Capitalist society does and can only exist to the detriment, degradation, and demoralisation of the working-class. The capitalist-class has its representatives in the Government, local and national, and uses the legislative and administrative boards as pliant tools for the protection and promotion of its class interests, for the maintenance and extension of class domination, and for the further robbery and enslavement of the working-class. If, then, this is the economic function and political role of the capitalist class, what have the workers to expect from the present-day rulers of society ?
The basis of a socialist party in any country must, therefore, be a recognition of the fact that the material interests of the working class are in entire opposition to those of the employing class, that is, the recognition of the class war. Any party which declares that no class war exists rules itself, by virtue of that declaration, out of order as a socialist party. It is, necessary, therefore, in forming and organising a socialist party to have a clearly defined class war basis, and in every action of the party to always keep the class-conscious character of the party clearly to the front. Any action tending to obscure this position, any position keeping the class struggle in the background, is a virtual betrayal of socialist principles, serving only to confuse the issues in the minds of the workers and to make it more difficult for them to understand their class position and the reasons for it, and to see the road which must be followed if they are to achieve their emancipation — serving only, in brief, to retard the development of their class consciousness.
We have, therefore, to recognise all the time that it is only possible to secure any real benefit for the people when the people themselves become class conscious, when behind the socialists in Parliament and on other bodies there stands a solid phalanx of men and women clear in their knowledge of socialism and clear in their knowledge that the only way to secure the socialist commonwealth of the future is to depend only upon the efforts of themselves and those who have the same class conscious opinions. Therefore we have no palliative programme. The only palliative we shall ever secure is the socialist society of the future gained by fighting uncompromisingly at all times and in every season.
Those who think in directing the attention of the working-class to the political representatives of the master-class for relief from the misery which is crushing them, in holding out to them the prospect or possibility of amelioration through the good grace of the ruling faction, are incurring a serious responsibility. Promising the working-class something that must inevitably fail is the fruitful source of that apathy and indifference in which the workers are sunk to-day; telling the workers they have gained victory when it is only a victory for the capitalist-class, entrenches ignorance and calling upon the capitalist governments to undermine their own position, which must be the case if any measure of material value to the working-class is put into operation, creates that pessimism in the minds of the workers that you so much deplore.
The Socialist Party exists to teach the workers their true position in society, and to create the political weapon whereby alone that position can be altered. The mission of the Socialist Party is to show the workers that capitalism lives on their wretchedness and prostitution, and that, if their emancipation is to be accomplished, they must adopt a political attitude necessarily hostile to all other political parties. Outside the Socialist Party, the party of socialism, the party of the working-class, all other political parties uphold and safeguard the interests of the capitalist-class and the continuance of the wage system which is responsible for not only the unemployed but the other evils that afflict society.
The Socialist Party is the political expression of the material interests of the working-class for whom there can be only one policy and one programme, that is the control through public ownership of the tools and machinery for producing the necessaries and comforts of life, to be achieved by the political action of the working-class, cognisant of the causes of its suffering and wretchedness and conscious of its material interest and historic mission.