50 Years Ago: Revolution and Violence

In war and in so-called peace times the property-owning class have never hesitated to use force to gain their ends. In fact, violence has often been promoted in the workers’ ranks by agents of capital to make the butchery or defeat of the workers easier.

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Hence the talk about revolution meaning violence is pure hypocrisy amongst the supporters and reformers of capitalism.

While stupid anarchists and direct actionists have also talked about force, the fact remains that those who seek to replace capitalism by Socialism do not play the capitalist game of advocating violence.

Force and violence are not revolution. Revolution to a Socialist means the complete change from capitalism to Socialism, achieved by the control of political power by an organized and informed working class. Not a revolution of a section of workers; not a seizure of government by a few intent on dictatorship, but an organized action on the part of the majority of the workers who see the necessity of becoming politically supreme in order to transform the economic system. The revolution is made necessary by economic development, and it can only be successful if the working class understands the Socialist position. Therefore the educational work of the SPGB.

(From an unsigned editorial The Real Meaning of Revolution, Socialist Standard, November 1925.)