Election Address


Fellow Workers,

As candidate for the Socialist Party of Great Britain I am asking you to consider only the case of the organisation that I represent—that is, the case for Socialism.

The viewpoint of my organisation is one that is fundamentally different from those of the other parties taking part in this election. It is different because the Socialist Party of Great Britain is concerned with the interests of the working class, whereas all the other parties represent the interests of the ruling, or employing class.

It may be objected that the Labour Party, too, is concerned with working class interests, but their record conclusively shows otherwise. In their period of office in the six post-war years they introduced “wage-freeze” and “wage restraint” schemes which resulted in workers finding themselves worse off in 1951 than they were in 1945: the Labour Party used troops in strikes; they are the party who introduced the largest peacetime re-armament programme in history; it was they who promised to solve the housing problem and dismally failed.

Not that the Tories have done any better. These two parties, and the Liberals too, exist to preserve the existing social system—the system of capitalism. Even if you do feel in sympathy with the Labour, Liberal or Tory Parties, I do suggest that you do not put this address to one side, but read on; for I know you will find it interesting and worth-while.


You have been promised peace, but there are still wars.

You have been promised prosperity, and are told that prosperity is here, but it is not prosperity for you.

You have been promised security but it still eludes you.

You have been promised an end to poverty, but it is still with us.

You have been promised houses, and you are still being promised them.

You have been promised cheaper living costs, but the cost of living is now higher than ever before.

You have been promised anything that seemed a good vote catching stunt.

Now look at the literature that the other parties are distributing and note that the same old things are still being promised, just re-arranged and dressed up in different words. Yet all these problems still confront you.


We of the Socialist Party of Great Britain are, like you, members of the working class. Whether we earn our living in overalls or in a white collar and pin-stripe trousers: whether we are paid by the hour, day, week, month or contract; whether the price we receive for our ability to work is called a wage or a salary, we are all members of a class that needs to find an employer in order to live. Our problems are identical. We have a common cause.

All industry today, whether private or state-controlled, is run for the purpose of producing profit. When you and I go to work we produce a wealth of commodities that we leave in the hands of our employers. We receive a wage that enables us to continue to go to work and to rear our families of future wage earners, with very little over. The surplus that we produce over and above what our wages will buy is the store of wealth from which landlords, investors and industrialists draw their rent, interest and profit. In the perpetual pressure to increase that surplus we are goaded to work harder and to produce more.

It is this profit-making basis of society that is the root of all our problems. There is no solution to be found by dealing only with the effects.

Glance at some of the tinkering reforms that arc offered by our political opponents.


First the ever-present housing problem. There have been innumerable Acts of Parliament aimed at solving the workers’ housing problems since (he Earl of Shaftesbury introduced the first Bill, in 1851. Despite the efforts of Liberal, Labour and Conservative parties, the problem has become more acute with the passing years.

You are now told that rent control has failed and rents must go up because of the hundreds of thousands of neglected houses falling into dilapidation and slumdom.


Why do we fear unemployment? Not usually because we like our jobs but because we cannot live without our wages. The wealthy capitalist has no fear of being out-of-work. For him it is leisure, for us it is hardship.

Although unemployment since the war has not reached pre-war levels in this country and although the Tories boast that employment is now increasing, do not forget that in January of this year there were nearly 700,000 registered unemployed; if the unregistered were added, the total would probably have been a million.

That fact alone shows how hollow is the claim that governments can maintain “full employment”; the next world trade recession would send unemployment up again.


Certainly not you and I. Out of the profit that we make for our employers, millions are used to maintain the armed forces, police, law courts, prisons, and all the state machinery necessary to protect interests of the rich. But before that profit can be used for this purpose it must be realised into pounds, shillings and pence—the goods must be sold in a market.

In world markets there are competitors from other countries. The rivalry between different groups of capitalists driving for markets gives rise to friction between states, and when diplomacy fails to ease the friction, war becomes imminent.

