Monday, September 16, 2019

The time has come for a new beginning

The most fundamental of all human activities is material production. If we did not produce, we could not live - politics, law, religion, philosophy, literature, recreation would all be impossible if we didn't have food to eat and shelter over our heads. For this reason the method of organising production has long been the most contentious of all problems faced by society.

 Society is characterised by the division of people into classes according to their role in the production and distribution of social wealth. The capitalist class and the working class are the two basis classes. The capitalist class owns the means of production and holds state power. They are the our main enemy in the fight for socialism. Through their ownership and control of the means of production they control the economic life and live off the profits they squeeze from the working class. Through the Conservative and Labour parties the capitalist class uses the government for its own ends. The working class is composed of all wage-earners - mental and manual, urban and rural - whether in basic industry, manufacturing, service, farm, sales, domestic, clerical, public or other jobs. The working class is composed of skilled and unskilled, employed and unemployed. Through well-organised struggle and education workers will realise that their interests lie in the overthrow of capitalist private property and the establishment of socialism. 

To make revolution and put an end to capitalism, the working class must have a clear strategic plan. Against the capitalist minority stands the vast majority of the rest of the population. The conditions of life for 98% of the people cannot fundamentally improve without the overthrow of the ruling class of capitalists. The working class is daily thrown into conflict with the capitalist class. Because of its social position, it is the revolutionary class. In building up its strength, in welding an alliance of all working people and in taking power, the fundamental method of struggle that the working class must use is mass political organisation.Whatever the tactics adopted at any particular time, whether it be strike action, demonstrations, delegations, petitions or the election of members of parliament, the working class must rely on its vast numbers and its ability to organise. Although the capitalists rule, they do not do so through open violence and terror. Working people in the UK enjoy a wide range of democratic rights - we can vote in regular elections, we can organise in trade unions and political parties, we can set up pressure groups, publish newspapers and leaflets, go on strike, hold meetings and demonstrations, and travel freely around the country. If we get arrested for anything, we are not held in detention without trial and we have the right to legal defence. These rights are vital for the working class to defence and promote its interests. Without the rights to form trade unions and to strike we would be at the absolute mercy of every whim of the employers. But these rights have not always existed. Nor were they generously granted by the employing class. They have been fought for with great effort and sacrifice by many generations of working people in a struggle that goes back to Peterloo and Chartism.

 Despite the importance of the democratic rights that we have won over the years, the working class can never achieve complete political freedom under capitalism. In this society only the capitalists have the money, time, knowledge and influence to use capitalist democracy to the full. We can publish newspapers, but the best technology is controlled by the capitalists and funded by business advertising. We can say what we like, but the rich can buy time on TV and radio, and the journalists listen to them because they are powerful. We can form unions, but the government can legislate against them at any time. We can buy all the property we want, except that capitalist have far more wealth than us. We can vote for a change of government, except that all the major political parties support capitalism. In all these ways, the formal equality that exists for all citizens is undermined and restricted by the power of capital. 

Until the working class gains control of the means of production, democracy can never be more than a partial achievement. From media to the education system, the state spreads an ideology of respect for private property, individualism and the law, that the rich are entitled to their wealth and that the government should be left to govern.

No matter which party is in power, the state apparatus - parliament, government departments, the courts, prisons, police and armed forces - protects capitalist private property and administers the capitalist economy. The government serves the interests of the ruling capitalist class. The state dampens down class struggle by diverting it.

The Socialist Party are internationalists. We are carrying out socialist agitation to make our contribution to the struggle of the world workers.

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