J. T. Murphy


The Socialist Answer

Publisher: The Socialist League, 3 Victoria Street, London, S.W.1, 1935
Printer: The Hereford Times Ltd. (T.U. all Depts.), London and Hereford
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

FASCISM is not an alternative to Capitalism. It is Capitalism in its most desperate, violent form. It is a product of the crisis of Capitalism, aiming not at replacing Capitalism by a new social order but by the organisation of a Party and the State seeking to save Capitalism by crushing and destroying every element within society which resists the slavery of Capitalism and every movement within it which seeks to carry society forward to Socialism and Communism. It uses the most modern weapons of violence and repression in its attempt to reverse social evolution. It is the black defender of private property, of rent, interest and profit, in the age when private property and the system of human exploitation based upon it are incompatible with the progressive development of society.

Its record of violence and reaction in those countries where it is in power is known to all. It is not our purpose in the analysis we propose to make to dwell upon its foul and bloody record of working-class and racial persecution. Our purpose is to examine its principles and its theories; to explain its method of deluding masses of people, to show its effects, and to indicate broadly the way to combat it.


The Fascists speak of themselves as revolutionaries. Actually they are an organised body of counter-revolution. Violence is not revolution, for though violence may accompany a revolution it is not the revolution. There can, in fact, be no social revolution without a fundamental change in the relation of the classes. In a revolution a class which held power loses it to the class which was hitherto below it. The capitalist revolution consisted in overthrowing the power of the feudal class and establishing the power of the capitalist class. The proletarian revolution in Russia dispossessed the capitalist class of its power and established the rule of the working-class.

What class have Mussolini’s Fascists dispossessed? The capitalist class was in power before Mussolini became a Dictator. It is in power to-day with Mussolini at its head. What class has Hitler dispossessed? The capitalists were in power before the Hitler dictatorship. They remain in power. In both cases the Fascists’ purpose was, as it must be, to prevent the working-class from getting Power. Fascism is simply organised counter-revolution.

Mosley, the spokesman of British Fascism, recognises that there is a world crisis in capitalism. In his book Greater Britain he says that the crisis “is a genuine, deep-rooted crisis, partly world-wide, but partly peculiar to ourselves”. Later he defines it as a “consumption crisis”. On page 47 of the same book he writes: “In other words science, invention, technique have recently increased the power to produce out of the range of all previous experience. In the meantime, our machinery of distribution and of government has remained practically unchanged, with the result that the production of industry greatly outstrips demand.”


This is merely to state the superficial, obvious appearances and in no way to explain the cause of these contradictions. One must go much deeper into an analysis of the crisis if its real cause is to be understood.

One tenth of the population of Great Britain own four-fifths of its total property and wealth, which was estimated by Sir Josiah Stamp in 1930 to amount to 18,000,000,000,000. There are 500 millionaires in this country. Here are to be found the elements in society which supply the Fascists with their funds and from which the leader of British Fascism is drawn. Mosley is a big landlord. His big business backers are millionaires. His champion in the press—Lord Rothermere—is a millionaire.

There are 7,000,000 wage-earners who receive less than 30s. per week. A comparatively small group of capitalists at whose head stand the smaller group of millionaires compete with each other in the exploitation of the millions of propertyless workers. The workers compete with each other for a livelihood controlled by the owners of the means of production.

The Fascists do not propose to change this relation of the classes, but to guarantee that the property owners shall meet with the minimum resistance of the exploited.


It is just the division of society into property owners and propertyless people which lies at the root of the crisis of the capitalist world.

Millions of workers, miners, quarrymen, agriculturists, and so forth, together extract raw material from the earth. They own neither the land nor the machinery they use, nor the products they raise. Millions of other workers manufacture the raw materials into finished products. They own neither the machinery they use nor the products they manufacture. These are the property of the capitalists and the landlords. The vast majority of people in society to-day are thus at the mercy of the private owners. They cannot organise the distribution of the wealth which they and their comrades have co-operated to produce, because they do not possess this wealth. It is the property of the private owners.

