In the class struggle of the working class to free itself from wage slavery it cannot be repeated too often that everything depends upon the working class itself to take control of the productive forces and manage industry in the interest of the people and for the benefit of society. That is all there is to Socialist Party theory and what the Socialist Party is fighting for. There would be no “bosses” but instead—free men and women, employing themselves cooperatively under administrations of their own making, shortening the work day as machinery increased their productive capacity, building fit houses to live in, growing plenty to eat and creating leisure time enough to enjoy life in the full. This is not mere fanciful wishes from the Socialist Party. All the workers have to do is to recognise its benefits and possibilities.
Members of the Socialist Party are wage-slaves with their brains in working order, which means they are today the most fearless, persistent and successful agitators and the most optimistic people in the world. They are not waiting for some so-called “great man” or “good leader” to do something for them, but they are preparing to do all things for themselves. he workers do not want to be patronised any longer by intellectual “superiors.” They are organised upon the basis of mutual service and the superiority of all. The workers are in a great majority and without them every wheel would stop, industry would drop dead, and society would be paralysed. All they have to do is to unite, think together, act together, strike together, vote together, never for an instant forgetting that they are one, and then the world is theirs. They have but to stretch out their millions of brawny arms and trained co-operative hands and take possession. But to reach this point requires education and organization—these are the essentials to emancipation. The workers must organise their emancipation. They must unite in one and the same industrial union and one and the same political party. And the union and the party must be managed and directed by themselves, not from the top down, but from the bottom up. The Socialist Party is different; it’s different for one basic reason – because our Party is a Party of slaves. In this capitalist system we are wage slaves and we are determined not to be slaves any more. But that’s who we are. You go into the job market and basically you sell yourself. You don’t have to stand on an auction block or literally be held in chains like the old days, but it’s the same thing when you come right down to it, only under new conditions. You’ve got to go in there and sell yourself to a master, and everyone who’s ever clocked in knows that’s what it really is, slavery under new conditions: we are wage slaves. They pay us a wage and in turn for it they take and do with us whatever they want. They use us like beasts of burden, like extensions of a machine, to get as much work from us and money out of our work as they can.
The Socialist Party is not a political party that says it represents everybody. We’re not a party that stands up and says we represent both capitalists and the workers, and preaches the idea of harmony between capitalists and the workers, because there can’t be harmony between the slaves and the slave-masters. There can’t be harmony between the exploited and the exploiters because the employing class lives by exploiting the workers – the capitalist lives by exploiting, that’s his whole existence. And we live for the day when we can break those chains of exploitation. We proudly and openly proclaim that are the party of the wage-slaves. We further declare that our class which is now in bondage is not going to put up with it much longer. We’re going to break those chains. We are one mighty class that represents the majority. We’re going to overthrow our masters.
Everybody knows the fact that, young or old, we have to struggle to get a job and once we get it, we’re driven even harder to keep it as capitalists are forever trying to make more profit for themselves out of our sweat. The history of our class is the history of struggle. We’ve been through this struggle to survive every day since we’ve been born. Our whole lives, our whole struggle is preparing us for the big struggle. No matter what they do, every time they beat us back and they bring down violence against us, we pick ourselves up and we go forward as we always have. We all should know about it and be proud of it, learn from it and build on it. We fight in unity with fellow workers in all parts of the world, fighting against attempts to throw people out onto the streets, to let them starve and fighting against attempts to cut wages, fighting to keep wages up, fighting against discrimination. Work is a struggle, life is a struggle, and winning our emancipation is going to be a struggle. This whole system of capitalism forces us to struggle, drives us to unite together to fight back. We learn through our struggle that by ourselves, as one person, we can’t accomplish very much, but when we get together and unite, we can move forward.
This is not a system that can meet the needs of the people. It’s not a system that even considers the question of how to meet the needs of the people. When the slaves start rebelling, they’ve got to throw a few scraps and hope they get people fighting among themselves for these crumbs so they can fasten these slave chains even tighter. The capitalists try to present their system as the best of all possible worlds. But we’re catching on to them that it is due to their capitalist system that we are enslaved, just the same as others like us in countries throughout the world. The so-called free enterprise system is built so the capitalist can be free – free to enslave and exploit us. That’s the only free part about it. Oh yeah, we’re free too, they give us a choice. “You are free to work for me or starve.” And when a crisis comes on like it is now, when they can’t make enough profit out of people, you aren’t even “free to work for me”– just starve. But as things develop and they can’t get over with “this is the best of all possible worlds”– then they come up with their ace in the hole: “Well, it’s the only possible world, so you might as well accept it because things can’t be changed.”
They force us to struggle, they take our blood every day – thousands of workers die on the job every year and millions more are injured. And when they can’t make enough profit, and when they can’t keep their system going just by exploiting us here, they try to put us in uniform and force us to go fight our brothers and sisters in other countries throughout the world. The possessing class talk about all people are created equal, but they don’t believe it. In fact, nobody can practice such equality as long as there are classes in society. As long as there is a situation where you either work for somebody or somebody works for you, how in the hell can there be equality? We can only get rid of all social inequality when we’ve done away with classes, done away with the situation where anybody has to work for anybody else, and we have created a situation where we all work in common for the common good of society and humanity. Under today’s conditions there’s only one class that can make use of these mighty productive forces – these large factories, these plants where there are tens of thousands of workers, and these machines created through the labour of the workers – can make use of this for the benefit of society. And that is the working class whose labour created them and whose labour makes them go.
We can’t do it as individuals, we can only do it in common. Because that’s how we built things – in common. You look at the car you drive, the shirt you have on or the chair you’re sitting on, or whatever else. You don’t know who mined the ore for your car, you don’t know who grew the cotton for that shirt. You’ve never seen that person. Nevertheless, it took all the cooperative efforts of thousands and millions of people to make all these things, to produce and distribute them. That’s basically what a society is about.
The Socialist Party is the party of emancipation. A party of wage slaves who are determined not to be slaves any longer, organised for the historic mission of advancing human society to a completely new stage, to end all the evils and suffering of this capitalist system. Together with all our fellow-workers throughout the world we will free ourselves and help free all mankind.