Thursday, March 31, 2016

We Are All Human

“Capital is dead labour that vampire-like only lives by sucking living labour and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”Marx

The Socialist Party’s aim is socialism, because socialism is the only way to solve the problems of working people and end the class divisions in society. The Socialist Party aims to replace the crises, insecurity, profiteering, inequalities and social antagonisms of the capitalist society in which we live by a socialist society. In our lifetime great scientific advances and new technologies have opened up entirely new perspectives for mankind, make possible immense improvements in the life of people, creating possibilities of human progress which far surpass the dreams of the socialist pioneers. However, the capitalist society in which we live cannot release this potential. Automation, which could ease labour and bring great increases in production, leads to greater exploitation and unemployment. There is a constant struggle to maintain real wages. Many fellow workers live in dire poverty. The housing crisis grows worse. Social services are being cut instead of expanded. Instead of confidence in the future, there is a growing feeling of insecurity. Capitalism is a barrier to social advance, and a constant menace to peace. It is time for people to take things into their own hands and build a just society. A socialist world would be run for people, not for profit - for the benefit of the majority, not a handful of big businessmen and financiers. Production would be socially controlled and planned, and everyone would be guaranteed the right to a job, a home, education and leisure. Freedom would be rightly understood, not as the right of individuals to exploit others, but as the power of human beings, collectively, by controlling their environment, to develop their individual interests, abilities and talents to the full.

Most of the world’s productive resources—the farms and factories—are now owned by a small class of rich people. The capitalists draw their incomes, not from their own labour, but from the labour of others. Workers produce wealth far in excess of the wages they are paid, whether these wages are high or low. The surplus they produce above their wages is not paid for, but is taken as profit by the capitalists. This is exploitation, the source of all capitalist wealth. The capitalists use their profits not merely to live in luxury, but to pile up new capital, to grow richer year by year. The constant goal of the owners of capital is to increase their profits at the expense of the working class. They keep down wages, salaries and pensions and welfare benefits. They install new technology that displaces labour, in order to reduce their wages bill and make still larger profits. It is the very essence of capitalism to keep labour at a minimum point, just sufficiently above the starving point so that it can continue to produce – never enough above this point so that the worker could save for a period of not working. The boss has no other interest in the worker. Even when there is relative prosperity, in the background is the threat of widespread economic crisis, poverty in the midst of plenty, and the waste of human labour and skill that unemployment brings. The inequalities of wealth are extreme. The Socialist Party has always had as its objective to take the means of production and distribution out of the hands of individuals, and to transfer them to the ownership of the people as a whole, so that they can be used for the common good. Common ownership and production for use to meet the people’s needs instead of production for private profit.

Social ownership means an end to the chaos and wasteful competition. Socialism offers the opportunity to live our own lives free from the fear of want and war. Socialism does not mean the levelling down of living standards. Nor does it bring bureaucracy and tyranny. On the contrary, socialism draws more and more people into planning and making their own future, and frees their creative energies for great economic, social and cultural advances. A socialist society means above all a better future for everyone, the best education and training, the best opportunities for a fuller and happier life. Socialism means, in short, there will be neither masters nor servants. Socialism can only be built with power in the hands of the workers. Working class power is the essential condition for far-reaching social change. 

Experience has shown socialists that so long as the influence of capitalist ideas control the policy of the workers’ movement, no serious inroads can be made into the wealth and power of the capitalist class. It is only when workers are won over to a socialist outlook that they will be able to use their strength to bring about a complete social change. In spite of the great advances won by the people in their struggle for a better life, real power is still in the hands of the small group of the very rich. They control the greater part of the land, industry, finance and trade. Their representatives, educated in the outlook of the ruling class, fill the leading positions in the state—in the armed forces and police, the judiciary and the civil service. They also control the media. Working class power means an end to this privileged position of the wealthy few. The socialist message is one of hope and confidence. The working class, acting together, can take political power into their own hands, end the exploitation of man by man, and use natural resources to meet the increasing needs of the people. They can build world socialism where society is organised on the principle that “the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all”.

Ice Cream Man Cometh (1985)

Ice Cream Man Cometh (1985)

From the January 1985 issue of the Socialist Standard

On the night of April 16 last, petrol was poured through the letterbox of a top floor flat in Glasgow and then set on fire. The Doyle family was trapped in the blaze and six of its members, aged between 18 months and 50 years, died. Summing up at the end of what became Scotland's worst multiple murder trial, the judge provided the convenient scapegoat for the horrific incident: "No decent person could be other than appalled by such dastardly deeds. Those who set fire to the flat were wicked, depraved. inhuman and evil" (Scotsman, 9 October 1984).

But were these men just wanting to kill without reason? Evidently not, as they had had plenty of opportunities to do so simply with a shotgun and, according to one of the two men accused, the fire was only meant as "a frightener which went too far" (Scotsman, 20 September 1984). Indeed the court, in its hurry to find someone to blame, ignored the fact that people are not in real control of this competitive system: 
There was nothing wrong with competition during the normal dealings in day-to-day business. But when this developed into some kind of feud between rivals in which criminal offences were committed, it was totally unacceptable. The danger of such a matter is that it can escalate out of all proportion.
(Sheriff at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Scotsman, 3 August 1984.)
To find the real reason we have to look beyond that simplistic excuse "human nature" and examine a more dominant factor in determining the everyday actions of people — their everyday environment. All the time, people find that this society denies them access to food, clothing and housing by such things as cash registers, security guards and rent demands. The main concern for most people therefore is how they get money and how much they get — in the case of the two men convicted, they sold ice cream from a Fifti Ices van.

The events finally leading to the six week trial started in the summer of 1982 in the Cartyne and spread to other housing schemes in Glasgow. According to the Guardian, “Trouble began in Garthamlock when an ice cream van operating under the name of Fifti Ices appeared in September last year. It invaded the patch which a rival ice cream company, Marchetti Brothers, had held as a virtual monopoly for years (11 October 1984). This rivalry soon led to a spate of intimidation and violence, including a shotgun being fired at a 15-year-old salesgirl. However. according to the wife of one of the convicted "the people of Garthamlock wanted another van in the area because the Mar- chetti's was . . . overcharging them" (Scotsman 2 August 1984). The couple hired vans on hire-purchase from Fifti Ices and were able to undercut their rivals by selling stolen cigarettes and other goods. The traders get about 10 per cent of the weekly turnover which would rarely be more than £200. the rest going to the companies. Marchetti Brothers, on the other hand, by leasing all their 37 vans on a week-to-week basis only, also ensure that the traders buy all their stocks from them.

According to the Marchetti Brothers' accountant however, the subsequent loss of business from threats, abuse of customers and the “wedge" achieved by their rivals, had moved the company's profitability out of the black and into the red (Scotsman, 4 September 1984). This was obviously a far more serious situation than a few incidents of violence, so the firm put a third man into the battlefield. The unfortunate new employee — Andrew Doyle — was presumably chosen because, as theGlasgow Herald described him. he was "a young man of massive appearance but quiet disposition" (11 October 1984). In court, he was described as . . . not a hassle man. He was just a young boy from a nice family (Glasgow Herald, 7 September 1984). At one point in the war. according to the Herald, "the beleaguered company secretary of the van firm. Marchetti Brothers, asked a colleague What is it going to take to stop these people . . .  a body?"' But these six deaths have only stopped the activities of the men convicted. A social system based on conflict will not be restricted by the charred remains of a few human beings. Even as they were being sentenced, other members of their team were putting further ice cream vans on the road. This is despite the fact that "ever since the fire which killed the Doyles . . . Marchetti Brothers have tried to re-establish themselves in Haghill" (Glasgow Herald, 11 October 1984).

