Thursday, October 31, 2019
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
So it looks like 12th December is going to be agreed as the date of the General Election. As is our usual policy, we are standing only token candidates in this general election to ensure that the voice of socialism is not entirely lost. It is unfortunate that the Socialist Party is unable to contest any constituencies in Scotland. But, that does not mean our voice will not be heard.
We don’t believe any politician can solve capitalism's problems, as long as the flawed basis of our society remains intact. In fact, we believe only you and your fellow workers can solve these problems. We believe that it will take a revolution in how we organise our lives, a fundamental change. We want to see a society based on the fact that you know how to run your lives, know your needs and have the skills and capacity to organise with your fellows to satisfy them. With democratic control of production we can ensure that looking after our communities and our environment becomes a priority. Together, we have the ability to run our world for ourselves. We need to build a mass socialist movement to effect that change. Our candidate makes no promises except only to be the means by which you can re-make society.
The Socialist Party is standing alone as a party which aims at the capture of political power by the working class, to abolish capitalism and replace it with a society based on common ownership of wealth production and distribution and making that wealth freely available to everyone. That is socialism – the only alternative to capitalism and its political parties. If you agree with this aim, then this is the most important general election ever for you.
The coming hope the future day,
When wrong to right shall bow,
And hearts that have the courage man
To make the future NOW”
Ernest Jones, Chartist
The Socialist Party aims to remove the capitalist anarchy of production, which today is again leading to economic crisis; a crisis which, as in the past, the working class will be made to pay for, unless it puts an end to the capitalist system. Today the contradictions of capitalism threatens to plunge the working class into the chaos of climate change. Inherent in the realities of capitalism, historically and down to the present moment, have been a deep authoritarianism and inhumanity. Such things threaten the very survival of humanity. This is the capitalist system, which some reformists work day and night to save. Today this is often called “getting our priorities right”. Working people will not break with their exploiters and their machinery of deception.
Capitalism is the right of private property, the right of a few to own and control the means by which all must live, the right of the owners of the means of production to use it to exploit the rest of the community in the interest of their personal profit, the right to determine what shall be produced and how, regardless of the misery and wretchedness of those who produce it. Capitalism is the right to exploit, the right to rob, the right to over-produce and cause crises, the right to compete, and cause wars. These are basic cause of capitalist ills. To exist economically, the capitalist must accumulate; not that he wants to or doesn’t – he must accumulate in order to live. To accumulate, he must be assured profit. To profit, he must exploit labour. There is no other way. No one, no genius, not the greatest, has discovered another way. Capital always seeks to intensify exploitation; labour always and necessarily seeks to resist exploitation. Capitalism seeks what is rightfully its own, from its point of view: the maximum that it can get out of the worker. Labour seeks what is rightfully its own: that’s why it forms class organisations, labour unions. Now what is rightfully labour’s own, at least from our point of view?
The abolition of the right of private property, and instead the common ownership of the means of production, so that all may enjoy the fruit of their labour, and consume it, thus eliminating the crises of over-production, and the crises of wars is the socialist answer. Socialism demands the common ownership and democratic control and management of the means of production and exchange for the benefit and welfare of the people as a whole; nothing less than that suffices. We base that upon the fact that capitalism, which is founded upon and cannot exist without the ownership and control of the means of production has brought society almost literally to the edge of a precipice, where it cannot guarantee security to the people, cannot guarantee peace to the people, cannot guarantee brotherhood to the people, cannot guarantee abundance to the people. Any social system which cannot guarantee those to the people stands condemned. The only way to replace capitalism, the only socialism.
