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Jack Ranger

A Dictionary for Workers

(2 June 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 22, 2 June 1947, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Conservatism, the political trait of seeking to “conserve” things as they are, rather than to accept changes in the situation. Those who occupy a privileged position in society are always those who wish to conserve that society. They translate their desire – that things remain unchanged – into all sorts of “theories,” such as, that human nature doesn’t change; that there will always be a privileged class; that there will always be masters and slaves, etc.

Cooperative, an organization of producers and consumers based on the principle of mutual cooperation and seeking to operate outside the established channels of industry or trade. A producers’ cooperative is an organization of producers formed to market the products produced by members and to compete with private industry in the field. A consumers’ cooperative is an organization of consumers formed to purchase commodities for members. The latter form of cooperative is usually more liberal than the former. The cooperative way is often referred to as the “Middle Way,” as offering a middle ground between capitalism and socialism to a better society. In the United States, producers’ cooperatives are indistinguishable in their antilabor policies from private industry. The efficiency of the big chain stores has left little ground for consumers’ cooperatives to develop.

Coup d’etat, a sudden seizure of power by a small group which has no connection with the masses and which results in no important social changes.

Craft union, a union which embraces workers on the basis of their trade or skill, regardless of the industry in which they are employed.

Criminal syndicalism laws, anti-labor laws, passed in many states immediately after the First World War. They were supposedly designed for use against the Industrial Workers of the World, a syndicalist group, but have been used against all types of labor organizations.

Crisis, economic, a decline or stagnation of industry as a result of overproduction and, with that, the absence of a market for a part or a majority of the commodities produced. During economic crises, the warehouses and markets are full of commodities but they lie stagnant, for there is no buyer, although the masses are suffering severely for lack of these commodities. Economic crises are brought on by the accumulated result of the workers not receiving back in wages the value of what they have produced. The first economic crisis of capitalism occurred in 1825–26 and others have occurred periodically since then. A deep world crisis of capitalism. occurred in 1929 and brought forth widespread unemployment on a worldwide scale, an intensification, of the struggle for markets, and finally the conversion of the economic and diplomatic struggle into a military struggle, the recent Second World War. Without the war, all of the efforts of the capitalists to overcome the crisis failed. Thanks to the. stimulation given to production by the war, unemployment dwindled- But following the war, the very same factors which culminated in the 1929 crisis again came into play. It is absolutely certain that they will produce a still more severe crisis. The crises of capitalism have a tendency to become increasingly severe.

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