., political representation, I go on to examine secondary considerations to see whether " the Party gains some benefit from contesting an election which is not directly related to this main purpose." This prompts Horatio to ask ," what other purpose the Party has, which is not even related to its main one." 'Nuff said.
In trying to make an objective analysis of the propaganda value of elections I point to the extra indoor meetings which are possible in the constituencies and say that "apart from
this it is difficult to see what can be done with a candidate which cannot be done without one." Here that bias, which I warned should be guarded against, so blinds Horatio that he reads "these meetings could be held without a candidate."
My critic further tries to make a mountain out of the molehill of the extra £49 worth of literature sales at election time—2,000 pamphlets, he says! It sounds a lot until we remember that this increase over a period of six months does not even cover the extra copies of the S.S. printed during the election month itself.
He then begins to clutch at straws. In answer to my comparison of the inability to trace any enquiries about the Party to electioneering with the numerous replies obtained from adverts in esperanto journals, he boldly asserts that these " were made only because we ran candidates"—forgetting that this work was carried on around the time of the last election, in which NO candidates were put up.
5.6.3 Horatio's Positive Case
The next paragraph is a classic. After taking a number of quotes and semi-quotes from all over the article and juxtaposing them to put me in a false position, he then makes me arrive at an equally false conclusion by taking part of a subsidiary clause from five paragraphs before the last quote, misquoting it and sticking it on with a conjuction of his own to suit his own purposes. Then, realising it doesn't make sense, he re-states the whole thing " in other words "—his own, of course. It must be a weak case indeed which drives one as able as Horatio to such contemptible methods.
Next comes an appeal to our principles and policy. He turns a masterly summary of our general theoretical position and its application into a rigid dogma. As if eight short paragraphs can answer all the questions in the world and settle every practical issue that arises. Even Horatio himself realises the falsity of this argument in his more sober moments.
As he says of the Party earlier in his article: " if practical considerations (lack of support) deter it, it should say so plainly, telling the worker the difficulties, but making its object and method clear." Admirably put. I endeavoured in my article to assess the practical considerations, and I am convinced that it is time we stopped trying to fool the workers (and ourselves) that we are something we are not. We should endeavour to bring home to them our difficulties and the urgent need for their support and work, so that we may the sooner be able to seriously challenge the control of the state machine.
J. Trotman.
5.7 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
4-SOCIAL MAN
The evolution of multicellular organisms, wiiich involves the differentiation of parts organs), involves also the development of integrative mechanisms (the hormonic and nervous systems) to co-ordinate the organs as a team, co-ordinators developing in step with the increasing complexity of organisms. What :5 true of organisms which consist of colonies of cells is true also of herds, which consist of colonies of individuals. Gregarious animals have mechanisms for quickening the responses and the unity of the herd, so that, for instance, cue individual comes to the alert when his neighbour does, or so that the signs of sentinel oc leader may be unanimously acted upon.
Among many of the higher animals, not strictly " gregarious ", sex division involves the continuous association of male and female and their young, and they therefore possess the mechanisms for this continuous association— pnssessiveness, protectiveness, sympathy, dominance, submission, etc. They communicate their needs or intentions, by purring, barking, cooing, by song and dance. The parents teach by example, rebuke or reward, the young learn in play the arts of defence and attack.
In the gregarious animals, the social instinct is not merely one among others,but paramount. It conditions the expression of the other instincts-—even the so-called first law of nature, self-preserva-tion for the group is the means by which the individual survives.
5.7.1 Apparatus of Sociality
The physical apparatus of sociality are the sympathetic mechanism, the' imitative faculty and suggestibility—heightened in man by his refinement, particularly, of vision and voice as* the receivers and transmitters of communica-' tion. Men have an extraordinary subtlety of, vocal inflexion and facial expression, and, as' its counterpart, an extraordinary ability to grasp at a glance a thousand permutations of voice and face (of which words are the slow and laboured accessory)—receivers and trans-, mitters which respect the need for social reference. The measured artificial word is a' precision tool of labour: as flesh and blood we link by song and dance—the voice sings and the face dances. By the interplay of frontal, orbital and naso-labial muscles we express not merely lust but affection, tenderness,' devotion; not merely fear, but horror or : anxiety; not merely anger or pleasure, but disgust, admiration, suspicion, irritation, grief, approbation, resignation. A smile may vary from a ghost to a grin, a laugh may be full or empty, the lips are compressed differently for determination or disapproval, differently pursed for doubt or disappointment.
Refinement of the organs of communication proclaims the natural need for kinship, antecedent to the social development which locks us in the bonds of labour and elaborates the linguistic conventions. The development of language itself depends on the sympathetic and imitative faculties which are mechanisms of the herd instinct. We show disgust, for instance, by wrinkling the nose as in retreat from a smell; the " faugh " of contempt spits out the offending notion or blows it away as a thing of no account; the head is raised in defiance, while in the shrug of resignation it is tucked into the shoulders to ride the blow which cannot, be avoided; the eyes creep sidelong in suspicion, in disdain they look down half-closed upon the low person hardly worth noticing. The voice in turn mimics the face—in doubt or question, for instance, the rising inflexion imitates the raised eyebrows (raised to widen the field of vision, to place in perspective the thing in doubt).
5.7.2 Imitative and Suggestible
The imitative tendency enables us to learn without being taught, as a baby learns to smile or a child to talk, or as we adopt the ways and accents of those we live among. Grimaces and gesticulations evoke incipient movements of the same kind in the auditor (although sometimes too slight to be detected without apparatus). This ostensive, unconscious learning facilitates
the identification and assimiliation of self with others it quickens the responses and the unity of the herd.
The same tendency, when it is applied to the' field of sentiments, attitudes, feelings, is called " suggestibility ". Although we notice our suggestibility mostly in the more violent (so-called pathological) forms, in panic and pogrom in hysteria and hypnosis, it is a necessary structure for social behaviour, an organ of social creatures. It is the mental counterpart, for the animal who thinks, of the sympathetic and imitative apparatus. It constitutes a permanent gravitational pull towards accepting the standards and attitudes of our associates (particularly in matters charged with moral judgment) in order to be accepted by them. In such matters, to have to convince by reason would be slow and uncertain, as teaching infants to talk by grammar would be impotent, and would therefore retard social cohesion. Suggestibility dispenses with the need for cumbrous reasoning: it is reason enough that a certain attitude prevails. It does not eliminate the critical self, but it ensures that the self is subjected to the unifying pressure of group sentiment. It quickens the responses and the unity of the herd.
In the crowd (the match or the meeting or the stupid hoky-koky), we forget ourselves, our inhibitions inhibited by the pressure, in the tight mass, of the sympathetic mechanisms. With gregarious creatures, attitudes are irre-sistible in proportion as they are unanimous, and it is this which underwrites the power of propaganda and leadership and advertisement and hypnotism. It is the knowledge that the great leader has a great following that gives weight to his words, in proportion as he personifies, represents, a mass of men. Advertisement achieves the same result by evoking mass sentiments (" a man's drink ", a " British product") and by repetition, for repetition is only a crowd by instalments. In the hypnotic state, the voice of the hypnotist is the subject's whole sensual world, represents the voice of all mankind, and it is this which gives his suggestion its irresistible force—provided it does not conflict with the moral code of the subject, that is, with his moral world.
5.7.3 Never Asocial
What we call the " herd instinct" in other gregarious animals becomes in thinking men the high susceptibility to approval or disapproval, which is the core of his psyche and magnetic north of his behaviour. It is not an accident that the word " like " has two meanings : to be like is to be liked. Of all creatures, only man blushes—approval or disapproval will so disturb his nervous system as to effect the somatic functions. He signals his social distress to a social world, which will respond to the confession and mitigate its judgment. In men, the most individuated and anarchist of gregarious creature;. the impulse to accept others accept, in order to be accepted by is the all-powerful mechanism of social . the centre of gravity of human mind. Our actions may be called "social" or "asocial", but they are never asocial; all the modes of men—protective, dominating, sub-missive:-. ambitious, competitive, virtuous naughty—reflect the thirst for approval. The difference in the behaviour of the good child and the bad is one of method, not motive. The unwanted, the neglected, the illegitimate, the bewildered, the unsure delinquent, will somewhere and somehow the modicum approval and acceptance his sociality requires. or kick you to pieces in desperation. Aggressiveness tries to conquer by force the submerged, fear of social unacceptibility, Bombast, and inflated behaviour generally, reveal anxious fear of inadequacy. Servility hopes secure the small change of compassion, and snobbery to preserve a status felt to be insecure. is not the form but the fact of flattery that arts, for it is that that flatters. Hypocrisy is the homage of egotism pays to sociality, and rationalisation ", the finding of good reasons
for doubtful ends, does not derogate from the social impulse: on the contrary, the need to rationalise proclaims it.
5.7.4 Morality Inheres
When Koestler contrasts the energy of thought with the " inertia of social behaviour ", he merely paraphrases the " power of social tradition " without observing that it testifies to the social psyche of men. The power of social tradition is inexplicable, unless it bespeaks a social instinct. We may defy the mass, repudiate the orthodox, violate convention, but only while we have some moral support. Who dares to be alone is already mad. Only the idiot dispenses with social sanction. His id is absolute because it is defective, lacking the mechanism for its social determination. With a normal person, the approval of others is meat and drink, and disapproval, in proportion as it is general, is painful, worrying and intolerable. To be scorned is to wilt, to be spurned is to wither, and, on the other hand, nothing succeeds like success, for there is no greater stimulus nor more satisfying reward than acclamation, and advocates of the " profit incentive" merely insist that to him that hath shall be given, thus describing, not the nature of man, but the nature of capital—surplus value.
Here in the social impulse is the physical basis of morality, which has no other relevance and no other meaning than sociality.
Conscience and the feeling of guilt (in thinking man, the sentiment of duty) are the peculiar property of the gregarious animal, for to be gregarious is to be susceptible to the mandates of the herd, and " virtue " is nothing but the satisfaction of this instinct. Shaw expresses this in his sentimental way when he describes virtue as the self-indulgence of the the good man. So does Shakespeare, with whom it is " twice bless'd ". There is no need to be confused by the false separation of "" egotism " from altruism. We are neither selfish nor unselfish, nor even good or bad: we are social. And morality is niether revealed nor taught, it inheres, as the integrative mechanism for group survival.
At a later stage we shall discuss its bearing on Socialist theory and propaganda.
F. Evans.
5.8 WHAT SOCIALISM WILL BE LIKE
The following are a personal idea of the future, after a new generation has grown up a free social conditions.
5.8.1 Communities
People will live in large communal communities of various forms, which will be scattered over the country amid surroundings that are pleasant and healthy. Each community will be self-supporting as far as is practicable. Each will include the factories that are essential as well as schools, laboratories, playing-fields, theatres, and the like. Also included will be fields for domestic animals and arable land for grain. vegetables and fruit. The communities will be connected with each other by transport systems and other means of communication. They will have storehouses to ensure and adequate and regular supply of 'what is needed. There will be hosts of chalets and the like scattered about the country in suitable surroundings, where couples and groups can temporarily play-act and dream away time together, All buildings. whether for habitation, for work or for entertainment will be fitting for their purposes; harmonious, rhythmical and pleasing There will be no huge factory areas, nor there be great expanses given over to grain, cotton, fruit and the like. Gigantic buildings; huge liners and other monstrous products of man's ingenuity will also be absent. But at suitable centres there will be large theatres, concert halls, museums and special schools and laboritories for the enlargement of knowledge.
5.8.2 Travel
The number of the population as a whole will tend to remain stationary, or slightly decline rather than grow. The tendency will, be for the majority of people to remain settled in their early environments, but they will travel to other parts for temporary periods.
People will travel extensively in their youth, but the " rolling stone " kind will be the exception. Travel will be easy, because where-. ever people go they will " fit in ".
The use of cars and aircraft, other than for the transport of goods, will not be as prevalent as it is to-day. The horse and the sailing boat will become popular, both for amusement and travel. The need for speed will have vanished; time will no longer be at a premium and everyone will be able to satisfy the desire to see different places without the need for haste.
Work will be done by machine and by hand and craftsmanship will be revived. Mere repetition work will be limited to what cannot be avoided.
I have referred to how things will be arranged in a " country " but I am really referring to the world as a whole, because the world will have become a unit —one country.
5.8.3 Production
Let us look in more detail at some of the aspects I have mentioned.
Although I have said that the communities will be self-supporting, as far as possible, I do not mean by this that they would only produce for themselves. What I mean is that there will not be tue localisation of production that there is to-day; there will not be grain areas, timber areas, machine producing areas, cotton spinning
areas, pottery areas, and so forth. Some raw materials can only be obtained from particular parts of the earth; these areas will supply the rest of the world. In like manner, grain, stock, on so on, will pass freely from one community to another as and when required.
Again, ships will, of course, be built by communities bordering the sea, rolling stock wherever suitable for the transport system, and reservoirs where they are most convenient.
Now about hand work and machine work. A camera handled by a craftsman can produce pictures of groups, of objects and of scenery that are delightful to look at. This applies particularly to colour photography. But this does not take away the joy of looking at a picture painted by a competent artist. We want both! So it is with machine work and hand work. A smoothly-running machine produces a pleasure of its own, and so do the intricacies that combine to produce its action in shaping things. But again this does not deprive us of the pleasures of hand production. On the other hand, the very roughness and contrast of an object produced by hand has a charm of its own and is a relief from the deadly monotony of the machine-produced object.
So in the future we will have both machine production and hand production and we will see that we achieve a balance and become the slaves of neither.
5.8.4 Factories
What will the factories be like? First of all they will " make no sordid litter, befoul no water nor poison the air with smoke ". They will produce no shoddy things; the hours of work and the distribution of work will depend upon the nature of the work and the pleasure or discomfort it gives.
The buildings that comprise the factory will be spacious, airy, well lighted and harmonious. The internal decorations will be such as con-ince to pleasure, including perhaps fountains, pools, flowers, statuary and pictures, where appropriate, as well as the provision of music.
Those who work in the factories will consist of groups of men, women and children of all ages working together in harmonious co-operation for useful ends. They will not be places of toil but places of interesting and pleasurable occupation. There will not be overseers to watch that no time is wasted, nor will there be any need for speed-ups. Children will work in these factories as part of their general education. When a child knows it is taking part in some work that is useful and real, it is far more interested and anxious to learn than when it is doing something that is just make-believe. Also factories will not be just machine shops; they will be the communal workshops where everything can be made and each can have the satisfaction of accomplishing something new and original when seized by the desire to do so. Jobs that are purely repetitive will be performed by some agreeable system of rotation. The same method will be adopted if it happens that there is a branch of work to be done which is unavoidably unpleasant.
5.8.5 Education
As education and experience will be many-sided and practical, there will not be the
comparatively isolated specialisation that i« common to-day, which requires single-minded concentration for years. Outstanding performances by people who dedicate their lives to one pursuit only is unlikely. On the other hand, it is probable that most people will eventually settle into occupations they prefer, but will have other interests as well.
When people will be free from commercial considerations, have a full and many-sided education, take joy in what they do and in the approbation of their fellows, it is conceivable that these conditions themselves will act as a spur to superlative achievement.
G. McClatchie.
5.9 PAROCHIAL ORGANISATION AND THINKING
I MUST congratulate Gilmac on having the courage to " stick his neck out" in such a fashion as above. The interest taken by those both inside and outside the Party in this subject is out of all proportion to the meagre amount written on it. It is much to be regretted that some members still cling to the view that propagating Socialism consists only of analysing Capitalism. Those who are reluctant to talk of the future should remember that present disagreements about it are always likely to be resolved by fuller discussion of the issues involved.
Yet I must confess that I nearly always find descriptions of the future a disappointment— perhaps because their authors cannot help being influenced by the past and the present. I know that whatever Gilmac or I or any other socialist thinks the future will be like (and it would be very unimaginative of us if we had no mental picture of it) our visions, must necessarily be crude and somehow smaller than life. " To anyone who has at all adequately realised the significance of the past evolution of mankind, all our halting millennial dreams are by comparison puny and impotent; the retrospective vision of accomplished fact is the most fantastic of all Utopias."
5.9.1 Communities
Although he refers to communities as "large", everything he subsequently writes about them seems to show he really means " small'.
Chalets scattered about the country, self-supporting as far as possible, the horse and die sailing boat—I get the impression that these are the things Gilmac really likes, the motifs that he wishes to predominate. The addition of transport systems and machinery, denying that the communities would produce only for themselves—all these seem to be superimposed on the main picture as afterthoughts or concessions in a attempt to disarm criticism.
5.9.2 Travel
What particularly concerns me is the application of a principle, mentioned by Gilmac in ±e words "the world will have become a unit".
This concept of unity, wholeness, oneness,
(Comments on "What Socialism will be Like')
universality—call it what you will—is surely the essence of Socialism. It is inconceivable to me that people will be in any way parochial in their social organisation or in their thinking. Gilmac obviously has this in mind when he suggests that people will travel to other parts for temporary periods and extensively in their youth. But " in their youth " suggests to me that the norm will be little or no travel, and this impression is backed up by the methods of travel that he forecasts will be prevalent.
Gilmac sees horses and sailing boats ousting cars and aircraft for popularity. Let us leave aside the question of amusement and concentrate on the practical aspect. Any change in the means of transport—any change that is going to be more than a temporary phase or an isolated instance—is bound to be progress, that is, more efficient, more fit for its purpose and not less.
This question of travel is not in itself important, but is, I think, symptomatic of other features of society. In this connexion it should be noted that, whether or not we think it desirable to preserve the techniques of production that Capitalism has brought into being, there remains the element of necessity that may override other considerations. Marx did not underestimate this practical aspect:
" Men never relinquish what they have won, but this does not mean that they never relinquish the social form in which they have aquired certain productive forces. On the contrary, in order that they may not be deprived of the result attained and forfeit the fruits of civilisation, they are obliged, from the moment when the form of their intercourse no longer corresponds to the productive forces acquired, to change all their traditional social forms." Letter to Annenkov, Selected Correspondence, p.8
5.9.3 Universality
Any picture that I attempted to paint of the future would be coloured by a much greater degree of contact, awareness and knowledge than exists now or is suggested in Gilmac's notes. Universality is no mere idea in men's heads—it is rooted in material conditions. It will become an actuality when the idea of it is " in the air", and the form of society that will result will bear a direct relation to the
universal means used to bring it about.
As an example, let us take thsr dissemination of news. It is reasonable to suppose that, after elimination of " politics", society gossip, murders, etc., there will still be a demand for information about what is going on in the world—a demand that will probably be enhanced in other directions. In social organisation prior to Capitalism, "the world" consisted cf a tribe, a village, or at most a city. To-day, our news is largely national and, to a certain extent, international. With Socialism it will become world-wide, which does not necessarily mean the absence of more localised news. It is impossible to foretell what the means of mass communication will be, but it seems likely that there will be an increase rather than a diminution in the points of social contact.
5.9.4 Organic Unity
Perhaps a better word to describe the world than " unit " would be " organism ". This complex organism, which has grown from the single cell, is at present diseased, but the trouble is not to be remedied by removing some of the nerve fibres. When the treatment (social revolution) is given, the patient (humanity) won't become simpler—he will just be made to " work " better.
So "gigantic buildings, huge liners and other monstrous products of man's ingenuity " might conceivably be adapted to the needs of the new society. For it is not so much the size of the buildings that is monstrous, but the uses to which they are at present put. I am prepared to envisage some gigantic buildings under Socialism only because they might be more convenient in which to administer certain affairs than another type of building.
The world won't be a unity because lots of people in communities will think it is a unity. It will be so because material developments will have taken place (far more extensive than any of us can now forecast) that will knit people together in society as indissolubly as the separate cells in their bodies are knit together.
S.R.P.

Forum Journal 1953-06 March

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

6. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
MARCH 1953

6.1 WHICH WORKERS SHALL THE PARTY SUPPORT?
The Wrong Approach of Selectivity
During A recent forum at Head Office on “Is our approach to propaganda outdated?" several members argued that we should be more selective in our propaganda. They stated that just as in our ordinary social acquaintanceships we recognise that some people are preferable to others, so it should be with our propaganda.
Some argued that outdoor propaganda was almost useless, on the grounds that to direct our propaganda to everybody was, in fact, to interest nobody.
It was stated by one member that advertisers recognised the need for selectivity. For example. patent medicine firms couched their advertisements in language and pictures that would appeal to the older generation, because they would be more likely to have the complaints that the advertised products claimed to cure. It was suggested that we should learn from this and direct our propaganda to people who are more likely to be interested in our case. One thing I noticed was the vagueness as to who were the people most likely to be interested.
Are these people to be recognised politically —are they Labour or Communist Party supporters ? Perhaps we could recognise them occupationally: are dockers, for example, more likely adherents to the S.P.G.B. than, say, clerical workers ? Or perhaps Trade Unionists are better material than non-Trade Unionists?
To put it another way: can we say that Roman- Catholics, Jews, capitalists, managers, small-shopkeepers, prostitutes, farmers, professionals. women, homosexuals, people of so-called backward countries, fascists, are groupings which will be least likely to be attracted to our case ?
During my speaking experience for the party I have heard all these and other groups described as " the least likely ", " the most backward"- "outside the pale", "wrong type. "not worth arguing with", I must
add that I have in the past been as guilty of this as anyone.
Were I to add up all the groups that have been so described, it would leave us only with ourselves - no. not even us, because every Party member has belonged to one or more of these groupings. I think that we can dismiss this “selective argument" as mere prejudice.
6.1.1 Will Capitalists Benefit ?
Of course, there is one form of selection which the Party has always employed; namely, that our propaganda has to be directed to the " working-class alone", that capitalists have Httle or nothing to gain from socialism and consequently will always oppose it.
It is my contention that all this talk of selectivity, including the selection of the ' working-class alone' as the saviours of humanity, springs from the fact that the nature of socialism has been forgotten, disregarded, or not known.
There are no groups of people, past, or present, who, living under a property, regime, have not been antagonistic to each other. Socialism is a way of living; living harmoniously with all people. It is untrue that there are people who have little or nothing to gain by the establishment of socialism.
If our propaganda is based upon an appeal to the " working-class alone" and openly or irnplicitiy excludes all others, then the picture wc create in the minds of our listeners or readers, and in OUR OWN, is not that of socialism but of a universal, idealized capitalism. It conjures up the picture that all people will live as the rich people live. What else can be drawn from the statement that "the capitalists have nothing to gain but all to lose by the establishment of socialism " ? To any reasonable person it must mean that, if capitalists have nothing to gain, they must already have what the workers.will gain.
It is this kind of argument that leads some to think that mass-production must continue, for if we are all to possess what rich people have to-day. then obviously we will need vast plant and machinery along with excessive sub-" division of labour in order to turn out' the palaces, cars, luxury liners and gadgets that clutter up the lives of people today.
Of course, there are those who state that it is true that all people will benefit by the establishment of socialism but that we will never be able to convince the capitalists of this.
If it is true that all will gain, then it is possible to explain this to all, including the wealthy.
6.1.2 Exclude None
What then is there that makes it impossible for capitalists or any other group to under-
stand and accept socialism ? The enly answer I can see is that the capitalists' position is act solely due to particular conditions, but is sack that they have fceen affected biologieaflj capitalists are somehow prevented from grasping and accepting ideas that others can. This would also be true of all the groupings, such as fascists, women, and Use people in "backward countries " whom, it is said, we will never get to understand and accept socialist ideas.
Another damaging aspect of this point of view is that if we take the attitude that there are groups that cannot understand and accept our ideas then our propaganda must be framed to exclude them. This they will understand— that we have excluded and rejected them, which must produce hostility.
The customary title of debate indicates what I mean "Which Party Should the WORKING-CLASS Support, Socialist or Conservative ?"
The implication contained in the title is that, if workers support the Tories they are misguided, but for the capitalist it is correct that they should support the conservatives and the title is so framed to exclude rich people from thinking that they should support socialism.
It is this approach in our propaganda which prevents people from discarding violence as a means to the establishment of socialism.

Further, once we commence excluding this or that group, we will attract people who will fare their own particular prejudices and the Party will find that some members will rule out capitalists, others all non-trade unionists, yet others all clerical workers. The logic of this will be that soon the formula for debates will be changed to " Which workers should the Party support?"
The answer to all this, as I see it, is that our propaganda should convey our ideas of socialism to ALL people; presenting our case to them as HUMAN BEINGS. It is true that they will oppose our point of view from whichever prejudice or group of prejudices they hold, and we can only answer them to the
extent that we have rid ourselves of prejudices.
This we must do if we are true to our socialist outlook—
A WORLD OF HUMAN BEINGS, WORKING FREELY AND IN HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER FOR THE MUTUAL BENEFIT OF ALL.
A. TURNER.
6.2 From America
CANTER CONFUTED
"A socialist party must be supple. Never swaying from its main objectives, it must nevertheless be prepared to alter its attitudes with each new change of material conditions. This is our approach, and on this ground we take our stand."
The above is the concluding paragraph of Canter's reply to the Open Letter written by a group of Boston comrades dealing with " The Ballot and Socialism ". As Canter's concluding thought, it conveys, more than all the preceding. arguments, just what Canter is really driving at To wit: a party supple enough to attract into its ranks others who are supple-minded.
The Socialist movement, however, does not find its basis in suppleness or the supple-minded, but rather in the rigidity of principles drawn from unsupple but established facts. On the other hand, the various organizations, now and in the past, that have made up the so-called working-class movement, have all shown great elasticity and supple-mindedness, with the result that their checkered history has not outrun their checkered thinking. To be sure, a socialist and his organization must be prepared to alter their attitudes with each change of material conditions—and this socialists do and have always done. By far more than inference, Canter accuses the socialists who sponsored the Open Letter of not doing this, i.e., changing with the changes of new material conditions. He states:
“But the Open Letter position does not
permit the growth of a movement of any sort, because it immediately excludes socialists. This is the importance of this ballot issue, that it stands in the way—as similar dogmatic positions have stood in the way on other occasion—of' the uniting of the socialists into one organization.”
6.2.1 Bone of Contention
Since when have socialists been interested in the growth of a " movement of any sort"? They are only interested in an organization composed of socialists. By which means united by socialist principles and a goal of socialism. If anything has “stood in the way " of others joining the ranks of organized socialism, it has not taken long for us to discover what the obstacle was. It was always some principle that became the bone of contention.
The question to which Canter, himself devotes so much time and space is such a principle and also the bone of contention. It is a basic principle of socialism; stated and restated from the " Communist Manifesto of 1848 " down to the most recent writings in the socialist press. If this principle has "stood in the way" of workers joining the ranks of socialism, so much stronger has been the socialist movement. In any case, an examination of such individuals has generally proven that this is not their only disagreement with the principles of socialism. Canter, of course, knows this too well. For he opens his reply with:
" The Open Letter issued by a group of Boston comrades has succeeded in doing one thing: it has elevated to a principle question whether or not socialism will come about through the ballot. The Open Letter categorically states that socialism will come about in one way only, through the ballot. If this position is adopted, then the line of demarcation between socialists and non-socialists will be the beliel! or non-belief in the ultimate efficacy of the ballot, and those who believe it may result from some other action by the conscious majority are repudiators of majority action, advocates of violence—in short, hold principles a socialist should not hold ..."
To which we can add that the above is not " the " line of demarcation, but " a" line of demarcation. Just as important, however, in sorting out the ewes from the lambs. Immediately following the above, Canter throws in the following, for extra weight.
"... Another reason for the untenability of the Open Letter position is that it violates the materialistic approach to history. Before even the material conditions—those of a conscious majority—are at hand the Open Letter advocates knew them in advance."
If the existence of " a conscious majority " was the only " material condition " necessary for the socialist revolution, then Canter would be correct in his accusation. However, such is not the case. Decidedly important, as a material condition, is the modus operandi by which the socialist consciousness can be applied to other material conditions of capitalist society and turned into the reality of a socialist society.
6.2.2 Violation of the M.C. of H.?
It has long been our contention that in the advanced capitalist countries all of the material conditions, excepting the one of working class socialist consciousness, exist. It has also been our claim, and still is, that the method by which they can emancipate themselves (whenever they so desire) exists also, and has developed within the womb of the society which will produce the new society. By this we mean the ballot. How the recognition of an established fact, its usage in the future, is a violation of the Materialist Conception of History, we do not understand. The same method of deductive science is being used every day in different spheres of science without making the scientists unscientific. If anyone violates the Materialist Conception of History, it would be, to quote Canter, "... those who are of the opinion that history may dictate other methods to the conscious majority ..."
History does not include ' ifs' and ' maybe '. It is composed of the facts of what was and what is. Conjecture does not make for history. Deduction from facts does. Even Canter departs from conjecture id the following:
"... We recognise the necessity of majority action, that the political state must be over-conic, that the change must be a revolutionary one without any transition periods. Beyond this at this particular stage we cannot go . . . "
He is speaking of the future just as much as the writers of the Open Letter. Just what is it that makes him so certain about what the workers must do in the future, which he claims makes others unscientific and violators of the Materialist Conception of History? It is precisely this point, the overcoming of the political state that puts the writers of the Open Letter on solid ground. It is their claim, based upon the reality of fact, that the necessary machinery for overcoming the political state is at hand, i.e., the Ballot. Canter, for all his claims, agrees with this, for he himself states: " What else is there to advocate to-day but the ballot?" (Italics mine).
But, having asked the question, Canter is dissatisfied with the answer given by the writers of the Open Letter, and proceeds to show the difficulties that confront the working class in the U.S.A. Not one of these or all of them could prevent a socialist-minded working class from reaching its goal. What has been produced by legal enactment can be abolished by legal enactment, the time element notwithstanding. In anv case. Canter provides his own reply when he says:
" When tho conscious majority comes. about does one think for a moment that it will permit itself to be thwarted by such measures as required by the constitution ?"
S.F. & G.G.

