Written: April 1943
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 9 (Mid-April 1943)
Transcription: Lisi 2004
Markup/Proofread:: Emil 2006
This year marks the Jubilee Conference of the Independent Labour Party. It is a suitable time to draw a balance sheet for the past, the present, and the future of the I.L.P.
Fifty years ago the formation of the I.L.P. marked the first step on the road of independent class politics for the British working class. It marked the emergence of the working class from the position of slavish dependence on the traditional parties of British capitalism, onto the road of reliance upon their own class forces, organisations and class solidarity, politically as well as industrially to achieve their aims. In this sense the workers’ movement of the present day can look back with respect and pride to the pioneers of the workers’ movement of the past. It is on the imperishable achievements of the formation of the independent class party of the working class that the workers’ movement and rights are based on at the present time.
But while appreciating the achievements of the pioneers it is absolutely necessary for those who claim to stand on the basis of Marxism, to understand the limitations and the defects of the old pioneers.
The I.L.P. was organised not on the basis of scientific Socialism, but on the basis of reformism. The I.L.P. founders never correctly understood the problems posed by capitalism nor the revolutionary socialist solution which alone could lead to its overthrow.
At the dawn of the development of the I.L.P. these immature ideas were reflected in their programme, of gradual evolution of the capitalist system through a series of reforms into Socialism. The whole vacillating and equivocal character of the leadership of the I.L.P. can be seen in the fact that at the Jubilee Conference, they have not taken the opportunity to settle accounts with the reformist past of the I.L.P. and explain its development to what they call its revolutionary socialist position. To a genuine revolutionary leadership, this would have been an elementary duty, one moreover which far from implying disrespect to the past of the party, would on the contrary, have been the best tribute to those sincere but unclear and confused Socialists who founded the I.L.P. Not only that. It could have been a means of educating the membership and raising its consciousness to a higher level, preparing it in this way for the tasks which urgently face the workers at the present time. Instead of that, the history of the I.L.P. is presented as being one unbroken policy from the time of its foundation.
From their point of view the leadership is correct in letting the dead bury the dead, for in the last analysis, they remain true to the tradition of the I.L.P.—they are at best the left flank of reformism and nothing else. They remain organic centrists, the majority of whom, tomorrow, under the pressure of events can find their way back to the reformist fold.
The I.L.P. formerly reflected and approximated to the immaturity of the Labour movement in a period when capitalism could still afford grudging reforms to the working class. Especially in Britain today we are living under the shadow of imperialist degeneration and decay. The very organisations which were built up in just a few decades, as the bulwarks of workers’ democracy and workers’ rights are threatened with destruction and disintegration in the next period ahead if they do not transform themselves into fighting organisations of the working class, striving for and capable of achieving the conquest of power. For this purpose they need a guiding organisation and leadership—a revolutionary party—entirely different to the theoretical basis and organisation of the I.L.P. For the epoch of wars and revolutions we need a party and a leadership to correspond to the tasks. Not a party of reformism like that of the old I.L.P. but a party of revolution. The I.L.P., in the methods and ideas of the leadership remains far closer to the former than the latter.
The resolutions at this Conference formulated under the influence of the trends of development of mass consciousness and the pressure of Marxist criticism and of the Left wing of the I.L.P. show a marked turn to the Left—on the surface at any rate. An examination of the New Leader of the last few weeks indicates, that so far as the leadership is concerned, the change is only superficial.
However the change from the Conference last year to the present one, is striking. This Conference marks the burial of the “Socialist Britain Now” policy. Except in an occasional phrase, the policy is abandoned as it has been proved fruitless and barren. In the Basic Resolutions of the N.A.C. to the Conference not even a reference is made to it. Like the numerous Stalinist adventures of a similar character, it has been unable to win the masses and no explanation or discussion on the reasons for the failure has taken place. This is not the Marxian method of changing policy by an honest examination and criticism, thus arriving at an understanding of mistakes made, guaranteeing that the same mistakes will not be made in future and that the new policy will be put forward on a firm basis. The abandonment of this tactic and the turn towards the Labour Party is a vindication of Marxist criticism. But alas! As always with Centrists, the wheel has turned full circle, from a sectarian-opportunist position the I.L.P. has advanced to a full-blown opportunist one.
