“Wherever capitalism appears, in pursuit of its mission of exploitation, there will Socialism, fertilized by misery, watered by tears, and vitalized by agitation be also found, unfurling its class-struggle banner and proclaiming its mission of emancipation.” Eugene Debs
The fear and loathing of socialism by the powerful elite, stems from its attention to the unanswered questions in the minds of humanity. Socialism, engages with the central problems of philosophy, political economy and sociology. The philosophy of socialism is materialism. Against religious superstition, materialism is a means of conceiving the world in change. Marx and Engels repeatedly exposed the way people fell victims of deceit and self-deceit in politics. They argued that the supporters of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order, no matter how barbarous and rotten it may be. The task of the Socialist Party is not to concoct utopian schemes but to enlighten and organise for the overthrow of capitalism. The major problems of the day are practical problems. We must stop relying on a faith in “the inevitability of socialism”, that things will turn out all right in the end, so long as we repeat the right slogans.
The capitalist class, in their never-ending grasp for higher profits, are willing to make the world a misery for a majority of working people. Capitalists are the most class-conscious people in the world. Despite their family squabbles over how to divide the wealth that is produced by labour and appropriated by capital, the capitalists all stand shoulder to shoulder when they sense any danger to their system of robbery. All capitalists standing united, regardless of politics, race or creed in the defense of their “sacred” system of “private enterprise,” as they hypocritically call it – or; the system of capitalist exploitation, as honest people call it. They are right in defending the system of free enterprise. It is THEIR system; they thrive on it. It is THEIR government which protects a system, which breeds insecurity and want on one side, and incredible wealth and indulgence on the other. They only hope that they can succeed in hoodwinking enough people to trust capitalism to provide work for everybody. They hope that the working class will be meek and submissive. They hope that they can convince enough workers to hunger in silence while waiting for the “private enterprise” paradise that has been promised
In contrast, the working class, if it were united, could turn the world into a storehouse of plenty for all. Will the workers learn in sufficient time also to stand shoulder to shoulder? The problem is that people accept capitalism and its logic and therefore see no alternative. The truth is that the attacks on the welfare state point to the need for revolution. Even at a time when the system could afford concessions, “welfare” never meant raising people out of poverty and providing a better life for them and their families. It is one thing to defend all the crumbs, like welfare benefits, that have been won. It is quite another thing to pose more or better welfare as a real solution. The answer to poverty is not welfare but a new society which will have real solutions for all, a new society based on human needs, not profits. Faith that capitalism can be reformed is prevalent but reformism today means acceptance of austerity. There can be plenty for all –but only by socialising the means of production and placing production under common ownership.
We live in a modern society. We have vast industries all over the world. We have undreamed-of natural resources. We have millions of trained and skilled workers. We can produce in one day. what it once took years to produce. Yet we do not have security and prosperity. It is the social system that stands in the way, the system of capitalism or, as it is sometimes called to make it sound better, the system of “free enterprise.” Under that system, a handful of capitalists control all the wealth and power. This handful owns industry, banking, mining, transportation. It owns our jobs. Whoever owns all these things, controls our lives, the lives of you and me and tens of millions of others.
We are not reformers — we are revolutionists. By revolution the Socialist Party does not mean violence or bloodshed. It is safe to say that every member of the Socialist Party would regard it a calamity to the cause, as well as to humanity, to have a violent upheaval in society. Socialism offers a possible, a peaceful solution. So, then, by “revolutionary socialism” we do not mean an appeal to insurrection. We mean the capture of the political powers of the nation by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class.