The most basic right of the people in the new society, which it is impossible for them to exercise under capitalism, is the right to be the masters of society, in every sphere, and to transform it in their interests. The task of the Socialist Party is overthrowing capitalism and ending the exploitation of man by man. It recognises that there is a class struggle. But more than this, the Socialist Party understand that the capitalist class and the working class have no common interests. The survival of the capitalist class depends on its ability to drive the working class into deeper and deeper misery. Socialists understand that the role of the working class and their unions is to fight the capitalist class to the end, for political power, for an end to wage slavery. that there is a class struggle. But more than this, they realise that the capitalist class and the working class have no common interests. The survival of the capitalist class depends on its ability to drive the working class into deeper and deeper misery. The role of the working class is to fight the capitalist class to the end, for political power, for an end to wage slavery. The goal is overthrowing capitalism as a system. The fight is to end the system of wage slavery.
Surplus value refers to the following: In production the workers create all value but much, if not most, of that value is appropriated by the capitalist. That is, the owner of a capitalist enterprise pays each worker a wage (as little as possible) equal to only a small part of the value the worker creates. For instance, the value a worker produces in the first two hours of the work-day may equal whatever wage he or she may receive; the value created in the remainder of the work-day goes to the capitalist. That is what Marx called surplus value. From surplus value capitalists take their own profits and make payments to other groups of capitalists: interest on loans to banks (the banker’s profits); rent to landlords; payments for raw materials, and so on. Thus, most of the surplus value created by the worker becomes profit to all the capitalists involved.
What unites workers as a class is their relationship to the means of production. Workers produce all value. Bosses appropriate that value and pay the workers as little as workers let them get away with. All workers, no matter what their colour, gender, “race,” ethnicity, religious beliefs or capitalist-created nationality, are exploited by the profit system. This is our unifying characteristic. Anything that negates this class concept, that puts workers in alliance with “their bosses” against another set of workers and bosses, weakens the struggle to combat and overthrow the entire ruling capitalist class. Capitalism cannot be reformed.
For three centuries the capitalist system has destroyed the lives of billions of workers. Among its many evils it has waged unceasing wars for profit; caused hunger and disease, mercilessly exploited the workers in its factories, used racism to encourage prejudice. Ever since black slaves were transported from Africa right through to their use by the capitalists as a pool of low-wage labour, racism has become the foundation stone of the capitalist system. It is used to divide the working class and weaken the struggle against the bosses. It devalues human life by claiming that one group of workers is inferior and another is superior. Nationalism divides the working class. Workers must unite across all capitalist-created borders and not defend its “own” bosses against workers in other capitalist countries. There is no such thing as “progressive nationalism.” “National liberation” movements merely exchange one set of bosses (the colonial masters) for another set (local bosses) and retain the profit system.