"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." -
Eugene V. Debs
Monday, January 11, 2016
A Declaration of Class War
Socialists are always accused of trying to set class against class. We plead guilty but we actually only point out what already exists. We are engaged today in a class war; and why? For the simple reason that in the the capitalist system in which we live, society has been is mainly divided into two economic classes—a small class of capitalists who own the means of producing wealth and a great mass of workers who own nothing and are compelled to seek employment in the services of the owners. Between these two classes there is an irrepressible economic conflict. The capitalist is the economic master and the political ruler in capitalist society. But we also want to get rid of the class struggle. We’re going to do it by getting rid of the profit system which exists only because there is a class of squeezers and a class of the squeezed.
All government is class government; and that the industrialist and aristocratic thieves hold the reins of political power. The employers know that class exist and they themselves are sufficiently class-conscious to engage in the class- struggle. It is the class struggle of the workers that is to be decried. No political party can serve two masters. No political party can serve the class which owns the wealth and also the one which produces the wealth but does not own it. No political party can serve both the robbers and the robbed at the same time. The Socialist Party is thus solely the political party of the working class. No part of its mission is to reach re-conciliation the capitalist class. We are organised to fight that class.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain is in fundamental opposition to all other parties. It proclaims that the building of socialism, the re-organisation of the economic life of the whole world, is impossible, unless the working class overthrows the capitalist class and becomes the ruling class. The Socialist Party therefore is the enemy of capitalists and capitalist parties. The political power of the capitalist class is exercised through the parliamentary institutions, through its class control of the armed forces, the police force, the law courts, the media and education centres. Having conquered the capitalists and with political power in the hands of the workers, the way to socialism is clear to proceed to socialise the economic life, and, for the first time in history give the working class, i.e., the great majority of the population, control over their daily lives and power to build the future as they themselves deem fit.
Many workers imagine that they must have a leader to look to as a guide to follow. Workers have been brought up with that belief and have been taught that they are dependent upon their betters and that without a leader decisions cannot be made and directions cannot be followed, so, therefore, they instinctively look for a leader. We have depended too much on leaders and not enough on ourselves. The Socialist Party doesn’t want you to follow it but rather acquire self-reliance. As long as you can be led by an individual you will be betrayed by an individual. That does not mean that all leaders are dishonest or corrupt but many of them are deluded themselves, a case of the blind leading the blind. The most dangerous leader is not the corrupt leader, but the honest, ignorant leader. That type of leader is just as dangerous as the one who deliberately sells you out. There are leaders whose good intentions are the paving stones to hell. Daniel DeLeon’s classic phrase, to describe them was “the labor lieutenants of the capitalist class.”
Far from even fomenting class war too many leaders have been almost too anxious to secure permanent peace between the wage-earners and their employers and forget that under existing conditions the capitalists always have the whip hand. They preach that there is no basic conflict of interests between the bosses and the workers, between the capitalist system and the interests of the working class. Reformers claim that a “promised land” can be brought about only if the capitalists and the working class are “reasonable”, if only we all “work together in the national interests”. With such slogans they paper over the class nature of the system. They cover up the inevitability of class conflict. They are for class collaboration, not class struggle.
The class war is our war and our only war. We have no interest in championing any wars for ruling class conquest and plunder. In all these wars the workers are slaughtered while their masters get fat on the spoils of conquest. The time has come for the workers to cease fighting the battles of their bosses and to fight their own; to cease being slaughtered like cattle for the profit of the ruling class and to line up in the class struggle regardless of race or nationality for the overthrow of class rule and for the emancipation of their class and humanity.
“Your King and Country Need You, Ye hardy sons of toil. But will your King and Country need you When they’re sharing out the spoil?”