Communist Party of Great Britain
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Printer: Dorrit Press, Ltd, (T.U. throughout) 68-70 Lant St., London, S.E.1
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1. The Communist Party
2. The Means of Conquest
3. The Communist Party and the General Election
4. The Tory Party
5. The Liberal Party
6. The Labour Party
7. The Parties of Capitalist Violence
8. Our Changed Attitude Towards the Labour Party
9. Class against Class
10. Capitalist Dictatorship
11. The Empire
12. The International Crisis
13. Enmity to the Soviet Union
14. The British American Struggle
15. The British Crisis
16. The Capitalist Offensive
17. Mondism in Operation
18. Holding Down the Colonies
19. Programme of the Revolutionary Workers’ Government
1. Our Immediate Programme of Action
2. Against the Capitalist Offensive
3. Mining Crisis
4. The Agricultural Workers
6. Social Legislation
8. Working Women
9. Youth and Child Labour
10. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen
11. Taxation and Tariffs
12. The Fight against the War Danger
13. Political Democracy
The Communist Party is the Party of the working class, in fundamental opposition to all other parties. It is a part of the Communist International, the international workers’ party, leading the workers and oppressed toilers of the world, the vast majority, in the world revolution. It declares that the social contrasts of increasing wealth in the hands of the rich, side by side with the increasing misery and poverty of the proletariat, cannot be eliminated within the framework of capitalism. It proclaims that the organisation of the economic life of this country and of the whole world, the abolition of war, the freedom of small nationalities, the liberation of the colonial masses, the end of the capitalist dictatorship, the building of socialism, are impossible, unless the working class overthrows the capitalist class and becomes the ruling class.
The Communist Party therefore is the deadly enemy of capitalism and capitalist parties. It has as its aims the leadership of the working class in the overthrow of capitalism, the establishment of a revolutionary workers’ government as the means to the establishment of a Communist society in which the means of production will not be the private property of the few, a society which will not be based upon profit but on labour, will not be based on class division, will eradicate both imperialist wars and class wars, and abolish poverty for ever. It regards the struggle for a revolutionary workers’ government in Britain as part of the international war of the classes which can only end by the establishment of a World Federation of Workers’ and Peasants’ Republics.
Basing itself therefore on the interests of the working class and the oppressed toilers, the Communist Party is not a mere parliamentary party, but the leader of the workers in the class war in all its forms, whether it manifests itself in strikes, elections, demonstrations or other forms. Recognising that the working class can only conquer capitalism and become the ruling class by the creation of its own instruments of power (i.e., workers’ councils, composed of delegates from the factories and the mass organisation of the workers), and the impossibility of the working class capturing and utilising the capitalist State apparatus for the exercise of its own class power for the building of socialism, it participates in elections, in parliamentary action, in all forms of political activity as the means to the preparation of the working class for the act of imposing its will, i.e., exercising its own dictatorship over the capitalist class preliminary to the building of socialism and the elimination of classes.
The political power of the capitalist class is exercised, not merely through the parliamentary institutions, which it modifies or discards according to the advancement of oppositional opinion within them but through its own class control of all institutions, by its own officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, police force, law courts, press, schools, church. It is only possible to conquer this class domination when, through the breakdown of capitalist economy and the sharpening of class relations, which inevitably follow, the majority of the workers are prepared forcibly to throw off the capitalist class control in all phases of social, industrial and political activity, and themselves take control of the factories, mines, workshops, railways, etc.
The manner in which the everyday struggle of the workers against the capitalist class culminates in the fight for power was clearly seen in the General Strike of 1926. Although the strike was generated by the efforts of the working class to defend their economic conditions the action itself brought the classes face to face with the question—which class shall rule in Britain? The capitalist class answered with the suspension of parliamentarism and the mobilisation of its military forces ready to answer with war in the streets. The working class led by the leaders of the Labour Party intent on the welfare of the State was unprepared for so decisive a battle. The working class was defeated. Nevertheless it is thus that the fight for power comes for which the working class has to prepare.
When the working class has power it can build socialism. With a revolutionary workers’ government, exercising a working class dictatorship and operating a real workers’ democracy, the working class can solve the economic and social problems of this country and liberate hundreds of millions of oppressed peoples. With power in the hands of the workers, the pathway to socialism is as clear as daylight. A revolutionary workers’ government, having conquered the capitalists, would not have to seek their consent to nationalise this industry or that. It would, under the leadership of the Communist Party, at once proceed to socialise the economic life of this country, and, for the first time in history give the working class, i.e., the great majority of the population, equality of opportunity, control over their daily lives and power to build the future.
The Communist Party, therefore, enters the General Election with a view to furthering its fundamental aims outlined; to reveal to the working class the nature of the present crisis, to expose the sham of parliamentary democracy maintained by the Tories, Liberals and Labour alike; to send as many Communists as possible to Parliament in order to carry the working-class fight into the institutions of their class enemies; to mobilise the workers for the Revolutionary Workers’ Government. Three parties—Tory, Liberal and Labour—appeal to you in the name of the “NATION.” One Party—the Communist Party—appeals to you in the name of the working class. No Party can serve two masters. No Party can serve the “Nation” so long as the nation is divided into two warring classes—one which owns the wealth and one which produces the wealth and does not own it. No Party can serve the robbers and the robbed at the same time. To speak of the “Nation” when it is thus divided is camouflage to hide their support of the robbers because the great majority of the nation belongs to the class which is robbed. The Communist Party is thus the only Party of the workers, the oppressed.
The Tory Party is the party of the landlords, the big industrialists and financiers. The basis of its policy is upon the preservation and extension of the private ownership of all wealth, land, property, all the means of production. It is the party of imperialism. It is the party of Mondism.
Its record is one of class oppression, war preparation and rationalisation at the expense of the workers. As the governing party, it has been responsible for passing the Miners’ 8-Hour Act, leading the frontal attack on the trades unions, both in the General Strike and the Trade Union Act, which weakened the unions, deprived them of the rights of collective participation in politics, detached the Trade Unions of State employees from the organised trade union movement and helped the middle-class leadership of the Labour Party to exercise their Party dictatorship over the unions.
The Liberal Party is just as much a Party of imperialism and financial capital as the Tory Party. The differences between the Tory landowners and Liberal manufacturers which used to exist 80 years ago have long since disappeared. Even the Liberal textile manufacturers, who pioneered the Free Trade campaign because they wanted cheap cotton for their mills and cheap food for their operatives, gave up this plank during the war. The Liberal, Labour and Tory Parties to-day keep up the game of “Opposition” only in order to make the workers and poorer middle class believe that salvation will come through Parliament.
