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Karl Marx

English Social Democratic Parties Part One

 Neither Marx, who died in 1883, nor Engels, who died in 1895. were impressed by the early efforts made in England to advance the Socialist movement. Social Democratic Parties did not make their appearance until the last two decades of the nineteenth century. In the eighties the Social Democratic Federation, the Fabian Society, and the Socialist League, made their appearance, and in the nineties the Independent Labour Party. Of these parties the Socialist Democratic Federation and the Socialist League claimed to be based upon Marxism but the other two spurned “ imported ” ideas and based their “Socialism” upon “reason,” “justice,” John Stuart Mill and Stanley Jevons, liberally mixed with religion and out-of-date philosophical ideas.

A Labour M.P. on Russia

 In the early years after the Russian revolution most people who went there went looking for something and they usually succeeded in finding what they looked for. It often depended on their prejudice or ignorance whether they found good or evil. Some claimed to see Socialism there but the S.P.G.B. said that the new rulers of Russia could not do otherwise than build up capitalism in Russia at that time and in that stage of economic and historic development. We rejected then as now all claims that Socialism was being introduced.

 What to others has been miraculous achievement has to us been the normal course of capitalist industrial expansion; in a country which arrived late on the capitalist scene and had a lot of catching up to do.

Is There a Class War?

 Many Labour Party leaders and Tory counterparts would agree with “The Economist” that, “today, the class war description of trade union activity is out of date; its spirit is kept alive by the Communists because it is part of the Soviet war on social democracy, by others only because their thought ossified years ago.” (September 6th, 1952.)

 “The Economist” could mean that society itself had changed and the class war description no longer applied or else it could mean that the analysis of capitalism as a society based on class conflict had been proved wrong; that today, the working class, through their trade unions, must work hand in hand with their employers to increase production if they want to further their interests.

 Whichever meaning is taken the result remains the same. Either view will find many adherents among the apologists for the present system in the avowedly capitalist and allegedly labour parties.

"A Word on Marxism"

 It is not an exaggeration to state that to-day "Marxism” is becoming almost a household word. Unfortunately this does not mean that over the wide world millions of people have become thoroughly acquainted with the fundamentals of Marxian doctrines. Rather does it signify that the word “Marxist” has become the modern equivalent of “heretic” or “turk.” In other words, when a man is to-day called a “Marxist” people are usually expressing strong disapproval, although they may have little or no idea of the real meaning of the word they are using. As members of the working class concerned with the crying social evils of the modem world we cannot afford such loose thinking. We do not brand or abuse our political opponents; but are concerned rather with a thorough examination of their point of view. We do not reject or accept their statements out of hand.

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