"You are dreamers!" How often have we in the Socialist Party heard this. Yet what is the reality that our fellow-workers face?
The economic and social system prevailing in the world is known as capitalism. Capitalism is an economic term. It is applied by political economists and sociologists to the economic system of our civilisation, by means of which men achieve economic independence and have the privilege of living idly upon the labour of others, who produce a surplus value above that which they receive for their own sustenance. Capitalism refers to the system. A capitalist is one who proﬁts by the system. The dominating features of capitalism are the private ownership of capital, the production of goods for profit and the division of society into two classes, namely, the capitalist class and the working class. The land, factories and all the means of producing the nation’s wealth are owned by the capitalist class. The people own nothing except their muscles and brains, that is, their power to work.
The worker has nothing to sell but his or her labour power. We sell our capacity to work to an employer for so many hours a day for a certain price, that is, wages. Since one cannot separate labour power from one’s body it comes to this, that a worker actually sells oneself like a slave. Socialists call our fellow-workers, “Wage slaves”. Wages are determined by what it costs to keep one person and family. How many do you know who can save out of their wages? They may be able to put something by in a goodyear, but when bad years come savings are gone. It is a fact that on the average a working man is not more than two weeks removed from penury.
The capitalist will only employ people if he can make profit out of it. Just calculate the value of the goods you turned out in a day when you were in the factory, and what you receive back for your work. The difference between the two is the employer’s profit. Profit is the result of the unpaid labour of the worker. In capitalist England, the workers are continually robbed of the results of their labour. The capitalist will compel the worker to work as hard and as long as he can, for as little money as possible. What does capitalism offer workers? A life of toil on a bare subsistence. Always the dread fear of the sack. Capitalism can offer its workers nothing but wage slavery. If capitalism remains in existence, the worker will still remain subjugated to the capitalist. There will still be riches and leisure for the few, toil, and poverty for the rest of us.
The crises of capitalism on a world scale gave rise to a growing radicalisation among some sections of the population.
Our aim is a commonwealth without State, without Government, without classes, in which the workers shall administer the means of production and distribution for the common benefit of all. Socialism is primarily an economic transformation, brought about by the class struggle between the working class and the capitalist class, and it will change the character of all who come under the influence of the new conditions. The transformation of civilisation into the co-operative commonwealth, involving the greatest change known at least to modern history. Our object is the abolition of wage slavery; severance with all capitalist, reform parties; abolition of class rule; the establishment of world socialism, the brotherhood of man.
The most common objection to electing candidates to capitalist legislatures is that, no matter how good revolutionists they are, they will invariably be corrupted by their environment and will betray the workers. This belief is born of long experience. Socialists elected to Parliament have as their function to make propaganda; to ceaselessly expose the real nature of the capitalist State, to obstruct the operations of capitalist government and show their class character, to explain the futility of all capitalist reform measures. The new society is not to be built.. as we thought, within shell of the capitalist system. We cannot wait for that.
THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION IS HERE. Together we shall form a worldwide Co-operative Commonwealth. When we speak of the socialist commonwealth, we think of that great global confederation of free peoples united in one common bond. We look forward to a world when there is no longer a master, no longer a slave and the abolition of wage slavery and establishment of the cooperative commonwealth.