Here is to be found the fundamental reason why the socially necessary goods are obtainable only in the market-place as commodities. The private property owners have no other means for the disposal of the goods others have made for them. They cannot give the goods to society, for that would be an abandonment of the right of private property to extract profit. They cannot distribute the goods according to the needs of the people, however vast and urgent those needs may be, because private property production is governed by the law of production for profit irrespective of the needs of the people. The criterion of all capitalist enterprise is—does it make a profit? When it ceases to make a profit it goes bankrupt—it is finished and the workers are cast on to the scrapheap of unemployment.

For the capitalist there is no other way of disposing of the goods produced other than through the exchange market, the laws of which are not need nor beauty, nor quality. It is a transaction between individuals exchanging property, however repeated, however multiplied, however varied. One can have exactly according to his means to pay. If you have 1 or its equivalent you can have 1’s worth of goods. If you have nothing, then you can exchange nothing.


Thus the number of boots sold is not governed by the number of men, women and children needing boots but by the number who are able to buy boots. The market demand therefore is not the measure of human needs nor human capacity to produce, but the measure of the means at the disposal of the people to purchase the things they need.

How does this work out in Britain? The annual production in this country was estimated at 3,655,000,000 (in 1931). Of this immense total, rent, interest and profit received not less than 1,328,000,000. The wages and salaries of the workers amounted to 2,227,000,000. (See “Facts and Figures,” N.F.R.B.) It must be obvious that even when the workers spend every penny they get in wages and salaries in buying things they want, the surplus of what they have produced remains enormous, playing havoc with prices influenced by supply and demand, and reducing all the optimistic talk of Fascists and professional economists about “controlling prices”, “regulating the exchange”, etc., to idle nonsense. Society can measure the resources of the country through its social organisation. It can measure the needs of the people through its social organisation. But it cannot distribute products it does not possess, nor control production when it does not own the means of production. When society owns the means of production it will own the products. When it owns the products it can distribute them to its members according to their individual and collective needs. This is the only solution to the crisis into which Capitalism has plunged the world.


But the Fascists claim they can rescue Capitalism from its crisis and make it work “efficiently”. How do they propose to do it? It is necessary to put the question thus because where Fascism exists it has signally failed in this respect.

In Italy the standard of living has declined continuously since Fascism came to power. For example, the consumption of meat in Milan declined from 40 kilos per person per year in 1925 to 27 kilos in 1932. In 1934 Mussolini imposed on civil servants wage cuts ranging from 6½ per cent. to 20 per cent., and in December, 1934, seventy-five per cent. of industrial workers received a wage cut of 16½ per cent.

According to the Economist, July 13th, 1935, the cost of living in Nazi Germany has risen 20 per cent. since the Nazis came into power. In 1935 58 per cent. of the wage earners received not more than 24 shillings per week.

They assure us that things would be different in Britain if it had the Fascist Corporative State. We are told that this particular brand of State, “Corporative” or “Totalitarian”, is a centralised institution representative of the nation as a whole. It is to be above all classes, “reconciling the clash of class interests in an equitable distribution of the proceeds of industry”.


It sounds fine, but in the first place an impartial central institution having authority over a society divided into classes is an utter impossibility, and none know it better than the leaders of Fascism. The State in a class-divided society can be nothing other than an instrument in the hands of the class owning the property and means of production in society. The talk of “reconciling class interests” is simple deceit. It is impossible to reconcile the interests of the slave owner and the slave, the exploiter and the exploited. The truth is that the Fascists want the State weapon more firmly to fetter the exploited to their exploitation, to rivet class division securely by oppression. This becomes crystal clear from an examination of the machinery of the proposed Corporate State.

The House of Lords, we are told, would “automatically be superseded by the ‘National Corporation’, which would function as an effective Parliament of Industry”. The workers, however, must not make the mistake of thinking that this is to be a workers’ parliament. Not in the least. It is to be a glorified Federation of British Industries, supplemented by a few representatives elected on “general principles”. The Executive of this body is to be all powerful. At the head of the Executive will be the one and only Dictator, the Mussolini, the Hitler, the Mosley.