At the last Conference a resolution was proposed which advocated that the I.L.P. propose Labour should break the coalition and fight for power on a socialist programme.  This resolution, which was fundamentally correct, formulated a transitional policy aimed at educating the Labour Party workers to independent class consciousness, exposing the role of the Labour leaders and winning the organised workers to the banner of the I.L.P. The leadership painted a picture of the horrible consequences that would follow from putting forward the Labour to Power tactic. It would sow illusions in the minds of the workers that the Labour leaders were or could become Socialists; on the basis of their experience of the Labour leaders it would disillusion the masses in socialism altogether and prepare the way for fascism. It was sheer opportunism—ran their arguments—to put forward such a policy. Meanwhile of course, this did not prevent the I.L.P. leadership in actual practice from being shameless opportunists who failed to conduct any real struggle against the Trade Union and Labour bureaucracy. To this day the I.L.P. has not anywhere put up a candidate at a by-election against the Labour Party. The leadership has shed its sectarian mask of last year and openly comes forward—with an opportunist position! In true centrist fashion they have stumbled blindly into the very morass into which they warned the policy of the Left wing would lead. The distorted caricature of the policy which they tried to foist onto the revolutionary socialists [?] on this question they have now adopted as their own. Except perhaps that they give it a more vulgar expression.
Our task is now to train [?] and educate the best members of the working class as to the real basis of this policy.
Lenin’s formulation, and our formulation of the problem, leave not a single unclear phrase behind which not only sectarianism but opportunism could find shelter. Look through all our articles for the past two years in which we criticise the position of the I.L.P. or our positive formulation in the Socialist Appeal and there is not the slightest ambiguity or doubt in our attitude towards the Labour and Trade Union bureaucracy. It will suffice here if we quote Marc Loris, since his article aroused such an indignant protest on the part of Padley, one of the leaders of the I.L.P.
“The Labourite leaders cynically collaborate with the Tories in order to bring the imperialist war to a successful conclusion. The English workers feel more and more ill at ease, but are still organised in the Labour Party. How get out of this impasse? How take a step forward?
“To this fundamental question, point of departure of all the problems of the English revolution, the leaders of the I.L.P. bring no answer. By this they betray the purely abstract character of their propaganda. How would a Leninist leadership approach this task? It would address itself to the members of the Labour Party saying:
“End the political truce! Break with the representatives of Capitalism! Labour to Power! Here is the programme we propose for a Labour government. And the revolutionary leadership would present a series of fundamental demands.” (Socialist Appeal, July 1942) [check quoted correctly]
But, the new orientation is even more dangerous to the socialist revolution than the previous sectarian position of the I.L.P. Not content with the position adopted by the membership despite their opposition last year, the I.L.P. leadership wish to “improve” on it. The Basic Resolution presented by the N.A.C. says in connection with the truce:
“Similarly, in colonial and foreign affairs an aggressive imperialist policy has been pursued, gravely compromising the Labour Party. The Labour leadership has become subservient to the ruling class and socialist principles have been betrayed.”
The imperialist policy of the Labour leadership would come as no surprise to a Marxist. The first and second Labour governments pursued, as ruthless, if not an even more ruthless imperialist policy than their Tory predecessors. But it is clear that the moment the reformist leaders under the pressure of the masses, take a step to the left and beckon with their little finger, than the I.L.P. leadership makes haste to abandon all pretence of revolutionary intransigence and rush to the side of the union bureaucracy. Evil tongues would have it that behind the scenes the Centrist leadership of the I.L.P., without consulting or acquainting the membership with the fact, has been negotiating with the Labour bureaucracy on what terms they could secure re-affiliation to the Labour Party. This would be in accordance with the usual back-stage manoeuvres and horse dealings of Centrism with reformism. However, whatever may or may not be the truth behind this rumour, there certainly seems to be some fire behind the smoke in this case. The resolution of the N.A.C. says:
“In the event of the Labour Party breaking the political truce, the N.A.C. will immediately call a special conference of the I.L.P. to discuss our relations with the Labour Party.”
