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To Dream Of A New World

The Socialist Party gives the people the shocking facts about capitalism and calls upon them to take action to abolish it. The Socialist Party describes the kind of world we are working for and show how it can be achieved. We sound the alarm at the new horrors, we denounce the latest outrages and expose the pervasive scandals.  And we wonder: Why don’t people listen? Perhaps because it is the same old song we sing, our lyrics might change but the music is still the usual old lament.

The world as we wish it to be is no mere fantasy. We have been offered science fiction-like descriptions of technology that can create a clean, sustainable environment for the whole biosphere that can satisfy the reasonable needs of all.  This isn’t simply a fantasy: the technology already exists.

 We won’t stop shouting from the rooftops about everything that’s is wrong.

"The weapon of criticism cannot, of course," Marx wrote in 1844, "replace criticism by weapons, material force must be o…

The Socialist Challenge

We rebel against capitalism not in the name of an abstract principle of justice, but to displace the capitalist class, privileged minority. To put it another way, we stand for the expropriation of the bourgeoisie.

The social revolution we conceive of can only be made by and for the people, without any false representatives offering themselves up as leaders. We believe that socialist society will be organised from the bottom up and not from top down, by a central authority served by an army of functionaries. The workers have no need of chiefs and are quite capable of delegating  one of our own with a particular task. This being understood, the revolution obviously cannot be the work of a vanguard  it demands the participation of  the entire working class. Without that, it would be little more than a doomed coup d’etat or putsch, not a social revolution. We witnessed how the Lenin and the Bolshevik Party kill the revolution for its own domination.

We possess, even today, sufficient mea…

Discussing the SPGB Case

A collation and re-editing and reformatting of various contributions to the RevLeft discussion thread adapted from here

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is the oldest socialist organisation in the UK and have far outlived most other groups. As for recruitment, the SPGB has perhaps the highest rate of member retention of any group and certainly isn't miniscule in comparison to other “Marxist” parties, (its among the larger groups in Britain which doesn’t say too much, though). Most “Marxist” groups disillusion and burn-out more people than they recruit. The master-disciple relationship is perpetuated in many “socialist” parties where the theorists of the executive committee “do the thinking” in private meetings and the rest “do the action”. The SPGB answer to how socialists should organise is transparence with all meetings being open to the public as the best education for the class self-organising for themselves.

It is only right and proper that the Socialist Party’s case is …

What do we mean by SOCIALISM?

With the forthcoming Peoples Assembly to campaign against the cuts and calls for a new Left Unity workers’ organisation it is important that we have some sort of understanding of the basics. Political power is wielded by social classes through political parties. The transference of power from one class to another is not an automatic process. It involves a political struggle - a class war.

Non-revolutionary politics is about different sections of the ruling class struggling amongst themselves contesting elections for a share of the spoils in  profits and privilege. Different political parties represent different factions and interest groups seeking the lucrative control of the government. Different politicians with their own theories of how best to maintain the existing order and keep the support of the people, usually by securing this or that reform or concession for this or that section of the population. But all varieties of non-revolutionary politics PRESUPPOSE the continuance of …

A New World From the Old

The Socialist Party is not proposing the abolition of money alone, nor suggesting a return to barter. In fact, the abolition of money alone, would solve no problems and undoubtedly create many. But what we propose is that the whole system of money and exchange, buying and selling, profit-making and wage-earning be entirely abolished and that instead the community as a whole should organise and administer the productions of goods for use only, and the free distribution of these goods to all members of the community according to each person’s needs.

Since money would not exist and wealth could not and would not be measured in terms of money, no person could say that he or she owned a share of such-and -such value in the people’s means of production. In fact all the world’s means of production such as land, factories, mines, machines, etc, would belong to the whole of the people of the world who would co-operate in using them.

The main features of socialism are really quite simple and i…

Growing Consciousness

Capitalism has become an obsolete oppressive system that ought to be got rid off but the old social order won’t simply disappear of its own accord. Its removal is dependent upon its replacement by socialism. Capitalism itself created the possibility and the necessity of socialism as well as creating the class capable of introducing socialism, the working class. There was no doubt in the minds of pioneers of socialism as to the future. They recognised the slave condition of the workers in capitalism and had faith in the worker’s power and capacity to abolish the slavery and build a new society of free people in a classless society. A relatively small minority recognise this as most people continued trying to satisfy their needs within the system rather than by overthrowing it.
"The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority," Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto.

