Socialists are a minority in all countries at present. We see the establishment of socialism being brought about by a majority of men and women who understand and want it, and who realise that no-one else will bring it about for them. In short, they will be prepared to work for this end. We do not have “faith” in the sense that socialism is something we accept without thinking about it, nor do we encourage this approach from members of the working class. Quite the contrary: it is because we think about it and debate that we are socialists. When the majority of workers also examine the material conditions in the world and how they operate, socialism will be introduced. The majority of the working class, including those who vote for the Labour Party, do not understand or want socialism at present.
Socialism means that there will be unrestricted free access by all to whatever is produced, because the means of production will be owned by all. Socialism does mean equality and freedom. It is the only condition on which they can be obtained. The spread of Socialist knowledge has been hindered by the widespread mis-use of the term 'socialism'. When it is used to describe everything from state-capitalism to Labour Government it is hardly surprising that workers have only attempted to solve their problems through reforms. For with the exception of a small minority they are unaware that there is an alternative to capitalism. We have every confidence in the ability of the working class to understand the simple and sound proposition that is socialism. It is after all the working class which runs capitalism.
If it would be wrong to say that poverty is an old friend of the working class, it is certainly a companion from the womb onward. Nowhere in the world are there any wealthy people starving. But even in the wealthiest countries there are poor people who go hungry. Poverty is an inherent part of class society. Under capitalism, the means of wealth production are concentrated into the hands of a minority class, or their state machine (which comes to the same thing). Wealth, the goods and services of society, is produced for sale with a view to profit. The vast majority are employees. By definition, they are propertyless. They must sell their working abilities for wages in order to live. They spend their lives as appendages to the factories, offices, mines and machinery owned by those who employ them. They are hired and fired at the dictate of the world market and the profit margin. They are alienated from life in any meaningful sense of the word. The wealth they are able to obtain, either through wages (if employed) or so-called Social Security (if unemployed or sick) is generally enough to keep them in working order and maintain themselves and families between pay-days.
Poverty leaves a terrible imprint upon all who suffer it. Not only in the physical struggle to get by, but even worse are its mutilating effects on the personality and the mind. There is nothing so brutally pathetic, as a worker with a job who counts his “prosperity” in terms of hard work and rails against other workers who live on social security, without working. Poverty of the mind can be seen in the acceptance by most workers of the perverse ideology of their capitalist masters. It is this which anchors them to capitalism so that the whole ridiculous set-up keeps going.
It is not uncommon to hear workers in this country argue that if places like India, and other starving areas in the world, were brought up to the standard of living in Western Europe “we” would have to make sacrifices. This reflects the capitalist ideology, in that it glibly looks to solutions within capitalism. Whilst it is true that poverty is a relative thing and that the degree of poverty among workers in most of western Europe is not so extreme as that of many people in India, this becomes a convenient argument in favour of workers here being content with their lot.
We are often asked why we do not supply details of economic and social organisation in Socialism. From time to time articles have indicated lines on which affairs might be conducted. We can say there will be no money; everyone will have free access to everything produced; the problems of capitalism — crises, wars, inequality and poverty and their consequences — will be entirely absent. There are two important reasons why we cannot go further. The first is that we do not know. There are a few hundred of us now, and we are working for a society which will be wholly democratic; how then can we anticipate the ideas and preferences of millions in the future? Many of us have our own speculations, but (and this is the second reason) to try making a policy of them would do no-one any good.
Most scientists, like other workers, are socially and politically ignorant about the state of society. Some are religious, spiritualists, reformers, etc., but they are trained thinkers and should recognise the existence of social science which is fundamental to a true understanding of the scientific method. Darwin was able to solve the problem of how there originated vegetable and animal species in the struggle for existence. Marx succeeded in solving the problem of how there arise different types of social organisation in the struggle of men for their existence. The spirit of research was the same in both thinkers despite the different fields. The capitalist has enjoyed the fruits of Darwinism; let us move quickly to the application of the science of Marx. The introduction of scientific Socialism will mean the freedom of all science to develop and fulfil its true social function — as a practical tool for society’s benefit
Our impatience is with those fellow workers who profess sympathy with our case but will not join us because they think others are not capable of doing the same. The point is do YOU understand the meaning of socialism and are YOU prepared to work with us in the Socialist Party in order to accelerate the spread of this understanding.