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From Macdonald To Gaitskell

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Chapter Summary

There are various ways in which socialism can be evicted from the Labour Party, and if Clause 4 is not omitted it can always be reinterpreted. The interpretation which is contained in Mr. Gaitskell's proposals to the National Executive Committee is essentially a rewriting of Clause 4 and a restriction of public ownership to little more than its present extent. The most rightward of the three views had been expressed in MacDonald's book, Socialism and Government, published in 1909. On MacDonald's view in 1909 it might be the case that the Labour Party would be rendered unnecessary, since either the Liberals or the Tories might take its aims for their own. Thus for MacDonald common ownership was an idea with no particular class affiliation. Central to MacDonald's thought is the conception of a national interest, which is more important than class or party interest.

Keywords:Clause 4; common ownership; James Ramsay MacDonald; Labour Party; Mr. Gaitskell; National Executive Committee; public ownership; socialism



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