The I.L.P. and The German Independent Socialist Party
[The following letter was forwarded to Freiheit, organ of the German Independent Socialist Party in order to remove some common, but quite erroneous, notions about the I.L.P.]
24 November, 1930.
To the Editor, Freiheit.
Comrade,—In the issue of Freiheit dated 23 November you publish an article under the title, “Die neue Initiative fur eine Internationale.” In the article there is a statement that the British Independent Labour Party (I.L.P.) is not reformist in its outlook. Since that statement can only have been made without full knowledge of the aims and activities of the I.L.P., we would like to place the following facts before you.
The I.L.P., is not a Socialist party, but a party which aims merely at nationalisation or State Capitalism.
In spite of its name, it is not an independent party at all. It is affiliated with the British Labour Party, and accepts in all essentials the reformist programme and policy of the Labour Party.
Two hundred of the Labour Party Members of Parliament (about 70 per cent, of the total) are also members of the I.L.P. Therefore the I.L.P. shares responsibility for every action of the so-called “Labour” Government.
Not a single one of the I.L.P. members who are in Parliament was elected as a Socialist, or even as an I.L.P. candidate. Every one of them was elected as an official candidate of the Labour Party, and fought his election on the reformist programme of the Labour Party. The Labour Party does not permit its candidates to come before the electors as Socialists or as I.L.P. candidates. They are all compelled to stand as Labour Party candidates.
During the War the I.L.P. allowed its members in Parliament to vote war credits and to take office in the Conservative-Liberal-Labour Coalition Government. At the present time it allows its members in Parliament to vote credits for armaments, and to take office in the Labour Cabinet.
The I.L.P. permits prominent members to advocate an alliance with the Liberal Party.
While a section of the I.L.P. criticizes the actions of the Labour Government, and the Chairman of the I.L.P. (Mr. Maxton) has declared, in speech and in writing, over a period of years, that the programme of the Labour Party is merely a programme of Liberal reforms and a programme of Capitalism, yet at each ensuing election the I.L.P. and Mr. Maxton tell the workers to vote that Capitalist party into power.
While some members of the I.L.P. claim, on occasion, that they are Marxists, the I.L.P., as a party, repudiates Marxism and the whole conception of the class struggle.
We consider it desirable that you should be made acquainted with these facts.
THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE,
The Socialist Party of Great Britain