The war, it would seem, must go on. This is not an unfortunate little incident, a sad aberration in an otherwise acceptable society. St Tropez had its own ice cream war fought on the beaches of the Riviera this summer, with French police arresting one man for planting explosives in the sand ("Beaches mined in ice cream war", Guardian, 23 July 1984), and all over the world the same conflicts arise, initiated by the rivalry of a system of society in which access to wealth is controlled by a minority in conflict. rather than by the whole of humanity in co-operation.

But of course those who stand to gain most profit out of these battles are not those who do the fighting. Quite the opposite would seem to be true in this case. The Glasgow Herald considered it "a matter of considerable embarrassment" that the owners of the two rival companies were related through marriage and enjoyed harmonious relations. The fighting and dying then is left for the workers, whether it is Andrew Doyle or the two would-be entrepreneurs whose only mistake would appear to be that they did the job themselves. In fact, while denying in court that he was overheard in a pub offering "an easy £300" for help to "torch" the Doyle house, one said "if I wanted somebody assaulted. I would assault him . . ." (Glasgow Evening Times. 28 September 1984).

All violence under capitalism, from world war to muggings, is for property — be it the land and wealth within borders or the notes in a pensioner's purse. In each instance can be seen the effects of a society based on control and powerlessness; ownership and non-ownership. Capitalist society is no innocent bystander but rather the main determinant of human behaviour.

Brian Gardner
Glasgow Br


All over the world things are confused and mixed-up. Our world is one that can change in weeks and days and even hours instead of when it took years. People find themselves unsure and uncertain and, yes, frightened. Many politicians take advantage and stoke these fears, inciting division by creating scape-goats to blame, igniting hatreds between people rather than building solidarity.

The end must determine the means. Socialism will be established only when a majority of workers understand and want it. Fundamental social change will have to come about through a majority revolution, expressed through some kind of verifiable electoral means. Only the elimination of the capitalist system provides the basis to bring about equality. the Socialist Party has tried in many ways to point out that the root of social problems throughout the world is the system of capitalism, and that to solve these problems and empower the people we need to break the economic power of the capitalist class and establish socialism, a social system where the social wealth is genuinely controlled by society and for the benefit of society, where the common good, not profits, becomes the chief concern. The empowerment of the working class requires that the level of political awareness increases. Only the working class itself can achieve its emancipation. The person who is not yet awakened, who has not yet realized all his or her class interests, is a blind tool, the willing instrument of his or her own degradation. People learn through their own experiences, but the experience alone do not provide the movement with the vision or the understanding of how to make revolution. This requires a socialist understanding of why society is the way it is and what it will take to change it. We should not underestimate the power of ideas. A vision of socialism, an understanding of the workings of capitalism, and commitment by the working class has been part and parcel of the spirit of struggle needed to better this world. As revolutionary socialists the Socialist Party cannot surrender our contributions to understanding how fundamental change is to come about. Our views are not Marxist dogma but are based on our own experience as an organisation founded in 1904. We strive for a more just world, because we are human beings.

The power of the ruling class exist by virtue of their control of the state machine. It is putting the cart before the horse to claim as some do that the political power of the capitalist class derives from its economic ownership of the means of living. On the contrary, capitalism and the rule of the capitalists exist because the overwhelming majority of the population support this state of affairs. At present the voters send people to Parliament and the London Assembly (the Scottish and Welsh ones too) with a clear mandate to continue the capitalist system, which means to absorb themselves with measures which have little bearing on workers' lives. All the political parties contesting elections, whatever name they use to describe themselves or whatever claims are made for them in respect to their position on the Right/Left spectrum of capitalism, put forward policies firmly rooted in the economics of capitalism. Capitalism is the cause of our suffering. “Capitalism sucks”, as we tell our fellow-workers. Capitalism cannot be reformed in a deep way. Surface reforms are lost in each inevitable downward economic cycle. Capitalism must grow to survive. Because we live in a finite world, unlimited growth is impossible.

The Socialist Party is eager to recruit members. We do not expect every new member to have read the complete works of Marx or deliver lectures on subjects of theoretical complexity. All that we require is basic socialist knowledge: What is capitalism? What is socialism? What do we mean by socialist revolution? How can it be brought about? In short, we will only accept socialists into the Socialist Party. The Socialist Party takes a different approach from that of all the other political parties, indeed it could be said that, if the common strategies of all our opponents represents the definitive elements of a political party, the Socialist Party is not so much a political party but an organisation intent on abolishing politics. We want people to seek power – for themselves. The building of socialism should not be the work of just one organisation but the task of the entire working class. But even though there is a need for unity of purpose and action, socialism must still be the goal. We want to show how people can use this organisation to create resources for their own struggles. In working for revolutionary change, we want to promote the methods of democracy we have found to be successful. We want people to join our organisation in order to empower themselves. We want the Socialist Party to become an open organising and educational center in revolutionary social organisation so that people have the ability to take control of their own lives. We use every means at our disposal; publicity campaigns, pamphlets, the social media, even advertising, to promote people joining us.

At the moment the Socialist Party is incapable of contesting all electoral constituencies. Where we do not put up candidates we urge those who agree with our principles to write 'Socialism' across their ballot papers. This is an indication that at least some workers wish to use their votes to support ideas which none of the candidates is offering.

Arise, ye slaves! Declare war, not on the capitalist, but on the capitalist system. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Ballot and The Socialist Party

“The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of production, and abolish the wage system…Instead of the conservative motto: "A fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work," we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword: "Abolition of the wage system…” The Industrial Workers of the World Preamble

The Leave Europe campaigner say it is taking away our ‘sovereignty’ and we will only regain it by becoming independent of the EU.  The Remain lobby has had Cameron saying he protected our sovereignty with negotiation and reform from within. But precisely whose sovereignty are they all talking about?  Not yours. Not ours. Whichever side ends up governing the UK after the referendum, it will be the sovereignty of the ruling classes, the self-important, moneyed politicians whose aim will always be to protect their own investments. Those who own and those who work face each other in a class war. The worker demands a return for his or her work. The owner demands a return for his ownership. The workers receive a wage or a salary; the owners receive payments of rent, interest and dividends.

The gaining of the vote meant that workers were no longer dumb, that at last it had a voice, that could be heard and if united would be heeded. Centuries of struggle and sacrifice were required to wrest this freedom from the clutches of our tyrants and place it in the hand of working people. The abuse of the franchise and not the use of it is responsible for its evils.

