Editorial from the September 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard
Although several demonstrations have now been held, Messrs. Maxton and Cook have so far, neither by word nor deed, made clear what they stand for. They have said that they are Socialists. Yet Mr. Cook is secretary of the Miners’ Federation of Great Britain, and in that capacity supports their official policy of nationalisation, or State Capitalism, for the mining industry, with "compensation” for the mine-owners. That is not Socialism, and will not solve the problems of the miners. Mr. Maxton is Chairman of the I.L.P., which also advocates State Capitalism. They are both members of the Labour Party, although they condemn its “liberal” outlook. The Labour Party draft programme is a programme of Capitalist reforms, but Mr. Ramsay MacDonald states that Cook saw and approved the section dealing with the mines prior to publication, and the I.L.P. similarly had the whole draft for amendment. (Forward, July 21.)
The I.L.P., in a circular to its branches (July 21, 1928), published the four amendments to the Draft Programme, which it proposes to move at the Labour Party Congress. Not one of them touches the essential point that the Labour Programme does not aim at common ownership of the means of production and distribution, and is therefore not a Socialist programme.
Has Mr. Maxton the backing of the I.L.P. members? If not, why does he retain the Chairmanship? If he has their backing for his policy, then he could control the actions of the I.L.P. Labour M.P.’s, and he is committed to all of the actions of the Parliamentary Labour Party, since a clear majority of the Labour M.P.s are members of the I.L.P. (It is interesting to observe that Mr. Philip Snowden, who ridicules the I.L.P., and declares that it is not Socialist, was re-elected, largely by the votes of I.L.P. Labour M.P.s, to the Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Labour Party.)
Mr. Maxton’s ambiguous position on State Capitalism is paralleled by his position with regard to Capitalist international relationships.
In addition to being Chairman of the I.L.P., he is also Chairman of the League Against Imperialism. In the July issue of its organ, The Anti-Imperialist Review, appear reviews of books by H. N. Brailsford and J. C. Wedgwood, two prominent members of the I.L.P. Both books are condemned as being “frankly Imperialist." Mr. Maxton is not helping to clear away confusion of thought among the workers by remaining Chairman of two organisations, the members of which publicly denounce each other; nor is he helping Socialism by continuing to support I.L.P. and Labour Party programmes which he knows are not Socialist.