May 1977 issue of the Socialist Standard
We have been sent a publication called Socialist Voice, issued by the “Workers’ League”, with a request for an opinion. This is easy. It is rubbish. It is a re-hash, a dreary repetition of the same old Leninist-Trotskyite nonsense of the CP in 1920. Its pages are filled with reports of the “industrial struggles” in the mistaken notion that strikes lead to Socialism.
Even one of its own contributors, Mr. Collard, points out that: “The view held by many on the left that industrial militancy by itself raises the level of class-consciousness fails to recognise that sectional struggle generates sectional interest”.
These lefties usually reveal a poor knowledge of facts. Thus, R. Kirkwood’s article on “How they built the Party in 1920” is a Stalinist fairy-story. We are told that there has only been one “partly successful” attempt “to build a revolutionary party in Britain”. This, says Kirkwood, was the Communist Party. He could not be more wrong. From the day of its inception the British CP was reformist through and through. Grovelling pathetically to the Labour Party to be allowed in, with the longest list of “immediate demands” (reforms) ever put before the British electorate. It was completely corrupt, run on Russian roubles.
What R. Kirkwood and the Workers’ League have never understood is that unemployed marches do not lead to Socialism. If they did, we should have had it round about 1930. A revolutionary party is committed exclusively to Revolution and cannot support reforms — which are anti-revolutionary.
May we suggest that the Workers’ League, which wishes to “contribute to the debate”, obtain a little more knowledge before doing so? A good start would be The Communist Manifesto and Value, Price and Profit. Although good old Marx said in the C.M. that “the real fruit of their battles lies in their ever-expanding union” (i.e. the workers), he obviously expected them to learn from their defeats enough to form a political party with the watchword “Abolition of the wages system”.
So far this “Socialist Voice” is a bad case of laryngitis.