It is the failure of the politicians and their parties that drive the workers in despair to street protests and demonstrations. But the people who organise and partake in these demonstrations are as ignorant of the economic facts of capitalism as the politicians whose failure creates the desire for direct action. What they fail to understand is that the system we live under, the system which they vote for at elections is by its very nature incapable of meeting working class needs; that poverty, slums, and unemployment, are a natural and permanent feature of the capitalist scheme of things; that the politicians, even if they are eager to, simply cannot solve these problems. Their job is to administer the system of capitalism, to legislate conditions for the smoothest possible functioning of the system and to ensure that the rights of property are preserved and protected. The political complexion of the party running the system is irrelevant; while society is organised on the basis of profit rather than human needs, the system dictates to the party in power.
Ironically, the protesters and demonstrators see the problems against which they oppose in the same terms as the politicians who run capitalism. Their '‘demands” are always “realistically” anchored. Never would they dare to 'demand' for the workers they claim to represent the mode of life enjoyed by members of the owning class. In other words, they accept capitalism; they respect its title to ownership of the resources of the earth; they bow to its class structure. What concerns them is not the fact of slavery but the condition of the slave. The poverty and degradation of working-class life stem from the worker's position in capitalist society and the working class has the electoral strength now to overthrow capitalism and institute socialism. It is not the lack of votes that delays the change; it is the misuse of the overwhelming superiority of those votes which the workers already have.
The capitalist system is based on the private ownership of the means of production, organises production for profit, without caring about the real needs of humanity, but on the contrary subjecting mankind completely to the needs of profit. Socialism has become possible with the development of technology and science so it is possible to give to all men and women a decent standard of living under conditions of total liberty. What stands between us and socialism is not scarcity of resources but simply the political system which throws the economy into anarchic production, full of contradictions and resulting in insecurity, the destruction of wealth and the alienation of liberty. We recognise that one of the first priorities for society after a victorious socialist revolution will be to develop rapidly the forces of production. We also understand that this will be achieved within the framework of the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production—in other words within the framework of the price-free, money-free, wage-free society of socialism. This is not the ‘transition period’ but a stage in the development of socialism itself. (Marx in his Critique of the Gotha Programme refers not to a ‘transition period' but to different phases in a communist or socialist society.) We cannot foretell how fierce the struggles will be at the time of the socialist revolution but it should be clear that once the capitalist class has been stripped of its wealth it will certainly pose no kind of threat to “the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.”
Many ideas which are basic to socialism are accepted among far wider circles than the ranks of the Socialist Party. Their most frequent objections to our organisation is that we are too small to be taken seriously and that by preaching "pure" socialism in the form of abolition of the wages system we are out of touch with the working class. Of course, that makes us unacceptable to many.
Socialism is the stage in social evolution that will follow capitalism — a wage-free, money-free, state-free society based on common ownership, another name for this society would be communism. The Socialist Party certainly has no illusions about the difficulties involved in getting ideas like a world without money across to workers steeped in capitalist values, but we recognise that socialism is a relatively easy idea which it is quite possible to express in simple language. The Socialist Party wants socialism, will be directed by a Socialist working class. It is and will remain impossible until such time as there are Socialists in sufficient number, politically organised for their task. So we recognise that socialism is at the moment impossible, for those conditions are not fulfilled. We recognise the fact and urge the workers everywhere to recognise the fact. The workers have to carry out the task themselves, and the need of the day is to win over the workers to socialism. Well-meant endeavours to find short and easy roads, or to provide half-way solutions cannot succeed and do not help the socialist movement. The workers require an understanding of their class position and all that that implies. Socialist knowledge alone will ensure this understanding, and once acquired the working class will have no need of so-called experts to point the way to their salvation. The road will be plainly marked—to the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of world socialism. As long as people believe that socialism is impossible and that only class and property society is practical the ruling class is safe.
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