1950s >> 1950 >> no-548-april-1950

Obituary

What an ungrateful lot the British workers are! Hardened fighters in the great battle for Immediate Demands have given the best years of their lives furthering the cause of that great fountain of reforms, the Communist Party of Great Britain; nay, have also been so generous as to urge the workers to give their lives not only in international warfare, but also in the streets against the forces of the State. But what do the workers do to show their appreciation of the herculean efforts of their self-appointed leaders? The result of the recent election clearly shows that the British workers overwhelmingly rejected the C.P.G.B. and its crypto-comrades.

Both M.P.s in the previous House of Commons lost their seats, and apart from these two and Harry Pollitt who fought Rhondda East, the remaining 97 Communist Party candidates lost their deposits, very few of them polling 1,000 votes or over.

As was to be expected, the Daily Worker of 25th February, 1950, gives a couple of false reasons for this calamity, in the hope of covering up the truth. Mr. Gallacher is reported as saying:—

“The workers have not yet seen our point of view that it was necessary to vote Communist in order to ensure a real fight against their enemies.”

The point of view of the Communist Party (as published at the time of the election campaign—it has a notorious habit of changing overnight) was all too discernible. A plethora of social reforms ranging from Home Rule for various sections of the British Isles, through the familiar hardy annuals—more wages, houses, schools, trade with Russia, etc., and less armaments, price increases, frozen wages, trade with the United States, etc., to the more exotic items such as banning the atom bomb and a more democratic constitution of the British Army.

But behind the camouflage of all these reforms, promises and vote-catching slogans, the insoluble tie between the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Russian Government stood out in bold relief, and here lies the real cause of the C.P.’s downfall. A working-class not accepting the Socialist solution to world problems, and stiff in support of Capitalism will be most likely to support the “home-grown” section of the capitalist class, and not the interests of some rival group of exploiters abroad. Hence, now that the American and British sections of the world capitalist class find themselves opposed to the imperialist policy of the Russian ruling class, the British workers (who are still nationalist in their outlook, thanks partly to the propaganda of the Communist Party itself) will naturally oppose any organisation which supports Russian capitalism. The popularity of the Communist Party in 1945, which resulted in their obtaining two seats in Parliament, was largely due to the temporary alliance between the United States. Britain and the U.S.S.R. during the war.

The other reason for defeat advanced by the Daily Worker was that the workers voted for the Labour Party rather than the C.P. in order to “ keep the Tories out.” Surely, if the “Communists” were really concerned about keeping out the Tories, they would have refrained from putting forward all those candidates, which, according to their reasoning, might have “split the Left vote,” a heinous crime for all so-called “progressives” to commit, and one, incidentally, of which the S.P.G.B. has often been accused. However, five years of Labour Party administration of Capitalism prompted large numbers of workers to vote Tory in 1950, despite the Daily Worker’s glib excuse, in fact, so many workers supported the Tory candidate in West Fife that he topped Mr. Gallacher’s vote by nearly 1,000, the Labour candidate winning the seat which “oor Wullie ” had so stoutly held for the past fifteen years.

It is interesting to note here that in spite of the host of reforms and the vote-catching tricks employed by the “Communist” candidates (i.e., pandering to religious and racial prejudices in certain constituencies), they polled a mere 200 votes each more than the S.P.G.B. candidates in North Paddington and East Ham South. We of the Socialist Party, who stood for the single issue of Socialism, and who eschewed all forms of election stunts and vote-catching slogans and promises of reforms, insisting on socialist knowledge being the pre-requisite for the support of our candidates, have long been chided by the “short-cut boys” of the C.P. as being “impossibilists,” whereas they, the saviours of the workers, would lead them to victory in a flash of lightning. Now it appears that the leaders have moved so fast (in a circle) that they have left their followers behind, and have reappeared at the rear of the political scene.

What are the future prospects for the vanquished “vanguards of the proletariat”? Now that parliamentary representation no longer exists, and the chances of future representation seems remote, the Communist Party may once more advocate armed insurrection as being the only hope for the workers. The cloak-and-dagger element of the C.P. may once more become prominent, organising “parallel illegal machinery,” forming secret cadres, shock battalions and what not, in fact as it were reverting to type, and complying with Bolshevik theory inherited from the terrorism of the Blanquists of nineteenth century Russia.

This policy of bringing the workers out against the armed forces of the State may have sounded feasible in the days of rifles and barricades, but it is recklessly suicidal for the workers nowadays, when the modern State controls such weapons as tanks and flamethrowers. At the congress of the C.P.G.B. held in November, 1929, the Manchester Guardian of 2/12 /1929 reports Harry Pollitt as saying: —

“Only through social revolution, only through armed insurrection, can the workers gain power.”
And now, fresh from the crushing Communist Party defeat in 1950, the same Mr. Pollitt says: —
“The great issues will be settled not in the arena of this reactionary Parliament, but by the workers’ mass struggle in the factories and the streets.” (Daily Worker, 25/2/50.)

This statement may only refer to trade union activity and to street meetings and marches, but on the other hand it may be a hint of further dangerous anti-working-class machinations by the Communist Party.

Whatever the new Party Line will be. we can make two prophecies with confidence: —

(1) It will be strictly in conformity with the needs of the Russian capitalist government.

(2) It will not present an alternative to the present system of society for the consideration of the working class, but will offer innumerable reforms, as do all the other reform parties, in the hope of attracting support for its policy.

We have always held the view that the “Communists’” misuse of the word “Socialism” by applying it to state-capitalist Russia has greatly hindered the task of explaining what Socialism really is despite the smokescreen of pseudo-marxian jargon with which they cloak their propaganda, and we have also seen many similar so-called “left-wing” parties perish during the last thirty years (Trotskyites, Independent Labour Party, etc.) due to the sterility of their non-socialist arguments.

The sooner the Communist Party of Great Britain also finally falls from the political scene the better, for the workers will then be rid of an organisation which has been nothing but a millstone round their political necks, and whose policy has helped in no way to remove the cause of the major problems besetting society to-day —i.e., Capitalism and substitute Socialism in its place Only a political party having this object as its aim is worthy of working-class support.

Upon a tombstone of crumbling clay in the political grave where the C.P.G.B. will be unceremoniously interred, the following epitaph, written in the blood of millions of workers may be seen: “Born 1920, Died ?. R.I.P. (Russian Imperial Policy).”

M. L.

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