Canadian Election Statement
Classic reprint from the Winter 1986-7 issue of the World Socialist
The following classic statement of the socialist case at election times was issued as a leaflet by the Victoria Local No. 2 of the old Socialist Party of Canada at around the time of the First World War.
Although not nominating candidates in the pending election, the Victoria Local of the Socialist Party of Canada desire to place some of the leading ideas held by the Party before the electors who are giving consideration to the problems confronting us at the present time—problems which we are convinced can only be solved by the abolition of the present capitalist system, based on the class ownership of the means of production, and the substitution therefore of a system of social ownership and production for use.
There are two classes in society—the Working Class and the Capitalist Class. All other party divisions tend to obscure the real clash of contending interests.
All wealth is created by the application of labor to natural resources. This being so, how is it that the Working class—the producers of all wealth—frequently lack even the barest necessaries of life?
The reason is that the natural resources, i.e., the land, mines, factories and transportation facilities are owned by the Capitalist class, and the worker can only gain access to them when an employer can make a profit out of him.
To any student of modern social and industrial conditions, who carefully considers the evidence, it is apparent that our present system is rapidly reaching the point when a breakdown is inevitable. The Capitalist class who control industry, and, in order to maintain themselves in power, must also control the legislative, judicial and administrative functions of the State, have proved themselves incapable of organizing affairs so as to provide all the people with the necessaries essential to maintain life.
Even in this "Last West," in periods of frantic "development," at no time were all employed under conditions fit for human beings and at wages sufficient to maintain a moderate standard of comfort for the worker, and the family dependent on him.
But even were all employed at a "living" wage, the reason for the existence of a Socialist Party would still continue. With the ever-increasing perfection of the machinery of production and the more efficient organization of the producers of wealth, the worker of to-day is able to produce in a few hours a far larger output than formerly could be in treble the time; but this increased product, instead of reducing his hours of labor, thus giving him greater opportunities for culture and the pleasure of life, is retained by the owners of the machinery of production and is used to force him to accept an even lower standard of life than hitherto. Instead of the larger output made possible by the increased productivity of the machine being used to raise the workers' standard of life, it is used to dispense with a portion of the labor army, and the growing problem of the unemployed, with all its attendant misery, suffering and degradation, is a ghastly witness of the failure and mismanagement of industry by the Capitalist class. This is the rock on which Capitalism will meet its doom.
It has been conclusively proved that a standard of life better than that enjoyed by the best paid artizans is possible with the expenditure of less than three hours per day in labor of all able-bodied men, if society were but organized on a sane basis, and realizing also that the social evils of to-day, which are the despair of "statesmen," and towards the solution of which the "reformers" can at best only be compared to the efforts of Mrs. Partington to drive back the waves of the Atlantic with her mop, the Socialist points to the absolute necessity of the means of production being taken over by, and managed in the interests of the whole people, instead of in the interests of an ever-decreasing minority.
The Socialist Party has nothing in common with the person whose whole efforts are expended in social reform. Social evils are almost invariably the result of bad economic conditions; the study of Socialism will make this clear.
The Capitalist class, who appropriate all the wealth created by the Working class over and above the amount necessary to permit of the continued existence of the latter, maintains itself in power only by its control of the machinery of the State, thus entrenching itself in possession of the wealth secured in the exploiting process of modern production.
When the Working class fully realize the utter hopelessness of any real improvement in their condition as long as Capitalism lasts, they will unite under the banner of Socialism to capture the machinery of the State, take over the means of production, and manage industry in a manner certain to ensure to all a healthy, happy life, with the fear of poverty absolutely abolished.
We urge you to study the literature of the movement, educate yourself in every phase, and take your place among those who are to-day trying to rouse the Working Class from the apathy and ignorance which alone stands in the way of their emancipation from the thralldom of wage slavery.
If you are interested, send your name and address to the Secretary, Victoria Local, S.P. of C., Room 6, 1406 Broad Street, and we will arrange to supply you with some of our literature.