The British Road to Socialism

Programme adopted by the
Executive Committee of the Communist Party
January, 1951


Recent events have compelled us all to consider seriously the policies which have brought the world to the brink of war, and to ask-what is the future for our country?

In pulling forward this programme for discussion, we know that the questions it raises are of deep concern to all workers by hand and brain, who want to find the way forward to an independent, prosperous, Socialist Britain.

In its long struggle to win political, economic and social emancipation the working class of Britain has built up mighty trade union, cooperative and political organisations. It is out of these that the Communist Party was born thirty years ago, at a time when the Movement was at the turning of the ways. Every great political event since then has shown how necessary it was for the Communist Party, inheriting and carrying forward the traditions and socialist aims of the British working class, to take its stand against the influence of capitalist ideas in the Movement. As in the past, so now and in the future, the Communist Party has no interests other than those of the British working class and the British people.

The doubts and heart-searchings felt by so many people about the present situation and the future show that the British people realise that to drift along with the existing economic and social system can offer no hope. The people of Britain can look forward to a better future only if they take their country into their own hands.

This is the message of this programme. It is a call above all to the whole Labour Movement to recall its glorious traditions of struggle for the immediate interests of the working people and to safeguard their future interests in a Socialist Britain. But it is no less a call to the great majority of the British people to join with the Communist Party and the whole Labour Movement in the struggle to win a new future for Britain in the socialist world which history is now shaping.

This programme is not an immediate election programme. It is a programme which charts the future – a programme which corresponds to the needs and the heartfelt desires of the great majority of the British people. We are confident that they will find the way to make it a reality.

Harry Pollitt


The time has come when big changes are necessary in Britain. The past half-century has shown more and more clearly the breakdown of the old society and its inability to serve the needs of the people.

Two world wars, poverty, malnutrition, slumps and mass unemployment have been the lot of the common people. But the millionaires of Britain, the big industrialists and the great monopolists have made their fortunes out of the people’s labour.

And all the time Britain, which once led the world in industry and production, has been falling behind the other great capitalist countries.

At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the people of Britain were determined that there should be a change. They wanted to ensure that never again should there be another war. They wanted great social changes which would weaken capitalism and open the way to Socialism.

So at the General Election in 1945 they returned a Labour Government with a large Parliamentary majority. They rejected the Tories, the party of big business, which had ruled Britain for most of the black years between the wars. They supported the Labour Party, which declared that its aim was peace and friendship with the Soviet Union, and Socialism in Britain.

But instead of the promised friendship with the socialist lands, we have been dragooned into an alliance with the worst enemies of labour – the bankers and business men of America – for war against the countries where the workers are in power.

As a result of this policy, Britain has been dragged into an armaments race; prices are rising while wages are held back; and the workers are now being robbed of the social gains won since the war.

Why has the Labour Government thus failed the hopes of the people? Because far from challenging the rights and privileges of big business at home and abroad, it has allied itself with big business against the people.

It joined hands with the Tories and the American big capitalists in an imperialist foreign policy which is ruining Britain.

The Labour Government has formed a war bloc with American imperialism against the Socialist Soviet Union, the New China, the People’s Democracies and the colonial peoples struggling for their national liberation and independence.

It has conducted wars against the peoples of Malaya and Korea. It has sold out Britain to American big business.

The Labour Government has imposed a crushing rearmament programme for a new war at the expense of the social needs of the people.

The profits of the big trusts and monopolies are higher than they have ever been. Nine-tenths of the wealth of the country is still owned by one-tenth of the population. The sham measures of nationalisation have only increased exploitation and put still heavier burdens on the workers to pay huge sums of compensation to the old owners.

The capitalists have done exceptionally well under the Labour Government; indeed, they have never been better off. The workers have paid for all this in low wages, higher prices and heavier taxation, while the Labour Government has conducted an offensive against the workers’ efforts to secure increased wages. Troops have been used in strikes, hard-won democratic rights have been ruthlessly attacked, strikers have been arrested and prosecuted, and collective bargaining has been turned into a farce by means of Order 1305 and compulsory arbitration.

The talk of Peace and Socialism by the Labour leaders has proved to be a fraud and a deception.

The dominant Labour Party leaders, Attlee, Bevin and Morrison – like MacDonald, Snowden and Thomas before them – have nothing in common with Socialism or the interests of the working people. Their outlook and practice reflects that of the Tories and the wealthy ruling class whose interests they serve, and not the aims of the working people. They are in reality only a left-wing of the Tories, like the old Liberal Party.

