From the October 1975 issue of The Socialist Standard
Text of a letter sent by a member of the World Socialist Party of the US to the American left-wing magazine “Ramparts“.
Matthew Blaire’s article in the August-September Ramparts titled: “Britain in Between” laments “Britain’s political crisis” and states ” . . . it is very hard to see the left-wingers quitting a party machine (the British Labour Party) which confers national influence on what would otherwise be a minority splinter group.” And he ends his article: “We may be at the beginning of the lean years.”
Question: What is the political crisis now facing the working class? (Suffice it to say that though the term “working class” does not appear in his article, its context revolves around the interests of the working class. I’m sure he does not deny the Class Struggle.) Unfortunately, he overlooks that the “national influence of the British Labour Party is not now nor ever has been involved in the revolutionary struggle to get rid of capitalism and establish a Socialist society (except for lip-service on special occasions.)
Its programmes have been supported by the votes of the British Left, radicals and liberals, who advocate measures for reforming and administering capitalism — which are no concern to revolutionary Marxist Socialists.
The history and experiences of the last 75 years have amply demonstrated the futility of all the “practical” measures and immediate demands for removing or altering the deleterious effects of capitalism — which has already outlived its historic usefulness in the light of the vast strides in technology and science. (Capitalism laid the groundwork for Socialism.) And, sad to say, the dedicated attempts, energies, hard work of the leftist groups have been equally futile in solving the problems of capitalism. We are still confronted with the very same dilemmas: wars, economic crises, conflicts of interests on every level of society, not to mention housing and the host of other insoluble situations. Within the framework of capitalism it is impossible to remove these problems. It is obvious that the NEED still exists for abolishing capitalism and introducing Socialism!
More importantly, Blaire is aware of the principles and policies of the Socialist Party of Great Britain but prefers to ignore the fact that the SPGB has consistently, since its organization in 1904, stood alone on the proposition that the only objective of prime importance is:
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Let me emphasize that the real political crisis of the British working class, and the workers of the world, as well, is the lack of class-conscious revolutionary Socialists! Socialism cannot be rammed down the throats of the workers against their wishes. We are not confronted, as Blaire thinks, with the “beginning of the lean years”. Rather, we are confronted with the continuation of the lean years, until the workers wake up to their class interests and in their vast numbers win the political power to transfer the means of life from the parasites and transfer it to where it belongs, in the hands of society as a whole. And if I read the signs of the times correctly, such an event is on the horizon. I’m very optimistic about the prospects for Socialism.
Finally, I detect an inference in Blaire’s comment on “minority splinter group” that he regards the SPGB as a dogmatic, sectarian party. Actually, the dogmatic sectarians are those who have not learned the lessons of experience of the futilities of attempts to reform and administer capitalism. Socialism is both possible and practical today, here and now. The great drive will be the product of NECESSITY. The alternative now is Socialism is chaos. The insanity of capitalism must be replaced by the sanity of Socialism, if mankind is to survive.
Isaac Rab (WSPUS)