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Fenner Brockway

Editorial: The Communists and the I.L.P. Change Places

 It is not often that two political parties change places so completely as the I.L.P. and the Communist Party. In 1919-1924 the I.L.P. was busily engaged in securing the election of a Labour Government, in the belief that such a policy would secure certain immediate gains and pave the way for the gradual reform of the capitalist system. The Communists, on the other hand, denounced Parliamentary methods and preached Soviets and armed revolt. In the intervening years experience has disillusioned the I.L.P. and sent them sneaking into the position vacated by the Communists, while the latter, under Moscow orders, are seeking a Parliamentary alliance with Labour and Liberals in the guise of a Popular front.

 The following is a passage from Mr. Fenner Brockway's recent book, "Workers' Front" (Martin & Seeker, 3s. 6d.):—

Editorial: Russian Illusions

 It is claimed by many that the Russian Government has discovered a means of developing Russian industry on Socialist lines and free from the disturbing effects of the world trading conditions that affect the other capitalist countries. Actually, the more Russian industry enters into the world market as importer and exporter, the more Russian industrial conditions will be affected by conditions outside.

Inquest on the I.L.P.

Fenner Brockway's 'Inside the Left' (Allen & Unwin, 15/-) contains no original contribution to Socialist thought nor even an adequate restatement of old theories. Brockway says of Sir Stafford Cripps (p. 264) that Cripps "has no experience of the working-class and he has no real knowledge of Socialist theory. . . . I doubt whether he has ever read Marx or any book of fundamental Socialist economics." Brockway has experience of the working-class and has probably read more about Socialist theory than Cripps but it is not unfair to say that he has no real understanding of it. In this he is a representative figure in the I.L.P. The I.L.P. membership, taking each incident of the working-class struggle in isolation, are able to use what they know of Socialist theory and past experience to discuss the pros and cons of short-term courses of action but have no clear idea of Socialism or of how capitalism is to be abolished.

Same Old Shaw

In the Daily Herald for March 10, Mr. George Bernard Shaw presented a lengthy article on the subject of Marx, entitled, "What would Marx say about Beveridge?"

His answer to his own question (for what it is worth) is that "if he were alive now he would probably denounce Sir William Beveridge as a rascally appeaser, trying to ransom capitalism for another spell by his Report" — and though that is precisely what Sir William is doing, Sir William is not a rascal.

We are not bothered by literary speculations as to what Marx would have done, or said. The only reason Mr. Bernard Shaw writes such things is because it helps to perpetuate the myth that he is the bold, daring, revolutionary thinker who has "applied" Marx to British conditions. In this article, as in the "biography" by Mr. Hesketh Pearson ("Bernard Shaw," Collins, 1942) this legend is again dished up.

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