The development to socialism is inevitable because just as feudalism replaced slavery, and capitalism feudalism – all based upon the right of private property – so capitalism, having enormously developed the productive processes on a social basis, has reached the stage when, because of the private ownership of those processes, the system has become a fetter on production itself. What is in question is how much more of the ills caused by capitalism, from wage servitude to atomic war, we have to go through, and that depends upon all of us, upon you. Capitalism produces its own grave-diggers, the wage workers and they reach a point where it is no longer possible to live, they see the limitations of the trade union struggle in the persistence of insecurity...private ownership must go, common ownership must plustake its place, socialism. It is capitalism, economic and environmental crises and war – or socialism, freedom, economic planning and peace. Private wnership on the one hand, non-ownership of the means of production on the other hand
“Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficiently has created all things that their enjoyment be common to all living beings, and that the earth become the common possession of all. It is nature itself that has given birth to the right of the community, while it is only unjust usurpation that has created the right of private property.” - St Ambrose (340-397 AD)
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
What does the Socialist Party seek? Nothing less than a social revolution, a complete transformation of human society from its base. That is not a little thing. It is about the biggest job that any body of men and women have ever set out to do. And what means are at our disposal in which to perform this task. We have nothing than people like ourselves. Apart from the tremendous forces set in motion by the economic development - forces which are hastening the revolution more rapidly every day, and which make it, as we believe, inevitable - the revolutionary instrument we have been trying to forge is a proletarian political party, conscious of the present class subjection . So far, our efforts in this direction have not been particularly successful. But what of it? Didn't we know, when we were first founded in 1904, difficulty of our task? Didn't we know it would take years and years? Didn't we know that we should meet with set-backs? Didn't we know that many of our members would go their graves without even a glimpse of that free co-operative commonwealth of which they were unquestioningly assured, and which, even in their lifetime, seemed so near? How many years ago is it since Morris wrote the words: "Only three little words to speak: We will it!"? But the people do not will it yet!
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working-class themselves. There is no other way. The socialist movement is fundamentally a movement for the emancipation of the working-class, they cannot be emancipated against their will, and so far we have not succeeded in inspiring them with that consciousness of their present enslaved condition, that passionate desire for their own emancipation, which is essential to an active, aggressive revolutionary movement on their part. That is where we have failed. But is the failure due to our own fault, or should it cause us discouragement and despair? We believe not. If we saw others succeeding where the Socialist Party has failed we might conclude that the fault was ours. We have been frequently and constantly derided by rival organisations and critics, nevertheless, we do not see that they have succeeded any better than we have. Over and over again attempts have been made to show what a poor, hopeless lot of ineffectual cranks we of the Socialist Party were, and they presented their own maps for the road to socialism. But they were lost in side-tracks , in dead-end short-cuts and lost in the by-ways of history. We claim that the road we have marked out is the right road, and that no other party has, as yet, discovered a better way and that whatever may be the sins of omission or commission with which we have to reproach ourselves, it is scarcely a fault to be laid to our charge if those to whom we appeal deliberately refuse to take the road we point out to them, and persist in continually marching up and down a blind alley.
The Left have not rallied the workers to any greater extent than the Socialist Party have done, and only achieved greater success in this direction in so far as their socialist ideas have grown more hazy and the vague principles less definite. It is not pleasing to dwell upon these failures to organise a mass socialist working-class political party. We would have been delighted had any one of them succeeded. We could then have heartily joined with them in their work, rejoicing in their progress. But alas...The cause of our own lack of success cannot be centred on our own error because the present position of the socialist movement is one that is not a matter solely of the failure of the Socialist Party to rally the workers under our banner and into a class-conscious political party, but the failure of all bodies which have attempted the task. It is a quite common mistake on the part of young, enthusiastic activists to envisage the working class as in a state of discontent, seething unrest , latent revolt, only waiting for a strong lead to spring into vigorous militant action. Such ardent activists soon, as a rule, become discouraged by disillusionment. But we know better - have always known better. Our fellow-workers for the moment are imbued with bourgeois ideas; unconscious of its own subjugated position as a class; unconscious of the essential class antagonism of the capitalist social order, and reverential towards the master class. And add to this conservatism, the readiness of the ruling class to adopt - and to adapt to their own ends - any ameliorative measures. Measures of social reform which we first formulated as stepping-stones towards a complete revolution, in the teeth of the bitterest opposition from all quarters, have been in many cases adopted in a modified form, and even where that is not the case they are no longer opposed but are generally admitted to be necessary and beneficial. Those handicaps are sufficient to account for our failure. But it ought not to overwhelm us with despair.
In the direction of building up a class-conscious working-class Socialist Party is where we have still to bend our efforts with renewed energy. Agitate, Educate, Organise! And above all, Organise! Let us look to and eliminate the faults and defects of our own organisation, for it is not free from them. The causes which have operated to prevent our success in rallying the whole working-class to our banner do not supply the reasons for the fact that so many avowed, earnest and active socialists are outside our party. Let us enquire into these reasons and if possible remedy them. Are we, as is sometimes alleged, too narrow, too sectarian, too intolerant? Are we too discourteous, not to enemies, but to would-be friends and allies? Do we seek to antagonise people rather than to win them? These are searching questions to which it may be worth while to give some consideration.
