Socialism and the Election

(Manitoba provincial general election, June 16, 1932)

There is great excitement in town and country. The powers who own and rule this Province have decided that an election will take place on June 16th, and you are called upon to cast your vote as your reason, your stomach or your heart decides. There is no lack of candidates to choose from, each with some sure remedy for your ills, and you will no doubt follow, as you have done in the past, sentiment and feeling to blind you to obvious facts.

The history of Manitoba and of Canada has shown – regardless of the party in power, be it Progressive, Liberal or Tory – a gradual worsening of conditions and a growing insecurity, now capped by the present world-wide depression. A capitalist newspaper, the “Ottawa Journal”, speaking of the way the affairs of the country are being handled by those you voted into power at Ottawa, says, “Parliament’s capacity for folly and futility amounts to a national scandal.” The record of the Manitoba Bracken Government is equally sterile. Conditions are such in the Canadian west that Mr. Haig, a Conservative Party leader, candidly admits that his party cannot deal with unemployment, while the once powerful Liberal Party concede their complete mental bankruptcy by joining Bracken for a continuation of his hopeless “progressive” policies.

The Independent Labor Party promises to reconstruct the “sick” Capitalist system by 15 doses of different medicine called “immediate steps to social reconstruction”. Of course, if any special “step” has been left out that any of you desire, they will increase the length of the ladder to suit. All of these reforms could very easily be adopted by Capitalist governments without endangering the basis of the present social structure, and are put forward as “bait” to catch votes.

The Communists, not to be outdone by the I. L. P., “demand” from their masters, who control the state through Parliament, 42 items ranging from a meal ticket system to the stoppage of all war preparations, and one can only suppose a shortage of paper or ideas made their program so reasonable in length. If the working class vote for the party promising the most patches on the rotten social system, then the Communist Party will be the winning team. In their paper of May 25th they admit that “only Socialism can abolish Capitalism,” but instead of struggling for Socialism they make themselves ridiculous by offering a 42-plank reform platform.

The Socialist Party enters the field with only Socialism to offer you, and regardless of the specious promises of the other parties, this is the only cure for your present insecurity of life. Under Capitalism there can be no security. Whether you have Capitalism in its historic sense, or State Capitalism (public ownership), there will be production for sale with industry tied to markets, and you, a wage worker, will get a job only when the products of production can be sold.

The way out, then, is plain, and lies in one direction only, the revolutionizing of society; the overturning of its base, by converting the means of production into the common property of society to be democratically controlled by and in the interests of the whole people. That means the abolition of the production of commodities for sale, and the substitution thereof of production of wealth to supply human needs. The control of society resides in Parliament, the centre of state power, and you, fellow workers, must send delegates to that institution in sufficient numbers to control it. That is your problem. No heaven-sent saviour or earthly leader can lead you out of your difficulties, regardless of their willingness for martyrdom. “The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.”

The Socialist Party of Canada enters this fight and submits for your consideration the single plank of Socialism as opposed to the bankruptcy of the Bracken Government, the follies and futilities of the Tories, the step-ladder of the I. L. P., and the comic opera demands of the Communists. Our candidate, George Armstrong, stands for Socialism; if you want Socialism, vote for it.