My election address for the Monkton Ward in the South Tyneside Local Elections on May 3rd

Dear Elector,
It’s that time of year again when Labour politicians hope the electorate will suffer a mass bout of amnesia. It’s election time – and once again we are asked to suspend the normal functioning of our critical faculties, to forget everything we have read in the press or argued about with friends and neighbours and to vote for the candidate that makes the biggest promises.

It’s tempting, in the absence of any real alternative, to get drawn into the phoney war that passes for political debate today. Whether Labour, Tory or Lib Dem, they all spout the same promises. But it all amounts to the same thing – more of the same and no alternative to the present way of running society.

One thing is certain, and perhaps you’ll already be of this opinion. Whichever candidate or party the electorate decides to vote for brings about no significant changes to the way things are. And in between elections we have little or no say in the major decisions - the real issues - that concern us.

Politicians are fond of telling us that we must take responsibility for our own lives and that we must see to it that our world is a fit place for our children to grow up in. I’ll not disagree with that, but what I will ask is how can we seriously do anything about it when the real decisions are not in our hands? Because of the way things are organised at present, none of us are allowed to take part in the really important decisions that affect us – the ones about our schools, about health and housing, peace and pollution and the distribution of wealth. We are no more consulted on the closure of schools or the selling of council properties to private landlords than we were consulted on the decision to invade Iraq.

What the Socialist Party suggests as the alternative to this insane set up is a truly democratic society in which every person has a free and democratic say in the decisions that affect them – a society without leaders and the led.

In such a society, people would co-operate to run all of the world’s natural and industrial resources in their own interests, freeing production from the artificial constraints of profit and establishing a system of society in which each person has free access to the benefits of civilisation.

Today we have the technology, the resources and the know-how to satisfy everyone’s needs. That fact is well established. However, we cannot utilise society’s assets sensibly because of the profit-driven requirements of the market-system.

In a society in which the fundamental need of production is profit, our needs come a poor second. The profit system exerts such an influence in society that it impinges upon every aspect of our lives, and you’d be hard pressed to think of some service or product that is not balanced against cost – something to muse on whilst waiting for the bus, the police or visiting the local shops.

You may consider that the society I have outlined sounds nice, but that socialists are demanding the impossible. All we are asking is that you, the electorate, think for yourselves, value yourself and your fellows higher; expect more for your children and grandchildren. Is it not the case that our world would be a better place to live in if we each had a real democratic say in the decision-making process and real control over the means and instruments for producing and distributing the things we need to live in comfort? Is it not high time that we took back control of our destiny from the profit mongers and their lackeys in power?

Unlike every other politician in this election, I’ll make you no promises, not least because I believe there is little politicians can do for us that we are not already capable of doing for ourselves, once we decide to really cooperate and decide just what is in our real interests.
Voting for socialism on May 3rd is not going to bring about immediate change. Indeed, none of the candidates can bring about real changes to our lives, because they do not control the system – it controls them.

However, voting for socialism is a step in the right direction and at last puts the ‘real issue’ on the political agenda.

At the end of the day it is up to you, the elector, as a member of the wage and salaried class. It is up to you to decide whether you favour the present system or the rationally organised system I call socialism.

If you agree with me, if you think we are each capable of cooperating to run a society of free access in our own interests – but only if you agree – then vote for socialism and yourself on May 3rd.

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