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Polling Day

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Don't Believe The Deceit

In all countries, the fight for the social revolution has yet to take place. Elections are such depressing things. Once again the power to register a desire to change society in a fundamental way was open to the workers (in the shape of their vote) and once again it will be squandered on pro-capitalist parties. Despite their shortcomings, elections to a parliament based on universal suffrage are still the best method available for workers to express a majority desire for socialism. It is a basic tenet of the Socialist Party that the establishment of socialism involves the capture of political power via the ballot-box.
For this to happen presupposes the existence of a "bourgeois democracy". But while such an arrangement is undeniably preferable to political dictatorship we don't entertain any illusions about the nature of this "bourgeois democracy". It is a very limited kind of democracy indeed. Under this kind of democracy, the population is permitted to choos…

A Socialist Candidate on Video

More of the same or socialism?

In this general election we're putting up a limited number of candidates, but are you one of those very many people who doesn't see the point in voting, and can't be bothered with politicians? Fewer and fewer people are bothering to vote in elections correctly realising that it will have little effect on their everyday lives. You may have noticed that whoever gets elected, nothing really changes. This is because politicians normally have no intention of changing anything. They're really doing very nicely out of the system as it is, thank you, slump or no slump. While they enjoy their executive lunches, cars and kickbacks, the rest of us miserable suckers are supposed to toe the line, "yes" the bosses, and work ourselves into early graves to earn wages that wouldn't buy one of their bottles of claret. We're not politicians, and don't let our party name, and the fact that we are standing for election, fool you into thinking we are. We represent an …

A Write-In Vote for World Socialism

Karl Marx did argue that under certain conditions a socialist-minded working class would be able to gain control of political power peaceably via elections. Having said this, our position does not rest on what Marx said, as we don't slavishly accept him as an infallible authority, but on our own analysis of the facts which in our view confirm Marx's point of view. Many on the Left reached differing conclusion and declare there is no parliamentary road to socialism, describing it as a blind alley. The standard argument against the revolutionary movement contesting elections is that this inevitably leads to it becoming reformist; revolutionary MPs whatever may have been their original intention, end up merely administering capitalism. This, they claim, can be seen from the history of, first, the European Social Democratic parties which once claimed to be Marxist and, more recently, of Green parties which said, as in Germany, that they were only going into parliament to use it a…

Voting Revolution

Socialism can only be established by the majority political action of a working class that wants and understands it. To establish socialism, the working class must first win control of political power and to do this they must organise as a political party. In modern political conditions — the overwhelming numerical superiority of the working class, universal suffrage, political democracy, an army and civil service recruited from the workers — the working class can, and should, use elections and parliament as the way to winning power for socialism. A socialist party should contest elections whenever it can, but only on a socialist programme. Where there are no socialist candidates, the party should advocate the casting of blank or spoiled voting papers and never engage in anarchist-type anti-election propaganda. The anarcho-syndicalist idea of a general strike of industrial unions as a means of overthrowing capitalist rule is obviously impractical since it leaves the means to crush an…

Liberate Yourself

In the Socialist Party’s Declaration of Principles we lay down the few simple essential principles we think are necessary to understand and act upon in order to achieve emancipation from wage slavery. Briefly summed up these propositions are as follows: All social wealth is produced by the working class and owned by the master class. Between these two classes there is a class struggle which can only be abolished by the emancipation of the workers from wage-slavery; i.e., by the replacement of capitalist private ownership by social ownership. This emancipation must be the work of the working class itself, and, as the capitalist class retains its position by the control of the machinery of government, the working class must organise to capture the political machinery in order to use it as the agent of emancipation. Finally, as all political parties represent class interests, the working-class political party must be hostile to all other parties. These are the broadest principles that c…

All change for no change

In the weeks of electoral excitement before polling day you will have been made to appreciate, at least a bit, that you are, for the moment, important people. Between elections you look up to politicians and big business men as important, but during elections it is they who go to endless trouble to influence you and win your support for them and their policies. It is you who can make or mar the career politician and you who can place power in the hands of a government which during its term of office can, by taxation or by subsidies, raise some industries to prosperity and bring others to their ruin. It is you who give power to governments in whose hands rest decisions about peace and war. Whichever of them, you, the workers, vote for in an election, it is a defeat for you, a betrayal of your own interests. Capitalism exists only because you, the workers, allow it to exist.
Despite being unable to find lasting solutions to workers’ problems, political parties must always try to comba…

Doing It Our Way

People who come into contact with the Socialist Party are often surprised that the revolution we urge is one that can be brought about by parliamentary means. They are used to associating revolution with the violent overthrow of governments, not with peaceful democratic elections. Throughout the long history of the Socialist Party we have thought long and hard about the state and its repressive forces and our understanding goes something like this:… …We want the useful majority in society to take over and run the means of production in the interest of all. However, at the moment these are in the hands of a minority of the population whose ownership and control of them is backed up-and, when necessary, enforced-by the state and its repressive forces. The state stands as an obstacle between the useful majority and the means of production because it is at present controlled by the minority owning class. They control the state, not by some conspiracy, but with the consent or acquiescence…

