Sunday, January 22, 2017

The “National Interest” is the Bosses' Interest

  The country is divided into two classes, who live very differently. The working class, the vast majority, produce virtually everything but own virtually nothing. The capitalist class, a small minority, produce very little but own almost everything. Do these classes then have the sane “national interest” ?
  Obviously not. It's in the working class's interests to get as high wages as possible. It's in the bosses' interests to get as high profits as possible. Since the more of the wealth that goes to profits the less there is for wages, and vice versa, the interests of the two classes are completely opposed.
  On a wider scale, it's in the rich owners' interests to keep the present social system going, because they're doing well out of it. But for the workers this system offers us little more than boring work, inferior housing, a polluted environment, and a constant struggle to make ends meet. It's in our interests to get rid of this system and replace it with a system based on the common ownership of wealth, with production to meet the needs of the whole community.
  So on every level the two great classes in this nation (as in all nations) have totally opposing interests.
  The idea of the “National Interest” is a myth. It's designed to con workers into abandoning our own interests and falling in with the employers' interests. There is no “National, Interest”. There are only class interests.
  The government always acts in the interests of the employers. The capitalist system runs on profits and can only be run in the interests of those who make profits. This is equally true whether it' s a Labour, Tory or Liberal Government.
  What's needed is for the working class to organise to capture political power and remove the capitalists from their privileged position.

  This can only be done by a World Revolution, brought about peacefully if possible, violently if necessary, by a socialist majority in at least the industrially advanced countries.

  The only sane way to run modern society is for all the natural resources and the means of producing wealth to be democratically controlled and operated by and for the whole of the community. With the elimination of socially useless work such as banking, insurance and advertising, and the ending of other forms of waste such as planned obsolescence, and the massive direction of resources to armaments and so-called “Defence”, it would very soon be possible to go over to a system of free distribution of goods and services.

  A change to such a system is urgently needed if we are to progress beyond running fast to stand still.

  As Karl Marx put it, “The Trade Unions should abandon their conservative motto, 'A Fair Day's Wage for a Fair Day's Work”, and instead inscribe on their banners the revolutionary watchword, “Abolition of the Wages System”.

(from a leaflet by our old Aberdeen Group)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump's Victory


  Donald Trump’s election to the US Presidency seems almost unreal: a man, caught on camera talking about his predilection for sexually assaulting women has been deemed fit for high office. It is the culmination of a long campaign, and although it is tempting to so many to see it as indicating some sort of defect in the reasoning of American voters, it is, with the magic of hindsight, explainable.

  One feature of his election is celebrity: Trump has been famous for a long time, and has built a brand around success and opulence. His supporters during the election could be heard pointing out that he is a billionaire, that he has been a hugely successful businessman and suggesting he could bring those skills to the White House. Of course, the reality is that he inherited his wealth, and the main skills he developed were the tactics to use that wealth to bully and control: indeed, his line of business, real estate, is not productive, and works largely by siphoning off wealth produced elsewhere. It would be hard to lose money by owning substantial chunks of Manhattan Island.

  This aura has been added to by his presence in the American version of ‘The Apprentice’, with a regular audience of millions: this will not only have bolstered his entrepreneur image, but also given him instant brand recognition in a way which few time served or professional politicians could match. As with Reagan and Schwarzenegger before him, he wouldn’t be the first to translate media celebrity into a successful political career. Although he might be the first person who was famous for being famous to do so.

Coded racism

  During the Obama administration he added notoriety to fame. He was seen as a prominent participant in the ‘Birther’ movement: the campaign that alleged that Obama was not a ‘natural born American’ as required by the constitution, and so could not hold presidential office. From 2011 (after Obama had published a short version of his Hawaian birth certificate) Trump publicly disputed Obama’s citizenship. He eventually laid claim to credit for forcing Obama to publish his full birth certificate details. The birther movement campaign has been seen in many quarters as being coded racism, challenging the validity of having an brown skinned man in the White House. As events would turn out, it certainly did not hurt Trumps electoral chances.

