This is the full text of the document referred to by John Archer on p.69 of Revolutionary History, Vol.6 No.2/3. It was only possible there to give a summary in a footnote.
Extract from the minutes of the meeting of the International Bureau for the Fourth International on December 13. 1936
Alexander, the delegate of the Bolshevik-Leninist Group in the Labour League of Youth in England:
The decision of the international conference in July, which recommended unification in the Labour Party, has been adopted by the Bolshevik-Leninist Group in the Labour League of Youth, but not by the Marxist Group in the ILP, while the smaller Marxist League has not declared its position. The Marxist Group, at its national conference, adopted at one and the same time a resolution from James to create a new organisation to bring together the different fractions in the various organisations (ILP, LP etc.), and another resolutely to continue the work in the ILP. The Bolshevik-Leninist Group in the Labour Party supported the James resolution. However, since then, under the influence of the American, Field, the James fraction changed its opinion, and decided to quit the ILP to form an independent organisation, by a vote of its London group of 16-6. They have effectively left the ILP (See New Leader). The Bolshevik-Leninist Group in the Labour Party, which moreover calls itself the Youth Militant Group, and which will soon form an adult ‘Militant’ group, the representatives of which were not admitted to the Marxist Group meeting, called upon the latter to re-consider its decision to form an independent group, which would seriously imperil the work in the Labour Party and its Youth organisation, and informed the International Bureau of this dispute. The Marxist Group will hold a meeting next Wednesday to take the final decision; an expression of the views of the international centre will certainly influence this decision.
The situation in the Labour Party, of its left, and especially its youth section, permit very effective work for our ideas in the coming period. Our comrades, who with the advice of cde. Crux and of the IS entered the party and the Labour Youth in February 1936 numbering six, to prepare the ground for the entry of all the British Bolshevik-Leninists, now number 100, and are therefore stronger than the MG which from 120 has come down to 30. Several of the provincial groups of the Marxist Group have come over to the Bolshevik-Leninist Group with the exception of Glasgow, which is awaiting the decision of the Marxist Group as a whole to enter the Labour Party As to the Marxist League, it has always distanced itself from joint work and unification, claiming that the group is a branch of the Marxist Group, and demanding purely and simply that this group enter the Labour Party.
Braun (FN). After two years’ work in the ILP, the Marxist Group had experienced important success in the ILP. However, it had not succeeded in changing the policy of the ILP, or in arresting its continued decomposition. Cde Crux and the IS believed that continued membership of the ILP, which is decomposing and has no serious links with the masses could drag the Marxist Group down in the decline of the ILP and render all its efforts sterile. In 1935 they proposed to leave the ILP in the near future, and with the maximum number of comrades, to enter the Labour Party then.
The opportunities to carry this out have not been lacking, especially since the moment when the bureaucracy of the ILP proceeded to sanctions against the Bolshevik-Leninists (dissolution of the Marxist Group, restrictions on internal democracy) at the time of the capitulation of the Brockway fraction to the Maxton parliamentarians on the question of Abyssinia. But the Marxist Group refused. It decided to make a last experiment with a journal of its own, Fourth International or Fight, the public sale of which was promptly forbidden by the bureaucracy. The party discussion journal which our comrades established was taken from them and launched publicly in opposition to Fight. (FN). Having stuck too long to the ILP, each blow on their heads forced the comrades immediately to go over to the extreme opposite. They condemned the whole policy of entrism, and decided to create an independent organisation. This decision was in the event to provoke a split in the Marxist Group itself, with the Cooper fraction perhaps not having decided to leave the ILP.
The letter from the Marxist Group announcing its decision was read.
Fred (identified at the beginning of the minutes as a representative of the French organisation, but in fact possibly Klement, though more probably Fred Emmett) informed the comrades of the problems of the Labour League of Youth (see the minutes of the meeting of the International Bureau of Youth.)
The Braun motion was read and discussion followed.
Clart (Jean Rous) made a declaration in favour of the motion.
Vilain (Pierre Naville) expressed reservations: the entry into the Labour Party would be effective only if the work were carried on for a long time. However the crisis of the Young Socialists in England foreshadowed a split for April 1937 and hence the creation of an independent youth organisation. Vilain doubts whether the indication is to orient towards an early split if it could only be a very small one which would not contribute in any way to improving our links with the working masses.
Alexander: The Edinburgh Conference of the Labour party (FN) by the block vote of the trade unions and against the opinions of the local organisations of the Labour Party itself adopted a memorandum, which, by reducing the upper age limit of the youth section from 25 to 21 years practically wound the youth section up. This aroused much opposition among the youth and indignation against the leadership (Stalinist) of the youth organisation, which accepted the memorandum. This effervescence can lead in April at the National Conference to the formation of an independent youth organisation, of 8,000 to 10,000 members. Much depends on the support of the local sections of the Labour Party, and from the fact that on all major questions they always have the trade union majority against them. Our entry and our systematic work in the Labour Party and the Socialist League can have good results. It is true that a split in the Labour Party is less imminent than in the Youth, but with a strong opposition from the base of the Labour Party we could more easily defeat the bureaucracy on the battlefield of the youth. However, an independent group, which in any case could not do much, would have the effect of giving the bureaucrats an excuse to exclude purely and simply the Bolshevik-Leninists from the party and the youth.
Artur (who is identified as a ‘member of the General Council’) said that he supported the entry into the Labour Party to support the struggle of the youth.
Vilain: thought that an important split of the Socialist Youth would only have the effect of making them fall still more under the influence of Stalinism, because the split would be on an unclear basis.
Braun: We can only give general instructions. It is for the English themselves to decide their practical realisation. To vote against this motion would be to support the disastrous decision of James.
Xavier: (‘member of bureau’) If the Marxist Group has up to the present not been strong enough to come out of the ILP, how would it be able now to carry out effective independent work? Entry into the Labour Party before April could have positive results.
The motion was supported unanimously, with a reservation by Vilain on perspective. The resolution will be published in the Internal Bulletin of the IS.
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