Sunday, April 26, 2015

Occupy the Ballot Box

Polling day is approaching and we are just matter of days away from changing….well, actually changing nothing, if the truth is to be told. Despite discontent with austerity and global capitalism, for people all over the world an alternative has been difficult to imagine. One of the key tasks of socialists is to provide a different vision of society where we do not exist to serve the economy, but rather the economy exists to serve us, a society where the slogan "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs" becomes a reality. As socialists we strive for a society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments of production and distribution, by and in the interest of the whole community. No party except the Socialist Party, no candidate in this election except the Socialist Party candidates embraces that simple concept of a truly democratic society. Our argument for engaging in the electoral process today is that it provides as a platform for socialist ideas, the opportunity to speak to people during election campaigns and to gain a somewhat limited access to the media.

Workers vote for usual political parties every election expecting it'll change things. But what have we ever gotten from them? Everything stays the same. That's the definition of insanity. The outcome of this election and whoever wins it, will not be able to resolve the world crisis of capitalism, the truth is they are toothless. The question arises; what is the most effective way to carry out this task?  The capitalist electoral system may well be a sham, a rigged system to ensure the domination of the tiny ruling class of bankers and big-business owners. In the UK, two capitalist parties dominate political life inside the system. Candidates from the Conservative and Labour parties bask in the glow of the electoral contest. The contest, however, is really one between two parties defending exploitation and representing the extremely wealthy. The coming May elections will sorely disappoint anyone longing for real change. Those who want a better life, a better world, an immediate end to wars, better wages and conditions for workers will not get any of those things from the pro-business candidates currently on offer. Given all that, some people have asked why the Socialist Party are running candidates for parliament. After all, the Socialist Party is not a party of professional politicians. Its candidates have spent their lives fighting against war, racism and the rest of the problems capitalism creates. The Socialist Party stands because the general election is where the attention of workers will be focused in May. Millions of workers vote in the election and those who do not directly participate are forced to listen, because the media dwells on the elections many months before they take place.

The Socialist Party’s entry into the 2015 general election gives some people the opportunity to cast a vote against the system and for socialism, instead of voting for a party that pays lip service to “the interests of working people.” The hacks and mouthpieces of the capitalist media cannot be the only voices speaking to people about the need for a “change.” The Socialist Party campaign will get into debates; go door to door; and hold public meetings and speak out to say that real change comes when working people get organised and take action. The Socialist Party is running to satisfy a growing hunger for revolutionary change and push it into the forefront of electoral agenda. It is an opportunity for workers to declare their opposition to the capitalist establishment and their corrupt representatives. We will take the ideas of socialism—a better, more just society, the way forward for humanity—to the people. Based on their performance over many decades, people know by now what the major parties have to offer—more of the same. The Socialist Party believes the deepening seriousness of the world’s problems requires revolutionary ideas and revolutionary solutions. Only by opening up the ballot to new ideas and new alternatives can the political process once more become a weapon in the hands of a people struggling to solve the problems they face. Votes are a clue to the strength of political ideas.

Socialism isn't a utopian dream. It is a part of the real world and the struggle for it is in progress. While capitalism may have been discredited itself, the socialist alternative is less obvious to most people. Socialism has been tried and failed, we are told. The legacy of the old Soviet Union has been a tremendous burden for the socialist movement. Lenin’s ‘communism’ has money, banks, armies, police, prisons, social stratification but socialism’s aim is to surpass the need for the use of money. Police, prisons and the military would no longer be necessary when goods, services, healthcare, and education are available to all people. Lenin turned socialism upside down creating an Orwellian nightmare where a so-called ‘workers state’ oppressed and exploited the workers and dissidents were condemned to the gulags and salt mines of Siberia. The State owns the industries, but the bureaucracy absolutely controls the State. This enables the bureaucracy, while paying lip service to "Socialism," to use the State-owned industries to exploit the property-less workers and to enjoy disproportionately the fruits of their labor. The Soviet bureaucrats were constantly striving, not merely for more production, but, with their own bureaucratic interests in mind, for more profits. It was by making more profits for his factory that the Soviet manager got bonuses for himself. The class struggle existed in Soviet Russia, but it was camouflaged by a variety of devices, including the trade unions, which were kept under strict bureaucratic control, and by the judicious use of modest concessions not unlike those used by U.S. capitalists to insure themselves long periods of strike-free operation. The Russian workers lived from pay-day to pay-day, just as wage slaves always do. The big incomes of the privileged bureaucrats can only come out if surplus value produced by labor. This is what enabled the top bureaucrats to live like capitalist plutocrats. Yet the vision of a socialist future is so powerful that it has withstood these distortions. It prevails because we desperately need an alternative to the capitalist system, which is killing the planet and its people: socialism is that alternative.

 Despite many reasons for cynicism, there are grounds to be hopeful. So raise the red banner of socialism and champion the cause of the working class. Vote The Socialist Party. Our vision is of a world in which the weapons of warfare have been transformed into the proverbial plough-shares of peace and prosperity. This is a socialist vision of a society guided by the deepest values of human solidarity, equality and concern for others, one that values the community over private profit. People are standing up to their governments with hope of reconstructing a future which provides equal and harmonious living standards for all. If we truly want drastic and sustainable social change, all the protest marchers, placard-wavers and social media activists must join together to destroy the old system.


The Ten Candidates To Support 

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

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