  Indeed, one of the take home lessons of the vote was the racial split: 58 percent of white respondents in exit polls states they had voted for Trump. 80 percent of black respondents voted for Clinton. Likewise, Trump secured 67 percent of white respondents without college education, and 49 percent of those with. His voters were overwhelmingly concerned about immigration and terrorism, the key themes of his election campaign.

  The ideological fantasy of race, and the consequential lived experience marks US politics deeply, and much of the split analysed above was not a substantial change over the previous election. Trump only gained 1 percent against 2012 among the white population, but given the preponderance of that category (about 70 percent of the vote), such as shift was significant.
  The other biggest shift was amongst the poorest section of the population (family income under $30K), where Trump gained 16 percent over 2012 (but still only had a 41 percent share to Clinton’s 53 percent). Indeed, the only income bracket Trump had a majority in was the $50K-$99K (the average income in the States is around $44K). The people in this bracket will likely be the ones who feel vulnerable to losing the status and advantage they have: and will feel that they have 'worked hard' to get what they have, and resent welfare payments or anything that seeks to redress economic disadvantage, up to, and including feeling that such things are taking away from them, rather than helping lift others up. It also helped Trump that this income bracket makes up 31 percent of those who voted.

  This is the bracket that the so-called 'Alt-Right' appeals to: largely male and professional, they see the ‘Social Justice Warriors’ coming to take away their privilege. In the name of victimhood and ‘fairness’ against the structures designed to ameliorate poverty and inequality, they are seeking to strike back and defend what they have. Using racial ideology to divide the poorest sections of society, and bring them on board (perhaps with a sense that they will benefit if the money stops being given to their racial others) is possibly the key to account for the Trump coalition.

  Of course, what needs to be seen is that with sclerotic growth, stagnant or falling wages, and real terms failures of those ameliatory measures to address inequality at all it’s not surprising that the Federal government is seen as failing, and the established party in power has been punished for those failures.

Electoral shenanigans

  The Republican Party has made a great play of opposing the Affordable Care Act (succeeding in rebranding it as Obamacare), and they look set to abolish it. One for the hardened ideologues, those who genuinely believe that if people cannot afford their own health care – because it’s their own fault for not having worked hard enough – they shouldn’t get any. Of course, Obamacare was simply compulsory insurance and health regulation (barely registering on the scale of publicly organised health regimes around the world), but it was enough for a Republican rallying cry. That many of their voters will directly lose out from its repeal shows what a masterpiece in propagandising their campaign has been. The point remains, that it was not enough to get people to come out in numbers to support it: voters didn’t feel any benefit from the system.

  The fact is, though, that Trump did not get a majority across the country. The point is, he won under the current system (and has himself pointed out, in his defensive way, that he would have used different tactics if the system had been about the national popular vote). Republican control of state governments played a strong role in this election. The more naked aspect was the introduction of voter ID laws, and an aggressive campaign of challenging inclusion on the electoral rolls. Trump himself still maintains that he only lost the popular vote due to voter fraud (though none has been proven).

 The cry of ‘Voter fraud’ has been taken up to add in series of measures which deter voting and registration. Some forms of ID can be difficult to obtain, and require going long distances from poor areas. Also, the states control the staffing and position of the ballot stations (often relying on volunteers).

  Control at state level has also helped the Republicans establish a healthy majority in the House of representatives: the states are responsible for drawing up the constituency boundaries, often producing very oddly shaped districts to produce majorities for one party or the other (hence the famous Gerrymander was named after districts under Governor Gerry in the 19th century). Much of this districting breaks into the distinction between inner city, suburban and rural. The Democrats are heavily concentrated in the urban areas. Trump carried the majority of the suburban and rural vote, it was Clinton’s preponderant vote in the inner cities which gave her majority.

