Thursday, April 15, 2021

Marxism and the Labour Party: Dr. Eismann Replies (1934)

From the February 1934 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the December issue, under the heading Marx and Hitler, we criticised an article by one of Hitler’s supporters, Dr. Eismann, in which he had claimed that the British Labour Party is a Marxist organisation.

Writing in Beamten-Jahrbuch (Berlin, January), Dr. Eismann replies to our criticism. He quotes a fairly lengthy passage from our article, but omits the last paragraph. By doing this he is able to argue that, reading between the lines of our article, he can find an admission on our part that the I.L.P., the S.L.P., and the S.D.F. have influenced the Labour Party towards Marxism.

Let us, therefore, reproduce the paragraph he omits to quote : —
  If he knows anything about Marxism, he must know that the Labour Party is no more a Marxist party than the National Government Party, now led by McDonald, the former leader of the Labour Party.
Unless Dr. Eismann believes that Baldwin and Sir John Simon are Marxists and that MacDonald is, or has been, a Marxist, we fail to see how he can really believe that paragraph indicates that we admit the Labour Party to be a Marxist organisation. Unless, of course, anyone he does not like is in his view a “Marxist.” However, in case he is in any doubt, let us assure him that the British Labour Party is not now, and never has been, Marxist. Its programme, policy and whole philosophy (if it can be credited with a philosophy) have been, and are, essentially anti-Marxist.

It may, incidentally, interest Dr. Eismann to know that the Times (January 4th, 1934), in an article on the influence of the Fabian Society, attributes to that organisation the chief responsibility “for the characteristically native form assumed by English Socialism in contrast with revolutionary Marxism.” (Italics ours)

“English Socialism” is the Times’ way of designating the Labour Party.

Not Marx, but Robert Owen, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill are claimed by Sidney Webb (now Lord Passfield), and by the Fabian Society, as the “spiritual fathers” of the British Labour Party.

In short, we repeat that when Dr. Eismann denounces the British Labour Party for being Marxist, he does not know what he is talking about.

1 comment:

Imposs1904 said...

Copied from the SPGB website.