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One myth is that leaders can create democracy and prosperity while those who want it need do no more than cheer from the sidelines and drop the equivalent of blank cheques into the ballot box. As if liberation can be achieved while the minds of the liberated are still chained to the illusions of class society. As if the mighty are high for any reason but that the meek are holding them upon their shoulders. A leader cannot lead unless there are followers to follow. ou cannot be a socialist and have a leader. You cannot be a socialist and be a leader. Socialism means self-emancipation of the working class by the working class. Only when a majority of workers understand and want it will socialism be a practical possibility. It is all a question of consciousness allied with democratic political action.

 There exists an assumption is that without leaders, there can be no civilisation. Our contention is the opposite. Leaders, and the followers who create them, are holding us back from any real global civilisation. Each of us can be our own leader. The greatest command is that over oneself. Our capitalist world, controlled by a few rich people and their minions, has done its level best to school out of us the very things which make us such a great species in the first place--initiative, experimentation, imagination, diversity. The leaders we are asked to support, and sometimes choose between, are a myth, created and maintained by--leaders. They are poor examples of honesty, integrity, even of humanity. They are not interested in truth, justice, or any of the grand notions they spout about. They exist, have always existed, will always exist, for one purpose only: to line their own pockets and empty yours. They are parasites on the social body, unwanted, unnecessary and destructive. To follow leaders is to hand over your heart on a platter, with knife and fork attached. It is an admission of defeat, acceptance that you are inadequate, in and of yourself. It is an act of submission and indeed an act of cowardice unworthy of the human animal.

The world is obsessed by leaders and leadership. The Socialist Party has never had time for leaders, pariularly those who aim to come into the working class political movement and get socialism on our behalf. Labour leaders, to say the least, are useless to the workers in their conflict with the capitalist class. An organisation whose members have no desire to control affairs for themselves, and therefore hands over the management to certain individuals, by so doing gives them the opportunity to use that organisation to obtain any object they may have in view. And judging by the past actions of these leaders their purpose seems to be always the same, that is, to earn a reward from the capitalist by betraying the workers whose interest they are supposed to safeguard. The shameful way in which the workers have been betrayed should surely force them to consider a method by which their organisation can be made proof against the undermining operations of such traitors.

To appear on a public platform for the Socialist Party or to regularly write articles for the Socialist Standard is usually enough for some  to appoint you the leader—in spite of indignant protests and denials. The Socialist Party even has a General Secretary so isn't that a leader? The Socialist Party has no leaders in fact or theory. Socialism wouldn't operate that way and neither do we. All decisions are made by common vote, all administration is above-board and open to inspection, and all work is voluntary. None of us is perfect, and that's why democracy works better than le adership. Mistakes by one person are not disasters for the many. Private interests don't count. Power doesn't exist. Socialists are their own leaders, and they follow nobody but themselves. The Socialist Party is a leader-less political party where its executive committee is solely for housekeeping administrative duties and cannot determine policy or even submit resolutions to conference (and all the EC minutes available for public scrutiny access on the web as proof of our commitment to openness and democracy). All conference decisions have to be ratified by a referendum of the whole membership. Even our General Secretary has no position of power or authority over any other member. Despite some very charismatic writers and speakers in the past, no individual personality has held undue influence over the the Socialist Party..

 William Lovett, the London Working Men's Association’s first secretary, renounced all leaders in the early 19th century:
“The masses, in their political organisations, were taught to look up to "Great Men" (or to men professing "greatness") rather than to great Principles. We wished therefore to establish a political school of self-instruction among them, in which they should accustom themselves to examine great social and political principles, and by their publicity and free discussion, help to form a sound and healthful public opinion throughout the country...We have not wished, neither do we desire to be, Leaders, as we believe that the principles we advocate have been retarded, injured or betrayed by Leadership, more than by the open hostility of opponents. Leadership too often generates confiding bigotry, or political indifference on the one hand, or selfish ambition, on the other.
The principles WE advocate are those of the peoples' happiness, and for these to be justly established, each man must Know and feel his Rights and Duties. He must be prepared to guard the one; and perform the other with cheerfulness. And if Nature has given to one Man superior faculties, to express or execute the general wish, he only performs his Duty at the Mandate of his bretheren; he is therefore the "Leader" of none, but the equal of ALL.”

