Monday, July 11, 2022

Understanding the Socialist Idea


You may have noticed recently that capitalism is heading for another of its periodic crises. Naturally, fears have been expressed about the uncertainty over future prices.

The Socialist Party is no new organisation being born on June 12th, 1904, and it has passed through periods of difficulty and unusual stress and each has left it firmer and more convinced than before. It was a breakaway from the old Social Democratic Federation for the sole purpose of establishing socialism. Unfortunately, there is widespread confusion as to the nature of the socialist society we seek to establish. This is largely due to the obstinate persistence with which parties like the Labour Party and left-wingers describe themselves as socialist. The Party has grown, but not with a mushroom growth, while notwithstanding the comparative smallness of its numbers, its voice has been widely heard—and in no uncertain tone—in the cause of the working class. Numbers, indeed, are never the only essentials to political strength. Our strength is given to us by the logical impregnability of our position. Numbers, in fact, as numbers only, are often a source of weakness, and the disastrous results of seeking numbers first have too often been seen for The Socialist Party to make a similar mistake. The organisation that does not keep numbers and popularity ever subordinate to its early aim becomes easily the tool of self-seekers and its original object becomes entirely lost. The principles of The Socialist Party, and the knowledge and class-consciousness of its members, form the surest guarantee for the Party’s future. 


It is certainly necessary to the realisation of our object that numbers be on our side, but only in so far as they help toward that realisation can they be welcomed. The emancipation of labour requires working-class unity, but it can be on none other than a socialist basis since that alone is of any use. And what, it may be asked, do we mean by a socialist basis? In the Declaration of Principles of The Socialist Party the essentials of socialism are, we believe, concisely stated. Assent to these essentials comprises the qualification that can neither be made broader without abandoning socialism nor made narrower without excluding socialists. Hence we are justified in claiming that the principles upon which The Socialist Party is based are those which must be accepted by the mass of the working class before its emancipation can be accomplished.  The seed is being widely sown, and, hastened to ripeness in the forcing house of Capitalism, the reaping of the bounteous harvest of Socialism cannot long be delayed.

Reformers of all kinds have tried to patch up capitalism for 150/200 years without any significant result. Why is this? Because the economic system of capitalism which obtains throughout most of the world is based on the exploitation of a propertyless, deprived working class.

Whatever “improvements” are introduced supposedly for the benefit of the workers, are nullified by the operation of the capitalist system itself. 

Nothing short of the abolition of capitalism, and its replacement by socialism can avail the vast majority — the workers.

The socialist form of society which we propose will be completely different from everything encountered today. In the truly socialist world, members of the community will co-operate voluntarily to produce the best, and freely consume what is then made available. Only this idea as its object makes a party socialist.

The Socialist Party is utterly democratic in its constitution and practice. It holds that society can only be changed by a consciously informed majority who understands what they are about. For this reason, it renounces violent minority direct-action methods, relying on the political consciousness of the majority of the working class.


What we can be sure about is that socialism, being a class-free society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of life by the whole community, such minority sectional interests could not possibly prevent the advance of knowledge by censoring the publication of the results of any kind of research. Socialism will be a society of abundance based on developments that are already taking place but which are warped and distorted by capitalism’s profit motive. Given the scientific and technological possibilities plus the human priorities of socialism, we could have a world society of abundance and make a serious start to the big clean-up and rehabilitation of this degraded planet.

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