Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Socialist Platform

The Socialist Party is a political party because the road to socialism must be a political one; it must be through the winning of political power. Socialists struggle for a social revolution — a majority, democratic, peaceful act by a working class who do not need leaders because they understand socialism and will consciously vote for it. Which leaves us with the question — why, when there is a majority of conscious socialists among the world working class, should they need to vote for socialist delegates to attend Parliament before the revolution can happen? One short answer is that there is no other way. Under capitalism, Parliament — or Congress, or the Bundestag, or the Diet — is the seat of power. It is Parliament which controls and wields, the state machine, which is used against those who seek to disrupt or to overthrow capitalism by other than parliamentary means. For any policy to succeed, then — even a policy which aims at reforming capitalism — the first step must be to capture control of the state machine through Parliament. Socialists aim to do this not in order to push through measures of capitalist reform but to use the state machine in the revolution — in the words of our Declaration of Principles as an ‘‘agent of emancipation”.

The only essential which is now lacking is a majority of conscious socialists. Among the tasks of the Socialist Party, then, is to propagate the ideas of socialism as widely and as deeply as possible among the working class. We must not be diverted into campaigns for anything less than socialism and we must remain exclusively a political organisation, the tool which a socialist working class will use to take the political act of the revolution to establish the new society. For these reasons, the Socialist Party contests elections. It is unusual for us to put up more than few candidates for as present we are a tiny organisation, with resources to match our size. As the socialist movement grows the number of candidates will increase until we are able to contest elections with the full number of candidates; by which time the socialist victory will not be far away. When socialist delegates are winning seats in elections (both here and in other countries) it will indicate growing support for socialism, and governments will have to take this into account. It will not be a question of co-operating with the administration of capitalism our delegates will have no mandate for this. It is most unlikely that support for socialism will reach maturity in only a couple of constituencies. However, if a few delegates are elected a little in advance of gaining the necessary majority in other areas they would look at any measure in consultation with the Socialist Party. Before instructing the delegates how to vote the Socialist Party would have to take all of the circumstances into account and assess the likely advantage to the working class and the socialist movement. The decision would be made on the basis of the complete measure and not on the basis of the general aims of the advocates of some reform.

Why just fight against the attacks of austerity and cutbacks which are continual and relentless given the present way of organising society? Instead let’s fight for a totally new system, one where the resources of the planet belong to everyone rather than to a tiny class of super-rich (the one percent as they’re often called nowadays). Where production takes place to meet human need rather than the profits of the few. Where effort is put into producing food, housing, clothing and the other things and services we need, rather than wasted on advertising, armed forces and the paraphernalia of the money system, such as credit cards, banks, and insurance. Where people are free of the oppression and exploitation caused by class and state. Don’t be satisfied with reforms. If you think the arguments above show that the present system, capitalism, does not serve the interests of the vast majority, consider supporting the Socialist Party in our fight to replace capitalism with a global socialist society.

Our candidates stand on a socialist platform — the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by the whole people — and only seek support for that object. Remember also that those who vote for socialist delegates are not passive electors expecting some government to solve problems for them, are not simply seeking a change of leaders or a different way of running capitalism. They are class-conscious workers who have concluded that only the abolition of capitalism will do and are indicating their readiness to co-operate in the establishment and running of socialism.

The number of votes cast for socialist candidates usually reflects the level of socialist consciousness but it says nothing about the validity of our case. We shall continue to put the case for socialism before the working class and whenever and wherever we can, we shall point out the real issue at an election — capitalism or socialism — and the real alternative to the corrupt impotence of capitalism’s politics. Each seat we contest, every vote for socialism, is part of the historical process towards a new social order when human beings will stand in equality because they will possess the world in unity.

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