  Such shenanigans may suggest why, despite all the hoopla, only around 55 percent of the electorate voted at all: so not only was Trump's 2.8 million votes shy of a majority of the vote, but he barely represents a quarter of the electorate at all. His election is a Triumph of propaganda putting the gloss on machine politicians gaming the system.

Fellow billionaires

  That he immediately handed over the Washington machine to his fellow Billionaires suggests that his electoral coalition will gain little from his administration, and that it represents state capture by a clique that will set about filling their boots in ways which it will be complex to bring to public attention.

  America has frequently been ruled by millionaires: this is the first time that a billionaire and practising capitalist has elbowed the professional politicians aside to give direct power to a clique of billionaires and corporate executives. The biggest risk to the capitalist class collectively in the US is that this clique with form a kleptocracy that will use state power to their advantage, much as with the murky relationship between Dick Cheney and Halliburton during the Bush II presidency.

  This is where the question of the Russian hacking gets interesting (if it happened): Trump’s minority was only marginally able to win the election, in such a tight situation, if there was state interference by a foreign power, could it have swung the election? Is the oligarchic clique in charge in hock to the oligarchic clique in Russia? Targeting and emphasising discontent could only work if there was discontent to work with, the hacking could not have whistled a victory up from thin air. Claiming hacking happened is in the factional interest of the Democrats, and Putin has an interest in having the possibility that he could do such a thing hanging in the air. Trump has a direct personal interest in being President.


Capitalism's economic crises


 The cause of trade depression is really a simple one to understand. Highly developed Capitalism, while condemning the vast number of workers to a meagre standard of living, causes extraordinarily large incomes to flow into the pockets of a small section of the population (i. e., those who own the factories, the land, the railways, etc.). Most wealthy people have incomes so large that they do not spend anything like the whole amount. After having purchased all they need, often including luxuries of the most extravagant kind, they still have a large surplus that they seek to invest in profitable concerns.

 But these concerns are in competition, each trying to sell goods more cheaply than the other. In order to maintain and, if possible, increase his profits, each employer tries to get from his workers a larger output at a smaller cost.

 By means of labour-saving machinery and methods the same quantity of goods is produced by fewer and fewer workers, and displaced workers are constantly added to the army of unemployed. The unemployed man or woman, having only unemployment pay to spend, cannot buy as much as formerly. Thus buying is curtailed while all the time efforts are being made to increase production—a contradiction that is bound to result in over-stocked markets and trade depression. During a depression, this situation is worsened by wage reductions.

 The depression shows itself, every few years, in the accumulation of stocks of goods in the hands of retail stores, wholesalers and manufacturers, farmers and others. While trade is relatively good each concern tries to produce as much as possible in order to make a large profit. It is nobody's business under Capitalism to find out how much of each article is required, so that industries quickly expand to the point at which their total output is far larger than can be sold at a profit. Quite young industries like artificial silk, soon reach the degree of over-development shown by the older industries. Goods such as farm crops, that are ordinarily not produced to order, but with the expectation of finding a buyer eventually, naturally tend to accumulate to a greater extent than those produced only to order—such as railway engines.

 As traders find it more difficult to sell, they reduce their orders to the wholesalers, who in turn stop buying from the manufacturers. Plans for extending production by constructing new buildings, plant, ships, etc., are cancelled and the workers are laid off.

 The reduced income of the workers and of the unemployed reduces still further the demand for goods. In desperate need of ready money to pay their bills, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers are driven to sell their stocks at lower and lower prices—often at a price less than the original cost price. Workers, for the same reason, are forced to offer to work for lower wages. It is not that there is any lack of money, but that the rich who have it can find no profitable field for investment. The economies that are made in a time of depression—whether voluntary ones, or economies enforced on the workers by wage reductions, actually aggravate the crisis instead of relieving it.

