Politics International, National or Local?

On which of these three fronts should the revolutionary party of the workers concentrate their efforts ? This question is a common one at Socialist meetings.

Our reply is, that conditions must always determine policy. The Socialist Party can go no faster than the desires and understanding of the workers. Our mission is to extend that understanding along all three fronts. But which should be given preference? comes the follow-up question. The answer is that our activities will be guided by the resources at our disposal. At present these resources are small. There are hardly any districts in London, for example, where Socialists are in sufficient numbers to make possible at present the election of Socialists at Local Council elections.

Certainly if it were now the case that any district or locality displayed a sufficient desire for Socialism and candidates were elected, our propaganda would be broadcasted from a “louder sounding-board.”

This in itself is of considerable value in making more widely known the general principles of Socialism. It is to propaganda on a wide and scattered front—here and abroad, wherever our word penetrates, that our energies are devoted.

Unlike the Communist Party, dominated by the rulers of Russia, we do not think that the workers will rally to our side merely because we call upon then to do so. If in the future history of Socialist Politics one geographical area becomes stronger than another in its desire for Socialism, unlike the Bolshevik policy in Russia, the Socialist policy would depend upon the forces of the Socialist Party in other countries.

The revolutionary workers’ party will not try to go faster than its abilities to travel —those abilities being dependent on understanding of our class and their organisation.

Therefore, at the November Council Elections we shall indulge in no wild outbursts of activity on the fields of local politics. Our policy will be, as in the past, to continue to proclaim the principles of Socialism.

Our ability to do this is determined by the support we receive from those who want Socialism.

Should these lines meet the eye of any of those many friends that we are continually meeting, who tell us, “I have been a Socialist for — years,” whilst still remaining outside the ranks of the Socialist Party—may we once again ask them to consider the desirability of enjoying the unique pleasure—in these days when docile placidity appears to reign supreme—of exercising the courage of their convictions. Activity in a Socialist organisation gives such an opportunity.


(Socialist Standard, November 1929)

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