The Socialist Party of Great Britain (SPGB) and our companion parties in the World Socialist Movement (WSM):
- say that socialism will, and must, be a wageless, moneyless, worldwide society of common (not state) ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production and distribution.
- say that socialism will be a sharp break with capitalism with no ‘transition period’ or gradual implementation of socialism (although socialism will be a dynamic, changing society once it is established).
- say that there can be no state in a socialist society.
- say that there can be no classes in a socialist society.
- promote only socialism, and as an immediate goal.
- say that only the vast majority of workers, acting consciously in their own interests, for themselves, by themselves, can introduce socialism.
- see any vanguardist approach, minority-led movements, and leadership, as inherently undemocratic (among other negative things).
- promote a peaceful democratic revolution, achieved through force of numbers and understanding.
- neither promote, nor oppose, reforms to capitalism.
- say that religion is a social, not personal, matter and that religion is incompatible with socialist understanding.
- seek election not to govern capitalism but to brings about its elimination.
- oppose all war and say that socialism will inherently end war, including the ‘war’ between classes.
- noted, in 1918, that the Bolshevik Revolution was not and could not be socialist and consider Leninism to have been, and to be, a distortion of Marxism.
- were the first to recognise that the former USSR, China, Cuba and other so-called ‘socialist countries’ were not socialist, but instead state capitalist.
Other ‘socialist’ parties and groups
We are sometimes asked what makes the World Socialist Movement (WSM) different from other organisations that call themselves socialist and why we criticise them. We list below some specific points which we think are important and differentiate the WSM from other organisations calling themselves socialist. We hope this gives a good perspective on how they differ from the WSM.
- We say that socialism will be a wageless, moneyless, free-access society.
None of them agree with this.
Most support a market system. Some suggest that a non-capitalist market is possible. These suggestions show a lack of understanding of market economics. If a ‘non-capitalist’ market system were somehow established it would eventually become a capitalist market system.
- We say that leaders are inherently undemocratic; socialists oppose leadership.
They all support leadership.
- We say that socialists shouldn’t work for reforms to capitalism, because reforms do nothing to advance socialist ideas or bring socialism nearer.
They all work for reforms, holding either that reforms to capitalism will eventually result in something better or that supporting reforms is an appropriate way to convince workers to support what they call socialism.
Some put forward a reasonable analysis of capitalism, but then work to give capitalism a ‘human face’. Some claim that they want to end capitalism but are not clear on what they want to replace it.
- We say that socialism will be a cooperative, worldwide system, and it has clearly not yet been established.
Most, perhaps all of them, see what they call socialism as being established within separate nation states – thereby effectively supporting a form of nationalism.
- We say that democratically capturing the state through parliamentary elections is the safest, surest method for the working class to enable itself to establish socialism.
Many seem to support this parliamentary approach at some level, but this varies and some seem to support both parliamentarianism and anti-parliamentarianism at the same time. In any case, even if they were successful in elections, this would be to establish a different version of capitalism, not socialism as we see it.