 The problem of “over-production” that is behind every crisis is always relieved in due course for a time. Employers close down production and thus stop the stocks from being added to. Governments tax the employers and with the money so obtained enable the unemployed to buy a certain amount of the accumulation of articles. Capitalists combine, with or without the assistance of Governments, to destroy stocks. At the beginning of 1932, Brazilian coffee was being burned, thrown into the sea, and used for fuel. Wheat was being burned in Canada and U. S. A., and a resolution was passed by the United States Senate recommending that the U. S. A. Government hand over to the unemployed the 40,000,000 bushels of wheat held by the Farm Board. In addition, in site of every care, great stocks of raw materials deteriorate and spoil. As a last resort there is the colossal destruction of wars to relieve pressure. Sooner or later, these crises of over-production have always given place to a resumption of fairly brisk trade and employment, without, of course, abolishing unemployment. Capitalism cannot do that.

  The lesson to be learned is that there is no simple way out of Capitalism by leaving the system to collapse of its own accord. Until a sufficient number of workers are prepared to organise politically for the conscious purpose of ending Capitalism, that system will stagger on indefinitely.

(From our pamphlet 1932 Why Capitalism Will Not Collapse)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Feed the World: Overthrow Capitalism


As usual, over the Christmas period, we were bombarded with images of starving children and urged to donate money to stop a few of them dying. These are appeals to try to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, as the following adapted from an article that appeared in Wildcat some thirty years ago explains.

  The problems of hunger and starvation are inescapable consequences of the present world system of food product ion but it is well within the potential power of the world's working class to destroy this system, and replace it with a totally different one, in which such problems could soon be eradicated.

Production for profit

  Under the existing world system - capitalism - food isn't directly produced to be eaten. Like everything else, the production of food is geared towards the realisation of profit through the sale of goods on the market. Considerations of price, profit and the market, rather than the satisfaction of basic human needs, are the factors which determine what is produced.

  When we hear of record "surpluses” of foodstuffs, therefore, it obviously doesn't mean that everyone is so full-up they can't eat another mouthful. It simply means that, in market terms, the supply of food exceeds economic demand for it to the extent that the sellers are in danger of being unable to get a profitable price for their goods.

  Production for profit via the market also means that
- if there is no prospect of a profit to be made by producing something, then it simply won't be produced.

    if goods have already been produced in the expectation of making a profit, and this expectation becomes unfounded for some reason, then these goods will not sold, and might even be destroyed.

These absurdities are inevitable consequences of the market system itself.

Production for use

  Since mountains of “surplus" food and millions of starving people exist side-by-side because under capitalism there is no direct link between the production of food and the satisfaction of basic human needs, it follows allows that the only way to solve the problem of world hunger is to do away with money, prices, profits and all other trappings of the market system, and replace it with a society in which everything, including food, is produced directly for use.

  This will entail wrenching all means of wealth-production out of the hands of the minority which owns and controls them at present, and establishing world communism based on the common ownership and democratic control of the world's resources. If everyone had an equal say in how the world's resources should be used, it would be hard to imagine a majority of the world's population voting to continue to devote resources to the production of harmful or unnecessary crops such as tobacco, for example. The basic requirements of the most needy would be the first and most urgent priority.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

These are undeniable facts


  The technological means of the modern age make it possible for everyone in the world to live a comfortable, safe, interesting and happy personal and social life, with all our needs provided, and totally free from hardship, misery and the constant frustration, worry and embarrassment of not being able to afford what we require.

    Modern production techniques are entirely capable of providing an abundance of nutritional food for many times the present world population. There is no need for anyone anywhere to starve, to lack nourishment or even to make do with cheap substitutes.

    There is enough raw materials, knowledge and manpower in the world to ensure comfortable hygienic accommodation for everyone everywhere. It is possible for everyone to live in houses which are safe, weather-resistant, fitted with up-to-date appliances and decorated and furnished according to individual taste. There is no need for anyone anywhere to be homeless or to live in poor, dangerous and ill-equipped accommodation.

