Social Science Association: The S.S.A. and its Case – S.P.G.B. Questions Answered
You have been asking us these questions; they have cropped up at every branch we visited. Here, then, are our answers, once for all, set out for easy reference. Don’t waste our time by asking them again.
WHO ARE THE S.S.A.?
The Social Science Association was founded by ex-members of the SPGB with the aim of studying the laws of human thought and behaviour in connection with political and social problems. The founders have since been joined by numbers of others – some of them from the SP – who agree this study is essential in order to overcome mankind’s present impotence in the face of these problems.
HAS THE S.S.A. A CONSTRUCTIVE CASE?
You bet it has.
WHY THEN DO YOU NOT STATE YOUR CASE?
Your own speakers have given three answers to this question: (a) that we have no case; (b) that we do not dare state our case because it is a crypto-fascist bid for dictatorship, or (c) a mere rehash of labourite reformism. These lies cancel one another. The true reasons for our silence are these:
(1) The SSA case develops out of that of the SP. Until you have seen the fallacies in your own case you will not understand ours.
(2) Our case is not simple; understanding it on a scientific level requires hard and extensive study; it cannot be adequately put into a nutshell.
(3) we are not out for scoring in debate, but to convince intelligent SPers. If our case were prematurely exposed to the customary SP rhetorics, your speakers would distort and attack it instead of reexamining your own, leaving you with the false impression that it had been “dealt with.”
IS THERE ANYTHING NEW IN YOUR CASE?
For you, plenty; witness your questions answered here.
DOES THE S.S.A. BELIEVE IN SOCIALISM?
Many SSAers would probably agree that Socialism as defined by the SP is a very desirable state; they would doubtless also agree that heaven as defined by Christians is a very desirable state. The difficulty is that neither of these desirable states can be realised.
CAN YOU PROVE THAT THE WORKERS CANNOT UNDERSTAND SOCIALISM?
Wait a minute! The onus of proof is not on the doubter but on the believer. So far you have failed to prove that they can. You argue that because some have, the others will, understand, quite ignoring the opposed – and equally valid – argument, that because the majority of your “propagandees” have not, the other will not, understand.
BUT IF YOU DON’T ADVOCATE SOCIALISM, THE ANSWER TO ALL WORKING CLASS PROBLEMS, YOU ARE TRAITORS TO THE WORKING CLASS.
If all those who fail to advocate Socialism are traitors to the working class, then something like 99.999% of the workers are traitors to their class, which makes nonsense of this silly piece of abuse.
BUT WHY DOES THE S.S.A. CONFINE ITS ATTENTIONS TO THE S.P.G.B.?
Actually, we don’t. But Socialist Understanding is the best preparation for understanding the SSA case. You do for us, what public and grammar schools do for the universities.
DO YOU THEN THINK WE ARE WASTING OUR TIME?
Yes and no. Your contribution to the workers’ practical problems is about as helpful as that of the Jehova’s Witnesses. But by training some intelligent workers in Socialist Understanding you are doing splendid spadework for the SSA.
BUT THEN THE S.S.A. IS PARASITIC ON THE S.P.
In the same sense as the SP is parasitic on Labour and the CP, it is. You convert some of them, we convert some of you. We know we must fail to convert most of you, and we know why this is so; similarly you fail to convert most of them, but you do not know the reason why.
WHY DON’T YOU LEAVE US IN PEACE AND GO STRAIGHT TO THE WORKERS?
You are an odd one to cry for mercy: have you ever left labourites or communists in peace? You go and shake them up, when you see fit, and we come and shake you up when we see fit.
WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER TO THE FASCIST MENACE?
That is what we are asking you. Many people have joined the SSA because they found in it the first effective answer to the threat of Fascism. But what answer has the SP? Socialism? When? Fascists work fast. After the first war it took Mussolini four years to achieve power, Hitler fourteen – far less time than it has taken you to get one thousand members. In less than four years since the end of the war against Fascism, DeGaulle has been able to raise a nationalist mass-movement in France, and here in Britain Mosley has grown so strong that the Government has been forced to suppress his marches. Do you honestly believe Socialism will get in first? The slump in the USA is starting; within a couple of years our export markets will be drying up, and Marshall aid will have come to an end. Every day we are returning nearer to the economic conditions that fostered Hitler’s brownshirt gangs – conditions which did not foster Socialist Understanding. The danger is close, your solution remote. The supposed soundness of your case and your hope for its success a hundred years from now will not save you from Mosley’s minions in 1955.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
Stop believing and hoping. Reexamine your case.
handbill circa 1955
- PSI Circular Number Two (February 1979)
- PSI Circular Number One (January 1979)
- Joshua Feldman: Reconceptualising (systematic) Ideology in the Wake of Political Psychology
- George Walford and Ike Benjamin: The Sad Case of the SPGB
- Linda Sloane: Systematic Ideology and Identity / The Triangle of Society, Ideology and the Individual
- Their “Operation Utopia”
- George Orwell Letters to George Walford
- George Walford: The New Magic
- George Walford: Exploring Ideology
- George Walford: Sciences