1960s >> 1969 >> no-773-january-1969

Editorial: About the World Socialist Party

The World Socialist Party is an independent political organisation that has neither allegiance to, nor sympathy with, any other political party or group in this country. The WSP is affiliated with political organisations in other countries who share the same Socialist object.

The object is:

The establishment of a system of society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.

We define the system of society proposed in our object as Socialism—a wageless, moneyless, classless society of production for use in which each member of society would contribute to the wealth of society in accordance with his mental or physical abilities and take from the wealth of society in accordance with his needs.

You may not agree that such a society is a feasible proposition. but, if you think about it for a moment, you will agree that if it were possible to establish such a system of socialist organisation the basic problems that we live with today under capitalism—problems like poverty, insecurity, slums, crime and war that arise naturally and inevitably out of the capitalist scheme of production for profit would cease to exist.

If, then, Socialism offers us an escape from the evils that afflict our society today the feasibility of the proposition merits sympathetic consideration. Perhaps instead of indulging in mental gymnastics to discern some possible stultifying factor it is worth the effort to consider the reasons why Man. who has transformed Nature’s jungle into a fertile, highly-organised, complex world and now looks beyond his planet to the moon, can make a system of social and economic sanity work.

Doubtless, already, the “human nature” argument has occurred to you: “. . . human nature, being what it is, Man could not live co-operatively in a society where he would not be forced to do this or that . . . the greedy people would take all . . . the lazy people would not work . . .” Most of us who are now Socialists used the same argument ourselves when first confronted with the case for Socialism, before realising that what we termed “human nature” was in fact human behaviour or human reaction to the social and economic environment, in our case the environment of capitalism.

We affirm that capitalism today has fulfilled its historic mission: it has opened the womb of social labour and developed the resources of society to a point where social distribution is possible now.

In order that a change, a change to Socialism, may be wrought it is necessary that a majority of the working class, armed with the knowledge of what Socialism involves and entails, should use the means at their disposal, the power of the vote—which they now dissipate in trying to make capitalism work—to consciously institute the change. Socialism, by its very nature, requires the conscious and knowledgeable participation of the majority from the outset. It cannot be brought about by minorities or “action groups” leading the way, no more than it can be introduced gradually by tinkering with reforms of capitalism.