Within this employers’ machine the Trade Unions are to find a place of “consultation”, if they are “good”! That is, they must accept compulsory arbitration and never strike. Experience has revealed what this means. The Fascist method of government necessitates the forcible destruction of all independent working-class parties, trade unions and co-operatives, the re-enactment of a Capitalist Defence of the Realm Act and of the anti-working-class equivalent to the war-time Munitions Act. These defences of private property, as 1914-1918 proved, involve not merely compulsory arbitration but industrial conscription.


The Corporate State is not a new and wonderful ideal. It is just a beastly old hag whom everybody knows, dressed up in a black shirt, revitalised by the gland treatment of a Fascist Party, and armed with violence and suppression.

The Fascist Party is the supposedly “new” ingredient. Actually it is not dissimilar from a Tory Party of the Die-hands, a party of the Lord Lloyds, Churchills, Beaverbrooks, Rothermeres and Hoggs, who are all well-known as desperate defenders of private property and advocates of class oppression and war, with Mosley as their bully.

And Mosley tells the workers that this new machine and Government is to apply “Scientific Protection” to industry! He claims, on page 106 of Greater Britain, that “it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that, granted a certain rate of production for an assured market, the rate of wages becomes almost irrelevant. Consequently, it is a proven fallacy to assume that a high rate of wages in these islands need generally raise the cost of production in our export trade. If our industries are working at full blast on the safe basis of an assured home market, they may even be able to reduce production costs in an effort to reach out for the capture of the world’s market”.

Can there be an “assured market” which will enable “our industries to work at full blast”? At the present time the total “effective demand” at home and in foreign trade combined is met by British industry working at little more than 50 per cent. capacity. Does Mosley or any of the Fascists propose to increase wages without increasing the rate of production? No; competitive capitalism forbids it by its very nature. To raise wages generally in Britain without increasing the rate of production, if it were possible, would inevitably raise the cost of production and result in British manufacturers being outcompeted in the international market. But it is impossible to stop the process of increasing the rate of production. Do not the Fascists know that during 1924-29 the rate of production increased by 11.1 per cent. per worker.

The Fascists say, however, that they want “low prices and high wages”. Now low prices can only be secured under capitalism by mass production, increased mechanisation and rationalization of industry. The more of these we get the less are the number of workers required to produce. The greater the volume of unemployment the greater the tendency to reduce wages.


But, declares Mosley, we would give protection to such industries to enable them to pay high wages and to reduce the hours of labour, i.e. stop the import of such goods which compete with the products of industry that is run efficiently. Protection for the mining and shipping industries of Britain, two of the greatest and hardest hit industries, can only be regarded as a comic proposition! The amount of foreign coal coming into this country is so small that protection would not affect it in the least. The shipping industry depends upon the growth of the export trade, which the Fascists propose to restrict, for it must be obvious that the restriction of imports must lead to restriction of exports.

Again, all industries would be affected by the fact that nowhere within capitalism is there evidence of average wages rising at the same rate as the increase of productive power. This is one of the reasons for the continuous development of the “overproduction crises” and the collapse of prices. This is one of the reasons for the crisis overtaking America as well as all other capitalist countries, and no amount of chatter about the Corporate State being able to prevent its coming alters this fact.


“Conditional Protection,” therefore, turns out to be a stimulant to the mechanisation of industry, of mass production still further beyond the absorbable capacity of the market, thus nullifying all the advantages of shorter hours, precipitating the growth of unemployment and the further collapse of prices; in short, the intensification of the crisis of capitalism and all it means in misery and poverty to the masses of the people. But Mosley cares not for economic fact. All he cares about is sounding phrases. The confusion of the Fascists does not stop with their theories concerning the “home market”. At one moment we are told we have to adjust ourselves to a diminishing world market; at the next we have to set out to recapture the world’s market.

Under the “old gang” Britain is capable of supplying with its existing machinery at least four times its present quantity of exports. The Fascists propose to multiply the capacity for export whilst further contracting the foreign market by increasingly refusing to exchange for foreign goods. This is to be done also under the banner of “conditional protection”. That is the only policy Capitalism, new or old, democratic or Fascist, has to offer. It is impossible of fulfilment and, with the slogan “Capture the world market,” would rush us headlong into war.


