There are many reasons why socialists want a complete change in the basis of society and why we want a new society based on common ownership and production solely for use. Today we have poverty amidst plenty, international rivalry leading to wars, the destruction of the planet’s environment because of the profit motive – the list goes on and on. Approaching a billion people throughout the world suffer from hunger. Capitalism corrupts everything it touches. In this society the cash nexus is everything. Get up off your knees and organise for a world based on production solely for use. You owe it to your children and their children.
Socialism means a system of life in which the instrument of labour will be common property. Consequently, the fruits of labour under such conditions will be freely available to all. There will be no need for the workers to buy and sell that which they own as a result of their collective effort. Organised distribution, democratically controlled according to a definite plan based upon social needs will replace wages and such-like features of capitalism. Such a system can replace the existing chaos in which you suffer, just as soon as you are ready to establish it by means of your political power. When you realise the need for this you will have no time left to waste on the Labour Party which tinker with effects while leaving causes untouched. You will get on with the job in the only way possible, i.e., by joining and helping forward the work of the Socialist Party.
We say that the workers must first understand socialism, then organise politically and then use the vote to gain control of the political machinery. After securing control, only then will the real and enormous task of changing the economic basis of society begin.
Any airy platitudes to the effect that the trades union movement will be a midwife in attendance at the birth of socialism will be sheer wind chewing and humbug unless the trades unionists can direct their own destiny in the first place. All socialists who are members of their trade union work within the structure of their union to make their fellow-workers understand and appreciate the position of the Socialist Party. With this understanding clearly fixed in the minds of the majority of trade unionists, their unions will become live, fearless and potent bodies in the class struggle, and will play their part in the birth of a new society in which the means of wealth production and distribution will be commonly owned and democratically administered in the interests of the community as a whole. Socialism is the only hope of the working class, of which the trade unionist is a part.
Reminiscent of the boy who, by putting his finger over the hole in the dyke, hoped to stem the flood, reformers waste their time and energies in trying to alleviate the direct effects of capitalism, instead of striving to abolish the cause. Capitalist reforms scratch the surface leaving the underlying problems untouched. While perhaps the worst anomalies are removed, others more subtle become increasingly apparent. It will take more than palliatives to remove the consequences of poverty in a world of plenty. It will take a complete change in the social system to bring about production solely for people’s needs, and not in order to make a profit such as obtained to-day. Poverty for the many is inherent in the capitalist system, and we must work for socialism in order to remove it. By socialism, we do not mean public utility corporations, state control and the National Health Service, which pass for it with some of our less well-informed fellow-workers. By socialism, we mean a system in which all who are able to participate in production, and everyone receive what he or she needs. Only under socialism can the heart-breaking effects of poverty be removed and all have an opportunity of living the good life as well as enjoying a healthy life.
As socialists, however, we give thought to the effects that will be forthcoming in the future. We do not underestimate the enormous obstacles in the path to socialism. The greatest obstacle is getting the workers to understand and want socialism.