First Published: Revolution No. 5, May 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
The essence of revisionism was summed up by Mao in 1957 when he said:
It is revisionism to negate the basic principles of Marxism and to negate its universal truth. Revisionism is one form of bourgeois ideology. The revisionists deny the differences between socialism and capitalism, between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. What they advocate is in fact not the socialist ’line but the capitalist line. (’Quotations’, p21).
With the new draft of its programme, ’The British Road to Socialism’, the revisionist ’Communist’ Party of Great Britain tries for the fourth time since 1951 to sell its bourgeois socialism to the British working class.
Is it ’fair’ to call it ’bourgeois’, to say that it is essentially a capitalist programme propping up the present system of exploitation? Yes, it is not only fair but essential if we are to nail its class essence. The bourgeoisie say that we live in a democracy. So do the revisionists. Both refuse to say that it is a bourgeois democracy and in fact a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. They both say that it is up to the people to change the system if they want to. All you have to do, they both agree is to use parliamentary elections to put forward your ideas. If you win a majority of seats you can form a government and propose and pass the laws you want.
In Italy and Finland both revisionist parties are already necessary parliamentary props to open capitalist governments. In India and Sweden they have been until recently, when their social democratic allies were defeated in elections. Revisionist leaders in France are in the process of heading to their kind of ’socialism’ in their peaceful and calm parliamentary way. In this way the revisionists act like any other bourgeois party, wheeling and dealing for power within the bourgeois parliamentary system. If that were all they would be no greater enemy of the working class than any other capitalist party.
The great difference is that they use the name and terms of Communism while practicing capitalist policies. They speak in the name of Marxism but,
rob Marxism of its revolutionary living spirit.
recognise everything in Marxism except revolutionary methods of struggle. (Lenin. ’The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky’)
At present the revisionists in Britain and more especially elsewhere in Western Europe have some influence. As Lenin pointed out in 1910, in ’Differences in the Labour Movement’, at periods when the bourgeoisie principally changes from using the tactics of concessions rather than that of ’force against the working class, the result is a
one-sided echo of bourgeois reformism: opportunism in the labour movement:. .. This change is always more dangerous.
Opportunism in the labour movement including its most dangerous form, revisionism, is generally stronger in imperialist countries like Britain, where the super-profits coming from their dominant position in investment, trade and other world-wide forms of exploitation, to some extent cushion the class struggle within these countries. The bourgeoisie in imperialist countries can more easily afford the ’concessions’ which breed opportunism.
But imperialism, especially British imperialism, is loosing its strength. The cushion of super-profits is deflating. The class struggle is growing more intense and the bourgeois revisionist clap-trap sounds hollower and hollower.
By stepping up the fight against opportunism and especially revisionism in a militant and scientific way we will certainly destroy the influence of the opportunists. To do this we will have to study their statements closely and carefully. The ’British Road To Socialism’ can be an excellent lesson by negative example.
There is nothing essentially new about the British revisionists. Indeed Lenin’s profound attacks on the ideas of the German revisionist Karl Kautsky about sixty years ago, teach us many lessons about the modern revisionists. Lenin summed up their function in 1919.
The bourgeoisie needs lackeys whom a section of the working class could trust and who would paint in fine colours, embellish the bourgeoisie with talk about the possibility of the reformist path who would throw dust in the eyes of the people by this talk, who would divert the people from revolution by depicting in glowing colours the charms and possibilities of the reformist path. All the writings of Kautsky reduce themselves to such a painting... (’Tasks of the Third International’)
Like Kautsky’s writings, ’The British Road to Socialism’ reduces itself to such a painting of the “charms and possibilities of the reformist path”.
The British revisionists in their new draft deny the central revolutionary role of the working class. They do this by defining the working class as
those who sell their labour power ...in return for a wage or salary and who work under the direction of the employer. (lines 518-520).
Using this deceptively simple definition, they try to include in the working class, technicians, salesmen, lecturers, civil servants, local government officers and junior managers. While they say that ’industrial workers’ are ’at the heart of the working class’ – a typically liberal and elusive phrase – their only explanation of this is that this section has the ’experience’ and the ’organization’. Putting the industrial worker on par with the civil servant or junior manager helps the revisionists obscure the essence of why the working class is the really revolutionary class. Sale of labour power is one, but only one, fact of exploitation. Of course sections of the intelligentsia are exploited. They are workers by brain who are generally exploited in individual tasks for which they are employed. But the fundamental contradiction in capitalist society which inevitably leads to its downfall is that between the social character of production (workers collectively producing commodities) and the private character of ownership. Producing together in factories, exploited together, dependent on each other, subject to the increased pace of ever more powerful machinery the working class develops as a disciplined and united force.
