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Monday, 19 September 2016

Yet Another Left v. Right Battle in the Labour Party

Saturday 19th September 1936

The run-up to the Labour Party conference showed a distinct move to the right. A motion was to be tabled that reversed the decision taken at the previous year’s conference against attendance at ceremonial functions and the acceptance of “so-called honours [conferred] by the decaying capitalist system”. As the Secretary General, Walter Citrine, had accepted a knighthood, this had been a notably pointed move. It was also publicly stated that the Advisory Committee of the League of Youth had been dissolved as a Communist Party front. It was an opening shot in the debate on the application by the Communist Party for affiliation.

Incoherence still reigned, however, on the question of rearmament. In a speech, notably devoid of logic, the far left Sir Stafford Cripps combined an insistence that Fascism had to be resisted with a refusal to countenance support for rearmament by the “imperialist” national government which was “fascist in its ideology”. Ultimately, domestic politics took priority over international considerations.

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