Thursday, February 20, 2020

Our Purpose is Socialism

The aim of the Socialist Party is to build a socialist society. Our party is the party of revolution. The revolution is the only solution. Our revolutionary goal shapes our principles and policy. We stand up and fight for the true interests of the working class as a whole, at every turn of the road. The Socialist Party is not afraid to take an unpopular stand when it is necessary in order to combat the prejudices of our fellow-workers. We would not be worthy of the name of socialist if we evaded such a fight. The conscious support of the workers is what we want. We are fighting for their minds and hearts. Our party is a party of revolutionary workers, a party of political struggle against capitalism and all its works. We are not liberal nor are we progressives, but revolutionists. The workers will understand that the overthrow of capitalism is the only road to social justice. Socialism cannot arrive from nowhere.

Capitalist society is a society divided into two main classes: the capitalists, (or bourgeoisie); and the working class, (or proletariat). The former own the land, the factories and the machines, and all the means by which wealth is produced (the means of production), and are therefore the ruling class, though they do no productive work themselves. The latter though they do all the real productive work of society, own neither the means of production nor the wealth they create; and, therefore, are forced to sell to the capitalists their ability to work and produce. Numerically, the capitalists are an insignificant minority, while the workers constitute the vast majority of the people.

Capitalism is not based on plenty. Though it has developed, for the first time in history, the possibility of providing enough for everybody, it has always condemned a great part of the people to live in poverty and insecurity. This is because the capitalist class, who decide what is to be produced, base their decisions not on what people need but upon how much profit they will make when the goods are sold in the market.

Capitalist society is not a peaceful, international society, but, on the contrary, nationalist in a narrow, selfish way. Just as within each capitalist country the various capitalists and groups of capitalists compete with each other in order to sell their goods at a greater profit, so capitalist countries as a whole enter into competition with other capitalist countries. This competition inevitably leads to wars: on the one hand to enslave more backward countries; and on the other, to redivide the countries which have been enslaved between the different capitalist countries. Such wars are not in the interests of the working class, but only of the capitalists.

Because capitalism is a class society, in which the small class of monopoly capitalists exploits the great majority of the people—not only the workers, but also the professional and technical workers, and the small farmers and shopkeepers—it is necessary for the capitalists to impose their will upon the people. It does this, partly by filling all the key posts in the armed forces, the Civil Service and all legal institutions (that is, in the State) with members of its own class; partly through its control of the Press, the films and so on, by which public opinion is influenced.

Thus, while in a capitalist democracy it is true that the majority of the people have the opportunity of taking part every few years in the election of the Government and of the local authorities, and in addition have won a number of democratic rights such as the right to organise in trade unions and political parties, freedom of the media etc., nevertheless the real power of the State remains in the hands of the capitalists.

Under capitalism, as we have seen, human society is condemned to a series of bitter struggles; class against class, nation against nation, and individual against individual. Inevitably, therefore, the great majority of the people, instead of being inspired by a common social purpose, are forced to struggle for their own individual and selfish interests. Moreover, since capitalism condemns the majority of people to poverty or insecurity, there is a continual waste of human talent and ability.

Socialist society will be a class-free society, in which all the means of producing wealth are owned in common. Instead of being divided into workers and employers, rich and poor, society will be an association of free people, all making their special contributions to the well-being of society, which in return will supply them with what they need in order to live full and happy lives. Such a society can be summed up in the slogan: “From each according to ability, to each according to needs.” For this to be possible, socialism must be based on abundance. Production will be organised in such a way that there is plenty of everything for everybody: not only food, houses, transport, and so on, to satisfy material needs; but also schools and theatres, playing-fields, books and concerts, so that people can lead full, physical and cultural lives. Socialism will be international. It is not something which can be fully completed in one country, isolated from the rest of the world. On the contrary it must eventually embrace all the peoples of the world; and in so doing it will put an end to war.

Socialism is a stage of human development where many institutions which we accept today as essential, such as policemen and prisons, employers and workers, armies and civil servants, will have disappeared. Because no wars can take place in a truly international society there will be no need for armies. Because it will be a community of plenty, where there is enough for all and therefore no advantage can be obtained by theft or other forms of crime, all need for courts of justice and police will have disappeared. In other words, the State, which is the sum of all these institutions and organisations, will itself disappear. Instead of one section of society ruling and oppressing another, men will have grown accustomed to living together in society without fear and compulsion. Thus, for the first time, mankind, united in a world-wide family, will be free to devote all its creative energies to becoming one with nature.

Such a society implies tremendous changes in people themselves; not only in their economic position, but also in their whole outlook on life itself. For instance, work, instead of being simply a means of earning a living, will have become the natural expression of men and women’s lives, freely given according to their abilities. Moreover, the nature of work will itself have changed. Through the development of science much of its drudgery will have disappeared and every man and woman wild develop their mental and physical capacities to the full; and this will inevitably bring about changes in their outlook.

The first and fundamental contrast between socialist and capitalist society is that under socialism all the means of production and exchange—the land, factories, machines and transport—are owned in common. Thus the exploitation of one class by another is ended. Instead of one small class being able to live on the labour of the majority of the people, everybody is obliged to undertake some form of productive or administrative work on behalf of society as a whole. Socialism, production is organised to meet the needs of the people and not to provide profit for a single class. It will, therefore be possible to plan production; and so to increase enormously the amount produced.

We cannot begin to build socialism while the capitalist class can use the power of the State to maintain its private ownership of the means of production. It cannot take place unless it is the will of the majority of the people. No amount of reforms of capitalism bring socialism any nearer.

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