Our lives are unnatural and horrible, and engender sins not due to natural depravity and wickedness but to an artificial and abnormal state of society. We produce not only the victims, the poor; we also manufacture the criminal men and women by the conditions in which we place them. So long as this accursed system of capitalist production holds, a curse alike and a demoralisation alike to all, so long must — it is no question of individual will — this condition that is just now shocking us all continue also. So long as the producers are the bond-slaves of the capitalist class, so long will these things go on. So long, indeed, as we have two classes face to face, the one literally in a position to buy, and actually buying, the bodies of the other, so long will the crimes that necessarily result from such a system continue.
There are those who accuse us of being, to say the least, "impractical," because instead of trying "to help where we can" we demand a revolution. I maintain that we socialists alone are truly practical, because we alone dare to go to the root of the ill. Ask a doctor to cure a patient living under absolutely unhealthy conditions in the midst of pestilential air and unsanitary surroundings. The doctor will tell you that you must change these surroundings if you would save the life of the individual. We but apply to many, to all individuals — i.e., to society — what the doctor applies to the one.
We say so long as human beings are the slaves they now are — whether they be the slaves of wealth or of poverty — this disease must continue. And so, instead of trying to do what is impossible, and seeking to make healthy individuals where the whole system is diseased, we say, do away with this unnatural state of things. Do not foster unnatural crime by unnatural conditions. Live free and healthy lives, and men and women will be free and healthy. Abolish the cause of the disease and the disease will disappear. And so long as there is a class that must sell its labour-power — and the labour-power of the poor takes many forms — so long must this iniquity continue.
We must work only with those who can really help us ; those who understand that the "salvation" of society means the revolution of society. The old biblical story may serve our turn. We need a "great flood" to wipe out the ills and evils of this society of ours. It is with those who would revolutionise society that our work as men and women lies. Do not believe those who tell you any political party, or any "reformers" or any special legislation, can do away with crimes that are only the result of our whole system of society to-day. If you would do away with these crimes, you must do away with their cause.
It is a sign of the times that more and more people are discussing the meaning of socialism. Socialism will bring the largest possible measure of the amenities of life within the reach of all. In a socialist administration for all there are no employers, no superiors, as no oppression; all are equals, and enjoy equal rights. No leader can make socialism, and no would-be leader can unmake it. No leader can dictate its course. It is a party of men and women, and not of one person. The day has passed for patching up the capitalist system; it must go. As we suffer together, we must work together so that we may all enjoy together. We offer justice for all. The truth of the matter is that this is a rich man’s State and a rich man’s government.
The State is there to act on behalf of the capitalists and to protect their interests against that of the people. There is war. It is class war. It is waged by the representatives of one class, the oppressors, against the oppressed. In this war, the State is always and invariably on the side of the oppressors. Some of its representatives may try to achieve the ends of capital by cajoling and wheedling. But they always keep the big stick ready. The State — that is the big stick of the owners of wealth, the big stick of the big corporations. Every one who tries to persuade you that the State is your friend, your defender, that the State is impartial is misleading you. When you protect “industry” you give it freedom to exploit “labour”. The reformists preach to the workers a reliance on this very State and its laws as prescribed for them by the ruling class.