Following on from the earlier 1929 election statement, we re-publish another from our archives which is a fine statement of the socialist case in easy-to-read, popular language, some which still finds an echo today, especially the opening and closing paragraphs. Even the historical detail can simply be updated, references to the atomic and hydrogen bomb can simply substituted by the Labour Party present support for the Trident Missile programme.
General Election, 1955
MANIFESTO OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN
Once again you are asked to do the most important thing in your lives — Vote. All the candidates are supporters of capitalism. It makes no odds which lot get in. They all do the same job for the same people, run the system which keeps you poor and your boss rich. Their election addresses are not worth the paper they are written on. Petty details apart, there is no difference between them.
Actions speak louder than words. Judge from your own experience. What difference did the Labour Government make? Profits have been going up for several years. The Labour Party has ordered the atomic and hydrogen bombs, broken strikes, increased the cost of living, and conscripted men into the army. They now say that they have a 'Positive Peace Policy', and that Britain should stop hydrogen bomb tests. Even if feasible this would not ensure peace. There can be no peace as long as capitalism lasts. The cause of war is the fight for profits. Profit is the aim of capitalists. A vote in this election is a vote for the hydrogen bomb.
In spite of a post war boom, which should be the best time for workers, industrial wage rates have done little more than keep up with the cost of living index, and millions of clerical and other workers are worse off than before the war. Millions are working over-time to keep what they had before the war.
Dockers, miners, and railway men have found that nationalisation has got them nowhere. They are back where their fathers were, striking to keep heads above water, but now against the strongest employer of all—the Government.
The same Daily Herald which announced the Loco men's strike for six shillings a week more, reported that "All profit records have been smashed by the £440 million Imperial Chemical Industries. The Chairman announces group profits of £47,684,602; an increase of £10,616,452 on last year, which was a record."
A vote in this election is a vote for low wages, high profits and high prices. The Tories running short of pie-crust have resurrected that hoary old vote catching gag "Clear the Slums"; they are going to "clear 200,000 people out of the slums every year". This is in 1955, not 1855, after Labour and Tory have been in for years.
One thing all their election manifestos show is that the same old problems are still with us, only larger. War, High Prices. Bad Housing, Low Pensions, Free spectacles, 'Helping the family', Fair shares. What is all this but another way of saying that most people are worried and exhausted by POVERTY. Britain has the finest health service in the world, but no one yet knows the results of atomic bomb tests. Fewer babies die at birth, but more little children are killed on the roads. We work shorter hours but take longer to get home. Rickets and scurvy are gone, but polio and cancer increase.
Workers must stop voting for the Guv'nor, or his office-boy the Labour Party, and start thinking how to vote for themselves. Why are the majority poor? Because they work for wages. The world is still run for the rich few. The workers CAN alter all this. They CAN organise to capture the Governmental power to establish a new system of society — Socialism. In several countries now the workers are the majority, yet they still allow themselves to be fooled into supporting 'the least of two evils' which (after they support it) becomes the worst evil. The workers do not know their own strength at the polls. They could go straight out for socialism, which would remove the CAUSE of their problems.
Socialism is not nationalisation. The Tories know that the Labour Party is not socialist. Socialism will be a society in which private property in machinery, factories and land will not exist. The wealth produced by labour will belong to the whole community. This society will be based on the mutual confidence and sensible co-operation of all for the common good. It will do away with owners; the rich, hardship, inequality and frustration will be wiped out. This will give everybody a chance to do his best in a money-less, class-less world, where a man's work for society will be the sole test of his worth. People will work happily because useful labour is essential to a healthy life. They will NOT work for an employer's profit but directly for each other.
Some who read this will agree with everything said — and still vote for the Labour candidate. They do not see that this is useless. The number of socialists is still small. This prevents us from contesting. Because socialists are few they must stand clearly for the interest of the working class. Nothing but harm can come of attempts to get support by watering socialism down into something else. A vote for a programme of reforms is a vote for capitalism. All the other parties will catch votes on the strength of promises which leaders make but never keep. socialists reject this disastrous idea. Socialism can only be established by democracy. Each one must know what he wants and instruct his representative to carry out his order. Even a small band of resolute workers can do much, by clear example, to show those who still waver, the alternative to capitalism. Those workers who have seen through the Tweedle-dum sham of the capitalist parties are forced to bide their time and vote indirectly by writing SOCIALISM on their ballot paper. Let none be inactive on this score. To all working men and women who, sick and tired of the old gang, weary of the hypocrisy and corruption of professional politics, dominated by money, we say the future is not hopeless. The choice is YOURS. Vote SOCIALISM — or for your own destruction.