J. T. Murphy

Labour Completes Flight to Liberalism

Source: Workers’ Life, June 1, 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.

Labour Party Adopts Mond’s Programme

Complete Co-Operation with Imperialism

More “Efficient” Capitalism

THE long awaited Programme of the Labour Party, which is at present in private circulation among trade union officials, is the final registration of “Labour’s” complete capitulation to the capitalist order.

“Let who will tell us,” says Comrade Murphy in the article which, appears on page two, “what basic difference there is between this programme find that of Mond, or of the Liberal Party, or even of the Tory Party.”

Dealing in this preliminary article, with the fundamental, items of the programme, Murphy shows that all alike are inspired, not by the demands of the ever-intensifying class war, but by the policy of “social peace” and class collaboration.

To “remove the root cause of war,” the Labour Party does not propose to remove capitalism, but to “substitute international agreement for militarism and the use of force”—how it will manage this is not stated—and actively to “support the League of Nations in both its political and economic activities.”

To develop the productive forces of the country capitalism is to be made more “efficient,” and on the very lines proposed in Sir Alfred Mond’s original letter to the T.U.C. Even the old lip-service to Socialism is dropped.

“A great part of the policy of the Labour Party,” states the programme, “must be regarded, as a plan directed towards the expansion of industry and trade,” and it proceeds whole-heartedly to adopt the Liberal Party’s proposal of a National Economic Committee.

On the subject of the banks—never a hint of their dictatorship, but a promise that a Labour Government will institute “a searching inquiry into credit organisation and policy with a view to the removal of obsolete and injurious practices and methods.”


As for nationalisation, that dangerous subject is very cautiously approached. “Without haste, but without rest with careful preparation, with the use of the best technical knowledge and managerial skill, and with due compensation to the persons affected, the Labour Party “will vest the ownership of the essential means of production (not, of course, in the workers, but) “in the nation, and their administration in authorities acting on the nation’s behalf.”

And these “authorities” are to be the representatives of the capitalist State, to which a Labour Government is to give added powers: “New and closer relations between the State and industry must be established.”

Co-operation with capitalists involves co-operation with Imperialism, or as the programme prefers to phrase it, with the “constituent communities of the British Commonwealth of Nations.”


The “right of the Indian peoples to self-government” is admitted, but, as Murphy points out, we already know from MacDonald’s own utterances exactly what this pious statement amounts to. And whether the other subject peoples of the British Empire have a right to self-government we are not informed.

There are, however, many phrases in the programme about the beauties of democracy. The Labour Party, which as Comrade Horner points out on this page, expects Communists, and Left-wingers to submit to virtual disfranchisement, “believes that in industry as in politics government by consent is not only more humane, but actually more efficient than autocracy.”


If any readers of Workers’ Life still cherish the illusion that the Labour Party caters for the workers, let them read this programme. They will no longer hesitate to send along their contributions to the Communist Party Election Fund.


Labour Completes Flight to Liberalism

New Programme Surrenders Without Qualm Every Claim to Chapion Working-Class Struggle

Nothing Divides Them From Mond

AT last the Programme Commission of the Labour Party has done its work. The anxious crowd of folk who have waited for months for the pearls of wisdom that were to issue from the profound contemplations of the Commission appointed by the last Labour Party Conference may cease to be anxious.

Now we can tell whether the Labour Party is the Liberal Party in disguise. Now we can examine “biological” Socialism and I.L.P. idealism in practice. The “Programme” has arrived!

Read! Mark! Learn! And when you have read

let who will tell us what basic difference there is between this programme and that of Moand or of the Liberal Party or even the Tory Party.

It begins:—

“Since the Labour Party has set the example of working out in practical details the Social and International reconstruction which it proposes, the character of its programme is generally known and we need not here do more than recapitulate briefly the fundamental principles upon which it rests.

Dear Old “Community”

“They are the protection against exploitation of the worker and consumer, the increase of national wealth by the application to production and distribution of the possibilities revealed by the progress of scientific knowledge and of the art of administration; the extension of common provision for the common requirements of a civilized existence; the utilization for the public benefit of the surplus wealth which today too often at once enriches and degrades a small minority of the population, and the systematic pursuit of a policy of peace and co-operation in international affairs.

“The Labour Party intends, therefore, to use its powers (1) to secure to every member of the community the standards of life and employment which are necessary to a healthy, independent and sel-respecting existence; (2) to convert industry step by step and with due regard to the special needs and varying circumstances of different occupations, from a sordid struggle for personal gain into a co-operative undertaking carried on for the service of the community and amenable to its control; (3) to extend rapidly and widely those forms of social provision—education, public health, housing, pensions, the care of the sick and maintenance during unemployment—in the absence of which the individual is the sport of economic chance and the slave of his environment, (4) to adjust taxation in such a way as to secure that due provision is made for the maintenance and improvement of the material apparatus of industry and that surpluses created by social effort shall be applied to society for the good of all; (5) to establish peace and freedom in the world by removing the root causes of war, by substituting arbitration and international agreement for militarism and the use of force and by actively supporting the League of Nations in both its political and economic activities with the object of turning the energies of the nations from the destructive arts of war to the contructive arts of peace.”

Here the policy of social peace, class collaboration, subservience to the League of Nations and the complete subordination of the Labour Party to the requirements of capitalism is at once made manifest.

“Resortation of Trade”

The programme next sets forward as one of its principal points—indeed as its most important point—the task of the restoration of trade. The following means of assistance to capitalism are advanced:—

“The most effective lines of advance is the wise development of the nation’s resources—its land, waterways and harbours, its mineral waelth and, above all, its ‘man power’—the improvement of the key services of finance, power and transport, on which all other industries depend, the elimination of wate and inefficiency in productive processes and in the machinery and methods of marketing and distribution, the more active promotion scientific and industrial research, the protection of the consumer, and in the sphere of foreign affairs the establishment of stable peace and the expansion of overseas market.

“These various proposals linked together as essential parts of Labour’s policy for placing the nation’s economic activies on a sound basis.

“It is clear that the action to be taken in order is promote economic prosperity is not to be summarised in any single formula. A great part of the policy of the Labour Party must be regarded as a plan directed towards the expansion of industry and trade.

“In its view, alternating periods of neglect and of feverish and short-sighted action by Governments must give place to a conscious development of our economic activities for national ends and new and closer relations between the State and industry must be established.”

“Nor will the Labour Party overlook the fundamental importance to the prosperity of the nation of improving the organisations of credit and finance. The banking system which regulates and lubricates the economic indicaments, is of its very nature a service in which the economic well-being of the whole country is vitally concerned.

“Labour Government, will institute, therefore, a searching enquiry into credit organisation and policy with a view to the removal of obsolete and injurious practices and methods and the closer adaptation of banking and finance to national needs.”

It is impossible to miss the likeness to the terms of the Industrial Peace Conference Convened by Sir Alfred Mond and the T.U.C. General Council. In the original letter which Sir Alfred Mond wrote to the T.U.C. it was stated:—

“The prosperity of Industry can, in our view, be fully attained only by full and frank recognition of facts as they exist, and on equally frank and full determination to increase the competitive power of British industries in the world’s markers, coupled with free discussion on the essentials on which this can be based.”

The essential features of this Mond Conference and the Labour Party, programme are the same. But in order to go still further and make sure that there is no conflict at all between them and any other sections of capitalism, the programme proceeds as follows:—

“In co-operation with other nations the Labour Government would strive to break down artificial barriers to trade as such, by the International Economic Conference, 1927, in order to meet the requirements of the present world economic situation and to cope with the problems created by the rise of international monopolies and trading organisations, it would support, an extension of the powers and activities of the Economic Section of the League of Nations.”

It follows by proposing a National Economic Committee which should devote itself to the Constructive tasks of industry—this is precisely the line proposed by the Liberal Party.

Still continuing with this completely bourgeois policy it hitches it to the problems of the Empire and declares that its policy is to take steps which would ensure “closer political and economic co-operation between Britain, India and the self-governing Dominions overseas and the other, constituent communities of the British Commonwealth of Nations.”

It “believes in the right of the Indian peoples to self-government, and the policy of the Labour Government would be one of continuous co-operation with the Indian people with the object of establishing in India at the earliest possible moment and by her consent as an equal partner with the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.”

We know exactly what this means, by the declaration of the leader of the Labour Party on the Indian Commission. When MacDonald was asked about his attitude to the agitation of the Indian masses against the Commission, he declared the identity of the Labour Party with the Indian Commissions and assured everybody that if there was a Labour Government in Britain to-morrow it would act in the same way as the present Government so far as the Indian Commission was concerned.

The Labour Party set down in programme form its identity with Imperialism and confirms the practice which it has been pursuing continuously in this respect.

The programme proposes grandiose schemes on Road Development, Afforestation, Centralisation of Transport, etc., but it does not indicate where the money is to be got from. Its attitude to nationalisation is that it agrees with it in principle but in practise subordinates it to the convenience of the capitalists.

In short, it is made perfectly clear that it will be the rôle of the Labour Party to carry through Rationalisation as distinct from nationalisation, and in this respect it is less clear than the Liberal Party.

The Liberals is their programme have laid it down specifically as to what they mean by the “national organisation of industry,” in that they state that they are opposed to nationalisation and prefer trustification under public control. The Labour Party, on the other hand, agree with nationalisation as a principle but in practice there may have to be modifications!

Pillars of Peace

The Programme sets forth six “pillars of peace.” With its face towards the U.S. A., the greatest modern Imperialist power, it renounces war as per the Kellog proposals, says not one word of the Disarmament proposals of the Soviet Union, but proposes to carry out Gt. Britain’s treaty obligations by international agreement on a “radical programme of disarmament.”

This is sufficiently unclear to mean anything to subscribe in an ideal sense to disarmament and provide every possible excuse to avoid actual disarmament.

Its third “pillar” is International arbitration—in other words the legalising of the will of the great imperialist powers.

The fourth “pillar” is economic co-operation through the League of Nations via the “World Economic Conference.”

The fifth “pillar” is “Publicity.” How charming—with the Press in the hands of the noble Lords of capitalism!

The sixth pillar is political co-operation with all other people and states and governments of the world. It means —“The League of Nations”—the international instrument for underwriting the robbery, the pillage of colonial peoples and the subjection of small nations to the will and power of the Imperialist powers, the glorification of the bloody Versailles Treaty.

The End—Rationalisation

Within the programme there are, of course, a multitude of social ameliorative proposals, but all of them are but packing to the great political plan of the rationalisation of capitalism as the means to Imperial power.

Of these details of the programme we can speak later. Sufficient for the moment to say that here is the greatest possible justification and confirmation of the correctness of the new policy of the Communist Party in relation to the Labour Party.

This programme damns for ever any and every claim the Labour Party had as a party catering for the workers. The way is clear for the Communist attack, and we will attack with all our might.