[Marxism] Duncan Hallas on the "reformists"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 15 15:16:43 MST 2017

One of the things that characterizes the SWP in England is its liberal 
(in the sense of profligate) use of this term. There are the 
"revolutionaries" in the SWP and just about every other group is 
"reformist" such as Syriza, Podemos, et al. The problem is that this can 
apply not only to the leadership such as Tsipras but also to the 
rank-and-file that might fail the "state capitalist" theory litmus test. 
Here is Duncan Hallas describing the rank-and-file of the British Labour 
Party in the 1930s:

	The Labour Party did, of course, contain “masses of politically 
conscious workers”. Individual membership grew from 297,000 in 1931 to 
447,000 in 1937 and it was considerably more proletarian in composition 
than it is today. But these workers, including that smallish proportion 
of them who actually attended their Labour Party organisations, were 
reformists. Their thinking and expectations were far, far away from 
those of the little band of Trotskyist entrists and the magic of 
“Transitional Demands” could not begin to bridge the gap.

The workers in the Labour Party were "reformist"? Including the coal 
miners and the steelworkers and the shipyard workers and the railway 
workers? Really? If that is to be taken seriously, it would mean that 
what was inside someone's brain was more important than their class 

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