Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

SOCIALIST STUDIES

NO. 11

CONTENTS INCLUDE:

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

Introducing

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:

"The difference is , if you like, that while the both of us urge the need for the working class to organise politically and economically for Socialism, they consider the economic organisation to be the more important. We take the opposite view...."

No one would guess from this soothing statement what the British S.L.P advocated and what the present American S.L.P. advocates The 1911 Manifesto of the S.P G B. summarised what the British S.L.P policy was, supported with evidence from the S.L P.'s own statement:

"In trade union matters the S.L.P. has blindly followed the lead the American S.L.P. Contradicting their original teaching that political action was all sufficient for the emancipation of the workers; they now try to found a British branch of an American industrial union. They hold that Socialism will be achieved by 'direct action 'on the part of such a union."

Yet here is a sample of what Mr Buick's "political cousins " in the American S.L.P. have to say in their present programme. Under the heading "Socialist Industrial Government" it says.

"The government of socialist America... will accordingly, have an industrial base. And it will be so constituted that all authority will come directly from the workers, integrally organised in socialist industrial unionsb. (Their emphasis).

Is this what Mr Buick's party stands for? Mr Buick also takes his accustomed uninformed line about the trade unions. He dismisses them as bbureaucratic job trusts", whatever that is supposed to mean. Of course it is true that the unions' membership is no more than a small extent composed of socialists, and that the unions have often engaged in costly but futile long strikes, like the 1984 Miners' strike. However there is ample evidence that in the matter of wages, the unions have fully justified themselves. Frederick Engels saw this when, looking back over the half century 1844 to 1892, he noted that the condition of the workers in the big trade unions "has remarkably improvedb (1892 Preface to Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 p XV).

Coming more up to date, in every year from 1984 to 1992, under very difficult economic conditions, the average weekly wage of the workers rose by more than the rise of prices, a total increase of average real wages by 23 percent in 9 years. Does Mr Buick imagine that this would have happened if the unions did not exist?

ABOUT THE SELF EMPLOYED

The Employment Gazette (April 1993) published the estimate made by the Department of Employment of the total number of the "workforce" in the United Kingdom at September 1991. The total number was 28,301,000, and its various sections were made up, follows:

Employees in employment 22,112,000

Self Employed 3,104,000

H M Forces 297,000

Participants in Government

Training Programmes 338,000

Unemployed 2,450,700

Total

28,301,000

The number of people in each of the groups changes continuously, including the total, which has increased over the years with the growth of the population of the United Kingdom.

The number in the armed forces has fallen by 100,000 since 1968. The number of unemployed in 1991 was nearly 2 million more than in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was continuously below 500,000. The total number of the self employed has also changed considerably over the years. In June 1966 for example, at 1,609,000 they were nearly 1.5 million fewer than in 1991.

The self employed are defined as b Those working on their account whether or not they have any employees". According to a Report in the Employment Gazette (June 1992, p.269), over two thirds of the self employed have no employees. About one in six are part timers and some 200,000 have a second job in self employment. The majority of the self employed are male, but the number of female self employed rose by 78% between 1981 and 1991.

Many of the self employed work very long hours and the Report in the June 1992 Labour Gazette draws attention to other noticeable features:

" What is most striking is propensity of people above retirement age to be self employed. There are also very low rates of self employed in the youngest age group. The low rates of self employment among younger people are easily explained as reflecting the need for many to amass both human and financial resources before embarking on self employment, and the high rate of older people as reflecting both a tendency to retire later and to switch to self employment around the normal state retirement age".

The above reference to the self employed's needs for "financial resources" relates to their having to accumulate enough money to buy the necessary equipment and stock before becoming self employed. Their numbers have been increased by workers receiving demobilisation gratuity on leaving the armed forces, or receiving redundancy pay on losing their jobs.

Nearly half of all the self employed are in two industry groups, distribution and hotels, and construction, and over two thirds are in these two groups with the addition of two other groups, banking and finance, and agriculture.

The conditions faced by the self employed are markedly different from those facing the workers who work to the orders of an employer. The employed workers product or service is the property of the employer, who employs other workers to find a buyer so that employer can make a profit. The self employed worker's product or service is his own and he has to find a buyer for it himself. During periods of bad trade and heavy unemployment the self employed find their market shrinking, with the consequence that many of them face financial loss or are put out of business.

