Socialism is the name given to that form of society in which there is no such thing as a propertyless class, but in which the whole community has become a working community owning the means of production—the land, factories, mills, mines, transport and all the means whereby wealth is created and distributed to the community. The first condition of success for Socialism is that its adherents should explain its aim and its essential characteristics clearly, so that they can be understood by every one. This has always been the primary purpose of the Socialist Party's promotion of its case for socialism. The idea of socialism is simple. Socialists believe that society is divided into two great classes that one of these classes, the wage-earning, the proletariat, is property-less the other, the capitalist, possesses the wealth of society and the proletariat in order to be able to live at all and exercise its faculties to any degree, must hire out their ability to work to the capitalist. Naturally, the possessing class, takes advantage of its power makes the working and non-owning class pay a large forfeit. When workers fight the employers on wages questions and the conditions of labour they are really fighting against consequences of the private property system. The existence of the private ownership of the means of production means also the private ownership of the things produced and their sale as commodities in competition one with another. Labour also is a commodity and those who sell their labour power, the members of the working class, manual and brain-worker alike, also compete like other commodities.
The class primarily interested in the change from private property to social property is the working class. The goal of socialism as a class-free society has its starting point in the propertyless condition of the working class. The Socialist’s goal represents the consummation of the struggle of the working class—its emancipation from the system which gives rise to that struggle.
All the misery, all the injustice and disorder, results from the fact that one class monopolises the means of production and of life, and imposes its laws on another class and on society as a whole. The domination of one class degrades humanity. Where men and women are dependent on the favour of others, where individuals do not co-operate freely in the work of society, where the individual is submitted to compulsion humanity suffers. It is, therefore, only by the abolition of the reign of capital and the establishment of socialism that humanity can come into the fullness of its heritage. We maintain that the means of production and wealth accumulated and inherited by humanity should be at the disposal of human activity in all its forms and should free them. Socialism will abolish all primacy of class, and indeed all class, restores humanity to its highest level. The thing to do, therefore, is to break down this supremacy of the ruling class. The aim of socialism is to transform capitalist property into social property. Socialism alone can give its true meaning to the whole idea of human justice. The community itself must have the right of ownership over all the means of production.
Those great social changes that are called revolutions can no longer be accomplished by a minority. The co-operation and adhesion of a majority, and an immense majority, are needed. A society takes on a new form only when the immense majority of the individuals who compose it demand or accept a great change. How, then, can a system based on the free collaboration of all be instituted against the will, or even without the will, of the greater number? The Socialist Revolution will not be accomplished by the action, or the sudden stroke of a bold minority, but by the defiant and harmonious will of the immense majority of the citizens. Whoever gives up the method of winning over the immense majority to our ideas, will give up at the same time any possibility of transforming the social order. The common good is our object. It can only succeed by the general desire of the community. For the first time since the beginning of human history, a great upheaval will have for its aim, not the substitution of one class for another, but the destruction of classes, the inauguration of a universal humanity. Destined for the benefit of all, socialism must be prepared and accepted by almost all because when the time arrives, the power behind an immense majority discourages the privileged class's last efforts to resist its will. The thing about socialism is precisely that it is not the regime of a minority. It cannot, therefore, and ought not, to be imposed by a minority. There is only one method for socialists: the conquest of political power by a majority.
The socialist form of society is now a necessity. It will be obvious at once that the basic principles of Socialist society are diametrically opposite to those of Capitalist society in which we live. Socialism stands for social or community property. Capitalism stands for private property. Socialism is a society without classes. Capitalism is divided into classes—the class owning property and the propertyless working class.
The Socialist Party is not anti-trade union. On the contrary, we are the most ardent of trade unionists. Socialists want their fellow-workers to recognise the cause of the struggle their trade unions are compelled to wage. Recognising the cause as rooted in the private ownership of the means of production and the propertyless conditions of the working class, the Socialist Party wants all the struggles of the unions to be co-ordinated, so that behind every industrial conflict there will be available the appropriate power of the working class. Socialists want sectionalism to be superseded by a united working class securing victory of the working class over the capitalists. This means that the trade unions should recognise that all the efforts of the working class must be directed to the goal of the conquest of political power. Their fight in the industrial field must be linked with the fight to obtain socialism which, backed by the might of the working class, would transfer the ownership of the means of production and distribution from private hands to social ownership.