The Liberal Party is one of the masks which the British capitalists wear in order to swindle the workers. It led the British Imperialist forces into the war of 1914-18, and agrees with the Tory Party on the need to maintain the Empire as the instrument of colonial exploitation. Its leader, Simon, is chairman of the Commission appointed by the Tory Government to devise improved means for the subjugation of India. It opposes universal disarmament as proposed by the Soviet Government. Its leader, Lloyd George, was responsible for the Black and Tan régime in Ireland. It was party to the Versailles Treaty and is a supporter of the capitalist League of Nations. It is a supporter of the Dawes Plan and the Locarno Pact. It also is a “Mondist” party.
This Party is the third capitalist party. It lays claim to the title of Socialist Party, but has nothing to do with socialism. Whatever associations it has with the working class are due to its development as a parliamentary wing of the trade unions, now turned to account as the means of subordinating the trade unions to its dictatorship on behalf of capitalism. It rejects working class politics and exploits the workers’ organisations for “national politics.”
The Labour Party “in principle” stands for the nationalisation of the banks, land and industry by purchase, i.e., State capitalism, but relegates in practice even this “principle” to the far distant future. Meanwhile it is prepared to advocate the development of rationalisation of industry. A common ground is thus provided in its programme for the co-operation of Tories, Liberals and Labour. The Labour programme says (“Labour and the Nation,” pp. 15, 16), “They,” (the capitalists) “will be well advised to begin by setting their own house in order—to modernise their organisation, improve their technique, eliminate waste and apply more intelligently the resources which science has revealed.”
The policy of these three parties can be summed up as “Empire and Mondism.” These are the parties which shriek about bloodshed and violence and civil war. They are the voters of war credits, the builders of armies and navies, the creators of air forces, the organisers of armed police (all officered and controlled by the propertied class). They are waging a perpetual civil war against the workers and call it “social peace.” They wage war abroad and call it “international pacification.” They speak of disarmament, but only as the means of scrapping obsolete weapons and equipping themselves with more deadly weapons. They all agree to “outlaw war” as the means to legalise it. They are three parties of capitalist violence, of poison gas, of bomb throwers, of the most efficient killing machines known to man. Their outcry against violence is hypocritical. They are not against violence on behalf of the capitalists, but only against violence on behalf of the workers against the capitalists.
Prior to the formation of the Labour Government in 1924, the Communist Party, although the leaders of the Labour Party were as treacherous then as now, advised the working class to push the Labour Party into power whilst sharply criticising and exposing the leaders of the Labour Party. To-day this policy is no longer possible for the following reasons. The situation of 1929 is entirely different from that of the years prior to the General Strike and the Labour Government of 1924. In the years immediately after the war the Labour Party, in spite of its anti-working-class leaders, was forced by the pressure of the workers’ into action against the Tories and Liberals, e.g., threatened general strike against war on Russia, demand for a capital levy, repudiation of Versailles Treaty, big working-class action on wages and hours of labour, etc. The Labour Party also had not yet become a closely knit party with a single discipline. It was a federation of trade unions and parties offering facilities for criticism from within and a means of struggle for our Party to battle against the middle-class leadership and to strengthen the working-class forces within it.
The Labour Government exposed the Labour Party leadership completely. It proved the Communist Party criticisms to be correct. The “Minority” Labour Government was nothing more than a coalition with the Tories and Liberals. The Labour leaders “led” the General Strike only to betray it in the face of the challenge of the State. The General Strike raised the question of class power which class shall rule in Britain. The Labour Party leadership of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress were against the struggle for power. They stood for capitalist power against working-class power. They co-operated with the Tories in the defeat of the General Strike, but from within. They denounced the General Strike and propagated against it. They developed the offensive against the Communist Party and the revolutionary workers who stand for the working-class struggle for power. They tied the trade unions to the Tories and Liberals under the banner of Mondism and transformed the Labour Party from a federal organisation to a single party with a capitalist programme under the banner of “Empire and Mondism.” It is now no longer possible for the Communist Party or the trade unions to bring pressure to bear on the Labour Party from within. It is a completely disciplined capitalist party.
The Communist Party, as the party of the working class, must of necessity therefore explain to the workers in deeds as well as words the completely changed situation, and set before the workers the means of advancing to socialism.
These are the reasons for the Communist Party’s exposure and denunciation of the Labour Party as the third capitalist party, and why it puts forward its candidates against the Labour Party and selects its leaders for especial challenge.
Class is against class. The Labour Party has chosen the capitalist class. The Communist Party is the party of the working class.
The basis for the Communist Party’s programme is made clear by an examination of the present relation of the classes in the crisis capitalism.
At no time during the last eight years has there been less than a million unemployed. During the lifetime of the Baldwin Government the number of registered unemployed has increased from 1,100,000 to 1,370,000, whilst the number cut off the register by the Government’s new regulations governing application for relief amounts to hundreds of thousands. Over 1,200,000 are drawing Poor Law relief.
At the same time, one-seventh of the population owns 85 to 90 cent. of the national wealth, which is estimated to reach the astounding figure of £24,000,000,000. There are over 500 millionaires who own one-twentieth of the property. There are one hundred and thirty eight people who have an average income of £2,000 per week. There are 12,000,000 who average not more than twenty-five shillings per week. The workers lose 30,000,000 weeks per year on account of sickness, during which time they receive no wages, while in the struggle to resist the lowering of their standard of life they have had to lose during the last five years an average of 40,000,000 days per year in strikes and lock-outs.
The system producing this contrast of the conditions of the producers of wealth with the conditions of the those who own the wealth is maintained by an apparatus of class dictatorship in the interests of property. The law is based upon property and the protection of property interests. The organisation of the forces for the administration of the law is in the hands of the people of property. The police forces are headed with officers of the propertied class. The army and navy are officered by “people of means.” The air pilots are drawn from the same class. The press is owned by the lords of property, and they mould the news of the day in the interests of property. The king and his privy council, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the Church and the universities and schools are based on the “rights” of property, and all their activities for the maintenance of the power of the propertied class over the propertyless mass, the working class.
When the workers of the factories and mines and fields strike in protest against oppression, the public halls are closed to the strikers. The police protect the factories and not the workers. The Press denounces the strikers. The Church intervenes in the name of “peace” on behalf of the employers. The Government uses the law, introduces Emergency Laws, passes the Trade Union Act to cripple the actions and organisations of the workers and to break their solidarity. If the strike grows, the army, navy and air forces are called in against the propertyless people. Thus is the dictatorship of the capitalists exercised over the working class.
Britain is an imperialist power, subjecting to its rule and exploitation not less than 450,000,000 people. From the colonies of the Empire come vast quantities of raw materials, oil, rubber, cotton, wool, ores, corn; yet the poverty of the hundreds of millions of workers and peasants who produce these things beggars description. In India the death rate is the highest in the world. The average wages are 1s. per day. Three hundred millions are illiterate. Two per cent. have a right to vote and they must be people of property. The Viceroy overrides all unfavourable legislation, i.e., unfavourable to British capitalist interests. In Kenya, where the princes of Britain have just been holiday-making, the Government has stolen the land of the natives and imposed compulsory wage labour at 8s. a month.