Just as the internal proposals of Fascism entail the fusion of a Defence of the Realm Act and a Munitions Act for class oppression, so its foreign policy is nothing other than a desperate development of Imperialism leading to the re-enactment of the international blood-bath of 1914 on a vaster scale. The Fascists do not shrink from this. It is not enough for them that seas of blood were spilled, that millions of men were crippled and that world-wide economic and social desolation have followed in its trail. On we must go, that oceans of blood may flow from the hearts of the stricken populations of the earth.

“Fascism issued from the War and in War it must find its outlet. Our country can conclude nothing except by a great war,” shouts Marco Carli, the eminent Italian Fascist.

“We must be ready at a moment’s notice to mobilise five million men and be able to arm them; we must strengthen our navy and also our aviation, which must be so powerful and so numerous that the roar of its motors can drown every other noise on the peninsula and the surface of its wings hide the sun from the land,” thunders Mussolini on May 26th, 1927.


“A philosopher had said that he was no man who was not a father; it was even more true that she was not a woman who was not a mother. The maintenance of eternal life demanded the sacrifice of the individual. Mothers must exhaust themselves in order to give life to children. Fathers must fight on the battlefield in order to secure the future for their sons,” declared Von Papen in May of 1933.

“ . . . With the best possible expert advice we would radically overhaul our system of defence. It is a strange mind which meticulously contends for exact parity in every naval category with a friendly power like America which is more than three thousand miles away, but is willing to accept a two and a half to one inferiority in the air from another friendly power which is only twenty miles away,” says Mosley.

“If it be a fact that the canal route (to India) can thus be closed we should not be creating political complications for ourselves in Egypt, but should rather be engaged in fortifying islands on the Cape route to India,” he tells the readers of Greater Britain.

The policy of the “new gang” of Fascism is, therefore, as bankrupt and calamitous as that of the so-called “old gang”. They have a common aim and common principles.

It is as clear as daylight that war preparations (always “for defence”, of course), Imperialist war philosophy, Imperialist war practice are the integral elements of Fascism, which is capitalism in its most desperate form. Capitalism and War are inseparable; Fascism and War are inseparable.

There can be no guarantee against war without the removal of the economic causes of war. Socialism alone can guarantee the peace of the world, because it removes the economic causes of war. When the people of the world socially own the world and its wealth there will be no possibility of groups of vested interests fighting to secure a monopoly of the world’s resources for private gain.

But as Socialism cannot come simultaneously in all parts of the world, the Socialists strive to end Capitalism in their own countries, to unite with other Socialist countries and to use all the forces making for Socialism and Peace as the means to ending Capitalism throughout the world.


Now let us examine how Fascism comes. Fascism is a postwar product; it is a product of the crisis of Capitalism which the War unleashed upon the world. In pre-war years the old party groupings appeared stable, but beneath the surface the crisis was developing. There came an ever greater concentration of finance capital and elimination of the basis for the existence of rival capitalist parties in the various countries. The war resulted and then the first phase of the development after the war brought in capitalist countries the splitting of the old parties and the formation of coalition governments.

Then came the absorption and liquidation of the old parties into a single Fascist party and the violent crushing of the working-class parties and organisations which, with the growth of the crisis, were thrust more and more into a class opposition, but proved incapable of uniting their forces to take power into their own hands. This has occurred in Italy, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Jugo-Slavia, Greece, Roumania, Finland, Japan and Austria.

In this country the process has not gone so far. The old parties have split. The “National” Government is a coalition government and the Fascist Party is small. The Labour Party has been thrust into opposition to the “National Front”, the Communist Party, as yet, gathers little strength.

Within the Tory Party the Lord Lloyds, Churchills, Hoggs, Beaverbrooks, Rothermeres, Trenchards and Elliots are forcing the pace towards Fascism with the popularisation of Fascist personalities and ideas. They are introducing innovations of a Fascist character into the government of the country. The militarisation and class organisation of the police by Lord Trenchard; the talk of a “National Party”; the attempt of the “National” Government to pose as a National Socialist Government. (“We are all Socialists now,” says Foreign Secretary Simon); the propagation of the fullest centralisation of industry and increased rationalisation and “conditional protection”—all these demonstrate that the growth of Fascist forces and ideas within the ranks of the British Capitalist class proceeds apace.

