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Socialist Studies Pamphlet: BARRIERS TO SOCIALISM

Nationalism and racism

Nationalism and racism divide the working class.

Nationalism gives the false idea that workers have an interest in the country they live in. They believe it is “their” country, and are periodically willing to kill and be killed in its wars.

Nationalism is a false set of ideas and beliefs. And for a number of reasons.

The working class do not own trade routes, they do not own means of production, they do not have spheres of influence to control and they do not have any raw resources to protect. As Marx pointed out the working class has no country.

The working class are made up of men and women throughout the world who do not own the means of production. Workers are forced into employment to sell their ability to work for a wage or salary. Workers in India, Pakistan and China, for example, have identical class interests to workers in France, the US and Britain. Workers share the same class problems of class exploitation no matter where they live in the world. A world working class faces a world capitalist class over the ownership and control of the means of production.

Under capitalism, workers have to compete for jobs, housing, and other necessary goods. It is easy to blame other workers for particular social problems like loss of jobs and poor housing but it is wrong and only benefits the capitalist class. Immigrants, economic migrants, workers in foreign countries belong to the same exploited class and all are potential socialists.

In fact, workers faced a shortage of housing and hospitals before large scale immigration; these social problems have their root in capitalism and exist all over the world, whether a country loses workers as emigrants or accepts them as workers.

Racist doctrines have no ground in fact but racist ideas set an insidious trap for the working class; the social problems caused by capitalism are international and can only be solved by all workers, whatever their colour, co-operating to abolish capitalism and to replace it with Socialism.


Religion is an intellectual poison. It is degrading and infantile to worship an abstraction created by men and women to further class control.

Religion gives the false impression that there is a better world after death. In reality workers should be looking to changing society to create a better world on Earth.

Materialism means that Gods, Angels, all spiritual manifestation and anything “beyond nature” are myths. You cannot be a Socialist and hold religious ideas. To hold religious ideas is mental slavery.
Socialists reject leadership of all kinds whether leaders are politicians or priests. Socialism can only be established by a politically conscious working class. Spiritual leadership is just as debilitating as political leadership.

A socialist is not a person on their knees to God, Allah, Buddha or Krishna. A Socialist thinks and acts in their own interest. When workers understand and desire Socialism they will act in their own interests and will not need leaders to tell them how to think and what to do. This includes religious leaders.

Religion supports capitalism, as it has supported other property societies. Religion can either offer reaction or reform, but not Socialist revolution. Religion is conservative because it encourages workers, who are oppressed and exploited, to suffer social problems while placing their faith in heaven. This is a confusing doctrine because it diverts workers’ attention away from gaining the necessary understanding and knowledge to establish Socialism.


Capitalism can never be reformed in the interests of the working class. Reforms are a constant feature of the problems thrown up by capitalism and the profit system.

However, reforms only deal with the effects of commodity production and exchange for profit, and they turn attention away from the cause: the private ownership of the means of production.

The failure of reforms can be seen in the long line of social problems that still persist: war, unemployment, environmental pollution, poverty, social alienation, racism, poor housing and starvation.

Reforms are a barrier to Socialism because those politicians who propose them offer the working class the idiotic proposition that you can have capitalism without the effects of capitalism.

Reforms were once seen as stepping stones to “socialism” or as a positive contribution to improve the lot of the working class. Now “radical” reforms are designed to sack workers, to cut back on the so-called ‘welfare state’, to cheapen schooling, and so on.

What of reforms to tackle poverty? Billions are given to charities but to no avail. Political buffoons like Bono, Richard Curtis and Bob Geldof believe governments can be persuaded to write off debt and stop children dying of hunger and disease. It is naïve wishful thinking. Politicians exist to administer capitalism, and capitalism dictates that it is profit rather than social need that creates policy, national rivalry and national interest rather than resolving social problems.

Instead of “making poverty history” under capitalism - which is impossible while the wages system exists -, the working class should be making capitalism history by establishing Socialism.

The capitalist Left

The capitalist left are a barrier to Socialism because they preach the anti-socialist doctrine that workers are too stupid to understand the case for Socialism but can only follow a self-appointed professional elite.

The capitalist Left pointed to the Soviet Union as “Already Existing Socialism” excusing the show-trials, the twists and turns of Soviet policy, the appalling conditions workers had to endure and the lie that this dictatorship was “Socialism”. For this the capitalist left should never be forgotten or forgiven.

The capitalist left also confuse workers by misleadingly using the term “Socialism” to describe their own capitalist policies. For the capitalist Left “Socialism” is either nationalisation or state capitalism with their leaders acting as dictators telling everyone what to do.

The capitalist left, in their belief that workers cannot understand the case for Socialism rests on the false premise that the leaders of the various left-wing parties actually understand socialism themselves. They do not. None of the political groups subscribing to the ideas of Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Mao have as their object the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by all of society.

If successful the Left could only offer the working class dictatorship, gulags, a police state, political prisons, the wages system and class exploitation.

The Labour Party

The Labour Party has never been, is or will ever be a Socialist Party. The Labour Party is a Party of capitalism.

The Labour Party has rejected principle for power at any cost; and the cost for the Labour Party, once in power, is to see its social reforms eroded by the reality of capitalism. Cynicism, expediency and corruption has been the legacy of one Labour Government after another. Capitalism has forced upon Labour government’s policies that when in power they rejected; nuclear weapons, the use of troops to break strikes, waging war, now complicit in Washington’s “extreme rendition” programmes.

Workers have also seen, with a prolonged period in office, Labour authoritarianism where members of their own Party are prevented from returning to Labour’s own conference through the application of the recent Terrorism Act.

The Labour Party is also a barrier to Socialism because Trade Unions erroneously bank roll the Party and urge their members to vote at elections for its anti-working class policies on the baseless grounds that it is the lesser of two evils.

Voting for the Labour Party is a complete waste of the revolutionary use of the vote. Labour can only ever run capitalism against the interests of the working class. A vote for Labour is a vote for capitalism and wage slavery.

The Working Class.

The principle barrier to Socialism is the working class itself.

In the COMMUNIST MANIFESTO Marx sketched out the development of the working class from an incoherent mass through to being able to establish Trade Unions and a Socialist Party. Yet for much of the last century workers have not developed to the point of forming a socialist majority within capitalism.

Workers have the potential to understand that capitalism can never work in their interest and take an active roll in establishing common ownership and democratic control of the means of production.

There is no barrier preventing workers establishing Socialism except for lack of understanding. It is through lack of class consciousness that workers become ensnared in the interests of the capitalist class.

Workers show their political immaturity through their support of nationalism, racism, reform politics, the Sirens of the capitalist left, the poison of religion and support for the Labour Party.

In short, the barriers placed in front of workers preventing them becoming socialists and establishing socialism are largely of their own making.

Workers owe allegiance to no country; they have a common interest with workers throughout the world, they have historical experience to show them that reforms cannot solve the problems they face as a class and they should know by now how necessary it is to avoid political leaders no matter how well meaning.

Clear these barriers and the establishment of socialism really is a piece of cake.

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