Our Principles Stand
Just over a hundred years ago, Marx and Engels, commenting on the drastic changes brought about by the Capitalist system of production, stated in the Communist Manifesto:—
“The bourgeoise during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceeding generations together. Subjection of nature’s forces to man. machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?”
Since then this process has been continued at an ever increasing pace, with progressive acceleration during the past fifty years which staggers the imagination.
Even faster and more complex machinery, together with changes in technique, have brought the belt system and mass production, making the day’s toil a nightmare.
Running parallel, but well to the fore, are the powers of destruction. One horror overshadows another. The high explosive and incendiary bombs of ’39 are dwarfed by the Atom bomb of’45. Terrible as was the destructive power of this weapon, it has become insignificant compared with the Hydrogen bomb, making possible mass slaughter on an unpredictable scale.
Keeping pace with these abominations of destruction, and an accessory to them, is the speed of travel. Nothing is spared in human life and wealth in the mad scramble to outpace rivals in speed, an effort directed today primarily to the purpose of slaughter.
This mad world of ever more rapid changes has had its effect, among other things on the fortunes of political parties. Many that flourished fifty or less years ago are gone and almost forgotten. Others, while retaining their original names, have completely changed their character, while a few survivors are but shadows of their former selves.
The stable character of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and its consistent adherence to the principles of Socialism, stands out as an exceptional incident in the political life of this country. This fact is a fitting tribute to the ability of that small body of working men who founded the organisation and drew up its object and declaration of principles.
The clear understanding and unity of purpose which guided their action stands out in every clause of that statement. It draws a clear line of demarcation between the Socialist Party and all other political parties. It stamps the organisation as Marxist, and gives it its scientific basis. The fact that membership of the party has been conditional upon an understanding and agreement with that declaration, explains to a extent its survival through conditions which have and destroyed so many others.
The declaration has proved invaluable as an instrument against opponents, and a sure guide in the settlement of many internal disputes. Time and time again, trained and skilled men in the art of debate have attempted, but failed, to find a weak spot or unsound idea in it. In the conduct of Party affairs it has many times come under severe scrutiny. Often have members set out to improve that declaration, but never have they been able to propose any worth while alteration.
“The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.”