 Through centuries working people have moved slowly but surely towards liberty. A necessary step in this direction is to sever all relations with the capitalist parties. They are all alike, differing only in being committed to different sets of capitalist interests—they have the same principles under varying colours, are equally corrupt and are one in their subservience to capital and their hostility to the working class. Workers who supports pro-capitalist parties forges their own fetters and are the unconscious authors of their own misery. They are voting into power the class enemies of working people and are responsible for the crimes thus perpetrated upon their fellow-workers and sooner or later they will have to suffer the consequences of their miserable acts. They can and must be made to see and think and act with fellow-workers in supporting the party of their class.  

Many parties on the Left try seek to make their campaign pledges as palatable as possible and as attractive as they can by dropping whatever policy that may give offence that it serves as a bait for votes rather than as a means of education, and votes thus gained are not sincere votes of support. These votes do not express support for socialism and in the next ensuing election are quite as apt to cast for some pro-capitalist party with a more appealing manifesto

The Socialist Party distains such votes as it does not legitimately register the degree of agreement nor the progress our party. Such votes do not properly belong to us and do injustice to our party as well as to those who cast them. Socialism cannot be advanced by acquiring fictitious vote. We seek only an actual vote for socialism, no more and no less. The vote should express the people’s will. In our propaganda we state our principles clearly to convince fellow-workers and win them over to our cause through an understanding of our aim and goals. We, of course want the support of the people, but only of those who believe in socialism and are ready to vote and work with us for the overthrow of capitalism. We scorn vote-seeking for the sake of votes and holds in contempt office-seeking for the sake of office. The call of the Socialist Party is to all members of the exploited class to muster beneath it banner and put an end to the last of the barbarous class struggles by conquering the state machine, taking possession of the means of production and making them the common property of all, abolishing wage-slavery and establishing the co-operative commonwealth.

Some on the Left argue that unity is more important than standing up for your principles. They call for electoral alliances with not only non-socialists but avowedly anti-socialists. No possible good can come from any such kind of a political alliance with rival parties. The Socialist Party is made up of men and women who refuse to compromise with their oppressors; who desire no votes that can be bought with fake promises and no support under any false pretense whatsoever. The Socialist Party stands squarely upon its principles and relies wholly upon the education of the working class. Ignorance alone stand in the way of socialist success. The capitalist parties understand this and use their resources to prevent the workers from seeing the real nature of the capitalist system. Indoctrination is essential to industrial slavery.

The Socialist party is not a capitalist party, nor a middle-of-the-road reformist party, but a revolutionary working class party, whose objective it is to conquer capitalism on the political battle-field, take control of the State and through the public powers take possession of the means of wealth production, abolish wage-slavery and emancipate all workers and all humanity. With the onslaught of the environmental crisis the old order of society can survive but little longer. Socialism is next for the survival of mankind. Soon that minority will be the majority and then will come the co-operative commonwealth. Every lover of freedom should support the Socialist Party as the only party that is organised to abolish wage slavery, the source of the evils that afflict all the people. The overthrow of capitalism is the object of the Socialist Party. It will not fuse with any other party that does not stand for socialism and it would rather dissolve than compromise. The Socialist Party fully comprehends the magnitude of its task and has the patience of preliminary defeat and the faith of ultimate victory. The working class must be emancipated by the working class so that society must be reconstructed by the working class.

Elections and The Socialist Party

Participation in elections are but a part, although not necessarily the most important part, of socialist activity. Something even more important than success at the polls is the progress of socialist consciousness in the masses, and successes at the polls are in themselves of interest only in so far as they permit us to judge of the increase of this socialist consciousness. It is also evident that with the success of a socialist party on the political field, success on the economic field by the trade unions will be multiplied.

As socialists, we supported no capitalist side in elections. Voting for Labour or Tory means supporting both parties’ attacks against the working class. The Labour Party, particularly its left-wing, claims to stand for the workers’ interests and for socialism. Labour claims that socialism can be introduced gradually through a series of reforms using parliamentary means. In the early years of the Labour Party many workers voted for Labour, believing that they could vote in socialism, but the experience of various Labour governments has brought disillusion. Today no-one believes that Labour will establish a new and better political and economic system. Even Labour politicians themselves ask for votes with the claim that they can make capitalism work better than the Tories. The Labour Party represents the capitalist class and no other class. Many in the working class no longer holds any illusion that the Labour Party represents its interests or will bring about any real change in the system. At best, the Labour Party is seen as a lesser evil than the Conservative Party. If the left-wing support Labour in election campaigns, even as a lesser evil or with all sorts of qualifications to their support, they are betraying the working class. This support amounts to an attempt to propping up workers’ illusions that if only Labour had a more ’left’, ’socialist’ leadership things would be different. No party, however ’left’ its leadership, can effect important changes to the capitalist system through Parliamentary reforms.

Whenever the power of the governing class asserts itself, then the workers must fight. The State is the political expression of the dominant class, and since that dominant class uses the machinery of the State—law, justice, force—to maintain its own privileges and to impose its will upon the labouring mass, the workers contest their claims by political action. The reason why some Socialists participate in the every-day struggle in the industrial field, and yet decline to take a part in political action, is that they regard industrial action as more important than political. That belief is without justification. When  workers votes for the Socialist Party candidate they vote against the whole of the capitalist class; they votes for their own class without regard for divisions.

Nevertheless, we hear it every time an election comes along, that patronizing and parroted  rhetoric:
“A vote for anyone but the Labour Party is a vote for the Tories!”
“A vote for any candidate but our candidate is a vote for the candidate who’s worse than our candidate!”
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!”
“Don’t be a spoiler!”
“Don’t waste your vote!”

This line of political campaigning is that you are being told to vote for a candidate you don’t prefer rather than for the candidate you do prefer and they are telling you that your vote really belongs to the candidate that they want. The “pragmatists” advise strategic voting. If you think that Candidate A is just a little less bad as Candidate B, then decide to vote for Candidate A instead of Candidate C who reflects your own actual views but is deemed “unelectable” and can’t win. But why not vote for what you want instead of voting against what you fear. Maybe you’d rather not vote at all than choose from among a band of thieves. Your vote, your ballot and is YOUR choice, don’t let them argue you out of it.

People can be educated to support socialism, but they cannot be led, lured, driven or bulldozed into it. Socialism cannot be imposed by force. Socialism applied in its full breadth and with all its beneficial effects, is only possible when it is understood and wanted by popular consent that embrace all the elements necessary to creating a society superior to the present one. The socialist revolution will not be socialist if the people making it are not socialist, as unfortunately it is presently the case. However, the Socialist Party and its members are socialists, we must remain socialists and act like socialists before, during and after the revolution. Without the socialists without socialist activity, the next revolution, at best, would only bring about a shallow improvement, largely delusive and by no means adequate to the effort, the sacrifices, the pain of a revolution, instead of marking a progress of freedom and justice and the start of a complete liberation of mankind. At worse, it would bear new forms of oppression and exploitation more severe than the present. 

Socialism is seeking not simply some other way to regulate the market, but to move toward a post-commodity economy. It is all about people coming together to become masters of their own affairs, a direct democracy of cooperation between everyone, a free solidarity. The object is not simply to develop democracy further, but to undertake the disappearance of the state through the re-appropriation by the citizens of their decision-making powers. Marx spoke of the voluntary association of producers as the basis of the new society, making possible the ‘free development of individualities’. He also said “The proletariat is revolutionary or it is nothing.” Once again wide sections of the people are being drawn into action against a ruling oligarchy.

