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50 years ago

50 Years Ago: Black Power in the United States

THE AMERICAN black power movement is a child of frustration. Thousands of civil rights supporters, having long since absorbed the few sops that capitalism can afford to give them, are running squarely into a sociological brick-wall—a wall they have termed the “white power structure.” Their response, the concept of black power, indicates that they have learned many lessons.

50 Years Ago: Not Another Labour Party

Some trade unionists, fed up with Labour's increasingly obvious anti-working class stand, have suggested that the unions should once again set up their own party. For, of course, this was how the Labour Party began. At the turn of the century union leaders, alarmed at the anti-union bias of the Courts, took up the suggestion of men like Keir Hardie for a party, independent of both the Liberals and the Tories, to represent Labour. It was not until 1918 that individuals could join the Labour Party. Before then the Party was little more than a trade union parliamentary pressure group (generally backing the Liberal government).

It has always been Labour's claim to be the political arm of the Trade Union Movement. This claim is wearing a bit thin now. But many unionists still accept that the unions needs some political arm. If the Labour Party no longer represents them, why not set up another party?

50 Years Ago: Distorting Marxism

The theory and practice of the Socialist Party of Gt. Britain is based on Marxism; that is, we accept as valid the main theories put forward by Marx about history, political economy and politics. We accept that the materialist conception of history is a very useful method for examining and understanding social and historical events and changes. We accept that Capital is a brilliant analysis of the workings and historical tendency of capitalism and exposition of how the working class are exploited. We accept too that the working class can be freed from wage-slavery only by its own efforts, by taking class-conscious democratic political action to get Socialism. We were unaware that in so doing we were 'emasculating' Marxism and we are not prepared to consider the allegation that we have distorted Marx's views until and unless Mr. Therrien, or anyone else, produces some evidence.

50 Years Ago: Scarborough Follies

Another year, another autumn, another Labour Party conference. We have, by now, got the message. In 1963, again at Scarborough, Labour heard Harold Wilson say that a better life was just around the corner, as soon as we had a Labour government to set the scientist free.

In 1964 they heard Wilson—then Prime Minister—assure them that, with Labour in power, better times were definitely on the way.

In 1965 Wilson was on the defensive, struggling to justify his government's incomes policy and what he called redeployment—not, he insisted, unemployment. All of this was, he said, a necessary preliminary to the better days which everyone knew lay ahead.

In 1966 it was an outright wage freeze, credit restrictions—in fact everything which under the Tories had been stigmatised as stop-go—which Wilson said must be endured before we could come into Labour's Promised Land.

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