To make revolution and put an end to capitalism, the working class must have a plan. Standing in the way of socialism is the capitalist class. The capitalists are our enemy. It is the ruling class. It holds state power and is responsible for the hardships facing working people. Against this minority stands the vast majority of the rest of the population. The conditions of life for 98% of the people cannot fundamentally improve without the overthrow of the ruling class of capitalists. The working class is daily thrown into conflict with the capitalist class. The capitalists are a powerful enemy and it will require protracted efforts to overthrow them. Only by winning over all those who are oppressed by capital to the banner of socialism can the working class succeed in overthrowing capitalism. Despite its huge numerical advantage, the powerful potential of the working class has been frustrated by divisions and lack of class consciousness. The majority of workers at this time do not understand the need for fundamental change to society. They have difficult lives but do not see how their problems can be resolved. They want an improvement in their lives and often struggle against their employers, but do not yet see the need for revolutionary change. Many are generally content with their situation or feel that, even though things could improve, monopoly capitalism is the best system. They do not favour change and many are affected by racism and chauvinism. It is a major obstacle to the struggle for socialism. Through well-organised struggle and education, workers will realise that their interests lie in the overthrow of capitalist private property and the establishment of socialism.
The state dampens down class struggle by promoting class collaboration. Although the capitalists rule, they do not do so through open violence and coercion. Working people enjoy a wide range of freedoms - we can vote in regular elections, we can organise in trade unions and political parties, we can set up pressure groups, publish newspapers and leaflets, go on strike, hold public meetings and protest march on demonstrations, and travel freely around the country. If we get arrested for anything, we are not held in detention without trial and we have the right to legal defence.These rights are vital for the working class to defence and promote its interests. Without the civil liberties and human rights we would be at the absolute mercy of every whim of the employers.
But these rights have not always existed. Nor were they generously granted by the employing class. They have been fought for with great effort and sacrifice by many generations of working people in a struggle that goes back to Chartism. Neither are these rights in any sense eternally guaranteed under capitalism. Whenever a crisis develops in capitalism the employers attack democracy in order to limit the ability of the workers to resist. Despite the importance of the democratic rights that we have won over the years, the working class can never achieve complete political freedom under capitalism. In this society only the capitalists have the wealth and influence to use capitalist democracy to the full. Formal equality that exists for all citizens is undermined and restricted by the power of capital. Until the working class gains control of the means of production, democracy can never be more than a partial achievement. Capitalism is based on the exploitation of working people. No attempts to reform the system can do away with this exploitation. The only way workers can come to control society and create a society based on freedom and a decent life for all is through revolution.
The Socialist Party is internationalist. We are carrying out the socialist revolution in the UK to make our contribution to the struggle world socialism. Socialism must be worldwide system. Capitalism is global and it will do everything in its power to defeat a working class revolution. The only insurance of the victory of socialism is international solidarity of workers.
The vast industries in which men and women co-operate to produce wealth to-day can only be maintained by the co-operative labour. The technical knowledge, the science which is utilised by these industries is the common product of men and women co-operating together in society. This technical knowledge, this application of science to industry, is constantly increasing, and with it, the power to produce wealth quickly and efficiently. Within the lifetime of comparatively young men and women, we have seen tremendous progress in the application of new technology to industry. The ability to produce wealth grows every year, and with it, in a rational system of society, the welfare of the mass of the people should grow also. In capitalist society the opposite process is taking place. Alongside growing power to produce wealth there is growing poverty. The wealth which is produced by the co-operative labour of all active workers in industry is divided in most hopelessly unequal fashion. The cause of the unjust distribution of wealth lies in the nature of the capitalist order of society. Whilst wealth is cooperatively produced, while industries can only be maintained by the co-operative labour of millions of workers, these industries are not owned by the workers who operate them, but by a small idle class owning the land, the banks and the means of production. Because this class owns the means of life, it is able to dictate to the producers the terms on which they will work. These terms may vary for different classes of workers, in accordance with their scarcity, skill, or organisation, but they are always of such a character as to allow to the employing class the lion’s share of the wealth which is produced by the labour of others.
