You are either a capitalist – an owner of means of producing and distributing wealth (land, factories, offices, transport, media, etc.) – and can live without working by receiving unearned income; or you are dependent on a wage, a salary or state benefit, in which case you are in the working class. Present-day society across the globe is the capitalist system where all goods and services are produced to be sold for a profit. The capitalists monopolise the means of life, whether through private or control of the state, and they are not concerned about satisfying human needs, but about selling commodities on the market at a profit. There would be no profit without the labour of the working class, for if we did not apply our mental and physical energies to nature there would be no wealth produced to sell. The production of all wealth results from workers’ effort, but we are paid a price for our working abilities which is less than the value of what we produce; it is this difference between the value of our labour power and the value of what we create which is surplus value, the source of profit. So, profit derives from the unpaid labour of the workers. The capitalist accumulates profit by a process of legalised robbery. It follows obviously enough that there is an inevitable antagonism of interests between the capitalists and the workers: they need to get as much as possible out of us and we need to minimise the extent to which we are exploited. Capitalism creates an unceasing class struggle between workers and capitalists; strikes are one expression of that struggle. Workers have still to realise this power – to abolish exploitation and not merely to plead for the chance to be less exploited or to have the right to be employed as wage slaves."
It is our job in the Socialist Party is to stand with our fellow-workers in their necessary battles to defend themselves, but to point out at all times that the real victory to be achieved is the abolition of the wages system. We as socialists also need to say plainly that you cannot run the system of exploitation in the interests of the exploited. Suppose you are the employee of a business whose profits are dropping and you are to be made redundant in order that the boss can recover his profit with fewer workers to pay. It might seem unjust, but, unfortunately, it is not a question of what is just or unjust. The hard fact is that your employer is acting in accordance with the perverse, anti-working-class rationality of the capitalist system. And most accept this logic. We see this type of economics and politics of capitalism as ‘common sense’ and not as the inevitable effect of the contradiction between profit and need which is built into the buying and selling system. The mass media play their part of this. They are owned and controlled by the capitalist class and can confuse and mystify workers’ minds by turning them against their fellow workers. The only way to destroy political illusions is to expose them.
Our fellow-workers must see through the illusion that all that is needed in the class war are good generals. Leaders are good at making speeches, but their words are usually empty platitudes. Instead of assuming that great leaders are needed, it must be recognised that only on the basis of class consciousness will workers show their power. Class-conscious workers will no more need leaders than the sighted need guide dogs. Workers who are politically educated will not see themselves as miners or electricians or teachers or nurses or dockers or doctors; nor will they see themselves as British or French or Russian or white or black. Workers learn from history. Learning the lesson requires workers to understand that they can never win decent lives out of capitalism. It is a hard truth to accept but no matter how many times you strike you will always be a wage slave; no matter how radical a government you elect, its job will always be to over-see your exploitation; no matter how many reforms are passed, the same old problems will soon be afflicting you and your fellow workers again and no matter how often you protest and demonstrate , the state will continue to possess the power of coercion on behalf of the privileged minority; no matter whether capital is owned and controlled privately or by the state, it will always rob you; no matter how much ‘better off’ the workers become, we will never be as well off as we could be in a class-free society. In short, as long as we are wage slaves competing in capitalism, trying to make our situation a little more tolerable, our defeats will be many and our victories few and they won’t even really be victories at all.
The Socialist Party aims aim for a society in which the Earth is the common property of all. We call upon our fellow workers to end this insane system. There is nothing to stop us from making revolutionary use of the ballot box to strip the capitalist class of their property titles. Once socialism has been brought about we can set about the exciting and practical work of running society for the benefit of all. Democratic decisions will need to be made, not by leaders or by governments, but by all interested people. In a socialist society there will be no market, no buying and selling, and no money. Exchange can have no function where everything belongs to everyone. All people will have free access to the goods and services available. No human being need ever starve in a world of potential food for all. Production will carry on with all people contributing according to their abilities and taking according to their needs. Wage labour will not exist, as nobody will be selling their mental and physical energies to anyone else, and enforced idleness (unemployment) will be a thing of the past. The sole concern in producing and distributing wealth will be, do people require it? Never again will human needs and communal interests be ignored for the sake of profit. Production for use will mean the liberation of humanity from the social problems which dominate the news every day, but which can never be solved within capitalism. Only this will be victory for the working class.