The dubious and unprovable proposition that most human beings are "natural" followers and that leaders are, therefore, essential is a claim serving only the convenience of those who wish to lead. Indeed, such evidence that does exist would surely elicit the conclusion that the absence of leaders, far from creating chaos is a prerequisite to end it. Because we are a democratic Party all our meetings are open and our propaganda meetings organised to allow open debate. To this end visitors are given ample opportunity and encouragement to ask questions or state an opposing view. To refuse to follow leaders is a liberating step, one which the working class has yet to take. When we realise that the post-scarcity world can be run very efficiently and healthily by democratic co-operation, that our own lives would be vastly better without states, governments, police, and all the trappings of leadership, we will collectively be in a position to make that step. And then we will see a revolution unprecedented in history. Working class emancipation necessarily excludes the role of political leadership. Even if it could be conceived of a leader-ridden working class displacing the capitalist class from power such an immature class would be helpless to undertake the responsibilities of democratic socialist society. Socialism could not work with people unwilling or unable to think for themselves, to take responsibility, or to co-operate, but fortunately it doesn't have to. Human beings are better than that. We can think, and we can co-operate, and we don't need the Right to tell us we're unworthy and worthless, nor do we need rescuing by some "heroic" and entirely disreputable vanguard of the Left.

It is NOT the party’s task to lead the workers in struggle or to instruct its members on what to do in trade unions, tenants’ associations or whatever, because we believe that class conscious workers and socialists are quite capable of making decisions for themselves. For the Trotskyist Leninist Left, all activity should be mediated by the Party (union activity, neighbourhood community struggles, etc.), whereas for us, the Party is just one mode of activity available to the working class to use in their struggles, a tail to be wagged by the dog.

The Socialist Party is like no other political party in Britain. It is made up of people who have joined together because we want to get rid of the profit system and establish real socialism. Our aim is to persuade others to become socialist and act for themselves, organizing democratically and without leaders, to bring about the kind of society that we advocate. We reject the idea that people can be led into socialism. Socialism will not be established by good leaders but by thinking men, women and children. There can be no socialism without socialists.

Eugene Debs, a Socialist Party of America, presidential candidate but never ever a member of of its executive committee, onc said“I never had much faith in leaders. I am willing to be charged with almost anything, rather than to be charged with being a leader. I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week. If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and mis-representatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction. I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.”

And another time he said :-

“I am not a labor leader. I don’t want you to follow me or anyone else. If you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of the capitalist wilderness you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into this promised land if I could, because if I could lead you in, someone else could lead you out.”?alt=rss
3 min 50 sec ago
The current focus on ebola should not let the impact of malaria (as well as other illnesses) and the campaign to develop a vaccine for malaria be forgotten about. While endeavouring to contain the present ebola epidemic,  Liberia's Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan explains"As we and our many international partners struggle to douse the wildfire caused by Ebola, we have been left with inadequate resources, time and personnel to attend to other routine illnesses like malaria, typhoid fever and measles, thereby causing many more tangential deaths," he said. 

Malaria is associated with high mortality and morbidity especially among children under five and pregnant women.  Around 90 per cent of estimated deaths from malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa and 77 per cent of these are in children under the age of five.

Data from the phase III vaccine trial programme shows hope that a malaria vaccine is just a step away.

Plant-based therapies have held the ace in the treatment of malaria from chloroquine obtained from the Quinine bark also called Cinchona tree to the artemisin from the Chinese salad plant, Artemisia annua. Unfortunately, the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has begun to develop resistance to the WHO-endorsed treatment ACT, made from Artemisia annua.

  Nigerian researchers have discovered and validated local plants that treat malaria like World Health Organisation (WHO)-endorsed drugs such as Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs), amodiaquine, mefloquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine. A recent study published in Malaria Journal has identified medicinal plants such as Momordica charantia (bitter melon), Momordica balsamina (balsam apple), Ageratum conyzoides (goat weed), and Diospyros monbuttensis (Yoruba ebony or walking stick ebony) to be very efficacious in the treatment of drug resistant malaria. The results of the study showed sensitivity of 100 Plasmodium falciparum (malaria parasite) isolates to chloroquine, quinine, amodiaquine, mefloquine, sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine, artemisinin, Momordica charantia, Diospyros monbuttensis and Morinda lucida. The researchers concluded: "Natural products isolated from plants used in traditional medicine, which have potent anti-plasmodial action in vitro, represent potential sources of new anti-malarial drugs." 
3 min 50 sec ago
Stanley Aronowitz is sociology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, who has written or edited 25 books. His latest, The Death and Life of American Labor: Toward a New Workers’ Movement,  expands on his decades-long argument that unions need bigger goals and more direct action to succeed, or even survive. The following are his comments from an interview. “...
3 min 50 sec ago
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) makes India one of four (the US, the EU and Russia being the other three) that have ventured to our closest planetary neighbour. Nationalism drive such escapades, not the quest for knowledge and understanding. The space race between the US and the Soviet Union for example, was not undertaken for the sake of knowledge. A third of the world’s poor – that’s almost 1
3 min 50 sec ago
European governments are claiming to have agreed ambitious action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, boost renewables and reduce energy use by 2030. But the targets set by the EU's 28 heads of state are far below what is necessary and what could be done by Europe to combat climate change, according to Friends of the Earth Europe. The non-binding pledges announced by members of the European
3 min 50 sec ago