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The C.L.C. and the I.L.P.

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The C.L.C. and the I.L.P. A REPLY TO MR. BROCKHOUSE. I BY W. J. EDWARDS. I TO THE EDITOR. I Sir,—Whether it is possible to get an under- standing between the I.L.P. and the C.L.C. is a question of such dimension that before a com- prehensive and satisfactory answer could be given one would need to probe deeper than the surface of these two respective institutions and although I have an inclination to give my own .interpretation and my own answer to the ques- tion, I will merely confine myself to a few of the misconceptions arising out of Mr. Brock- house's article in your last week's issue. These misconceptions, though long since killed are, it seems, by no means dead, and while on the one hand many of us are not at all sur- prised to come across them in the intellectual make-up of the unitiated I.L.P.eer, we are, on the other hand genuinely surprised to find them still lingering underneath the caps of its repre- sentative organisers. I will pay Mr. Brockhouse the compliment of being earnest and sincere; that he fully believes what lie says about the -C.L.C., but in paying him such a compliment to his integrity of purpose it must be at the ex- pense of his intelligence. If lie believes what he says of the C.L.C. and Marxism in general, then he is earnest and honest in bringing for- ward the charges. On the other hand, if he had taken the trouble to ascertain the nature of the C.L.C. philosophy, those misconceptions which unfortunately characterise the whole of his ar- ticle would never have been written. And be- cause some of u,, think the C.L.C. itself and the all-embracing philosophy it represents will play the most important part on this side of the social revolution, it becomes increasingly neces- sary to combat those misconceptions in the ini- tial stages of the movement. NOT ANTI-POLITICAL. I Mr. Bropkholbc starts off by saying that to the C.L.C. man political action is useless." That is a general statement, and". I take it, includes all aL.C.ers. To begin with, he is hopelessly wrong. As one of its founders, and one who has been in close touch with it since that memorable •event, I have no hesitation in nailing that state- ment as false. And it is not the first time I e nailed it. Of all the C.L.C.eis I know there are at the outside estimate only about six who dis- believe in political action. Only six out of a hundred or so have committed such a crime. They. lean as a rule towards some sort of poli- tical action, but do not, a.s Mr. Blockhouse would say, tie themselves down to any hide- bound policy. But that is not all. There is moro in that statement than meets the eye. The implication is that C.L.C.ers do not believe in political action because of the C.L.C. teaching. Another nail, please- The O.L.C. has nothing to do with political'or industrial action. It primarily concerns itself in laying bare to the students the history of the working-dass-(may I add for the benefit of the average I.L.P.er that the working-class has a history)—and the mechanism of capitalist pro- duction. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the policy of the student afterwards. When they return home the desire is felt to join some branch of the Labour Movement, and even- tually they join up with either the S.L. P., the B.S.P., or even the 1.L.P. The C.L.C. lay the facts, the students draw the conclusions, their own conclusions. Let us take two men coming back from the C.L.C. One "becomes the brilliant editor of the Socialist," and a membei of the S.L.P. The other becomes- a. leader in an indus- trial organisation, and is opposed to political action. If the C.L.C., by implication if not by letter, is anti-political, why are both these men not in an industrial organisation? The truth of the matter is this: The C.L.C. through its teaching explains the economics of capitalism, and this eventually treates in the breast of every student the desire to abolish the rule of capital. Its work is then finished. Which branch of the mevemont the students joins is then determined by himself and not by the College. The C.L.C. itself is neither for nor against political or any other form of action, and the statement tha.t politieal action is useless to the" C.L.C. man is a lie. The large percentage of C.L.C. men who are in political institutions are not there, Mr. Broekhouse, to flirt with the revolution. They are there because they believe it to be a useful channel for the expenditure of their abilities, and for the furtherance of the cause • of Socialism. THE DISTINCTION (?). I "The I.L.P. says Mr. Broekhouse,- is a propaganda and educational body seeking to convert people to socialism." Very good. The -D.L.C., Mr. Broekhouse, is a propaganda and educational body seeking to help people to an L'NDEitST\NDINO or OAPIXALI8M. Right there's the rnh. That kind of Socialism—which used to be the exclusive property of the I.L.P. -lias always been regarded as an expression ot abso- lute truth. You have only to discover it and then establish it. in the world. Or, as dear old Lansbury would put it, "you have only to will it and jbhe trick it done." All you have to do is to lay hold of this absolute truth, independent of time, space, and historical development, in- stil it into the skulls of every individual, and Socialism becomes a reality. To this school of thought Socialism is some nebulous thing soar- ing up above, as it were; something evolved from the human brain independent of experi- ence. It is a. kind of social invention superim- posed, through propaganda, upon the whole of Our delightfully harmonious society. C.L.C. CONCEPTION. I The C.L.C. conception of Socialism is not made of that stuff. It begins by laying bare the actual mechanism of modern Capitalism. Socialism will then follow as night follows day. In fact., one is the complement of the other. It teaches first of all that there arc in human society two distinct and well marked economic -classes, the class that MAKE and the class that TAKE surplus-value. Out of the recognition of this fact arise the class struggle, the I.L.P. not- withstanding. This conception of Socialism is not an independent discovery of the proverbial great man," but simply the intellectual re- flex of this actual economic conflict, where each class becomes conscious of its class interests and fight them out. Socialism is the actual issue of struggle between these two antagonistic classes, plus the existing anarchy of modem capitalist production. It is a misconception of Socialism which has its, birth below, within the ranks of the workers themselves. It is their movement. It is conditioned by time, space, and the histori- cal development of man. These, I take it, are the conceptions of Socialism which manifest themselves within the Labour Movement at the present time. Can Mr. Brockhouse reconcile these two conceptions and thus bring about that mutual common ground he so desires? ECONOMIC MAN BOGEY. I It is a pity that Mr. Broekhouse had nothing I fetter to write about in concluding I (Continued at foot of next column).

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The C.L.C. and the I.L.P.