Friday, February 13, 2015

The Socialist Party on the Ballot

Election time again and the rich are stuffing the mainstream parties bank accounts (while they continue to stuff their own) to get their say-anything-say-nothing politicians into Parliament. Elections seems to confront voters with a choice that's really not much of a choice: one pro-business party that pretends to represent the interests of working people (Labour) and another pro-business party that doesn't even bother to pretend (the Conservatives). The business elites can be rest assured that whichever party wins a given election, their interests will dictate government policy. The two-party system depends on the ability of one party to serve the employers’ agenda when the other party is too discredited to do so. Miliband and Cameron have only slightly different views on how to run a capitalist system that can function only by running our lives into the ground. When the leading horse starts to lose ground (too many lies, too much corruption, too many mistakes), the bosses switch horses and the new horse is presented as a sure winner – a real change! After several rounds of backing seemingly different horses, only to realise it is the same jockey in the saddle, holding the reins, people lose hope. Is it any wonder that there exists voter abstention and political apathy? No wonder so many people don’t vote.

The Socialist Party election campaign is about building a movement for fundamental change, for a change in class relations that puts the working-class majority in power — the only answer to the problems we face. Poverty and inequality are not indelible features of society. They are the results of capitalism, which put power and wealth in the hands of a few at the expense of the many. Solving human tragedies like unemployment and war means making a revolution against the profit system. This election campaign gives us unprecedented opportunity to spread the word about the socialist alternative to capitalism, war, and inequality.

Voting for Labour or Tory (or any of the other parties) is like voting on the method of your own execution. They are committed defenders of the status quo and of capitalist rule. Every few years this sham gets played out where we are asked to vote for change but, in reality, everything remains the same — or gets worse. The boom-and-bust cycles of capitalism require a semblance of representative government, even though the parliamentary lobby appears at times to be the front office of the City of London. Even the most “progressive” reforms still accept institutionalised robbery of the working class. While the capitalist class derive some power from their ownership and control of the means for producing and distributing wealth, their real power lies in their control over the machinery of state. This power is derived by the mandate the voters give them at election time, voters who can see no fault in the existing system and will readily support whichever bunch of brigands can hoodwink them the best, via promises and pledges at election time, convincing the workers that they can best run the capitalist system. The problem is capitalism and until it is overthrown the problems will not be resolved. In spite of the millions of people who think the present capitalist system is rotten, there is a caution and lack of clarity about there being an alternative, especially, a socialist alternative. So asking these millions to read the socialist is the first step that could possibly start to overcome obstacles to the socialist movement. There is a pressing need to explain socialism and build a party to end capitalism.  

The Socialist Party standing in this election offers a chance to vote for what you deserve – sincere socialists. By making a choice for socialists, you can protest the glaring contradictions of capitalism. You can make a statement against the business as usual climate change proposals of the reformist. You can condemn the changes of the austerity reform as a redistribution of poverty. The Socialist Party will give voters a chance to truly make our votes count for democracy and socialism. The Socialist Party has taken the position that a class conscious political movement of workers is a necessity and the party for socialism is proud to announce that we will contest 10 constituencies. The Socialist Party believed in the abolition of the wage system, the creation of common ownership of the means of production, and the use of our natural wealth to benefit all people.

Some of our detractors from the Left accuse us of not being Marxist in our approach to elections. They would like to claim Marx and Engels as advocates of violent revolution and are wont to cite statements they made in support of this claim and insist even today that insurrection is a means to an end. Socialists are supposed to help us make sense of the world, by illuminating the forces and trends that shape the lives and destinies of ordinary people. But many leftists in the service of their ideological roots do something else. Whether carelessly or carefully, they omit and distort. They conveniently ignore the facts of Marx and Engels position. Resolution IX of the London Conference of the International in September 1871, headed Political Action of the Working Class stated:
“Considering, that against this collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes; That this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate end — the abolition of classes…”
In 1880, in the Introduction to the Programme of the French Workers’ Party, Marx wrote:
“That this collective appropriation can arise only from the revolutionary action of the productive class – or proletariat - organized in a distinct political party; That such an organization must be pursued by all the means the proletariat has at its disposal including universal suffrage which will thus be transformed from the instrument of deception that it has been until now into an instrument of emancipation.”

What the socialists of Britain must do is to devote all their resources to creating such a body of socialists. This is what Morris meant by 'education for revolution'. A true workers’ party has to conduct ceaseless education about socialism, political economy, organising, culture and other topics to counter capitalism. When the Socialist Party stands candidates those campaigns become part of a movement to bring the issues, not the candidate, to the fore. It is the case not the face. The Socialist Party concedes it needs a much stronger base if it is to grow into a genuine mass party for the workers. To be pragmatic no-one in the Socialist Party believe we have a chance of currently winning any of the constituencies but we do say to the voters if not us you vote for, then who? Nobody else carries the socialist torch. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find on your doorstep, a party, no matter how imperfect you might think it, that was aiming in that direction. Let’s all get out of our armchairs and take a step to actually building a mass socialist party. Let’s test the proposition that we can come together around the socialist goal. Can we rise to the occasion to make this dream become a reality?

Bill Martin - Islington North;
Danny Lambert – Vauxhall;
Brian Johnson - Swansea West;
Steve Colborn – Easington;
Kevin Parkin - Oxford East;
Mike Foster - Oxford West and Abingdon;
Robert Cox – Canterbury;
Andy Thomas - Folkestone and Hythe;
Howard Pilott - Brighton Pavilion;
Jacqueline Shodeke - Brighton Kemptown.

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