Party News: Greater London Council Elections: The Socialist Programme
This Election Is About Capitalism
Don’t get bowled over by the possibility of ‘free’ transport. By the threat or promise of Labour taking over all the rented property in London. By the promise that the Ring Road will actually improve the environment. This election, as with others in the past, is to decide which Party is now going to run capitalism. We reject this. Our candidates will seek your support only on the clear-cut issue of Socialism.
Labour, Tory, Liberal, Communist and the others are in favour of a system where you will remain members of the working class. They support capitalism, which basically is a system where the means of wealth production are owned and controlled by a small minority of people, the capitalist class, and where the vast majority — you, the working class — have to work for a wage or salary in order to exist. It is a pernicious system. It is based upon buying and selling, with profit as the motive for production. Where money is the determining factor and ‘Will it pay?’ the first question. How often have you read of a ‘good’ scheme which cannot get off the ground because of the cost? It is a system that generates waste, greed, corruption, suspicion; it throws up social problems like an erupting volcano.
Housing, slums, transport, roads, medical centres, open spaces; these will all appear yet again in the manifestoes of the other parties as problems which must be urgently solved, and for which they all have the solution — if only you will vote for them. But all these parties have had the ‘solution’ in the past; the only trouble is that it has never worked; capitalism has seen to that.
The Greater London Council is part of the political machinery for running capitalism and as long as you are prepared to continue voting for the parties which support capitalism then so long will the system last and so long will you bear the brunt of social problems. If you are prepared to live with a system that deprives you of a creative and happy life, then go on voting as you’ve done in the past.
But we think you have the potential, not only to envisage a different type of world, but to take the necessary political action to get it. Let there be no misunderstanding. We are not putting forward candidates who will make you any promises. We are not saying that we have better leaders than those of other parties. In fact, we have no leaders, but do have a set of ideas, which although at first glance might be new to you, we feel sure you will on reflection agree have something which is worthy of your consideration.
We have already mentioned that our issue is that of Socialism, and when we use this word we mean something specific. Socialism is a world-wide community with common interests. Where the land, and all the means of production will be owned by mankind as a whole, with democratic control. Where the sole motive for production will be the satisfaction of your needs. Simply put — bread will be baked because people want to eat it — just that. Money will play not part at all in this society because there will be no need for money. Decisions by the community will be taken on their merits. The wages system will be abolished along with all the other stupid trappings of the present system. Socialism will be a system of co-operation; where each will give according to ability and take according to need. Mankind with its knowledge, harnessed to the riches of the earth, is capable of producing abundance. Why be satisfied with a world of shortages?
Socialism cannot be introduced by waving a magic political wand. It will be the outcome of understanding and hard work; your understanding, your hard work.
We are not asking you to vote for the Socialist candidates because you are fed up with the others or because you think we should be given a chance. We only want your vote if you agree with our case, our object and declaration of principles.
Take a momentous step for your future by making further enquiries about the Socialist Party of Great Britain; by reading our literature and making up your own mind, whether at last in this election, you will have nothing more to do with capitalism, but will throw in your weight and resources with the Socialist movement.
Why Are We Contesting
Capitalism is the system of society which dominates the world today. It is a system where, either privately or through the State, the capitalist class own and control the means of production. It is a system of riches and poverty, of slums and palaces, of wages and profits, strikes, unemployment and war.
Under capitalism the vast majority of people are members of the working class who live by selling their abilities to work — for wages. It is through the exploitation of the working class that all the wealth of the world is produced.
Capitalism denies workers access to the wealth they create beyond the extent of their wages. Truly it is a system where wealth concentrates in the hands of a few, where the market and the profit motive are supreme. Capitalism is administered by politicians given power mainly by working-class votes. Everything the Greater London Council does is overshadowed by capitalism. The GLC is part of the administration of capitalism. Every sphere in the vast scope of its activity is restricted by cost consideration and ultimately decided by the overall effect on the profits of the system as a whole. Whether it be houses, hospitals, health, or education, where the money is coming from is always the first question.
