S.D.F. apologist and S.P.G.B. critic

Speaking at Watford on June 24th last Mr. A.S. Albery, of the S.D.F., a one-time member (for a few months) of this Party, in answering questions put to him from the audience, stated

(1) That he was not a consenting party to the appearance of his name on the manifesto issued by most of the active London members of the S.D.F. prior to their withdrawal from that body (because it had ceased to be the political parly of the working class) to found The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
(2) That he protested against the use of his name in that connection and that a Party must be corrupt that would use names in such away without authority.
(3) That he was no sectarian Socialist and did not therefore withdraw from the I.L.P., of which he was a member, during the period of his association with The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
(4) That he was a Marxian Socialist.
(5) That the S.P.G.B. did not seem to understand what Marxian Socialism was.
(6) That it was true that members of the S.D.F. were members also of the National Liberal Club, but only for social purposes. Membership of that club had no political significance.

We take the trouble to deal with these statements because Mr. Albery is a fairly prominent member of the S.D.F. whose methods we attack and may be accepted as representing the views of that organisation upon the questions raised. Also because Mr. Albery’s brief association with the S.P.G.B. may incline some to the view that he has special knowledge of this Party’s position and has expressed that knowledge in the statements recorded above. Further, because we welcome any criticism of our position and are glad of any opportunity to reply to it and remove any misapprehension that may exist, our desire being to discuss plainly and properly all matters of working-class concern and vindicate the correctness of our attitude thereupon or acknowledge our error.

Our replies to these assertions therefore are, (1 and 2) that the individuals who drew up the first manifesto containing an indictment of the S.D.F. position and a justification of the attitude of the protesting members, included A. S. Albery, who framed part of it himself; that he was present at the several meetings, held at his own house, at which the manifesto was discussed in detail and finally approved of; that Albery was a member of the Provisional Committee which arranged the matters preliminary to the formation of this Party ; that as a member of that Committee his name appears upon a second manifesto issued prior to the establishment of the Party, a document which confirmed the first manifesto in every particular and added considerable additional evidence for the conclusion that the S.D.F. was politically corrupt. This second document also called the meeting at which the Party was inaugurated. Albery was present at this inaugural meeting. He said no word of opposition to the formation of the Party, nor of protest against any unfair use of his name. He accepted nomination for membership to the first Executive Committee and was elected. He approved the Declaration of Principles, which all members must sign, and we have his signed form in our possession. As a member of the E.C. he endorsed the attitude of the Party, and undertook the administration of the Party policy and the application of the Party rules. He never questioned, because he could not then and cannot now, the accuracy of any statement appearing in the two manifestoes (which, as we have said, he was part author of), nor can we find any record or recollection of any protest of the sort now entered.

If in the face of all this Albery asserts that he did not acquiesce in the publication of the document referred to, he either deliberately fabricates or is the victim of a woeful mental abberation. If it was not issued with his full knowledge and approval, he has to explain his large participation in the subsequent development of that document. If, on the other hand, the recital of particulars contained in the foregoing enables him to remember sufficient to justify the withdrawal of the statement now made, he has to explain when the S.D.F. ceased to be the corrupt organisation he asserted with good evidence it was, two years ago. So much for numbers 1 and 2.

(3) The Declaration of Principles (see page 1 of this paper) signed by Albery pledges opposition to all other political parties. If, therefore, he was a member of the I.L.P., which he was pledged to fight as a member of the S.P.G.B., Albery is correct when he says he is not a sectarian Socialist—he is merely a fraud.

(4) Actions speak louder than words. The acts of Marxian Socialists express consistent and unwavering antagonism to Capitalism and the capitalist class. The acts of the S.D.F. which Albery claims membership of, do nothing of the kind on Albery’s own shewing in the second manifesto previously referred to. Albery, therefore, either does not know what Marxian Socialism is or asserts what he knows to be untue.

(5) This statement certainly lacks the only thing that can give it weight—evidence. Albery was challenged to produce his and could not.

(6) The subscriptions of members to the National Liberal Club are used for Party purposes. The Club is the Head Quarters of Capitalist Liberalism and its sycophants. It is directly concerned with the organization of the Liberal vote and the direction of the Liberal forces. Its act in donating £100 to John Burns wages fund in the old days was chock-full of political significance. Every member who joins it is a supporter of the Liberal Party if only to the extent of his subscription.

That is our answer to Mr. Albery’s allegations. In defence of his present unfortunate, not to say ludicrous, position as a member of a Party whose actions on his own shewing will not bear analysis, he may be making the same or similar charges and assertions in other places. We shall always be glad to deal witli any such directly they reach us. Misrepresentation and inaccuracy are exceedingly difficult to overtake and we prefer to give them as short a start as possible. We are, therefore, obliged to our Watford Comrade for his prompt action.

We only need add that if Mr. Albery has any desire to communicate with us direct upon any point which may constitute a grievance with him or a charge against us, we shall be happy to hear from him.

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