Party News from the May 1981 issue of the Socialist Standard
In 1922, after Mallory had turned back from the north face of Everest at 27,000 feet, he gave lectures on climbing beyond the height of human survival. Baffled listeners could not understand the point of such a man-versus-mountain contest. Why did he still want to go back and climb it? “Because it’s there” said Mallory.
Socialists are contesting Islington South and Finsbury in this month's GLC elections because it’s there. Were our resources and members greater we would contest everything that's going. For elections are capitalism's weak spot, they are the time when the social system is up for grabs.
What could a Tory or other politician do with Islington South and Finsbury if they won a seat? Little more than sit down in the council chair provided, give and receive congratulations, then get swept away by the blizzard of capitalism. What can the councillors of Greater London do about the bomb and the dole queue, urban decay, shrinking allocations of money from the central government and wages that don’t match prices for the workers? Hardly more than shake hands and commiserate with those who suffer. Who can plan activity in any large city, when practically everything that goes on involves the chaos of buying and selling commodities? Who can guarantee that goods and services will be there for all, in the face of the laws of this society; no cash, no sale; no profit, no production?
Yet socialists are contesting Islington South and Finsbury. In our campaign there will be no shaking hands all round, no kissing of babies and no election promises. The job of the candidate will not cease when his bottom hits the council chair. We are after this constituency as the first step in the working class conquest of the powers of government.
Put your own, your parents and your grandparents experience together for once. A society with a labour market where people are bought and sold like, goods cannot be governed in your interest. Because of this we do not stand as governors of the GLC. Socialists stand only as potential representatives of those workers who want to capture the powers of government. Once a majority of such seats ate gained locally and nationally, then the government and employers of the world will be paralysed, unable to oppose the reorganisation of society into a harmonious commonwealth.
Workers of Islington South and Finsbury: In the past most of you have not bothered to vote in the GLC elections. Implicitly, you may have felt that, whoever gets elected, they will do nothing for the workers. And you were right! Whichever party you put into government, still the same social system continues, grinding out problems for you and riches for your employers. What then have you got to lose by becoming supporters of the SPGB? Capitalist society will tick over in the same way under Labour, Tory or whatever. Withdraw your consent and support from this society and the way to peaceful revolution is open. You can help to get socialism.
The meaning of socialism is simple to grasp, and grasp it you must, if you wish to support it. Socialism describes the future world that socialists think you ought to desire as the creators of wealth. It will be one world of common ownership, democratic control and free access to the products of labour. A social system like that is yours for the taking. It will be a struggle to get. but there will be a new world waiting for all at the end.
B. K. McNeeney