"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." -
Eugene V. Debs
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Who We Are and What We Do
The class struggle is a political struggle. It cannot be fought successfully by the workers unless they have a political weapon, which means, their own political party. The capitalist class has its own political parties and interest groups and sees to it that they remain committed to its basic interests, the maintenance of the capitalist system. The capitalists sees to it that they remain under their control. They provides them with media exposure, provides them with funds, running into millions each year. In some places, the capitalists are in direct control of these parties, in others, its allies are in control.
Although as a political party committed to using elections to capture political power the Socialist Party surprisingly does not regard vote-getting as of supreme importance. We do not present a programme of attractive promises as a lure for votes. We seek only an actual vote for socialism and our manifestoes do not flatter the electorate but simply endeavours to convince them of the case for socialism. We make it clear that the Socialist Party wants the votes only of those who want socialism and disparages vote-seeking for the sake of votes and we hold in contempt those political opportunists seeking election for the sake of office or personal advancement. The Socialist Party stands squarely upon its principles. The Socialist party buys no votes with false pledges.
The ballot expresses the people’s will. The ballot means that the worker is no longer dumb, that at last has a voice, that it may be heard and if used in unison must be heeded. The appeal of the Socialist Party is to the exploited class, the workers in all trades and professions, from the most menial to the highest skill, to rally together and put an end to the last of the barbarous class struggles by conquering the capitalist government, taking possession of the means of production and making them the common property of all, abolishing wage-slavery and establishing the co-operative commonwealth. As individauls we are helpless, but united we represent an irresistible power.
The Socialist Party will not unite with any other party that does not stand for the democratic overthrow of capitalism and if it were ever to compromise and make such a concession, it will have ceased to be a socialist party. We are not here to play the filthy game of capitalist politics. the Socialist Party condemns the capitalist system. In the name of freedom it condemns wage-slavery. In the name of modern technology it condemns scarcity and poverty. In the name of peace it condemns war. In the name of humanity it condemns the murder of little children. In the name of enlightenment it condemns ignorance and superstition. The battles of the workers, wherever and however fought, are always and everywhere the battles of the Socialist Party. The education, organisation and co-operation of the workers is the conscious aim and the self-imposed task of the Socialist Party. There is no party leader or bureaucracy within the Socialist Party boss and there never can be unless the party deserts its principles and ceases to be a socialist party. Each member has not only an equal voice but is urged to take an active part in all the party’s administration. Each local branch is an educational centre. The party relies wholly upon the power of education, knowledge, and mutual understanding.
The Socialist Party proposes to use all the legislative and administrative machinery within the state and which the working class endeavour to take into its possession as the method of emancipation. We accept the vote and parliamentary action as revolutionary. The value of political action to the Socialist movement is called in question by anarchists who suggest what they consider to be more speedy means or more effective methods to be adopted. They expect nothing and never expected anything from parliamentary action. They maintain that participation in parliamentary action is a waste of time and effort, and they relish the disappointing and the poor results parliamentary action has so far has achieved for the Socialist Party. We cannot expect results, unless voters themselves get the understanding and the spirit of organization, which has yet to develop. Where people cannot imagine a way out of intolerable conditions there cannot be a great political movement and no amount of political propaganda can produce a movement.
Our primary function, however, is to organise as a political party, independent, class-conscious, and democratic. The function of anarcho-syndicalists lies with the unions. These two functions are not absolutely distinct and separate, they are co-ordinate, and to some extent interdependent. Yet they are not identical. The trade unions can help us, we can help them. Socialists should be the subordinate partner in the matter of supporting industrial disputes. The Socialist Party declines to dictate the policy of the trade union in conducting the strike, nor do we expect the trade unions to abandon the immediate objects and demands in order to make the socialist revolution.