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Labour Left

The I.L.P. and The German Independent Socialist Party

 [The following letter was forwarded to Freiheit, organ of the German Independent Socialist Party in order to remove some common, but quite erroneous, notions about the I.L.P.]

24 November, 1930.

To the Editor, Freiheit.
Chaussee-strasse, 121,
Berlin, N.4.

Comrade,—In the issue of Freiheit dated 23 November you publish an article under the title, "Die neue Initiative fur eine Internationale." In the article there is a statement that the British Independent Labour Party (I.L.P.) is not reformist in its outlook. Since that statement can only have been made without full knowledge of the aims and activities of the I.L.P., we would like to place the following facts before you.

The I.L.P., is not a Socialist party, but a party which aims merely at nationalisation or State Capitalism.

The I.L.P. in Parliament

 It is argued on behalf of the I.L.P. that their propaganda methods are justified by their success. As proof of this they point to a relatively large membership and to the fact that more than 200 of their members are Labour Party M.P.'s. How hollow is this success can be seen from the inability of the I.L.P. to control its members in the House of Commons. Mr. Maxton, Chairman of the I.L.P., criticised the Labour Government’s Unemployment Insurance . Bill, and threatened to oppose its second reading. The prompt result, as reported in the Daily Herald of November 19th, was that,

    between 50 and 60 I.L.P. M.P.s last night signed a memorial repudiating the right of the I.L.P. officials to speak on their behalf.

Editorial: Maxton and Cook's Catchwords

The recent manifesto by James Maxton (Chairman of the I.L.P.) and A. J. Cook (Miners’ Secretary) has received much notice in the Press, but only of a sensational kind.
The manifesto calls for a fight against the Capitalist system, but both the signers are supporters of the Labour Party, which has done its best to maintain and carry on the Capitalist system.
They claim that there has been a serious departure from the views of the founders of the Labour Party, such as Keir Hardie, but no evidence of that is offered or can be offered.

Editorial: Maxton and Cook: Where do they stand?

Although several demonstrations have now been held, Messrs. Maxton and Cook have so far, neither by word nor deed, made clear what they stand for. They have said that they are Socialists. Yet Mr. Cook is secretary of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, and in that capacity supports their official policy of nationalisation, or State Capitalism, for the mining industry, with "compensation” for the mine-owners. That is not Socialism, and will not solve the problems of the miners. Mr. Maxton is Chairman of the I.L.P., which also advocates State Capitalism. They are both members of the Labour Party, although they condemn its “liberal” outlook. The Labour Party draft programme is a programme of Capitalist reforms, but Mr. Ramsay MacDonald states that Cook saw and approved the section dealing with the mines prior to publication, and the I.L.P. similarly had the whole draft for amendment.

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