The co-operative commonwealth will be inaugurated by the action of the workers. To assert the contrary is a denial of the very principles of socialism. Workers move along the road to socialism. Circumstances compel workers to move along the road to socialism. Economic laws operate whether they are known or not. As a socialist party we must bring this knowledge to the workers. The function of the Socialist Party is to teach the workers how the wealth their labour produces is taken from them; to inculcate a sense of their duty to themselves and the part they have to play in completing the emancipation of mankind. The Socialist Party must carry its message to the workers; the workers will not come to us in order to receive it as a gift from our hands. The stronger the Socialist Party, the better can it permeate the workers’ movement.

Let us trust in the people so that the dream of John Ball may become at last reality.

Quote of the Day

“It’s not the people’s party, it’s not Scotland’s party, they are just a party for themselves." - ex-SNP, councillor Yen Hongmei Jin 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


You Say You Want a Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

Socialism is not a reform, it is a revolution. We need to distinguish ourselves from those who merely wish to patch up the present system by a serious of legislative policies and keep it. The old parties, every one, and new ones, every day springing up, all claim to be staunch advocates of reforms. Between us and them there is a radical difference. It is to make the point of difference clear and to distinguish sharply between all such manifesto programmes and socialism that the Socialist Party uses the term “revolutionary.” We are not “reformists” — we are “revolutionists.” The horrors and terrors of the capitalist system are immediate and inherent effects caused by the contradictions of the system itself. Thus reforms, palliatives, and ameliorations will not rid capitalism of its problems. It must be replaced with socialism. Socialism is, therefore, not a reform movement. It means a transition from capitalism to a higher system. And that is a revolution.

However, an explanation is required so we are not to be misinterpreted. To use the term without explanation is to get ones cause seriously misunderstood. When people see the word “revolution” they think of the violence and bloodshed of an insurrection. By revolution the Socialist Party do not mean uprisings and armed rebellions. The Socialist Party offers a possible, peaceful strategy for the removal of the capitalist class. We mean by “revolutionary socialism” the capture of the political power via the vote and the ballot box. “The conquest of political power by a new class, in this lies the essential difference between revolution and reform,” said Karl Kautsky. Parliamentary action believes that by placing a series of reforms upon the Statute Book— “steps at a time” they are called—the position of the workers can be improved, and that they will be finally emancipated by such State measures. Such a line of activity is the aim of the “reformers”

Because the political weapon is used by the capitalist class against labour, and because the political State is a machine to maintain class rule, there are many workers who contend that working class political action is futile. Political power is used by capitalists to enforce its economic power, for that very reason the workers must meet those capitalists on the political field. In the class war the workers dare not allow the capitalists to lay claim to any advantage without a fight. We deny that it is the political function of the socialist movement to show the capitalist class how to legislate for capitalism or administer its laws. The Socialist Party does not aim at trying to compete with the capitalist politicians in endeavouring to make the system work in the interests of the majority. We hold that the purpose of political action is the destruction of the capitalist state. Socialists in Parliament will criticise every measure that came before the House of Commons, and to seek, by every means, to undermine the prestige of the capitalist class by exposing every one of its political manoeuvres.

The Socialist Party enters the political field with one plank upon its platform—Socialism. It emphasises that only socialists must vote for its candidates. Our political intention is to the capture of the political machine in order to take the State, with its armed force, out of the hands of the capitalist class, thus removing the coercive power which capitalism employs against the people. The Socialist Party offers clear-cut principles and uncompromising determination. We have no illusions that the struggle to achieve our aims will be an easy one.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Stop being slavishly philanthropic

The Socialist Party stands dedicated to achieving the following objective:
"The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community."
This post-capitalist society of equals, will not require rationing of access to social wealth, via waged slavery, based upon ability to pay for them, but will proceed from a production for use, free access principle of:
"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs."

We are speaking of socialism as it was envisaged by Morris, Marx, Tressell, Luxemburg et al, indeed before reformist delusions that capitalism could be reformed took hold of and limited left-wing political aspirations. We wouldn't need any governments over us in a classless society and the causes of war would also disappear along with the competition for raw materials, trade routes, markets and spheres of geo-political interests. No system is forever and we are advocating moving onto a transformation of the mode of production and distribution, which utilises the productive capacity of capitalism to satisfy human needs with free access. This is presently squandered by wasteful competition, in the interests of elites, leading to war and impoverishment for the many, with absolute and relative poverty rations (wages), in the pursuit of exploitation of the producer class for profit. What forms the post-capitalist society will take will be determined by the means used. A bottom up democratic revolution by the immense majority will be different from any previous minority led ones which inevitably lead to a mere replacement of rulers and ruled. The ends (a classless free access, socially equal society) 'determined by the means', rather than the ends having to be' justified' by obfuscatory apologetics on behalf of a new governing elite. The option is socialism or barbarism. The Socialist Party fully committed to the democratic road towards abolishing the wages system and establishing a commonly owned world of true social equality without the need of governments 'over' the people, as when all is owned in common and controlled democratically by all as social equals, there are no elite interests to be served by governance. War and poverty, absolute or relative are essential concomitants of the capitalist economic system. The nation state is a capitalist entity Workers have no country but a world to win.

Exploitation takes place at the very point of production where workers produce a surplus value over and above their waged ration. Otherwise why would an employer hire someone if they could not extract surplus value? Their condition, of waged slavery, in order to access the means of living, ensures they can never be free until capitalism is replaced by a post-capitalist democratic revolution, which transforms production of commodities for sale at a profit for the parasitic capitalist class, into production of utilities, for the use of all and abolishes waged slavery and price mechanisms, replacing them with a free access commonly owned democratically controlled world of social equality. Housing, food, clothing indeed all the means of living a useful and happy life should be as freely available as tap water was before they privatised even that.

The lesson in the ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ by Robert Tressell, is workers need to combine, stop being slavishly philanthropic and providing the wealth for a parasitic minority employer class, take all wealth into common ownership and democratic control, abolish the wages system, wage slavery and establish a free access society. We only have to remove ownership and control by, corporations, states, private individuals and replace it with common ownership by us all, with production for use. Then we can proceed immediately to having free access to the commonly owned wealth thus dispensing with money and all the paraphernalia which goes with money. Abolish wages and prices, with a commonly owned, production for use society.

The Labour party is not and never has been a socialist party. The Labour party is just another business friendly capitalist political party. They do not represent workers, but are a sort of reformist capitalist government 'over' workers. There is no such thing as a 'socialist government'. If you have government you have a class society. State ownership is not common ownership and leaves your relationship to the means of production and distribution unchanged. In other words you will still be a wage slave in relative or absolute poverty and still have a ruling class in relative ease and affluence from your production of surplus value over and above your waged ration. Government only exists to serve to maintain the dominance of the parasite class over this process. To safeguard their ownership, to protect them from each other) monopoly commissions etc), the war machine, and make rules pretending to level playing fields.

There is no such thing as "a fair day's pay for a fair day's work". This is a myth. Exploitation takes place at the point of production. Wages are but a 'ration' allocated to workers in return for their mental and physical energies engaged upon creating vast surpluses for the parasite capitalist class. No, it has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with profitability of the capitalist class allied with a lack of workers action in the class struggle to drive wages up. The capitalist class already exported many of those jobs within the global capitalist system which prevails today. Most immigrants work in areas where there is a shortage of labour supply.

