Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A Party of Principle

 The Socialist Party stands for the revolutionary transformation of society. Because history has proved that a party for revolution cannot be built up on reform programmes, the Socialist Part does not seek to win support by advocating reforms. We do not expect, therefore, to gain the support of people still unconvinced of the need for socialism—nor do we desire to be supported by non-socialists. Until the majority desire and are prepared to organise for the specific job of establishing socialism, the achievement of the new society is an impossibility. Our task now then is, to propagate socialist principles, to make socialists. Non-socialists, people interested in the reform of capitalism, would hamper us in that job.

 Once a revolutionary party begins to compromise with capitalism and is willing to help in its administration and reform, such a party is doomed as a weapon for socialism. It ceases to be revolutionary. Once a party adopts reform programmes, it appeals to many kinds of people who are anything but socialist. The result is that the socialists are swamped, and socialism is pushed further and further into the background on the party programme until socialism ceases to be the object of the party.

Workers should refuse to give their support to any party which, while claiming to be socialist, fights elections on a reformist programme. Such parties could not introduce socialism even if they won power. Their mandate would be for the reform of capitalism, not for socialism. Such parties which use plenty of revolutionary jargon but which have reform programmes cannot bring to an end the workers’ wage-slavery. Socialism alone will do that, and such parties are merely reformist. Let the workers, then, reject reformism, and embrace revolution. Let them cease to spend their forces on reformist futilities. 

A further objection is that no matter what reforms are introduced capitalism will still remain. It will frequently nullify the temporary improvement brought about by each reform and at the same time produce other evils which in their turn demand still more reforms. The only solution of the workers’ problem is the introduction of socialism, and this can be brought about only when a majority have been won over to an understanding of socialism and have organised to achieve it. All the time and effort spent on reforms is time and effort lost to the propagation of socialism.

Better far to have a party, no matter how small, with common principles and a common end, than a party, however large, which is bound by no tie save party interest. We, therefore, who differ from these other parties in essential principles—inasmuch as we accept the principle of the class struggle while they do not—cannot consent to unite our forces with theirs. It would weaken both parties—and the weakening would he more disastrous to the uncompromising section than to the revisionist. We are all for unity, but it is for a unity firmly established on a common aim, and a common method. Any other unity is but a delusion.

Let us restate a few basic essentials of the Socialist Party case.

Socialism involves the abolition of private and class ownership in the means and instruments of production, and the establishing of an order of things wherein they will be owned by society. For the first time in modern times, mankind will  have the possibility of organising production for society without an owning class. Things will be produced solely for use and because people need them. They will not be produced to sell and to provide profit for the owners of the means and instruments of production as they are under capitalism. There will be no profit. There will be no wages because men and women will not need to sell their energies in order to live. The function of money to circulate goods will disappear because it will not be needed. The function of wages to ensure that the worker receives only part of the wealth he or she produces will disappear because the worker in socialist society will enjoy the full fruits of his production, after meeting the necessary replacements and enlargements of the means of production and distribution. Wages are an indication of working-class poverty. The continuance of the wages system under any government or with whatever modifications is still capitalism.

The revolutionary change in the economic basis of society from private to common ownership will produce corresponding changes in the whole organisation of social life. Culture and leisure will be free to all instead of to a minority. Social, moral and family habits and customs which rest upon the private property basis of capitalism will adjust themselves to fit into the new order. Capitalist ideas will dissolve into history’s melting pot. Freed from the poverty and servitude of class-society men and women will face each and the other as free and equal social beings. All social values will undergo revolutionary changes. Reflection upon the potentialities of society organised on a socialist basis humbles the imagination. Anything short of this is not socialism: it is capitalism by whatever name it is called.

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