Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

Reconstituted Socialist Party of Great Britain

The statement below was issued by the reconstituted The Socialist Party of Great Britain on 11 June 1991.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain was reconstituted on 11th June 1991. All those who took part in the formation of the new party had been expelled from "The Socialist Party" on 7th May 1991 for what was described as "undemocratic behaviour". This consisted of continuing to hold propaganda lectures in the name of Socialist Studies when that name had been proscribed by the 1988 Annual Conference on the grounds that the name The Socialist Party of Great Britain was nationalistic. From then on all propaganda had to be in the name of "The Socialist Party".

We do not accept that the abbreviation of the Party's name was the real reason for our expulsion. The real reason is that a majority of the active membership do not agree with the Party case as expressed within the framework of the Declaration of Principles. They have ignored these principles and have also undermined the clear meaning expressed within them at successive Annual Conferences in recent years.

For example1985 Annual Conference carried a resolution calling for the immediate abolition of the State: an anarchist proposition which contradicts the meaning of Clause 6 of the Declaration of principles. This calls on the working class to organise consciously and politically in order that this machinery (including the armed forces) "may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation…". If the State is to be immediately abolished it would be impossible to establish Socialism.

Annual conference 1986 decided to change the Party's name officially to that of the Socialist Party. Henceforth it had two names, both official. Annual Conference 1988 proscribed the use of "Socialist Studies" in propaganda spoken and written, press adverts, leaflets etc. This was a breach of Clause 8 which begins "The Socialist Party of Great Britain therefore enters the field of political action…" Members who stood by this principle and carried it into effect were expelled without charge or hearing for "undemocratic behaviour".

Annual Conference 1990 gave support to non Socialist democratic reform movements in Eastern Europe which were seeking to replace state capitalist governments with democratic capitalist governments. In October/November 1990 the E.C. threatened to charge N. W. London and Camden/Bloomsbury Branches unless they withdrew a leaflet which contained the statement that the Party was opposed to democratic reform movements. In their letter the E.C. sent a copy of the 1990 Conference resolution. This was in breach of Clause 7, which states "The party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party".

Support for the Polish organisation "Solidarity" had previously been given in a leaflet published by the Pamphlets Committee, which was later reproduced in the Socialist Standard of January 1982. "Solidarity" became the capitalist government in Poland in September 1989 and its main leader, Lech Walesa, became the President. Despite this the E. C. refused to repudiate this leaflet which gave support to Solidarity.

It became increasingly obvious that The Socialist Party was rapidly deteriorating into a mere anti-capitalist reform party. The Socialist Standard recently congratulated the university students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square on their courage in facing up to the armed forces of the State, when inevitably they were slaughtered.

The Socialist Standard generally is a pathetic imitation of the old Socialist Standard. Most of its articles are irrelevant to the real task of the Socialist party which is to get the working class to understand Socialism as a matter of urgency.

The Socialist Standard consists of rambling articles on every other subject except Socialism. It soft peddles on stressing the need for the working class to capture control of the political machinery. In addition it contains misleading information and makes absurd claims which cannot be substantiated. In no way could the Socialist Standard be regarded as a fitting instrument for expressing Socialist ideas.

The socialist society aimed at by Socialists is briefly defined in the Party's Object. Now it has been defined as something else by Islington Branch, the largest branch in the Party. They speak of "a truly democratic society". Under this meaningless phrase the party has in recent years repeatedly given support to capitalist organisations on the ground that they were "democratic".

"Islington Branch would like to remind comrades that the object of the Socialist Party is to overthrow capitalism and establish a truly democratic society. The blatantly undemocratic behaviour of some members and the resulting procedural wrangling and personal attacks on fellow members detracts from the revolutionary aim of our Party. This time wasting behaviour is an insult to the efforts of workers around the world who are still suffering and dying for the right to organise democratically" (. E.C. Minutes 15th January 1991).

Had we not been expelled it would have been impossible for us to remain in this organisation. We have been forced into existence as were our predecessors in 1904. They were expelled from the Social democratic Party for holding propaganda meetings.

We have adopted the Object and Declaration of principles of the 1904 Party as the basis for our propaganda, and we call on those who have any concern for the future of the Socialist Movement to join with us. The present "Socialist Party" has no future. It will become more and more reformist and opportunist as the restraints of genuine Socialists are removed. There can only be one Socialist party, and there can only be one objective, Socialism.

July 1991

Disclaimer:
The above document was produced by expelled members in June 1991 who had continued to use The Socialist Party of Great Britain” as set out in clause 8 of The Object and Declaration of Principles

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