Pieter Lawrence

Debate with Liberal Party (Guildford)

Source: Socialist Standard, April 1978.
Transcription: Socialist Party of Great Britain.
HTML Markup: Adam Buick
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2016). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

At the last minute, Pieter Lawrence was asked to deputize for Les Cox, who caught the royal 'flu. Opposing the SPGB's case was Peter Raynes, prospective parliamentary candidate for Farnham.

The Liberal contended that the Socialist case was rooted in "greed". He advocated profit-sharing and pointed out the achievements of the Liberal Party—interest rates up, 5½p. off petrol and aid for rural transport. The Liberals, he said, would cooperate with any party who could give them what they wanted.

Lawrence, replying, described Socialism as a "positive outlook" which explains social problems. Capitalist society is hostile to human needs and interests. Class-ownership of wealth led to unemployment. In the face of human needs, there is destruction of "excess" food stocks. The class struggle between labour and capital dominated the daily news. The working class were employed with a view to exploitation, creating more capital for the exploiting class.

Socialism, he said, implies positive intention to create a needs-based society. It would not only be a more rational and efficient economic system, but would "enhance the dignity of man" with relationships based on co-operation and equality.

The Liberal Party's commitment to capitalism meant that their fine aspirations could not be achieved. Socialism alone could provide a basis for solving social problems, disbanding armies, reducing waste, ending unemployment, hunger and homelessness. In contrast, the Liberals had supported the rundown of local social services and endorsed soaring defence estimates.

The audience took full advantage of a lively discussion period, and also contributed generously to the costs of the meeting. This was one of a series of well-attended meetings held in Guildford, and more are planned. For details, contact local members and also see notices in this journal each month.