In proportion to their numbers the failure rate of the self employed through bankruptcy or insolvency is very high compared the failure rate in rest of industry (See Annual Abstract of Statistic p310) In the industrial world of employers and employees, the employer supplies the capital and receives the profit, while the employed supply the labour and are paid wages by the employer

The self employed are a hybrid group. Except the few who have employees, the self employed supply all the labour, and also supply the capital needed for their small businesses. They pocket the proceeds from the sale of the goods and services they provide. Because they provide the capital and also because they work longer hours than employed workers in the same occupations, the self employed hope and expect to receive a larger income than that received by employed workers

According to a report in the Employment Gazette (March 1991) "very few self employed people work short hours" Sixty one per cent of them work more than 40 hours a week compared with forty percent of employed workers, and twenty seven percent of the self employed work more than 57 hours a week compared with only six per cent of employed workers who work those hours.

MARX AND THE FALLING RATE OF PROFIT

Some people who are concerned with what Marx wrote about the average rate of profit believe that he confidently predicted that it would go on falling indefinitely. This is not correct. The tendency of the average rate of profit to fall was noticed by economists long before Marx, including Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations (1776) and David Ricardo some forty years later. Each of them had a theory to explain it.

By the 1860's when Marx came to consider the question it was no longer the comparatively simple one it had appeared to be. It was in the 1860's that Marx prepared the unfinished draft which Engels edited for publication as volume 3 of Capital, after Marx's death. Far from feeling confident about it, Marx was clearly uncertain and puzzled. At the beginning ofChapter XIV Marx wrote:

".....the difficulty, which has hitherto troubled the vulgar economists, namely that of finding an explanation for the falling rate of profit, gives way to its opposite, namely to the question; How is it that this fall is not greater and more rapid? There must be some counteracting influences at work, which thwart and annul the effects of this general law, leaving to it merely the character of a tendency. For this reason we have referred to the fall of the average rate of profit as a tendency to fall" (Kerr Edition p. 272)

Marx then commented briefly on half a dozen counteracting influences which tend to raise the average rate of profit, but he did not even attempt to evaluate the final outcome of one tendency lowering the average rate of profit and the others raising it. Some readers of volume 3 of Capital think that Marx contradicted himself. On page 249 for example he wrote: "...this rate must fall continuously", while on page 277 he wrote "...the same causes, which bring about a tendency for the rate of profit to fall, also check the realisation of this tendency"

They have failed to notice Marx's method of presentation, which was to treat each factor separately. All that Marx was saying on page 249 was that if the tendency for the rate of profit to fall because of the increase of constant capital relative to variable capital was the only factor then the rate of profit must fall continuously. The statement on page 277 was not a generalisation but referred only to the matter dealt with in the sub section, namely "Cheapening of the Elements of Constant Capital"

Anthony Brewer of the Department of Economics, University of Bristol, in his A Guide to Marxbs Capital (1984 p. 145) says of this that Marx ".. gives no good reason to expect the 'tendency' to prevail over the 'counteracting influences'". On the other hand Joseph Gillman in his The Falling Rate of Profit (New York 1958, p.VII) treats it as if Marx was saying that the downward tendency would prevail and the rate of profit was therefore bound to fall. Dr Gillman had served as an economist on several official bodies including the Office of Price Administration. Brewer and Gillman both comment on the unreality of wondering about the falling rate of profit a century or more after Marx wrote.

Whilst Adam Smith and Ricardo could think of capitalism as lasting indefinitely, Marx could not. In Marx's expectation capitalism would have been abolished before now. Gillman quotes in this connection the passage in Volume 1 of Capital (Kerr edition, p 837,

"Centralisation of the means of production and socialisation of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The expropriators are expropriated."

It might appear to be a simple matter to compare the present average rate of profit with what it was in the 1860's and note whether it has fallen and if so by how much. It is not at all a simple matter. In the 1860's little statistical information was available. There is much more available now, but that information is rarely in a form which fits in with Marx's definitions.

