1930s >> 1931 >> no-325-september-1931

A Socialist Searchlight

New Communist Tactics— Wholesale Burglaries.

Workers’ News (April 30th), a Communist paper published in Moscow for English-speaking workers living in Russia, contains an account of an unemployed demonstration at Wellington, New Zealand. The unemployed, “under Communist leadership,” attempted to raid the Parliament buildings. Many were injured and several were arrested, including the Communist leader. He told the authorities that “they would organise wholesale burglaries and looting, inevitably entailing general turmoil.”

In this way the Communists, bankrupt of ideas and ignorant of Socialist principles, come back to the old and discredited doctrines of individual attempts at law-breaking. And whoever heard of an intelligent burglar telling the police where they can round up the intending breakers of the law?

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Liberal-Labour Government.

As it is certain to be denied later on that there were ever formal negotiations between the Labour Government and the Liberal Party, the following extracts from the Daily Herald have an interest:—

From the Daily Herald of March 23rd, 1931 :—

The fate of the Liberal Party depends on the events of the next few days.
Either an arrangement must be reached which provides for a stable period of progressive legislation or an intolerable position must be ended by an appeal to the country.
A continuance of the present deadlock indefinitely is unthinkable . . . Already there have been a number of meetings between Labour and Liberal spokesmen and these will be continued during the week.
Among those who have taken part in these discussions are the Prime Minister, Mr. Arthur Henderson, Mr. Philip Snowden (before his illness), Lord Sankey, Mr. Lloyd George, Sir Herbert Samuel, and Lord Lothian.

From a Daily Herald editorial on May 29th, 1931 :—

Two years ago to-morrow the country gave at the polls the verdict which threw the Tories from power and made possible the formation of the second Labour Government.
Like its predecessor of 1924, it is a minority Government. And hopeful Tories prophesied for it a short, feeble, and sterile career.
They have been disappointed. ’They will be disappointed.
They forgot that minority Governments are not necessarily either feeble or short-lived.
The Salisbury Government of 1886 was a minority Government; but it lasted its full term, and it heralded 20 years of almost unbroken Tory rule.
History may very well repeat itself. Assured now of Liberal co-operation, as Salisbury was of Liberal-Unionist co-operation, there is no reason why Mr. MacDonald should not hold office for a full and fruitful term.

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Fascism and the Communist Party

Reply to the “ Pan-Pacific Worker.”

The “Pan-Pacific Worker,” published at Sydney, Australia, is one of the disguises adopted by the “Communist International,” calling itself for this purpose the “Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat.”

In the Australian Edition (12th May, 1931) a Mr. Herbert Moore, in an article on “Fascism,” has a word to say about the S.P.G.B., the Socialist Labour Party, and the Socialist Party of Canada. He calls us all “thoroughly discredited and decadent.” The other two bodies must of course speak for themselves, but the S.P.G.B. has never been in better form than it is now.

Mr. Moore’s reason for regarding us as decadent is that he believes we “hold the illusion that we must pass through Fascism.” He gives no evidence for this belief about us and he is, of course, completely wrong. We hold no such illusion. So-called “Fascism” is as old as capitalism, and simply means the readiness of the capitalists, whenever they think it necessary, to use their power for the violent and brutal suppression of any insurgent minority, either of workers or capitalists. This is a common feature of capitalist political history in every country, before as well as since the war. To say then that the S.P.G.B. holds the illusion “that we must pass through Fascism” is only true in the sense that capitalism without the possibility of such violence by capitalist Governments is, and always has been, inconceivable. But this is not the sense in which Mr. Moore uses it. He thinks that this so-called “Fascism” is something which has not yet happened in the English-speaking countries, but which may happen. Mr. Moore is quite wrong and should acquaint himself with the records of the British, the French, the American, and the Australian sections of the ruling class.

The Socialist Party’s attitude has been logical and consistent. The one way to prevent the capitalists from using their political power against the workers is to refrain from voting them and their agents into control of the political machinery. We have always urged the workers not to vote for any candidate who is a supporter of capitalism.

Compare our attitude with that of the Communist Party, which has Mr. Moore’s sympathy and support.

In Germany, at the time of writing, the Prussian Communists are voting for the referendum initiated by the Hitlerite (Fascist) Party and the German Nationalists.