6.3 TOWN AND COUNTRY
Agreement on the Future

"BEFORE tackling the main subject, I must briefly answer two direct questions in Comrade Turner's article opposing mass production. Readers will be able to assess the merits of the other points without further debate here.
First, he questions whether a single, standardised process can relieve arduous toil. Remember, all I maintain is that some mass production is preferable to achieving a similar result by other methods. For example, except for special purposes, I cannot imagine society abandoning the use of screw-making machines —i.e,, mass-producing screws—and laboriously ~making each one separately. My case is that socialist society is not going to stop using such machines (assuming the end-product is still required) just because some people might prefer to make things like screws individually rather than use the hated standardised machine processes.
Turner wants to hear from members about the " differences" which will make mass-production. methods attractive within socialism. The answer is they won't be particularly attractive or repulsive for that matter. They may simply be preferable to the alternatives. I agree there is no question of socialism giving us repetitive jobs that require the use of only a small part of our nervous system and brain capacity. Machines will be used as a substitute for slave labour, performing monotonous tasks and leaving people free to do essentially human work.
6.3.1 Abolishing the Cities
The masters of scientific socialism advocated the abolition of town and country, asserts Comrade Turner. But the actual quotations from Capital and Landmarks only include the phrase " the separation between town and country"'. To abolish the separation is not necessarily to abolish every distinction between the two. When we say that socialism will abolish the separation between men and women in the sphere of work, we do not mean that men and women will be abolished. In order to get Engels' quotation in perspective , one should read the preceding paragraphs. The large cities which " will take much time and trouble to abolish " are the factory towns. Engels doesn't refer to socialism, but writes of “the proportionate distribution of the greater -industry throughout the country ". Earlier, in a letter to Lange, he had written: “ We start from the premise that the same forces which have created modern bourgeois society also suffice to raise the productive power of each individual, so much that he can produce enough for the consumption of 2, 3, 4, or 5 individuals. Then town industry, as it is today,, will be able to spare people enough to give agriculture quite other forces than it has had up to now: science will then at last be applied in agriculture on a large scale and with the same consistency as in industry.
Selected Correspondence p.199
And this process has, in fact, already begun. The town has spread into the country—satellite towns are being developed and farms mechanised. True, the increase in productivity is to some extent offset by the more " roundabout " mass-production methods. On the other hand, the growth of universality, being brought about by the world-wide nature of capitalism, means that the gap between the city slicker and the country yokel is narrowing, despite the excessive localisation of production for a market. With socialism, it may still be convenient to localise certain production (e.g., of minerals), and to gather together populations in towns—but nothing like the kind Engels wanted to abolish.
6.3.2 Towns of the Future
Whether or not. William Morris and Belfort Bax are numbered among the ' masters' of scientific socialism, their ideas of the future are more reasonable than many, and do, I think, provide a sound basis for discussion: _
" As to the manufacturing towns . . . they would be superfluous, while on the other hand there would be no great centres of government or finance to attract huge populations or to keep them together. In the future, therefore, towns and cities will be built and inhabited simply as convenient and pleasurable systems of dwelling-houses, which would include, of course, all desirable public buildings."— —" Socialism—Its Growth and Outcome ", p. 314.
But whatever our particular concept of the towns or communities of the future, we must always keep in mind the significance that such speculation has for our propaganda. For, regardless of our personal preferences, the way in which we answer the question " what will sodalism be like?" will largely determine whether our audiences are made to feel with us, apart from us, or even against us.
6.3.3 Significance for Propaganda
Our main object is to get the people we address to agree that the things we propose are practicable and desirable. We all have different ideas about what the future society will look like, which we can discuss endlessly and to which we can convert each other. But remember that all this is sterile unless something emerges that will convince others, that will heb them to understand the principles upon which socialist society must be built.
We are accustomed to saying that we know the past, and indeed much undoubtedly accurate information about it is available. But the n:cture we piece together is not of what really took place—it is our picture of the past, coloured by our present experiences. Much more so is the future, of which we have no concrete data, necessarily our picture of the future.
The use of the scientific method demands that we ascend from the particular to the general. But with the future this is not possible—there is no ' particular' to ascend from. We are accordingly obliged to describe the future by agreeing upon generalities; seeing, as through a fog, the vague outlines of the new society, which become clearer as our audiences approach it in ideas and we all approach it in time.
What do most people want from life? Take away all the products of capitalist influence (difficult though this may be) and you have a residue of human hopes, desires and fears that is remarkably universal. Each of us, in becoming a socialist, integrates these feelings with the formal socialist case—though sometimes this process is painfully slow. Perhaps our propaganda has not been as helpful as it could be. There is so much common ground that we and our audiences share, so many ways to express and appreciate our similarities, that it seems a pity to accentuate the trifling differences.
6.3.4 Points of Agreement ?
Any summary of the ground covered in dealing with the whole question of future production must be inadequate, since its ramifications are so all-embracing. The articles on mass-production may be taken in conjunction with the extracts from "The New Vision" (Jan. Forum) and with the article on Wealth Production in this issue. From these I tentatively suggest that the following points will be acceptable to members:
1.There will be no belt-systems under Socialism. Machines will be used to perform tedious and irksome tasks, but not at the expense of making people into appendages of machines.
2.The division of labour will be such as to encourage the maximum all-round development of human potentialities. (How this will be achieved is a more contentious matter.)
:3. The separation between town and country will be abolished—there will be no vast cities like London to-day. Production will be to satisfy the requirements of individuals and society in a mutually complementary way.
4. There will no longer be a separation between work and leisure. Work will become the expression of living.
There is vast scope here for making contact with people. Let our speakers and writers go at it—and put some flesh and blood on that skeleton of production for use.
S.R.P.
6.4 THE BURDEN OF HEAD OFFICE
THE Party is going through a bad period. Ostensibly, through lack of money, it is deferring tasks and cutting down on propagamda activities that are crying out to be undertaken. There is the new edition of Questions of the Day to be published, other pamphlets have been written; provincial propaganda, the hiring of halls, publicity and election campaigns are all held up, awaiting funds. When somebody asks (as more and more are doing) why one of these activities can't be lannched or expanded, the inevitable answer is. “we can't afford it".
But let's take a look at what we can afford. We are the proud owners of nine rooms at Clapham. The Party, whose only justification for existence is the spreading of socialist propaganda, kids itself that these shackles on its limbs are both necessary and desirable.
Do you remember a circular sent out by the New Premises Fund Organisers just before we bought 52 Clapham High Street? It said: , “ In more suitable rooms, the large amount of work needed to be done in our organization can be done more quickly and more efficiently." And just after we moved in, the Premises Committee joyously wrote (S.S., Nov. 1951), “ In the past, the S.P.G.B. has been handicapped in its organization by unsuitable premises . . . We were fortunate to find more suitable premises . . . The premises,
we believe, will serve a long-felt want as a centre of social life for members and friends." Such was the enthusiasm for No. 52 that not even seven months of living with her could damp the ardour of her supporters, though her extravagant tastes were becoming obvious.
More recently, a writer in Forum (Dec.) thought that " the overwhelming majority of the membership like and want the sort of facilities offered by the present (or similar) premises." Yes, to some it still feels good to be married to old Jezebel; but now the honeymoon period is over, let us make a few comparisons with our irresponsible bachelor days at Rugby Chambers.
6.4.1 Crowning Irony
First, it is said that Party work can now be done more quickly and effieciently. More quickly?—presumably because there is room for more helpers. But there aren't more helpers! The fact is, more members used to crowd into the 1,200 sq. ft. of Rugby Chambers on, a Tuesday than do into the 3,000 sq. ft. of No. 52. More efficiently? Maybe the subcommittees find it easier to work in? On the whole, the reverse is true—and the crowning irony is the Premises Committee's admission that their work was made difficult because some of them live on the other side of London!
Then, Rugby Chambers was "unsuitable". You couldn't hold public meeting there. Nor can you at No. 52—where it's not the landlord
that stops you but the public. But, at least, we acknowledged the fact at Rugby Chambers, and held good indoor meetings at the T.U. Club, Leicester Square. Now what happens in that big room at H.O.? There are the E.C. meetings, a class or two and a forum—hardly ever is the audience bigger than the old E.C. room at Rugby Chambers could have held.
A centre of social life? A.P. summed it up as a club in Clapham. However welcome the socialist cup of tea and game of darts, such considerations should not be ranked as activities of the Party for which premises are required.
6.4.2 There Are Other Premises
The chief defence of No. 52 is that " it was the lesser of two evils". But it can hardly be maintained that there was no other property to be found. If we could buy a place for £4,000 and £10 a week running expenses (yes, that's what it costs) then smaller premises would have cost proportionately less. And, in fact, while No. 52 was being bought, I submited details of seven rooms in good repair at Chalk Farm for £3,000 and about £6 a week —but unfortunately they were sold in the interim.
In the last year or so, more property has come on to the market, and it is cheaper. Though it might be hard to sell No. 52, we could assuredly buy a smaller place that would be perhaps £4 a week cheaper to run. Or it is now quite possible that we could rent some rooms at less than £10 a week, thus freeing our whole purchase price.
What sort of place should we look for? I suggest it should be reasonably central (which Clapham is not); about half the floor space of No. 52, i.e. a bit bigger than Rugby Chambers; and in good repair. The only work for the Party in which a socialist builder or decorator can take a pride is helping to propagate socialist ideas.
As I see it, we need lose none of the facilities at No. 52, except possibly the canteen and the rare full-to-capacity meetings in the hall. True, we should probably be overcrowded on a Tuesday evening. However, we could survive that. And there wouldn't be a spare room for whoever fancies he needs one—but this is a luxury the Party can well do without.
6.4.3 Party Finances
Many members hold the mistaken view that wc can increase Party income by the amount that we increase prices of literature, dues stamps, etc. They fail to see the problem of finance as a whole. Thus the raising of H.O. dues from 2d. to 4d. means on paper increasing receipts from £450to £900 p.a. In fact, however, dues receipts at 2d. have been just over £300—and the Party will be very lucky to get an extra £300. But this will affect donations, so the net gain may be less than £200. It is not that members have a fixed amount to give the Party, but that paying Peter often robs Paul.
To make the S.S. 66.., for example, would increase income only at the cost of losing readers. But a reduction in expenditure has no such drawback. If we save £200 a year on HO, it is a real economy, not a false one. If on the other hand, we close the gap at no 52 by increased dues, it will only be at the expense of other funds.
Only by reducing H.O. expenditure will we gain real benefit from increased dues, some of which can be earmarked for propaganda. Of course, some say we should raise money – by a mortgage or other loan. But this is no solution since there is still the liability to repay. Even a substantial donation would only ease matters temporarily.
Until we can widen the circle of our contributors, we are faced with the necessity of cutting expenditure where it will do least harm to our propaganda. It is not the shabby offices that are a disgrace to the Party, but the shabby propaganda. We must cut our losses at No. 52.
S.R.P.
6.5 USES FOR H.O,
Now that we have had the Clapham premises for two years, it is obvious that we are not getting a quarter out of them that we should. It my opinion we should be using them every night for some activity the whole year round. Naturally attendance at the beginning of such activity would be small. The oak was once an acorn.
In brief, this is what should be done.
1. A lecture every Sunday night the whole year round, with a programme in the S.S. two months ahead.
2. The E.C. to meet one night.
3. A regular evening for Inter Party Discussions.
4. One for discussing current events and problems of the day.
5. One for study classes, especially the
study of public speaking and debating.
6. One for social activities and games.
7. On the remaining evening S.W. London branch meets, and various committee meetings.
8. This is most important. All meetings
should start at 7 pm. weekdays, and 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Croydon Branch members and those coming from Caterham, Coulsdon find that they have to leave in the middle of most discussions to get home, and this applies to many who come long distances. There is nothing to prevent Saturday and Sunday meetings starting at 6 p.m.; then when over cups of tea, darts or arguments are desired these won't then interfere with the business of the evening. But to put them first means that a lot of comrades are not going to waste their time by attending half a meeting and having to go because of poor transport. Naturally I know the objections to all these, and I've got the answers. But unless we do something about it we shall fail to take advantage of the Party's best opportunity of expanding that we have ever had. Let's act now or it will go through our fingers.
H. JARVIS
6.6 WHAT IS MASS PRODUCTION?
FIVE main techniques, or methods, of production have been used in Britain in the last 500 years. They are as follows:
6.6.1 1. Handicraft
This is the simplest method of wealth production, in which a man works on materials with a tool, and produces whole articles, such as tables and chairs. Finger skill is essential in this method, and proficiency is termed craftsmanship. William Morris is the best known student and advocate of this method in recent years.
6.6.2 2. Manufacture
In this method, a number of workers are concentrated in a single workshop, and though each works on material with a tool, he does only a limited number of operations; he specialises and becomes a cog in a manufacturing process, for the manufacturing method consists essentially of a process of which all the working parts are human being. This is the type of mass production described and criticised by Adam Smith and his teacher, Ferguson.
6.6.3 3. Power-driven Machinery
This is the method of the Mechanical Era which started with the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth century. Here man is a machine-minder, looking after a machine which consists of a power unit, a transmission mechanism and a working tool. The physical exertions of the man are replaced by a power unit, while the transmission mechanism controls the tool in place of his fingers. There has been some controversy in the past as to whether the transmission mechanism, which eliminates finger skill, is more basic than the power unit, which replaces human energy. But the development of each went hand in hand with the other in capitalist society, because the existence of a crude engine made the need of a transmission mechanism clear and vice versa.
In the mechanical era, handicraftsmanship is replaced as much as possible by machinery, and the craftsman of this era is the mechanic or engineer. This work can be just as interesting as handicraft work, though now a large proportion of the workers are relegated to monotonous machine operating.
This is the method of production analysed, and vividly laid bare by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.
6.6.4 4. The Belt System
This is essentially the manufacturing method streamlined by using power to drive a conveyor belt, which carries the object under construction from worker to worker, each of whom merely repeats a few simple actions on each object as it passes him. The Chicago stockvards of the late 19th century, in which a pig was carried along on an overhead convevor. is a rudimentary example of this rnethod, but it came of age in 1913, when Ford introduced it into motor car production. The belt can easilv be speeded up, and to keep the workers active. thugs have been employed, of which the Pinkerton Agency of Chicago is an
example. Some of Upton Sinclair's novels, for example "The Flivver King", describes this method of wealth production.
The conveyor belt system may be regarded as a special case of the general analysis called Time and Motion Study, which is the science of treating man as a cog in an industrial machine. Such refinements increase man's slavery to machinery, in contrast to the introduction of machinery to eliminate toil.
6.6.5 5. Automatically Controlled Machinery
Once this type of machine has been set up, it will continue to perform certain operations as long as power and raw materials are supplied to it, testing the products, and if necessary readjusting itself, to continue producing products within the desired tolerance. An example of a very rudimentary control system is the thermostat on a home refrigerator, which switches the motor of the cooling mechanism on or off to regulate the temperature as desired.
This method of production is based on an understanding of the science of electricity, just as the power-driven machinery is based on mechanical science. Crude autocontrols can be hydromechanical, but only with the simplicity of electrical devices does it come into its own. We already understand enough of electronics to use thermionic (radio) valves and photocells to make most of the present-day productive processes automatic, though as yet such devices have only been applied to a few industrial processes. But guided missiles are being provided with these electronic controls, and there is no fundamental difference in controlling a homing anti-aircraft rocket and an industrial process.
Still the best non-technical exposition of the science and social implications of automatic controls is The Human Use of Human Beings, by Norbert Wiener, a leading research worker
in this field, which he terms Cybernetics.
* * *
From this classification the following points of interest emerge:
3.The term Mass Production could be applied to all but one (handicraft) of these methods.
4.All five methods are in use in the world to-day.
5.The Belt System is the Manufacturing Method of the Machine Age.
6.Productive processes have been simplified so that each man does merely a few simple manipulations, and then a device is constructed to perform these manipulations more systemically (because it is cheaper), needing man then only for maintenance and adjustment. The first half of this ' cycle' make man a servant to the "Iron Master", while the latter half tends to make him redundant to the productive processes, or in other words. liberates him from the necessity of toil.
7.It is necessary to understand current natural science to discuss such subjects as the relevance of mass production to a socialist society in a useful way, because production then will use the knowledge of nature available to make life a joy, not merely continue to use the methods that were suitable for capitalist society. We must use the past as a guide, not a master, because if life is to be a great adventure, it can hardly be a mere reflection of mankind's sordid past.
6.6.6 Socialism
Amongst other obstacles to describing socialist society, is the fact that we know only the potentialities of our present-day knowledge of nature at best. We are able to describe socialist productive methods as they could be to-morrow, but are largely ignorant of the techniques that may be available even in the near future. Here we break the vicious circle by considering a few aspects of socialism as it could be technically to-morrow. We need a set of reasons why socialism should have certain features, not a romantic description served on a golden platter of elegant literary style, as given so ably by William Morris in News from Nowhere.
The potentiality of productive techniques to-day is such that automatically-controlled machines could perform a number of necessary, but tedious or irksome tasks, and much of the apparatus could be drastically simplified. Already in the search for robust circuit components for aircraft, rockets and tanks, etc., a new crystal rectifier has been developed to
replace the complex vacuum thermionic valve for rectification. In fact, new technical devices need be neither ugly or crude—that is only the -imprint of capitalist society, which injects a mad rush into present-day research, producing merely cheap appartus to serve the needs of capital, not humanity. Scientists, like other people, will be much happier producing elegant, aesthetically satisfying devices.
As a specific example consider the question of illumination. The writer submits that electric lighting (supplied by filament bulbs, fluorescent strip-lights or some similar device) driven by a generator (which could be a housetop windmill or solar energy absorber, coupled with storage batteries) would be preferable to an oil lamp, and why not mass produce such devices, using automatically-controlled machinery?
In the field of materials, plastics have become notorious as cheap substitutes, and so possibly some people would suggest that socialist society will have no use for them, forgetting that they must be judged on their intrinsic properties and not on their usage in capitalist society.. In a socialist society, shoddy goods will not be produced, and tools will not be discarded when they wear out or break, but the material will be reprocessed and so " dirty work ", such as mining, will be minimised. In these conditions, the large group of plastics which arc readily remoulded on heating—the thermoplastics—are likely to be very useful.
6.6.7 Speed
Although speed does not strictly fall within the scope of this article, the following points should be noted. Certain natural phenomena, such as hurricanes, necessitate prompt, swift actions if people are not to be maimed and lives lost. Possibly in the not so distant future, weather may be controlled by some leisurely automatic process. But at the moment the only experiments on controlling weather— cloud seeding with dry ice and other materials to produce rain—need all the speed of modern devices, such as aircraft, and have (if any) a very modest success. Therefore, the only defence to-day is provided by aircraft reconnaissance, coupled with radio warning services, and the introduction of socialism will not alter that. Similarly, while accidents will be less frequent in a socialist society, medical emergency services will still need prompt, rapid transport. To summarise, in a socialist society speed will be used to save life, not to destroy it.
In conclusion, I must add that I know that many discoveries to-day merely make more toil, but I suggest that is a characteristic of capitalist society, not the intrinsic nature of the discoveries. Once scientists are given the chance to build machines for a happy world, they will not fail; in fact, I submit that only then will craftsmanship escape from the bondage of handicraftsmanship,
ROBERTUS.
6.7 INHERITED OR ACQUIRED?
Reply to Comrade Bott
COMRADE P. BOTT {Forum, January) puts forward a number of statements about the inheritance of ability which are quite out of keeping with the scientific and objective view of the subject which socialists should hold. He gives a short account of Behaviourism (a doctrine which in its pure form is practically -untenable, and which is repudiated by almost all present-day psychologists) not admitting either to agreement or disagreement with it; the ideas of William James, Jung MacDougall and Spearman are summed up in a short paragraph; and he quotes the performance of six athletes, which can prove nothing whatever. But most important is the statement that " not the single piece of objective evidence exists in support of the genetic theory of the inheritance of special abilities ".
This is simply untrue. How, in principle, could we decide whether an ability was inherited or not? We must obviously consider this very seriously, because either there is no possible way of settling the matter to everyone's satisfaction (in which case there is no point in investigating the matter: we can go on hugging our prejudices) or else there does exist a method for deciding the matter.
6.7.1 A Matter of Degree
There is no sense in the question: " Is this particular ability completely inherited, or is it
completely made by the environment?" Any reputable book on the subject will tell you that there is no sense in talking about "either heredity or environment ". All human abilities are formed by both. Even in processes which are far more automatic than practically any of man's, such as the nest-building of birds, environmental factors (such as the shape of the place where the nest is built) can alter the performance considerably. And equally obviously, even the lowly chameleon, whose appearance is almost exclusively determined by the environment, could not be so determined unless his hereditary constitution enabled him. How much more in man, who is far more complex, must the two sides mingle and interweave ?
The question at issue in any particular case, then, reduces itself to: "Is this particular ability more inherited than acquired, and if so, how. much more?"—and vice versa. This will not please those victims of the " either-or-", who still love their answers to be all black or all white, but it must be recognised before any progress can be made in the practical solution of the problem.
6.7.2 How To Investigate It
Let us take an actual example—preferably a rather frivolous one, so that our emotions will not cloud judgment too much. Let us
ask the question: " Is the ability to stand on one's head for more than a minute mainly inherited, or mainly due to environment?" The method of settling this point will be the same method as that which we should use in settling any question of this type.
The first thing we shall do is to find a pair of identical twins who were separated at birth or soon after, and brought up by different people in different parts of the country. We shall then test them for this ability, and also ask questions both of them and of those responsible for them or friendly with them, to find out such things as when they first stood on their heads, whether they once could but now can no longer, owing to age, disease, accidents, etc., : collecting all strictly relevant material. We shall then compare the two: We find, say, that both can do it. They both first did it at school at about the same age. We go on, and find another pair of identical twins who have been brought up apart, and do the same thing . . . and so on, with as many pairs as we can find. We should recall that identical (one-egg) twins have an identical hereditary makeup. Fraternal (two-egg) twins are no more alike than any brothers or sisters.
We now have a set of observations from which we can already tell something. If, in each pair of twins examined, we find that either both or else neither can do it, we are well on the road to establishing that it's very largely hereditary: whereas if we find that in half the pairs, both twins perform the same, hi in the other half they perform differently, we shall be equally far towards showing that heredity plays only a very small part.
Our next job will be to do the same tests, etc., with the same number of pairs of fraternal twins who have been brought up together. Here the results will have a complementary meaning. If in every case either both can do it. or both cannot, we shall probably not be far wrong in assuming that environment plays the major role: whereas if in half the cases both perform similarly, and in the other half dissimilarly, it would seem unlikely that environiment could play a preponderant part.
But, to make sure, we shall test also identical twins who have been brought up together, and fraternal twins who have been brought up apart. By combining the results of the four groups in a suitable statistical formula, we can not only find out whether the ability we are testing is mainly hereditary or mainly environmental in its origin, but also how much is due to the one factor and how much to the other. Depending on the formula we adopt, this will be expressed in the form of " odds", a proportion, or percentage.
6.7.3 How Not To Do It
There is no other method which will give such accurate results, though any method which uses a similar principle will get results which have some pretensions to scientific respects.
But Comrade Bott's "method", of taking six athletes with (presumably) different parents, but with an environment in at least one respect (athletic training) similar, can prove precisely nothing—except that similar environments can, under favourable conditions, sometimes produce similar results, even when the hereditary constitutions are different. It did not need Comrade Bott to tell us that. We have all seen dead-heats. But we have also seen a Zatopek. Apparently, Comrade Bott has not.
Comrade Bott isolated these six, without comparing them with any other
six. This sort of metaphysical isolation of cases which one thinks to be favourable to one's argument is unscientific in the extreme, and does great harm to the claim of Socialism to be a scientific and reasoned case.
The method of science is not to find a lot of favourable instances, or indeed a lot of unfavourable instances, but to use a principle which will give a positive answer, accounting for both favourable and unfavourable instances.
6.7.4 The Principle Involved
What is the principle involved in the twin-method of working? It is this: (1) If two people have a very similar heredity and very different environments, very close similarities are more likely to be due to heredity than to environment, and very marked differences are more likely to be due to environment than to heredity ; and (2) Where two people have different heredity and similar environments, similarities will be mainly due to environment, and differences to heredity.
At once, we can see certain difficulties with these two assumptions, and more particularly with the second.- The difficulty with the first is that while it's easy enough to find people with a " very similar heredity"—identical twins have exactly similar heredity—it's not so easy to find a " very different" environment. Almost any environment would be dominated by the capitalist system, and would therefore be very largely similar. The ideal thing would be to swap one of a pair of British and one of a pair of Arapesh twins at birth, for example, and note all the difference and similarities that appeared as the four children grew up. But for science to interfere with people in this way would perhaps be unpardonable. Short of this, however, it is difficult to see how the two environments could be so very different. Still, they could be different enough for our purpose if the two children were brought up in different families, went to different schools, had different holiday, climatic conditions, food, accents and relations to town and country.
When we come to assumption (2), there are
two difficulties to face. The first is: How can two people have " different heredity " ? It is very difficult for two people to have no genetical similarity. We all know, for example, that two completely different people can both have blue eyes, and therefore at least one gene in common. There are many other characters which are largely determined genetically, and one could never guarantee that two people we selected would not have quite a few of them in common. This objection has even more weight when we reflect that the people actually used in these experiments were fraternal twins, who both had the same parents!
But the objection is not a fatal one. It is not necessary that the two people should be completely different. To ask that they should be is to exhibit the black-and-white mentality so characteristic of mechanistic thinkers. All that is necessary is that they should be very much more different than the identical twins. And this requirement is amply fulfilled.
The second objection is: How can two people have " similar environments " ? But this need not detain us long. The whole effect of capitalism is to make environments more and more similar. And again, it is not necessary that they shall be exactly similar—only very much more similar than those of the separated identical twins.
So that the objections, while performing the very useful function of outlining the limits of accuracy of the possible experiments, only confirm the fundamental truth of the method itself.
To sum up: (1) There is no sense in asking—" Is a specific ability only inherited or entirely learned?" (2) There is a method by which we can find out how much part is played by heredity and how much by environment in any given case, (3) This method involves the use of twins and statistical analysis. (4) Any method which ignores both twins and statistics should be regarded with great suspicion.
J. C. Rowan.
6.8 CAN WE THINK SCIENTIFICALLY?
Socialism is a proposal to apply an idea to a environment. Its efficacy depends upon validity of the idea. The test of the sound-of the idea is the accuracy of the analysis capitalism. An enquiry into the nature of rcacomena merits the term scientific when it is pursued irrespective of emotion, prejudice, ar fear of its consequences.
When sufficient knowledge is available to a social order, its laws may be formulated. These laws may be checked and by repeated reference to similar phenomena at various times and places. If check they eventually become established, that is. acquire acceptance and validity.
Examples: Marx's Law of the Concentration of
Capital. Ricardo's Labour Theory of Value.
The postulation of such laws is more than just analysis of the observed and verified facts. It has an aim, which must be a synthesis of the objective facts and the subjective mental process of the thinker. The aim is the solution of the problem.
When such a chain of reasoning is built up, it becomes a hypothesis—which is not a guess or wish, but a " reasonable assumption by which we explain the orderliness of facts." (Scientific Method, A. Wolf.)
"A hypothesis is a proposition suggested by the evidence available to establish the conclusion but insufficient to demonstrate the conclusion." (A Modern Elementary Logic, by Susan S tabbing, p. 179.) " It has sometimes been held that a hypothetical proposition expresses
doubt. This is a mistake." (Ibid p. 28.)'
Having established a certain fact as our major premiss, we then infer certain conclusions from this, according to the laws of sound and correct thinking. A premiss is a statement from which an inference is drawn.
The science of thinking is called logic—and that process of thought which is controlled by its rules, is called- logical. By definition, a sound hypothesis must have verifiable fact as its major premiss, or first proposition. Example, " ALL men are fallible." This defines or separates MEN, a category from other entities.
Most of the hypotheses of the founder of the science of logic (Aristotle) started off wrongly with an unsound major premiss. If we accept the major premiss of religion, the existence of gods, the rest is logical. Religious controversy will continue, therefore, so long is this unestablished premiss is acceptable.
From the general first clause we may proceed to the second or particular minor premiss—" The Pope is a Man ", that is one of the class MEN; and lastly draw the condition of our reasoning. Therefore, the Pope is fallible. He satisfies both the required conditions. He is a man, all of whom are fallible; therefore he is fallible.
The Socialist Party's claim that the road ro Socialism is through Parliament is such a valid hypothesis. It follows rigorously from trie major premiss that Socialism is democratic; minor premiss, democracy operates through Parliament; conclusion, therefore Socialism is Parliamentary.
6.8.1 A Specialised Art
It is evident that logical thinking is strewn with pitfalls, quite apart from cases where we cannot make hard and fast definitions, for example, in highly abstract conceptions like Truth, Right, Matter, Justice, where formal logic will not work.
Liberal speakers agree with Socialists that Tories merely imitate the Labour Government when elected. Their first premiss only seems like that of Socialists—their conclusion is " Vote Liberal". Their syllogism might read: Tories and Labour are bad ", " Liberals are mot Tory or Labour", "Therefore Vote Liberal; It is Good ". We see, therefore, that thinkers can draw opposing conclusions from the same accepted premisses.
These syllogisms can vary a great deal, both in subject and predicate; they may be positive cr negative, whole or partial. The so-called middle-term, MAN, may be entirely or partially distributed. These cases are the subject matter of logic.
From what has already been said, it should be clear that logical thinking is a specialised art which requires some form of application, or training. Babies are not born with logical brains. Logical thought is an artificial construction of Man to help solve his problems. We owe many great scientific achievements to its use by men like Galileo, Darwin, Pasteur and Faraday. Scientists are trained to use it in their own field, e.g., medicine, arid other workers use it to maintain and control machinery—but many abandon it in politics or religion.
6.8.2 Trial and Error
No human being is completely and utterly logical; precisely because he is a human being —examples: personal relations, sexual attractions. We are all compounds, paradoxical admixtures of Reason and Emotion, and, desirable though it may be that Socialists should be logical and control emotions by reason based on knowledge, there are times in every Socialist's life when feeling will influence action. This is the value of the Socialist Party to the individual member, which by critical discussion should sort out facts from wishes, and discipline Party actions by reason.
If our proposition that logical thought is a specialised study is correct, it is self-evident that the vast majority do not consciously think logically—they do not know how to. Yet it is equally evident that nearly all human beings think—it is essential to normal life. There are grounds for assuming that some animals have the beginnings of a thought process,: —though without the tool of thought (speech) they cannot develop it very far.
The fact is that most human beings are rational, not logical. They think by trial and error, or " hit and miss ", which is not scientific, but empirical
Interesting studies have been made of the way in which many long established dicta of empirical thinking have been confirmed by subsequent scientific investigations. Examples: " Rain before seven, fine before eleven"; "Friday wet, Sunday set"; "Practice makes perfect", etc. Some writers go so far as to claim that even pre-historic' man, chipping a flint, was employing scientific methods, and that the mere formulation of words like " Bear " or " Tree ", because of their abstraction from actual bears or trees, implies the existence of early science. This is one view of Professor Gordon Childe, in " Man Makes Himself ", which, despite profound respect for his great erudition, I cannot accept.
I submit that there is a deep difference between the work of the Egyptian rope-stretchers, as the early priest-engineers were called (who discovered a general law that a triangle of sides 3 4 5 invariably produces a right-angle, and used it to set out buildings in theory in the sand beforehand) and the pre-historics who chipped haphazardly until a certain flint came right. The first discoveries, Fire, Pottery, etc., were probably lucky accidents: the last almost made to order, the Atom bomb, Radar, etc.
6.8.3 Thinking Before Logic
What distinguishes the worst of architects from the best of bees is the ability to draw up a written plan beforehand, wrote Marx. I have heard it said that a baby formulates a scientific theory after burning his hands three or four times in a fire. If scientific investigation is the discovery of connections between phenomena previously thought discrete, then obviously babies cannot formulate, scientific theories by involuntary response to pain.
Some hold that because we cannot lay down a dead-line when primitive man stopped feeling and started thinking (either that man has always thought and thus science has always existed; or because men thought when they built a hut, or trapped an animal) there can be no such thins; as scientific thought to-day.
While it is trite, as T. H; Huxley pointed out. that we all think and act scientifically sometimes, that a chemist using a balance is merely performing the operation of weighing with finer accuracy, it does not' follow that every greengrocer's boy is therefore a scientist when ".grocing his greens".
" It is with logic as with other sciences," wrote old Joe Dietzgen. " They draw wisdom from the mysterious source of plain experience.
Agriculture, e.g., aims to teach the farmer how to cultivate the soil, but fields were tilled long before any agricultural college had begun its lectures. In the same way, human beings think without ever having heard of logic. But by practice they improve their innate faculty of thought, they make progress, they gradually learn to make better use of it. Finally, just as the farmer arrives at the science of agriculture, so the thinker arrives at logic, acquires a clear consciousness of his faculty of thought and a professional dexterity in applying it." (Joseph Dietzgen, Second Letter on Logic, Positive Outcome of Philosophy, p. 82.)
A remarkable example culled from many (the history of Science is the story of them) is that given by Sir Leonard Woolley in his broadcasts on the excavations at Ur, entitled " Digging Up The Past". He points out that Carnavon and Garter owed their discovery of King Tutankhamen's tomb " not to; a stroke of good luck ", but to " patient following out of a logical theory". They knew that the Valley of Thebes was the burial ground of the Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty. All except two kings' graves had been found. Two were therefore still to seek in the valley.'. They dug for three years and were ultimately successful.
6.8.4 Socialists Must Be Logical
The impressive achievements of logical thought prove its superiority over empirical thinking by actual results. " But," says Susan Stebbing, " unfortunately no one has the power to command us to think logically, even if it were so, we have not always the power to obey such a command.' Our thinking is in part determined by our emotional attitudes and our deep-seated prejudices."' (Modern Elementary Logic, p. 160.)
" Hence the first task of the scientist is to describe and classify . . . everyone engages in this type of scientific activity; we pass insensibly from common-sense knowledge through organised common-sense to knowledge that can be called ' strictly scientific' " (Ibid, p. 169.) .
In his thinking about Socialism, at least, whatever he may be in other fields, the active member of the Socialist movement can and should be logical,
" If I seek thus rationally to convince myself or others that a certain proposition is true I must be careful to ascertain whether the premisses are true and I must , aim at constructing a rigorously valid argument. An argument is valid if the conclusion is drawn in accordance with the logical rules, e.g., of the syllogism or the compound arguments. ... Formal logical rules cannot afford us a certain guarantee that our arguments are conclusive, but a keen awareness of them, combined. with a desire to reason correctly, undoubtedly helps us to detect fallacies." Modern Elementary Logic, p. 159.
People who apply these methods to the modern, social problems are scientific socialists, who try to think scientifically about humanity,
HORATIO.

