Thursday, June 17, 2021

The enemy of the worker is the master


 Socialists take every opportunity of examining and commenting on all the facets of capitalist society, including that much-publicised field, at the moment, anyway, trade unions. We oppose all other political parties, but when dealing with trade unions the fact that the leadership of any particular union has a political bias does not affect our judgement of their activities in the industrial field. As good or as bad as they may be, we recognise that trade unions are the weapon of the working class in the field of industry, and we, therefore, support the principle of trade unionism. We have this to say to trade unionists. Your right to strike has been bitterly fought for in the past: be careful that you protect it in the future.

 Only when industry and transport etc, are owned and democratically controlled by the whole community can service to the whole community be a reality. Nationalisation or state capitalism is not the solution to the problem. The immediate task of the workers is to study the structure and origin of capitalism and to learn that there are no shortcuts to emancipation; that the solution of the problem of poverty in every industry and in every continent is the same—the abolition of the system of society which requires that the great majority shall be poor in order that a favoured few may live idle and luxurious lives.

Capitalism can be replaced by a system of society in which technical developments of machinery, inventions and discoveries will benefit you instead of rendering your position more insecure; in which education, real education, will be within your reach; in which poverty will be a memory and nothing more. It can be done, but your rulers will not, and your leaders can not do it for you. You must do it yourselves. When you understand the system you can end it. It is a slow and difficult task to remove from the mind of the typical wage workers the pathetic belief in the inevitability of their sufferings, and in the permanency of political institutions and economic forms of society; but there is only one way, the educational way, and to think of challenging those who are now in control, before this educational work has been accomplished, is mere foolishness. Knowledge of the evolution of human society, and of the origin and development of existing political institutions on the one hand, and knowledge of the present economic structures which makes possible the exploitation of the workers, exploitation not superficially observable, are the necessary forerunners of successful organisation for the emancipation of the workers. 

There is a notion widely held in certain circles that capitalism is in a state of collapse, or at least, that its collapse is imminent; and this is interpreted to mean that the existing system of society will reach a point at which the production and distribution of commodities will cease, and the whole of the mechanism of society will fail any longer to operate. Those who propagate this conception naturally accept the view that the tactics of the working class organisation must be framed with this collapse always in mind. It is of no use waiting for the system to collapse, nor preparing a new economic structure to replace it. It will not go until the workers determine that it shall go, and the pressing service revolutionary organisations can perform is to prepare the workers' minds for the possibility of the immediate establishment of socialism. When the workers understand the social system, their exploitation, and their relation to the capitalist class, they will organise for the specific purpose of capturing the machinery of government from the capitalist class, in order that they may build a new social system based on the common ownership of the means of wealth production, under the protection, it will afford. The workers have the remedy for their sufferings in their hands; only when they are class conscious will they use it. Only those organisations can effectively wage war on capitalism which is composed of members who recognise the class struggle is fundamental; who realise that socialism is the only hope of the workers, and who know the lines of their struggle, and the result to be achieved by their activities.

Working-class organisations have always (but especially during and since the war) suffered from acts of treachery committed by leaders in whom confidence had mistakenly been placed. Hardly a strike or lock-out of considerable size occurs but there is some trade union official who, from sincere or other motives, deserts, or counsels action useful only to the other side. Each of these defections raises a little storm of protest and much vowing of "never again" among the active rank and filers; but the storm dies away, the incident is soon forgotten. The Chartist paper, the Northern Star commented:

"It is better at all times to submit to a real despotism than to a government of perfidious, treacherous and pretended friends."

The Chartists alternately supported Whigs and Tories, sometimes neither, and sometimes both together. In the Northern Star, on June 12th, 1841, were two leading articles advising opposite policies.