Liberate the Election

The Socialist Party has always emphasised the importance and need for political democracy to secure the transition to socialism, the importance of a representative institution to demonstrate a majority for socialism and to ensure the abolition of capitalism is done in as peaceable and co-ordinated manner as possible. Once a mass socialist movement has come into existence capitalism's days are numbered and there is nothing supporters of capitalism can then do to stop socialism coming. Even if they were to try armed resistance they would lose and, after a period of chaos and bloodshed, socialism would still end up being established. If this mass socialist movement so chose, it could simply go ahead and seize power. This, too, however, would result in a period of chaos and perhaps bloodshed and it would give the opponents of socialism a perfect excuse to resist but the end result would still be the establishment of socialism. We concede that this is theoretically possible but we do …

Shouldn't elections be about real choice

By now some of you will have grown weary of listening to the mainstream candidates in this General Election. They have waffled on and on about public spending, public services, jobs, crime, and how things will get better, if only we put them into power. They all talk about money – spend more, spend less, tax it, borrow it, lend it, find it - but they never talk about where it comes from. They never talk about the basic rules by which it is used. They just assume that money is being made, and that they can adapt their policies to the rules of the money-making game. That is, they assume capitalism. They defend a society in which the majority of the population must sell their capacity to work to the tiny handful who own most of the wealth. They defend a society in which things can only happen if there is a profit to be made. In short, they subscribe to the law of no profit, no production. The Socialist Party is the only party whose sole object is the replacement of the present social, e…

We are not alone, or are we?

We are not the only group calling ourselves socialist. Anyone seeking to understand what is wrong with present-day society will come across others, all having some such word in their names as “socialist”, “workers”, “revolutionary” or “communist”. Most of these will be of Leninist or Trotskyist origin and have aims, theories and methods which have nothing in common with ours. People cannot be led into socialism or coerced into it. They cannot be forced into cooperating and participating; this is something they must want to do for themselves and which they must decide to do of their own accord. Socialist society can function on no other basis. This is the basic principle that underlines the whole political activity of the Socialist Party. It commits us to a policy of making sure that hearing the case for socialism becomes part of the experience of as many people as possible. It commits us to treating other workers as adults who are capable of being influenced by open public debate and…

The SPGB on the BBC

No to ReformISM

Reformers want to use the electoral process as a means of gathering as many votes as possible. Reform manifestos display the small changes advocated as attractively as possible, with little concern for educating the voters. Priority is given to winning elections and electing leaders. Reforms are to be pursued today, tomorrow the revolution - and tomorrow never comes. The Socialist Party is also prepared to use the electoral process, but with a view to challenging capitalist control of political power. The first task is to educate people and make socialists. The success of socialist candidates will measure the extent to which this activity achieves its aim. The Socialist Party no stake in how capitalism is run. Socialists are opposed to capitalism however it is organised. We do not enter into the debate about whether free market capitalism is better or worse than nationalisation. We oppose the profit system in all its forms and work only for its replacement by socialism.
The nature an…

Be Reasonable – Demand the Impossible

A long time ago parties that now call themselves Labour Party or Social Democratic Party used to subscribe to different versions of what we describe as socialism but they have abandoned this over the last hundred years. They have accepted capitalism and now concern themselves with putting forward various ideas for modifying the system, to promote fairness  -  most of them completely impracticable. Ed Miliband is now on record as promising to “make capitalism work for the people”. Oh no, he won’t – because that’s not possible. Currently under capitalism although we can vote for parties in elections, huge chunks of our lives are beyond our influence. The politicians have no control over the economy and so neither have we.  We can’t decide on our standard of living or our level of prosperity.
With the electoral circus in full swing the parties have been competing with one another in a seemingly endless round of pledges, promises, scare stories and counter claims. The media openly spends…

General Election – Fast Forward to the Past

In many areas affecting their lives people realise that there is no real choice, only an illusion of choice, a choice between unwanted and unwelcomed options presented as the only alternatives. Throughout the ages humanity has sought and achieved advancement motivated by desire, passion and a will to produce something better, to succeed in their aspirations. Lack of meaningful choice in national elections and the realization that politicians of all persuasions are failing to represent voters has resulted in steadily declining numbers presenting themselves at polling booths. In the present electoral system not voting is both making a choice and not making a choice. It's clear that the reason voters are not turning out is because they think it's pointless. This is an inherent flaw of representative democracy: voters are infrequently called upon to cast a vote, which seems to be far removed from any action or result; there is no immediate reward for the vote. The voters thus fee…