Tuesday, May 23, 2017

If you do not want socialism, we do not want your vote

" If a worker wants to take part in the self-emancipation of his class , the basic requirement is that he should cease allowing others to teach him and should set about teaching himself." - Joseph Dietzgen 

There is still a lot of educating to do and we are going to begin by educating ourselves.

The June the 8 General Election is yet another chance to choose whether to be ruled over by Tweedledum or Tweedledee. Politics is the art of keeping a slave class in subjection. So long as the workers see no further than the effects of capitalism and aspire no higher than to battle with those effects, just so long will they trust in political leaders to guide them.  The duty of working men and women is to refuse to allow themselves to be used as cats-paws of the wealthy, and to join with their fellows in The Socialist Party, the organisation of their class; thus working for the emancipation of the toilers as a whole. If we cannot have democracy under the present social system, at least we may have men and women imbued with the democratic spirit. Indeed, every socialist must be so imbued.

The Socialist Party insists upon the necessity for the education and organisation of the workers on the basis of the class struggle and this involves a constant loyalty to democratic methods. From the workers' point of view, the vote has only one meaning. It is the instrument of emancipation. As such, the most enlightened of the Chartists regarded it, and the socialist merely preserves the lessons of experience, keeping in line with the historical development of the working-class. We seek to instil into the minds of the members of our class the facts that they are slaves needing emancipation, and that they may achieve it when they will by using the powers lying to their hands. Thus, for us, democracy is not something which resides already in a bourgeois Parliament. On the contrary, it can spring into life only with the conscious self-assertion of the working-class majority having for its object the emancipation of all mankind through the abolition of the private ownership of the means of life.

The apologists of capitalism always use sweet words, but the bitter truths leave a nasty taste in our mouths. When the workers first won the franchise many of them voted for their masters out of a sort of feudal loyalty, and others were cheaply woo'd with flattery and petty bribes. Capitalism never did give security and prosperity to the workers and never did run smoothly. There are no "better ways" of running capitalism. Almost everyone would like at least some degree of control over what shapes their lives. Many know they have not got that now, and probably most of those, if they thought about it, would realise that in the past, they didn’t have that degree of control either. Simplistic, misleading explanations are concocted as to why people are powerless. These include: ‘greedy bankers’, ‘corrupt politicians’, ‘fat cats’, the ‘nanny state’ etc. The basic reason why the working class majority feel powerless and not really ‘free’ is because they do not own any significant amount of the means for producing and distributing wealth, which people need in order to live. The poverty and insecurity from which you suffer has its roots in the class ownership of the means of life.

To accomplish the task of replacing capitalism by the ‘free and equal association of the producers’ the workers possess only two effective weapons at their disposal – knowledge of history and a class-wide revolutionary organization i.e. a participatory democratic party and movement. This is indispensable. Without such a party and movement the workers are nothing but defenceless wage slaves. When workers unite for higher wages and reforms they are merely a class-in-itself. They become a class-for-itself when permeated with socialist knowledge about their common radical cause and by uniting themselves politically ‘to win the battle of democracy’ by unseating the bureaucratic ruling elites everywhere. The working class will have to get this done by applying their franchise in elections state-wise and world-wide more or less simultaneously to seize the reins of states, and get them transformed to use to dispossess the capitalist class. This is done by lopping off their repressive organs, dismantling the bureaucratic-military structure, and by democratising and absorbing the state’s useful organs into the new socio-economic formations of production for use in place of production for profit – rearranging administration of affairs of life on local, regional and global organisational scales. This will usher in a new era of equality and freedom.

Any socialists elected to parliament would consistently expose reformism for its inability to solve the problems of capitalism but may be prepared to consider on their merits particular, individual reforms that clearly benefited the working class or socialist movement, but always under democratic direction from the wider movement.


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