A capitalist is someone who possesses sufficient capital to enable him or her to live off the proceeds of his or her investments. Exploitation is both qualitative and quantitative. We are speaking of a money-based market type of economy. But expropriating in this case means taking all the means and instruments of production and distribution into common ownership and establishing production for use of all and not for sale, rather than some redistributive monetised transaction, so pensions, bonuses, and any dividends would be irrelevant in those circumstances along with insurance etc. with the will of the majority prevailing. You have not move away from imagining capitalist distributive methods and managed scarcity, onto the post-capitalist society ,and managed superabundance , in relative and actual terms arising out of production for use.

Human needs will be 'self-assessed'. As we are not calculating how many hours we have to work in order to qualify for my food ration here. Is a teacher's belly more needful of gateaux than the school janitors. With the freeing up of individuals form the transactions of the money based present economy, banks, insurance, we will have a much increased availability of labour to volunteer for positions in teaching so the problem will be satisfying leisure activities, as work and play become indistinguishable in some presently high pressured occupations, such as teaching.  Education can be for living rather than for work. Human nature is the weakest argument you could use. It would be in the self interest of all to maintain a world without war, poverty etc. Calculation in kind already goes on inside capitalism with substitution where necessary.

If we proceed form a society with competition and scarcity with accumulation as its watchword then we can indeed expect innumerable examples of human behaviour shaped by this environment despite that human behaviour time and time again asserts its co-operative nature. (millions already volunteer either as cooperative organised ventures or in individual neighbourly acts of human kindness ) so human nature doesn't really exist as a counter to a cooperative socialist society of social equals, in an equal relationship with everyone else to the means and instruments foe producing and distributing wealth within a production for use society, except as a malleable human behaviour.

With the removal of private, corporate and state ownership of resources and the establishment of real common ownership, the functions of government become superfluous. Resources can then be administered locally , regionally and globally where necessary, by the people best placed to see what is needed at the points of production and distribution in an interactive vertical feedback loop utilising information technology and barcodes, without the necessity for price tags with calculation in 'kind', rather than the economic calculation in 'superfluous' prices enabling self-actuating stock controls, to ensure 'actual' human needs are satisfied rather than as at present, 'artificial' market demands.

Wee Matt

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Heads or Tails – It’s All the Same to Us

Capitalism has generated massive increases in productivity and provided extravagant wealth for some, yet most people still struggle to make ends meet. Capitalism is an inequality-enhancing machine as well as a growth machine. Not to mention that it is becoming clearer that capitalism, driven by the relentless search for profits, is destroying the environment. It is not an illusion that capitalism has transformed the material conditions of life in the world and enormously increased human productivity; some people have benefited from this. But equally, it is not an illusion that capitalism generates great harms and perpetuates unnecessary forms of human suffering. Capitalism as a way of organizing economic activity has three critical components: private ownership of capital; production for the market for the purpose of making profits; and employment of workers who do not own the means of production.

If you vote for a different politician then you do not understand how the system works. Voting alone accomplishes little, you're right, but when combined with a mass movement, direct action, and robust activist organising, our efforts are collectively powerful. If the people who believe voting and other forms of activism are pointless suddenly threw off those chains of powerlessness, and started to get engaged, not just on election day, but every week... you can bet we would see a revolution unseen in the history of the world. Voting by itself never was nor ever will be a silver bullet - but when combined with sustained activist organising and movement building, we possess a power that is truly threatening to the ruling establishment. No revolutionary movement was ever yet caused by propaganda alone. Conditions make revolutions, conditions have caused, and are causing the tremendous change in the attitude of the labour movement.

It's quite a coup that the ruling class have gotten us to believe exactly what they need us to believe to maintain our own oppression - that the one mechanism which can legally threaten their legitimacy, supposedly holds no power. That's how the ruling elite rule. "Business leaders and elite intellectuals recognized that the public had won enough rights so that they can't be controlled by force, so it would be necessary to turn to control of attitudes and opinions." According to Noam Chomsky. “The government has a defect; namely it's potentially influenceable by the population.” The State's primary defect is that all of its legitimacy rests on the notion that the government is supposed to represent the people. So it offers us voting and elections to maintain its legitimacy, because it can't rule straight up as an authoritarian force. It has to rule by covert means - giving the public a means to influence the government, but covertly doing everything it can to sway the elections in their favor. Business and political elites would certainly love to rule the country without the people getting in the way, but ruling America as an authoritarian dictatorship isn't realistically feasible. Every government rests on legitimacy. That's why most dictatorships sooner or later get overthrown in popular uprisings. The smart way to rule is to market the system as fundamentally democratic while swaying outcomes via "soft power" measures and more sophisticated propaganda techniques. The more dysfunctional government appears, the more people will want to avoid politics like the plague - and yet, despite this level of dysfunction, the government is highly functional when it comes to bolstering corporate welfare, tax breaks for the rich, and maintaining a bloated defense budget which feeds our tax dollars into the coffers of the defense industry. The government is working great when you consider who owns it and who benefits from this state of affairs. Instead of apathy, disgust and despair, we should recognize that the vote is our greatest weapon. To win, we have to throw off decades of learned helplessness.

We have heard repeated thousands of times, the quote from Emma Goldman, who said, "If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." Leftists have a litany of beliefs that have been true so many times in the past, it has become ideology. The danger is in applying this ideology to every situation, we'll have blinders on when a real opportunity arises.

Many believe that "elections are pointless," "voting never makes a difference," or that "the game is rigged." But if you want to oppose the ruling class and oppose the political system by submitting a spoiled ballot paper as the Socialist Party recommends, it's really important that you make sure that you are registered to vote. If you don't even bother to register to vote, your ill-conceived protest of abstention or boycott is going to be totally indistinguishable from complete political apathy. 

Liberals hand out a few sugar pills and hope to get votes by promising to lead “the people” out of the wilderness. Workers, however, are too close to the facts of life to be fooled all of the time. Workers cannot wait. They must get relief and there is a  struggle between the those workers forced to move forward, and the “leaders” who want to hold them back which often  reveals to the workers the reactionary nature of the trade union structure which sometimes serves to buttress of the capitalists’ system.

“I am their leader, I have to follow them.”

The capitalist class well understands the significance of the ballot box. They are only too willing to invest millions in ensuring only candidates representing their interests appear on the ballot paper.

The Socialist Party does not recognise two types of socialism, one revolutionary and the other not. We recognise only one socialism, revolutionary socialism, since socialism is a movement of ideas and actions that leads to the total transformation of the organization of property, and the revolution, by definition, is that transformation itself. Revolution means the transformation of an economic regime based on private property into one based on collective or common property. That transformation is itself the revolution, regardless of the means employed to reach that end. Revolution means something more. We socialists think that the revolutionary transformation of property can be accomplished only when we have conquered political power. No socialist, however moderate he or she may claim to be, has ever expected political power to come only through an electoral success. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Fight nationalism, don't embrace it

This weekend as many in Ireland and in Scotland commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Dublin Easter Rising, it is incumbent upon those of us in the Socialist Party to discourage nationalist feelings among our fellow workers.

