J. T. Murphy

MacDonald—The Christian Tory

Source: Workers’ Life, April 13, 1928
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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.

WEEK by week, in the columns of “Forward,” MacDonald continues to expose himself as a fit and proper person to be a member of the Tory Party. In so far as the Labour Party accepts his leadership without the slightest protest he also demonstrates the closest approximation of the Labour Party to the Capitalist Parties.

In the issue of March 31 he characterises the Geneva proceedings on disarmament as the proceedings of “a debating society,” dismisses the Russian proposals as of no “immediate utility,” approves the Locarno Pact, welcomes the American proposals “for an agreement not to go to war” as on the right lines, and pleads for the strengthening of the Covenant of the League of Nations.

The Soviet Government was invited to a special conference on “disarmament” It sent its delegation and simply proposed universal simultaneous disarmament. According to MacDonald it was impracticable to propose disarmament to a disarmament conference. In this conclusion MacDonald is at once with every it Imperialist.

* * *

THE Soviet Government held the view that none of the capitalist governments were really interested in disarmament. The only practical way to prove this to the world was by actually proposing disarmament. It could do this sincerely because it is the one government in the world, whose interests coincide one hundred per cent. with complete universal disarmament.

It is the one government in the world which rests completely upon and enjoys to the full the will of the vast majority of its population.

It has nothing to fear internally. It has no imperialist ambitions or colonies to hold in subjection. There was, therefore, nothing impracticable in proposing universal simultaneous disarmament.

But precisely because every other Power represented in Geneva is a minority government of the capitalists and landlords holding the majority in subjection by military power, they dare not subscribe to real disarmament.

Capitalism and Imperialism would not endure five minutes with the absence of its powers of suppression.

* * *

MACDONALD knows this as well as any other bourgeois politician, and for the same reasons as the rest of his kind opposes disarmament as “impracticable.” He approaches every question from the basis of the “nation” and the status quo of class relation, national relations, imperial relations.

This so-called “Socialism” is nothing more nor less than the “goodwill” and “peace” of a “Christian Tory.”

This is easy to prove. Writing so long ago as 1904 in “Labour and Empire” he said:

“Nor should we necessarily regard the armaments required for the security of the Empire as nourishment for the spirit of militarism. It is not armaments that produce militarists but the political spirit behind the armaments . . . .

“ . . . . We had better accept the Empire as it is, and look to international agreements as the only way of substantially reducing armaments and thus giving the natural fears of militarism a chance of subsiding.”

On the same basis he justified the armament programme of the Labour Government of 1924. On the same basis he and his Party accepted the Versailles Treaty as the basis for their foreign policy and signed the Dawes Report. It was on this basis that Zugdul Pasha was given an ultimatum similar to that of Austen Chamberlain’s to the present Egyptian Government, and on this basis they co-operated with the Tory Government in Chinese intervention and supported the Indian Commission to the full.

* * *

IN every case the Government was “seeking an agreement.” The only point of real disagreement MacDonald has with the Tory Government is that MacDonald is not the Foreign Secretary; difference to principle is totally absent.

His approval of the American proposal is no exception. No one but an infant would really believe that armed nations, dominated by capitalists, could really outlaw war.

There is an ulterior motive to the propaganda of this idea, as there is to be disarmament chatter.

Disarmament conference of the capitalist powers are nothing but “armament economy conferences,” in which rivals are trying to get each other at a disadvantage.

* * *

THE role of the Soviet delegation at Geneva was not that of proving Litvanov a better debater than Cushendon, as MacDonald idiotically suggests. Had there been no speech whatever, but only the proposal of the Soviet Government brought face to face with the arrogance, the scoffing, the cynicism, and the refusal to entertain the first principle of disarmament the event is of outstanding importance.

It proves, first, that only a workers’ revolutionary State can ever be the custodian of real disarmament and the instrument for ending all war. Second, that the capitalist governments will never disarm. Third, that the path to universal peace is the continuation of the path of the social revolution.

If these conclusions be true, and we are convinced they are, MacDonald is not an instrument of peace but of war, of imperialism, of counter-revolution.