Disruption and Alliance

Under a heading of which the above is a correction or a distortion, according to one’s point of view, Mr. Blatchford gives us in the Clarion of April 23rd, his and “our” opinion of the Grayson-I.L.P.-Executive quarrel. It is a rather interesting four columns’ worth, and significant of much. Mr. R. B. spreads himself over nearly two columns in an endeavour to prove his innocence of conspiring with others against the I.L.P., as if this worthy object were of some consequence ; but the joke is that he then proceeds to charge the resigned I.L.P. officials with taking themselves too seriously ! This is Clarion humour, made in Norwood. However, we must not stop to chuckle over the unconscious humour running right through the article in question, else we will never get to our subject, which is, to deny in toto some of the rash statements made by Mr. Blatchford.

Says he: “I do not approve of the I.L.P. alliance with the Labour Party. I think a Labour Party is a good thing, but the I.L.P. was a Socialist Party. In joining the Labour Party it ceased to be a Socialist Party.”

This will take some sorting out, but let’s get to it, backwards. The I.L.P. in joining the Labour Party, did not cease to be a Socialist Party, for the very sufficient reason that the I.L.P. never was a Socialist Party. The I.L.P. was founded and fostered by a group of Radicals of the “advanced” type, whose main political object was the wresting of more social reforms from the other capitalist parties, which, together with the nationalisation of milk and the municipalisation of water, etc., they were pleased to dub “Socialism,” and this, unfortunately, has side-tracked thousands of might-be Socialists from demanding the rice for the real Socialist pudding. Thus fostered, the I.L.P. has since maintained by a hotchpotch of sickly sentimentality and short-sighted political ineptitude (such as the “Right to be exploited” rubbish), such as can only be expected from the aforesaid foundation, and, of course, such as no Socialist would mistake for Socialist propaganda. The growth of the I.L.P. (in numbers only) on the lines above mentioned, has led to the inevitable breeding of the swarms of political tricksters known as “labour leaders,” anxious for place and power. This quackery can only have one ending, namely, the ultimate disillusionment of the workers and the consequent reaction, but the worst feature of it is that it stands in the way of the dissemination of the real Socialist position. The mouthing of Socialism on the platform is not only futile, but absolutely dishonest when accompanied by political action against the interests of the working class. We have repeatedly brought this charge against the I.L.P.; there is ample proof of the charge being true in the back numbers of this journal, and we are not going to mitigate this charge on account of good intentions.

Mr. Blatchford thinks “a Labour Party is a good thing.” He is also a supporter of the I.L.P. Then why does he disapprove of the I.L.P. joining with a “good thing” ? Why spurn good things ? Now the Labour Party is an avowedly non-Socialist body; Mr. Robert Blatchford claims to be a Socialist, yet he infers that the Labour Party is a “good thing.” Surely as against this illogical attitude the constant position of the Socialist Party of Great Britain is as clear as daylight. We say that the only “good thing” in the political arena is clean, straight-cut, uncompromising action on Socialist lines ; any other kind must necessarily be anti-Socialist action, and therefore not good but bad. “If she be not fair to me, what care I how fair she be.” We maintain, and act up to, the motto that Mr. Blatchford gave voice to in the early days of the Clarion : “Those who are not with us are against us.” We not only say this but we act upon it on every possible occasion, and this is the difference between the Socialists and our pseudo brethren.

As Socialism is the only thing that can really benefit the working class, it follows that an uncompromising Socialist Party must be the only true labour party, all else is either piffle or roguery, and whichever denomination it comes under, it behoves us to fight it.

The confusion, the groping in the dark, the leading to nowhere, of the position and policy of the I.L.P. must delight the hearts of the master class, and probably is meant for their edification.

There are many other items in this article of Robert Blatchford’s which are open to criticism, but time and space forbid.


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