Letter: Should we Merge with the I.L.P.?

Southfields, S.W.18.
The Editorial Committee,

Dear Comrades,
I have read with interest your reply to J.T.R. (Carlisle), setting forth the obvious reasons why the S.P.G.B. does not affiliate to the Labour Party. The same reasons caused the I.L.P. to break with the Labour Party.
I should be interested to know why the S.P.G.B. does not take a stand with the I.L.P., since the objects and methods of both parties are practically identical. The I.L.P. consistently maintains the correct Socialist attitude, to instance only the line adopted on the conscription issue, as well as the condemnation of so-called Popular Fronts.
Sincere Socialists are to be found, I admit, in several parties and groups which multiply and threaten to become ”seventy jarring sects”; yet the gravity of the present situation, coupled with the growing menaces of a capitalist dictatorship in this country, should, surely, provide grounds for the union of all true Socialists in a common front against Fascism, Imperialism and War.
Yours fraternally,
E. G. L.

The arguments in favour of unity are always attractive, and never more so than in the present dangerous international situation, but organisational unity, to be effective, must be firmly based on unity of aim and method. Our correspondent maintains that “the objects and methods of both parties are practically identical,” and he gives several instances. One of them is that the reasons why the S.P.G.B. does not affiliate with the Labour Party are the same reasons which “caused the I.L.P. to break with the Labour Party.” This cannot be the case, because the I.L.P, is at the present time engaged on negotiations to resume affiliation with the Labour Party. True, the application is not unconditional, the I.L.P. laying down certain terms on which alone it will re-join, but the gulf which separates the objects of the S.P.G.B. and the Labour Party is such that there would be no possibility of bridging it. In brief, the aim of the Labour Party is not Socialism, but the reform of capitalism. If the I.L.P. can contemplate affiliation, that shows how far removed the I.L.P.’s outlook is from the S.P.G.B.’s.

No doubt the lessons of recent years have substantially changed the outlook of many members of the I.L.P., but much more remains to be done in that direction.


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