Not that the question of affiliation to the Labour Party under all conditions would be a bad thing. The question of affiliation or non-affiliation is not a principled question for revolutionaries but a question of tactics. Indeed Trotsky some time before the war even gave the advice to the I.L.P. to attempt to re-affiliate to the Labour Party. But what is at issue is method. A revolutionary organisation could affiliate and would affiliate to the Labour Party as the mass expression of the workers in Britain, even if the Labour leadership in Britain refused to break the political truce. On condition that they possessed the full democratic right of criticism of the leadership and of the policy, and had the opportunity of convincing the workers of the correctness of their point of view. Whether the truce is broken or whether the leadership openly, instead of in a disguised way, support the capitalist class, the character of the Labour leadership does not change thereby; they remain agents and tools of the capitalists, in the classical phrase [?], labour lieutenants of the capitalist class. In fact that most difficult part of the task of revolutionary leadership comes precisely—not in a period when the leadership is blatantly collaborating with the capitalists, but precisely in the period when they are in “opposition”. The task of exposing the leadership under these conditions is both delicate and beset with difficulties. Relentless criticism and exposure of the leadership is a vital necessity if the masses are not to be misled into the swamp of reformism. This, the I.L.P. leadership cannot and will not do! The ending of the truce between the Tories and Labour would mark the end of the truce between Labour and the I.L.P., in military terminology on terms of “unconditional surrender” to reformism. The I.L.P. leadership, with a sigh of relief would enter the Labour Party, there, from the point of view of the Labour bureaucracy, to act as a useful left shield against the inroads of Stalinism or revolutionary Socialism and against any attempt of the masses to break away and turn to revolutionary politics.
In the last year or two even the Labour leadership has become aware of the widespread disillusionment among millions of workers in Labour politics and of the instinctive [?] drift towards “Communism” not necessarily in the shape of the Stalinist caricature—towards which large sections of the workers are already tending. There is a danger for the Labour leaders that under the impact of events, the masses would rapidly break away organisationally and politically from the labour leadership and the Labour Party. The I.L.P. they calculate cynically enough by its stand on the war and all other questions in the present period has not tarnished or spoiled its reputation among the masses. On the background of Labour and Stalinist betrayal it cannot but appear honest and sincere to the rank-and-file supporter of the Labour Party. What a fine conductor for the inevitable anger and indignation of the masses at the policy of the labour leadership! And what is more, as tame and harmless as a pet squirrel without teeth, whose bite cannot really hurt. The revolutionary elements within the I.L.P. must realise that so far as the basic leadership of the party is concerned this characterisation remains fundamentally correct. Very little separates the centrism of the parliamentary coterie of the I.L.P. from at best left-reformism. George Buchanan, with the blessing and good will of the I.L.P. leadership, made the transition from “revolutionary” I.L.P.-ism to reformism without bursting any blood vessels and without any more trouble or qualms than it takes to transfer from train travel to motor coach. This desertion could happen in any party, but what is striking, was the good wishes and congratulations with which he departed. [?]
On dozens and dozens of occasions—one can say without exaggeration at almost every session in Parliament, the I.L.P. M.P.s and following them, the N.A.C. has underlined the reformism of the leadership.
One recent example of this provides an annihilating indictment. In the February 13th issue of the New Leader’ on the front page in the most prominent position under the bold heading: “Maxton Flays the Tories” appeared the following extract from Maxton’s speech:
“I should be happier if I saw more Conservative members showing signs of getting rid of their mean-spirited attitude towards the working class. I have pointed this out before, but no Conservative believes it knows [?] Conservatives in this House. In their personal relations they are kindly, generous and decent...throughout my life I have hated to see people poorer than myself, and every decent Conservative would hate it, too...Why not start now, in the middle of the war, and say: ‘We will wipe out now all the obvious unfairness and injustices that there are.’”
Here in these few sentences is comprised the whole essence of the I.L.P.! Just as a scientist can construct and understand the whole structure of a prehistoric animal by a few bones, so a Marxist, from a few sentences such as these can see revealed the whole structure and policy of the party. It is positively embarrassing to have to deal with such a speech. Maxton claims to stand for revolutionary socialism. Yet instead of calling on the workers to rouse their revolutionary indignation and systematically develop and deepen the progressive hatred of the exploited for the exploiters, he appeals to good sense and kindness to ameliorate the hatred of the oppressors for the oppressed! No person could have made a worse speech dripping with nauseating and reactionary sentimentality. Just think of it! This speech was made on the background of the bloodiest war in history to a ruling class soaked in centuries of violence and deceit of the enslaved. It would be as sensible to lecture the keeper of a brothel to be more kind and humane to his victims because in his personal relations to his wife and family he preserved the moral code.
But Brockway, the real theoretician and leader of the I.L.P. printed this rubbish which would disgrace the pages even of a reformist newspaper, not only without protest, but with full publicity and approval. Such is the I.L.P. If this is the attitude to the capitalist enemy, it would of course be absurd to expect a better attitude in regard to reformism. The I.L.P. in the past may have used a few radical phrases but they neither analysed nor understood reformism.
