Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Choice is Ours

"Intelligence enough to conceive, courage enough to will, power enough to compel. If our ideas of a new Society are anything more than a dream, these three qualities must animate the due effective majority of the working-people; and then, I say, the thing will be done." - William Morris

Many people complain that in this general election the political parties are the same. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, however, is very different. Our message is not designed to sell you political leaders at election times, nor does it consist of simple sound-bites and sloganeering.  Ours is the politics of revolution. We do not mean bloodshed and barricades when we speak of revolution, but a fundamental change in social relationships. The Socialist Party stands for a totally new system of social organisation in which the means of producing and distributing wealth—the land, factories, mines, docks, hospitals, railways—are commonly owned and democratically controlled by all members of society, without distinction of race or sex. In socialism each member of society will give according to ability and take according to self-determined needs. Money, wages, buying and selling will be things of the past, when wealth is held in common. Clearly, such a system does not operate anywhere in the world today. Neither could it exist in one country; the world system of capitalism can only be replaced by the world system of socialism. The socialist revolution is not an unattainable ideal. It can and will happen when millions of workers all over the world recognise their class interests, form socialist parties and use the political strength which they have. Once a majority of workers are resolved to establish socialism there is nothing that can effectively stand in their way. 

The Socialist Party has no leaders but is a party of conscious members who need no chiefs to tell us what to do. All of our affairs are open to the scrutiny of the public. We are a political party, concerned with socialist propaganda; we publish literature and we organise lecture meetings to spread the understanding of socialist ideas. In this general election we are putting up candidates in as many constituencies as is practical. We don't relish the fact that we are a small party which does not include millions of workers in its membership. We are certainly not complacent or proud about the fact that we are small. But we are proud of the fact that we have been consistently correct about what we have said.

 We wouldn’t deny that members of many parties share the "basic aspiration" of wanting a better world. Where the disagreements begin is over the features of this better world, which we say can only be achieved on the basis of the common ownership and democratic control of productive resources—our definition of the word socialism. There are others who say that their aim is socialism, or make reference to the works of Marx, but few of them mean by socialism what we do. For them "socialism" means state ownership and control, which in our view amounts only to state capitalism. So why should we get together with people who don’t have the same aim as us? As to the much smaller group of people out there who define socialism in the same way as us, they generally disagree with the way we advocate achieving it, i.e. the democratic political action, via the ballot box, of a majority of conscious socialists. We certainly think that all those who want socialism in the sense of a society based on the common ownership and democratic control of resources should get together in a single organisation that concentrates on advocating socialism and nothing else. Our message to them is stop entertaining illusions about minority action or reforms and join us in creating a bigger socialist party. We are not sitting back waiting for everybody to suddenly want socialism. We are actively working to help socialists become a majority.

So as long as capitalism exists there'll be this discontent which will eventually lead to a realisation that the way out is to establish a world-wide society of common ownership, democratic control and production to satisfy people's needs, not for profit. Our task, as people who have already come to this realisation, is to point this out to others, as part of the process of the development of socialist ideas. At the moment, it is true, this largely involves talking and writing but, later, when there are many more of us practical plans will no doubt be drawn up, for instance stopping world hunger, restoring the balance between human society and nature, solving the housing problem for implementation after the winning of control of political power via the ballot box.

The Socialist Party urges all workers to consider their position. They have to strike and face lock-outs because they are slaves to the capitalist class. They cannot enter into ownership of the means of life whilst the capitalist is in possession of political power. That power is given them by the workers themselves, who have been trained for centuries to think along capitalist lines, and then through the medium of the ballot box have, in consequence, elected the capitalists to, power. The wealth of the world is produced by the workers and it is, therefore, just sound common sense to say that what the workers can produce for the capitalist they can produce for themselves. But socialist understanding and determination is essential to that task. Until the workers are prepared to give their consideration to this aspect of their problems, all the protests and strikes in the world will not rid them of their troubles. The Socialist Party is hostile to all defenders of capitalism, but none more than those who preserve capitalism in the name of fighting for “socialism”. They are not only crazy, they are dangerous.


booseyhey said...

I wish I could vote for the SPGB in the forthcoming general election. Instead I'll have to vote tactically as one does when there are no decent candidates on the voting slip.

ajohnstone said...

As always and as you no doubt know of the Eugene Debs quote

"It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it."

We are recommending not the lesser evil vote but the spoiled ballot paper option