A Communist View of The S.P.G.B.
A few years ago a trade union known as the National Passenger Workers’ Union was formed by busmen who had been members of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, but were dissatisfied with the working of that organisation. The Communist Party has now decided that “no member of the N.P.W.U. is eligible for membership of the Communist Party.” This declaration is contained in a leaflet headed “For Unity!—The C.P.G.B. and the N.P.W.U.,” issued by the Communist Party. With the issues involved in the dispute between the rival unions we need not here concern ourselves except to say that members of the S.P.G.B. are to be found in both unions. The Communist leaflet, however, contains the following:—
“The N.P.W.U. is itself a hotbed of every kind of anti-working class politics—S.P.G.B. members (who believe the fight for Socialism is hopeless until every worker is a Marxist) I.L.P.-ers and Trotskyists. . . .”
This is, of course, a gross distortion of the attitude of the S.P.G.B. In saying that the S.P.G.B. believes the fight for Socialism is hopeless until every worker is a “Marxist,” the Communists imply that the S.P.G.B. is resigned to waiting until such time as every worker is deeply learned in the economic and other voluminous writings of Marx. This is a complete misunderstanding of the position. What the S.P.G.B. does hold is that the achievement of Socialism is hopeless until there are a majority of workers who understand that Socialism, not reformism, is the only solution of their problems. This is a very different proposition, and one the Communists invariably evade. What is the alternative to the S.P.G.B.’s attitude? The only alternative is that Socialism can be achieved by non-Socialists, by Liberals, Tories and others, under the leadership of what the Communists used to call an “intelligent minority.” It is on this theory that the Communist Party tries to build up a mass movement by associating itself with all kinds of reforms of capitalism—at present it is demanding the Beveridge Scheme. Wherever this may lead, it does not lead to Socialism; it does not even lead to a Communist-directed mass organisation. The Tories, the Liberals, and the Labour Party have shown themselves infinitely more successful at attracting to themselves the support of the non-Socialist workers.