1940s >> 1943 >> no-463-march-1943

“Workers’ Revolutionary League” Please Note

The December-January, 1943, member of Solidarity, the organ of the Workers’ Revolutionary League, includes the following:—

S.P.G.B. Please Note.

But soldiers have a short way with legal niceties which stand in the way of military advantage. (Evening Citizen, December 28th, 1942.) (W.R.L.’s italics.)

We have duly noted this somewhat cryptic statement from a Glasgow capitalist newspaper, and in the absence of any explanatory comment by Solidarity, can only study the contents of that periodical with a view to shedding some light on it ourselves.

If the statement quoted has any meaning at all, it is that occupying or invading armies ignore the legal “niceties” (or provisions) of the region or territory they are occupying.

How on earth Solidarity or anybody else can dream that this invalidates the case of the S.P.G.B. is beyond us.

When victorious armies (soldiers) “have a short way” with “legal niceties” they are but overthrowing one legal code to institute another. They are imposing the power of a stronger state machine upon a weaker defeated one.

The S.P.G.B. has always contended that the workers, before they can impose their will upon the capitalist class, must get control of the Capitalist State machine by the only means possible, securing a majority of the electorate.

The Workers’ Revolutionary League, as evidenced in its quotations from Trotsky’s “Defence of Terrorism (Terrorism and Communism)” of 1920 (the arguments in which were so completely disposed of by Karl Kautsky) still deludes itself, in face of the colossal power of modern armies and air forces, with pipe dreams of a minority revolt of the unarmed workers against the armed forces of the Capitalist State.

We are naturally well aware of the fact that they endeavour to justify this, as Trotsky and Lenin did, with a lot of high-flown rubbish about calling on the soldiers to refuse to shoot the workers down.

Soldiers cannot refuse to obey orders, and remain soldiers. Actually, they have no desire to, otherwise they would not be in the army.

“Woe to humanity if we fail to tear the rifle butt from the hands of reaction at the critical hour,” says a Workers’ Revolutionary League spokesman reported in the same issue of Solidarity.

This mysterious “critical hour” is our old Communist Party pre-war friend “the psychological moment.”

On the contrary, the rifle butts are in the hands of the workers now—millions of ’em, and whether Solidarity likes it or not, they, the workers, are “the hands of reaction.”

Another contributor to Solidarity, “Icarus” (how well named, his brief flight into the realm of political theory ending just as disastrously), takes an anonymous contributor to a Left journal to task for stating that—

“Fascism is enthusiastically welcomed by a large strata of workers.”
“Where? Only our comrade knows,” says he.

Let us state categorically, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt owe their positions to the enthusiastic support of large numbers of the workers. They are unthinkable without it, and nobody knows it better than they do.


When, finally, we read that the Workers’ Revolutionary League wants to tear the rifle butts, etc., to arrive at the “classless, Stateless Socialist Industrial Commonwealth, Anarchism,” we perceive yet another example of a fact expounded by the Socialist Party for years—that confusion on means (violent minority, direct action) usually pre-supposes, and is in fact synonymous with a lack of any clear and definite object.


The object of the Workers’ Revolutionary League is “ Socialist Industrial Commonwealth—Anarchism.”


Anarchism has nothing whatever to do with Socialism —is diametrically opposed to it. It represents the hope of certain reformers—Proudhon, Stirner, Bakunin and Kropotkin—to convert the workers into small “independent” capitalists.


So the Workers’ Revolutionary League, not knowing what it is aiming at, it is not surprising that it is completely bewildered about how to get there.


The S.P.G.B. repeats that the only way to get Socialism is to make Socialists. The rifle butts are all right—it’s the ideas in the heads which have got to be torn out.