Thursday, June 11, 2020

Who is the Enemy?


The Socialist Party has a clear and definite understanding of socialism and knows how to express it lucidly. The Socialist Party has an active, and enthusiastic membership which works in unison propagating the case for socialism. It is a party of education. Our Declaration of Principles outlines a line of action, a prospectus and platform that is also the test of qualification for membership and a guide for the actions of any member elect of the party elected. The Socialist Party rejects violence in bringing about socialism. Our methods are persuasion, through the written and spoken word. The Socialist Party’s vision and imagination serve as one of our recruitment tools. Our trust in humanity is motivated by the simple but profound belief in the creative capacities of ordinary men and women. We cannot properly express socialist ideas unless there are people to listen.

Socialism is a future society where the associated producers are in control of the process of production, an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. Socialism is not where everybody has been levelled down to a lower common denominator, a so-called “equality”, but it will be a society in which the classes have been abolished, in which the distinction between “town” and “country” has been vanished, where there can no longer be any comparison between the living conditions of of the whole population under the new society and under the most highly developed capitalist state and above all, in which the state power and coercion has died out and to be replaced by the administration of things.This assumes such a tremendous rise in the productivity and a highly developed technology.  Socialism is not state ownership, central planning, a command economy and a ‘progressive’ foreign policy

It is not easy to interest the working class in socialism. Private property remains attractive to many, not only in the form of personal ownership of small businesses but also in the sectional ownership of cooperatives. There is no point in the Socialist Party thinking that the present indifference to our society’s economic base is going to change miraculously and overnight into a mass enthusiasm for its transformation, or that an undefined set of favourable circumstances will suddenly make common ownership the popular. The Socialist Party, however, does not say that more favourable conditions for the advocacy of the socialist case will never occur and that support for common ownership will never be generated. What it does mean is that it will take time and the Socialist Party have attuned ourselves to the possibility of politics of the long haul. Meantime, our priority is explaining why common ownership of the means to life is the key to socialist change. What we need to communicate is an adequate grasp of the political and economic forces at work in our society. What we need to do is to relate is how the economic system underpins all aspects of capitalist culture. The Socialist Party must seek to relate the erosion of political democracy, the brutalisation, commercialisation and the trivialisation of life to the present economic order. 

The Socialist Party’s case is one of convictions not clich├ęs.  We assure our fellow-workers that common ownership does not mean the establishment of a technocrats’ paradise, but the liberation of production and the liberation of people. The Socialist Party seeks a better world founded on common ownership, equality and democracy to meet all mankind’s material needs, to raise men and women’s personal and individual development to the greatest possible height. Sadly, today in the name of socialism we see common ownership changed into state slavery, distorting socialism.
William Paul, at the time a member of the De Leonist Socialist Labour Party, explains:
“...The revolutionary socialist denies that state ownership can end in anything other than a bureaucratic despotism. We have seen why the state cannot democratically control industry. Industry can only be democratically owned and controlled by the workers electing directly from their own ranks industrial administrative committees…Socialism will require no political state because there will be neither a privileged property class nor a downtrodden propertyless class: there will be no social disorder as a result, because there will be no clash of economic interests; there will be no need to create a power to make ‘order’.” Paul wrote, “In the last analysis state ownership is more a means of controlling and regimenting the workers than of controlling industry... The attempt of the state to control industry is therefore the attempt of the ruling class to dominate labour.


Engels himself, warned against any equation of socialism with state ownership:
... since Bismarck adopted state ownership a certain spurious socialism has made its appearance, here and there even degenerating into a kind of flunkeyism – which declares that all taking over by the state, even of the Bismarckian kind, is in itself socialistic. If, however, the taking over of the tobacco trade by the state was socialistic, Napoleon and Metternich would rank among the founders of socialism.
One might point out that if all that was required for socialism was the ownership of property by a collective organisation and administration then the Catholic Church has been a socialist institution for over 2,000 years
The Socialist Party declares what is required for socialism is production for use and not for profit, under the supervision of a democratic structure, the ownership of means of production by society and not the State. We should not equate ‘the state’ and ‘society. State and social ownership are not the same. Whatever differences follow nationalisation, the nature of the workers essential subordination to the immediate work process will remain unchanged. Workers continue to receive a wage, to clock in every morning and clock out every evening. The nature of the work process remains unchanged, although the responsibility in the line of command will have shifted away from the individual or corporate capitalist towards the state as owner and administrator


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