Socialism and local government
Mr. Rimington, of Leicester, in writing to us on various matters, takes exception to the passage in the sixth clause of our Declaration of Principles, that states the working class must organise for “the conquest of the powers of Government, National and Local,” etc
He argues that while this passage is quite correct when applied to the Legislature, it is inconsistent and illogical where it refers to the local bodies, as he cannot understand ”a Socialist administering a Capitalist institution.”
Although this clause was drawn up thirteen years before-the upheaval in Russia in 1917, the latter event furnished a useful illustration of the necessity for a new party taking power being in control of “Local” as well as ”National” Governments. The confusion, delays, and. in many cases, acute sufferings caused to the workers bv the deliberate wrecking and sabotage policy of those in charge of local administration, showed how important—if secondary—such control is to the new rulers.
Moreover, so far from leading to “Reformism,” as Mr. Rimington contends, the contesting of local elections, on the policy of the S.P.G.B., allows us to show up the absurdity of the claims of the Reformers. Our literature and speakers point out clearly the limitations of the local bodies, and when our candidates are returned they will use the wider platform of the Council to carry on the propaganda of Socialism and take the various instances as they arise to demonstrate the restrictions imposed by the Government. This propaganda will help to show more clearly the essential need of capturing the Governmental powers. Such “administrative” work as may be carried out would no more be illogical than is the acceptance and obeying of the regulations under which we carry on public meetings and sales of literature.
In brief, the capture of the Local bodies is necessary to render as smooth as possible the passage of the revolution, and in the meantime it is useful as a wider means of propaganda.