“Our doctrine tells us that socialism can’t be built on the ruins of the existing society by a revolt of starving beggars in rags. It can only result from the powerful forward march of an army of organized proletarians, fighting to conquer every position, every progress.” - Anton Pannekoek
This is a crucial time for the working-class movement. The socialist commonwealth is the hope of the world. The idea of cooperation is rational, humane, and all-embracing. The competitive capitalist system has had its day. Mutual aid will come. The working-class will attain its freedom. When the worldwide co-operative commonwealth having been established, mankind for the first time shall be ensured the material requisites of a decent existence and shall also for the first time be liberated from robbery and from conflict. It is time for workers to express their solidarity with the struggles of their fellow-workers all over the world. It is time to step up the struggle for the end of the exploitation of man by man. Despite claims that the working-class has been defeated and that socialism has failed e the working class is still the decisive force in every country. There are questions of the well-being of the people and of the environment yet we do not make any claims to have all the answers to such questions, and It is not that we have no view, we have definite views on all these issues. However, it is the working-class which has to take up these questions. Without the working-class itself taking up these questions they will never be solved. We encourage as wide as possible discussions within our own party and among the people on these questions.
We need to present the socialist alternative as concrete and how we will introduce a common ownership socialist economy. We ought to bring forth concrete proposals for the fundamental principle — “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs” and “socialization of the means of production” — transforming aspirations into much-needed actualities. We need to imagine the society we want to live in. We need to bring forth and create proposals for concrete socialist structures. Capitalism is a society of commodity production — of wealth produced for sale and profit. Social progress will be encouraged only if it helps towards profitable production and sale. The goal of the socialist movement to abolish market economy altogether in favour of a democratic common ownership of the economy.
This social system is chaotic and inefficient; it cannot answer to the needs of its people. It condemns tens of millions of human beings every year to a distressing, agonising death through starvation—while tens of millions of productive workers are unemployed and while food is destroyed. It inexorably produces war, and increasingly fearsome weapons, while almost everyone wants peace and disarmament. It deprives the vast majority of people of the results of their labour. As one government after another fails to have any effect on these problems, disillusionment with established political parties grows.
Radical social change is needed. But this does not mean reshuffling the existing pack of policies and leaders. It means a challenge to the basis of society, instructed by an awareness of the need to get at the root of our problems. It means thinking in terms of fundamental change—of revolution. For the problems of capitalism cannot be separated from their origin—the private property basis of society. They cannot be solved — in fact typically they cannot even be alleviated without reference to that basis.
The conclusion we come to, then, is that the only worthwhile — the only radical — social change is the abolition of capitalism and its replacement by a social system based on common ownership of the means of production and distribution. That society is known as socialism. It will bring a world free of inequality, of poverty, war, hunger, exploitation. It will liberate people to co-operate in the work of society and to take from the common pool of wealth as they need.
Socialism will be set up when the majority of the working class, worldwide, have the knowledge which will enable them to make the conscious decision to opt for the new society. With that knowledge they will have no use for leaders; the movement for socialism is one of democracy, of conscious and informed participation. The workers must choose; they have nothing to lose but their slavery and a world to win