The whole fabric of empire and imperialist exploitation is held together by military might. When the masses rise in revolt, as in Arabia, bombs are dropped upon them. In India and elsewhere the police carry arms and use them, as in the Bombay mill strike. Trade union organisation and political organisation of the workers is often made illegal. When a colonial people demand their own parliament, as in Egypt, they are brought face to face with the big guns of the warships. The Empire is maintained as a vast reservoir of human exploitation, and raw material for the metropolis.
This Empire is now the storm centre of the world crisis of capitalism, ushered in by the world war of 1914-18. The war ended with a tremendous breach in world capitalism. The triumph of the workers and peasants of Russia, culminating in the firm establishment of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics tore from capitalist control a sixth part of the world. At the same time the war changed the relations between the capitalist powers. Britain ceased to be the dominating power of world capitalism. For a period of years capitalist economy in Europe was in chaos, the class war reached unprecedented heights and a wave of national revolutionary upheaval in the colonies of the imperialist powers shook them to their foundations. America became the dominating force in world capitalism, and principally by its aid capitalist economy in Europe has been re-developed within the narrowed frontiers of capitalism. This development of American capitalism and restoration process in Europe which has resulted in the raising of the technique of production in America, Germany and France far in advance of that of Britain, has but served to re-stage the antagonisms between the powers on a more colossal scale. The present crisis of Great Britain, therefore, consists in the struggle of a decadent empire, torn with economic and social contradictions, against the forces of social revolution developing within its frontiers, as evidenced by the vast unrest amongst the propertyless masses of Britain and the colonies, against the Soviet Union which represents the new social order of socialism, and against the rival imperialist powers, especially America.
It is obvious that the hatred of British capitalism for the First Workers’ State is deep-rooted when it sacrifices millions of pounds’ worth of trade a year in the period of its deepest depression. But its policy is not merely negative. From the moment of the cessation of military intervention in Russia, in which—under Lloyd George and Churchill—Britain spent £l00,000,000, the key to Britain’s European and Eastern policy has been the organisation of an international, diplomatic, financial and economic blockade of Soviet Russia as a preliminary to the renewal of military intervention. This is seen in the financial, military and diplomatic assistance to the development of the Border States by Britain to encircle Soviet Russia with a ring of hostile states. It is seen in the Locarno Pact, aiming at a four-power bloc against the Soviet Union on the one hand and a European united front against America on the other hand. It is seen in the refusal of credits, the Governmental contacts with Russian counter-revolutionaries (Zablin); in the organisation of an international financial boycott; in the attitude to the French reservists; in the building of air bases in Mesopotamia; the fomenting of rebellion in Afghanistan; the equipment of the Indian army and fortification of the North-West frontiers, etc.; in the continuous violent press campaign of lies and slander against the Soviet Union. All these facts demonstrate beyond question the deep-rooted class hatred which the triumph of the Russian workers has engendered in the breasts of the British capitalist class.
The growing economic rivalry between Britain and America, intensified by American financial and economic penetration of the Empire, and profoundly affected by the strong tendency in the Dominions towards independence, is the key to the increasing political rivalry and armament race now openly developing. The deep resentment frequently manifest in Britain against the war debt settlement, the quarrel in the Geneva three-power “disarmament” conference concerning cruisers, the avoidance of New York and Washington by Sir Austen Chamberlain on his visit to America; the avoidance of London by Kellogg on his visit to Dublin and Paris; the scandal concerning the Anglo-French Pact, which is regarded as an armament alliance against America; the renewal of Anglo-Japanese “friendship”; the making of a separate agreement of the American Government with the Egyptian Government; the new naval building programme of America; the preparation of naval bases in the Pacific by both America and Britain; all testify that British capitalism and American capitalism stand in the same relation in the post-war situation as did British capitalism and German capitalism before the war of 1914-1918.
At the same time there is within the Empire the marked tendency of the Dominions to come under the influence of American capitalism. The raising of loans by Australia in America, the rapid growth of trade between the two countries, the visit of the American fleet to Sydney, all speak of the growth of the tendency away from Britain. Canada is almost completely under the financial and economic control of America. Hence it is no exaggeration to say that British-American rivalry and preparations for war are the dominating factors in the inter-relations between the capitalist powers to-day. The crisis therefore is twofold—a conflict of two social systems and a conflict of imperialist rivals for world power.
The effect of the general crisis of capitalists upon the economy of Britain is most profound. Whereas in 1913 Britain supplied 14.2 per cent. of the world’s pig iron, in 1927 it only supplied 8.6 per cent. In 1913 it supplied 10.3 per cent. of the world’s steel: in 1927 it supplied 9.1 per cent. In 1913 it consumed 18.7 per cent. of the world’s cotton supplies; to-day it consumes not more than 12.2 per cent. In 1913 it built 58 per cent. of the world’s ships. In 1925 it built so per cent., and in 1927, 54 per cent. Thirty per cent. of shipbuilding workers are unemployed. Production as a whole in 1927 only reached 92.9 per cent. of the level attained in 1913, while the export industries which play a dominating role in British economy, exported only 78.2 per cent. of the volume exported in 1913.
Not only has British capitalism fallen behind its leading competitors, but it has begun its efforts to overtake its rivals with heavy handicaps. It has a colossal war debt of £7,800,000,000, the interest on which imposes taxation to the extent of £350,000,000 per annum. America has no such heavy charges, but is the creditor drawing in its money from the other countries. British industries are fettered with old forms of organisation and vested interests, over-capitalisation and backward methods of production, which are a barrier to the comprehensive rationalisation of industry already carried through by the rivals of British capitalism. The relative position of British technical advancement is seen at a glance in its measure of electrification as compared with America and Germany. The percentage for Britain is 47 per cent.: for America 73 per cent. and Germany 67 per cent.
Still more damaging is the fact that British exports to the Dominions and other parts of the British Empire have not kept pace with the growth of exports from other countries to the Empire. Although British capitalism enjoys Empire preference, America, Japan, and other countries are beating the British. The statistical abstract of the British Government shows that, whereas in 1895 British exports into the countries of the British Empire totalled 52 per cent. and in 1914 42 per cent., in 1925 they had fallen to 38 per cent. This means that 62 per cent. of colonial imports are now being purchased from foreign countries—especially America.
A still further aggravating factor of the economic crisis arises from the political enmity of the Government to the Soviet Union. With the recognition of the Soviet Government in 1924 Anglo-Soviet trade rose from £16,800,000 in 1923 to £53,262,091 in 1925-6, £49,233,912 in 1926-7, and fell to £33,182,821 in 1928 after the rupture of diplomatic relations. Had there been no such rupture, it is beyond question that trade would have increased enormously. The rupture took place just at the moment that the Midland Bank had negotiated a credit to finance Soviet orders in Britain to the amount of £10,000,000. Since the break, trade between the Soviet Union and Germany and America has increased. The imports from Germany alone in the eight months of 1927-28 (October to May) rose to 190 per cent. of the corresponding eight months in 1926-27.