Right-wing Labour policy has strengthened the Tories at home and the most reactionary governments abroad. It has confused, disorganised and split the working-class movement and the employers.

It has done this at a time when all over the world vast changes are taking place. A great part of Eastern Europe has gone Socialist and the workers are in power. In the Far East, the Chinese revolution has freed hundreds of millions from the landlords and the foreign bankers.

In the Socialist Soviet Union, great peaceful schemes of new construction are raising the living standards of the people every year. Instead of bringing Britain into close association and friendship with these advancing countries, the Labour leaders in Britain have joined in a united front with the Tories and the American millionaires to attack Socialism and the national liberation movements and to defend capitalism and imperialism.

As a result, the Tories, who suffered a setback in the 1945 election, were able to advance again in 1950, and seek to return to open power.

If the people are to advance, both the Tories and their allies in the Labour Movement, the rightwing Labour leaders must be fought and defeated.

The lesson of the failure of the Labour Government is not the failure of Socialism. It is the failure of Labour reformism and Labour imperialism, which is the servant of the big capitalist interests.

Britain’s problems can be solved only by a completely new programme and policy, which ends once and for all the ownership of Britain’s wealth by a tiny exploiting minority, and establishes the real political and economic freedom of the people.

Such a programme is the Programme of the Communist Party. It represents the true interests of the entire Labour Movement. It represents the true interests of the overwhelming majority of the British people – the industrial workers, farmers, professional people, scientists and technicians, housewives – against the handful of big landlords, bankers and monopolists who exploit them.

Peace and Friendship with All Peoples

The Communist Party fights for lasting peace as the vital need of the British people.

The First World War dealt a crippling blow to Britain and opened the long years of decline under Tory rule. The Second World War weakened Britain still more. The Labour Government’s policy has led to greater economic difficulties and domination by American big business. A third world war, under modern conditions of atomic warfare, would bring untold destruction to Britain and the British people.

It is capitalism which gives rise to the danger of war. The big capitalist Powers have forcibly conquered or subjected to themselves the territories of other nations so that the big trusts can have an opportunity of squeezing out their super-profits. They have fought between themselves, as in the First World War, to conquer each other’s territories and colonies, to rob those countries.

The unity of the Soviet Union, America and Great Britain brought about the defeat of Nazi Germany and fascist Japan – whose big trusts were seeking new countries to exploit – in the Second World War.

Since then the Soviet Union has fought for a lasting peace to follow the people’s victory over fascism, a peace based on national independence, colonial freedom, and a democratic and demilitarised Germany and Japan. But American big business, afraid of the advance of the people’s forces throughout the world, and wanting to control great areas so as to obtain its vast profits, is trying, as Hitler did, to dominate the world. Especially is it hostile to the Soviet Union, because it fears the advance of Socialism and the working class. American big business is backed and assisted by reaction in Britain, by the Tory and Labour Party leaders.

It is this aggressive policy which has undermined the allied unity of the war years, divided the world into two camps, the war camp and the peace camp, and created the danger of a third world war.

Imperialist America, leading the war camp, has conducted aggressive war in Korea, is threatening China, and rearming Western Germany. It has war bases all over the world, and in the interests of a handful of exploiters tries to dictate to all nations and to crush popular struggles for freedom. It piles up atom bombs and colossal offensive armaments, and is openly preparing for a third world war.

It is already dictating what policies the countries of Western Europe, including Britain, shall pursue in rearmament and foreign trade: it aims at the forcible suppression of colonial liberation movements and at organising an aggressive war against the U.S.S.R.

The peace camp, with the support of lovers of peace all over the world, works for world peace and international co-operation, the freedom and equal rights of all nations, the banning of the atom bomb, and reduction of armaments. Socialist countries do not need colonies or spheres of investment for obtaining super-profits. As their production is for the people’s needs and capitalist profits abolished, they have no need to “conquer” markets, but only require honest trade on a free and equal basis. A socialist foreign policy can only be a policy of peace.

Despite the acute danger of war, the Communist Party declares that a third world war is neither necessary nor inevitable.

The Communist Party rejects the “theory” of the inevitable war between the socialist and capitalist camps. On the contrary, it declares that the peaceful co-existence of socialism and capitalism is possible, on the basis of mutual respect for national rights and independence. Communist policy is for trade with all states on a mutual, honest basis, and co-operation with all States in the preservation of peace through the United Nations, in strict accordance with the Charter.

