Thursday, November 10, 2016

Socialism cannot come by stealth.

The emancipation of the working-class can be accomplished only by the members of that class consciously organised in a socialist party. Its work consists in educating the working class to the best of our ability. It is of the highest importance that we should keep the class position of the workers as against the capitalists clear in its actions. We are in the midst of a world-wide recession. Every country feels its ravages. Millions and millions of workers are unemployed and in acute poverty. Everywhere there is discontent and a feeling of insecurity and the prestige of even the strongest of governments has been shaken. All sorts of emergency measures have been hastily adopted, but the recession still continues. In some minds, there is a hope that the crisis may bring the present system of society down in ruins, and make way for another. Some on the Left think that in a time of great distress and much despair workers would be forced by their sufferings to revolt against the capitalists and that they would place in power a government which would remould society on a socialist basis. The Socialist Party’s knowledge of past history and of the way in which the social system develops convinces us that no economic crisis can ever by itself bring us socialism.

Socialism cannot come by stealth. It can only come by the deliberate act of workers who understand socialism and are organised politically to obtain it through control of the machinery of government. The blind revolt of desperate workers would cause great distress and destruction. It might prove troublesome to the capitalist authorities, who would have to exert themselves to suppress it, but the outcome would not be socialism. The lesson to be learned is that there is no way out of capitalism until a sufficient number of workers are prepared to organise politically for the conscious purpose of ending it. So long as the workers are prepared to resign themselves to the evils of capitalism there is no escape from its effects. The workers will continue to suffer from the hardships of the capitalist system.  That is the prospect before the workers of all the world unless they actively interest themselves in understanding socialist principles and assisting in socialist organisation. What are you going to do? Are you going to put it aside and carry on as before, or are you going to acquire socialist knowledge? One way lies poverty, misery and bondage; the other way lies the road to emancipation and, at its end, all the happiness and fullness of life that the gigantic and fruitful machinery of modern industry offers to a world of free and equal men and women. The choice is before you; only knowledge, desire and self-confidence are needed to realise the free society of the future. Place not your trust in others, but be assured that the work there is to do must be done by yourselves. The political struggle of the workers must of necessity be waged along class lines. It is on the political field that the sternest battle of all is to be fought. That fight is not for mere votes as such, but for the acceptance of the socialist idea.

It is not for us to detail the social system that will arise from the common ownership and democratic control of the instruments of labour. Our knowledge of the conditions which will prevail at the time of the change, and of the outlook upon life of people is not extensive enough to foretell the exact nature of the future social system. We can only state the broad changes that we know must arise from the revolution.

The wages system would be abolished because it is quite plain that there is no other course open than this. With all the means of production and distribution socially owned, no one would be in a position to exploit labour-power, therefore no one would buy it. On the other hand, with the socially owned instruments of labour open to every worker, none would wish to sell his labour-power for another’s profit, even if he could find a buyer. Thus the whole wages system tumbles to the ground. When society as a whole it owns and controls the means of production, it will produce the things society needs. Necessity alone will demand industrial activity.

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