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Jock Haston

Election Address to the Workers of Neath

(May 1945)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 7 No. 5, May 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Working Men and Women of Neath,

You are about to elect a new M.P. to represent you in the House of Commons. This election, taking place at the end of the war against Germany, is probably THE most important of the war.

For the first time a Labour-Tory coalition candidate is being opposed by a revolutionary communist. Many workers have the illusion that the “Labour” candidate is a workers representative. But this is not so. He is a candidate of the Labour-Tory Coalition Government. He does not stand in this election as an independent representative of the working class but as a stooge for Churchill.

Are you in favour of the present coalition of the Labour leaders with Churchill and the other reactionary Tory-Liberal politicians of the capitalist class? Or are you for the end of this vile and bloody coalition and for the whole working class being mobilised for a great struggle to destroy capitalism and bring about a communist world? These are the issues at stake in this election.

The answer which you will give will profoundly affect the workers of the rest of Britain in the next few months.

A War for Profits – Not for Democracy

The capitalists, assisted by the Labour leaders have told us it was a war for “democracy and against fascism.” The Labour leaders have entered the coalition and acted as agents and lackeys of the capitalists on this pretext.

We Revolutionary Communists say that it has not been a war for democracy. We say to the workers that it has been from beginning to end, a war for profits on the part of the capitalist class who direct and control the war. Life and Labour has been conscripted. The workers have given all. But property has not been conscripted. The capitalists have been free to exploit the conscripted workers and make great profits and fortunes out of the war.

Not one single wage concession has been granted to the workers without a struggle. Whenever the workers were finally forced to strike after months of negotiations the boss class have vilified the workers, and the Labour a trade union leaders have helped them.

In India, and the other colonies the war has not brought freedom and democracy; it has brought nothing but poverty, brutality and starvation. The most elementary democratic rights are denied to the colonial people who are held down by a terror as brutal as Hitler’s terror. Five million Indian people died as the result of the great famine brought about by British imperialist misrule.

Reaction Supported Abroad

In “liberated” Europe the imperialist character of the war has been clearly shown. In foreign policy every reactionary force has received the support of Churchill and the coalition. It is not the workers, trade unionists, socialists and communists that the Tory-Labour Coalition Government aids. It is those miserable and greedy quislings who sided the “foreign enemy” against their own people at the eleventh hour.

It was with Darlan, Badoglio, King Victor, Plastiras – and similar reactionaries and quislings that they treated. It was these people, and their successors whom they have armed and supported against the European working classes.

In Greece the anti-Labour policy of Churchill and his government was most glaringly revealed. It is estimated that ten times more British troops were killed and wounded in the fighting to destroy the revolutionary Greek workers and peasants, than in the fight to drive the Germans out of Greece.

The government is even now preparing to assist, by all possible means, the return of the reactionary king to the Greek throne – the same king who in 1936 called the dictator Metaxas to power to suppress the Greek Trade Unions and Labour movement.

And the workers must never forget that the Labour leaders fully subscribed to Churchill’s policy of suppressing the Greek workers; they actively aided him – and boasted of this aid in carrying out his counter-revolutionary policy of intervention.

Solidarity with the German Workers – Workers of All Lands Unite!

Now that Germany has been defeated, a flood of atrocity stories has been poured forth by the Government through the capitalist press. The principal reason for this is to arouse a hatred for the German working class, in case of a communist revolution in Germany.

Yes, the Nazis have committed monstrous crimes! But they have committed them against the German working class as well. While the Nazis were committing monstrous crimes against the German working class, the British capitalists, who now weep crocodile tears condoned as progressive the fascist attacks against our German fellow workers and aided the Nazis.

The atrocities of the British imperialists in India are equal to those committed by the Nazis in Europe – concentration camps, mass starvation, disease, flogging of political prisoners, collective fines, starved prisoners – all these things are perpetrated by Churchill and his class in India today.

The race hatred in the British colonies, and in the Southern States of the United States against the Negro, is as vicious as the race hatred of the Nazis towards the Jews.

Remember the last war with its foul atrocity stories, which were afterwards officially admitted to have been lies. The workers must not be misled by the vile capitalist propaganda that every German worker is a beast; and has to be “re-educated” by our capitalist class.