Capitalism is a single world system, a single world economy. There is no such thing as the "British economy", the "Irish economy" or the "American economy"; there is only one economy, world capitalism. This view has important implications. First, that there are no national solutions to today's social problems. The various states into which the world is divided are political, but not social units. The state does not define the boundaries of the present social system, which is worldwide and capitalist. Since capitalism is the cause of today's social problems and is a single world-wide social system, it clearly follows that the solution to these problems can only be a world-wide social change (from world capitalism to world socialism). Nation-states do, however, try to distort the market for the benefit of the group of capitalists they represent. The stronger the state machinery, the more its ability to distort the world market in favour of the interests it represents.

Capitalist society is class society.  The inherent instability and unpredictability of capitalism, and the impossibility of eradicating the class struggle altogether, means that we can never predict for certain where or when the next upsurge in working class struggle will occur. Despite claims, the unity of the nation-state is an illusory one, because capitalist society is divided into economic classes. The primary function of the state is to protect and defend the social and economic privileges of the propertied classes. It is an institution of class domination which lords over the whole of society and imposes economic dependence and servitude on the great mass of humanity in the service of an opulent minority. The interests and freedom of working people are subordinated to a mythical "national unity" that masks the continued subjugation and exploitation of the working class.

What is particularly galling to socialists is that the Left has not always seen nationalism as a regressive demand. The Left, such as it is today, all too often uncritically embraces the slogan “national liberation”—a slogan that has echoed through its ranks without regard for the basic ideal voiced in the “International.” – “The International will be the human race.” The tendency of nationalist movements is to narrow solidarity to the nation, barriers are created to developing a broader solidarity between working people of different nationalities, which weakens the power of working people in struggles for their own empowerment.

Nationalism has always been a disease that divided human from human and it can never be viewed as anything more than a regression toward tribalism and a fuel for war. How is it that working people can so totally deny its own interests and enter so completely into the service of the ruling class?

Certainly socialism will allow the fullest linguistic and cultural diversity, but this cannot be achieved through nationalism. The problems that confront ethnic minorities, can only disappear when the vast mass of people have become socialist in outlook. Given that nationalism does nothing to further this understanding, however, it is an obstruction to world socialism. There is no place in a free society for nation-states—either as nations or as states.

A Word on the American Election Campaign

We recognise that both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are controlled by moneyed interests. And as much as Bernie Sanders has identified with socialism, we know that the Democratic Party represents corporate interests. So no matter what the candidates say or do, they are still being controlled by the two-party system which is disempowering. When talk about what democracy is, it means being rule by the people and we need to break away from this notion that the only way of being democratic is engaging in electoral politics. We’re not telling people not to vote, we’re simply do not endorsing any presidential candidate because none represent the interests of the majority – the working class. Instead, we want to put our time and energy is in the development of people to act in their own interests and on their own behalf. And so, we are pushing for the real revolution which won’t come solely at the ballot box. The revolution will be on the ground, when the people rise up and demand something better, something more imaginative and something more visionary.

Capitalism is tremendously wasteful and destructive of men, goods, power and land. You have to have unions to protect your interest against the boss; and a boss-controlled company union won’t do. You also have to vote as you strike; a political party that represents the boss won’t do. But if all the ideas you get in your head are boss ideas you will be at his mercy anyway. All workers are exploited to one degree or another. It is clear that historically bosses never thought that workers would work without discipline and control. The working class is crucial to the socialist revolution for essentially two reasons. One is that the process of production, the production and transportation of food, clothing, shelter, etc., is fundamental to any society and the section of society which can gain control of that process can gain control of the society as a whole. The second reason for the centrality of the working class is that the socialist revolution must involve the transformation of work and the workplace or it is not a social revolution at all. The working class is inherently revolutionary. It is a matter of developing in practice the capacity to create a new society. Socialism is not a happy Utopia, which we OUGHT to establish but a future system which we inevitably MUST attain.

Class struggle can have only one result: socialist revolution that will put an end to capitalist exploitation and all the forms of oppression that inevitably accompany it. There are many people in the working-class movement who say that they are for socialism and claim to be in favour of the emancipation of workers. However, we mustn’t be taken in: many of these “socialists” are in fact reformists who have abandoned the principles of socialism.

Since human communities have become class-divided through the acquisition of wealth by a minority of people who constitute themselves as the ruling class, class struggle has been the motor of history, and it will remain so as long as the class division of society has not been abolished from the surface of the globe. Reduced to its essential elements, socialism can be put in the following terms: the contradiction between labour and capital is the fundamental. All contradictions, all forms of exploitation and oppression can only be resolved by socialist revolution, by the overthrow of capitalist rule and the establishment of social democracy for the whole people.

The material and technical resources for socialism, unquestionably exist today. No competent inquirer doubts that insofar as it depends upon natural resources and the productive plant, everybody could have a comfortable and attractive home, abundant food, decent clothing, opportunity for recreation and education, security against accident, sickness, and old age; and the sense of independence and self-respect that goes with these things. Not just for a favoured few, but for the all the population.  With socialism there can be abundance, security, an equal voice in the administration of society and the opportunity for self-expression and self-development. What we actually have, however, is widespread poverty and lack of power. This appalling contrast between what might be and what is arises from the nature of the economic system – capitalism – under which we operate. It is impossible for this antiquated system of private ownership and profit to function, to supply the needs of the population today and the system acts as a brake upon production so that, as the phrase goes, we have “want in the midst of plenty:” The removal of this brake of private ownership which shuts down factories, wastes raw materials and stifles  the scientist and technician, and putting in its place the social, that is, rational, use of resources and the productive plant, will mean an immediate and substantial improvement in the standard of living of the people. That improvement can be continuous. The spectre of insecurity will be removed. The undemocratic economic domination of the few over the many will be at an end. No one can predict the cultural advances which may follow this release of the human spirit. In the period of its ascendency and expansion capitalism could accumulate profits and also raise the standard of living of the masses. In the present period it can no longer do this. Profits can be made only by fiercer exploitation, cutting down the living standards of the workers and taking away even such concessions as were previously made. Capitalism today means the collapse of civilisation. The one road to security, to peace, to freedom, to cultural advancement is the road of the socialist revolution. This is your choice – capitalism which means barbarism and chaos or a World Socialism which means a higher level of civilisation and culture. For a social order in which human dignity can be maintained and not constantly trampled upon, in which the creative energies of mankind can express themselves and not be endlessly perverted, is possible only if capitalism is destroyed, and this deliverance can come only as the result of victory of the workers in a revolutionary struggle.

Sanders may have the rhetoric of inequality down pat, but he is running as a Democrat – as a member of a political party that is owned and controlled by a relatively small number of millionaires and billionaires. Should he become president, he would also become part of what he has otherwise derided as ‘the establishment’ and which kneels before the Wall St Corporations. Sanders and Clinton are two wings of the same bird of prey. This is the simple harsh reality. It is something that Sanders’ purported hero Eugene Debs understood very well.

