The Labour Party is the dominant political force in the British working-class movement.
Yet it is an enigma, a mixture of unmixables. It depends upon the mass of support of workers, yet claims to represent all classes in society. It calls itself socialist, yet when in government it does its best to manage and defend the capitalist system.
The Labour Party aims to be society's mediator, balancing between the working class on whose votes it depends and the employing class whose state it seeks to run.
Those who want to see a socialist society - and there are thousands inside the Labour Party as well as outside it - cannot ignore the influence of Labourism over millions of workers. That is the trap into which the sectarian falls. But equally we must avoid the reformist trap of imagining that this extraordinary party can become a means for transforming society.
This book studies the Labour Party in its different phases: at birth, in the shadows of the Russian Revolution and the 1926 General Strike, through the governments of Atlee, Wilson and Callaghan to the crisis facing it today. For a thorough understanding of the Labour Party, and how its ideas and actions relate to the ebb and flow of class struggle, is indispensable for any strategy for the future achievement of socialism.