Editorial: The Popular Front and the Struggle Against Fascism
The Socialist Party of Great Britain does not accept the view that Fascism can be fought by uniting all anti-Fascists into a Popular Front or other group. In Great Britain Fascism will only be a serious danger to the extent that it succeeds (as it did in Italy and Germany) in winning over large numbers of the employed and unemployed workers to its side. In what way might that happen and how can it be prevented? It can happen only to the extent that workers who have for a time placed their trust in capitalist or reformist movements and leaders become disillusioned but cannot find any alternative except Fascism. It is of the utmost importance that Socialism should stand boldly and clearly as an independent movement ready to show the workers the right road of escape from capitalism when they had turned in disgust from Liberalism and Toryism and from the Labour Party idea of reforming capitalism. If it were possible for Labour Government or Popular Front Government to be genuinely successful then there would be justification for abandoning Socialism and concentrating on the administration of capitalism by the so-called “progressives.” But it is not possible. No matter how capitalism is governed, the struggle between the propertied class—seeking rent interest and profits—and the working class—trying to resists exploitation—goes on. Where there is capitalism there is poverty and unemployment, the oppression of the weak by the strong, social unrest, strikes and rock-outs, and discontent with the Government which stands at the head of the system.
Popular Front Government or Labour Government is bound to bring eventual discredit on the parties associated with it. It is essential that the Socialist movement should not be engulfed in that general discredit.
Fascism can only be fought successfully by Socialists. Labourites cannot fight it because the Fascist social reform programmes are largely made up of points taken from the Labour programme. Communists cannot fight it because they are tarred with the same brush of dictatorship. Open defenders of capitalism cannot fight it because the workers are sick of naked capitalism.
Only Socialists—themselves consistent critics of capitalism, reformism and dictatorship—can combat Fascism.