Editorial: The real meaning of Revolution
False ideas about Revolution are being spread by every agency of reaction and confusion. The open defenders of capitalism as well as the so-called Labour Parties are active in distorting the meaning of Revolution. Flaring headlines in the press speak of the advocacy of violence as Revolution, whereas in most cases the advocates as well as the users of violence are the defenders of property. In “respectable” Labour circles the “right honourables” talk of bloodshed and revolution as interchangeable terms, thus soothing their followers in the belief that revolution is something horrible and chaotic as opposed to the quiet and peaceful policy of capitalism and reform.
These votaries of brotherly love ignore the fact that force and butchery have always been a part of the reign of private property. In war and in so-called peace times the property-owning class have never hesitated to use force to gain their ends. In fact, violence has often been promoted in the workers’ ranks by agents of capital to make the butchery or defeat of the workers easier. Labour Governments, too, have been active the world over in threatening and using force against the workers. The record of Labour Governments in Germany and elsewhere is clear evidence of this.
Hence the talk about revolution meaning violence is pure hypocrisy amongst the supporters and reformers of capitalism.
While stupid anarchists and direct actionists have also talked about force, the fact remains that those who seek to replace Capitalism by Socialism do not play the capitalist game of advocating violence.
Force and violence are not Revolution. Revolution to a Socialist means the complete change from Capitalism to Socialism achieved by the control of political power by an organised and informed working class. Not a rebellion of a section of workers; not a general strike for higher wages ; not a seizure of government by a few intent on dictatorship, but an organised action on the part of the majority of the workers who see the necessity of becoming politically supreme in order to transform the economic system. The revolution is made necessary by economic development, and it can only be successful if the working class understands the Socialist position. Therefore the educational work of the S.P.G.B.
(Socialist Standard , November 1925)