What We Are After

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has for its OBJECT:

The estalishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

Obviously the present social system is not so based. Its characteristics, class division and antagonism, riches and poverty, overwork and idleness, its law, public institutions and mentality, arise from and have their basis in the ownership and control of these means and instruments by a small part of society—the members of the capitalist class. Our wealthy mentors and their Press and platform hirelings admit as much when they tell us that if we abolish the “sacred rights of property” the whole social fabric; will totter to the ground, even though, they conclude with the gratuitous assumption that “anarchy and chaos” will follow.

So that there may be no mistake, let us at once state which are the means and instruments of wealth production and distribution that Socialism demands shall be owned in common and controlled democratically. They are those winch are essential to the community’s well-being—those which it is worth the people’s while to acquire, hold and administer ; which, as private property, enable their owners to get rent, profit or interest—those things, in short, which enable their possessors to exploit the workers. Thus the carpenter’s favourite plane, the wife’s knitting needles and a host of other odds and ends that deluded opponents of Socialism love to quibble over are excluded. The means of production and distribution that count, that are indispensible and worth going after, are, broadly speaking, the land, factories, warehouses, machinery, ships and railways.

Given, then, such a fundamental change in the basis of society as will be the social control of industry, in place of the existing private control, and tremendous changes must inevitably follow in the whole social superstructure. The capitalist-landlord class, deprived of its unearned incomes, will either have to come and do its quota of necessary labour like the rest of us, or accept the alternative it offers us workers—starvation. The census of 1901 shows that there were then 663,656 adult men who did not even profess to have any occupation. These “gentlemen” together with their numerous female dependents, and the myriads of domestic servants who pander to their luxury, constitute a potential supply of labour power which, when applied, will help to vastly increase the supply of goods and services available to the community. The thousands of clerks to-day employed in booking profits will, with the abolition of the profits system, be set free for work of social utility. The same applies to the innumarable agents, commercial travellers, advertisers, printers, redundant shopkeepers and assistants.

There being no longer an enslaved class to keep in subjection and no longer any need to forcibly hold markets or protect capitalist investments abroad, the stupendous amount of energy now wasted in the maintenance of arnies and navies will become available for the satisfaction of society’s needs.

Thus at a stroke tho establishment of the Socialist Republic involves an immense increase in the productive powers of the community, and consequently of the possibilities of enjoyment and of leisure ; and further, the abolition of war and vice-breeding, parasitic idleness. The security of well-rewarded, brief labour would spread over the land a happy and bony people.

The condition that necessarily follows from the attainment of the OBJECT of the S.P.G.B. is then, seen to be infinitely preferable to the conditions at present obtaining, at least from the workers’ standpoint.

The product of industry now divided into a small part wages and a large part profits will then remain entirely with and at the disposal of the industrious. Then invention and more economical methods will not, as now, spell unemployment and misery, but greater comfort and leisure, giving opportunities for such, physical and mental development as but few of the working class even hope for to-day.

Many poor, half-fed workers, carefully gulled by the political and journalistic organs of the beneficiaries of the present system, will bring forward this and that (as they think) awkward question and obection ; but if they will reason out logically the consequences that flow from the S.P.G.B. Object applied to each case they have in mind, and compare the results as they affect themselves and those they love, with the results of the present capitalist system, they will realise, indeed, that the workers have nothing to lose but their chains, and a world to win.

By reasoning out for themselves and finding out the correct answer to the often trilling difficulties and objections brought against Socialism, instead of asking someone to think them out for them, our fellow working men and women will the sooner enjoy the novel satisfaction of being less often tricked and misled. Then, indeed, we shall be making headway toward our goal, realising that in Socialism, understood and fought for by a wide-awake and ever vigilent democracy, lies our only hope.


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