Hail the socialist world cooperative commonwealth.

Political organisation in this country takes many forms. There are organisations which exist solely in order to gain one reform.   Until capitalism is ended such parties can go on existing, there are always new problems arising for them to deal with, always new opportunities of fighting for their respective sectional interests, and always the need to obtain working-class support for capitalism by the offer of reforms to alleviate the most distressing hardships. Parasite parties live by exploiting the disgruntled supporters of the bigger parties. Every crisis that happens at home or internationally produces its groups of persons dissatisfied on personal or other grounds with the policy adopted by the majority in the bigger parties. Always there are a certain number of workers who vaguely see that there is something wrong with asking for moderate reforms and think the remedy is to ask for bigger reforms. As the Labour Party by tradition is nowadays the normal gathering ground for discontented workers it follows that the parasite parties have their most favourable opportunity whenever it happens that the Labour Party is otherwise engaged; for example, when the Labour Party is in office wrestling with problems of the administration of capitalism.

Our chief function in life to-day is to work and that to produce a surplus-value for an idle and parasitic class of exploiters. We work to live; but to most of us it seems as though we live chiefly to work. Capitalism is a harsh taskmaster: its yoke is heavy. Our masters, owning the means of living, own and control our lives.

We, as a class, own but one thing—our ability and power to produce wealth by the use of our physical and mental energies. And those we have to sell for wages or salaries. We can do nought else in order to “get a living.” And quite a lot of our class at times are unable to get an opportunity to obtain work—however much we desire it or try to obtain it. For our masters—the exploiting class—will only employ workers when it suits their purpose to do so. And then it is for one purpose—to extract a surplus-value from our efforts on their behalf. We are employed as creators of surplus-value : a value over and above what is given us as wages or salaries.

And that surplus-value created by the working class represents in the aggregate a vast sum annually. For out of it, “Rent,” “Interest” and “Profit” go to the respective recipients. It means that a gigantic system of plunder has been in operation, and robbed the workers, who not only have produced the value represented by their wages, but a huge surplus-value also.

The wages-system is nothing else but an organised system of legalised robbery.

Capitalism might aptly be described as a “buying and selling system.” The production of commodities for sale in the market, in order to realise a profit, goes on and on with an intensive competition between the manufacturers. And the workers’ one commodity—their labour-power—is bought in just the same matter-of-fact way as margarine. They sell their labour-power because they needs must, in order to live. They are “employed” to function as human wealth-producers—as producers of surplus-value.

The parasitic class that lives on our labours look on us as the human source of their wealth. Their machinery and “labour-saving” devices are operated by our class for that purpose. Without our efforts their machinery would not function, the commodities would not be created nor distributed to the markets of the world.

The “wheels of industry” our masters do not set in motion. The workers everywhere perform the work of the world and the employers and their fellow-parasites reap the benefit resulting from the organised plunder effected by the pernicious wages-system. They reap it on its sale in the markets.

For surplus-value is produced by the workers in the factory and workshop. But it is only realised on the sale of the commodities in the markets themselves. And markets must be found.

The most frantic efforts are made to find or create them.

And further: to grab all that they possibly can to augment their plutocratic possessions and power.

We thus see that the ruling class, who, in truth, control our very lives, maintain their privileged position by coercive power whilst engaged all the time in systematic plunder of the working class !

The intense rivalries between the groups of competing states seeking for a market causes much national and international strife among them. They purchase labour-power as cheaply as they can safely do, create a speeding-up of production, employ labour-saving machinery, and eliminate as much waste of time and material as they can: everything is done to enhance their ultimate gain. 

Access to raw materials and sources of wealth are greedily sought after. With envy and avarice they seek to gain and control territories of potential wealth, the trade routes, and the monopoly of markets. This all leads, sooner or later, to a serious conflict of industrial, commercial and financial interests amongst themselves.

Is it any wonder that with such an anarchical and chaotic system as obtains to-day—the production of commodities simply for the private profit of a class—should result not only in a commercial warfare and “crises,” but ultimately in the use of the armed forces in war?