Forum Journal 1953-07 April

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

7. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 7
APRIL 1953

7.1 SHOULD WE BE SELECTIVE?
Which Workers support the Party:
From one point of view the plea for selective propaganda requires little more than the extension into organised progaganda work of a principle which guides our individual efforts to persuade others to our way of thinking.
In our day-to-day personal propaganda for Socialism, we are all selective. We know from experience that, although few of any are completely and utterly " hopeless " prospects, some people have much more in common with our views, are " more sympathetic ", " better prospects ", or " nearer our position " than others. This is to be expected. Even assuming complete biological equality at birth among human beings (a not altogether unwise assumption for ihe sociologist) the differing environmental backgrounds make for differences of viewpoint among people, which render some more recep-iire to socialist propaganda than others.
In this way we explain why only the odd one or two at present respond favourably to our propaganda and ultimately join the Party, while the majority we meet react in a different fashion. When we further consider that people become socialists from many and varied walks of life, we are led to the conclusion that receptivity to socialist propaganda is an attitude or outlook upon life, not necessarily of an occupational character.
From this standpoint, those affinities of outlook with which we are concerned lie not in mere agreement about empirically observable fact, but rather in a similarity of more fundamental or basic ideas in terms of which the day-to-day empirical facts are interpreted and understood. Briefly then, those people whose basic ideas conform more and more closely to our own, whose pattern of generalisations into which the detailed facts of everyday life are assimilated, will be those to whom, other things equal, our propaganda could be more fruitfully directed.
7.1.1 Basic Question of Philosophy
"THE concept of basic or fundamental ideas is not a new one. In our own case we recognise certain of our ideas as derived from more fundamental notions. The D. of P. itself we recognise as a number of generalisations derived from the application of a more general principle (the M.C.H.) to a particular phase of historical development. The M.C.H. in turn we know has derived from the application to the sphere of society of an even more abstract body :f generalisations—materialsm in general, or
the materialist philosophy.
From the foregoing, it follows that similarity of outlook is greatest where the most fundamental (i.e. philosophical) views are most alike. Obversely, outlooks differ most where differences reach down to basic ideas (again philosophical ones). Materialism and idealism present two opposing answers to the basic question of all philosophy—the relation of mind to matter, thought to being, or consciousness to existence (see Engels). The answers materialism gives to this question lead us to the idea of man as a creature of circumstances largely determined by environment, and to the negation of the idea of free will. Idealism, on the other hand, is associated with free will, the " triumph of mind over matter ", concepts of soul and spirit, and vitalistic assumptions generally.
Little wonder that a political materialist and a political idealist, setting out to discuss a social problem, e.g. crime and punishment, become involved in an argument which leaves deep differences of opinion almost invariably unresolved. The former sees the criminal as a product of society, whereas the latter sees the problems of crime and punishment as products of human nature.
When the argument ranges over even wider issues (e.g. would socialism work?) we see the conflict of opinion at its greatest. The following are some of the most popular questions discussed.
1.Would people work without compulsion?
2.Who would do the " dirty " work?
3.What about the criminal?
4.Isn't war human nature?
5.Surely there must be leaders?
All these questions imply this basic problem of philosophy, the relation of man to his environment. This is made clear when we reply to questioners by pointing out that in one way or another they are projecting into the future, as immutable features of human nature, characteristics which we see as derived from and appropriate to certain specific material conditions of society. These questions are not unconnected posers. They arise from a more or less idealistic interpretation of specific social problems. In fact, the more idealistic the interpretation the less "social" and more individual and personal do the problems become. This is seen in that kind of solution that says "recovery begins within," because for that person the problem begins within.
7.1.2 Our Left-Wing Origin
We now come to the first major proposition with regard to propaganda. Those people
to whom propaganda efforts can be more fruitfully directed are those whose basic views are materialist or near materialist.
In the political field, the materialist and idealist attitudes to social problems find their expression in left wing and right wing groups respectively. The more " left " the political movement, the more its theoretical case conflicts with the assumptions of idealism—free will, spirit, soul, God. In the most developed form of left-wing thought—i.e. ourselves, the S.P.G.B.—the conflict is explicit and admits of no compromise. In less developed left-wing thought, the recognition of these conflicting assumptions is less clear. People who believe in God can and do join those organisations and work within them, although very often their conception of God, as actively participating in man's social life, is diluted and modified to a' " God help them as helps themselves" attitude. Be that as it may, however, the general proposition holds that in extreme left-wing politics philosophical thought is uncompromisingly materialist.
I have used the term " left-wing" in connection with the Party, although I realise we do not consider ourselves, and are not in fact, "left-wing" politicians in the "practical politics" and reformist sense of the term. Nevertheless, the name " left-wing" has obvious connections with ourselves the moment we consider the politcial group from which we emerged. We were born of "left-wing" circles. This fact alone is of enormous significance as a historical and evolutionary justification of the views put forward in this article.
Would anyone seriously contend that our Party could have emerged from Conservative or even near-right zving political circles ? Yet a similar assumption is made about supporters of " right-wing " political organisations to-day, i.e. that We are as likely to obtain the understanding support of those who support " right-wing " politics as those who who understand and support " left-wing " groups.
In the above passages I have used terms of which space precludes definition. Very often, however, the meaning of a phrase becomes apparent on scrutiny of its context, Should this not be the case, I will be happy to enter into fuller detail in a future contribution.
J. McGregor.
7.2 ELECTORAL ACTIVITY IN N. PADDINGTON
AT the time of writing, it is likely that W. Field, M.P., will resign. The resulting by-election in North Paddington would provide the opportunity for the Party to implement its Conference decision to contest suitable by-elections whenever possible.
On February 24th, Paddington Branch asked the E.C. to arrange to contest this by-election. The E.C. motion to do so was lost 4-7, on the grounds that the Party was thought to be unable to collect the necessary money without Jeopardising other projects such as the new edition of Questions of the Day. The " consid-ition " that was given to the proposal to contest North Paddington was the decision to make no move to try. No enthusiasm was shown by the majority of E.C. members, no expression however pious) of regret in turning it down —just capitulation, without a struggle to raise a penny for this purpose from the Party that says it wants to contest elections, and particularly by-elections.
We must now reiterate the case for contesting elections, or, rather, for at least trying to contest elections. The advantages of running a concentrated propaganda drive at a by-election are obvious. During the campaign, attention is focussed on the constituency and on the party politics put forward by the candidates. The publicity value is on a national scale and creates an interest and an effect that cannot be achieved by other means.
At present, it is true, the Party is desperately short of money. We urgently need funds to carry on the day-to-day work of the Party, aside from the expense of running an electoral
campaign (minimum £400). But we are confident that if members! and sympathisers know the facts—if they understand the necessity of not letting our propaganda suffer through lack of money—then they will rally round as they have in the past.
If there is a by-election in the offing, then there is no time to lose. A campaign, to be effective, must be planned well beforehand, and machinery set in motion that will slip into top gear as soon as dates are definitely known. The determination to contest elections whenever possible will itself act as a spur to members and sympathisers, who will cease to regard the S.P.G.B. — ai political party — as a mere debating society.
We in Paddington Branch do not believe that lack of money is the only reason for not contesting elections. It is only part of the vicious circle of reduced activity leading to reduced income which, in turn, is the excuse for still further reducing activity. The Party must turn this downward spiral into an upward one. More literature and more meetings require more opportunities for selling literature and for
gathering audiences, and an election campaign is one way of providing such opportunities.
We urged the E.C. to prepare for electoral activity because we believe that the Party can get the money to do whatever the membership is determined to do. It shoud not be a question of priorities. The decision to contest the next General Election, for example, can be made meaningless by adding " if we can afford it". The decision, to be meaningful, must assume the same sort of determination that was shown to purchase Head Office premises.
One final word to the doubters. Electoral •activity does not rob us of literature, meetings and other propaganda.—it gives them a fillip. With enthusiasm, we jump into the propaganda campaign and make it a success.: with doubts, we stand on the edge until we convince ourselves that we can't do it. Unfortunately, those who oppose a certain activity can devalue it simply by refusing to help, or helping halfheartedly. Need we add that Socialism is brought about by the whole-hearted efforts of socialists?
Paddington Branch.
7.3 THE PROPAGANDA OF OUR FUTURE
Reply to Comrade Turner
THE summary of A. Turner's letter ;" to the E.C., published in the December Forum, contains a number of dubious assertions which cannot be accepted without evidence.
The first is that " our opponents no longer have theories ". It is claimed that Gradualism (Labour), Dictatorship (Communist), and Minority Action (Anarchist) are now virtually finished. The " evidence " for this is the members YOU (meaning the reader) meet.
" You seldom meet a Labour or Communist Party member with whom won can argue economic and political theory," says Turner. - This, even if true, is so flimsy as to hardly merit serious consideration. Modern political ;controversy in a literate world is mainly a matter of writing, and documentary evidence is the least one needs before forming any conclusions.
A little thought will show Turner's claim to be a figment of the imagination. If the argument is reduced to the narrow level of personal experience, then I contend that precisely the converse is true. You seldom meet a Labour or Communist member with whom you cannot argue economic and political theory.
7.3.1 Opponents' Theories?
We frequently debate with opponents— Tory, Liberal, Labour, Fabian, etc. What do these opponents say in these discussions? Do they abandon or renounce the theories their parties have been founded on?
A debate recently took place with the Chairman of the London Fabian Society. Comrade Turner took part, attacking the Labour Party and Fabianism, its reformist basis and gradualist policy. If his letter is right, then his speech was wrong.
Every branch carrying on propaganda knows that Labourites and Communists still maintain
the same old theories week after week. They may make new applications, such as " the railways belong to us now " or " nationalisation of the Bank of England has lowered the cost of living", but at rock bottom they are the same old rubbish which the " S.S." was lambasting thirty years ago. The Hampstead Labour Party, for example, regularly open its meetings by claiming to propagate " practical Socialism", meaning the mixture as before.
If these parties no longer argue their theories, and" our case against them has been proved ", how is it that they get 15 million votes and we get 250?
The question obviously arises: " proved " to whom? Comrade Turner is perhaps judging by his own experience. This is a logical fallacy —erroneously attributing a special feature of a small part of the whole. It could even be that he, personally, frightens opponents into silence.
Our case is by no means proved to the working class' as a whole. If it is, then why are we foolishly wasting time trying to do something that is already done?
7.3.2 Irrefutable Evidence
"TAKE the documentary evidence. Does “Let Us Face The Future” defend Gradualism? If not, why does it state that " Socialism cannot come overnight" (p. 6)? Does the Communist Party programme still advocate Dictatorship? Where has it dropped it?
Having read Turner's rather startling information about the Labour and Communist Parties and the Anarchists, I wrote letters to the organisations in question, asking if they still advocated the old theories associated with the rames given by Turner, viz. Gradualism, Dictatorship and Minority Action. The replies are quite decisive. The answer is unmistakably YES.
The Labour Party sent a copy of “Labour and the New Society”, the policy and principles of Democratic Socialism, approved at our Conference at the end of 1950."
" In the Socialist view,' all people also have the right to the basic necessities of life, to good health and a decent home. We cannot achieve these things overnight. We shall steadily plan and work towards them as we have been doing during the last five years." (P.12)
If this is not Gradualism, words have no meaning any more!
The Communist Party sent (by hand) " The British Road to Socialism ", the Programme of the Communist Party issued by the Executive Committee, 1951, revised and adopted by the 22nd Annual Congress, April, 1952:
" The people cannot advance to Socialism, therefore without real political power, which must be taken from the hands of the acapitalist minority and firmly grasped by the majority of the people, led by the working class. Only by this means can democracy become a reality.
" The enemies of Communism accuse the Communist Party of aiming to introduce Soviet Power in Britain and abolish Parliament. This is a slanderous misrepresentation of our policy. Experience has shown that in present conditions the advance to Socialism can be made just as well by a different road; for example, through Peoples' Democracy without establishing Soviet Power, as in the Peoples' Democracy of E. Europe."
It is evident that those Communists whom
Turner has met have had him on!
The Anarchist Freedom Press, to their credit, were short, sharp and to the point:
" In answer to your letter, we cannot speak for anyone but ourselves. Our paper Freedom does advocate minority action, and does attack the State and the idea of political democracy."
Comrade Turner ignores all this irrefutable evidence because he " doesn't meet" Labourites, Communists or Anarchists who argue theory—" our case against them has been proved", he says.
If this view gains ground among Party members, then the effect may well be disastrous. There is no need for a political party to tell people what life will be like under socialism if the case is already " proved". If this is the main job, a good writer can do it.
Evidence shows that Gradualism is more widespread among workers than ever, and that only a Socialist Party can blast it out at the
hustings. This evidence is the huge Labour vote at elections. This does not deny the need for
explaining life under Socialism; nor does it underestimate the lively critical faculty which seeks to enrich dull propaganda.
7.3.3 A Serious Charge
""TURNER tells us that members are "scared", " new speakers don't continue", " old speakers preclude questions of the future " and " people are unimpressed ". All this is very curious for a Party whose opponents have all been demolished!
Turner wants it both ways. Thus he complains of Party speakers who don't deal with opponents who (he says) no longer exist. Who are these people who attack our speakers and " scare " them? They can only be opponents, and their questions cannot be other than opposing theories.
What is the meaning of the strange statement that " our speakers . . . unconsciously preclude questions of the future"? If this is so, they must be speaking in a dream or trance, and do not really know what they are saying or doing.
Where is the specific case or cases ? Why is this serious charge against older speakers not supported by definite written evidence ? Turner goes on to say that older speakers create the impression that " things have grown worse and will continue to do so". " This does not fit the facts of experience ", he writes.
The first thing about this is that our speakers cannot create any impression which does not fit the facts of experience. If things are worsening, no speaker will convince people they are better, and vice-versa.
I hold, as a Socialist, that the conditions have grown worse, and will continue to do so under Capitalism. Here again, Turner's view that things have improved, may well be the result of purely personal experience. If so, he overlooks the nature of Capitalism, in which the improvement of the one can only be at the cost of the many.
One may reasonably request evidence for the statement that things have grown better. If true, then obviously Socialism can best be shelved while we improve conditions further.
7.3.4 Repeated Contradiction
TURNER writes that when " our propaganda changes from just attacking Capitalism to describing Socialism, it will meet arguments and discussion . . . and the audience, from fearing you, will come to understand, admire and respect you."
This is merely a repetition of the contradiction already noted. In the first part of this letter, Turner says that the trouble is that our members are scared, i.e. we fear them: in the last part, they fear us. He thus neatly cancels himself out-—without remainder. Both statements cannot be right. The second is the sound one.
The simple fact is that the very conception of Capitalism impIiesSocialism. It is impossible to attack it without indicating the alternative. The only possible reason for attacking it is the desireto replace it by something better, springing from knowledge of the future based on analysis of the present.
Horatio.

7.4 THE FORGOTTEN LANGUAGE
" HUMAN beings are dependent on each other, they need each other. But human history up to now has been influenced by one fact: material production was not sufficient to satisfy the legitimate needs of all men. The table was set only for a few of the many who wanted to sit down and eat. Those who were stronger tried to secure places for themselves, which meant that they had to prevent others from getting seats. If they had loved their brothers as much as Buddha or Jesus postulated, they would have shared their bread rather than eat meat and drink wine without them.
" But. . . it is no slur on man that those who . could sit at the table and enjoy the good things of life did not want to share, and therefore were compelled to seek power over those who threatened their privileges. This power was often the power of the conqueror, the physical power that forced the majority to be satisfied with their lot. But physical power was not always available or sufficient.- One had to have power over the minds of people in order to make them refrain from using their fists.
" This control over mind and feeling was a necessary element in retaining the privileges of
the few. In this process, however, the minds of the few became as distorted as the minds of the many. The guard who watches a prisoner becomes almost as much a prisoner as the prisoner himself. The ' elite' who have to control those who are not ' chosen', become the prisoners of their own restrictive tendencies. Thus the human mind, of both rulers and ruled, becomes deflected from its essential human purposes, which is to feel and to think humanely, to use and to develop the powers of reason and love that are inherent in man and without the full development of which he . is crippled ..." Dr. Erich Fromn in The Forgotten Language.
7.5 PEOPLE OF THE WORLD - UNITE!
"Our propaganda should convey our ideas of socialism to ALL people, presenting our case to them as HUMAN BEINGS."
In writing that, Comrade Turner has indicated a significant development of thought within the Party. We are re-examining propositions which may have seemed self-evident and final in 1904, but which are now seen to be legacies from other organisations and past conditions.
OUR object is the introduction of classless society. This is possible when the majority cf people are class-conscious (with reference to Capitalism) and are socialists (for Socialism). "; Class-conscious " simply means seeing that there are two classes in society whose interests are opposed and that so long as Capitalism lasts there will be class struggle. It has nothing lio do with which class you belong to.
When a capitalist becomes class-conscious, that doesn't mean he says to himself, " Yes, I see that Capitalism makes us all money-grubbers, makes us distrust and try to get the better of each other, brings wars in which even capitalists get killed—but I belong to the class that is top dog, so I'm going to oppose a world in which all those things won't exist."
We always say that Socialism is in the interest of the working class. So it is—but it doesn't follow that it's against the interests of the capitalist class. The antagonism of interests ONLY HAS REFERENCE TO CAPITALISM.
The proposition, then, is that being class-conscious and a socialist cuts across being a member of either class. The point is not whether capitalists can be socilaists (we know they can)—nor is it that individual capitalists can "render good service to the workers' cause ". Captalists and workers alike can desire Socialism and feel it in their interest, because its basic attraction is not so much material gain as the ending of antagonisms.
7.5.1 Examine These Arguments
IF we accept the position outlined above, then we have to examine a number of points that are implicit or explicit in the Party's propaganda to date. They are:
1.That the S.P.G.B. is equivalent to the working class party. It follows that it is the working class who will establish Socialism, and that it will be in the teeth of minority opposition—capitalist class opposition. This argument depends on the assumption that the capitalist class are committed, come what may, to preserve " their " system.
2.That capitalists have nothing to gain
from Socialism. The inference is that they have something as good as, or better than, that which the workers stand to gain.
But those who say this, contradict themselves when they explain what Socialism is. If they fall back on the argument that some people have more to gain from Socialism than others, they are attempting to isolate one factor from many that make for socialist understanding. Ultimately they can arrive at the absurd principle that a person's socialist understanding is in inverse proportion to his wealth.
3. That the capitalist class are committed,
under all circumstances, to preserve
" their " system. How, we may ask, do we know it is theirs ? Because they support and vote for it. But so do workers! Capitalism continues, not against the will of the working class, but because it is just as much the workers' choice as the capitalists'.
4. That it is class struggle alone that can end class struggle. It follows that the abolition of classes will come about through the disappearance of the capitalist class or their " defeat ". We know they won't disappear apart from the disappearance of the working class, so it means that the.battle for Socialism will line up workers on one side and capitalists on the other.
In reality, it is knowledge that there is class struggle that ends it, not the actual prosecution of that struggle.
5. That the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself. Captalists, it seems, are
"powerless to help—even if they have socialist understanding, they cannot act on it in the way that workers can. But if the emancipation of the working class is the emancipation of all mankind, why shouldn't all mankind help? It is not workers acting as the working class who achieve Socialism. Workers acting as socialists achieve it.
6. That the S.P..G.B. should address its propaganda to the ' working class alone ', as coming from the working class alone.
This is a serious discrimination, because it implies that capitalists cannot understand Socialism or, understanding it, cannot want it.
" Some individual capitalists, owing to a greater understanding of the laws of social evolution, can see that Socialism is . . . practicable" (S.S. Dec. 1942). Then either (a) workers have similar views on Socialism (in which case there is no need for selectivity) or (b) workers want Socialism for different (exclusively working class) reasons—if so, what are these reasons?
7. That the S.P.G.B. should admit that
individual capitalists can help the working class, but such capitalists should be regarded as exceptions. (This is the unsatisfactory position implicit in most S.P.G.B. literature). It assumes that Socialism is exclusively the workers' cause.
But talk of the working class and the capitalist class only has reference to Capitalism. If we attempt to apply such terminology to Socialism, then we have within our ranks either an elite of capitalist-socialists or a bunch of traitors to the enemy. Both are, of course, unthinkable.
8. " That we have not, and do not want, any rich benefactors, who might try to influence our policy." (1950 Election Manifesto). Surely we don't think that capitalists' money is tained? Or are we admitting that our policy and organisation are such that they can be inuflenced by money? How much can we give the Party without being accused of attempting to influence policy? We should avoid such questions by acknowledging that incomes under Capitalism are different and that therefore payments to the Party must vary.
7.5.2 Amend the D. of P.
IT may be noticed that what I am saying in this article conflicts with certain phrases in the Party's Declaration of Principles. In order that readers may be able to make comparisons, I suggest a number of amendments. If the present wording of the D. of P. is more in line with the facts than the suggested alternatives then there can be nothing to lose by reexamining it.
My arguments do not touch the analysis of society in the first four principles. The remaining principles may be amended along these lines :
5.That this emancipation must take the form of establishing classless society.
6.Delete the working class and insert those advocating classless society.
7.That as all political parties either support class society or advocate its abolition, the party having as its sole object the establishment of classless society must be in opposition to every other party.
8.Delete the members of the working class of this country' and insert all. Insert capitalist before system, and delete all after.
* * *
My main concern in advocating these "revolutionary" changes is that the nature of our object determines the nature of the methods we use to attain it. Socialism is classless, and our methods must ultimately be in harmony with it. Whether our present D. of P. adequately describes these methods is a question that members must answer, knowing that criticism destroys only a weak case, ,but strengthens a sound one.

7.6 REPLY TO COMRADE MCCLATCHIE ON BACKWARD PEOPLES
McCLATCHIE writes that he is not sure what I mean when I state that he " treads the very shaky soil of utopism ". He adds " it is possible that there is a misunderstanding." And there is!
He writes: "When I use the phrase 'socialist ideas' I meant ideas about Socialism—a world in which people would live communal association ..." In this statement he discloses the jtopian approach—the ideal society into which men can move, regardless of their present culture, if only they accept that ideal as a possibility.
When I use the phrase ' socialist ideas' I mean those ideas about capitalist society which conclude with advocating a new society, the embryo of which evolves within the old. This is Socialism—the ideas and the movement, the outcome of which is the Socialist Revolution.
Now, I do not deny that men of whatever race or ethnic group have as well developed a central nervous system as any other, this being the physical basis for the power of thought. But I do maintain that until the social environment reaches the stage where capitalist exploitation and working class poverty are the general conditions, any ideas about Socialism will not be accepted. The ideas would not fit the facts.
WHEN he refers to the Australian aborigines absorbing capitalist culture, the comparison is not the same. It is not just that they absorb ideas, but that their social environment, in evolving into capitalist society, makes them receptive of capitalist culture.
I must point out a very apt part of one of his own rather extensive quotes, viz.:
" Babies have the same central nervous systems in all populations, but what they do, think and become, seems to depend entirely custom and on familial or social environment."
I do not claim, neither do I imply, that it is necessary to have a literary education to know that one is poor, insecure and suffering the horrors of.war. But I do claim that it is necessary in order to understand why—and it is this understanding which marks off the socialist from the mere rebel.
McClatchie should not misquote Marx. The latter does not state anywhere " that the problems only arise when the solution is present", but that " the problem itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exist or are at least in the process of formation."
Note, the conditions for the solution of the problem, not the solution itself. The conditions for the solution of poverty and war are:
1. The highly developed technique of
capitalist production and the extensive means of communication, which conflict with the social relations of production.
2. A working class which understands the need for the change in the social relationships and has organised for it.
The solution is effected through the Socialist Revolution.
McCLATCHIE want to know what there is about the dependency upon wages without which an understanding of Socialism is impossible. The answer is working class literacy, without which capitalist society cannot function and without which the workers can never understand present society and the need for a new one.
He asks: "Are we to assume that all cultures must go through these three forms? If not, then why is Capitalism the elected system?" Answer: No! But capitalist society is the 'elected system' because it alone evolves the material conditions for the solution of the problem.
The last piece of criticism is very poor. It is not incumbent upon us few socialists to direct our energies towards spreading capitalist culture—this goes on in spite of us. We have a stiff enough job to spread socialist thought.
—H. G. Hayden.
7.7 DO WE UNDERSTAND AND WANT SOCIALISM?
Recent issues of Forum have contained several articles on the nature of the Socialist revolution, and what Socialism will be like. The best of them have put forward the view that an adequate conception of the Socialist revolution must be associated with an adequate conception of life now under Capitalism, both in its economic and psychological phases.
But it has been pointed out that all this understanding of life under Capitalism is virtually meaningless, except in relation to some idea of Socialism. It is one's idea of Socialism which enables one to see in Capitalism to-day the direction in which the decisive change to Socialism must be made.
It is this which makes it important to consider what our idea of Socialism is.
7.7.1 Understanding by Definition
At a recent Saturday forum at Head Office, Comrade Turner said to Comrade Evans: "All through your articles I get the idea that there's an intellectual elite who can understand Socialism conceptually—in their heads—and a mass of others who can't understand it unless they see and handle it—somehow or other—in concretized form." This is, I think, the very axis of the question.
Our propaganda has always been full of the idea that we understand Socialism, and that if
we can, others can, too. Having understood it, they can, if sufficiently numerous, establish it. It is enough, we say, for them to have the idea in their heads. They do not need to have seen anything like Socialism working before—they will know how to work it when the time comes, because they have understood it without seeing it. They will have understood it JUST AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.
Well, how do we understand it? What does our present understanding amount to?
SOCIALISM is a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by, and in the interest of, the whole community. It will be a world co-operative commonwealth, with no property, no money, no nationality and no privilege, and its leading ideas will be universality, co-operation and the brotherhood of man.
There, in sixty-three words, is our idea of Socialism.
Let us try two more ideas in the same way.
LOVE is an emotional experience deriving from a personal relationship between two people of opposite sexes. It involves the sexual factors of contrectation and tumescence, a gestalt factor of "attraction" and various forms of special behaviour, depending on the culture concerned.
TYING A SHOELACE is an operation depending on a somewhat complicated three-dimensional pattern executed with the two ends of a piece of narrow material protruding from the unclosed end of a special opening through
which an extremity is placed into an appropriately-shaped container. The other extremities are used for the process, and the result is to close the opening securely, leaving a loop at either side.
So now we know what love is, and we can go ahead and experience it fully, without all this nonsense of going to places where one might meet somebody, getting into conversation, making a date, being anxious that the other person won't turn up, learning how to keep the acquaintance going, and all this other business which is the usual way in which most people get to understand love. We can understand it conceptually.
And we know what tying a shoelace is, and so we can just go ahead and do it. None of this low-grade stuff about taking the laces in our hands, watching someone else do it, trying to follow them step by step, crying with frustration, giving it up, going back to it, succeeding fumbiingly, suceeding fluently, and finally doing it without thinking. That's only for the masses who can't understand in their heads.
Now what about Socialism?
7.7.2 Do We Understand Socialism?
It is the thesis of this article that what we understand of Socialism is the abstract idea of Socialism, we must live it; just as to have a concrete idea of love, it is essential to have been in love; and to have a concrete idea of tying a shoelace, it is essential to be able to tie a shoelace.
What we have now is the empty idea of Socialism, Oar task as Socialists is to fill out the empty idea, and for this purpose we need to see Socialism in concretized form as much as anyone else.
It is not some mythical " other people " who need to be shown how Capitalism evolves into Socialism—it is ourselves.
It is not some " inferior minds " who cannot understand Socialism until they see it taking •?ver here and now—it is we who cannot.
The definition of love is not sufficient, and seither is the definition of Socialism. Until one lias a concrete idea of tying a shoelace, one cannot tie a shoelace. Until one has a concrete idea of Socialism, one cannot introduce Socialism.
What we have now is an abstract idea, a definition. To achieve a concrete idea, we need the fuller development of Capitalism. It is not some others who need it, in order to catch up with us, the pacemakers; it is us, the Socialist Party of Great Britain, who need it for our own understanding.
7.7.3 The Concrete Idea
This, will be a doctrine unfamiliar enough to arouse.some misconceptions, and one may as well answer some of the more obvious ones at once, without waiting for them to be discovered.
(1) So you understand it all ? No, the difficulty applies just as much to me as to reryone else. Nobody is clever enough to understand Socialism, because not enough of it has appeared yet.
(2) This implies that we ought to support reforms, and the building of Capitalism in backward countries. No, we ought to do what we have always done—point out that these
things, while having their good points, can. never succeed in their obstensible aims while Capitalism rules. But we should take particular interest in noting two kinds of reforms: (a) the kind that encourage the sort of behaviour which must be the rule under Socialism-—namely, co-operative behaviour more or less independent of financial considerations, and depending rather on need; and (b) the kind which could actually be incorporated into Socialism itself. We should obviously show some interest in these, because they help to show us what Socialism will be like, but we shouldn't support them, because their beneficial aspects are so limited and confined by Capitalism that, while Capitalism lasts, they are nothing but a snare and a delusion.
(3) You talk about evolution, but this is a revolutionary party. Ever heard of the transformation of quantity in to quality? It means that any big change is very often (and typically in growth-precesses) the resultant of a number of seemingly insignificant small changes. It was the comprehension of this principle that enabled Marx to lead a revolutionary party while holding a doctrine of social evolution. But he saw, what some comrades to-day seem to have forgotten, that the small changes must take place not only in the ideas of the workers, but also in their working conditions, and in the way they carried on their daily lives. They must take place in the institutions of Capitalism, as well as in the heads of the workers. And their resultant, the big change, is Socialism. This is the revolution.
(4) All we've got to do is to sit back, then ?
No,, at the moment of the revolution is our business. If we can understand what is happening, if our idea of Socialism is adequate enough (that is, if it has evolved enough) we may be able to " shorten or lessen the birth pangs ". Capitalism is preparing people for Socialism— but they don't know that; they don't know until we tell them. And they easily may not see, when the time comes, that Socialism is practically there. It is our job to tell them. But we won't be believed until our idea of Socialism is concrete enough—until it has evolved enough itself. And the discussion of Socialism is the conscious scheme of this evolution. Our job at present, then, seems twofold: (1) to discuss Socialism ourselves with increasing accuracy and completeness; and (2) to make more Socialists. This does not seem a very frightening conclusion.
There are some ideas, however, which do seem incomptatible with the position outlined above—ideas still held by many comrades. Some of these are: — (a) That we should contest elections now; (b) That Socialism will depend mainly on handicraft production for its economic basis; (c) That the Socialist revolution will necessarily be homogeneously violent or non-violent; (d) That because we have got the formula for H2O, we therefore understand the whole of chemistry.
J. C. Rowan.
7.8 MARRIAGE UNDER SOCIALISM
At a recent Paddington Branch meeting, the subject, " Should Socialists Marry?" was discussed. I should have preferred the discussion to have been, " Will There Be Marriage Under 'Socialism?", because, in attempting to deal «ith our personal problems under Capitalism, we have to relate them to our whole surroundings and circumstances.
Many of us probably were married before we became Socialists. If our partners happen to be non-Socialists and we have a fairly comfortable life together, are we to say to our espoused: " Now that I am a Socialist, etc., I cannot live with you any longer"?
Then as to those not yet married—what is ohe alternative? The comrade who opened the discussion suggested " living together ". But if we take away the trapping of modern marriage the ring, the ceremony, and so on), what else is left but the act of "living together"?
It might be argued, from a legal point of view, that living together does not hold the rarmers, that it allows them to leave each other when they so desire, and that they are free in -the sense that they can avoid the unwelcome -publicity and expense of separation or divorce. But they have sought the exclusiveness of each other just as much as if they were legally married.
7.8.1 Visualise the Change
There are several aspects to consider in each individual's life in present-day society—the
family, the job, the residential area—and, like other aspects of our society, they are in-escapable.
The wife, the mother, the home, offer some temporary refuge from the outside jungle, and if we don't have these the alternatives are the pubs, pictures, etc.
History shows us that there have been various forms of association between men and women. Marriage, as we know it to-day, has developed from other forms and is a " mine-and-thine ", a property relationship. From its present form, how will it change under Socialism?
Engels pointed to what would disappear in a future society based on common ownership, and from this we can perhaps visualise what free association between men and women would be like. We can conceive of an association of mutual affection, free from economic and parental control; and of the bearing and rearing of children. Not "my child" or "your child", but society's children—the responsibility of all, and not the victims of a " best-dressed " competitive system nor subjects of one controller's dos and don'ts.
7.8.2 Free Association
To those addicted to the mysticism and sickly pious dope of modern marriage ties, the suggestion of free association immediately conjures up visions of unbridled sex-orgies (as if they didn't take place now!). Why this should be is a mystery, because where there is no
wealth, power or privilege to buy anything, free choice is the determining factor, and we would have to be very conceited to think that we are everyone's choice.
After all, marriage is supposed to be founded upon love and the freedom of choice of the parties concerned. A marriage without love is called immoral and one without the free choice of both parties is undesirable, Yet, although marriage is avowedly founded on love and freedom, free love is nevertheless accounted the opposite of marriage.
Then there is the question of the home. Home! What different visions this word conjures up. As we know it to-day, it is a self-contained little private lock-up where next-door neighbours are a nuisance because we are subjected to their garbage pails, blaring radios, hammering or squaling " brats ". The only time that reserves are broken down and neighbourliness shows itself is in times of disaster. But the neighbourliness- is there, and will develop where there is a community of interests.
The breaking-down of the barriers of sex-taboos and sex-segregation means an end of self-defensive mistrust and individual segregation. With this sharing of interest and work, a wider affection will be possible, eliminating the uhtil-death-do-us-part attitude of those " living together " as well as those married.
G. HlLBINGER.
7.9 HEREDITY & ABILITY - Reply to Comrade Bott.
IN January Forum, Comrade Bott set out to deal with my statement that " variation in tte individual abilities cannot be dismissed ^rthout dismissing the basis of biological Jtion ". (The word " abilities " is open to cism, as it might be taken to mean that rants are born with all sorts of tricks which on only come from the environmental con-iitioning of whatever responses are innate. This, of course, was not intended.) The pur-roses of the statement were : —
1.To re-affirm that hereditary variation is the basis of organic evolution, without which there could be no natural selection, because there would be no (transmissible) differences to select from.
2.To insist that hereditary variation in the human species, like any other is unquestionable.
3.To convert the fact of individual variation from an anti-socialist to a socialist argument, by showing it as enriching the total capacities of primordial societies, as facilities, the spontaneous division of labour, and therefore as a factor in precipitating a new form of evolution'— history.
4.At a later stage, to show how it reinforces the need for Socialism and how it affects the character of Socialist society.
The need for leaders and leadership does not follow from the fact of differences of ability between men, whether innate or acquired. The Party's case against leadership in relation to the establishment and the running of Socialism rests on the unsuitability of leadership for these purposes and the absence cf any need for it. The absence of any need for it rests on the irrelevance of differences of ability, innate or acquired, to the common capacity of ordinary people to understand and want what is anderstood and wanted by other ordinary people—Party members.
Differences of ability, whatever their origin, ire irrelevant to this understanding, as differences of gait are irrelevant to the common capacity to walk. The understanding of Socialism does not require identity or equality cf abilities among men, but only the possession in an ordinary degree of the sense common to ordinary men. Nor is the running of Socialism endangered in any way by differences of ability. It is the absence of privilege in relation to the means of production which precludes differences of ability from becoming differences of power to oppress or exploit in any way. The classical definition of Socialist society turns on the give and take between different needs and abilities without distinction of race or sex, and without distinction between abilities innate or acquired.
7.9.1 No Means of Testing
The difficulty of assessing the contribution made to our behaviour by heredity and environment respectively lies in the fact that while all behaviour is necessarily compounded of the two, there is no known means of testing what is purely innate. The innate endowment of the newly-born is already wrapped in congenital influences, and until we can know exactly what is in a sperm and an egg immediately before they unite, we cannot assess the influence of heredity on performance. But nor can we accept the alleged implication of " the behaviourist" that it counts for nothing. A child is not born nothing, and what it is enters into what it becomes. The " blank sheet" is only the measure of our knowledge.
Comrade Bott says it is pertinent to ask, in view of our ignorance, how we can know that differences of performance can depend on innate structure. What we catit do is to assess the influence on performance of the innate and the acquired. What we do know is that activity is compounded of the two, that each individual is innately unique, and that unlike causes produce unlike effects. It remains, of course, that in respect of various kinds of performance, differences of environment may compensate for differences of heredity. What we can't do, for lack of technique, is to examine the matter inductively, and what it is unless to do is to approach the matter empirically—" I knew a man . . .".
The inconclusiveness of Comrade Bott's empirical approach is to this extent a tribute to his caution. But his special pleading in a mistaken cause leads,.him into difficulties, and into what Huck Finn, in defence of Tom's truthfulness, called " just a few stretchers". He knows it isn't strictly good enough to argue from fairly uniform responses of infants that heredity counts for :notfung, is compelled to concede " slight variations in innate structure ", but reverts to ' nothing' in his final suggestion that " human beings are innately equal in potentiality ".
Here we meet a difficulty of another kind. Equality is meaningless without reference to the thing in which there is equality. Different qualities cannot be equated. Nor can you sensibly say " men are equal in potentiality " without specifying potentiality for what. If you do, you leave it open whether you mean that all men have equal potentiality in every way, or whether you mean that all have a wide range of potentialities differing in detail but adding up (as it were) to general " equality ". In the former case, there must be identity of innate structure: if there is any difference, the potentialities are different.
But if by equality, is meant that the sum of their different potentialities is the same for all, then my view is that there is such a general tendency which we/cannot establish inductively, and need not try to, because we can deduce it from facts and principles already established. This general tendency (the equality of potentiality as the " sum " of differences in detail), which for Comrade Bott remains a wishful suggestion, can be deduced by applying the Darwinian priciples to the fact, of hereditary
variation.
He uses a wrong method to arrive at a tentative conclusion with which to rebut a fact on which the firm deduction of this conclusion rests.
7.9.2 Seeing a Ghost
Comrade Botts example of six men of different shapes who ran equally fast, is an example of the futility of this method for his problem. He does not consider (and in any case cannot know) what differences in training may have compensated for what differences in potentiality, and this kind of example cannot tell us what differences in potentiality may be irrelevant to or decisive in what kinds of performance.
But why does he follow these fruitless paths to nowhere? Because he sees a ghost. " If innate structural variations produce special abilities . . . some individuals could be endowed with innately superior thought mechanisms ". So they could. But what I think Comrade Bott may have overlooked is that the more fundamental organs are the least subject to variation, this difference of variability being itself a product of organic evolution, a means of survival for the species. The shapes of noses vary beyond counting, but not the shapes of brains, for. close conformity with a standard nose has no survival value, while close conformity with the standard brain most certainly has. A gross disparity in either of the great integrative systems (the nervous or the glandular" produces monsters, and monsters (roughly speaking) do not mate. Those who conform least breed least, and this, with the tendency to reversion to the normal in the offspring of those who do breed, ensures the stability of species.
There is no ghost, and no need for a blank sheet to enshroud it. Some individuals could be endowed with innately superior, or inferior brain mechanisms. But if they are to be acceptably human, their variations must be sight, and they are rapidly lost in breeding. No sinister race of supermen can the loins of men produce, nor can they be overwhelmed by half-wits.
7.9.3 Improving the Classifications
No one need be " seriously disturbed " by the fact of hereditary variation. What might disturb is comrade Bott's belief that a case for leadership rests on differences of ability. For if it did, it would be secondary' how these differences were produced, and having shown that they were not innate, he would still have to show that differences of environment could not produce them either. On the " innate " side, Comrade Bott admits we know " almost nothing". But the Scottish verdict of "not proven" still leaves his position Irish. He accepts the Party's repudiation of the need for leaders, but believes that a case for leadership could rest on differences of ability, and by stressing the. relative unimportance of inheritance he merely reinforces the power of environment to produce them.
Comrade Bott is in the special difficulty of of dealing with, science whose classificatory system is very unstable. The growth of a science is marked by, and dependent on, the development of classifications conforming better with the real world, as in the case of Marxian economicsi. But it is not enough merely to jingle the counterfeit coins of a primitive
- science to hear how cracked they sound. It is the socialist—if he is a pioner still—who is in the best position to make sense of the social " sciences " by improving the classifications, and clearing the decks of the questions wrongly stated.
The fundamental sameness of men is as obvious as the fact that they differ, and there is no need to place ourselves in the vulnerable position of repudiating hereditary variation in reply to the false deductions of some geneticists. Better, surely, to use this fact in relation to the genesis of history and to the question what sort of an animal man is—which is one of the necessary terms of reference for a disciplined materialist discussion of what Socialism will be like. The need for this discussion as the mainspring of socialist propaganda is what these articles on the Socialist Revolution are about.
F. Evans.
7.10 NEWSPOINTS
7.10.1 British Exploiters Only
MR J. A. BOYD-CARPENTER, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, answered fears expressed in the Commons last night by Mr. Jack Jones, former steelworker and Socialist MP. for Rotherham, that after denationalisation, steel workers might find themselves work-ins under a foreign boss, perhaps one the Krupp type.
The Government had adequate powers to prevent the industry falling under foreign control, Mr. Boyd-Carpenter said.
—Daily Mail, 24.2.53.
7.10.2 Home Truth
IN Britain to-day, nearly 1,000,000 families are still without their own homes.
Most of them are living with in-laws. In addition, 1,2500,000 people are living in other people's homes as lodgers.
What price now the old cry that an English-nan's home is his castle?
Unfortunately, the circumstances are such dkat the desire to have your own home does not constitute housing need," the official explained.
Where do we go from here?" Nearly a million married couples, many living with their In-laws, echo that question to-day.
And how many of the younger generation 2ie beinning to wonder whether their hopes of -^Taking a home are mere dreams?
—News of the World, 1.3.53.
7.10.3 " Socialist" Speculation
SEMYON TERENTYOV was a modest and efficient Russian laboratory official by day. But by night he became " The Nose "—an underworld millionaire who led a band of speculators who bought winning State lottery bonds at a discount and invested the money in diamonds. He made millions of roubles, which he kept in milk cans buried in the basement of a country home. Now Terentyov has been sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for speculating in State bonds and diamonds,
The story was told to-day by " Komsomol-skaya Pravda " which described him as a combination of Silas Marner and an arch-swindler and as a "cave-man fossil millionaire."
—Manchester Guardian) 14.2.53.
* * *
7.10.4 The Challenge of Competition
""BIG Business' is just as subject to the challenge of competition, the rule for the rank-and-file of the 4,000,000 undertakings of the private enterprise system of the United States, as smaller concerns are, according to confidential and other data sonn to become available.
A bare majority—sixty-four-— of the 100 largest industrial corporations in 1909, ranked by size of of assets, lost their top position by 1948 to newcomers. Only thirty-one maintained their top position consistently. In the last four decades there never has been a single period in which the ranks of the biggest of big businesses have not been subject to change, with newcomers moving up and some of the biggest becoming relatively smaller.
—New York Times, 16.2.53.
* * *
7.10.5 Poverty Amidst Plenty
ONE of the major domestic problems confronting President Eisenhower's new Administration is the disposal of millions of tons of surplus butter after unexpectedly high winter production and a switch to margarine by the American public, objecting to high butter prices. Under the farm price-support
laws, all excess production must be bought by the Government to prevent a glut on the market from forcing prices below their guaranteed level. The Government is seeking a means of disposal without downright destruction or offending the farmers.
The Agriculture Department is now trying to give away some of the surplus, because there is little hope of ever selling much of it back to commecrial distributors, unless drought or other unusual circumstances cut down summer production.
Americans are at present eating annually only half the 16.7 pounds per head they used immediately bofore the war. Consumption of cheaper margarine has jumped from the prewar level of 2.9 pounds per head to about eight pounds.
—Manchester Guardian, 26.353.
* * *
7.10.6 What Price Sport?
MONEY is the bandit that holds up sport at pistol point. The old notion that " the game's the thing " is more dead than the onetime belief about the earth being flat.
Watch how pro. tennis promoters raid the ranks of amateur players. As soon as a prospect fights his way to the top, the professional circus men move in. It is easy to blind prey by throwing gold dust in their eyes.
Professional boxing has also long ceased to be a sport. World Championships have become monopolies of big business. Titleholders are carefully built up by a string of victories over nobodies. The " house-fighter " has become an institutition all over the world.
Big business doesn't care who is the best fighter, The important thing is, " Who will draw the most money at the gate?"
—Sunday Pictorial, 1.3.53.