The very conditions of their lives makes the workers capable of struggle and impel them to struggle. Capital collects the workers in great masses in big cities uniting them teaching them to act in unison. At every step the workers come face to face with their main enemy the capitalist class. (Lenin. ’The Lessons of the Revolution’. 1910)
Working people of the intelligentsia are not subject to the same harsh collective exploitation and are therefore not the same tempered and united force as are the working class. The lower and middle sectors of the intelligentsia will certainly be won for revolution but it will be under the leadership of the working class.
Why do the revisionists muddle the working class with the intelligentsia? It is because they treat the working people as voting fodder and not as a revolutionary force. To them one person is mainly one vote. The journal of the Australian Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) summed up modern revisionism like this:
Revisionism denies revolution. Hence it is not interested in the leading role of the working class.... Its (the revisionists’) organization is based on the localities. These emanate from parliamentary electoral boundaries because revisionism believes in the parliamentary road to socialism. (Australian Communist, no.54 1972)
It is a clear question for Communists. Do we organize primarily where the workers collectively produce, in the factory, or where they live in their separate homes? Of course Communists work to mobilize the working class at work and at home. But which is primary? It is in the factories where the working class are strongest because of the social nature of production. This is where they engage daily in class struggle against their exploitation. In their homes workers are less easily united in struggle. How can they strike such powerful blows against the ruling class from their homes?
But the revisionists mainly organize their membership based on where they live so they can organize for their parliamentary road through the bourgeois voting charade. According to their own recent figures less than one in ten of their members are in work-place branches. Last year they admitted that scarcely 2000 of their members are in such branches and this included university staff and similar groups from the intelligentsia. Taking account of their low level of branch Attendance, the ’C’PGB can hardly effectively organize more than a few hundred industrial workers in factory branches. Any wider opportunist influence they have in industry is through the manoeuvring of individual full time officials and shop stewards. They are incapable of united and consistent campaigning because of their political and organizational bankruptcy. Their ’influence’ is not rooted in the industrial working class.
Throughout the ’British Road’ there is no mention of the class character of the present bourgeois democratic system. The words ’democracy’ and ’freedom’ litter the draft but without ever saying whether it is bourgeois or proletarian ’democracy’ or whether the ’freedom’ is for the capitalist or the working class. The assumption is that present-day British ’democracy exists with no specific class character and that it only needs ’extending’ or ’developing’ to lead directly to socialism.
The very introduction to that draft forms a classic support for the gradualist Fabian approach of Social Democracy. It wants to build socialism on what it regards as ’the firm foundations of current bourgeois parliamentary institutions and political practice.
Socialism in Britain can only be achieved by the fullest development of democracy, involving far greater participation by the people in the running of the country, recognition of the elected Parliament as the sovereign body in the land, freedom for all democratic political parties including those hostile to socialism to operate, genuine freedom of the press, independence of the trade unions and the consolidation and extension of civil liberties won through centuries of struggle. (lines 31-36)
All of this makes it quite clear that the revisionists want to increase bourgeois democratic rights in order to get socialism! As Lenin said of Kautsky:
in the manner of liberals (he) speaks of democracy in general and not of bourgeois democracy.
And that is the dividing line. For Communists bourgeois democratic rights for the working class are fought for under capitalism as some protection against the oppressive capitalist state. To organize in trade unions, to demonstrate against injustice, to have certain limited rights in bourgeois courts, to elect spokesmen in bourgeois parliaments, all these bourgeois democratic rights help to defend workers in immediate struggles and demonstrate the need for a complete break with bourgeois rule and the introduction of working class power. But if these defensive struggles are once confused with the idea of capturing these capitalist institutions and converting them for working class purposes, the basis is laid for out-and-out opportunism. This qualitative and necessary distinction is brilliantly explained in Lenin’s ’The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky’, especially in chapter 2, “Bourgeois and Proletarian Democracy”. There he explains,
Bourgeois democracy, although a great historical advance in comparison with medievalism, always remains and under capitalism cannot but remains restricted, truncated, false and hypocritical, a paradise for the rich and a snare and deception for the exploited and the poor... this truth ... forms a most essential part of Marx’s teaching. (Peking edition. p20).
