SOVIET RUSSIA [To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]
Sm,—Many of your readers will have read with interest, and perhaps some sympathy, the very lucid and clever account of the objects and aims of the Soviet Government contained in Mr. Maurice Dobb's letter. There are, however, certain other aspects of the case.
Mr. Dobb states that in the contemplation of history "Moral attitudes are a plague." Are we, then, to regard with equanimity the fact that the present Government in Russia are taking every possible measure to abolish religion ?
It is obviously not possible in a letter to discuss the relative merits of Capitalism or of Socialism ; it is, however, of im- portance to consider the probable effect on conditions during the period of transition from one system to the other, . During the last ten years such a change has been taking place in Russia ; thanks to ruthless discipline in that country, chaos has been averted ; the sufferings of the people have, however, been extreme, and the standard of living of the masses lower than that of any period of history.
The case of Russia is in no sense parallel with that of Great Britain. Socialist policy in this country, unlike that of the Soviet, is mainly confined to such vote-catching items as the giving of -doles and increase in expenditure on social services, and no corresponding effort is suggested, in the less popular direction of inducing the working classes to increase output.
Russia is nearly self-supporting as regards food and the bare necessities of life, whereas we in England depend on food which must be paid for by our manufactured exports.
This fact and the danger of currency depreciation are no doubt realized by your readers, but they are certainly not in the least understood by the great majority of British electors. Any sudden change of the "Socialism in our time" order cannot fail to interrupt violently our export trade. The inevitable result of any such interruption would be for prices of food to rise to enormous heights ; chaos would ensue, and probably starvation for many.
The diplomatic recognition of Russia has much to recom- mend it, but it must be remembered that the avowed object of the Soviet Government is-to subjugate the world to Bol-
shevism; it is, therefore, of real importance to insist on the cessation of their propaganda in this country, the economic conditions of which are entirely different from those obtaining in other parts of the world.
May these facts be borne in mind by our Socialist friends at home when they encourage industrial workers to take sudden steps to replace capitalist by State ownership ; let it also be remembered that the severest task-master in the world to-day is the Soviet Government, whose punishment to their industrial workers for comparatively minor offences is banishment to Siberia or death.—! am, Sir, &c., Travellers' Club, Pall Mall, S.W.1. M. FRANCIS WELLS,