1960s >> 1968 >> no-765-may-1968

Robens Admits It?

Lord Robens, who was a Labour MP from 1945 until in 1960 he became Chairman of the state capitalist National Coal Board, told an NUM weekend school in Blackpool on 31 March:

Recalling to miners the nationalization of coal, gas and electricity industries, he said: ‘I do not believe that in 1945 those of us who were nationalizing these industries would have done it with so much enthusiasm if someone had told us then that they were going to turn into state capitalism’. If they had Labour MP’s at the time would not have jubilantly sung ‘The Red Flag’ in the corridors of the House of Commons.

But they were told. They did not listen but carried on doing ‘something now’. Long before 1945 the Labour party and its supporters were warned by the Socialist Party of Great Britain that nationalisation was not Socialism, or even a step toward it, but merely state capitalism. In December 1945 the Socialist Party brought out a pamphlet, Nationalisation or Socialism? explaining just this. Another pamphlet. Is Labour Government the Way to Socialism? published the following month, made the same point:

Not nationalisation, which is just another name for State Capitalism, but Socialism which involves the abolition of capitalism, is the objective for which the working class must strive. The Labour Party is the party of State Capitalism. It is not a party serving the interest of the working class.