The Communist Party brands as a lie the charge that Communism is to be imposed by aggression and conquest, and declares that social transformation can only come through internal changes in accordance with the actual conditions in each country.

A lasting peace is the vital need for all peoples and a main aim of Communist policy.

It is an aim which can and should unite the people of Britain, whatever religious or political views they hold. Their united action can be decisive for the preservation of peace. That is why all organisations and individuals who really want peace are working to develop a mass movement for peace.

The plans for a third world war, openly prepared by imperialist America and its supporters in Britain – the Churchills and Attlees – would make Britain the principal war base for an aggressive atomic war against Socialism in Europe and Asia. Already the rearmament programme carried out on American orders threatens the social standards of our people, weakens our whole economic position, disrupts Britain’s peaceful production and trade, destroys civil liberties, and still further undermines our national independence. Two years’ conscription has been imposed, and reservists are being called back to the Forces.

A third world war, waged with atomic weapons, would annihilate our major cities, blot out millions of our population, and throw Britain back for centuries. It could only end in a dreadful catastrophe for the British people.

A free, strong and independent Britain is essential for the preservation of the peace of the world. The national interests of Britain, as well as the very future of the British people, demand that Britain finish once and for all with the American policy of aggression and world conquest. To follow that policy can only end in national disaster for Britain.

Britain should free itself from all war alliances and entanglements, like the Atlantic Pact; and all colonial wars of invasion of other people’s countries, as in Malaya and Korea; and bring home the troops which are at present used to occupy and dominate subject countries all over the world.

In conformity with the Potsdam Agreement between the Great Powers, it should oppose all attempts to rearm Germany and recreate a West German Army. In association with France, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., Britain should work out a common policy for a united, democratic peace-loving Germany.

Britain should oppose the rearmament of Japan.

Britain should associate its efforts with the Socialist Soviet Union, People’s China, India and all peace-loving countries to promote peace and international cooperation between the Great Powers, strengthen the United Nations as the bastion of peace, and prevent it from being used as an instrument of war.

As the country most vulnerable to atomic warfare, and most weighed down by the burden of armaments, Britain should take the lead in pressing for the banning of the atom bomb and all weapons of mass destruction, with international control and inspection, and for the all-round reduction of armaments.

As a country greatly dependent on world trade, Britain should oppose all restrictions on international trade imposed by the U.S.A., and especially should promote East-West trade, which is indispensable for our recovery.

Unless such a policy for peace is fought for and won, the post-war gains of the class will be completely lost, and there can be no lightening of the burdens on the working people, improvement of living conditions, or solution of Britain’s problems.

The future of the British people, their prosperity and welfare, and the victory of the aims of Socialism in Britain, are inseparably bound up with the united international struggle of the peoples of all countries for peace, freedom and national independence.

National Independence of the British People and of All Peoples of the British Empire

The Communist Party fights for the national independence and the true national interests of the British people and of all the peoples of the British Empire.

The subjection of Britain to American imperialism is a betrayal of the British people in the interests of big business and of those who are planning a new world war. In the economic sphere, Britain has been turned into a satellite of America, and an American monopolist placed in supreme command of Britain’s industry and American economic controllers and supervisors established in London and reporting to Washington. American big business controls our financial policy, imposes trade restrictions and bans, openly dictates policy, as in the case of devaluation, and is extending the network of American financial penetration and control over British industry. In the military sphere, Britain has been turned into an American base, and the American army of occupation is growing. The new arms programme was decided on American instructions, and under the Atlantic Pact, Britain’s armed forces have been placed under an American Supreme Commander. The British Empire, similarly, has been subjected to increasing American financial and military penetration.

For the first time in its history, our country has lost its independence and freedom of action in its foreign, economic and military policy to a foreign power – the United States of America.

The Labour Government and its advisers dare take no major step without American permission, and the leaders of the Tory and Labour Parties compete with one another in servility to the Americans. The leaders of the Labour and Tory Parties have become spokesmen of a foreign power.

Concerned only to defend capitalism and profit, the Labour leaders and the Tories openly betray Britain’s national interests. Such differences as they allow themselves with America are those of the bankrupt junior partner striving to retain what it can in face of American pressure.

The restoration of British national independence, which has been given away by the leaders of the Tory, Liberal and Labour Parties, is the indispensable condition for Britain’s recovery and political, economic and social advance.

The Communist Party declares that the leaders of the Tory, Liberal and Labour Parties and their spokesmen in the press and on the B.B.C. are betraying the interests of Britain to dollar imperialism. Our call is for the unity of all true patriots to defend British national interests and independence.

