Monday, September 19, 2022

Revolutionary Parliamentarism, the Road to Socialism


Our objective is the capturing of the powers of the state. parties are the product of the class struggle. In a class-free society which has rid itself of the remnants of class interests and ideology, there will be no political parties. They will be unnecessary. But we live in a class-divided world and to protect and promote the interests of the exploited class, a socialist party is required.

Real democratic practice demands that every member of an organisation shall participate actively in the conduct of the movement. We need, therefore, to reverse the present situation,  of leaders and officials being in the forefront. If one person can sway working people in one direction, another can just as easily move them in the opposite direction. We desire men and women to think for themselves.

We in the Socialist Party call on all socialists to fight the political fight on the straight ticket of revolutionary socialism. The reformist programme, never truly socialist, can be nothing but capitalist programme to-day. The Labour Party is saturated with capitalist ideas without any vision of emancipation from the rulership of the capitalist class. 

We in the World Socialist Movement fight on principles which penetrate to the foundations of society in all lands: the abolition of the private ownership of the land and means of production. We seek to unite groups upon the principles of Marxism comprising a complete recognition of the class struggle, the materialistic conception of history, and the labour theory of value and surplus value; that all education be in harmony with these principles and conducted uncompromisingly against capitalism and all of its institutions that prop up, apologise for, and buttress in any manner the present system. A revolutionary political party embraces the unceasing open struggle against exploitation in all of its forms whether they are frankly capitalist enterprises or cloaked as municipal or government ownership.  Our attitude toward organisation will be to endeavour to direct fellow workers into the channels of revolutionary political action.

On the issue of parliamentarism we believe that all the attacks that have been made against parliamentarism today, and all the criticism that has been directed against it, referred to capitalist parliamentarism and not revolutionary parliamentarism. It is true that many representatives of the socialist movement who have entered parliament have become traitors. But that is not sufficient reason to condemn any activity at all within parliamentary institutions. It is senseless to claim that we must remain outside an institution simply because certain politicians failed to promote people's power inside it. We do not remain outside the trades unions because, although its members belong to the working class, the ideology unions express is, in the main, capitalist.

The question is not one of keeping ourselves pure, but of taking the revolutionary fight into the enemy’s camp. Many arguments have been brought forward of the propagandist and agitational value parliamentarism Many arguments have been brought forward which deal with the propagandist and agitational values of parliamentarism. No important struggle of the workers against the ruling class can take place outside parliament without having its echo resound inside parliament. We must fight inside parliament as revolutionaries. Parliamentarism is not an end but a means.

The point is not that capitalism is collapsing or failed to deliver the goods, as all sorts of planners have wrongly argued. It is rather that, for all its technical successes, unemployment, malnutrition and poverty have remained in evidence and a realisation that capitalism can produce wealth in great quantities but leaves untouched the widespread distress amongst the population. Wealth is produced fairly easily but often is destroyed because the markets are incapable of absorbing such quantities. Millions live in want, suffer from malnutrition, and exist in unhealthy hovels, despite the massive wealth-producing machinery of the present day, because in this society the object is not to produce solely for use but for profit.

The more the economic crisis of capitalism deepens the more all the organisations of the working class assume a political rôle and are compelled to coalesce together to avoid defeat. There is no union which can fight a winning battle on its own to-day. The working class of to-day has either consciously brought its organisations together in common defence and fearlessly face the fight for power or seen working people crushed to ever lower living standards. While the capitalists worry whether they have reached a recession, the Socialist Party is wondering how deep are the workers in their despondency.

Progress is nevertheless being made in the gradual enlightenment of members of our class, and in the growing political knowledge of the worker. Capitalism will throw up such obvious contradictions that the limited nature of its present-day aims will strike the workers as a strange contrast to the task that they will have to tackle, the establishment of socialism. This is our message to the workers; study the socialist case, and understand why we stand for social revolution and not reform. Knowing these things you will realise that only through the workers possessing socialist understanding and gaining political control can socialism be established and human progress guaranteed.

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