Review: Labour – a party fit for imperialism

Robert Clough – second edition
Order the book from here: http://www.revolutionarycommunist.org/pub/84-publications/3943-labour-party-fit-for-imperialism

A lot of radicals I’ve spoken to have bemoaned what they regard as the passiveness of the working class in Britain relative to continental Europe. There’s no point in just moaning about this – we have to get to what’s causing this passivity and do whatever it takes to remove it.

Over the years, I’ve read various pieces and the occasional book about how the ruling class in this country have, to date, always managed to throw enough crumbs at the upper sections of the working class to dissuade them from open revolt when things get bad. The ruling class have more often than not been able to successfully implement a policy of divide and rule by demonising the lower sections of the working class as feckless scroungers – a tactic that is willingly carried out by an overwhelmingly right wing media.

There’s the elephant in the sitting room – the legacy of empire. Let us not forget that it was the spoils of empire that enabled the ruling class to buy off the upper sections of the working class and forestall any serious risk of an uprising when things have got tough. It was the wealth leeched from Britain’s colonies that helped to fund the Welfare State after the end of WW2. A leeching that played no small part in the independence movements and revolts against British rule from the 1940s onwards.

All along the ruling class have had a willing assistant in this project – the Labour Party. What Labour – a party fit for imperialism does is offer a forensic examination of how the party really represented the interests of the skilled sections of the working class and saw it’s role as managing the more precarious sections of the class. From the outset, Labour realised that the spoils of empire were needed to give the skilled members of the working class the standard of living they thought they deserved. Hence, while there may have been some debate about how those spoils were extracted to be brought back to Britain, Labour has always had an interest in defending the imperialist project.

Until the legacy of empire is finally exposed for what it really is and consigned to the dustbin of history, the project of bringing about radical change in Britain will be getting nowhere. Labour – a party fit for imperialism provides the toolkit needed to debunk the toxic legacy of empire. However, what it also does by revealing Labour’s historic complicity in the project of imperialism is show the enormity of the task we have in slinging the legacy of empire into the dustbin once and for all.

The task of exposing Labour’s complicity in the imperialist project is not helped by the slavish devotion of the ranks of Momentum supporters to their messiah, Jeremy Corbyn. At the moment, it’s this plus the Trotskyists such as the Socialist Workers Party who support Momentum that’s posing one of the major barriers to building a movement that will bring meaningful, radical change. While we may not always see eye-to-eye with the Revolutionary Communist Group who brought out Labour – a party fit for imperialism, when it comes to the task of exposing Labour’s sordid role in promoting the imperialist project, we regard them as valuable allies…

Dave (the editor)

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