Friday, January 20, 2017

The Blind Directing The Blind (1917)

From the July 1917 issue of the Socialist Standard

We are so often told how naughty we are because we so bitterly oppose the pseudo-Socialist parties that we feel doubly pleased when such organisations readily themselves hand us the weapon wherewith we smite them. The following extract from the organ of the Socialist Labour Party, an organisation which for months past has tried to explain how very much alone it has been in defining the true Socialist position in its relation to the war, is distinctly good when compared with its companion of earlier date. It reads as follows:
LOOKING FOR A POLICY.
What with capitalist development and the S.L.P. propaganda the I.L.P has a painful feeling that it s been on the wrong track. That the I.L.P. has decided to re-examine its policy at the forthcoming Summer School deserves nothing but praise; and we wish it every success. The S.L.P. sends its best wishes.-—"The Socialist," June 1917.
That the I.L.P. is on the wrong number after 25 years of shouting is a sad thing indeed—-for its supporters. But the idea of the S.L.P. taking upon itself the task of putting its sick relative upon the right track it frankly amusing, as will be seen from the following gem published by the S.LP. in the same journal in November 1914 :
A PERSONAL NOTE.
That there arc differences of opinion in the S.L.P. as in other parties, on the question of the war must have been apparent to most readers of “The Socialist." Last month I tried to show what the different views were, but I have not been able to find out what support each side has, consequently I cannot say definitely what the official attitude of the Party is.
Three months after the declaration of war and still ignorant of its attitude toward that colossal butchery of the working class in the interests of their inveterate enemies! Could anything be put more clearly? The attitude of a Socialist party needed no discussion among its members at such a time. A true Socialist party would automatically fall into its only groove, as the S.P.G.B. did. This party did not find it necessary to discuss even for a moment what its attitude should be, or to adopt any other method of getting it defined. The path was made clear, the contingency fully provided for, by its formulated principles, and an examination of the Socialist Standard from August 1914 will show conclusively how steadfastly our position has been maintained, and how clearly our attitude of bitter opposition to the present war has been presented to the world. The workers themselves shall be the judge and jury- -our position is impregnable.
B. B. B.

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