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Our case is a simple one. The only remedy to the many social problems created by capitalism is socialism! Private ownership must give place to social ownership, and the working class must ever be confronted with the fact that the power is theirs and no other power can say them nay when they will it. The Socialist Party is often accused by political activists both radical and reformist and others of that ilk of being content with "talk, talk, ever more talk." They say we are continually make all sorts of dire threats against the capitalist class, but that we stop at that. When it comes to action, according to them, we are non-starters.
Now, what action can our fellow-workers take? They can with advantage take no action other than talking—with tongue and print and the internet—and organising, and using the vote, until such time as they have obtained control of the political machinery, for without that control they are helpless. Our critics must remember that until the working class gets that political control they, like us, are helpless, and we can do nothing but agitate, educate, and organise.
We do not seek violence and if we can accomplish our aims in a peaceful manner well and good. But if the enemy—the capitalist class —resist, then we must use all the forces of the State to impose our will. We shall use force in the knowledge that we will be backed by a conscious socialist working class. The issues to be addressed then will not be merely squabbles between sections of the capitalist class but it will be a question of the complete abolition of that class itself.
With socialism, the immense powers of production existing to-day would if socially owned, provide plenty for all. When socialism is established those powers will have reached a much higher degree of proficiency, and the best method of distribution will be to allow each as much as he or she desires of the social products. Each would contribute to, the social production according to his or her capacity, and it would be a waste of time and energy to measure out what each has. Today, for illustration, many municipalities supply water to their citizens on a “rate” and find it more economical to let them take what they require for domestic purposes than to charge according to the quantity used. Our sympathies go out to the millions destined to suffer because of the madness of capitalism, the millions who will in fact lend their support to the same system that has impoverished them, and who will always suffer until it dawns on them there is an alternative and that it is they alone who can bring it about.
Anomalous as it may sound, charity and cruelty are very closely akin, and although we may perhaps give our short-sighted humanitarians credit for a real desire to alleviate the sufferings of the vulnerable. We cannot but recognise that charity in its present form tends only to prolong the sufferings of the wage-workers all the world over. The root cause of the problem of this hungry world is the ownership of the means of wealth production by one small section of society. There is no shortage of food actually. Nature has not failed us. But the promoters of the Save the Children and Oxfam movements do not understand this. Their notions are capitalist notions. To them, all is well with the world except that millions are in danger of a terrible death of starvation. Under capitalism, the children of the workers are but potential wage-slaves. Their happiness does not count. It is nothing new to us to learn those same children somewhere are being starved to death. In New York, London, Paris, Rome, in fact, everywhere where capitalism exists children are starved and will continue to starve.
Capitalism has failed to solve the problem of hunger and malnutrition. There is, therefore, only one method left. That is the socialist method—the abolition of capitalism. Send all the aid you may and you but abrogate the misery of but an infinitesimal number of those who suffer. And what is more, the position must worsen. The sooner you realise that the sooner will you desire to end it. Does it need those heart-rending photographs we have been seeing of children, emaciated and twisted beyond recognition to bring home to you the rottenness and vile inhumanity of the system you tolerate? Do you plead ignorance of the misery and squalor that must confront you every day of your lives? We cannot believe that. Thus we tell you that we are the only socialists can save the starving children, and we cannot do that without your support. If, therefore, it hurts you to see babies die a terrible death; if it even hurts you to see them live terrible lives, your duty is plain. That is to wipe out the system which is responsible and to establish in its place a system that will mean security of life for the individual from the cradle to the grave.
It is true that we in the Socialist Party do not appeal to morality, that we deny that Socialism has any ethical basis. Socialism is a system of society and systems of society are not based on ideals, “good" or “bad.” A superficial look at history might suggest, for instance, that feudalism was based on Honour and capitalism on Selfishness. In fact, systems of society are based on the relations men enter into in producing wealth. In properly societies, that is societies in which access to the means of production is not free, these relations are class relations. The section of the community having control over access to the means of production are enabled to live off the surplus labour of the producing class.
Such systems of exploitation would be unable to survive if the various means of social control did not back up the dominance of the privileged class. The state, as the centre of social control, is the most important of these means. The other means of influencing men’s behaviour and attitudes such as religion, morality, literature, art and so on, similarly operate to preserve the system. When the mode of production changes enough to shift the centre of industrial control, a process is set is motion which sooner or later brings about a change in the entire social superstructure. A new class brought to prominence by the economic change, organises itself politically to win control of the state. At the same time, new ideas appear in religion, morality and the like, reflecting the interests of the rising class. Eventually, the institutions and ideas of the previous dominant class are swept away. This is how social change comes about and there is no reason to suppose that the change from capitalism to socialism will be any different.
In all our experience almost all the opposition which socialists meet with arises not really from any particular objection which people have to the socialists' goal; but from their extraordinary ignorance of the existing state of things in which they themselves live, which they often firmly believe does realise the aim of the Socialist Party as far as it is humanly possible for it to be realised.
A few decades back workers in their millions sprang forth at the first call of the capitalist class to go and fight the workers of another nation. Yet in his heart of hearts scarcely a man of them, if he dared to ask himself, would have said he had a home worth fighting for or a possession to defend. But because of something which he knows by the name of “Patriotism," but which he cannot truthfully define, he donned khaki or field-grey and learned to slaughter his fellows without thinking or troubling to understand the why and the wherefore.
The Socialist Party does not appeal to individual self-interest but to the class interest of the working class. We say that socialism is in the interests of the working class and that it is up to them to establish it. Leaders come and go, but capitalism outlives them all, bringing the usual trail of misery and destruction in its wake. Only a socialist working class can do anything about that. Socialism will create the conditions for all-around individual development, both practically and intellectually. The task of the Socialist Party is to help such understanding come about by appealing, not to morality or conscience, but to the interests of the working class as a class. Socialism is thus a class issue, not a moral issue. The emancipation of the working class involves also the emancipation of all mankind. The working class can free itself only by ushering in socialism, a world community in which production will be carried on purely and simply to satisfy the needs of the community. Socialism cannot be instituted by a series of measures based on the dictates of conscience. It demands a change in the real basis of society, a social revolution.
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