There should be no heresy-hunting; no nosing out of non-essential points of difference;. but rather a seeking for essential points of agreement - In things doubtful, liberty; in things essential, unity; and in all things, charity; courtesy and forbearance to each other; good comradeship - as among a body which is organised to fight a world in arms against it; to have the word "comrade" less frequently on our lips and its spirit more constantly in our hearts; to disarm hostility and to bring together all comrades and friends into a united Socialist Party, a live, active, vigorous instrument for the realisation of the emancipation of humanity.
Monday, October 28, 2019
The Radical Independence Campaign's conference at the weekend in Glasgow has come and gone. Invited speakers of the likes of Tariq Ali, SNP, Catalan and Basque politicians along with various political activists have had their say and declared their positions. The Socialist Party was not among the invited guest speakers and our message would have been one that would not have been welcomed.
In the struggle to win the minds of the working class one of the biggest obstacles to the establishment of socialism, is nationalism ― the loyalty and patriotism felt by many members of the working class towards "their country." Feelings of loyalty to a nation are purely subjective, having no basis in reality; the working class in Scotland has more in common with the workers in other regions of the UK and in other countries than it has with the any Scottish capitalist. Like it or not, but nationalist movements represent the interests of a section of the capitalist class. Nationalism can take on a "right-wing" or a "left-wing" form. This depends upon the position of the capitalist class in the particular time and place. However, once independence is achieved and the new ruling class has consolidated its power, then nationalism becomes a conservative force.
The Socialist Party opposes all nationalist movements, recognising that the working class has no country. But there are certain other groups the left-nationalists in Scotland who, though claiming to have a class outlook, possess a wholly opportunist attitude to nationalism, which reflects not so much the interest of the working class as it does a certain part of the Scottish business. They accept the mythology of the existence of "the Scottish nation" and espouse the right of people of each nation to self-determination and national sovereignty. Scotland is a nation; Scotland is not Britain; and the Scots have a right to decide whether or not they wish to have any association with the rest of the UK. This is a complete denial of Marxism; it is almost incomprehensible that people who call themselves as “socialists” should call for the right to re-establish Scottish nationhood. The Scottish independence is in essence no different from any other nationalist movement; it has been brought into being to further the ambitions of a fledgling native capitalist class to break away from Britain.
Some on the Left resort to the argument argued Marx and Engels supported particular nationalist movements and that therefore socialists should do so today. Such an assertion is based on a faulty understanding of the Materialist Conception of History. Marx and Engels were living in time when the bourgeoisie was engaged in a struggle to assert itself against the old feudal regimes. The victory of this class was a historically progressive step at that time in that it brought about the re-organisation of society on a capitalist basis, the essential pre-condition for the establishment of socialism; and it created an urban proletariat, the only class which can bring about socialism. This was why Marx supported the rising capitalist class in Poland and Ireland in their bid to capture political power. They were at the same time vehemently against the nationalist aspirations of many Slavic peoples. However, once capitalism reaches the point where socialism is a practical proposition, there is no need for socialists to advocate the capitalist industrialisation of every corner of the globe; they can concentrate fully on the task of establishing socialism. Hence the Socialist Party gives no support to any nationalist group, and in place of the opportunism and hypocrisy of the left-nationalists, our call is for "Workers of All Countries, Unite!"
The basic principles of the Socialist Party are that reforms (‘palliative measures’) will not change the position of the working class; that the goal is the abolition of all classes; and this can be achieved by the organised working class seizing power, expropriating the capitalist class, and socialising the means of production. Socialists hate capitalism with our heads and with our hearts because we see in it an out-dated social system, an anomaly in our present world, holding back that wonderful development of technology and resources that the present state of our knowledge could turn to the well-being of the people. We see in it a social system that carries within itself slumps and wars, poverty amid plenty, exploitation and oppression. All of us in the Socialist Party want to end it as soon as possible. Our aim is replacing the present capitalist system by socialism, understood as a society where there will be common ownership of the means of production and distribution. socialism is a society where the means of production and distribution are socially owned, in the hands of the working people.