The evolution of British Capitalism towards Fascism must not be measured by the number of people wearing black shirts, but by the extent to which Fascist ideas are finding expression among its leaders and in the plans they are advancing to meet the increasingly critical condition of its economy.


Numerous schemes, such as the re-organisation of the Cotton, Steel and Iron, and Electricity industries, Transport and especially the agricultural re-organisation schemes of the Minister of Agriculture, have the hall-mark of Fascist tendencies writ large upon them. They are measures designed to secure private profits by “conditional protection”, centralisation, subsidies, guarantees to vested. interests at the expense of the masses, increased rationalisation, government by the experts of capitalism in the interest of the private shareholder and the trader class.

Major Elliot, the Minister of Agriculture, has declared that “In view of the position of the world to-day it was almost impossible to talk of a world market any longer. It was necessary to abandon the cultivation of the soil in this country or make some determination either by producers or by the State to fix some level of prices which would enable production in this country to be carried on. . . . I do not think any one of us will quarrel with the conclusion that insulation (Mosley’s own word, be it noticed) was necessary for the British agriculturist . . .” Major Elliot expounds. the Fascist doctrine of “economic nationalism” and propounds Fascist methods for securing the “rights” of private property.


Nor does the permeation of these ideas confine itself to distinctly capitalist forces. They have spread into the Labour Movement, and it is necessary to warn Trade Unionists that the propagation of “Roosevelt Recovery Plans” for Britain represents unconscious support to Fascist plans for the “Totalitarian” or “Corporate State”. From a continuance of such an attitude will follow, is following, the unchecked rise of the power of Finance, the power of increased rationalisation, Public Corporations which leave the claims of private property intact, class collaboration which keeps the workers subservient to the employers. The menace of Fascism in this country, a Fascism insidious and “gentlemanly” for the moment, is real and imminent. The greatest danger lies in its unrecognised growth by the very forces whose fate is at stake in its victory.

But Fascist propaganda and agitation has other props than those to which I have already referred. They specialise in political nationalism, anti-parliamentarism, anti-feminism and anti-working-class “socialism”. We will now examine these.

The economic nationalism of the Fascists I have already analysed. It is, in reality, nothing other than desperate economic war to ensure rent, interest and profit. Political nationalism appeals to the most ignorant prejudices and is based upon the most primitive biological theories. The Italian Fascists declare the Italians are the cream of the earth. The German Fascists proclaim not merely that the Germans are superior to all mankind but that they “enjoy a direct and very deep unity with God”. The British Fascists shout to the world “Britain first”.

The British Fascist is in difficulties about the national idea because of Britain’s mixed stock. It would be difficult to say “Taffy first” or “Mac first”, or “John first” or “Paddy first”; hence “Britain first”. They proclaim themselves the only true patriots. Their economic theories and practice, however, prove that in all cases what they really stand for is the patriotism of private property and that Fascists are the representatives of a particular class of Britishers, Germans, Italians, etc., viz, the Capitalist class.


They prostitute the word patriotism. The Socialist answers this reactionary patriotism of Imperialism and Fascism by declaring that he only is the true lover of his country who aspires and works at home and abroad for the elimination of class exploitation and the abolition of the poverty, misery and suffering which increases so long as the private property system continues, who aims at making this country and all its wealth the common property and heritage. A Britisher who to-day is not a Socialist is, whether he likes it or not, an anti-patriot, an enemy of the people, a tool of the small class which holds the great mass of the people in subjection and slavery to rent, interest and profit.

The anti-Parliamentarism of the Fascists is not revolutionary but reactionary. It does not aim at a higher form of democracy based upon social service, but at the dictatorship of an oligarchy of vested interests.

The failures of Parliamentary democracy are due to capitalist efforts to maintain private property economy when society can no longer advance on the basis of private property. The heyday of Parliament was the period of prosperous Capitalism. Then it had its stable alternating parties of Liberalism and Toryism. As the working-class advanced as an independent political force the dominant class extended the franchise and opened the doors of Parliament to workers’ representatives. It had to provide a safety valve for the discontent of the masses lest worse befell. Now, in the hour of the crisis of Capitalism, when the working-class seems on the threshold of real political power and threatens to change the economic system, Fascism rises up to abolish Parliament so that it may prevent the working-class coming to power.


