The Socialist Party will always urge workers everywhere to resist attacks made on their living standards by their employers. This is a basic necessity so long as capitalism lasts. At the same time, we recognise such action to be purely defensive, besides never-ending, and which still leaves the factories, mines, shipyards, land, transportation systems, and the other places where wealth is produced, in the hands of the owning class. There is only one way out of this. We organise politically to bring nearer the day when capitalism will be swept away.
When the Socialist Party contests elections we don’t engage in this type of smooth and glib electioneering. We do not involve ourselves in the hiring of image consultants and spin-doctors, the cynical analysis of focus group responses to discern where lies the greatest electoral advantage or the cultivation of the media to project some image. We openly state that our aim is the replacement of the current basis of society (capitalism and production for profit by an alternative society (socialism and production to meet people’s needs) and we work towards this aim.
Capitalism is a splintered society; divided not just by sectional ownership of the means of production but by the economic rivalry of independent states striving to exercise authority over given geographical areas. Conventional political parties endorse the framework of capitalism and compete to win control over the state and to administer the economic system within its boundaries, which necessarily means perpetuating the wages system and the persistent hardship for wage and salary earners. The policies propounded by these parties are similar because they are manifestations of the same political imperative – a continuation of capitalism – and are distinguishable only to the extent that they propose different organisation methods to administer the same economic system.
Voters vote governments out because they appear incompetent, incapable of finding solutions to the daily problems that confronts wage and salary earners. But government can never solve these problems because their permanent solution lies only in the abolition of capitalism and the wages system. Economic laws that politicians are powerless to change and leave little room for manoeuvre determine what politicians do and how they must react. It is not the deceitfulness of politicians that is the problem but rather the economic structure of society.
Capitalism exists only because workers allow it to exist. Changing the structure of society, however, is not as simple as changing political allegiance to a party. Capitalism is based firmly on a principle of leadership, where a minority in secret makes decisions and the excluded majority is told what they should do and how they should think. Changing the world’s economic structure by converting the means of production from class ownership to common ownership requires that workers individually understand what they want and actively combine to change their condition. Socialism cannot be delivered by leaders and is achievable only by the concerted action of a politically conscious mass movement without direction or leaders, for only then will the majority become the decision-makers.
The Socialist Party understands that a free society can only be one in which people can directly and actively take part in politics, and concretely have their minds known through democratic voting on the ideas, rather than for representatives, to talk in their place. The important point must be that debate on issues is two-way, with the full and active involvement of all parties concerned, not a one-way monologue to reflect off the enforcedly passive audience. This all means that those engaged in the political struggle must battle against the media for access and for the opportunity to air views. The opposite response, like that of those anarchists who refuse to deal with the media, leads simply to surrender the field of political combat to the opposition.