And then again,
even in the most democratic bourgeois state the oppressed masses at every step encounter the crying contradiction between the formal equality proclaimed by the ’democracy’ of the capitalists and the thousands of real limitations and subterfuges which turn the proletariat in to wage slaves .... It is this contradiction that the agitators and propagandists of socialism are constantly explaining to the masses in order to prepare them for revolution. And now that the era of revolutions has begun, Kautsky turns his back upon it and begins to extol the charms of moribund bourgeois democracy. (p24).
In fact Kautsky argued for what he called,
The conquest of state power by winning a majority in parliament and by converting parliament into the master of government. (Quoted by Lenin in ’State and Revolution’. Peking edition. P141).
The ’British Road’ has exactly this revisionist perspective.
Parliament has to be won by the people, made into a mirror of the country with the activities of the working class parties in Parliament being intimately linked to the mass struggle outside it, each interacting on the other.
There will, they promise, be no ’insurrection’ or ’civil war’ or ’new organs of power’ (like workers’ Soviets).
Parliament, itself the product of past battles for democracy, can be transformed into the democratic instrument of the will of the vast majority of the people .... Democracy can be carried to its utmost limits~ breaking all bourgeois restrictions to it through the democratic transformation of society, including the State, in all stages of struggle. (lines 1078-1112)
So the revisionists allege that Parliament can be ’won by the people’, become a ’mirror of the country’ and can be ’transformed into a democratic instrument’! To them it is not British Parliamentary democracy that is bourgeois but only its ’restrictions’. The pure forms of this classless democracy will be revealed ’in all forms of struggle’, except of course those involving working class ’insurrection’ or ’civil war’ against the exploiters.
This glorification of Parliament is in strict opposition to working class experience both here and abroad. How did Lenin sum up this experience on the usefulness of Parliament to the working class?
Firstly, his assessment of the general revisionist line on the parliamentary road:
In mockery of the teachings of Marx, those gentlemen, the opportunists including Kautskyite, ’teach’ the people that the proletariat must win a majority by means of universal suffrage, then on the basis of the voting of that majority, obtain state power, and only after that on the basis of ’consistent’ (otherwise called ’pure’) democracy, organize socialism. (’Constituent Assembly Elections, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat’. December 1919).
Secondly, on the nature of elections under capitalism:
To decide once every few years which member of the ruling class is to oppress and crush the people through parliament: such is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism... (’State and Revolution’, Peking edition. p54)
Thirdly, on the importance of everyone having the vote – ’universal suffrage’:
Engels is most definite in calling universal suffrage an instrument of bourgeois rule ... (It is) the gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the present day state…. the opportunists of Western Europe expect just this ’more’ from universal suffrage. They themselves share and instil into the minds of the people the false notion that universal suffrage ’in the modern state’ is really capable of ascertaining the will of the majority of the toilers and securing its realisation. (’State and Revolution’, p16)
Fourthly, on the nature of Parliament itself, for the bourgeoisie and the proletariat:
Take any parliamentary country, from America to Switzerland, from France to England, Norway and so forth – in these countries the real business of ’state’ is performed behind the scenes and is carried on by the departments, chancelleries and General Staffs. Parliament itself is given over to talk for the special purpose of fooling the “common people”... we cannot imagine democracy, even proletarian democracy, without representative institutions, but we can and must imagine democracy without parliamentarism, if criticism of bourgeois society is not mere empty words for us, if the desire to overthrow the of the bourgeoisie is our earnest and sincere desire and not a mere ’election’ cry for catching workers’ votes... . (’ State and Revolution’. p55-57)
We have quoted Lenin at some length because it is often implied by the revisionists that Lenin is no longer relevant, ’in the modern state’! To these false Marxists, theory, the experience of the working class, is something to be discarded like a change of clothes for different seasons. But who can read these biting attacks of Lenin on the revisionists of sixty yeas ago and want to change a comma or a syllable in the light of more recent experience? They form a sharp colour photo of the modern British revisionists in 1977, caught in the very act of cooking the books.
Let us consider just one of Lenin’s formulations in more detail.
Parliament itself is given over for talk for the special purpose of fooling the people, (while) the real business of ’state’ is performed behind the scenes... .
