Skip to Content

Socialist Attitude To Trade Unions

The Socialist Party and the Trade Unions


 The Socialist Party and the Trade Unions have a common origin in the class struggle. The former is the organised expression on the political field of the conscious recognition of that struggle by the workers. Its growth is the measure of their determination to end the struggle by converting the means of living into common property, and thus establishing a harmony of interests within society.

 The class struggle, however, does not commence with the conscious recognition of it as a fact. “In the beginning is the thing ”; the idea follows in its wake, and is, in fact, its reflection in the human mind.

 Long before the origin of the Socialist Party the class struggle was in progress. Strikes and lock-outs, machine-breaking and penal legislation have all testified to the antagonism of interests in modern society for over a century.

Editorial: The Organisation of the Working Class

 
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC

 Ever since the existing social order originated in the downfall of feudalism, there has been going on a struggle between the two classes of which it is composed, i.e., the capitalist or master-class and the wage-slave or working-class. As a result of this struggle, ever increasing in its intensity and ever widening in its scope, there has arisen a certain degree of organisation on the part of both classes. Up to the present the initiative in the struggle has lain with the masters and the efficiency of their organisation is correspondingly greater than that of the workers, whose lot has in the main consisted of a series of defeats resulting in increased poverty and exploitation. There is urgent need for improvement in the workers’ organisation, hence the propaganda of the Socialist Party.

Editorial: The Socialist Policy and the Strike

 What has been called the “labour unrest” continues to be as much in evidence as ever. Up and down the country there are strikes and lock-outs, and rumours of strikes and lock-outs. Askwith, the peacemaker, is kept pretty busy rushing hither and thither, tendering hie services at the moment when the men are exhausted in the struggle, in order to aid the pretence that the powers that with ride and baton have cleared the way for the blackleg and the strike smasher, really do take a detached view of the case, really do desire to “keep the ring" impartially, really do feel solicitous regarding the welfare of the worker.

The Attitude of the SPGB During the Strike

Our attitude towards the General Strike was determined by the following considerations. The limits of trade union action; the determined attempts by the employers to depress wages since the great war; the evils of leadership; the lack of understanding on the part of the workers; and the fact that, in the last resort, power rested with the Government backed by a non-Socialist working class.

We pointed out at the time of the general strike that the workers should remain in complete control of the movement and not allow themselves to be hood-winked into a worse position than before the strike. And, above all, not to follow the stupid slogans of the communists to place all trust in the leaders. After the strike the communists put the blame for the failure on the very leaders they had urged the workers to trust, and advocated fresh leaders from the same group that had influenced the collapse.

Syndicate content