Tuesday, January 01, 2013

We don't make promise

The Brixtonblog webzine has asked candidates in the upcoming by-election to submit in answer to the question of "what they would do specifically for Brixton Hill". The Socialist Party has to say that it's not possible to isolate Brixton Hill from the effects of capitalism. Our candidate, Daniel Lambert, has in previous election contests done his best to introduce a broader perspective: that capitalism and its profit priority, particularly acute in a crisis as at present, which prevents basic amenities being adequate and in fact means they're being cut back. Some rival candidates only want to discuss cycle lanes and lollipop ladies. We're not standing just for the residents of Brixton Hill, but for working people everywhere. Danny has said that the Socialist Party are standing to raise awareness of the possibility of democratically establishing common ownership of the means of living, explaining that "enough resources, know-how and skills exist already to provide comfortably for everyone. It’s the profit system that prevents this. We need to do away with it and instead produce and access goods for needs."

The profit system is oppressive; it dominates our lives. It plagues us with bills. The rent and mortgage payments, the food bills, the rates, gas, electricity, water and telephone bills. Money is used to screw us for the profits of business. If we don't pay, we don't get the goods. Without the capitalist system, a socialist community would easily provide for all of its members. Most politicians blame our problems on lack of money, but this is not true. Money doesn't build hospitals, schools decent housing and a healthy environment. The things that make a good community can only be created by the work of the people. We have an abundance of skills and energy. If we were free from having to work for the profits of employers we would be able to work for the needs of everyone.
Socialism is our priority and the only basis on which we want people to vote for us. We are contesting this election on the single issue of capitalism (class ownership and production for profit) or socialism (common ownership, democratic control, and production to directly meet people's needs). If, in the very unlikely event that we should be elected, the Socialist Party might well vote for certain measures judged to further the cause of socialism or in the interest of wage and salary workers and their dependants. The candidates of the Socialist Party therefore, whilst quite prepared to use the local powers for as many benefits as may be forced from the capitalists' hands for those in local districts, nevertheless do not seek a mandate for this, which can only be a secondary to the struggle for socialism. We enter council contests as a step in the work of capturing the whole political machinery, fully realising, and pointing out to voters, the strict limitations of the power of local bodies, making no promises that are beyond our power to fulfil. This is a not an easy thing to explain but the fact is that under capitalism there is nothing that can be done to stop the cuts. All that can be achieved is a few concessions here and there and robbing one service to finance another.

Despite the fact that we could sympathise with some particular policy and, of course, people should protest at things getting worse but they shouldn't have any illusion that they can stop this. At most they can only slow it down a bit. We support, fully and utterly, workers in their efforts to stand up to their employer, a struggle we all share an interest in. We share, though, an even greater interest in getting rid of the wages system all together. When reading election promises and then thinking back to all the other similar pledges by previous candidates and recalling the reality of the U-turns, their excuses and the failure to deliver over the years, how could anyone doubt the need of addressing the question of what’s gone wrong with politics? If we simply moan and complain from our armchairs what will change? A compliant, passive electorate will always be repeatedly defrauded. You can choose to not cast a ballot or you can opt to vote for candidates who will work within the capitalist system and help keep it going. Or you can use your vote to show you want to overturn it and end the problems it causes once and for all. When enough of us join together, determined to end inequality and deprivation, we can transform elections into a means of doing away with a society of minority rule in favour of a society of real democracy and social equality. It's voting for leaders to try to run the profit system in the interests of the majority that makes no difference, not voting in itself. The reason for contempt and indifference towards politics comes from a history of being excluded, the expectation of being unheard and the acceptance of being ignored. To be heeded, to be considered, to be represented honestly we need to be involved in the decision-making processes, not to be told what is in our best interest by self-serving professional politicians. Anyone can go around saying "I'll do my best for you"  but we're not contesting elections for that reason - we think there is a political decision to be made about the type of society we are living in, and that is the platform we stand on, a platform from which to broadcast socialist ideas.

Our candidate is standing on a straight programme of socialism and nothing else and have no programme of side-tracking, vote-catching reforms. He is not endeavouring to climb into prominence on the backs of the working class, by posing as a leader. We leave that to others who persist going down the well-trod path of petitioning for palliatives and cure-alls. That we choose to make socialism our sole aim is what marks us out as different from those who would befriend the monster that capitalism is in all its forms.

According to our Rulebook: "Candidates elected to a Political office shall be pledged to act on the instructions of their Branches locally, and by the Executive Committee nationally." This, to ensure that any Socialist Party councillors or MPs remain mandated delegates, not leaders. We're not looking for followers, we're only standard bearers.

Here's Danny Lambert's response to the Brixtonblog's request:

"Parties promising to do things for others is not my idea of politics, so I’m not making any promises to do anything for anyone. The Socialist Party is standing to give people the chance to show they reject the capitalist system where making profits always comes first.

Capitalism is going through one of its economic crises and the only way out for it is to restore profits by cutting the living standard of working people and their dependants.

That’s why what our wages can buy has shrunk. It’s why benefits are being slashed. And it’s why Lambeth council has been cutting local services.

It’s not just Lambeth. It’s councils everywhere, whichever party is in control. Politicians, local and national, are just running the system in the only way it can be. It’s the system that’s to blame, not those elected to run it. That’s why changing the politicians in charge makes no difference.

Instead of trusting in politicians we’ve have got to change the system ourselves, to one where the places where wealth is produced are no longer run as profit-seeking businesses but owned and democratically controlled by the community and used to provide a decent life for all."

We are the political party that makes no promises - it's you that makes the promise when you cast your vote to say "I am a socialist, I will work for common and democratic ownership and control of the wealth of the world between me and my fellow workers." We are not promising to deliver socialism to you. We are not putting ourselves forward as leaders. This new society can only be achieved if we join together to strive for it. If you want it, then it is something you have to bring about yourselves. Nobody can do it for you.  All we ask is that you join a democratic movement filled with class conscious workers who understand and want common and democratic ownership of their own world, and are prepared to go and get it. If you agree with what we say, you can show this by voting for THE SOCIALIST PARTY(GB) candidate, DANNY LAMBERT. It's the quality not the quantity of the votes that count. Our candidate offers no pat solutions, only to be the means by which you can remake society for the common good.

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