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When I think of the Labour Party I don't think of the party of the party of the working class as some Marxists do, I am more brought to mind by something Engels said: "while the two big bourgeois parties stand there, purse in hand, on the look-out for someone they can buy. Post a Comment.

Subscribe To Posts Atom. Comments Atom. Sunday, 7 December Labour's Colonial Policy. This article is based on notes prompted by reading an interesting book, Imperialism and the British Labour Movement, , by Partha Sarathi Gupta, published in I find it particularly of interest because it presents some original material from a time when the Labour Party will claim to have been 'socialist' in some sense.

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So, this article can be seen as an anti-nostalgia exercise! Things never were any good with this pro-imperialist party. Gupta has extensive documentation of debates in the House of Commons, Labour Party conference speeches and policy recommendations from such bodies as the Fabian Colonial Bureau and the Movement for Colonial Freedom. He also gives examples of the racism of many leaders of the 'labour movement', especially regarding Africa.

More important for my current purpose is that he highlights how Britain's plans for colonial development were always presented as being mutually beneficial, but were always based upon Britain's needs and in directions determined by the colonial rulers, not by the local populations. The book is a dry read, and with a number of questionable views, for example that by the early s 'social imperialist sentiment had been eliminated' in the UK p.

However, it offers some striking comments and statements that illustrate the 'socialism in words' and 'imperialism in deeds' perspective of the Labour Party in the s and s that I will set out below.

A good summary of Labour politics is given in Gupta's conclusion to a chapter on 'Colonial reforms':. In moments of crisis a social imperial syndrome became active.

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Though it was originally noticed mainly among those trade unionists who were least affected by socialist ideas, the imperialist bias displayed by Bevin in general [Ernest Bevin, Labour's staunch anti-communist Foreign Secretary, ] and by John Strachey over the groundnuts affair [see below] showed that persons with a Marxist background could slide easily into a social-imperialist position once they became pre-occupied with building socialism in their own country only.

Despite the little Englanders being 'anxious to avoid military and political engagements abroad', Gupta does not mention that there was no labour movement opposition to Britain's military efforts to re-establish its own and other European colonies after , possibly because these used Indian and recently defeated Japanese troops against local nationalists in Asia, and hardly any British troops.

Imperialism and the British Labour Movement, - Partha Sarathi Gupta - Google книги

But, I will turn attention to the more direct British dimension of colonial economic exploitation. The first example is John Strachey.


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Named in House of Commons records as Evelyn Strachey, MP for Dundee, and with the more elaborate nomenclature on his birth certificate of Evelyn John St Loe Strachey, he was an outcome of Eton and Oxford and an itinerant politician see his Wikipedia entry with successive socialist, Mosley, Communist, anti- and pro-Keynesian views. Despite these dizzying turns, throughout his life he remained a consistent British nationalist.

This perspective was behind his support for the infamous groundnut scheme in Tanzania, then called Tanganyika. Britain's plan to plant groundnuts in an unsuitable region with idiotic technology turned into a loss-making fiasco and was abandoned.


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However, while this is often seen as a dumb development project, the basic notion behind it receives less attention: it was to use cheap labour in the colonies to grow products that would feed the British back home, and so reduce the need to import from outside the Empire. This would avoid paying in US dollars for some food supplies when there was already a shortage of dollars in Britain's reserves.

Imperialism and the British Labour Movement, 1914-1964

Instead, the producers of Tanzania would receive payment in terms of a devaluing sterling. He edited three volumes of the Towards Freedom project of the I. Du kanske gillar. Permanent Record Edward Snowden Inbunden. Inbunden Engelska, Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. First published in , this book is part of the prestigious Cambridge Commonwealth Series. The General Editor of this series was the legendary historian, Eric T. This seminal work on the British labour movement was greeted with great enthusiasm and it gained rave reviews from scholars and readers all over the world.

For years it has been treated as the best reference to study and teach British labour politics. It continues to inspire later research. A revival of interest in the study of labour in the wake of globalization has necessitated a reprint. The renowned historian C.