Some folk think that the Socialist Party’s attitude to reforms means standing aloof from the workers’ struggles. They are quite mistaken. It is a question of the Socialist Party being concerned with a different struggle, the fundamental struggle that has as its aim the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of socialism. What sort of conviction would we be exhibiting if the message we carried was telling the workers to postpone the idea of working for socialism and devote themselves to working for reforms? Decades of reforms have not brought socialism one day nearer.
There is a false idea behind working for reforms, the idea of rallying the supporters of capitalism behind a proposal to reform capitalism. To the Socialist Party, capitalism is a class-divided social system; at the top the owners of wealth and the means of producing and distributing wealth and at the bottom the working class who produce the wealth. Any improvement that the working class may get under capitalism they get at the expense of the propertied class. The owning class know this, hence their unceasing resistance to claims for higher wages and better conditions; and every government knows this when it presses, as every government does, for “wage restraint” and “austerity.”
One factor will move the ruling class to surrender some of their wealth. This factor is the growth of the socialist movement. The capitalists do not fear the reformist movements but when the world socialist movement grows in numbers, threatening the existence of capitalist class and foreboding the end of capitalism, then the capitalists will be eager to make many reform concessions, designed to gain a further lease of life by trying to bribe the workers away from the socialist cause. Paradoxically, the policy of the Socialist Party of standing uncompromisingly for socialism would induce the capitalists to offer up palliatives and ameliorations.
Their hope, however, of thereby stalling the progress of the socialist movement would be an empty one. Workers will understand as the poet and writer, Oscar Wilde, did. "It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institutions of private property and that their "Their remedies do not cure the disease; they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease".
Capitalism is a class structured society, divided between the working and capitalist classes, whose interests are always in a state of conflict (hidden or open) with one another. Strikes, lock-outs etc. prove it. The capitalist system is economically and politically organised so that the means of life—the natural resources, the industries and the wealth produced (goods and services) are owned and controlled by a minority, and not by all the people.
Today many on the Left feel defeated. The Left are marginalised and irrelevant because they are an embarrassment, echoing the lies of the past and spouting the old nonsense. It is quite obvious that all the old struggles of the Left have failed. But now is certainly not the time to give up on opposing capitalism. What we need is clearer thinking and more genuinely revolutionary organisation. If ever Marx’s analysis was being proved correct it is now. This is no time to cast aside Marxian analysis. Global production for profit must be replaced by production solely for use. The ownership of society's productive resources by the super-rich minority must give way to common ownership. The dictatorship of capital, which tramples relentlessly upon human lives, must give way to democratic control. These are not new ways of running capitalism. These are ways of running a sane society without capitalism. The socialist alternative cannot be imposed by leaders or gradually legislated into existence by reformers. The revolutionary act of overthrowing capitalism and establishing socialism must be the conscious and democratic act of the working class: the vast majority of us who do not live on rent, interest or profits. The Socialist Party seeks to win a majority of workers for socialism. We assert that the future belongs to the working class majority and that only world socialism offers the hope of democracy, security, comfort and dignity for all.
Non-socialists cannot imagine the World where profit does not rule, a world where goods are created according to need and not according to sales figures. A World that is not based on the exploitation of labour for the profits of a few; where the accumulation of wealth has no meaning. It is our task in the Socialist Party to help provide a vision of a World without capitalism. We offer analyses that not only imagines such a World but proves it is possible. The fundamentals of socialism have existed for the ever since the day the Communist Manifesto was first published. We must organise with the understanding that capitalism is the culprit when it comes to practically all our social ills. We must organise with the understanding that capitalism must be defeated. There are those who say we can’t build a socialist movement because there are not enough socialists. The answer to that is simple: we must create more socialists. As members of the Socialist Party, that is our job. How do we do this? That is also part of our task. To determine how this might be accomplished and this is where debates and discussions are of vital importance.