It is our duty to remember the class ties and the great revolutionary sacrifices of the German worker anti-fascists. At this late hour we say bluntly and boldly to the workers of Neath and of Britain; You have more in common with the German worker than with Churchill and his class. Churchill and his class have more in common with fascism than with the miners, steel workers, and other sections of the British working class.

It was not a Nazi who said of Adolf Hitler that:

“... Hitler’s struggle cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perserverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate and over-come all the authorities and resistances which barred his path.”

It was Winston Churchill, in his book Great Contemporaries.

The great and mighty labour movement of the German workers, which it was Hitler’s principal mission to destroy, and in which task he was aided with money and arms by British and American capitalism, will rise out of the ashes of Germany. Our task as workers is to help the German working class movement to arise. It is not possible to do so unless we fight night and day against the foul policy of race hatred and Vansittartism. It is not possible to do so unless we fight against the capitalists and the coalition policy of the Labour leaders and for the unity of the world working class.

Nearly a hundred years ago, Karl Marx, the founder of scientific socialism, raised a mighty banner of international Labour unity with his rousing slogan: “Workers of the world unite, would have nothing to lose but your chains, you have a world to win.” This is the message that we bring to you in this election and call upon you to support.

For the Socialist United States of Europe

Churchill and his class have shown themselves to be conscious of their class aims. They will go to any lengths of oppression to aid their European class brothers to maintain capitalism and suppress the working class. We for our part must become equally class conscious if we are to succeed in destroying capitalism and bringing about the socialist and communist future of man.

The capitalists have not solved a single problem by the war in Europe. They have opened the sores. To maintain capitalism and its national boundaries will mean military occupation, the suppression of the Labour movement, a lower standard of living, military dictatorship, fascism, and inevitably, a third world war.

The workers can have nothing in common with the capitalist programme. Our programme must be for the unification of Europe into a United Socialist State. For the destruction of European capitalism and power in the hands of the working class! Down with national boundaries and for the unification of the workers of Europe and Britain into a mighty communist brotherhood of men. Only on this road can Europe be restored, and a powerful future opened up for the toiling masses.

Post-War Prospects Under Capitalism – Poverty, Unemployment and a New War

The capitalists of this country have shown in times of peace that they could not give the workers full employment. Millions were unemployed on the Means Test, impoverished and living in miserable conditions. They can only employ the workers for purposes of war and slaughter. Every worker feels it in his bones that the next 15 to 20 years there will be tremendous unemployment and another great slaughter unless this foul system is destroyed once and for all. This is all that capitalism can offer – crisis, unemployment and a new bloody war. Herbert Morrison is already saying that the air raid shelters will do for the next war.

The present war has impoverished this country to a tremendous degree. From being a great creditor nation which drew tribute from the labour of workers in all parts of the world, Britain is now a debtor nation. It is we British workers from whom the capitalists of other countries, particularly America, will draw tribute in future if capitalism remains.

British foreign markets have been reduced to less than a third; and are not likely to be regained in the future. Moneys, which at one time came into Britain from capitalist investment abroad, and from the use of British ships by foreign capitalists, will no longer come into this country. The results will mean a terrible crisis for Britain at the end of the war – a crisis which the capitalists will try to throw on the backs of the workers.

Every serious worker must think out the problems that will face us in the period that lies ahead; and to think them out to the end.

The post-war period will not be a period of class collaboration and peace, as it is pictured by the Labour leaders.

Prepare for the Coming Class Battles

The task of serious a thoughtful socialist and communist workers is to explain this to our fellow workers and to prepare them to unite our forces in a great struggle to destroy capitalism.

In building up a false portrait of the future of Britain while the capitalist system remains, the Labour leaders help the capitalists to confuse the workers, to undermine their class consciousness, to destroy their socialist aspirations. They prepare the wat for the reaction.

We Trotskyists will not be a party to this deception. We will tell the workers the truth and organise the most conscious of them into a revolutionary party whose aim is destruction of this horrible system and the introduction of a socialist and communist system of society.

Labour Party Postpones Struggle for Socialism

To solve the present crisis, the most far-reaching anti-capitalist steps must be taken. Measures in the direction of socialist or communist society must be introduced. It is said by the Labour leaders in their General Election Statement that socialism is the only cure to the evils and ills of capitalism. But instead of fighting for socialism, they pushed it off into the dim and distant future. “Socialism cannot come as a result of a week-end revolution”, they say, therefore as “practical minded people” we will forget about socialism and pursue a policy of capitalist reforms.

