Thursday, January 11, 2018

50 Years Ago: Labour Government and Socialism (1980)

The 50 Years Ago column from the November 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard

It has been an argument of long standing among Labour Party supporters that the activities of their party, even if not directly concerned with socialism, arc justified because they are leading towards it. They have ridiculed our policy of working directly for socialism as "impossiblism”. Mr. Ramsay MacDonald repeated this justification for the Labour Party at its conference at Llandudno, in October. He said:
The Government’s pledges were those of socialists convinced that the capitalist system cannot be made to work. If his opponents objected that the government had not reached the socialist goal, he answered ‘No, we haven’t, but we are going to get there’.
Mr. MacDonald's statement is hardly compatible with Mr. J. H. Thomas’s admission at the Conference of the National Union of Railwaymen on 5 July 1929, that the Government proposed to tackle the unemployment problem "While accepting the present order of society”. Nor does it fit in with the significant fact that the Liberals put the Labour Government into office, keep them there, and are carrying on friendly, secret discussions with them. Are we to believe that Mr. Lloyd George and his party would support a Government which is going towards socialism?

* * * * *

To retain capitalism is a practicable policy, although an unsatisfactory one from a working class standpoint. To abolish capitalism and establish socialism will be practicable as soon as the working class have been won over to socialism. The Labour Party has sought to justify a third policy, which is that of trying to abolish the evils of capitalism while keeping the system itself. Events arc proving that the task is an impossible one.

From an editorial “The Labour Government and Socialism”, Socialist Standard November 1930.

1 comment:

Imposs1904 said...

Well, apart from the Party Directory and the list of Party Meetings for that month, that is all of the November 1980 issue of the Socialist Standard now online.

Maybe in the future I will also include party meetings, etc.