You are again faced with a bunch of politicians who can only be distinguishable by the colour of their rosettes, and you may already be of the opinion that there is little that separates the mainstream parties and have no intention of voting. Millions of people are not prepared to support any of them. Indeed, election results since 1997 when Blair came to power have revealed the lowest turnouts since World War II and the trend is repeating itself across the globe. It is particularly to those members of the electorate who are not prepared to follow leaders, who think they are all tarred with the same brush, and unwilling to put their faith in the promises of local politicians, that this article is dedicated.
Many of you will know little about The Socialist Party or our idea, unless you are a regular reader of the letters pages of the local press (particularly the Shields Gazette). Certainly many people have heard the word “socialist” and may mistakingly imagine it has something to do with the nationalised industries or with countries like China and the former Soviet Union. It is understandable that many people regard socialism as just another political cliché, once used by Labour politicians to win votes, but having very little meaning.
The Socialist Party stands solely for socialism because we do not think that the present social system – capitalism – can ever be made to work in the interests of the majority of the people. This is not the fault of government policies, but the present social system in which they are operating. Capitalism always puts the needs of a minority who own and control the factories, farms, offices, mines, media, the means of wealth production and distribution before the needs of ourselves, the working class.
It is a hard but undeniable fact that no political party – including The Socialist Party – can legislate to humanise capitalism or make it run in the interest of the working class. That is why it is important that the working class stops giving its support to politicians who support the profit system. None of them can solve unemployment or crime or any of the other social problems we face today, despite their proclaimed recipes for success. None of them will prevent tens of millions starving to death each year. None of them will provide decent housing for everyone. None of them will end the threat of human annihilation as a result of war, because militarism is inevitable within a system based upon the ferocious competition for resources, markets and trade. Why waste your time voting for parties that cannot make any of these urgently needed changes? Why go on in the hope that some miracle will happen and end the insanity of the profit system?
So what’s the alternative? We say that the resources of society must be taken into the hands of the whole community – and by that we do not mean the state, but all of us, organised together, consciously and democratically.
In a socialist society we will produce for use, not profit. This means producing food to feed the world’s population, not to dump in the sea if it cannot be sold profitably. Producing for use means ending the colossal waste of resources on armies, armaments, trade, banking and insurance and all the other social features which are only necessary within capitalism. By running society on the basis of common ownership, democratic control and production for use we can all have free access to all goods and services.
Two points should be clear to you by now. Firstly, this is no ordinary political argument. We have made you no false promises; we have not patronised you and neither do we beg for your support. Indeed we do not ask for your support unless you are convinced that the case for socialism is a rational one and in your interest. Socialism, if it is to be the democratic and sane society that we envisage it will be, can only be established when a majority of the people understand it and want it, so there is no point in seeking support on any other basis.
Secondly, you will have noticed that what we are advocating is different – it has never existed. The Tory have-beens have nothing new to offer. The local Labour Party, if re-elected, will continue its futile exercise of trying to manage Blair's system based upon exploitation in the interest of the exploited. The Liberals, if given half the chance, will pursue the vicious policy of dancing to the tune of profitability while human needs are ignored, with just as much gusto as Blair’s henchmen or Cameron's confusionists.This short pre-election statement can be summarised: Do you agree with the following statements.
· Capitalism puts profits for the few before the needs of the many.
· Labour governments, “Communist” states and proposals to reform the present system cannot establish socialism.
· Socialism is yet to exist.
· Socialism means a society of common ownership and democratic control, where production is solely for use.
· Socialism means a world without buying or selling, where people give freely of their abilities and take according to their needs.
· When a majority - including those who abstained in 1997 – understand and want socialism, the new system will be established.
If you think the above statements are correct then we thank you – if you are on the electoral roll for the Monkton Ward - to take the time to vote for us. If you disagree, please tell us why.