How many fine and militant campaigns have been terminated by the reformists and revisionists leading a lobby of parliament? Milling round the entrance to the House of Commons, waiting to see the MPs from the ’talking shop’, while the real decisions were being carried through elsewhere in the State recognition of the way that those who serve in the ’talking shop’ refuse to accept the basis of class solidarity and insist on lobbying being individual. Workers’ experience of Parliament is concentrated in the well-known joke about the last Labour Government.
Question: “How do you know when Harold Wilson’s lying?” Answer: “When his lips move”.
The hypocrisy and cant of the Parliamentary system and bourgeois elections are widely recognised by the working class, but the revisionists try to restore faith in the rotting political system. This is their plan.
Firstly, they advocate a Left Government of Labour MPs with a “’Communist’ (revisionist) presence”. Such a Government would, they say, carry out ’Left’ but not ’socialist’ policies.
The aim of the left must be to win the working class and other democratic forces... to defend the gains already won and take steps in extending democracy, improving living standards and opening the way to socialism. (Lines.1068-1071)
The main ’left’ policies listed then are, nationalisation, increased investment for the “transformation of the structure and efficiency of British industry”, more social spending on the health service, pensions and so on, increased wages and more control of the private sector. Monopoly control of the mass media is to be ended on the basis that no-one should own more than one newspaper” (!) and that the BBC and ITV should be ’democratically controlled’.
The revisionists are caught in a trap of their own making. All of these policies they say will be carried through by this Left Government under capitalism with a capitalist state and with the same employees running most of the industry. (Line 1183). These policies they say are an ’immediate alternative programme the situation requires’. The ’Left Labour Government’ carrying it out, “would not be a socialist government carrying out a socialist revolution” (Line 1380)
But yet this government would raise living standards, extend democracy, transform British industry, increase social services and democratise the mass media: all under capitalism! This revisionist programme is not only an almost exact copy of the Labour Government’s Manifesto for 1974. It is also a disgusting attempt to spread the Social Democratic illusion that capitalism can be reformed into socialism. What abject reformism to say that moribund British monopoly capitalism can be made to start serving the needs of the British people simply by means of another government. In the whole section devoted to this ’Left Labour Government’ (over 5000 long-winded words) the key questions of the crisis of capitalism are ignored. Nothing is said about the necessary and inevitable crisis of overproduction throwing workers on the scrap heap of unemployment, nothing on the anarchic switchback of ’boom’ and ’slump’, nothing on the constant class war going on against the bosses’ attempts to increase the rate of exploitation by speed-up, work re-organization or rationalisation. Nothing in fact on how the essential contradictions of capitalism are to be overcome and the list of election promises fulfilled. To the revisionists, who is elected to Parliament is much more important than whether the system is capitalist or socialist. A system which has become bloated and poisonous with its exploitation and oppression is to start producing the milk and honey of rising living standards, industrial growth and improved social services just because there is a ’Left Labour Government’.
Lastly, the revisionists outline what will follow this miracle of Parliamentary politics: “the revolutionary change to socialism”. Although they make a gesture to Marxism at this point by saying that “state power is critical”, they collapse back into revisionism by adding.
What is needed is the winning of state power from the old ruling class by the working class and its allies, and the democratisation of the state apparatus. (our stress)
In this they guarantee their position as the ’Steptoe and Sons’ of modern revisionism by the following guide to the taking of state power.
A left majority in the House of Commons and the establishment of a left government would mark a major change. It would mean that the House of Commons and the Government – that is the legislature and the executive were won by democratic struggle from the control of the capitalist class, the minority, so that they served the interests of the working class and its allies, the majority of the population. At this stage, the armed forces, the police, the civil service, the judiciary etc, – that is the state apparatus would still remain in the hands of the class representatives of capitalism.