Forum Journal 1953-08 May

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

8. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 8
MAY 1953

8.1 THE FUTURE OF WORK AND LEISURE
“One and Indistinguishable”

We have been treated to two discourses in recent issues of FORUM on the manner of life to be expected in the future Socialist world. This is an interesting and perhaps necessary form of activity for Socialists, as long as we do not over-indulge in the pastime of eating our goose before we have caught it.
The prophets have every right to prophecy— all we ask of them is that they continue to boild up their futuristic pictures by applying the scientific method to history and interpreting it accordingly. This, I think, they have done (in the main) and so we readers may absorb the futuristic pictures with no pricking of our conscience.
It is not my purpose to make further exploration along the road of the future, not being equipped with the imagination necessary for such a journey. I would, however, urge those who do venture forth to take stock, so that their reports will continue to be both entertaining and enlightening to those of us who are left at home with the realities of the present system. I therefore propose to discuss the things that point out the direction rather than to report on the end of the journey.
A most important pointer was the one made by S.R.P.: " There will no longer be a separation between work and leisure—work will become the expression of living." I should like to draw attention to this particular statement which, to my mind, far outweighs anything else.
Human society, under any social-economic set-up, will continue to be primarily interested in living—and living more abundantly. At the moment, most of us accept the fact that life consists of two things, work and leisure (play activity), and we assess our enjoyment of living according to the amount of satisfaction we derive from either or both.
The importance of this statement about the merging of work and leisure is magnified when we realise that Capitalism has brought us to the point where, for the vast majority, these two human experiences have become separated by a wide gulf. Work has become largely boredom and drudgery, and leisure largely a negative, reactionary activity to work — in other words, work has become the antithesis of play.
8.1.1 History of Activities
Let us recall, briefly, the historic cycle of man's activity. First, in Paleolithic and Neolithic times by far the greater portion of his time was spent in hunting and gathering to provide for his continued existence. There is no reason to believe that he was conscious (as the workers are today) that he was working at all. Then, with greater mastery over his natural environment and more and more emphasis on a settled community life (with later the idea of possessing land), he began to indulge in more aesthetic pursuits.
The barbaric ages probably produced a relatively better standard of art and craftsmanship than any time before or since. The utilitarian tool . and weapon became ornamental—the sword hilt was embellished and the chair legs were carved in pleasing patterns. With the introduction of slavery, for example in Greece and Rome, came the opportunity of the leisured classes—freed from having to earn their own living-—to indulge in the higher arts of life.
The peasant, too, tended to become, as time went on, a craftsman and an artist. He knew no leisure time unless it was time spent in improving his surroundings and his command over his fingers and tools. This outlook still prevails in remote parts of our own country. I well remember a farmer living in a remote part of Carmarthenshire saying " whenever you make a gate, do it well, even if only the sheep will ever see it,"
With the expansion of commodity production and its emphasis on cheapness of manufacture came the standardisation of assembly and specialisation of specific tasks. The form of work demanded of the majority of workers becomes relegated to drudgery tasks. This produces leisure activity of an escapist character,
such as a football crowd or cinema audience in the main typifies.
8.1.2 Work and Play Become One
With the breaking down of Capitalism must come a revulsion to the form of activities associated with it. Socialism, to many people, has been thought of as the Leviathan crushing all spontaneity and individualism. Socialists are, perhaps, somewhat to blame for understressing the individual's existence and over-stressing man's benefits. We are, after all, mentally and physically individual units, with individual desires and needs (once the basic needs are provided for).
The late Professor Nunn who, as far as we can gather, was no Socialist says "an agent thinks of his activity as play if he can take it up or lay it down, or vary at will the conditions of its exercise; he thinks of it as work if it is imposed on him by necessity or if held to it by a sense of duty, BUT WHERE SPONTANEITY IS ABLE TO TRIUMPH OVER THESE THE TWO BECOME, IN FACT, ONE AND INDISTINGUISHABLE." ("Education: Its Data and First Principles.")
The coming Socialist world will be created by men and women who will have desired it beforehand. Its inhabitants will be loftier bengs, perhaps, than we are—but their progenitors are around us now. They show themselves at work as craftsmen in school, workshops, and countless back rooms and garden sheds, finding delight in putting into their tasks something of their own individuality.
The flesh and blood on the skeleton of production for use will obviously be the revival in the varied forms of beauty and craftsmanship. It will be production for use and enjoyment in the art of production, with no thought of economy in time or materials and no shoddy goods. There is no such thing as, shoddy Socialism.
W. T. B.

8.2 EVOLUTION and REVOLUTION
At the H.O. forum on " The Nature of the Socialist Revolution " some members expressed toe view that Socialism will come about as a cataclysm, or in " one swoop." Others suggested that the closing stages of Capitalism will be integrated with the emergent stages of Socialism.
Here, as at the forum, I shall try to reconcile these two views by suggesting that the second does not oppose the first but, rather, makes it meaningful. Revolutions are evolved—which does not deny that the tremendous speeding-up of events at the height of the revolutionary period may approach cataclysmic proportions.
Let us deal first, in general terms, with some objections to the second, or " evolutionary" position. Among these are:
(1) That it implies that Capitalism and Socialism can co-exist, or that there can be bits of one system within the other (i.e. a transition period).
It implies no such thing. Capitalism, despite
the modifications that it undergoes as the idea
of Socialism grows within it, is still Capitalism
until it becomes Socialism. Now, water can be 0 or 211° and at 212° it undergoes a revolution—into steam. But it seems silly to say that the raising of the temperature of the water is not part of the boiling process. Similarly, there is Capitalism as we know it today and Capitalism as it will be on the eve of Socialism. To deny the difference, to deny that Capitalism will become attentuated, i.e. shot through with nascent Socialism, is not merely to believe in miracles but to hold a false view of the way in which human society has so far developed, and therefore of the possibilities of its future development.
2) That it implies that the S.P.G.B. has no function except of critical commentary.
But when we say society is evolving towards Socialism we are not saying it is doing so independently of men's ideas. The S P.G.B. says a its propaganda that people can have Socialism just as soon as they understand and want it. The weakness, from a purely propaganda
viewpoint lies in the "one swoop" theory, which greets the recruit by saying, in effect:
“Your becoming a socialist can make no difference to anything this side of Socialism. We
would like you to discuss it with other people but that won't make any difference either. You will notice the change when we get Socialism," Far better is the evolutionary approach: " In becoming a Socialist you are playing a part in the Socialist Revolution which is going on now. As your ideas spread, Capitalism will become prepared for the delivery of the new society which is in its womb."
Now the difficulties about accepting the "one swoop" theory. If we deny that Capitalism is becoming prepared for the advent of Socialism, then this denial influences our concept of what makes people Socialists. Instead of saying that people are not Socialists because they haven't (mentally) experienced enough Socialism, we have to give the reason that they haven't (physically) had enough Capitalism. Conditions, we say, will become so intolerable that people will reach breaking-point before most of them will become Socialists.
But, if we are honest with ourselves, we will admit that our Socialist understanding is not the result of Capitalism growing worse, but of our knowledge of society growing better. It is just the thoughts and activities of people that prepare the world for Socialism, and this preparation produces a greater approximation to the new society. Any argument that Capitalism is getting either better or worse is irrelevant— the point is that it becomes less acceptable in proportion as the rationality of the Socialist idea is perceived.
Then, those who think in terms of a cataclysmic rather than a cumulative revolution have a special way of regarding; Socialism. They deny that any development of Capitalism will modify our concept of the future society. " We get the same questions today as we got in 1904," they say. Well, yes, that is true to a certain extent. Yet can we doubt that the bundle of ideas that most of us today would agree to call Socialism is quite a modification of the bundle that was generally agreed upon in 1904?
There are, however, more serious drawbacks in failing to acknowledge the development of the Socialist idea. This failure implies that Socialists are " there "—that there is nothing more needed than that others shall learn what we have learned. Our critic puts this in a nutshell when he says we hold that Marx and Engels described Socialism once for all. They did not, of course. The body of ideas that we call Socialist is full of Capitalist fleas that we are (or, at any rate, should be) continually picking out. When we speak of the growth of Socialist ideas we mean not merely the numerical increase in Socialists but also the
greater approximation of people's ideas (our own included) to the future society.
Lastly, there is the absurdity of the " black-and-white " position. People do not jump from being " all-non-Socialist " to " all-Socialist," despite the fact that we find it convenient to label them. To emphasise the dividing line between social systems leads us to emphasise the dividing line between people. We equate S.P.G.B. members with Socialists, perhaps even to the point of holding the successful Form A to constitute the individual revolution.
Yet things don't really happen that way. If there is a point at which people may be said to become Socialists it is when their ideas " for" it outweigh their ideas " against" it. It is like a pair of scales—with 1 lb. on one side the addition on the other of separate ounces up to 16 does not alter the status quo. If Socialists have a pound or more of social consciousness, then the people who are not as yet Socialists are also adding to their ounces and preparing to tip the scales in favour of revolution.
When, a rabid opponent of Socialism says he agrees 'with us on a particular issue we jokingly say, " then we must be wrong"—but all we mean is that we recognise that changing your ideas takes longer than changing your coat. Cold water becomes hot and then boils: opponents .become sympathisers and then join: Capitalism today becomes Capitalism on the eve of Socialism and then Socialism. Oversimplified, of course, but it shows society as a climbing organism, and not just as a series of steps.
S. R. P.

8.3 OUR APPROACH TO THE WORKING CLASS
I agree with Turner that our propaganda bculd not be " selective " of a section or sections of the working class. It should be directed to the whole working class. Here Turner disagrees:
“ It is my contention that all this talk of selectivity, including the selection of the ' working-class alone' as the saviours of humanity, scrings from the fact that the nature of Social-Em has been forgotten, disregarded, or not
It is evident that he has forgotten, disregarded, or not known the nature of Socialism he says that it is a " way of living." It It is a way of thinking about the problems of society, especially poverty, and advocating as a solution the transformation of Capitalist society to a communal one.
The Party's " form of selection " in directing its propaganda to the working class and not the Capitalist class is correct, even though : is true that those who are now the employing class would gain something in the new society. (But they stand to lose something in the process, viz., luxury resulting from property and their exploiting the workers.) Since it is the working class who have to gain freedom from poverty and exploitation and the right to satisfy their desires by dispossessing the Capitalist dass of the means of production, it is of first
importance that Socialism should be directed to them.
Turner says that " if our propaganda is based upon an appeal to the " working-class alone," and openly or implicitly excludes all others, then the picture we create in the minds of our listeners or readers, and in OUR OWN, is not that of Socialism but of a universal, idealised Capitalism." This is an example of formal logic resulting from a mere antithetical attitude towards the Capitalist class. To complete the job the Socialist must put forward the synthesis of the proposed new social relations that must result from the dissolution of the old.
No Socialist visualises himself, nor anyone else, living in the future society as the Capitalists do now. While the workers would gain more leisure and greater freedom of self-expression, the excessive luxury of the Capitalist class would disappear, as it could only exist along with Capitalist exploitation of workers.
Turner criticises the implication in our debating title that if workers support the Tories they are misguided, but for Capitalists to do so it is correct. This, he says, is an approach in our propaganda which prevents people from discarding violence as a means to the establishment of Socialism. He seems to imply that its establishment must of necessity be without violence.
How would he know this ? The Party's attitude is that we would wish to attain our objective by peaceful means if we may, but by force if we must, the assumption being that the use of force would result only from the violence re-sistence of a Capitalist class in defeat.
Of course people have prejudices which prevent them from accepting Socialism — but, above all, the prejudices of the Capitalist class are founded upon their property and profit-making, while those of the working class result either from their unquestioned acceptance of ideologies of Capitalism, or their recognition of their economic interests, especially as Socialists. The social revolution is dependent upon the decision of the majority. The working class outnumber the Capitalists by ten to one, so why concern ourselves with them? They are welcome to listen to us, but we are not likely to get a majority of them, even at the eleventh hour.
From Turner's remarks one would think that we should make a special effort to break down the prejudices of the Capitalists. One is reminded here of the " change of heart" appeal of the I.L.P., Charles Kingsley, and Jesus Christ! Has he ever heard of the class struggle, and does he know what it means ?
H. G. HAYDEN.
8.4 DIVISION OF FUNCTION - Or Coercive Authority?
A difference of opinion exists as to whether men and women will run future society on the
principle of each delegated to his or her function, or whether it will require some people in authority to order others to do this, that or the other.
Having authority instilled into us from the
cradle to the grave, we appear to find it hard to conceive of a life without some trace of coercion or authority. From the parental " do as you're told" to " teacher knows best,", "God knows best," " leaders know best"—all this induces men and women to accept authority (even when imbued with incorrect ideas) as unquestionable—reduces them to mere automatons.
The running of trains is often brought forward as an example of the division of function, and it is, I think, a good illustration. It shows that even under Capitalism each individual, once he has the knowledge of what particular part he has to play, co-operates with others in running the trains. I am not, of course, unmindful of the inequalities of pay I that the resulting puffed-up " dressed-with-brief-authority " grades can imagine that they control this monster network with " orders."
Recently a member was heard to say that someone must be in authority to see that the trains run to time. But what is time under Capitalism except something used for schedules, timetables, etc.—a means by which human beings co-operate in the " efficient" running of that system and not necessarily in the beneficient running of their own lives ? The question of thq future use of time as we know it under Capitalism is as presumptuous as that of whether or not we will use trains in the same way as we do today to earn our living. " CO-OPERATIVE COERCION "—
If we understand Socialism to be a state of affairs wherein all give freely of their knowledge and services to society where does it leave room for someone to compel one to take part?
This regard for the necessity of authority or coercion is also held by some who, perhaps, fear that the dispossessed capitalist minority might have to be forced to work. This, it seems, is the "recalcitrant minority"(?) who first of all will have to be forced to under-
stand how good Socialism will be for them before they accept it. How can members speak of " forcing " people to " co-operate " when a moment's thought will show that the two terms are antithetical?
A good example of the running of a concern by workers is afforded by one of the largest catering concerns in Great Britain, which was so successful and efficient chiefly as the result of staff suggestions. Another good instance, surely, of co-operation without compulsion or authority is that of a club—an ordinary social club. Who will deny that the division of function which exists is for the benefit of all the club's members?
Socialism is a system that makes the whole world like a club. An individual who breaks the rules of a democratic club (i.e. acts against the interests of its members) forces himself out of the club, and it is not a case of the other members forcing him out.
It would be interesting to hear from members examples of where authority or " cooperative coercion" will be necessary under Socialism.
G. HILBINGER.

8.5 WHAT DOES SELECTIVITY MEAN?
Comrade Turner's article on Selectivity in the March " Forum " should not pass without critical comment. In general its contents appear very largely irrelevant and arise from a repeated mis-statement of the issues involved. Early in his article Turner, referring to a statement which I made at a recent forum, said: "It was suggested that we should learn from this [advertising technique] and direct cur propaganda to people who are more likely to be interested in our case." This is a correct aatement of the issues involved in selectivity, and accurately summarises my view on the natter, provided that such " direction " of propaganda is not rigid or exclusive. Having made this proper statement, Turner makes a number of rhetorical questions and then proceeds to attack a completely different proposition. He asks " What then is there that makes it impossible for Capitalists or any other group to understand and accept Socialism?" [having asked the question (an entirely irrelevant one) he then proceeds to " answer " it as follows:
" The only answer I can see is that the Capitalists' position is not solely due to particular conditions, but is such that they have been affected biologically; Capitalists are somehow prevented from grasping ideas that others can”
Having introduced biological barriers into the argument (an idea as alien to my views as his own) he then sets off in full pursuit of this home-grown red herring. Continuing the only answer he can see he says " This would also be true of all groupings such as Fascists, women, and the people in backward countries whom it is said we will never get to understand or accept Socialist ideas." The impartial reader will have noticed a second grave mis-statement of the point at issue.
To place the matter beyond ail doubt we find a little later this explicit mis-statement of the case for selectivity, a caricature of the real position: "... if we take the attitude that there are groups that cannot understand and accept our ideas then our propaganda must be framed to exclude them." This statement, when compared with the first one, lays bare a quite inexcusable misrepresentation of the entire matter under discussion.
It is apparent the essential difference between the following two ideas has not been grasped: (1) Some people can't understand Socialism ; (2) Some people are better prospects, more likely to understand than others.
To attack proposition (1) when the matter under discussion, backed up by his own initial statement of the issue, is based upon proposition (2) is as futile as attacking our ideas of Socialism by criticising the nationalisation misconception of Socialism held by the Labour Party.
I am in entire agreement with Comrade Turner (and Parker) in criticising the following ideas:
(1) That the working class alone are or will be the saviours of mankind.
(2)That the Capitalists have nothing to gain and everything to lose by the establishment of Socialism.
Further, I agree—we have a message for all human beings. Having said this, however, we do not undermine selectivity; on the contrary, it is reaffirmed.

8.6 THE WILL TO BE CONVERTED
Comrade Farmer suggests that the following aract from Health For All, Jan., 1953, has some bearing on the question of selectivity in propaganda:
People can be convinced of new ideas and converted to other beliefs and modes of living. But the will to be thus converted must already be there within them. There must be something in them which is dissatisfied with things are, whether it is relative to politics, religion, disease, diet, or anything else. And once there is this dissatisfaction (or mental within them, then they are ready to heed to views contrary to those they already hold.
" It does not follow that an individual who is mentally dissatisfied with certain. aspects of present-day life or thought is likewise dissatisfied with all aspects of such life or thought. But it is generally found that people whose former faith in accepted standards of living in one field has been undermined are more prone to view unorthodox ideas about other aspects of living with an open mind than those Who have still that blind and childlike faith in everything orthodox and conventional with which tradition and custom have encumbered them."

Because Socialism is in the interests of the whole of humanity it does not follow that all human beings will, at this stage in our development, find our message equally acceptable. On the contrary, our propaganda history (and generally speaking the rise and ultimate triumph of all new social attitudes involving a radical break with outmoded ideas) shows the opposite. Our movement will, in my opinion, grow by ones and twos for some considerable time to come. As I stated clearly in my first contribution "... differing environmental backgrounds make for' differences of view-point among people which render some more receptive to Socialist propaganda than others. In this way we explain why only the odd one or two at present respond favourably to our propaganda and ultimately join the Party while the majority we meet react in a different fashion." This is a statement about the propaganda situation with which Turner and any other critic of selectivity must deal.
Havink " dealth " with a caricature of the real argument, the article continues " the answer to all this as I see it is that our propaganda should convey our idea of Socialism to ALL people presenting our case to them as HUMAN BEINGS."
Now, no propaganda method has ever been or ever will be devised to convey our idea or any one elses to ALL people as HUMAN BEINGS. S.P.G.B'ers, Tories, Communists, Fascists, I.L.P'ers, Capitalists, Workers, Polynesians, Prostitutes and Politicians, we are all identical—AS HUMAN BEINGS.
But to convey ideas of Socialism, or anything else, we have to speak within the " frame of reference " of the person or persons we wish to impress. This involves seeing people not merely as HUMAN BEINGS, but as beings born into a given culture pattern, a part of society at a particular phase of development, as human beings in their particularity holding certain ideas and identifications, customs and tradition, minority groups and majority groups, with conflicting hopes and fears and frustrations. The propagandist must not only know his commodity—he must get to know his customer. One man's food is another man's poison (a saying as true of political attitudes as of anything else).
On the question of understanding, let me be explicit. ALL PEOPLE, provided they are interested, have the intellectual equipment to understand Socialism. But the phrase " PROVIDED THEY ARE INTERESTED " is an important qualification to which we must not be blind.
The social conditioning of ' the 'interest" factor is a potent matter for the Socialist propagandist. Interest always implies its opposite – indifference. The more a person's energy is canalised and restricted to a few fields, the less energy, inclination and interest are available for other pursuits. The modern world has bred a tremendous diversity of interests, but there are still only 24 hours in a day.
We are not faced with biological differences which determine whether we tend to accept or reject: Socialist ideas, but with socially determined interest patterns " which make it difficult for the Socialist propagandist to overcome the general lack of consistent, enduring political " interest"—and by implication a consent and enduring interest in other matters.

A further serious misunderstanding of selectivity apparent in the statement about excluding groups from our propaganda. For my part the exclusion of people from our propaganda or from membership of the Party is not consistent with the Socialist aim. We have a message for all people. It is not us but, as clearly shown above, the nature of society itself which tends to exclude large masses of people from our propaganda.
Further selectivity does not involve dropping public outdoor propaganda, although it does imply a criticism of the sincere but rather fruitless attempts, at this stage in our development, to do battle at innumerable small outdoor meetings spots where the public speaking tradition does not exist. These atomised propaganda efforts of the " hole in the corner," " two men and a dog " variety, are in my view " almost useless," and largely responsible for much apathy and disillusionment of ourselves and others sympathetic to our ideas—a luxury no revolutionary movement can afford.
Wherever possible it would seem desirable for several branches to stage large, joint propaganda meetings, rather than innumerable un-co-ordinated, unattended, unwanted and unsung apologies for " public " meetings. The gradual introduction of selectivity, as future discussion will show, would require the continuation and development of large indoor and outdoor meetings, e.g. St. Pancras Town Hall, Hyde Park, Metropolitan Theatre, etc. These large and successful gatherings are of immense publicity value. They give the impression of numbers (and consequently a prestige value to the idea expressed), a valuable initial impression when trying to influence people, particularly those strongly identified with group opinion. First impressions are vitally important. We should always strive to convey the impression of unity, strength and success. Large meetings do this; something beneficial for the audience and ourselves alike. As the whole world knows—nothing succeeds ... like success. In the fifth paragraph of Turner's article he asks which groupings will be least likely to be attracted to our case (a valid question—note " least likely " not " cannot understand."). I have given a general answer: idealist and near idealist groups expressed politically in right wing thought. In justification
I have instanced our own emergence. Further I express, the view that materialists and near materialists are most likely prospects for understanding our position. To re-phrase Turners fifth paragraph I would say, Materialist and near Materialist clerical workers, trade unionists, Capitalists, managers, small shop keepers and any other occupational or racial classification are more likely to understand and be interested in our case than idealist and near idealist clerical workers, trade unionists, Capitalists, etc., etc., etc.
That all occupational groupings contain an equal percentage of materialist and near materialist members is, to my mind, unlikely. Quite clearly, whether people are most likely or least likely to be interested and to accept our position is not primarily an occupational distinction, but basically a question of opposing philisophical concepts consciously or unconsciously underlying conflicting outlooks.
J. McGregor.

8.7 MASS PRODUCTION UNDER SOCIALISM
Comrade Turner, in stating his case against mass production, takes the example of bread making (a good one) in support of his contention. But one does not live by bread alone; and under Socialism only the best goods will be produced.
Let me take the case of mattress making, because it happens to be the work I am partly engaged in. The best kind of mattress made, up to date, for comfort and rest is the spring
interior mattress. Inside this there are up to 300 steel wire spiral springs, which are sewn
into pockets by machinery. Prior to this the wire has to be processed and tested, and later hair pads are sewn over the springs. In addition, a border is sewn on and finished off by cord piping. All this is done by machinery.
It seems to me that under Socialism. this type of mattress is impossible without some form of mass production. Housewives may like baking their own bread, but I doubt very much whether they are willing to make a spring interior mattress to sleep on. I should like Comrade Turner to explain how such things as gas stoves, electric irons and fires, wireless and television sets (let alone rail- way engines with their 5,000 independent parts) are going to be produced without mass production. Articles made up of so many pieces are impossible to make in the home. Before Socialism is possible, as Marx and others have pointed out over and over again, large-scale production is necessary. Although we may abolish large cities, it does not mean we are going back to small-scale production.
8.7.1 Attractive Methods?
Comrade Turner wants to hear about the differences which make mass production methods attractive within Socialism. I will do my best to oblige him.
Under Capitalism a man is tied to a mattress machine for 8 hours—whereas under Socialism he works perhaps 2 at it, making it very much less boring and arduous. Also he is fed, housed and clothed better, and this makes any work more pleasurable. It is just the " excessive" division of labour (which under present conditions has become a curse) that is the means—the starting point—of the increased production and all-round development to which Marx referred.
All the machines I mentioned in mattress
making are easy to work. An operative working on one can change to another, so that over a period of time all the operatives are able to work all the machines.
It is easy to see that when this principle is applied generally it means an all-round development of each individual. Continually doing fresh things, he knows that when he finishes working in one field of labour he can soon turn to another. At the start people will, if necessary, decide among themselves by democratic vote who operates which machine. There is no difficulty here, because the operatives have full control of production.
In short, mass production, rightly understood, is seen to be beneficial to society instead of the curse it is today under Capitalism,
J. E. ROE.

