V. I.   Lenin

The British Labour Party Conference

Published: Pravda No. 30, February 6, 1913. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1975], Moscow, Volume 18, pages 547-548.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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The Thirteenth Conference of the British Labour Party was held in London from January 29 to 31 (new style). It was attended by 500 delegates.

The Conference passed a resolution against war, and by a considerable majority passed another resolution calling on the Party’s representatives in Parliament to vote against any electoral reform Bill that does not extend the franchise to women.

The British Labour Party, which exists side by side with the opportunist Independent Labour Party and the Social-Democratic British Socialist Party, is something in the nature of a broad labour party. It is a compromise between a socialist party and non-socialist trade unions.

This compromise resulted from the peculiarities of British history and the segregation of the labour aristocracy in non-socialist, liberal trade unions. These unions have begun to turn towards socialism, and this gives rise to a host of intermediate, confused situations.

On Party discipline, for example, a resolution was adopted threatening expulsion from the Party for violation of the decisions of the Party or of the Parliamentary group.

Disputes arose that would be impossible in any other country—as to whether this resolution is directed against the Liberals or against the Socialists?

The fact is that out of forty Labour M.P.s, 27 are non-Socialists!! In opposing the resolution, the Socialist Will Thorne said they wanted to tie the hands of the thirteen Socialists by subordinating them to the non-Socialists. Even Bruce Glasier, of the I.L.P., while supporting the   resolution, admitted that there are about hail a dozen Labour M.P.s whose place is among the Conservatives.

The resolution was carried.

A resolution that not only the posters of the opportunist Daily Herald[1] be displayed in Party premises was defeated by 643,000 votes to 398,000. The voting here is calculated according to the number of members which each delegation represents.

The majority at the Conference consisted of non-Socialists and extremely bad Socialists. But definite voices were heard indicating that the mass of the workers are dissatisfied with such a party and they demand that their M.P.s should do less playing at legislation and more socialist propaganda.


[1] A line seems to be missing in this passage in Pravda. The draft resolution analysed by Lenin proposed hanging up posters of The Daily Herald as well as of The Daily Citizen, which was in the hands of opportunists, on the premises occupied by Party organisations.

The Daily Herald was founded in April 1912 by George Lansbury as a Left-wing Labour newspaper. In 1922 it became the organ of the British Labour Party.

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