We stand for a Britain, free, strong and independent. We want our country to be subordinate and subservient to no foreign power, but to stand in friendly association and equal alliance with all powers that recognise and respect Britain’s national interests.

The Communist Party would break with the policy of sell-out to America. It would restore to the British Parliament its exclusive sovereign right to control the country’s financial, economic and military policy, close the country to foreign capitalist penetration and restore the command of the British Armed Forces to British commanders.

To restore control of its own affairs to Britain, so that Britain’s, power could be used on the basis of an independent foreign policy, would be a great contribution towards the preservation of world peace.

The Communist Party therefore rejects all theories which declare national sovereignty to be out of date and thus seek to justify enslavement to American imperialism or aggression against other nations. Real international co-operation can be based only on the sovereign freedom and equal rights of all nations, great and small. Because of this, the cause of Britain’s national independence is bound up with ensuring that all nations in the present Empire also enjoy full national rights and independence.

Within the British Isles, the enforced partition of Ireland and the maintenance of British troops in Northern Ireland must be ended, to enable Irish national unity to be realised. There must be full recognition of the national claims of the Scottish and Welsh peoples, to be settled according to the wishes of these peoples.

Above all, the Communist Party would solve the question of the relations of Britain with the countries of the British Empire.

The enemies of Communism declare that the Communist Party, by underhand subversive means, is aiming at the destruction of Britain and the British Empire. But it is a lie, because it is precisely the Tories and the Labour leaders who are doing this by their policy of armed repression and colonial exploitation. British colonial policy and armed repression have resulted in the undying resistance and hostility of the people of Malaya, Africa and Egypt towards Britain.

In fighting to impose Syngman Rhee on the Korean people and in supporting reactionary puppets in South East Asia and the Middle East, it has earned the hatred of the people of Asia, and thus placed our country at loggerheads with the majority of mankind.

The colonial policy of the Tory and Labour leaders is not only a crime against the colonial peoples, it is draining away our manpower in endless colonial war, and has cost, and will continue to cost, hundreds of millions of pounds. It has disrupted the production of food and raw materials. It can only weaken Britain still further. The colonial peoples struggling for national liberation can never be subdued.

The Communist Party would put an end to the present abnormal relations of colonial war and repression between the British people and the peoples of the Empire by establishing durable friendship with them on the basis of equal rights. This act of historical justice would help lo wipe out the bitterness of the past, and would enormously strengthen Britain on a new democratic basis.

All relations between the peoples of the present Empire which are based on political, economic and military enslavement must be ended, and replaced by relations based on full national independence and equal rights. This requires the withdrawal of all armed forces from the colonial and dependent territories and handing over of sovereignty to Governments freely chosen by the peoples.

Only by this means can Britain be assured of the normal supplies of the vital food and raw materials necessary for her economic life, obtaining them in equal exchange for the products of British industry, needed by those countries for their own economic development.

This would provide the basis for a new, close, fraternal association of the British people and the liberated peoples of the Empire. Only on this basis can true friendship be established between the peoples of the present Empire to promote mutually beneficial economic exchange and co-operation, and to defend in common their freedom against American imperialist aggression.

People’s Democracy – The Path to Socialism

Only by the establishment of Socialism can Britain’s problems be finally solved and its people guaranteed a good life, lasting peace and steadily rising living standards.

Socialism means an end to capitalist profit and exploitation, for it will deprive the capitalists of their ownership and control of the factories and workshops, mills and mines, banks and land, shipyards and transport, and ensure that production is organised for the use of the people and not for the profit of the tiny minority of capitalists.

Socialism means an end to slumps and unemployment, to which the capitalist system gives rise because it restricts the consumption of the mass of the people, while the productive power of society constantly increases. Because it abolishes the capitalist profit system, Socialism means that the workers’ purchasing power will always keep pace with increases in production.

Socialism means peace and an end to the danger of wars, because under Socialism there are no longer capitalists who want to conquer new markets, and to exploit the colonial and dependent peoples and cheap labour.

Socialism ends all the restrictive policies of capitalism in regard to the working people. It ends the gulf between poverty and plenty, and frees the creative energies of the people and the productive resources of the nation for gigantic economic, social and cultural advances on the basis of a planned socialist economy.