Socialism will be achieved by socialists; by the deliberate action, that is, of those who, understanding. what is at the root of the present evils, know what is necessary for their removal. The existence of a considerable proportion of convinced socialists precludes the possibility of swaying the electorate by emotional appeals. Without ignorant emotionalism, there is no need, no possibility, of political leadership, whether from a traditional ruling class or from a minority of superior intellects. Political bargaining exists because socialist knowledge is lacking. Without such knowledge, neither the leftists nor anyone else can give you socialism. Do not, therefore, waste time trying to dragoon the working class into striving for an object which they do not understand.

 HELP US TO PROMOTE SOCIALISM.



Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Racism of Red Clydeside

 The story of a race riot that broke out in Glasgow, during the height of Red Clydeside militancy, when around 30 black sailors were chased out of the hiring yard by a mob of white sailors. Yet, rather than a spontaneous outburst of hatred, it was actually the culmination of nationalist and anti-migrant politics promoted within working-class organisations (such as the Independent Labour Party and the British Seafarers's Union) both before and even after the events.

While the rise in workers' militancy was not accompanied by any diminution of racist sentiment some Marxists might contend that the co-existence of an upturn in class struggles and racism was an indication of the bifurcation of the working class. That is, racism emanated principally from the stratum of the working class that remained ideologically wedded to the elite project of national belonging underpinned by an allegiance to race and empire whereas those engaged in collective action in opposition to the state were part of a stratum that had broken from this project, and were moving in a political direction where the language of class and solidarity negated racism. However, such an argument is difficult to sustain when we consider events on Clydeside — arguably the epicentre of the working class revolt during this period — where racism was deployed by socialist activists to create a cohesive opposition to government and employer attacks.

On 23 January 1919, a racist riot occurred in the Glasgow harbour area when around 30 black sailors were chased out of the merchant marine hiring yard by white sailors, beaten in the street, attacked in their boarding houses and then targeted for mass arrest by police called in to halt the disorder. The mob was joined by white bystanders who bolstered the crowd to several hundred with many making use of 'guns, knives, batons, and makeshift weapons such as stones and bricks picked up from the street' (Jenkinson 2009: 73). Cornered in their boarding house, the black sailors offered no resistance when the police entered the premises. In contrast to the immediate arrest of the black sailors — all British colonial subjects from Sierra Leone — not one of the large crowd of white rioters was arrested (Jenkinson 2009: 74).

The riot wasn't a spontaneous eruption against the presence of black workers in Glasgow. Black people had lived and worked in the port area of the city for a number of years with many — along with Chinese labour — employed as seamen. Against a backdrop of rising unemployment, many white seamen branded the 'coloured' seamen as unfair economic competition. References to unfairness referred not only to the alleged tendency of such workers to accept lower wage rates than white workers, but also that minority labour was undeserving of such jobs because it was 'non-white', and, therefore not British. That is, what these white workers desired was that such labour make way for a more deserving category of worker that was white and British.

Jenkinson (2008, 2009) demonstrates how in the days leading up to the riot, socialist leaders on Clydeside actively expressed their support for such racist sentiment. Most notably, Manny Shinwell — leading member of the ILP, President of the Glasgow trades and labour council, and leader of the Glasgow branch of the British Seafarers's Union -- made a number of speeches expressing sympathy with the seamen. He encouraged them to participate in the strike action for the 40-hour week campaign which they could use as a platform voice their concerns about workers from overseas undercutting their wages and threatening their job opportunities as part of the wider strike action' (cited in Jenkinson 2009: 43). A few hours before the racist riot broke out, Shinwell addressed a meeting of over 600 sailors at the mercantile marine yard where he attributed the existence of large numbers of unemployed seamen 'to the refusal of the Government to exclude Chinese labour from British ships' urging them that 'it was essential ... that action be taken at once' (cited in Jenkinson 2009: 43). When interviewed by a local newspaper in the immediate aftermath of the riot, Shinwell connected it to the hiring of overseas sailors stating that 'some of the best ships' out of Glasgow were employing black and Chinese labour while a number of recently demobilized (White British) Royal Naval reservists were unable to obtain employment (Jenkinson 2009: 43).

