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Harpal Brar: Social Democracy – the Enemy Within
Social Democracy – the Enemy WithinBuy a copy from our shop

One of the assertions – an assertion which has acquired the force of a public prejudice – made not only by the left generally, but also, with some honourable exceptions, by that part of it which calls itself communist, is that the Labour party is a party of the British working class, which can be an instrument of socialism in Britain.

The purpose of this book is to demonstrate the utter fallacy of this assertion and, on the contrary, to prove that Labour, throughout its existence, has been an imperialist party – a “bourgeois labour party”, to use Engels’ remarkably profound expression – that it has never championed the interests of the vast masses of the British proletariat, that it has always defended the interests of British imperialism and that of the privileged sections of the working class.

Secondly, it is the purpose of this book to stress the truth that imperialism long ago engendered a split in the working class. A handful of exceptionally rich and powerful states who plunder the whole world are able to use a portion of the superprofits thus derived to bribe the labour leaders and the upper stratum of the “working class, who act as the principal social prop of the bourgeoisie, and who are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the lieutenants of the capitalist class, real channels of reformism and chauvinism”. (VI Lenin)

On the basis of its monopoly, and the bribing of its labour aristocracy, the bourgeoisie of each imperialist country long ago begot, nurtured and secured for itself a bourgeois labour party. The British bourgeoisie, since monopoly developed much earlier in Britain than elsewhere, was the first to secure such a party. The Labour Party was precisely such a “bourgeois labour party”.

It is, as it always has been, a party of opportunism and social chauvinism, which is totally alien to the revolutionary proletariat, and, unless a determined ruthless struggle is waged against this party, it is pointless and hypocritical cant to talk about the struggle against imperialism, about Marxism Leninism, about the socialist-labour movement, or about proletarian revolution.

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