“Humans cannot be changed overnight into saints and angels,” say critics of socialism. True, but economic conditions can be radically modified in a very few years through the transformation of the means of production and distribution in the hands of a socialist administration, society can very quickly build the foundations, even if roughly-hewed, of a future world. We can consciously steer towards such a goal rather than hold the reformist policy of the perpetuation of the old order and its class antagonisms. In a society in which culture is for all, and work is for all, that class division will disappear. There is no alternative for the working class other than socialism, not reforms but socialism should be the objective of a socialist party’s struggles.
The political aim of the Socialist Party is not to reform capitalism, not to take over the capitalist state – whether by parliamentary means or by force – but to build a new type of society. All reformist parties – no matter how much they claim allegiance to “socialism” – conceive of their political aims as lying within the framework of capitalism: as winning reforms from capitalism, winning a majority in the capitalist government, or even as “transforming” the capitalist government into a “socialist workers’ state” (i.e., requesting the capitalist state to commit suicide). And, conversely, all political parties which conceive of their political aims as lying within the framework of the capitalist state are reformist. The Labour party is, then, a reformist party. The Trotskyist parties are also reformist. They are like any other reformist party, not merely non-revolutionary, but anti-revolutionary.
The Socialist Party stands for socialism, the abolition of capitalists by the workers. We believe that society has reached a stage where it is possible so to organise production as to end poverty, unemployment, inequality and war.
The socialist revolution consists of a revolutionary process, on a world scale, through which the socialist mode of production is established and supplants the capitalist economic system. The socialist revolution is the revolution of the working masses in their own interests, to end all exploitation and to end class-divided society. Socialism means the ending of exploitation of man by man, a society without class antagonisms, in which the people themselves control their means of life and use them for their own happiness. Ideas cannot be produced to order; they must achieve their own growth in the minds and hearts of men and women. Fostered and allowed to grow and express the experiences and aspirations of the people. Socialism is not inevitable. What has been termed its ‘inevitability’ consists of this, that only through socialism can human progress and social evolution can continue. But there is not and cannot be any absolute deterministic inevitability in human affairs, since mankind makes its own history and chooses what to do. What is determined is not choice, but the conditions under which it is made, and the consequences when it is made. The meaning of socialism is not that it tells us that socialism will come regardless, but that it explains to us what course lies open to us, what road we can take. What are the chances of our success? Against capitalism we must struggle or perish. But propaganda is not enough. The Socialist Party can clarify; it cannot create. The workers may listen, but they can only be convinced by experiencing the capacity to translate theory into practice in their daily struggles. That time has proved or will prove us right is of little value. We are revolutionaries, not prophets, and it is through our actions that the workers will learn to respect our theory, constantly checked and renewed, a living weapon in the class-struggle, and not the vain repetition of abstract formula. A work of patient struggle and unremitting organisation is before us. We know it. We summon our fellow-workers to unite with us in the struggle for the revolution — to lift the worker out of poverty, to cure unemployment, to abolish war, to assist the working peoples in their task of liberating themselves, in short, to end the chaos and misery that is capitalism.