Monday, January 23, 2023

The Revolutionary Demand


Change is needed. Most people agree with that. The question is what kind of a change is it to be? Is it to be envisaged only the reform of present-day society, the type of change the capitalist class and their supporters would wish? Or will the workers act in their own interest in the revolutionary act of abolishing capitalism and establishing socialism? The choice rests with working people. If they want mere modifications of capitalism which will still leave them fundamentally in the same position as they live under today, they can have them. On the other hand, should they decide to have done once and for all with capitalism, its private property, profits and privileges for the few and its wage-slavery and poverty for the vast majority, there is no-one who can prevent them. The working-class can decide the nature of society. The lesson is plain. The workers, the bulk of the population, can decide how society will change. Should the workers support plans for the reform of capitalism? Or should they take matters into their own hands, abolish the present system and build socialism?

The reformists assume that capitalism will remain forever. Any changes they advocate are to be brought about within the framework of capitalism. This is the essence of reformism. Capital and wage-labour, the two bases of capitalism, they leave fundamentally untouched. They do not seek to eradicate these roots of capitalism. They merely try to lessen the pains inflicted on society by the capitalist system.

 All reformist efforts to solve the fundamental problems of the workers are bound to fail.Capitalism cannot be so modified by reform measures that it becomes the best of possible worlds for the working-class. Capitalism, it must be understood, is a system of a society organised so as to provide profit to the owners of industry, the capitalist class. To do this, the wage-worker is set to work, and what he produces belongs to the employers, the capitalists. The wage-worker is given back, in the form of wages, only a portion of what he produces ; the rest, the surplus, the capitalist owner retains. Thus is the worker exploited and kept on the poverty line, for the portion he receives as wages is just about sufficient to keep him fit enough to perform his particular job and reproduce his kind—future wage-slaves for the service of the capitalist class. Hence the worker is born poor, he lives his life in poverty and dies still poor. The motive power of capitalism is the lust for profit, any wage increases won by the workers are, if possible, offset by the employing class, for wage increases mean an attack on profits. Hence wage increases are usually the signal for the introduction of more labour saving devices, of more machinery. Thus, very frequently, more production is squeezed out of fewer workers. The exploitation of the worker becomes more intense.

Whatever reforms are introduced, so long as the present system remains, the following evils will persist: —

1. The bulk of what the workers produce will be taken from them.

2. They will be kept on or near the poverty line, and thus forced to continue in a slave position, dependent on the capitalist class for a living. They will still stand in need of doles, old age pensions and all the other accessories of poverty.

3. It is an important point that reforms carried out to improve the lot of the worker should prove an inconvenience to the capitalist class in whose interests present-day society operates, they are, as soon as a favourable opportunity arises, either abandoned altogether or modified to the disadvantage of the workers. 


Because no solution is possible for the worker under capitalism, we in the Socialist Party are out to abolish it and replace it with socialism. We aim at nothing less because we know nothing less will satisfy the needs of the class to which we belong. It is also for this reason that we are opposed to all other parties, all of which, at the most, aim merely at modifications of present-day society.


Workers should study socialism. That is the first step towards their liberation. We are confident that a little education will convince them that only by going to the root of their problems can their position be permanently improved. They will realise the need for abandoning reform movements. They will realise the need for revolutionary action, for replacing capitalism by socialism, that is by a society wherein there will be no private property, no profit-making and no wages. Socialism is, in fact, a social system wherein the means of life belong to all society and wherein, consequently, production is carried on to satisfy the needs of society. Socialism, having no “ulterior motive,” will make unnecessary the present-day strivings for “a living wage” (which still leaves the workers robbed of the bulk of what they produce). 

Let the worker, then, change his motto. With Marx, we say, “Instead of the Conservative motto, ‘A fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work !’ they ought to inscribe on their banner the revolutionary watchword, ‘Abolition of the wages system !’ ”

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