Socialism and the General Election
The Capitalist class who, through their nominees, rule this country to-day, decreed that a General Election shall take place, and you are now called upon to cast your votes.
Many candidates are put forward, each claiming to serve the interests of the bulk of the population. The history of the last hundred years or so has been in the main the record of alternative Liberal and Tory Government, and the result to your class has been a gradual worsening of conditions. Unemployment has grown steadily until it has now reached a permanent level well over a million. In every election both Liberals and Tories have brought forward proposals alleged to be “certain cures” for the evil, but time has always shown the inadequacy of their remedies.
In the present election the past will be repeated and again you will have the “certain” remedy put forward.
These remedies are put forward to catch your vote, because you are the majority of the nation and can put in or put out whom you wish. Beware, therefore, of golden promises, and do not too readily accept assertions as evidence, nor be bewildered into agreement by the figure juggling of artful politicians.
Your position is simple, and your attitude is clear if you will but give a little time and thought to certain basic truths. Briefly your position to-day is as follows :—
- You are poor to-day .and haunted with the dread of unemployment because you do not own the means for producing wealth. In consequence you depend for your living upon the wishes and the whims of employers.
- The employers take no active part in the work of production, yet its fruits are reaped by them.
- The employers pile up great riches for themselves by paying you less as wages and salaries than the value of what you make by your work. This must be true, otherwise they could not enjoy the good things of life without working whilst you are hard put to it to live at all though spending your lives in toil. .
- There is no natural or supernatural law that gives to any one the power to take land or the things on the land from his fellows. Social laws are made by man, and in civilized society by the rulers, and these rulers have been and are the owners of property, the employers. The laws they have made have spread a mantle of rightness over their exploitation of the worker. To use the labour of another in order to achieve riches for oneself is to exploit that other, and the employers, or capitalists, live by the exploitation of the workers.
- The Capitalist are one class, owning the means of production, and having them set in motion only when profit is expected either immediately or at a later date. The workers are another class, owning in the main nothing but their power to work, and compelled to sell this working power to the Capitalist in order to live. These two classes make up the vast bulk of the population.
- The interests of these two classes are opposite interests. The Capitalist aims at securing as much production as possible with the least employment of labour—that is with the smallest expenditure of wages. The interest of the worker, on the contrary, is to obtain as much work as possible and as high wages as he can. The ultimate interest of the Capitalist is the obtaining of secure and peaceful control of the whole of Society by a small group living in magnificent style and employing the minimum amount of workers. What then is to become of the rest of the population is the problem that has so far eluded the politicians. The ultimate interest of the workers is to remove from their backs the useless drones they have fed for so long. In other words, to obtain control of the means of production they operate, and, along with that, the control of all social machinery.
- Between Capitalist and worker, therefore, there is not and cannot be an identity of interests. One is an exploited, the other an exploiting class. The remedy for the social troubles that no soft words can hide does not lie in the direction of a harmony of interests. The interests conflict at the base and, consciously or not, there is in society a struggle between the two main groups of the population which, in a minor way, breaks out in the form of strikes, that are met by ruthless repression. Neither by holiness nor by hellishness is there a way out, leaving untouched the fundamental cleavage into classes based upon the private ownership of the main resources of wealth production.
- The way out then lies in one direction only, the revolutionizing of society; the overturning of its base; the converting of the means of production into the common property of society, commonly owned and democratically controlled by and in the interests of the whole people. The emancipation of the wage slaves from their age-long thralldom.
This is where the Socialist Party stands. We do not advocate reform, we advocate revolution. Reforms in the main are an effort to hide and not to get rid of evils. At the best they have only a temporary effect, and the more determined the workers show themselves in the movement to take from the Capitalists their power, that is to say, the more dangerous to the Capitalist regime the workers become the more ready will the Capitalist be to put forward reforms in the effort to stem the revolutionary flood.
The control of society resides in Parliament, the centre of State power to-day. To get this power the workers must send delegates to Parliament in sufficient numbers to obtain their majority. The Capitalists know this, and use their utmost resources to ensure that their nominees shall be returned. Where they fail they buy over the workers’ representatives by promises and praise.
The success of the Capitalist efforts to buy over the workers’ nominees depends upon the attitude of the workers. Where the worker votes for a man and not for principles then the buying of the man is the buying of the followers. Herein lies the danger and the curse of leadership. Where, however, the workers vote for principles only, then the buying of delegates ultimately becomes a problem beyond even the vast wealth of the Capitalists.
We therefore urge the workers to obtain a firm grasp of the simple facts of their slave position and the way out. To send delegates to Parliament to carry out their instructions and under their control.
In the present election the Socialist Party are putting forward candidates whose object is to work for the ushering in of Socialism as speedily as possible; to remove the Capitalists from power, not to compromise with them.
Remember no Heaven-sent Saviour is coming to lead you out of your difficulties. The problem is yours, and you must solve it for yourselves.
“The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself.”
We are a group of working men and women. We publish a monthly paper, the “Socialist Standard,” in which the position of the Party is set forth month by month with views and criticisms on various matters that arise. We invite you to read it carefully and question our speakers so that you may thoroughly understand what we are and where we are making for. We know that once you understand us you will be with us and help in the work of establishing Socialism.