• There is enough combined energy resources – coal, gas, nuclear, oil, electricity, solar, wind and water – for all necessary power, heating and ventilating requirements to be provided. There is no need for anyone anywhere to die or to suffer illness or discomfort because of the cold in winter.

    It is possible to produce enough machines, resources and equipment for all hospitals to provide the very best medical treatment for everyone. There is no need for anyone anywhere to endure aggravated suffering by being denied, or having to wait a long time for, proper care and attention.

    Today's technology makes it possible to recycle nearly all domestic and industrial refuse. There is no need for excessive wastage and no need for anyone anywhere to live in an unpleasant, polluted, unhealthy environment.

    Modern mechanisation and electronics make it possible to eliminate nearly all unsatisfying, obnoxious and dangerous work. There is no need for anyone to spend their life in monotonous and unfulfilling jobs and no need for anyone to suffer the acute boredom, depression and anxiety of having no work at all.

Advances in science, technology and knowledge have long since made it possible for a completely new form of society to be established worldwide whereby the means (land, factories, energy resources, machines, tools, raw materials) that produce all the goods and services (food, accommodation, clothes, medical facilities, transport, communications) that all people need to live are owned not by private firms or governments but by every one of us in common, regardless of age, race or sex.
A society whereby:
• money, wages, buying and selling will serve no function; they will no longer exist.
• each one of us will be able to take quite freely from whatever is readily available, according to our own self-determined needs.

    each one of us will be able to contribute towards providing society's needs by working quite voluntarily, according to our own willingness and ability.

    each one of us will have unrestricted freedom of the earth; there will be no 'national' boundaries separating various regions of the earth.

    • the general administration of society's affairs will be organised democratically by and in the interests of all the world's population, ensuring that the needs of people everywhere are met; there will be no leaders or governments making decisions for us.

(from a 1982 “World of Free Access” leaflet)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We don’t need heroes

 For over a hundred years the cause of socialism has been dominated by the machinations of two statist creeds, Social Democracy and Leninism. These have fed off the discontent and aspirations of the working class to become alternative managers of Capitalism. Their heydays are long past. The Labourites have long abandoned any pretence to 'reforming Capitalism' in favour of simply managing it; after the end of 'Communism' the Leninists have been reduced to mini-sects which replicate within their own structures the regimes of the old Stalinist States in a homage to Marx's dictum, "first as tragedy, now as farce".

 Their aspirations have shrunk with their horizons, whilst they grandly imagine storming the winter palace and fantasise about bloody revolutions, in reality they have little or no belief in the working class ever rallying to their 'proletarian leadership', and even less in the ability of the working class to emancipate itself.

 They hide themselves in front campaigns for partial reforms, and embrace and promote a succession of 'Saviours from high' who they are sure will deliver us, until the inevitable betrayal, when they move on to the next.

 All previous revolutions have been the overthrow of one minority ruling class and the victory of a new one. Such revolutions have needed abstract slogans and ideals (Libert√©, Fraternit√©, Egalit√©; Peace, Land, Bread,) in order to enlist the support of the masses. They have needed heroes and demagogues to inspire the majority to give their lives for the victory of new masters.

 The socialist revolution can only take place when the majority of the working class not only understand that it is possible, but also desirable. It needs no abstract ideals to mask it's true purpose, no demagogues to beguile the masses.

It needs no heroes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017



Despite overwhelming evidence from all quarters, Mrs
May still continues to deny that the NHS is in crisis.

Beds stacked up in the corridors,
And ambulances stalled
Outside the hospital front door;
With decent folk appalled. (1)

A twelve hour wait for treatment as,
It’s all ground to a halt;
The government is innocent,
It’s other peoples fault.

“The Doctors dilly-dally and,
The Sisters slack all day;
The Physios just faff about”,
Dissembles Mrs May.

If only they worked half as hard,
As her pietistic squad; 
Like her, all Christians through and through, (2)
And working hard for God.

There’s ‘Berkeley’ Hunt upon his bike,
(We can but only pray)
And ‘Failing’ Grayling spouting his,
Warped take on life each day.