The first line of attack upon this problem of the stagnation of British capitalism was the characteristic attack upon the wages of the workers. The first offensive began in 1921 under the Lloyd George Coalition Government, when the attack was launched on the miners. During 1921-28 the workers’ wage bills decreased approximately £700 millions per annum. This attack extended to the hours of labour during the same period, and since 1921 211,900,000 hours have been added to the workers’ labour time per year without any corresponding increase in wages.
The Income Tax returns show that the number of super-tax payers amounted in 1921 to 91,451, and in 1928 to 92,805. The actual income of weekly wage earners liable to pay Income Tax in 1924-5 amounted to £343,500,000; in 1926-7 to £165,000,000. It is argued by some reformists anxious for “industrial peace” that there has been a decline in the cost of living which makes up for the nominal decline in wages.
But an examination of the organised trades does not justify the claims of these people. The Ministry of Labour Gazette shows the cost of living is at 68 per cent. above 1914 level. Coal mining wages are 43 per cent. above 1914. Engineering wages are 51 per cent. above 1914, not allowing for short time; shipwrights 42 per cent.; iron and steel trades vary between 20 per cent. and 70 per cent. Cotton wages full time 61 per cent., but cotton workers have been on organised short time for seven years. There can be no doubt of the vast inroads into the wages of the workers during the long offensive action of the capitalists. This has been their first line of attack in their attempt to recover from the economic decline.
The first great attacks upon wages and hours after the war period have been followed by the development of plans for the “rationalisation of industry” under the banner of Mondism. Mondism signifies the co-operation of all the forces of finance capital with the trade union and labour forces in the restoration of British capitalist industry in reducing the costs of production by means of wage cuts, the lengthening of hours, the intensification of labour, cutting down of staffs, “scientific management,” concentration of capital in fewer banks, trustification, organisation of cartels, limiting production to force up prices, etc.
For example, only 8.5 per cent. of the coal was cut by machinery in 1913, but this increased to 22 per cent. in 1926. The Balfour Committee Report says on p. 96 (Further Factors in Industrial and Commercial Efficiency):—
“In the iron and steel industry, for example, mechanical means have been introduced for performing many operations previously carried out by hand labour. The number of men employed in the blastfurnaces in 1923 had fallen compared with the average number employed in 1920 by 32.1 per cent., while the output per employee had increased by 35.9 per cent. Similarly in steel smelting and rolling, the number of workers employed in 1923 was 65.6 per cent. only of the number in 1920, while the output per man was increased by 37.2 per cent.”
Forty thousand steel workers have been unemployed since 1920. This intensification of labour accompanying wage reductions and the lengthening of the hours of labour, as already indicated, has been accompanied also by the cutting down of expenditure on social measures in order to intensify the scramble for jobs among the unemployed, and help recruiting for the army. This is seen clearly in the lowering of insurance benefits of the State Insurance for unemployment and cutting off of hundreds of thousands from insurance pay. Benefits have been reduced by 1s. to 8s. a week. Similar cuts have been made by the Minister of Health with regard to relief administered by Boards of Guardians. Amounts of money available for supply of milk to nursing mothers have been reduced. Attempts to export the unemployed by emigration schemes have failed. Out of 8,000 miners sent to Canada, 5,780 returned.
On the other hand, super-tax payers have been relieved of £30,000,000 of taxation by the first budget of the Baldwin Government, extending to £42,000,000 per year in 1926-27-28. By the return to the gold standard, the banks increased the value of their holdings by 10 per cent. The reduction of Income Tax in the 1926 budget was a further relief to the people of property. In 1925 the Government granted £20,000,000 to the coal owners as a subsidy to help them to recapture the international coal market. British industry has become more and more dominated by big trusts such as Imperial Chemicals with a capital of £66,000,000; Lever Brothers £64,500,000; Royal Dutch Oil Co., united with Anglo-Persian Oil Co., into a combine with a capital of £200,000,000; Courtaulds Artificial Silk, £32,000,000; Vickers, Ltd., £30,000,000; Coats’ Cotton trust, £28,000,000, etc., etc. New marketing combinations have been formed to limit production and raise prices. The cotton industry is now being subject to the same process.
By the new de-rating scheme, the industrialists and farmers (farmers temporarily, because the relief will be quickly absorbed by landlords) have been relieved to the extent of £24,000,000 a year.
In addition the capitalists of Britain have taken measures to retard the industrial development of the colonies and to secure the extension of Empire preferences to British manufactured goods with a view to benefiting British industries: for example, the rupee exchange of India has been raised to 1s. 6d. instead of 1s. 4d. in face of the opposition of Indian capitalists. This is equivalent to a 12 per cent. preference to British goods. Instead of increasing the Indian tariff on iron and steel as demanded by the Indian capitalists, the tariff was taken off and preferential tariff fixed for British iron and steel goods. These are typical measures directed against the industrial development of the colonies to benefit the industries of the metropolis.
By these measures the capitalist class has intensified the class antagonisms, sharpened the rivalries between the capitalist powers and deepened the international crisis. Instead of “increased stability” the position of capitalism has become more precarious and war looms ever nearer. The Communist Party declares there is no way of avoiding the oncoming imperialist war, no way of escape for the working class of this country from the degradation and oppression now imposed upon it other than by the fundamental revolutionary measures which only a Revolutionary Workers’ Government can put into life.
The measure which a Revolutionary Workers’ Government would carry through to meet the problems of the crisis we have analysed would be as follows:
(1) It would declare this country to be a Workers’ Socialist Republic, and consolidate its power and safeguard it from counter-revolution and external capitalist attack by organising its own revolutionary workers’ army, navy and air force.
(2) Without compensating the former owners it would repudiate the National Debt, only making allowance for small investors, trade unions and co-operators.
(3) Without compensating the former owners it would nationalise the banks, the land, the mines, the railways, land and sea transport, electrical industries, broadcasting stations, engineering and shipbuilding industries, post and telegraph, chemical, cotton and woollen textile industries, flour milling, boot and shoe industries and building materials, all of which are ripe for running as national industries, unitedly owned and controlled by the workers. The planful control and direction of industry, free from profit-mongering control of private ownership, would set free boundless energy, eliminate enormous waste and increase the powers of wealth production beyond measure.
(4) Farms over 150 acres would be run as Workers’ State Farms. Farms of 150 acres would be rented to present tenants on a new valuation and on conditions of (a) actual working; (b) maintaining a reasonable level of cultivation, and (c) observance of trade union conditions. All tithes would be abolished. Unoccupied cultivatable land would be allocated to agricultural workers, each worker receiving land according to capacity to work it, assisted by credits to work collectively. Small farmers would be encouraged to develop agricultural co-operative societies to facilitate collective use, and control of wage conditions and hours of labour would be vested in the agricultural workers’ trade union and the workers’ State Department of Agriculture.