'In the days following the harbour riot, Shinwell continued to speak out at sailors' meetings against the threat to jobs due to the employment of "Asiatic" labour on British ships' (Jenkinson 2009: 43), and tried repeatedly to link this with the 40 hours campaign by calling for the removal of such labour from British ships thereby creating more job opportunities for white British workers. The day before the general strike descended into violence on Bloody Friday (31 January 1919), Shinwell presided over a third meeting of sailors in a week where he 'urged them to take effective steps to prevent the employment of Chinese labour on British ships' (cited in Jenkinson 2009: 44). Willie Gallacher — then chair of the CWC and leading member of the BSP — supported Shinwell and accompanied him to a meeting with seamen on 28 January 1919 to persuade them to take part in the strike action. As Jenkinson (2009: 44) notes:

The tenor of this meeting was no different from the ones addressed only by Shinwell; again, the tactic was to import into the broad strike campaign the 'old demand' that black and Chinese crews should be expelled from British ships.

It was clear that 'the strike committee viewed support from white sailors as useful in widening the protest movement and were none too particular as to how such involvement was secured' (Jenkinson 2009: 44).

This episode draws attention to how even in those regions where working class militancy was most intense, the social and class struggles were sometimes animated and framed in racialized terms both by workers participating in such collective action, and many of the activists and organized social forces who led it. The ILP — of which Shinwell was a leading member —'was a party that was deeply committed to securing economic and social justice for the working class. At the same time, it was also a party whose members often displavcd a deep-rooted, almost unconscious attachment to nationalism. Shinwell himself claimed much later in life that the ILP's 'patriotism was of the subconscious variety Britain was the best country' (cited in Rose 2002: 337). This attachment to a form of banal nationalism (Billig 1995) defined the parameters within which they located the struggle for working class justice. They hoped the intensification of the class struggle would help pressure the elites into including the working class as partners within the confines of the existing capitalist nation-state. That is, leaders of the ILP aimed to use working class anger, the resulting strike action and the large-scale social unrest that ensued as political leverage to force the state to deliver a better economic and social deal to the working class of Britain, to force it to live up to its promise of building a 'land fit for heroes'.

However, there were clear dangers associated with grounding the struggle for working class justice on the ideological terrain of the nation because British nationalism had been thoroughly racialized since the mid-Victorian era. The ILP helped consolidate this discourse of racializing nationalism further within the working class by distinguishing those workers who allegedly belonged to the nation from those that didn't. When activists like Shinwell employed a discourse that equated the British worker with whiteness they effectively privileged the claims of this stratum for the limited jobs available in merchant shipping over those workers who were constructed as non-white. By creating an idealized image of the British worker as white, those workers who were represented as 'non-white' were deemed less deserving on the grounds that they weren't British, which in turn made them 'legitimate' targets for discrimination and violence, and eventually deportation.

At the same time, on Clydeside — unlike many other parts of Britain — there was a current of socialist opinion that vigorously opposed the manipulation of such racism. Leading activists like Arthur MacManus from the SLP and John Maclean from the BSP located the struggles of the British working class within a broader project of socialist internationalism. The twin pre-suppositions that informed this philosophical standpoint were an attachment to the cause of working class emancipation that transcended national boundaries, and the impossibility of achieving such social, economic and political equality within the confines of the existing capitalist social formation. Instead, for socialist internationalists, a radical social transformation was required that would inaugurate a post-capitalist socialist order. At the same time, it is important to emphasize that this wasn't simply an abstract commitment to proletarian internationalism but historically grounded in personal experience. Arthur MacManus was a Belfast-born Catholic who had witnessed the oppressive and exclusionary effects of the racializing nationalism generated by the machinery of the imperial British state in dividing Protestant and Catholic workers. It was this concrete assessment that led him, and many others to oppose such divisions from the standpoint of the international working class.