Then you and I are subjected to a spate of patriotic propaganda to whip us into a frenzy of hate and we, or our sons, are sent to slaughter our fellow workers in the rival countries.

War is another evil that springs direct from the wage-labour and capital base of present day society and will remain whilst that base is intact. Nuclear weapons and germ warfare are part of this evil, and campaigns directed against them leave the problem of capitalism and war untouched.


Much ill-health, most crime and nearly ail malnutrition can be traced to poverty which is a product of capitalist society. Reforms to alleviate poverty may ease the lot of some of the poor, but no reforms can remove the cause of poverty. A reform that eases one outstanding evil frequently gives rise to others. Just as new houses can help some workers who desperately need homes, they find that rents are so high that the larder must suffer. Only a complete change in the basis of society can produce a lasting improvement in the lot of the working class.


We are not the only ones in this election who call ourselves Socialists.

The Labour Party claims to be a socialist party but it enters this election, as it did every election in the past, inviting your support for scores of reforms and promises designed to make you believe that capitalism can be re-organised to give you what you want from life.

The Communist Party is not one whit different in that respect. It competes with the other parties of capitalism in offering bigger and better reforms.

Some people say that they agree with us, but, as there is no immediate prospect of achieving Socialism, it would be better to choose the less of two evils by supporting one of the Capitalist parties. There is only one evil, that is Capitalism. From it your problems flow. No matter which political party you choose to operate it. the results will differ but little. Offering you the choice of capitalist parties is like offering the Christmas goose the choice of being baked or boiled. As far as you and I are concerned our goose will be cooked whichever you choose.


Nothing. But the Conservative and Labour parties, and the Communist party, are in favour of some measure of state control of industry; they differ only in degree. State or private industries are all of a kind. Shareholders may become bondholders and trade union officials may have top jobs in nationalised industries, but the terrible twins, wage-labour and capital, are still there. There is still wealth for the few and a bare living wage for you and me.

Nationalisation was formerly the main plank in the Labour platform but the experience of the past ten years has brought disillusionment among those who expected so much from it.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain never supported nationalisation.


We are called upon to make sacrifices to safeguard democracy, to “defend our living standards,” to “defend our way of life,” and for many other high sounding and meaningless reasons. You and I have done nothing other than make sacrifices, first to build up armaments, then for a war effort, next for post-war reconstruction and then to help over the bad times between wars. There is always an excuse for demanding sacrifices from the workers. It is time you stood on your feet and made some drastic changes in a world that could satisfy your needs with plenty but provides only plenty of needs.


You and I have only our energies to sell; we can only live by finding employment from those who own the land, mines, factories, machines, tools and transport system and all the things necessary to produce the necessaries and comforts of life. This ownership must be ended, these things must be converted to the common property of everyone and democratically controlled in the interests of all. Wealth will not then be produced for the profit of a few but will become common-wealth, available to all.


Science and discovery have made it possible for everyone to have a fuller life but capitalism bars the way. Millions now engaged in unnecessary tasks such as making bombs and bus tickets, or counting other people’s money and advertising catch-penny products, as well as the unemployed of both classes, can be brought into the field of useful production when the capitalist system is abolished. Hours of work can be shortened, wars ended and economic security achieved.


Members of the capitalist class can go to Bermuda or Balmoral, confident that their interests are secure so long as you continue to support the parties that ensure the continuation of the Capitalist ownership of the means of life.

When a Socialist working class in all countries decides to reconstruct society in keeping with its own interests by dispossessing the Capitalist class, it must first gain control of the machinery of government. It is with that object that the SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN enters this electoral contest.


During this campaign you will see no posters or window tickets urging you to vote for me. We shall indulge in no ballyhoo or electioneering stunts. We appeal to your understanding and intelligence and not to your emotions and prejudices.

If you want Socialism you have got to set about the task of achieving it; no one is going to present it to you on a plate. All we ask is that you consider our case and. if you agree with it. help us to fight for it. We have built our political party in order that you can use it to achieve Socialism. This election is your opportunity, don’t waste it.

Comradely yours.
Jack Read.

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