Where did they dredge these cretins up,
These liars through and through;
Who all adopt a party line,
They know is quite untrue? (3)

(1) Because of the funding crisis, the NHS has had to
cancel Cancer ops and withdraw the cancer drug Kadcyla.

(2) May is a member of the C. of E. and regularly worships
on Sunday. The daughter of an Anglican priest, she says
her Christian faith, "is part of me. It is part of who I am”.

(3) In July 2016, a cross-party committee of MP’s stated
that Hunt had ‘broken his pledges on NHS funding and is
misleading the public about health service reforms’.

© Richard Layton

Monday, January 16, 2017

5 How To Achieve Socialism - No Minorities

This series taken from one of our pamphlets,From Capitalism to Socialism. . . how we live and how we could live., is intended to be an introduction to the socialist view of how modern society operates and why we think socialism is necessary as a means of organising the world more effectively.

5 How To Achieve Socialism - No Minorities

 Socialism can only be established when a great majority of workers understand and want it. It would be absurd for a minority of conscious socialists today to try to take over power and impose the new system on an unwilling majority. Such a strategy would certainly fail, with the armed forces, controlled by the majority-backed government, being used to defeat the rebels. The idea is heroic fantasy at best and would lead to a bloody tragedy at worst. And even if such a method of 'revolution' were successful – if a determined minority should seize political power in an attempt to introduce socialism on behalf of the working class – there would be no prospect of it resulting in a socialist society.

  It would not be possible to run a society in which everybody contributed co- operatively according their abilities and took freely according to their needs unless the great majority of people understood the arrangement and wanted it. It would not be possible to establish and maintain a society based upon conscious democratic control unless the great majority were prepared to exert that democratic control. If the population did not want to participate in social decision-making and were prepared to leave it to a particular minority, that minority would be forced to become the exclusive decision makers themselves and would eventually become a new ruling class. But in the final analysis, the very fact that a minority wanted it would show that they did not understand the full implications of socialism themselves, and so were not really socialists.

  A look at the various theories of minority, or minority-led, action to establish 'socialism' – essentially Lenin's Bolshevism and its various offshoots, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, Castroism, etc confirms that in practice these have been the ideologies of would-be national ruling classes aiming to industrialise economically backward parts of the world through a policy of state capitalism misleadingly called 'socialism'. Their tactics –  a vanguard party of professional revolutionaries, violent insurrection, ruthless measures against the old rulers and all opponents – are thus quite irrelevant for a genuine socialist movement, though superficially attractive to those who want radical social change, yet despair of ever winning over a currently indifferent or conservative-minded working class. In the unlikely event of them being successful in some highly industrialised country the outcome would be some form of state capitalism, certainly not socialism.

The Power of the State

  The establishment of socialism must be the work of a socialist-minded, democratically organised working-class majority. The socialist revolution, in other words, must be a majority revolution. This is because of the power of the state in capitalism. Throughout history, the state has been the machinery that exists for the defence of minority ownership by a ruling class, and also that class's instrument for administering the entire system that allows them their minority ownership in the first place – this being in today’s society, the system of capitalism. It follows therefore that before capitalism can be abolished and socialism established the state must be taken over, firstly to prevent it being used to forcibly resist the change, and secondly so as to utilise its administrative facilities within the new system. Any attempt to establish socialism while leaving coercive power in the hands of the capitalist state would meet with brutal resistance. The idea entertained by some that capitalism can be 'brought to its knees' by workers organising a general strike through their trade unions but not taking over the state is quite untenable. Trade unions, which are sectional organisations, are no substitute for a political party which has as its clear aim the conquest of state power.

  Socialism will not come therefore from minority action aimed at disrupting society and then taking advantage of the resulting social and political instability to seize government power in an armed uprising. Nor will it come from ignoring or trying to bypass the state. Socialism will come from a majority revolution which undertakes the task of gaining control of state power.

