The World Socialist Movement (WSM) aims to convince our fellow workers of the need for socialism by reasonable means. It is our argument that the hard logic of the case for socialism is powerful enough to defeat the ideology of capitalism as presented by the education system, media, religion and so on. To get workers to understand socialism requires good, strong arguments — or theory. Of course, theoretical clarity is not enough. Hard work is involved in putting that theory to workers; and we in the WSM are getting involved as often and as energetically as we can, bearing in mind our limited resources.
The working class has had a century of industrial action in which sections of the working class have confronted their employers over wages and conditions. While recognising the defensive role of trade unions, as socialists we urge our fellow workers go for revolutionary political action: not in order to “foment the class war”, but so as to end it by the democratic victory of the working class. Revolution is necessary because it is the entire social system of capitalism which must be removed before the chains of wage slavery can be broken. This political task involves both theory and practice.
1. Voters of all parties certainly do not accept the ideas of the WSM, even though some may claim to do so. How many support the idea of social equality? They hold that human beings are inherently unequal. How many advocate the abolition of the wages system? Or free access to all wealth? Or the elimination of national frontiers? All other parties claim that the capitalist system is here to stay. We are alone in stating that the present system conflicts with the material interests of the overwhelming majority of the world’s population and must be replaced immediately by world socialism.
2. We have never suggested that the transition from mass acceptance of capitalism to majority socialist consciousness will occur “overnight”. Those who say that revolutions cannot happen overnight are usually trying to tell us either that ideas cannot change at all, or that, if they can, they will only change very slowly. The entire history of human society disproves such a conception of change ideas can, and frequently do, change very rapidly indeed. They change because human experience clashes with scientific developments in mankind’s control over the natural environment. Consider, for example, decline in religious belief in the last fifty years or changing reactions to sex roles.
3. Socialism means the common ownership and democratic control of the means of wealth production and distribution by the entire world community. We all need each other in society and that is why people in Europe and people in Africa and Asia will recognise their common interest in a socialist society. Mutual aid or co-operation is the key to socialism; if it is claimed that humans are incapable of cooperative behaviour, we reply that co-operation will become an attractive idea when it is seen to be in the material interest of the co-operators. In capitalist society the working class is very cooperative — but with the master class and for their interests. Finally, socialism will not be a society of sharing, but one in which individuals will take freely from an abundance of wealth according to their need.
4. The reward in socialism will not be to serve others (which is what workers do now when they produce profits for an idle class), but to serve oneself by contributing to society.
5. Modern industrial society involves a complex division of labour in which diverse labour processes contribute to the overall supply of goods and services. In socialism the differing talents, skills and mundane contributions which people have to offer will be equally appreciated because people will realise that they are all necessary.
6. Why should any healthy human being be unwilling to work? It is understandable that when work means employment (wage slavery) workers may find work dull and meaningless. But given a society in which work is for one reason only: to provide goods and services for the use of humanity, why would people not want to give according to their abilities and take according to their needs? Of course, if it is correct and human beings cannot co-operate, then socialism will never happen. But the evidence is on our side: humans have a natural need to expend mental and physical energies in order to survive.
7. The World Socialist Movement is totally opposed to the Labour Party (or the Democratic Party) and has been since we was formed. Labour stands for the reform of the present capitalist system. The WSM stands for the abolition of capitalism (production for profit) and its replacement by a system of society in which the means of wealth production and distribution will be commonly owned and democratically controlled by the whole community.
8. The World Socialist Movement does not want to obtain power. We want to see power placed in the hands of the working class once they are consciously and democratically organised for socialism. Once the workers of the world have taken over state power, they will use it in order to get rid of capitalism and establish a system of production for use.
9. The trade unions are not “over-powerful”. It is the small minority of the world’s population who live in luxury as a result of receiving rent, interest and profit — the capitalist class — who are the ones who enjoy social power at the moment; they enjoy it at the expense of the majority — the working class — whom they exploit. Trade unions are a necessary means of bargaining over the intensity of exploitation. But socialists want workers to go beyond trade unions (the industrial struggle) and use their political power to get rid of this exploitative social system once and for ail. There will be no trade unions in a socialist society, since there will be no economic classes and therefore no conflict of interest. The capitalist-run media hates to see workers using our power, even in militant trade union action. Socialists claim that workers have hardly started to flex their muscles. We have nothing to lose and much to gain from workers recognising their strength.
10. The Left claimed that there was socialism in the former USSR. We pointed out that it was a state capitalist dictatorship. The Left advises workers to reform capitalism to their advantage; we say this cannot be done and that the only solution to working class problems is political action to establish socialism. The Left stands for capitalism. We stand for socialism or communism and consider that the two terms mean the same thing, when properly used.
11. We want a society where houses are built for humans to freely live in, not for sale. Why should you have to save up in order to have a roof over your head when society is now quite able to build adequate accommodation for everyone?
12. The World Socialist Movement does not stand for the redistribution of wealth, but for free access to all wealth within a society where the productive machinery is owned by everyone without distinction of race and sex. Society is now capable of providing an abundance of wealth to fulfil human needs without anyone going short. This will not require the rich to give to the poor, but the elimination of the inequality of class.