Straws: A Rotten Case
A Rotten Case.
“The possibility of a new workers’ party being formed, with the I.L.P. and the Communist Party as the central core, was one not of the distant future. It was, in fact, very near to them.” Thus Maxton, at recent I.L.P. Conference. Harry Pollitt, “fraternal delegate” from C.P. following, announced that his party was “ready and willing to achieve the creation of a mass united Communist Party, affiliated to the Communist International.” !
How this view of “mass” swallowing was regarded by Maxton is not stated. Future developments will be interesting to follow. The “picturesque personality,” personally popular (according to parliamentary reporters in the Sunday Press) with Conservatives in the House, will hardly consent to play second fiddle to tenth-rate performers in the Anglo-Moscow band.
Meanwhile, headquarters of the “Communist International” has been demonstrating how to “ lead ” the workers to Socialism. You beflag Moscow like Limehouse on Eden’s visit, you toast the King, you goose-step the Red Army—but only to throw dust in the eyes of the British master-class . . . until that humourless periodical, The Labour Monthly, incontinently gives the game away.
“Soviet diplomacy undoubtedly made a most brilliant use of this opportunity—including plenty of bunting and drinking the King’s health—to win whatever sections in Britain could be won against the anti-Soviet war-plans.” (Palme Dutt, May, 1935.)
“Bloody Cesspools ” of Passchendaele.
A recent review in the Daily Herald called attention to Lloyd George’s exposure of Haig’s Passchendaele exploit, where the “plan was a folly” and “the crime was the obstinacy with which Haig continued to fling his heroic battalions into the bloody cesspool.” It records the fact that Lloyd George himself, however, sent a letter to Haig, congratulating him on the “skill, courage and pertinacity which have commanded the grateful admiration of the British Empire.”
The Labour Party in 1914.
The reviewer fails to point out that behind Lloyd George was the enthusiastic backing of the Labour Party, whose whole organisation had been placed at the disposal of the Government on the outbreak of war, whose own “Uncle Arthur” signed a joint appeal with Bonar Law and Lloyd George to householders to urge kith and kin to partake in any and every war activity for the glory of God and the preservation of the British capitalist class.
“On the ability, quality and idealism of our party, including particularly its public representatives, will depend enormously the success of Socialism.” (Herbert Morrison, May 13th, 1935.) “Socialism” to the leader of the London Labour Party means “public ownership” of the London Passenger Transport Board type, ”efficient” working of ”public services.” The ”idealism” would seem to include a resolute endeavour to keep down the rates, for “We know that if we go too far in expenditure, we shall be turned out at the next election,” (Daily Herald, October 3rd, 1934. Italics our own.) Vote-catching has always been the main object of Labourism.
The Archbishop of Canterbury relates that, shortly after the visit of the King and Queen recently, to the widow of a victim of a colliery explosion, she said to him, with tears in her eyes: “I could not help kissing the floor where she had stood.” It must be admitted that the capitalist class has played the Queen for all it is worth. The Red Pawn game of the Socialist Party will eventually cry ”Mate” on the political field. . . . The pawns will be alive, consciously working towards the End, inevitably marked out by Economic Circumstance. (See No. 6, Declaration of Principles.)
Percy Bysshe Shelley, not unknown in the highest realm of Poesy, claims space in The Socialist Standard. Written over a hundred years ago, the principle enunciated still stands: —
“The power which has increased is the power of the rich. The name and office of King is merely the mask of this power, and is a kind of stalking-horse used to conceal these ‘catchers of men’ whilst they lay their nets. Monarchy is only the string which ties the robber’s bundle. ”(A Philosophical View of Reform, 1820.)
And the question of ”Compensation” when the robber’s bundle is untied will be quite irrelevant, as irrelevant as ”compensation” for the sweat and agony of the long ages of Wage-Slavedom.