We go to press just before Labour’s special conference vote on Clause Four.
Labour Party history
Fifty years ago the Labour Party won an overwhelming victory in the general election that followed the defeat of Hitler.
By Roland Tretchet
This magazine makes no apology for repeating certain basic truths.
Reading through some old issues of the East End News and Chronicle (I think I might have mentioned by local labour history nerd-ism before), I stumbled across this short article.
In 1921, thirty Labour Councillors in Poplar went to prison to protest at an unfair rating system that penalised poor boroughs. They eventually won their fight.
The “IS tradition” of the 1960s, which members and old ex-members of the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) cherish, was in fact largely taken from the Independent Labour Party in its last years.
In the last issue of Solidarity, Mordecai Ryan outlined the history
of the ILP, the main British "centrist" organisation of the 1930s and 40s. Its nearest equivalent in Britain today is the SWP. As mud is a mix of earth and water so centrism is an unstable and almost always incoherent mix of bits of revolutionary Marxist political tradition and aspiration with alien, reformist, etc elements.
The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was founded by Keir Hardie and others in 1893 and “ended” some time in the 1970s, when what was left of it joined the Labour Party. For the first 25 years of its existence, it played a central role in British working class politics.
While the article “1945 – was it socialism” (Solidarity 3/83) did draw out many accurate criticisms of Attlee’s government, I feel that it failed to get a grip on the real outlook of the people involved.
By Ruben Lomas
60 years ago, the 1945 Labour government was voted into power.