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Clause Four

“Common Ownership”: Ourselves v. The Labour Party

 At a meeting in the provinces addressed recently by a member of the S.P.G.B. someone in the audience protested against the statement that the S.P.G.B. was the only party that stood for Socialism; and produced a membership card of the Labour Party, wherein occurred the statement that the party stood for “common ownership.” The above difficulty is typical of the state of mind of many workers who support the Labour Party under the impression that they are thereby helping to emancipate the members of their class.

Editorial: Back to the 70s?

Twenty years ago, the Labour Party agreed on a new version of Clause IV of its constitution which removed the reference to the ‘common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange’ (see this issue, page ten). This was hailed as the moment when the Labour Party abandoned its commitment to ‘socialism’, or rather to wholesale nationalisation. This decision was arrived at after suffering four electoral defeats at the hands of the Conservatives, who had successfully pursued free market policies. Thus the Labour Government from 1997 to 2010, introduced policies which were not radically different from those of the Tories.

Clause Four Resurfaces

As we go to press, it is with the Labour Party leadership battle raging and its four contenders spouting all manner of promises to secure votes. At the forefront of this contest is the long-serving and perhaps unusually principled left wing MP, Jeremy Corbyn. For a Labour MP, he is as radical as they come and a genuine throwback to the days when Labour was considered by many in Britain to be ‘socialist’. His attack on everything Blairism has come to represent, his stance on nuclear weapons, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and many social issues, has won him much support, a lot of it from other parties on the left.

Book Review: 'The Labour Party and the Working Class'

Gluttons For Punishment

'The Labour Party and the Working Class' by Tom Forester. (Heinemann, £3.75.)

The "WORKING CLASS" of the title of this book are manual workers: unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and foremen. Clerks and all the rest are "middle class", which shows that the author not only does not know Socialist basics but has never heard the words sung to the tune of The Red Flag: "The working class can watch me pass, I've got the foreman's job at last."

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