It denounces the “talking shop” which reflects the contradictory claims of the classes and interests represented in it, not in order to end the class differences which have given rise to the “talk” and the chaos, but in order to stop “arguing with the workers”. It prefers to dose them with castor oil, to smash their organisations, to make them a helot class, the industrial slaves of the “Corporate State”. This is an attempt to turn history backwards, to adapt the state of Feudalism to Capitalism, to create an instrument of oppression more brutal and reactionary than Czardom.

The Socialist answer to the criticism of Parliament is clear he declares that Parliament grew out of Feudalism and after the Capitalist revolution developed as the natural custodian of the interests of Capitalism. It was founded on private property foundations. Its laws are the laws of private property. The modifications that have taken place, the extension of the franchise and the growth of social legislation for the working-class are the reflection of the growing strength and power of the working-class.


The greater the crisis of Capitalism the more Parliament reflects the class struggle in its work, the more the Capitalists attempt to use it as the means to regulate Capitalist economy, the more they are impeded by the increasing claims of the workers and sections of the middle classes who feel the full force of the crisis in Capitalist economy. This is seen in the protests against “economy” cuts, against the Means Test, against the lowering of the standard of life, against the crushing burdens of the lower middle classes and the pauperisation of the workers.

The “safety valve” thus becomes no longer “safe” for private property. Hence the Fascists cry “Sweep Parliamentary democracy out of the way and rule with the iron fist, for Capitalist democracy has become a danger to Capitalism”. “End it,” they shout, “or through its gates will come the hordes of the Socialist working-class to end private property.”

It is not “democracy” which has failed, but “private property” which stands in the way of social progress. For these reasons the Socialists oppose all efforts to stop the advance of the workers through Parliament. We demand the removal of all impediments and institutions, such as the House of Lords, which stand in the way of the achievement of Socialism and the advance of the people to higher forms of democracy and a classless society. We call upon the workers to make the machine of Parliament effective for economic change. There lies the only chance of a transformation of Capitalist Britain into a Socialist Britain with speed and with peace.


The anti-Feminism of the Fascists is as reactionary and destructive as its anti-parliamentarism. It is an attempt by appeals to unthinking prejudice to catch the ear of the unemployed man and to harness to the chariot of reaction the skilled workers and technicians in industry. “Take the women out of industry,” the Fascists cry. “Make way for the men.” “The woman’s place is the home, giving birth to sons to wage our wars.” “Let woman be the recreation of the tired warrior” symbolises the Fascist view.

This Fascist conception is akin to that of the cave-man except that the cave-man had no machine industries. Women are to be the slaves of men, household drudges, the breeders of children, the providers of fodder for war.

Such proposals are not only socially reactionary and contemptible; they are unworkable. The millions of women workers are not distributed evenly throughout industry. Women are not working in the mines, although there are 350,000 miners out of work. They are not employed in the shipbuilding industry or the iron and steel industry, all heavily hit with unemployment. They are employed mainly in the distributive trades, the textile industries and light engineering industries.


But who would keep the women deprived of earning their own living? Obviously the men. Would the men get higher wages as a consequence? There is no evidence of employers increasing wages on the presentation of marriage certificates to their employees. The married men of Britain can testify to that. The principle is more vicious than that of the existing Means Test, which involves a pooling of family income. The Fascist proposal to exclude women from industry not only imposes the burden of their keep upon the head of the family, but forbids them making any contribution. It objects to women being paid for their work. Their proposals are stupid, criminal and retrograde, catering to the prejudices of the most ignorant and brutal, turning marriage completely into a State system of prostitution and the home into a human stud farm.

The real problem is not a sex problem, but an economic problem. The reason why there are millions of men and women and youths unemployed turns not upon the question of this job being a man’s job and that a woman’s, but upon the continued existence of private property relations long after they have fulfilled their part in the development of society.

