1940s >> 1947 >> no-516-august-1947

Mr. Strachey provides food for thought

The Labour Party Government is made up of all types of people. Many of its members have been political opponents in the past but are now “united” in administering British capitalism in its decline.


Perhaps one of the most interesting examples of a Labour careerist is Mr. John Strachey—present Minister of Food; one time follower of Mosley in his pre-Fascist days and later still high priest of the Stalinist variety of Leninism.


Here we have a typical expensively-educated suave politician who has built himself a career and a good living, on the immaturity of the working class. After graduating from Eton and Magdalen, John Evelyn St. Loe Strachey—to give him his full name—entered the offices of the I.L.P. This started him off on his literary and political career.


Inside the Labour Party he fell under the influence of Sir Oswald Mosley. He later joined Mosley’s New Party but left Mosley before the B.U.F. was formed.


Then Strachey began his advocacy of Leninism in order to combat Fascism. Much of what he wrote in those days could be to-day used as a criticism of the present Labour Government. In those days when he posed as a “revolutionary” he often exposed the futility of the Labour Party and its policy of administering capitalism in the interests of the working class.


This is what Mr. Strachey had to say of Social Democracy in his book, “The Coming Struggle for Power ”:—


   ‘‘In general, therefore, we may prophesy the social democratic system will, more and more, become the mechanism by which the capitalists control the workers.” (“Coming Struggle for Power,” p.337, Gollancz edition).


He went on further, to accuse Social Democracy of preparing the conditions which give rise to Fascism.


   “Social Democracy becomes in fact ‘Social Fascism’.”


In those days he studied and criticised the majority of capitalist economists; especially did he hit out at those economists who supported the Labour Party like G. D. H. Cole and Barbara Wootton. He even went so far as to assert that the Labour Party’s propaganda was the greatest danger to the working class.


   “In particular the writers, thinkers and spokesmen of the British Labour Party, who chiefly influence the British masses, consistently hold out the illusion of a pleasant, easy and non-revolutionary issue from the present crises. We have already analysed the content of this illusion. We have seen that it is based, whether consciously or unconsciously upon the belief that a new and prolonged period of capitalist stabilization is at hand, a period which will offer the objective possibility of a steady, slow transition to a more socialistic basis of society. This counsel is the deadliest of all the poisons which can be administered to the workers.” (“Nature of Capitalist Crises,” p.370-371, published by Gollancz).


What a piece of self-condemnation!


But Mr. Strachey soon dropped all those ideas when the British Empire was threatened. Instead of advocating “revolutionary defeatism,” as a true disciple of Lenin, with the outbreak of war he joined the A.R.P., and later the R.A.F. He abandoned the Communist Party which, at that time, was calling the war an “imperialist war.” From that time up to the time of writing he has been a supporter and member of the Labour Party.


His actual job during the war has been very well described by the Observer (June 2nd, 1946).


   “A critical moment was reached in the development of our bombing policy. Heavy raids on German cities caused heavy civilian casualties among German women and children. These concentrated raids might rouse the British public to objection. His weekly broadcasts gently took the public mind off the receiving end of the bombing attacks, and fixed it on the courage of the crews and the master plans behind the attacks.”


Indeed, a nice occupation for an avowed internationalist.


So we see that Mr. Strachey has changed from an enemy of Labourism to a member of the Labour Government.


This does not come as a surprise to Socialists. For members of the S.P.G.B. realise that so long as the workers are not Socialists, politicians are able to change their policy at will because they receive their support from workers who give them blind allegiance.


The remedy is for the workers to do a little thinking for themselves. For when the majority of workers have become Socialists it will mean doom for the professional politician. For then the working class will have established a society which will no longer need Labour leaders or politicians of any sort.


G. W. Clark