All the recent figures highlighting wealth inequality are merely by way of underscoring the tendency that exists in capitalist society, the polarising more and more wealth at one end into the hands of fewer and fewer persons, and at the other, misery, oppression, poverty and degradation as the lot of more and more. This was discovered long ago by Karl Marx and no matter how often it his attacked by the apologists for capitalism, it still remains an inescapable fact.
Under private ownership, production is undertaken to satisfy not the needs of the people as a whole, but to satisfy private profit. If profit cannot be obtained, production shuts down. Businesses compete against each other, not out of a desire to satisfy the needs of the people for clothing, cars or refrigerators but in order to capture the market and outsell their competitors to make more profits. Alternating bubbles and recessions are the only too well known characteristics of capitalist society. The socialist movement has long since rendered its verdict on the capitalist class. They’re all guilty.
The Socialist Party is the only party are prepared to sacrifice their time and efforts for the ideas it holds to be true. At this point the skeptics ask:
“But how many are there of you? Isn’t it true that your Socialist Party consists of only a handful of people? How can such a small party get anywhere?”
The last thing that the Workers Party seeks to do is to conceal the fact that its numbers are small. It has no need to engage in wild exaggerations of its size, as so many left-wing parties do, because it does not regard its present size to be the decisive factor in its ability to achieve its goal. If the achievement of socialism depended upon the strength of the party today then the question of whether the Socialist Party had five hundred or five thousand members would surely make no difference, for one figure would be as inadequate as the other. We therefore see that the question is not one of how we “expect to get anywhere with such a small party.” The real question is this: Are the ideas of the Socialist Party sowing the seeds of socialism which workers will rally to tomorrow?
The fact that socialism is now possible does not mean that workers will strive for it, no matter how alluring a socialist society appears. Socialism is possible but we have to await the time when workers realise that capitalism is proving itself increasingly impossible and those who considers socialism to be a daydream are driven to consider capitalism a nightmare. Socialism represents the economic salvation of our times. Every every worker will come to recognize that capitalism is the common enemy,
The worker is the heart of all wealth. When workers stop production there is paralysis. Compare this indispensability of the workers with the other class in society. Not all the gold in the treasury of the United States could smelt steel in the furnaces. Not all the stocks and shares in Wall Street – certificates of ownership of the means of production – can mine one lump of ore. Not a capitalist – for all their so-called risk-taking and so-called management and who are supposed to be essential – could produce a nut or bolt for a car. When a corporation shuts down one of its factories and stops production, it is no proof of the indispensability of capitalists in the production processes. It only points up the folly of the workers in allowing capitalism to stand between them and the factory of which labour is the heart.
Such a demonstration of labour’s might as we have seen in recent strikes also makes clear the relation between engineers, scientists, technicians and the masses of workers. Absolutely necessary as these brain-workers are, without the mass of workers all the engineering, scientific and technical know-how would be wasted. It is toil that makes reality of new ideas. Even if scientists conceive an automated civilization, it will still be labour that will manufacture the buttons to push. Therefore, both by their all-controlling position in production and by their overwhelming numbers the workers are the mightiest class in modern society.
This mighty class is by no means numbered by industrial, mining and transport workers only. The agricultural and dairy workers, without whom we would all starve, are part of the working class. So are the various categories of white collar and wage-earning “middle-class” professional workers, all necessary in our complex intricate society. By its key position in production, by its vast numbers and by its relation to other elements in society whose security has vanished under capitalism, the working class should be up on top, controlling production in the interest of all the people. However, the working class is not in a command. While strikes show so clearly that without labour there is nothing, the same strikes have shown the limitation the workers can make of their power. The workers have struck for wage increases, shorter hours and improved conditions. Their militancy and solidarity have the had bosses and politicians frightened stiff. Then what happens? Our fellow-workers put away their strength in storage. Production is returned back to the capitalists to direct once more. The government remains in the hands of the capitalist politicians of the major parties. The government, anxious to relieve the capitalists of every “hardship” and mindful of the “risks” of profit-making, grants the employers concessions and passes anti-union laws.
The Socialist Party asks “Why do workers not make full use of their strength to break the vicious circle of capitalism and end the exploitation and oppression?”
Strikes are necessary weapons for definite objectives and for limited periods. But permanently, the affairs of the country are settled by political action to take control the State so as to build a socialist society and be able to plan and control production in the interest of the people. This is the way to break the crazy capitalist control. If workers makes up its mind to do this, nothing can stop it.