John McNair, General Secretary of the I.L.P. puts the “new” policy in the March 13th issue of the New Leader. Just as Maxton is convinced of the “good intentions” of the capitalists, so John McNair is convinced of the good intentions of their agents within the ranks of the working class.
“I am firmly convinced that when Labour entered the Government it was with the best intentions.”
There is an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Certainly the leadership of the I.L.P. is well established on that road. For Marxists, the problem does not consist in measuring the “sincerity” of people or parties, but the objective results of their policies. As Lenin explained many times, no-one has yet invented a sincerometer.
For the next period the attitude towards the Labour Party and reformism will be one of the key questions for the I.L.P. and the revolutionary elements within it. That is why we have dealt with this question so extensively. But on all the other fundamental questions facing the working class, the position of the I.L.P. is no different.
On the question of India, to which in a large extent is bound the fate of the British working class, the N.A.C. resolution presented at this Conference, has taken the most radical departure in its history. This too, reflects the pressure of the revolutionary elements in the I.L.P. But even now they are far from approaching the Marxist solution to the problem. For the first time the I.L.P. abandons its uncritical support for the leadership of the National Congress in India and discovers that “an influential section of the Congress Party is anti-Socialist in outlook and may be expected to enter into agreements with British or any other Imperialism...”
Compared to other parties and organisations within the working class, the I.L.P. takes a courageous stand in demanding unconditional freedom and independence of India from British Imperialism. But the success of the Social Revolution cannot be obtained merely from a position which is better than that of social patriotism or Stalinism. The position of the I.L.P. after all, remains that of platonic sympathy with the Indian and colonial peoples. A revolutionary internationalist position, demands the methods and policies of Bolshevism. From this the I.L.P. is as far as it is in its policy at home. Having timidly taken the step of criticising Congress for the first time, the I.L.P. leaders miss the whole essence of the problem of colonial liberation. “The passion for national independence has tended to obscure fundamental class divisions and the need for Socialist Revolution and reconstruction.” On the contrary, the “passion for national independence”, that is, the intense hatred for the foreign imperialist oppressor is the best cement that the socialist revolution could have. It is not in their “passion for national independence” that consists the treachery of Congress, but precisely the fact that because of their own connections with the foreign capitalists, the banks and landlords and moneylenders in India, the Congress leaders are incapable of waging a real struggle against British imperialism.
The overthrow of British imperialism would require the mobilisation and organisation, the moving into action of millions of peasants and workers. But the entry into the arena of action of the masses would spell a mortal danger to the Indian landlords and capitalists and that is the reason why Congress has betrayed the mass struggle in the past on each occasion—when it reached a crisis; that is why in the future they must attempt to arrive at a compromise with imperialism.
Only the Indian working class can lead a consistent and unwavering struggle against British imperialism to the end. For the achievement of the democratic revolution and national independence the Indian masses need the leadership of the proletariat. But the proletariat, in its turn, cannot lead the struggle without a far-sighted vanguard at its head. Such a vanguard could only be organised in a revolutionary socialist party armed with the knowledge and understanding of the experience of the Russian and Chinese revolutions. The primary task of British revolutionary socialists consists in aiding and helping in the organisation of such a party in India.
On the Beveridge Report the cloven hoof of reformism is revealed again. John McGovern in parliament, succeeded in disgracing himself and his party, as usual:
“If this House departs at the end of the debate without giving some definite instruction to the Government, we shall have failed in our mission, we shall have done the very worst day’s work we ever did for democracy in this country, and we shall fall to an even lower stage in the contempt of the people...I am afraid that at the end of this war there is the danger that the military struggle will be followed by civil war, because men will be roused to such a pitch that they will take matters into their own hands...Let the Government make a great human gesture and an [?] announce before this debate is ended, a new charter for old age pensioners.”
So it is always with the I.L.P. M.P.s. They never miss an opportunity to try and “reason” with the capitalists, showing them the “dangers” which face them, as the result of their bad actions. McGovern and his friends are wasting their time. The imperialists understand the position better than they do. It should be his job not to warn the capitalists but to prepare the workers.
The resolution at this Conference on Beveridge lacks clarity and is ambiguous. Some parts are quite good but the value of these are destroyed by the combination of opportunist with radical phrases. The main task of revolutionaries in relation to the Beveridge Report is to expose its inadequacy and the impossibility of capitalism giving even these meagre reforms. Instead of “congratulating the Labour Party” in voting against the Government on this question, it would have been more to the point to demand consistency on their part; that is, to fight for the Scheme if they believed as they said, it would solve the problem of social security. At the same time pointing out that the Scheme was quite impossible—meagre as it might be— under capitalism, which could not afford even these miserable concessions.
