Voting for socialism means voting for yourself

With the elections approaching, the media are hyping it all up as if some sort of real change is about to be in the offing, and the political party apparatchiks are out and about trying to convince the cynical and sceptical public to vote for their same old tried and tired solutions and policies .
We in the Socialist Party offer something a lot different .
Capitalism is past its sell-by date .

The world can now easily produce wealth sufficient to adequately house, feed, care for and educate the global population. Instead we see hunger, disease and homelessness around the world despite the concerns of governments, charities and popstars. Today’s Guardian newspaper reports on the broken promsies of the G8 to alleviate poverty in Africa. Closer to home, in a "developed" nation like the UK, we see rising child poverty and an increasing gulf between rich and poor. Rates of depression and anxiety are becoming epidemic. Capitalism is failing: it now acts as a barrier, preventing production being geared to human need. Rather than constantly tinkering with this system we should start looking beyond it to an alternative: a classless world community based on production for human need, not profit.

The mainstream candidates contesting this election (whether openly pro-capitalist or supposedly socialist) are asking you to believe that they can run this society a little bit better. I’d argue that history shows that the money system actually ends up running them. Their pre-election promises usually amount to nothing. So don’t vote for them - it only encourages the idea that capitalism can be made better. A vote for the Socialist Party in contrast, is a statement that you don’t want to live this way and that you think another world is possible.

What is apparent so far in this election is the extent to which all the parties try to manage the agenda for the election. They all want to encourage the debate to be round the handful of high-profile “flagship” issues where they feel they are on strong ground.

But its always phrased along the lines of “knocking on doors, we keep hearing that XXX is the real issue of the day”. Funnily enough, we don’t hear the Lib Dems, for example, say “recent canvassing returns indicate that voters actually don’t give a monkey’s f*** about our policies one way or the other”. The assumption is that voters are stupid and can only remember 3 or 4 things at a time, so why give them more than that to consider. Indeed, a cursory glance at the election leaflets of the mainstream candidates suggests they premise their case on the assumption that the average person on the street is an imbecile. What it all means is that the campaign may centre around a handful of issues only. That may appear to appeal to the Socialist Party. After all we are the ultimate single issue party - Abolish Capitalism. But while this is a single issue no-one is pretending that it is a simple case. Sure its not complicated, the case for putting human need ahead of profit, but soundbites don’t do our case justice.

We are also handicapped in the eyes of the modern voter by the fact that we are not in a position to make promises, and what’s more, we aren’t going to “do anything” for anyone. The other parties are falling over each other to be seen to be offering some immediate palliative
That's the issue in this election, says THE SOCIALIST PARTY . You will have your occasional ration of democracy with the opportunity to vote for a member of Parliament. It's all very well having a vote-but are you normally given any real choice?

Let's face it, if it wasn't for the politician's head on the front of the election leaflet, could you tell which party was which? It's tempting, in the absence of any real alternative, to get drawn into the phoney war that is political debate today.

Whether Labour, Tory, Lib Dem or BNP they all spout the same promises. But it always amounts to the same thing - they offer no alternative to the present way of running society.

Do you really think who wins an election makes any difference to how you live?
And do politicians (whether left-wing, nationalist or right-wing) actually have much real power anyway?

OK, they get to open supermarkets and factories, but it's capitalism and the market system which closes them down.

We have endless problems of poverty, poor services and all the issues politicians love to spend time telling you they can solve, if only given the chance.
Socialists don't believe any politician can solve these problems, as long as the flawed basis of our society remains intact. In fact, we believe only you and your fellow workers can solve these problems. In truth there is nothing the Socialist Party can do for the working class that it is not already capable of doing for itself.

We believe that it will take a revolution in how we organise our lives, a fundamental change. We want to see a society based on the fact that you know how to run your lives, know your needs and have the skills and capacity to organise with your fellows to satisfy them.
You know yourselves and your lives better than a handful of bosses ever can.With democratic control of production we can ensure that looking after our communities becomes a priority, rather than something we do in our spare time.
We all share fundamental needs, for food, clothing, housing and culture, and we have the capacity to ensure access to these for all, without exception.

If you agree with this aim, then we ask you to get in touch with us, get involved and join in our campaign to bring about this change in society. Together, we have the capacity to run our world for ourselves. We need to build a movement to effect that change, by organising deliberately to take control of the political offices which rule our lives, and bring them into our collective democratic control.

As the Socialist Party candidate for Monkton Ward, I make no promises, offers no pat solutions, only to be the means by which you can remake society for the common good.

The crumbs or the bakery?
Politics today is a game of Ins and Outs in which gangs of professional politicians compete with each other to attract votes, the gang securing a majority of seats in parliament assuming responsibility for running the political side of the profit system. To win votes the politicians have to promise - and be believed - to improve things both for the population in general, as by managing the economy so as to avoid slumps and crises, and for particular groups within the population.

When the economy is expanding or even just ticking over the Ins have the advantage. They can claim that this is due to their wise statesmanship and prudent management. Such claims are false as the economy goes its own way - expanding or contracting as the prospect of profits rises or falls - irrespective of which gang of politicians is in office. But making such claims can backfire as, when the economy falters, the Outs can blame this on the incompetence and mismanagement on the Ins. But that's not true either since politicians don't control the way the economy works.

But throwing crumbs to the people (or to carefully targeted sections of the people whose votes could swing things) is not the main purpose of government. Marx once wrote that the government is "but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie". And it's still true. The function of any government is to manage the common affairs of the capitalist class as a whole.
This involves a number of things. Sustaining a context in which profit-making can continue. Spending the money raised from taxes (that are ultimately a burden on the capitalist class) in a prudent way on things that will benefit the capitalist class as a whole, such as providing them with an educated, relatively healthy and so productive workforce. Maintaining - and if need be using - armed forces to protect sources of raw materials, trade routes, investment outlets and markets abroad. That's what most government spending goes on, and balancing this against income from taxes is what budgets are essentially about. It is only because wage and salary workers, active or retired, have the vote that, occasionally if there's a small margin of money spare, a few crumbs are offered to some section or other of the electorate. No doubt, the pensioners, the home buyers and the families offered a few hundred extra pounds a year will accept these crumbs cast before them by Gordon Brown in the recent pre-election budget. Hopefully, they won't accept them as bribes to vote for his particular gang of politicians, but simply because it would be stupid not to pick them up.
Nowadays most people have learned by experience and are, rightly, just as cynical about the politicians and their promises - and crumbs - as are politicians about how they get people to vote for them. But cynicism is not enough. This should be turned into rejection. The game of Ins and Outs, to decide which gang of professional politicians should manage the common affairs of the capitalist class, only continues because most of us agree to take part in it. But by voting for them we in effect give them the power to keep the capitalist system going. And that, not which particular gang of politicians happens to be in office, is the cause of today’s problems since built-in to capitalism is putting making profits before satisfying people’s needs.

Socialists are only too well aware that most people put up with capitalism, and go along with its political game of Ins and Outs in the hope of getting a few crumbs out of it, because they see no practicable alternative. But there is an alternative! Politics should be more than individuals deciding which politicians to trust to deliver some crumbs that they think will benefit them individually. It should be about collective action to change society. About taking over the whole bakery.

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