Much of the information in Company Profit and Loss Accounts and Balance Sheets is unreliable and misleading. The Government Statistical Office publishes figures for the total of the gross trading profits of companies but apparently the Office does not publish a corresponding estimate for the total of capital invested, without which it is not possible to calculate the average rate of profit. However from the information that is available it is possible to draw certain fairly reliable conclusions:

a) In the U.K. and U.S. A. the average rates of profit have not been falling continuously since the 1860's. If they had been, we would surely expect that by now the rates would be approaching zero.

b) It is possible for the average rate of profit to rise in certain periods and to fall in others.

c) The fall or rise of the average rate of profit or of the average rate in certain industries, may be due to causes other than those Marx dealt with.

HAS CAPITALISM CHANGED ?

We are familiar with the claim that whilst capitalism is not such a bad system, it could do with a few reforms here or a degree of redistribution there. More subsidies for the poor and more taxation of the rich. The general theme behind this view is that capitalism is gradually being tamed by government intervention, pressured by social reformers, some apparently anti capitalist and others openly pro capitalist. They contend that with the introduction of a judicious selection of reforms they can achieve a more tolerable society, a changed capitalist society, one run in the interests of the working class. This is a Utopian conception. The experience of the last 100 years or so has demonstrated the failure of social reforms to solve the social problems of capitalism. In addition the idea that capitalism can be changed by reform is basically incorrect.

All reformers without exception deal with various social conditions but they fail to understand or completely ignore the economic basis which produces these conditions. They are permanently engaged in dealing with the effects of the capitalist system, but not with the system itself, which is the cause of those effects. When reformers talk about altering capitalism, what they mean is altering the social conditions under which it operates, but not the system itself. The reformers are essentially capitalism's housekeepers. Capitalism cannot change until its economic base has been abolished and that is the task of a revolutionary working class, not social reformers.

The capitalist system of production is based on the exploitation of wage labour by capital, that is wealth usually in the form of money, which is continuously invested for the purpose of realising profit by employing the working class. It is the exchange of labour power (the workers' commodity) against capital and natural materials that brings wealth into existence. Not only do the working class produce the capitalists' profits, but they reproduce the capitalists' capital as well as the wages which the employers pay the workers.

All this arises from the production of surplus value, which has its origin in the fact that the workers of the world produce more wealth than they receive back in the form of wages or salaries for the sale of their energies. This is a continuous social process. It is a social relation which applies to all workers of the world irrespective of race, nationality, colour or sex. It is this social relation which establishes the two great economic divisions within society - the working class and the capitalist or employing class who are in antagonism with each other This antagonism we identify as the class struggle, a battle between the exploited and the exploiters over the share of the social wealth.

This division of society into buyers and sellers of labour power does not arise naturally. Nature does not produce on the one side propertyless wage slaves and on the other monied capitalists, nor does human nature. Neither is it the case that the production of commodities, that is the production of goods, articles and services exclusively for sale with a view to profit, was a constant feature of previous societies. Commodity production is not common to all historical periods. It is clearly the result of past historical development, the product of many economic revolutions which led to the extinction of older forms of social production and distribution. The incidental production of commodities and the circulation of money which existed in feudal society and earlier, do not in themselves proclaim the existence of capitalism. Capitalism only springs into life when the owner of the means of production meets in the market with the "free" labourer selling his/her labour power. It is this one great historical condition which announces a new epoch in social production. That is when labour power has become a commodity, and when men and women are virtually bought and sold in the same manner as the goods they produce. They exchange their creative energies for wages, and the amount of those wages is determined in the same way as is the case with every other commodity- by the labour time necessary for its reproduction. In its simplest form the value of labour power represents the cost of maintaining the worker and his family, allowing them to live and reproduce their energy both within their own bodies and in those of their children.