In their new programme upon which they will go to the General Election, the Labour leaders announce radical sounding steps. But an examination of this programme shows that it demands even less than the last Labour Party Conference demanded: it is even less radical than their watery Election Programmes in previous years. The Labour leaders have turned in the right, and not to the left.

They promise to nationalise the coal and allied industries, the iron and steel industries, the transport industries. How quickly, and by what means, they conveniently do not mention.

They talk of compensating the capitalists who at present own and control these industries. Thus they propose to keep these capitalist parasites living on the backs of the workers and as a drag upon industry. Even if they carried out their avowed policy, any progressive significance it may have would be destroyed at the outset by the retention of the capitalist class. Their proposals have nothing in common with socialism. They are a state capitalist measure. They could not solve the crisis of capitalism, but only place its burdens on the backs of the workers.

The Revolutionary Communist Policy

Industrial and Economic Policy

We revolutionary Communists say:

As a first step to ensure a planned economy, as the basis for social security and adequate rising standards of life, it is necessary first and foremost to destroy capitalist property rights.

A socialist or communist government would act boldly and at once.

The banks, the land, the mines, transport, steel – all the great industries must be confiscated and nationalised, without compensation to the capitalist class.

To ensure workers’ democracy, the Works Committees and Trade Unions must have access to the books and the control over production. These Committees and workers’ organisations would be encouraged to elect a national planning board to centralise, co-ordinate and plan production as a whole.

All war profits must be confiscated and the distribution of food, clothing and other goods in short demand be undertaken by elected Committees of workers from the Co-operatives, distributive trades, factory committees and housewives.

The mansions, palaces and country houses of the capitalists must be confiscated and the allocation of housing be undertaken by tenants’ committees, who will participate in a great housing plan.

A rising scale of wages must be established to meet a rising cost of living; the rate for the job operated and a guaranteed minimum established. The share out of the working day must be operated and this the working day reduced.

Only on this basis will adequate social security for the sick workers and old aged people be established, as well as their right to consume on the basis of the same standards as an employed worker.

Democratic Demands

All anti-Labour legislation must be instantly repealed, including the infamous Trade Disputes Act, 1A(a), the Essential Works Order, the Emergency Powers Act and the Sedition Act.

Full democratic and political rights must be granted to men and women in the Forces, while all persons of 18 years and over must be given the right to elect their own form of government.

Immediate and unconditional national freedom from British domination must be granted to the Indian and colonial people. British armed forces must be withdrawn from the peoples thus freed, and full economic and military assistance granted to them to maintain their independence.

Military Policy

The present army officer caste must be disbanded and all known anti-Labour elements removed from positions of command. The election of worker-officers from the ranks must be introduced. At the same time military schools must be established under the control of the Trade Unions and political organisations of the working class. The state must finance these schools whose aim would be to train officers loyal to the working class, to protect the working class from attacks from their enemies at home and abroad.

The general arming of the people must be carried out and a workers’ militia established under the control of the trade union and factory organisations.

Foreign Policy

On the basis of this transitional Socialist policy at home, the workers’ government will fight against race hatred of all forms – Vansittartism, anti-semitism, and the colour bar. It will strive to unite the workers and soldiers of all Europe and of the world, by a policy of fraternalization and co-operation. It will aid, financially and practically, the workers of all countries to destroy capitalism and begin the creation of a socialist world.

On this road capitalist anarchy will be ended, with its unemployment, poverty, fascism and war. The Communist future of man will open out before us, and for the first time the mass of workers will rise from their knees and live like human beings.

This Communist future of man will not be brought about in collaboration with the capitalists, but only in desperate struggle against them. The capitalists have shown by two bloody wars, by dozens of civil wars and counter-revolutions, that they will protect their property and class privileges from all attacks, if necessary with arms. Experience shows that they will not peacefully allow the workers to take power through Parliament without precipitating a bloody struggle. To tell the workers otherwise is to deceive them.

It is the duty of all class conscious Communists and Socialists to patiently explain the crisis of capitalism, to forewarn of the unemployment and great struggles which must inevitably arise. It is their duty to participate in these class struggles with the object of uniting the workers into that mighty conscious movement which will destroy the capitalist system and begin the socialist future of man.


In this election you can play your part; you can give a lead to the workers in the rest of the country by rejecting the policy of class collaboration and voting for class independence and class struggle.

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