Human need must come second in a society that lives on profits. Capitalism has never been any different. The only possible solution is to change society.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain is the only Party contesting these elections on this fundamental basis. Whether they are called left-wing or right-wing, Labour, Conservative, Liberal or Communist, every other party is a reformist party. That is to say, all of their schemes, plans and promises are aimed at adjusting capitalism— not getting rid of it. If you think “they are all the same once they get in” this is because you vote on the basis of promises — promises to keep capitalism going.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain is contesting these elections because we understand capitalism — and we want Socialism. The vote is the means whereby the working class will gain control of political power; it is therefore a barometer of working-class understanding. When a majority have ceased to be deluded by personalities and promises, they will vote for Socialism.
Socialism as an idea has been twisted and misrepresented by the Labour Party, the so-called Communist Party and the various Trotskyist groups. Socialism does not mean Labour governments, nationalisation, or the type of system in Russia or China. These are examples of state capitalism. Socialism means a way of life where the whole world and its resources will be held in common by all mankind. A classless world community with production solely for use and free access according to need. No longer will wages, markets and profits blight and restrict our lives. People will co-operate to produce an abundance — and then enjoy it.
Socialism will be run democratically; that is why we have always stressed the need for understanding.
Your vote can help decide whether the misery of capitalism will continue.
South West London
Let’s Have Free Access
The real issue at the forthcoming election is not whether to elect a Conservative or Labour councillor. The real issue is quite simply that of which kind of society are all of us to live in. We in the Socialist Party of Great Britain believe that only a fundamental change in the basis of society will solve the problems that affect almost everyone. It is therefore not because we wish to take over the administration of the Greater London Council that we are campaigning in this election: we are rather taking the opportunity of spreading knowledge of our ideas and aims. We do not ask you to vote for us in return for the promise of some petty — and perhaps actually harmful — reform; we ask you to study our ideas, and, if you agree with them, to make contact with our local branch so that you can find out more about them.
And what is this fundamental change that we stand for? Briefly, we wish to establish a system of society where every single person will be able to take freely from the store of social wealth whatever he or she needs. Such a system — which we call “free access” — means quite simply what it says: there will be no restrictions (such as are imposed today by the size of your wage-packet or salary cheque) on the amount of goods or services which any individual consumes, enjoys or uses. We maintain that an abundance of wealth, which such a system implies, could quite easily be produced if production were motived by the desire to satisfy people’s needs, not by profit as at present. Profit acts as a barrier to production, since if a thing cannot be sold at a profit, it will quite simply not be produced, no matter how many people would like it. And we have all read in the newspapers of fruit and so on, which has already been produced, actually being destroyed in order to keep prices up and to serve the interests of profit. Again, think of all the people (bank clerks, ticket collectors, in short all those whose work is concerned with money) who do not produce socially useful wealth; under a system of free access their abilities, and those of countless others too, including those unemployed at present, could be put to producing goods which people really need. What we stand for, then, in this election as at all times, is a world-wide system of society where there is no money, no government, no war, and where the production of wealth for use alone, is democratically controlled by everybody.
We make no apology for introducing ideas such as these into a local council election, since we believe that it is the existence of a wages system and production for profit which causes the problems about which other parties will be campaigning to gain your support. Housing, for instance, cannot be planned in the interests of all as long as most people find the type of accommodation they can afford limited by what they earn. We maintain that, whoever sits on the council, decisions such as those concerning house- and road-building are bound to be made above the heads of and against the interest of the vast majority of the people concerned, simply because the very basis of society means, firstly, that only a small minority of people take vital decisions, and, secondly, that these people have to act in the interest of profit rather than in the interests of the people whose lives are involved. That is why we are not just another party trying to run the present system in a slightly different way — we wish to change the system fundamentally, since this is the only way to solve the problems which both you and ourselves suffer from.
If you agree with the views expressed above, we ask you to do two things: firstly show it by voting for the Socialist candidate; second, and far more important, take steps to acquaint yourself further with the case we have put forward in this address — the case of the Socialist Party of Great Britain.