Thursday, April 20, 2017

An End To Pessimism

The employing class want to keep the working class divided because they know that way we are more easily ruled over. They want us to blame our fellow workers for the problems which capitalism causes. They try to turn us against ourselves - blaming migrants or Muslims, or refugees instead of understanding that it's the profit system itself which is the problem. The capitalist parties have long used the tactic of 'divide and rule' to keep us - the majority - in our place. Instead of realising what we have in common as a class, we are taught to regard our fellow workers as being the enemy, or the cause of our misery.  Rabid nationalists talk of putting 'Britons first', but behind that simplistic slogan it merely means putting the interests of the ruling class first! You can't just wish away the reality of class division, and the interests of the elite are most certainly NOT the same as the interests of the working class in Britain. We have far more in common with our fellow workers elsewhere than we have with those who rule over us. Many victims of capitalist austerity will hit out at symptoms but fail to understand causes. Take immigration for instance. Migrants are, quite simply, our fellow workers. They are NOT the cause of unemployment or hospital waiting lists, they are NOT the cause of overcrowding in schools or the housing shortage. These things are caused by the system of production for profit; in fact, capitalism itself. It is the profit system which forces employers to drive wages down by importing cheaper labour, but MPs have no wish to tackle this system - in effect, they think it's okay for the ruling class to exploit the rest of us. We observe that the parties in the political field are as numerous as their different labels, but the essential question for us as workers is: Whose interests do they stand for? Whom do they in reality represent? They stand no matter how they may describe themselves as, for the essentials of the present system, for the maintenance and perpetuation of capitalist domination.

The truth of the class struggle has been driven home more than ever over the last few years since the recession began. The glaring growing income inequality, the wide-spread job-losses, the numerous strikes, the cruelty of the state toward their “rebellious slaves” all across the capitalist world, has induced even capitalist authorities to “lament” the growth of class strife. Why do you think our ruling class spends so much time and money to bring their influence to bear upon PParliament? Because that is where the decision making resides in our governmental system. It is where the capitalist class get their tax breaks, subsidies, bailouts contracts, and the loopholes in the enforcement of the laws against them. It is where the masses get nothing other than roll-backs of the previous protections of our economic well-being, our health and safety, our unions and our jobs, pay and pensions. The capitalist class rule because they have possession of the means of life, the land and the factories. It is true as Shakespeare's Shylock says: “He owns my life who owns the means whereby I live.” But this doesn’t complete the picture. Capitalist rule would be an empty phrase without them having some power to enforce their ownership and it is by controlling Parliament. Those who control the forces of "law and order", the police and the courts, and who control the military forces, actually and in reality control society itself, because having those powers at their command, they can and do use them for any desired purpose. The control and manipulation of these forces are carried on by the various political officers, and it is through these departments that instructions come with regard to their direction. Parliament make laws and alter them as in their wisdom they determine; they appoint the officers controlling the executive departments and they have at their disposal the means of ensuring that these laws are carried out. Those holding this power are in possession of the means whereby they can dominate society. The control, therefore, of political power means the control of society.

But once more the picture is still not fully complete. The workers to-day possess an overwhelming majority of the votes and it is these working-class votes that return the capitalists and their representatives into control of Parliament and thereby the continuance of the capitalists' domination. To-day the working class are largely unconscious of what constitutes their own interests and so they are misled by the paid politicians and media of the capitalist class to use the political power they possess against their real interests. The working class class have already within their reach the first step toward their emancipation when they understand how to use the vote they possess. But to use this vote effectively they must understand that, not only do they already possess political power, but that they must use this power for the purpose of getting rid of the class which dominates them. They must use their power to obtain control the political machinery, so as to enter into possession of the wealth they, and they alone create, and so rid themselves of the problems of misery, poverty, degradation, insecurity, and hopeless toil which press so heavily upon them to-day.

The anti-parliamentarians tell us that the workers should avoid and oppose political action. Why should the working class support any political party at all, they argue. Why should workers bother with political action in any shape or form? It means, so far as they are concerned, so much time and energy wasted. Universal suffrage has not failed. What has failed is the reformist use of it. To reject universal suffrage because reformist electoral action has failed is to throw out the baby with the bath water.  The Socialist Party, on the other hand, draws attention to past history and present circumstances to show how the ruling classes maintained their position of dominance. The salvation of the working class lies through organisation for control of the political power. It is only after and by the political expropriation of the capitalist class that its economic expropriation can be achieved. But will it be the only means? Far from competing with one other, electoral action and revolutionary extra-parliamentary action complete each other. The vote is revolutionary when it is cast by a class-conscious electorate for class-conscious candidates. Workers, once they had come to want and understand socialism will most likely organise in workplace committees or councils; but they will at the same time be organising politically. Not doing so would invite a violent head-on clash with a state machine still controlled by the supporters of capitalism. Why take this risk when the existence of universal suffrage and albeit limited political democracy make it unnecessary? Why not organise, democratically and without leaders, with a view to using the potential weapon that is the vote to win control of the state, so neutralising it? This is the Socialist Party position - based on an analysis of today's political circumstances and not on any dogma. And once the masses get moving they are hard to stop.

We understand why people are sceptical and cynical, and particularly critical of political parties calling themselves "socialist" having as their aim a mixed-economy or state-capitalism and those parties have essentially only sought to exploit working class discontent with a view to coming to power and installing themselves as a new ruling class in place of the private capitalists. Theseleft-wing cadres have always seen the working class as having a subordinate role as followers and as passive electors. But that cannot be held against our own position of working class democratic self-organisation into a political party based on socialist understanding, with a view to taking political, including electoral, action to abolish capitalism. That the Earth's resources should become a common storehouse for the benefit of all must emerge as a real political demand. The idea of political action and the visionary power of utopians must be combined to powerful effect. We, in the Socialist Party, reject the view that things will always stay the same. We CAN change the world. Nothing could stop a majority of socialists building a new society run for the benefit of everyone. We all have the ability to work together in each other's interests. All it takes is the right ideas and a willingness to make it happen.