THE BRITISH WORKERS' LEAGUE
TO THE EDITOR,
Sir, —Your espousal of tho British Workers' League's " programme of war aims is natural in the light of the Imperialistic policy the Evening Post has always advocated, but it is well that your readers should understand what the British Workers' League really is, and whom it stands for before accepting or denouncing its platform. The league is of very recent origin, and there are excellent reasons for believing that it is morally if not financially supported by leading British Jingoes and the Northcliffe press. In this connection I cannot do better than quote a reference to the league from 3rd November issue of the New Statesman, a radical paper which has, as you are aware, supported the war and conscription from their inception. Referring to the "many political parties" who will appeal to tho new British electorate, tho New Statesman says: — "The latest is the British Workers' League, of which the Minister for Labour is the president, and two other Ministers (Sir Leo Ohiozza-Money and Mr. Stephen Walsh) are among the vice-presidente. This body, which has dropped the word 'national' from its title, and, apparently, a" protective tariff from its ostensible policy, has issued an ambitious election programme of something like a hundred items, and announce*! its intention of. using its long list of local branches 10 run at least as many candidates at the ensuing election from the fund of £100,----000, for which its honorary secretary has appealed to the readers of The Times and tho Morning Poet. We can see no raison d'etre for this organisation or its candid»tes excf^Jt as a part of the 'rich man's barrage' against the Labour Party, from the programme of which laid down by successive party conferences, the avowed proposals of the Britinh Workers' League do not essentially differ. We do not understand how the half-a-dozen members of the Parliamentary Labour Party justify lending their names to what can be nothing but a rival to the party to which they profess still to belong."
But it is not necessary for the New Statesman to remind us that the league is not representative of British Labour. A glimpso at the personnel of its leaders is sufficient to convince us of that. Sir Leo Chiozza-Money ie a Liberal, and has never ,been associated with the British Labour Movement. The present Minister of Labour and his colleagues are no longer recognised by British Labour and their adherence to the British Workers' Leaguo will not enhance them in the eyes of the workers of the Mother Country. Finally when such "democrats" as Lord Charles Beresford and Lord Sydenham congratulate the league on its programme, British Labour is rightly suspicious. It reminds me of a similar "Labour" movement recently started in Germany which insisted on the Central Empires clinging to their conquests and which sent laudatory messages to the Crown Princo and Hindenburg. The two new parties to my mind are on a par. . Both., stand for annexations and both are backed by the Junkers of their respective countries.
In disclaiming all sympathy with Imperial ideas, the Trades Union Congress has the solid backing of tlib genuine British Labour Movement, and is placing itself in line with the Socialist parties of the Continent. Labour now seeks the International goal. No other will suffice. Narrow Imperialisms, with their attendant national animosities are directly opposed to the future welfare of the workers of the world. It is in their interests that Armageddon should not be repeated, and the only way they can make the world safe for democracy is by supporting their brethren in other countries in their stand against Capitalism, Imperialism, and Militarism. Mr. John Hill, president of the Trades Union Congress, which met at Blackpool in September, summed up the position when he said: "Capitalists and financiers know no national boundaries even in. war times; but everywhere and at all times they exploit the workers who are the cheapest and and most docile, and buy the stocks that yield the highest dividend. Tho international labour movement alone can check and control this tendency, and without a full understanding amongst the workers of the world we shall continue to struggle against each other for freedom in vain." That's the position in a nutshell, and all the pseudo-Labour Leagues in Christendom subsidised by the Harmsworth press and boosted across the cables to, the Dominions will not deviate Labour one hair's breadth from its great ideal.—l am, etc., E.H.S.
15th January, 1918.
Permanent link to this item
THE BRITISH WORKERS' LEAGUE, Evening Post, Volume XCV, Issue 14, 16 January 1918
THE BRITISH WORKERS' LEAGUE Evening Post, Volume XCV, Issue 14, 16 January 1918
Using This Item
Fairfax Media is the copyright owner for the Evening Post. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence . This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Fairfax Media. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.