Any unbiased examination of contemporary society, in all its major accomplishments, science, philosophy, technology, law, politics and the arts, would show that social progress and civilisation as we know it is based on a system of wage labour or wage slavery. Contrary to the popular view, this system is of comparatively recent origin, a matter of about 300 yearsb the present life span of capitalism. Historically, capitalism has proved itself a great revolutionary force in the field of production and distribution, but it has now become obsolete and reactionary. It has outlived its usefulness. It produces more problems than the means to solve them. Scarcity occurs when abundance is possible. It produces hostile and preposterous social conditions which are an affront to human dignity. Capitalism's revolution has been accomplished but only by the creation of social misery and degradation, intellectual poverty and primitive culture. The powers of production have grown over the heads of the producers and are completely outside of their control. It will be the revolutionary and historic task of Socialist Society to bring these forces under social control. Such control would be effected by the introduction of a democratic process in determining social needs and desires in the various fields of social activity, and by operating within a system of wealth production based on common ownership.

The possibility of achieving such a Socialist society must depend on the political understanding of the international working class, of whatever race or sex, using the political machinery within their existing national boundaries. In order to challenge the capitalists' right of exploitation, the workers can vote for the abolition of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism. The existing power of propaganda wielded by the capitalists would be of no effect once the workers had become socialists.

The creation of Socialist Society will be a gigantic step forward for mankind, and the working class should take that step as a matter of extreme urgency. Until they do that capitalism will not change.

THE CASE AGAINST THE LIBERALS

The S.P G B on principle is opposed to all other parties that stand for capitalism, whether they do it openly, or whether they do it by pretending to be 'socialist' or 'communist'. The Liberal Party is a party that openly stands for capitalism, and always has done and therefore the S.P.G.B. is opposed to the Liberal Party. The S.P G B has this principle of opposition to the parties of capitalism, because in our view, a party cannot be both for Socialism and for capitalism at the same time, whether under the Liberals or anyone else. Capitalism and Socialism are mutually exclusive, but capitalism has been historically a necessary stage in the development of society. Without capitalism, Socialism would not be possible. Our opposition is just as vehement to the Liberals as it is to the so called communist, socialist, Labour or social democratic parties that abound in modern capitalist politics. These parties in fact stand for capitalism but make 'socialist' noises. In this respect our hostility is even handed, a plague on all their houses.

In our view the change from capitalism to Socialism, which we see as the result of a long process of education and propaganda, will require a majority of the population understanding and wanting it, before they take the necessary political action to gain control of the machinery of government including the armed forces, so that the capitalists can be dispossessed, and Socialism established Obviously such a fundamental change demands a huge mental leap forward in the consciousness of the working class. There is no point in leaping if you cannot see where you will be landing.

The Liberal Party accepts the basis of capitalism unchallenged, although they want to change its 'unacceptable face' like Mr Heath and others did. The ideas of Socialism, a classless society where individuals will be social equals regardless of ability, race, sex or anything else, do not appear in their propaganda. The Liberals see lots of problems facing the world, and indeed there are many, and they propose various courses of action or 'solutions ' to these. In this they are not alone, all the other parties Tory, Labour. Liberal Democrat, the Nationalists and the rest also have their own brand of solutions ready to put into action should they be called to the breach. Many of the Liberals proposals are shared with other parties and are not unique to them, for example the idea of a Freedom of Information Act to make government less secretive, is also desired by Labour, Liberal Democrat and even some Tories. Of course the nature of the State as the custodian of private property society prohibits it from ever being open or democratic.

The Liberals have no desire for a system of society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of life, where there would be no employees or employers, or for that matter unemployed. They have no desire for a society where wealth is produced directly for need and not because of the drive for profit, where there is no buying and selling, where there are no social classes based upon the amount of property owned, and where social equality exists, where hunger, poverty and war are no longer regarded as the norm for society to tolerate and occasionally shout about. These ideas are not on the Liberal agenda, and as such they are the opponents of Socialism, they are anti working class even if they are not conscious of it. Like the others the Liberals nowadays have to try to appeal to members of the working class, because workers are the majority of the electorate, and they must tailor their policies accordingly. The very fact that they are for capitalism means that they are anti socialist and anti working class, because they want the existing state of affairs to continue albeit changed somewhat in line with their policies. Socialism is of course in the interest of the working class, the majority; it abolishes the working class as a class.

