"To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service." — Clause 4 of the British Labour Party Constitution. (Italics ours — Ed.).
"The extreme view that nationalization or even public ownership is the be-all and end-all, the ultimate first principle and aim of Socialism: I believe that this view arises from a complete confusion about the fundamental meaning of Socialism, and, in particular, a misundesrtanding about ends and means". British Labour Party leader, Hugh Gaitskell at the Labour Party Conference at Blackpool, November, 1959.
The two quotations above are diametrically opposed, one to the other. This is somewhat surprising in view of the fact that the first, calling for sweeping nationalization of all means of production and distribution, is a section of the Constitution of the Socialist party in England (officially known as the British Labour Party); whereas the second, relegating this all-embracing and very definite dogma to a position of almost irrelevancy, was spoken by the present leader of that same Sociatist party, Mr. Gaitskell, just a few months ago.
What does this apparent contradiction betoken?
"Mr. Drummond Burgess, in an article in the Montreal Gazette of March 17, 1960, says that there is apparent heresy breaking out in the Labour Party, a heresy provoked by Gạitskell and involving, for the old-guard socialists at least, one of the most sacred canons of Socialism. Mr. Burgess writes::
"What is it that has brought the once proud and dogmatic Labour Party to this impasse? Basically, it is a conflict between the theoretical and sanctified canons of the party constitution and the mundane demands of political expediency. The latter might be summed up in the question, 'How to win an election?' And an answer is urgent since the Labour party recently lost its third in a row. Rightly or wrongly the Party seems to feel that the reason lies in public apprehension about the Labour Party's doctrinaire policy of nationalization."
In other words, according to Mr. Gaitskell, you can't have your cake and eat it! Which is more important — holding hard to principle or winning elections? But then, Mr. Gaitskell is a politician and the old guard opposing him are idealists, albeit, idealists on the wrong track.
There are two points of interest here for those of us who follow the teachings of Social Credit as set forth by The Union of Electors.
The first is that a politician will use a principle as long as it helps him to garner in votes and thus take over the reins of government. But as soon as that principle begins to cost him political support he either jettisons it or simply leaves the principles he once loudly upheld to wither away unrealized.
The second point is that Hugh Gaitskell is right in Believing that the people — and these include large numbers of the rank and file supporters of the Labour Party — do not like nationalization. Every individual is imbued with a divine instinct for liberty and freedom to own and to dispose freely of what he owns. Socialism is opposed in principle to this essential instinct.
It is the purpose of our movement, the Union of Electors, through our papers, Vers Demain and The Union of Electors, to foster this divine spark of independence and to fan it into a blaze in the heart of every man and woman so that the scourge of centralization, of statism and of Communism will ultimately be completely barished from society.