"Self-con…

Socialism = Communism

The Socialist Party repudiates any differentiation between socialism and communism. Socialism is communism, and vice versa. The words socialism and communism have the same meaning. Both entail the total abolition of money, buying and selling, and the wages system, a complete breach, both in practice and in ideas, with capitalism. They indicate a condition of society in which the wealth of the community: the land and the means of production and distribution are held in common, production being for use and not for profit. The community will ascertain what are the requirements of the people in food, clothing, housing, transport, educational and cultural facilities. Food, clothing, housing, transport, sanitation — these come first. Then will follow the luxuries.


It means the community must set itself the task of providing rather more than the people can use of all the things that the people need and desire, and of supplying these when and as the people require them. Socialism shall satis…

The Socialists' Message

The word “socialism” is commonly used as a political trick. Various Labour Parties are called “socialist” and it is suggested that countries with large welfare state systems are socialist and that nationalised industries are socialist. There has been a persistent tendency to define the idea of socialism to as a mere legal alteration of the property system and the introduction of some sort of planned economy.


When production is for the requirements of the community and when production is for use and not for profit of a minority, this is the basis of socialism. This socialist commonwealth liberates the individual from all economic, political and social oppression and provides for real liberty and for the full and harmonious development of the personality, giving full scope for the growth of the creative faculties of the mind. Based on the common ownership of the means of production and distribution it dissolves the hostile classes into a community of free and equal producers striving …

We are the Power

The capitalists are the upper class-because they are always on our backs; if they were not on our backs they would not be above us. In capitalist society the worker is not a person or an individual at all. He or she is simply merchandise, a commodity. The very terminology of the capitalist system proves it. Go to any factory or office and there will exist a department called “human resources”.

Capitalism is a society divided into two economic classes: a relatively small class of capitalists who own the machinery they did not make and cannot use, and the vast numbers of workers who did make the tools and machines and who do use them, (and whose very lives depend upon using them), yet who do not own them. Every cog in every wheel that revolves everywhere has been made by the working class, and is kept in operation by the working class; and if the working class can make and operate this marvelous wealth-producing machinery. These millions of wage-workers, producers of wealth, are forced…

Democratic Production

Socialism, a society based upon the planned organisation of production for use by means of the common ownership and the democratic control of the means of production. If, however, production were carried on for use, to satisfy the needs of the people, the question immediately arises: Who is to determine what is useful and what would satisfy these needs? Will that be decided exclusively by a small board of government planners? A technocratic elite? Both would make for the benevolent regimentation of the people “for their own good.” No matter how high-minded and wise they might be, they could not plan production for the needs of the people.

Production for use, by its very nature, demands constant consultation of the people, constant control and direction by the people. The democratically-adopted decisions of the people would guide the course of production and distribution. Democratic control of the means of production and distribution would have to be exercised by the people to see to …

Democratic Centralism - Generals looking for privates.

Socialist Courier previously discussed the concept of democracy. Those familiar with the Left will no doubt come across claims that the Trotskyist and Leninist political groups exercise a form of democracy called “democratic centralism”


Socialism’s crisis is a crisis in the meaning of socialism. Many label themselves “socialist” in one sense or another; but there has never been a time as now when the label was less informative. The range of conflicting and incompatible ideas that call themselves socialist is wider than ever.The nearest thing to a common content of the various “socialisms” is a negative: anti-capitalism. But even anti-capitalism holds less and less of a meaning in most cases.

Nowhere else than on the Left is the term “-ism” more extensively and frequently used. We are asked to adhere not only to anarchism, or syndicalism, or socialism, or communism, but also to Marxism, Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Maoism, Luxemburgism, and a host of much lesser theorists’ “isms”…

Fair Shares?

Socialism is not concerned with managing capitalism better but about a different kind of society. Socialists do not call for population control, for penurious thrift, and self-denial. Socialists don't call for “fair” shares of land or money to be handed out equally.

The socialist’s “fair share” for a member of the socialist commonwealth is the right of access and the satisfaction of their needs from the common store-house.
All previous societies have been rationed societies, based on scarcity of food, clothing and shelter. The modern world is also a society of scarcity, but with a difference.Today’s shortages are unnecessary; today’s scarcity is artificial. More than that: scarcity achieved at the expense of strenuous effort, ingenious organisation and the most sophisticated planning.
The abolition of classes is the equality at which socialists aim and the equality of access to the means of living. Such an equality would mean no one would be in a position to buy the services o…

a war of words

Language is a battleground that socialists are often called upon to enter. Calling a party, socialist or communist, or claiming to be one, does not mean that the party is really socialist or communist.