The Socialist has demonstrated that with the socialisation of the means of production there can be an increasing standard of life for all. Soviet Russia—despite its difficulties—has abundantly proved the reality of the Socialist Contention. To-day, in comparison to conditions under Czardom and Capitalism, it is a land of opportunity, economic liberty and individual freedom. On this foundation men and women can and will become economically independent and socially equal. On this foundation, and this alone, is it now possible to advance to higher forms of human relationship and to liberate marriage from the shackles of its economic slavery.


From the first moment of its appearance Fascism struck at the working-class and its parties, its Trade Unions and its Cooperative movement. It is impossible to regard the theories we have examined as other than anti-working-class. The fate of the working-class organisations wherever Fascism has come to power confirms our conclusion. There is not one Fascist country where the working class movement has not been broken to pieces, and here in Britain have we not the Trade Union and Trades Disputes Act, the denial of free speech, the attack on the Co-operative Movement, the Unemployment Bill with its Commissioners and Boards, the Means Test and all that they imply?

In all cases, too, the Fascist movement begins by an appeal to the middle classes, to the technicians, to ex-Army officers, to the small business men, the small landed proprietors and farmers. These classes of people in society have become the appendages of the big capitalists, but with the growth of the crisis of Capitalism they have been hit exceedingly hard. Ex-Army officers in large numbers since the war have found no means of livelihood. Thousands of university trained students and technicians find it increasingly difficult to secure employment in their own social class. Small business men feel the heavy burden of taxation, whilst competition becomes more cut-throat. Black-coat workers are thrown out of work in increasing numbers through office mechanisation.

These “middle-class” elements of society have no means of organised resistance to these developments as in the case of the workers, and. their groping after capitalist solutions of the crisis are represented in their numerous “currency schemes” which seek to avoid the facts of the class struggle.

Hence Fascism, pioneered by the big Capitalists, fearful that these forces will join with the working-class movement, appeal direct to them with denunciations of the “old gang”, specious promises of a new prosperous period for Capitalism, doles from the pockets of the rich in the form of jobs as Black and Tan Fascist organisers; using the phraseology of Socialists in order to maintain Capitalism.


The Socialist answer to the dilemma of the middle class people, whose economic and social life is broken by the crisis of Capitalism, is to tell them that their only hope is to become willingly what Capitalism is making them in fact, part of the working-class movement in the struggle to achieve socialism. In that way alone can the exploited, whether they wear mufflers or white collars, win social prosperity, individual security and free opportunity for the fullest use of their services, be they technicians, scientists, organisers, bricklayers, steel workers or miners.

This unity of the exploited can be made real in the Labour Party if that Party becomes, in fact as in name, the fighting leader of the whole working-class movement. Its avowed aim is the reorganisation of the economic and social life of Britain on the economic foundation of Socialism. In fulfilling this aim it must be prepared to face bitter opposition. It must use not only the weapon of mass organisation on the industrial field, but the weapon of parliamentary democracy, won in the past by reason of working class power. It must set itself, by using the machine of Parliament, by adapting it and changing it to serve new purposes, to win power so that it shall transfer into the hands of the exploited the banks, the land and the principal industries as the first steps to Socialism. It must wage the class struggle if class domination is to end.


To grapple with the twin menace of Fascism and War more is needed than exposing the fallacies of Fascism and the tragedies that have befallen the masses wherever its terror has been imposed.

More is needed than merely to secure the election of a Socialist Government. Behind such a Government must be the entire massed power of the whole Labour movement, the Party, the Trade Unions and the Co-operatives, conscious and resolute to use Power. The way to defend the democratic gains won by years of struggle is to use those gains on every field for working-class advance day in and day out.

A Socialist and working-class movement fighting relentlessly for Socialism and in that fight combating the day to day attacks of Capitalism is the only way to meet and defeat Fascism and War.

By winning that fight Britain, for the first time in history, will become the common possession of all its people, not of a group of property owners. By winning that fight real democracy will supplant capitalist democracy, the democracy of social service will take the place of the sham democracy that hides the dictatorship of Capital. Then, and then only, on the basis of the social ownership of the means of production will the Government of Britain be a government of the People, by the People, for the People.


NOTE. Signed pamphlets are published by the League to stimulate discussion on important subjects. It must not be taken that all the views expressed by individual authors are necessarily those of the Socialist League.