Tuesday, June 22, 2021

An Address to Fellow-Workers


We address you not as citizens of one country to citizens of another but as world socialists to fellow-workers of the world. We reject frontiers as artificial barriers put up by governments. All are brothers and sisters and the world should be theirs. All should be social equals with free access to the plenty that could be if only the means of living belonged to a socialist world community. We oppose governments everywhere, all nationalism, racism and religion, all censorship, all wars and preparations for war.  We support class struggle for better wages and conditions against the employers and the government.  Do not be misled by those who say that universal suffrage is a fraud. Learn from your masters. You too must organise to win political power if you want a new society. Do not let cunning politicians return to power on your backs. Ignore those who would be your leaders. Rely on your own understanding and organisation. Turn universal suffrage into an instrument of emancipation. Do not underestimate what a task it will be to change society. It will be a hundred times more difficult than changing the government. A democratic world community, based on common ownership with production for use not profit, can only be set up when people want it and are ready to take the steps needed to get it up and keep it going. Democratic political action is the only way to socialism. There are no short cuts. We must have a majority actively on our side.

Do not be misled by demagogues, those who praise Lenin, Trotsky, Mao or Che Guevara, who would use you for their own mistaken ends. They think that an elite should use discontent and unrest to gain power so to set up a new society. What dangerous nonsense! Look at former state capitalist Russia where a new privileged class ruled, with police intimidation and censorship, over an increasingly restless population. Look at state capitalist China where power-hungry bureaucrats and new oligarchs cynically manipulate the people in their own sordid squabbles. Learn the lessons of history: elite action leads to elite rule. No socialism unless by democratic political action, based on socialist understanding. The task we face is to build up a strong world-wide movement for socialism. What is needed more than anything else in this period of social unrest is a clear, uncompromising statement of the case for a socialist world community.

We are keen to grow and spread. We want to increase the size and reduce the price of our journals. We have a dozen pamphlets we should like to publish. We seek to improve and widen our online presence. We want to train and equip new speakers and writers. We want—we want a hundred things; but chiefly and above all we want socialism.

We shall not get socialism until we get you. If you are thoroughly convinced of the desirability of socialism and  our method of attaining to it, your place is with us. Do not come in because you think something should be done for the suffering poor. Do not come in because you have a  kind heart and feel charitably disposed towards your fellows. We are engaged in a grim struggle. The enemy will not go down before an onslaught of sentiment. Come in clear-eyed and clear-headed, knowing that you are part of the working class, knowing that your class is a subject class, held in bondage by a parasitic useless class, small but politically powerful; knowing that you can wrest that power from them, and then—and only then—can remould our world.

We as socialists are not prepared to compromise our opposition to defenders of capitalism masquerading as ”friends” of the workers. The class struggle is not going to disappear by wishful thinking; nor will it go away by the introduction of economic or social reforms nor by draconian anti-trade union legislation. While capitalism remains, the class struggle remains. The solution to this struggle between capital and labour, a solution propounded by socialists throughout this century, is that workers must organise politically to abolish capitalism. Trade unions, strikes, and other manifestations of the class struggle can only go so far. They are always limited by the class position of the workers and the vagaries of the trade cycle which capitalism periodically passes through. In the end, workers must realise that it is in their immediate interests to push the class struggle to its limit and abolish capitalism.

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