It was this political perspective first inculcated by James Connolly which enabled activists from the SLP in particular to directly intervene when attempts were made to racialize the class struggle on Clydeside. In an article entitled Race Riots and Revolution published in the SLP's monthly newspaper, The Socialist, the party mocked the seamens' union for deploying racism to remove black workers from certain occupations, and condemned them for deflecting working class anger away from the employers:

The Trades Unions have prided themselves on having ousted coloured labourers from certain occupations . . . . The very existence of capitalism depends upon driving all the elements of present day pugnacity, a trait always in prominence after a great war, into racial or national avenues. By forcing the workers to ease off their pugnacity over lines of colour, this blinds them to the class line which forms the focus of the struggle of the modern international proletariat. (cited in Jenkinson 2009: 16)

There was also opposition to such racism from Scottish women married to the black sailors. Letters submitted by these women to local newspapers tried to challenge the racist representations of their black husbands and 'mixed-race' children in the aftermath of the racist riots. One such person calling herself Justice for the Coloured People outlined how she had been married to a black merchant sailor for 25 years and reminded the readership of the many sacrifices that black sailors had made in defence of the nation. She went on to describe how her husband had been on ships that were torpedoed on four separate occasions. Three of the black sailors who had visited her house were drowned in these incidents while a further two burned to death 'at the hands of the German' (cited in Jenkinson 2008: 24) Such interventions by local working class women helped re-insert the contribution and sacrifices made by the black community (both British, and those from the colonies) into the national story of Britain. Informed by an emergent multicultural nationalism, they tried bravely in the face of great opposition to construct a counter narrative that would enable their husbands and mixed-race children to be treated like any white individual in British society.

Notwithstanding these important challenges, it was the ILP, and by proxy the Labour Party, that profited most from this wave of class struggles with many of the 'Red Clydesiders', including Shinwell and Kirkwood, eventually being elected to Parliament. The ILP's success lay in its ability to reflect faithfully the dominant cultural and political outlook of the working class at the time -- both in terms of the ideas workers brought with them into this phase of class struggle, and the kind of actions they were willing to undertake in the course of such conflict. When confronted with an opportunity to challenge working class racism, the ILP instead chose to accommodate to it. Indeed, leaders like Shinwell went further by strategically deploying racism to cement solidarity between white workers at the expense of other non-white workers. In this sense, they reinforced and legitimized racist ideas existing within the working class and bound them ever more tightly to a racializing British nationalism. The task of those socialist internationalists in the SLP and the BSP made doubly difficult; not only did they have to counter the racism and nationalism propagated by the elites, but also that emanating from political formations leading the working class unrest. Given the incremental incorporation of the working class since the mid-Victorian era accompanied by the growing penetration of racist and nationalist ideas, it is highly unlikely that the co-ordinates of the class struggle could have been re-set in the course of this phase of class conflict. There was too much ideological baggage to shed, and the SLP its internationalist outlook was too small to affect it.

This more pessimistic account of the events leading up to 1919 lends weight to John Maclean's scepticism surrounding the legend of 'Red Clydeside' (see also Miliband 1987). Contrary to both the claims perpetuated by some government ministers — concerned about the prospect of revolution in Britain along the lines witnessed in Russia in November 1917 or Germany in late 1918 — and by later socialist writers, Britain, and more specifically Clydeside, was never on the verge of effecting radical social change. Certainly, the epicentre of this revolt on Clydeside produced many revolutionary socialists, most notably John Maclean, Arthur MacManus and Tom Bell, some of whom led influential campaigns for peace. They successfully mobilized workers in defence of transnational working class interests that prevented the delivery of armaments to Poland that were intended for use against the newly-established workers state in Russia (see Pelling 1987; Kelly 1988). Yet, the parties they were affiliated to such as the SLP and the BSP saw little growth in membership. The tendency of proletarian internationalism remained a marginal accretion on the culture and politics of the British working class — restricted in the main to racialized minorities like Irish Catholics and Jews along with other 'outsiders' such as those from the Highland Gaels or the South Wales mining communities.

