The vote has provided a tool to the working class for its emancipation. The vote gives us the power to determine our own destiny. Yet, what cannot be denied is that the working class has not significantly exerted its strength to bring about any change in its own favour. The ideological power which the capitalist class hold over the working class is such that, despite full adult franchise there has been no corresponding alteration of the social system from one benefiting a parasitic minority to one benefiting all people. That the working class has not used the power of the vote and this certainly contrary to the expectation of many of its early opponents, who believed that giving the right to affect political decisions to non-property owners would instantly lead to social revolution.
So far the workers have used the vote to register their consent to the present system. Each time an election comes around, seventy-five to eighty per cent of the electorate vote, mainly for the Labour or Conservative parties. About twenty per cent of the electorate regularly abstains from voting, although it is impossible to tell how many do so positively (as a conscious refusal to vote for the parties standing) and how many are negative abstainers (those who do not care). Even among those who do not vote many are confused or cynical. Many Labour voters may decide themselves that they want to see a social change in the interest of the working class, many Tory voters are looking for a party that will defend them from the omnipotence of the State, many LibDems are simply not voting for the others. There is nothing new in Labour and Conservative Parties adopting each other’s policies; that is all part of the fact that they have basically the same policy — the maintenance of capitalism and, within that social system, the protection of the interests of the British capitalist class.
But there is another possibility, which is not voting for useless leaders but considering the idea of socialism and then voting for it. The Socialist Party exists to provide an alternative to those who wish to lead the working class. A vote for real socialists in a General Election is a vote in your own confidence to determine your future. If there is a socialist candidate in your constituency he will be conspicuous by not grovelling for your vote, but only asking you to vote socialist if you understand and want socialism. If there is not a socialist candidate but you want to cast your vote for socialism, then write “Socialism” across your ballot paper. In every election it is power that is at stake; are you going to give a blank cheque to the parties of the profit system or will you use your vote in your own class interest? The weapon of the vote is yours; you have only to use it. The working-class movement should concern itself with the spread of socialist knowledge and with principles, not personalities. If the workers continue to put their trust in leaders and cherish the ever-renewed hope that at last, they have found the inspired political Moses, who will lead them out of the wilderness, they do so at their peril. Fellow-workers socialism alone can end your degradation. Don’t be misled as to what constitutes “socialism?" Study the eight points of our “Declaration of Principles,” and be assured that our “Object” is no pious expression of impossible attainment. In the politically instructed worker lies the future hope of all mankind.