Thursday, May 26, 2022

What do we mean by socialism?

 


Most people’s ideas of what socialism would be like have been formed wither by the tyranny in the former Soviet Union or the experiences of the Labour Party or other ‘left-wing’ governments, a view that socialism is a one-party bureaucracy or a mishmash of palliative reforms. The Socialist Party, however, has as its task to educate the millions of our fellow workers on how society can be reorganised to put an end to poverty and injustice once and for all. Once socialism has been achieved and capitalism has been ended worldwide, the immense resources of our planet will be harnessed for the peoples’ needs. The State will wither away and a  new era of true freedom and a united humanity. We face two choices – either accept capitalism or set out to overturn this system. 


A great unanswered question with far-reaching implications and consequences for the world is why the socialist movement has not made substantial progress. Socialism is not a complicated idea even if not widely understood. It has not gained significant support from the working class. The socialist movement is weak and uninfluential. Socialism is not inevitable. What has been termed its ‘inevitability’ consists in this, that only through socialism can human progress 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. The Socialist Party does not tell us that socialism will come regardless, but that it explains to us where we stand, and what course lies open to us. It is not here dismissing the importance of achieving reforms or protecting civil liberties, but rather correcting the misconception that socialism can be won through improving or democratising part of the system without getting rid of the capitalist system in its entirety. Socialism is about working people being willing and able to fight for a society free of exploitation a. If socialism is not about creating a society without exploitation then it is merely another word for capitalism. And if working people are not willing or able to fight for such a society then, no matter what meaning we give the word, socialism is unattainable.


It is time to act and show the power of the workers. Time to prove we are not pawns in a deathly game of chess. We have the power of the vote. Our power also lies in the factories, in the trade unions and outside in our communities and streets. It is time to develop the will to use that power. Unity of purpose and action can develop power and a fighting force that no other power can destroy. We have to prove we are free men and women. Working people, united and determined, are strong enough by their own actions to banish capitalism and pave the path toward a new, free socialist way of life.


Being a socialist consists not merely in recognising the trend of social evolution from capitalism to socialism, and to hasten the day. It consists not merely holding the vision that life will be an improvement with socialism; that human behaviour, crippled in the class society, will assert itself and change for the better. Being a socialist consists in not waiting for its actual realisation, but in striving, here and now, insofar as the circumstances of class society permit, to live like a socialist under capitalism according to the higher standards of the socialist future.


The economic foundation of capitalist class rule is the private ownership of the necessaries for production. The overthrow of class rule means the overthrow of the political State and its substitution in which the necessaries for production are collectively owned and operated by and for the people. Goals determine methods. The goal of social evolution is the final overthrow of class rule, its methods must fit the goal. The objective of socialists is the abolition of man’s exploitation by man. Socialism can only come about when the working class itself takes control of the means of producing wealth and uses this to transform society.


You cannot build an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism. Attempts by small groups to cut themselves off and lead their lives according to socialistic ideas always fail  in the long term – for a start, the economic and ideological pressures are always there.

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

SOCIALISTS AGAINST THE LABOUR PARTY

 


The Socialist Party remembers that the politicians of the world work hard to try to maintain a social system which operates directly against the interests of the overwhelming majority of those people. We know that the leaders will lie and betray to protect the interests of their own national ruling class and that, if capitalism demands it, they will have little trouble with their consciences in sending millions of workers to their deaths. Only a complete change in the basis of society can abolish the very material Hell that capitalism has brought us to.


The cynical, the pessimistic, the gloomy-minded, and the supporters of the present rotten foundation of society, observing these facts, are apt to jump to the conclusion that nothing  will be done to-day without having money and “status” held up as a prize to provide incentive for the courageous and the skilful. A careful examination of the facts, however, is rewarded by the gratifying information, so full of hope for the future, that the bulk of the important things done to-day, in every direction, for the benefit of humanity, are not done with the object of securing either place or pecuniary advantage , and often foreshadow to the doer social loss, poverty and misery. Of such things are the great industrial discoveries, the great works in literature and other forms of art. When the social organisation has been cleared of the cankerous influence of private ownership in the means of production, with the limitations such a state of affairs imposes upon human activity, everybody will be free to exert their capacities to the full in whatever way they like best, with the only condition that such activity shall not be to the hurt of the rest of the people.


Exploitation by the capitalist class, together with the evils that flow from it, spreads like a plague.


