Saturday, August 06, 2022

Our Aim and Goal


It is not for the Socialist Party to describe in detail the social system that will arise following the establishment of common ownership of the means of production, for we cannot foretell what conditions will prevail at the time. All we can do is state the broad changes that we know must arise.

The most obvious is that the wages system would be abolished since nobody would be in a position to exploit labour power. With the instruments of production socially owned, no one would wish to sell their ability to work for another’s profit, even if a buyer could be found. The very conditions of wage labour — the divorce of the majority from the means of life — will have ceased to exist, and all forms of exchange would disappear.

Necessity alone will dictate industrial activity. If goods are produced in excess of demand, production will be curtailed; should needs be unsatisfied, production will increase. Individuals will determine their own needs, and society will devise means by which people can make their requirements known (not a difficulty, given computer technology). All who were capable would work to the best of their abilities and take freely from the social wealth. We do not accept that having opted for a non-coercive society, people will act against their own interests and refuse to co-operate in productive work.

The view that people are innately selfish is a fallacious one, fostered by the society in which we live. The concept of greed can only have meaning where access to wealth is restricted and scarcity is commonplace. Under capitalism, the ruthless pursuit of self-interest is encouraged; in socialism, it would be an absurdity. And even the pig will turn away from the trough when it can eat no more.

There is only one course, and that is to understand that the gigantic means of production, which the workers operate to turn out wealth in abundance, must become the common property of society, to be used in the interest of the whole of society instead of in the interest of the capitalist class as at present.

Many critics of the Socialist Party assume that revolution implies violence and that since we do not advocate violence, therefore we are not revolutionary. This is an assumption which will not bear examination. The Socialist Party aims at changing the foundation of society, replacing the private ownership of the means of production with common ownership. It is therefore a revolutionary party. Conversely, the use of violent methods to secure minor reforms does not turn a reformist party into a revolutionary one. 

The Socialist Party lays it down that socialism pre-supposes the conquest of the powers of government and the conversion of the machinery of government, including the armed forces, from “an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation.” We lay it down, further, that the vote is the only means open to the workers in developed capitalist countries to conquer the powers of government. 

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