Monday, December 04, 2023

When the Labour Party was formed in 1906

 When the Labour Party was formed in 1900, it was composed of the ILP, the SDF, and the trade unions. It was the beginning of a real mass workers’ party.    Within twelve months, however, the SDF had resigned after failing to get a resolution passed committing the party to common ownership of the means of production and class war. The Labour Party soon fell under the influence of reformism.   Communist Party of Britain.   The SDF evolved in the years that followed and – in 1911 – became the British Socialist Party (BSP). In 1916, the party had ousted the pro-war faction around Hyndman, who then resigned. By this time, the BSP had affiliated to the Labour Party.   In 1917, radicalised by the imperialist war, the BSP were deeply supportive of the Bolshevik Revolution. Many of their members took part in the ‘Hands Off Russia’ Committee.

The evolution of the Labour Party over 117 (not 123!) years from Keir I to Keir II is a practical confirmation of the theoretical case against reformism. The Labour Party, instead of gradually transforming capitalism in the interests of the workers, has itself been gradually transformed from a trade union pressure group into an instrument of capitalist rule.    

Labour has supported all major wars, including WWI, initiated the British atomic bomb, sent troops to smash strikes, established the vicious Special Patrol Group, passed racist immigration laws, imposed ‘monetarist’ expenditure cuts leading to the closure of hospitals and other vitally needed services… In the light of such evidence, how can anyone claim that Labour is anything other than a Party seeking to reform capitalism rather than end it through majoritarian social revolution?

And the Bolshevik revolution was in no way socialist. We said so in 1918, mere months into Lenin’s coup d’état, but our voice was, then as now, either not heard or ignored.    The one good thing he did was to withdraw Russian troops from the mass murder of WWI.    First as tragedy, then as farce: the ‘Hands Off Russia’ Committee has been replaced  by  Anti*Capitalist [sic} Resistance, a group which claims to be Marxist yet supports Labour and proclaims Hands Off Ukraine!

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