Capitalism can no longer operate in the interests of the majority of humanity. These days people are so suspicious of capitalism that the supporters of it stress more and more upon the necessity of reforming its abuses, until finally they are falling over each other to show that they are really in favour of some sort of “socialism.” Needless to say what they call socialism is only capitalism in disguise, but the trick works. They all in greater or lesser degree adopt as their slogan “We are all socialists now.” Capitalism is a social set up which produces goods for sale. Socialism will be a society which makes things because people need them. Capitalism has competition, the wages system, the state. Socialism will have cooperation, free access to wealth, democratic freedom. Remember this, the next time somebody airily holds forth on a so-called socialist platform or programme.
To talk of a socialist state is to talk in contradictions. For the state is a machine designed to maintain the subjection and exploitation of the large mass of the people by a few. It developed when the production of wealth surplus to the needs of the producer became possible. Its function was to protect the system of the expropriation of that surplus wealth. Thus, it is a very old institution—and now that we live under capitalism, with its exploitation of the working class under modern industrial conditions, it still carries out the same function. Today, as ever, the state is there to preserve and protect the private ownership of the wealth, power and privilege of the relatively small dominant class in society. Part of the state’s work is in the organisation of the military machine. This is a world in which wealth is produced with the object of a profitable sale. This means that nations are always in keen competition for markets and so forth. In continually seeking to outdo their foreign competitors, they land themselves into all manner of risky situations. These in turn cause the perpetual crises, diplomatic wrangles and international tensions which we all know so well. The armed forces, run by the State, are there to push each nation's interests in these disputes.
Millionaires devote money to a political party that they think will uphold their interests. The only thing that can undermine the power of the ruling class is working-class political knowledge; the only way in which the political control can be wrested from the ruling class is by political action based upon sound working-class political knowledge. Workers throughout the capitalist world, support a society which impoverishes and degrades them. It is painful for them to face the reality of their support for capitalism — to face their own responsibility for all the wars and for the global destitution. Yet to face reality, and to live up to our responsibility, is all that it needs. The world has everything now to make it a place of peace and abundance except the political will to make it so. At the moment there may appear to be nothing serious to disturb the tranquility of the capitalists. But that means little. The modern working class inherits the lessons of history, half-formed ideas of the goal towards which historic evolution is relentlessly marching shape themselves in the minds of millions of workers. The seeds of generations of propaganda have been sown, and who knows when and how events which neither capitalists nor workers can control will develop rapidly those half-formed ideas into socialist convictions and bring to maturity the seeds sown in past generations? Political catastrophes, like those in Nature, appear to occur suddenly, but they are not sudden to those who understand that they are the culmination of the innumerable past factors in historical development. Events will show clearly to workers that socialism is the only logical outcome of the class struggle and the only solution for their poverty and insecurity.
The only way of salvation for the workers lies in the transformation of private property into commonly owned property and the organisation of industry on a co-operative basis of production for use and not for profit. No capitalist party will legislate for this— they dare not, on the pain of self-extinction. The only party that dare go to the legislative assemblies to do this is the Socialist Party organised on the lines of the class war, with its tactics and policy in accord with its principle, with a clear knowledge of the fact that rent, profit, and interest exist because the workers—the wealth-creators—are robbed of the wealth they produce, whether taken from them by private capitalists or by the capitalist state. A revolutionary socialist party can act in the real interests of the workers, and for the workers of this country that party is The Socialist Party of Great Britain.