The Liberals were not always as shy about being anti working class as they are now. In 1867 they opposed the 2nd Reform Act, introduced to Parliament by the Tory Disraelli. The effect of this Act was to enfranchise enough workers for them to become the majority of the electorate, (but not for the majority of workers to become enfranchised, which came later.) It is true that the Liberals or Whigs were largely instrumental in forcing through the 1st Reform Act in 1832. The 1832 Reform Act carefully preserved the principle that Parliament represented property interests and not persons as such, unless they were property owners. The Act extended the franchise to the up and coming section of the capitalists, the manufacturers, who had hitherto been denied. In other words the 1832 Reform Act was passed in the interests of the capitalists, and the workers were excluded.

Two early Liberal stars, Cobden and Bright, who were both manufacturing capitalists, voted against a Bill in 1844 to limit the labour of children under 13. The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 was pushed by the Liberals in the interests of free trade and 'cheap bread, yet the result was cheaper wages. It was the manufacturing section of the capitalists who were using their political power to get at the land owning section on whose land food had been grown before. A later Tory government managed to pass the first Factory Acts, but enforcement of these was largely ignored by Liberal governments for years Marx praised the factory inspectors among them Leonard Horner who for years battled with the authorities to try to do the job that they were supposed to be doing.

In the nineteenth century the Liberal manufacturers fiercely resisted all attempts at improvement by the factory workers, and it was only through the slow growth of the union movement that the workers were able to organise themselves, and make some gains, as they have continued to do in the present century. The heyday of Britain as the workshop of the world coincided with the heyday of laissez faire capitalism, and it was probably the blackest period in the British workers' history. The Liberals were the party who were dominant in Parliament for most of the time. The nineteenth century was undoubtedly that of the Liberals, and to this day there is still fierce anti Liberal feeling in some northern industrial constituencies.

With the twentieth century the Liberals carried on in the same vein.

In 1906 Lloyd George, the Liberal President of the Board of Trade, raised the Plimsoll line on ships so that once again the "coffin ships" could go to sea, imperialism was rampant, and strikers were constantly facing the forces of the state, which were called in by the employers. The Liberals were in power in 1914 when World War 1 broke out and they supported the slaughter as being in Britain's interests. Contrast this with the view taken by the S P G B. at the time of total opposition to the War (and to all other subsequent wars). The S.P.G.B. recognised that it was a quarrel between sections of the European and non European capitalist class, and that there was no issue at stake worth one drop of working class blood. It was only in 1922 when Lloyd George lost the premiership and the election that he began calling for proportional representation. No mention had been made of it in 1918. The "great reforming government" of Asquith and Lloyd George had of course resisted the Suffragettes call for some women to get the vote from early in the century, as had the Tories, and it was only in 1918 that women over 30 were able to vote. The S.P.G.B. had also opposed the Suffragettes, but on different grounds from the Liberals. The S.P.G.B. saw the movement as a propertied women's movement which was hostile to Socialism and pro capitalist. When the S.P.G.B. was formed in 1904 the workers were already the majority of the electorate. Needless to say the S.P.G.B. has as its 4th Principle that the "emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex". We cannot be accused of racism or sexism

The Liberals supported the 1st Labour government in 1924 and again in 1929, and they supported the National government of 1931 which tried to suppress wages and conditions for the workers. The Liberals supported World War 2 and the wartime coalition, which among other things restricted strikes, and placed obstacles in the way of so called "free speechb by censorship of publications and political discussion. Conscription was universal.

More recently the Liberals have supported the Callaghan Labour government 1974-79 with the Lib-Lab pact in 1977-78. At no time in the long history of the Liberal Party has it been other than a pro capitalist party. The present Green gloss which has been applied to the 1990's policies and image does not deceive the Socialist.

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DEMOCRATS TRY TO HALT DEBATE

We recently debated the Liberal Party. The meeting was open to everyone, as are all our meetings. It was a successful well attended meeting. Our opponent stated his case for Liberalism and the speaker for the S.P.G.B. T DbArcy, put the case for Socialism. We anticipate further debates in the future. In discussion afterwards our opponent related to us how he had received a letter from Mr Buick, General Secretary of the Socialist Party, asking him not to debate us as we were not the S.P.G.B ! Mr. N. Brown, our opponent, quite "rightly ignored the letter.

THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN

OBJECT

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 (i.e., 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 the 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.