George Walford: Success at Last

THE SOCIALIST STANDARD for September 1985 declares on its cover that capitalism demands both your money and your life.

What alternative does the party offer? Under (Anarcho-) Socialism you would have no money at all and, if they are right in saying that this system would solve social problems, no life either, since the only society without problems would be one with no living inhabitants.

On Thursday 19 September the party secured their delayed television appearance on Channel 4. It is not clear why they should expect this to bring better results than their efforts of the past eighty years; if television does, as it is sometimes said to do, exert an irrational influence then it is an influence the party is bound to reject.

The speaker quoted with approval William Morris’s statement that the workers are robbed and compared the capitalists to muggers. That probably did not attract much attention; it is, after all, the sort of thing one expects the extreme left wing to say and the (Anarcho-) Socialist Party has said it often enough before. But this party also says something else. It says the workers are not robbed but receive the full value of the labour power they sell to the capitalists:

Those who do the gathering, the manufacturing, processing are, of course, paid for their efforts according to the value of their particular types of mental and physical abilities. (Socialist Standard August 1985)

(The workers are paid as wages) the value – the full value – of their labour power, the commodity they have to sell. (Socialist Standard September 1985)

In the person of its TV speaker this party says the workers are robbed. In its official journal it says they are paid according to the value of what they sell.

In drawing attention to this we are not engaging in finicky verbal criticism; we are not nitpicking. The question: Are the workers robbed? lies at the root of socialism, both its theory and its practice, and the answer given by the (A-)SPGB is: “Yes, they are; No, they are not.”

Is IC not justified in saying this party repudiates its own statements?

from Ideological Commentary 21, November 1985.