Why haven't we had a socialist revolution? How much longer can capitalism last? How bad must conditions get before workers take action? There has been no revolution, but rather the working class, while angry, has been mired by confusion, uncertainty and despair.
Socialism is not a predestined inevitable development. Socialism is not an automatic affair, workers as a class must play an active role in the socialist revolution. Capitalism will not vanish. It will remain until it is overthrown. And capitalism can be overthrown only as the result of class conscious mass struggle.
Promoting class conciousness, however, is no easy matter. Workers are bombarded daily in the media with capitalist propaganda. Politicians and economists obscure the capitalist roots of economic crisis and falsely predict a “recovery” after a painful period of "adjustment." And some union leaders tell workers that they need to make concessions to their exploiters instead of fighting back. Worse still, many on the Left confuse workers by talking of reforms or by raising false hopes that workers can force the political state to solve the problems of unemployment and poverty. Such notions can only help convince workers that they have a future under capitalism and that capitalism is, at this late date, somehow capable of being reformed. In truth, ending the effects of capitalism requires ending their cause -- the capitalist system.
The sad fact is that workers -- those who vote and those who don't -- still buy into the notion that capitalism can somehow solve the problems and miseries it creates and confronts them with. This misunderstanding is no accident. That misconception is nurtured deliberately by capitalism's politicians, and by assorted capitalist agencies of miseducation and misinformation -- the media, the schools, the universities, the churches, the ever-present reformers and more -- all of which are dominated by pro-capitalist interests. Those interests and their political lackeys are primarily concerned with the preservation of their system -- the source of their wealth and their positions of privilege -- at the continued expense of the useful producers of the nation. They will not and do not hesitate to mouth any promise or resort to any act they think will serve their purpose, no matter how hypocritical or ruthless. The hope for a sane and decent society can never be realised within the confines of the capitalist system. Private ownership of the means of life, coupled with the exploitation of wage labour, make it impossible. Furthermore, the system cannot be reformed, regardless of how moral or how ethical reformers may be. Capitalism is beyond that. Its very nature militates against such efforts.
It is important that workers come to recognise that there is an alternative to capitalism. For the sooner the working class realises that the misery imposed by capitalism need not be endured, the sooner will workers turn to socialism. Workers need to form a mass socialist party to challenge and defeat the political state for the purpose of dismantling it. That will clear the way for the workers' organisation on the economic field to administer the classless socialist society by ousting the capitalist class from the seat of its economic power and by taking, holding and operating the economy in the peoples’ interests. It is inconceivable that socialism would win at the ballot box by a number so small that the outcome would be in doubt. Indeed, even if the formality of vote counting was dispensed with completely at such a juncture, the social atmosphere would be charged with the electricity of impending change that the will of the people could not be concealed.
Capitalism can be counted on to produce economic crises in abundance. However, economic crisis is not a sufficient condition of revolution. Even if the economy should utterly collapse, the result would not necessarily be socialism. For in the absence of revolutionary working-class organisation, the ruling class would readily impose its own totalitarian alternative. There is much evidence that the capitalist class lives in fear of widespread social unrest and is at work to either contain or to defuse it and channel it off into harmless dead ends. We are in a race with time. We will either succeed or fail in our mission to penetrate the consciousness of the working class before all avenues for peaceful change are closed off. Many are aware that the avenues for achieving peaceful change in our democracy are being closed at a frightening rate of speed. The ballot is more and more reserved to the major parties, financed by capitalist funding, the mass media are essentially sealed off from organisations like the Socialist Party. If the ballot cannot be brazenly taken from the workers, laws may well be passed to accomplish the same thing by a back door.
If indeed we lose the race -- if all means for peaceful change are eventually closed -- socialists will not abandon our efforts and the struggle will continue but the alternative is not a pleasant one to contemplate. Accordingly, we work hard to get our message across now, knowing that if we fail the chances for a nonviolent and peaceful transition to socialism will diminish and possibly disappear. We live in a world of increasing chaos and violence, as the conflicts now raging in the Middle East attests. We aim for a world in which cooperation and peace will be combined with prosperity and freedom for all. The longer it takes to wake up the working class to accomplish the change in a nonviolent way, the longer the working class suffers ruling-class violent oppression, the more difficult it will be to achieve our hopes and aspirations for a new world worth having. Where the ballot is silenced, the bullet must speak.