Socialism is a society where material wealth will be in the hands of those who produce it, where the exploitation of man by man will be ended, where production will be used not for private profit, where a new relationship of fraternity will develop between peoples based on equality, where individual men and women will find totally new possibilities to develop their abilities. Although we strive to replace capitalism by socialism, we all of us believe that it is both possible and essential to fight now, within capitalism to defend and improve the immediate lot of the working people. We understand therefore the great importance for the Socialist Party which is working for a new social order to give their support to those organisations of the people whose main present concern is improving conditions under the existing social order. We therefore support such organisations as trade unions and community organisations. We see both the need and the possibility to win the overwhelming majority of the population for the fight against capitalism and for socialism and see the working class as the driving force in the advance to socialism. Marxists and the practical experiences of the international working class movement has shown that without the winning of political power and the transformation of the state, no successful advance to socialism is possible. We Marxists believe that this has always been and remains true. This after all is the essence of the old conflict of revolution versus evolution, because revolution means in essence a change of political power.
As Marxists we do not believe that the state in Britain is in essence different from the state in any capitalist country. We do not believe that it is neutral or above classes, and we do believe that in order to advance to socialism it is necessary for the working class majority to take political power out of the hands of the capitalists and to transform the State so that it becomes an instrument of the will of the majority in expropriation of the capitalists and the abolition of capitalism. We do not stand for violence, but if violence should be used by the old ruling class against the people, then the people themselves will, with all legitimacy behind them, have to find appropriate methods to deal with it. The enemy is modern capitalism. British capitalism is the oldest, most cunning, most skilled, most experienced in the world. It is no mean enemy to overcome and we would do wrong in any way to underestimate it. To defeat capitalism we need all our resources, and the issue of the moment is how best to bring them together in unity for the common struggle.
The Labour Party and their left-wing hangers-on possess a platform that is reformist when the task is revolutionary — that is, socialist. While capitalism is moving out to slash the many gains already won, straight-jacketing organized labour with anti-union laws, cutting down on social legislation, they talk in terms of the affluent society and the amelioration of class conflicts. They project a perspective of merely removing what they present as minor defects in the existing capitalist order of things, of patching capitalism up and making it more tolerable, instead of a perspective of fundamental change with a leadership preaching conciliation, peaceful co-existence with capitalism, not class struggle against it. In desperation they are attempting to shore up the system. Capitalism promises the people not amelioration of conditions but austerity, oppression, and either nuclear destruction of mankind or the environmental destruction of humanity. Only through an irreconcilable struggle against capitalism, towards its elimination and the establishment of socialism, will the people of the world find the full freedom, equality and democracy for which they aspire. Despite the campaign of lies and distortions about the socialist viewpoint we are confident that developing realities, together with the conscious participation of all who consider themselves socialists will offer the people the powerful leap forward on the march to a socialist world.
Sunday, October 27, 2019
Standing in the way of social progress is the capitalist class. The ruling class control the destinies of millions of others around the globe. In opposition to this minority is the vast majority of the rest of the population. In the final analysis, the conditions of life for 99% of the people cannot fundamentally improve without the overthrow of the ruling class. The capitalists are a powerful enemy and it will require protracted efforts to overthrow them. This class is the enemy of the revolution and the vast majority of the people. These capitalists live off the exploited labour of others. The vast majority of people belong to the working class. The working class produces the wealth appropriated by the capitalists and its basic interest lies in the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production.
Socialism means a class-free society, and a classless society means that a privileged minority of the population are not in a position to enjoy the national wealth, while the majority live only on their labour to produce it. It means especially that privileged individuals who do have excess income cannot invest it in the instruments of production with which others work, thus reducing them to a position of fixed subservience. It means an end of rent, profit, and interest on stocks and bonds, an end of “surplus value,” an end of the exploitation of labour. To all those other cultural goods of which we have been speaking, this economic change was regarded by socialists as pre-requisite and fundamental. Socialism means fewer officials than capitalism, not more. It is capitalism, with its huge bureaucratic organisation of administrators, directors, managers, under-managers, foremen, sales managers, advertising agents and production experts that outweighs – at the expense of the ratepayer – the official against the operative side of industry.