For Marx and ourselves socialism is the society succeeding capitalism and contrary to the widespread erroneous idea, socialism is not a transitional society towards an ultimate aim called communism. For Marx socialism is communism, refers to the same social formation, simply being another term, like the terms Republic of Labour, society of free and associated producers or simply Association, Co-operative Society, union of free individuals, are all equivalent terms for the same society.

The “dictatorship of the proletariat” is not synonymous with socialism. the conquest of political power by the proletariat is not the end of the proletarian revolution, it constitutes, in fact, only the “first step" in the revolution” (Manifesto) which continues through a prolonged period till the c…

Socialist "Blueprint" - Part Two

The Buddha said: “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared”

Introduction

It is the main job of socialists not to theorise about the exact workings of a future economy, but to educate people on the main principles that might underpin a future communist society in its lower and higher phases, and then give them the tools - in the form of socialist democracy - to do the work themselves. Unless we say more about the goal we are striving for, we relinquish the future to those who insist that all there is an eternity of capitalism. If you dont have an alternative to capitalism you are stuck with capitalism. It is all very well to criticise capitalism - thats easy! - but the really hard thing is to put forward a viable alternative to put in its place. Its only through speculatiing about alternative in more and more details that we can begin to put more flesh on the bare bones on the idea, …

A Socialist "Blueprint" - Part One

"When one talks to people about socialism or communism, one very frequently finds that they entirely agree with one regarding the substance of the matter and declare communism to be a very fine thing; “but”, they then say, “it is impossible ever to put such things into practice in real life”Engels

Introduction

“Yes, Socialism is an excellent thing, but, alas! it is Utopia!”

Human society is a particular case in universal evolution. Nothing is eternal and unchangeable. Everything is variable. Every given social form is entirely relative, entirely conditional. Classes and systems succeed each other and differ from each other. For centuries, people have imagined utopias where advances in technology and attitudes create freedom for all. Capitalism distorts the vision of a future society. We can only see a different system in terms of our present one. The first victim of education is imagination. From a very early age every worker is taught to be “practical”, “realistic” and stop “dream…

Producers and Parasites

The only useful people today are those engaged in producing the wealth. It is they alone who must eliminate the parasites and usher in a new social order. The future of civilisation is in the hands of the producing class.

 Many other workers talk about “my job.” It is partly habit and partly belief that in some way or other it is their job. The job is regarded as a sort of fundamental right, but the truth of the matter is that the worker has not got a job. It is the other fellow’s job. The capitalist own the means of wealth production; therefore, they own the job. When the capitalists tells the workers to “get out” They are obeyed. The workers have to leave. They are obliged to leave “their jobs” behind. Dependence upon a job and the wages are the invisible chain that binds us to the machine cuts them to the quick. The workers must struggle to keep up their wages and to better their standard of living. In this struggle the odds are always against them and on the side of the capitalist…

hunger: it’s a market thing

From Ian Bell of the Sunday Herald

Lots of food, lots of hunger: it’s a market thing.

Last week the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development was published...Its main findings were simple enough, however. There is enough food for everyone. It is cheaper and, broadly, more nutritious than it has been in decades, but 800 million go hungry...

...there are no food shortages. Instead, according to one of those complicated theories they teach at Oxford and the like, there are money shortages. Or rather - and this is apparently so complicated it never gets discussed - some people are very short of money and some are anything but...

...The relationships between land, food security, politics and bread at £1.13 a loaf are not abstract. The laws of economics should not be mistaken for acts of God...

As Bell writes , the law of economics is not abstract but neither is it complicated . Simply put , in capitalism , if you cannot pay , you cannot have , no matter yo…

An Anti-Bolshevik Approach to Revolution

The final talk in the Socialist Thinkers series by Stephen Coleman and a belated contribution to the 90th anniversary of the Russian Revolution . It is a discussion of Leninism and the Julius Martov critique of the Bolsheviks .

The download can be found via the link at Darren's blog

A Vision of Socialism

Not looking forward to the Queen's Christmas message , then why not download and listen to one of the Socialist Party talks that Darren has upload.

Stephen Coleman discusses William Morris and his Vision of Socialism . Download from here .