The Western Socialist
Vol. 32 - No. 247
No. 5, 1965
Mr. B. Sweet, c/o Station KPFK,
Los Angeles, California
Enclosed is copy of what might tentatively be considered a speech we hoped could be put on over your station.
Our group would willingly agree to your suggestion of an interview, but meanwhile we would appreciate your consideration of the enclosed as an initial statement of our position.
W. Z. Miller, Los Angeles Local, W.S.P.
I am speaking tonight in behalf of the World Socialist Party of the United States.
Naturally, one may wonder as to what such an organization might be and why does anyone consider it to be necessary, since there are several organizations in the country describing themselves as Socialist.
This, of course, is true. There are other organizations carrying the Socialist label. We, of the World Socialist Party, differ from other alleged Socialist Parties on several points which we consider basic. Otherwise there would be no reason for our existence.
In one other respect, also, we differ from other so-called Socialist parties. While the National Headquarters is at 11 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, Mass., it represents only one companion party of our organization. Other units are: Socialist Party of Canada; Socialist Party of Australia; Socialist Party of New Zealand; Socialist Party of Great Britain (with branches in England, Scotland and Wales); World Socialist Party of Ireland — which uniquely covers both Eire and Northern Ireland. Further we have study groups associated with the Party in Jamaica, on the African Continent and on the European Continent with an active group in Vienna, Austria.
All our companion parties stand in free association, each group democratically controlling its own affairs but acting with the rest.
We are an International body, holding that (despite division and apparent differences) humanity is biologically ONE HUMAN FAMILY. We seek to extend our influence and promote our views throughout the world and, although a political party, we are at this time essentially an educational one since our forces admittedly are spread rather thin. Active political (parliamentary) action is (pro-tem, we hope) out of the question.
As to our principles: We hold that today, throughout the world all the instruments and forces of wealth production are held by a distinct class, the capitalist, all the wealth being produced by the working class. Despite the sooth-sayings of capitalist politicians and so-called economic experts concerning the healthy state of the nation's economy, etc., the fact remains that poverty, disease, illiteracy, etc., are the lot of a not inconsiderable portion of the dispossessed, and insecurity and fear pervade the mental outlook of vast numbers of the so-called gainfully employed.
We seek to make our appeal not to the blind emotions of our auditors but to their intellects. The Socialist case being based on a realistic appreciation of historical development is a scientific one.
Consequently we do not rant and rave at capitalism in the manner of those who consider it to be, per se, an evil institution devised by men of evil intent, but we view capitalism as the contemporary end-product of a long line of historical development.
Since the time of recorded history society has passed through successive definite social stages: chattel slavery, feudalism and now capitalism.
And, at its inception, capitalism was a revolutionary and progressive society. In its development it has spread its power and influence throughout the world, bringing isolated places and peoples closer together. It has developed a high degree of social communication, grid-ironed the continents with its railroads, placed its trade vessels on all the shipping lanes of the seven seas and now, in its later stages, is probing the mysteries of space.
It has for the first time in history, through its remarkable development of productive machinery and the increased productive capacity of its workers, solved the age-old human problem of insufficiency. This to such an extent that vast aggregations of useful products are often destroyed in order to stabilize the market. For this is a market economy, in which profit must be made for the owning and investing section of society.
And so, while we concede the progressive aspect of capitalism, we see it now at this late date in its development as socially reactionary and incapable of satisfying the needs of humanity.
Contrary to other so-called socialist groups we contend that legal enactments and so-called liberal legislation cannot overcome the inherent contradictions in the economy — socialized production with class ownership. We further contend that capitalism cannot be reformed in the interests of the whole society — IT MUST BE ABOLISHED.
Consequently we appeal to workers everywhere to examine our case and, if it is convincing, to organize CONSCIOUSLY and politically with the object of gaining the powers of the state in order to inaugurate a society wherein the guiding principle shall be: "To each according to his needs; from each according to his ability."
We are irrevocably opposed to violence, holding that the vote (with the inevitable extension of the franchise) is the ready-to-hand and obvious means of political expression.
The important thing, as we see it, is for the people to achieve understanding and see the necessity for a new social order. We hold that, with social understanding, socialism is possible.
It has been stated, quite seriously, that socialism is but an analysis. True. But it is more than that. It is an analysis, an economic analysis of capitalism. It is also, an interpretation of history and philosophy of life. Further it is a social ideal; an understanding of a possible social system in which a secure and meaningful existence could be the lot of all.
"Man" wrote the despised economist of Soho, "makes his own history, but he does not make it out of the whole cloth; he makes it out of conditions he finds close to hand."
And the toiling masses, the creators of wealth and the real creators of history, now find close to hand those conditions out of which history may further be made. And made in the real interest of the whole of mankind.
With such an ideology becoming pervasive, the world's workers, by intelligent use of the vote, and the attaining thereby of a more than adequate majority can take the first step in human emancipation.
Against the sound understanding and desire of such adequate voting majority, no power on earth can successfully make opposition.
This, necessarily, has been but a skeletal exposition. Perhaps, at some future date we may have an opportunity for amplification.
To conclude now with an analogy: In one of those beautiful poems for which he was famous Victor Hugo describes the satyr of Mount Olympus, rising from the ooze and gloom of the jungle into the proud assembly of the Gods. They greet him with derision. He responds with a cry of strong defiance. He seizes the lute of Mercury. Apollo hands over his lyre. And overturning the throne of Jupiter, that symbol of power and authority cries out: "All must give way before me."
So carrying on our educational work we hope for that day when the world's dispossessed, gathering to themselves all the arms and forces of science may stand before those who have ruled and exploited and cry:
All must give way before us. We constitute the last great slave class in history. We shall gain our complete emancipation and by that act all humanity be made free, to live a full and meaningful life, free from fear and sense of insecurity for Nature's abundance will be accessible to all.
Thank you for listening.
(Written by W. A. Pritchard)