19 MARCH 1943, Page 2

Labour and the Communists

A good deal of active patrolling is going on as a preliminary to the battle of next Whitsun, when the Communists will renew their application for affiliation to the Labour Party. The Labour Party has always taken the line that it yields to none in its desire for working-class unity, but that the Communists have consistently tried

to sow disunity, and are mere instruments for carrying out the orders of a foreign organisation, the Communist International. The Communist Party has recently replied that there was nothing in its association with the International to prevent it from fulfilling its obligations as an affiliated section of the Labour Party, and that in practice no conflict would be involved. The Labour Party's rejoinder in a letter to Mr. Harry Pollitt is emphatic, telling him that his Party is "neither independent, self-governing, nor self-supporting"; and it quotes the rules of the Comintern to prove its case. The rules undoubtedly dispose of the contention that the policy of the Communists is determined by democratically elected congresses ; on the contrary, they are bound to obey any and every instruction issued to them by the Executive of the International ; and if it is said that " in practice " there is no ground for conflict; it is relevant to recall that they blessed the war at the beginning, denounced it a few weeks later, and blessed it again when Russia came in—all under orders from Moscow. The Labour Party objection to the Communists is that they do not accept its democratic constitution, that they desire and ruthlessly work for its overthrow, that they owe allegiance not to the working-class movement but to an organi- sation directed in another country, and that they are ruthless in carrying out its orders. There will be a hard fight at the Conference, for the indomitable military spirit the Russians have manifested has increased the number of their political admirers.