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Raymond Challinor

Challinor’s Choice

(22 March 1969)

From Socialist Worker, No. 114, 22 March 1969, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Wilson – marxism by default

WHENEVER Harold Wilson makes a swingeing attack on workers, he unwittingly exposes the falsity of his own position. The importance he attaches to curbing strikes merely shows how vital workers are to the health of the economy.

Wilson does not have to worry about businessmen and financiers. They can go in hordes to bask in Caribbean sunshine and thus avoid Britain’s wintry weather.

Their absence makes not one whit of difference. He does not have to make any speeches against them, accusing them of wrecking the economy.

Could there be any more conclusive proof of the truth of the labour theory of value? By his very concern over industrial disputes, Harold Wilson reveals that the working class is the creator of all wealth.

Highly profitable con game

STRIKERS from the Courtaulds Skelmersdale factory recently adopted the unusual procedure of journeying to Liverpool to picket the Labour Exchange. Their demonstration was against methods used by Ministry officials to inveigle them into working at Skem.

Said leading shop steward Tony Bryan: ‘Most of the men were conned into coming to the factory with a promise that wages would not fall below £25. However, none of us have been able to reach this figure, even with overtime and bonuses.’

Another striker, Peter McCoy, who left a £27 a week job in Liverpool to come to Courtaulds, said: ‘If they told the truth about the wages, they would get no one up here.’

From their accounts, it would appear as if the Department of Employment and Productivity is running a deception racket, a business lucrative only for shareholders. Of course, it may well be that it was the firm, rather than the Ministry which was responsible for the highly imaginative figures given.

In its struggle with workers at Skelmersdale, Courtaulds has been strengthened by an immense amount of public money. Out of the £7½m which it cost to build the factory, £3m came from the state.

Such a gigantic subsidy must have been one of the factors influencing Courtaulds in coming to the new town.

It has been closing plants outside development areas, where no state aid was forthcoming, and fresh factories in areas which do qualify for national assistance. Three mills at Bolton, employing 1,300 were closed and the Skelmersdale mill, which will ultimately employ 800, opened.

‘Less workers, higher profits’ – this seems to be the slogan throughout British industry today. And development grants facilitate this process, bringing the capitalist state and big business into a closer, more intimate association.

Workers on strike at Skem would do well to take heed. Courtaulds itself shows what happens.

Its directors include such Tory ex-cabinet ministers as R.A. Butler, Eccles, Horsburgh, and Watkinson, while the company also employs ex-deputy prime minister George Brown and Douglas Jay, formerly President of the Board of Trade, from Labour’s ranks.

Surely, this is a veritable high-powered political coalition out to maximise profits at the workers expense.

Lick that!

TALKING about sacking, let me give you the best get-your-own-back story I’ve beard this week. A worker, dismissed by a sweet factory, showed his annoyance by putting four-letter words in half a mile of Blackpool rock!

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