So here we are at Brighton suffering yet another Labour Party conference. When all the ballyhoo has died down, however, what is it that remains? Nothing but a pitiful collection of woolly-minded and sometimes well-meaning resolutions, that signify nothing as far as actual practice is concerned. The Labour Party is a party that intends to administer capitalism when in power, and to administer it in the only way possible—that is, in the interests of the ruling class. For all their fine phrases about equality and opportunity, they have nothing more to recommend them to workers than the Tories or LibDems. When it suits them—and particularly at election time—they pretend to operate under deeply held, inviolable principles over which they are passionately divided from the lot with the rosettes of a different colour. But it takes only the normalities of capitalism—the political problems of a minority government, the pressures of an economic crisis, the emergencies of a war with a rival capitalist power—for their basic unity of principle to assert itself in some sort of alliance or coalition.
The Labour Party has a lot to answer for. They have frittered away the energies of the working class by so-called reforms that have left the workers in the same position as when they started; they have turned working-class militancy into apathy; they have upheld the slaughter of one nation’s workers by another; they have led the trade unions into a position of tacit support for capitalism, by basing their wage claims on rises in the cost of living and production, instead of the basic fact of worker's exploitation. One could go on enumerating the policies by which the Labour Party has caused incalculable harm to the working class of this and other countries, but what is perhaps most unforgivable of all. they have deluded people into imagining that what they were doing was somehow bringing the equalitarian society of socialism nearer.
Nationalisation, which was once the great plank of the Labour Party, is now a heap of sawdust and shavings which was quietly swept up. It is only when there are internal conflicts within that the Labour Party is it at one with itself. It is only when it has a vociferously organised element demanding a more militant approach and offering vague threats about storming the citadels of privilege, which give the Labour Party the semblance, if not the reality, of being different from the Tories. It is only this which raises the pulse and tingles the blood of the hard core of the rank and file and makes them believe that the movement has not yet lost its ideals. Without this there is despondency and gloom and the Labour Party is divided against itself.
At Brighton this year “grass roots” activists will talk earnestly about the evils of capitalism and call for “socialist” policies. Understanding only too well that “something” is wrong in society they live in perpetual hope of legislating the nastiness out of capitalism. Not understanding how capitalism works, delegates appear to think that governments have unlimited resources at their disposal. Shortage of the good things of life is nothing new to a worker. That’s something no politicians have been able to do anything about, but it certainly does not stop them from promising. In fact, there was certainly no shortage of promises.
Our message to working people is this: Instead of looking to leaders and political racketeers to solve their problems, they should start examining the problems for themselves, and see what it is that keeps them in economic subjection. Once they do this, they are well on the way to seeing that only the abolition of classes and private property can solve their problems. The Labour Party has undoubtedly proved an inestimable boon for existing capitalist interests. The Labour Party, in securing the support of the workers by their claims to be able to run capitalism differently from the older parties, have not only strengthened the hold of capitalism over the working- class but have facilitated its recovery. We suggest that the first step to removing the evil of capitalism is to understand how the system works. The Socialist Party holds that socialism is the only cure for the effects of capitalism. While capitalism continues so the workers must suffer from its effects and their condition become worse, so we ask our fellow-workers to join us in the work of advocating socialism and organising for the overthrow of capitalism. Socialism is the only solution to their problems.