Saturday, January 14, 2017

SOCIALISM HAS NOT ABANDONED ITS AIMS (1939)

From the October 1939 issue of the Socialist Standard

A WORD TO THE ENEMIES OF SOCIALISM 

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has always had to challenge and denounce the avowed enemies of Socialism and the self-styled friends of Socialism who attached the name Socialism to the varied forms of State capitalism. The anti-Socialist parties and Press, often for reasons of their own, but sometimes out of pure ignorance, helped on the work of misrepresentation by describing as “Socialist” the Labour Party, the Co-operative Movement, Nazi Germany, and Bolshevist Russia. Now, with the transition from peace to war, the misrepresentation increases in volume. We read in the Daily Telegraph (September 20th) that “the Mineworkers' Federation of Great Britain has subscribed £5,000 to the funds of the Socialist Party,” meaning, of course, the Labour Party. We read in the Newbury Weekly News (September 14th) that Mr. Lewis Davison, prospective candidate of the Labour Party, speaking in the name of Socialists, declared that they "want only the destruction of Fascism.” We find the Manchester Guardian, in an editorial (September 18th), denouncing what they believe to be the foreign policy of the Russian Government, and saying, "It would not be a pretty policy for the first Socialist State. . . .”

Then, Mr. Duff Cooper, writing in the Evening Standard (September 19th), under the heading, "Two Breeds of Bolshevism,” goes much further. Though he admits that he "consistently advocated an agreement with Russia,” he has this to say about Nazism and Bolshevism, and their recent Pact: —
   In these columns I have more than once referred to the possibility of such an alliance; and the conclusion of it is indeed the most natural thing in the world, because there is no fundamental difference between the creeds of Moscow and Berlin.
    These two breeds of Bolshevism are fundamentally akin. Both are historically revolutionary, both are admittedly socialistic, both seek to break away from all ties with the past, to abolish all class distinction, to destroy all old traditions, and both are bitterly anti-Christian.
    Where they differ the Russian brand is indeed the less ignoble of the two, the German is the more efficient.
    The Communism of Karl Marx does in theory, if not in practice, aim at international peace and good will. It envisages a world in which all men shall be equal both in status and in wealth and in which all nations shall be friends.
     No such dreams haunt the baser imagination of the Nazi. He, while rejecting Christianity, has returned to the primitive tribal paganism of his barbarous ancestors. He has no faith in humanity but only in a particular branch of it out of which he has created an idol, unknown to ethnical science, whom he calls the Nordic man and whom he worships.
    The higher ideals of Communism won’t work, and the Bolsheviks of Moscow have long abandoned them. 
He recalls the difficulty the Allied Governments had in the last war in being friends of the Czar’s Government and at the same time claiming to support democracy, and adds : —
    As a result of the events of these past three weeks that difficulty, at least, exists no longer. The Powers of Evil are now united. National Socialism and International Socialism are at one. The two Governments that base their systems upon robbery, torture and murder are marching together. The anti-Christian and anti-God forces are in step.
     There can surely be no conference or compromise with the Stalin-Hitler front, which now presents itself naked and unashamed before the horrified eyes of the civilised world.
(We may remark in parenthesis that, just as the pseudo-Socialists had no great difficulty in stomaching Czarism in 1914, so we have little doubt that, with a new turn in international affairs, Mr. Duff Cooper may again have to consider accepting a Russian alliance against Germany.)

As Socialists, we are concerned to defend the name of Socialism. Let us, then, reiterate that the Socialist Party of Great Britain never has and never will lend itself to the pretence that something else than Socialism is "just as good.” We have never worked for or defended State capitalism, whether as advocated by the reformist parties in this country or as practised by the Nazis and Bolsheviks in Germany and Russia. We have never been prepared to pretend that Czarism or Bolshevism were democratic; we have never glossed over the brutalities of those two systems. We have always held that Socialism is, in its nature, democratic and international. We have never been prepared to compromise those views. In war, as in peace, we repudiate the false friends and avowed enemies of Socialism who seek to associate Socialism with various forms of capitalism and capitalism’s wars.

Mr. Duff Cooper can take it from us that “international Socialism” is not at one with Nazism or with Labourism, or British-French imperialism, or with the Bolshevist survival of the imperialism of the Czars. And in saying this we do not have to perform adroit feats of word-swallowing.

Socialists, now as always, stand for Socialism.
Edgar Hardcastle

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