(5) The control of workers’ conditions in industry would be exercised by the workers through factory committees and the trade unions, organised as industrial unions and working in co-operation with the State department of industry. Instead of having to negotiate with an opposing exploiting class, the workers would thereby exercise self-government through their various organs of State and industrial administration. Rationalisation of industry under such conditions would be an advantage eliminating waste, reducing labour necessary for production and thereby enabling the workers to reduce the hours of labour and raise the standard of life. The workers themselves would control the employment and dismissal of workers and the regulating of workshop conditions. Having become the owners, they also become the controllers of industry. Ownership and control go together.
(6) The distributive trade would be nationalised—and worked in co-operation with the Co-operative Movement, which would be encouraged to develop as a great distributive agency with the Workers’ State.
(7) State credits would be extended to the Co-operative Movement so that, in conjunction with the State Distribution Department, it would rapidly eliminate private trade.
(8) The printing plants would become the property of the Workers’ State, as also the big cinema enterprises and theatres. The control of these establishments by the Revolutionary Workers’ Government, along with the existence of a monopoly of newspapers and book-publishing, would ensure the most extensive political and general education of the workers, and the building up of a new socialist culture.
(9) The control of non-nationalised enterprises, such as small shops, petty handicraft industries, etc., in respect to wages, prices, conditions of labour, would be exercised by the Workers’ Government. The Government and Workers’ Committees would have complete access to all materials relating to the financial control of these industries. This control would be operated in conjunction with the workers’ control of banking and foreign trade.
(10) The Revolutionary Workers’ Government would confiscate all house property, transform the palaces and large houses of the rich into rest homes for the workers under the control of the State Health Department. It would abolish the slums of the towns and the tied cottages of the villages and redistribute housing accommodation on the basis of the housing needs of the workers, rent for workers’ houses to be paid to the Workers’ State or a local Workers’ Council, and regulated according to income (10 per cent. of wages). The rooms of large houses would be let off as workers’ flats on the same principle. (Where a worker has been fortunate enough to secure his own house to live in, the Revolutionary Workers’ Government would not confiscate, the main line of attack being upon landlordism.)
(11) Disestablishment of the Church and the placing of religion on a footing of voluntary associations with equal freedom of anti-religious bodies such as secularist societies. The established church is more than a religious institution at the present time. It is a great landlord levying tribute from the workers, extracting no less than £500,000 per year from mining royalties alone. The established Church of England and Scotland as a landlord must be treated as other landlords and the Revolutionary Workers’ Government would therefore confiscate its landed property and royalties and abolish tithes. Its political power would be abolished whilst freedom for religious opinions and practices would be placed on the proper basis of equality with antireligious views. This would ensure a real test as to the vitality of religion amongst the people.
(12) All hospitals, sanatoria, etc., would become the property of the Workers’ State and the medical service would be conducted as a State service, free to the workers. Under its auspices, there would be organised a scheme of non-contributory health insurance, guaranteeing the equivalent of wages when sick. The insurance benefit for women would include eight weeks’ leave before and after confinement with full pay.
(13) The Revolutionary Workers’ Government would exercise a State monopoly of foreign trade and thereby eliminate the vexed questions of free trade and tariff reform, both of which are but expedient measures for rival profit-mongers. As the workers will own and control the industry of the country as a single concern and consequently would regulate its internal market conditions, so also the monopoly of foreign trade would enable the Workers’ State to purchase and sell in bulk on terms satisfactory to itself.
(14) The 7-hour working day would be established by law (6 hours for miners and other dangerous occupations), and a maximum 40 hours working week. Unemployment would be regarded as a national charge to be administered by local Workers’ Councils at scales equivalent to wages when working. The Communist Party rejects the principle that it is necessary to penalise the workers to drive them to work. In a country owned and controlled by themselves wherein every increase in production raises the standard of the workers, the incentive to work becomes a first principle of social life and the brutal weapon of starvation, which dominates the life of the workers under capitalism, is abolished. Women workers would be prohibited from night work, paid on the same terms as men, and organised in the same unions.
(15) Non-contributory old age pensions at 60 years of age at least equivalent to the wages when employed would be regarded as a necessary measure of social legislation.
(16) All schools and universities, technical colleges and educational institutions would be nationalised by the Revolutionary Workers’ Government, and administered by a Central Educational Dept., and Educational Departments of the local Workers’ Councils. Education of the young would be completely secular and freed entirely from its capitalist and imperialist teachings. School age would be raised to 16 years of age.
No person under 18 years of age would be permitted to work night work or overtime.
A 6-hour working day and a 5-day week would operate for all between 16 and 18 years of age.
Work schools and factories would be established for the training of young workers for industry under the control of the trade unions and factory committees. Young workers would receive full wages while attending work schools, and the hours of attendance included in general working hours. The State would maintain and support all school children, including those qualifying for higher technical education, and universities, all of which would be administered and controlled by the workers.
This programme of class liberation, industrial, economic and social reorganisation strikes at the foundation of the economic and political and social contradictions which are here outlined as to the conditions of Britain to-day. It shows how to remove the parasitism that battens on the social life of to-day, and how to organise the country on the foundations of social labour. It propounds the means for scientifically reorganising the economic life of this country, eliminating sex inequalities, and opening the way for equality of opportunity for all.
Equally profound and far-reaching is the programme of the Revolutionary Workers’ Government in relation to foreign countries and those held in the grip of British imperialism. The first act would be:
(1) The declaration of independence of every country hitherto ruled and controlled by British imperialism, and the offer of friendly assistance to them to maintain their independence and develop in the direction of Workers’ and Peasants’ Republics.
(2) Immediate unity and federation with the Soviet Union.
(3) Publication of all secret treaties.
(4) A declaration of friendship with the oppressed workers and peasants of the world.
(5) Repudiation of League of Nations as a capitalist and imperialist institution.
(6) Support to the Soviet Union programme of international simultaneous disarmament as the means to end war.
Preparation for the coming of the Revolutionary Workers’ Government is the present work of the Communist Party. It enters this General Election with the object of strengthening the workers to that ultimate end. It puts before the workers the following proposals for an immediate militant working-class policy—not an alternative to the programme which has just been outlined, but a statement of things which the working class demands at once.
Labour reformists claim that the Communist Party is concentrating all attention on distant revolution, whilst they, as practical people, are concentrating on getting something now. This, of course, is nonsense. The struggle for reforms in the present period leads to revolution. The reformists have abandoned the struggle and become the most active agents of the capitalists, sabotaging the workers’ struggle. They are prepared to do nothing without the consent of the capitalists.
The following programme of immediate demands is, therefore, not an alternative to the programme of the Revolutionary Workers’ Government, but the application of its principles to the immediate situation as preparatory measures expressing the needs of the workers, the struggle for which weakens the forces of the capitalist class and strengthens the power of the working class, and prepares it for its greater task of conquering power.
