The statements upholding the 1904 D of P and attacking its critics included those by H.B. (Harry Baldwin) (May1954), D'Arcy (June 1954), J.G. Grisley (January 1955) and Harry Young (April 1955):"... since the working class is that last subject class in history, it alone can dispossess the capitalist parasites (or are they going to abdicate?), this dispossession will be the final act of class struggle (the act to end classes): astruggle carried on unceasingly throughout the life of capitalism. The capitalist class is a reactionary class of plunderers: the working class is alone the revolutionary class." (Baldwin.)"My own view is that the very nature of the question 'Socialism—what will it look like?' is an absurdity. You canonly describe social systems, including Capitalism and Socialism, from their economic basis, the relations of people to the means of production. In short, the description contained in our object." (D'Arcy.) "There is nothingwrong with our propaganda—thousands of debates and public meetings have proven that. There is nothing wrongwith our Declaration of Principles—years of criticism have been unable to shatter them. The trouble lies in themajority of people who have not heard the Party's case or, having heard it, do not respond." (Grisley.)"If, even now, a majority of the members of the Party will not expel an avowed opponent merely because he wasonce a good speaker, those who do support the Declaration of Principles, and are not concerned with personalities, will have to seriously consider the formation of a Socialist Party." (Young.)After April 1955 and the "troubles" had died down, the content of FORUM changed markedly. Thecontroversial issues that had taken up so much space virtually disappeared. The pre-purge FORUM had contained"educational" material (for example, a series of five "Notes on crises" by E.W. but the proportion of this was nowmuch increased. The new IPJ Committee, notably Bob Coster, proclaimed its editorial policy: "We believe there isscope for FORUM as a medium for Socialist education, information and instructive discussion" (July 1955,emphasis in original). That issue contained a long article on economics by E. W., an even longer one as part 3 of aseries on Marxism and literature by Coster, and hints on public speaking by Ambridge. The Aug-Sep 1956 issue hadCoster on The meaning of education, E.W. on Do we need the dialectic? (Apparently we don't), and A.W.I, on thenovelist John Steinbeck ("always interesting, and sometimes rings the bell").The last printed issue of FORUM was still subtitled "Socialist Discussion Journal". But 6'/
of its 8 pages weredevoted to an annotated survey of the writings and speeches of Marx and Engels and the remaining 1
pagesconsisted of an extract from Engels's pamphlet
Principles of Communism,
1847.After a gap of 15 months the first number of volume 2 of FORUM was published in duplicated form. Aneditorial under the heading THE NEW FORUM stated:"The last Inter-Party Journal, although it published much that was useful and worthwhile, unfortunatelydegenerated into an organ that was largely concerned with anti-party polemics and recrimination. In the later issues of the journal this trend was stopped but the damage had been done, and FORUM foundered for lack of worthwhile material."The issue contained Evans's lecture notes on a Socialist Approach to History, Willmott on value, Jarvis on DylanThomas, and two controversial pieces, Trotman on the Party's attitude to rent control and Hackney Branch on the
("We claim that the
is an inferior paper today, and we appeal to the Partymembership to do something about it... We are not offering positive proposals here: that is not our point.")The last gasp of FORUM was in May 1959. It could be argued that FORUM didn't want to die, because itannounced the intended contents of number 5 (Trade unions, Value re-examined and Let the Party sing). Thecontents were an excerpt from Engels and the wages system, Trotman still on about rent control, some facts andfigures from the USA concerning the old folk—and 12 of the 22 pages on the resurrection of the saga of WB of Upton Park (1910-11), after 4 pages on that ancient controversy in the previous issue.WB of Upton Park wrote to the
in 1910 asking "What would be the action of a member of the SPGBelected to Parliament, and how would he maintain our principle of 'no compromise'?" The items reprinted inFORUM consisted of the Executive Committee's reply to WB, an open letter by 7 members (the "ProvisionalCommittee for advocating the revocation of the reply given to WB"), the EC's reply to that open letter (August 1911)and finally the Provisional Committee's reply. The editors of FORUM justified their republication of thesedocuments by stating their belief "that the documents relating to this controversy have a very real bearing on similar,though fortunately slighter, controversies in the Party today. In any event, they are of historic interest and definewhat has been the Party's position on reforms and reformism since its inception".The Provisional Committee opposed the idea that democracy is essential to the establishment of socialism ("..-.the workers if once revolutionary class-conscious would and could under any form of Government, even if autocratic, bureaucratic, or plutocratic seize the political machinery, thereby becoming the dominating class insociety." —Emphasis in original). FORUM's last Editorial Committee gave the last word (and incidentally more than10 of the 16 pages) to the Provisional Committee. They didn't take sides for or against that Committee and the EC.They didn't say in what ways they thought the 1910-11 controversy had "a very real bearing" on the controversies atthe time they were writing.Our view is that WB raised a question that we still haven't satisfactorily answered today: do we reject capitalist(partial) democracy as a reform to be opposed, or do we see (full) democracy as an essential ingredient of socialism?