Sunday, November 13, 2016

Socialism Not Bolshevism

The Socialist Party has always held the view that socialism can only be brought about by the democratic and class-conscious political action of the majority of the working class. It has consistently opposed Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and all their followers. Far from advancing and hastening the development of the socialist revolution they have greatly hindered this movement. Their contempt for the intellectual abilities of the working class led to the claim that the vanguard party should rule on their behalf, even against their will. The tragic consequences of adopting these ideas have proved the correctness of the Marxist principle of “The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself”. The core belief of all socialist theory and practice is socialism will only be brought about when a majority of women and men of the working class understand, desire and organise democratically for its achievement. Ours is a movement with a clean and honest record where dictatorship is concerned, a critical stance maintained over many decades has been shown to be right.  Never has the appeal for workers of the world to unite been more relevant or urgent. Together we can eliminate the waste of human capacities and material resources which exist under capitalism. Together we can achieve an abundance of the means of life to which everyone will enjoy free access. Together we can nullify the risk of another capitalist world war. Having seen world capitalism stagger on decade after decade, we could get the impression that it is so firmly entrenched that it will remain forever. In fact, confronted by a socialist majority, the lesson is that it will prove so fundamentally weak that its abolition will be a mere formality causing it to dissolve into history. The urgent task for workers everywhere is to unite in their own interests and establish world socialism.

Socialism does not exist in any part of the world, and nor has it existed in the past. Achieving a socialist society will be a complete social change - a revolution. For many people, the word 'revolution' conjures up the image of armed insurrection, as in the capitalist revolutions of the past. In these past revolutions, the minority rising capitalist class was overthrowing another minority, the feudal aristocracy, using peasants and workers as pawns. In Lenin's Russia and Mao's China, Marxist slogans were used. One result of this has been that many calling themselves socialists, have taken the capitalist revolutions in such countries as the model for what they see as a future socialist revolution. They plan to lead the working class in a violent uprising aimed at overthrowing the state by force. But socialists are emphatically opposed to all those who advocate violent minority uprisings. A regime which is set up by minority violence can only be maintained by violence or the threat of it. A socialist society can only be established by the clear will of the great majority. Wherever parliaments of one sort or another exist, delegates will be elected with a simple instruction: to abolish the minority ownership and control of the means of wealth production and distribution so that they no longer belong to a class but to the community as a whole. In the event of a minority trying to violently disrupt the plans of the majority, socialist society would have to defend itself. Socialists are not pacifists but simply do not advocate violence unless it is absolutely necessary to defend the democratic will of a socialist majority. We have adopted the old Chartist principle of “Peacefully if possible, forcibly if necessary”. The socialist revolution will be the outcome of majority socialist understanding combined with democratic political action.

Socialism means the whole community owns the factories, the transport, the farms in common and because we own in common all the produce of each other's labours, we are all entitles to take freely from the fruits of all that collective cooperation. Socialism does not need barter, money or any other kind of exchange. All will be the common heritage of all and each can enjoy free access to the common store of all that can be produced. Humanity will relate to one another not as economic categories but as social equals. They will pool their resources and talents to provide the best possible goods and services for all. The framework of a world community will allow cultural diversity to be maintained. All this is possible, and much more besides. It is there for the taking. It will be the start of a new era of conscious control and free creation whose results we can hardly imagine. It depends on the political organisation of a majority of workers determined to establish a socialist society and not to waste their time trying to modify and reform present-day capitalist society. What will happen is up to the people to decide. Tomorrow's history will result from what we think and do today. So long as human beings are characterised by the ability to plan their actions and think with reason, there is no inevitability that capitalism stays. For socialists, the only answer to the threat of social and environmental destruction is social innovation. And that means a completely new way of organising society based not on the dictatorship of an owning class but on the common ownership of the earth's resources.

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