Socialism has been grossly distorted, both by open opponents and by alleged adherents. This situation necessitates peeling away of entrenched myths to rediscover its authentic revolutionary teachings. Marx's writings cannot be treated as Holy Scripture. (To do so is a gross insult to a thinker whose motto for his own work was "Doubt everything.") What a socialist society would look like is not drawn in detail. Marx analysed the capitalist society he lived in and projected his vision of socialism from the clues he found in capitalist society. Because he was scientific, he refused to engage in any elaborate pictures of the socialist future but kept to a minimum outline.
Workers’ control of production can’t be a partial matter. To be more than self-administration within the confines of Capital, workers’ control must be total, that is, it must take over all production decisions. Capitalism cannot “grow into” socialism. Socialists must overthrow the capitalists class antagonisms and the class struggle must be emphasised; instead of compromise with capitalism, relentless attack upon the whole capitalist regime as determined by conditions. Socialism aims at giving a meaning to the life and work of people; at enabling their freedom, their creativity and the most positive aspects of their personality to flourish. It is about creating links between the individual and those around him, and between the group and society; at ending the barriers between manual and mental work; at reconciling people with their roots and with nature. These are not longings relating to some hazy and distant future. They are feelings and tendencies existing and manifesting themselves today. To grasp this is to perceive that socialism is not "nationalisation" or even an "increase in living standards". It is to transform one's vision of society and of the world. Socialism is the system where means of production are owned by society as a whole, not private persons.
To make revolution and put an end to capitalism, people must have a clear plan. The alternative to capitalism is socialism but even if capitalism is detestable isn't socialism just as detestable too? It was socialism that the people of Russia and Eastern Europe rejected. On their evidence, socialism as a system of society was even more bureaucratic, unjust and inefficient than capitalism? Capitalism is here to stay, so let's try to reform it a little.
The purpose of the Socialist Party is to restore to socialism its true essence; and to present a real socialist alternative to the cynicism and apathy that now paralyses the progressives. Real socialism is the only alternative to capitalism.
To define a state as capitalist or socialist is to define it according to its nature, that is, its class nature. Of which class is it the instrument? The interests of which class does it protect and serve? These are the questions such a definition answers. To define a state as totalitarian is to define it not by its nature, but by its form; e.g. is it democratic or dictatorial? The Soviet Union and its satellite states were certainly one in which the bureaucrats who run the administration and the managers who run industry hold power in which“private property in the instruments of production was abolished but where the decisive sections of industry and economic enterprises were owned by the state and not controlled by the people but by a small clique of bureaucrats or managers.” All this prevailed in the Soviet Union. In other words, the apparatchiks and nomenklatura expropriated the working class.
Reformists sees socialism as something which comes ‘from above’. It is to be achieved, on workers’ behalf, by an enlightened minority – political leaders. ‘Leave it to us,’ they say. ‘All you need do is vote at election time’. Working people are expected to play a purely passive role, just looking on while others transform society for them. That's how capitalist society is organised. Working people are constantly told that the only people qualified to run society are the experts – the managers, civil servants, politicians, the technocrats. The Socialist Party utterly rejects this elitist approach. Only workers can liberate themselves. No one can do it for them. In Marx’s words, socialism is ‘the self-emancipation of the working class’.
By revolution, we mean the overthrow of the capitalist ruling class and the basic economic system of society. We believe a revolution is necessary because the problems of this society – the economic problems of inflation and recession, national oppression, social ills – are all the product of the capitalist system itself. The basic nature of capitalism is that while the vast majority of people work and produce the wealth of society, a handful of capitalists control all the wealth – the factories, mines, railroads and fields, and all the profits that are produced. The possessing class prosper at the expense of the vast majority of the people, and their constant drive for profit and more profit results in only more problems and suffering for the people. The Socialist Party holds that no amount of reform of the present system can offer any lasting improvements, security or stability for the majority of people, nor fundamentally alter their position in society.
The ruling class always tries to limit or negate those concessions that have been won. The ruling class will always do this so long as it holds the power of society; it will try to milk everything it can from the working people to enrich or protect its own interests. The act of putting ideas into words should be a means of achieving greater clarity and understanding, for writer as well as reader. It should help to clear the way for action, but often smooth words and rounded phrases when used by the reformists serve only as a brake on action. They promised a world without war, without want and without insecurity but their palliative policies reflect not an advance towards socialism but an adaptation to capitalism.