Thursday, June 13, 2019

The people of the world are brothers and sisters

In a world of abundance, we suffer from serious shortages and chronic misery. We face a future that is very bleak indeed unless the system of exploitation is abolished and replaced with a new socialist system. It is responsibility of the Socialist Part to rally and inspire working people. We are mindful, at all times, to keep the forefront of all our activity: the need to to raise the socialist consciousness and convince fellow-workers of the necessity for socialist revolution. There is a silent reaction going on today, inexorable, unremitting, pitiless, and it is twisting lives of working people more harshly than many a battle fought on the field. Union after union, grown accustomed to a familiar routine, has suddenly found itself grabbed by the scruff of the neck, with all the complacency shaken out of its officials as they face the spectre of loss as of members, and years of hard-won achievements in the way of contracts, seniority accumulations, health and pension funds get taken from under them. Who is this implacable enemy that has appeared in our midst, and is spreading disaster in his wake? The media speak of new technology and artificial intelligence.

The signs of the growth of automation and increased robotics, the building up of new industrial centres, are everywhere. Everyone has heard of ‘automation’ by now and knows it is a new giant stride in the elimination of human labour in production by the use of computerised controls. We are entering a distinctly new economic era, a catastrophic second industrial revolution. Whereas an assembly line contained a hundred workers, with automation, this same line requires only a skeleton maintenance crew to service the machine. But this new technology so expensive, they require such enormous capital outlays, that even companies that were considered big 10-20 years ago are unable to raise that kind of investment today. Many will survive only by permitting themselves to get absorbed by the shrinking number of giants.

How are unions meeting this threat? What is the program of the ‘labor statesmen’ to protect the workingman’s equity in his job, his seniority and pension rights? How do the officers who head the big labour federations visualise the union’s role in the changing economy, and what new strategy or tactics have they devised to safeguard labour’s position and sustain labour’s strength? If you are looking for an answer to these questions from the labour leaders, you have come to the wrong place. They have no answer. All their elaborate research and legal departments and economic advisers notwithstanding, the union leaders are as bewildered as the man on the street. Their actions thus far have been a combination of panic. On the wage front the picture is a dismal one. The workers are so demoralised by the job uncertainty, unemployment, outsourcing and off-shoring of plants, and apparent weakness of the unions, that they breathe a sigh of relief when their leaders get them a any sort of increase without their having to strike for it. Labour sights and goals are getting cut down drastically in this period of reaction and retreat. But giving up rights won after years of hard struggles is no solution to anything. Labour cannot even hope by these methods to stabilise itself on a lower level. Wage cuts and more speed-up are not a prelude to happier labour-management relationships, but to new demands for more wage cuts and still more speed-up. The tactic of conceding wage cuts in order to make businesses ‘more competitive,’ 'job security' in the face of unemployment or temporary casual contracts and conditions, all this has to be stopped in a hurry. Otherwise, it will not be too many years before working people are on the receiving end of disaster. Workers cannot afford to mark time and just hope for things to turn for the better.

It is our duty as socialists to help guide along right lines the effort of the workers to choose the correct kind of organisation to fight their battles in that conflict. According as they choose aright or wrongly, so will the development of class consciousness in their minds be hastened or retarded by their everyday experience in class struggles. In their march to freedom the workers will use every weapon they find necessary. Tomorrow belongs to the people. But it can only do so if the people understand the present state of society and, understanding it, change it. This change for the working people can only mean the elimination of the opposing capitalist class. The idea that if we wait things will get better is mistaken. Capitalism is a disease. Don’t be mesmerised by leftists running up and down screaming “Revolution”. Don’t be distracted by one set of reformers demanding a fight against these particular cuts but not those other cuts. Don’t believe we can disguise ourselves to infiltrate the Labour Party and take power so that we can then hand it over to the people. Only the people can take power. We the people must do it. Why at this time is there so much talk about workers’ participation from the liberal progressives? Such calls for workers’ participation is for the purpose of seeing to it that workers don’t have real control. The only real workers’ control is socialism.

The Socialist Party deny that reforms can eliminate the injustices of our society. Those injustices stem from the fundamental character of capitalism—so the system as a whole must be changed. It has carried on an unrelenting struggle against reformism in working class politics, attempting to break the workers from reformist illusions. There are no automatic, "guaranteed" routes to class consciousness. The task of socialists is to try to educate people towards an understanding of what is necessary to change capitalist society—but no struggle "necessarily" leads to socialist conclusions.

The ruling class creates the basic material conditions for its own downfall. The capitalists, in its drive for profits, continuously concentrates the means of production and aggravates the contradiction between the social character of production and the private ownership of production. The exploitation of the working class and the oppression of the masses intensifies. This is what is meant when one says that the proletarian revolution is inevitable. But the working class, in order to fulfill its historic mission of leading the battle to overthrow monopoly capital, must become conscious of itself as a class and of the nature of society. The working class must be armed with revolutionary class consciousness, and organisation

All societies, at all times, face the contradiction between the new and the old, between what is growing and what is dying out. Our society is dying out. It pollutes all that is fresh, alive, vital, and growing. The ballot-box was granted to us by our masters for their purpose; let us use it for our own. Let us demonstrate at that ballot-box the strength and intelligence of the revolutionary idea; let us make the hustings a rostrum from which to promulgate our principles. The Socialist Party holds that only the working class can bring about socialism. No other class as a whole has the thoroughgoing interest in the destruction of capitalism, nor the power and potential organisational force that the working class has. It is the socialised conditions of oppression of the working class that bring it into fundamental contradiction with the individual and private conditions of ownership that characterise capitalist society.

 Our vision remains undimmed and our resolve unbending. Our confidence in the party is strengthened by the fact that it has remained true to the banner of revolutionary internationalism and to the interests of the working man and working woman at a time when it counts – during the war. We have not retreated from our principles, we have not vacillated, we have not given up an inch of them or sought to gloss them over in the hope of gaining a deceptive and momentary popularity. And that is how we shall continue to be. Unite with us for a new age, for a society free of war and oppression, of exploitation and inequality, for world socialism. There are no separate roads to socialism. There is only one road and that is the road of revolution. The purpose and aim of a genuinely revolutionary socialist party is to capture power  through a willing majority. 

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