INTRODUCING THE SPGB
MORE OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY & THE SLP
MARX AND THE FALLING RATE OF PROFIT
HAS CAPITALISM CHANGED?
THE CASE AGAINST THE LIBERALS
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN
The Socialist Party of Great Britain is a political party whose aim is the establishment of a new kind of society, a new kind of social system, where the social wealth and resources are owned in common and controlled democratically, by society as a whole. In broad terms the basis of this society, which we call Socialism will be "from each according to ability, to each according to need" It will be a genuinely classless society because the private property relations of present day society, capitalism, will have been removed. This aim of Socialism is our only aim, and we propose it because we see no other way of solving the major social problems that capitalism inevitably throws up, e g unemployment, poverty (and related problems), war and its threat, the perpetual struggle over wages, conditions etc.
Socialism, as defined in our Object, obviously has no connection with Labour governments, or the system in Russia, China, Cuba or any of the other countries where governments have gone in for a policy of massive nationalisation and called it 'socialism' or 'communism'. Such a policy has nothing to do with Socialism and leaves capitalism basically untouched. The S.P.G.B. (founded in 1904) is committed by its Principles to oppose all parties seeking to retain capitalism, whether they do it openly, or if they do it by pretending to be 'socialist' or 'communist' Socialism, as we define it, has never been established anywhere in the world Our present social system, capitalism, is the dominant system throughout the world, and it has outlived its usefulness as a progressive force. Socialism will entail the production of goods for the satisfaction of human needs, but capitalism is restricted to producing goods and services which can be sold at a profit. Production of things which can be useful to society (e g. food), is curtailed if the capitalist judges that there is no profit to be made.
Capitalism has evolved historically and its chief characteristic is that the ownership of wealth, (including factories, airlines, communications systems etc ), is concentrated in the hands of a minority of the population. Those who own enough of society's wealth that they do not have to seek employment, we call the capitalist class As a class they produce little or nothing and are socially parasitic The majority of the population are those who have to sell their energies to an employer for a wage or a salary, because they do not own enough capital to live off. These and their dependants we call the working class. This is not a fashionable term these days but fashion does not disprove the basic truth of our assertion. The working class produces the wealth of capitalism, distributes it, and largely carries out all aspects of running capitalism as a social system (education, health care, administration etc ). The working class however run
the system in the interests of the capitalist class largely because they accept without question the prevailing ideas of capitalism and do not even contemplate that there is an alternative.
The constant struggle in society over the proportion of the social wealth going as wages and salaries, and that part going as profits, is called the class struggle, and it is marked by the existance of trade unions, strikes, lockouts, redundancies etc. Under capitalism it is the working class who have to suffer the many social problems that inevitably arise under capitalism.
No amount of reform measures will change the basic position of the working class within capitalism. The material improvements in the condition of the British working class over the past 150 years or so, have been largely due to the workers organising themselves into unions to resist the employers, and of course due to the fact that more social wealth has been produced as the techniques of production have been improved. Whilst some reform measures have undoubt-edly been of some benefit to the working class (Health, Education, Factory Acts etc.), it must be recognised that the motivating force behind such measures is the improved efficiency of capitalism. For example, in the case of the National Health Service, it is better for the capitalists to have a generally healthy working class so that they can continue to produce profits. Reform may make capitalism run smoother, but it has notand it cannot lead to Socialism.
If enough workers understand and want Socialism, then they can achieve it by voting for it at election time. It is of course essential for the workers to capture political power by voting Socialist delegates into Parliament. Then the workers will control the machinery of government, including the armed forces, and the new society can be introduced in an orderly fashion. The purpose of the S.P.G.B is to put forward the case for Socialism so that eventually a majority can take the necessary political action to achieve it.
MORE ABOUT THE SOCIALIST PARTY AND THE S.L.P.
Mr Buick, General Secretary of the Clapham based Socialist Party, writing in the Discussion Bulletin (issue 81) has had more to say about what he describes as "the classic S.L.P position", which must relate both to the present American Socialist Labour Party and to its political counterpart which was formed in 1902, two years before the S. P. G. B. was formed in 1904.
The Socialist Party, in the August 1991 issue of their journal the Socialist Standard, described the S.L.P. as "our political cousins in the U.S.A.". Mr. Buick, in the Discussion Bulletin writes as follows about the difference between his party, The Socialist Party and "the classic S. L. P. positionb
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.