Originally from Satnam Virdee's book, 'Racism, Class and the Racialised Outsider'.

Taken from the Libcom website

Racists, Reds and the Revolt on the Clyde, 1919 (libcom.org)

Capitalist Ills Have No Remedy

 


Labour power is bought and sold on the market at a price that has for its basis the socially necessary labour required for its production. The price of labour-power is arrived at by bargaining, and as the capitalist is in possession of the means of production, it is obvious that he is enabled to dictate, within limits, to the seller of labour-power. The Socialist Party is continually pointing out to our fellow-workers that the interests their leaders serve when they tell us to produce more are the capitalists' interests, whether advocated in ignorance or with full knowledge of the effect does not matter, for as a rule the more the workers produce the sooner are they unemployed. Karl Marx made this clear and explained the process of the robbery in Capital, in which the true nature of capitalism is revealed as resting upon the exploitation of the working-class through individual or private ownership of the means of producing the necessaries of life. This divides society into two distinct classes whose interests are as widely opposed as the two poles of – the earth: one a propertyless class having nothing to sell but its power to labour; the other a wealthy class owning the means of wealth production.


Many workers of all nationalities who have passed through worse than death, now realise that the cult of nationalism is indeed tragic futility so far as the working-class are concerned; and the spirit of international co-operation and solidarity, though slowly, is surely growing up amongst them, born of the knowledge that they are poor because the greater part of the wealth they bring into existence is robbed from them by the capitalist class.


Among the capitalists, there is continual friction arising out of the competition for markets for the sale of commodities, each section trying to oust the other. World-wide territories are examined, trade routes determined, and all the machinery put into operation to secure a profitable sale; and a very watchful eye is kept by their respective governments upon the interests of those whom they represent. When these interests are threatened by trade rivalry of another state, bombing machines, gunboats and troops are hurried to Tom Tiddler’s ground to administer a gentle admonition to the offending party. All of which goes to prove there can be no peace, in either a military or economic sense, while goods are made for profit instead of use, and exploitation of the working-class forms the basis of society.

 

It follows then, as the day follows night, that if we would do away with war, we must destroy the conditions from which it has arisen. Not patch up or reform the old structure, but change the system entirely by doing away with wages and capitalism, and substitute a system of society in which the whole of the means of social production is commonly owned and democratically controlled in the interest of all. Then it will be impossible for anyone to deprive another of existence by withholding the means of satisfying his requirements.


In this way alone lies the path to peace. After all, it is not in the power of statesmen to end wars as they belong to the class to whom war is necessary and inevitable, and cannot but desire a continuance of a system that gives them such ease and enjoyment.


The workers alone can alter the circumstances that bring such untold misery and ruin to their homes, by organising for the complete overthrow of the wage system. Then only can there be peace throughout the world. How this is to be done will be found in our Declaration of Principles on the back of this paper. Read, mark and inwardly digest them.


Is it not time you looked into the condition under which you live? Only when you do so, will you be on the way towards understanding your present function in society, and the outcome of such knowledge will be a revolutionary attitude towards your exploiters and their system. You will no longer look to leaders; it will be clear that your interests and the capitalists can never be reconciled. Under capitalism, every improvement in the methods of production tends to worsen the workers' conditions; the tools producing wealth in abundance become a menace and a terror to them. Under capitalism, there is no remedy. When the workers understand the position they will capture the political machine and use it as an agent of their emancipation, and make all the means whereby society has to live the property of the whole of society. The machines that today are a menace to the happiness of countless millions will then be the means by which all shall attain leisure and happiness.


Parliament is but a consultative body of capitalists which meets for the purpose of determining the most economical way of appropriating the results of working-class effort and apportioning shares of the spoil to the various capitalist sections whom they represent.



