Saturday, August 5, 2017

Greater London Council Elections: Socialism - One People, One World (1967)

Election Manifesto from the April 1967 issue of the Socialist Standard

This manifesto is the basis of the election addresses of the Socialist Party candidates in Camden, Ealing, Haringey and Lambeth

WHO ARE THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GT. BRITAIN ?
In this election, many of you are probably hearing of the Socialist Party of Gt. Britain for the first time, and connecting us with the Labour Party or with state capitalist Russia. First of all, then, a few facts about us.

The Socialist Party was formed in 1904. We are completely independent of all other parties, except for our companion Socialist organisations abroad. We are, and always have been, opposed to the other parties, including the Labour Party and the so-called Communist Party. There is a very simple reason for this. They, whatever they say, stand for capitalism — where the means of living are the property of a privileged class. We, on the other, stand for Socialism — a world society based on the common ownership and democratic control of the means of production and distribution, where wealth will be produced solely for use.


WHY ARE WE FIGHTING THIS ELECTION?
Firstly, the Socialist Party is a political party — we have an object which can only be achieved through political means. Political power is controlled, of course, through Parliament but local councils play an important part in applying many of the laws which are made in Parliament and they can make by-laws. Councils, in other words, are part of the machinery of political power which the working class must take over to establish Socialism.

Secondly, the social change from capitalism to Socialism can only be brought about by democratic means. The vote is not a mere scrap of paper. It can be the means to bring about this change when once a majority of the working class want it. For, until a majority want Socialism it is out of the question.


WHY SOCIALISM?
This manifesto is addressed to members of the working class — all those men and women who are forced to work for wages or salaries in order to live.

Everyone is familiar by now with what the other parties promise — a solution of the housing problem, more roads, more hospitals, better schooling. We also know the results of these promises.

The housing situation is as desperate as ever; slums are forming faster than new houses are being built, there are thousands of homeless families broken up in hostels and homes, many councils have closed their housing lists with thousands of families still unable even to get a place in the queue. One fact which no other party makes clear, however, is that housing is a problem which only affects the working class; it is part of their poverty. Rich people simply do not know what it is to plead for a home, nor to live in the inferior, poky boxes which are considered fit for most members of the working class.

The roads are becoming increasingly congested and the motor car continues to encroach upon our environment. There was once a plan — the Buchanan Report — which put forward some ideas about tackling this problem but its suggestions would have cost a lot of money — nearly as much as the government spends each year on armaments and the armed forces. But even this makeshift has been forgotten.

Hospitals are still inadequate, many of them in ancient buildings run by overworked staff. No wonder the waiting list is so long, with so little hope of it ever being broken down. Here again, the rich person does not have the same problem; money can easily buy prompt and expert medical attention, in a private ward and with privileged treatment.

It is a similar story with education. Working class children are taught enough for them to take their place in the factory or the office, at the drawing board or in the laboratory. They often get their schooling in out of date buildings in an overcrowded classroom under an overworked teacher. The children of the rich are educated in expensive schools where they are given every chance to develop their abilities.

The other parties fail to solve these problems, not through any lack of sincerity. They are pledged to support capitalism, which has its own system of priorities. Roads and schools and houses and hospitals may be very desirable but capitalism produces primarily for profit, which means that human interests come a long way down the queue.

Socialism will end this. It will be a world of common ownership where human interests take first place, where wealth is made for people to enjoy it. It will be a world where goods and services will be in a common pool from which everyone will be able to draw freely to satisfy their needs without the intervention of money or any other means of exchange. Socialism will end the poverty which degrades people today and which restricts the majority to live in insecurity. It will end the economic rivalries which cause modern war. It will be a world with one people co-operating to run a society fit for human beings to live in.


SOCIALISTS REJECT RACIALISM
Many blame working class problems on the presence of immigrants. In fact, there was a shortage of housing, hospitals and so on before the immigrants came; these social problems have their roots in capitalist society and exist all over the world, whether a country loses people as emigrants or accepts them as immigrants. The pseudo-scientific nonsense which some parties use to support their racialist arguments have no evidence in their favour. Finally, racialism is an insidious trap for the working class; the problems of capitalism are international and can be solved only by all workers, whatever their colour, co-operating to abolish capitalism and to replace it with Socialism.


WE MAKE NO PROMISES
Socialism can be a reality if, and only if, you want it. The Socialist Party makes no promises; we do not offer ourselves as leaders; we do not claim to be able to do anything for you. Nor do we cadge for your vote. Let us be clear on this: Only when the working class understand what Socialism is, will capitalism be abolished. So vote for the Socialist candidates only if you understand and want Socialism.



No comments: