50 Years ago: Harry Pollitt

What a tragedy was the life of Harry Pollitt! Here was a man who, horrified by the conditions of the working class as he had known them in his youth, set out in a genuine attempt to improve those conditions. He conceived a personal dislike of “the bosses,” and was determined to “make them pay” for what the workers had had to suffer. Yet Harry Pollitt never gained a thorough understanding of the forces that mould modern society, in Russia as well as in Britain. As a result, his deeply-felt hostility to the ruling class in Britain simply resulted in his becoming, indirectly, an overseas ally of the Russian ruling class. It is not enough merely to oppose capitalism, as one has known it: one must be for its alternative, Socialism. Had Harry Pollitt succeeded in his efforts, he would merely have been instrumental in establishing state capitalism in Britain, in place of the variety we have at present. And that would have left the workers exactly where they  are  now.

(From “The Passing Show” by A.W.E., Socialist Standard, September 1960)

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