1970s >> 1976 >> no-860-april-1976

SPGB Manifesto

The Socialist Party of Great Britain has no connection with any other political party or group and cannot be held responsible for wrong theories and incorrect ideas held by them. In this category we include the major parties, the Communist Party, International Socialists, IMG, etc. The Socialist system we advocate has never been tried. It is not based on leadership, nationalization, state control or the systems operating in Russia, China, Cuba, etc. The description of “socialist” as applied to these countries is a distortion of the word and arises through ignorance or a deliberate attempt to discredit Socialism.

Election after election has been fought over issues which were held to be in the interest of the working class. The promises made by Tory, Liberal and Labour in the past if carried out, they say, would have removed poverty, established security of jobs and solved the housing problem. As you are aware, none of this has happened, nor could have happened. This does not prevent them again making the same promises which they will be unable to keep.

Despite their excuses, you must judge them on their record. You should enquire into the reason why these political parties cannot run capitalism in the interest of the working class. Most of you accept the world of capitalism with its wages system, price structure and private property in the means of production as a permanent condition of human existence. You take for granted that you will sell your mental and physical energy, your brain, muscle and nerve to an employer for wages. You accept the fact that you have to pay for permission to inhabit the globe through rent and mortgages. You never challenge the ridiculous claim made by politicians that poverty and bad housing and insecurity are due to circumstances outside the control of men and women.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain is asking you to question the whole basis of your life under capitalism. Acceptance of the wages system means submission to the perpetual robbery practised on you by a small group of international parasites who own the means of wealth production and in whose interest wealth is produced. We realize how difficult it may be for you to break with ideas held for most of your lives, but break with them you must if the problems of poverty, starvation, disease, war and unemployment are to be abolished.

There is no shortage of natural wealth in the world and no shortage of people capable of transforming that wealth into useful articles we can enjoy and freely consume. Capitalism has created a shortage because the productive powers of society can produce more wealth than the market economy can cope with. Access to the factories, workshops, mills, mines and land can only be obtained through wage labour. Goods can only be produced provided that they can be sold. These conditions are rigidly enforced and periodically, as you are well aware, millions of workers are removed from production in every field because they would produce too much. According to the Prime Minister, the ten largest industrial countries in the world have an unemployment figure between them of over 14 million (Daily Telegraph, 20th January 1976).

Consider the position in the world today where each year over 15 million children die of diseases caused through lack of proper food and where millions more are underfed and underhoused. This in spite of the fact that the World Food and Agricultural Organization reported (Times, 5th January 1976) that, for the third year running, they expect a world glut of dairy products. No sane society would tolerate these crimes against its members. Capitalism produces wealth but it produces poverty at the same time.

It is because of this contradiction that society must be reorganized on an entirely different basis. Men and women everywhere must have direct control over their means of production.

The only obstacle to the introduction of a Socialist world is the lack of Socialist understanding. This means that the majority of workers at the moment are unaware that Socialism can be introduced simply by voting for it, based on this understanding. Capitalism rests on the political support given to it by the working class through the ballot box. Take that away and capitalism is finished. But until such times as you are convinced that Socialism presents an immediate solution to working-class problems you will continue to vote for capitalist candidates.

We ask you to examine the case of the Socialist Party of Great Britain before you once again commit yourself and your children to yet another spell of unnecessary misery, frustration and poverty.

SOCIALISM IS THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE.