Jack Houston’s Editorials in the OBU Bulletin: 8 November 1919
We have long suspected that Marx was right. In fact our suspicions have been steadily growing for a number of years, and now we have an illustration that sets our wandering mind at rest and we are quite satisfied that he was right.
Having waded and struggles through a number of “proper” works on the economy of human society we were snared by an enthusiastic socialist to take a look at the statements of that despised Hebrew of German extraction.
Works on the subject of Ways and Mean of Human Society that are endorsed and recommended by Modern Educations Institutions have one peculiar peculiarity, and that is the invariable fog and bewilderment onto which they lead.
Karl Marx made a number of definite statements backed up by unshakeable argument. One of these statements was to the effect that labor—and labor alone—produces all values.
And now the proof.
Some months ago it was reported in the capitalist press that Lenine [sic] and Trotsky had made the request for peace with the British Government and that the Bolsheviki Government in Russia had offered a number of concessions. One report was to the effect that they had offered to pay all the outstanding debts of Russia to the outside world and had also offered the bulk of the forests in northern Russia and a number of mining concessions.
These offers were quite apparently not accepted and we wondered at the time as to what was the reason for the refusal by the British Government. The riddle is now solved and we have the illustration necessary to prove the Marxian maxim.
It appears that the British Capitalists were not averse to holding the Title Deeds to the concessions of this vast amount of natural wealth, but there arose the question of labor. Who was going to guarantee a supply of labor power?
Lenine and Trotsky could not agree that there would be any available on account of the peculiar position that labor holds in Russia under the Soviet Government. Nobody could figure out how labor was going to be persuaded to sell itself to the British Interests on account of the fact that labor has gone into business for itself over there. Having created for itself there ONE BIG JOB in the shape of working for itself (and having resolved Russian society to itself, it is therefore working for Russian Society at large) there appeared no hope of getting Russian workers at the job.
And we understand that Bolsheviki would give no encouragement to the idea of importing labor power in Chinese or Anglo-Saxon packages. And what was the value of vast standing forests of timber and unlimited qualities of coal down in the bowels of the earth and gold in untold quantities providing that no labor power was available to bring it to market?
The British Capitalists decided that the proposition held out no attraction to them.
The German Hebrew states that Natural Resources and Natural Potential Wealth have no value until labor power is applied to them, and that socially necessary labor applied to the natural resources of the world is the only source by which values are or can be produced.
We are obliged to you British Capitalists for providing the proof of what we were about convinced. And we are more deeply obliged to you, Lenine and Trotsky, for providing the necessary materials for the background of illustration.
The only regret that we have is that it should be necessary to still provide kindergarten illustrations for the Workers of the World—we do not include the Bolsheviki.
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