Socialism means freedom for the people – freedom from poverty and insecurity, freedom for men, women and children to develop their capacities to the full, without fear or favour. For women it means equal rights with men in the social, economic and political life of the nation; for young people, the opening of new opportunities with the whole resources of the country behind them; for the family, a real home life, fuller interests and closer ties based on security and new respect for the individual.

But Socialism means the abolition of capitalism. The Labour leaders do not want to abolish capitalism.

Their so-called “democratic socialism” is a screen behind which they justify their defence of the system of capitalist profit and exploitation, defend the position of the capitalists and monopolists, and seek to prop up the bankrupt capitalist social structure of riches for the few, poverty and low living standards for the many, and ever-recurring danger of slump and war.

The working people of Britain in industry and agriculture form the immense majority of the population and constitute with their families fully two-thirds of the population. To these must be added the great bulk of the clerical and professional workers, the teachers, technicians and scientists, the working farmers, shopkeepers and small business men, whose interests are equally threatened by the big landowning, industrial and financial capitalists, and whose security and future prospects are closely bound up with those of the industrial working class.

Together these represent a mighty political force, fully capable of defeating the present exploiters and rulers of the British people and returning a majority to Parliament which represents the interests of all working people, and a Government determined to carry through, with the active political and industrial backing of the people, a policy that will open out a new and glorious future for Britain.

But at present this potentially mighty political force is split and divided, misled by the propaganda of the ruling class and the policy and outlook of the right-wing leaders of the Labour Party and the right-wing leaders of the trade unions and co-operative organisations, who in practice support the ruling class and carry on the Labour Government in the interests of capitalism.

Despite the democratic rights which have so far been won by the struggles of the people, the real power in Britain is still concentrated in the hands of the tiny section of rich property-owners. They control the land, large-scale industry, finance and trade; their representatives hold the commanding positions in the Civil Service, the Armed Forces, the Judiciary, the Diplomatic and Colonial Services; they also control the greater part of the newspapers and periodicals, the B.B.C., and the cinemas.

Democracy under present conditions is restricted for the majority of the people by the privilege and power of the wealthy few and their agents, and is being reduced by attacks on the rights of free speech and organisation, and on the right to strike. The democratic rights won by years of working-class struggle must be defended with the utmost strength against the attacks of the capitalists and warmongers and their agents. At the same time we declare that the so-called “free world” is in fact the world of capitalism, in which the capitalist class exercises a disguised dictatorship over the working class. The Labour leaders’ “democratic socialism” has done nothing to change this.

The people cannot advance to Socialism, therefore, without real political power, which must be taken from the hands of the capitalist minority and firmly grasped by the majority of the people, led by the working class. Only by this means can democracy become a reality.

The enemies of Communism accuse the Communist Party of aiming to introduce Soviet Power in Britain and abolish Parliament. This is a slanderous misrepresentation of our policy. Experience has shown that in present conditions the advance to Socialism can be made just as well by a different road. For example, through People’s Democracy, without establishing Soviet Power, as in the People’s Democracies of Eastern Europe.

Britain will reach Socialism by her own road. Just as the Russian people realised political power by the Soviet road which was dictated by their historical conditions and background of Tsarist rule, and the working people in the People’s Democracies and China won political power in their own way in their historical conditions, so the British Communists declare that the people of Britain can transform capitalist democracy into a real People’s Democracy, transforming Parliament, the product of Britain’s historic struggle for democracy, into the democratic instrument of the will of the vast majority of her people.

The path forward for the British people will be to establish a People’s Government on the basis of a Parliament truly representative of the people.

Such a People’s Government would:

Break the power of the millionaire monopolists and other big capitalists by socialist nationalisation of large-scale industry, the banks, big distributive monopolies, insurance companies and the land of the large land-owners, and introduce a government monopoly of foreign trade.

Introduce a planned economy based on socialist principles aimed at fundamental social change.

Transform the existing unequal imperialist Empire into a strong, free, equal association of peoples by granting national independence to the colonies.

Make Britain strong, free and independent with a foreign policy of peace.

Break the political hold of the capitalist class by democratic reform, democratic ownership of the press, the people’s control of the B.B.C. and the democratic transformation of the Civil Service, Foreign Office, Armed Forces and Police, the Law Courts and the administration of justice.

The essential condition for establishing such a people’s power is the building up of a broad coalition or popular alliance of all sections of the working people: of the organised working class, of all workers by hand and brain, of professional people and technicians, of all lower and middle sections in the towns, and of the farmers in the countryside.

