What is a capitalist? A capitalist is one who owns enough property in the means of living such as land, factories, railways, steamships, raw materials, etc., to be able to live without needing to work. The income derived from this private ownership frees the capitalist from the necessity of working for his livelihood.
It may be asked, what, then, is a worker?
A worker is one who, not owning any or sufficient property, is forced to sell his or her labour-power to the capitalist class, in order that he may live. Workers are separated from their means of life and dependant upon their masters for work.
There are those who credit our present rulers with special regard for the interests of the workers. Labour and Conservative Governments have succeeded one another in the task of administering the affairs of the capitalist class; with the result that working-men and women still go needlessly to their doom in order that their good, kind masters may enjoy lives of culture and benevolence on the profits realised from the workers’ toil. The wage-slaves of to-day pile up wealth in hitherto unheard-of quantities; yet it is too much to expect that they should be enabled to do so in security. It is cheaper to let them be burnt or buried alive than to pay for the necessary supervision to prevent such events.
Socialism does not mean anything so negative as the entire absence of private property, nor is the State to own and control everything. The latter is a distorted description of State Capitalism which may justly be attributed to one section of the Labour Party. It is not socialism, and has never received the support of the Socialist Party as our “Object” states, socialism is “a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interests of the whole community.” Far from abolishing all private property, socialism will place it in the power of all of the population to share in the varied kinds of wealth that society can produce—something which at present is denied in large measure to most of them.
We ask our blog visitors to remember that buying and selling, and the use of money as the basis of the economic activities of human society are relatively recent acquirements. They have served their useful purpose, and the means now exist (as a result of the development of capitalism), for society to arrange the production and distribution of wealth without the intervention of money.
Socialism is not going to be introduced by a political party which has been placed in power for some other purpose by electors who are not socialist. The important point is that Socialist Party candidates will only be elected to the House of Commons on a socialist manifesto (not on a programme of capitalist reforms), by a socialist electorate (not by electors who want a living wage, or family endowment, etc.) and for the single purpose of establishing socialism. The only way of retaining the confidence of a socialist electorate will be to work for socialism. If Socialist Party M.P.s fail to do the work for which they are elected, the voters will get rid of them at the first opportunity.
Critics of the Socialist Party accuse it of being inciting popular unrest and state that for years past we have been saying that the rich are growing richer and the poor becoming poorer. Also, we have said this so often and so persistently that many are inclined to believe there must be some truth in the indictment. In fact, there is none. So says apologists for capitalism.
As capitalism develops, the major portion of the wealth produced concentrates still further into fewer and fewer hands. It is, therefore^ obvious that the poverty of the mass must increase relative to the wealth of the propertied class. And as bad as the lot of the workers may be at the moment, it will tend to become worse with the further development of capitalism.
The only solution to the poverty problem of the working class is not for individual workers to buy a house, a home or a few shares, but to organise to do away with capitalism, the cause of their poverty, and to bring into existence socialism, the social system which will free them from poverty.