Friday, June 24, 2022

Where Our Principles Stand

 There is not one single country in the capitalist world which is not suffering either from a political or economic or military crisis. Some have all three. 

The capitalist world is like fermentation, but this is a second fermentation. The first produces the wine — the second vinegar. The system has outlived its usefulness and is no longer a progressive force developing the powers of production and distribution. The market, or the mode of exchange, is in conflict with the mode of production. The forces of production are capable of producing an ever-increasing abundance of wealth, but the mode of exchange forbids any production of wealth beyond that which can be sold or exchanged. The social relations of production, wage-labour, capital, money, are restricting and fettering the means of production and distribution. Capitalism has become reactionary. When the social relations of production are in contradiction to the powers of production, and when society demands that these powers of production shall fulfil social needs, a revolutionary situation has developed.

The Socialist Party has always taken the view that revolutionary ideas which seek a social change can only arise when such a change is possible, and that the means and conditions are ripe and success can be guaranteed. Revolution is not a change of government or system of administration; i.e. dictatorship or democracy — state capitalism or private enterprise. These are superficial changes but they are not revolutionary because they do not change the social basis of capitalist society, or the social relations which hold it together. Russia and China are included in this category of non-revolutionary systems. The establishment and maintenance of capitalism through the State machinery as exists in these countries, and others with similar false socialist pretensions, is not revolutionary because they retain the same social basis of capitalist production and distribution. The Socialist revolution cannot be achieved by force of arms, by violence, whether in the form of armed revolt or industrial sabotage. Neither can it be achieved through strikes and general strikes. We are opposed to all these methods advocated by the variegated groups of the Left, who style themselves as the leaders of working-class emancipation.

Paying lip-service to socialism they have managed to sway millions of workers to support régimes and systems of administration which are alien to the whole concept of socialism. What’s more, they have turned the administration of capitalism into a profession. The old ruling class has been superannuated; the part-time aristocratic gentlemen rulers have been replaced by a new breed of self-seeking ambitious professional politicians, only too eager and anxious to prostitute their abilities, and who are ruthless in their determination to get to the seats of power.

Reformist propaganda is one of the main reasons why the workers do not understand socialism and in fact, is harmful to socialist propaganda in that it detracts from the issue.

There are so many forces working against socialism that it is a wonder that a Socialist Party can still survive. It does survive because Socialist society will be the result of historical necessity. That is, that it is the inevitable result result of the course of social evolution. There is a social law of development which traces the birth, growth and decay of social systems. This law was discovered by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels and is known as the Materialist Conception of History. Its scientific validity has been demonstrated repeatedly. Broadly, it maintains that all history has been a struggle between social classes for control of political power. That social systems change when all the productive forces for which there is room within any given society have been developed and are prevented from developing further. Revolution occurs when men become conscious or are aware of this situation.

Socialist ideas are indestructible because they are born out of the social conditions and cannot be destroyed any more than you can abolish the Law of Gravity. The inevitability of socialism is a historical necessity based on a historical cause. But we are not mechanical puppets moved around by historical necessity. The existence of the conditions will not, in themselves, produce the desired social change. This is the argument of the economic determinists who wrongly claim the authority of Marx for this erroneous proposition. The inevitability of socialism must be a combination of two things; conditions and ideas. The social conditions are present, the socialist ideas are not. Again, if we refer to human history we shall see that men do eventually become conscious of the need for social change, and provided the conditions are present will successfully accomplish that change. Socialism will be no exception to this historical law. Socialism is inevitable because men will seek and gain socialist knowledge, and change society. Socialism cannot arise from a collapse of capitalism through crises or unemployment — it can only arise through international working-class consciousness.

The means of production have been developed to the point where universal social needs can be satisfied. This is beyond dispute. Capitalist society cannot use the productive forces at its disposal, including the greatest productive force of all — the international working class.

Society must, therefore, move on to a higher stage of production. Social problems must be dealt with fundamentally. To achieve this socialist consciousness must be created and this is the work of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. The class struggle can only be successfully fought on the sole issue of socialism or capitalism.


That workers struggle is not in question, but what are they struggling for? One thing is certain. They are not struggling for socialism, but for better conditions within capitalism. There is the never-ending clamour for full employment and high wages instead of the abolition of employment and wage-labour. And yet something useful has emerged, and that is that the so-called vanguard of the international working-class movement, the Labour, Social-Democratic and Communist parties everywhere, have been thoroughly discredited and exposed for what they really are — the agents of class exploitation and the natural enemies of socialism. That lesson will be learned by workers sooner than later.

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