A Socialist Searchlight: Where Are The “Reds” of Yesteryear?
The Labour Party has finance, positions, a large following, and is popular and respectable. That explains its attraction for those elements which were so busy a little while since supporting Bolshevism, insurrection and similar gospels. In the official “Labour Magazine” for June there are three “converts” writing for it. Walton Newbold, late Communist M.P., Peter Petroff, the late Communist official in Russia, and R. M. Fox, late follower of Larkin. In the political arena crowds of one-time Communists have climbed on board the “Labour” engine of Capitalism. When it was apparent that Communist membership was a hindrance to adoption by the Labour Party, they dropped their Communist association. The Third International, faced with declining membership and the need for peaceful commercial relations with Capital, spent less money on propaganda. Thus, many left the Communists for the party they had denounced. Newbold, Whitehead, Windsor, J. S. Clarke, Ellen Wilkinson, R. Williams, Wall, the Secretary of the London Trades Council, Colyer, late Treasurer of the Communist Party, Mellor, now Editor of the “Daily Herald,” all sought the genial circles of the Anti-Socialist Labour Party.
The Communists boosted new leaders for Labour, like Sam Elsbury, of the Clothing Workers, Alex. Gossip, of the Furnishing Trades, and Cook, of the Miners. Now they are mostly denounced as enemies. “Making” leaders and then pouring venom on them is a special feature of Communist work. It attracted the would-be leader to the party by its programme of “Down with the old leaders,” and then sobbed because new leaders got the jobs with their assistance and then kicked the party overboard.
Edgar Lansbury has faded out of the Communist picture. Ashleigh, once on the staff of the Communist Press, has stopped “preparing for the Revolution.” The Russian Oil Products, Argos, and other Soviet firms, were a happy hunting ground for those with the ‘Communist ticket,’ and once safely settled in the jobs, the noisy slogan-slingers forget all about ‘the Revolution round the corner.” You don’t run after a ’bus when you have already caught it!
The conflict in the Russian Party resulted in ‘New Lines” and new deviations being send round to Communists’ Parties of the world. Then sprang up the various sections of the C.P. here and abroad, such as Trotskyists, Left and Right Wing Deviators, etc.
The contest for positions resulted in many of the ‘Early Fathers” or Pioneers getting ousted, and the new Political Bureau saw that their opponents lost their old positions. Hence names like T. A. Jackson do not now adorn the pages of the Communist papers. These sheets are now left with less philosophic contents, such as ‘Prepare for August 1st,” and “A Boon for Ladies,” “How to get a paper pattern for a shirt,” etc. , Soviet Russia has had a very poor advertisement in the parties she adopted. In spite of all the enthusiasm and inspiration Russia aroused, the Communist Party has declined from 20,000 in 1921 to 3,500 in 1929.
To those simple folk who believe that the Labour Party is a party based upon working class interests, we quote the following from the final Election address of the Labour Party broadcast by Ramsay MacDonald during the General Election of 1929 from Newcastle B.B.C. Station (May 28th, 1929).
It shows the appeal of “Labour ” to all classes, and repudiates any class aims.
Another charge is that we are a Class Party because the Party was created for the purpose of bringing the life experience of the great mass of our people to guide political and economic policy. Against us our opponents say that they stand for national unity and such-like. You cannot talk of national unity unless that unity embraces all classes and functions which give services to the whole varied life of the community. I cannot understand how it is that intelligent and honest people can continue to think that Labour is a Class Party. If I had time to-night, and if it were profitable, I could prove to you not only the contrary, but I could turn the tables upon our Conservative antagonists and show that on their minds, on the composition of their Party, on their funds, on their appeals, and their achievements class and sectional interests are deeply stamped. One of the great reasons why I belong to the Labour Party and hold the Socialist views of what a wise and just social structure is. is because I detest class politics, and want to end them in real national unity.