The figures we have given relating to the great army of unemployed are eloquent of the serious situation facing millions of workers.
The parties of capitalism have no answer other than the aggravation of the misery and poverty of the workers. The Communist Party, on the contrary, declares that the working class are in no way responsible for unemployment and the full responsibility must be placed upon the capitalist class. It, therefore, sets the claims of the workers in the foreground and demands:
(1) That the full burden for the relief of the unemployed be placed upon the capitalist class through the National Exchequer—on the basis of a non-contributory scheme—the State paying 50 per cent. of insurance charge and the employers 50 per cent.
(2) That the maintenance of the unemployed be at the following rates:
10s. per week (or equivalent on cost of living basis) for young workers aged 14 to 16 years.
15s. ditto for young workers aged 16 to 18 years.
30s. ditto for adult unemployed workers, male or female.
15s. ditto for unemployed workers’ wife.
5s. ditto for unemployed worker’s child.
(3) Abolition of “not genuinely seeking work” qualification.
(4) Administration to be carried out by unemployed insurance commission, composed of representatives of the committee of the National Unemployed Workers’ Committee, the trade unions and factory committees.
(5) The establishment of the 7-hour working day for all workers. Reduce the hours of labour and absorb more workers in industry.
(6) Rejection of emigration schemes. They are usually nothing more or less than a means of providing cheap labour for Dominion capitalists and landlords, as in the hare-brained Canadian harvesters’ scheme.
(7) Establishment of Old Age Pensions on a non-contributory basis at 60 (in industries like mining at 55) of £2. per week and 10s. for wife.
(8) Raising the school age to 16. The State to maintain children up to this age.
(9) Recognise the Government of the Soviet Union and establish full diplomatic relations. Extend £100,000,000 credits and this alone would bring employment to scores of thousands of workers.
(10) Initiate schemes of road and town building by State and municipality, and employ the workers at full trade union rates of wages.
It is nonsense for the capitalists or the Government to proclaim that money is not available. Such a claim is an obvious fraud when advanced by a Government that pays £350,000,000 in interest on war debt and £110,000,000 per annum on war equipment.
Whilst the unemployment question stands in the foreground of the economic situation to-day, it is inseparable from the problem of the employed workers. Indeed, nothing is more certain than the fact that unless united class action of the workers is established by the unity of the employed and unemployed workers in common struggle, unemployment is the means of dragging down the conditions of the workers in industry.
The present condition of the workers in industry, with wage cuts proceeding continuously, hours of labour being lengthened, factory conditions becoming more abominable, demands an answer.
The Communist Party’s answer to this situation is one of direct appeal to the workers to reorganise their forces for mass action, and to put forward demands commensurate with the needs of the workers. It demands:
(1) The repeal of the Miners’ Eight-Hour Act and the establishment of the 7-hour day for miners.
(2) The repeal of the E.P.A. and the T.U. Act.
(3) A national minimum wage of £4 a week.
(4) The establishment of a 7-hour day and a 40-hour week.
(5) Fortnight’s holiday per year with pay.
(6) The appointment of factory inspectors elected by the trade unions and working in co-operation with the factory committees.
As the means for struggle to enforce these concessions the Communist Party advocates the creation of Factory Committees to unite all the workers of the factory, the fusion and transformation of the trade unions into one union for each industry, with branches based upon the factories, etc.; unity in action with the Unemployed Workers’ Committee and the Co-operatives; the extension of working class unity of the unions against the capitalists; international trade union unity that includes all anti-capitalist trade unions in a single International Federation of Trade-Unions. The work of a Communist fraction in Parliament, therefore, would be not only to raise the demand for legislative changes, but to organise the mass forces outside Parliament to enforce the changes.
The treatment meted out to the miners in the present condition of the mining industry is an unparalleled scandal. The breakdown of the industry in the face of international competition and revolutionary changes in fuel economy is apparent to everybody. But the capitalist class laid the full penalty of this breakdown on the workers. They have reduced the wages, lengthened the hours of labour, fettered the unions with legal restrictions, lowered unemployment pay, cast thousands of young miners destitute on to the streets. And while putting millions of pounds into the pockets of the mineowners (£20,000,000 in 1925), relieving them of taxation, lowering transport charges, etc., they flaunt charity in the faces of the destitute and hungry, and have nothing more to offer them than the export of the miners as cheap labour for other districts and the Dominions.
The Communist Party demands that immediate needs be met by fulfilling the following demands:
(1) Unemployed relief to be a national charge. Every unemployed man, woman and dependents should have relief at the rates already indicated in section on Unemployment.
(2) Repeal of the Eight-Hour Act and reversion to 7-hour day as a means of absorbing the unemployed.
(3) Restriction of employment to over 16 years of age and under 55 years of age.
(4) All miners from 55 years of age to receive pension of £2 per week and 10s. for wife.
(5) State allowance of 10s. per week for children up to 16 years of age and training for young workers as per general demand on behalf of youth.
(6) Termination of all existing wage agreements when the first agreement expires.
(7) One National Agreement and One Miners’ Union.
(8) Repudiation of Mondism by M.F.G.B.
It would be folly to hold out to the agricultural workers and small farmers the possibility of freeing them from the exploitation of the landlords without common action with the whole working class to end capitalism.
The agricultural workers belong to the lowest-paid and most sorely driven body of workers in the country. Badly organised and easily victimised, often held in the grip of the tied cottage system, scattered over many counties with varying conditions, the agricultural labourers are mercilessly exploited. Their wages are low, averaging not more than 30s. per week and hours of labour are long.
The small farmers are held in the stranglehold of the landlords and the banks, and cannot hope to get free to develop their farms without organised action against the capitalist class. The need of the small farmers is collective organisation in the form of agricultural co-operative organisation, working with the co-op. Union on the one hand, and the organised agricultural and town workers on the other hand.
The Communist Party, therefore, urges:—
(1) The organisation of the agricultural workers in a single rational union of agricultural workers.
(2) A minimum wage.
(3) A 44-hour week winter or summer.
(4) Overtime to be paid at time and a quarter; double time for Sunday work and Bank Holidays.
(5) Harvest work to rank as overtime and to be paid at overtime rates up to 60 hours per week. Beyond that at double time.
(6) Abolition of tied cottage system and the adoption of a National Housing Scheme by the State for provision of houses for agricultural workers at 10 per cent. of wages.
(7) Unemployment insurance for agricultural workers.
(8) Organisation of small tenant farmers (up to 50 acres) into agricultural co-operatives for supplying machinery and organisation of distribution through Co-op. Union.
(9) Cancelling of bank mortgages of small farmers.
(10) Abolition of tithes and taxation on farm land and machinery.
The housing of the workers in the large cities and countryside is an abomination. There is need for a million houses at least to catch up to the normal pace of building in relation to growth of population and decay of old houses.
