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Raymond Challinor

Challinor’s Choice

(5 April 1969)

From Socialist Worker, No. 116, 5 April 1969, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Down, boy, down ...

WHY IS BRITAIN the most loyal and devoted ally of American capitalism? Behind political subservience lies economic dependence.

Recently Fred Catherwood, director of the National Economic Development Council, talked about US capital’s penetration of the British economy: ‘United States controlled companies account for 13 per cent of industry capital expenditure, with the highest proportion in cars, petroleum, computers and office machines. By contrast, US investment in other Western European countries accounts for only 4 to 5 per cent of capital investment in those countries.’

In a recent PEP pamphlet, Professor Dunning suggests that this process is likely to continue at an increasing tempo. He estimates that by 1981 a quarter of the British economy will be controlled by American capital.

Obviously, this type of thing must influence the Foreign Office response to de Gaulle’s plea for Britain to adopt a more independent stance on world affairs.

With so much belonging to American capitalists around, it does not pay to do anything that might antagonise them. Better behave as Uncle Sam’s obedient poodle.

Which college did you escape from?

WHAT WITH BARS TO the windows at Hornsey College of Art and iron gates at LSE, it seems as if the penitentiary-look is the contemporary style for places of higher learning. Doubtless Dartmoor will provide the architectural inspiration for university buildings of the future.

But it would be interesting to know if the authorities in their enthusiasm for bars – and not the kind in which I take an intense personal interest – had bothered to consult the fire prevention officers first.

For example, are the governors of Hornsey aware that 22 people recently perished in Glasgow because they were unable to make a quick exit through the windows?

The dialectics of having your nookie

PETER SEDGWICK of IS has recently attacked the theories of Herbert Marcuse, the philosopher of student revolt. One of the most fascinating questions to arise is: Where is the best place to have sexual intercourse?

In his book One-Dimensional Man, Marcuse suggests that the environment of capitalism and its technology militate against sexual fulfilment. He compares the prospect of making love in a car or on a Manhattan street with doing it in a meadow or near a lovers’ walk.

In the former, capitalist technology intrudes whereas with the latter, place and purpose harmonise.

But Peter argues that Marcuse has made a false comparison. Had Marcuse compared ‘a damp, cold, bug-ridden meadow’ with the erotic environment usually provided by capitalist technology – namely, a bed – then ‘nature’s advantages might have been less apparent.’

From my own practical experiments on this interesting theoretical problem I am inclined to come down on the side of spring mattresses.


SEDGWICK’S critique of Marcuse on the whole range of current political and philosophical issues is, I think, correct.

It would be a pity, however, if Marcuse’s mistakes on contemporary problems should lead us to forget his exposition of marxism which is the finest, clearest yet written. His book Reason and Revolution has been my constant companion since 1955.

New it has been re-issued by Routledge & Kegan Paul as a paperback. Let me recommend it to all readers.

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