From the July 1997 issue of the Socialist Standard
The Market System Must Go! Why Reformism Doesn't Work. The Socialist Party, 1997
For those intending to advance their study of socialist politics beyond our more introductory material, this pamphlet is a must. It develops a comprehensive analysis of reformist theory and practice in an understandable and easy-to-read manner.
Twelve chapters long in all, the earlier sections focus on the historical background to reformism, the rise of anti-reformist organisations such as the Socialist Party and how reformist politics has developed in practice to the present day in all its various guises, from the Conservative Party through to the far left. The later chapters discuss issues of particular concern to modern reformers—taxation, the welfare state, economic crises and unemployment, income inequality and inflation.
The aim of the pamphlet is to provide a thorough critique of the inadequacy and failures of reformist politics. Most political practice across the world is still predicated on the basis that capitalism can be humanised through benign government intervention. This pamphlet demonstrates why it can't and why modern-dat reformers are to all intents and purposes wasting their time, chasing a chimera when they could be doing something really constructive and really likely to succeed—constructing a mass movement for democratic socialist revolution. An understanding of why capitalism cannot be reformed to run in the interests of the working class is an essential pre-requisite to this most important of tasks.