Monday, March 20, 2017

Brighton Councillor's allegations: The facts (1970)

From the March 1970 issue of the Socialist Standard
In January a Brighton Councillor, Millyard, resigned from the Labour Party giving as one of his reasons that a number of Brighton Labour's ward parties were dominated by the Socialist Party of Great Britain. This was a tribute to the success of our comrades’ efforts there to bring our name to people's attention; but quite inaccurate as our comrades pointed out in the following statement :
The Socialist Party of Great Britain, since its foundation in 1904, has visualised a socialist society as a world-wide system based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of production, with free access to the necessities of life available to all mankind; which can only be achieved by the conscious effort of the majority, expressing their will by means of the ballot. Thus we consider that any organisation which seeks only to win mass support without the necessary understanding of how such a new society could be built from the present, can never achieve Socialism.

Accordingly, the Socialist Party of Great Britain has always been a completely democratic organisation with an Object and Declaration of Principles (reproduced on every piece of literature published by us) which makes [our] position unmistakably clear. Furthermore, every meeting of the Party (including administrative meetings) has been open to public and Press alike, ever since our foundation.

The policy of ‘boring from within’ i.e. the infiltration and control of other political organisations, such as the Labour Party, has repeatedly been denounced as a dangerous and useless tactic in the Socialist Standard and other Party propaganda. Our insistence that a socialist party can only succeed as a completely independent organisation has been unequivocably stated from the beginning.

This should not be seen as a sectarian attitude. It is simple logic. Our aim is the establishment of a new human society. To dissipate our energies infiltrating other organisations (which merely seek to maintain the present society) instead of striving to gain conscious support for our ideas, would be stupidly futile. Thus our attitude might be summed up in the well- known (if slightly re-arranged) cliche : “We must not only be independent, but must be seen to be so.”

The Socialist Party’s case has been put forward locally for a number of years by an active Brighton Group, by means of Public Meetings, debates, pamphlets, the local Press and Radio as well as our regular discussion meetings every Thursday evening. With the growing disillusion of would-be socialists within the many organisations of the so-called ‘Left’, it is not surprising that our ideas are being examined and discussed more attentively.

There is, therefore, no excuse for the absurd accusations levelled at us by Cllr. Millyard. Contrary to the opinion of the Brighton & Hove Herald editorial, he obviously has not the slightest knowledge of our Party’s activities, and cannot have made any attempt to verify his wild statements before making them.

Should Cllr. Millyard be prepared to defend his accusations, we shall be glad to accommodate him at any time, in open debate with an independent chairman (perhaps the writer of the Herald editorial would oblige). Alternatively, a retraction by Cllr. Millyard would seem to be called for.





1 comment:

imposs1904 said...

Cllr Millyard obviously confused the SPGB with the Trotskyite Militant Tendency, who were always very strong in the Brighton Labour Party and the Sussex University Labour Club. It was one of their first major areas of growth in the 60s.