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Politics 'R' Us

The gulf between the propertied and the propertyless is further widened by crises that are grounded in the nature of the capitalist mode of production, crises that are becoming more extensive and more devastating. The Socialist Party does not fight for new class privileges and class rights, but for the abolition of class rule and of classes themselves, for equal rights without distinction of sex or nationality. We oppose not only the exploitation and oppression of wage earners in society today, but every manner of exploitation and oppression. Human ingenuity and Nature are wasted by this system, which makes “profit” the only object in business. Ignorance and misery, with all concomitant evils, are perpetuated by this capitalist system, which makes humanity an object to be bought and sold on the open market, and places no real value on human life. Science and technology are diverted from humane purposes and made instruments for the enslavement and suffering of men, women, and children

Reformism is the illusion that a gradual dismantling of the power of capitalism is possible. Marxism is the rejection of gradualist illusions.  Reforms on rare occasions can weaken capitalist power. They cannot abolish it.  The American socialist Daniel De Leon, called the reformists the “labour lieutenants of Capital” because they come from the working class and the organisations of the workers’ movement and they manage the “system”. The reformist wants an increased “share of the cake”, which implies some sacrifices on the part of the wealthy who certainly appreciate the relative stability which the reformists promise to bring to the bourgeois order, but they often hesitant and divided to what extent is the price that is to be paid. Sometimes the cost is justified because of the reforms corresponded to their own material interests. The conviction that it was useful and possible to fight for reforms spread among the working class and throughout the entire workers’ movement. Demands for women's rights, for solidarity with the struggles of the minorities, and campaigns to protect the environment emerged. A phenomenon of clientelism, of organisations who are assisted and depend on subsidies and allowances from the State and are therefore predisposed to moderate their demands to be acceptable to the ruling class. Reform campaigns were “de-ideologised”, in other words, depoliticised. Advertising agencies “launched” social issues as one launches a brand of detergent, and increasingly came to dominate the election campaigns. This has been described as the emergence of a “democracy of the opinion polls”. Personalities who were more or less charismatic emerged as leaders.

From time to time the value of political action to the socialist movement is called in question, and doubt is expressed as to whether some more speedy means or more effective method might not be adopted with advantage. On the one side are the debate are those who expect nothing, and who never expected anything, from parliamentary action, and on the other side are the people who expected everything from it. The former has always maintained that participation in Parliamentary action was a waste of time and effort, and they exulted over the failure of the Socialist Party in the disappointing results of its electoral activity. The truth is that workers can organise politically, to conquer and use that political power which their masters have found so effective, as well as engage in industrial organisation and economic struggles whenever circumstances justify such action. There is no antagonism between the two methods; the mistake is in attaching too much or too little importance to the one or the other. Thorough democratisation organisation, politically and in trade unions is the immediate task of our fellow-workers if both these means of action are to be made the best use of. The struggle of the working class against capitalist exploitation is necessarily a political struggle. 

Without political rights, the working class cannot carry on its economic struggles and develop its economic organization. It cannot bring about the transfer of the means of production into the possession of the community without first having obtained political power. It is the task of the Socialist Party to point out the inherent necessity of its goals. The interests of the working class are the same in all countries with a capitalist mode of production. With the globalisation of commerce and the world market, the position of the worker in every country becomes increasingly dependent on the position of workers in other countries. The emancipation of the working class is thus a task in which the workers of all countries are equally involved. 

Recognising this, the Socialist Party declares itself to be one with the class-conscious workers of all other countries. We therefore call upon all fellow-workers to unite under the banner of the social democracy, so that we may be ready to conquer capitalism by by taking possession of political power, so that we may put an end to the present barbarous struggle, by the abolition of capitalism, the restoration of the land, and of all the means of production, transportation, and distribution, to the people as a collective body, and the substitution of the cooperative commonwealth for the present state of unplanned industrial production, war, and social disorder — a socialist commonwealth which, although it will not make every person equal physically or mentally, will give to every worker the free exercise and the full benefit of his faculties, multiplied by all the modern factors of civilisation and inaugurate the universal brotherhood of man.


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