Socialist Victory or Election Antics

Judging from recent press reports, it would appear that a number of Labour Party M.P.’s are not at all sure that the Conservative Party’s inability to solve the problems which are making capitalism unpalatable to an increasing number of workers will result in the return to power, at the next General Election, of the Labour Party.

The fact that it is the system of society which needs changing, and not the people that administer it has not yet been understood by the majority of the working class. It is because of this ignorance of their class needs, that workers have been persuaded at election time to cast their vote for whichever programme of reforms seems to offer the greatest measure of security against the constant threat of unemployment, war, attacks upon wage levels, and the host of other afflictions that are the burden of the property-less in a class-divided society.

It is apparently because of the pronounced lack of enthusiasm shown by voters during recent bye-elections for the vote-catching schemes which the Labour Party have put forward, that has given rise to another splinter-group within the Labour Party. The sponsors of this new group claim that they will be able to combat the apathy shown by the electorate, and will be able to help mould public opinion into accepting the Labour Party as the next government

Mr. Stephen Swingler, M.P., chairman of the group, in an attempt to convince the party leaders—“that the movement is within the four walls of party rules” (Daily Telegraph, quotes the application form for membership of the group as demonstrating their loyalty to the party. He points out that only Labour Party members who are anxious to work for the success of the Party, are eligible for membership.

Mr. Swingler sets out the group’s aim as being “to recruit individual members pledging themselves to work for Socialism on a national basis.” This must be somewhat confusing to those people who have been kidded by the misrepresentation of the daily newspapers that the whole Labour Party was Socialist, for it now appears that only a select band, working both “for the success of the party” and for “Socialism on a national basis ” (which appears to be something quite different) are, according to Mr. Swingler, Socialists.

This trick of going in two different directions at the same time has also been used by Mr. Lamb, the Labour candidate in the Torrington By-election. Mr. Lamb is reported as having said: “I believe we should stop immediately everything connected with the manufacture and testing of H-bombs. Britain must not be a base for the launching of guided missiles. As I do not consider the H-bomb a deterrent 1 cannot consider the manufacture and testing of them a peaceful activity.” He then went on to say: “I have expressed a personal view, a line which I shall pursue throughout the election. I shall be unrelenting in my opinion.” He did, however, modify this statement considerably by adding: “If subsequently my method is not acceptable to the majority (of the Labour Party), I must be prepared to and indeed will, accept the majority decision” (Daily Express).

Mr. Gaitskell, as reported in the Daily Telegraph, warned these misguided enthusiasts of the dangerous effects of setting up organisations within the Labour Party. Addressing a constituency party dinner gathering at Keighley, Mr. Gaitskell said: “Recently an impression has been created that disunity may be reappearing. 1 want to warn the party of the dangers of this. We have at present, every hope of winning a substantial victory at the next general election. But this could be seriously jeopardised if division and disputes in our ranks broke out again.” He then went on to say: “If one organisation of this kind is permitted, there is no reason why it should not be followed by others, advancing other points of view. The result would inevitably be the distraction and disruption of the Party, with disastrous effects alike on our electoral efficiency and our reputation as the alternative government.”

“Victory for Socialism” is the title adopted by Swingler and Co., to cover their activities which they claim will help the Labour Party to return to power at the next general election. One of the first moves of this group, in their attempt to cash in on popular movements, was to ally itself to the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament” which organised the Easter march on the British nuclear weapons’ headquarters at Aldermaston.

The object of this campaign is to gain publicity for the movement’s protest against the manufacture of nuclear weapons and rocket missiles in this country. It must be pointed out that these activities, whatever else they may accomplish, have nothing at all to do with a victory for Socialism.

The fact is that these architects of “Socialist Victory” stress that they are always prepared to toe the Labour Party line, which does not say much for their sincerity in opposing nuclear armaments. Or have they forgotten that it was the Labour Party who pioneered the manufacture of the atom bomb in this country and made the manufacture of the H-bomb possible?

What these political opportunists fail to realise is that capitalism, with or without the H-bomb to protect the interests of the propertied class, with or without a Labour Party dedicated to nationalising the exploitation of the workers, cannot function without the poverty of the wage packet; the pursuit of profit; the wars that arise because of the need of rival capitalist groups to protect or capture markets, sources of raw materials and trade routes; and the periodical trade slumps which result in workers becoming unemployed as a consequence of their producing more than the market can absorb.

But one cannot expect Mr. Swingler and his associates to face these tiresome facts. And so the political merry-go-round goes on, with the charlatans and misguided do-gooders performing mental acrobatics in order to gain the votes of working people. And for what purpose? The purpose of gaining governmental power in order to administer capitalism with all the problems that it produces. One can only hope that sooner or later workers will get wise to this kind of double-talk, and decide to run society themselves, and run it for their own benefit. When this happens, the need for wars. H-bombs, poverty, slumps and leaders of the calibre of Mr. Gaitskell and Mr. Swingler will finally disappear.

E. C.

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