Social Reaction or Social Revolution, Capitalism or Communism – thus stands the question. This question must be answered in our favour. For the spirit of socialism rises over the entire world.
Capitalism, with its competition, incites nations, races and continents against one another. Capitalism is the instigator of wars. Instead of uniting the world for peace, it works for its irremediable division, for perpetual conflict. Capitalism becomes the Destroyer. The permanent war economy continues with all the key social and economic questions are decisively determined by the course of national antagonisms and preparations for war.
The rise of a socialist movement depends today on the rise of a politically-conscious working class, on its separation from the capitalist ideology. Socialists should dedicate themselves to the purpose of hastening and influencing such a development. What is required of us above all is steadfastness in the face of continuing adversity. That is the duty of every conscious socialist who has stuck by his or her principles and ideas.
Those who march in protest about the effects of capitalism would do better to look for a more radical approach—or else contribute towards generations to come suffering the same sore feet, the same sore heads—and the same bitter disillusionment. Even when the politicians, the economists and the experts listen they are still powerless to end the misery and exploitation of capitalism.
Nationalists share the illusion that the problems facing workers in Northern Ireland or workers in Wales or in Scotland are caused by some faulty political arrangement: rule from London rather than from Edinburgh, Cardiff or Dublin. In actual fact, however, these problems have an economic cause: the capitalist system of class ownership of the means of production and distribution. As long as capitalism continues to exist these problems will remain, however the political superstructure is re-arranged and no matter how radical or violent the rearrangement. The experience of the South of Ireland since independence in 1921 is proof enough of this.
The Socialist Party is internationalist. It strives to join together of workers of all lands in order to end capitalism, and all the scourges which accompanies the system. It is nationalism that divides workers so that the workers of one nationality are struggling against the workers of another nationality for a few illusory crumbs the rulers throw out exactly for that purpose. It is nationalism that pits groups of workers against each other to the advantage of their mutual exploiters and oppressors. Nationalism is an ideology which developed with the emergence of nations during the rise and development of capitalism. Nationalism serves the capitalists in the sense that they are seeking a market for their goods, and their national market is always primary as capitalism develops. And nationalism serves to help the merchants, traders and manufacturers secure its home market from foreign competitors by promoting patriotic protectionism. Yet the nation-state also offers the spring-board for acquiring foreign markets by demanding free trade for its exports. Nationalism does not serve the interests of the working class but is a tool of the capitalist class. The hold of patriotic sentiment and the havoc wrought by capitalists by playing upon it, have been abundantly demonstrated.
Nationalism means exclusion and isolation. Any nationalism finally implies that those people are better than all others. We are the victims of a nationalism that preaches superiority and inferiority. Nationalism isolates the oppressed from their foreign brothers and sisters and delivers them into the hands of the exploiters of their own nationality. The destroyer of capitalism is the collective workers struggle, the victory of the multi-national working class.
Capitalism is a world system and cannot be replaced by socialism except on a global scale. Just as socialism in a single country is not possible, so a successful socialist strategy cannot be developed except on a worldwide scale.
The SNP is a capitalist party. It works on behalf of business. The difference between the SNP and the other parties is not that it is calling for a different social system. What’s different is that they are simply looking for a new way to divide the spoils. The sharing will still just be between groups of capitalists.
Many left-wing groups fancy themselves as “vanguards” of the working-class. We say that workers should spurn these would-be elites and organise for socialism democratically, within political parties without leaders. Leftists insist that they are very much concerned with working-class consciousness, but an examination of their literature shows that “consciousness” means merely following the right leaders. When it is suggested that the majority of the population must attain a clear desire for the abolition of the wages system, and the introduction of a worldwide money-free community, they reply that this is “too abstract”, or “too academic.” Some say, when push comes to shove, that they look forward to such a world without wages “ultimately,” but since this “ultimate” aim has no effect on their actions it can only be interpreted as an empty platitude. They are even muddled about the various capitalist reforms they will introduce if they get power. Bernstein’s dictum “The movement is everything, the goal nothing” sums up the left-wing outlook very well. Left-wing people need to chase feverishly down every reformist cul-de-sac, a practice known as “developing consciousness through struggle. Struggle is apparently a sort of metaphysical driving force which is supposed to turn reforms into sparks of revolution. Action for its own sake is lauded to the skies. The Left constitute the officer corps and the ringmasters who order the working-class to jump through hoops, manipulated by slogan-shouting demagogues brandishing reformist bait. What is needed is not leadership (the labour movement is full of “revolutionary leaders” as it is) but a working class equipped with an understanding of socialism. The left wing are a valuable asset to the capitalist system, thanks to the confusion and disillusionment they produce.