Socialism needs more than Dissent.
The task of establishing socialism has come to be associated with social reforms to make capitalism run more smoothly and iron out its myriad of social and economic problems.
Because capitalism cannot solve the problems of the working class, there is questioning and dissent. However, dissent is not enough. Nor is questioning social problems and leaving it for politicians. For every social problem facing the working class there is a social reformer standing in the way of social revolution. Nevertheless, reforms are not an option.
Dissent, political dissent must have with it a socialist objective, or it is nothing. Capitalism as a social system with a beginning and an end and class struggle must be seen as something to be abolished and replaced by a new social system based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution by all of society.
However, it is not the task of socialists to impose socialism onto a working-class majority. Socialism must be global. It must replace a world system based upon class exploitation with a social system based on “from each according to their ability to each according to their need”. Socialism must be established by a socialist majority taking hold of the machinery of government. The world working class must establish socialism and no one else.
Some claim workers are too stupid to establish socialism and they can only be led. Others say workers are not cut out for socialist politics.
Yes, it is easy to sneer at the incredibly slow development of the working class. But socialists and socialist ideas come out of the class struggle not from philosophical textbooks.
Marx and Engels rejected this political elitism and dismissal of workers as political idiots. Marx and Engels believed that workers could become active socialists and that all workers can reason and learn by experience. Thinking and acting as a socialist is within the realm of any open-minded worker free from prejudice and ruling class propaganda. This has been proven by workers becoming socialists.
They produced one of the most important political propositions in human thought: that workers were not only capable of establishing socialism, but they could do it by themselves without leaders.
This is what they wrote in the ‘COMMUNIST MANIFESTO’:
“Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class……The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority…What the bourgeoisie, produces, above all, is its own gravediggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable”.
And this proposition influenced socialists in establishing the Socialist Party of Great Britain in 1904. In clause 4 we said:
“That as in the order pf social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex”.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain was established by members of the working class in 1904. Workers were able establish a socialist party by their own work alone and to sustain the Party under difficult political circumstances united around a socialist object and a set of socialist principles.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.