Socialism has a future and Marxism retains its validity. Revolution does not fall out of the sky. It requires organization–an organization committed to this goal. After we have overthrown the capitalists we will establish socialism. It will put an end to the exploitation of man by man. It will bring freedom to all those oppressed by capital and open up a new period of history for people. The enormous waste of capitalism will be abolished. Industrial democracy will wrest the earth from its exploiters and its vast and inexhaustible storehouse will yield abundance for all. The growth of socialism is the promise of freedom. What the people want they can't have. The trouble is that they have been too patient and too modest, but one of these days they are going to realise that this earth is theirs, and then they will take possession of it in the name of the humanity. Politically the people are not yet ready for socialism. They do not understand that the capitalist system is not capable of feeding, clothing, or sheltering them. Because of this political backwardness they are capable of seeing only their immediate ills, and hence are capable of making only immediate and emergency demands. Because of the political backwardness the struggle for socialism is small and isolated. The burning problem of the day for millions is to construct the bridge between the present political backwardness of the masses and the socialist revolution. But they can see the surrounding plenty. They can see the fertile fields full of crops. They can see the packed warehouses, the idle machines. And they can see just as clearly the empty plates at their dinner table. They can hear their children crying for food. They can feel all the horrible misery of the rotten conditions, the shame and degradation in which they are compelled to live. We are convinced that in spite of all the difficulties the ideas of socialism will continue to grow in strength, that socialism will conquer. The workers are in the majority, and their interests are in line with Socialism, which may, therefore, be realised as soon as they desire, and are resolute enough to put their desires into practice.
Capitalism has only known how to cause humanity misery and unhappiness; socialism will establish peace and harmony among men and women. Socialism maintains and proves that there is only one solution to the social problems as it presents itself in capitalist civilization: it’s that all the centralized labor instruments, such as the railroads, factories, textile works, mines, large farming properties, banks, etc, become common property and be given over to the associated workers, who will operate them , not for the profit of a few capitalists, do-nothings and thieves, but for the benefit of the entire community. This transformation of capitalist property into common property will create social well-being. The anarchic production of capitalist civilization , which only knows how to engender the poverty of the producers with its overabundances of merchandise and its periods of overwork and of unemployment, will be replaced by nationally and internationally regulated production, calculated according to the needs that are to be satisfied. Industrial inventions and improvements, no longer serving to enrich a few individuals, will increase the means of leisure and enjoyment of all members of society.
Socialism is international, just like capitalism. But whereas the internationalism of the bourgeoisie is continually frustrated by the mutual competition of national capitalisms, the internationalism of the workers is nourished and perpetually strengthened by the active solidarity of the interests of all the workers, regardless of their nationality. The situation of the workers is identical in its essential features throughout all capitalist countries. Whilst the interests of the bourgeoisies of different lands unceasingly conflict one with another, the interests of proletarians coincide. the social revolution cannot count upon success unless at the outset it involves, if not all, then at least the major capitalist countries. For this reason, from the moment when the workers begin to become aware that their complete emancipation is unthinkable without the socialist reconstruction of contemporary bourgeois society, they take as their watchword the union of the workers of the whole world in a common struggle for emancipation.
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Capitalism, by its method of production, has brought isolated workers together and constituted them as a class in society. Capitalism has made the workers a class in themselves. That is, the workers are a distinct class in society, whether they recognise this fact or not. Historical development calls upon this class to reorganise society completely and establish socialism. To do this, the workers must become a class for themselves. They must acquire a clear understanding of their real position under capitalism, of the nature of capitalist society as a whole, and of their mission in history. They must act consciously for their class interests. They must become conscious of the fact that these class interests lead to a socialist society. When this takes place, the workers are a class for themselves, a class with socialist consciousness. How are the workers to acquire this consciousness – this clear, thoroughgoing understanding of capitalist society, their position in it, and the need to replace this society with socialism? In the factory, the worker tries to get better wages and working conditions from the employer. If he cannot get them by a simple request, he soon learns the need of union organisation with which to enforce his requests and to defend himself from attacks by the employer. He learns, too, that the workers must resort to political action in order to influence the government in their interests. He and all other workers are forced by capitalism to engage in the class struggle. The thinking of the workers, which guides their fight, is based upon the ideas of the capitalist class, acquired directly from the capitalist media. What the workers still lack is a fundamental and thorough understanding of their real position in society and of their historic mission to establish socialism. This lack of a socialist consciousness reduces the effectiveness of their organisation, of their struggle, and prevents them from accomplishing their mission in society.
