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Socialism is a theory of a system of human society, based on the common ownership of the means of production and the carrying on of the work of production by all for the benefit of all. In other words, socialism means that the land, the factories and offices, the transport and communication networks and all such things as are necessary for the production of the comforts of life should be public property, just as our public roads, our public parks, and our public libraries are shared today, so that all these things should be used by the whole people to produce the goods that the whole of the people require. The idea of socialism is the co-operative commonwealth. The socialist revolution consists of the entire process, on a world scale, through which the socialist mode of production is established and supplants the capitalist mode of production. The Socialist Party does not put forward its goal as a utopia, as a mere ideal of what would satisfy people’s needs and make them all happy, but as a practical attainment which is made necessary by the actual conditions of modern society.
Only through socialism can the contradictions of modern capitalist society be solved and the modern technological forces of production be fully utilised. The socialist revolution is the abolition of capitalist private property, the abolition of all exploitation of man by man, the social ownership of the means of production and their planned use for the benefit of the whole of society, leading to abundance and brotherhood. Socialism is a society without class antagonisms, in which the people themselves control their means of life and use them for their own happiness. Socialism is not inevitable. What has been termed its ‘inevitability’ consists in this, that only through socialism can human progress continue? But there is not and cannot be any absolute deterministic inevitability in human affairs since man makes his own history and chooses what to do. What is determined is not his choice, but the conditions under which it is made, and the consequences when it is made. The meaning of scientific socialism is not that it tells us that socialism will come regardless, but that it explains to us where we stand, what course lies open to us, what is the road to life.
Socialism means production for use and not for profit. It means that one working class is not pitted against the others in wars, It means that one worker is not pitted against the other in the fight for a job. It means that one worker is not cutting the throat of the other by producing at lower wages than the other. The criteria for production under socialism would be – how much is needed? Some people will argue that it can’t work, it’s a utopia. We can only answer that capitalism has demonstrated that IT can work and society organized on the basis of production for use would have even more of a chance of working than our present economic system. This system cannot give peace and plenty to its people, socialism can and will. Bronterre O'Brien, the Chartist leader, coined the phrase ‘social democracy’ but by which he meant democratic participation as distinct from mere voting rights.
Most people wonder what the future holds for them, their family and their friends. They want to know if it is possible to see a future free from the nagging worries of today, free from the poverty for millions and the homelessness. Will wages be able to keep up with prices, be enough to cover the payments on the house, the furniture or the car? Will there even be work to be had? Will there be peace in the world or nuclear annihilation? People ask, can there be such a thing as a secure and happy future for all, or must it always be a rat race? Is it inevitable that a small number of rich should forever cream off the benefits of modern technology, while the rest of us spend our days doing tedious boring work, whether in the factory, building site, supermarket or in the home? Are things arranged like this for always? But people know that life can be improved to make it better for all if the way our society is run was re-ordered. The conviction that members of the Socialist Party hold that life can be made happier and more harmonious for all comes from our study of life as it really is, from the lessons learnt from the experience of the past and of fighting for a better future.
It is not “human nature” that is the cause of the problems people face today. It is the way society is organised, with a minority of people owning and controlling the wealth. The vast majority of the people are excluded from any real say in the running of society. This is what lies at the root of the problems that working people face. It is this system, which we call capitalism, that cannot provide the good things of life for all. It is this that must be changed. The working people who have produced all the wealth around us must come into ownership and control of what is their own by right so that they can then build the society and produce the things they want. The Socialist Party believe that conditions can be changed for the better if the people are prepared to end capitalism. Our experience confirms the truth of our way of looking at human society. It does not matter how solid and permanent the old social order may look, through the struggle of the working people it can be replaced to correspond more to the demands of the times and the aspirations of the people. Socialism means, above all else, that political power has been taken out of the hands of the capitalists and their representatives and placed in the hands of the people. It means that the political power of the State is used immediately to place private property into common ownership.
From the present day organisation of production for private profit, the aim will be changed to production for use, production of what is wanted and needed by the people. Work will become more interesting and more meaningful to millions as its results will go entirely into benefits for the people. As more goods are produced, so working hours will be shortened. Industry will have a completely different purpose with socialism - to serve the people, not the interests of the privileged few. Democracy will be extended in a way not possible under capitalism. Socialism will enable us to overcome the brakes on the progress of capitalism. It will release the creative energies of the mass of the people, making it possible to meet their needs in food, clothing, and shelter, and will open vast horizons of cultural and educational possibilities for millions. Mankind will be freed from worry about basic material needs as we know them today and will be able to meet new ones of which we as yet have no conception. Class differences will, in fact, cease to exist. Man will be able to develop his own personality and talents to the full. With the harnessing of science and technology to industry, boring and repetitive work will be eliminated. Work for all will become as it is today for only a very small minority—interesting and satisfying. The essential difference between town and country will be ended, as housing, travel and cultural facilities become available to all people. The boundaries between mental and physical labour will be removed as all people receive the freedom and means by which to exercise their potential, their talents, and abilities.
Life for all will be plentiful, secure, happy and interesting. Winning socialism will end of those worries about wages, housing, poverty, peace that dominate our lives today. The building of this new society in our country is the aim of the Socialist Party.
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