1960s >> 1965 >> no-736-december-1965

Letter: Socialism

In the Declaration of Principles it is stated “. . .  the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government . . . ” and “The SPGB, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties. . .” You also rightly criticise the Labour Government for administering capitalism rather than attempting Socialism.

But how would the SPGB, given a majority in Parliament and support in the country comparable with the Labour Government, attempt to alter the means of production from Capitalist to Socialist in the face of opposition from the vested capitalist interests?

And if this country, or any other, was changed into a Socialist community, on what basis would it attempt to trade and keep relations with the non-Socialist world?

P. R. Morris, 
London, S.E24.

Reply
A Labour Government administers capitalism for the simple reason that it cannot do anything else. The Labour Party is an organisation which stands for the reform, and not the abolition, of capitalism; it asks for votes to run capitalism and when it is in power it cannot exceed this mandate, even supposing that it had the knowledge and the desire to do so.

The Labour Party does not care about the consciousness—or the lack of it—which is behind the votes which sends it to power. Just like any other capitalist political party, it will accept any support as long as it can achieve its main object of becoming the government.

That is why the Labour Party cannot “attempt” to establish Socialism; indeed, no political party can do this. Socialism cannot be imposed by a minority of political leaders; it will come only as the result of  a conscious action by the world working class. This action will be backed by the knowledge of what Socialism is and how it must be established. When the working class have this knowledge, they will elect Socialist delegates with a mandate to take all necessary steps to end the capitalist social system and to replace it with Socialism. Because of the knowledge of the people who have elected them, the delegates will have no power to do other than they have been instructed. This will be a massive, universal movement—it will not and cannot be confined to any one country or group of countries.

Socialism will mean the end of the private ownership of the means of wealth production. It will, therefore, also mean the end of trading, both national and international. There will be no separate nations to compete against and to bargain with, each other. Society’s wealth will move freely over the world, from the places where it is produced to the places where it is needed. The entire operation wilt be governed by human needs, in every sense of the term.

The entire structure of capitalism—including its “vested interests”—exists only because the working class wills it so. It is the working class who man the forces of coercion and who regularly vote the representatives of capitalism into the seats of power. It is the working class who organise and administer the capitalist social system, from one end to the other. When they realise that they can run society in their own interests, when they decide to take away the power and privilege of the ruling class and to establish Socialism, there will be nothing which could stop them.

Editorial Committee.