We are often told by supporters of the Labour Party that we are out of touch with the workers. That we do not participate in or encourage them in their daily struggles on the industrial field, nor support them in their efforts to gain legislative reforms.


To test the truth of this, it is necessary to examine the nature and constitution of the two parties: The Socialist Party and the Labour Party. The first is composed of working men and women who have realised the slave position of their class and are organising on carefully defined principles with a definite object clearly stated. The principles and objects are logically evolved from ascertained facts patent to everyone, but so clearly worded that they cannot be misunderstood. As it is a condition of membership that the worker shall understand and endorse the principles, every member is in a position to participate intelligently in a movement that is really democratic. In other words, the members control the activities of the party.


The Labour Party is the opposite of this in character and constitution. True, it is composed mainly of working-class men and women; but few of them understand how completely they are enslaved by the wages system ; or the necessity for its abolition. Beyond the understood practice of electing leaders to Parliament, and the non-Socialist objects of nationalising industries, nothing is clearly defined. This lack of principles and socialist objective, permits a wide freedom of action to ambitious schemers for power. The result is confusion, not only in the minds of the rank and file, but also among the leaders themselves.


Every question that is dragged to the front in Parliament and Press is responsible for differences among the Labour leaders. Right and Left Wings, and sometimes a centre as well, take up different attitudes, neither of which is in accord with an analysis of the case from the working-class viewpoint.


This confusion, as can readily be seen, is due to the absence of any clearly-defined basis, outlining the position and objective of the organisation.


The lack of unity among the leaders, however, does not prevent them from lecturing the workers on the need for unity among themselves. The contradictory and useless reforms advocated from time to time by innumerable leaders, and would-be leaders, form the basis of Labour action—a foundation of shifting sands on which the workers are exhorted to erect and maintain a united organisation.


Contrast this confusion with the attitude of the Socialist Party. Questions that agitate the public are always analysed from the standpoint that the workers are a slave-class—that there can be no identity of interests between them and the class that owns the means of life and enslaves them. If the questions involve capitalist interests only, we refuse to take up sides, but always point out their unimportance for the worker. The clearly-defined position laid down in the Party’s principles enables every member to analyse any question prominently before the public, or any reform advocated by politicians.


The Labour Party encourages the workers to struggle for reforms within the present system. The Socialist Party tells the workers that capitalism is the capitalists’ own system, and if the latter want it to last, it is their business to patch it up. Obviously they will endeavour to make working-class conditions more endurable in proportion as a genuine working-class party develops and threatens their system.


How far the leaders of the Labour Party are out of touch with the workers can easily be seen by a study of their activities in Parliament. Most of the debates in which they take part have no bearing on working-class conditions, and are not of the slightest interest to the workers. Parliament for the leaders is merely a hunting-ground for prominence and positions.


The pamphlets and periodicals of the Labour Party have never explained socialism to the workers other than a mixture of sentimentalism, hero-worship and quite orthodox comments on current capitalist politics. Its tone is of the intellectuals. Insignificant ideas magnified by ostentatious phraseology constitute one of its chief assets—its fantastic ideas of reform, and its ultra dignified philosophy on social questions carry no message which the average worker can understand; it would indeed be surprising if he or she could.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Why the Socialist Party is Socialist

 


The term “working-class” is used by many people who have never seriously considered what it means. Some, like the left-wing, use it to mean industrial and manual workers. They do not think of doctors, teachers, scientists, authors and other “professional” people, as members of the working-class. What is even more tragic is that most people in these groups do not appreciate their class position. What in fact determines class is not the kind of work that is engaged in, but the fact of having to work at all.


From this it will be seen that the teacher or the doctor is in the same basic position as the bricklayer or road sweeper. The question is not “Do you wear a white-collar or overalls,” but “Have you any means of livelihood apart, from working.” If the office, bank, school, or laboratory you work in does not belong to you and if rent, interest or profit does not come your way, you can call your wage a salary till the cows come home, but you are a member of the working-class.


The fact that the factories, offices, and the whole apparatus for producing and distributing wealth belong to a parasite minority is not the invention of the wicked socialist imagination. The reverse is the case. The Socialist Party is a product of class society, but a very special product with a unique purpose.


Many notions have been advanced as to what history and society are all about, but to understand society as a living changing social structure, it is necessary to look to the breaking up of men into antagonistic classes, and to the process of exploitation. All of the institutions of the state, law, administration and all private wealth and privilege throughout written history up to present times, rest upon a surplus of wealth being created by a class of toilers and appropriated by a class of non-working owners. The material interests of each class of owners have been, and remain, completely opposed to the interests of the property-less mass they exploit.