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Better World For Humanity

 


From the May 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard

 Vegetarians and vegans may rightly claim that diet is an important factor in maintaining a healthy body and a sustainable society, but— many other factors, also play their part as contributing factors in causing ill-health and disease.

 Health, therefore (even as a relative term), does not merely depend upon the question as to whether one derives sustenance from the vegetable or animal kingdoms, but also upon many other complex conditions.

 Even were diet the determining factor in social health (and we do not belittle the part it plays) and an agricultural policy was universally adopted, would the vegetarian products of such a policy be available to all? Would workers and their families receive an adequate supply of fresh vegetables, fruits and nuts according to their needs? Or would they merely receive the quantity which the cash equivalent of their “butcher's meat" would buy? From the viewpoint of the working class, there would still remain the problem of “making ends meet.” whether on a vegetarian or flesh diet.

 It has taken a climate crisis to prove the economic advantages of vegetarianism and that the exigencies of climate change do not permit the extravagant policy of rearing large numbers of animals for food consumption.

 Whilst we may agree that a plant-based balanced diet which contains all the natural vital elements and vitamins is preferable to the flesh-eating we realise that until such a diet is available to the majority of mankind according to their needs and not according to their income as at present, a small benefit can accrue for those who “live to work.”

 Another factor to be taken into consideration relative to a flesh diet is the danger of adulteration and contamination. We are not concerned with alleviating the problems of our master's system but are very much concerned with putting an end to the system which produces such problems.

 The health of the working class, who hold no share in livestock or any other industry, will, in the long run, depend upon their conscious knowledge of their slave position in society and their attainment of socialism. Until then, their health will remain as it is, in jeopardy, despite any meagre benefits as a result of dietetic reform, restricted as it is by income.

 What most vegetarians fail to realise is that diet and health are determined by the method whereby all wealth is produced.

 At present, we live in an era of private ownership of the means of life. Goods are produced for sale and only with a view to profit. Those who produce everything, own nothing (comparatively), and those who own everything, produce nothing. The worker sells his or her physical and mental energies and receives in return sufficient to allow us to replenish our lost energy and reproduce. This process goes on, “from the cradle to the grave," there is no escape. Neither by adopting a vegetarian diet nor by concerning ourselves in the administration of their master’s system, will the workers emancipate themselves from ill health, poverty, war and unemployment. There is a far bigger problem than diet to solve, that is, the struggle for social ownership of the wealth that is socially produced. So we see that the road to health is also the road to socialism.

Workers! Get busy, start breaking your chains by joining the World Socialist Movement.



Monday, June 14, 2021

What we hold to be revolutionary

 


It is impossible to forecast the date of the Revolution, and it is impossible to know in detail the conditions that will prevail then. The general lines of the change are easier to define because the general conditions are known:—

 (1) As the centre of power is parliament, and members of that body are returned by the votes of the working class, it is quite clear that the first step is the conversion of a majority of the voters to a recognition of the need for the establishment of socialism.

 (2) The next step is the organisation of that majority into a political party for the purpose of returning delegates into control of parliament.

 (3) The socialists, being in a majority, would pass laws for the purpose of converting the great means of wealth production and distribution into social—or common—property.

 (4) If necessary force will be used to carry out these laws, but this use will depend not upon the socialists, but upon the capitalists, who may turn rebels against society and law.

 The raw materials would be obtained by setting men and women to work for that purpose. An illustration, though perhaps not a very good one—was the action of the government in taking control of materials during the war. Distribution would be according to the needs of the members of society, the details being dependent upon conditions at that time.

 The Socialist Party is sometimes asked why it does not seek alliances with other bodies professing themselves socialist or labour. The programmes and actions of these various parties have been frequently examined. None of them agrees with our idea of the socialist principle. Therefore affiliation, if obtained, would be unfair to their members, confusing to those outside.

 The other reason is that the movement towards working-class emancipation would not be strengthened thereby. We want the greatest possible number of our fellow workers with us, but the purely formal organisation is useless in any sphere of action.

