RESOLUTION OF THE FIFTH COMINTERN CONGRESS ON THE BRITISH LABOUR GOVERNMENT

 

July 1924 Inprekorr, iv, 119, p. 1580, 16 September 1924

EXTRACTS


The Labour Government in England is a bourgeois-imperialist government and not a government of the working class. It is a faithful servant of His Majesty the King of the empire of capitalists, divorced from socialism, divorced from the labour movement, and bound only to the ruling classes. As manager for the bourgeoisie, it is continuing the policy of imperialist oppression and exploitation of the masses in India, Egypt, Africa, etc., and defends the policy designed to protect capitalism, strengthen English imperialism, and carry out the economic and financial colonization of the countries defeated in the war.

. . .

The formation of a Labour Government is not a specifically English phenomenon. It is a product of the period of capitalist decay, in which the old forms of capitalist rule prove incapable of solving the problems, national and international, social, political, and economic, created by capitalism. In this period the capitalist class resorts to the most varied means of defence, from the use of labour parties (ministerial socialism) with their social pacifism, to fascism in all its forms, according to the degree of acuteness reached by class contradictions and the class distribution of power. Labour governments and fascist governments are the two extreme methods used by the bourgeoisie to maintain their dictatorship.

...


Behind a screen of trivial concessions, the Labour Government pursues a bourgeois-imperialist policy as energetically as and certainly more successfully than its predecessors.

...


It has made no attempt to break the power of the aristocratic officer class over the armed forces, or to weaken in any other way this powerful weapon of English capitalism in its anti-working-class activities.

Under a cloak of pacifist promises it has gone to the limit in the construction of cruisers and air forces, and has energetically set about improving armaments. Under a cloak of pacifism this Labour Government is preparing a new slaughter which in its horror will surpass the mass murder of the so-called great war.

The fight of the working class against the Labour Government has therefore become a fight to safeguard humanity from mass annihilation.

As guardian of English imperialism the Labour Government refuses the Indian workers the elementary rights of political organization, allows them to be persecuted and starved, and supports with its authority the bombings, shootings, and terrorism against the masses in India, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Ireland remains in the clutches of English imperialism and hundreds of workers in Ireland remain in prison with the consent of the Labour Government. The Labour Government has become the administrator of the Versailles treaty and allies itself openly with English and French imperialism and the German bourgeoisie to carry through the Dawes plan and to enslave the German workers completely. Even in its relations with the USSR it showed, by its shameful support of the bondholders and bankers against workers' and peasants' Russia, the falseness of its assertion that it guards the workers' interests.

. . .

It is the task of the Communist International and its sections, of the English Communist Party, to rescue the labour movement from its reactionary leadership, to destroy the illusions in the minds of the masses that their emancipation can be a gradual process of parliamentary reform, and to make clear to the workers that they can free themselves from capitalist exploitation only by ruthless class struggle and by destroying the power of the bourgeoisie. For this purpose, and only for this purpose, the English Communist Party must continue its fight for affiliation to the Labour Party.

. . .

The movement to the left has now become noticeable even in the leading circles of English trade unionism. It has no clear programme; it is timorous and vacillating.

Nevertheless it reflects the growing discontent of the workers with the old leadership. Instead of a formless left movement organized minority movements are appearing. They have a clear programme, they consist of revolutionary and disciplined workers, and are spreading from district to district, popularizing the policy of the RILU. Although derided and condemned by the trade union bureaucracy, they are taking the first steps to organize the workers' rejection of the treacherous leadership; they are a pledge that the revolutionary spirit of the masses is growing and, led by the communist party, will save the labour movement from catastrophe.

To win the victory, the English Communist Party must


(a) Support the left in all their actions against the trade union bureaucracy, in strikes and in propaganda; it must fight against all hesitation in their ranks and also against the weaknesses and inconsistencies in this movement;


(b) reinforce the solidarity of the Minority Movement and mobilize it on a national scale around a programme based on the platform of the RILU;


(c) strengthen the Minority Movement by the struggle for the creation of factory cells and so lay the foundations for industrial unions with the factory cells as the basic union organization;


(d) fight for the active participation of the English trade union movement in the international struggles of the proletariat.





 

Comintern

III. International