This broad popular alliance of all sections of the people determined to end the arbitrary power of the rich over the future of Britain, can be built only on the basis of a united working class as its decisive leading force – the class that is most concerned in the struggle for a new order of society.

The Labour Party, with its present policy and under its present leadership, is preventing the building up of such an alliance and splitting instead of uniting the working-class movement.

The right-wing Labour leaders act as the main supporters of capitalism, and are doing their best to safeguard the privileges and profits of the capitalists, and providing them with opportunities to continue their exploitation of the British and colonial peoples. They are not carrying through those decisive measures which are urgently needed in the present and future interests of the British working people, but are safeguarding the privileges and profits of the property-owners and their exploitation of the British and colonial peoples.

The present leadership of the Labour Party is disrupting and demoralising the Labour Movement by its poisonous propaganda of collaboration with and capitulation to capitalism, and its betrayal of every principle on which the British Labour Movement was formed.

In order, therefore, to bring about a decisive change in Britain, the millions of workers in the trade unions, co-operatives and individual members’ sections of the Labour Party will have to use their political and industrial strength to make it impossible for either the right-wing Labour leaders or the Tones to carry on their present pernicious policy. They will have to rouse all the working people and progressive sections for active struggle against the present policy of surrender to American political and economic interests, against the war preparations and the wars in Malaya and Korea, against the two years’ conscription, the calling up of reservists, and the rearming of Germany and Japan. Such a struggle is also necessary to secure higher wages and salaries, more houses, schools and hospitals, the raising of benefits and pensions, and on all issues which affect the people. It is through this struggle that the unity of all workers by hand and brain, of professional people and farmers, can develop into a movement strong enough to defeat the rich and their defenders in the Labour Party and to ensure peace and a future for all working people. Because of this working class unity, the united action of all sections of the working-class movement – Labour, trade union, co-operative and Communist – is the vital need. Only by united action between all sections of the Labour Movement can the working class rally all its forces and all its allies for decisive action to win a Parliamentary majority and form a People’s Government.

A People’s Parliament and Government which draws its strength from a united movement of the people, with the working class as its core, will be able to mobilise the overwhelming majority of the people for decisive measures to break the economic and political power of the big exploiters. The whole legislative and executive machinery of the country will be made continuously responsive to the democratic will of the people, and the whole of the people will be drawn into active participation in the control and administration of every sphere of national life.

A key role would be performed by the trade unions, without which no People’s Democracy can function. National arbitration would be abolished and full powers of collective bargaining on wages and conditions restored, the socialist economic plan ensuring the basis for steadily advancing wages and conditions. The trade unions would participate in drawing up the economic plan and in the administration of the nationalised industries, nationally, regionally and in every factory. They would participate in the work of the Ministry of Labour and National Insurance and ensure the operation of the labour laws.

Similarly, the Co-operative organisations, with their accumulated experience, would play a responsible part in the organisation and control of distribution and supplies.

The electoral system would be democratically reformed with proportional representation and votes at eighteen, and the House of Commons would be made the sole national authority, freed from the restrictive influences of the House of Lords and the Monarchy.

Men and women who are determined and loyal advocates of the people’s power will replace those who uphold the old system in all positions of authority in the Civil Service, the Armed Forces, the Judiciary and the Diplomatic Service.

The millionaire-owned newspapers will be taken over and placed at the disposal of working-class and democratic organisations, so that the policy expressed in these journals is that of the working people, and their influence can strengthen the determination of the people to carry through the decisive changes in the social order.

The B.B.C. will be similarly transformed into an instrument expressing the interests of the people in every aspect of its work.

Freedom of religious worship will be guaranteed, and all religious creeds and beliefs respected.

In carrying through these decisive measures to implement the democratic will of the people, every effort of the capitalist class to defy the People’s Government and Parliament will be resisted and defeated.

That great broad popular alliance, led by the working class, firmly based on the factories, which has democratically placed the People’s Government in power, will have the strength to deal with the attacks of the capitalist warmongers and their agents.

The Government will rely on the strength of the organised workers to ensure that the programme decided upon by Parliament is operated in practice, and that all attempts to resist or sabotage it are defeated; and the enemies of the working class brought to justice.

It would be wrong to believe that the big capitalists will voluntarily give up their property and their big profits in the interests of the British people.

It would be more correct to expect them to offer an active resistance to the decisions of the People’s Government, and to fight for the retention of their privileges by all means in their power including force.

Therefore the British people and the People’s Government should be ready decisively to rebuff such attempts.