 Organisation must be the expression of real unity of purpose, whether the purpose be the felling of a tree or the building of a new society. The more momentous the work, the more important it is to remember this. In the case of the class war, formal unity is worse than useless. It is a pretence and a danger. If it were possible to form a vast and disciplined organisation of workers with their present degree of class-consciousness, it would be but a more convenient instrument of exploitation for the master-class. In short, organisation must follow education, not precede it.

 This is true alike in the industrial and political fields. In industry, we workers must learn the meaning of the tasks which emerge in the daily fight over conditions of labour. That we cannot hope to placate the exploiter, nor look for impartial arbitration. That we have to expect capitalist aggression —with fleeting exceptions, progressively more vigorous every year. That we have but one weapon on this field, the strike, and even that will fail us whenever the master class decides to fight an issue out. That to make the best use of the strike we must have, not many unions for one industry, nor one for each industry, nor even one for each national group—but a worldwide workers’ union. And that this day to day struggle must be waged, not for us by leaders, but by us through delegates.

 We shall not have advanced far on this road to industrial solidarity before we are forced to see that the utmost we can do by these means is to resist attacks on our already poor standard of living. We cannot improve our standard to any appreciable extent, much less entirely free ourselves from exploitation. To do this we must take the vast machinery of production into our own hands. And since this is an issue which our masters decidedly would fight if they could, we realise that direct action on the industrial field will no longer suffice for us. We do not intend that the capitalists shall be able to starve us by commandeering the food supply, nor slaughter us by using the army and police. While we hope that in that day our fellow workers in the armed forces will be with us—while we are going to do our utmost to make them so—we do not mean to take risks by allowing the capitalist class to give them orders.

 We find that we need political power. We need an assembly of workers’ delegates, with a mandate for socialism; and we organise in the Socialist Party with the object of getting it.

 Thus our industrial and political activities must be two sides of one movement: the industrial for safeguarding conditions with in the capitalist system, and probably form the basis for the industrial organisation of the socialist commonwealth; the political for the expropriation of expropriators.

 These things we have to learn, and only on the basis of this knowledge can organisation proceed.

 The Socialist Party devotes its energies to education, assisting no reformist activity, but rather making clear the worthlessness of such endeavours, and the true remedy for the distress which gave rise to them. In this case, the minimum prerequisite of a seizure of political power would be the majority of socialists. That is not to say that the majority need be profound Marxian scholars, but they must understand well the basic principles of capitalist and socialist society respectively and have freely decided to end the former and set up the latter.

 To count on the support of people who do not understand your purpose is to build your house on the sand. At your most need, they may desert you. If they can be influenced by you, they may be by your enemies too; and, in the hardships and uncertainties of the transition period, will they not be fruitful ground for the seeds of counter-revolution? Moreover, if you surmount the first dangers, are these the men and women who successfully work a socialist system of industry? Accustomed to leaders, how shall they show the qualities necessary for democratic control—the independence, the responsibility? Not understanding how the system should develop, where is the safeguard against their wrecking it by unsound decisions? And if to prevent that you must govern your fellow-workers after all, what is it you have established? Not a co-operative commonwealth, but a bureaucratic state —a sorry achievement of leadership, which leaves the task of education still before you.

 For this reason, believing that no genuine and enduring transformation of society is possible until the majority of the workers have embraced socialist principles, the Socialist Party directs all its actions towards organising an ever-growing body of socialist conviction. It takes no part in reformist agitation but calls on the workers to come together for the one action that can help them. We seek to ensure that new comrades join us with their eyes wide open— knowing the road without the need of a leader.  All are not equally gifted, but the field of selection is as wide as the party, not limited to a small vanguard. Leaders, however strong and courageous, cannot guarantee victory, and a defeated insurrection would sow despair and defer what it sought to hasten. But a resolute majority, equipped with the knowledge, is invincible.