To imbue the workers with this rounded-out class consciousness, or socialist consciousness; to organise and lead the struggle for socialism – that is the specific function of the Socialist Party. It is composed of those workers who already understand the nature of capitalism and the historical task of the working class. Their aim is to develop the same understanding among all the workers, so that they no longer fight blindly, or with only one eye open but with a clear and scientific knowledge of what their class enemy is, of what the working class itself really is and of what it can and must do in society. They and their party therefore have no interests separate from the interests of the working class as a whole. It makes clear to the workers the full meaning of their fight. It shows how even the local struggles, against one capitalist, are really class struggles against capitalism; how the local struggles must be extended on a national and international scale if the workers are to win a lasting victory. It points out the political meaning of the economic struggle. It shows how the workers must organise as a class to take political power, and use it to inaugurate socialism. It combats the open and the insidious ideas of capitalism so that the working class as a whole may be better equipped to fight its enemy. To put it briefly, the Socialist Party is needed to win the working class to the principles of socialism. Socialism will never come by itself. It must be fought for.
Without an organised, conscious, active mass socialist party, the triumph of socialism is impossible. To judge the different parties, it is necessary to check on their words and their deeds. Socialism cannot be achieved, and the workers cannot effectively promote their interests, without class consciousness. Class consciousness means an understanding working class, a self-confident and self-reliant working class.The socialist who has no conscious understanding, cannot work to make non-socialist workers conscious of their task.
The Socialist Party represents a long and rich tradition. The Socialist Party knows the nature of the capitalist class and its long, brutal history, some of which is known to every worker. It is proud of the fact that its principles are founded on the teachings of the greatest scientific thinkers of the international working class, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Socialist Party describes itself as Marxist which merely signify it stands firmly on the basic principles of the greatest teachers in the history of the working class. The Socialist Party champions the idea of social revolution. What is a social revolution? It is the replacement of one ruling class by another. History is filled with such revolutions and in almost every case they made possible the progress of society. The socialist revolution is simply the overthrow of capitalist despotism and the establishment of the cooperative commonwealth. Socialism can be established by the workers gaining a majority of the votes for their candidates to public office. Once they have been elected in sufficient number they can introduce socialism relatively painlessly.
Capitalism is a world system, and it can be thoroughly destroyed only on a world scale. The Socialist Party is internationalist because it considers nationalism reactionary and the brotherhood and equality of all peoples of the human race the highest social aim. It is internationalist because it understands that the class-free socialist society cannot be established within the framework of one country alone. It is internationalist because it considers that national frontiers have become an obstacle to social progress and a direct contributing source to conflicts and wars. Socialism cannot conceivably be restricted to one country, no matter how big it is. Socialism is world socialism, or it is not socialism at all. Socialism means peace and freedom for the entire world. That is why the Socialist Party endeavours to promote an international organisation, to build unity and solidarity of the working class. The Socialist Party itself is only the link of a world chain of similar parties and organisations that aim to establish a world socialist movement. The Socialist Party therefore gives no support to war and opposes them at all times. It is the party of peace, not war; of the brotherhood of the peoples, not the slaughter of the peoples. Socialists are opposed to all exploitation and oppression
Friday, October 25, 2019
“All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.” - Communist Manifesto
Socialism at its core does not depend on theory or programmes but is based on real life. Socialism expresses the desire for a free, non-governed society, which offers freedom, equality and solidarity for its members. Our oppressors do their best to distort the ideal of socialism. The idea of socialism is bound up with mankind's awareness of the suppurating sore of injustice in capitalist society. Capitalism is for the preservation of the Master/Slave relationship. It is the lash of hunger which compels the poor to submit. In order to live we MUST SELL OURSELVES every day and hour. The greed for wealth is closely associated with the greed for power. Wealth is not only a generator of more wealth, it is also a political power. The goal of a world in which the working class organises and controls its own destiny can only be achieved through the combined development of socialism in individual nations. Socialism cannot be imposed from outside – it can only be made by, and for, the working class. Working class unity makes it impossible for the capitalists to go on in the old way of divide and rule. Working class unity enables us to combine our tactics for defending our class with the strategy of liberating our class. Working class unity is revolutionary.
