Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

The Rich Get Poorer!

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the unearned wealth amassed by the world's billionaires has fallen from a record high in 2021 to $12.7tn (£9.7tn) in assets.

As Hardy used to point out, fighting wars is an expensive business with much created wealth, in the form of bombs, guns etc, literally being destroyed. There is also the destruction of the means of production like factories and transport systems privately owned by the capitalist class. At least on the various stock exchanges the wealth changes hands and remains in private hands.

It is doubtful that the capitalist class will lose much sleep over this dip in their collective wealth unlike the working class who have been pushed into greater austerity by inflation and hikes in energy prices. Unlike the capitalist class many workers are weighing up whether to heat or feed their families this year.

Forbes, who reports with delight the obscene wealth of the rich, also said Elon Musk, the owner of Telsa and Space X was the world's richest person with a $219bn fortune, up $68bn on the previous year because of rising shares prices he owned (GUARDIANuardian 6 April 2022).

And that is the crux of the matter: ownership. The capitalist class own the means of production and distribution to the exclusion of the working class majority.

It resolves itself into a political question. To get rid of the capitalist class and their private ownership of resources, land, factories, transport and communication systems and distribution points requires the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production by all of society.

This means democratic and political action by workers within principled socialist political parties gaining control of the machinery of government including the armed forces. That is a majority of socialists replacing world capitalism with world socialism.


Object and Declaration of Principles

The Problem

The basis of the case for The Socialist Party of Great Britain is the OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES: applicants for membership are required to indicate their acceptance of them. It is more than a formal declaration and applicants must show that they understand the implications of what they sign, and must be prepared to defend them. This is to ensure that none but Socialists become members and thereby secure a well-grounded and united membership. A united membership is less prone to internal dissention, and provides the most effective organisation for Socialist propaganda.

THE OBJECT AND DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES is well within the grasp of every worker who reads it intelligently and without prejudice.

There are no short cuts to Socialism. Concentrating on the Socialist objective is a slow process but there is no other way. One thing to remember is that our DECLARATION is a brief statement of general principles, not a detailed guide to cover all eventualities. When its wording was being discussed at the establishment of The Socialist Party of Great Britain in 1904, consideration was given to the possible inclusion of additional clauses but the form finally accepted was held to be sufficient. For example, it does not include a reference to war, but under its guidance the Party had no hesitation in declaring total opposition when world war came in 1914 and again in 1939.

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 (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.

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