The immediate goal of reformists is legislative palliatives . The immediate goal of the Socialist Party is the social revolution. We rebel against capitalist society not in the name of abstract principles of justice or equality but for the effective emancipation of humanity where workers will take possession of the means of life without paying tribute and without serving anyone. We believe that the organisation of society should be from the bottom up and that workers must organise it themselves. The workers have no need of chiefs and are quite capable of delegating one of their own with a particular task.
Reformism is the politics of here and now, of concessions and compromise, of collaboration and accommodation. As the politics of here and now, reformism shapes those who pursue it, it shapes their organisations, and shapes their relations with the working class. People place their hope in their representatives in Parliament. They believe that hoped-for successes require only their representatives to make use of the appropriate means. Those good people who earnestly wish to remove the inconveniences and injustices of our present social state, also wish even a little more earnestly to preserve the cause of these inconveniences
Our criticism of reformism is quite simple. No worker gives up the struggle for immediate reforms, and for as many reforms to be gained as possible. But reformists substitute reforms for revolution. Reforms, whatever their number, never lead to a transformation of the system. For if a reform threatens the basis of the system, the ruling class would put forward such resistance to it, that a revolution is unavoidable.
Often the promised fruits of reforms will not be realised and that, even if realised, they frequently improve the lot of one category of workers at the expense of the others. What will be gained by some will be lost by others. A redistribution of poverty.
There are also reforms and there are reforms. Those which the ruling class bring about in order to improve and make more efficient the running of the capitalist system. The capitalists, if they are clear-sighted, consent to better the lot of the workers in order to keep them under control and in subjection. And those the proletariat extort through struggle, by the power of organisation and the effectiveness of action. Workers, although demanding amelioration of their prison-like conditions, ought above all to strive to force the doors of the capitalist prison. In any case, one has no right, for the sake of one or two palliatives to make the proletariat forget its captivity.
To reformists “constructive” parliamentary work is of supreme importance as it constitutes in their eyes the gradual introduction of socialism. A reform here and a reform there, and the prospect of “socialism” has become nearer than it was. They do not perceive that the reforms have not challenged the basic interests of capitalists, and even as palliatives their value, in comparison with the needs, are frequently often insignificant .
We are no longer in an era of positive achievements of social reforms but a period of economic crisis. Reformists fail to recognise that the yielding attitude of the ruling classes is itself an elastic thing which develops a power of resistance proportionate to the pressure brought upon it; the more you squeeze out of the bourgeoisie, the more restive it becomes, and when the pressure reaches a certain limit it throws you back with a terrific force. What has been gained, suddenly is lost.
To-day, we possess, sufficient means of production to satisfy all reasonable needs, i.e., to provide well-being to all. There will no longer be any need , as is the case today, for men and women to be condemned to long days of drudgery, to stupefying fatigue. Work is life and also the bond that unites people in society. Solidarity cannot be decreed by a law, only by public opinion. There will be a simple relation of reciprocity.