The power of the working people, uniting all sections who recognise the need for social change and participate in carrying it through, as expressed and laid down through the elected Parliament, is alone capable of securing peace, high wages for working people, raw materials for British industry and markets for British goods, and creating the conditions for the establishment of Socialism in Britain.

Socialist Nationalisation

Socialist nationalisation is the cornerstone of the economic policy of a People’s Government. It is necessary, not only to break once and for all the power of monopolists, but to place industry in the hands of the people. Socialist nationalisation is necessary to put an end to capitalist profit-making and exploitation of the workers, to ensure control over our economic life and make economic planning a reality, and to lay the basis for a great advance in the living conditions of the people. It is the way to transform the system of capitalist private ownership into socialised people’s ownership.

All large-scale industry and transport, the banks, monopoly-owned wholesale and retail trading concerns, as well as large landed property, will be brought under social ownership by the People’s State.

The National Debt and stock representing compensation for industries previously nationalised will be annulled. Where concerns are taken over or stock is annulled, there will be partial compensation to those who do not resist the policy of the People’s Government, but no compensation to those who resist the People’s Government.

This socialist nationalisation differs fundamentally from the measures of capitalist nationalisation carried out by Tory, Liberal or Labour Governments, which have nothing in common with Socialism, and have aroused the widespread criticism of the workers.

The capitalist nationalisation measures carried out by the Labour Government have extended only to a limited section of industry, leaving in private capitalist hands the main fields owned by big business from which it draws its profits. This nationalised section of industry has covered mainly auxiliary services, providing transport and power for capitalist industry, which were proving inefficient and even yielding a loss under private capitalist management. Thus these measures of state ownership were beneficial to capitalism as a whole, and in no way changed the capitalist character of British economy any more than similar measures carried out by Bismarck or Hitler, or British Tory Governments in the past.

Socialist nationalisation carried out by the People’s Government, by extending to the whole sphere of large-scale industry and trade, the land of the large landowners, and the banks, would change Britain decisively from a capitalist country to a country on the road towards Socialism.

Capitalist nationalisation make no change in the exploitation of the workers, because the compensation paid to the former owners guarantees to them the continuance of their unearned income at the expense or the workers, with the added safeguard of state power to ensure its payment. The capital held by the capitalists remains the same; only the form of stock is changed. But the purpose of capitalist nationalisation is not only to keep up the compensation payments to the former owners. Its aim is also to benefit the employers in the rest of industry by supplying them with goods and services at a cheap rate. It is for these reasons that the workers in the nationalised industries are being speeded up and their wages kept low. Capitalist nationalisation is being used to benefit capitalism as a whole at the expense of the workers in the nationalised industries.

Socialist nationalisation, on the contrary, ends once and for all the robbery of the workers for the benefit of private owners, lifts the burden of rent, interest and profit from the shoulders of the working people, and makes the whole product of industry the property of the whole people.

Capitalist nationalisation is bureaucratically administered. The governing Boards of the nationalised industries are dominated by the former owners or their associates. The change is only a change in form; the workers continue to be ruled by capitalist bosses.

Socialist nationalisation completely eliminates the capitalists and their representatives. The Governing Boards are composed completely of the workers and technicians. All proposals, plans and targets are placed before the workers in every industry and factory for discussion and joint decision. The democratic participation of the workers and their trade unions in management is thus ensured at every level from top to bottom. With the capitalist class, capitalist profit-making and exploitation excluded, the trade unions and the workers become the main force for raising production, as every increase in production means increased earnings and a higher standard of life.

The ending of capitalist monopoly control of the country’s economic, political and social life will free society from the restrictive influences that have held it back, and will generate tremendous forces for the rapid development of industry, trade and social services, bringing security and far-reaching improvements in the conditions, not only of the working class, but of the professional workers and of the middle sections of society.

Socialist nationalisation will thus make available for social use immense wealth that has hitherto gone to build up the capitalist profits and power of the rich property owners.

It will enable the Government, with the co-operation of the workers and technicians, to end restrictions and bring about a great increase in production, to re-equip and reorganise industry on the basis of a national plan to increase the productive resources of the country, improve wages and working conditions, reduce prices, extend all social services, and remove forever the danger of economic crisis and unemployment.

Co-operatively-owned productive and consumers’ enterprises will be encountered and assisted to develop, taking over appropriate services now in the hands of the monopolies.

Small shopkeepers and business men, as well as small landowners and farmers in the countryside, will be freed from restrictions imposed by the monopolists, and will benefit from the rising turnover resulting from the new conditions.

