Socialism, the revolt against the ruling class, is never so much alive as today. The ruthless march of the capitalists is daily recruiting new workers and making rebels out of both young and old by grinding down wages to the point of bare subsistence. As a consequence our fellow-workers are becoming revolutionary. All over the world the ruling classes are devising measures to stem the rising tide. Our chief task to spread the propaganda of revolution so apathy will disappear, and the Socialist Party will for the ﬁrst time become a vital force in the struggle between capitalists and wage-workers.
Capitalism is a social system based on the class ownership of the means of production and maintained by the coercive power of the State. The Socialist Party of Great Britain is the political expression of the interests of the workers in this country. The economic basis of present day society is the private ownership and control of socially necessary means of production, and the exploitation of the workers, who operate these means of production for the proﬁt of those who own them. The interests of these two classes are diametrically opposed. It is the interest of the capitalist class to maintain the present system and to obtain for themselves the largest possible share of the product of labour. It is the interest of the working class to improve their conditions of life and get the largest possible share of their own product so long as the present system prevails, and to end this system as quickly as they can. In so far as the members of the opposing classes become conscious of these facts, each strives to advance its own interests as against the other. It is this active conflict of interest which we describe as the class struggle. The capitalist state, by controlling the old political parties, control the powers of the state and uses them to secure and entrench its position. Without such control of the state its position of economic power would be untenable. The workers must wrest the control of the government from the hands of the masters and use its powers in the building of the new social system, the cooperative commonwealth. The Socialist Party seeks to organise the working class for independent action on the political ﬁeld with the aim of putting an end to exploitation and class rule with the purpose of the emancipation of the working class, and the establishment of genuine liberty for all. To accomplish this aim of the Socialist Party is to bring about the common ownership and democratic control of all the necessary means of production — to eliminate proﬁt, rent, and interest — to change our class society into a society of equals, in which the interest of one will be the interest of all.
Socialism is not some Utopian scheme. Capitalism has created the economic conditions for socialism. Socialism will open the way for great changes in society. Socialism will bring social ownership of social production. Socialism will be won through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the seizure of political power by the working class. In socialism, the working people will take over the economic forces developed by capitalism and operate them in the interests of society. This can bring a qualitative improvement in the lives of the working people. Because working people will control the great wealth they produce, they will be fundamentally able to determine their own futures. The end of exploitation of one person by another will be an unprecedented liberating and transforming force. Socialism does not mean government control. The state serves the interests of the capitalist class. Government involvement in the economy is state capitalism.
Our vision of socialism is that the means of production – the factories, mines, mills, big workshops, offices, agricultural fields, banks, transportation system, media, communications, medical facilities, big retailers, etc., will be transformed into social common property. Private ownership of the main means of production will end. The economy will be geared not to the interest of profit, but to serving human needs. This will release the productive capacity of the economy from the limitations of profit maximisation. A great expansion of useful production and the wealth of society will become possible. Rational economic planning will replace the present anarchistic system. Coordination and planning of the broad outlines of production will aim at building an economy that will be stable, benefit the people, and steadily advance. Because capitalism already has a developed and centralized economy, socialism’s main task will be to reorient this structure towards social needs.
Redirecting the productive capacity to human needs will require a variety of economic methods and some experiment. There could be a combination of central planning and local coordination. Various policies might be used, depending on what will be appropriate to changing conditions. But no matter what means are chosen, a socialist economy must uphold the basic principles of common ownership, production for the people’s needs, and the elimination of exploitation. Socialism will realize the ideal “from each according to one’s ability, to each according to one’s need.” Classes will have disappeared, the state will “wither” away, and an exciting new era of human freedom and prosperity will arise.