In Glasgow the density of the population is 207 per acre, and 22 per acre in Cathcart (residential area). Infantile mortality in the Gorbals is 128 per 1,000; in Cathcart 52 per 1,000.
Meanwhile the capitalist Government builds houses for sale or for letting at high rents. The Communist Party, therefore, demands:
(1) State control of building materials.
(2) The prohibiting of the production of houses for sale and not for letting.
(3) The employment of direct labour on housing schemes.
(4) The confiscation and rationing of big house property by the local authorities.
(5) Rents to be fixed by municipal authorities at not more than 10 per cent. of wages.
(6) Unemployed workers to be relieved of payment of rent and rates.
(7) Compulsory repairs by landlord of all working class houses in bad condition.
The capitalist class of this country have been compelled, as an insurance against revolution, to introduce many schemes for the amelioration of the conditions of the workers. But all these schemes—Old Age Pensions, Health Insurance, Medical Service—have been used as the means to squeeze the meagre earnings of the workers to the limit.
The hospitals are left to private charity instead of being a charge upon the State. The blind are left to charity. The disabled are uncared for. Contrast these conditions with those inaugurated by the Workers’ Government of Soviet Russia, led by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There all medical service is a State medical service. Creches are provided for the children at the factories so that the mothers are sure of care for the children while they are at work. Expectant mothers are free for two months before childbirth and two months after with full wages and an extra allowance for milk for the child. The health of the workers and their families comes first.
The Communist Party applies the same principles here, and demands that the cost of social services be placed on the capitalist class. It demands:
(1) Non-contributory Old Age Pensions at 60 years of age (miners at 55).
(2) Non-contributory schemes of Health Insurance guaranteeing the equivalent of wages when sick.
(3) A state medical service, including sanatoria and resthouses, maintained by National Exchequer.
(4) Free Medical Service to the workers, including establishment of clinics for free information on all questions of personal and social health.
(5) Insurance benefit to include eight weeks’ leave before and eight weeks after confinement with full pay for all women workers.
(6) Maternity benefit of £5, with free medical attendance, nursing and maintenance before and after confinement.
(7) State responsibility for the blind and disabled.
Of all the means which the capitalist class utilise as a means for developing a “loyal” wage slave class, saturated with imperialism, none is more closely in their grip than the educational system in Britain. Partially in the hands of the church, partially in the hands of the State, it leaves all the advantages in the hands of the wealthy, all the disadvantages imposed upon the children of the working class. Children are taught various religions, dragooned into imperialist demonstrations, taught perverted history and all their mental processes brought under the strict supervision of capitalist teaching. There are still thousands of classes with more than 70 students in each, many thousands of children attend school daily in a totally unfit condition through hunger and poverty, to receive education; and nothing is provided for them. Nothing but the most drastic action can deal effectively with these things.
It is obvious that to abolish capitalist teaching in its entirety from the schools, the workers must become the ruling class and take in hand the whole educational system. As a means to the development of the consciousness and power of the workers for this purpose the Communist Party demands.:—
(1) No class to exceed 30 in number.
(2) State assistance for local authorities for the building of new up-to-date schools.
(3) State assistance to municipalities for the provision of playing fields for school children.
(4) Adequate feeding and clothing of all school children free.
(5) Formation of Parents’ Councils for the purpose of controlling conditions of schools.
(6) Elimination of all imperialist teaching from school books and curriculum.
(7) Only secular education in schools.
(8) State maintenance and support of all working class children.
(9) Equal pay for men and women teaching in all grades of the profession. No discrimination against women teachers on account of marriage.
(10) The scales of salaries in force in large towns and big industrial areas should not fall below those in force in London.
(11) Maintenance of Burnham scale of salaries with the immediate raising of the salaries of the lower paid teachers so as to approximate more nearly to those of the higher paid. Uncertificated teachers should be placed on same scales and conditions as certificated teachers, but there should be no further extension of uncertificated teachers.
(12) No teachers shall be punished professionally, i.e., by dismissal, revocation of certificate or loss of status, for political offences or for the public expression of any political or religious opinions. Full civic and political rights for teachers.
The number of working women in industry is increasing. It now totals between four and five millions. They are poorly organised and generally work in the less well-paid occupations and receive lower wages than men for industrial work.
The Communist Party is not opposed in principle to women working in industry. It calls on working men and women to fight a united battle and put forward the following demands:—:
(1) Prohibition by law of night work and overtime for working women.
(2) Equal pay for equal work for male and female workers.
(3) Organisation of the women workers in the same union as men according to industry, and common participation in it.
The exploitation of the youth and children of this country is increasing. Boys and girls are being swallowed up in the machinery of mass production year by year, displacing men and women and subject to intolerable conditions. From 500,000 to 600,000 boys and girls leave the schools each year for industry. A hundred thousand daily wander round the Labour Exchanges without work. In factories youths can be worked 60 hours, while young workers in offices, warehouses, as messenger boys, van boys, in domestic service, hotels, clubs and agriculture are working in conditions entirely at the mercy of the employers. Not less than 100,000 boys and girls are thus employed as “spare time workers.”
The Communist Party regards the capitalists’ treatment of the youth as the greatest of crimes—a veritable blood-sucking of the rising generation. The minimum demands it puts forward consist of:—
(1) The raising of the school age to 16 and allowances to be paid by the State up to 16.
(2) Abolition of night work, overtime and work in dangerous occupations.
(3) A six-hour working day and a five-day week for all workers between 16 and 18 years of age.
(4) Establishment of work-schools and factories for the training of young workers in industry. These work-schools should be under the control of the Trade Unions and Workers’ Factory Committees, as in the Soviet Union. Young workers to receive full wages while attending works-schools and the hours of attendance included in the general hours of work.
(5) Every person 18 years of age and over must be given the right to vote. Old enough for work and army services old enough to vote.
It is an outstanding fact of to-day that the soldiers, sailors and airmen are left almost entirely to the complete control of the capitalist class. When men join the forces they are treated as if they had no right to maintain contact with the working class movement. Politics are forbidden them. They are debarred from independent organisation to defend their interests against their employers who are their class enemies. They are expected to be obedient tools of the capitalist class—to fight capitalist wars and be used to crush their fellow-workers as occasion demands without question. They are kept in ignorance of the social questions stirring the workers to action; denied the right of self-expression and subject to the dragoonings of the officers drawn from the ranks of the propertied class who function as their political overlords.
The Communist Party declares that this régime is in deadly opposition to the interests of the working class. It therefore seeks to prevent the separation of the soldiers, sailors and airmen from their fellow-workers, to establish complete class solidarity between them and to secure for them the right of organised self-expression. It therefore demands:—
(1) The right of the rank and file of the forces to form trade unions.
(2) The right of service men to join political parties and to organise branches of them in their ranks, also the right to attend political meetings and demonstrations and to take part in them.