The state as the executive committee of the ruling class is the seat of political power. The institutions of wealth and privilege are legalised and enforced through this political power. The way to ownership of the means of production lies, for workers and capitalists alike, through political power.


On the question of material interests, it can be seen why Karl Marx is so feared, hated and abused by the capitalist class.

"The bourgeois relations of production are the last antagonistic form of the social process of production—antagonistic not in the sense of individual antagonism, but of one arising from conditions surrounding the life of individuals in society; at the same time the productive forces developing in the womb of bourgeois society create the material conditions for the solution of that antagonism."

(Critique of Political Economy)

To get rid of the antagonistic relations of production means, getting rid of capitalism. This is what it meant to Marx and Engels, and this is what it means to the Socialist Party of Great Britain. How could the head-fixing experts of T.V., radio, press, pulpit, treat Marx fairly when Marxism says the system of wage-labour, profits and privilege must go? Yet, the idea of abolishing wages, and producing for use, must be grasped by the working class before the terrible problems with which the world is faced, are to be removed. The present system of production for profit is a brake on any rational progress.


Most workers are so accustomed to working for wages that to talk of a world without wages is frightening to them. What they fail to realise is that when the factories, mines, railways, etc., belong to all mankind in common, the fruits of our labour will be freely available without having to meet the demand of the price tag. Wages, far from being a blessing which we could not do without, represent the debasement of humanity and the divorce of the producers from the means of production.


The wage system takes away from the workers what they produce, and creates a situation in which money becomes the sole end of human endeavour. The worker is reduced to a creature who seeks a wage packet. What he makes, how he makes it, and what becomes of it, is of no importance to him. The fact that a great deal of wealth today is shoddy and inferior is hardly noticed. If he could get more wages digging holes and filling them in again he would be counted silly not to take the job. The capitalist, on the other hand, has no interest in being the owner of thousands of washing-machines or pairs of shoes. His only interest in production is to get as much profit out of it as possible. If one line fails he will try another. Socialism will restore the use motive to everything that is produced. People will then have a direct interest and say in what is produced and how the process is conducted.


The working class have trodden many false paths and taken up many unsound ideas in the course of their history. When sections of organised workers engage in sound action by striking for improved wages or conditions, they receive the almost unanimous condemnation of the Press. This should indicate to them that such action is in their interest. Industrial action on its own is however very limited and has its best chance of success in boom time when the employers need us most. At best, a strike can win the day on a wage issue, but the capitalists still remain in their privileged position as owners of the means of production.


The trade unions have long been subject to much misuse by careerists and job hunters, also on the other hand, many sincere workers have devoted themselves to the task of winning concessions through trade union action. The real strength of trade unions rests on the growing class-consciousness of their members. If the workers understand their class interest they would be able to struggle much more effectively and could not be duped by the double talk of their leaders. The whole record of leadership has been  a very painful one for the working class. Many workers in the “Communist” and Labour Parties, despite disillusionment in the past, still waste their efforts looking for the right leaders. Against all past experience, the idea persists that leaders can do something about the effects of capitalism. In fact, the situation produces and controls the leaders—not the other way around.


Leadership involves the acceptance of an “enlightened” few by an ignorant mass. It is essentially a sheep and dog relationship, except that in this case the dogs do not know where they are going either. Perhaps one of the most famous of all leaders was Lenin, who held:

". . . that the Soviet Socialist Democracy is in no way inconsistent with the rule and dictatorship of one person; that the will of a class is at times best realised by a dictator, who sometimes will accomplish more by himself and is frequently more needed."

For our part we have always argued that the workers must think for themselves and can only take sound action when they understand the society they live in.


The reformist parties are lost before they start, partly because of the ignorance of their adherents and partly because their policies involve them in retaining capitalism while trying to lighten the problems of that system. In this the parties of the so-called “ left” share the fate of the so-called “ right.” The record of their activities reveals some strange alliances and compromises. Liberals have helped the Labour Party; Tories have been helped by “Communists”; the Liberal, Labour, Conservative and “Communist” parties have worked together in war time. Nazis and “Communists ” have made pacts of peace and friendship and all of them are prepared at all times to promise anything that will win votes. All this seems strange until it is realised that the economic dictates of capitalism, control them all. What is strange is that despite their black records the working class continue to support them.


