Socialism is the only alternative system of society that can meet the essential needs of the people and humanity as a whole, provide the basis for ending all forms of exploitation and oppression. Billions lack adequate nutrition, sanitation, healthcare and education. The world faces a catastrophic environmental crisis. Wars continue to devastate the lives of millions. The Socialist Party hold capitalism responsible, for taking the planet and its peoples towards the edge of the abyss. Capitalism denotes the type of society in which the few who own industry and commerce shape the economic, social, cultural and political developments and uses its power to extract surplus value from the working class. The capitalists, who own the means of production (industrial and commercial plant and machinery, land, energy and raw materials, etc.), pay workers a wage in return for their labour power. But human beings have the capacity to produce more value through their labour than the value of the wage they need to buy life’s essential commodities. This ‘surplus’ value accrues to the employer when the products of that labour are sold as commodities at normal market prices. It is the source of capitalist profit, which funds share dividends, loan interest, commercial rent, expanded investment, etc. The extraction of surplus value is the essence of capitalist exploitation. In their drive to maximise market share and profit, capitalist employers fight to raise productivity and hold down wages. The same drive also takes place in the public sector in order to minimise taxation of private sector profits and wages. Here is the primary economic basis for the class struggle: between the monopoly capitalists and their state striving to maximise profit on the one side, and the whole working class striving to maximise wages and improve living standards on the other.
Capitalists invest where they can get the biggest profits. In its quest for maximum profit, capitalism threatens humanity. Our planet must be rescued before it deteriorates beyond repair. The productive technology which exists could, if planned and rationally utilised, lift everyone out of hunger, poverty, sickness and ignorance. It could meet human needs and ensure sufficient food, nutrition, healthcare and education for all rather than maximising capitalist profit. For as long as capitalist ownership of the economy exists, whether or not it is the ‘free market’ or state-operated, it will produce crises, destruction, inequality and waste on an enormous scale. Capitalism’s drive to maximise profit leads it to turn every area of human need – food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, leisure, even sex – into a market for the production and sale of commodities for profit. However, when sufficient profit cannot be realised, even the products and services to meet society’s most vital needs will not be produced. Capitalist competition invariably means unnecessary whole economic sectors are created that perform little or no useful function in society, except to promote the interests of and, ultimately, to transfer income to it from the working class - advertising, property and management consultancy. Pointless and wasteful competition and duplication would be eliminated with socialism. The development and deployment of society’s productive forces would be planned in order to meet people’s real needs and aspirations. Jobs, houses and vital useful goods and services would be created as the primary purpose of planning and production, not as the incidental consequence of maximising profits for shareholders. Social ownership of economic property puts an end to the exploitation of the working class, whereby surplus labour is performed for the benefit of the capitalist class.
The aim of the Socialist Party is to replace capitalism with socialism. The liberation of the working class can only be achieved by the action of the working class and the people themselves. The emancipation of the people cannot be bestowed from outside or above - it has to be fought for and won by the overwhelming majority of the population. Socialism will have to be built with the maximum participation of people at every level. Workers must have real powers in workplace decision making. It will be essential that new forms of popular participation and direct democracy arise in the workplace, localities, and regions.
With the end of private ownership and the exchange economy, wages and money lose their usefulness, as more of life’s essentials become free. Of course, the production, distribution and deployment of society’s economic output will have to be planned to ensure that needs are met and the environment and eco-system are safeguarded. Without exploitative capitalists and landowners, the division of society into antagonistic social classes will cease to have any material basis. In place of class conflict and social discrimination, social cooperation and equality will predominate. As the amount of human labour required to produce society’s needs decreases, every citizen will have the time and facilities to develop her or his skills and talents to the full. The basis for many social problems and tensions will be removed, while resources of every kind are devoted to solving or alleviating individual problems and incapacities. The Socialist Party does not accept that such a society is impossible to achieve or that there is a ‘human nature’ too negative to allow the development of socialism. People’s thoughts and behaviour have been shaped by their existence in class-divided societies. Even so, human beings have always displayed an enormous capacity for compassion, cooperation, courage, and commitment to the creation of fairer and more just human societies. There is no reason why people should not comprehend that we share this Earth in common, that we are interdependent, that the individual good of the vast majority requires the collective good and that cooperation and unity are better than conflict and division. It is capitalism that seeks to make a virtue of greed, egoism, exploitation and inequality while claiming that these are the ruling characteristics of ‘human nature’. It is capitalism that creates so much misery, destroys so many lives and now threatens the very future of human existence on this planet. In a socialist society, the social relations between people will be collective care and concern for every individual and for the full, all-round development of the human personality. For the sake of humanity, the future is socialism.