>> 1938 >> no-406-june-1938

Party News: Our Parliamentary Campaign

The Local Labour Party Wakes Up
For months past we have been making an organised move to contact the electorate in East Ham North, where we are running a candidate for Parliament at the next General Election.
The result is that the local Labour Party has issued a circular warning its members against the Socialist Party. The following is an extract from ; the circular: —

   “. . . . Socialist Party of Great Britain. Some of our members may have been confused by the campaign for members which has been run by the above-named organisation. We want it to be clear that the Socialist Party of Great Britain is a small, intensely bigoted organisation, claiming to be the only pure disciples of Karl Marx. They have no connection with the Labour Party, are not affiliated, and have no belief in Parliamentary Government, except to demonstrate its futility. They have announced that they intend to run a candidate in opposition to the Labour Party in East Ham North at the next General Election. Members ought to know where to place an organisation which is insane enough to split the working-class at a General Election”.

So far so good! But why Labour Party members should be “confused” between the Socialist Party of Great Britain and their own party is difficult for us to comprehend. Perhaps the authors of the circular would care to try again with an explanation of their statement. Perhaps they mean that our activities have set the minds of their members to doubt the validity of the Labour Party’s claim to be a Socialist organisation. We can assure them that our own propaganda will do that good and proper. Our exposure of capitalist politics and economics must inevitably reveal the Labour Party as an organisation which is pro-capitalist in outlook and method.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain has never announced that we intend to run a candidate in opposition to the Labour Party. What we have stated is that our candidate will stand for the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism. As all the other candidates, including the one from the Labour Party, will support capitalism in one way or another, we shall be in opposition to them all.
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“A Small Organisation”
What a statement! The Labour Party was small at one time, and we well remember in its early days it was constantly charged by the Liberals that it was “splitting the votes of the progressive forces” whenever it ran candidates for Parliament.
We would hardly remind the East Ham Labour Party that there was a time when the entire Labour Party representation could have been carried to Parliament in a four-wheeled cab.
” Parliamentary Government”
We challenge the East Ham Labour Party to substantiate their statement that we do not believe in “Parliamentary Government.” We charge them with confusing the minds of their own members, inasmuch as underlying their statement is the suggestion that we think that Parliament is futile. We flatly deny this misrepresentation of our position. May we ask them to read some of the literature we have distributed in the constituency, in which we show the importance of controlling Parliament and the whole political machinery as a means of establishing Socialism ?
We suggest that the East Ham Labour Party might care to arrange for a public debate with us; we are as anxious as they are that their members should not be confused.
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More S.P.G.B. Canvassers Wanted
Now for a few words to our own members. The campaign in the constituency is steadily and surely gaining ground.
The East Ham Branch has arranged a series of lectures, and this must be made widely known.
Outdoor propaganda meetings have, and are, being held, but all this is not enough. A number of members have already canvassed some of the wards with satisfactory results. Some of them report that a discussion about Socialism on the doorstep, in the passage or the parlour, is sometimes welcomed by people who dislike answering the door to the landlord and the men with the vacuum cleaners.
We know that personal contact is a most effective way of making our case known, and we are sure that no member of the Socialist Party would like to feel that, but for his or her inactivity, our campaign would have been more successful. Therefore, we appeal to all who can do this to let us know as soon as possible. We must have more canvassers, and we intend to run a school, if necessary, to show how canvassing is done. Let us hear from you.
Robert Reynolds
(The Parliamentary Committee.)