The socialist movement will not advance significantly until it regains the initiative and takes the offensive against capitalism and all its agents. What is needed is not a propaganda device or trick, but a formulation of the issue as it really stands; and, indeed, as it has always stood with real socialists ever since the modern movement was first proclaimed. Our task, as socialists living and fighting in this day and hour, is simply to restate what socialism means. This restatement of basic aims and principles cannot wait; it is, in fact, the burning necessity of the hour. There is no room for misunderstanding among us as to what such a restatement of our position means and requires. It requires a clean break with all the distortions of the real meaning of socialism. A return to the original formulations and definitions, the authentic socialist movement, as it was previously conceived Nothing short of this will do.
Marx and Engels never taught that nationalisation signified the establishment of socialism. That’s not stated by Marx and Engels anywhere. Still less could they have imagined the monstrous idea that socialism would be without freedom and without equality, controlled by a ruthless police-state. Marxists defined socialism as a class-free society—with abundance and equality for all; a society in which there would be no state. Capitalism under any kind of government, is a system of minority rule, and the principal beneficiaries of capitalist democracy are the small minority of exploiting capitalists; scarcely less so than the slave-owners of ancient times were the actual rulers and the real beneficiaries of the Athenian democracy. To be sure, the workers have a right to vote periodically for one of two sets of candidates selected for them by the two capitalist parties. And they can exercise the right of free speech and free media. But this formal right of free speech and free media is outweighed rather heavily by the inconvenient circumstance that the small capitalist minority happens to enjoy a complete monopoly of ownership and control of all the press, and of television and radio, and of all other means of communication and information. We who oppose the capitalist regime have a right to nominate our own candidates. That is easier said than done. But even so, with all that, a little democracy is better than none. We socialists have never denied that. After the experiences of fascism and of military and police dictatorships in many parts of the world, we have all the more reason to value every democratic provision for the protection of human rights; to fight for more democracy, not less. The socialist task is not to deny democracy, but to expand it and make it more complete. That is the true socialist tradition.
Without freedom of association and organisation, without the right to form groups and parties of different tendencies, there is and can be no real democracy anywhere. The Marxists, throughout the century-long history of our movement, have always valued and defended bourgeois democratic rights, restricted as they were; and have utilised them for the education and organisation of the workers in the struggle to establish full democracy by abolishing the capitalist rule altogether. The right of union organisation is a precious right, a democratic right, but it was not “given” to the workers. It took mighty and irresistible labour upheavals to establish in reality the right of union organisation. In the old days, the agitators of the IWW—who were real democrats—used to give a shorthand definition of socialism as “industrial democracy”, the extension of democracy to industry, the democratic control of industry by the workers themselves, with private ownership eliminated. That socialist demand for real democracy was taken for granted in the time of Debs and Haywood. The class struggle of the workers against the capitalists to transform society is the fiercest war of all.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
“...all creatures have been turned into property, the fishes in the water, the birds in the air, the plants on the earth; the creatures, too, must become free.” - Thomas Münzer, cited approvingly by Marx
Socialists did not invent human aspirations for a just, egalitarian and free society; men and women have cherished that dream for a long time. What socialists did was to take these ideals and shape them into a revolutionary objective to achieve the better society to which all humanity desires. Socialism is not an authoritarian creed despite the history of those dictators who called themselves socialist. Socialism is a society without a government. It is a free society; a society without rulers and ruled, leaders and led, masters and slaves. Socialism is not only on the side of freedom but is equivalent to freedom.
Working people are losing trust in the existing institutions, and realize that they are defeating the very purpose they were supposed to serve. The world is at a loss for a way out. Parliamentarism and democracy are being challenged and salvation is being sought in right-wing populism and “strong man” political leaders. The employer is in business to make a profit. The lower his costs, other things remaining the same, the higher his profits. Now, labor cost is one of his principal costs. Therefore, the lower the wage, the higher the profit. The primary function of racism is in keeping wage and salary earners split, economically and politically. It is one of the principal weapons on the “divide and conquer” arsenal. If their ability to join together in unions is cut down, then their ability to raise their wages or prevent cuts will be impaired. Thus, their wages and working conditions will be worse than if they worked together. The lower wages represent higher profits for the employer. Racism benefits the bosses and hurts the wage earners of all races.