All of these things, leadership, reformism and political ignorance, interlock and form a sinister pattern. Inevitably political parties which do not seek support to abolish capitalism find themselves immersed in its sordidness. Hypocrisy becomes their stock in trade. They all support war.


They all have to talk the language of nationalism, and stimulate and appeal to nationalist feelings. In this country this means they must all be very British and concerned with the good of the nation. The idea has to be continually sold lo the workers that they have a national identity and that their interests are at one with the ruling class. Those African and Far Eastern countries which are new to the capitalist fold have been quick to learn from the example of their older rivals.


While socialists work for an end to national divisions and the introduction of a world community democratically administered and co-operating to produce wealth for the free use of all, Lenin wanted the proletariat to "decisively and actively support the National movements for the liberation of oppressed and dependent nations."


This cry of “national independence" is still echoed by various dupes of capitalism today, including the “Communist" Party. It has found fruit in the coming lo power of home-grown oppressors with the workers being used as a bulwark against their own class interests.


In making this very brief survey many things to which workers devoted their energies, have been left out in order to pay attention to the main points which have a direct bearing on working class activities today. What turn events will take next depends on how rapidly the workers of the world can learn from their experience and the lessons of the past. One thing is certain, for as long as capitalism continues, poverty, insecurity and wars will remain our constant nightmare.


In 1905 the Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Great Britain was first published. On page 25 of the sixth edition, it said:

“In all human actions material interests rule, and therefore the dominant class can only be concerned in upholding wage slavery and increasing their power over the workers. The working class, on the other hand, are driven by their material interest, to struggle for the possession of the means of living. To the working class history has committed the mission of transforming society from capitalism to Socialism. A glance over past history shows that every class that emancipated itself had to commence with the capture of the political machinery, that is, with the power of government. It is therefore, necessary for the workers to organise a political party having for its object the capture of political power.

This political party of the workers can only be a socialist party, because socialism alone is based on the facts of working-class existence.”

Monday, May 23, 2022

Arguing the Socialist Case

 


The Socialist Party does not defer to the divine intervention of a deity for solutions to the problems of the world. It recognises the fact that social ills are of human creation and must be cured by human effort. It is an impossibility for any capitalist party to offer any practicable solution for our ills because those ills are the inevitable and perfectly natural outgrowth of the wage system which all parties alike are pledged to support and defend.


Logic points inexorably everywhere to the socialist reorganisation of society. It arises as an imperative necessity. Marxist writings are a treasure trove of information and can provide real direction to socialists. The proletariat is the only social class that, through its social conditions, is capable of creating a planned economy and emancipated society, a “society of associated producers,” as Marx put it. For Marx, the working class alone has the capacity to free the new society that lies, waiting to be built, within the present chaotic and divided world of capitalism. No one need starve in a world where food surpluses are produced every year. No one need be homeless, or tortured, or bossed about by bureaucrats or ‘top elites’. In Marx’s view it is the job of socialists to spread these ideas. That the objective conditions for world socialism have existed at least since the turn of the 20th Century does not lead to an automatic or inevitable victory of world socialism. The decline of capitalism could result not in the emergence of world socialism but instead in barbarism.

What causes war?  We begin from these fundamental propositions:

1. Modern wars are part and parcel of the capitalist system.
 

2. Capitalist economy must continually expand or the nation suffers from depression, unemployment and internal revolt.
 

3. Each capitalist nation is continually driven to seek new markets, new sources of raw materials and new areas for investment.
 

4. The capitalist need to expand continually makes of each industrially developed power an imperialist aggressor – whether it is China or Britain, Russia or the United States.
 

5. There can be no end to war without an end to capitalism.
 

6. Permanent peace is only possible when planned production for use has taken the place of competitive production for profits. Planned production for use on an international scale means World Socialism. The establishment of a World Socialism is the only guarantee of lasting peace.