  Where does the state's power come from? The power to form a government is invested in the votes of the electorate, where there is an electoral system. In countries like Britain the vast majority of the electorate are members of the working class. It would be impossible for the capitalist minority to appoint a government of its choice within the electoral system unless they persuade a significant number of workers to vote for such a government. It is true that different sections of the capitalist class favour different styles of government and therefore huge funds are invested by them to influence workers into voting for one party rather than another. But many capitalists are aware that the only real differences between the parties are their marginally different policies for running the system. The whole of the capitalist class, however, has an interest in ensuring that working-class support for capitalism continues, as it is through this support – in the tangible form of votes – that the capitalist class maintains its position of power.

The Learning Process

  Many workers clearly see the vast gulf between the pampered minority who own the world and the rest of us, the propertyless producers, but what can be done about it? Most think the way out is merely through their own individual advancement, not a social revolution. There is nothing particularly wrong with a person wishing to move up within capitalism: it is inevitable that workers will want to do so. But rags to riches stories are rare; that is why they make headlines. Under feudalism the ambition of the early capitalists was to become feudal lords themselves, and some did. But eventually the interests of the capitalists became so much opposed to feudalism that they had to destroy it.

  In the same way the modem working class will learn – and is learning – that any progress they may make within the confines of capitalism leaves the roots of their problems untouched, and often creates new problems.

  Capitalism itself causes workers to learn. It increasingly demands healthy, well educated wage-slaves, trained to think clearly and critically to cope with the technical nature of modern industry and the ever more complex nature of modern society. In many countries, including Britain, it has suited the ruling class to yield to working class pressure for the vote. This means that the democratic machinery for putting an end to capitalism is available to us when we, as a united working class, decide to use it. At present the working class in this country, as in other countries, votes repeatedly for capitalism run by one party or another. Most workers have not yet realised how deeply entrenched are the causes of their problems, and how futile are the patches and tinkerings and minor adjustments to capitalism. As more of them do so the number becoming socialists will increase at a faster rate. This in turn will increase the ability to propagate socialist ideas and information, and more socialist parties will be formed in other countries.

 During this period there is bound to be a growing amount of discussion about the working of the future socialist society. Not only will there be private conversations and public meetings, but newspapers, radio and television will find the topic impossible to ignore. More and more people will become clear about what is at stake and what are the steps necessary to make the change from capitalism. Socialists may well be organising planning conferences so that all the problems of expanding production and distribution to cater for everybody can be foreseen and dealt with as soon as society is free to do it.

  This is probably also the period when governments will make strenuous efforts to maintain support for the existing social structure. Large numbers of workers will have become able to resist appeals to illusions such as 'the national interest' or 'our traditional way of life' because they will have seen through them. Governments will think twice about using repressive measures because these can arouse stronger and more determined opposition. It is more likely that they will begin to offer reforms which would be thought impossible today, in an attempt to fob off the working class. The capitalist parties may at this point decide to sink their differences and work closely together, much as religions are doing today in the face of the growing number of unbelievers. They will perhaps try to manipulate capitalism to provide a batch of free services (gas, electricity, transport, etc.) with the claim that this heralds the 'beginning' of the free society. But socialists will not be so easily deceived.

The Socialist Majority

  With a majority of socialists and large socialist parties in all the main countries, we shall be in a position to establish socialism. In the unlikely event of there being a country without some form of political democracy at this time, socialists could apply pressure from all over the world to insist upon its introduction. The parties formed by socialists will be thoroughly democratic: their policy and all their activities will be under the active control of their members; they will have no leaders. In this they will be completely different from existing parliamentary parties or Leninist 'vanguard' parties. Being the actual movement of the working class to establish socialism they will reflect, as far as is possible under capitalism, the organisational forms of socialism, namely democratic control and popular participation.