Here the revisionists pose their parliamentary problem on their peaceful road. They look around desperately for an answer: it is the ’British constitution’ threadbare from overuse but now the magic weapon for these ’Communists’! Immediately after the quotation above with not a word omitted, they follow on:
The nature of the British constitution, under which Parliament has supreme authority, gives the left government the democratic right and means, backed by the mass struggle of the people, to carry through drastic and necessary reforms in the state apparatus to correspond to the political change in the country expressed in the electoral verdict of the people .. (lines 1453-1464)
What imperialist and opportunist in British history, what Ramsay MacDonald or Baldwin, Churchill or Attlee, Heath or Wilson, have not based all of their actions on the great British constitution, all the ’greater’ because it is unwritten. ’The supreme authority of Parliament’ is the opportunist cover for all their anti-working class acts. It is the height of bourgeois political propaganda to proclaim Parliamentary sovereignty and thus of course the ’sovereignty’ of the people who elect it. That is the basis of the false claim of the bourgeois state to represent all of the people. The British revisionists are indeed the rag-and-bone men of modern revisionism. In taking over the second hand constitution of the bourgeoisie it uses the second hand propaganda of the Italian revisionist ’Communist Party’. Fifteen years ago that party proclaimed that the Italian constitution, “affirms the principles of the sovereignty of the people”, and therefore allowed, “the Italian Road to Socialism.” (From the ’Theses of the Tenth Congress of the CPI’, quoted in ’Whence the Differences ’: a collection of brilliant articles by the Communist Party of China.)
The British revisionists’ job is almost done. All they have to do is to organise “changes in the top personnel” of the armed forces, the police and the civil service. The ’revolutionary transformation’ is complete and the road to socialism is open. As they themselves sum it up.
The later stages of the democratic process would, in effect, be the period of the revolutionary transformation to socialism... the complete ending of the grip of monopoly capitalists on society and the transfer (our emphasis) of political and economic power of the state apparatus into the hands of the overwhelming majority of the population, the working class and its allies. (lines 1533-1539)
In short, the revisionists deny the essence of all the working class lessons on the taking of state power.
They say that bourgeois democracy must be ’extended’ and ’developed’ to achieve socialism, deny that democracy is a form of state power which oppresses either the proletariat or the bourgeoisie, depending which class holds power.
They say that there must neither be a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie nor a dictatorship of the proletariat. To them there is just ’democracy’; less under capitalism, more under socialism. Their refusal to use the concept the dictatorship of the proletariat marks another clear break with the Marxist approach to problems. Lenin, dealing with a similar attempt to revise Marxism by Kautsky, called the ’dictatorship of the proletariat’, “the root content of proletarian revolution”, and “The most important problem of the entire proletarian class struggle.”(’Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky’ p.5).
The revisionists allege not only that power can be taken through ’the democratic process’ but also that after the revolution the bourgeoisie can have the same rights as everyone else. To them democracy is a neutral mechanism which can be used by any class and that because the people are in the majority and the bourgeoisie in the minority present bourgeois democracy can enable the working class to gain power. But Lenin sums up the problem in this way in his conclusion to Chapter 3 of ’State and Revolution’.
The essence of Marx’s teaching on the state has been mastered only by those who understand that a dictatorship of a single class is necessary not only for every class society in general, not only for the proletariat which has overthrown the bourgeoisie, but also for the entire historical period which separates capitalism from ’classless society;’ from Communism. The forms of bourgeois states are extremely varied, but the essence is the same: all these states, whatever their form, in the final analysis are inevitably the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The transition from capitalism to Communism certainly cannot but yield a tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but the essence will inevitably be the same: the dictatorship of the proletariat. (all emphases are Lenin’s)
Since the period that Lenin wrote there have of course been many changes in the world. But the revisionists wish to imply that everything has changed and that they can therefore present plans diametrically opposed to the theoretical conclusions summed up by Lenin and the Communist movement. But in fact these ’changes’ on which the revisionists place so much stress, in fact only reinforce the lessons drawn by Lenin. In Britain for example the armed forces of the bourgeois State are larger and better armed than before the First World War. A much larger proportion are now in or near Britain rather than holding down the old British far-flung empire. The police forces have grown from 50,000 at the beginning of the century to over 150,000 at present. The ’bureaucracy’ the other factor which Marx argued might allow peaceful transition to Socialism if it were weak enough is now many times larger than when Lenin wrote on this particular problem. (’Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky’ p13-14). In fact the armed and civil power of the State today strengthens the case for preparing for a violent revolution.
One of the main arguments the revisionists use for relying on the peaceful road is the ’strength’ of the Soviet Union and its ’socialist world’: the states it controls in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. The implication is that if (it should of course be ’when’) the British imperialist bourgeoisie fights back supported by its fellow imperialist allies, the Soviet troops will march in to save the revisionists and their ’revolution’. (lines 297-300 for the mealy-mouthed presentation of this.)
