The Socialist Party works for the co-operative commonwealth of socialism. Under capitalism, with its wage slavery, working people are nominally free; but, as we have seen, the land, the technology and all the products of labour belong to the employing class. The workers are at liberty to change their individual masters, if they can, that is all. There is a continuous class war between wage slaves and the capitalist class, with its parasites. So long as wages are paid by one class to another class, so long will men and women remain slaves to the employing class. Workers sell their labour power, which is the only commodity they possess, to the capitalists who own or control all the means of producing wealth, including the tools, raw material, land and money. Under capitalist production the workers are controlled by their machine, instead of being in control of them. Under the capitalist system producers themselves have no control over their own products. Commodities, social goods, are produced, not directly for social purposes, but indirectly, in order to create a profit for the capitalists. If capitalists are unable for any reason to produce goods profitably, the wage-earners cease to be employed, though there may be a vast quantity of useful goods glutting the warehouses on the one hand, and millions of people who are anxious to have them on the other.
Rent, profit and interest are all provided by the workers. They are, all three, the component parts of the labour value embodied in saleable commodities by the labour power of the workers, over and above the actual wages paid to the toiler, and the cost of raw materials, incidental materials, etc., needed by the capitalist for the conduct of his business.
The wages paid by the employers to their hands represent the customary standard of life of the special grade of skilled or unskilled workers employed These wages are, on the average, returned in saleable values to the capitalist in a portion of the working day, or week, for which the worker has sold his labour power to the capitalist. The goods produced during the rest of the time the wage-earner works for the capitalist are the result of this extra and unpaid labour, furnished by the toiler to the capitalist. It is the modern industrial expression of the corvée, enforced, not by the whip, but by pecuniary necessity and individual hunger. This is the surplus value, out of which all the classes who do not directly produce are paid their share: the majority as parasites, the minority as professional persons. Workers have advanced their labour power to the capitalist before they are paid their wages for its use. Capitalists, as a class, run no risks whatever; the unfortunate in the competitive struggle for gain are simply wiped out by their competitors, who benefit by their downfall. Shareholders in capitalist companies rarely or never render any service to the company, or the community, as shareholders. In the vast majority of cases they have never visited the enterprises from which they draw their dividends. The market for commodities, the whole population of the globe is drawn into the whirl of capitalist production for profit.
Production for profit and exchange by wage labour assumes the existence, from historic causes, of large numbers of people who are divorced from the land and possess no property of their own. The only way to solve the growing antagonism between the two great classes of modern society is, by substituting cooperation for competition, in all branches of production and distribution. This involves a social revolution, peacefully if possible or forcible, if necessary.
The power of mankind in every branch of human industry, including agriculture, that if all the technology, productive forces and general knowledge at the disposal of mankind in the civilisation of to-day were applied co-operatively to the supply of useful goods and social luxuries, “wealth might easily be made as plentiful as water” to use Robert Owen’s phrase. Enjoyable labour by all members of the community would thus produce plenty for all, and wages and prices would disappear.
The only real deterrent to the attack on the working class by capitalism is socialism. The time has arrived when every man and woman of our class will have to make a great decision. We shall have to choose whether capitalism with all its attendant miseries and horrors is to remain enthroned or whether we intend to be free. We shall have to choose whether we prefer to remain the slaves of profit. The Socialist Party explains to our fellow workers the nature of the struggle in which they are participating. To tell them of the principles for which our party works and fights for. To reveal what we are confident of the way out for our class from the horrid nightmare of the competitive struggle which sets nation against nation, class against class, and individual against individual.
The struggle between individual capitalists to realise profits sets employer against employer. The conflict between national groups of financiers sets nation against nation, and produces war. But despite their individual and national conflicts the whole capitalist class stands united in their common desire to exploit workers. Hence under capitalism the freedom of the working class consists in the freedom to starve or accept such conditions as are imposed upon them by the employing class. But the freedom of the master class consists in their untrammelled freedom to buy labour to create profit. Thus the workers are not free. Neither owning nor controlling the means of life, they are wage slaves of their employers, and are but mere commodities.
The principles of the Socialist Party are not based upon passing and ephemeral conditions, but upon principles which penetrate to the very foundations of society. Principles that are permanent and imperishable, applicable to all lands as well as our own. These are the common ownership of the means of life, government of the people by the people for the people. Such are the principles of the Socialist Party. Support and work for the building of the world anew. For the sweeping away of ignorance, for the full physical and mental development of men and women free from class exploitation, and the degradations of poverty. Refuse, and by your neglect you stand for misery, exploitation, greed and war. The hour is great. The eyes of the world are upon you. The choice is yours.