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Raymond Challinor

Challinor’s Choice

(26 April 1969)

From Socialist Worker, No. 119, 26 April 1969, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

IN 1968, capital gains reached an all-time record: an expansion of £7,000 million in a year. Shareholders, without lifting a finger, saw their fortunes grow enormously. They could eat their cake and still have it, spend their money and still have more at the end than at the beginning.

Thus the rich could enjoy themselves in luxurious idleness, turning day into night, night into day, gadding around in fast cars, without a thought about where the money was coming from.

But there are sometimes exceptions. The Times mentioned the sad case of a former managing director of Bowmaker Ltd., the industrial bankers, who was staying in Her Majesty’s rest centre at Wormwood Scrubs. He had been found guilty of some financial irregularities. Nevertheless the breeze of the rising stock market gently wafted through the prison bars, and The Times reported:

‘A prisoner serving a sentence of seven years’ imprisonment at Wormwood Scrubs has repaid £200,000 to the people he defrauded and has had his sentence reduced by two years ... The value of the shares held by nominees (for the prisoner) during his prison sentence had increased to such an extent that he has been able to repay the money.’

Doubtless, the former managing director must have been very happy. But what about the poor bloke in the next cell? Might he not, by comparison, consider himself to be an honest thief since, at least he has worked for ‘his money?


KARL MARX believed that within the framework of capitalist society criminals make a contribution which bourgeois respectability is loath to acknowledge. In his Theories of Surplus Value, he argues that the criminal breaks the monotony of capitalist life, arousing moral and aesthetic sentiments. Without violations of the law as the theme, much of great literature could not have been produced.

Also, Marx argues, the criminal helps to advance technological innovation:

‘Would the locksmith’s trade have attained its present perfection if there had been no thieves? Would the manufacture of banknotes have arrived at its present excellence if there has been no counterfeiters? Would the microscope have entered ordinary commercial life had there been no forgers? Is not the development of applied chemistry as much due to the adulteration of wares, and the attempts to discover it, as to honest productive effort? Crime, by its ceaseless development of new means of attacking property, calls into existence new measures of defence,and its productive efforts are as great as those strikes in stimulating the invention of machines.’

Marx contended that criminals also helped to increase the number of jobs available. Without their activities, there would be no need for judges, policemen, jailers, probation officers, professors of criminology and countless other occupations.

If all these people were to suddenly lose their jobs, think of the chaos there would be. Judges, now getting £14,000 a year, would not merely be unemployed but unemployable. What a pitiful spectacle it would be to see Lord Justice Parker signing on at the Labour Exchange.

Dangerous man

LET ME ISSUE a serious warning to IS branches in the London area. They are liable to be visited by a dangerous wrecker. He is described in a leaflet as:

‘Mr R. Tearse, a third-rate inefficient shop steward from London, who heads the Militant Workers’ Federation – the Trotskyist strike-promoting organisation. There is probably no one less qualified to lead a strike anywhere.’

I am quoting from an article by J.R. Campbell in the Daily Worker of April 10, 1944, which was reprinted as a leaflet for free distribution so the masses could be aware of Tearse’s nefarious activities.

At that time, the Communist Party was supporting Conservative candidates in parliamentary by-elections and strike-breaking in industrial disputes. Campbell’s complaint about Tearse was that he was inflaming relationships between workers and employers, advising trade unionists to disregard the negotiating machinery for remedying grievances, and being abusive to the official leadership.

A quarter of a century later, Roy Tearse is still doing the same things. Will the man never learn?

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