Sunday, April 26, 2020

We are world socialists

The Socialist Party is for the overthrow of capitalism, for the new world which awaits our fellow-workers when they have discarded their chains—a world in which no-one shall be another's master: all shall be free.

Divorced from the ownership of the necessary tools of production, the workers are compelled to sell the only power they possess—the power to labour—and in return receive wages which represent in the main only the bare necessaries needed to produce that labour power, despite the fact that their energy, applied to the materials they work with adds value to the subject of their labour. The products, however, remain the property of the masters, who proceed to realise their profits by selling the products on the market. Thus, being dependent upon the masters, the workers are enslaved and subjected to exploitation, which grows more and more intense, with the result that ever more quickly markets are flooded and more workers are thrown on their own resources—which means that they are at liberty to starve.

Always tinged with the insatiable greed for wealth, the solutions offered by the master class fall short, as that very profit lust is the expression of the causes of the problem and it cannot be solved without their self-abolition or without the working class organsing for that purpose.

While production is social the product is privately owned, and as the workers can only absorb wealth according to their meagre purchasing-power, and the master class cannot dispose of the surplus wealth even by indulging in stupendous orgies of waste, distributing centres become choked with wealth and the cycle of unemployment and starvation in the midst of plenty is gone over again until the wealth is gradually absorbed and the channels once more freed. Private ownership, then, is the root cause of the problem; and it is at the root cause we must strike.

Capitalism is rotten, as is evident from a glance over the headlines in any newspaper. Crime, disease, oppression, starvation, indicate the social and economic bankruptcy of the system of private ownership of property, and we of the working class can confidently go ahead to wield ourselves into the party which shall take the helm and usher in the system that, for the first time in the history of man, shall make freedom possible. While the masters are futilely trying to "pluck the nettle," we socialists shall continue the educational work and grow a working-class party determined to make use of the political power to weed out capitalism which chokes all that is best in human relations.

Fellow-workers, how long will you go in your hopelessness, and let the parasite class lecture you? Discover the simplicity of your emancipation; see the hope that lies in your dormant mighty strength, and, rouse yourselves to sweep away for ever the subjection of our class. Capitalism is based on exploitation, selling commodities and realising as big a profit as possible. There is no other way of running the system. Capitalism itself produces greed, corruption poverty and war through the artificial production of scarcity and the exploitation for its own ends. The only way to end inequality is to end capitalism, world-wide; to abolish the profit system and abolish states and borders.

We are not the only political organisation calling ourselves socialist. Anyone seeking to understand what is wrong with present-day society will come across others, all having some such word in their names as “socialist”, “workers”, “revolutionary” or “communist”. Most of these will be of Leninist or Trotskyist origin and have aims, theories and methods which have nothing in common with ours. Their basic position is that ordinary people are not capable of understanding socialism and therefore need leaders to tell them what to do. Lenin, the mentor of all these groups, expressed this by saying that, left to themselves, workers were only capable of developing a “trade union consciousness”. Only a minority of people within society, initially mainly from outside of the ranks of the workers, could understand socialism and it was their duty to organise themselves as a “vanguard party” to lead the workers. As this minority had to operate in a hostile capitalist environment it had to organise itself on military-style lines, with its own hierarchically-structured leadership operating in secret and able to hand down “the party line” to the rank-and-file membership.

Socialism is a simple idea. Any person can understand it. Instead of the means for producing things being owned by a privileged class of rich individuals or state or corporate bureaucrats, they should be owned in common and democratically-controlled by everybody; that, instead of goods and services being produced for sale on a market or to make a profit, they should be produced just to satisfy the variety of different needs that people have.

Becoming a socialist means coming to want a society organised on this basis, and to recognise that present-day society, capitalism, because it is a class-divided and profit-motivated society, can never be made to work in the interest of everyone. These are conclusions which people can easily come to on the basis of their own experience and reflection and in the light of hearing the case for socialism argued.

But not only can people understand socialism, they must want it if socialism is to be established. The very nature of socialism as a society of voluntary cooperation and democratic participation rules out its being established by some minority that happens to have got control of political power, whether through elections or through an armed insurrection. People cannot be led into socialism or coerced into it. They cannot be forced into cooperating and participating; this is something they must want to do for themselves and which they must decide to do of their own accord. Socialist society can function on no other basis.

This is the basic principle that underlines the whole political activity of the Socialist Party. It commits us to a policy of making sure that hearing the ease for socialism becomes part of the experience of as many people as possible. It commits us to treating other workers as adults who are capable of being influenced by open public debate and argument and not to try to hoodwink or manipulate them. It commits us to opposing the whole concept of leadership, not just to get socialism but also for the everyday trade-unionist struggle to survive under capitalism.

We do not seek to lead such struggles but limit ourselves to urging workers to organise any particular struggle in a democratic way under the control of those directly involved. Our own party is organised on this basis and we envisage the mass movement for socialism, when it gets off the ground, being organised too on a fully democratic basis without leaders.

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