Forward to Socialism

A British pamphlet supportive of socialism.


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tive forces of the country will continue to be stifled and all economic planning will be impossible.

These two fundamental measures must be accompanied by the State control of overseas trade. Socialism has nothing to do with either Free Trade or Protection. Both are governed by the interests of private property. A Socialist Government seeks to organise the whole economic life of the country as a unit in the interests of the community. It must therefore put an end to the chaos which Capitalism has created, whether under Free Trade or Protection, by establishing governmental or State control of imports and exports in the interests of the community.

Strike at Poverty

Simultaneously with the aquisition of real control over these vital points of economic power, which secures the basis for far-reaching measures of socialisation of main and basic industries, the Socialist Government must immediately meet the critical conditions of the masses. It must, as part of the essential "ambulance" work :--

Launch wide national schemes of slum clearance; Build workers' houses and new schools in rural and industrial areas alike; Control and, if need be, socialise the building industry, so that the Housing plans may be carried through without delay; Establish on a national basis, nationally paid for, the Trades Union Congress scales of relief for the unemployed, which at the moment, are £2 a week for a man, his wife, and two children; Abolish the Means Test and the Unemployment Anomalies Act; Reduce the hours of labour to fourty a week; Repeal the Trade Union and Trade Disputes Act of 1927; Insitute a new Factory Act, measures to ensure the Safety of Miners, and protective legislation for workers in offices, retail shops, retaurants, hospitals and similar institutions; Raise the school-leaving age to 15, and within two years to 16, and provide maintenance allowances; Lower the pension age to 60 years and raise the rate to a minimum of £1 a week per recipient, on a non-contributory basis, so that the recipients may be withdrawn from industry.

These things must be done in the first few months of Power, and though their cost and that os Socialist development are too


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great to be borne permanently by the State under Capitalism, they must at the outset be financed by taxation, by the issue of national credit, by the complete control of investment, or by any other appropriate means until the increase of the national wealth under Socialism allows of their provision directly from the surpluses of production. Poverty cannot be tolerated. Its victims have waited too long.

A Five Year Plan

These measures constitute the first fundamental requirements of the transition from Capitalism to Socialism. But they do by no means represent all that requires to be done, and done quickly.

A Socialist Government that falters once it has started on the path of eliminating Capitalism and inaugurating Socialism is doomed to defeat and disaster through organised reaction. Capitalism has created an emergency situation, and only fundamental measures rapidly taken can prevent civilisation plunging into immeasurable chaos and conflict.

The measures already given ;--

Socialisation of Finance; Transfer of Land Ownership to the Community; The control of Overseas Trade; Emergency social alleviation

can only be the first steps preparing the way to a larger plan for the rapid socialisation of the means of production and distribution. Within the first five years of such a plan must include the Socialisation of

Transport (Road, Rail, Coast-wise, Dock, and Air) Mines, Gas, Electricity and Power, Oil; Iron and Steel industries; Munitions and Heavy Chemicals; Cotton and Woollen Industries; Shipbuilding; Health Services.

The distributive trades must also be brought within the


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ambit of a Planned Economy until their socialisation is undertaken.

With the vesting of the ownership of the Land in the community the way is clear for the planning of Agriculture on the basis of :--

Organised production of the most suitable crops under national control; Nationally determined minimun wages and conditions for farm workers, with provision for the organised workers in the industry to take part in its control; Full utilisation of the land by adequate drainage and cultivation; The provision of adequate electric and water supplies; The abolition of the tied cottage and the provision of adequate housing; The co-operative organisation of culivators for mutual assistance; Land settlement, with the creation of co-operative small holdings centered around market towns and the utilisation of these towns for the necessary sorting, grading and manufacturing processes, and for social amenities for the holder; The collection of produce for centralised marketing under the direction of the responsible Minister.

These are the first steps towards the planned transformation of Agriculture to a socialised industry.