8.8 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
5 — The Social Superstructure
In preceding articles something has been said about history and about men. What marks the Socialist is his attitude to history, and what, theoretically, lies behind the Socialist movement is the continuous creation of a theory of history. It is different concepts of history which mark Socialist from non-Socialist, and Socialists from each other. In the first article it was suggested that what we often speak of as a succession of social systems, punctuated by revolutions, are distinguishable phases of a continuous process of social integrations (extrinsically, tribal and territorial fusions; intrinsically, fusions of ad hoc customs into the reneralised institutions of property, law, State, and the concurrent modification of general .incepts and sentiments). The section on historical materialism stressed this cumulative character of history, the accumulation of means, inhering in the act of production by means of means, as the engine of social change - what Marx calls " the daily and hourly fulfilment" of the human productive which creates means as dictated by the means created”. In the silent, unseen, drop by drop accretion of means lies the mysterious wonderful emergence of the qualitative changes in human ways that we call the phases of social evolution. It is mysterious and wonderfulonly in so far as the eye cannot see, nor mind contain, the infinitude of molecules each drop in the ocean of human achievement. In an age of big machines and little men we relax from the " great man " view of history, and begin to relax also from the myths of great ideas and great inventions and great revolutions. We know that inventions are not invented, but grow. We know that great ideas and revolutionary outlooks have a long ancestry . We begin to see that there are no fateful turning points" on the long road of men's work and wants, and that the division : history into "social systems" is arbitrary, a mental device to enable us to summarise the uncountable drops into seeable bucketfuls. We begin to see the revolutions in history as the mental punctuation marks that we ourselves insert so that the unbroken tale may be told, a “say when” for the filling of our arbitrary buckets. So far as we fail to see the subjective nature historical periods and milestones, our philosophy of history is episodic and idealist. It remains at the level of Greek physics,, with its ultimate " earth, air, fire and water," so long as we accept barbarism, chattel-slavery, , Capitalism as being separated by a revolutionary act. It remains at the level of manorial politics, so long as we are haunted by the ghosts of our false separations, with the " dialectical relation " between evolution and revolution, with the order of precedence of thought and action, with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of base, superstructure and reflection, with an immaculate conception of Socialism to save the world from imminent destruction.
As a (historically conditioned) analytical necessity our classical Socialist forbears placed the social superstructure between economic base and ideological dome, as effect of one and cause of the other, which lazyness has reduced to an abracadabra to be read forwards (M.C.H.), or backwards (Revolution—where dome, through political superstructure, reconstitutes base) ,or split (Glass Struggle—relations of production in conflict with the forces of production), or circular (dialectical action after thought after action after . . .), which signify with cap and bell the master's absence. But because genius is no longer socially possible we do not need to play the fool. Ours is the collective task of shaping a more integrated philosophy of society as the sign and instrument of the movement towards a more integrated society.
Society is a structure of institutions, for these are the patterns of co-operative, organised labour, and the structure is neither super nor sub. It is not a part, but the whole, and it has no location, for it is an integrative function. The purpose of human society is bread, and the rest; the organisation of the ways and means is the structure, the institutions. And just as there are no actual boundaries between one social system and another (nor between work, relations, and outlook, nor between thought and feeling, and so on), so there are none between the separately distinguished institutions of a society. Try to trace out the shape of " property" and you find you have drawn " law," " class," " family," " religion," " State." As social realities they are aspects of one another.
The correlation of God with the word, the root of mysticism in conceptual (linguistic) thinking, was not mentioned without purpose, but because its recognition is essential to a materialist view. For we deal in social science with intangibles—relationships—whose molecules alone are seeable, as the acts of everyday life, but which in their entirety can only be conceived, because in their entirety they can never be present to the senses. Thus "...
imagination bodies forth the shape of things unknown . . . turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name." When we use the words " social system," " economic base," " family " or " State," we are stuck with a lawless, inconsequential view of history, and an incoherent, atomised view of society, in proportion as our relativity is less than absolute, in proportion as our necessary distinctions are animised into " real" separations, and having given them a name, give them also boundary and a local habitation. When did "Property" begin? For practical (arbitrary) purposes the Thames begins at Tower Bridge for the liner; at tide-ending Ted-dington for the mediaeval barque; in the Cots-wolds for the geography lesson; and if you would trace its " real" beginning you must follow up every tributary to every stream to every trickle no thicker than a finger, and then its beginning would slip through your fingers in the broken rhythm of rain and drought, in night mist and morning dew. The beginning of Property likewise disappears into thin air. It becomes a recognisable Thing when its tributary parts (which are tributary parts also of Law, Family, Religion) coalesce to a given magnitude, whose continuous movement is perceivable as change recollected in retrospect. (Some of us would add, with Galileo, that still it moves.)
The continuous character of history cannot be grapsed without grasping at the same time the unbounded, unseparated character of institutions. The cumulative character of history cannot be grasped without grasping at same time that changes of social quality (living this way instead of that, thinking this way instead of that) t are only changes of social quantity. The expropriation of peasant and craftsman was the concentration of capital into fewer hands, and at the same time it was also necessarily the transference of ownership from single persons to associations of persons, companies, what the French more aptly call the- societe anonyme. To-day's more anonymous society is only yesterday's societe anonyme writ larger, and the increasing anonymity of ownership keeps even pace with the social magnitude of capital, for the quantity of productive means is the quality of social organisation, the quality of men's lives. The peasant was collectivised, but capitalism was not established by the Duchess of Sutherland. She and the shirt-makers, Lord and Luddite, pauper labour and Peterloo, were only the sparks which flew from the anvil of Kay Arkwright beneath the hammer blows of Bessmer and Boyle. The shape of history was turned under the pressure of steam. the keen and cunning bite of chemicals, the "whirring wheels.
Predatory, irresistable. its appetite grown by what it fed on: the merchant capital of wool trade and cloth gild, of-East India, Hudson Bay and the Levant ate up the peasants' plots as the flying shuttle of the factory defied the frantic fingers
of the weaver and his wife. King commodity was crowned, and to crofter and craftsmen were bequeathed the Inalienable Rights of Man. “ the fair market value, as between a willing seller and a willing buyer" of their labour power—wages, cap in hand.
What steam began, heavy water and hydrogen continue. Individual ownership of the instruments of production went out when the power machine came in. Ownership became more vicarious, delegated to the anonymous associations, matched by more and more anonymous associations of labour. Intermediate forms of combine and cartel have their day; the moguls of commerce become an anachronism, the rugged individualist a public pest; the captains and kings of industry depart, commissioners cake their appointed places. The accumulation of means which qualify the ways of man goes into higher gear when the productive instruments, in the form of capital, become dedicated to accumulation as an end in itself, as a desecrate necessity for survival. The transitions from trading to industrial capital, and within industrial capital from absolute to relative surplus value, are a function of the social magnitude of capital. When it reaches a certain size, trading capital must take possession not mty of the products but of the productive instruments. When industrial capital reaches a given social size, it must replace absolute by relative surplus value, and when it reaches a certain size it compels " expropriation " by the State.
* * *
Hardly has commodity society come of age, all things unshackled from fief and freely alienable in personal possession, than joint stock, etc., begin the depersonalising of ownership which limited liability strengthens and nationalisation continues.
The property of a partnership is owned by the partners, but the property of a company is not owned by the shareholders, nor by the directors, who may not even be shareholders, but by a fictitious " person " created and confined by legal instruments which determine the various rights of various real persons, who are thus separated by a whole series of barriers from what was once their property. No real person in Britain owns coal at the point of production, neither the members of local executives, nor of regional commissions, nor of national boards, nor any of their chairmen or presidents, nor the Minister to whom they must defer in regard to prices and production, and who must in turn defer to the Cabinet in turn answerable to the House that Jack built. Social ownership inheres in the nature of capital. The " concentration of capital into fewer and fewer hands" is the progressive socialisation of ownership. The change in the quality of the institution (Property) is the outcome of the change in quantity, and the speed of capital's transition reflects its feverishly cumulative character. Is it too much to ask of the socialist, the materialist, to consider social ownership in relation to atomic fission? Can we not learn from steam and turbine that fission compels, and therefore produces, complete depersonalisation because nothing less than society at " own" the atom which is the :
Failure to see the qualitative changes that we call social evolution as issuing from quantitative change in means and products is itself only an aspect of the erroneous separating a things social, which are seen as separate parts " (like heart and liver) instead of as aspects of the whole (like " mind" and " body "). It obscures the fact that, as purpose. society is wholly an economic phenomena while as structure it is wholly institutional, and therefore wholly psychic, behavioural. Likewise the separately distingushed institutions art not separate parts, with points of contact: a given society is wholly Property, wholly Government, etc. There are no parts. Anthropologists tell us of " primitive societies" vapourised by the imposition of a single alien instituition or technique, or ethic. The social sciences to-day are sobbing wet tears for an intergrative principle which will give coherence and meaning to their brilliant ad hoc discoveries. Yet " we have nothing to leam ". because we have nothing to teach. The dumb gesticulate at the blind, the blind rant at the deaf.
The unity of social forms and processes is not sufficiently expressed when we describe institutions as being geared together because geared to the labour which is what society is for, or describe them as interdependent like the organs of the body. These analogies fall deceptively short, for institutions are not parts connected, or strands interwoven: they are each the whole, turned to catch the mind's light this way or that.
(To be continued)
F. EVANS.

8.9 Extract from “SIN AND SEX"
There is little ground for the conflict of individual interests where there is little private property. Where all interests are in common, mutual assistance and goodwill are spontaneous sentiments. Common interests take the place of individual interests. To assist others, to share with them and to protect them is as r.acural in uncultured societies as it is natural individualistic communities to rob, to cheat, outwit and defraud. Hence, while the Sermon on the Mount appears sublime to civilised, people, it appears commonplace to savages. So commonplace and spontaneous is the social morality of the savage that it does not occur ro him to formulate it as moral principles.
When people speak of safeguarding public morals, they are not alluding to the desirability of checking fraud ... of putting down war, or poverty, or social injustice. In speaking of MORALITY, they are referring to none of these things. What they have in mind is the exposure of unclothed human bodies, the denotation of physiological functions and organs by other than Latin words. The world is writhing under needless suffering, it is desperately crying for justice. But the righting of injustice, the safeguarding of life, are matters for lukewarm and leisurely speculation which is, indeed, generally regarded as of questionable taste and doubtful repute. Meanwhile, ' public morals' are being safeguarded, the observance of the tabus of decency is being enforced with fierce, ferocious and effective zeal ....
It must not be imagined that savages are, as the unfortunate term suggests, brutal, bestial, and inhuman. Quite on the contrary, they are very agreeable and pleasant people. It is impossible for anyone to become acquainted
with them and to live amongst them for some time, without being drawn to them by feelings of affection. They are very nice people. And their niceness arises from their truly affectionate disposition. |ndeed there is more love, in the general sense' of the word, in uncultured than in cultural societies, There is a thousand times more love in a tribe of howling Melanesian cannibals than in any gathering of the fashionable in Mayfair, or of the intellectuals in Chelsea. It is to that natural affectionate disposition, as I have repeatedly insisted, that human society owes the possibility of its rise out of animality—-much more than to brain and cleverness. But the charming contrast between Melanesia and Mayfair, all to the advantage of the former, is due precisely to the fact that the affectionate disposition of the Melanesian savage is frittered away on all and sundry, whereas the men and women of Mayfair cordially detest one another and know perfectly well that they are themselves detested by most of their ' friends'.
The latter state of things is very deplorable, but it is the inevitable result of a society founded upon individualism and the rights of private property—disguised at times as ' the family'. In such a society, everyone, man or woman, must look after himself or herself first. ody else will. All the people with whom I have to deal are very nice people. They are really quite as affectionate in disposition as the Melanesian cannibals. I do firmly believe that when they rob me, malign me, and kick me when I am down, they are grieved in their
hearts at doing so. But que voulez vous. They must look after themselves first. They must also look after their families, their wives and children—the foundation of society. Consequently they cannot afford to waste much time in sympathy over the consequences of their having robbed, cheated, slandered, and kicked me.
. . . And yet, despite everything, they are essentially affectionate people. They are just as affectionate as the Melanesian cannibal. Human nature has not changed in that respect. If anything, it has improved. The modern men and women are probably more tenderly and deeply affectionate than the cannibals.
They show it in the infallible appeal of sentiment, of sentimentality, however sugary and soppy, which they can indulge in without jeopardising their own safety. They feel their position. It is simply intolerable . . . Each of them, man or woman, longs, if the truth be told, for sympathy and affection. Each longs beyond anything in the world to be able to put aside, if only for a short interval or respite, his or her self-defensive armour, the terrible necessity of looking after themselves, of being on their guard, of distrusting every other human being. They long for love."
ROBERT BRIFFAULT.
8.10 NOTES ON FUEL AND POWER SOURCES
The physicists have shown that heat can be converted into work, or heating power to mechanical power, so here both these manifestations of power are treated together.
The main sources of power in use today are coal and oil. They are removed from the bowels of the earth, refined somewhat and then transported to the engines that they are to hive. They suit the needs of a trading world cry adequately for they can be used in any size of engine, from the small internal combustion types in motor cars to the turbines used in large powered plants, and even more important, these machines can run for 24 hours each day if necessary.
To these the possibility of atomic or nuclear power has now been added. A superficial analysis indicates that this is an entirely new eyre of power source, and so some people have rashly called the use of atomic power another industrial revolution. But this is a fallacious ie -. The source of the energy is the transmutation of the atoms of the substance. In burning coal or oil the atomic structure is unaltered, while the atoms are rearranged and the molecular structure is changed. But it is not the physical nature of the energy that causes industrial revolutions—it is the human uses of the energy or power that is important. The atoms of uranium to be transmuted must be mined, refined somewhat, and then transported to the power house (in this case an atomic pile). The atomic energy released can be transformed into electricity or heat, or even “canned " into an atom bomb, as oil can be " canned " into an oil bomb.
Thus we see that the human uses of atomic power, are as yet, no different from those of molecular power. In fact the basic power source of capitalism must be mineral, for only a that way will the " Iron Master " obtain an obedient slave. Even vegetables have their seasons.
8.10.1 POTENTIALITIES OF FUELS
Oil is mined bv machinery at the moment.
and any changes in these methods in the future will be refinements, not fundamental changes in the method of production.
Coal is at present mined in three main ways. In the crude direct method a human being works at the coal face with a tool (in this case a pick) and animals (in England pit ponies) carry or pull the coal to the surface, or, in the case of a surface working, to the washery. Usually, in a mechanised mine the collier uses a machine to cut the coal, and haulers, trains and pit cages carry it to the washery. An interesting hydro-mechanical method was tried out in 1937 at Sverdlovsk (U.S.S.R.). In this method the coal is smashed up and carried away by high-pressure jets of water directed at the coal-face. The water not only wins the coal, but also transports it in troughs and the smaller particles are even pumped to the surface in the water. It was estimated that the method increased the productivity of labour three-fold and cut the production costs by a half. By 1940 it was being applied in several other mines. The underground gasification method is a completely automatic method of mining coal. Lilley describes it as follows:
" It eliminates mining altogether and turns the coal seam into an underground gasworks. Air or steam or a combination or alternation of the two is pumped down one shaft to the burning coal seam and up another comes the gas, which can be varied in composition at will. . . . The method shows several advantages over mining, at least for some types of seams. It abolishes the dangers of underground work. It extracts 80-90 per cent of the coal, as against 60 per cent by mining methods. It makes economical the exploitation of seams which are too thin and of too low quality for ordinary methods. Although the method is still in its infancy, it is claimed that it has already reduced the cost of power production from coal to one-third of the usual. The gas which emerges is used for electric power generation
and as the basis for synthetic chemical industries, besides being distributed to consumers in the same way as ordinary town gas."
—P. 154, " Men, Machines and History." Cobbett Press (1948) In 1949 the Ministry of Fuel and Power began large-scale trials on the underground gasification method at Newman Spinney near Chesterfield, and followed this up by starting further trials at Bayton in Worcestershire last year. Here shallow coal seams are utilised and the gas is used to drive electric power-producing turbines at the pithead. It has also been suggested that coal could be turned directly into electric power underground, by constructing a Coal-Cell in the seam. The coal would then produce an electric current, just as a simple dry battery used in pocket torches does, and this current would be brought to the surface by a cable. In principle, at any rate, this is simplicity itself.
Atomic power, in contrast to the other two, is as yet primarily a war weapon. Besides the uranium and plutonium bombs of the last war, we are told that Hell bombs, atomic artillery, submarines and rockets are being developed. Incidently, some heat is being produced in the atomic piles in use today, and this could be used for central heating, or converted into electric power. However, as far as simple, useful power is concerned Sir John Cockcroft, the director of the atomic research establishment at Harwell, has stated that:
" We can be fairly certain that there will be no large-scale development in the next decade, and it is unlikely that any appreciable part of world power will come from nuclear sources in the following decade, though there may well be special applications of importance." —P. 95, " Atomic Energy " (Penguin Books).
1950 ROBERTUS.

Forum Journal 1953-09 June

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

9. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
JUNE 1953

9.1 From America REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP
What should be the minimum requirements for membership of a Socialist Party? They should be broad enough to include all
who are Socialists. There is no justification
for barring Socialists from membership. They should be narrow enough to exclude all who are not Socialists.
Since the criterion for membership is based on whether an applicant is a Socialist or not, it becomes necessary to define what is a Socialist.
Broadly speaking, a Socialist is one who understands that Capitalism can no longer re reformed or administered in the interest in the working class or of society; that Capitalism is incapable of eliminating its inherent problems of poverty, wars, crises, . and that Socialism offers the solutions
for the social problems besetting mankind, since the material developments, with the
sinngle exception of an aroused Socialist majority, are now ripe for the inauguration of Socialism.
This is the Socialist case. It is not difficult to grasp. Membership in a Socialist Socialist organisation does not require being erudite pundits or profound students. There is a unity of agreement among us that the above is the minimum requirement of being a Socialist.
However, there is a justifiable fear that there is a danger that we may open the doors to confused " Socialists," non-Socialists, or even anti-Socialists. This fear exists because a Socialist party is democratically controlled its membership. An influx of such elements could transform a genuine Socialist party into its opposite. Therefore, we must summarise the barest minimum of Socialist principles upon which all Socialists agree and upon which there is no compromise The principles that weld us together with a . uity of views may be stated as follows: —
9.1.1 Socialist Principles
Socialism has three aspects, viz., a science.
A movement, and a system of society.
As a science, it is materialistic. It recognises that everything in existence is interelated and in a constant process of change.
In a very real sense, it might even be con-
sidered that Socialism is the science that integrates all branches of science into a correlated whole.) Specifically, it explains social evoluation and, more particularly, the nature of Capitalist society.
As a movement, its very essence is to exert all its efforts to arouse the working class and all others to become Socialists so that the majority become conscious of their interests and institute Socialism. The Socialist revolution is majority, conscious and political. Such a revolution is inherently democratic.
As a system of society, it may be concisely described as a social relationship where the interests of every member of society and society as a whole are in harmony; where everyon co-operates by giving according to his abilities and receiving according to his needs.
On these Socialist principles, there is no compromise. On these Socialist generalisations, it might be said we are dogmatic. Our dogmatism applies to processes and scientific analyses. (On the other hand, we do not have any authoritarian dogmas or creeds. See E.W.'s splendid comments on the Bolshevik behaviour, in this respect, in his article in the April, 1953 Socialist Standard.)
Further, we do not compromise with the Capitalist system. We oppose it and are organised to get rid of it. Nor do we compromise in our defense of the Socialist case and Socialist principles.
Finally, the above Socialist summary is what distinguishes us from all other parties claiming to be Socialist. No other party, outside the companion parties for Socialism, holds these views. That is why it is unlikely that there would be two Socialist parties in any one country. Should another Socialist organisation appear on the scene, steps would be taken to merge—we are hot engaged in a rivalry to emancipate the workers.
9.1.2 The Socialist Attitude
The Socialist attitude should be one of constantly re-examining our position and activities, especially in the light of unfolding events. FORUM is a healthy and sound demonstration of such a Socialist attitude. it is a valuable asset in illustrating the fact that thinking is not a violation of Socialist discipline. Socialists must not be afraid to think or express opinions lest they be brought up on charges. To those who view the companion parties as being rigid sectarians, FORUM is a living refutation. In a Socialist party there is plenty of room for differences of opinions.
Whilst it might be said that Socialists are dogmatic, in the scientific sense, on fundamental Socialist principles, i.e., on generalisations and processes, they should not be dogmatic on specific details. We are on sound grounds as long as we confine ourselves to scientific analyses of processes. The moment we become specific in telling history what it must, do, what it can only do, etc., history may make liars out of us. Speculations are useful and interesting but not fundamental. Also, we can be sadly mistaken in laying down formulas to be adhered to for all types of problems and situations. Witness the quarrel in FORUM regarding the printers' union (strike-censorship issues).
Illustrative of my point is A. Turner's article in the March issue. It does not take much imagination to hear some rumbling that Comrade Turner has " repudiated " the class struggle and should be brought ud for charges. Can anyone quarrel that the Socialist revolution is in the interest of all mankind, including the Capitalists? We become dogmatic (in the Bolshevik-Catholic sense of authoritarian dogma) to consider Turner's viewpoint as anti-Socialist.
Still more effective illustration is the article in the April, 1953, FORUM suggesting, (horror of horrors) a "revolutionary" revamping of our Declaration of Principles. Comrades can hold such views and still be members of a Socialist party ; for, are they not Socialists?
One additional word regarding what is a Socialist. Fie is not only one who understands and agrees with the Socialist case but also does something about it. Of course, in all fairness, consideration must be given to personal problems and special circumstances.
I. RAB.
9.2 Reply to S.R.P. CLASS STRUGGLE AND THE S.P.G.B.
In advising us to present our case to human beings " irrespective of their social origin, S.R.P. (April FORUM) forgets, or seems to forget, one or two self-evident facts
about " human beings."
Human beings are born into society and not outside it, and those here envisaged are the inevitable fruit of the present vicious social system. In any discussion about human beings and society it is important to keep in mind the fact that society is not an independent entity, but a specific mode of reduction which gives it its distinctive character and determines its institutions.
Each society is only a phase in the le elopment of the social labour nrocess from production for use at one end to production for use at the other. This being a development of social labour (that is, men working together in a definite way toward a definite end) every man is dependent upon the social skill and techniques which he, in common with others, socially inherits, modifies and passes on. In this way past generations prescribe to the new generation its conditions of living and working. The productive activities of men today are determined by the character of the industries they find in existence.
The availability or the number of jobs in these industries is determined by how much profit can be made by the owners of these industries. So that when considering the influence of society on men we should remember that their relationship to the productive process is determined by the class to which they belong. It is undeniable that society-lays the broad foundations and imparts colour and tone to the general outlook and habits of men. Nevertheless their ideals and interests, aims and attitudes, are those of their class, and in this sense a man is a product of his class and is identified with it
However, S.R.P. holds that class-consciousness is not the consciousness of a class conditioned by the specific relationship which that class has to the productive process. According to him it is, rather, the contemplation of a struggle between classes, an awareness of class differences, which contemplation transcends these differences ("has nothing to do with which class you belong to ") and resolves this struggle (" it is knowledge that there is class struggle that ends it, not the actual prosecution of that struggle ")
One can visualise employers holding classes on the class struggle instead of Music
While You Work programmes, because it is " knowledge " of this struggle which resolves all antagonisms. This is better than any of the profit-sharing or other schemes yet devised by the class-collaborationist tribe.
Then he attacks the " out of date " conception of class-consciousness by asking what hapens when a Capitalist becomes class-conscious. The answer is that he acts in line with his class interests. In defeating the feudal nobility the bourgeoisie donned the mantle of the ruling class. Their first task was to eliminate or throw aside all the restrictions which feudal society had olaced in the way of the further advancement of industry and commerce—in short, to establish institutions and relations in keeping with their own interests.
The ruling ideas in society are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, in this case the property relations peculiar to Capitalism When the boureoisie became the ruling class their ideas became the ruling ideas and have remained so ever since.
The ideas of bourgeois dominance are inculcated into the child mind, so it is not surprising that workers leave school holding (ideas about " our empire," " the nation's prestige," our democracy," " the British way of life," etc. From the cradles to the grave every man and woman under Capitalism is press and pulpit, screen and radio, and now television. Is it any wonder that millions of workers are unable to see beyond the rule of the bourgeois?
Thus the class-consciousness of the bourgeoisie rermeates society, even to the extent of placing obstacles in the way of workers—acquiring Socialist knowledge. These obstacles, difficult as they are for a worker to circumvent, prove almost insurmountable to the Capitalist, whose class subjected to a barrage of such ideas from the status depends on his ability to wring surplus value from the workers. He is easily led to believe that his is the best of all possible systems. He can point with pride to the achievements of the past 200 years of bourgeois rule as being the most progressive in -the history of mankind. He can boast : equality of opportunity for all. " If greatgrandfather could do it, any worker can do it," " Socialism is a gospel of envy, the creec of misfits." And as for wars, "there were wars before Capitalism—they are the resui of something inherently foul in human nature, the evil designs of wicked men."
This has proved such a barrier in the past that even the few who caught a fair.: glimmering of the truth could not overcome their class-conditioned snobbishness and superiority. They had to enter the field as leaders, with the lamentable results that i know only too well.
" The dictum that Communism is not a mere party doctrine of the working class, but a theory compassing the emancipation of society at large, including the Capitalist class from its present narrow conditions . . . i true enough in the abstract, but is absolute;-useless and sometimes worse in practice. So long as the wealthy classes not only do not feel the need for any emancipation but strenuously oppose the self emancipation of the working class, SO LONG THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION WILL HAVE TO BE PREPARED AND FOUGHT OUT BY THE WORKING CLASS ALONE "(1).
This position is neither " satisfactory *' nor " unsatisfactory," but logical and, in mv view, correct. But the subjective attitude of S.R.P. appears in all its nakedness when he tells us that if we do not accept his view then we have a position which is " unthinkable "—the implication being that if a thing is unthinkable it is unreal. After 50 years' experience the Party is being advised to return, not to Marx, but to Hegel: "All that is real is rational."
9.2.1 The D. of P.
The idealism in this position becomes more evident when we consider the proposed amendments to the D. of P. In stating " that this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself'' the Party emphasises that Socialism must be the result of majority action. If this amendment was carried then no such qualification is contained either explicitly or implicitly. Further, the emancipation of the working class can only be achieved by establishing classless society. Thus the amendment is tautologous and has no point unless one of the is true: —
nat the working class are incapable acquiring class-consciousness, and Socialism must be established by minority action.
That class-consciousness is not the reflection of working class conditions, the NECESSARY outcome of class struggle, but a theory which is to be drilled into the heads of people irrespective of their social origin.
The objection to the emphasis made in principle 7 " that all political parties are but the expression of class interests " arises from the claim that the Socialist Party does not express class interests but human ones, and class interests to him are no different from an interest in music, stamp-collecting or bug-hunting. This makes the Socialist revolution dependent on the Party. Thus Socialism is not NECESSARY, but conditional upon the ability of the Party to convey ' message ' to ' humanity.' However—'" For us Communism is not a condition of affairs which ' ought' to be—not an Ideal end in correspondence with which Reality is forced to shape itself. When we speak of communism we mean the actual MOVEMENT which makes an end of the existing order of things. The determinants of this movement arise directly from the conditions actually existing.
" Not criticism but revolution is the native force of history "(2).
It is not the battle for Socialism which lines the workers on one side and the Capitalists on the other, but Capitalism itself, which can only develop by bringing into existence a class which has to endure all the hardships and burdens of society without enjoying any of the advantages. This is a class which forms the majority of society and 'performs the whole social labour, a class which can only obtain its barest wants by means of a continual struggle, which eventually produces consciousness of its origin and outcome, proletarian class-consciousness or Socialism.
So that rather than being the evangelistic, non-partisan creed of S.R.P., Socialism is the revolutionary consciousness of a struggle to abolish the existing system of society, Capitalism. Capitalist society is the rule of the bourgeoisie, consequently the abolition of Capitalism is the " defeat" of the bourgeoisie.
" The rule of all classes will be abolished with the classes themselves, because it (the revolution) is carried through by the class which no longer counts as a class in society s is not recognised as a class and is in itself the expression of the dissolution of all classes, nationalities, etc., within the present society "(3).
Socialism is inseperable from the working class struggle, and is nothing more than the highest expression of that struggle. This does not mean that Capitalists as individuals have
nothing to gain from Socialism, or tha. cause they are wealthy they are incapable of
understanding Socialism.
" It is possible that particular individuals are not always influenced in their attitude by the class to which they belong. But this has as little effect upon the struggle between classes as the seccession of a few nobles I the Third Estate had upon the French Revolution. And, then the nobles did at least join a class—the revolutionary class, the revolutionary class, the bourgeoisie. Mr Heinzen, on the other hand, sees all classes melt away before the solemn idea ' Humanity' "(4).
My use of these quotations is not in order
to " invoke the deities," Marx and Engels.
but to point out that not only are the " seemingly self-evident truths of 1904" a legacy;
from the past, but that the so-called " revolutionary changes" suggested by S.R.P.
were advanced and ANSWERED over 100
years ago. ;.
J. RICHMOND.
QUOTES:
1.F. ENGELS, preface to " CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844," page x.
2.K. MARX, "GERMAN IDEOLOGY," pp. 25 and 29.
3.Ibid, p. 69.
4.K. MARX, "SELECTED ESSAYS," p. 156.
9.3 DAMN THE CAPITALISTS!
No Soothing Syrup
Has the Party an anonymous capitalist in its ranks, someone who feels ill at ease? The article "People of the World—Unite" makes one wonder, for what worker in the Party gives a dam for the capitalist class?
It has been said that some capitalists would do anything for the workers except get off their backs. Let S.R.P. read nos 2 and 3 of the D. of P., once again. They are short and crisp, and allow for no compromise.
To introduce Socialism, Capitalism must be abolished—the expropriators must be expiated, including any capitalist who may "re a member of the Party. The class struggle will have to be fought to a finish. There can be no question of soothing syrup
- the Capitalist class to gain their support
Maybe there are a number of exceptions among the capitalists—so far they have few. Engels was the most notable, but he never tried to win the capitalist class over to accepting Socialism.
The article in question is about the most revolting I have ever read in a Socialist journal. What does he mean by the following? " When a Capitalist becomes class-conscious that doesn't mean he says to himself ' Yes, I see that Capitalism makes us all money-grabbers, makes us distrust and try to get the better of each other, brings wars in which even Capitalists get killed— but I belong to the class that is top dog, so I'm going to oppose a world in which all those things won't exist.' "
All Capitalists are class-conscious, and the very thing S.R.P. says the Capitalists does not say is the very thing he usually does.
What do members think of this statement? " Capitalists and workers alike can desire Socialism and feel it in their interest, because its basic attraction is not so much material gain as the ending of antagonisms." It reads like a message from the so-called " Socialist Sunday School."
As one Socialist and worker I hold that the ending of class antagonisms is not the basic attraction. The basic attraction is that Socialism is the only way in which I and other workers can end our present poverty
position. S.R.P. appears to think that conditions have changed for the better. I agree with Horatio who, in the same issue, stated that conditions have grown worse.
I advise every member who wishes our propaganda to be directed to the Capitalist class as well as to the working class to read again Chapter V of " The Socialist Party-Its Principles and Policy," especially p. 18: " With classes, economic interests govern rctions, whatever may occur in exceptional individual cases."
It is significant that in order to make our propaganda unselective, S.R.P. had to amend half the D. of P.
D. W. LOCK.
S.R P. will reply to these and a further critic next month
9.4 EDITORIAL
After nine months of publication FORUM is still " full of running." The criticisms of individual contributions have been many and varied, but the interest of members in its contents as a whole has been well maintained.
There is only one black spot—branch circulation has fallen a little from its peak, and this has compelled us to cut the number of copies printed to 1,000. This, in turn, has meant that we have had to reduce slightly the number of words printed, so as not to incur a loss to Head Office Funds.
We know that there are a number of members who would wish to help us out should present standard of production of
FORUM be threatened. We suggest that the best way they can help is to increase its circulation by getting other members to read it. No publication can achieve its maximum possible circulation without some encouragement to purchase being given to those who do not seek it out.
There is one particular criticism that we feel should not go unheeded. It concerns the relationship of FORUM to Party propaganda in general. It has been said that the time and effort spent in producing FORUM detracts from other Party work and would be better spent in other directions.
It seems to us unsatisfactory that members should look upon FORUM as something apart from Socialist propaganda. Its justification for existence is its capacity to aid the rest of our propaganda in four main ways: —
5.To clear up the Socialist attitude to certain existing issues.
6.To discuss new ideas.
7.To augment members' knowledge of subjects useful to Socialists.
14) To examine critically the techniques and effects of propaganda with a view to improvement. The important thing is that contributions to FORUM should be relevant to some feature of Party work. It is not easy to draw a fine beween relevancy and irrelevancy, and it must be left to the good sense and responsibility of members to see that FORUM plays a useful role in Party activity.
9.5 CORRESPONDENCE COLUMN
TO THE EDITORS
Comrades.
The function of the S.P.G.B. is threefold -education, organisation and emancipation. At the present our main task is education, that is, Socialist propaganda. To hold Socialist ideas and not actively propagate them or help in their propagation is useless. We must unite our theory with practice. But, unfortunately, numbers of members do not seem to realise this. Although they subscribe to the object of the S.P.G.B.—Socialism— they do not support its activities.
Therefore, now that we are in the middle of our summer propaganda season it is opportune to point out that an important way in which we can get our ideas across is the outdoor platform—in the parks and at the street corners. To have sucessful meetings it is imperative that EVERY member who is physically capable should support his branch's outdoor activities.
If a meeting at, say, Earls Court, is to be successful then all members living within two or three miles of Earls Court should be there at the time the meeting is scheduled to commence (8 p.m.). It is no use members rolling up at half past eight or nine—the most difficult job is for the chairman to get an audience. If there are 15 or 20 members already there when the chairman gets up (with some of them heckling him) then half the battle is won—people will soon come round.
So, comrades, prove that you really want Socialism URGENTLY and (1) support all your branch's outdoor meetings; (1) get there sharp on time, and (3) help with selling literature, etc.
Yours fraternally,
PETER E. NEWELL
Comrades,
Our brow was wrinkled at what seems to us the excessive use of the editorial plural in ¥/. Waters' " About Books " in the May S.S. " We must confess, having had two bites at this book, we have given it up as indigestible. It fails to hold our interest. . . ." The present; writers would like to know (a) Can the Party have collective bites at a book (and presumably get the communal burps)? and (b) What's wrong with using " I " when we mean "I"?
Yours fraternally,
S.S. READERSHIP
Back numbers of FORUM (except the first October, 1952 issue) are available from Head Office. There are only a few copies of Nos. 2 and 3 available, and those members who have disposed of their copies should not rely upon being able to obtain single back numbers later on.
A further article criticising " People of the world—Unite" will be published in July FORUM, together with a reply by S.R.P. to all of the articles published in opposition to his case.—Editors.
9.6 WHICH CAPITALISTS SHALL THE PARTY SUPPORT?
If our propaganda is going to be in way effective on the working class as a whole we shall need to be very careful not to get too philosophical. The workers are in a big enough puzzle just now without our making it more puzzling for them. In my opinior if we take the advice of Comrade Turner we shall cease to expound the Class Struggle and end up by advocating the Class Puzzle.
It is not a Socialist policy to worry abom the emancipation of the Capitalist class fron the tyranny of the workers—the Capitalists are already emancipated. It is the worker who are our main concern, not the Capitalists who, it seems, are going to be well off r matter which way they turn. That may be so, yet I rather think Comrade Turner would have a very hard job trying to convince a Capitalist of this—it would be like trying to convince a hard-headed old atheist That there is a happy land far, far away where he'll get ham and eggs three times a day.
9.6.1 A Defective Approach
" Socialism for Millionaires " may be all right for Bernard Shaw and Charlie Chaplin and the like, but it is certainly not good propaganda for workers. It is all right for the philosophers' classroom but not for the platform—in fact it's bad propaganda for the whole Party case. It is reactionary, and would tend to become conciliative; it is dangerous, cloudy and puzzling for the workers.
We should cut out all the fancy capers and get on with the business of attending to the backward workers, not the forward Capitalists. If some of the latter think Socialism is going to benefit them, well and good—but let us leave it at that.
It is not our job to bother about which' Capitalists we shall support. If some of them are going to support us, is it our policv to suport them? If we did we would find ourselves in a horrible muddle. They would do more harm in the Party than they would do out of it, and, in my opinion, we should exclude them on these grounds.
What we should really be wary of is not to let slip through our fingers the long, hard and gruelling work of the old members of the Party. The workers are on the move now more than ever before ; they are gradually losing their illusions about the men who once claimed to be Socialists. We must not let them lose their faith in us. However, I partly agree in the philosophical sense with what Comrade Turner says, but still, in mv opinion, it would be very bad for the Party.
R. SMITH.

