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The capitalist state

The Importance of Parliament

The State is the public power of coercion. It arose out of the early division of society into classes, and developed with the development of class conflicts. It is the result of the desire to keep “order”; that is, order in the interests of the class that is supreme; order to allow the ruling class to subdue and exploit the rest of the population without hindrance. Through the ages the State has been controlled, as a rule, by the class that has been economically the most important. It is maintained by taxes, and hence a class that has outgrown its economic importance can often continue for a time to control social affairs. As the State grew in size and complexity, it became more burdensome and the taxes grew with it. This led to quarrels among property owners over the amounts of their contributions. Much of the apparent cleavage between parties in modern States is at bottom only a question of who shall take the weight of taxation.

What is the Use of Parliament?

Lessons of the German Naval Revolt.
Those who have learned by experience and observation that the big political parties, Liberal, Labour and Conservative alike, offer no hope of improved conditions for the workers, often conclude that the failure of these Parliamentary parties is evidence of the uselessness of Parliament and the danger of Parliamentary methods. This is a wrong conclusion. It is not Parliament as a piece of political machinery which has failed; it is the three political parties which have failed. They have failed even to attempt to use Parliament for the purpose of establishing Socialism. No single M.P. of any party in this country has ever been elected to Parliament as a Socialist, for the simple reason that there is no single constituency in which a majority of the workers want Socialism.

Political and Economic Organisation: Some Common Objections Answered

 The Battlefield of the Struggle

 In a previous issue we outlined the policy of the Socialist Party of Great Britain. We showed that the class struggle arises on the economic field, but that the workers can only be victorious in that struggle by becoming conscious of their class interests and controlling political power. The objection is often raised that the worker is "robbed” in the process of production, and that it is on the industrial field that he must fight for emancipation. These objectors do not realise the truth pointed out by Marx, that economic systems are controlled politically. Marx showed that material conditions give rise to political institutions by means of which ruling classes dominate the economic world. The materialist view of history shows that the material conditions of production, etc., make necessary political machinery to govern or control the economic life of society.

Socialism and Social Reforms

 It is not only the workers who, through Trade Union action, endeavour to place certain limits upon their exploitation by the capitalists. The State, which to-day exists for the purpose of preserving capitalism, is also compelled in the course of its activities to take such steps.

 In the early days of the nineteenth century, when the modern factory system was still struggling with earlier methods of production (based on handicraft in its later phases), the workers were able to reap some slight advantage from the divisions among the exploiting class.

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