In Great Britain the Communists have supported Labour leaders notorious for their willingness to use the armed forces against the workers.

There was Mr. Arthur Henderson, who, as a member of the War Cabinet, urged the forcible deportation of the Clyde strikers in 1916. For years the Communists have urged the workers to vote for Mr. Henderson.

In 1922 the Communists voted for all the Labour Party candidates while declaring of them that “they support British imperialist policy in Ireland and India.”

In Ireland they stand by the British machine-guns of the Irish Free State against the declared will of the majority of the Irish people for a Republic.—(“The Communist,” November 4, 1922.)

One of the most striking illustrations of Communist trickery in supporting avowed enemies of the workers relates to Mr. John Hodge, M.P.

At the 1922 General Election, which took place in November, the Communist candidate, Mr. Harry Pollitt, stood down in favour of Mr. John Hodge and supported him on the Labour party platform (see “Communist Daily,” November 13, 1922).

Nine months earlier the local Communists had asked some questions of the Right Hon. John Hodge, who was already the Labour M.P. for the constituency. Questions and answers were published in the “Communist” (February 4, 1922):—

Question.—”Are you, if elected to Parliament, prepared to support the Government in bringing out the White Guards against strikers, as you did during the Boilermakers’ Strike at Liverpool? “
Answer.—” Yes.”

We commend this to the “ Pan-Pacific Worker ” for their consideration.

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Socialism—“ For Export Only.”

Mr. J. T. Walton Newbold has for some time been a member of the Social-Democratic Federation. Until a month or two ago he was Editor of their journal, “The Social-Democrat.” During the War the Social-Democratic Federation called itself the “National Socialist Party” and devoted all its energies to helping the British capitalists win their war. In the “Writers’, and Artists’ Year-Book” the “Social-Democratic Federation” advertises its journal in the following choice phrase : “Though Socialist, was pro-Ally during thfc War.”

All of which leads us up to an article by Newbold and W. Craik, published in the Winnipeg “One Big Union Bulletin” (July 16). In this article, which describes the political Situation in Germany, the writers denounce and ridicule the German Hitlerites on the ground that their official title, “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party,” is a “contradiction in terms.” They point out that it is a useful name because it enables the party to attract all kinds of support, both big and small capitalists and also workers.

But why is “National Socialist” a contradiction only in Germany and Canada? Why not in England? Why is the policy of building up a party out of contradictory elements (vide the British Labour Party, or the Social-Democratic Federation) sound in England, where Newbold supports it, and unsound abroad? Why is Newbold so anxious to prevent his foreign readers from knowing the kind of policies he pursues at home?

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The Fabian Bolsheviks.

Mr. George Bernard Shaw, who received an idolatrous reception on his nine-day visit to Russia, has enormously cheered the Communists by his approval of their political and economic system. If they had stopped to consider exactly what Mr. Shaw says of them, they might be less happy about it. He told the I.L.P. Summer School that “the first thing I discovered, with great gratification, is that Socialism as established in Russia is Fabian Socialism” (“Manchester Guardian,” August 6, 1931). This particular description was used many months earlier by the Liberal, Lord Lothian, who was Shaw’s companion on the Russian visit, and Mr. Shaw is not above borrowing a smart phrase when he hears it. It is absurd, of course, to describe Fabianism as Socialism, and we have for a quarter of a century attacked that misconception, but it is indeed true that the Fabian nightmare of State capitalism run by “intellectuals” is. in many ways similar to the scheme of things in Russia. Long ago the similarity was referred to in these columns.

We wish the Communists joy of their new convert, who so lately was worshipping at the feet of Mussolini. We would, however, warn them that policies have a queer knack of “blowing up” as soon as Shaw endorses them. On August 10th, 1921, Shaw-congratulated the Russians on their existing policy, including forced labour. Twelve hours later the Russian Government announced the abandonment of their policy and the introduction of the so-called “New Economic Policy,” because the old one would not work.

On the present occasion Shaw’s approval was hardly in print before the Russian Government announced a big extension of their existing policy of inequality of pay between different groups of workers. Yet Shaw, it will be recalled, defines his “Socialism” as “equality of income.”

In one thing we can agree with Shaw, that is, in his assertion that the theories of the Bolsheviks are not the theories of Marx.


(Socialist Standard, September 1931).