(3) The abolition of the death penalty, field punishment, and the courts martial. The right of soldiers, sailors and airmen to be tried in civil courts by civilian law with free civil representation.
(4) That the forces shall not be used against the workers in industrial disputes and they shall have the right to refuse to be used as blacklegs.
(5) The right to elect regimental, battalion or company or ship committees in the service to represent the men on all grievances and questions affecting the conditions of service.
All three capitalist parties are vieing with each other to lighten the taxes on the propertied classes. But direct and indirect taxes and tariff revenues weigh heavily upon the shoulders of the working class.
The taxation of Britain is enormous. After paying in interest nearly £3,000,000,000 to the investors in the blood-bath of 1914-18, the National Debt remains practically the same and levies a charge of £350,000,000 per annum upon the taxes of this country. More than another £110,000,000 per annum is spent on the maintenance of war apparatus and preparation for war. Approximately 50 per cent. of the taxes are indirect taxes, weighing directly upon the working population of the country by increasing the price of food stuffs and the daily purchases of the masses.
At the same time the Tory Party is launching a campaign for an increase of indirect taxation through an extension of “safeguarding,” that is the imposition of a tariff upon certain imported goods. The growth of trusts and monopolies always proceeds hand in hand with the growth of tariff demands. Their chief function is to help to exclude foreign competition from the home market and make possible the raising of prices to the buyer in the home country by an amount nearly equal to the tariff.
At the same time it makes it possible for the trusts to sell their goods below cost price to other countries and thus intensifies foreign competition.
At the same time it would be an illusion to think that Free Trade brings real relief to the masses. A Liberal Free Trade Party was at the head of the forces of British capitalism leading to the war of 1914-18. The existing “free trade” conditions show that Free Trade has nothing to offer the workers, while the proposal of the Labour Party for international boycott of sweated goods and international agreements re conditions of labour do not strike at the roots of the problem. The roots of the problem lie in the very nature of capitalism and cannot be eradicated without the destruction of the capitalist mode of production. A revolutionary workers’ government could settle the question of the internal markets by eliminating production for profit and regulating production according to need and by the State monopoly of foreign trade.
The demands of the Communist Party in relation to the question of taxation and tariffs consist, therefore, of the following:—
(1) Abolition of all indirect taxes.
(2) Exemption from all kinds of taxation for all wage-earners.
(3) Tax exemption for all working farmers.
(4) Graduated income tax starting with the incomes of £500 per annum, increasing gradually so that all personal incomes over £5,000 per year are confiscated.
(5) Abolition of the right of transfer and inheritance by confiscation of all individual fortunes over £1,000.
(6) Repudiation of the National Debt (special consideration to be given to the position of small investors, the Cooperatives, and trade unions).
The danger of war is increasing daily. Ten years after the armistice of 1918, the powers are more powerfully armed than at any time in history. Every capitalist country is concentrating on the re-equipment of its military, naval and air forces, to give them a greater military striking power than ever before. Gas production factories and the development of war industries are being pursued with an intensity unknown hitherto.
The war danger develops in two principal directions. The concentration of hatred against the First Workers’ Republic is the first direction, increasing rivalry with other imperialist and capitalist powers for markets and colonial exploitation is the second direction.
All the Powers seek to cover their antagonisms and manuvres in the garb of “working for peace.” The Locarno Pact, the League of Nations disarmament parodies, the Kellogg Pact, all are measures ostensibly for peace, but actually means for hiding war preparations. Disarmament in the mouth of the imperialists has become synonymous with “armed efficiency.”
This was clearly demonstrated by the Soviet Government at Geneva when it proposed simultaneous and complete international disarmament. This was not a sentimental pacifist gesture, but the most serious political demonstration that capitalism depends upon the force of areas to maintain its robbery.
The Communist Party, therefore, leads the fight for peace, not by pathetically pleading for arbitration of capitalism upon its own disputes, but by attacking capitalism at its foundations. It recognises that peace rests upon the strength and might of the working class to overthrow capitalism, the generator of war. Against arbitration and agreement amongst the robbers it sets the demand for disarming the capitalists. Against the League of Nations and capitalist combinations it calls to the workers to defend the Soviet Union, build the Communist International, unite the trade unions into a single international federation of trade unions based upon the class fight against the capitalists and exploiters, and transform the economic organisation of the co-operatives into auxiliary weapons of struggle against capitalism.
It declares that war can only be eliminated by the elimination of capitalism. It therefore carries its principle of working class solidarity in every direction, uniting the workers in the factory with the workers in the army and navy and air force. It prepares the workers in every way possible to answer imperialist war with the class war, and the liberation war of the colonial masses. It demands:—
(1) Refusal to vote capitalist war credits.
(2) Repudiation of all imperialist treaties and pacts—the Versailles Treaty, the Locarno Pact, the Kellogg Pact.
(3) Exposure and repudiation of the League of Nations as a capitalist war trust.
(4) Annulment of the Dawes Plan.
(5) Withdrawal of all troops from the Rhine, China, India, and Egypt, and all parts of the Empire.
(6) Full support of the Soviet Union proposals for complete simultaneous international disarmament.
(7) Full recognition of Soviet Russia.
(8) Publication of all secret treaties.
(9) The establishment of a fighting trade union international as a weapon in the struggle against war.
The existence of the British Empire creates not only a continual danger of war, but is a constant means of oppressing many hundreds of millions of people. In this exploitation the workers can take no part. The Communist Party therefore declares for the following immediate steps:—
(1) Self-determination and independence for all parts of the British Empire.
(2) Full independence for India at once, not “a measure of self-government” granted gradually, as the Labour Party proposes.
(3) Co-operation of British workers with colonial movements in anti-imperialist activities.
There can be no real democracy unless it is a workers’ democracy that is in power. Real democracy means the mass of the population being at once voters and administrators. This is only possible under a system of workers’ councils, of a workers’ republic founded on the basis of the social ownership of all wealth and means of production. Then all can stand on equal footing and the masses collectively participate in the conduct of their own affairs, the running of industry and the organisation of social life.
The power of the working class is not the power of its spokesmen in Parliament, but the strength of its own organisation, its own Communist Party, its trade unions, its co-operatives, its conquests of the fields, factories, workshops, mines, railways, its capacity to act as a united class and impose its will upon the capitalists. The Communist Party, therefore, advance the demand for:—
(1) The abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords.
(2) The adoption of a national system of proportional representation.
(3) Full political rights for soldiers, sailors, airmen, police and civil servants.
With this policy and this programme the C.P.G.B. enters the General Election as the Party of the class struggle, the enemy of capitalist society. It fights for the unity of the working class with the oppressed workers and peasants of the colonies against all exploitation. It fights for the defence of the Soviet Union, the Workers’ First Fatherland. It fights for a Revolutionary Workers’ Government in Britain and for the World Federation of Soviet Republics. It calls on the workers to leave the parties of capitalism, to rally to the party of the class struggle—the Communist Party.