9.7 HEREDITY AND ABILITY
Some Biological Considerations
We are concerned, as always, with relative phenomena, and my general objection to Comrade Evans and Rowan is that they are attributing absolute values to things which are relative.
I think we can attach very little value to the "' twin method " suggested by Rowan. In recent years statistical correlation has played an increasingly useful part in biological research, particularly in agriculture.
Where variations in plants is concerned, strict control of ecological, conditions ismaintained, one factor being varied at a time Only in this way are relevant causes of variation isolated.
Rowan's environmental terms " exactly similar" or "more similar," "completely different" or " more different" would at rest bring nothing more than a tolerant smile to the face of a statistical biologist. Results by the " twin-method " would be crude and inconclusive. Some psychologists have dabbled in this sort of work with even greater crudity. This is not surprising, for an examination of the terminology used in psychology reveals an extraordinary confusion not found in. science. I refer to such words as consciousness, will, attention, feeling. " the unconscious,'.' pain, pleasure, etc. Their use in an animistic sense and the disagreement amongst the different schools of psychology reveal the shaky ground on which their alleged science rests. They are unable to agree even to the basic nature of the phenomena they claim to investigate.
Because behaviourists have thrown overboard the entire clutter of introspective terminology, and approach the study of mental phenomena in an objective way, the very existence of these psychologists presumes their disagreement with them. They did not have to be present-day psychologists, comrade Rowan. The issue has always been— behaviourism or psychology. Behaviourism is essentially a method. I do not know what he means by saying behaviourism is a doctrine which in its pure form is untenable. It is in any case irrelevant as a criticism. Pure Darwinism is untenanble, but the fact that Darwin incorrectly attributed the process of natural selection to slight continuous variations, and not to mutations, in no way detracts from his main conclusions. Rowan would do well not to rely on expositions of the behaviourists' case by their critics.
Both Evans and Rowan fail to appreciate the significance of the six athletes. They were not isolated by me, as the latter suggests, but by an elaborate process of selection. Thev represented the limiting cases of the appli-
cation of our technical knowledge in that field, being for all practical purposes the fastest men on earth. The physiological problems involved in sprinting are much more simple than in distance running. In the former, general technique is largely agreed upon. In the case of distance running there is still considerable speculation and consequently wide divergence in training methods. Thus Zatopec's training schedule differs widely from the usual, and it is interesting to note that the only two athletes whose type of training approximates to his are both credited with faster performances in their particular event.
Although Evans modifies his original statement regarding hereditary variation—he has dropped the word " abilities "—he has still a very confused notion. Natural selection, though it explains most " straight-line " evolution, is not the whole picture. Most important of all, Evans makes the mistake of applying a general biological law to human society. The selective process of the struggle for existence ceases to apply (see Engels: " Dialectics of Nature ").
As an example, let us consider a mutation which exhibits a deaf-mute condition. In the animal world such a variation would almost certainly be weeded out by natural selection very rapidly. But in human society the situation is very different. Deafness can be compensated for by deaf-aids, perhaps of the bone conduction type, and also by the technique of lip reading. The mute can talk and think in words by use of the finger sign language. Thinking in man almost exclusively involves the use of words, and just as in a normal person covert movements of the tongue and laryngeal muscles occur during thinking, so a thinking mute can be detected moving his fingers. Man, by means of a social inheritance of technique of his own making, thinks with his tools.
In his refernce to leaders, Evans is naive almost to the point of simplicity. The fact of differences in ability is not in dispute. We are continually meeting people who are more able at some tasks than we are. But Evans, not adverse to criticising another comrade for not crediting him with a common acquaintance with the elements of Party theory (FORUM, Jan., p. 7), deliberately misconstrues my remarks. He states that I believe a case for leadership rests on differences of ability. I will not use up valuable space repeating what I did say in that connection ; Evans can look it up and read it again for himself. Does Comrade Evans really appreciate what innately superior.
thought mechanism's imply? Do we have 1 resurrect the hoary old myth of the pyramid of consciousness once again?
Evans says " unlike causes produce unlike effects "—correct. But he evidently does not know what this means. Every difference is not a cause. Because everyone, apart from monozygotic twins, is innately different does not mean that every difference is a cause. Examples: —
8.Two similar bodies are projected tc^-wards the earth at different velocities. The opposing forces of air resistance and gravitational pull will reduce both velocities :: equality—equal terminal velocities.
9.Two glasses are placed side by side in a hermetically sealed box. One is filled with pure water, the other with a different: liquid, sugar solution in water. Because :: the higher vapour pressure of the pure water it begins to evaporate and condenses on the sugar solution. This accordingly overflo' and when the pure Nvater has completely evaporated and condensed on the solution the sugar becomes equally distributed in solution throughout all the water.
10.A particular mutant of drosophila— the fruit fly, possesses an abnormal stomach. Transferred from a moist atmosphere to a dry one this abnormality disappears and the fly becomes normal in appearance. But that the abnormality is still present in the genetic structure is apparent from the fact that offspring, though normal in appearance, revert back to the abnormal characteristic if moved back to a moist atmosphere. Thus drosophila of different genotypes (i.e. total gene-endowment) placed in similar environment— in this case a dry atmosphere—will exhibit similar phenotype (i.e. total external bodily characteristics).
This latter example has a further interest to the subject under discussion as it is an illustration of how a particular gene or genes are rendered inoperative under certain environmental conditions. The above three phenomena, physical, chemical and biologi-. cal, are examples of innate differences hi substance, with equal potentiality in relatively similar environment.
Mendel's laws of inheritance emphasise the permanence of the genotype, whilst the fact of evolutionary change reveals a condition of impermanence. This apparent paradox requires explanation. The total bodih characteristic of any particular organism— the phenotype, cannot be regarded as an independent permanent individual. Eacr separate cell, each molecule and each atom is continually being replaced from external What is relatively permanent is the general pattern of organisation. The use of symbols, language and mathematics, means that the organisation of each brain is inherited not from two people, but from society. Most of the learning of the general rules of behaviour goes on early in life.
Hunger, sight, pain, pleasure, thinking, are a few examples of learned behaviours.
People blind from birth who have been given use of their eyes in adult life take a number of years to learn to see. Differences between such shapes as triangles and circles are
not recognised.
The imbecile finds himself in the asylum not because his fellow-men are faced with an immutable bodily organisation, but because the technique for interfering with and adjusting it is lacking. The limiting factor within the human body is not, I suggest, the genetic structure but the organisational pattern of behaviour. The lower limit is characterised by the pattern of disuse— atrophy—death. The upper limit is set not by parental inheritance, which moves through generation after generation as the shadow of individual man, but by the social inheritance of human technique.
R. BOTT.
BIBLIOGRAPHY " The Chemistry of Life." J. S. D. Bacon,
" The Science of Life." H. G. Wells. J. Huxley, G. P. Wells.
" What is Life?"—The physical aspect of the living cell." E. Schrddinger.
'" Biology and Marxism." M. Prenant.
" The Mind and its place in Nature." C. D. Broad.
"Doubt and Certainty in Science." J. Z Young.
"Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings." H. Maudsley.
"Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviourist." J. B. Watson.
9.8 UNDERSTANDING AND WANTING SOCIALISM
There are two meanings to the word Socialism " which we do not sufficiently distinguish in most of our talk and writing.
There is Socialism(1) (the system of society) and Socialism(2) (the theory of society). The difference between them is well expressed in the document which accompanies practically our propaganda. The Object defines Socialism(l), while the Principles summarize Socialism(2).
In a previous article (April issue) I tried to show that, while it was perfectly legitimate say that one wanted Socialism(l), it was little premature to say that one understood It may also be pointed out that while it is quite legitimate to say that one understands Socialism(2), it is quite meaningless to say that one wants it. There may be some objection to this view, the ground that there is only one Socialism—the object of all the Party's, efforts, -.nothing else is merely a matter of drawing the implications from this. This objection fall to the ground as soon one considers how the Object arose historically. Far from being the first premise of the arguments of this period of intense theorising, it summed up the results of such arguments. It is a conclusion from other arguments, rather than an argument itself. It is the top rung of the ladder, rather than the first rung. To treat it as the first rung : to rob it of its scientific and rational foundation (i.e. Socialism(2)). In fact, Socialism(l), if not preceded by Socialism(2), s degraded to mere Utopianism.
9.8.1 Not So Easy
One result of this Utopian attitude is the attempt to abandon Socialism(2) altogether.
Those who try this seem to do it on the assumption that Socialism(2) is difficult to understand, whereas Socialism(l) is easy.
Thus Comrade Turner, in his article on Selectivity (March issue), says "Socialism a way of living ; living harmoniously with people." Anyone can accept that as an ideal, he will say ; everyone can understand it. This is rubbish, of course ; nobody can understand it, because it doesn't mean anything. Or rather,; it means just the same as saying " Christianity is a way of living ; living harmoniously with all people," and has about as much chance of converting the infidel.
Socialism(l) is an abstraction, and will remain so until we and society between us make it more concrete. The ordinary man doesn't trust abstractions: he knows that a clever speaker can prove black's white, given half a chance. When we prove to him that he could have Socialism now, just for the taking, he doesn't believe us. And in this he shows more sense than a lot of Party members, who go on mouthing the same moth-eaten phrases week after week, secure in the knowledge that they are theoretically right, even if practically ineffectual.
They say, over and over again, that we could have Socialism now ; that all that is necessary is that the majority of workers should realise their class position, and Socialism could be established this afternoon. It just isn't true. And those who put it forward can never have thought seriously about what is entailed in learning how to live under a new social system.
Any social system has its order of values, its institutions, its ways of doing things, which become habitual and enter into the whole way one thinks, whether one accents or rejects them. That is the difference between a system and a chaos. What such speakers are proposing, then, is to change from one such system to another—only the other is a dim and formless abstraction, whose details are the subject of long and acrimonious debate—and they say that this could be done now!
And then they wonder why nobody believes them, why their audiences " can't accept (the Socialist case." Occasionally they try to get out of it by saying that such people aren't politically mature. But one-wonders just who is being immature here.
One wonders whether the people in the audience haven't got a better grasp of reality, a greater understanding of the world in which they live, than the speakers who are supposedly " educating " them.
9.8.2 Getting Things Clear
The first step towards knowing whether what you are saying is right or not is finding out exactly what it is you are saying.
When we say " The first essential is to have a working class thoroughly resolved to abolish the system and establish Socialism " we obviously mean Socialism(l). When we say " Socialists must at all times clearly put forward the principles of Socialism, asking only for the acceptance of those principles " we equally obviously mean Socialising). But when we say " The strength of the revolutionary party depends on the number who understand what Socialism means, and whose adherence is founded on this understanding " what exactly do we mean? This statement looks very much as if it is founded on the " implication " theory, which is, as we have seen, dangerously false. And when we see " Much of the support they received was from those who had not grasped the implications of Socialism but wholeheartedly tacked political and economic reforms " the cloven hoof becomes even more obvious.
Until we get this matter really sorted out, any argument on such questions must remain cloudy and confused. While it is true that Socialism(l) is complementary to Socialising), and that each needs the other to complete its own meaning, it does not follow that we can afford to ignore the primary distinction between them.
And the attempt, in particular, to gloss over this distinction by reference to, the-obiect-and-its-implications is full of the utmost danger for consistent Socialist thinking. A further article will show how this inadequate view arises, and the important implications for propaganda which ensue from this analysis.
J. C. ROWAN.
9.9 ON BEING SELECTIVE
In the last three issues of FORUM there has been raised the question: ought the Party to be more selective in its propaganda " The question presumes the existence of a type, group or grade of worker : ready to understand the Socialist case than others.
It requires no learning beyond an elementary school education to visualise a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of living, which ideal is the highest any mind can attain in matters political at the present stage human history. All the Party asks of the workers is that they learn the elementary economics and unlearn the delusions of Capitalism ; the first will largely condition the second.
The seeming slowness of the workers to become Socialists can only explained by instigating the causes which turns a worker into a Socialist. Practically every event is the complex of many causes and these can usually be grouped under two headings: —
1. Predisposing causes: those which have
existed for some time, are often below the
surface or, at least, not immediately visible,
: do not produce the final event without
2. Exciting causes: those which come
often like a bolt from the blue, are patently
bvious, and often get the credit for being
the sole cause, yet would not produce the event if the predisposition was not there.
Socialist propaganda is only the exciting cause of a worker's conversion to Socialism. The predisposing causes are: —
1.Fully developed social production being the prevailing mode of. production.
2.The worker divorced from all means of production except his own labour-oower and, consequently, divorced from all property sentiment except respect for his own labour-power.
3.Products so well ahead of the market as to be relatively over-produced, including the commodity labour-power, all resulting in a fall of prices, including the -rice of labour-power.
4.Large-scale unemployment causing insecurity to be more felt, coupled with a market glutted with goods and the worker denied access to them.
These predisposing factors have existed in varying intensity throughout the memories of all of us; it is only in time of war and rearmament that the last two factors are abated in any degree.
If Socialist propaganda is really slow in making converts—and there is no yard-stick to measure it as it falls into a class by itself and has no precedents—we must remember that the average worker has much to unlearn.
The chief delusion of many workers is that one type of worker can be different from another outside their respecive vocations and any attempt to make Socialist propaganda selective will foster this delusion in ourselves, not destroy it in others. Men may differ greatly in "temperaments, dispositions and character, just as they do in their physiques, but these differences are infitesimal compared with resemblances.
Comrade McGregor asks: would anyone seriously contend that our Party could have emerged from Conservative political circles. I would not seriously contend this. But nevertheless, a Conservative worker can be iust as near to understanding the case for Socialism as a Labour or Communist worker as he has no more than they to unlearn. Every member of the working class is a potential convert. One can only sow the seed —the exciting cause—on to soil which may not be fertile at the moment; yet this same seed may remain dormant until the soil made fertile by predisposing causes perhaps not so far away.
Finally, we have to assume, of course, that the Party can confine its propaganda to workers of a special type without committing political suicide.
E. CARNELL.
9.10 WAR AND 20th CENTURY CAPITALISM
In this century wars have not merely become bigger ; they have become total, global, war. In contrast, the Marxian theory was a child of the 19th century, where the nro-duction of surplus value, not the realisation of surplus value, was of primary interest to the young, vigorous, developing Capitalist society. In such a society war tended to be merely a consequence not a dynamic cause.
However, Marx was not ignorant of the role of warfare as an innovator, for he wrote
Engels in 1857 stating:
"" In general, the army is important for economic development. For instance, it was i the army that wages were first fully feveloped among the ancients. . . . Here, too, the first use of machinery on a large scale." P. 378-9, K. Marx, "Selected Works," Lawrence & Wishart.
But, as Comrade Evans pointed out in "FORUM last October, " It still remains to
some extent our evil genius that we see so clearly what went on under Marx's nose."
A striking example of this is the fact that r. discussing " selectivity " in paragraph 4 of his contribution, in the May FORUM. Com-> lie Hayden considers only production luxury, poverty, and exploitation), and ignores war, as if this were not an essential rart of Capitalist society today. However,
this is far from true, for atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, bacteria and rockets, will kill people regardless of their class, and it is to give society an organisation which does not resort to such " solutions " that Socialism is necessary. In this way the need to end warfare, before it finishes us, is the main factor that forces all classes to consider Socialist ideas today.
Comrade Evans is the only contributor to Forum so far who has tried to relate war to his analysis of present-day economics and politics, and he has related the Welfare State to the Warfare State. However this is not the only role of war in the world today. I now outline a few relations between war and society, hoping that this will provoke others to start thinking on this subject, and so help to increace our knowledge of society.
In recent contributions the nature of town and country in a Socialist society has been discussed. Capitalism has produced large cities, but is it not now tending to decentralise? The technical possibility came with the electric motor and generator in the 19th century; the need for decentralisation came with the development of long range weapons of war. (aircraft, rockets etc.); and the dispersion of industry was noticable in Germany in the last war.
The relation between natural science and warfare today is important. Much so-called " pure " scientific research to get " knowledge for its own sake " is sponsored by many governments. The lesson of the atomic bomb is crystal clear.
In the application of scientific knowledge to weapons of war techniques are developed which tomorrow will form the basis of new methods of production. Today auto-controt are being developed for weapons of war (guided missiles, aircraft, etc.) and morrow when they are applied to industr they will probably raise " productivity ten-fold or more. Just how much progress has been made in this field is shown by the fact that by 1942 atomic piles were : trolled, using auto-control devices, so easily that the operators had very little to do and tended to fall asleep! (p. 102, Ata Energy. Penguin Books. '50.)
Finally, today conscription into the armed services is essential, even in " peacetime and this period of National Service breaks down many local prejudices. Capitalism not loath to blow its own trumpet, but result is not a tune, but a plaintive wail. more people see and learn of it the less they like it.
ROBERTUS

9.11 THE MARQUIS DE SADE
" Everywhere I could reduce men into two classes both equally pitiable ; on the one hand the rich man who was the slave of his pleasures ; on the other, the unhappy victims of fortune ; and I never found in the former the desire to be better or in the latter the possibility of becoming so, as though both classes were working for their common misery ... I saw the rich continually increasing the chains of the poor while doubling his own luxury ... I demanded equality and was told it was Utopian." Thus he Marquis de Sade, impoverished French -nobleman of the 18th century, one of the forgotten figures of history, he is today known mainly in pornographic circles, as his name gave rise to the word " sadism " (his works describe the cruelty of the rich of his day in full detail).
His political ideas were far in advance of his day. His definition of " class " can hardly be be improved: "I mean by 'the people,' those who can get a living by their labour and sweat."
His biographer, Geoffrey Gorer, goes on say: " This distinction of classes is founded on property; and with unaccustomed epigrammatic terseness De Sade defined property as ' a crime committed by the rich
against the poor . . . theft is only punished because it attacks the right of property ; but that right is in itself a theft, so that the law punishes theft because it attacks theft."
On leadership, De Sade has this to say: " You can only govern men by deceiving them ; one must be hypocritical to deceive them; the enlightened man will never let himself be led, therefore it is necessary to deprive him of enlightenment to lead him as " we want. . . ."
"" The accompaniment of tyranny is organised religion. ' When the strong wished to enslave the weak he persuaded him that a god had sanctified the chains with which he loaded him, and the latter, stupefied by misery, believed all he was told.' War is simply public and authorised murder, in which hired men slaughter one another in the interests of tyrants. ' The sword is the weapon of him who is in the wrong, the commonest resource of ignorance and stupidity."'
As regards prison and the death penalty, De Sade is opposed to every form of punishment: " It is far simpler to hang men than to find out why we condemn them."
In the family group, De Sade saw the greatest danger to equality; family interests are necessarily anti-social. He considered that the position of women both sexually and legally was anomalous and unfair; consequently he demanded complete equality of men and women in every circumstance. De Sade found the greatest causes of European misery in four things—private property, class distinctions, religion and family life. In the future societies he described these institutions had been abolished or transformed. He describes an imaginary island where
all priests were banished . . . there were no temples and no vested intrest in reliaion. Thre were also no professional lawyers and discussion of theology or law was punished as one of the gravest anti-social crimes. There was no money. ...
As a revolutionary thinker De Sade was in complete opposition to all his contemporaries, firstly in his complete and continual denial of a right to property, and secondly in his view of the struggle as being—not between the Crown, the bourgeoisie, the aristocracy or the clergy, or sectional interests of any of these against one another (the view of all his contemporaries)—but of all these more or less united against the proletariat. By holding these views he cuts himself off entirely from the revolutionary thinkers of his time to join those of the mid-nineteenth century. For this reason he can with some justice be called the first reasoned Socialist."
9.12 QUESTIONAIRE (continued)
In a previous issue we analysed the answers to the five multiple-choice questions. To deal with the sixth one (have you any ideas on how to improve our written and spoken approach to non-Socialists?) is much more difficult. This question was answered by 37 of the 55 participants and the replies naturally covered a very wide field. It is impossible even to summarise here all the points that were made, so we shall mention only those that were made in two or more cases:—
The Party must become known by canvassing and election campaigns.
Propaganda should cater more for the newcomers to our case.
We should use simpler and less-hackneyed slanguage.
The need for more frequent publication of the S.S.
Some articles in the S.S. are too complicated and academic, and we should avoid the usual rallying " moral" at the end.
Speakers should concentrate more on everyday problems of workers' lives.
More time should be spent on explaining what Socialism will be like. SOME SUGGESTED CONCLUSIONS TO DRAW (from the results in the January issue).
There are many possible interpretations of the results, but we put forward the following as a basis for further discussion: — IN THE LIGHT OF THE ANSWERS TO Ql. Members should attach the greatest importance to being active exponents of Socialist ideas and should take every opportunity of discussing them with non-Socialists. Education of members should include the technique of discussion rnd " button-holing." The,effect of our literature is that it seems to follow up personal contact and outdoor meetings but does not very often precede them.
Q2. In spite of the high proportion of our propaganda attacking other parties on'v a fifth of members replying were enticed
away from them. There is a definite connection (indicated from Central Branch members' replies) between personal contact and holding views not corresponding to am single party line. More than half the potential Socialists we address probably have v special party political views, so we should not over-emphasise our criticism of other parties.
Q3. Again, considering the amount of our propaganda that criticises opponents policies, relatively few Socialists are made this way. Explaining Capitalism is the necessary pre-requisite of Socialist knowledge, but it is difficult to judge the effect of the Party's emphasis of this on those who feel they should credit this regardless of the importance they attached to it at the time. One in 9 may seem a small proportion for those who were concerned about the Socialist future, but it is not so small when related t; the amount of our propaganda devoted 1 this. Central Branch members were more interested than others in the question of the future, so it might pay us to clarify our ideas by talking more of it, with a view to including it in our written propaganda, which Central Branch members more often have to rely on.
Q4. We should make special efforts to get across the idea that others can understand Socialism. It might be useful to expand our case on this subject, by dealing with certain aspects of human nature for example. Central Branch members were again more concerned than others with the Socialist future, but the difficulties may wefl be not with what is expressed but with what is inadequately dealt with or ignored.
Q5. The preference appears to be for the positive aspect of explaining (world events and our case in detail) at the expense of the negative one of attacking opponents, In spite of the uninteresting nature of much of the correspondence in the S.S. there seems to be a reasonable demand for it, which would, no doubt, be increased by answering questions of more general interest put by more typical inquirers. The poor demand f?r more reviews may be due to the style of reviewing and to the fact that in many cases they were such that they could have been done as well, if not better, by non-Socialists
Finally, we must make it clear that have been examining the effect on members of certain definite conditions. This propaganda has made a certain type of Socialist in the sense that from his experience of it he has evolved certain ideas about how it should affect other people. These ideas must be constantly reviewed if we are to take the ful-1st advantage of all the factors that are working towards Socialism. We cannot calculate from a questionnaire the possible influence of new factors that may enter into Socialis propaganda in the future, but some of them will no doubt take shape from a critical examination of its present forms.
PADDINGTON BRANCH.

Forum Journal 1953-10 July

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

10. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B. 10
JULY 1953

10.1 MUST WE PROSECUTE THE CLASS STRUGGLE?

A spectre is haunting the April FORUM -the. ghost of Utopianism. A contribution entitled " People of the World—Unite " rattles the dry bones of Robert Owen before us. In an article advocating " revolutionary " changes in our D. of P., we are offered, as a substitute for "Das Kapital", the "New View of Society". The same standpoint as that which Marx criticised in this third and tenth "Theses on Feurerbach " is propounded as being more up-to-date than the " legacies from other organisations and past conditions" which allegedly constitute the present socialist case. There is, seemingly, no necessity for talk (or action) about class-struggle on the political field. All that is needed is to become class-conscious, which " simply means seeing that there are two classes in Society whose interests are opposed, and that so long as Capitalism lasts there will be class struggle". Having adopted this SPECTATOR'S VIEW of class-struggle, one whether capitalist of worker) may " tower" above Society and do sterling duty as the great "educator" himself.
Revolutionary socialists, on the other hand, forsake the grandstand of the ivory tower for the political arena in order to end class struggle the successful prosecution of the last class struggle. Realising that men are born into society as a going concern, it does not surprise then that men are either capitalists or workers.
In the plexus of social relationships which constitute capitalism a man has no choice—he must belong to either the capitalist or the working class. The revolutionary, therefore, does not condemn the individual capitalist for being one of the privileged minority. Rather does he condemn the social relationships which determine that a man must belong either to the exploited many or the favoured few. Thus the aim of the revolutionary is not to abolish capitalists—but capitalist society ; not " the ending of antagonisms "—but the revolutionising of social relationships.
The basic capitalist relationships which must be abolished is the relationship of employer to the employee—the class relationship. So long as this class relationship endures, so long will capitalism run its course, and, so long will the capitalist class, as the ruling class, be committed " to preserve their system". The capitalist class, as a class, cannot abdicate. Individual members may relinquish their capitalist-status, during, say a crisis, but only to become members of the working class.
The socialist claim " that the emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself " does not imply that " the S.P.G.B, should address its propaganda to the "working class alone, as coming from the working class alone" in the sense that individual capitalists cannot understand Socialism. Socialists recognise, along with Marx (see. the " German Ideology", etc.) that individual capitalists can become Socialists. But in so doing, these individual capitalists do not step outside the class struggle but merely change sides . Nor does our clause 5 tie us to the view , that " capitalists ... are powerless to help— even if they have socialist understanding, they cannot act on it in the way that workers can ". Indeed, our fifth clause means the opposite. It means that individual capitalists who have socialist understanding MUST act on it in the same way as workers with socialist understanding. That is, they must assist in the prosecution of the class struggle ON THE SIDE OF THE WORKING CLASS, the aim of the struggle being to abolish the proletarian status.
Since S.R.P. recognises that " capitalism continues not against the will of the working class, but because it is just as much the workers' choice as the capitalists'", he will no doubt readily concede that if every individual
capitalist became a Socialist, capitalism would not therefore disappear. But why not? Surely only because of the fact that the class relationship still remains. The early Utopian Socialists held the view that Socialism could be established by appealing to the ruling class to use their power for that purpose. Robert Owes spent his life and fortune in that direction. Our clause 5 registers the fact that it is futile to appeal to the ruling class. Not because the ruling class consist of hard-faced business men. but because the INITIATIVE rests with the working class. So long as the working class do not feel compelled to abolish capitalism, so long will capitalism endure.
Where S.R.P. errs is in his subjectivist view of class struggle. He sees in the class struggle only the " antagonism " of individual capitalist against individual worker, whereas the revolutionary regards the class struggle as the EXPRESSION of the antagonisms " inherent in the life conditions and social circumstances of individuals" (Intro, to Critique of Pol. Econ.). For the revolutionary, it is not a question of what this or that individual worker may regard as his aim—or what the working class as a whole may regard as its aim. What we are concerned with is that which the working class IS.
On the political field, it is true " that the S.P.G.B. is equivalent to the working class party", since in that field the rest of the working class, as individuals, take their place inthe class struggle on the side of the capitalist class. Nevertheless, since it is in class struggle that individuals attain class-consciousness, a socialist party must prosecute the class struggle. It is thus, and only thus, that a situation can . develop wherein " the uprising class can free itself from its old trammels and become capable of founding a new Society (" German Ideology "). It is only in this movement of class struggle that human beings can discard the " outlook of single individuals in civil society" and attain " the standpoint of the new (which) is human society or socialised humanity". (Thesis on Feuerbach.)
R. RUSSELL (Reply overleaf)

