1990s >> 1992 >> no-1053-may-1992

50 Years Ago: Political Parties and the Workers

Only Socialism can guarantee the conditions of a life worth living for all. Because its establishment depends upon an understanding of the necessary social changes by a majority of the population, these changes cannot be left to parties acting apart from or above the workers. The workers cannot vote for Socialism as they do for reformist policies and then go home or go to work and carry on as usual. To put the matter in this way is to show its absurdity.

Socialist ideas are not acquired merely by the experience of hardships and tragedy under capitalism. They must be propagated and learned. The party of the workers, therefore, cannot be anything less than a Socialist Party; its task, the conversion of the working class to the principles of Socialism. Nor can it at present be much more. (. . .)

So long as the workers do not comprehend the necessity and meaning of a revolutionary social change they will have no choice but to leave their fate in the hands of “parties” and “leaders”. With the development of Socialist consciousness (class-consciousness) will come the realisation that they, the workers themselves, must take control of society. Knowing what has to be done will give them the will and assurance needed.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain and its fellow parties therefore reject all comparison with other political parties. We do not ask for power; we help to educate the working- class into taking it.

[From an article by S. R. in Socialist Standard, May 1942.]