The function of the Socialist Party is to expose and fight false ideas, to open minds to the possibility of the construction of the free and class-free society. We are convinced that socialism is the only hope of the workers. Neither reforms nor palliatives can in any way remove the great economic contradictions inherent in capitalism. The time has now arrived when all revolutionary workers must either join hands with the Socialist Party or strengthen the hands of the reformists. Socialism can only win the workers when the Socialist Party has been so strengthened that it can carry out its work upon an even larger scale. To that end our organisation appeals for members where he or she can best assist the socialist movement. Outside the Socialist Party your efforts are probably being exhausted in a wrong efforts; inside the Socialist Party your energy will be directed upon the greatest work in history—helping in the emancipation of the working class and the freedom of humanity. Our goal is to lift the working class everywhere from wage bondage to dignity, and self-liberation. Capitalists are on one side of the class war, workers on the other. To inaugurate the era of freedom, harmony, and love involves a social revolution. The land and their resources and the machinery of production must become the property of the people, owned in common by them and democratically controlled by them.
To make the means of production common property, the only possible solution of the problem, the working class must secure control of the government machine. Then only can it exercise its political power and execute its will. This is why the class struggle is a political struggle and why the lines must be shaped and uncompromisingly drawn between the Socialist Party, representing the exploited working class, and all others, including reformist parties, that represent the exploiting capitalist class. Socialism alone promises escape from the despotic and grinding exploitation of the present system. It is in the workers' own enlightened self-interest to secure to the collective people all the means of wealth production, thus achieving industrial democracy and creating the socialist commonwealth.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
The figures suggest incidences of racial harassment are lower among students at Scottish universities than at institutions in England, however. The report says this may reflect the fact that England has a more ethnically-diverse student population.
Whether Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom or becomes a separate sovereign state will make no difference whatsoever to the basic structure of society where a privileged class monopolises the means of production while the rest have to work for wages and where wealth is produced not to satisfy human needs but for sale with a view to profit. It won’t even make much difference to your present standard of living in terms of wage levels, housing, unemployment and the other problems you face. It is this class structure of society — which exists equally in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and in Scotland — that is the basic cause of the economic and social problems faced by the great majority of society, those who, whatever their religious background, depend for a living on earning a wage or salary. This is why a mere constitutional change will make no difference.
Look at the Twenty-Six Counties of the Irish Republic which achieved “Independence” in 1921 after a bloody war against the British Army. What difference has this made to the position of wage and salary earners there? It has merely provided a different political framework within which they can suffer the problems of capitalism, governed by Irish, instead of British, politicians representing capitalist interests. Not of course that staying part of the United Kingdom is going to make any difference to these problems either.
The only change that will is a world-wide social revolution that would make all that is in and on the Earth the common heritage of all mankind to be used to provide an abundance of wealth to which all could have free access according to need. This essentially peaceful revolution can only occur when the great majority of wage and salary earners in all countries are in favour of it and organise democratically to carry it out. It involves a rejection of all nationalism and all attempts to solve problems on a national scale. In the context of Scotland it requires you to reject both nationalism and unionism.
The Socialist Party has no desire for social chaos, that vision of despair would drift into nothingness if people could only be brought to understand— to understand themselves and the social system under which they live and which makes them the unhappy beings that they are. We are endeavouring to give our non-socialist fellow-workers an exposition of life as it now is as it might soon be, and as, eventually it will be. What we desire is a sane and healthy system of society, to be created on the dead ashes of the system which is passing, wherein no man shall be called upon to sacrifice his ability and no woman her body in order to obtain the wherewithal to live; wherein the workman, the artist, the scientist (possibly a trinity in one person) may unite with and dovetail into one another in the production of wealth, which would be the property of an appreciative and enlightened humanity; not, as now, the property of a few unworthy and unappreciative parasites.
Capitalism, as a system geared to producing profits out of which those who own the means of production accumulate more and more capital, is quite incapable of serving human interests, mankind does have the technical knowledge to provide for much more than its present numbers. The problem is not overpopulation, but the underproduction and waste that are built-in to capitalism. The plundering and pollution of the world is not caused by modern technology but by its misuse in the service of profit. If the resources of the Earth, natural and man-made, belonged in common to all mankind they could be used in a conservationist and non-polluting way to provide for the needs of all. If overpopulation were ever to become a potential problem in a socialist world, then mankind also has the knowledge of how to control births.
The theory of The Socialist Party is Marxist in the sense that certain of our key ideas about society, economics and politics are derived from Karl Marx. Although our case rests entirely on its own merits and not on what Marx may or may not have said, we have always been ready to defend Marx’s views where we believe them to be correct against criticisms based on an ignorance of what he wrote.
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