The crucial point for understanding the threat of the revisionists is to grasp that they are not merely mistaken, ignorant, cowardly or naive as the trotskyists suggest. It is not a matter of reasoning with their leaders to remind them of the realities of the working class revolution. The ’C’PGB was a revolutionary party formed under the guidance of the Bolshevik Party and Lenin and which developed generally correct policies for Britain. The present leadership are conscious opportunists who have robbed Marxism of its revolutionary content.
The bourgeois nature of revisionism was summed up very well by Palme Dutt in his book ’The Political and Social Doctrine of Communism’, which was written when he was still a Communist. He says, on page 32:
They (the social democrats of the Second International) advocated... what they termed the ’evolutionary’ ’democratic’ or ’gradualist’ path to socialism, that is, the policy of co-operation in capitalist reconstruction, support and strengthening of the capitalist State (including violent suppression of the widespread working class and colonial revolt) and coalition with capitalism, as the practical method of harmonious development, through extending reforms and prosperity, to an eventual socialist goal.
Earlier on, on p. 30 he says:
To the bourgeois observer, who sees capitalism from the basis of the unrestricted freedom of the leisured rentier or in terms of the formal democratic liberties which it is in practice engaged in destroying, the dictatorship of the proletariat presents an intolerable restriction of liberty. To the class-conscious industrial worker, who knows the reality of factory slavery and class-subjection under capitalist rule, the dictatorship of the proletariat represents a vision of liberation and material realisation of freedom which leaves the formal democratic liberties of even the most democratic capitalist republic a pale shadow by comparison and cover for real slavery. Between these two viewpoints no argument will bring conciliation.
This is the choice outlined by Dutt – the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat. The road followed by the revisionists of the ’C’PGB is clearly the former. But it poses as the best of both roads, just like the old revisionists of the Second International. The final revisionist degeneration of the ’C’PGB is their declared plan to take a permanent subordinate relationship to the best bosses’ party – the Labour Party. To do this it has to disguise the bourgeois nature of the Labour Party and distort and exaggerate the support it receives from the working class.
Firstly it claims that the Labour Party is “the mass party of the working class” when its clear function has been to be a party of the bourgeoisie, both in its ideology and in the class that it serves. The only aspect which allows this revisionist pretence is that at elections more workers vote Labour than Tory. The passive voting habits of many workers, when there is no working class, revolutionary party in existence, is what determines the revisionist’s judgement: again to the revisionist, votes are all important.
Secondly it exaggerates Labour’s individual membership by supporting the Transport House propaganda of 600,000 members. But even Transport House has had to admit recently that membership is grossly exaggerated by the constituencies and probably does not amount to much more than 300,000: hardly 1 in a hundred of the adult population. Of these only a small minority even attend monthly meetings let alone engage in other activity. A growing number of members are petty bourgeois and from the intelligentsia. Working class constituencies like those in Glasgow and parts of London are hollow shells: hence the fuss about Trotskyists taking them over by ’entering’ a handful of members. All in all it is doubtful whether there 50,000 workers who are who are in any sense active members of the Labour party. As for trade union political affiliation that is a cloak behind which trade shovel money into the Labour Party coffers.
The truth is that the ’C’P has ambitions itself to take over the Labour Party not in Trotskyist raids on one or two constituencies, but at national level. That is why the ’British Road’ states that “The CP does not seek to replace the Labour Party as the federal (our stress) party of the working class”. (864-865) It only yet hints at its longer term ambitions for control by adding, “as bans and proscriptions are removed, so new opportunities will open up for still more developed forms of Labour Communist unity”. (869-871)
The British Road to Socialism is another revisionist attempt to sell bourgeois socialism under the label of Communism. It tries to divert people from the revolution by making reform appear an attractive possibility.
* It obscures the vanguard role of the industrial working class.
* It praises bourgeois democracy especially Parliamentary elections as the way to achieve socialism.
* It pretends that a ’Left’ Government could make capitalism work until it was changed into Socialism.
* It revives the old revisionist illusion that the bourgeois State machine can be peacefully transferred to the working class who can then use it for socialist purposes.
* It denies the need, after the revolution, for the working class to exercise its dictatorship over the bourgeoisie for the whole period of transition to Communism.
* It prettifies the Labour Party as a ’working class party’ and plans to take it over.
All of these revisionist lies and illusions spell deadly danger to the working class. The revisionist leaders and their Party are bourgeois agents and are the main danger within the working class movement. In the struggle to rally the vanguard of the working class their influence must be decisively defeated.