For militarism is but the valet of insatiable and aggressive capitalism.

The armed forces are retained for two main reasons—to keep capitalism’s wage-slaves in order and subjection, and to gain and retain our masters’ stolen wealth and its natural sources.

It must be clearly seen that:

  • capitalism has as its roots the Class Ownership and control of the means and instruments of wealth-production and distribution;
  • that through that ownership they control the very lives of the working class; and

(3) that through the wages-system our masters exploit and plunder us systematically.

The consequent result is that the exploiting class grow ever richer, relatively, to the wealth-producing workers.

And thus the conflict of interests created between exploiters and exploited results in a class-struggle.

It is obvious that only by the abolition of capitalism, including its very roots, can the workers abolish for ever the evils inseparable from the system itself.

Look at the widespread poverty of our class—in a great degree chronic; the slums with their misery and disease; the social curse of unemployment, and the terrible results of malnutrition, industrial diseases, etc. Consider the colossal waste of human life in capitalism’s frequent wars, with their untold suffering and miseries for the working class. Capitalism, as a social system, creates incalculable waste in many spheres.

Can we content ourselves with the continuance of such a pernicious system, when we:, its wage-slaves, suffer so from its effects?

Is there any reason why we should tolerate its patching-up by petty reforms when we could, in truth, rid ourselves of the root-cause of its evils? It has blighted the world, and been the cause of infinite death and destruction.

Capitalism is indeed the enemy of the workers. It robs us of freedom, happiness, and life in the fullest sense. Wage-slavery, and the resulting poverty of the workers, must be abolished, and, to achieve these things, capitalism must go.

Our masters, having control of political power, are, through it, able to dominate our very lives. Only by our capture and control of that power can we, as a class, overthrow capitalism and establish socialism. To do that the majority of the working class must first understand their slave-condition ; must earnestly desire the overthrow of capitalism, and the triumph of the socialist commonwealth.

Nothing could withstand the organised might of a working class the majority of whom were fully bent on establishing socialism.

Full of socialist knowledge, and intensely conscious of their class-interest and aims, they could and would by their immense unity of purpose capture the key of the position: Political Power.

Thus would they smash the pernicious system that is indeed their enemy, and proceed to usher in the socialist system of society which will liberate all mankind and bring to every nation Freedom, Happiness and Peace.

The first point to notice is that among the prominent figures are men who claim that socialism is their aim and who have elsewhere been heard to admit that socialism is the only hope of the workers. On this occasion there was, it seems, a curious reluctance or forgetfulness to say anything about socialism.

The World Socialist Movement (WSM) exists solely for the achievement of one purpose, though a fundamental one, the establishment of socialism in place of capitalism. The more the WSM considers the present social system, and the facts of working-class existence under capitalism, the more its realities show that the root-cause of the many’ evils of to-day is nothing else but the class-ownership and control of the means of living. For out of that class-ownership spring the wage-slavery of the overwhelming majority of mankind, their exploitation, misery and poverty, and the innumerable evils that arise from this system of production for profit.

For the workers, as a class—the wealth producers—are a dispossessed class; and though our labours of brain and brawn produce the colossal wealth of the world, yet we do not own or control the means and instruments of production, nor yet the products of our toil. As wage-slaves, in order to live, we can only purchase to the degree represented by the buying-power of our wages.

The World Socialist Movement alone can do the invaluable work of persuading the workers to give up their weakness for meaningless abstractions. Without  clarity of thought there can be no correct action. Beware of vague appeals and promises about “justice,” “fair play for everybody,” “economic democracy,” etc. Insist always on explicit and concrete statements from the parties and politicians who promise to re-shape the world. Make sure that you understand precisely which way emancipation lies. If you are still convinced that capitalism can be made to work if only there are sufficient laws restricting the freedom of action of the capitalist, then be honest with yourself and declare that you are for capitalism and against socialism. At the same time remember that it is your own responsibility to understand what socialism is before you reject it; no leader can take that responsibility off your shoulders without the penalty of your neglect some day falling on you.