10.2 OUR ATTITUDE TO CLASSES Emancipation of All
Comrades Richmond, Lock, and Russell have between them opposed most of the ideas that I put forward in " People of the World— Unite ". In their enthusiasm, however, they have unfortunately read into my remarks much that I neither said nor meant, and have themselves made statements which are not entirely unsatisfactory. In the hope of clarifying matters, I shall take up some of their points.
10.2.1 RICHMOND
According to Richmond, men's " ideas and interests, aims and attitudes, are those of their dass, and in this sense a man is a product of his class and is identified with it." As a generalisation, this is a fair statement—but we must not over-simplify the position by making each individual fit the generalisation.
Let us, rather, say that within class society it is classes that set the pattern of man's social environment. It is classes that, by assigning him a specific role in the division of labour, ie:ermine the manner in which he will deal vrith that environment. A man is not so much a product of his class as a product of class society. And the empirical justification for this iew is that an individual CAN, despite all the ibstacles, change his class and become identi-fied with another.
Class consciousness is not contemplation but .-—owledge. Richmond implies that I said it was knowledge of class struggle which resolves all antagonisms"—seeking to give my remarks a class-collaborationist flavour. What I said was, " it is knowledge that there is class struggle that ends it". The prosecution of the class struggle is, on the proletarian side, fighting for higher wages, T.U. activity, etc., of which a necessary element may not be knowledge of the nature of Capitalism. You need not be a socialist to participate in the class struggle—but you must have knowledge of it and of how to end it if you are to be a socialist.
Richmond writes of the obstacles to socialist understanding. " These obstacles, difficult as they are for a worker to circumvent, prove almost insurmountable to the capitalist." It is more accurate to say that very few capitalists have surmounted them. But then very few workers have either. Most of the reasons for preserving Capitalism that Richmond says capitalists give, are also given by workers. A capitalist never boasts of " 200 years of bourgeois rule "—he may dismiss Socialism, and talk of war being due to human nature, but such views are just as sincerely and tenaciously held be workers as by capitalists. As for the class-conditioned snobbishness and superiority ", don't forget that inverted snobbishness and inferiority are also barriers to socialist understanding.
Richmond then quotes Engels: "The dictum that Communism is not a mere party doctrine of the working class, but a theory compassing the emancipation of society at large, including the capitalist class, from its present narrow conditions ... is true enough in the abstract, but is absolutely useless and sometimes worse in practice." If a dictum is true theoretically, then how can it be useless and worse (i.e. false) in practice? I can only hope that Engels meant that it was open to misunderstanding, and therefore better avoided.
"True in the abstract" can only mean "true ultimately"—Communism WILL involve the emancipation of the whole of mankind without distinction (of race or sex or any other type). My case is that it is possible and desirable, despite all the difficulties, to explain this to everyone. The remainder of the quotation merely amounts to saying that if no capitalists are socialists, then the socialist movement will have to be carried on entirely by workers— obviously.
On the question of my proposed amendment of our fifth principle, Richmond states that " must be the work of the working class itself " emphasises majority action. I confess to having overlooked that without this clause there is no specific commitment to majority action; though even this seems inadequate, since to me Socialism is something that will be brought about by virtually the whole of society, and not merely a majority. I am never happy about who the minority opposing it will be and why they will do so:
Class consciousness is not just the reflection of working class conditions. In saying that other elements (e.g. the antagonistic relations to property) enter into it, 1 am not saying that it is just a theory which is to be drilled into peonle's heads. In my article I explicitly stated that Socialism is in the interest of the working class. Nevertheless, it is not enough to say that the SP.G.B. expresses class interests unless you also say that those interests are to abolish classes.
If my position is " evangelistic and nonpartisan ", then Marx seems to have been tarred with the same brush. Richmond quotes him as saying that the revolution " is carried through by the class which no longer counts as a class in society, is not recognised as a class and is in itself the exnression of the dis-
solution of all classes". I interpreted this to mean " it is not workers acting as the working class who achieve Socialism. Workers acting as socialists achieve it".
I do not understand the relevance of the the last quotation from "Selected Essays". True, the attitude of some individuals does not alter the class struggle. " Mr. Heinzen, on the other hand, sees all classes melt away before the solemn idea of 'Humanity'". From Richmond's concluding remarks (" the changes suggested by S.R.P. were advanced and ANSWERED over 100 years ago") it seems that he believes that Heinzen and I are putting the same case. You have only to read the essay quoted to see that this is not so. For one thing, Heinzen denied the division of present society into economic classes.
A further word on ' humanity ', since many members apepar to be troubled about it. It is true that Marx and Engels did polemicise against their opponents' use of phrases like ' true love of humanity'. Not, however, because they themselves cared little for humanity, but because their concern was too real to tolerate hypocrisy and lip-service. In advocating scientific socialism, they were up against all kinds of counter programmes, e.g., those of Feuerbach, Proudhon, Duhring, etc. It was not the idea of humanist equalitarianism they were attacking, but because, without political organisation, it can only be reformist and reactionary.
10.2.2 LOCK
An " anonymous capitalist" in the Party? Lock gets such obvious pleasure out of swearing at capitalists that I feel quite guilty about confessing to being a worker. Though, to use his phrase, I don't give a damn for being a member of the working class.
" There can be no question of soothing syrup for the capitalist class to gain their support." Why bring in soothing syrup, which means 'making special concessions'? Nowhere did I suggest that we should make special efforts to gain the support of the capitalist class. If. however, directing our propaganda to all is called soothing syrup, then the absence of such syrup can only soothe those who hold that no capitalist can be a socialist. Lock rums his whole case bv wanting the exception of Engels —or did someone give him soothing syrup?
"All capitalists are class conscious ", asserts Lock. He takes class consciousness to mean that " I belong to the capitalist (or working) class ". But you must see the difficulties this
leads to. Engels was a member of the capitalist yet his class consciousness was obviously more than ' I belong to the capitalist class''". There are many workers who are conscious that they belong to the working class, but they are not socialists. That is why I insist that the term ' class consciousness' (which should not be used apart from 'socialist') denotes an UNDERSTANDING of Capitalism, which includes a desire for Socialism. I am sorry that Lock finds my explanation of the basic attraction of Socialism reads like a Sunday-School message. It doesn't particularly matter why Lock or I think we want Socialism. The attraction is basic because it is something that nothing except Socialism can bring and because it is part of the object that all socialists share. There is nothing except socalism that will enable us to live without class antagonisms and in social harmony. It is true that Socialism is the only way in which working class poverty can be ended. But it is not true that it is the only way in which Lock or I can end our present poverty position. Lock, through no fault of his own, had enough money to relieve him from the necessity of working for his living, would he give up being a socialist because he would be on the “ right end " of the antagonism?
My amendments to the D. of P. were not in order to make our propaganda unselective ". The D. of P.. is the basis of membership, and should be an accurate expression of what holds us together. At present, I think I would be generally agreed that the basis of membership is knowledge. As far as I know, no Party rule excludes members of the capitalist class from the Party, which does not . question the way in which members get their living. That is the principle at stake.
10.2.3 RUSSELL
I did not say that " legacies from other organisations and past conditions " constitute (be present socialist case. It is just that " the dead past weighs like an Alp upon the brain of the living". Nor is there any apparent connection between my standpoint and that •which Marx criticised in his 3rd and 10th Theses on Feuerbach. Here are the theses:
10.2.4 III
The materialistic doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and education forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that the educator himself must be educated. This doctrine has therefore to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.
The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can only be comprehended and rationally understood as revolutionary practice.
10.2.5 X
The standpoint of the old type of materialism is civil society, the standpoint of the new materialism is human society or social humanity.
It is most unfair of Russell to imply that J think there is " no necessity for talk (or action) about class struggle on the political field". The Party's view, to which I subscribe, is quite clear on this. We are out to abolish the " antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle ". Call it " successful prosecution of the last class struggle " if you must —so long as you mean by that the ending of classes.
I do not deny that Russell can claim that the Party supports HIS view, since on p. 14 of Principles and Policy we read that class struggle " is a struggle on the one side to maintain and on the other side to abolish a social system". However, I take it that in FORUM we are not so much concerned with the authority behind statements as with their correspondence with facts.
The class struggle and the socialist movements are NOT identical nor is the latter the mere political expression of the former. The class struggle is fought out in the arena of Capitalism. The working class, by definition, can never successfully prosecute the class struggle—they can only end it. What they prosecute successfully is the struggle for Socialism, but this is a struggle against ignorance, not against capitalists.
Why does Russell insist " not the ending of antagonisms—but the revolutionising of social relationships" ? Surely the position is that the social relationships will be revolutionised from those of mutually antagonistic owner and non-owner to those where such ownership and consequent antagonisms will not exist.
He takes " committed to preserve their system " to mean that the capitalist class cannot abdicate. Neither can the working class. A capitalist is no more bound to support Capitalism than a worker, and there are no logical grounds for treating the capitalist's opposition to Socialism different from the worker's.
Russell says that individual capitalists with socialist understanding " must assist in the prosecution of the class struggle ON THE SIDE OF THE WORKING CLASS " and that outside the S.P.G.B. "the rest of the working class as individuals take their place in the class struggle on the side of the capitalist class ". A little thought will show how absurd this is. A capitalist, as capitalist, can never change sides, If he happens to be a socialist and he employs people, then there is still an antagonism of interests. Similarly, non-socialist workers don't fight the class struggle on the political field on the side of the capitalist class.
The simple position is that ALL workers are on one side of the economic class struggle and ALL capitalists on the other. As regards the ending (political) of class struggle, I repeat that membership of either class is irrelevant:
I suggested modifying clause 5 of the D. of P. because I agree with Russell that it does register the fact that it is futile to appeal to (members of) the ruling class. Russell brings in the red herring of the Utopian socialists " appealing to the ruling class to use their power ", but it is obvious that I didn't mean that. How can we justify the assertion that it is futile to appeal to (i.e. hopeless to expect) understanding of capitalists when we know some have been socialists?
There is, of course, no basis for Russell's assertion that I see in class struggle only the antagonism of individual capitalist and individual worker. And why refuse to discuss what the working class may regard as its aim; Surely any discussion about what the working class IS should not over look the fact that they are people—and people do have aims.
The clash of opinion on this subject has not been without value, and I summarise my conclusions as follows:
1.The class struggle is the inevitable product of class society, and is fought over division of wealth, condition of employment, etc, within that society.
2.As a result of dissatisfaction with class society, and in particular with the failure of the subject class successfully to prosecute the class struggle, there arises a movement to abolish it and to establish in its place classless society.
3.This socialist movement is something more than a form of class struggle, since its aims include the ending of class struggle.
4.In the very process of ending this struggle, the socialist gives expression to the highest aim of the subject class, which is an equalitarian society.
5.No individual within class-divided society-is incapable of participating on equal terms with all others in the socialist movement, since Socialism constitutes the emancipation of the whole of society from its present narrow conditions.
S.R.P.

10.3 THE ACCEPTANCE OF SOCIALIST IDEAS
In dealing with Turner's article on selectivity March FORUM), Hayden denies that socialism is a way of living. He tells us that "it is a way of thinking about the problems of society especially poverty, and advocating is a solution the transformation of capitalist society to a communal one ". A a definition of Socialism, this is deficient in two ways. It does not make it clear that Socialism is a system of society (in its human aspect, a way of living); and its use of such terms as " thinking" and " advocating" makes it into an intellectual rather than a practical proposition. Plenty of people outside the socialist movement could claim to be thinking about the problems of society and advocating a communal one (e.g. Anarchists).
Hayden did not complete the sentence: Socialism is a way of living . . . ". Turner added "living harmoniously with all people". As Turner states, there are no groups of people, past or present, who, living under a property regime, have not been antagonistic to each other ".
Here, in my opinon, is the very kingpin of the argument—absence of harmonious relationships. This absence is not confined to an antagonism between capitalists and workers alone. There are groups of workers antagonistic to other groups of workers; groups of capitalists antagonistic to other groups of capitalists.
If a system of society can be established to abolish these antagonisms, to abolish devastating wars—in the modern world, wars are no respectors of social status—then what is left ) make Capitalism more attractive to the capitalists except " excessive luxury " ? It is assumed that they will be reluctant, under any circumstances, to give this up. Yet what else is excessive luxury but an attempt to keep up
a competitive standard ? It is considered " the thing " to lunch at Claridges, to go to Ascot, to drink numerous bottles of champagne until the early hours of the morning. But the people who pass their lives in this way are generally no happier nor more integrated human beings than the rest of the population.
It is extremely doubtful whether their access to material wealth and their ability to command the services of others, makes up for their virtual exclusion from productive activity. Thus we read {People, 5.4.53) of ex-King Farouk who, according to a member of his entourage, was " bored stiff" in Rome, and so left for a holiday on the French Riviera. Farouk's man added: " He didn't know what to do with himself. Time was heavy on his hands". The incidence of melancholia and suicide is highest among those who have never worked. And judging by my observations of " social gatherings " over the past twenty years or more, I should say that boredom is much more in evidence than happiness.
Why cannot capitalists be convinced that " all will gain " ? After all, members of the capitalist class have contributed in no small way to the growth of ideas of a future harmonious society. Maybe some were; "utopian"; nevertheless they must have had some measure of understanding of the basis of property relationships and the consequent antagonism of interests.
10.3.1 ENCOURAGING PREJUDICE
No. 3 of our D. of P. uses the words " this antagonism can be abolished " and refers to democratic control by the WHOLE PEOPLE Hayden claims that " the Party's attitude is that we would wish to obtain our objective by peaceful means if we may, but by force if we must." Those who attended the E.G. meetings when the complaint made against Turner on
the question of violence was dealt with will know that this is very far from being the case. For every statement in the S.S. on the possible use of violence to curb a recalcitrant minority,, there is at least another explaining that violence can have no part in the establishment of Socialism. This is an issue which must be thrashed out—however it is not my main concern in this article. I am concerned with socialist ideas, and particularly with the prejudices of some comrades about what prevents others from accepting them.
Socialism, or the ideas of a world fit for human beings to live in, CAN be accepted by those who are wealthy. Prejudice will arise on the question of wealth, of course—but ther. in our propaganda work we meet with such prejudice in people from all walks of life.
" They are welcome to listen to use, but we are not likely to get a majority of them ever. at the eleventh hour", states Hayden. The point is that people will not feel welcome to listen to us if our propaganda is framed to exclude certain groups from the possibility of understanding our ideas. Even the groups to which we appeal may, by our very selectivity, fail to grasp the universality of Socialism.
A description of the world we live in to-day, and our solution to the problems that beset both capitalist capitalists and workers, does NOT mean an appeal to the capitalists for a " change of heart". A change of ideas in all who support Capitalism is what we are after. In no way does this invalidate our conception of the class struggle or what it implies. With the fruitlessness of the ideas of co-parnership, profit sharing, incentive bonuses, etc., it is to our advantage to point out that we have a real solution—" a way of living harmoniously ".
G. HILBINGER.
10.4 MASS ATTACK PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUE
I would like to endorse the views of Comrade McGregor in his article; " What Does Selectivity Mean?" in the May FORUM. One of the reasons for the depressing results after 50 years of both indoor and outdoor propaganda is " small scale technique" and; as he has clearly shown, our propaganda calls for a radical revision.
May one hope in the near future to see an announcement in the S.S. along the following lines? The S.P.G.B. has decided to make an experiment in propaganda in the form of a 3-6 months' all-out attack in a given area where one or more big outdoor meetings will be held at least once a week. The nucleus of the audience will be a minimum of fifty comrades organised on the rota principle and pledged to be present at the start of the meeting to give it a strong send-off. In addition, one indoor meeting will be held each week, covering in turn every available hall in the area and backed up with posters and loudspeaker equipment.
Whenever possible there will be announcements in the local press, supported by the purchase of space, containing a write-up of the subject matter that is being dealt with at the meetings, both indoor and outdoor. Also a challenge to debate to all political opponents or anyone who would like to try his hand at opposition. Should the press refuse to sell us space for this purpose, leaflets will be printed and freely distributed, mention being made that publicity in the local press was refused. In additioni to this, the S.S. will be canvassed from door to door in force. Further, a few comrades will be stationed at well- chosen busy spots all over the area every day, selling the S.S. and other literature.
I would like to wager we would make more progress in both increased membership and permanent literature sales than we have done in the past fifty years. Practically everybody in the area would know of the existence of the Socialist Party, and what it stands for, long before the campaign was over. What a furore it would produce! I visualise the air around those parts veritably electrified with interest.
The S.P.G.B. would be the "talk of the town", and how infectious to the surrounding areas!
Go where you will, stop a hundred people, ask them their views on the soundness of the Party case, and what will be the answer in nearly every instance? "Never heard of that Party." And this after fifty years! Such a depressing state of affairs could not happen at the conclusion of our high pressure drive in the area chosen for this experiment. We can do it—what are we waiting for? The experience gained in the effort would be a useful
guide for our next attack in other areas. None of us knows for sure what the total results will :. We can, however, be certain that they will be in the direction we all desire.
Such a plan of campaign would be bound to arouse intense interest in quite a number of ways, such as in sympathisers, all and sundry interested in politics, and encouragement to all our comrades wherever they may be—especially the speakers. The progress reports in the S.S. would be looked forward to and read, both near and far, with much eagerness.
There must be a great number of "waverers" who try to justify their reluctance to take the plunge on the ground that the smallness of the membership, after fifty years of plodding, is conclusive proof that there is no hope of seeing Socialism realised in their lifetime. They, with others, would be keenly watching progress.
Such a campaign, as suggested, would most
certainly put us on the map for all tune in the a-ea chosen. The press would find it very difficult to avoid giving the drive some further publicity, however small. I consider £150. spent in this way, would give much better value than as a free gift of a forfeited deposit for a few weeks' concentrated effort when everybody is" talking and comparitively few listening. Further, in my opinion, no constituency should be contested until a campaign of this description has preceded it, months beforehand.
I suggest that comrades could do much worse than carefully to re-read and digest what McGregor wrote on this matter in the May FORUM, especially the latter section. It also be interesting to have the views of other comrades on the merits or demerits of Mas Attack Propaganda Technique.
W.H. (Bournemouth)
10.5 THE BALLOT AND COMRADE CANTER
The title: "The Ballot v. Comrade Canter” seems to indicate that Comrade Canter is in opposition to the ballot. Such a title is unfounded and unfair, since he has never repudiated or denounced the ballot. The articles in FORUM (February and March) ignore the salient points that Comrade Canter was making in the October and November issues. It would be difficult to recognise Canter's attitude from reading the replies by Comrades H. (Harmo) Morrison, S.F. and G.G.
The basis of Comrade Canter's analysis is that the socialist revolution is inherently majority, conscious and political. His emphasis is on the conscious majority character of the socialist victory. This is what he stresses as the acid test of the socialist position. The " ballot" is not that test, but a mechanism employed by the socialist majority. The socialist principle is CONSCIOUS MAJORITY action (not ballot). This is what is being lost sight of in this controversy.
In his article, Comrade Canter has made clear that in his discussion concerning the ballot he is dealing with the " existing ballot machinery." In his definition of the ballot, he went out of his way to point out "... and by ballot we do not mean a vote, but the ballot as existing under the present economic system."
(My emphasis.) It is to " legalisms" and “constitutionalism", as such, that Canter is referring. The socialist concern should not be with " legalism ", per se. Comrade Morrison is well aware that the socialist majority is not deterred by constitutional obstacles, as he, himself, asks whether anyone thinks that " a revolutionary working class will have any more respect for the capitalists' Constitution than they have themselves."
The ballot (meaning the vote) may take on many forms. What specific forms it takes will be determined by the particular circumstances existing at the time. We cannot tell history what special measures it must take in the future. What Comrade Canter takes issue with is telling the as-yet non-existing conscious socialist majority, now, what it must do. How does anyone know, in advance, the detailed measures of the future? This much is sure, a socialist majority will know what to do and will do what it finds to be necessary.
The following are but speculations as to what forms the ballot may take: Gallup Polls, Wildfire fervour spreading rapidly, marching feet, general strike by socialists, boycotting elections because of special circumstance—who knows? None of these are essential or integral to socialist princples, but are merely illustrative of possible forms that may be assumed by the ballot. History answers this question, not us.
After the fashion of a third degree, pressure is put on to compel the use of crystal balls, and the crucial question is asked: " Supposing the majority are compelled to use violence?" How are you supposed to answer that question? One answer might be: " Then, that is the step that is taken." Should some strange quirk of peculiar, unforeseeable events compel the socialist majority to utilize violence, how can we, in advance, say " No!" ? However, this much we can say, in advance—the majority has no need for violence.
Suffice it to say that socialists are opposed to violence and its advocacy. What is manifestly unwarranted is the charge that results from the reply to the above question: " Ha!
Ha! See. We have members in the Party who believe in violence and minority action."
10.5.1 W.S.P. ON THE ISSUE
In the 1951 W.S.P. Conference held in Detroit, the following motion, that stirred up a hornet's nest, was carried:
" Under capitalism, where the State machinery is in the hands of the capitalist class, the ballot can be used for the purpose of measuring the developing socialist consciousness of the working class. When this consciousness reaches a majority stagey the ballot can become the revolutionary weapon for the introduction of socialism. If, at the time the socialist majority is obtained, material conditions preclude the use of the ballot, then this majority will use whatever other means are at hand to introduce socialism."
It is not correct that the Party membership views " Comrade Canter's" stand as a violation of socialist principles. This can be seen from the three relevant referenda on this issue passed after the 1952 Conference held in Boston a year later.
1. A Party referendum endorsed the " Introducing the World Socialist Party " leaflet. It contains the following statement: " The World Socialist Party holds that the ballot
... presents the most practiced and possible way for the workers to obtain political power. However,- as a minority party, the World Socialist Party does not, nor should not, lay down the exact steps by which the majority once is becomes socialist, will introduce socialism." (emphasis mine.)
2. A Party referendum endorsed the following statement: "The W.S.P. advocates use of ballot to obtain socialism, but does not preclude any other democratic means used the conscious majority at the time of the revolution." (emphasis mine.) . A Party referendum endorsed the following statement: " We advocate use of the ballot as a means of obtaining socialism, and anyone who advocates violence as the means to achieve the socialist victory cannot be a member of the World Socialist Party."
Thus we see that Canter has not been misrepresenting the W.S.P. position. It takes some stretching of the imagination to interpret these passed referenda motions as being minority, violence, Trotzkyite or anti-Socialist Companion Parties' views.
It is quite significant that after receiving the 1951 and 1952 W.S.P. Conference Reports and tbe " Introducing the World Socialist Party " leaflet, not a single member of a companion party or any of the companion parties felt the urge to raise questions about the "anti-socialist" developments in the W.S.P. There was no avalanche of protests.
Even though the various companion carries of socialism are autonomous, can you remotely imagine there being any silence if the W.S.P. had appeared to make a basic change in their sociailst principles? Fancy, if the W.S.P. started advocating reforms, nationalisation, united front, labour (union) political action, great leaders, etc., what a barrage of letters would have swamped us!
It was not until letters were sent abroad by some W.S.P. members voicing their apprehensions, that we received any expressions of disagreements from some comrades in companion parties. I am quite sure that I, myself, would have reacted against the alleged Canter views if I saw them presented in the manner they were in the letters. I am fully aware that the comrades writing abroad were seriously concerned because of their fears and thus, unwittingly, were slanting their emphases in such a way that the wrong impression was created. In fact, it is wrong to refer to "Canter's views" as though the referenda of the W.S.P. did not support his views.
One thing stands out. No socialist should hare any qualms concerning " Canter's views " read in their context and on their own merits.
10.5.2 THE CRITICISMS OF "CANTER'S VIEWS "
It is perfectly understandable that comrades become concerned when they believe that the scientific socialist organisation is in danger of transforming itself into a non- or anti-socialist tarty. The critics of Canter fear that Canter's stand may be construed as supporting minority and violence actions.
It will be observed that the case against Canter is largely based either on inferences drawn from his statements or interpretations of his views. This attitude on "Canter's views” is based on the fallacy of refusing to deal with Canter's points but, instead, to reason from fears and implications. Though these fears are sincere, they are unfounded.
To illustrate the matter: Canter's case revolves around limitation of approaching the ballot question as a rigid, mechanical, "existing ballot machinery" problem. The $64 question: " What alternative is there to the ballot?" arises from ignoring his plea to examine this ballot question as part of the process of the socialist victory. If the critics looked at this problem (dialectically and materialistically) as being in a state of flux, this question would lose its meaning. However, the question would be pertinent in dealing' with advocates of violence or minority action, but has no application to Canter, whose stand as outlined above is never dealt with.
It is not Comrade Canter's fault that he raised technical questions concerning differences between the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress. The "literal" and "mechanical" approach to the ballot leads to just such "problems". I am well aware that Canter's critics are not really concerned about such technical " difficulties ". • In their replies they recognise the essential and fundamental thing is the conscious majority. After all, this is the basic principle.
No wonder that S.F. and G.G. (March FORUM) lay such stress on "unsupple facts". There never was on unsupple fact. As socialists, we see things in motion. It is a fallacy to look on ballot as a " fact " instead of as the resolute determination of a socialist majority. This also may explain the dependence of the critics upon quotes and references for their views.
Talk of alternative forms of ballot can only be grasped by these critics as opposition to ballot. The alternatives are NOT either ballot or violence and minority—they are various forms of ballot (vote).
When I project myself into the growing socialist movement, I get a different picture than Canter. His may prove correct and mine prove wrong—but there is no quarrel among socialist that the process is conscious-socialist-majority-political in nature. For example, as distinguished from Canter, I do not visualise the capitalist state removing a significant socialist movement off the ballot; I do not think that capitalist control of state machinery can ignore a growing sentiment. I believe all sorts of concessions will be made to powerful socialist convictions. I anticipate that a 20% socialist electorate calls for far different behaviour by the capitalists than the current .0001%. (I can even conceive—but do not expect—a historic situation developing by which the Republicans or Tories might become the actual mechanism for introducing socialism.) Confronted with a socialist majority, I can only visualise the ruling class submitting to the inevitable. Is my speculation socialist and Canter's anti-socialist, or is it the reverse? Isn't it just as likely that neither is the criterion of being a socialist?
All kinds of inferences can be drawn from almost any statement. An analysis is not re-
pudiated because of possible inferences. To call Canter's and Trotzkyist views similar on basis of a quote from the Trotzkyist pamphlet, "In Defence of Socialism", is a case of pseudo-logic. On such reasoning, Comrade Morrison's views could be called similar to those of the same pamphlet, as he himself quotes favourably from it. Actually, in this whole issue, it appears that the rigidity and mechanical nature of their ballot stand causes the critics to be quite metaphysical.
Canter's position cannot be confused with the Trotzkyites by any stretch of the imagination. His crystal-clear analysis of the vanguard concept, of the capitalist nature of the Soviet Union, of the immediate demand programmes, etc., demonstrate the inaccuracy of that charge. The articles signed by the pen-name " Karl Frederick" in the Western Socialist repudiate any such accusation.
10.5.3 CONCLUSIONS
There is a reason why neithed the Declaration of Principles nor the W.S.P. Application for Membership blank have never contained any specific statement or question on the " ballot". They refere to many items, such as: class struggle, emancipation, organise consciously and politically, leadership, religion, Russia, etc. These two Party forms are basic generalisations. They constitute our general view of the historic scene and historic process.
Our major emphases are on the processes and not on mechanisms and details. The ballot is a correct and sound symbol of our whole case. The ballot symbolises the conscious, majority political nature of the socialist revolution. If viewed scientifically, it reveals the democratic nature of the socialist victory.
Again, let us stress that the socialist principle is conscious, majority, political action, that is :he process of the socialist revolution. The ballot (by itself) is not a principle but merely a mechanical device. If we consider the ballot, per se, as a socialist principle, we become essentially sectarian rather than scientific.
We have always refused to be too specific concerning future details and developments. Whilst we speculate on the future, we stress thegeneral nature of future growth and change. We have always pointed out that there need be no fears about what a socialist conscious majority will do. They will take those steps they find necessary, not what we tell them to do.
In spite of all the fuss and fury, there is really no fundamental quarrel. All concerned in this controversy (Canter, Morrison, S.F., G.G., etc.) agree on the fundamental characteristic of the socialist revolution as being conscious, majority and political. This is what marks us off from all other alleged socialist organisations.
The vital thing is THE REVOLUTIONARY, SCIENTIFIC, SOCIALIST VIEWPOINT we all have in common. This is the binding force that welds us into a cohesive integrated whole.
I RAB.
10.6 RAB IN WONDERLAND
With Comrade Rab's contribution to the Ballot controversy, we now have not only Comrade Canter's erroneous views on the subject of the weapon of emancipation—we rise have Comrade Rab's erroneous views on Comrade Canter's erroneous views. Perhaps me most amusing aspect of Comrade Rab's defence of Canter is that everyone concerned
(including Canter) regards the controversy as a “fundamental quarrel "—everyone, that is, with the exception of Rab, who is the only one with sufficient understanding of what goes on in the minds of those, including this writer, who are engaged in the controversy, to recognise that there are " no fundamental " differences! Let us look briefly at some of Rab's points.
“The ballot, he contends, is not the acid test of the socialist position. The ballot is " but a mechanism employed by the socialist majority. The socialist principle is conscious majority action (not ballot)."
As an answer to my challenge ('third degree' he calls it) to come forward with some alternative means that a "conscious majority" can use to attain control and introduce socialism, Comrade Rab proposes such expedients as: “ Gallup Polls, Wildfire fervour spreading repidly, marching feet, general strike by socialists, boycotting elections because of some special circumstance," and comments on this
who knows? None of these are essential or integral to socialist principles but are merely illustrative of possible forms that may be assumed by the ballot. History answers the questions, not us."
To one who has known Comrade Rab and his views personally for even the period I have —about 14 years—this type of reasoning on iris part must come as somewhat of a shock. For, to my mind, the best answers to this sort of drivel when thrown at us by our opposition used to some from this same Comrade Rab, who now appears to be "unshackled" from the traditional socialist attitude on such questions.
I deny most vehemently that I am tradition-bound over anything, but nevertheless must ask Rab this pertinent question: Do you now think you were wrong in the days when you handled our opposition-from-without in the manner you now contend is unsound? Or perhaps you feel that you were right when you were wrong then, while we are wrong now in thinking we are as right now as we and you were then. No matter how one looks at it, this doesn't make sense—no more than does your defence of "Comrade Canter's views on the Ballot. I agree that "'thinking is no violation of socialist discipline" but is your reasoning really thinking?
Look at your alternatives. Comrade. Supposing it were possible to determine by means
of a Gallup Poll (something I do not agree upon) that we have a genuine majority of genuine socialists in society. How can such a Poll provide the means whereby this majority can seize control of the state? There are certain definite jobs to be done. How do they get done? How can "wildfire fervour" put socialist representatives into control of the state machinery without utilising the " existing apparatus ", at least that part of it which is the real means of determining the desires of the population? Does the comrade really believe that he or anyone else can know whether " marching feet" are to be found on the opposite extremity from socialist: heads? And why should a majority of socialists want to go on a "general strike" ? The object of socialist revolution is not to see which class can outlast the other in a strike crisis. Or is it? And since when do socialists " boycott" elections under any circumstances? When a socialist has no other opportunity to register his vote he still votes by marking " socialism " across his ballot, or by any other means he can employ to demonstrate that he will not be satisfied with anything short of socialism. Protest votes such as this are noticed too, when there are enough of them, and have been from time to time commented upon by the press.
Let us now briefly take up an excellent piece cf twisting on the part of Comrade Rab. Under the sub-heading: W.S.P. on the ISSUE he sets down four quotations which are supposed, according to him, to prove that Comrade Canter's views are not in any way contrary to those of the party. The first one, the motion drawn up at the 1951 Conference, was Ideated in a subsequent Party Referendum, but Rab, like Canter, neglected to mention this fact. Perhaps he forgot.
The second quotation under this heading (numbered 1) was also voted down in the same Referendum, yet the N.A.C., against the wishes of the Party membership, continued to distribute the leaflet which contained the (at that time) objectionable statement. On the occasion cf the Referendum following the 1952 Conference, the distribution of the leaflet was sanctioned, although it would have been useless to vote otherwise, since it had already been widely circulated for one to two years.
On the question of the comrade's next two quotations there hangs an ever stranger tale— one which he also forgets to mention. No 3 was the original motion drawn up and offered at the 1952 Conference. One of those most bitterly opposed was Comrade Canter, who stated openly at the session that he would resign from the Party if this motion were passed ; and that were the majority of the workers to resort to violence, he would, support it to the hilt and consider it to be democratic activity (see Conference Minutes). Through a parliamentary trick which went unobserved by the chair and unchallenged from the floor, quotation number 3 was offered as a substitute motion and passed. It was subsequently approved by the Party Referendum.
Comrade Rab's final quotation was submitted as a separate referendum and passed with only 3 voting against, but it was worded slightly different than in Comrade Rab's article—a difference which make ALL the difference. Instead of appearing as " . . . use of the ballot as a means . . . ", it read "... use of the ballot as the means ..." This was probably another slip of Comrade Rab's memory, but whether slip or not, it is good to keep both the comrade and the record straight on the subject.
10.6.1 THE TROTZKYITE POSITION
I do not intend to spend any further time in answering Comrade Rab's " answer" to my article on the Canter viewpoint. This has been adequately covered. Anyone who wishes to know the Canter position has but to read it in FORUM. It speaks for itself. I would, however, like to correct a statement by Comrade Rab concerning a " favourable reference " by me to the Trotzkyite position in my FORUM article. If the comrade will re-read the section in question, he will see that he is wrong. I merely stated that the position on the prevention of the use of violence by the capitalists, as laid down by Albert Goldman in the pamphlet " In Defence of Socialism " was more favourable than Comrade Canter's views on the matter. I did not say it was the socialist position, as Goldman did not insist on the need for organised Socialists in a strength sufficient to discourage its use. A majority of the groups that Trotzkyites seek to organise do not necessarily have to be socialists and generally speaking are not.
Nor did I maintain that Comrade Canter belongs with the Trotzkyites, even though I did state, and documented it, that his views on this subject were definitely those of the Trotzkyites. Such reasoning is also shared by the Third Internationalists and many other small groups. My point was (and I still insist that it is so) that we have a minority of members within the Party whose views do not correspond with ours, and this has been mainly due to a past laxity in some cases on membership requirements and that the situation is one to regret and to guard against in the future
One more parting salvo. On the question of the possibility of the socialist revolution being accompanied by the use of violence Comrade Rab asks:
" Should some strange quirk of peculiar, unforeseeable events compel the socialist majority to utilize violence, how can we, in advance, say: 'No! '?"
He follows this by:
"However, this much we can say, in advance – the majority has no need for violence."
This attitude almost reminds us of the viewpoint expressed by certain advocates of “ preparedness" on the question of a life in the hereafter. "We are fairly certain," they reason, " that there is no God, but just in case we may be wrong we are going to take no chances of eternal punishment. We will not deny the possibility of God's existence."
As for me (and, I am certain, the overwhelming majority of scientific socialists) I have no need for any such " preparedness" other on the Question of God, or as is the case with Comrade Rab, on the subject of violent (socialist) revolution. The onward surge of history which has destroyed the need for a belief in a supernatural power has, at the same time and to the same extent, destroyed both the need and the possibility of a violent socialist revolution.
H. MORRISON.
10.6.2 Final Word from Comrade Rab
Since these articles were received, the following "final word" has been received from Comrade Rab (Editors). '
Comrade Morrison is correct on one item I did err in copying the 3d. W.S.P. referendum
in my article, " Comrade Canter AND the Ballot." This referendum did deal with the ballot as THE means and not as " a " means. It was an inadvertent, honest mistake and was certainly unintentional.
However, in no way does it affect the theme of my article, which pointed out that the revolutionary alternative is NOT between the ballot and some other means of obtaining socialism, but that there may be alternate forms that the ballot assumes when utilized by the socialist majority. The error some comrades make is to interpret speculations on future possibilities as being opposition to the ballot
I. RAB
10.7 LOGIC, TRUTH AND SOCIALISM
One of the fields covered by logic is that- of truth. According to formal logic, propositions nay either be true or false, and must be either true or false. It is therefore called a two-valued logic, because any proposition can only have the value 1 (truth) or 0 (falsity). This : the type of logic used in electronic calculating machines, and is obviously quite capable of dealing quite well with the sort of world such machines have to understand. It is the
world of the " either-or ".
We can get a little nearer to the real world, however, by the use of a three-valued logic. Such propositions as " There are living things on Mars", for example, would be given a value of \ in this logic, as would the propositions " I shall get up at about 7.30 to-morrow morning ", or " This stranger is honest ".
A four-valued logic has also been attempted, but introduces too many complexities to be shortly explained. The next real resting point
is multi-valued logic.
This is statistical in its outlook, and treats logic empirically. Thus the truth of the statement " This card which I have picked from an ordinary pack of cards belongs to a red suit" his a value, before the card is inspected, of 0.5. Under similar circumstances, the statement " This card is a King " has a truth value of
076923.
Further than this it is difficult to go, in the direction of exact and objective delineation of Truth. And yet even this much is pitiably inadequate for handling the events of the real world.
10.7.1 DIALECTICAL LOGIC
In the real world, things are never just true or simply false. Their truth value is contingsent on circumstances. Thus I sit in my room with the door closed, and write " The-proposition that the door is shut has the value 1 ". But my enemy who pumps poison gas/through the cracks disproves my point and kills me in the process. Such mistakes are dangerous. While the statement would be true for cats and dogs it would be false for gases or liquids, and only partly true for light, which can get
in at the lower edge of the door, and also through the keyhole
Any logic, then which attempts to be purely objective, with no trace of subjective elements such as purposes, and attempts to deal with things " as they really are in themselves " must fall to the ground. All the types of logic we have mentioned so far suffer from this defect, though some try to escape from it by quite elaborate means.
The only type of logic which can deal with the real world is dialectical logic. What does this have to say about truth, then? IT SAYS THAT IF A STATEMENT IS TRUE, THEN IT MUST BE FALSE. This is only to say, in a rather dramatic form, that any statement is only true within limits. Take away those limits, and it becomes false.
Now, in real life the limits are environmental circumstances. For example, 2 plus 2 equals four is only true in day-to-day existence when certain environmental conditions are left out of the question. Two rabbits plus two rabbits equals four rabbits. But given time, the answer is somewhat different—perhaps 22 rabbits, Two sacks of wheat plus two sacks of wheat equals four sacks of wheat. But given time, the sacks rot, the mice get in, and the wheat goes musty—the answer is perhaps 0 sacks of wheat. Or pouring water into a 3-gallon bucket—two gallons plus two gallons equals three gallons. Or joining two telephone wires together—2 decibels plus 2 decibels equals 2.301 decibels!
We know that environmental conditions are changing and evolving all the time, without ever reaching any permanent state of rest. Therefore the limits of any statement are also changing. And therefore the truth of any statement is changing, too.
Not only subjectively, then, must absolute truth be denied, but cbiectivelv as well. The statement that MY WINDOW IS OPEN is not only (subjectively) true for a bluebottle and (subjectively) false for a cart-horse, but
also( objectively) more or less true depending on the season of the year, because the wood warps in the summer and it won't open so wide.
10.7.2 THE SYLLOGISM
Having seen so much, let us go back to our old friend the syllogism, raised from its dusty bed by Horatio (FORUM, March issue).
Study of the syllogism is really of very little use to socialists; almost the only use for it is in naming obvious fallacies in the arguments of one's opponents, and it really doesn't cut much ice with them when one does us it in that way.
For example, Horatio says: "The Socialist Party's claim that the road to Socialism is through Parliament is such a valid hypothesis. It follows rigorously from the major premiss that Socialism is democratic; minor premiss, democracy operates through Parliament; conclusion, therefore Socialism is Parliamentary." Now one can dismiss this, if one has studied the syllogism, by naming it as an example of the fallacy of the undistributed middle. But it is equally good logically, and far more effective, to construct an exactly similar syllogism with different terms, to show its absurdity. Thus, in this case: " Horatio is a member of the S.P.G.B. Members of the S.P.G.B. have died in the past. Therefore, Horatio has died in the past."
Or again, when Horatio says: " Tories and Labour are bad. Liberals are not Tory or Labour. Therefore, Vote Liberal; It is Good." (His comment on this is: " We see, therefore, that thinkers can draw opposing conclusions from the same accepted premisses.") We can-simplv retort with this: " Turner and Wilmott are alive. Horatio is not Turner or Wilmott. Therefore, Bury Horatio; He is Dead."
The study of dialectics, on the other hand, is full of use for socialists, since it is a valuable weapon in the struggle against fixed ways of thought and outdated metaphysical argument.
J. C. ROWAN.

Forum Journal 1953-11 August

Submitted by jondwhite on June 3, 2019

11. FORUM
Internal Party Journal of the S.P.G.B.
No. 11
AUGUST 1953

11.1 THE SOCIALIST IDEA
In the June issue a distinction was made (not for the first time) between Socialism as a system of society—Socialism(l)—and Socialism as a body of theory—Socialism(2).
Let us now go on to consider a third use of the word Socialism, and call it Socialism(3). This is what is sometime covered under the terms " The Socialist Attitude ", or " Socialist Understanding", or "The Socialist Idea". A thorough analysis of these terms, and the way they are used, reveals that the most adequate way of looking at Socialism(3) is to all it an attitude. We shall define an attitude (following ordinary textbook usage) as " an endurlng organisation of motivational, emotional, perceptual and cognitive processes with respect to some aspect of the individual's world ". We can say at once that Socialism(3) is a rather special kind of attitude, because it usually covers more than one aspect of the individual's world. The attitude of party members not only covers the political field, but also extends to the religious field, for example.
Having made that clear, we should then note that an attitude is not only cognitive—it does not only consist of knowledge of facts. It also includes motivation—it makes those who have it want to do something, to take some action. It includes emotion—it leads to feelings of liking for some people, institutions, actions, etc., and distaste for others. And it includes perception—it makes one see some things very clearly, and ignore others completely, and interpret events one way rather than another. From our own experience, each one of us knows that all these things are true ::' Socialising), especially under its title of " Socialist understanding".
And it is equally obvious that this is what is meant by the " Socialist idea ". This, again, an attitude. When we say of a new member " He's got the idea; now it's only a matter of filling in the details ", we should rather say " He's got the attitude; now it's only a matter of getting the facts and arguments to back it up ". And it should be thoroughly understood that this is the only thing that the Socialist
idea can be. It can't be Socialism(l), because everybody's idea of this is different; in fact, even the same person's ideas about it change
over the years. If the Socialist Idea is common to all Socialists (and this is the usual meaning of such a term) we can easily see that it can't be Socialism(l), which is different for all Socialists. And it can't be Socialism(2), which again is different for. all Socialists. Probably no two people would agree what to include and what to exclude from this mass of material. And in fact the amount of it which is valid actually changes with time; also new material is added. It must, then, be Socialism(3). This is an attitude which can be common to all Socialists.
It is the attitude which enabled Marx to write " Capital " and Engels to write " Ludwig Feuerbach ". It is the attitude which enables our own comrades to write in the S.S. every month—often about things never mentioned before in the traditional body of Socialist theory. It's the attitude of mind which enables party members to see the world's events through Socialist eyes, penetrating beneath the tinsel and the glitter to the hard economic realities lying beneath. It's the attitude which enables comrades to add to the theory of Socialism and continually to recreate it for the current age.
And this is the attitude which the majority of the world's inhabitants have got to adopt before we can have Socialism—that is, Socialism). They have got to get the Socialist attitude, This is the underlying meaning behind the phrase which is bandied about so unthinkingly about understanding and wanting Socialism. When you've got Socialising) you
want to understand Soeialism(2) and you want to attain Socialism(1)—and you want to get i of all that stands in the way as soon as possible.
But, of course, this isn't as easy as handing somebody the Socialist Idea like a brick— " Somebody gave it to me: I can give it to somebody else "—it means long, hard work for many years to come. It means that the idea of fighting elections now is, as Comrade Evans has well said, " a piece of sympathetic magic ". It means that things are not now ripe for Socialism(1). It means that .we won't have Socialism(1) until attitudes have changed institutions and institutions have changed institutions, etc., etc., to the point where only one more change of attitude is necessary for the institutions of Socialism to take over from the institutions of Capitalism. At that point it will still be necessary for us, as it has always been, to point out that Socialism(l) is there for the taking. Only this time it will be true. And because it is true, and can be clearly seen to be true, people will believe us; and because they act on their beliefs and find their actions successful, their attitudes will change; and because their attitudes have changed, they will co-operate to set up new institutions. And because of this speech, this belief, this action. these attitudes and these institutions, we shall have Socialism.
J. C. ROWAN.
11.2 EDITORIAL
There is a false, but apparently widely-held belief that a small circle of contributors writes most of the articles in FORUM. That certain members contribute regularly has perhaps overshadowed the fact that new writers have come forward and are continuing to do so. The 76 items published in the first ten issue (to July) were written by 38 different members, and 6 groups, branches and committees wrote 8 further items.
There are no grounds then for the assertion that FORUM is monopolised by a small group of writers. Members who have never previously written for the Party are moved to send in contributions on questions in which they are particularly interested. And it is doubtless an advantage to the Party that the opportunity to gain experience in the exacting business of crystalising ideas into the written word is widened by FORUM. Many are gaining this experience, and, we are certain, others will make the effort to become contributors in the future. There are some who say, “Yes, I thought of writing something about that, but …”
It is our concern, as editors of FORUM, which exists for members and is written by members of all the companion parties, to assist in removing the last " but " and all that comes before it. True, it may take time to produce ind article or even a short letter worth reading, yet if you have something that you feel ought to be said, then you are already more than half way towards the production of an item for FORUM. Concentration and effort will do the rest, and when it is done you will have gained by the experience and derive great satisfaction from it. There are perhaps more potential writers in the Party than is apparent.
Sometimes the doleful opinion is expressed that as the first enthusiasms of some of the earlier issues abate the usefulness of FORUM munst decline. We do not hold this view. On the contrary, we believe FORUM can have a much wider usefulness than has so far been evident", Much more can be done to widen our understanding of Socialism. There are some members who have not yet written for FORUM who have something worthwhile to wtite about, who will, we are sure, produce useful, critical writing. Others who are planning are doing research in particular subjects. It is unfortunately true that the main difficulty these comrades labour under is that they are already committed to other Party work. It is not a new experience in the Party to discover what little time one has only when an extra task is attempted. A task some comrades have on hand is to review some of the Socialist classics in the light of modern criticism and development.
With patience and hard work we are certain that the future of FORUM is assured.
11.3 CORRESPONDENCE
TO THE EDITORS
Comrades,
In an article entitled " People of the World —Unite " (April FORUM), the viewpoint was expressed that the establishment of Socialism was in the interest of all mankind, irrespective of class. The writer analysed the consequences cf this on a number of socialist arguments, and then went on to suggest amendments to the D. of P. to bring it into line with his analysis.
Quite rightly he did not argue, in an opportunist fashion, that this analysis should be considered because it would make socialist propaganda more appealing to most people. However, this position that he advocates does have important practical propaganda implications. One that leaps to mind is that if The Socialist Party is not opposed to the capitalist class, it should not be opposed to advertisements in The Socialist Standard, as long as they are not of an anti-socialist type. In this way, the S.S. would cost the party less, and so ease our financial position.
To those who ask " What sort of advertisements?" I would suggest books, radiograms, notepaper, cigarettes, chocolates, notices of political organisations, etc. Some may suggest that the firms concerned would not be interested, but to them I would say that as a journal like " History To-day" can get plenty of advertisements, it seems likely that we have a chance.
This is not a reason for rejecting, or accepting the views put forward in the article by S.R.P. They must be accepted or rejected on their merits. This is merely a logical step that we might advantageously take if such views are held by a majority of the membership. Even if such views are held, nothing short of a party poll on this specific issue should be made before any action is taken. Yours fraternally,
ROBERT.
11.4 THE S.P. OF IRELAND
Comrade Harry Berry, Kingston Branch. took advantage of his annual holiday to visit our comrades of the Socialist Party of Ireland.
A representative of the S.P.I, welcomed Comrade Berry at the Air Terminal and from then on every moment of his short stay in Dublin was made pleasant instructive, and interesting. Comrade Berry was considerably impressed by the enthusiasm of the Irish comrades and their magnificent efforts to spread our message and make Socialist ideas better known in Ireland. And make them known they certainly appear to succeed ht doing. Their resourcefulness in finding means to provoke discussion around Socialist principles in public, displays skill as well as zeaL By comparison with England, the conditions ht Ireland are semi-fuedal and present enormous difficulties for the Socialist propagandist. Outdoor meetings are difficult and sometimes impossible, and there is no doubt that the means pursued by the Dublin comrades are, in the circumstances, effective. On all possible pubBc occasions, they appear to group together, and exude studied friendliness the better to provoke discussion on Socialist principle. Politically, the S.P.I, is succeeding in making a mark in Ireland which is creditable for its size.
Comrade Berry derived great pleasure from his all-too-short stay. The contrasts between industrial England and Ireland, where the peasantry and the influence of the Catholic Church permeate the political and social life of the people, present an interesting social study.
Irish comrades derive much stimulation and gratification from such visits, and if British comrades are interested in paying a visit, the Secretary of the Kingston Branch can provide the name and address of a lady sympathiser who can offer limited but pleasant accommodation in a new Dublin suburb. Please therefore, write to the Secretary of the Kingston Branch if interested.
Arising out of this visit, the Kingston Branch has started a fund to assist the S.P.I. to send fraternal delegates to our Annual Conference next year. The financial position of the S.P.I, reflects the low standard of living and the considerable unemployment whim prevails in Ireland at the present time, The thoughtfulness of the members of the Kingston Branch in their efforts to give fraternal encouragement to our Irish comrades deserves widespread support.
11.5 SOCIALISM WILL BENEFIT ALL
Recently I submitted an article for the S.S, which explained that Socialism will be in the
interest of all mankind. To my astonishment I was told that some members would disagree with this view, and that since it was controversial it could not appear in the S.S. I must, Therefore, present the propositions in the article as if they need to be proved to members, and not (as I thought) as if they were the views of the Party.
My starting point is Socialism, as defined the Party's object. There can only be common ownership provided that people's ideas are in line with it. Our critics will not let us depart from this standpoint even if, for some reason, we wish to do so. They say, for example: " But suppose everyone wants to do one job and no one will do another". We reply that such a situation will not arise or alternatively, that if that is the case then we. cannot have Socialism. Whichever way we answer, we imply that Socialism pre-supposes attitude of social-mindedness in the people are to participate in it, as opposed to one individual- or group-mindedness.
Since all will stand equal to the means of production and all will draw upon the products of labour according to their needs, it follows that all must permit others to stand equal and to draw freely. In fact, it is misleading even to use the word ' permit', because it implies that permission could, under certain circumstances, be refused. Let us grant that a section of society may not be persuaded that Socialism is in its interest, and may object to it on those grounds. What are the rest of the people to if about that? They can either admit that the basis of the objection is correct, i.e., that Socialism does, in fact, only operate in the interest of most, not of all, people (which will encourage the minority to go on thinking as they do)—or they can prove the basis of the objection false by a fuller application of the socialist idea.
Those who have, been educated for the community will take an interest in all the problems that affect humanity and will adjust their standpoint and their behaviour to its welfare. Their life in the community will always be marked by goodwill and a feeling of oneness with the rest of society—not with 90% or 99.9% of it, but with all of it. Now,
I am not saying that Socialism depends upon everyone having perfectly developed social feeling, nor am I denying that people will ever have disagreements or personal dislikes. The point is that Socialism, by very definition, cannot make social provision for treating some people differently from others—it cannot meet an anti-social act on the part of an individual by an anti-individual act on the part of society.
Now we approach the question of whether people benefit or not. If it is true that a section of society (the ex-capitalists) will not benefit, then that means they have something to lose. Comrade Hayden put it like this (April FORUM): "... it is true that those who are now the employing class would gain something in the new society. But they stand to lose something in the process, luxury resulting from property and their exploiting of the workers."
My dictionary defines luxury as " gratification of the senses, desirable thing that can be done without.' Of course, Socialism will not be without luxury in those senses. What it will be without is the sort of luxury that is associated by contrast with poverty and is, in fact, its complement. Will the absence of this sort of luxury be looked upon as a loss? If it were possible for the present enjoyers of luxury to be transferred (with their capitalist ideas) to live in socialist society, it is quite possible that they would deny they had benefited. But what will they think if they absorb the ideas that will be all around them under Socialism (in concretised as well as theoretical form)—if, in short, they accept Socialism as most people to-day accept Capitalism?
We must be very careful when we speak of what people will gain and lose with Socialism. Let us not delude ourselves that it is only capitalists who can see no advantage in it. We often state that 90% own 10% and 10% own 90%, as though it were a magical formula that automatically makes the 90% turn a deaf ear, while occasionally one of the 10% resolves to get rid of the system.
The fallacy of trying to compare one individual's life under Capitalism with how people will live under Socialism should be apparent. There is no valid yardstick which can measure respective " standards of living ". What is the equivalent of free access in terms of hard cash? Can you compare the luxury of a millionaire who has ulcers with someone
in socialist society without millions or ulcers? We can say this about how people compare Socialism with the present. Those who glimpse an understanding (for that is all we car. i of what it means in terms of a way of living., are conscious of a tremendous loss in not having it. On the other hand, those who do not accept the possibility of social change, and who therefore do not work for it, consequently regard any assessment of gain or loss as idle speculation. It is not what they think they will personally gain or lose by it that determines their attitude to Socialism, but that they think it is something outside the range of practical life.
To deal now with a few paints that arise in opposition. Why do Hayden and other comrades assert that even at the eleventh hour a majority of capitalists will not support Socialism? I readily concede that if car propaganda is to be based only on the need for expropriation and the use of such language as "\ vote to strike fear into the hearts of our exploiters" (Socialism, p.50), then Hayden could be right—this won't make capitalists into socialists. But then I don't believe it makes workers into socialists either! It seems to me 'a peculiar " eleventh hour " that prepares to usher in classless society on such a bellicose note.
In my view the Party's literature (and in particular our older pamphlets) does not adequately explain what we mean by Socialism In some cases it positively conspires at error. Thus in Socialism (1941, p. 13) we find the following under the sub-heading " The Possibility of Leisure ": " The human intelligence which accomplishes this (ending of poverty and drudgery), since it can only do it by dislodging the rich from their position of idle luxury and privilege, must necessarily come from the working class ". It will be noticed that ' human intelligence ' excludes ' the rich', who are to be dislodged. The logical deduction is then made that the dislodging must then be done by the working class. But it is the major premise that is at fault. Socialism is not the triumph of the non-rich over the rich—it i the triumph of equality over both. The passage quoted is merely the complement and net the opposite of the reformist view: " The human intelligence which ends poverty, since it can
only do so by dislodging the poor from their present position, must necessarily come from the ruling class ".
Then on p.36 there appears this statement about the expropriated owners of wealth:
There would be nothing left for them but to work for their living like the rest." This odd choice of language implies a reduction in status for the ex-capitalist instead of a change in status for all people. The writer of this pamphlet obviously did not have such a clear grasp of socialist principles as Marx, who spoke of work under Socialism as not merely a means to live, but as itself the primary necessity of life. All men, in short, will live to work, not work " for their living".
The following paragraphs are the conclusion to my article submitted for the S.S., and sum up the arguments that I think can usefully be placed before non-socialists.
"... the sort of life we envisage will be possible under Socialism is not tinged with envy of, or retribution against, capitalists. It has no greater connection with how the rich live now than with how the poor do— it seeks a standard superior to both.
Capitalists are no more the special creatures of Capitalism than are workers. The one class cannot exist apart from the other. Quite apart from the uselessness of holding one class responsible for the social consequences of class struggle, there is a positive danger of doing so. If the proposed improvement in the conditions of the mass of people is to be based only on making the few disgorge what they possess, then it is merely a capitalist revolution, such as in Russia in 1917. The void left by such an
" expropriation of the ruling class" can only be filled by another ruling class. Until workers are socialists, they will continue to carry exploiters on their backs and fail to see that everyone can walk upright.
Socialists advocate classless society because it provides the opportunity for the fuller development of all human personalities. Freed from class antagonisms, men can cooperate freely with each other to benefit society (and themselves as part of it). Those who support Capitalism are not only the ones who seek to hold what they have, bat also the ones who seek to have what sememe else holds—both groups accept the rights o property. The only way to end social antagonisms is to establish social harmony, which is what. Socialism means."
S.R-P.
11.6 A POSITIVE CASE
When discussing our ideas with non-Socialists ather with friends or as propagandists from the platform) we are often accused of being merely destructive and iconaclastic. We condemn capitalism for causing wars, giving rise to unemployment and slumps, and perpetuating poverty, malnutrition and hunger, and we say that it must be abolished. " But what is your alternative?" we are asked. "Socialism", we reply.
Yet when attempting to define Socialism, many of us still tend to be too negative. I am not suggesting that we should prophesy, I do not know whether we will travel by horse, bicycle, automobile, helicopter or jet-plane, or all the lot, or some other form of transportation not yet developed: or whether there will be mass production, or if we will live in blocks of flats or chalets; and neither does any other comrade.
But many speakers on the outdoor platform reel off almost in parrot fashion: "Socialism does not exist in the Soviet Union; Nationalisation is not Socialism; under Socialism there will be no state, no government, no money, no armies, navies or air forces, no coppers," Correct as these statements are, the approac is not only too negative but has an adverse effect on those members of the audience who do not know our case.
Although we cannot give a detailed blueprint of socialism we can present our point of view in a more positive form. Some speakers do, but many do not.
It is the aim of this article to suggest means of propagating socialism from a positive not negative, point of view—without being too controversial.
11.6.1 WHAT WILL SOCIALISM BE LIKE ?
With the establishment of Socialism, the means of living—the factories, mines, etc.— will be the common property of all mankind regardless or race or sex; and production and distribution will be democratically administered by all the people.
With the abolition of capitalism, and with it the wages system, things will be produced solely for use. This will mean that a means of exchange—money—will no longer be necessary. Barter, either in simple or complex form, will disappear. Because, with production for use, people will have access to what they need, each determining his or her own needs (needs and wants being synonymous), all will give to society according to their varying abilities.
Socialism will be based not on coercion but co-operation. In the words of Marx: " In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." (Communist Manifesto.) Society will not be divided, as in the past, into master and slave, ruler and ruled, governor and governed, but will be a classless world, where governments of people—or rather over people —will be replaced by a democratic administration of things.
11.6.2 THE STATE
As I mentioned earlier, the state and its coercive forces are often dealt with in a negative way. When told by speakers that there will be no state machine, no army, navy, air or police forces, many members of the audience are amused. So conditioned are they to our capitalist way of life that they react in das manner. Therefore, although it may be more difficult and take a little longer, it is imperative that speakers briefly—but not too brief. — trace the history of the state and its coercive forces. It could be presented somewhat as follows: —
The state has not, as many people think. existed in all human society. It rose with the beginning of property society, from the need to keep class antagonisms in check. Many thousands of years ago, before the advent of civilisation, the state did not exist
Mankind as homo sapiens—true man— has existed for probably half a million years, most of the time in savagery and barbarism. The earliest form of society, which existed throughout savagery and continued into barbarism, we call Primitive Communism—. because, in the words of Kropotkin: "Within the tribe everything is shared in common every morsel of food is divided among a present ... In short, within the tribe the rule ' each for all' is supreme, so long as the separate family has not yet broken up the tribal unity." (Mutual Aid). During the long period there was no state.
The state is a bureaucratic and coercive apparatus, necessary in a society divided into property owners and non-owners and designed to keep an oppressesed property-less class in subjection. It will be unnecessary in a classless socialist society. After the seizure of the means of production by the majority of mankind—the working class— and the conversion of these means of production into common property, the working dass puts and end to itself as a class. It puts and end to class society altogether, with its class differences, hatreds and struggles.
A socialist society will have no need for a state. Unlike Anarchists, socialists do not advocate the abolition of the state; this would result in chaos. What socialists do advocate is the abolition of a system of society that gives rise to, and necessitates the use of, this coercive instrument. It is
not abolished or overthrown. It just becomes superfluous and withers away.
Although it is impossible here to deal with all the aspects of Socialism, it can be seen that the society we all desire and are working for can be presented in a much more positive manner than is done by many members at present. Such aspects as marriage, morals and the like, can be dealt with from a historical and positive point of view from our platforms. This may be more difficult in front of an audience than just saying there will be no this, no that and no the other thing, but it must be done.
It will always be necessary for us to analyse capitalism and to discuss its varying problems for humanity. But I think most people these days are more concerned with what the world could be like, rather than to hear our speaker; attack the Labour, Conservative or Communist Parties.
I hope the above suggestions will stimulate comrades to discuss the POSITIVE case for presenting socialism; particularly those whs are wary of " crystal-ball gazing", and who are loath to mention future socialist socier all, but just continue attacking capitalism and capitalist-reform parties.
PETER E. NEWELL.
11.7 THE NATURE OF THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
5 — The Social Superstructure (contd.)
Before beginning his analysis of the commodity as the ' cell-unit' of capitalism, Marx earned us in the preface that the analysis must Bam upon minutiae and that the force of abstraction must replace the apparatus of the laboratory. This difficulty in economics is magnified in general sociology which deals, not with solid wealth, but with airy institutions, acrd where there is no comparable cell unit, no "20 yards linen or one coat", to eke out abstraction, where description is beggared and metaphor must be worked to death.
For unity of social forms and processes is a?t sufficiently expressed when we describe rasritutions as being geared together, because geared to the labour which is what society is for or when we describe them as interdependent like the organs of the body. These analogies fall short, for the institutions of a society are each the whole, turned to catch the mind's light this way or that.
Likewise the elements, which are conceived as making up the separately distinguished institutions, have an indivisibility of existence (and therefore of development). "Democracy is quite sensibly regarded as a thing of " franchise, checks and balances", supremacy of legislature. ' independence of Judiciary", " rule of law ", " presumption of innocence ", right of appeal", "freedom of association", Habeus Corpus and Hyde Park, these being the things thrown into relief when we look at society from a particular angle. But held another way they become "consideration", “contract” " guarantee". "inheritance", "purchase ~. " affidavit ", : ruling ", " entailment ", " reversion", which belong to " Property ". And each of the particles which make up these parts—" keep out", " dial O ", " week 3 "—is a microcosm carrying the genes and chromosomes of the society which bodies it forth, and each particle is a part of every part, for the institutional molecules is no mol— cule but society writ small enough for thinking. They, too, have no local habitation: it is the mind that sunders and rejoins and names Law or Property.
11.7.1 Permutation of Artifacts
Social evolutions is the continuous accumulation of artifacts, of means and products. Quality is the outcome of quantity, because each social molecule is " permed " with every other, and each particle a function of every other, that is, of society as a whole, for society is not the sum of its parts but the permutation of them. The character of property is related directly to the size of the productive forces; democracy is affected directly by the mass of statutory can'ts and musts to which everybody is subject, and the mass of legislation which Parliaments cannot cope with themselves;1 the quality of law changes with the emergence of additional law-making and judgment-giving bodies outside Parliament and the Courts; social assistance, as a result of the former trickle of haphazard rescue work having become a regulated river, differs as cheese to chalk from the brutal stigmatised charity which affected only the few only occasionally. There is a world of difference (as ' fundamental' as that between Feudalism and Merchant Capitalism, or bet—ren that and industrial
capitalism) between the intensely personal powers of a Pitt or a Grenvill to determine policies and appointments and the comparatively mechanical character of Government to-day.
There is a world of difference between those who ran the East India Company for the Whig and Tory intriguers and to-day's permanent departmental secretaries, where civil head or titled nob may alike be dismissed or unfrocked for an illicit pound of sausages or a currency offence. There is a world of difference between Tolpuddle and the regional joint advisor council penny an hour rotary shift Mowbray scale P54 what no tea break all out boys.
But there is a world of difference only if the parts are added together. Although ie qualitative difference in each case given is directly related to a change in quantity, ana the regularisation which quantity imposes, each changes also by virtue of changes in the others. And a particular change has no social signifance if obsession with our hardly-learned 'separate categories' allows us to think that " other things remain the same ", for the mind is then not keyed to sift out a common motion from the social molecular variations of it, as a uniform current in a unitary field of force. The progressive depersonalising of property, the increasing vicariousness of power, the widening delegation of responsibility, the relation of the State from primarily coercive to predominantly administrative—none of these is really credible until it is seen that each is the other, that it is society which becomes more impersonal, under the weight of human artifacts as the productive instruments. and their cognate propeny, power and politics, become more and more beyond personal appropriation and control.
The various ' institutions' appear to have a life and locus of their own, distinguishable like the branches of a tree. There is an obvious sense in which education is not industry and Church is not State. But it is not enough to recognise that the branches have a common item and are nourished by-a common sap; nor it is enough to add that the branches grow into one another to form a solid mass. The analogy is more fundamentally faulty in that it ascribes to social phenomena a spatial quality, locus, which they do not have. It is only men, and the things men make and enjoy, which have these physical qualities of space and place: the institution( and the sum of institutions—society) has no locus, although it is associated functionally with men and their artifacts, as thought is associated functionally with the spatial brain. We go astray, therefore, even when we call society a " structure". Society, rather, is the artifact thinking.
11.7.2 Social Growth
The difference between a wasp's thoughts and ours is based on the difference between ten thousand and two billion brain cells (or on the permutations of these two numbers). The issue is a difference of quality because it is the whole brain which thinks. Social evolution issues from the daily and hourly accumulation of artifacts, permuted each with all. The defect in our materialism is that our concept of society is not sufficiently social-— we don't " perm " enough—and is therefore not sufficiently determinist, that is, it is not determinist at all. The creation of history in me " daily and hourly fulfilment" of human needs remains too much a fine Marxian phrase and not enough a recognition that social growth takes place spontaneously at the molecular level, unhonoured and unseen, each added molecule the addition of a thonsand permutations. But it is only by the bucketful that social change becomes perceptible to the gross human eye, retrospectively (and this encourages the notion that men can change society by the bucketful).
Health, Welfare, and Children's services, for instance, are bundles of molecules which by accretion become in relation to each other first complementary, then supplementary, then supernumerary, become ripe for the great statesmanship which unites them in a single Min. of Soc. Serv. and stamps " Le Roi le Veult" on the social fact. Or again, the various kinds of taxation (income tax, rates, national insurance, W.D. contributions) on the one hand, and on the other hand the various kinds of positive allowances (family allowances, pensions, health benefits) and negative allowances (personal, earned income, expenses, house
maintenance) must sooner or later be unified.
Their unification—and their extension to other " free " services (transport, power, etc.)—are perhaps only a matter of another war, and have social and ideological implications far beyond the mere saving of administrative man-hours.
Again, the general levelling up and down of standards of living, the taming of the jungle of primitive " incentives", is tilting the problem of production to,another angle: what makes people willing to work well without the destitution stick at one end or the ' higher standard' carrot at the other? At the same time, the more deliberate adjustment of education to industrial and social needs (Act 1944, comprehensive schools, Youth Employment Bureaux) places more emphasis on finding out what a child's leanings are and on giving him a better idea of what different jobs involve before his schooling finishes. At the same time also, the higher organic composition of capital—the new phase of "cybernetics" which takes the toil and dirt out of work (and replaces it by boredom)—prepares the ground for the practical dovetailing of schooling with employment. These things again have implications beyond the partial and fumbling answers to immediate problems of incentives or vocational grading to get the best of of people notwithstanding equality of poverty. Briefly, capital's necesary concern with quantity of output generates problems which lead to concern with attitude towards work, which in turn lead to concern with the quality (enjoyment) of work —which is the kernel of the socialist outlook, and the mainspring of socialist society.
11.7.3 Concept of Revolution
The view that the idea is the agent of social change is no departure from our materialism, it inheres in the materialism we inherited from Marx, and has recently become more vociferous and more blatant only because it is being challenged, If Hegel has been much misunderstood, so has Marx. The former has more to say about the material conditioning of ideas is commonly acknowledged, and the latter, having thrown idealism out of the window, fetched it back by the door by dedicating his materialism to political service (in a society where property, power and politics were much smaller and more personal than they are to-day): our materialism remains still suborned to the idealism of a single, sudden, separate political act.
This concept of the revolution, and the concepts that material conditions are ripe for socialism, that (short of this revolutionary act) no significant social change takes place, that the " socialist idea " is complete, and that this idea is now the agent of social development— these concepts are mutually dependent and logically consistent. And it is a logical step from the idea as the agent of social change to the concept of the idea as independent of time and place (and which therefore permits us to scorn the "mechanical" laws of history and economics) to claim that the " socialis idea suitably expressed, is meaningful to anyone in any part of the world, or that " society in the Middle Ages once came within an ace of establishing socialism ". These claims are not renegade departures from the Party outlook, but extensions of it, grown bolder by the boldness of the Party's own criticism of its own position.
This criticism is made by different members from different angles. It is made by Canter, who dares to suggest that our certainty on a point of political detail may be unnecessarily dogmatic; by Turner who (perceiving that the social character of the revolution transcends all class origin) dares the challenge the possibility of violence; by Lake who dares to doubt the ripeness of the socialist movement for political participation; by McClatchie who insists thai anti-capitalism is not enough; by Trotman, consistently determinist, who sees the revolutionary act is a mirage because he sees the revolution as an historically necessary process.
This summary does not pretend to exhaust the currents of controversy, much less to do justice to those named or unnamed, but it serves to show that we all have a foot in each other's camps (there is no " line-up", no cleavage), and that our controversies all converge on the nature of the revolution. But while it is the concept of revolution which is under cross-examination, it is the concept of history which is on trial. It is the Socialist movement (substantially, the Party), developing its materialist outlook, on the shoulders of the dialectical form in which Marx re-wrote Hegel's dualism, and because this is a change on the philosophical level, it signifies social change for a fundamental nature.
" Idealism " and " materialism " stand out ideally as opposites, but materialism evolves. Historical materialism was neither begun dim ended by Marx, and from Rousseau to ourselves there has been continuous development of the revolutionary formula which is the business end of the materialism. The more integrative hypotheses which in the past half-century have developed in the physical and biological sciences (concurrently with the actual social integrations which are capital expanding) have developed also in the social science. The mind is less in tune with the old descriptive classifications, the old divisions and separation and discontinuities, in a society in which everything is more anonymous and more " total " the total war of a world in which an Eden discovers that " peace is indivisible" and a Vishinsky that " war is indivisible" just too late to observe that peace and war are indistinguishable; the total State which merges political and economic functions: the total poverty of gas-mask and insurance card which dissolves distinction of status and prestige.
The old certitudes of an expanding colonial economy (the concepts of progress and perfectibility by the progressive emancipate of women, the unskilled, and the destitute) cannot survive the absolute uncertainty of tomorrow week. Religious fervour cannot outlast the passing of squirearchical capital, nor political fervour the lack of meaningful issue and distinguishable programme and both kinds of messianic message are equally suspect. Within the Party there appears a lack of enthusiasm for the platform, for the " Standard " and for classes, countered by shots of electrical benzedrine to revive the militant ecstasies of a phase which culminated in June 1904; but this indifference is not simply a reaction to the " political doldrums" outside the Party, for back of it lies an unease not wholly canalised or conscious, feeling its way towards a further development of the revolutionary attitude. The single, simultaneous, universal act of revolution is a product of a society which no longer exists.
Most of the criticism so far offered