In the case of industries which in the transition stages are not socialised, it is imperative that the Government should take wide powers to fix wage scales and hours of labour, and to ensure that all accounting be open to Government inspection.

The Trades Unions in these industries should be given every possible aid by the Socialist Movement and the Socialist Government to ensure that workshops and facroty committees control the conditions of labour in there non-socialised industires as a step towards their socialisation.

Bold Finance

A bold plane of Socialist construction which is so urgently needed can only be carried through on the basis of an equally bold plan of financing the necessary measures and of relieving


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the community of the incubus of vast interest charges--in so large a part a legacy from the War, when lives--not wealth-- were conscripted. No private desire for gain must stand in the way.

The Socialist Government must, as part of its budgetary programme :--

Reduce the deadweight and interest of the National Debt and other public debts; Increase Death Duties and limit the Inheritance of Wealth; Increase Income Tax and Sur-Tax on all large incomes.

Thus a Socialist Government can and should take the first great steps in the direction of an equitable distribution and a right use of the national income; it will relieve the community of a vast incubus of interest payments and establish the means for the revitalising and reorganisation of the economic life of the country on prosperous foundations.

On no account can a Socialist Government when transforming industries or services to public ownership carry forward in the form of capital repayment the colossal claims which have been built up in favor of private capitalists. Compensation to previous owners should therefore take the form of providing income allowances for a period of years, but should include no provision for capital repayment save in the case of working-class funds, trust funds for socially useful purposes, and individual cases of proven hardship.

Socialism is concerned not only with the transformation of economic life, but also with social relationshipd arising out of Capitalism. Class divisions are nowhere more evident than in our present educational system, and a Socialist Government must at once organise a complete system of Free Education from nursery schools to university, on the principle of equal opportunity for all children, in which the environment is such that all capitalistic bias and caste prejudice will be eliminated.

Freedom and Empire

A Socialist Government must throughout work in accordance with an Economic Plan, proceeding with ordered speed in its task. Such a plan must have regard not only to the internal situation but to the external relationships. Indeed, a co-ordinated and direct attack on key positions in Capitalism, of which the control of external trade is an essential part, will necessitate a new attitude towards other countries, towards the


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Dominions and India and towards the Colonial "dependencies" if the British Empire.

To the Dominions and to India full recognition of their "nationhood," with the right of sucession, must be accorded, and with them as with other countries the Government must seek to establish economic and political relationships advantageous to the workers.

Above all a Socialist Government, armes with power over the operations of British Capitalism, must bring new methods and a new approach to the problems presented by the existence of the colonies and dependencies. Instead of subordinating and holding back the development of these countries and having recourse to repressive methods of rule, in the interests of Imperialists and private exploitation, it must enter into friendly co-operative relations with them, with the intention and declared objective of helping their inhabitants speedily to reach the goal of freedom.

The economic structure of the Colonies must not be allowed to develop along Capitalist lines, and must be organised on a Socialist model to meet the needs of their peoples.

Peace Through Socialism

The external policy of a Socialist Government should have as its objectives the promotion of Socialism, the ending of Imperialism, and the preservation of world peace. it will make the utmost use for the last of these purposes of the League of Nations, but it will not regard this institution, valuable as it might become under better leadership, as the organ through which to realise its ideal of international organisation.

War is inherent in the economic structure of Capitalist society; it cannot be banished by a League composed in part of Imperialist and Fascist States, fettered by the rule of unanimity and based on the retention of absolute national sovereignty.

While utilising the League to the full to attain any measure of agreement that may assist in postponing the danger of war, a Socialist Government will recognise the essential unity of the workers throughout the world in their struggles against Capitalism, and will look to those States where the workers are in control as its natural allies.

Instead of a fettered Trade Agreement with the Soviet Union, limited in objective and purpose, enshrining old quarrels of Capitalism and private interests, there should be a new and wider treaty of friendship. Such a treaty should be based upon and designed to secure the fullest economis and political


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