This Conference is noteworthy not only for what is to be discussed, but for what is not to be discussed. The question of international relations is conspicuously absent from the agenda. No doubt the leadership has good reasons of its own to avoid a discussion on this question, for inevitably it would raise the question of the International. This is a fundamental issue which directly affects not only the British working class, but the revolution in Europe and the fate of the world working class. The problem should really be a simple one of elementary Marxism. The Second International has betrayed the workers, the Third has long degenerated into an agency of Stalinist foreign policy without even a trace of the revolutionary purpose for which it was founded by Lenin. Both Internationals, even in the eyes of the I.L.P. leadership, are bankrupt and responsible for the debacle of the workers’ movement and the advance of fascism on the continent of Europe. What then to do? Revolutionary internationalism would immediately indicate the way, and prepare to lay down the foundations of a new international, irreconcilably opposed to the reformist and Stalinist distortions of Marxism. Such an international would be based on the achievements of the previous internationals, and founded on the tested principles of Marx and Lenin.
That is the conception which led to the foundation of the Fourth International. Brockway has been writing a series of articles on this question in the New Leader. In the issue of March 13th, 1943, Brockway says:
“That international will rise from the Socialist revolution in Europe to which we can look confidently in this period of history. It will throw up its own organisation and leaders...There is little value in formulating the programme of this resurgence. It will create its own...” [check quoted correctly]
It would be difficult in a few lines to make more blunders than this. There is a whole world philosophy comprised here and its name is Centrism. True enough that the Socialist Revolution and new leaders and organisations in Europe will arise like a phoenix from the ashes of the old outlived organisations destroyed by fascism. But has history then no lessons for us? Especially Brockway condemns reformism and Stalinism but has not understood the real basis of these organisations. How else could he write so light-mindedly of the revolution automatically solving its own problems? The last world war saw a chain of revolutions unleashed by the working class. All were defeated except one—the Russian Revolution. Since then further revolutions and upsurges on the part of the workers have taken place in numerous countries. All have ended in disaster. Alas, the revolution by and of itself solves nothing. Brockway should have learned something from Spain. The P.O.U.M. brother party of the I.L.P., by their policy in being unable to face up to the Stalinists, were partly responsible for the defeat of the Spanish revolution—and not without the assistance of the I.L.P. which approved and supported their false policies.
If Brockway had learned from the defeats, he could not have made the statement that the movement will automatically create its own programme. What need then for a party or an international at all? No, Comrade Brockway. Revolutions may make programmes, but only the programme of Bolshevism can make a successful Socialist Revolution. That is the lesson of the past decades. What would we think of a general staff which prepared for war by announcing that it was not interested in problems of strategy and tactics? And that the war would automatically create the organisation of the army and its own strategy and tactics? We could only conclude that they did not understand the A.B.C. of military science and were not fit to command a regiment, let alone an army. True enough, all the details of war cannot be laid down in advance, but the broad principles apply in every war. So it is in politics. Of what use is the science of Socialism—Marxism—if we cannot lay down the broad principles and programme in advance of great events? The whole history of the past century and the writings of the great teachers, would have been in vain.
The revolutions will be successful on the tested theories of Bolshevism or they will fail. In that is summed up the meaning of the Fourth International. It is not a question of setting up a new international because of a dislike for the Second and Third, but of building on the granite foundations of Marx and Lenin which led to the successful revolution. It is that precious historical heritage which is preserved by the Fourth International for the benefit of coming revolutions and the new generation.
On the question of the Soviet Union the I.L.P. persists in its ambiguous position. They have neither explained theoretically nor practically how the Stalin regime is to be dealt with. They take the correct position that the Soviet Union is a workers’ state and must be defended. But alternately they hysterically denounce the crime’s of Stalin, or picture the achievements of planned economy and the military victories as emanating from the Stalinist leadership. Says Brockway, dealing with Stalin’s murder of the Polish Jewish Socialists, Alter and Ehrlich:
“The explanation of the ugly features of the Russian regime, tragically spoiling its great achievements in human welfare and happiness, has largely been fear of enemies to its socialist basis, within and without.” (New Leader, April 10th, 1943)
This may have been true of the regime under Lenin, but it is definitely false under the regime of the Stalinist bureaucracy. Or does Brockway believe that the murder of the Old Bolsheviks, of the commanders of the Red Army, of Trotsky, or of these Polish-Jewish Socialists was necessary because they threatened the Socialist basis of the Soviet Union? Merely to pose the question, is to answer it. Lenin and Trotsky defended the socialist basis of the U.S.S.R. Stalin defends the privileges of the bureaucracy. This in its turn poses inevitably, squarely in front of the working class and of the international socialist movement, the problem of a political revolution in Russia and the forcible overthrow of the bureaucracy.