Friday, March 25, 2016

World Socialism Restated

All things are held in common
When we talk about the inevitability of socialism we assume that the workers will continue to struggle for it. Were they, on the other hand, sit down tamely and wait till socialism came to them, they would remain enslaved by wage-labour. Socialism can only come when workers are no longer willing to allow themselves to be exploited. When the workers, both politically and economically, are so class conscious and so well organised as to make their exploitation impossible then capitalism will have reached the end of its road. That is what we understand by social revolution, and our ideal – that of human brotherhood – is revolutionary, because it is only to be realised by the social revolution. Whoever speaks of social revolution speaks above all of the abolition of capitalism, the abolition of its productive and property relations and the establishment of new relations.

It is important to realise that capitalists are not always looking for ways to increase the degree of exploitation of workers because they, the capitalists, are inherently greedy but that they do this because of the way in which the capitalist economy operates leaves them with no choice if they are to stay in business. Similarly, if workers are not to be worked to death and totally impoverished then they have no choice except to take a common stand together against capitalist employers so as to resist employers’ attempts to exploit them even more. This is done by forming trade unions to defend wage levels and working conditions. Not only do capitalist exploit workers but the system operates in such a way that capitalists constantly have to try to exploit workers even more. Different capitalists producing the same kind of commodity are competing with one another in the market to sell their products. Failure to sell the commodities produced by his firm means bankruptcy and ruin for a capitalist and the main way of ensuring steady sales is to offer given commodities on the market at a price below that charged by other capitalists. If a capitalist is to reduce his prices without reducing his profits then one way is to increase the hours of work of his employees without paying them any more wages. Another ploy is to speed up the rate of work, increase its intensity, and thus reduce the cost per item by forcing the workforce to produce more commodities in the same time as before. It is obvious, especially with the onset of the present economic recession, that trade unions only have a very limited capacity to defend the living standards and working conditions of the working class. While trade unions are a necessary means of defence of the working class against the capitalist class it is also the case that they pose no fundamental challenge to the whole capitalist system. Trade unions do not challenge the right of capitalists to exploit workers but only the degree to which this takes place. Even the most militant trade union struggles pose no fundamental challenge to the dominant position of the capitalist class within contemporary Britain. If the working class does not rise above the level of recognising the necessity to organise industrially, of a trade union consciousness, then it will be doomed to an eternity of struggle with the capitalist class.

A paradox of the capitalist system of production is that in the midst of plenty it also produces severe material deprivation. Capitalism has brought about the progressive development of the forces of production at a very rapid rate. Modern science and technology make it possible to provide material comfort and plenty for all. Yet in the world as a whole today the gap between the rich and the poor is actually widening, especially in the underdeveloped countries. The proportion of the world’s population who are underfed and starving is increasing. Even in the relatively prosperous countries such as Britain there are still millions of people who lack such basic necessities as a healthy diet and adequate housing. Clearly the problem for the great mass of humanity is not a lack of the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to bring about the material welfare of humankind. Rather the problem is one of abolishing the capitalist relations which prevent the forces of production being utilised in ways that meet the real human needs of everyone. From being in its earlier stages a force for the progressive development of humanity capitalism has now become a brake on further progress. The working class in all countries, including Britain, has a very real and urgent need to abolish the capitalist economic order.

Not only does capitalism deprive most people of the means of material well-being but it also means that they lose control over the process whereby they produce the means of material life; we are in a state of alienation. What crucially distinguishes human beings from other animals is the very active relationship we have with our natural environment in the course of productive activity. We act on the world to satisfy our material needs and in the course of so doing change not only the world but ourselves as well; our relationships and consciousness. Mankind reproduces itself through work. Yet the worker does not possess the products of his or her labour, he or she does not have control over the productive process, capitalist economic relations throw workers into conflict with each other and work itself, that most human of our attributes, is experienced as a burdensome imposition. The loss of control, the alienation of the worker, is not confined to the sphere of production but extends out to all aspects of life in capitalist society. We need to abolish capitalism not simply to have a fatter pay packet but so as to gain control together over all aspects of our lives, to liberate the whole of humanity from alienation.

The Socialist Party is the only political party in this land that stands against the present system and for the rule of the people; the only party that boldly avows itself the party of the working class and its purpose the overthrow of wage-slavery. So long as the present system of capitalism prevails and the few are allowed to own the world’s resources, the toiling masses will be struggling in the hell of poverty as they are today. The Socialist Party champions of the world socialist society and seeks to reawaken and revitalise a world movement of the workers. The Socialist Party as the party of the exploited workers in the mills, mines, on the railways and on the farms, and in the offices, the workers of both sexes and all colours, the working class in a word, constituting a great majority of the people and in fact the people, demands that the means of production and distribution shall be taken over by the workers shall operate them for the benefit of the whole people. Private ownership and competition have had their day. The capitalist system is doomed. Capitalism exploits the world and has no future. The workers who have made the world and who support the world, are preparing to take possession of the world. The Socialist Party stands for social ownership and co-operation. Our demands are most modest. We demand the machinery of production in the name of the workers and the control of society in the name of the people. We demand the abolition of capitalism and wage-slavery and the surrender of the capitalist class. We demand that that all children born into the world shall have equal opportunity to grow up, to be educated, to have healthy bodies and active minds, and to develop and freely express the best there is in them in mental and physical achievement. We demand the earth for all the people.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A new society on new foundations

“Competition is civil war, and monopoly a massacre of the prisoners” - Proudhon

Hunger in the midst of plenty, that distinguishing mark of the capitalist system of production, is intensified a hundredfold during an economic crisis. The anarchy of the market brings about a catastrophic fall in wages, the shutdown of factories, widespread unemployment, disruption of world trade, disturbance of the monetary system, the frantic search of capitalists for new outlets and new markets. To restore profit margins, the government, as executive committee of the capitalist class, drives down the living standards of the workers in order to place the national capitalism in a stronger competitive position. To start the wheels of industry going, the capitalist government pours bail out the banks and subsidises the corporations. The state’s budget takes on undreamed-of proportions. Its balancing becomes ever more precarious and in fact near-impossible. The national debt increases at a dizzying pace. The big bourgeoisie evades and escapes taxation paying little or nothing by loopholes and the use of tax-havens. The bankers not only protect themselves but profit anew. The politicians rely on the method of democratic illusions to baulk and blind the masses to carry out the will of the ruling class, long on promises, short on performance. The vicious capitalist drive to beat down the living standards of the workers is conducted under a barrage of propaganda concerning raising these living standards at the expense of profit. The eventual upturn in business, due in large measure to government spending, permits workers an opportunity to organise and engage in renewed struggles to try and  regain the conditions they had lost during the recession. But the recovery gives to business, a refreshed taste for profits and a new sense of power and confidence. Capitalists will brook no resistance to the expansion of profits by the wage slaves. Anti-union laws subdue any rebellion. No ruling class has ever proclaimed: “We sacrifice you for our class interests.” It is always for for the country and “national” interests. Salvation will been provided not for the workers, but for the capitalist class.