 

The Socialist Party’s basic idea is the complete and permanent emancipation of labour all over the world. The Socialist Party is the political expression of what is known as “the class struggle.” This struggle is an economic fact as old as history itself, but it has become a conscious and well-organised political fact. As long as this struggle was confined to its economic aspect the ruling classes had nothing to fear, as, being in control of all the means and agencies of government, they were always able to use their power effectively to suppress uprisings either of chattel slaves, feudal serfs, or free-born and politically equal capitalist wage-workers. But now that the struggle has definitely entered the political field it assumes for the present ruling class a new and sinister aspect. With the whole power of the State in possession of the working class by virtue of its victory at the polls, the death knell of capitalist private property and wage slavery is sounded. It does not mean that the workers and capitalists will merely change places, as many undoubtedly still believe. It means the inauguration of an entirely new social system  in which the exploitation of man by man will have no place. It means the establishment of a new economic motive for production and distribution. Instead of profit being the ruling motive of industry, as at present, all production and distribution will be for use. As a consequence, the class struggle and economic class antagonisms as we now know them will entirely disappear. 


 The struggle for working-class emancipation, which finds its expression through the Socialist Party, must continue and will increase in intensity until either the ruling class completely subjugates the working class, or until the working class entirely absorbs the capitalist class. There is no middle ground possible, and it is this fact that makes ludicrous those sporadic reform movements typified by the populist and nationalist parties. But the subjugation of the working class is out of the question. Intelligence has gone too far for that; it is the capitalist class that is doomed. Hence the only possible outcome of the present struggle is a victory for the working class. When the Socialist Party has accomplished its mission of uniting the workers of the world the end of capitalist domination is at hand

Sunday, May 22, 2022

OVER-POPULATION MYTH (video)


 

Towards Socialism

 


The first step in the revolution is the expropriation of the capitalists and the taking over by the working-class of all the means of production — the land, factories, mines, railways, docks, etc., no less than the communication system, etc. By this means we can begin the social organisation of production, free from the burdens of parasitism and private ownership.


The second step is the organisation of production to meet social needs. Every industry is organised as a single unit under its own Council, with workers’ control at every stage of production. The direction of all is united in the central Council of Industry or Workers’ Economic Council. The Council of Industry plans out the entire production of the country: so much coal, so much textiles, so much iron and steel goods, etc. The output is calculated, according to the given stage of the productive forces, to meet the three purposes: (1) goods to meet the immediate needs of the population; (2) means of production to extend the productive power in the future; (3) goods to share with other communities. 

The entire social product thus goes in one of these forms to the workers, whether socially or for individual consumption. The necessary work to be done is spread out over the entire labour force, i.e., the whole able-bodied community, hours being shortened to absorb the labour of all (in place of the capitalist method of overworking some in order to leave the rest unemployed). Necessary adaptations to new forms of work and industrial transference can be rapidly and easily effected, when these no longer involve cutting of rates, loss of skilled status, etc. (as in capitalism compels the justified resistance of the workers), but are carried out with the co-operation of the workers concerned, and without affecting the equal privileges and guaranteed minimum of every worker.


What will be the immediate consequences of the change-over from the present capitalist society to the workers’ socialist society — the fruits of the workers’ revolution and its sacrifices? We shall have ended unemployment,  we shall have at last directed production to meet the needs of all,  we shall have abolished the rule of class distinctions and privilege, and entered on the way to the first real democracy and freedom for all, the free and equal workers’ society. Workers’ self-rule will immediately set itself to realise in order to bring the fruits of the revolution to all, in order to end the present reign of inequality — inequality in respect of every elementary human need of food, clothing, shelter, conditions of labour health, education, etc., and bring the material conditions of real freedom and development to all.

 

The present tribute drawn by the capitalist class in the shape of rent, interest and profits will cease.  It is evident that, on the most immediate practical basis, and leaving out of account the enormous increase in production which will result from universal socially organised production, the workers’ rule will be able immediately, so soon as the change is achieved, to realise the most enormous advances in standards, hours, conditions of labour and social conditions. The capitalists and their propagandists try to frighten the workers from revolution by holding before them the spectre that revolution means “deprivation,” that the workers depend on capitalism for their existence. The contrary is the truth. That the workers can by the method of social revolution, and by the method of social revolution alone, rapidly overcome the difficulties of the present crisis, can rapidly reconstruct and extend production and win prosperity for all, has been already shown. The continuance of capitalism that means misery and suffering.


Forward to socialism! Forward to the social revolution! There is no time to lose. We are advancing to wider struggles, towards a new revolutionary phase. The issue of class-power, the issue of capitalism or socialism. We need to prepare for this. We need to prepare the new forms of struggle. We need to build up a strong working-class to fight, drawing together the various forms of mass organisation factory committees, the unions, the cooperatives, uniting the fight stage by stage to the revolutionary victory.