Our Revolutionary Position
In a world of political opportunism, the Socialist Party of Great Britain occupies a unique position, a position that has never been gainsaid by even its most inveterate enemies—it still adheres with unremitting persistence and firmness to the principles on which it was originally founded. Its Declaration of Principles remains, word for word, exactly the same to-day as it was when first printed. Is there in this country any other political party of which it can be said that it knew from the first the impregnability of the basis on which it stood, and that the test of time and experience has only gone to prove the sure judgment of those who, at its inception, conceived the idea of such an organization being in fact what it claimed to be in name? Is there any other political party that has not, at some time or other, thrown overboard its principles (or its alleged principles) tacking this way and that to catch the popular wind that should waft its leaders into the pleasant harbour of position and power and monetary advantage?
It is rather strange, when one considers it, how the strict adherence of the Socialist Party to its original principles irritates the majority of people. We have been and are criticised for being “narrow-minded”; have been likened to certain very dogmatic religious sects; have been continually reproached and admonished, both in sorrow and in anger, for our refusal to swerve aside from our business of Socialist propaganda into any of the numerous side tracks —such as the advocacy of woman’s suffrage, land reform, nationalisation of industries, etc.—which have, within the last few decades become popular with certain self-styled “advanced” and “modern” people, who seem to think that any activity, however futile, must be an advance, and any stunt, however foolish, a means to intellectual progress.
If our critics would take the trouble to analyse the actions and motives of the late Labour Government they might possibly come to the conclusion, that a strict adherence to principle is not so narrow-minded and reprehensible as they suppose. Nominally the Labour Party was in proud possession of the seat of Government. Actually what happened was that a number of men and women, some of whom call themselves leaders of labour and some who by no stretch of imagination can claim that they in any way represent the minutest fraction of the labouring class, were allowed, by the somewhat contemptuous consent of the Liberal and Tory parties, to act for the time being as the agents of the capitalists in national and international affairs. Neither in kind nor in degree were these Government Ministers distinguished from the other political parties when in office. They are as assiduous in attending archaic court functions; as eager to present their wives and daughters to the notice of royalty; as ready to hobnob, openly and shamelessly, with all sections of the capitalist class. The Parliamentary Bills they pass are but such as might well have been the production of Liberals and Tories (as in some cases they actually have been); and their methods of repression and secret diplomacy are all well in keeping with their predecessors’ traditions. As for the fulfilment of the promises made to the rank and file of the Labour Party whilst the Labour leaders were struggling for power, as might have been expected the things promised are now found to be “impracticable,” are “not possible under the circumstances,” are “regrettably impossible,” and so it has always been with these and such-like good shepherds of sheeplike followings.