It has been decided that the Socialism Or Your Money Back blog will give more prominence to the participation of the Socialist Party (GB) in the upcoming general election in May so in the run-up to it, we will be reducing the number of blog posts upon other topics.
Around the world, people are clamouring to be heard. They want a voice. People are searching for a way to transform an economic system that benefits the few over the many. They are searching for fairness, opportunity, justice and real change. We must re-envision and renew the workers’ movement. Our world changes - we too must change. But episodes of activism and moments of struggle are not the same as movements. Our challenge is to build anew the socialist movement by constructing a new aim for collective action, the creation of a purpose and object. People seek a movement that promises progress. They want change. We see every day working people coming together and speaking out and pushing forward with determination and dedication for a better future. Millions of people have begun to draw political conclusions about the nature of the capitalist system and the need for an alternative. The alternative is socialism. Anger and disgust is not enough. If opposition to the pro-capitalist parties is to be built, then the working class must build it.
Elections are one of the best ways for socialists to get a public hearing and it raises the morale to discover that there are like-minded workers out there and fellow socialists. If we socialists don’t speak up for socialism in the electoral arena, who will? By fielding socialist candidates in elections, the Socialist Party educates the public about socialism and socialist solutions. We ask for workers’ votes for a new social system, not just a few reforms or a petty changes to the status quo.
Nevertheless, the Socialist Party is well aware that capitalist elections are rigged against us and we struggle to gain a hearing through the media. There is no contradiction between understanding the limits of a bourgeois democracy and at the same time fighting for access to it. The fact is that in every arena of the class struggle under capitalism workers fight an uphill battle. Corporate power is not called "the ruling class" for nothing. Even in the best of circumstances, when unionised workers simply seek a contract, they operate in a playing field where employers have the power to lock them out, hire scabs and threaten to shut the plant - a threat that they sometimes carry out.
Some on the Left continue, with a variety of pretexts, to denigrate and disparage the electoral battle and to discourage active participation in it. They advance the strange argument that elections, involving public meetings and door-to-door canvassing and distribution of leaflets are not mass movements. To move the ball towards the goal you must be on the field. Everyone can take part and a myriad of skills are needed. At each stage your impact will depend on how hard and how well you play. But one thing is certain - you will have no influence if you sit out the game on the side-lines, preferring the bench of indifference. Certainly, the electoral system is not the only game in town for the working class. But it is where much of the attention of workers will be drawn this year. Those who do not directly participate are obliged to listen to the debates because it fills the airwaves and newspaper columns.
Some on the Left tell us, “You will not get elected,” and cynically accuse us of conspiring to take away votes from reformist candidates such as the Green Party. Make no mistake about it, we want to take away their votes. A socialist is not a supporter of any capitalist party whatever. The Green Party may desire a kinder, gentler capitalism but why would socialists feed the Green Party’s false hopes that capitalism can be fixed? We aim to persuade working people to struggle for socialism. We reach out to workers with a message of hope and with a mission of real struggle.
Different groups of capitalists have different priorities and political inclinations, and back parties that reflect this. One of the key functions of the state under capitalism is to mediate conflicts between different members and sectors of the ruling class. When times are good and profits are high, this is a relatively easy task because there is no need to take drastic steps in one direction or another. But this is a period of economic and political crisis. The ruling class is scattered, competing for influence over their widely divergent views about how to stabilise the system. This contest is played on the electoral field. The growing divides between different sectors of the ruling class opens up greater space for a socialist party to expose the countless weakness of the system.
The Socialist Party does not believe that the solution to the problems facing the working class will come from any reforms passed by parliament. We want a revolution; and, we work hard to make it happen. Our party knows that revolution is necessary. But the election will sorely disappoint anyone longing for real change. Those who want a better life, a better world or an end to war, will not get any of those things from the pro-capitalist reformist parties on parade. In the UK, two capitalist parties dominate political life inside the system. Candidates from the Tory and Labour parties bask in the glow of the media cameras. The contest, however, is really one between two parties of war and exploitation, two parties of extreme wealth. Other smaller parties such as UKIP demagogically pay lip-service to “the interests of the ordinary people,” but they do not mean a word of it. All of the pro-capitalist parties, time and time again, pledged themselves to manage the affairs of the ruling class. Their campaign platforms may articulate the outlook of different wings of the ruling class, but at the end of the day they all have the same goal. All capitalist candidates share a single slogan — “profits not people”—that is, if they wanted to tell the naked truth. They aim to get elected not to serve “the people” as they claim, but to serve the miniscule capitalist class. Many of their candidates will be actual capitalists themselves.
The Socialist Party is not a party of professional politicians. Our candidates are different because they do not serve the interests of business and capital. Quite the contrary, they have spent their lives fighting against it. The Socialist Party provides a choice for voters. We wish to be a catalyst to raise working-class consciousness. We want to spread the idea of social revolution, of true change. We know that change is possible.
We, in the Socialist Party, take the ideas of socialism - the way forward for humanity- to the electorate. Socialists, to quote the Communist Manifesto, “disdain to conceal their aims.” The Socialist Party’s election campaign is to open a much-needed avenue for workers to wage political combat against the capitalist class and their corrupt accomplices.
Our prospective candidates for ten constituencies are as follows:
Bill Martin - Islington North; Danny Lambert - Vauxhall (London); Brian Johnson - Swansea West (Wales); Steve Colborn - Easington (North East England); Kevin Parkin - Oxford East; Mike Foster - Oxford West and Abingdon; Robert Cox – Canterbury; Andy Thomas - Folkestone and Hythe (Kent); Howard Pilott - Brighton Pavilion; Jacqueline Shodeke - Brighton Kemptown.