Tuesday, December 11, 2018

What socialism must be

Socialism does not mean everybody will receive an exactly equal share of the social wealth. Socialism is not crude equalitarianism, denounced by Marx and others in the last century. Socialism abolishes exchange by free distribution. Everybody will own everything in socialism - ALL commonly OWN

Socialism does not mean the abolition of personal divergences of individual taste—it means free distribution according to the single test of NEED. Actually, individual taste will secure real recognition for the first time in history.

The question of the ownership of the means of production has been and continues to be, the most vital factor in any discussion of major social problems. Since capitalism rests upon a foundation of class ownership of the means of production, then the obvious solution to those problems (such as war, poverty, and insecurity) inherent in the capitalist system is the establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership of the means of production, namely socialism.

Whenever working class conditions under capitalism are aggravated by particular crises within the system, such as wars and depressions, then the master class or their representatives bring the full force of their propaganda machine into play to befog the minds of workers and to distract them from the real causes of their problems.

Socialism is a system in the interest of the entire community. Socialism is a world community without frontiers, where wealth will be produced solely for use. Buying and selling, and with it, prices, wages, money, profits, and banks will disappear. Instead, everybody will have free access from the common store according to their needs. Socialism is a fully democratic society. The coercive state machine of class society will be replaced by the simple democratic administration of society’s affairs. Where there is socialism there is no state; where there is a state there is no socialism. The idea of a general strike as a means of overthrowing capitalist rule is obviously impractical since it leaves the means to crush any such strike, the state machine, in the hands of the capitalists. Much the same can be said of the use of workers’ councils as an alternative to parliament. In developed political conditions, this would have been unnecessary since such institutions, in trade unions, political parties and local councils would already have been in existence.

The task facing our fellow-workers all over the world is the same: organisation along class lines for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a world socialism. The task of the Socialist Party is clear. Since socialism is a democratic society based on voluntary work and co-operation, then its establishment and survival depend upon the conscious, organised action of the majority of the working class. On the economic front, socialists must do all in their power to encourage the development of democratic organisation and processes for the defence of workers wages and conditions. But more than this is needed: the organisation of a revolutionary socialist party seeking understanding on the single issue of capitalism or socialism, and reflecting the society it seeks to establish, by being completely under the control of the whole of its membership. A new world cannot be made by governments. A government’s purpose is the safeguarding of the private property institution and the maintenance of the master class as the dominating class in modern society; and this domination and privilege of the master class can only be maintained by the exploitation and oppression of the only useful section in society, the working class. To establish socialism, the working class must first win control of political power and to do this they must organise as a political party. That the majority must want and understand socialism has been a principle which has distinguished us from all other parties who have claimed to be socialists. Socialism can only be established by the majority political action of a working class that wants and understands it.

Socialism is a free society based on voluntary work and free access to all the fruits of that work, is grasped, that it can only be set up by conscious majority action should be obvious. The voluntary cooperation and social responsibility that socialism demands cannot be imposed by a minority of leaders; the people must cooperate to make it work because they want to. This is why leadership is an anti-socialist principle. There must be a majority of convinced socialists, for, with majority socialist understanding, violence is unnecessary, unless the pro-capitalists resort to it. The socialist majority can use universal suffrage both to show that it is a majority and to send its delegates to parliament and local councils, thus gaining control of the state machine.  In modern political conditions — the overwhelming numerical superiority of the working class, universal suffrage, political democracy, an army and civil service recruited from the workers — the working class can, and should, use elections and parliament as the way to winning power for Socialism. A socialist party should contest elections whenever it can, but only on a socialist programme. Where there are no socialist candidates, the party should advocate the casting of blank or spoiled voting papers and never engage in anarchist-type anti-election propaganda.

At some stage in the development of the socialist movement in each country socialists must organise as a party, with its own rules and democratic discipline, in place of the discussion groups and journals or educational societies they may at first find convenient. The party which the working class will use as an instrument for winning political control must be organised on a democratic basis. Control of policy and administration must be entirely in the hands of its members; there must be no leaders and those chosen to carry out various functions must be answerable to the membership. There must be the fullest opportunity for free discussion of party policy. Such is the basis of the Socialist Party. Since a political party can only be what its members are, if a socialist party is to remain such it must recruit only socialists to its ranks. This is especially necessary for a democratic party where all members have an equal say in forming policy. Passing a test of basic socialist knowledge should be a condition for joining the party. in order to remain socialist, the party must only seek support on a socialist programme. Inevitably, in present circumstances, this will result in the party being comparatively small, but there is no other sound way to build a genuinely socialist party. In order to retain their non-socialist support, they themselves were forced to drop their talk of socialism and to become ever more openly reformist.

Today the Social Democratic parties are as firmly committed to capitalism, in theory as well as in practice, as those who have never pretended otherwise. We say this was the inevitable result of admitting non-socialists and of advocating reforms of capitalism. This is why we have always advocated socialism alone and never reforms of capitalism. We are not saying that all reforms are anti-working class, but that for a socialist party to advocate reforms would be its first step towards becoming a reformist party.

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