Forum: Trade Unionism

H. A. BARKER (Longton) asks : A trade unionist, convinced of the necessity of Socialism, and knowing that capitalist government will as soon submit to the socialisation of the means of production and distribution as grant palliatives against their will, would the fact of him belonging to a trade union debar him from joining the S.P.G.B? If not what is his attitude toward the trade union ?

Membership of a trade union is not a disqualification for membership in the Party. The attitude of a member of our organisation in a trade union is the attitude of a Socialist among non-Socialists, that is, the position of a propagandist. Every time he comes into contact with his union and its members he takes the opportunity to emphasise the inefficacy of trade unionism to do anything towards achieving the emancipation of his class, and their lessening power in steadying the downward tendency of wages. To such propaganda some unions lend themselves more than others, in many it is only possible; but while it is necessary, and in some cases, essential, that a man shall belong to his union in order to live by his craft, we cannot debar unionists; and when the members of unions are converted to Socialism the nature of the organisation will change, their “leaders” will lose their power, and they will fall into line with the revolutionary movement so far as is necessary to that movement, or cease to exist altogether.

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