As for curing the ills of the workers by reforming capitalism, particularly in a world where everybody could have a decent, comfortable home, plenty of attractive clothing, abundant food, educational opportunity, money for travel and amusement, it does not make any difference how well-meaning these capitalist saviors may be, there is no way out for people under capitalism. The bosses must run their businesses at a profit in competition with other bosses, and his chief concern is necessarily to keep his costs, including his labour costs, as low as possible. If for the moment the wage rates are maintained, the boss looks for some other way to squeeze out profit, as by putting in “labour-saving” technology and putting workers out on the street. Capitalists make their profits by paying the worker in wages a smaller value than he creates by laboring. The capitalist thus gets what Marx calls surplus value. It is the only way profit can be created. Under modern conditions expensive plants and equipment are increased, but the work is done with fewer workers. Thus they must be exploited ever more fiercely in order that surplus value – profit – may be squeezed out of their labour, the only possible source of profit. Capitalism will force the living standards lower and again lower. There was a time when made concessions to the workers, affording better the standard of living, without cutting into profits. No more. Capitalism now maintains itself only by taking away concessions – wage rates, working conditions and social benefits, etc. – which it once gave. Capitalism cannot be reformed, it must be abolished. The sole hope for humanity, the hope of civilisation, lies in the establishment of a socialist society of production for use, of genuine freedom and equality. Because capitalism must drive the standard of living lower all the time. Any trade union no matter how conservative, meek, respectable, peaceful, will offer resistance. By workers we mean the working class. It includes the miners, transportation, factory workers. It includes also the clerical workers, agricultural workers, many technicians and professionals who are also wage earners. These have to organize in their economic organizations, just as the factory workers. They will more and more engage in the same kind of struggles as the latter. We see this today with the Junior Doctors strikes and before them teachers and other professionals. They will fight for mere existence. The workers cannot save themselves or their movement by being humble and cautious.

We workers cannot obtain plenty and security, deliverance from misery and war, by trying to reform the capitalist economic system. We have to abolish it. And we cannot abolish it except by the revolutionary method. The Socialist Party seeks to build a new society on new foundations. The time has come when in order to exist, in order to prevent complete ruin, the people have to carry on their fight, ever more broadly and intensely, against the economic system which serves the masters.  When we speak of unity today we have to understand clearly what we mean. Unity – on what basis? Merely repeating the word “unity” will not accomplish anything. Membership in a political party of the working class is not on the same basis as membership in a trade union. A union is a mass organisation to which all workers in a given trade or industry belong – Labour Party, Tories, nationalists and assorted leftists. It does not follow that you can put those in a political party, and have a socialist party. The Socialist Party does not deal with immediate issues of wages, hours and conditions of work – that is the role of the unions. The Socialist Party engages with the problem of the economic-political system as a whole, how it must and can be changed or abolished, etc. A revolutionary party must, therefore, have a philosophy, a theory, a program. If it has the wrong one, then at the critical moment it will fail and betray the masses. We have our Declaration of Principles upon which every member must agree. Our primary task, as the Declaration of Principles states, is “The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.” We do not believe that the fellow workers can be delivered from poverty, unemployment, degradation, war, by any reform of the capitalist system under which we live. That system must be abolished, wage slavery must be done away with altogether. The workers must collectively own and democratically control the machinery of production and distribution.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The capitalist treadmill

Competition must go. The abolition of the exchange economy and its institutions must be replaced with the rational, socialist organisation of labour that mankind may become free to build his or her own life and to be human with the others. Marx analysed the capitalist system of production. He exposed how it rests on the basis of the exploitation of man by man. All value comes from labour. Because they own the means of production, the capitalists hold the whip-hand over the workers. They do not own them, as a slave-owner owned his slaves. They pay them wages. But the wages are not equal to the real value produced by the worker. The worker works only part of the day to earn his wages. The rest is free labour for the boss. This is surplus value, out of which the capitalists make their profit and accumulate wealth. Because of their great economic power and wealth, the owners of the means of production dominate in every capitalist country. They run parliament and the press; their ideas prevail in educational and religious institutions. The laws are made to suit their interests. The State, the army, the police and the courts, defend, in the first place, their property. However democratic it may appear on the surface, every capitalist state is in reality a dictatorship of the capitalist class. Capitalism, in its time, was a progressive social system. Capitalism is now obsolete. Socialism puts an end to the contradictions of capitalism by abolishing private ownership of the means of production and placing them under common ownership. It overcomes the class and national conflicts inherent in capitalism by abolishing the exploiting classes and the exploitation of man by man. Socialism is a classless social system. All members of socialist society will enjoy full social equality. The all-round development of the people, accompanied by the growth of the productive forces sufficient to ensure abundance of goods, enables the principle to be applied: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Labour will cease to be a burden. Everyone will recognise that to work for the benefit of the people is a necessity willingly performed as life’s first need. A new era in human history will open. The victory of socialism will ensure the eradication of all types of exploitation and oppression, a future of peace, friendship, well-being, and unlimited advance for all peoples of the earth. Selfishness, ignorance, superstition and other evils of the acquisitive society will disappear. Mankind will enter upon a greater freedom.

The working class must make its stand against the capitalist system – whose lust for profits and interest, for investments, markets and expanded capital, for raw materials and cheap exploitable labor, can mean only exploitation and abject slavery. It is just impossible to make the profit system work in the interests of the majority. The purpose of production remains the same – how much is there in it for the owners of capital. The profit system, you see, has one unshakable purpose: PRIVATE GAIN. Under capitalism or the profit system, it is necessary to maintain and, if possible, increase the gap between wages (or what it costs in labour power to produce goods) and price (or the exchange-value which those goods have on the market). This gap exists because the worker only receives the price of his or her labour power and no share in the values he creates. With socialism, there will be no wages at all and there will be no prices or market values in the sense of goods obtainable only on the basis of paying for them. Under capitalism, the worker the end of his work week, receives wages which simply go to refurbish him for another Monday. And so it goes on for the worker under capitalism – a continuous treadmill (broken only by unemployment), with the worker never quite catching up to his or her strength of the week before, but always forced to go to work on Monday. In socialism, all this is changed. Goods are produced for the use of men and NOT for the profits which they bring in to bosses. Labour power is no longer regarded as a commodity to be bought and sold. It is not purchased at all, let alone purchased at the lowest possible price to keep it alive and able to produce more value. Men and women, inside socialism, will work and produce useful goods. But they will produce these for their mutual needs and for their mutual development. The sufficiency of goods which people and machines can create will be given to members of the community to develop their bodies so that their minds can grow rich in the wealth of human knowledge, aesthetic appreciation and artistic creation. From day to day, from week to week, and from year to year, individual creativity will widen rather than narrow, as human productive and intellectual achievements increase. Mankind, no longer fettered by the necessity of working not only for their own material maintenance, but for the bosses’ even more material profits, will be freed to live more fully. The time that each must work will be small, yet the goods produced for all to enjoy will be plentiful. People will learn how to control the method of production and distribution that now controls us. Socialists will produce for use according to a reasonable plan and without a thought for the odious notion of profit. And with no insatiable parasitic class to maintain, socialist society will produce abundance for all. That's a fact. The global human family will arrange its standard of living as easily as affluent families do today. Humanity which has been freed from the capitalist system will also have been freed from wage labour, price and profit. That is why, instead of the conservative motto, “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” workers must inscribe on their banner the REVOLUTIONARY watchword: “Abolition of the wage system!” Socialism is the ONLY answer!