The kicks, insults and slanders of the Stalinists have reluctantly compelled the I.L.P. leadership to launch a retaliatory campaign of exposure of the C.P. since the last Conference. Not without the assistance of the pressure of the indignant membership, of course. However, we would seek in vain for a principled position on the C.P. The leadership prefers, as on their attitude to the international, passive waiting and adaptation to events. At the present time and for the past months the Communist Party has been running a tremendous campaign for affiliation to the Labour Party. The C.P. has secured a large volume of support within the trade union and labour movement for the proposal. The subject has been commented on extensively in the national capitalist and labour press. The Labour Party Executive and the Daily Herald have been compelled to wage a counter-campaign in order to frustrate the Stalinist attempt. What is the position of the I.L.P.? Are they for or against affiliation? What is their attitude?
We would search in vain in the columns of the New Leader or anywhere else for a statement by the N.A.C., or even an authoritative individual opinion. The leadership prefer to maintain a diplomatic silence which commits them to nothing. The reason is not far to seek. To oppose the C.P. would be for them to come out against “unity”, and they do not wish to take up what might be an unpopular position. To support, would certainly be to offend the Labour bureaucracy with whom they wish to remain on the best terms. The only thing left, is to ignore the issue altogether. Either way, the arrant cowardice and refusal to take a theoretically correct stand, is demonstrated beyond possibility of refutation.
On all the fundamental problems and tasks facing the British workers, the I.L.P. has no thought-out answers. It proceeds not from the theoretical basis of Marxism, but blindly and convulsively in empirical jerks from day to day. Our analysis on I.L.P. policy in relation to Stalinism and reformism, India, Beveridge, Parliament—all questions, shows this. Whether the I.L.P. deals with the past, the present or the future of the workers movement, it is just the same.
Meanwhile political developments within Britain have resulted in a substantial increase in the membership and support of the party. The old membership are being revived and renewed by the development of events. Among the new members a process of differentiation and criticism of the limitations of the centrist leadership has been developing. Even the old members, as they have been compelled to put the policy of the party to the test in the unions and factories, have begun to realise its gaps and inadequacies. The pressure of the workers on these members and the reactions of the members to the workers has had its effect. They look with a new eye towards the policy of the I.L.P.
Unlike the first Conference, the present one meets at a time when all prospects of a gradual development of the class struggle in Britain have receded into the dim and distant past. In the last decades the utopian character of the programme of the founders of the I.L.P. has been drowned in the waves of the class struggle. In Britain today, we have a pre-revolutionary situation. It is on this basis and the striving of the masses that the I.L.P. has secured its rise from political obscurity and decline to an important factor in the situation. A few decades were necessary to demonstrate the inadequacy of the old I.L.P. policy in practice. It will require not 50 years to show the hopelessness of the present leadership and policy. Events will drive the centrists from one position to another in rapid succession. We have seen this already between this Conference and the last. The process will now be speeded up. The I.L.P. is doomed. The years of vegetation and comfortable phrases are at an end. All parties will be tested in action.
The kaleidoscope of the I.L.P. with Maxton, Smith, Padley, Brockway, all pulling in different directions, now this way, now that, will meet a sharp test. The differing elements within the party at the first real crisis, will pull in different directions. The I.L.P. will splinter into pieces. In his Jubilee in the New Leader of January 9th, John McNair writes:
“But the past is only useful if it teaches us to avoid our errors and to profit by our experience. Where are we now?”
We would seek in vain for an examination of the policy to match these good words. They remain empty of all content; a mockery of the position of the I.L.P, which never examines the past policy to prepare for the future one. However, this could be a useful basis for the best and sincere revolutionary elements to seek to end all equivocation and ambiguity in its policy. In doing so, they will find that only the policy and method of Bolshevism—the programme and banner at the Fourth International—can provide a solution to the problems of our times.