In addition, capitalism wastes many of the advantages of science and technology because of the unplanned character of modern commerce taken as a whole. In a single workshop, or even within a single industry, production may be planned according to the most scientific methods, but in capitalist society as a whole there is no plan regulating the production and distribution of wealth. The whole system is based on the pursuit of profit by the owners of the means of production. The regulator of the whole system determining whether industry shall be expanded or shall go on short time is the rise and fall of prices on the market, reflecting the rise and fall in the possibilities of profit for the capitalists whose industries produce for the market. The unplanned nature of capitalism taken renders it incapable of completely utilising the results of modern invention or of overcoming the crises in the basic industries in this country. No capitalist will make any effort to reorganise an industry on more efficient lines, however, unless there is the prospects of a vast profit accruing from the expenditure on that reorganisation. Unprofitable industry is left to drift to ruin, while the capitalist class divert investments into the new areas of industry or export their capital abroad where the promise of greater profits lie. The scramble for profit leads also to the scramble for markets for sources of investment and raw materials on an international scale, and leads inevitably to military conflicts.
Our media often concentrates our attention on economic growth and a rise in GDP. The idea behinds this is that the more capitalism produces wealth the better off everyone will become. This is not the case. A look at history and we see in the periods of the greatest expansion of capitalism, colossal wealth existed alongside the most heartrending poverty. The more wealth capitalism produces, the greater its difficulties as a functioning system; the more difficult it is to obtain markets, the more intensive international competition becomes; the greater becomes the danger of the antagonisms created by this competition ripening into war. A scramble all over the world is taking place for control of oil fields, mineral deposits and sources of supply of all kinds. The result of this scramble is inevitably military confrontation, sometimes directly but most often by proxy in various civil wars.
The capitalists have only one solution for economic recession, the increased exploitation of the working class. There are two ways in which the capitalists can increase this exploitation: (1) to reduce wages , and (2) to speed up the working class while continuing to pay them the same wages by intensifying working conditions to increase productivity. These methods are not mutually exclusive. Very often both of them are adopted by the same body of employers, one after the other. When workers agree to facilitate production by abandoning their safeguards, there is no guarantee that they would get a share of the increased production. The division of the increased product would be settled like always, by the relative economic muscle of the workers on the one hand and the strength of employers on the other. Offering the capitalists the certainty of increased profits, hold out no hopes to the workers at all. The idea that collaboration with the capitalist class, can overcome a recession is absurd. Britain is not the only country in crisis. All capitalist countries are engaged in the same policies. Thus those leaders who believe that a far-reaching improvement in the workers’ wages and conditions of life can be got not by overthrowing capitalism, but by co-operating with the capitalists to make their system more efficient, are simply surrendering to the capitalist class, misleading the workers, and creating conditions which will inevitably make the rich richer and the workers poorer.
The more the workers unite their forces and commence to struggle against the capitalist offensive, the more the struggle becomes a political struggle, not just between the workers and any group of capitalists, but between the workers and the capitalist state representing the capitalist class as a whole. The Socialist Party, therefore, believes in the necessity for capturing political power. The question of whether the workers should attempt to seize power before or after obtaining a Parliamentary majority is entirely a question of time, place, and circumstance. The workers are engaged in a struggle with the capitalist class and cannot determine their policy without reference to the policy of their capitalist adversaries. The capitalist class grew up within the framework of pre-capitalist society and became an economically powerful class without any revolution. Their revolution was designed to secure for them such political control as would enable them to break down all restrictions and secure the fullest possible development for their industry and trade which they already controlled. With them economic power preceded political power. The workers, on the other hand, cannot get economic power without first, by a political revolution, breaking down the capitalist state machine, building up their political power and on that basis proceeding to secure control of the economic forces of society.
If the working-class desire to beat off the capitalist attacks on their present standards, avoid the danger of war and carry out a resolute struggle to achieve their emancipation through the overflow of capitalism, they must fight more and more within the workers' movement against the reformist policy of co-operating with capitalism. The Socialist Party exposes to the working class the futility of reformism and urges them to go forward to the complete overthrow of the capitalist class.