1960s >> 1960 >> no-665-january-1960

Letter: Sectarianism

While I appreciate your aims and your consistency in the struggle for Socialism, I must tell you that your party makes one fatal mistake. Since your formation when you broke away from the Communist wing just before the formation of the Communist Party you have failed to distinguish between a reformist Workers’ Party and a bourgeois party. Albeit that the leaders of the British Labour Party have as much in common with Socialism as chalk has with cheese, the Labour Party is the mass party of the workers. Every true Socialist who is working for Socialism in Britain should be an active member of the British Labour Party and fighting from within to turn that party to the way of Socialism. A Socialist organisation must be an integral part of the workers’ movement. I accuse the S.P.G.B. with the deadly sin of sectarianism.


R. Lennark.
London, N.16.




First let us correct our correspondent’s statement regarding the origin of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. Our Party was formed in 1904 by a group of Socialists who had left the Social Democratic Federation after its acceptance of a policy of reformism. The British Communist Party was founded in 1920 and at no time has the S.P.G.B. been connected with it.


Our predecessors saw the complete futility of the position our correspondent propounds. Further, our record shows quite clearly the distinction we make between the bourgeois and workers’ reformist parties. At the same time we point out that attempts by the working class to realise their true interests through such parties must fail.


Such organisations, in being wholly concerned with and committed to capitalism, inevitably must abandon or reject any Socialist aims and principles. Being a reformist party it must accept the values of Capitalism. The Labour Party in fact sees no alternative to the State, private property, or the profit motive in society. In office it must seek to further the interests of British Capitalism, regardless of whether such action is detrimental to workers in this and other lands.


The ludicrous position of a Socialist inside such an organisation can only result in his loss of identity as a Socialist and his being carried further away from his objective. If a majority of non-Socialist workers choose to support the Labour Party, or any other party, it is no justification for Socialists to do the same.


It must be obvious that there is only one party for the true Socialist and it is this party alone that is worthy of his support. For, as far as we are concerned with ’’deadly sins,” we consider deadliest of all that which betrays the cause of Socialism by supporting non Socialist organisations, and by doing so, supports Capitalism.


Editorial Committee.