Foreign trade will be made a Government monopoly, serving the interests of the people; and trade will be developed with all countries.

Special attention will be given to the development of agriculture, helping the working farmers and encouraging the development of co-operative marketing and use of machinery, bringing all available land into cultivation, and with the help of modern agricultural science increasing the output so as to reduce Britain’s dependence on foreign supplies of basic foodstuffs.

Social Services

The ownership and control by the people of all the main productive and distributive resources of the country will provide the means necessary for the reorganisation and extension of all social services, and the direct participation of the people in administering them.

A Government representing the interests of the working people will do what no other Government can do – solve the housing problem for the people. It will proceed at once with the building of a really adequate number of new houses, the taking over of empty and half-used houses for the working people, and the clearing of the slums. With the land of the big landowners and the principal building and building-material enterprises in the hands of the Government, and with the ending of interest payments, it will be possible to build large numbers of houses and flats at low cost, to be let at low rents. The large country houses of the rich will be taken over for use as holiday rest homes, sanatoria for adults and children, and similar social purposes.

There will be an end to workers’ contributions to social insurance funds, which will be provided entirely by industry and the Government. All benefits will be raised to a level which enables old-age pensioners, the war disabled, ex-Servicemen and women, and all those temporarily or permanently incapacitated from work, to live a decent life, and to give children full opportunity for health and strength.

The present health services will be extended into an effective and comprehensive State Medical Service, manned by an increasing number of doctors and specialists, so as to give free and efficient service to the working people and their families. New hospitals and sanatoria will be built, as well as Health Centres and Clinics in every locality. The improvement in the health of the people that will result from better housing conditions and a higher standard of living will be further helped by the provision of more sports grounds and open spaces, swimming pools, and other facilities for keeping fit and the healthy enjoyment of leisure.

The present educational system, with its structure of class privilege barely modified by successive reforms, will be completely transformed into a single comprehensive system giving all children the best facilities and the fullest opportunities for development. There will be an end to restrictive selection, which now deprives so many children of full educational opportunities. There will be an end to the privately owned schools and the so-called “public schools” where the children of the rich are trained as members of the ruling class. The rapid growth of industry and agriculture, with the application of the most modern technique, and the rapid extension of all social services, together with the raising of the qualifications of the workers and the of the educational system itself, will require a much larger and increasing number of trained people and specialists in every sphere. The increase in the number of schools required to provide all children with adequate educational facilities must therefore be accompanied by a similar extension of the universities and technical colleges, and the children of working people must be assisted to take full advantage of these extended facilities.

The principle of equal pay for equal work for women will be applied at once throughout the public services, industry and trade: the provision of crèches and nursery schools in adequate numbers will help to remove the practical difficulties in the way of women playing their full part in the life of the nation.

The young people of the country will be made the first charge on the nation’s resources, and the education and health services will be supplemented by greatly increased facilities for young people to develop in an all-round way and become useful citizens with full opportunities in every sphere.

The Communist Party and the Way Forward

The way forward to the achievement of the aims of this programme lies through the united action of the working people. That is why the Communist Party calls upon all working people to unite and fight now for peace and to protect and improve their standards and living conditions; to win increased wages; to combat high prices, taxation and rents; to defend their trade union and democratic rights; and in this daily struggle to strengthen and extend the unity, organisation, solidarity, confidence and political consciousness of all sections of the workers.

The Communist Party has no separate interests from the rest of the working class, the organised labour Movement and the whole of the working people. It therefore works for unity of all sections of the people behind a People’s Government that will end the rule of the rich and carry through the change to Socialism.

The Communist Party unites in its ranks the vanguard of the militant socialist fighters of the working class, inheriting the traditions of generations of struggle of the democratic and working class movement in Britain. Its policy and programme is based on the impregnable foundation of Marxist theory, the science embodying the experiences of the international working class, as developed by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, and demonstrated in history as the theory and practice which brings victory to the working class and socialism. History proves that without such a Party the battle for Socialism cannot be won.

Devoting all its efforts to winning the Labour Movement and the majority of the British people for the fulfilment of this programme, the Communist party calls for the support and enrolment in its ranks of all workers, trade unionists, co-operators, Socialists and all progressive people who recognise the necessity of basic social change and the socialist reconstruction of society, and who are prepared to play their part in the realisation of these glorious aims – a free and happy, strong and powerful Socialist Britain in free association with the Commonwealth nations.

Click here to return to the index of archival material.