  And far from being parties which seek to lead workers with attractive slogans, they will merely be the instrument workers can use to win political power once a majority of them have become socialists. Such parties will of course have to elect candidates to contest the elections for public offices. But those appointed will simply be mandated delegates from the working-class socialist majority. The position will be the exact reverse of that in existing parliamentary parties. Instead of the party outside parliament being essentially vote-catchers for the parliamentary leadership, socialist MPs and councillors will merely be the messengers of the socialist working class outside parliament, democratically organised in their socialist political parties and economic organisations. And, naturally, the aim of sending socialist delegates to parliament will not be to form a 'socialist government' (a contradiction in terms) but to abolish capitalism as smoothly and peacefully as possible.

  The task of socialist delegates, when elected in every country, will be: firstly, to take over the state machine in the name of the great majority of the population, the working class; secondly, to enact legislation making the means of production and distribution the common property of the whole community under the democratic control of all the people; and thirdly, and as a consequence, to abolish the state itself along with those coercive powers and agencies necessary to the maintenance of class society but superfluous in socialism. The remaining administrative institutions (such as health services, education, communications and state-run industries) may be temporarily maintained in their existing form, but fully democratised, as will be the case with the entire organisation of production and distribution. All useful regulations will also be maintained and adapted to the requirements of socialist society.

  Some political theorists think it possible that the police and armed forces would be used to resist such a democratic socialist revolution. In practice it is extremely unlikely, since those who make up these forces of repression are workers, not capitalists. When socialist understanding is widespread among the working class they cannot fail to be influenced by it. Once they see which way the social wind is blowing, not very many of them are likely to want to risk their lives for their masters' wealth, power and privileges. And, in the final analysis, the police and armed forces are supported, supplied, housed and fed by society as a whole. They cannot continue as organised bodies if society decides they shall not.

Useful Production

  Once socialism is established, there will be a rapid growth in the amount and quality of useful goods produced. As there will no longer be any patents or industrial secrets, all productive units will have access to the most advanced technical processes. There will no longer be any banks, stock exchanges, wages offices, advertising agencies, and although some of the workers previously in these fields may continue to be concerned with statistics relating to production and distribution, many millions of them will be released to involve themselves in socially useful activities such as house building, food production, telecommunications and other rapidly expanding sectors.

  It is reasonable to suppose that, since the revolution will not take anyone by surprise, many workers will have been, within capitalism, preparing themselves for new occupations in socialism. Trade unions and other workers' organisations will probably have been adapting themselves to help the growing socialist movement to prepare for the future running society on the basis of production for use. Resources and manpower invested in armaments production will be switched to the satisfying of human needs. Onslaughts will be made on any centres of backwardness and destitution. These will not be given the kind of Cinderella treatment now awarded to 'community development' but instead the top priority now enjoyed by 'defence'. In fact, since socialism will grow directly out of capitalism, the present organisational machinery of the armed forces could be used for this end, since they are the most efficient means capitalism has developed for moving men and materials fast. Think of the implications for famine victims in, say, Ethiopia, or the Sudan, if the full system of communications, transport and services available for military purposes were available for the distribution of relief supplies.

  The socialist revolution will be unlike all previous revolutions because, instead of one minority seizing power from another, it will be the majority taking power to establish a classless, stateless, moneyless, democratic society. And it will be a society consciously organised directly for human need, in which planning will play an important part – but in a completely different way from the so-called 'planned' economies of the formerly state capitalist countries – Russia, Poland, Albania, etc. Production and distribution will be planned because the vast majority of men and women will be actively and democratically co-operating to provide themselves with what they want, where and when they want it. This will put an end to the anarchy of production and haphazard distribution – 'domination of the product over the producer' – which exists in capitalism.

The World Socialist Movement

  The revolutionary task of the movement for world socialism is therefore twofold: it is firstly to persuade our fellow members of the working class to reject capitalism and to aim for nothing less than socialism; and secondly to engage in political action for the purpose of measuring the growth of the socialist movement and, when the majority join us, of achieving our objective of bringing into being a new, exciting stage of human existence.